How to Have Less Anger in Your Marriage
How to Have Less Anger in Your Marriage
Mary likes the bedroom cold at night while John likes it warm. She opens the windows before proceeding to the bathroom but he closes them right behind her.
Let’s listen in on their fight to see what we can learn about having less anger in our marriage.
Mary: You know I can’t sleep when the windows are closed but every time I open them, you close them. Are you trying to make me miserable? You are selfish and inconsiderate.
John: I live here, too, you know. And I don’t want to freeze. You always have to get your way. This room is so frigid that even milk wouldn’t spoil in here. Want me to get sick? What normal person wants to sleep in a room this cold?
Are John and Mary too angry with each other for this conflict to be resolved?
For some marriages, the solution to dealing with anger and handling other marital problems is a simple compromise. For example, Mary and John could agree on a certain temperature that they both can live with and then use a thermometer to ensure that the room stays that way.
Unfortunately, most of the time, problems in marriage aren’t as easy to solve. They persist and eventually create deep-seated anger and frustration.
Of the many reasons why couples have a hard time dealing with anger and resolving problems in marriage, these are the main ones:
The couple sees the argument as a power/control struggle. When this happens, the argument ceases to be just another problem and becomes about winning or losing.
The issue becomes emotionally tied to other personal and relationship problems. In this case, if one partner is putting pressure on the other to change, the other partner is bound to resist.
In John and Mary’s case, the source of their conflict was really something that had happened to Mary a long time ago when she was stuck in a room that had such poor airflow that it triggered a state of fear and panic within her. For her, unless the windows are open, she feels like she is literally fighting for her life.
As we all know, communication is the key to a successful marriage. And the best form of communication in marriage is a combination of empathy and assertiveness. This means seeing things from your partners point of view as well as expressing your thoughts and feelings in a straight forward manner.
Let’s discuss what both Mary and John should have done to manage their anger with each other:
Mary: I feel bad that you have to suffer but I also feel that if you really loved me you would be willing to make sacrifices to make me feel safe. I shouldn’t have to give in all the time. I work hard all day, too, — and all I want is to feel safe in my home so I can get a good night’s sleep. Do you think I’m being too selfish?
John: I really love you, Mary, and want you to feel safe. But with the windows open, it gets so cold in here that I can’t sleep. So since we both want to feel comfortable and safe, and sleep in the same room, let’s explore some solutions without getting angry with each other.
Anger management is never easy in the heat of the moment. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a time out and then come back later to continue the discussion when both spouses are calm.
Here are a few tips to help improve communication and have less anger.
Discuss your feelings, thoughts and fears about the issue. Tell your partner how you feel and what’s on your mind.
Focus on how you communicate with your spouse and work on the process of communication as a whole.
Realize that you don’t need to be right all the time. Wouldn’t you rather be happy most of the time than be right all the time?
Tell your partner how much you love them and also how much you want to work with them to find a solution for any problem you face in your marriage.
Does this sound too simple? Give it a try. I promise that you will be AMAZED at the progress you make in dealing with anger in your relationship, and how much happier you will feel.