What to do with Anger during Arguments


One of the things couples struggle with is how intense their arguments get and what to do with anger. It really takes effort and presence of mind to take a time out before speaking in anger. And, the truth is, sometimes we really want to yell back or say mean things because it just feels good to "get it out" or hurt the other person back. But, repeated heated arguments really has an impact on your loving relationship. So, what do you do instead?

The other day my husband and I were discussing what needed to be done with the yard. In an effort to be direct with me I suppose, he said something about being frustrated with my work effort. His wordangers really made me mad. It was the kind of anger that bubbled up so quickly, it surprised me. I had the presence of mind to tell him I needed a timeout before finishing the conversation.

During my "cool down," I allowed myself to feel angry and hurt by his words. A flood of spiteful "come backs" popped in my head-- words I could fling back at him as payback for my wound. I evaluated his point; I evaluated my perspective. I argued with him (in my head) about how he was wrong and I was right.

Then I took a deep breath.

I began to do the following:

1) I identified the source of my anger and what I was feeling and thinking before he made the comment [this was important to understand the state I was in to react that way].

2) I found the place in my head and heart that knew where he was coming from, even if I didn't fully agree.

2) I acknowledged that we both had valid points of view; that neither of us were wrong or right [this comes from my overall commitment to my marriage and respect for my husband].

3) I realized that neither his point of view nor my point of view had anything to do with solving the problem. I identified what it would take to solve the problem and just took responsibility for taking action [in this case it was doing my part of the yard work that I said I would do].

After going through this thought process, my anger disappeared and I had power back. And, it had nothing to do with agreeing with him. In fact, I still thought he was just plain wrong for what he said. But our differing points of view didn't have to stop us from reconnecting or prevent us from solving the problem.

So, remember - Take a deep breath, allow yourself to move towards what works and release getting caught up in who's right and who's wrong.