Marriage Advice

What You Can Do About Your Anger in Marriage to a Filipina

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The negative impact of anger in marriages is considerable.  A brief look at just a few of recent studies demonstrates how harmful excessive anger is to marriages.

l. For example, research demonstrated that a 10-fold increase in risk for symptoms of depression is associated with anger and marital discord. Excessive anger in marriage is also associated with increased blood pressure, impaired immune function, and a poorer prognosis for spouses with coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. Psalm 37:8 tells us to cease from anger….

2. Another study revealed that angry outbursts is a contributing factor to depression and related physical and emotional illnesses in the other spouse. “The more hostile and angry behavior exhibited, the more depressed the spouses were after three years.” (Proulx C. et al., 2009.).

Couples need to learn how to express and acknowledge anger while managing and containing it to avoid hurting their partners, says Nancy Hudson of the Ohio State University.  She suggests to begin by being open and honest and using “I feel” statements to help you communicate your anger to your spouse appropriately. There are practical, workable things you can do to avoid letting your anger get out of hand.  It starts with making a commitment to do whatever it takes to put an end to angry outbursts and belittling your partner.

Best Ways to Deal With Anger In Marriage to a Filipina

The best way to resolve inappropriate expressions of anger in marriage is to first get to the root of the anger problem. Have you ever been hurt or emotionally wounded at some earlier stage of life? Have you ever been the victim of verbal, mental, emotional, sexual or physical abuse?  Or perhaps not allowed to express your feelings, ideas or opinions.  Often the root cause of anger problems is a cover-up for hurt and pain. It serves us as a protection against being vulnerable and hurt again. In reviewing the following list of root causes of anger, do you see any that might apply to you?

Deal With Possible Root Causes of Anger:

People have repeatedly let you down

Trauma or loss

Impulsivity and lack of self-restraint

Feelings of entitlement

History of being repeatedly treated unfairly or unjustly

Neglect or Abandonment as a child.

Unforgiveness toward other(s) and resentful thoughts and feelings

Unmet expectations

Fear or anxiety

Depression or Bipolor Disorder .

Blaming others and/or unwillingness to accept responsibility

From a source from a link in the description box-About handling situations when you are angry.

1. Use “I statement” feeling terms, but don’t use “you.” (My example)
“I feel resentful that you haven’t gone to your doctor yet to check that out my love. I want to understand if I can help you set up an appointment, because I will feel relieved that you are taking precautions because I love you so much and don’t want to live without you.

2. Count to ten before speaking.
This will help you choose your words more carefully and not say something you will regret. (If you are able, take a walk, go for a drive). If you’re in an airplane the count to ten method will have to do!)

3. Implement the I-Thou. 

Catch” the other’s feelings, trying to feel them yourself. Surprisingly, this makes the experience of those feelings actually diminish. This is powerful because it is really the only way a person can impact another’s experience with feelings of anger in relationships. (This one actually resonates with me. There have been times I realized that it would be helpful if I tried to understand things from my wife’s perspective. This usually happens after I have had a chance to calm down and think about it. Have you ever said when you were upset-I wish you would try to see things from my perspective or I wish you knew what this was like?)

(Recently we had a doozy of a dilemma as far as I am concerned. My wife has talked to me about going to a different shift than she has been working on, reversing the hours from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. to 6:30 am. I was already feeling physically and mentally run down due to a medical situation but time was of the essence and we needed to deal with this. Basically, she desired this shift and I did not, and had strong feelings about it. We both had our reasons for the way we felt.)

(My first reactions when I learned how serious this was, was to be angry. I decided that I wouldn’t fight her on this even though I had made my case of why I thought it was a terrible idea. I didn’t side with her because I am a big softie. I reiterated to her that her wellbeing was my top desire and haven’t put restrictions on what her “wellbeing” involved. In this case, I started out accentuating my well-being, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I didn’t hide from my displeasure, and I think initially I was calm about expressing it. She even agreed with me at one point.)

