Marriage in God's Hands

Married And Angry

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Willie Oliver, Elaine Oliver


Series Code: MGH

Program Code: MGH000059

00:30 Welcome to Marriage In God's Hands.
00:32 I'm Willie Oliver, Director of Family Ministries
00:35 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
00:37 I'm Elaine Oliver, Willie's partner in ministry
00:39 and a Marriage and Family Consultant
00:41 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
00:44 We're delighted you have decided to join us today.
00:47 Today we're going to be talking about being married and angry.
00:52 Invariably in marriage, everything doesn't go perfectly.
00:57 And from time to time, there are emotions that flare up.
01:00 And today we want to talk about how to manage those emotions.
01:05 How to deal with them so that we can get the best
01:09 out of marriage and that our marriage can be a place
01:13 where God can be glorified.
01:15 And people will know that we are His disciples
01:17 because of our love for one another.
01:20 Well, I think it's good for us to begin with a text,
01:22 which is found in Romans 12:18.
01:34 So, we're talking about anger today.
01:36 And we want to share with our audience that it's not a problem
01:45 that we experience anger.
01:48 Because anger is a very natural, if you will, emotion.
01:51 But we know that, it says in the Bible that
01:54 we are to live at peace with all people, it says all men but I
01:58 imagine that we can extend that to all people, men and women.
02:03 Well, I certainly hope that it means live at peace
02:05 with all women as well, certainly a woman
02:06 if you are married to a woman.
02:08 And if you're a man, I hope you're married to a woman.
02:10 That's correct.
02:12 There's another text which we don't have for the screen,
02:15 but where it says that in our anger we should not sin.
02:19 And so it's clear that it is ok for us to experience
02:23 the emotion of anger, but we need to be sure that
02:26 we don't destroy our marriage because of the
02:30 way we express anger.
02:32 So we're talking about anger today and I think a good place
02:35 to begin is by going to a definition of anger.
02:38 Anger is a strong emotion of displeasure.
02:51 So, when we're talking about anger, we're talking about
02:53 the fact that we're frustrated and we're frustrated because
02:56 something we were hoping would happen is not happening.
03:00 Or something we wanted to happen is not happening.
03:03 I guess that's why people get angry.
03:05 I want my way and you're not giving me my way.
03:10 I wanted this for breakfast and I'm having something different.
03:13 I expected that we would be going to church
03:16 at a particular time and it turns out
03:18 not to be that time and so I'm not happy, I'm angry.
03:22 Here's the reality about anger.
03:25 Anger is an emotion and emotions run the gamut.
03:30 I often hear people say, "You make me so mad. "
03:34 Well, the truth of the matter is nobody can make you mad.
03:38 You're mad because you chose to be mad.
03:41 God has given us freedom of choice.
03:45 And when we deal with our emotions, we need to be careful
03:49 that they are led by the spirit of God.
03:51 If we're spiritual beings and we're the people of God,
03:54 we ought to be moved, we ought to be moved
03:56 by the spirit of God.
03:58 So, now there might be different variations, in the whole realm
04:03 of anger, that someone may say that may
04:07 push you in a certain direction.
04:09 And yet you want to be very careful that
04:12 whatever is happening, is something that God can
04:15 bless and sanction.
04:18 I would like to say that there have been individuals
04:22 who have experienced negative things in their lives.
04:25 And out of that negativity they have been able to rise up,
04:32 rise above it despite what's coming at them.
04:35 Then in some circumstances, someone may say,
04:38 "Well, that can make you angry. "
04:40 But instead of being angry, use it as a motivation to do good.
04:45 So you're saying that perhaps their initial response
04:48 was one of anger.
04:49 Or could be.
04:50 Could have been. Yes.
04:51 And they turned that anger into something
04:54 that was a little bit more productive
04:56 in their lives, and constructive.
04:59 Yes, for example we think about the life of Christ
05:01 and the fact that when He was being led to Golgotha
05:05 to be crucified, people were cursing at Him,
05:10 they were hitting Him, and yet He was not hitting back.
