Q. My husband gets angry very easily. We have a good marriage except when this happens. During the early years I was afraid of his anger and so I avoided confrontations. Later I began yelling back because I was tired of giving in and tired of being misunderstood. But this just made things worse. Now I'm tired of fighting but don't know what else to do. What should I do when my husband loses his temper? What will defuse anger in marriage?
How to Defuse Anger in Marriage
There are several steps you can take to defuse anger in marriage:
1. Ignore the bluster, blame and criticism. Think of these as bait used to start a fight. Don’t take the bait. His anger, accusations or criticisms may conceal the actual reason for his anger. Ignoring the bluster, remaining calm and rational will help quiet things down and will help you find out what’s upsetting him. Ignoring your husband’s blame or criticism doesn’t mean you agree with what he is saying. Though your husband’s anger may come out in blame or attacks on you he may actually be very angry with himself. People who are hard on those closest to them are often even harder on themselves.
2. Calm down and talk. You may be able to reduce the level of your husband's anger by insisting that it is preventing you from understanding and helping with the problem. You might say, "I know you're angry. Let's sit down and talk about it." Be persistent yet calm and friendly. Repeat this several times if necessary. You might also suggest discussing it later when he isn't so angry. Set a time for this and follow through.
3. Focus on solving the immediate problem. If you remain calm yet persistent you are taking control and are the strong one in the situation. When you learn why your husband is angry, focus on solving the immediate problem. For example, if your husband is angry because he can't find a tool he needs, concentrate on finding it. If he’s angry about something at work let him vent about it and be sympathetic. If he’s angry about something you did or said listen to his view point on this without being defensive. Tell him you’re sorry if this hurt him. If this doesn’t satisfy him ask what else you can do about it now. Asking for forgiveness will help also.
4. Try distraction or humor. Some times distracting your partner by changing the subject will lessen his or her anger. The careful use of humor can also break the tension.
5. Leave the room to cool off. If none of these ideas work and you can’t control your own anger or you think your partner's anger is getting out of hand, it’s time to leave. You can leave the room or if your partner follows you, even leave the house. Make it clear that you’re willing to talk about the problem later on when he has calmed down and that you are leaving to enable both of you to cool off.
If these steps don’t help, counseling can help both of you learn how to defuse anger in your marriage. I recommend you see a counselor together.
“A fool is quick tempered but a wise person stays calm when insulted.” Proverbs 12:16 NLT