Husband’s angry outbursts source of family stress

My husband has an anger problem and gets upset over the littlest issues.

Q: My husband has an anger problem and gets upset over the littlest issues.

He’s not abusive, but he lashes out with words. Our family walks on eggshells around him. How can I help him?

Juli: Although you can’t get your husband to change his behaviour, you can influence him.

The first thing you can do is help him understand the impact his outbursts have on you and your family.

Many people live by the “sticks and stones” rule, minimizing the effect harsh words have on relationships.

At a neutral time (not when he’s upset), tell him there is something you would like to share with him. Preface your statement with a softener like, “I know you may not be aware of this, but . . .”

Then explain how his outbursts hurt you and get in the way of feeling safe with him. He may or may not receive your comments well. Even if he doesn’t acknowledge what you say, he may think about it over time.

Second, as much as he’s willing to allow it, help him identify the true source of his anger. It’s easy to dump anger and frustration on family members when the genesis of those feelings comes from somewhere else.

For example, how much stress is he under at work? Are finances contributing? What was modelled in his home growing up? Asking the right questions can help him make some of these connections.

Finally, be prepared for the next time he gets angry.

You have the right and the responsibility to stand up for yourself and your family if his words become harsh and hurtful.

I highly recommend two books that will help you know what to say in the middle of a tense situation: Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend and Love Must be Tough by James Dobson.

Q: I’ve been dating the same girl for five months. We’re getting serious, but I’m not 100 per cent sure about it.

Some of my married friends knew they’d found “the one” after only a couple weeks of dating.

Jim: Some people “know” sooner than others, but don’t feel like you have to be on the fast track.

You and your girlfriend shouldn’t feel pressure to make a decision any sooner than either of you is ready. Marrying my wife, Jean, wasn’t a tough decision. Once I knew, I knew.

More importantly, once she knew — I knew! But that doesn’t mean I didn’t invest a great deal of thought and prayer in the process.

People decide whom they’re going to marry using two things: their head and their heart. In the words of author John Thomas, it’s “a little bit of art and a little bit of science.”

Your head helps you address the practical matters.

Do the two of you have similar morals and values? Do you have compatible views on family and parenting?

Do your friends and family members have any serious reservations about the other person? Do you both believe that marriage is a lifelong commitment? These are all things that you can work out in your head.

Listening to your heart can be more tricky, but it’s just as important.

If you’re considering marriage, it’s safe to assume that you already have strong feelings for your girlfriend.

But do you have peace? Does she share that peace?

I’m not suggesting that you won’t have butterflies. There are plenty of things about getting married that can cause stress, even if you’re marrying the right person.

But through prayer, introspection and discussion, you both need to have peace in your hearts that you’re doing the right thing.

The road to marriage is full of emotion.

But if your head and your heart can find agreement on that special person, there’s a good chance you’ve found “the one.”

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family, host of the Focus on the Family radio program, and a husband and father of two.

Juli Slattery is a licensed psychologist, co-host of Focus on the Family, author of several books, and a wife and mother of three.

Submit your questions to: ask@FocusOnTheFamily.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read