“My Wife is Always Angry at Me!” Here’s the Secret of Your Wife’s Anger (And What to Do About It)
As a marriage counselor in Kansas City, I’ve learned there isn’t much in a married man’s life that bothers him more than when his wife is angry with him. Most men won’t admit it, but at the bottom of that frustration is fear. The fear comes from feeling helpless to make his wife happy again.
What makes matters worse, in many cases, whatever the husband does makes his wife even more angry. That kind of escalating negative spiral into unhappiness leaves a husband feeling alone and like giving up. Married men, take hope. I’m about to tell you the secret behind your wife’s anger and what to do about it.
But, first I need to clarify a myth that destroys more marriage than I can tell you.
The myth is this: you are not the one to make your wife happy. Your wife is. No person’s happiness is another person’s responsibility. Oh, of course, things we do with our spouses are used by them to make themselves happy or unhappy. If you can become aware of some of those things and can avoid them, then it does make it easier for your spouse to make themselves happy. But that’s simply an act of courtesy and consideration (a hallmark of successful marriages). It is not a causal act that magically makes your wife happy. You can help, but ultimately, she’s the only one who can make herself happy. And that goes for you as well, husband.
Now for the secret. With most couples I have worked with where the wife is perpetually angry at the husband (and he is not doing the obvious things that upsets a wife i.e. affairs, drinking too much etc.), at the bottom of it we find a wife drowning in loneliness. Maybe that’s hard to believe because her anger gets the opposite from her husband. However, she wants and needs more emotional intimacy and the husband, for whatever reason, is not providing it.
Some of those reasons include socialization and genetics. Most husbands are not nearly as attuned to emotional realities as their wives. Women in this culture are encouraged to use their intuition and develop their emotional prowess. Men are encouraged to be busy with physical accomplishments and managing literal things. As you can see, this leads to huge misunderstandings in a marriage.
If your wife is angry with you on a regular basis, I will agree with you husband, that does not feel to you like an invitation to intimacy. However, odds are, that’s what she wants. I’m not talking about physical intimacy. I’m talking about emotional intimacy.
Try this magic: the next time your wife’s anger hits you like a snow blizzard blowing out of Montana, take her by the hand, sit down with her, look her in the eyes and tell her you love her. Then, ask her to tell you what is bothering her and guarantee her that no matter what it is or how angry she gets, you’re going to sit there and take it all in. Resolve to listen to whatever your wife has to say to you, no matter what.
Do not get up and go away in your own anger. Do not defend yourself. Do not explain yourself. Do not attack her or rebut her. All you have to do is be present, continue eye contact, and listen.
When she’s finished, simply say this, “Thank you, sweetheart, for telling me what is in the depths of your heart. I relish and appreciate openness and emotional intimacy with you. I’m not very good at it, but I intend to get better. In the meantime, if I were in your shoes, I’d feel the same way you do. You have good reasons to be angry.”
That’s all you need to say, except perhaps to ask her if there’s more she wants to say. If there is, again you listen attentively, with solid eye contact, taking it all in gratefully. What your wife is doing with you, even though it may feel negative, is called emotional closeness. That is the essence of successful marriage.
After a couple begins to renew emotional intimacy and closeness, they may need the help of a competent marriage counselor to problem solve issues. Call me, Paul W. Anderson, Ph.D. at 913-901-9110 and I will help.
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Article Submitted On: March 01, 2010