My bride is fond of saying “Anger is a cover emotion”. By that, she means that people frequently use anger to cover other emotions they do not want to face. I confess I used to get upset (aka angry) with her when she said that – but I have come to see she is right.
Anger really does help us avoid other feelings we don’t like. Anger feels good, anger makes us feel powerful and in control. In contrast, things like guilt and sadness make us feel bad, make us feel out of control. Anger blames others, not self. That is why we would rather be angry – and it’s also why anger is so harmful to our marriages.
Realise that when I talk about anger I don’t just mean yelling, hitting, throwing things angry; I mean feeling anger no matter how we express it or hide it. Certainly, we can and should make good choices about how we express ourselves when we are angry, but keeping it under control does not mean it’s not hurting us and our marriage; neither does it mean the anger is the real emotion in play.
Are you using anger to make yourself feel better? The next time you feel angry with your bride, ask yourself what is behind the anger. How do those feelings make you feel? What would it take to deal with the underlying feelings? How might your marriage improve if you dealt with what is under the anger?