Anger in Marriage


Lately (the past month to be exact) I have been angry pretty much all of the time. My husband and I are expecting our 2nd child this Christmas, our 2nd anniversary is this weekend and he starts school full time next week. I have been trying to prepare myself for the huge undertaking I am about to encounter for the next 4 years of keeping up the house and kids on my own - on top of both of us working outside the home full time.

The bliss of newleywededness is beginning to wear off and it’s getting down to the nitty gritty. He has not helped around the house in the last month, sex is one-sided in his favor, and he often sloughs off his responsibilities and obligations to our little family in favor of ‘me’ time - a luxury I have not been afforded in some time.

On several occasions this last month, I have really wanted to send him packing to his folks - if I could run away, I would, but I have no family in town. I especially am not looking forward to going out this weekend for our anniversary - our marriage is not a cause for celebration for me at this time.

Logically, I know that we really just need to work things out and it’s about time we had a good fight . . .we do not really have a good communication system and I realize that we may have a rough time getting to that point and I can accept that, but in the meantime I’m going mad. I have been praying a rosary every morning before I get up, and a divine mercy chaplet on the way to work. I picked up a little prayer from one of the other threads on anger asking ‘God bless them, God change me.’

I know in my head that love and happiness are things we choose, but I was not brought up learning how to do this and I am struggling as an adult to learn this technique to living. I have broken down many times after my anger settles down and I have told him how and why I’m upset. He apologizes, but if he does do anything to alleviate the situation or help out, it is only for a short while and he is back to his selfish, lazy ways (IMO).

I had to have known what I was getting into when we got married, he must have too. He likes to spend hours upon hours on the computer and I am uptight about keeping the house tidy - I am especially anal about this because it is difficult to keep odors and bugs under control in our house. But we are how we are and with him starting to school next week where he will really not be around at all from sun-up to sun-down, I am growing ever more anxious to resolve these issues - just how do we live w/ each other’s ‘quirks’?

I know that I really just need to pray, pray, pray, but sometimes this feels like such a simplistic and cliche answer. I want tangible things I can do - I know I can’t change him, so what do I do in the meantime to deal/cope?

Just need lots of prayers right now.


That I can help with. I will pray for you in all that you are experiencing. Pray fro a change in you because that is all you can change.


Are you sure you “need a good fight”, or do you need to learn how to have dificult discussions. No one enjoys a confrontation, and often it is easier to let our emotions control us at that time. We’re already upset about the events and it’s easy to let it become a smack-down session.

Couples who are able to have rational discussions about difficult times are those who are able to work through the issues. Others, like me and my DW, are unable to have really meaningful discussions and so the issues are never really dealt with. We do not have the marriage we might have had if we had mastered this skill.

Isolate your major core issue, resolve to be rational and limit the emotions, then sit down and discuss ONE issue with your spouse. Don’t let the discussion spill into the usual many paths that arguments take. Continue to focus on the issue and be specific. Relate your feelings and desires and - if possible - have a suggestion that might improve things. Then, listen. Let your DH speak his mind, but try to keep him focused on the issue you’ve chose. If he goes off path say, “That’s important and we need to discuss that too, but can we please just try to take one major issue at a time?” Be sure to make time for his issues later.

Try not to argue, that just leads to words that have no meaning, but are meant to hurt.

Learning to have reasonable discussions about hard topics is a skill. I can honestly tell you that had we been able to do that we might have a very different marriage.


JL, You are immediately in my prayers! Yes, pray! Also seek out physical help. Ask your parish for support. Someone needs to be there for you too. My current pregnancy is making me absolutely crazy. It has been difficult since day one. My own husband feels terribly burdened from the extra responsibilities heaped on his shoulders, but he does do them! We are both more tired and short-tempered than we have ever been. We have nowhere near the stress you have. This is our second child in 5 years and I stay at home. I have terrible health problems in general, but I am able to do some things just because I am there. God bless you!

You did make this choice to marry this man. I don’t know what examples you have of authentic marriage, but seek them out. Marriage and children are tangible! They are just on loan from God though. Don’t pick a fight with your husband, lead him by example. When he acknowledges his role as an authentic man, he will step up to the plate. You can’t MAKE him do that though. Real men are men of service. They serve God and His Church. They serve their families in leadership not tyranny. I pray that your husband is one of these men and needs only a nudge from the Holy Spirit to get there.

Let me see if I can give you a small chuckle on how bad it can get even in very good marriages:

On our 5th anniversary in April I was particularly overly emotional and behaving very out of character for me. DH and I had been each other’s nerves for awhile. I was sick every day from pregnancy and neither of us was terribly rational at the time. On the day of our anniversary we got into a weird fight about so many stupid things. My husband pointed to my pregnant belly and these words actually came out of his mouth, “This is the last baby you’re ever carrying!!!”

