I have to admit, I struggle with anger often……I can feel it rise up in me sometimes and it can be scary and funny. It makes me want to have a Jerry McGuire moment and freak out on everyone around me and make a scene. The source is usually my kids acting up, but it makes me feel like a ticking time bomb. I’ve done quick studies in the bible about anger and verses like Ephesians 4:26 “In Your anger do not sin”. But I like when it talks about Jesus going into the temple and being super pissed that they were selling stuff. He starts tipping tables over. When I think about others’ sins, I like that Jesus reaction! Yeah, throw that table at that molester or that murderer. That is a Jesus I can get behind!
Teasing out the reasons for anger and the proper balance of it is sooooooo hard! What does REAL godly anger look like? I have read that anger is often a secondary emotion for us humans. Guilt, Inferiority, Fear, and Trauma are the main culprits that cause anger. As I went through my divorce, I had several bouts with anger. Not only because of the above primary emotions, but also because it is a phase of grief. My question for this post is: “How do you handle your anger as a spouse whose partner is struggling with sexual sin?” By the time I found out my ex-husband had a porn addiction and was having multiple affairs, I knew that God had released me from the marriage due to his abuse and control (also a sign of sexual addiction) . There was so much heaped on the pile…abuse, lies, adultery, porn. The hurt was heavy and I grieved for a long time. There were several times of incredible anger and hurt. That seems so far now that I have been walking this road for a while. All I can say is God is faithful in helping us experience full and complete healing. It does not mean that the anger fades quickly or that it just goes away. You have to work through it and give it to HIM…some days every second.
As I said it has been awhile since I have walked the road of this kind of anger and pain. So I asked 4 of my friends who have been or are going through this in the past years or even months. I appreciate their different perspectives and how they have dealt with their anger. Here is what they had to say………
“Okay, regarding anger that comes as a result of my husband’s sexual sin, I feel I have been protected. My strongest emotion has never been anger, but rather sadness, grief, and pain. However, waves of anger have hit me several times in the last 4 and half months since my husband’s revelation. I know that my anger is justifiable even biblically speaking because of the adulterous and betraying aspects of pornography; however, I believe that allowing that anger to remain is not God’s best for me or our marriage. Anger is looking backward, not forward (see Phil. 3: 13, 14). My husband is not my enemy. . . “our struggles is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” (Eph. 6: 12). I realize this may be easier for me to say than other wives because my husband told me in repentance. Whenever anger comes over me, I pray against it. I tell God how I feel and that I don’t want to feel that way, and I ask God expecting Him to please take away my angry feelings. He always does. I made a decision to not allow myself to meditate on thoughts of the past, of my husband’s sin, just as I don’t want him to focus on the sin or its past. I call out to Jesus and/or repeat Scripture whenever Satan puts those thoughts in my head. God is greater than our hearts (1 John 4: 20) and will give us victory over our emotions and thoughts. I’ve also thought about how it’s really a sad and pathetic misuse of a great and beautiful gift that God has given us in marriage. I believe it is important to remember that you and your spouse are a team, not enemies, in order to defeat this ugliness together. God restores the beauty and greatness of every aspect of the marriage when both partners hand the anger and pain over to Him. Your husband needs your encouragement, not your anger. “
“I wasn’t hugely angry when I found out, for me I just got really sad:(. I had to make sure I didn’t let Satan tell me all kinds of lies like, it’s your fault, he never loved you, you deserve better. When I started thinking that way I would literally say-behind me Satan! !!!!!!! I also got prayer( laid on hands kind) weekly from my pastors wife who had dealt with it too. I prayed about it constantly so that I wouldn’t become bitter. I would tell Ryan every time I started worrying about it or needed more questions answered and he always obliged be because he knew I needed complete openness after feeling super lied to.”
“My husband and I were both in agreement that I had every right to be angry about the lying and the secrets and the damage that his addiction had done to our relationship. I struggled to keep from tearing him down in my anger. Something that really helped me was reading the first few chapters of a book called “Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti.” It explained how men compartmentalize everything they do while women think like spaghetti and every thought and action is linked to lots of other ones. It gave me some insight into what was going on in my husband’s head. I was in no way connected to his addiction, and he had put them in such distant compartments that he was certain his actions weren’t affecting me or our relationship. This helped me to separate his feeling from me with his poor choices. He wasn’t doing what he was doing to hurt me. He was doing it because he had an addiction. I eventually realized that, and I didn’t feel as hurt. Then I was better prepared to support him through his struggle. Whenever I got angry again, I tried to remind myself that his intention was never to hurt me, and he needed my support to conquer his addiction. “
“ My initial feelings following my husband’s infidelity and abandonment were deep grief and confusion. It wasn’t until a few years later that I started feeling intense anger at him. And this was after my life had moved on in many ways. I have wrestled with this feeling a lot and have realized that I do myself and God no favors by pretending I’m not feeling these ugly things. I am both aware that my feelings are real and legitimate and that they also need to be laid at the cross and put into submission to Jehovah Raffa, my Healer. I am learning that being honest with ourselves and the Lord is the fastest way to experiencing the thorough healing and refinement that God desires for us. And after all the carnage, don’t we want to come out better, stronger and as a clearer reflection of our Savior?”