What’s inside: It creeps into your relationship over time, so you might not even notice the devastating effects. If you’ve let this one thing take control, it’s time to fight to save your marriage.
I’ve noticed something in my marriage that scares me. It is something that is so toxic to a relationship that it has the power to destroy it, if left unchecked over time.
One word: Anger.
To clarify, I’m not talking about extreme anger or violence. I’m talking about the normal emotion that arises at the end of a long day. When you’re exhausted and your patience has worn thin. When your spouse does something that just grates on your last nerve. The kind of anger and frustration that makes you snap and say things you wouldn’t normally say to someone you love.
Often, when I find myself getting angry at my husband, my first thought is “I’ve got to show him just how angry I am.”
Why? Because I want him to make me feel better.
Let me tell you, it’s not a very effective strategy. Anger pushes people away, so they are actually less likely to give you the love and affection you are seeking. Anger is like a cancer that slowly eats away at the foundation of your marriage.
Read this next: How to Make Your Marriage Stronger When Life Brings You Pain
It’s just about impossible to completely eliminate anger from our lives, BUT you can save your marriage by changing the way you deal with that emotion:
Instead, try letting your partner know what is upsetting you. Make the focus be about a thing or behavior as opposed to the person themselves. For example, one of the things that stresses me out the most is trying to keep up with never-ending chores, especially when I have a lot of work.
Here is a constructive way to talk about it:
“I’ve had a lot of extra things on my plate in the past week and I’m feeling overwhelmed by the housework. I could really use some help to get caught up.”
Here is the angry way:
“I can’t keep up with the chores because I can’t do it all! You never DO ANYTHING!”
It might feel good in the moment to say something hurtful. And yes, words do hurt. However, it’s not worth the guilt and the pain you caused your partner, just to win in that moment. Plus, it doesn’t work.
If the script were flipped, and your spouse were saying these things to you, which statement would make you most likely to want to help them? Which statement would make you angry back at them?
While talking it out, you might find that the root of the problem actually lies in something that has nothing to do with your partner at all.
Stress at work, kids testing your patience, bills and finances can all create stress in our lives. When this stress builds up, it can cause us to lash out at those closest to us.
We often behave the worst to the people we love the most. Why? Because we feel safe — we know that we can say anything and they will still be there in the morning.
Or will they?
Sure, the occasional spat probably won’t break up a marriage. But if it happened every day, wouldn’t that get old? When you choose (and it is a choice) to be angry at your spouse and tear them down instead of lifting them up, can you be so sure that they will tolerate that indefinitely? If they did, why would you want that for them?
If you already slipped and blew up on your spouse, be the first to reach out and reconcile.
You’d be amazed at how well a simple “I’m sorry” works. Let them know you love and appreciate them too much to spend any more time being angry. What might surprise you is how good this makes you feel too.
Anger is a natural emotion, and in itself is not the enemy. It’s how we deal with that anger that can tear down our relationships OR make them stronger by dealing with those feelings together.
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Last updated on February 12th, 2019 at 03:03 pm
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