How Husbands Can Beat Their Anger and Get Their Strength (Sexiness) Back
This post this week is primarily for the married men among us…HOWEVER, I highly recommend you read it even if you aren’t married. I wish I had 11 years ago. But that’s okay. Here we are now. Jesus is still king.
I’ve heard people say, “Marriage is a great mirror that shows you what’s REALLY going on inside of you.” It’s a magnifier that surfaces certain things (mindsets, beliefs, emotions, etc.) that you may never have been forced to deal with when you were single.
We men get ourselves stuck when we start seeing certain struggles in our marriage and think it’s ONLY a problem with the marriage. The truth is—and the path of freedom is—that those problems are actually YOUR problems.
That sounds harsh, but it’s actually quite liberating. Men…many many men…find themselves in positions of weakness and powerless self-pity as they continue year after year wishing their wives would change. “If only she would be more this or that. If she would cook dinner more. If she would have the house clean when I get home. If she would initiate sex. If she would just HAVE sex….then I would be fine.”
“After all how could anyone expect me to be functioning at my optimum capacity when my wife doesn’t…”
I’ll tell you how: You’re a freaking man. You are able to function at top speed no matter what. So don’t blame anyone, especially your wife, for your act not being together. It’s self-pity. Or does the Bible NOT actually say we are more than conquerors? Does it NOT actually say we can do ALL things?
‘Cause it does.
So if you are not conquering, if you are not growing into more and more badass-ness (sorry but there’s not really a “nice” word for that), then the burden lies on you my friend.
The Anger-Complain Cycle of Marriage
What happens when we men misplace our anger on our wives is that we grow bitter and butt-hurt and powerless. All the while, we wait around for someone else (our wives, our bosses, our doctors) to make our lives better and rescue us from the thing that isn’t our fault.
We subject ourselves to the authority of another. We beg and complain to our wives about these things that we want, and we do it from a position of inferior servitude hoping our wives will bestow on us the key to our happiness.
But, men, we’ve got to learn how to stand in our rightful place of confident, unapologetic strength. Then we can communicate our desires as if we actually have worth and our words deserve to be listened to.
So back to this concept of marriage being a magnifier of what’s going on inside…
What do you do when you notice in yourself this anger rising? And it doesn’t seem to go away. You notice that you’re operating in a low-grade “I hope she gets it right today” mentality. And you try to not let it out, you try to not be mean, you try to pray it away.
But it sticks. And soon enough she feels it. And then you try to share your feelings and desires but by this time they’re so couched in your stale anger/bitterness that she can’t hear your heart anymore. And you walk away feeling like your anger is justified because she doesn’t hear you. Yet, at the same time you know your anger (which is now leading to downness, melancholy, a suppression of your true inner joy) is not right, which is why you tried to just get it to go away in the first place.
Now this inner conflict of justified yet sinful anger is pulling you into thoughts of “What the hell kind of man am I? Why can’t I just ——ing function?!”
The Wrong, but “Christian” Way to Beat Anger
The answer that I thought was right FOR YEARS was, “I just need more deliverance from my selfishness. I’m so selfish. If I could just die to myself then I wouldn’t have any desires to be hurt about in the first place. Jesus deliver me from my selfishness!”
But what we’re really doing is trying to get Jesus to erase a part of us that he intentionally designed. He put our desires within us. He put our desire for intimacy and heat in our marriages within us. He designed us to enjoy being made to feel like a king by our women. So why would he erase that?
Stop asking to be delivered from your selfishness. That’s likely not your answer.
A New, Better, Dangerous Approach (that Jesus endorses)
Instead, ask him to give you a new value for those very desires that you feel angry about. See, the reason you are so spitting mad and bitter and acting like a pouty little boy is that you feel guilty for even having the desires in the first place. So you feel like you can’t say them. You feel like it’s selfish to assert the way you’d like things to change. You don’t want to overstep and be demanding of your wife…’cause that’s not like Jesus. Heaven forbid that you EXPECT anything of her.
I’ve got some really good news for you though. This is the EXACT opposite of how Jesus engages in relationship with us.
What about how he gave up everything and didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped and made himself a servant, lowly and nothing?
I hear you. I know. I’ve had those same questions.
And then my counsellor pointed out to me:
God engages in relationship with us on the basis of his expectation.
Think, 10 Commandments. Think, “If you want to know me, then you must obey my commands.” Jesus said, “If you love me, you’ll obey me.” In fact, he values his own terms of relationship so much that when we couldn’t meet the terms, he didn’t abandon them and say, “You know, you’re right. How selfish of me to ask so much of you. Six hundred and whatever laws are too many. I’ll just forget it and only focus on what YOU want.”
He said, “You can’t meet my terms? Well they aren’t changing. So I’ll do the most extreme thing imaginable in order to MAKE you able to meet my terms. Because I will not accept anything less than holy. Can’t measure up? Then I will MAKE you holy. Take it or leave it. If I were you, I’d take it because it’s a pretty darn good deal.”
He enters into relationship with his own desires for how his bride can best love him. And he makes those desires very well known. He asks. He prods. He never relents. He applies pressure. He enables. All in love. All in confidence. All in utter self-assured security.
He’s not bitter. He doesn’t whine. And he doesn’t apologize.
And this is all while SIMULTANEOUSLY meeting our wildest dreams.
Change it Now
But your belief system, brother—the one that says that your having desires is wrong—is what leads to you secretly expecting that your wife take responsibility for YOUR well-being. Because if you’re not allowed to advocate for yourself, then, damnit, she’d better do it. And when she doesn’t, then YOUR unhappiness is HER fault.
So stop apologizing to Jesus for how bad a husband you are. Stop apologizing for being so selfish. I know it sounds risky and un-Christian, but try it. The worst that can happen is that you stay hurting.
Stop praying to be delivered, and ask him to give you a new perspective. Maybe your desires are good. Maybe they matter. And maybe you are given the all clear to voice them.
If she doesn’t like it, oh well. That’s her problem. But you are comfortable in your skin because you are redeemed and honored by Jesus himself. And you will continue loving and meeting her wildest dreams because that’s just who you are. You’ll have a high view of you AND of her. You’ll meet her needs AND expect that she meet yours. I wonder what that would be like!
Stop being mad at her and get angry at the lie. Get angry at…”How could I not have seen this?! How could I have let this get here?! No more!”
Turn the unhealthy anger/bitterness into a productive anger/resolute determination.
So here’s a challenge:
Take some time to write down a list of your desires for your marriage. Not what you wish it wasn’t…because that’s a good recipe for whining and self-pity. Write down confidently what you want to see in your marriage. Thank Jesus for your good insight about what would be good in your relationship. And thank him that your desire for more sex, more affection…whatever…is actually GOOD. Good for you. And good for her.
Own your man-ness. Your woman needs it, even if she doesn’t know it yet.
Let me know what happens 🙂