Have you ever balled up your fists at something your spouse said? Have you ever felt the rush of heat to your face in the middle of a conversation? Marriage is a relationship unlike any other. You get to see all sides of your spouse, including the not so favorable. And you don’t get to run away when things get rough.
You have to brush your teeth at the same sink, toss and turn in the same bed and eat from the same refrigerator. So how do you deal with the undeniable anger that rears its head when you least expect it? How do you continue to love your spouse the way God intends when all you want to do is scream?
First, Remember This:
Anger is normal. It’s okay to get angry. In fact, many times it is a normal and warranted feeling.
Oftentimes, we are ashamed of our anger. We aren’t taught how to handle it because we’re taught not to show it. And many times, the need to hide our anger morphs into the thinking that we’re not allowed to feel it. But anger is perfectly normal and there is a godly way to express and work through it. Before we dive into this, let’s understand the purpose of anger.
This is Why You’re Angry
Anger is an emotion that surfaces when there is something underneath. Think about it. When your spouse says something hurtful, you grow angry. But, why? Because you’re hurt. When your friend cancels plans for the fifth time you grow angry. But, why? Because you feel unloved.
Anger always reveals an underlying emotion. Whether it’s hurt, sadness, betrayal or disappointment, anger rears up as a way to cope with or to express the hidden emotion.
So How Do You Deal With Anger?
Let’s face it, anger makes us say and do things that we all regret. It’s not a pleasant emotion. No matter how simple or how extreme the offense, in a moment of anger, it is much harder to control our words and our actions.
That is why it is extremely important to find a way to cool off that works for you. Some simply need to take a deep breath. Others may need a break in the conversation, a moment alone. Some pray, some cry, some walk. Find what works and don’t let the surge of adrenaline, the rush of intensity and the heat of the moment drive your actions.
God calls us to this in Ephesians 4:26 , “In your anger do not sin.” Don’t let an angry heart cause you to act in an unloving way. It’s okay to be angry, but you must first center your heart and your mind on God before responding in anger.
Then, discover what’s underneath. What emotion is the anger covering up? What is causing the anger? Sometimes this takes time. But the time is worth the effort. When you can discover what is underneath the anger, you can find a concrete way to solve the problem.
If it’s hurt, your spouse needs to know how they have hurt you. If it’s betrayal or feeling last on the list of priorities, sharing this will allow for an opportunity to mend it.
If you can discover what is underneath, you can find a way to work through it.
Communicate What, Exactly?
Communication is essential here. If you hide your true feelings, you aren’t giving your spouse a chance to love you. Communication opens a door to resolving the problem in a healthy way. Don’t just wait for your spouse to change. Take a step and communicate your feelings.
Ephesians 4:26-27 ends with “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Allowing your anger to fester will open a door to Satan’s schemes. Instead, understanding what is behind the anger and sharing what is on your heart, will lead to an opportunity for your spouse to respond in love to you.
Anger is an emotion that seeks to awaken you to the problems underneath the surface.
Don’t sit in your anger and allow Satan a foothold into your marriage. Face the anger and look beneath it. You will find that there is something inside you that is gnawing at your heart. Something that can be addressed.
And through this, you will bring the glory of God into your marriage.