1 What Makes Man Different From Other Forms Of Animals Don’t Let Anger Sabotage Your Marriage

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Don’t Let Anger Sabotage Your Marriage

Anger is an emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It is built into our system and has a purpose for our lives. Thomas Fuller called it ‘the lightning of our souls’, as long as it is expressed constructively and does not sabotage our marriage.

Charles Darwin was of the opinion that human behavior contains remnants of responses found in animals or primitive man, necessary for their survival. People being involved in higher beings, these residual responses are hidden in the subconscious and are activated only when provoked. However, not all scientists agree with Darwin. The perceptual-motivational theory is more balanced and acceptable. It suggests that when an individual evaluates a provocative stimulus as pleasant or unpleasant, he or she arouses according to his judgment.

Anger is a special feeling of resentment for a real or imaginary wrong. It causes adrenaline to flow, blood pressure to rise, face to flush and breathing to be difficult. It is an extremely powerful emotion with the potential to destroy marital happiness and interpersonal relationships.

Different ways to express anger:

• Open hostility towards the spouse. Men who beat their wives are said to be angry, resentful, suspicious and moody. Although they may behave well in public, the home is the arena where they display their darker side.

But anger is not just a male trait. Even women can get angry. While they may not be physically strong enough to attack their husbands, they can be abusive and abusive. Verbal abuse is very high in urban situations. Its effects last much longer than physical abuse. Many families have a ‘hot temper’ problem.

Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln was believed to have a hot temper. She not only abused, but physically abused her husband with firewood, or hit him with potatoes. On one occasion, she even chased him around the yard at Springwell, with a kitchen knife. Even after she became First Lady and moved into the White House, staffers were horrified by her sharp tongue.

Anger can also take a subtle form of smothered love, where the husband coddles his wife and does things for her while totally isolating her and stifling her competence and creativity.

• Crying or crying when angry is sometimes a woman’s way of expressing anger.

• Staying silent, stifling anger and letting it build up inside like a smoldering volcano waiting to erupt. This will manifest itself in altered physiological functioning and consequently ill health. A study by an independent research firm in Wisconsin looked at marital discord and its effect on heart disease and overall mortality. They found that those who continued to suppress their anger activated stress hormones that negatively affected health. Heart attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension may occur. Surface symptoms of gastric ulcer in those who constantly suppress anger. One surgeon said that 97% of his ulcer patients were angry people.

Prolonged emotional tension can also cause changes in behavior. Adolf Meyer describes the role of emotional factors in physical and mental health as psycho-parallelism.

• Harmful attitudes such as withdrawal, poor job application, inability to keep up with colleagues and also difficulty keeping a job.

The results of uncontrolled anger.

1. Marital conflict: Anger threatens the unity and stability of families. In some families, quarrels are a habit. Both spouses may have short fuses. Children begin to ape their parents.

2. Strained Relationships: Anger patterns can become destructive and ugly.

3. Child Abuse: Angry parents may viciously attack their children. The incidence of child abuse by parents is escalating and is not limited to the lower socio-economic groups. Children who grow up in such an atmosphere turn into angry adults. They react in three ways – passive resistance with silence and non-cooperation, revenge or open rebellion.

What causes anger?

• Frustration: Feeling misunderstood or taken for granted; Needs are not met. Sometimes anger can be disproportionate to the actual provocation.

• Fear of violence, illness, job loss or loss of a loved one.

• Hurt by the indifference of the one you love. It can be emotional, physical or relational.

• Fatigue: Overwhelmed with work, stress, lack of appreciation and injustice.

Anger management at home.

1. Understand anger: It is a natural component of all relationships. In their book Pressure Point, Oliver and Wright state that “disagreements in relationships are inevitable and a fundamental part of achieving intimacy.” So one must find healthy ways to express anger. Spouses must understand and appreciate their differences. Such an attitude will lead to intimacy.

2. Fight constructively: Couples must learn to vent anger without tearing down each other’s self-esteem. Those who learn to fight constructively will ensure the longevity of their marriage. However, frequent disagreements will surely weaken the bonds of love.

3. Honesty: Admit that you are angry. Analyze the reasons for your anger. What caused it?

4. Avoid arguments in the heat of the moment. Solve things when you are in a better mood. Ask yourself if you are at fault too. Denying your part in the dispute makes problem solving difficult. Healthy arguments testify to a strong marriage. But the blame game is dangerous. Disagree without hurting each other.

5. Check your language. Take a deep breath and psyche yourself up to relax. “A fool gives vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” (Proverbs 29:11) Sometimes, stepping away from the scene gives a better perspective of the problem. Yoga and meditation have helped people take control of their temper.

6. Listen to each other. It is very important to understand the other person’s point of view. “Couples who vent their anger and do nothing to address the issue are committing marital suicide,” says Broderick.

7. Sublimation of anger through physical exercise, creative activities, or some other form of recreation helps diffuse anger. Such activities take the sting out of this explosive emotion and help one discuss issues with a calmer attitude. Negotiation and problem solving are then possible.

8. Resolve never to go to sleep with anger in your heart. Deal with your spouse before turning in for the night. As the Bible says: “In your anger, do not sin; do not let the sun go down when you are angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26, 27.)

9. Forgiveness will lead to the restoration of broken relationships. Holding a grudge puts a heavy burden on the heart. The pain becomes magnified and unbearable. By forgiving, we stop hurting ourselves and the other person. Abraham Lincoln was able to live with his abusive wife because of a spirit of forgiveness. This made him patient and tolerant.

Forgiveness must also mean letting go of the offense and making a promise never to use it as a weapon in any subsequent quarrel. Forgiveness is hard. It can only be done by the grace of God. “Forgive as God forgives you.” The sense of peace that follows is indescribable.

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