“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV)
At some point, everyone gets angry at their spouse. It could be over something minor like leaving the cap off of the toothpaste, or something on a larger scale like disrespecting you in front of other people. The anger itself is not a sin…it’s what you then do with it and how you respond to it that can potentially be classified as sin.
How are you dealing with your anger in your marriage?
There are different ways that people typically deal with anger. Many people internalize their feelings of anger. In trying to avoid dealing with it, unforgiveness and bitterness take root, gradually poisoning their marriage. Turning it inward doesn’t deal with the anger; instead it’s allowed to build up over time.
Others externalize it. They turn their anger outward, towards their spouse, kids, or anyone else who gets in their line of fire. They let their feelings lead them to hurt others, either verbally or physically. Many of these people profess that they just “couldn’t control themselves.” This is a person that’s controlled by their emotions, instead of being in control of their emotions. These people will continue to physically or verbally abuse their spouses or kids as long as they can get away with it.
Now, take that same “out of control” person and put them up next to a 300 pound linebacker. Do you think they would control themselves enough to keep from slapping that linebacker around? Oh yeah, because they know they couldn’t get away with that…not without some pretty hefty consequences.
We should never let our feelings of anger cause us to get “out of control.”
So what are some ways to deal with anger in marriage?
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)
1) Admit to yourself and God that you are angry. There’s no reason for denying it. Plus, as you get it out in the open, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it.
2) Don’t yield to your feelings. If you think you may say or do something that you’ll regret, walk away from the situation until you have control over your emotions. Take a deep breath to bring your physical reactions to anger under control. Realize that YOU are totally responsible for your own actions.
3) Whether the wrong committed against you was real or perceived, intentional or accidental, bring the offense to God and forgive your spouse. Forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you. As you get in the habit of actually forgiving your spouse, your anger will lead you into sin less often.
4) Don’t give the devil a foothold by dwelling on the offense. If you’ve forgiven your husband or wife, quit replaying the situation over in your mind. Otherwise, not only will you cause those angry feelings to come back, but you will give the devil the opportunity to add fuel to the fire by telling you how evil your spouse is. This will only serve to send you back to square one, negating any progress you’ve made.
If you’ve let your anger lead you into sin in the past, ask God to forgive you and let it go. You can’t control what you’ve done in the past, but you can control what you do now and in the future. Start preparing now for the next time you get angry, because the time will come again when you’ll need to deal with it. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you control yourself and diffuse the anger without sinning. And remember Luke 1:37 “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
David Peairs is the author of the new eBook “7 Keys to Unlocking Success in Your Marriage”. Through his Christian Marriage Blog he’s dedicated to helping married and engaged couples discover how to achieve the lifetime success and victory that God has planned for their marriages. You can contact him, learn more, and subscribe to David’s free marriage email course by visiting: MarriageVictory.com.