A third destructive word
One more word that causes a lot of harm in marriages: anger.
My bride has often told me that “anger is a cover emotion” (which used to make me angry, go figure). This means we often present anger to avoid dealing with or showing some other emotion(s). Anger seems like a safe choice since it pushes others away. It also feels good to rage and bellow – anger makes us feel like we are accomplishing something. What’s more, anger is an “acceptable emotion” for a man to have. We don’t want to show some of the “softer” emotions, but anger makes us “look like a man” in our own eyes.
I’m not saying anger is never acceptable, but it’s not nearly as acceptable or as often reasonable as most of us would like to think. How many times did Jesus get angry (and He certainly had plenty to be angry about!). The Bible tells us to “be angry but sin not” – I fear we take the first part of that as justification for all anger, while ignoring the sin that comes from how we mishandle our anger.
If you are angry very often (and if you think you are not, ask your bride) let me suggest you try something. When you feel angry, ask yourself why you are angry. Not just what someone did or what happened to make you angry, but why that thing upsets you. Should that upset you? Would it upset most people? Would it upset you if your day had been better, or if you felt better about yourself? Are you angry because the event brings back a memory that you don’t like? Is your anger a reaction to that memory, or maybe an attempt to block that memory? Next, try to figure out what, other than anger, you are feeling. Do you feel sad? Do you feel vulnerable? Maybe you feel weak or helpless. Is your anger an attempt to drown out those deeper emotions?
Bottom line: Anger does not make you a man, but it can turn you into a repressed bully. Trust me, she won’t like you when you’re angry – so do something to end the anger.