11 Strategies to Ditch the Anger and Love Your Husband
This Guest Post Is Written By Amy of motherhoodandmiscellany.com
When I was still a practicing psychologist, one of my specialty areas was couples therapy. I enjoyed it, and I was good at it. I liked helping people figure out how to stay present in their relationships and love each other better.
That work was several years, one wedding, and three pregnancies ago. Now I’m married and have three small children myself. I realize that my understanding of relationships at the time I was helping couples, though good, has necessarily improved quite a bit due to bringing kids into the mix of my own relationship……..
I’ve learned much more about being a good partner/spouse since having kids. Before kids, being a wonderful wife was relatively easy (if I do say so myself). I had almost no stress in my life. I was loving, doting, and developing into a pretty darn good cook. I was rarely crabby. Since having kids, now with three under four, I can become quite frazzled at times, and sometimes get downright bitchy, if I’m not careful. I’ve had to be more mindful of my mood and behavior and add a few tricks to my bag to make sure I’m treating my dear husband the way he should be treated. This is not because my husband has changed since we’ve had kids. He hasn’t. I have.
“The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was, nor forward to what it might be, but living in the present and accepting it as it is now.” - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
And therein lies the first important tip if you find yourself too often mad or crabby or bitchy with your husband: Usually the anger isn’t really about him, it’s about you. So, if you experience more anger and irritation with your husband than you’d like, try these tips to let it go, stay present in your relationship, and get back to enjoying him:
1. Don’t expect your husband to read your mind. If you need help with something, you can’t expect that he will miraculously know it. Ask him for it. This can be a tough one. There are times when you might have several screaming children hanging on you, all asking for different things at once while he is calmly watching football with a beer in hand and all you want to do is scream “A little help here????” Don’t. Take a deep breath, and try to just ask for it.
2. Don’t expect your husband to be a hairier version of you. If he does something to help out, be grateful instead of getting annoyed that he didn’t do it the way you would have. I’m kind of picky about the way I want my dishwasher loaded. My husband doesn’t do it the way I do. But he does it. So lucky me. Period.
3. If you do get mad about something, don’t keep going over it in your head. Continuing to think about why you’re mad, what you should have said, why you are totally right, etc. only serves to increase or at least maintain your anger. Do something else to distract yourself and get over it.
4. Stop being righteous. Even if you know for sure that you are right about a certain matter, stop being so focused on proving it and getting him to agree. Most arguments are a matter of perspective, so you’ll probably never be able to do either.
5. Ask yourself, “What is more important? This thing that made me mad, or my marriage?” Sometimes you just have to let things go because they really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. Do you really need to pick at your husband because he left his socks on the floor? Is it more important for him to pick up the socks or for you to maintain connectedness with the one you love? Just pick them up and move on.
6. Don’t complain about your husband to your friends. Many times I’ve heard women get together and go into these group rants about their husbands. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth every time. It’s one thing to talk to a close friend about something that’s bothering you once in a while. It’s another thing to get into community husband-bashing on a regular basis. Keep your marriage within your marriage.
7. Do date night. Just do it. Don’t say that you can’t afford a sitter or to go out somewhere. Make date night a non-negotiable part of your budget. Save a little here and there to get a sitter. Do something free. Pack a picnic lunch, take a walk, go fishing, whatever. Just get out of the house with your husband to do something together. Regularly. The connection that comes from this helps to minimize any little irritations that might otherwise fester.
8. Be hands on. Make a point of touching your husband whenever you’re near him. It can be very brief. Put a hand on his shoulder when you walk past, for example. Do this as much as you can. Even when, no, especially when, you’re mad. It will make both of you feel more connected and it’s a good way to diffuse anger.
9. Even when you’re mad, distracted, tired, or whatever, always kiss him good night and goodbye. Always.
10. Pay attention to anger cues in your body. When you get irritated do you clench your jaws? Purse your mouth? Hunch your shoulders? Notice when you have angry tension in your body and make a point of releasing it before you communicate with your husband. If you roll your head around, shrug your shoulders a few times, shake out your arms, and put a smile on your face, you will find yourself becoming noticeably less angry.
11. Remember that whatever your husband is doing that’s making you mad is most likely not intended for that purpose. Likely it’s not about you at all, and he probably has no idea it’s bothering you. Stop taking things personally. Period.
In every marriage there are times when partners get irritated with and angry at each other. When you add kids into the mix it can be hard not to get lost in the day to day stress and frustration and let these impact your relationship in a negative way. These tips embody my way of keeping my focus on the here and now and not letting the little things become big.
People used to ask me, as a couple’s therapist, what is my single most important piece of advice for couples to maintain harmony? Usually people expected me to say something about “Communication.” And sure, good communication is important. But before you can communicate clearly and effectively, you need to be able to think rationally and keep anger at bay. The most important thing, what is underlying almost all of the tips above, is not taking things personally. Get out of your own head and just love your husband. The rest will fall into place.
What’s your best anger-busting strategy? Do you agree with these strategies? I would love to hear your thoughts here.
Amy is a stay-at-home mom to three gorgeous little girls under four years old. Before marriage and children, she was a clinical psychologist. Now she focuses on raising her girls, loving her husband, and pursuing her passion for cooking, photography, reading, and writing. She writes about motherhood and more in her wonderful blog; Motherhood and Miscellany.
Thank you so much Amy for sharing your wonderful knowledge! I truly enjoy your amazing writing, your vlogs and beautiful pictures of your gorgeous family!!