If you've been married longer than one day, chances are you've been mad at your spouse at least once and they've been mad at you too.
When two imperfect people are put in close quarters and regular contact with each other (which should be happening in any marriage), 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!
We all get angry sometimes, but we tend to make our worst decisions when we're angry or frustrated. Below is a basic checklist of a few things to do and a few things not to do when you become angry with your husband or wife:
1. 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 spouse guess why you're mad. Talk about it. Communication is the first step towards healing.
2. Take responsibility for your part
There might be a few rare occasions when the problem is 100% the fault of your spouse, but the vast majority of time, you will have some responsibility too. Take responsibility for your role in the mess and it will be easier for your spouse to own up to his or her part.
3. 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 spouse is 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 their pain.
2. 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 spouse and don't get your friends together and complain about your spouse. 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 marriage.
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.