05:15 He was choosing not to be angry.
05:18 He could have been angry.
05:20 Normally, people think if someone is hitting you,
05:23 calling you names, spitting on you,
05:24 that you have a right to be angry.
05:26 But here is a model of Jesus Christ that says,
05:30 the fact that someone is acting ugly
05:33 doesn't mean you need to respond in kind.
05:36 Absolutely, I think Jeremiah 17:9
05:38 gives us good counsel on how to handle our emotions.
05:42 And the Bible says:
05:51 That's the New American Standard version.
05:53 But the King James Version actually says,
05:56 "The heart is wicked above all else. "
05:59 And so, God understood that we were
06:02 going to have these emotions.
06:03 I mean, I don't think that we are exempt from emotions.
06:09 It's how we deal with our emotions, it's how we respond
06:13 to this anger.
06:14 Because anger is going to arise for many different reasons.
06:17 There are different faces of anger.
06:20 And even before you go to the different faces of anger,
06:22 I want to spend a little bit more time on that text.
06:24 Because many times people think they have a right to be angry.
06:30 And the prophet is saying through the spirit of God,
06:33 "Well, don't trust your heart. "
06:35 Because as human beings, our hearts are wicked,
06:40 our hearts are deceitful.
06:42 So, if you're going to depend on your own emotions,
06:45 they may lead you astray.
06:47 So instead of following your emotions,
06:49 we probably need to lead our emotions.
06:51 And lead them through the spirit of God.
06:53 So don't trust your emotions, trust God.
06:56 Why? Because God will give you the power
06:59 to do what you need to do to not hurt anyone,
07:02 and to represent Him well.
07:04 Because after all, that's what we want to do in marriage.
07:06 We want to represent God well because by this they will know
07:10 that we are His disciples.
07:12 Because of our love, one for the other.
07:14 That's really good.
07:15 So, it's really important then for us to understand
07:18 where this anger might be coming from.
07:20 So as I started saying before, as we look at the different
07:24 faces of anger, it might help us understand how to channel
07:28 the emotion of anger into a more productive,
07:32 into a more constructive format.
07:34 So for instance, resentment.
07:36 Resentment is a face of anger.
07:38 We might become angry because we're resentful about something.
07:44 Something may have happened in our relationship.
07:47 Because we're specifically now speaking about marriage
07:50 and we want to tie it in.
07:51 So, something may have happened in our relationship
07:53 that made me resentful.
07:55 And every time you do or say something, I might treat you,
08:01 respond to you in anger because of my resentment.
08:05 There might also be aggression and I may respond,
08:10 let's tie it all in, because of that resentment
08:14 I might respond in a very aggressive manner.
08:17 And my anger might be expressed more aggressively
08:22 than I intended.
08:23 So, I might raise my voice, I might throw my hand
08:26 on the table, I might kick something, kick the garbage can
08:29 or something like that.
08:30 And that is an aggressive way of showing anger.
08:35 Another face of anger is frustration.
08:38 I might be frustrated because things are not going the way...
08:43 Earlier you said in the definition that it might
08:46 come out of the fact that my goals are being blocked.
08:49 So, our goal could be something as simple as,
08:52 "I'm trying to eat, I'm trying to get food. "
08:55 And that reminds me of that time when you asked
08:57 me to get you lunch.
08:58 And you were picking me up, and I got lunch.
09:01 I looked at what was available and I saw lots of good stuff.
09:05 I know we love Italian food so I saw Eggplant Parmesan
09:08 and decided to get you some Eggplant Parmesan.
09:10 Of course, you were very hungry and you were very anxious
09:14 and you were looking forward to
09:15 the food tray that I was bringing to you.
09:17 I got some for myself and got into the car,
09:19 and when you opened your tray, you were like
09:23 "Eggplant Parmesan? I hate Eggplant Parmesan. "
09:27 I know and you were being so kind
09:28 because you know, I was actually quite frustrated.
