Marriage is a place of constant unlearning, learning, and relearning, and I’ve shared some of my lessons so far.
But each day, I’m reminded that I’ve not shared the most profound lesson so far.
I’ve not talked about the number one thing that I’ve stopped doing to my husband to make our marriage more peaceful.
And it’s SPEAKING TO MY HUSBAND IN ANGER.
Let me tell you why I think this is the most important thing that I’ve stopped doing to my husband to make us better.
Just a few weeks after our wedding, my husband and I got into a heated argument, and boy, I said some things that I regret.
The annoying part was, I didn’t mean those things.
They weren’t even true.
I just wanted to hurt him with my words.
And being a writer, the words flowed out of me seamlessly.
Later, the issue became what I said, not even what caused the argument in the first place.
That was how I learned the hardest marital lesson of my life.
Do you know how many marriages/relationships had the potential to be great but ruined because of what was said?
Even when the speaker of those words didn’t mean them?
Conflicts are normal occurrences in marriage; even the happiest of couples fight.
But how we manage conflicts will determine the fate of our marriage.
And one of the cruelest things you can do to your spouse is talk to them when you’re upset.
You know why?
1. Words Can’t Be Unsaid
There are many things that can be undone in life, and spoken words aren’t one of them.
Words are like eggs; once spoken, cannot be retrieved.
As much as we might wish for it, there’s no magical ‘undo’ button for hurtful words.
Once they’re out, they hang in the air, often etching themselves into our partner’s memory.
Even apologies might not erase the sting.
Because we are likely to spew hurtful words when we are angry, it’s better not to speak in such a heightened emotion because words cannot be unsaid.
And sorry might never fix it.
2. It breeds resentment
When we speak in anger, it’s like flinging mud on a clean wall.
Over time, if the wall isn’t cleaned, the stains settle in.
Similarly, with each hurtful comment or bitter argument, small seeds of resentment are sown in our partner’s heart.
Initially, these might seem inconsequential. “Oh, he’ll get over it,” or “She knows I didn’t mean it.”
But here’s the problem: One angry word might be easy to brush off, but multiple instances?
They accumulate, layer upon layer, until one day, there’s a thick wall of bitterness that stands tall between you and your spouse.
3. Speaking in anger escalates situations
When we get angry during a disagreement, it’s like putting on a pair of glasses that make everything seem bigger than it really is.
Suddenly, a small issue feels like a massive problem.
What might start as a simple chat about who forgot to take out the trash can turn into a big argument about who cares more in the relationship.
In the heat of the moment, we often lose track of the real issue.
Instead of focusing on finding a solution, we start bringing up old mistakes or unrelated topics.
This only makes things more complicated and harder to solve.
Plus, when we’re angry, we might shout or use strong gestures, which can make your spouse feel attacked or defensive.
4. Speaking in anger reduces the quality of communication
When we’re angry, our conversations often shift from trying to understand each other to just pointing fingers.
Instead of working together to solve a problem, we end up playing the blame game.
This means the actual issue gets lost, hidden beneath feelings of hurt and confusion.
It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack; the real concern becomes hard to see because of all the negative emotions in the way.
So, when you talk in anger, you’re less likely to solve anything and more likely to just hurt your partner’s feelings.
5. Talking in anger could become a habit
Imagine always reaching for salt when cooking, regardless of the dish.
Over time, every meal would taste overwhelmingly salty.
This is what happens when we consistently react with anger in our marriage.
It becomes our default response, and this sets a concerning pattern.
When anger is the “usual” way to deal with issues, it means that love, patience, and understanding don’t get a chance to shine.
You allow weeds to overrun the garden of your marriage, choking out the beautiful flowers.
If you care about your marriage, then it’s not what you want to happen.
6. It negatively impacts others, especially the children
Before we started having children, I told my husband that we could deal with each other anyhow we wanted, but once we start having children around the house, then we can’t do just anyhow or talk to each other anyhow.
Because I don’t want to give my children a childhood they’ll need therapy to recover from.
We tend to underestimate how much our interactions as a couple affect our children.
When anger flares up regularly in a marriage, it’s not just the couple that’s affected.
Children, and even other family members in the vicinity become unintended witnesses to these tense moments.
They soak up the atmosphere like sponges, often internalizing the tension and stress.
Kids, especially, can start to think this is how relationships work, which may shape their future interactions.
Also, constantly being around such outbursts can impact their emotional well-being, creating feelings of insecurity or anxiety.
I don’t want this for my children, so I’m glad I worked on myself.
Now, am I saying don’t speak up when your partner is wrong/hurts you?
By all means, speak out, but not in anger.
Because if you speak in anger, words could fly like sharp knives, and before you know it, you’ve said things you regret.
Instead, you could:
1. Pause and breathe
When disagreements arise, and emotions threaten to boil over, sometimes the best immediate response is no response at all, just a brief pause.
When you breathe deeply before reacting, you gift yourself crucial few seconds.
These moments allow your brain to shift from its instinctive, often impulsive, reactions to more rational thought processes.
It’s in this brief window that we can evaluate if our immediate response would have been out of anger or genuine concern.
And this pause can also help lower our physiological responses to stress.
A deep breath can slow a racing heart, steady a shaky voice, and clear a clouded mind.
Pressing the ‘reset’ button helps us approach situations with a clearer head and calmer demeanor.
2. Try to listen to your partner
Focus on truly hearing what your partner is saying without immediately formulating a response.
Understand their perspective first!
You might be wrong, and your partner is right.
3. Use “I” statements
Instead of saying, “You always forget,” try, “I feel hurt when things are forgotten.”
This expresses your feelings without placing blame.
Placing blame never goes well.
4. Seek clarification
Before reacting, ask questions to ensure you’ve understood the issue correctly.
Misunderstandings can often be the root of many disagreements.
5. Take a Break
If things are heating up, it’s okay to suggest taking a short break from the conversation.
Regroup, calm down, and come back when both of you are in a better headspace.
6. Write it Down
Sometimes, writing out your feelings can offer clarity and help you approach the situation more rationally.
It’s cathartic and helpful to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
If you’re in the wrong, apologize sincerely.
It takes a strong person to admit they are wrong, but it’s how relationships flourish.
8. Move Forward
After you’ve discussed the issue, make sure to move past it.
Don’t dwell on the disagreement too much.
Remember, disagreements and conflicts aren’t necessarily bad.
In fact, they can lead to growth and learning when handled properly.
The key is to not let it linger in your relationship unnecessarily.
I hope you found this article helpful.