Friday, 14 October 2011

Behind Anger

Dr. Dana Fillmore says, “Anger is always the result of fear or pain.” She goes on to say, “If you’re trying to have a conversation and one of you blows up, understanding this truth can reveal what’s really going on. It is very important to keep in mind when you are attempting to communicate with your spouse that anger is a secondary emotion of fear or pain or both. This is an essential point. Anger is always the result of fear or pain. If you’re angry, you’re actually hurt or scared or both, every time.”
In some ways this understanding the root cause of your anger or that of your spouse can be helpful however knowing the root cause and dealing with it are two different things. In reality the root cause is always going to be sin, regardless of whether it is fear or pain. Perhaps a real life experience shared by Barbara Rainey will give us some insight.

I had been a mom for about six years when I first began to experience significant anger. And as the pressures of parenthood increased and our older children moved into adolescence, I started getting angry more severely and more often. It was inappropriate, and it was really becoming a problem.

One Thanksgiving weekend, my 13-year-old son and I got into a raging argument about . . . something. I don’t even remember what. I just remember I couldn’t control him, and I couldn’t control me. For years, I had justified my anger by saying I was so tired and worn out every day. Now, for the first time, I realized it had gotten bigger than I was. I could justify my behavior no longer.

Dennis was a part of the solution. As we talked it over, we agreed that it would be healthy for me to go through a period of counseling. As I sought help, the Lord sensitized my heart one summer day to the words of Psalm 52. As I was reading the fourth verse my eyes filled with tears.
You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue.Psalm 52:4

Suddenly I knew that in all my years of struggling, the only thing I really hated about my anger was that I couldn’t control it. Yet in those few moments of holy conviction, I realized I needed to hate my anger simply because it was sin. Before, I had only hated what I did with it. Now, I hated it for what it was.

Healing will only come about as you give your fear or pain over to God, trusting in His sovereignty and goodness.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Nagging is Not a Spiritual Gift - Part I

In his recent blog entitled “Discussing Your Marital Issues” psychologist Mort Fertel talks about the importance of resolving issues. The following excerpts address some important points to coming to a resolution of issues.

How often do you discuss your marital issues? Even good marriages have issues that should be discussed. However, many couples avoid talking about them.

Women are more likely than men to bring up marital issues in the first place. Often when issues are brought up, the conversation is shut down quickly. Men tend to be more likely to avoid discussing difficult marriage topics.”

It has been scientifically proven that in the midst of conflict a man’s pulse tends to race, his blood pressure goes up and his body displays other physiological signs. The same is not true for women. In most cases men tend to withdraw from such a situation physically (flight) or emotionally (stonewall). Understanding this simple fact may enable the wife to understand that she is not being rejected or ignored. Mort goes on to say,

If you bring up the subject of marital issues, how do you bring it up? What do you say and what approach do you use? It is important to look at how you broach difficult subjects. Don’t blame and accuse your partner but instead bring up your concerns. Start with “I” statements and share your feelings without blaming your partner.

Try to describe your observations in a clear manner. Instead of saying, “you never help me with the kids,” say, “I have noticed every night when it is time for the kids to take a bath, you turn on the television.” Avoid becoming judgmental.”

If a concern is stated in a way that doesn’t feel like an attack the husband is more apt to listen and a helpful dialogue might take place.

From a Christian perspective there is one important ingredient missing in this discussion. IF husbands and wives could accept that God uses our differences as part of His sanctification process we would get less defensive and be more willing to actually listen to what our spouse is saying to us.

As the partner giving the feedback you want to present it in a way that your spouse will be most receptive to hearing it, so that they might grow to be more like Christ. This is not a form of manipulation but a matter of intelligent communication. However, you need to ask yourself first “is this topic indicative of sinful behavior OR is it an indication of my being self-serving?”

If it is the latter God may be giving you a message, if it is the former proceed with a scalpel not a pair of hedge trimmers.