What I learned from my score-I have developed high blood pressure this year and am taking medication for it. It had been fine but has been increasing for a while. I don’t know why. Some things are clear from the results merely by looking at the answers as they are aligned one on top of the other and analyzing them from left to right.
There were 3/25 that bothered me not at all to a little bit. Those tend be situations where there was an honest mistake by me or others. The moderate column is where I put some dots where I wasn’t particularly moved one way or the other or where I thought I needed some more information to be able to “move the needle”.
Most of my points accumulated in the “Very Much” category and have always as long as I’ve lived involved either a lack of closure or some kind of misunderstanding that I am unable to resolve that involves someone being rude or unkind. In other words, a lack of closure. Whether it is being stuck in traffic or someone thinking I did something that I didn’t, what angers me the most is a lack of resolution or a lack of understanding. Same difference. Unable to complete a task or unable to be understood.
How can this help me in my marriage to my Amazing Aiza? I need to reach a point in an argument where I understand it is fruitless and unhealthy to try to go any further. I've done the best I can, that’s all I can do. That’s hard to do because deep down inside is this sense that if I try harder or do something different, I can get the result I want. It bothers me if I am misunderstood because that means incompleteness, I feel like I need to be more convincing.
This tendency or bent or character flaw (the flip side is intense effort to accomplish something, and that’s a good thing), can be problematic in an argument where I feel like I can’t make my wife see things my way, or that something isn’t getting done. Either way, I feel like there is unfinished business, which makes me want to try harder but at some point, that becomes insane for me to. My wife is good at getting things done, but if she drags her feet on something that makes me irritable. If I ask her to make an appointment with her doctor or get a video on our home construction in the Philippines, and she hasn’t, that gnaws at me. It is critical I understand that especially when married and see how that could make me hard to live with and try to deal with this.
I had a score of 80 although it was lower a couple of other times I did it but this is the result after I had thought more about the questions.
1. Keep proper perspective.
Anger typically comes from a very narrow place; expanding your view usually dilutes the intensity. Will you go hungry tonight? Do you have a terminal illness? Remembering what is important can help check your temper. (I agree big-time! I have thought how would I feel if I lost Aiza? I can’t imagine anything worse than that. It also gives me substantial satisfaction meeting her needs)
2. Imagine yourself as a three-year-old and visualize yourself having a tantrum.
3. Do something incompatible with losing temper.
Some guys sing a song (in their head); others make a cup of coffee; some guys read a favorite passage of Scripture or a feel-good wise saying; others pop in their ear-buds and listen to their favorite song. The bottom line, you can’t go up and down at the same time.
4. Walk away.
Simplistic solution? Yes. But taking time to collect yourself is always a good thing. If you are really angry, go for a run.
5. Call your mother.
Or your best friend, your pastor, or anyone you trust. The point is, refocus and allow yourself to be re-directed.
6. Go and get a glass of water for the person (and yourself).
We’re talking about the application of grace. It’s tough to be over-the-top angry when you are serving the object of your anger. (Here’s what I try to do, no matter what and sometimes the enthusiasm isn’t as strong after a tiff. I have made it a habit to tell her I love her before I get out of bed in the morning. I hope she comes to expect this. I sneak back into bed before leaving for work for another five minutes of snuggling up to her.
Sure, most times it’s not difficult but I need to train myself to do the best I can to not act one way with her when things are great and a different way if we are dealing with something. I also tell myself that I never want my “I love yous” to sound contrived and insincere and being engaged in some kind of conflict can test that resolve, but that’s exactly what is needed, a proving ground.
Religious or not, this is a great strategy! A) You’ve shifted focus B) God now has your attention C) Prayer is incompatible with losing your temper.
8. Count backward from ten but with this twist.
You’ve heard of counting to ten. Now try counting backward. It requires more concentration. Plus, imagine one alternative to blowing up for every number: Ten – “I could write a letter to his supervisor.” Nine – “I could tell him about the time I was a kid and broke a window with a baseball.” Eight – “I wonder what would happen if I apologized, even though I’m in the right?”
9. Concentrate on breathing.
Inhale slowly, hold your breath for five seconds, then completely exhale slowly and wait five seconds before repeating the inhale and exhale three times. This physiological exercise is proven to reduce pulse rate and lower blood pressure. That might be all it takes for the temper temptation to pass.
10. Write this list on an index card and put it in your wallet for immediate reference.
The odds are good that you won’t have to read more than two or three suggestions before losing your temper seems like a poor option, given the alternatives.
My example-I have such a strong drive to settle things sooner rather than later, and right away would seem best to me, but when this gets blocked, I have resorted to sounding off with certain words to show my pain. Normally, I don’t consider in the heat of the moment that I have just made things worse! Remember earlier when I explained how much I like closure? I have heard it said that anger is a goal blocked and depression is a goal impossible. That would aptly describe much of the 30 years I was alone before getting married.
That would mean that when I am angry it helps to analyze if some kind of goal has been blocked. Even ask “if I am angry that a goal has been blocked, why emotions are coming into play? When I was single it probably involved wondering if God had forgotten about me, if somehow others were better, if I wasn’t being forgiven for something that happened long ago, or if I just didn’t “have it”. Obviously, not being convinced of any of those left me bewildered, angry, and after this goal of marriage had been blocked long enough, the inevitable depression.
What are some of the most common mistakes husbands make in the heat of the moment? In Part 4 I will show you a list of typical mistakes and how we can correct them, right here on Love Beyond The Sea.