My husband and I used to argue all the time—about sex, money, parenting, household chores, and even how we argued. He pointed out (frequently) that I complained a lot.
As I look back, I see a woman who seemed angry and controlling—a lot. I could be pretty upbeat outside my home. My colleagues looked at me as a model of someone who could keep her cool and be positive. At home, it was another story—and if my friends and co-workers could have seen me there, they wouldn’t even have recognized me.
It wasn’t so much that I was angry all the time as much as that I was on the verge of anger all the time. My tension level was high. It would take very little to set me off. My husband could have cooked me dinner and put it in front of me, and if he gave me a fork I didn’t like, I would have blown up. (Yeah, that actually happened once.) Sometimes I yelled, but mostly my anger involved me saying hurtful words to my husband and adding more bricks to the walls I’d erected around myself.
My hormones always made it worse, and I experienced a few bouts with depression—but what a rotten way for my family to have to live. I don’t know that my kids saw me as angry, but they definitely didn’t see a happy mama. What a rotten way for me to live, too. I physically experience anger in my breathing, in a hot feeling in my stomach, and in muscle tension. Even after I’m done being angry, my body experiences residual effects from that anger, sometimes for several days.
Even when I wasn’t willing to see that our marriage was in trouble, I knew I needed to deal with my anger for my own sake. I was afraid I would have a stroke or heart attack or that one day, I’d have a total mental breakdown. It was on my list of things to get around to some day when I wasn’t so stressed out.
I’ve often read that anger is a secondary emotion. I look back at the angry woman I was and know that this is true for me. I was angry—but it was anger that grew out of the emotions of hurt, being unloved and unlovable, and insecurity. Those were the root emotions, not the anger. They led to my anger and my efforts to control my husband and our marriage.
As I began to work on sexual intimacy, I discovered that not only could prayer and deep breaths help me with sex, they also helped me with some of those root emotions. I was getting angrier less and less. Plus, the reduced tension in our marriage meant fewer things that would trigger my anger.
I wasn’t working explicitly on my anger, but as I addressed the emotions that lay under my anger, I noticed that my anger had largely dissipated. I wasn’t on the verge of fury anymore.
My primary feeling—at home as well as outside the home—was contentment. I found myself experiencing more joy. I developed more empathy and compassion for others. Being kind and generous to my husband became something that felt natural rather than something I had to work so hard at doing.
Are you an angry woman? More important, does your husband think you are an angry woman?
Spend some time in prayer to get to the emotions that are behind that anger. Work on those areas, and see if that helps your anger ease up some.
It’s no fun being an angry woman–and it doesn’t have to be that way.
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