Challenges, For Women

Me, My Anger, & My Marriage

On our drive home from a pretty fun evening out with the kiddos, Ryan and I got into it. After sifting through my feelings of him being a jerk to me in front of our friends while he was thinking he was “helping” me he asked me, “Over the past few years, it seems like your default response to things, (situations, relationships, etc.) that you don’t like or feel uncomfortable with, is anger. You know there are other ways you can respond?”

Ugh, He Was Right…

Although I couldn’t have been angrier at the time he said it, deep down I knew he was right. My mind was logically thinking, yep, spot on Ryan, spot on. My heart was steaming with anger for his behavior toward me earlier that day and my body was physically exhausted. Having two kids under three is no joke!

In those moments of anger and frustration, my green monster (or as Ryan so lovingly puts it, “the Hulk”) comes out on a warpath, destroying everyone in sight.

Needless to say frustration and anger are not good defaults in a marriage (or as a parent). For whatever reason, the Hulk inside me grows and I get angry when I feel like I can’t handle things; when they are out of my control and/or when I have to face heated situations; or am simply defied or denied what I want.

Why can’t I laugh at a situation and make light of it? Why can’t I do what Daniel Tiger does when he feels so mad that he wants to roar (“take a deep breath…and count to four”) — where does this deep anger come from? Simply put: somewhere in my heart where I’m failing to fully believe the Gospel.

The Gospel v. The Hulk

Wait, what? How does the gospel connect to the Hulk in my marriage? Good question (I ask myself this daily) and here’s what I’ve found to be true thus far:

When the message of the gospel is filling my soul, it is a wrecking ball (in a good way!). It’s a type of “demo-day” (yes, I’m a Chip and Joanna fan) in my heart that destroys the walls of belief that lead me to think I am in control, I can do this on my own, I am unloved and unaccepted if I can’t do this (i.e. when I fail). Therefore, failure is not an option.

If you’ve ever felt this way: like it all relies totally on you… and no one, especially your spouse, can pick out the bad in you, because then it’s all going to fall to pieces.

Wrecked…

My friends, let’s let those beliefs and feelings fall to pieces at the feet of Jesus. Understand that you will fall short in this life (Romans 3:23). And the only way to combat the Hulk in us and marriage is to remember his great love for us (Romans 5:8). Jesus knew this about us and still–STILL out of His great love he died so that we could live!

Let’s be wrecked by His great love and His mercies that are new every single morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)! Let’s trust that His wrecking ball of love combats and destroys the green monster not to create pain in our lives, but to redeem, restore and produce His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) of love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our lives.

How do I let His love wreck the Hulk in my heart?

Jesus explains it best in John 15:4-5,

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Abiding in Christ –> Transformation

Abide; live, exist and simply be in Jesus. Understand and know that when you fail, He accepts and loves you. When the Hulk begins to take form, Jesus is greater!

As I type these words, please know that I am writing this to myself. I am learning how to relinquish control to the Creator of the universe and live, or abide, in the knowledge that I am completely accepted and fully loved.

How am I loved? Through what Jesus so lovingly did on the cross, in spite of the good, bad, and ugly that I have done (and will do in the future). That’s grace.

Friends, He died so that we could live – so that we could abide in Him and produce holy fruit on the ground where He slayed your green monster.

It’s only by faith in Christ that we can live and abide. He really is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

Wives, if you deal with anger like I do, run to Jesus in the middle of it. When you feel the Hulk taking shape, run to him and ask for help in believing and understanding how much he loves you IN THAT MOMENT.

Secondly, trust. Trust His grace and His Word more than your feelings at the moment. Emotions and feelings will fade, but His love for us…my friends, will never fade and it’s transformational to our very cores

 

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  • chrisbowers

    I think this is equally applicable to husbands. My wife would say I default to anger, which is probably true because it is an easier emotion to feel.

  • Alexandria

    Thank you Selena! I needed this revelation today. The same exact thing happens to me, I truly feel like you just described me. So happy to have read this today, your amazing. Be blessed ❤️

  • Alisha Sissons Lockhart

    I love this. I wish I had read this LAST week though… ;) Appreciate this post and this page.

  • Jessica Diaz

    Awesome post. I love it. Thank you.

  • April O’Brien

    Thank you! This was a very enlightening article and this was a perfect explanation of how to manage the emotions before things get out of control. Our God is greater than any frustrations we will ever deal with!

  • Rachel Hilton

    Thanks for being so transparent :) I totally need to face my ‘green monster’ that comes out when I’m tired and frustrated. You are right, Jesus is the answer. He always is. xxx

  • Tiffany

    I really needed this!!! I have been struggling with “the hulk” for too long in my marriage. Thank you for reminding me to stop, and abide in God during those times.

  • Hannah Agrelius

    This was awesome. Would you say a huge part of our anger is related back to feelings of inadequacy and fear? The unnecssary need to protect ourselves from the perceived or anticipated judgment of our spouse?

    • Renee Tait

      For me it is. I’m currently reading a book the DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley. It’s helping me understand where my feelings of anger and fear stem from but it’s also helping me see where my spouse, friends, family and coworkers are coming from as well. Seeing their hurts, wants, reactions, etc. in black and white help me see they usually are doing something they intended to be good. I believe it will help me get to the core of relationship struggles and get solutions.

  • Carissa Siordia Vasile

    While these are good points, your husband could have just acknowledged he was a jerk and apologized instead of turning the tables back on you.

    • cmalek98

      Agreed. This happens in my marriage all the time.

    • Lauren

      I do agree with your statement, but thought it important to point out that the author is more concerned (rightfully so) with her perceptions of/reactions to her spouse’s behavior. While she can’t always control what her spouse might do, she can always exercise personal responsibility in how she feels/behaves.

  • SarahV

    YES! Thank you for this incredibly helpful and timely reminder to choose “abide” over “anger.” Something else that has also helped me with anger is to remember that anger is a secondary emotion. We feel shame, embarrassment, frustration, or fear first. Identifying the primary emotion I’m feeling, and the real reason for it (e.g. “I’m mad because I’m afraid if my husband does/doesn’t do ABC, then XYZ is going to happen”) has been a huge help in communicating with my spouse, and in controlling, with Christ’s help, those Hulk moments. Thanks for this ministry!

    • Betty

      Great reminder, Anger is a secondary emotion!

  • SicilianJoe

    Thanks for the encouragement and wise words. In my life, it has always come down to a choice–am I going to love my wife or am I going to love myself. Ultimately, when I choose to love and serve my wife, it’s going to be more fulfilling than my selfish living.
    Thanks Ryan! Keep loving/obeying Jesus and keep serving/leading your family!