09:31 And I'll be honest and say that I wanted to be...
09:36 I was probably even a little angry.
09:38 And what I appreciated about what you did was that you
09:40 quickly offered me your food.
09:42 But that's a great example of frustration
09:45 and how it could have turned into
09:47 a more aggressive response in anger.
09:51 And what I'd like to say about that,
09:52 that it doesn't have to be.
09:54 The choices that we made were choices that helped us
09:58 get something out of that circumstance.
10:00 For example, when you said you hated Eggplant Parmesan,
10:03 immediately what I thought, "Wow my wife doesn't like eggplant. "
10:08 And I didn't know that.
10:09 And now I know that.
10:11 So, instead of being defensive after getting you food and
10:17 you responding the way that you did towards the food,
10:20 I just offered you mine.
10:22 And it calmed you down.
10:23 You had food so your blood sugar could
10:26 go back to its regular balance.
10:29 And I filed that away.
10:30 And I've never offered you Eggplant Parmesan ever since.
10:34 You certainly haven't.
10:35 Because I know that you don't like it.
10:36 Right, and I want to share with our audience
10:40 that I made a conscientious decision, not that I always do,
10:44 but I made a conscientious decision that day
10:47 not to be angry not to penalize you
10:53 for doing something good for me.
10:55 And so as you said earlier, it is a choice.
10:58 Our reaction is a choice.
11:00 And then some other faces of anger are hatred or spite.
11:06 And we respond to our mate because of certain circumstances
11:10 that may have occurred.
11:12 And then we treat them in ways that are not constructive
11:16 to the relationship.
11:19 There's another things about anger that I want to bring up
11:21 at this juncture, and that is that it prevents us from
11:24 having the kind of communication God wants us to have.
11:26 Because of our anger, we're frustrated,
11:29 we are spiteful, we're hateful.
11:31 It blocks the free flowing of communication between spouses.
11:36 So instead of being happy and joyful and affirming and kind,
11:40 I become spiteful myself.
11:42 I now raise my voice, I now speak with sarcasm in my voice.
11:48 And that's no good for the relationship.
11:50 Because what we're trying to do in marriage
11:52 is to bring honor and glory to God.
11:55 So, as we deal with these issues of anger,
11:58 we need to be mindful of the fact that we do have a choice.
12:00 That the emotion that we choose,
12:03 the response that we choose is ours.
12:05 And that we have the opportunity to be led by the spirit of God,
12:10 to make the right choice.
12:12 One that's going to build up the marriage.
12:14 One that's going to build up the relationship.
12:18 Well, here's what Ephesians 4:31 has to say on anger.
12:33 Obviously, God knew that if we're going to be His children,
12:37 that we have to behave in ways
12:39 that represent Him, that honor Him.
12:42 Certainly being bitter is not a Godly way.
12:45 And having malice is not a Godly way.
12:48 And so, as we read our Bibles more,
12:51 as we connect with Jesus every day,
12:53 what we know is that we become more and more like Him.
12:57 But instead of choosing anger, we choose peace.
13:00 But instead of doing it negatively, we do it positively.
13:03 Because we're representing Jesus in our home.
13:06 Not only that, we're modeling for our children.
13:09 And when they become adults and have their own marriages,
13:12 they will respond in ways that were naturally
13:15 presented to them in their homes.
13:17 Well, we need to go to break, but we'll be right back shortly.
13:21 So stick around, stay with us.
13:22 We have much more to talk about anger.
13:24 And thank you for staying with us.
13:26 We'll see you soon.
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14:09 Welcome back to our discussion on married and angry.
14:13 We've been talking about the issue of anger and how to
14:17 deal with it, and the fact that we have choices.
14:19 That the emotion of anger in itself is not the problem,
14:23 but how we express, how we deal with anger,
14:26 how we manage our anger.
14:27 So we want to talk a little bit about how we can respond,
14:31 or how people usually respond, and then we'll share
14:34 some ways in which we can better handle anger
14:40 specifically in our marriage.
