It didn’t take much.
Just a flippant “good night” as he walked out of the room was enough to set me in a bad mood.
“Are you mad at me?” he asked later, after I had slammed closet doors, yanked on pajamas, and pecked him swiftly.
I lay in bed next to him and sighed. “Yeah,” I admitted. “I’m mad.”
“Why?” he asked.
“I’m not sure,” I said, and my anger began to fizzle. I had no good reason to be mad. I was just offended that he hadn’t picked up my subtle messages that I need a cuddle and some face-to-face time at the end of a long day.
“I’m sorry,” he offered.
I didn’t respond.
No More Angry Wives
As genetic luck would have it, I inherited a female sensitivity that causes me to shut down at the slightest offense:
- He put the toilet paper roll on the wrong way, and I got upset he didn’t remember my preference.
- He walked out of the store, and I was offended he didn’t pick up the flowers that were on sale.
- He hung the clothes on the line, and I got mad that he thought my use of the dryer was a waste of money.
- He came home exhausted after a long day of work, and I took offense that he didn’t want to go out together.
(Are you beginning to see how ridiculous some of these “offenses” are? The poor man doesn’t even know he’s walking into a veritable war zone strewn with landmines, ready to blow up at the slightest misstep.)
If you’re like me, these real or perceived offenses can quickly build a wall between us and our husbands, making them live in perpetual fear of making us angry.
That’s no way to enjoy a marriage. I want to live a calm life that invites my husband to speak freely and live joyfully without fear offending me.
From Angry Wife to Calm Life
The word offended makes me picture a cube balancing precariously on a corner (off-ended, get it?). It doesn’t take much to topple that cube over since it’s not resting on a side. Talk about instability.
Instead of being offended, I want to plant both feet on the ground and keep my emotions in check.
When I find myself toppling into anger, these steps help me navigate back to calm:
1. Run to the cross.
I’m quick to tell my husband exactly what he did wrong. Maybe you are, too. But the first place we need to take our offense is to our Lord. He’s big enough to handle all our anger, hurt, disappointment, bitterness, and fear.
At the cross we recalibrate our view of the world and our situation. In light of what Jesus suffered for us, our offense often pales into oblivion.
2. Know who you are.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus and gazing at His beauty, I’m reminded of all He is… and all I am not. Usually when I’m offended it’s because my husband didn’t meet my expectations or he did something to hurt my pride. In God’s presence, I am reminded that I, too, am a sinner in need of God’s grace, and God freely extends grace and love to me.
We need reminded often that we’re not the center of the universe–God is. And when He remains at the center of our lives, we’ll be less offended by what our husbands did or said.
3. See him with eyes of Christ.
When I see myself as a sinner in need of grace, I’m more likely to see my husband as a sinner in need of grace. And when I realize I’m loved by the God of the universe, I’ll acknowledge that my husband is loved by God, too.
Instead of letting our husbands’ offenses become the characteristics that defines them, let’s remember who they are in Christ and why we fell in love with them in the first place. Chances are, those annoying traits are only visible 2% of the time. We have so much for which to be grateful.
4. Love and forgive him.
Having been reminded of God’s amazing love for me, I am now free to love my husband as well. Sometimes, tough love will require a humble and gentle confrontation in which I communicate how his behavior hurt me. But most of the time, love will mean forgiving and letting it go. As Scripture says, “Love covers over a multitude of sins,” (1 Peter 4:8) and “Love keeps no record of wrong.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)
As Ruth Graham said, “A good marriage is the union of two forgivers.” The best way to get over an offense is to seek a way to serve our husbands and show them sacrificial love. And a little lovin’ might go a long way, especially in the bedroom. (Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas to ignite passion in your marriage.) As we pour out love, God will continue to pour into us His supernatural love.
5. Keep a sense of humor.
Honestly, when I notice I’m getting more easily irritable and offended, it’s a good sign that I’m taking myself too seriously. Toilet paper? Seriously, let it go, girl! Or better yet, make a running joke of it. Find ways to alleviate tension with humor, and laugh at yourself.
When we loosen up, we can let little things roll off our shoulders without taking them to heart. It’s amazing how many offenses stop bothering us once we stop being so uptight. Our husbands (and children) will thank us.
I wish I could go back to that night and calmly ask for a cuddle and a few minutes to debrief rather than stew in anger for the rest of the night. But the good news is, I have today.
And so do you.
Asheritah Ciuciu is the author of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and an avid blogger. She grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and then studied English and Women’s Ministry at Cedarville University. Her passion is helping women find joy in Jesus through a deeper walk with God, and she shares vulnerably from her own life experiences on www.OneThingAlone.com. She is married to Flaviu, a web programmer and artist, and together they raise their spunky daughter in northeast Ohio.