Men get angry. Some express their anger in different ways.
- Some by getting loud and frustrated.
- Some mumble.
- Some disappear.
- Some get sarcastic.
- Some get defensive.
Some of us men have learned some skills to handle it better than others. But make no mistake, the anger is there.
But why is anger often the go-to emotion for men, even towards the women they love?
The Science of Anger
Research shows that when men are in conflictual situations, they tend to get more easily overwhelmed than women. When men are overwhelmed, their bodies and minds no longer seem to be on the side of their marriage.
When angry, men’s heart rates are over 100 beats per minute, their brains begin to release adrenaline and cortisol, their hearing and our peripheral vision become impaired.
One study even reported that men lose about 30 I.Q. points. That’s why we say stupid things. That’s why sometimes we don’t remember what stupid, hurtful things we said.
A Quick Side Note
Hear me when I say that I’m not making excuses for men’s anger. I just think having all the information leads to a better solution.
And I’m not talking about physical or verbal abuse. There is never an excuse or reason explanation for that. If someone is being abused they should get out and seek professional help for next steps.
What I’m speaking to is the less extreme, yet important implications of a man’s anger and how both husbands and wives can better deal with it.
How Husbands Can Deal With Their Anger
1. Explore what’s beneath the anger
Anger is one step away from what is really going on. The real issue is fear, grief, insecurity, disappointment, loneliness, or some other emotion.
The next you get angry, ask yourself, “What is this really about?”
2. Create a pause button strategy
When you feel yourself getting angry, as quickly as you can hit the pause button.
James 1:19 says: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” This verse applied is nothing short of revolutionary. Listening more, speaking less, and controlling our anger is always a good thing.
The application of this verse must be practical. What are you going to do when you feel the first signs of getting angry? Slowing down your response and words is a game changer. I promise.
How Wives Can Deal With Their Husband’s Anger
1. Don’t match his unhealthy reaction with an unhealthy reaction
While it is so difficult not to point out to him how crazy and illogical he is acting, try your best not to. Let him be the only crazy person in the room.
Chances are he will able to see the error of his ways when he is not focused on yours.
2. Talk to him like you love him
Try to validate at least part of what he is saying. Men often report feeling devalued and misunderstood.
Be honest with how his anger makes you feel—anxious, fearful, insecure, frustrated, devalued. When he is calm he can better hear your heart.
I Get Angry, Too
When I first got married, I let my anger get the best of me. I left my wife very confused as to who I was. How could I be so loving one minute, and so angry the next. I can get angry REALLY quickly.
One of the best things I have ever done for our marriage and parenting is learning how to give myself space between my anger and my response.
I’ve learned to bite my tongue and stifle my grunts. It’s in that space that my body and mind calms down and can invite God into the process.
Trust me when as I end with the cliché: if I can do it anybody can.
Ted Lowe is an author, speaker, and the director of MarriedPeople—the marriage division at Orange. Ted is the author of two books—one for marriage ministry leaders (Married People: How Your Church Can Build Marriages That Last) and one for married couples (Your Best US: Marriage Is Easier Than You Think). He served for almost 10 years as the director of MarriedLife at North Point Community Church. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with his four favorite people: his wife, Nancie, and their three children.
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