14:43 And of course, as we talk about marriage concepts,
14:45 these concepts, these skills are transferrable to other areas
14:49 of our lives.
14:50 So one of the things that we do when we are responding to anger
14:56 is that sometimes we suppress anger.
14:58 Sometimes we pretend as if we're not angry.
15:02 And that's a problem because if we are angry
15:06 and we do have this emotion, we've got to figure out how to
15:08 deal with it.
15:09 Because if we continually act as if we're not angry, then
15:13 at some point, I imagine it's going to be like a volcano.
15:17 And it's going to explode.
15:19 Indeed.
15:21 There's also another way in which we handle anger
15:23 and that is we repress anger.
15:25 And when we repress anger, it simply means that
15:29 we know we're angry, but then we try to
15:31 put it under our consciousness.
15:34 You know, we just want to forget about it.
15:36 We want to sweep it under the carpet, as it were.
15:40 What happens with repressed anger is that
15:44 you result with some clinical issues and
15:46 one of them is depression.
15:48 Because the anger is there, you haven't dealt with it,
15:51 you haven't managed it, you haven't processed it.
15:56 and if it's in you, it's going to affect you.
15:58 And invariably, people get depressed
16:00 when they have repressed anger.
16:02 Well, another way of dealing with anger is we express anger.
16:07 And that's usually how many people deal with anger.
16:11 And we just explode.
16:13 And we may explode by yelling, and we may say things
16:21 that we can't take back.
16:23 And we may damage or hurt our relationship
16:27 because of the way we've expressed our anger.
16:31 Yes, there's another that we relate to anger as individuals
16:34 and this is a better way.
16:36 And that is we confess anger.
16:37 Instead of suppressing it, or repressing it, or exploding,
16:43 we confess anger.
16:46 And the way to confess anger is simply to acknowledge the fact
16:49 that' you're probably not very happy with what has happened.
16:52 And if you're communicating with your spouse, do it in a way
16:55 that's not destructive.
16:57 For example, and I think the word is good "confessing anger",
17:01 acknowledge to yourself that whatever happened just now
17:05 didn't feel good.
17:06 And so, I want to share it with my spouse because
17:09 I want her or him to be aware of the fact that when this happens
17:13 in our relationship, it causes bad feelings.
17:15 So, how do you confess anger?
17:17 You confess anger by using "I" messages.
17:21 Instead of accusing your spouse and saying, "You did this.
17:25 And that's why I'm feeling this way. "
17:26 Well first of all, soften the startup.
17:29 Calm down a little bit and use "I" messages.
17:32 "I feel angry when we agreed that we would go to church
17:38 at 9:00 in the morning so that we can get there in time
17:41 for Sabbath school.
17:42 But every Sabbath, it appears to me that when it's time to go,
17:48 we're not ready, somebody's not ready.
17:50 And invariably we get to church late. "
17:52 So, it's a bad feeling that you have.
17:56 And if you say it in a nice way, confessing anger.
17:59 Not exploding, not repressing, not suppressing, but confessing.
18:05 That might be a good way to manage the anger
18:08 and to build up the marital relationship
18:11 and to get more understanding between you.
18:13 Because in marriage, we want to understand.
18:16 Absolutely, and when we do that we feel better
18:19 because we haven't suppressed it or repressed it, or said things
18:26 that were destructive to the relationship.
18:29 But we are sharing with our mate how we really feel.
18:32 Now there are some unhealthy ways of dealing with anger.
18:36 And one of those ways is to ignore your feelings.
18:39 And that would go along with suppressing or repressing
18:41 where we ignore the feelings and we bury it.
18:43 And that's injurious to our bodies.
18:47 Another unhealthy way of dealing with anger is just
18:50 allowing your stomach to handle it.
18:52 You know, you're angry, you're frustrated and instead of
18:55 calming yourself down, acknowledging that
18:57 things are happening that you don't want to happen,
19:01 you are just going at it in a way that is almost ignoring it
19:06 and then people get ulcers.
