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The Snooze Button: Is Your Relationship On Hold?


Carrie Burgan


Six times. Six times! That is how many times my husband and I … no, not that. That’s how many times we hit the snooze button today before we got out of bed. It was nice and warm under the covers with only cold and deadlines to meet after we gave in and got up. Nothing fun awaited, that’s for sure. But wait. What is really fun about staying in bed? It’s pleasant and warm, but nothing gets done, and you end up bored out of sheer avoidance of life. I call that “snooze-button syndrome.”

Marriage is kind of like that. If you have a conflict that arises, it is very tempting to ignore it and go about your business. Hitting the snooze button with a mantra of, “We’ll discuss it when…” doesn’t just delay conflict, it puts your entire marriage on hold! During my bridal shower, guests wrote cards with “words of wisdom” on them. The overwhelming sentiment other than “Have fun with each other,” was “Never go to bed angry.” My soon-to-be husband and I took that to heart and agreed to apply that principle to our marriage from day one.

Do we fight? Oh yes, friend, we’ve had some very heated conflicts. Occasionally, we haven’t been able to solve our problems before bed, but we agreed to revisit the issue the next day, followed by a reassurance that we loved each other (even if we didn’t like each other at the time). Prolonging conflict is a product of fear, just like hitting that snooze button in the morning. We are afraid of discomfort. Now, my mantra is: “Stop dreaming. Start doing.” This means accepting the fear and approaching the situation despite it. To avoid hitting your marital snooze button, I have three starter tips for you:

  1. DON’T GO TO BED ANGRY. Approach the issue before you retire. Agree to disagree temporarily, and reassure your spouse that you love him or her.
  2. LEARN THEIR LANGUAGE. Your spouse has his or her own language. Men and women speak, think, and process differently. If you “speak their language,” you may have more success coming to a favorable outcome. (Two extraordinarily helpful resources are: For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn.)
  3. STRENGTHEN YOUR BOND. Hold hands, touch feet or knees when you argue. The contact keeps your energy connected and keeps you aware of their physical closeness, even during difficult conversations. If you and your spouse agree to implement these small changes (preferably during a time of peace!), you can hold each other accountable to upholding the tactics that will let you disagree without putting your marriage in danger of snooze-button syndrome!

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