Anger is one of the hardest things to do in marriage, and while the feelings are normal, it rarely conveys the needed emotion or vulnerability to connect. Often anger is the result of deep woundedness, & when it comes out in a venting way, tends to be hostile, blaming and argumentative, denying the very access to our hearts that we seek to acquire from our spouse. Want to get your spouse in there with you, and hear your needs & concerns? Here’s some tips:
1) Ask yourself what the pain beneath your anger is. Usually this is a personal, often unique moment of pain that comes from a need that is not being being met.
2) Be specific when you speak to your softer feelings. “I feel lonely when you don’t speak to me” is much more clear than “You don’t care”. “I’m afraid I’m not worth it to you when you walk away” is more engaging than “Just leave, you were never there for me anyway!”.
3) If there have been anger issues with your partner for some time, you may have to manage some initial defensivenes, but persist with your experience as your own needs rising up, and assure them this is not an attempt to blame, but rather an attempt to let them know you need them vs the history of sounding like you hate them.
4) Help your partner by defining concretely what you need: “Hold me, I’m feeling scared”. “Sit with me, I’m feeling lonely”. “Help me with the kitchen, I’m feeling overwhelmed”.
These are simple starter ways to warm up the tensions into real connecting moments rather than alienation that “venting” anger often brings. If your issues are significant and/or you have a long hx of emotional injury or betrayal, you may want to consider therapy or one of the many retreats that help couples focus specifically on their needs & issues to help soften and undo the hardened crust such unmanaged anger can create in a relationship. Just don’t quit. That’s the only mistake you can make.