How to Confront in a Healthy Way
by Judy Bodmer
- Admit your anger. At the first sign of irritation, admit it. The Bible says, “Be angry,” Of course, this is followed quickly by, “but do not sin” (Eph. 4:26 nkjv).
- Discover the source of your anger. Fear is often the feeling that underlies anger. Another source is a blocked goal. If you have a hard time finding the source of your anger, try journaling.
- Maintain short accounts. If something is worth bringing up, do it within 24 hours. If not, then forget it (Eph. 4:26).
- Pick an appropriate time and place. Avoid the first four minutes after your spouse arrives home and just before you go to bed. Also, don’t argue in front of your children. Another good rule of thumb is to keep your fun times sacred. Don’t use evenings out as a time to discuss issues. Put a time limit on your discussion. Thirty minutes is long enough.
- Use lead-ins to prepare the way. Forewarn your spouse ahead of time with a simple phrase: There is something I need to talk about. I need you to listen and try not to get angry or defensive.
- Give each other equal time. My husband is a man of few words. I can easily bury him with verbiage. I need to listen as much as I talk.
- Stick to the topic. It’s tempting to bring up the last ten things that your spouse did wrong, but this is counterproductive.
- Keep anger in check. If you begin to get angry, then agree to a time out. Whoever initiates it should take responsibility for bringing the topic up later.
- Don’t name call. You won’t remember what you argued about, but you will remember the name.
- Work through to forgiveness. Don’t forgive just to get the argument over. Ask for more time if you need it. And when you say, “Will you forgive me?” mean it. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you won’t remember, it means you won’t bring it up again and you won’t dwell on it.
- Physically validate each other. Don’t let arguments die a slow death. Deal with it, forgive each other, and then mark that moment by renewing your love with a sign of affection.
- Accept what you cannot change. Some irritations in marriage never go away. At those times, I think God is calling us to grow up.
©Judy Bodmer 2007 All Rights Reserved