The Waters Between Us
If you have been married, or with your significant other, longer than one day, chances are that you have been angry with your partner at least once and they’ve been angry with you too.
When two perfect people are put in close quarters and regular contact with each other (which is what we all want out from any relationship), then there will be times you hurt each other. In some ways, marriage is like two blind people learning to dance with each other...you’re going to step on each other’s toes sometimes.
I recently experienced a situation with my wife that sent me down a dark path of distrust and abandonment leading to anger and frustration.
The family, 6 of us in total, had planned a day trip to Finland. I had worked out all the details the evening before, going to bed excited for a new grand adventure. Rousing the family at 5 am the six of us diligently prepared to leave the house by 6:15 am in order to make the ferry.
Time quickly slipped by. It was now 6:45 am and we were just calling the Ubers. My wife left in the first Uber with two of the kids while the rest of patiently waited for the second Uber. Yes we need two in order to fit everyone.
I soon received a text letting me know that my wife and kids had arrived at the ferry, gotten the tickets, and were ready to board. I, and the other two kids, however, were still sitting at home waiting for the second Uber (2 drivers had already canceled the ride request, and we were anxiously waiting for the third).
Finally we were on the road. It was 7 am and we had just 30 mins to get to the ferry before it departed. I then received an urgent text from my wife that our youngest child had already boarded the boat, and that they were closing the gates in just a couple minutes. I needed to hurry.
We were close...however the Uber driver took us to the wrong terminal. The correct terminal was a 15 minute walk around the pier. There was no way we were going to make it. The boat, my wife and two of the four kids, sailed off for Finland without the rest of the family.
None of this was done purposely, however, I was know angry with my wife and myself because I thought if we had just kept to the schedule that this wouldn’t have happened. We all know, however, that even this isn’t guaranteed. Everything that happened that morning was totally out of my control, and therefore there was no reason for me to be angry with anyone, especially myself.
I am not proud of how I handled myself when I was finally reunited with the rest of my family in Finland several hours later. The negative energy, which I had told myself I cleared on the boat ride, was still lingering just under the surface. Sadly it took another couple hours before I was truly able to release it (by following the simple ideas below) and just be grateful that my family was safely back together, on a grand adventure, and living an amazing life.
We all get angry sometimes and we tend to make our worst decisions when we’re angry or frustrated. Below are a few basic ideas to do and not to do when you become angry with your partner.
Communicate openly and honestly
Don’t be passive aggressive in your response. Don’t say, “Nothing is wrong” when something is clearly wrong. Don’t make your partner guess why you’re angry. Talk about it. Communication is the first step towards healing.
Take responsibility for your part
There might be a few rare occasions when the problem is 100% the fault of your partner, but the vast majority of time, you will have some responsibility too. Take responsibility for the role in the mess and it will be easier for your partner to own up to his or her part.
Work through it quickly
Don’t let your grudge fester under the surface and then pull it out months later as ammunition in an argument about something completely different. Don’t blindside your spouse with old dirt. Work through issues right away.
Your partner is just that your partner; not your child. It’s your job to call them out sometimes, but it’s never your job to punish them. There are natural consequences for our actions, but they don’t need you beating them over the head or giving them the cold shoulder as a way to intensify the pain.
Vent to others
When your spouse has done something to irritate or hurt you, there’s a natural tendency to complain about it, but it can be destructive when we do it. Don’t get on social media and talk negatively about your partner and don’t get friends together and complain about your partner. That’s toxic!
When your spouse makes a bad choice, it’s an opportunity for you to offer grace, not permission for you to make a bad choice in return. Be quick to forgive. Grace creates a healthy relationship.