The Angry Wife

conflictIt seems nothing works with her. A kind word is met with a rebuff. Touching and lovemaking are out of the question. Any little thing (or nothing at all) seems to set her off, and she’s willing to shout, accuse or cut down at a moment’s notice. She’s an angry wife, and she’s not alone. Plenty of marriages are falling apart, largely because of a husband’s sin, a wife’s ongoing anger over the sin, and the couple’s inability to deal with the fallout.

What to do?

In fairness, let’s first admit that some men and women are simply angry people. Their propensity towards raging was there before the marriage existed, and for reasons known or unknown, they’ll be angry no matter what unless they decide to deal with it. In cases like that, whatever a husband did is probably not the real issue. She’d be mad at him for any number of other things, or nothing in particular.

But in too many cases, a wife who’s discovered her husband’s adulterous behavior , porn use, or other sort of sexual sin, remains angry for months or even years, not because she’s unwilling to forgive, but because there are important things she feels her husband has never done, or said. Here’s a couple of problems, along those line, that I often hear wives complain about.

“He’s never DONE anything to correct the problem.”

The man who gets caught using porn or having an adulterous relationship may throw a holy fit to show how sorry he is – tears, chest thumping, groveling and roses to boot – but may also be unwilling to do something concrete to insure the problem won’t be repeated. It’s not the emotional meltdown which inspires trust – it’s the foloow through, the patient, daily recommitment to doing what’s right and resisting what’s wrong.

Two decades ago a well known minister modeled this point  perfectly. He’d been caught a prostitute, so the following Sunday he went before the cameras of his live television program and declared, tears streaming, his sorrow and anguish. It was pretty emotional stuff, but when his denomination then asked him to take some time for counsel and restoration, he refused. In short, he was demonstrative about his sorrow, but negligent when it came to redemptive action. Any woman married to such a man is likely to remain distrustful; unresolved; angry.

“He’s never SAID anything about the pain he’s caused me.”

My wife loves her china, so she understandably doesn’t want me anywhere near it. I mean well, but no matter how gentle I try to be I tend to chip or break the fragile dishes when I try washing them. Once I dropped and broke a piece she dearly loved, then apologized briefly and stupidly, something along the line of, “Oops, there goes the little flowery number!”

Bad move; even worse words. Because I hadn’t just broken an object. I’d deprived her of something she loved which couldn’t be replaced. She was angry long after I apologized, until I realized I hadn’t apologized for what really mattered. It was only when I told her how sorry I was for what I caused her to lose, and how I realized it meant so much to her, that we were really able to move past the incident.

The moral? “Sorry about that” is what you say when you accidently stepped on someone’s foot. More needs to be said when you’ve broken someone’s heart.

So if you have an angry wife, don’t be too quick to assume she’s just unforgiving, bitter and mean. Ask her plainly, Is there something I still haven’t said or done that you’re waiting for? You just might get a much needed education from her answer.

Comments

  1. This is more on time for me than I could begin to express…

    Thank you.

  2. Sometimes the apologies have been made, repentance expressed both to her and to God, but even so it’s not enough, time is another component. I’ve learned that regaining trust takes a time commitment. It just hasn’t happened overnight. I’m most grateful for a wife who has graciously forgiven me and has been able to trust me again after I confessed my sexual sins to her 9 years ago.

    Your words have been a very real blessing to me, Joe.

  3. “Talk is cheap,” as the expression goes. Its correlative might be, “And corrected beahavior is costly.” But it will never be catch on. Thanks for the thoughtful words, Joe.

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