Getting Real About Anger
Getting Real About Anger
Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
Every marriage has problems, even good marriages. The difference between a good and a bad marriage is simply the ability to work through problems. The good news is that every person can learn the skills of successful conflict resolution.
Regardless of the mistakes you may have made in the past, you can turn your marriage and life around by learning these skills. And these skills work in more than just marriage; they help you in every relationship.
One of the first principles of conflict resolution is how to deal with anger. In Ephesians 4:26, the first thing that the Apostle Paul tells us about dealing with anger is that we must acknowledge it. He says, “Be angry...” Denying anger doesn’t make it go away; instead, it makes it build up until it explodes in a destructive and unmanageable manner.
Anger isn’t necessarily good or bad; it’s just real. As human beings, we get angry. Sometimes it is because we’ve been genuinely violated. In other cases, it’s because we’re immature or have unrealistic expectations or are selfish. When I’m angry and need to get it out, I’m not claiming that I’m right; I’m just angry.
When Karen and I got married, we didn’t know how to deal with anger. We both stuffed a lot of it inside and about every three months we would have an explosive fight. Sometimes our fights were about the dumbest little things, but those dumb little things were just the spark that caused the stored up anger inside of us to explode.
What we learned over time is that we couldn’t go to bed angry. We not only learned to accept our own anger, but we also learned that we had to give each other the right to be angry and to express anger. Learning to be honest about your anger and allowing your spouse to do the same is the first step in successful conflict resolution. Once you are able to accept your anger, you must also commit to doing the right thing with it. You can never use your anger to justify unrighteous behavior. How you resolve conflict is crucial. It must be resolved in a manner that honors God and treats your spouse with dignity and care.
Talk It Out | Are you able to be honest about your anger, and do you allow your spouse to be honest about anger as well? Talk about the different ways each of you tends to respond to anger, and how it makes the other one feel. What can you do to improve your methods of dealing with anger?
Walk It Out | Commit to certain rules when dealing with anger and resolving conflict. Some suggestions are:
1. Take time apart to pray about a disagreement before talking about it together.
2. Decide ahead of time to not raise the volume of your voice.
3. Speak words of affirmation to your spouse before discussing the issue at hand.
4. Agree to never threaten divorce.
Created about 1 year ago