I was a little irritated with my husband today. Actually, I was very irritated as I walked out the door to have my “alone time” at Starbucks to work on my blog.
It all seems silly now, but it turned out to be a good reminder of how I should handle my anger, especially when it’s directed at my spouse.
It all went down like this.
I was working part-time through last December, and right around the time I decided to quit my job, I read a book written by one of our pastors Kerri Weems called Clueless 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Motherhood Before Becoming a Mom. In this book, she talked about the importance of moms having “alone time” set aside regularly, away from children and household duties, where she can spend her time in a way that rejuvenated her. For me, it’s blogging and exploring my “artistic side,” currently through photography. I shared this idea with my husband, and of course, being the super supportive husband that he is, he had no problem with making this “alone time” happen for me once a week.
We decided this would happen on Monday afternoons. During this time, I escape to the library or Starbucks and work on whatever I want (usually my blog). However, it was not able to happen these last few weeks due to various reasons. I was really looking forward to resuming my weekly “alone time” today. Well, Mondays are Allan’s “day off” (technically) from his main job, but he’s a man who wears many hats and he’s usually busy for the first half of the day running errands for our home business. Things ran later than expected with the errands, and he came home later than I had expected. He also mentioned that he needed me to pick up some packaging tape while I was out.
Here was the cause of my irritation: I felt that my precious, sacred “alone time” that I was entitled to was not treated with much priority. What’s worse, it was going to be cut even shorter by an errand I had to run for him. I found myself in a bit of a steamy mood, and frankly, I didn’t even want to kiss him as I walked out the door (but I quickly gathered enough calmness to give him a quick peck).
Here’s what I did with all that steam.
1. Take myself out of the situation. When I’m in middle of a situation that’s making me mad, my emotions take over and it’s very hard to think logically. I walked out of the house as quickly as possible.
2. Pray and seek wisdom. Even after taking myself out of the situation, I still can’t think logically and wisely on my own. I need an objective standard that will keep my thoughts and emotions in line. God’s wisdom is perfect, mine is not.
3. Evaluate my own mood/heart. First of all, whenever I’m this quick to get irritated, it usually means I’m approaching that unfavorable time of the month. I know that my mood had a lot to do with it, since I’ve also been irritable with my children in the last day or so. I also examined my heart. Does my anger come from a selfish place in my heart? If I was to be honest, yes, it did. I did not care about anything else that was going on. I felt entitled to have my alone time, and I wished he had not interfered with that priority. In marriage, I think it’s always dangerous to be at a place where I feel “entitled” to something, instead of being “thankful.” I had forgotten to be thankful for the privilege of having this “alone time” in the first place.
4. Evaluate the intent of my spouse. Was he trying to interfere on purpose? Absolutely not. I’ve come to learn that with guys, there’s usually no hidden agenda. He became consumed with his tasks, and he came home as soon as he was able to. He noticed that he needed some tape, so he asked me to get them. In his mind, there was nothing more that took place.
5. Examine the situation objectively. This is a place where I wish I arrived at more quickly, but it usually takes me a little bit of time. Here are some questions that I ask myself.
-Was this an intentional offense? No.
-Is this something that’s habitual or a unique incident? Unique.
-If it does become habitual or it keeps bothering me, is it something I can talk to him about? Yes, he’s always open to what I have to say, and I’m confident that we’ll reach a compromising agreement as usual.
-Are there other factors that I’m not seeing or considering? Yes. My selfish anger was keeping me from being thankful for all that he does. He works hard for our family so I can stay home. He allows me to have this weekly alone time, not to mention all the trips and events he’s allowed me to participate in, while he stayed home with the girls. And honestly, how long was it going to take for me to pick up some tape?
-Do I have a good man? At the end of it all, I always try to come back to this question. And the answer, without a doubt, is YES!!
Now after processing all this, I have quickly transformed from someone who barely wanted to kiss him into someone who can’t wait to go home and give him a big smooch. I know…women, right?
I do believe it’s important to process my anger (and talk about it to my spouse when necessary), because it has a way of building itself up into a monster if I choose to suppress and ignore it.
So how do I decide if it’s something that I need to talk to him about, versus something to just process and let go? I will be addressing that in my future post. Stay tuned!