Anger is an emotion that everyone has and it has developed a sort of negative connotation. Anger in itself is not a bad thing. Many good things have come out of people being angry. Anger has led to positive changes in society when people’s rights are being violated. We should feel some anger when we think of people who are abused or when the think of crimes against people we care about.
The feelings of anger are not bad but sometimes people behave badly when they are angry. Anger can cause lots of marital problems if people are acting out. It’s not just aggressive or violent behaviors that can cause problems but also more passive-aggressive approaches. People who withdraw from their partner out of spite or who secretly want to punish or manipulate their partner can cause some serious damage as well.
Consider how anger is handled in your marriage. What are the sort of silent rules that have probably never been written down yet have been developed about what is acceptable and what is not? Perhaps yelling is a common place in your home. Or maybe it isn’t unusual for someone to receive the “silent treatment” for two days. Consider how these things impact your marriage.
Develop a plan for how you can problem-solve when you and your partner disagree. When one or both of you are angry, it is not a good time try and solve any problems. Instead, develop a plan for calming down before trying to re-visit the issue. This might mean someone leaves the house to go for a walk. Or it might mean deciding not to discuss the issue again until the following day. In order to make any progress, you’ll need to be calm and able to think rationally.
A good problem-solving strategy can include repeating back what the other person has said. This can serve two purposes. First it shows you have heard them and that you understand them correctly. It also can ensure that you are listening. Very often, people are not listening but are instead planning what they want to say next. If you cannot remain calm enough to listen until the other person is done talking, it might signal that you are too angry to problem-solve.
If one of you has a lot of difficulty with anger, it might be a good idea to attend therapy. There are strategies that can help people learn how to manage their anger in more productive ways. People with anger issues can also benefit from learning new skills to help them get their needs met in more appropriate ways.