I have a lot of experience dealing with an angry husband. When we were in the midst of our major problems, my husband was angry most of the time. When he would come home from work angry I would feel it before he even said anything. My husband is a big muscular man with a big presence, so when he’s angry I feel like it just oozes from every pore in his body and into our entire household. The whole house just takes on a different, uncomfortable feel. I used to feel anxious whenever he was home because I wasn’t sure what would set him off. I hated that feeling. My husband still gets angry (not nearly as often) but I’ve learned how to deal with it and resolve our issues in a fairly short period of time.
A very helpful thing to know about anger is that it’s a blanket emotion. It covers all other emotions. When you feel angry you can’t feel anything else. If you are afraid and you get angry, you no longer feel afraid. If you are hurt by someone, and you get angry, you don’t feel hurt. People use anger, mostly unintentionally, so they don’t feel their true emotions. It is much less painful to feel angry than to deal with our true emotions. Unfortunately it’s not a better feeling for everyone else around you.
In my relationship, anger from my husband is usually shown when he’s feeling disrespected, not loved, or scared of something. When we were at our lowest, he constantly felt disrespected, unloved and scared of losing his family. The root of his anger was mostly hurt. I hurt him by not respecting him or showing him love. In my mind at the time, I could not possibly love or respect him when he was so angry all the time. It became a vicious cycle of him being angry and me being disrespectful, resentful and unloving. The angrier he became, the more I didn’t want to be loving and respectful. In fact, I didn’t even want to be near him. Unfortunately that cycle in my marriage lasted for way too many years. We didn’t know how to break the cycle and it nearly destroyed our relationship.
When I decided to really work on my marriage, God showed me that I should love and respect my husband even when he doesn’t deserve it. That was a hard one! How in the world was I going to be loving and respectful when he was so angry and unlovable? I certainly didn’t want to be nice, loving and understanding when he was being such a jerk. But where does it end? The world tells us to defend ourselves. Don’t let someone take advantage of you. Don’t be a doormat. An eye for an eye. Stick up for yourself. God says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” All of my arguments with God as to why I had to be nice when my husband was so angry were answered for me in this verse. God says if I want love and to be loved, I don’t dishonor others, I don’t keep a record of wrongs, I don’t self seek, I don’t easily anger. If I want to have a marriage filled with love, I have to be love. He clearly spells out what love is.
The hard part was keeping that fresh in my mind in the midst of so much anger. When my husband was incredibly angry, God kept me calm. I would pray during our arguments. (not out loud) I would ask God to help me see through the anger and hear what my husband was really trying to tell me. A lot of times I had to remind myself to listen to my husband’s words and not his tone or volume. Sometimes I just had to leave the situation until my husband calmed down. I don’t know about you, but I can tell when my husband is so angry he can’t hear me. We made an agreement that we would stop talking for a set period of time. (never leave an argument without a definite set time to revisit it) During our break, I would pray and just give the problem to God. I was amazed at how quickly our problems began to work themselves out when I trusted God with them. I learned to listen, to God and my husband. Sometimes God would change my heart and sometimes he would change my husband’s heart but he always changed someone’s heart. When I responded with love it was difficult for him to remain angry. The more I did this the easier it became and I started to see a true change in my husband’s attitude and anger level.
My husband still gets angry, but we get through it in a matter of minutes now and not weeks. The key is to respond in a loving way and try to figure out what the true emotion and problem is. The only way I can do that on a consistent basis is through prayer. After all these years I still find myself annoyed when my husband is angry. I have to remember to pray, give it to God, and respond lovingly. When I do what God has taught me to do it always gets resolved quickly. God wants your marriage to work. When you invite him into the ugliest parts and respond the way he asks you to he will work miracles.