(I have been aware of why this is important to her, well aware. Every time she tried to talk to me again about why she feels she needs to do this, I countered with why I thought it would not be good for me and that this was looking like one of those few times when I simply could not allow it, for the good of the relationship and could make a good case for it, but we weren’t in court. I kept thinking about myself, how this wasn’t good for me. Now I never let go of her opinion and her feelings. Part of me wanted to be open to this for her sake. The issue for me was that we would not see each other as much. Since her work schedule was alternatingly three days one week and four the next, it wasn’t like I was almost never going to be with her. That was also an important consideration.)

(I asked myself if really would be a disaster waiting to happen. I tend to be the type of person that “catastrophizes” which is way of saying I tend to think the worst could happen in a big situation like this. I could just see us growing apart. I am not getting younger and I love every minute I get with my dream Filipina, like I often tell her, “I have very strong feelings for you.” I felt like it would be like that every single day for the rest of my life, even though I knew in 6 to 8 years we might retire in the Philippines. I’m thinking “what a mess”.)

(Thankfully I also tend to be analytical and while my wife wasn’t around, did two things. One was to remind myself of the five main ways I could see this change from my wife’s perspective. There are some real plusses for her. She had heard how I felt about it personally. The other thing I did was to remind myself of my commitment to her and my desire to want to live up to that. I reminded myself how I had already done that in certain ways that I considered large sacrifices for her-I have a video called “My Filiipina wife’s needs come first-and you’ll find the explanation for why that is.)

(I can’t go into detail, but I believe this move would be good for my wife in a handful of ways, that really hasn’t been difficult to understand, I was very concerned about myself, and that’s ok, but we were in a stalemate and I had to decide what to do. I made the decision to let her do this once we both had been heard out. Sometimes, someone simply has to make a sacrifice. Often, I tell my wife we need to make decisions based on what is best for us as a couple, not as an individual.

That goes both ways. Once this was out of the way, she said that if after a certain period of time it isn’t working (she might not like the yo-yoing hours) she would switch back. If it isn’t what she was expecting, she will respect me immensely that I put her above myself. I firmly believe that God rewards things like this. And for those who will see this and exclaim that I a big simp-I have made it clear that I am the one who is responsible before God to mandate or to allow what is in the best interest of our marriage. That means I do not get to do what is best for me. It has been said that boys do what they want to do and men do what they have to do.)

4. Practice active listening.
Repeat back what you heard in order to confirm you understood, and affirm your partner’s feelings.

5. Connect physically.
For one, hug, and do have sex. For many women, this may involve a bit of fake it ’til you make it, if the situation is in the process of being resolved but isn’t there yet. For most men, sex actually serves to alleviate resentment because it’s a form of connection in its own right.

Even though you both might not be in the same emotional place during the resolution process, connecting physically can help. In fact, some marriage counselors suggest that if the marriage is on a downswing, have sex at least once a day. The scheduled connection might put things in a different light and aid in resolving resentment.

6. Meet on a bridge. 
This can be metaphorical and also realistic. In order to channel resentment into empathy, the “understanding bridge” will need to be gapped. Integrate the idea that “we both have to be on this bridge together.” We really can’t see what our partner is feeling until we get out on the bridge. The more steps you take, the more you can see the middle “hump” of this bridge, where you both come together in understanding the other. In order to actualize this place of mutual understanding, one idea is to literally go to a bridge nearby.

Pack a blanket and a light picnic snack, go to the bridge, and talk things out. The relaxing setting and fresh air can lend itself to openness, as well as taking things less seriously. The bridge has the advantage of serving as a successful means to reconnect.

7. Engage in daily empathy actions.
Empathy is not necessarily the default feeling and needs some retraining to become par for the course. Routine empathy can be actualized by checking in with our partners about how they are feeling, looking them in the eye, and regularly giving the benefit of the doubt. Once empathy becomes intrinsic behavior, resentment often becomes a thing of the past. (What are you thinking, feeling, believing, experiencing)

In an upcoming video I will analyze my poor test score I mentioned earlier and learn how to be a better husband here on Love Beyond The Sea.

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