Does Your Marriage Make You Angry?

Are you often angry with your spouse? Or perhaps your spouse is often angry with you? Regardless, you likely have some experience anger in marriage. Think back to the last time you and your spouse were angry with one another. No matter what started things initially, by the time someone got angry, productive and compassionate conversation had ceased. Someone likely left hurt.

We all know that anger can be destructive, but what exactly is it? Why does it cause so much difficulty in relationships?

What is Anger?

Anger is a strong emotion of displeasure, agitation, and belligerence that is aroused when a person perceives a wrong suffered. It is a God-given emotion that signals when something is wrong. Anger alerts you to hurts, injustices, fears, or frustrations over unmet expectations and needs. There are varying degrees of anger ranging from mild irritation to uncontrollable violence.

While anger itself is not a sin, how you respond to or express these feelings may be. A proper response to anger will lead you to evaluate your scenario, investigate yourself, understand God’s will, and propel you to take steps toward oneness with your spouse. However, if this process breaks down, your response to anger can lead to sin and destruction. Rather than letting your anger show you how to correct the problem and love your spouse, your anger leads you to further hurt them.

Thankfully, there is hope. Understanding why you are angry (Genesis 4:6-7) and how God wants you to respond to your anger (Ephesians 4:25-27) is critical for a healthy relationship with God and healthy relationships your spouse. But first, here are some unhealthy responses that are worth understanding.

Unhealthy Responses to Anger

As you seek to better understand your anger and how it relates to your spouse, it can be helpful to look for unhealthy responses. A helpful way to do that is with the acronym D.E.A.D:

  • D ENY – This response is often taken by spouses who are more passive or reluctant to step into conflict. Denying your anger enables sin (in both others and yourself) and leads to shallow relationships. Honestly addressing emotions helps with self-awareness, truth, repentance, and building a healthy relationship. (Psalm 51:6)
  • E RUPT – Erupting is when a spouse grows aggressive or confrontational right away. Explosive, uncontrolled responses to feelings of anger fuel more destruction, pain, and regret—especially in the intimacy of a marital relationship. Only a fool gives full vent to rage. (Proverbs 29:11, 22)
  • A BRUPT – Being too quick to speak when angry often results in half-formed ideas. Those quick to anger are slow to understand and often stir up strife. However, allowing emotions to settle first can prevent initial confusion. (James 1:19, Proverbs 14:29)
  • D RAG OUT – Dragging out the anger is often used to intentionally hurt your spouse, causing you to remain in conflict far longer than necessary. Long-held anger leads to unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment instead of peace. (Ephesians 4:26, 31-32)

Is My Anger a Problem?

Even after reading about what anger is and how it comes up in marriage, you may still wonder if anger is a problem for you. Being introspective can help you honestly answer the following questions and determine if anger is hurting you and your marriage:

  • Do you feel irritated and frustrated by your spouse often?
  • Do you often have a lot of battles with your spouse going on in your mind?
  • Do you keep your feelings to yourself?
  • Do you tend to avoid conflict out of fear or insecurity?
  • Do you often feel like a victim of your spouse’s actions?
  • Are people constantly letting you down or do you constantly disappoint yourself?
  • Do you focus mostly on the faults of your spouse or hold grudges?
  • Does your anger escalate until it is out of control?
  • Do your responses to conflict ever hurt or offend your spouse?
  • When hurt by your spouse, are you quick to lash out or want to punish them?

If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions, be honest with yourself and begin to explore how you have denied or misused anger (Proverbs 28:13). Your relationship with your spouse will benefit from a better understanding of the role anger plays in your marriage. When you understand how anger is negatively affecting your relationship, ask Christ to heal you (Psalm 147:3). Spend time seeking to understand why you struggle with anger and if any past hurts are affecting your marriage today. Repent of any anger that you have harbored and begin the process of reconciling with your spouse (Colossians 3:8-10).
Anger does not have to control you. Remember that Jesus gives you everything you need to control your emotions and respond with righteousness. Ultimately, handling your anger well will help make you more like Jesus.

Additional Resources

Watch these Real Truth. Real Quick. episodes on “What Does It Mean to Overlook a Minor Offense?” and “Is It Okay for a Christian to Be Angry at God?

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