The Cost of Your Anger
“The fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left. He shall be the servant of a wiser man.” (Proverbs 11:29 TLB)
RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – I had a buddy call me from the Great Lake States several months ago. We talked about his job in medicine, the pressures to generate enough dollars for his business, and life in general. We got past our mutual concerns about healthcare and the country, and moved on to a conversation about families.
A few minutes into our conversation my friend told me he was having marital problems. His wife apparently had a problem with staying within their budget. It seemed to him that she made herself feel better by spending money. They have had numerous conversations about their budget, and yet she continued to go out time and time again and spend.
As we talked I asked him how he was handling things. He told me that with all the pressures of his medical practice, and providing enough income for his family, he had grown less and less patient with her. I then asked him what that looked like and he admitted that it led to more frequent outbursts where he belittled her. His outbursts at times bordered on verbal abuse. He knew it was wrong, but what she was doing was wrong, too.
My friend admitted that he struggled with his tongue and temper. To compound the problem, we discovered his wife liked to be affirmed with words of affirmation. He liked to be affirmed with physical touch. The cycle had started to spiral out of control where he would lose his temper with her and his words beat her down. After one tongue lashing de jour, she lost any desire to hold his hand or show any physical touch toward him. Frustrations grew. Things continued to spiral downward.
We talked and I encouraged him to replace his biting words with words of encouragement. I could almost feel his scowl at me through the phone. I asked him to quit trying to fix her, and instead to work on himself. I also encouraged him to consistently spend some time each morning with God, and to pray FOR his wife. We talked a little longer, and agreed to talk again in a few months.
A few months have gone by and I just finished talking to my friend again. I asked him how things were going and he said much better. He had started praying for his wife, as he spent some time each morning with God. He admitted some of those times were hurried when in the car, but try he did. He found that he criticized her much less, and in place of biting words, had started using kind and loving words. She in turn had begun responding in a positive way, and for the first time in a very long time, he was hopeful.
I asked him what he thought the catalyst was? He admitted it was a combination of spending time with God, taking time to pray for his wife, and because of the first two, getting control of his anger.
Wonder what it would look like if more of us tried that?….
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. (Proverb 15:18)