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HELP FOR THE FAMILY

How to Control Your Anger

Your spouse says or does something that angers you, and you try to bottle up your anger. But then your spouse senses that something is wrong and begins to probe. That irritates you even more. How can you control your anger in explosive situations?

 What you should know

  • Giving in to anger can damage your health. Research indicates that unmanaged anger increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and digestive problems. Anger has also been linked to insomnia, increased anxiety, skin problems, and stroke. For good reason, the Bible says: “Let go of anger . . . , for it can only lead to harm.”​—Psalm 37:8, footnote.

  • Suppressing anger can be damaging too. Anger that is allowed to fester can be like a disease that harms you from inside. For example, you could develop a cynical or critical attitude. Such a spirit would make you hard to live with and could seriously harm your marriage.

 What you can do

  • Look for your mate’s good qualities. List three things that you admire about your spouse. The next time you get angry at something he or she does, think about the qualities that you identified. This may help you control your anger.

    Bible principle: “Show yourselves thankful.”​—Colossians 3:​15.

  •  Cultivate a forgiving attitude. First, try to see things from your spouse’s viewpoint. This will help you to develop empathy​—what the Bible calls “fellow feeling.” (1 Peter 3:8) Next, ask yourself, ‘Is the reason for my anger so serious that I cannot be forgiving?’

    Bible principle: “It is beauty . . . to overlook an offense.”​—Proverbs 19:11.

  •  Express your feelings with kindness and tact. Use “I” statements. For example, rather than saying, “You are so inconsiderate when you don’t call to tell me where you are,” say, “I feel worried when it’s late and I don’t know if you’re safe.” Expressing yourself mildly can help you control your anger.

    Bible principle: “Let your words always be gracious, seasoned with salt.”​—Colossians 4:6.

  •  Listen respectfully. After you express yourself, allow your spouse to respond without interruption. When your spouse is finished speaking, paraphrase what was said to see if you understood it correctly. The simple act of listening can play a large role in helping you control your anger.

    Bible principle: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak.”​—James 1:​19.