Dealing with Anger in Your Marriage
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not so easy” – Aristotle, 384 B.C.
Anger that is not expressed appropriately by one or both spouses can do great damage to a marriage. This damage includes;
- Destroying the safety and trust that partners need in a relationship.
- Wrecking self-esteem because of the guilt and shame associated with it.
- Putting up a wall of defense that blocks love from being given and/or received.
- Causing one or both spouses to fear being hurt.
- Creating feelings of distance, sadness, loneliness, and anxiety.
- Devaluing the “specialness” of one’s spouse instead of viewing them as a gift.
- Increasing the temptation to engage in pornography, affairs, and other damaging sexual behaviors.
- Contributing to excessive gambling, drinking, overspending, and other compulsive behaviors.
In short, anger can diminish your satisfaction and fulfillment in a marriage and lead to isolation and divorce. If, however, you recognize and begin to manage your anger, you can create a safe and secure place for your love to grow. Be honest in evaluating your marriage and what anger is doing to it.
Inappropriate expressions of anger in marriage can be a major source of marital distress and unhappiness. Recognizing and managing this unruly emotion can greatly enhance the degree of security and happiness you and your spouse achieve in your marriage. Be willing to take an honest look at yourself and come to grips with the reality that anger is an issue in your marriage. This is the beginning step for overcoming the destructiveness of this volatile emotion. By doing so, you can begin to overcome inappropriate anger and experience peace and harmony in your marriage and family.
The Issue with Anger in Marriage
Everyone gets upset and angry with their spouse. Unless one of you is a door mat, you can’t live together without disagreements or behaviors that upset one another.
What you do with your anger is the real issue. What you do with anger toward your spouse is what matters. Do you resort to personal attacks, name-calling, or other degrading remarks? By contrast, do you express your anger appropriately by owning your feelings and not threatening your spouses’ sense of security and love?
Recognize that anger is not in and of itself wrong. It is a valid and important human emotion because it enables us to respond to threats to our security and well-being. Anger, like all God-given emotions, when expressed appropriately leads to individual and relational health. So it’s not a matter of If we will become angry, but when we become angry and what with do with it.
How Anger Affects You and Your Spouse
Research reveals that anger is more prevalent in marriage that in any other human relationship and the negative impact of anger in marriages is great.
For example, depression has been linked to anger and relationship discord. Anger has also been associated with impaired immune systems, higher blood pressure and a congestive heart failure. Anger is simply harmful to your physical health.
How to Deal with Anger in Your Marriage
If you want to stop inappropriate expressions in your marriage, first identify the root of the anger. Many times, anger is the result of emotional wounds inflicted in early life or childhood. It can be the result of verbal, mental, emotional, sexual or physical abuse. Perhaps you weren’t given a voice and allowed to express yourself. Early wounds can cause to use anger to cover pain to protect against being vulnerable and getting hurt again.
Root Causes of Anger
Listed below are some of the possible root causes of anger:
- Significant trauma or loss
- Being abused or treated unfairly
- Disappointment with major people in your life
- Being neglected or abandoned
- Unwillingness or inability to forgive
- A sense of entitlement – the world owes you
- Unmet expectations
- Anxiety or fear
- Blaming others, especially your spouse
- Depression or bipolar disorder
Deal With Possible Root Causes of Anger:
You don’t have to be afraid of your anger. Explore it and consider what the root of it is. You may need to deal with some old emotional baggage that you are carrying. Try reading and journaling your thoughts about your anger. Notice what your triggers are and then tracing them back to the event(s) or circumstances that you haven’t yet healed from. Pull out all that baggage and damage and things that you have stuffed under the rug and deal with it. Life Recon was designed to help individuals face their anger and hurt in a safe environment. You may want to engage a counselor to help you. It’s time to heal and begin to enjoy life and love!
Don’t Go to Bed Angry
Often you will hear people say, “Don’t go to bed angry” which is based on an admonition from scripture to “not let the sun go down on your wrath.” This does not mean that you must have all your issues and differences resolved. What is does mean is that you can agree that you can go to sleep in peace knowing that you have a spouse who is your teammate and that tomorrow you can face your day and work on your relationship issues together. Ask for and grant forgiveness so that you will have peace between you. Each day is a new beginning, and you can begin it free and clear of the residue of yesterday’s anger.
One of the best things that you can do in managing anger is to slow down and think before your react or respond. Delay your response, calm down, and think about it before you say or do something that will escalate the anger and conflict.
Determine the source of your anger and forgive that person(s) who hurt or damaged you. It may be a parent, teacher, coach, family member, etc. You may also need to forgive yourself so that you can love yourself instead of loathing yourself keeping people at a distance with your anger.
Get help in dealing with your anger. The perspective of a counselor, pastor, or relationship coach can be of great benefit to you in dealing with your emotional baggage and damage.
If you want to discuss how we can help you and your relationship, please get in touch with me at Cliff@LoveRecon.org or call 866-218-1716. You may also visit our website, www.LoveRecon.org, for testimonials and information.