19:08 That's why lots of people have stomach problems,
19:10 they have bowel buildup because they allow the anger
19:14 to go into their system.
19:16 I've also heard some people say, "I'm not angry. "
19:20 And someone might say, well if someone says they're not angry,
19:23 then perhaps they're not angry.
19:24 But if there's something that is done to you
19:27 that is creating stress or even worse than that,
19:33 something that is insulting to you, more than likely
19:37 the emotion that's going to come up is anger.
19:40 And so, saying "I'm not angry" is not a healthy way
19:45 of dealing with anger.
19:47 Actually, when you were saying that, the visual in my head was
19:52 a little bit more explosive.
19:53 "I'm not angry. I"M NOT ANGRY!"
19:55 You know, you could have fooled me.
19:57 You're not angry but you're yelling.
19:59 So it's almost like a contradiction.
20:02 That you're telling yourself one thing, but
20:04 whatever is coming out, it really is not a good thing.
20:07 Another way people have a way in marriage of dealing with anger
20:11 is by scoring points against their mate.
20:15 Now, that is a foolish way of handling it.
20:18 And let me tell you why.
20:19 Because marriage is a team sport.
20:22 We're on the same team.
20:23 So my scoring points against my mate
20:26 is not going to help anyone.
20:27 It doesn't help anyone because what we want to do in marriage
20:30 is we want to build it up.
20:31 We want to make is strong, we want to make it nurturing,
20:34 we want to make a kind place, a welcoming place.
20:38 So when I score points against my mate,
20:40 it is like playing basketball or any sport and
20:46 kicking a goal into my own goal post.
20:48 Now that is not very smart.
20:50 So if you're married, you want to do things together.
20:52 You want build each other up rather than put each other down.
20:55 So scoring points against my mate is not a good idea.
20:58 Because in marriage, we want to win.
21:00 And we win, the marriage wins.
21:03 It's not about me or you. It's about us.
21:07 Well, another unhealthy form of expressing anger is to
21:10 blame your mate as loudly as you can.
21:14 And that's also not going to help any because
21:19 it's not going to resolve any situation.
21:22 You haven't shared, you haven't confessed that you're angry.
21:25 And so blaming your spouse, even if your spouse
21:30 may have created the situation where you are
21:33 feeling this emotion of anger, it's not going to help
21:38 the situation any to blame your mate.
21:40 So that's an unhealthy way of dealing with anger.
21:44 And then when you say when your spouse has created
21:47 the situation, the truth of the matter is,
21:49 again, we are in relationships that are not perfect.
21:53 And because we are in relationships that are not
21:54 perfect, your spouse, whether it's a husband or a wife,
21:57 they're bound to say something that
22:00 is not what you want to hear.
22:01 That's just a reality of life.
22:03 But, if they say something that's not nice to you,
22:08 you have a choice of the way you respond to what was said.
22:13 So choose joy, choose peace, choose kindness.
22:18 And confess it.
22:19 Take the opportunity to say something using "I" messages.
22:24 "You know, when this happens in our relationship,
22:26 I feel taken for granted. "
22:28 "I feel taken for granted. "
22:29 When I use "I" messages, I'm taking
22:31 responsibility for myself.
22:33 And instead of accusing my spouse of anything,
22:35 I take responsibility.
22:37 Now you may not even have known that what you were saying
22:40 or doing was causing me distress or pain.
22:43 So it doesn't have to be a confrontation
22:46 every single time something is said or done in marriage
22:50 to cause pain or hurt.
22:52 Because invariably, it's not being done on purpose.
22:55 And we need to be able to know the difference.
22:56 But regardless of what is done, the choice needs to be
23:00 a response that's going to build up,
23:04 that's going to enlighten, that's going to bring us closer,
23:07 that's going to give us more knowledge about each other
23:09 rather than breaking and destroying
23:11 the marriage relationship.
