Dealing With Anger In Your Marriage
Anger could take its root in an individual due to various reasons. If it is just an expression or an outlet of what you are feeling because of a certain circumstance, it won’t have as negative an impact as deep-rooted anger. Once you have felt the presence of controllable anger in you or your loved ones, you can try a few things to bring it under control rather than a scenario where the emotion is controlling you.
To look at and understand the different reasons for anger underlying in a relationship, you can read our article on understanding anger in marriage . When you are looking for solutions to help you deal with that anger, you may find some of these guidelines effective.
Tips for dealing with anger in yourself or your spouse
Partners can build each other up when dealing with anger or conflicts and not tear each other down. Here are some pointers to keep in mind to avoid harmful, strong emotions during conflicts and tips for dealing with anger more effectively.
- Find the Root Cause
Try to go deeper into the mind to understand the cause of the anger instead of focusing on the emotion itself. Anger is usually triggered, due to inherent, unresolved issues. It is necessary to understand them first. Think of it like this; treating the anger within you is like treating a stubborn infection. You need to find the internal wound and heal it, to stop the infection from spreading further.
- Avoid Assuming
Do not assume that you know how your partner feels. Listen to your partner with an intent to understand and not to assume. Also, try to go behind the feelings of the words said. Very often, your partner’s hurtful words are calling for your attention. Talk openly and communicate honestly about the effects of anger in your relationship. Conflicts are often unresolved when you don’t talk about feelings, and both of you are unaware of what the other person is holding back.
- Inculcate Patience
Patience is an essential quality when dealing with anger in others and yourself. If both partners yell and scream at each other, no one is listening or understanding. All you are left with is resentment and regrets. Sidestep from controlling an angry partner or react back angrily. This initiates a cyclic reaction, and things escalate more quickly towards the worse. To practice patience, you may create an action plan for dealing with anger, when you both are in a better state of mind. For example, mutually decide a code word for a time-out when you see things spiral out of control during an argument. The timeout has to be respected. The timeout can be no less than 20 minutes and the couple can choose to separate themselves and do calming activities in that time. Getting back to the conversation after some cool-off, usually helps couples see things from a different perspective.
- Be Assertive
When you are upset or angry about something your partner said or did, try and be more assertive rather than hostile. For example, if you are getting late for an event, and your spouse is taking longer than usual to get dressed, instead of making a scene, try telling them how you feel about being late. A sentence like “I am very uncomfortable walking in late”, would be more appropriate in this situation. Remember there is more possibility of a solution to the problem when you use this approach.
- Being Respectful
When you want to point out conflicting issues, be polite and respectful. Try starting your sentences with ‘I’ statements and not ‘You’ statements. When you start a sentence with ‘I’, it conveys the message more positively and does not put your spouse in a defensive stance. For example: “I feel hurt when you don’t discuss important things with me” is better than directly blaming your partner for not sharing.
- Practice Mindful Listening
When you listen intently to your partner, you will understand their concerns better. Don’t be tempted to avoid the conversation. Be active and understanding. Learn to read signals of when your partner is trying to turn towards you. Respond to attempts of connections from their side, positively.
- Avoid Triggers
Be mindful of your and your partner’s triggers to anger. Take time to think about what triggers you or which actions of yours trigger the anger in them. Try to deal with your traits and actions before trying to control your partner.
- Choose the Right Time
Be watchful of the time and place you choose to talk about a difficult topic. Make sure not only you but also your partner is ready for the talk.
- Let go of Past Anger
When there is an issue that is being discussed, avoid going to your partner’s past mistakes. Avoid holding on to issues or anger from the past. This will only make your partner feel belittled and not serve the purpose of making things better. Focus completely on the present-day issues.
- Be Flexible
While resolving an issue, try not to be stubborn about the solution of an issue. Don’t stick to the idea that only your way is the best way to make things better. Pay attention to your partner’s perspective and be open-minded enough to try out different ways.
Dodge the impulse to make every problem a duel between the two of you.
Your aim should be to try to understand each other’s perspectives and come closer to each other. It is not your job to change your spouse. It is necessary to realize that you can only change yourself. People who resist change find it very difficult to have harmonious intimate relationships.
Remember, it is you both against the problem. Turn towards each other with love, kindness, and understanding. That is surely the first step to a warm and secure marriage