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Lake Robinson Baptist Church

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Anger in Marriage

Recently, in NC, a couple adopted a cockatoo named Peaches. Cockatoos have the ability to mimic people. They brought the bird home and soon learned that Peaches’ previous owners were a couple who is now separated. Peaches reenacts their arguments while screaming and shaking its head. I watched the video of peaches and while I could not make out what she was saying, ABC had to bleep out certain words. 

 

The link is here http://abcnews.go.com/US/peaches-cockatoo-repeats-previous-owners-marital-arguments/story?id=28890533

 

Several media outlets said that the bird captured the sounds of dying love.

 

Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

 

The text tells husbands two things; to love their wives and to not be bitter against them. These are two contrary and opposite things. A husband is to love his wife with the sacrificial love of Christ and not be bitter against them. Then it says not be not bitter against them.

 

The opposite of demonstrating love is to have bitterness or anger that cannot be appeased. This seems that the opposite of loving your wife is bitterness towards her.

 

The question we must ask is how do two people go from standing in a church with a gleam in their eyes proclaiming to love each other forever to being so angry and bitter that their love dies?

 

Step One: Anger

 

Anger is a natural reaction to a perceived threat. When someone does something that makes us feel threatened there is an instant emotion of displeasure. This displeasure may be useful like when we get angry at our own sin and repent. This displeasure may be hurtful when we act out of anger such as being rude to someone who we feel offended us. Anger within itself is not sin. What becomes sin is how we respond to anger.

 

Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

 

There is anger that is not sinful and anger that is sinful. Jesus’ heart was grieved with the hardness of Pharisee’s heart and he looked on them with anger in Mark 3:5. On the other hand, we are told in Colossians 3:21 to not provoke our children to anger.

 

We can be angry without sinning. In marriage, anger with your mate may be a warning sign that you need to communicate about something. We must consciously deal with anger when we recognize it. We may consciously choose to let go of the anger through mercy towards our mate. We may consciously choose to discuss what caused the anger and find resolution. Regardless of which we choose, anger cannot be ignored. Colossians 3:8 reveals that anger should be “put off” and Ephesians 4:31 that anger should be put away.

 

Step Two: Wrath

 

When anger is not dealt with it may turn to wrath. While we can be angry without sinning we cannot be wrathful without sinning. If anger is a small seed then wrath is the giant redwood that has grown out of it. It is amazing that a tiny seed can produce a tree that lives hundreds of years, over 300 feet high, and have a circumference of over 30 feet. It is also amazing how small disagreements can turn into major conflicts.

 

Wrath carries the desire for revenge with it. It is often associated with resentment and seething anger. Wrath is that boiling feeling right under the surface. When experiencing wrath there will often be outbursts of temper.

 

Wrath is so dangerous that the sun is not to set upon it.

 

Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Many people interpret this verse to mean that married couples should never go to bed mad at each other. They believe that married couples should never go to bed until they work out their problems. Not every issue can be worked out in a day. The scripture says to not let the sun go down upon your wrath. Before the sun goes down we need to repent of our wrath.

It is said that some people have anger issues. It may be more accurate to say that they have wrath issues. The bible gives several behaviors that are associated with that angry wrath that seethes or rests in the bosom.

1 - Foolish people or those governed by their own temper instead of by the Spirit of God.

2 - People with a quick temper.

Ec 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

 3 - People who have a reputation of losing their temper.

 

Pr 12:16  A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame

4 -  People who have unproportioned responses to the cause of the anger.

Pr 27:3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

Jacob’s prophesy regarding Simeon and Levi was to curse their anger. He calls their anger fierce and cruel.

Ge 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

5 - People who are known for having troubled relationships and conflicts because of anger; work, family, lawsuits, fights, etc.

Pr 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

Pr 30:33 Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.

6 - People who have repeated problems associated with anger.

Pr 19:19  A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again

7 - People who habitually sin because of anger and find themselves dealing with guilt and regret over things done in anger.

Jas 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

 

We may look at these signs of angry wrath and tell ourselves that this does not define who you are. Take the time and look at these qualities in the confines of your marriage.

  • Do you find yourself quick tempered towards your mate? Do you have angry reactions towards them in ways you do not have towards others who may do the same things?

  • Is there a pattern of anger in your relationship? Are there a lot of arguments? Are there passive aggressive actions such as whispering under your breath, slurs, or purposefully doing things just to let your mate know you are not happy?

  • Are there overreactions to small situations in your marriage? Is there a lot of anger over relatively small incidents? Do major fights spring from minor disagreements?

  • Is there a constant underlying anger towards your mate? Do small things like the sound of their voice, the way they chew, or other minor things make your blood boil? Do you not look forward to seeing them at the end of the day or avoid conversations with them?

  • Are there often sudden explosions of temper towards your mate? Things like yelling, hitting walls, spinning tires, etc.?

Step Three: Bitterness

It seems that unresolved anger turns to wrath and unrepentant wrath can turn to bitterness.

 

This word bitter in the context means to have bitterness against a person means according to 1818 Webster’s Dictionary:

  • Extreme enmity, grudge, hatred, or excessive degree of implacableness of passions and emotions; as the bitterness of anger.

  • Implacableness means not able to appease or irreconcilable anger

The seed of anger that grew into a great Redwood of wrath is now an entire forest of bitterness. That anger has grown to the point it seeks revenge for the perceived offense. Revenge is not enough to appease this anger. At this point there is nothing the other person can do that will change the way you feel about them. You cannot let go of the past. You do not have capacity to forgive to the point you can have a normal relationship.

Ro 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

 

Steven Stosny who runs marriage boot camps and is the founder of CompassionPower says the following.

By the time couples come to our boot camps for chronic resentment, anger, or emotional abuse, they have developed entrenched habits of protecting their respective vulnerabilities by devaluing each other

 

……. As compassion decreases, resentment automatically rises, making common problems insoluble. If unfettered by the better angels of our nature, resentment inevitably turns into contempt.

 

Notice that Dr. Stosny theorizes that there is a correlation between decreased compassion and increased resentment.

Compassion is associated with mercy and mercy is associated with forgiveness.

1Ti 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

 

Where there is no mercy and compassion there is no forgiveness. Where there is no forgiveness bitterness will rule in the heart.

I have witnessed this bitterness first hand during marriage counselling. I attempted to help a couple which had deep problems. I watched as the wife sobbed and tears ran down her face. The husband’s response to her broken heart was anger and hostility. The same woman to whom he married, to whom he declared his love, and to whom he would have given his life he now lashes out to in anger while her heart breaks. That day I witnessed dying love.

Is There Hope?

Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

 

The first step is to stop the seed of anger before it grows. It is to respond to anger before it turns to wrath.

Next, wrath must be dealt with through repentance.

Finally, anger, wrath, and bitterness must be put off. Trying to let go of these things are not enough. You cannot put off things without putting something on.

Col 3:8-10 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Col 3:12-14 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

We must replace the negative with the positive. Anger and wrath should be replaced by kindness, humility, meekness (self-control), longsuffering, forbearing, and forgiveness.

Eph 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

We must replace bitterness, wrath, clamour (loud outbursts), and evil speaking (to and about each other) with kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness.

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