Has your spouse ever suggested “anger management” classes to you?
You may have brushed off their comment as just an ill attempt at humor or a heavy dose of sarcasm. But if you stop and think about it, you may not have even noticed that you – and maybe your spouse – have slipped into a near-constant state of anger. You may not realize how bad it has gotten – or that it’s driving you apart and could lead to divorce.
What I want to share with you is how to recognize your anger response, so you can then take the necessary steps to manage it so it doesn’t make you sick or poison your relationship with your spouse any further. Read on…
Arguments on Overdrive
You may be shocked at how many people get into enormous arguments over problems that are seemingly insignificant. It seems many married couples who are having problems find it difficult to let go of the small stuff. A phone left off the charger, the toilet seat left up in the middle of the night, or a few dishes left in the sink cause explosive arguments that push couples farther apart.
If this is happening in your marriage, it may be that the emotional environment in your marriage is already so charged that every little thing seems to take on a new and darker meaning. If you are recovering from an affair for example, it may seem to you that when your husband leaves the toilet seat up in the middle of the night, it’s just another sign of how thoughtless and insensitive he is.
In other cases when a couple has lived together for a long period of time, one or both partners might start to become overly critical of small, seemingly harmless behaviors.
Over time, if you are not nurturing and honoring each other, and you continue to be critical of these behaviors in your partner, they can become full-fledged pet peeves that you feel you “simply can’t let go of.” You feel annoyed and put upon, so instead of handling the situation rationally you act defensive or snide, and then you’re into an argument before you even know what’s happened.
Still in other cases, one person in the marriage may feel as though his or her spouse is behaving in a controlling manner. In order to retain a sense of independence and prove that your spouse isn’t always in control you may overreact to a simple request like putting the phone back on the charger when you are done with it, because you feel like it’s simply another way your partner is trying to manipulate and control you.
The Key Ingredient to Marriage Repair
- The # 1 predictor of divorce
- New ways to connect emotionally
- How to heal after an argument
- How to rebuild respect again
- How to open up without getting hurt
I’m not pointing any fingers here. Almost every married person I know is guilty of this to some degree. And in some part it’s completely natural for married people to get into arguments about these small, day-to-day offenses.
But if your relationship becomes one large battleground, you begin to forget about what it is that makes you work together as a couple as you drift further and further apart onto opposing sides.
Here are three steps to eliminate rampant anger and save your marriage before you drift too far apart for reconciliation:
Step 1: Let go of the small stuff
Letting go of all those little things that aggravate you will go a long way to making your life together more enjoyable and rewarding.
I know it may feel like you “just can’t let this go,” but in reality that isn’t an accurate perception. You are a human being, and no matter how strong your emotional response is to a particular issue, you do have a choice about how you react.
When something comes up that you can’t let go of, then sit down with your partner, talk about it, and see if the two of you can work out a solution to the problem instead of getting into an unnecessary argument.
Step 2: Treat your spouse like gold
It becomes more difficult to let go of the small stuff when you are not treating each other as the special person you chose to live your life with. If you are nurturing each other in other ways, it will make letting go of the small stuff that much easier.
The top predictor of a marriage that will end in divorce is one or both partners exhibiting contempt for the other. If you and your spouse are constantly arguing, you create an environment where contempt can imbed itself and thrive.
Contempt is exhibiting a lack of respect, so be vigilant for those times when you find yourself exhibiting disrespect to your spouse: it’s a road you do not want to get on.
Step 3: Fill your Marriage Love Bank
By filling your marriage’s love bank, this means you have to actively create more positive interactions with your spouse to compensate for those times when there are flare-ups.
In fact, you’ll want to overcompensate. Think of your relationship as a bank account: your goal is to have as many deposits (positive interactions) as possible with minimal withdrawals (negative interactions).
My best to you as you eliminate rampant anger and save your marriage by treating one another well.
Has rampant anger taken over your relationship?
Are you or your spouse guilty of exhibiting contempt to the other? Can you sense what this is doing to your relationship? Please explain.
Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,