Oh the rest of the day was awful and the next, and the next. Normally we resolve conflict in 24 hours or less and never more than 48 hours. It took us a week to reconcile that! What a way to remember our 5th anniversary! I can already chuckle about it now, but at the time, WOW, I thought we were done!

God bless you. Get some extra outside help and you are in my prayers!


This is not logical and this is not healthy…this is you frustrated and at the breaking point. You do not NEED to have a good fight with your husband. People tend to lose control and say hurtful things, this is not healthy for your marriage.

Is there any possibility, any possibility at all that you can cut out some of the outside stressors? I cannot imagine two full-time jobs, two small children and full-time school, your schedule must be insane…this is why you feel like you are going insane. Can you opt for staying home or part-time work? Can your husband enroll in school part-time? I cannot imagine life for four more years like you describe, something has to give. Maybe you have already considered this alternative. Just a thought. I am at home and never thought it could be done. I will pray for you.


It sounds to me like you married a man who married a woman.

When men get stressed they want time alone to retreat and process. You get upset by his retreating and want to communicate. When women get stressed, we rarely retreat like men do; we talk in order to process our thoughts and emotions.

You do more housework because that housework is important to you; he occassionally does some because housework is important to you. He helps as you ask, but only for a time because he’s stressed and needs time alone. Time alone is important for him, but when he takes the time alone that he needs, you get angry. Then he probably needs yet more time alone to process his response to your anger. You don’t want him to have the time alone that he needs because you may not understand that he needs time alone as much as you need communication. If talking together means you express your dissappointment in him, (which may be how he understands your stress), he won’t want to communicate with you. If this pattern continues long enough, he may think that nothing he does will ever be good enough, so he may not even bother trying to talk with or please you.

There are two books, written from a Christian worldview that I strongly recommend by Shauni Feldhahn: For Women Only and For Men Only. Feldhahn’s books are small, easy reads (with a pull-out cheat sheet in the front of the men’s book so they don’t even have to read very much to hit the main points.) The problem is likely based on the fact that the two of you don’t really understand the differences between men and women. The secular book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus might also be helpful.


He needs time alone. Well guess what? SO DO YOU! I don’t think most men have any concept what it is like to take care of children with no help for days on end. They have no perspective in that regard. My xh has been a “father” for 17 years and to this day has not taken care of his own children for 36 hours without his mother or my help and participation. I don’t count driving halfway across the country, eating in restaurants, staying in hotels and bringing the dirty clothes back for his mother to wash.

You are at your breaking point. Do not fight. You need to have good communication techniques. Do it on his terms. Use the computer. Shoot him an email. Keep it all in writing. Sometimes that makes you think more clearly than when you are talking.

This is the framework you write in. Numbered sentences.
When you… I feel…

  1. When you come into the house and go to your computer and ignore me for hours I feel lonely and isolated.

  2. When you do not help me with the housework, especially when I am pregnant and tired, I feel overwhelmed and I feel like I am just the hired help.

  3. When you have sex with me on your terms and for your enjoyment, I feel used and devalued and less likely to want to have sexual relations in the future.

  4. When you only help for a day and then go back to lying on the couch, it makes me feel your heart is not in this marriage.

  5. When you do not help it makes me feel angry.

That kind of cause/effect.

Keep it on the specific behaviors he does and how it makes you feel.

Be prepared for a list right back from him:

  1. When you yell at me it makes me feel like a child.

  2. When you burst into tears at me it makes me feel manipulated.

Yeah, you’re pregnant and emotional and he might say some things that are nasty, but be prepared for that.

Find a Retrouvaille in your area. Go before things get worse.

Don’t let your prayer life slip.

Good luck.


Being angry is a signal something is wrong that you need to pay attention to. The anger is a gift, like pain is a gift that makes you pay attention to the thing thats wrong, a thing that could become much worse if you ignored it. So probably something is wrong with your marraige, or something is wrong with your expectations. But the anger is a gift!

I really reccommend Gregory Popcak’s book, For Better or Best. Popcak is so wise, and he has EWTN radio and TV programs. He talks about each type of marriage, which are on a scale, and the hope is, even if you are low on the scale, its possible for a couple to move through scales of marriage types to get to a higher kind of marriage. It is interesting to read about where your marraige is on the “scale”. Maybe that would help you clarify the problem more on your mind. So embrace your anger: its a gift. Just don’t* sin* in your anger. Being angry, not sinning in it, and patiently praying for wisdom about it, will be fruitful.

Popcak has telecounseling, and he is one of the few counselors I would trust with my problems. I’m not sure, but I think the first consultation might be free. I have heard him address problems of difficult husbands on his call-in radio program, and he seems to cut right to the heart of the matter, with much wisdom.


I couldn’t help but think. Could this be your hormones out of wack because of the pregnancy?


I was thinking the same, not that this behavior of his is unfounded, but you may not be having the same patience because of your hormones… I will pray for you hun…

Huggies, Lori

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