The After 9:30 Contract

My husband and I have made a pact. It has the power to change the way we communicate, the way we see our life, the way we see each other. It can change the course of our marriage. If kept, this contract could do more to enrich our lives than any other decision we have yet made. The contract goes as follows:

We will not discuss important matters after 9:30 p.m.

Like I said, earth-shattering.

Logan and I added it up the other day and we estimated that in the course of our seven year relationship, we have had less than five major arguments before nightfall. That’s a pretty overwhelming majority. We don’t like arguing with each other, so there seemed to be a pretty obvious solution.

We will not discuss important matters after 9:30 p.m.

There is one weak element to our plan, however.

I’ve mentioned before my inability to stay awake once I am truly sleepy. Another characteristic that goes hand-in-hand with this one is my inability to stay unemotional when truly sleepy. Seriously, if you wake me up out of a deep sleep I will burst into tears. Just kidding. Kind of.

Now, I’m not saying that every single conflict we’ve ever had is a result of me being emotional. (Make all your snide jokes now…) But I can’t ignore the fact that when I am sleepy, I am more emotional, irrational, prone to dark thoughts and exaggeration. It goes something like this:

L: My brother wants to talk on the phone. Is now a good time since you’re about to go to bed?
Aa: Sure. Whatever.
L: Because if you want to do something with me, I don’t have to talk to him.
Aa: Go talk to him. Really.
L: Are you sure? Because I could set up another time.
Aa: No! Just go talk to him.
L: Okay. I shouldn’t be long. *Kiss*
(Pause)
Aa: YOU ALWAYS LIKE HANGING OUT WITH YOUR BROTHER MORE THAN MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I think that if we haven’t made headway on a certain issue, it could be because we decide to talk about it at times when we are tired. Then the issue becomes our anger, exhaustion, irritability, etc. instead of the actual thing that needs dealing with.

So…the one weak element. If an issue arrises after 9:30, what are we supposed to do with it? Even though we’ve decided that we won’t talk about anything important after 9:30, that still leaves one or both of us feeling sad, confused, hurt or annoyed. Then what are we supposed to do with ourselves? After all, once we get upset, it’s really hard to turn off the upset switch.

Here are a few things we have found helpful:
~ Take a deep breath
~ Stay close (For example, if your spouse leaves the room, follow)
~ Offer to help your spouse do whatever it is he is doing
~ Hug each other
~ Agree to discuss the real issue at a time when you’re more mentally reliable
~ Discuss fun things you could do instead of having a painful conversation
~ Chose a fun thing to do (either together or alone)
~ Do something fun

Nothing brilliant, but it’s a start. I have high hopes for The After 9:30 Contract. And I have high hopes for our marriage.

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About Aanna

I'm a writer and blogger who lives in southwest Missouri with my husband and daughter. I love to write about fashion, design, health, food, sex, relationships, and Jesus. You can e-mail me at aannagreer(at)gmail(dot)com.

2 thoughts on “The After 9:30 Contract

  1. I love your transparency, Aanna. I know that takes a lot of effort to own up areas of weakness and incorporate practical solutions.

    The Bible teaches us to not let the sun go down on our anger/wrath. It never says that all issues and problems can be worked out before bedtime or there is no bedtime. It really is possible to set aside an issue and let go of that need to control or have resolution at that moment.

    I think your tips to do just that are helpful and easy for anyone to incorporate.
    Although not impossible, it is really difficult to argue with someone you are hugging. 😉

  2. Aanna,

    Good Advice! How long have you guys been married? I think you are ahead of the curve on figuring this one out. It seems we married couples get into funks and cycle through the same junk over and over again. It was year eleven before Brian and I learned to jump around the quick sand.
    A favorite verse:
    Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
    I Peter 4:8

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