Anger toward Spouse


My wife’s addiction to clutter is cheating us out of deeper intimacy in our relationship because I'm always angry and as a result detached. I'm overwhelmed by the mess! What can I do?


It sounds as if you’re blaming your anger on your wife. The reality is that you’re being cheated out of deeper intimacy because of your unwillingness to take responsibility for your own emotions; instead you blame your wife.

If you’re spending a lot of time thinking about leaving then think about something else. What you let your mind focus on is your choice. Colossians 3:2 tells us that we can choose to set our minds on things above. Philippians 4:8 says we can choose to let our mind dwell on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely.

Start by taking responsibility for your own stuff.

Choose to understand your emotions and learn healthy ways to express them. Know that anger is always a secondary emotion in response to a primary emotion such as fear, hurt, or frustration. Ask God to give you some insight on what’s going on inside you.

You can choose to spend less time thinking about leaving and more time thinking about loving her with a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. Choose to invest the next six months building and encouraging your wife. You’ve discovered how to approach her in ways that don’t work. Now try something different. Become her encourager. At the same time, don’t ignore what frustrates you.

As you build on a new foundation, as you let God help you become a better husband before you go looking for a better wife, look for creative and responsible ways to communicate your concerns to her. Find some other guys in your church who have had similar concerns and ask them how they approached it. Pick up a copy of Norm Wright’s classic, Communication: Key to Your Marriage—but don’t let your wife catch you reading it.

Then, with the support of a few men who have agreed to pray consistently for you and your wife, take the first small steps. We guarantee that six months from now, if not sooner, you’ll be amazed at the results.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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