23:13 So then I can choose to rely on the power of God
23:18 and make a choice to handle my anger in a way
23:24 that is going to be healing to my relationship.
23:27 I have that choice, I have that power because
23:30 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
23:32 And then another way of how people handle anger in marriage,
23:36 they just walk out and feel sorry for themselves.
23:38 "Oh you know, I never get anything here in this place.
23:40 You know, I'm always being insulted,
23:42 I'm always the bad one. "
23:43 And just walk out, feel sorry for yourself.
23:46 We call that withdrawal and avoidance.
23:48 And that response will never build your marriage up.
23:52 Because you don't want to avoid it,
23:54 you don't want to deny it.
23:55 You want to handle it, deal with it,
23:57 accept the fact that it's happening,
23:59 and then deal with it in a Christ like way.
24:03 So let's share then some healthy ways to handle anger.
24:08 There are certainly some healthy ways.
24:10 And one of the first things that we can do
24:12 is to be aware of our emotions.
24:14 Be aware of what the emotion is.
24:16 A few years ago, someone gave us a little magnet
24:20 to put on our refrigerator.
24:22 And it had a list of maybe 15 emotions.
24:26 And then there's a little circle and every day you can put
24:29 the little circle on how you're feeling.
24:31 And there are little faces and it shows whether you're happy,
24:34 or sad, or angry, or mad, or whatever else.
24:37 And so what's good about it is that it helps us to identify
24:42 how we're feeling.
24:43 What is the emotion that I am experiencing.
24:46 And be able to call it what it is.
24:50 Well, and what you want to do is don't be afraid
24:52 to admit your emotion.
24:53 If I'm feeling frustrated, admit it to yourself.
24:56 Before you lash out, before you express,
24:59 admit it to yourself.
25:00 It's ok to admit it to yourself.
25:02 And say to yourself, "You know, I'm not feeling
25:04 good about what's happening here right now. "
25:06 And that is a good way of not ignoring
25:08 but of managing your emotions.
25:11 Certainly.
25:12 One of the other things, as I said earlier,
25:14 is that I can decide what to do with the emotion.
25:17 I can decide how to handle my emotion before
25:22 I share the emotion with my spouse.
25:25 So, I know that we said earlier that you can
25:27 share with your spouse, "I feel angry. "
25:29 Well, a good thing to do is decide,
25:31 after I'm aware of that emotion, I can decide
25:35 how I'm going to deal with it.
25:36 And I can choose to share it, to confess it, to say
25:41 "I feel angry when this happens
25:44 but I'm not going to allow myself to express this anger
25:48 in a negative way. "
25:49 So what you're saying is you want to decide
25:51 what to do with that emotion.
25:52 Correct.
25:53 That is a wonderful way of handling it.
25:55 You know, deciding what to do with the emotion.
25:57 Solomon has something to say in the book of
25:59 Proverbs 16:32 on anger.
26:02 And it's a wonderful thing that it says.
26:14 In other words, the person who knows how to manage anger
26:17 is greater than a big warrior.
26:19 Just because you're big and bold and bad doesn't make it good.
26:24 Right.
26:25 So, making peace a priority in our home.
26:28 And Ellen White has some words on this in the Adventist Home.
26:54 It's interesting that anger often lurks around families.
27:00 And someone once said, "Conflict is the manure of marriage.
27:04 It doesn't smell very good, but without it
27:06 there's no real growth. "
27:08 So it means, yes we're not perfect.
27:10 But when things are happening in our relationships,
27:13 let's use it as an opportunity to grow.
27:16 Let's use it as an opportunity to find out what's going wrong.
27:19 Talk about it. Don't ignore it.
27:21 Don't deny it. Admit it and confess it.
27:25 And express it in a way that will
27:27 help build your marriage up.
27:30 What's wonderful for us as Christians is that we know
27:33 we have the promise of success.
27:35 Philippians 4:13.
27:36 We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.
27:40 So trust God, trust Him with your emotions
27:43 and it's going to be just fine.


Revised 2014-12-17