While every couple’s marriage is unique in its own way, sometimes people face problems that others can learn from. With this in mind, we wanted to share a recent Q&A , in case you’re experiencing something similar (or know someone who is).
I’m confused. My husband has a short temper and gets angry at the littlest things. When I try to be understanding and approach him with love and patience, it doesn’t solve the problem. When I finally lose my temper and show my anger, he calms right down and apologizes. I don’t like getting angry. My nature is to keep the peace but losing my temper seems to be the only thing that makes him stop. Is there a better way to deal with this ongoing issue?
– Summer, West Virginia
- Losing your temper is a way to express how your husband’s actions make you feel.
The answer lies somewhere in the middle. While I do not recommend “losing” one’s temper, it is perfectly acceptable, and even recommended, to express honestly how your husband’s actions make you feel. Losing one’s temper normally involves yelling or attacking with statements such as “You’re being a jerk!“ “What’s wrong with you?” and “Screw you!”
Even if these statements shut him down, they will eventually cause distance between the two of you. Instead, I recommend acknowledging your anger with statements that are about your feelings. These statements might sound something like, “I am so angry with you right now,“ “I feel attacked,“ “I feel bullied,“ “My feelings are very hurt,“ etc.
While I do teach in the StrongMarriageNow System that it’s extremely important to understand that the real root of your spouse’s anger is fear or pain, I do not recommend that either of you believe that it’s your responsibility to manage his fear and pain.
Over the years, a pattern can develop where he believes it’s your job to make him feel better AND you believe it’s your job to make him feel better. This is similar to giving in to a child’s temper tantrum in a candy aisle by buying them candy. It will only increase the likelihood of the child’s temper tantrum next time you’re at the store.
The more you attempt to take care of his feelings, the more frequently he’ll expect you to take care of his feelings. Instead, both of you need to take ownership of controlling your own emotions.
On a final note, a marriage is supposed to be a partnership where we have each other’s backs. So, in a separate conversation (not when he’s mad), offer to help him determine why he is so irritable all the time. Possible explanations may be depression, sleep apnea, long-term stress, and/or insecurity. Then lovingly encourage him do something about it.
Want to follow our proven System to get more love and fix your marriage? Check out our StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com