Find Out Why Your Spouse Is So Angry

When tempers flare, it’s no good for anyone…

And when “low boiling” anger is constant in a person’s day-to-day life, not only can those flares happen at any moment – the tension you don’t see is doing just as much damage.

Before we get into what to do about anger in your marriage, let’s first explore how and why it happens.

Anger is, in many ways, a secondary emotion. It’s the byproduct of other negative feelings, such as:

• Rejection
• Inferiority
• Fear
• Embarrassment
• Guilt/Shame
• Anxiety

These painful emotions tend to be more internal, and for most people, pretty tough to deal with and/or express to their spouse.

Anger is, then, the outward projection of trying to wrestle with those tough feelings. This happens in a couple of ways:

• If one spouse says something that makes the other feel inferior, stupid, ashamed, etc., the knee-jerk response is one of anger – directed at the person they blame for causing the bad feelings.

Are you wondering why your spouse is angry all the time?
Are you wondering why your spouse is angry all the time?

• If underlying negativity is more or less ongoing, tiny things can trigger outbursts of anger. What might seem innocuous or unrelated could actual strike a nerve, bring out those painful emotions, and result in an unexpected angry reaction.

One other reason for anger – similar, but a little bit different – are feelings of frustration. This type of anger stems from feeling unheard, ignored, or ineffective.

This is the type of anger that comes from making the same request time and time again, from repeatedly encountering the same problems, and so on.

But to dig a little deeper, we have to understand why our spouses might feel the way they do… Why the things we say or do (or in many cases, don’t do) contribute to their negative feelings and eventually make them angry.

To do this, we have to think about unique, individual triggers.

First, think about what pushes your own buttons. Are there things you feel self conscious about? Ongoing problems (in any aspect of your life) that make your blood boil just thinking about them?

Well, everyone has those types of issues!

Your spouse has their own unique set of triggers too, and even if they can’t articulate them very well, these triggers are the source of all their anger. Reducing the amount of anger in your marriage starts with identifying and admitting to them.

Once you have a good idea of each other’s triggers, you can work to avoid them – or at least change the way you approach the “problem topics.”

One effective way is through the use of “I statements.”

Instead of saying “You didn’t call me! Why are you so forgetful?” – instead use a statement that focuses on the way it makes you feel.

“I feel neglected and worried when you don’t call. It makes me feel like I’m not a priority to you.”

Phrasing your frustrations in such a way does two important things:

• It removes direct blame
• It helps mitigate your own anger because you have to consider the complex emotions you’re feeling in those moments

Instead of making your spouse feel inferior or ashamed for not calling (which may provoke anger and defensiveness), you’re making your feelings the focus – not their shortcomings.

This also helps you focus on the problem… Not the person.

Triggers can be nearly anything, from certain phrases (like being told to “calm down”) to name calling, from eye rolling and dismissive attitudes to tones of voice…

And while it may take some time and effort to identify these things in yourself and your spouse, any progress you can make is well worth it!

Most of these triggers are rooted in earlier experiences, whether from childhood or past relationships, or even from earlier stages of the marriage. Ask your spouse to think about these things (while you do too), and when one of your buttons gets pressed… STOP!

Take a moment to let your spouse know how it makes you feel, and ask that they do the same. This can stop so many arguments before they spiral out of control, and drastically reduce the amount of anger that happens between the two of you.

If you can both be aware of why you’re feeling the way you do, you can focus on those “source feelings” instead of just reacting with outward anger.

It might not be perfect, and it might not work every single time, but when tempers start to bristle, when tensions start to run high, focus on the why of the issue:

• What specifically happened? (stick to the singular issue at hand)
• How does it make each of you feel? (evaluate yourself and be honest)
• Is anger masking another emotion? (get to the root of how you feel)

When you step outside yourself a little – and understand some of your spouse’s core emotions – you can make conflicts about the issue in front of you, not about every issue you’ve ever had…

If you can keep anger in check, you can avoid saying hurtful things, overreacting, blaming, name calling, insulting, and making things much worse than they already are.

Anger doesn’t solve problems. It only clouds the issue and makes things worse. You have the power to control it, though – you just have to understand why it happens.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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14 comments

Tiff 7 years ago

My husband and I have been married for 7 years, together for 13. We have an amazing two year old daughter. He has always had a temper. Anger is an issue in his family and he grew up with it. He has made great strides in improving how he deals with situations. But, over the past two years things have gotten much worse. Our fights get intense quickly. And, some of this is my fault. We know how to push each other's buttons. But, his anger prevents him from seeing straight and it makes things very difficult.

