I was reading an article about relationship advice from older couples (who doesn’t like reading about happily married old couples, right?) and in it was a quote from Jenna and Manny DaSilva who have been happily married for 65 years. In just a couple sentences, they touched on a subject that I think a lot of people, including myself, have asked ourselves about our relationships. Can you go to be angry ? Well, the answer is avoiding going to bed angry is a good mantra for success.
I always had a problem with this mantra. Sometimes I’m too angry to facilitate constructive dialogue. But whenever I felt this way, I immediately felt guilty for not having enough self-discipline to set aside my feelings. This guilt was only heightened if my partner wanted to have a conversation and it was me holding us back from resolving the issue.
But Jenna and Manny gave me hope! Submitted to HuffPost, they advised this:
“When you go to bed at night, it doesn’t matter how angry or sad you are, you don’t have to say anything but always touch toes. Just a little reminder that I’m here and I still love you no matter what.”
I love this. I love this a lot. Not everything has to or can be solved immediately. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Expecting feelings to be swallowed for the sake of rushing into a resolution is not only unfair to both parties, but also not giving the issue the respect it deserves. Problems often seem to develop little by little until they come to a head, I tend to think that answers to these problems develop the same way. Talk, then give yourself time to think, then talk again, then if you need it, give yourself more time to think. Build up to a solution rather than force one. Those who wait to outlast that first wave of emotion will come to a more effective and sustainable solution.
I think the most important part of Jenna and Manny’s advice is their message of unconditional love. It’s okay to go to bed mad, sad, talking, not talking, as long as you touch toes. It is that non-verbal, almost subtle act that is going to remind your partner that despite the storm around you, your love for each other is steady, unwavering, and unconditional. It’s okay to feel the way you feel and take the time to explore a solution, just as long as you touch toes…and if your not a feet person, find some other ways to remind each other of your love!
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