For dealing with an angry husband, I have several resources I would like to share that I hope might be a blessing. Of course, each situation is a bit different.
It is tempting to respond to our husband’s anger with anger of our own. But it is much more productive and healthy for us to respond in the power of the Spirit. It can also help us if we remember that anger is often a secondary emotion that springs from hurt or pain of some type.
By far the most helpful thing is to have God’s wisdom and discernment about what is really going on and how the Lord is prompting us to respond in that situation.
Sometimes, a husband may be open to discussing the things I am about to ask. Other times, you’ll know the answer when you see the questions without having to ask him about it. If a husband is particularly angry, he may not want to have a big discussion about any of the things I am going to share.
Sometimes, it is important to try to talk through things. Other times, a man may need some healthy space to work through his own anger.
When he is super volatile and feeling out of control, he may need to walk away to calm down. He may not be able to have a deep discussion right then. Let him go get himself under control. Don’t follow him and demand that he speak if he feels like he is about to blow up. That will probably only make things worse.
These questions are really mostly for you to prayerfully consider:
Is he actually angry?
- Is he just from a family culture or a geographical culture where people tend to speak loudly and forcefully, but they aren’t actually angry? Sometimes people from the South, for example, think people from New York City are angry because they talk faster and more loudly, but the New Yorkers may be speaking normally, from their perspective.
- Are you especially sensitive/insecure and maybe looking for anger behind everything he does, even when maybe he is not angry at you? Do you struggle with people-pleasing or idolizing your husband? Do you feel nervous at the thought that there could be any tension or conflict ever?
- Is it possible you could be misunderstanding him/his personality and that he doesn’t intend to communicate anger? Maybe he is simply trying to communicate something he would like to be different, but maybe he is not angry about it?
- Could he be reacting defensively because he feels attacked?
If he really is angry, with what or with whom is he angry?
- With God?
- With circumstances?
- With you?
- With other family members?
- With coworkers/customers/neighbors/church members/others?
- With himself?
What kind of anger is it?
- Righteous anger/jealousy? – Is someone sinning against him, someone he loves, or his family?
- Unrighteous anger/jealousy? – Is he holding onto resentment, bitterness, impatience, hatred, or another sin? Is he in rebellion against God or living in unrepentant sin?
What is the pain behind his anger?
- Does he know Jesus as his Savior and Lord? If he doesn’t, this is his greatest need.
- Does he feel that he is trying to lead in godly ways, but those entrusted to his care won’t cooperate (even though he is not asking them to sin or abusing them)?
- Is he attempting to rightly address sin against him or someone he loves?
- Does he feel like a failure, or is he afraid of being a failure?
- Does he feel shame for sin in his life or does he feel shame just for being a man?
- Does he feel rejected by someone important to him?
- Does he have deep wounds from his childhood that are not healed?
- How did his dad express pain and deal with conflict? Is it possible that this approach feels “normal” to him?
- Does he feel really pressured by someone about something?
- Does he feel someone has let him down?
- Does he feel disrespected, humiliated, or mistreated by someone?
- Is he stuck in an addiction to drugs/porn/alcohol/gambling?
- Is there unrepentant sin in his life?
- Is anyone egging him on and baiting him, trying to get him to get angry and lash out?
- Could he be under spiritual attack of some kind?
- Is he spiritually, physically, or emotionally depleted?
- Is he upset about a real or perceived injustice against himself, a loved one, or someone else?
- Is he afraid to trust God or others because of past scars?
- Is he taking a medication that can cause irritability or does he suffer from a health issue that may contribute to this (low blood sugar, ADD, Asperger’s, autism, bi-polar, schizophrenia, PTSD, low thyroid, abnormal testosterone levels, an infection, poor nutrition, or something else)?
- Does he feel overwhelmed by all he has to do and he just can’t figure out how to handle everything on his plate?
- Does he feel like he can’t win? Like there is no way for him to be the hero in the situation?
- Is he worried about someone he loves or something that is important to him?
- Does he feel powerless to fix a problem or to help someone he wants to be able to help?
- Does he feel emasculated in some way as a man?
- Is he fearful of something bad happening?
Is the anger explosive, violent, or out of control? If so, please seek outside help!
Most of all, we need the Holy Spirit’s leading and wisdom. He can prompt us to speak up or not to speak and what to say, many times, if we are tuned in to His leading.
We may not know what exactly he is angry about, at the time, at least. He may not even be able to explain it, sometimes. But God knows and He can give us His wisdom to respond rightly and without sin on our end.
Don’t forget to pray Scripture over your husband and to invite God’s healing, His Spirit, His comfort, and peace into your husband’s heart and your home. Don’t forget the power of approaching God with praises and thanksgiving. Remember, if you are in Christ, you are seated in the heavenlies with Jesus and you have His authority, Spirit, power, and love.
Strength and Dignity eCourse
I love Nina Roesner’s eCourse, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.” It helps women find their bearings spiritually and heal in Christ individually and then gives tools for how to respectfully address a husband’s anger, defensiveness, and other difficult issues. And once you finish the 11-week eCourse, you get access to a private email forum where other women share and you can support each other, led by trained moderators.
Also, Nina has a helpful article called, “Got an Angry Man?”
Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas is a book that may be a blessing for wives with angry, difficult husbands, as well.
FOR THOSE WITH SERIOUS ISSUES
If you have really serious issues going on in your marriage, please seek godly, wise, experienced counsel or go to appropriate medical, spiritual, or police authorities for help. Please try to keep yourself and your children safe. And if you are abusing your husband or children and they are not safe, please reach out for help for yourself ASAP!
- Focus on the Family has a free one-time counseling service and a counseling referral service.
- www.biblicalcounseling.com has counselors available.
What Does Scripture Say?
- For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20
- Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, Eph. 4:26
- A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
- Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:19
- Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. Eccl. 7:9
If you know of some helpful resources, preferably biblically based ones, we’d love for you to share them with us!
How Does One Handle Conflict in a Marriage? by www.gotquestions.org
To Trust or Not to Trust? – VIDEO
Prayer for Us to Stand in the Authority of Christ – by Radiant
What Is Gaslighting? by www.gotquestions.org Gaslighting has three main components: 1) Convincing the victim that the abuse she suffers is her fault, 2) Convincing the victim that she did not experience what she thinks she did, and 3) Separating the victim from people who support her.