How To Deal With Your Husband’s Temper

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).

Question:

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

Couple relationship - concept photo
Losing your temper is a way to express how your husband’s actions make you feel.

Answer:

Dear Summer,

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!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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3 comments

Samsara 9 years ago

My husband's explanation in July 2012 as to why he was increasingly nasty and vicious to me in his comments and why he looked like he hated me sometimes, was in his own words "Because you have ruined my life and you have made me so unhappy in my life and marriage". When I tried to talk to him calmly and with concern as to why he thought this he got more and more agitated, started throwing things around in the kitchen and coming up right into my face and screaming at me saying "because for the last year I have been severely depressed and suicidal but you haven't even noticed". "Because I was so scared and depressed and suicidal that in January 2012 I phoned up Lifeline to get help because I felt like I wanted to go ahead and kill myself, but you never even noticed how I was feeling". I said to him that I had tried to talk to him many many times as I thought there was something bother him, but each time he would just dismiss my concerns with "oh I am just tired because I haven't been sleeping well and doing my shift work", or "it's just work - there is stuff going on with management that is annoying all of us" or "yes everything is fine between us - why wouldn't it be?". Can you see why him finally revealing to me his severe depression and suicidal thoughts for a year sent me reeling. I went into "help" mode to try and help him, to try and understand him (I've had depression myself and he knew he could come talk to me about it but he chose not to). The more I tried to offer help and make suggestions, or try and get him to talk more about things, the more angry and resentful he got towards me. Nothing I could say or do was the right thing. I then just a week later discovered why. There was another woman involved with my husband, our married next door neighbour. She was the one giving him advice, listerning to his "sob" stories, and he was telling lies upon lies about me to her, about our relationship, how I was such an awful person, that I was having affairs on him, that I didn't want children and he desperately wanted a family. This woman believed what he was telling her. Believed that behind closed doors, I was some kind of monster who picked on her husband and made his life miserable. None of it true which she later found out. Also I was the one who desperately wanted children, but my husband can't father children and never will be able to. He lied to her about that on a subject that has caused me much pain and soul-searching throughout our married life as he would not consider adopting or fostering a child. Now he was saying he wants his own family and he wants his own children, not that he wants a woman who already has children. No way - he does not want the burden of another man's children to raise and/or look after. He wants his own children. We have separated and because he eventually turned violent and abusive to me over 5 weeks before he finally left the family home, I want nothing more to do with him. I can't trust a person who would treat me like this when all I offered in the beginning was understanding, love, a willingness to try and save our marriage, when all he could offer in return was lies upon lies, an admittance he was an alcoholic now and a porn addict. That he had made up stores and lies against me to friends, neighbours, work colleagues and this other woman, so that she would sleep with him. I was sexually abused as a child and to be subject to abuse, (verbal, physcological and finally physical abuse) is something I will not tolerate and I know that because it happened once, it is more than likely it would happen again if I were to remain with him, or get back together with him. So I choose to start a new life and let him find the EXCITING life that he wants now, and work out how he can start a family and have his OWN CHILDREN he so desperately wants. I am in a much better place now and putting my life back together for myself and realising in the process just how controlling a person he was throughout our marriage. He did this in very subtle ways but through counselling I can now see just what a troubled person he really is and that he has severe emotional and psychological issues that he must deal with on his own if he is ever to have a chance at another relationship.

DrL 9 years ago

What do I do if this pattern is already way to ingrained? My H always tried to make he take care of his feelings. I see that now. But, obviously I could not. He is "so unhappy" now with everything he is leaving me. Io just can't fix him or make him happy. Is it too late? He won't even give us the chance to fix the marriage. He jsut "ants to move on with his life to be happy". Is there really no chance if he won't let there be a chance?

Gina Kincaid 9 years ago

I NEED HELP! My husband and I have don't have the best marrage, we argue a lot, we say things to eachother that we should never say, and we don't have a good sex life. Just recently my husband left me without worning! I have been trying to talk to him and offered to go to marrage counseling, and I told him about your DVDs he wants nothing to do with me and I don't know why.. I am trying to change the way I talk to him and trying to give him space to think about things. He lives with a friend now and I really wish he was home so I can talk to him and show him that I'm trying to change my ways with him to make our marrage bettre, I can think of a lot of things that I could do to make him happier but how do I do anything when he is no longer living with me? Divorce is the LAST thing I would have ever wanted!!