Tiff 7 years ago

My husband and I have been married for 7 years, together for 13. We have an amazing two year old daughter. He has always had a temper. Anger is an issue in his family and he grew up with it. He has made great strides in improving how he deals with situations. But, over the past two years things have gotten much worse. Our fights get intense quickly. And, some of this is my fault. We know how to push each other's buttons. But, his anger prevents him from seeing straight and it makes things very difficult.

regina 7 years ago

my husband doesn't like to discuss problems AT ALL. If we have a problem he will ignore it, ask me to ignore, ignore me, emotionally hurt me until I give up and leave him alone. He tells me I'm griping at him or badgering him and he disconnects. When I feel like all I'm trying to do is sit down and discuss the problem and come up with a resolution. He will call me names or suggest I am a crybaby (but say he's not calling me one), he will call me weak when I cry, mock me when I'm upset, make fun of me, etc. There has been times I've gone after him like I wanted to hit him when I've been angry and everytime he's taken me to the ground/pinned me down/etc. He's never hit or slapped me, but he will knock me down.

regina 7 years ago

my husband doesn't like to discuss problems AT ALL. If we have a problem he will ignore it, ask me to ignore, ignore me, emotionally hurt me until I give up and leave him alone. He tells me I'm griping at him or badgering him and he disconnects. When I feel like all I'm trying to do is sit down and discuss the problem and come up with a resolution. He will call me names or suggest I am a crybaby (but say he's not calling me one), he will call me weak when I cry, mock me when I'm upset, make fun of me, etc. There has been times I've gone after him like I wanted to hit him when I've been angry and everytime he's taken me to the ground/pinned me down/etc. He's never hit or slapped me, but he will knock me down.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Tiff, That's pretty common, and the best answer is to simply stop pressing each others buttons. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/marriage-counseling-video-stop-fighting-calling/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Tiff, That's pretty common, and the best answer is to simply stop pressing each others buttons. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/marriage-counseling-video-stop-fighting-calling/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Regina, This is not the behavior of a good marriage, and you should both be speaking to a professional. If he is unwilling to go, go yourself. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/get-respect-deserve/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Regina, This is not the behavior of a good marriage, and you should both be speaking to a professional. If he is unwilling to go, go yourself. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/get-respect-deserve/

Heather Park 7 years ago

Hi. I have Strong Marriage Now system. Yes I watch it and really do my part to make my marriage better. My husband, he is a whole different story. I has a huge problem with depression, and he claims he is in mid life crises. Yet he wont get help, he is angry all the time, very abusive. He struggles to communicate or share his feelings. Its really hard to do something when your spouse refuses personal responbility. I also found out he has a female friend who texts him birthday wishes, and when I tell him having personal conversations with her bothers me, he throws it back in my face that he has a right to female friends. Honestly I deserve better then this. I really work hard to respect his privacy but Im tired of his abuse.

Heather Park 7 years ago

Hi. I have Strong Marriage Now system. Yes I watch it and really do my part to make my marriage better. My husband, he is a whole different story. I has a huge problem with depression, and he claims he is in mid life crises. Yet he wont get help, he is angry all the time, very abusive. He struggles to communicate or share his feelings. Its really hard to do something when your spouse refuses personal responbility. I also found out he has a female friend who texts him birthday wishes, and when I tell him having personal conversations with her bothers me, he throws it back in my face that he has a right to female friends. Honestly I deserve better then this. I really work hard to respect his privacy but Im tired of his abuse.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Heather - If he is abusive, we won't recommend you stay in that relationship. If he is being overly emotional, and this is unusual, we would recommend talking to a professional, even if it's by yourself. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/midlife-crisis-threatening-marriage/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Heather - If he is abusive, we won't recommend you stay in that relationship. If he is being overly emotional, and this is unusual, we would recommend talking to a professional, even if it's by yourself. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/midlife-crisis-threatening-marriage/

Heather Park 7 years ago

Its more overly emtional. Depression affects us so differently. Even I have felt a bit depression. We both have work and family issues. Life really is hard and working through them with a depressed partner is more difficult. Thanks.

Heather Park 7 years ago

Its more overly emtional. Depression affects us so differently. Even I have felt a bit depression. We both have work and family issues. Life really is hard and working through them with a depressed partner is more difficult. Thanks.