Why Anger Is Important
I am for anger. It’s a useful feeling that lets us know a boundary has been crossed. Anger lets us know we need to do something about that. It’s what and how we do it, and in what volume and circumstance that we express our anger, that can make anger constructive or destructive. Anger is like a road sign; e.g., Merge Ahead. That lets us know we need to respond to traffic around us. We don’t stop our car there; it would cause an accident. Likewise, we don’t want to stew in anger, it exhausts us. We can tell our mate that we are angry, and why. We can ask what her intention was. We can give him the benefit of the doubt that while the impact on me was difficult, his intention was good (and hopefully it was).
Escalating and Being Heard
At times, we say, “No,” loudly to get our spouse’s attention. When we don’t feel heard, we often raise the volume. Experiment with raising your volume of anger one notch at a time from 1-10, vs. 0-60. The response will always be better. If that happens, the listener can say, “I’m right here, I’m listening.” If we try to shut down the important thing our beloved is trying to tell us, things will often escalate.
We Need More Than a Hammer
Anger is a great tool; makes me think of a hammer. Anger can’t be the only tool in our toolbox. We need to develop more tools. Everything is not a nail, so we need more than a hammer. As the Gottman research shows, as long as we have the 5:1 ratio of good interactions to poor ones, our marriage can last and be happy. But if too many interactions are angry or anger-driven, our marriage may be in trouble. So use anger wisely. It will serve you well. Photo by