From time to time, you and your spouse may get a little ... should we say, peeved, at each other. It's late in the day, your spouse has had all their wrong buttons pushed far too many times, and you think he or she is just about to explode — or perhaps already has. Your little misunderstanding, or disagreement, was just enough to push him or her over the edge ... and he or she snapped — big time.
All of a sudden, things are beyond reasoning. Your spouse is completely irrational and there doesn't appear to be any way you can improve the situation. What do you do next? Check out these 10 tips for dealing with an irrationally angry spouse.
Quite often, the best thing you can say is nothing! Rather, just sit back and listen. Let your spouse vent his frustrations and get whatever is bothering him off of his chest. He may just need to feel like someone cares about his opinion and is really listening to his point of view. So, become that listening ear.
2. Be patient
None of us are perfect. From time to time, you're going to have to put up with your spouse's imperfections — just as they put up with yours. Sometimes when a person reaches his or her breaking point, all those imperfections seem to come out in full bloom. Regardless, be patient with your spouse — he or she will come around.
3. Get some fresh air
We once heard someone tell the story of an older couple where both spouses were still in excellent health. Someone asked the couple how they had maintained such good health over the many years. The husband responded, "When my wife and I were married we made a deal that anytime we had a disagreement one of us would take a walk and get some fresh air. I largely attribute our good health to a lot of fresh air over the years." It's a humorous story, but wise advice.
4. Try to see things from his or her perspective
Try putting yourself in his or her shoes. How would you feel? Would you be upset, hurt or offended? How would you want to be treated? What would you want to change? Considering the situation from the other person's perspective can provide valuable insight and help you be empathetic, rather than judgmental, of his or her feelings.
As tempting as it may be to fly off the rocker yourself, and begin telling your spouse how ridiculous she's being — don't. It won't help. Retaliation will only feed her fire and make things worse.
6. Stay calm
Rather than becoming irrational yourself, stay calm. Take some deep breaths and retain your composure. Remember, it takes two to tango. Regardless of how your spouse is acting, stay in control of your own emotions. Eventually, his or her fire will run out of fuel as long as you don't feed it.
7. Don't get offended
It's quite possible that in the heat of the moment your spouse will say something he or she doesn't really mean. It might be rude, unfair and uncalled for, but try to let it roll off your back. In moments of frustration we've all said things that we regret. So, rather than getting offended and holding a grudge, just let it go and remember that he doesn't really mean what he's saying.
8. Give him or her some space
Your spouse may just need a little space and some time to cool off. So be accommodating of that, and go get yourself some ice cream (or get your spouse some ice cream). No doubt, a little space and time can calm feelings and benefit both of you. If you're having a heated discussion, table it and come back to it when cooler heads have prevailed.
9. Don't laugh
As funny as it may be to see your spouse pouting and throwing a tantrum like a 3-year-old, don't laugh at him or her. It will only worsen the situation.
10. Show him or her some love
Perhaps the best thing you can do is to simply love your spouse — even in his or her least lovable moments. There's nothing quite like love that can break down barriers and resolve conflict. Give your spouse a huge hug. Hold him or her tight. Maybe you can even try kissing it out of them!
While these suggestions certainly won't solve every tough situation, they will help. It's important to note, however, that there's only so much you can do. Under no circumstance should abuse of any kind be considered acceptable or be tolerated. If you find yourself in an abusive situation or relationship, we would strongly encourage you to seek out professional help. There are many wonderful resources available to help individuals struggling with abuse — you are not alone.
Aaron & April are the founders of Nurturing Marriage, a website dedicated to strengthening marriages. They enjoy playing football with their two little boys, watching sports, eating cereal late at night, and going out for frozen yogurt.