Posts tagged Anger
There two types of people in this world: those that walk on egg shells around their spouse, and those that do not. Where do these phrases come from anyway? Have you ever tried walking on egg shells? It is a great way to spread Salmonella. Who needs that? I get the idea, egg shells are easily broken so one has to tread lightly. I think if a person actually tried to walk on egg shells without breaking one it would be an exercise in futility. The tiniest bit of weight and they will shatter…..well….like eggshells. It is the same living with a person that is easily angered, the slightest amount of pressure and out comes a heaping helping of hatred.
So what is it like in your marriage? Is there one or both of you that is doing their best to avoid cracking egg shells? Maybe it is time we pull back and examine our marriage in this area, because a great number of relationships deal with too much anger being present or it is expressed in inappropriate ways. Let’s take an honest look at our lives. Asking your spouse if you have an anger problem really doesn’t work. They might not answer honestly, because they are walking on egg shells, remember? The truth is, however, egg shells have no business in a healthy relationship. Sure, we will all get mad at our spouse sometimes and vice versa. We are human. We make mistakes. We act insensitively at times. We leave our socks out over and over after we have been repeatedly reminded not too. Couples are going to get mad at each other sometime; it simply goes with the territory. But, if anger is like the third member of your family, maybe it is time to address the issue.
The apostle Paul reminds us what it means to love our spouse. Remember, love is patient and kind. It does not envy, nor is it boastful or conceited. It never acts improperly, it is not selfish. Love is not easily provoked. That is to say, love is not touchy or edgy. Love means that your spouse doesn’t have to worry every day whether you will come home happy or hating the world.
I know it is tempting to push back and say, “I am not an angry person. I don’t have an anger problem.” I hope that is true, but I have come to learn that more people deal with anger that one might think. Anger is so insidious. Often, everyone knows that a person has an anger problem but the person with the problem. Every month I teach a class on anger management. It is amusing, because at the beginning of the class everyone introduces themselves and tells why they are in the class. Just about every person adds the caveat, “I don’t have an anger problem.” By the end of the class, about 90% of the people there change that. For the first time they realize they do have a problem with anger, that is why they have been made to take the class! The other 10% walk out the door happily in denial. They go home and their spouse is back to the egg shells.
A lot of people will label anger as something bad or sinful. Yet, there is nothing wrong with anger. Anger is a God created emotion. It is what we do with anger that makes it sinful. Sometimes we have the right to be angry, but we have to handle that anger correctly. People that are edgy, touchy, snippy, or outright explosive are not dealing with their anger appropriately.
Anger is what is called a secondary emotion. It usually masks other emotions that a person does not feel safe expressing. For example, it is entirely easier to bombard someone with anger than it is to admit feeling disappointed, hurt, lonely, or scared. So often, couples will assault the other person verbally with a barrage of anger in order to avoid discussing their real issue, whether consciously or unconsciously. For the person that is easily provoked, it is important to pull back the layers and ask, “What is really at the root of my anger?” This will not solve the problem, but it allows the real problem to actually be worked on.
Love is not easily provoked. In fact, love is patient, remember? If we find that we are constantly angry or our spouse continually reminds us that we are short and touchy, then maybe it is time to look deep. Maybe it is time to dig down and find out where the anger is coming from. Maybe it is time to have a difficult conversation. A household without broken eggshells is a much happier place to live.
[Anger] devours almost all other good emotions. It deadens the soul. It numbs the heart to joy and gratitude and hope and tenderness and compassion and kindness. –John Piper
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
I can vaguely remember as a kid, people collecting green stamps. Does anyone remember those? When you shopped at certain supermarkets (or grocery stores, who actually says supermarkets anyway) or specific retailers, you would get these green stamps (aptly named because they were green and they were stamps). They would also give you these books to collect the stamps in, and you could bring them in to the green stamp center and trade them for a various assortment of goodies. The more stamps you collected, the more elaborate the item you could go home with. Some people would save their stamps for years and go home with televisions.
Nowadays, people still use the same gimmick, but the payoff is greatly reduced. Now, collecting stamps might get you a free ice cream at marble slab on your 8th visit or a free sweet tea from Mcalister’s Deli on your 10th trip. But hey, free is still free. So you might as well collect your stamps and cash them in.
While collecting stamps is great when you get free swag (I just love to say swaaag), it isn’t so great in marriage. What is that you say? You have been missing out? Your spouse doesn’t give you stamps to redeem for a free car wash, massage, or a night of dish duty? That isn’t the kind of stamp collecting I am referring to.
Stamp collecting occurs in marriage when our spouse messes up, and instead of letting them know, we put a “stamp” in our book. The next time they fall short, BAM, there goes another stamp in the book. We keep collecting stamp after stamp every time they don’t meet our expectations, let us down, or hurt our feelings.
Then one day, they make a mistake and we cash in every “stamp” we have been accumulating and unleash a fiery wrath down upon their head. Bewildered, they wonder why drinking out of the milk carton or putting the toilet paper on the roll backward is such a huge deal. They have no idea that we have been collecting stamps over the last weeks, months, or years.
Stamp collecting is a bad idea. If our spouses are doing something that bothers us then we must tell them. There is no way for them to fix it unless they are made aware of the situation. Our spouses will lose every time if we expect them to read our minds.
When we collect stamps it also leaves room for bitterness to take root in our hearts. We stay upset with our spouse for things that are not likely to be fixed. Let’s do ourselves and our spouses a favor and have conversations as they are needed.
Keep collecting stamps and enjoy the free sweet teas and ice creams, but in your marriage just deal with things as they arise.
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. –Ephesians 4:26
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.