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?
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.
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:
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:
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.