I’ve lucked out with the last two “Gracious Wife” posts…. I’ve been able to write them with minimal conviction, because I tend to not be too sarcastic or nagging toward my husband. This post, however, I’ve been dreading, mainly because it hits home for me… I don’t want to write it, because it’s going to hurt. God is going to teach me as I write, and the conviction is, of course, not going to be fun. I will be better for it by the end, but this process will be quite painful. But hey, as my husband said to me earlier, if I had it all together, I wouldn’t be “striving”, would I?
So… on to writing about the Angry Wife… Now, I don’t normally see myself as an angry person. I’m actually a pretty upbeat person, but anger (in its various forms) too often gets a hold of me.
First, let’s look at a definition of anger, because you may be surprised to see that you, too, may fall under this category. Read it a few times, just in case you miss part of it the first time:
anger, n. - a strong emotion; a feeling that is oriented toward some real or supposed grievance; a feeling aroused by being offended; belligerence aroused by a real or supposed wrong; a violent, bitter feeling (against someone or something); resentment; irritation; annoyance; huffiness; indignation. (from thefreedictionary.com
Anger expresses itself differently in different people as well. Some will explode in rage, yelling, screaming, or even becoming physically violent. Others will show their anger in quieter forms, such as using sarcasm or the “silent treatment.” Still others may choose to withdraw, and keep their anger to themselves, resulting in depression or neglect of the home.
I recently realized that anger was an issue for me, when I would become irritated at something Jason would say or do (or not do)… notice the above definition, where it says that anger is caused by a “real or supposed” offense. Most of my anger issues had nothing to do with Jason… instead, the cause was something that I made up in my own mind.
I believe that, in marriage, that is often the case. Now, I’m not saying that all our husbands are perfect and that we are always at fault (it may often be the reverse!) …. but I know that my own heart needs to be searched before I can lay the blame on my husband.
I’m not going to go into the damage that anger can do in a marriage…. I think we have seen enough of its effects, either in our own marriages, others around us, or on the news. Even the Bible talks about the strife an angry word can cause. (If you want to read more verses on anger, click here) What I do want to talk about is the source of anger. Where does it come from? How does a perfectly normal conversation end in a fight (or tears, or a slamming door)?
Here is a list of common causes of anger in marriages… be honest, and see if any of these apply to you:
- The need to control
- Unjust hurts/disappointments with your husband
- Unjust hurts/disappointments with parents
- Loneliness/sadness from any life stage
- Hurts with in-laws
- Fear and worries
- Hurts in earlier dating, sibling or peer relationships
- Insecurities/lack of confidence
- Excessive sense of responsibility/burdens
- Financial and other worries
- Inappropriate expectations
- Conflicts in children, particularly selfishness
- Loss of trust
- Lack of sleep
- Medical illnesses
- Alcohol and drugs
- Work conflicts
- Excessive television/movie/sports watching
- Post abortion conflict
Prayerfully look over this list, and ask God to reveal to you areas in your marriage that need to be worked on, things that need to change. Satan wants to destroy our marriages. He prowls around, looking to steal, kill, and destroy all that is good. If he can use anger to it, he will!!
Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Many people, when giving marital advice, will quote the part about not letting the sun go down on your anger. Great advice… simply because when you keep anger inside, it allows a bitter root to take hold in your heart, thus giving Satan an opportunity to lead you into sin.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to start a brawl right before bed… but if there’s an issue, it’s best to clear the air rather than have it fester in your heart. After all, it’s going to eventually come out - wouldn’t it be best to discuss it BEFORE it has time to take root and grow into something ugly? Once that ugliness and sin has taken root, it is what will come out when you speak. Is there anger, bitterness, and resentment stored up? That’s what will come out of you - in your words, in your attitude, and in your actions. (Matthew 15:18-19)
So what do we do? How do we get rid of our anger? Well, in addition to prayer… let’s see what the Bible has to say!
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
So, what do we do? Here are our takeaways from these passages:
- Be quick to listen. Don’t jump to conclusions about your husband or the circumstances making you angry. Listen to what your husband is saying, and hear out his whole side of the story.
- Be slow to speak. Don’t say the first thing that is on your mind - it’s usually full of emotion and hurt, and can be taken wrong, even if you don’t think you meant it to be hurtful!
- Be slow to become angry. This takes work and prayer, but don’t get on the defensive as soon as your husband opens his mouth. Don’t work yourself up into anger. Pray, and try to remain calm. See if the situation actually warrants your anger (in most cases, it won’t!).
- LOVE your husband, God’s way! Study 1 Corinthians 13, and strive to love the way God wants us to love. It is the KEY to being a gracious wife!
- Keep no record of wrongs. Do not hold grudges! Stop bringing up past hurts and grievances when you fight… it will just make matters worse. Pray for God to help you forgive AND forget.
- Be kind. Thinking of an angry retort? Say something kind instead…. it may shock your husband, AND diffuse the anger at the same time. (Proverbs 15:1)
- Be compassionate. Your husband may be going through a rough time emotionally, physically, or spiritually. There may be a deeper cause to actions you think are wrong. Take time to find out what’s wrong, pray for him, and show him compassion - it, too, has the power to diffuse anger.
- Forgive, just as Christ forgave you. Christ forgave us while we were still sinners. Don’t wait for your husband to become perfect in order for you to show him forgiveness, and don’t wait for his apology to come first. Forgiveness must first come from your heart, to prevent sin from taking root.
Above all, let’s remember what we’re striving for - to be a wife after God’s own heart. Psalm 145:8 shows us God’s heart in this matter:
The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
Isn’t that something worth striving for? I know that I will be taking these verses and striving to apply them in my life. I don’t want to be an angry wife. I don’t want Satan to have any footholds in my life. Strive with me… and let me know how your journey is going!! Leave any comments, questions, prayer requests, or praise reports below!
Keep on striving,