How can you protect your marriage from the harmful effects of unmediated anger?
Extreme and uncontrolled anger can easily create a wide gap in a marriage because it directly impacts how people interact and relate to each other especially during times of conflict.
Anger in its purest state wants only one thing: to explode outward however way possible. It’s not your fault that you are capable of feeling angry.
However, if you let anger lead the way and you harm your spouse and those around you just because you’re angry then you are definitely responsible for the collateral damage.
How can you safely release anger, especially if you’re angry with your spouse?
Anger, like other emotions, can be transformed and vented safely. As one half of a married couple, consider yourself 100% responsible for the consequences of being angry at your spouse or any else in the family.
Do not fall for the misconception that just because you’re angry, you’re entitled to treat others poorly. You’re not a hurricane or storm; anger is not a natural disaster.
Always remember that you can always control your words and actions even in your angriest state of mind.
Unless you have some form of psychological disturbance or psychiatric mental health condition, there’s no valid reason not to be able to control one’s anger.
So all of the reasons that chronically angry people have been using thus far are nothing more than plain excuses for poor behavior.
How to Deal With Anger More Peacefully and More Productively
1. Strategize and Reward Instead of Punishing
Punishing someone for perceived negative behavior is the “easy” way to deal with anger.
Teenage son drove without your permission? Grounded for a month! Wife overspends the weekly budget and is oblivious to your pleas to save more? Get angry with her as often as possible!
Is punishing an effective way of getting results with your spouse or other family members?
Punishment is actually a poor way to reinforce positive behavior because it instantly creates a negative mental state and people are naturally averse to any negative mental state.
So instead of becoming a raging Hulk when your son dents your car, think of a way to reward him for showing better behavior. If he doesn’t follow through with your agreement, reduce privileges but don’t make this the focal point of your interaction.
Emphasize the need for discipline but at the same time, remind him that you’re there to provide a nice reward for great behavior. If your spouse is overspending your weekly or monthly budget, don’t resort to anger.
Instead, negotiate with your spouse so that he/she focuses on staying on track and in return, you will make an effort to make the weekends more enjoyable for the both of you.
There are countless ways to reinforce positive changes in behavior without resorting to punishments – just be creative!
2. Act on the Problem Yourself
There will be situations in your married life when your spouse seems to be oblivious to particular issues or problems. Sometimes, the obliviousness stems from old beliefs and deeply rooted values and, quite frankly, it can be very difficult to change these beliefs and values.
What should you do if your spouse doesn’t act on issues quickly enough?
Instead of being angry for long periods of time, it is often a better option to think of a solution on your own and act upon the problem so it doesn’t bother you anymore.
If something doesn’t bother your spouse, he/she will have minimal motivation to act. If it’s not a life or death situation, we can safely assume that you can act upon the problem without encouraging irresponsible behavior or insensitivity.
3. Seek Support and Appreciation in the Right Places
In an ideal world, spouses would be able to provide an adequate level of support in any endeavor, may that endeavor involve storm chasing or knitting.
However, reality is far from this idealistic picture. People have limitations and they have their own interests. It’s perfectly alright for your spouse to have a different set of interests; it doesn’t mean that your spouse doesn’t love you or care for you.
If you are unable to gain satisfaction from the type of support that your spouse can give you, then it’s possible that you’ve been seeking support from the wrong person.
It’s alright to move out of your comfort zone to find people who have the same passion and interests as you. When you find these people and they accept you, you will soon realize that you’ve been stressing yourself (and probably your spouse) over something that could have been easily fixed.