Anger Won’t Get You to the Truth

In the last post I was talking about handling arguments and the benefit and wisdom of backing off and taking a time out during a super heated battle. When a couple is seriously locked in a battle and the adrenaline is surging, odds are they are not going to solve the problem and usually one or both will say mean and hurtful things that they will come to regret later. And as I said, these words can be very damaging.

My experience has been that many women will take one phrase that their husbands have said in the heat of the battle and rehearse it, hold on to it, and become convinced that “it’s how he really feels deep down inside or else he wouldn’t have said it.” I’ve had women over and over say to me, “He said such and such…” and she is so hurt and upset over it that in some cases it actually leads to divorce.

People will quote the scripture: Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matt. 12:34 NKJ) But that is not what this really is. Words thrown out in the battle are not out of the heart, they are out of the anger. Think about it, if it’s something they would never normally say and it pops out in anger, it’s not what they really think. Honestly, if deep down inside they actually thought it, surely they would have said it before.

Under normal circumstances we men say what we mean. We don’t go around hiding things and then spew it out in an argument and now the real truth has been exposed. True, we can all say some really mean things in the heat of it all, but we don’t usually mean what we say when provoked to wrath! It seems that women believe the opposite—“Ah ha! Now you have finally spoken the truth!” But if anger brings out the truth, and we know that God is for the truth, then one could argue that the wrath of man (or woman) brings forth the righteousness of God.

Such is not the case because scripture tells us in the first chapter of James …for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (KJV) So when a woman is in the middle of an argument with her husband and it keeps getting ratcheted up and up until he finally loses it and says something mean or hurtful, it doesn’t mean that she’s finally gotten to the real truth. All she’s really done is witnessed the guy in “battle mode” where for men, that means you look to wound and hurt the other person. Men are created to be warriors and when a warrior is in combat, he looks for the most vulnerable place and attacks there.

For example, if I am taking on another dude in a tennis match, what do I do to win? I watch him and look for his weaknesses. Say it’s a back hand in the far left corner that he is having trouble returning. Guess where I am going to hit the ball? I’ll play to his most vulnerable place because I want to beat him and destroy him. The same thing can happen in an argument. Ladies, you have to understand that you will not get to the truth in a time of flat out battle mode. Some wives will actually discount everything a man says and does day in and day out, based on one thing the guy said when he was really hacked off in an argument. They think that somehow that one phrase tells her what he really thinks and who he really is. That’s just not the case.

What both men and women have to realize is that while a man thinks “hurt and win,” a woman thinks “get to the truth.” You can still hash stuff out and deal with the conflict, but women, you can’t keep pushing and poking and prodding all the while increasing the level of anger. When an issue escalates and it gets totally angry and insane, both of you need to back off. Men have to remember this isn’t “full on combat” where you fight to win at all costs. Total destruction and annihilation won’t get you points with your wife. Women, have to remember that the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. Anger won’t get you to the truth.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

35 Responses to “Anger Won’t Get You to the Truth”

  1. Cass says:

    Mark,
    It amazes me how well you know marriage. I have been to one of your seminars before so I shouldn’t be surprised.
    My husband and I could have written this News Letter. You have described us and our “style” of fighting to a T.
    Yes I hate it…. I have emailed it on and hope to have good dialogue about it tonight. Thank you for taking time to post so much, I know your helping many!

    Cass

  2. Rob says:

    I tend to disagree with your assessment of only saying hurtful things to win. I, for myself, (I admit that I may be different from most humans out there on this aspect) never never never say anything I don’t mean. My thought is that if I say it now I mean it NOW and I will still mean it 10 years from now. That being said I am very careful about what I say. In a moment of anger what I say I will stick to and take responsibility for. It is what I am feeling and believing. In that sense than the woman’s point of view in your post is correct. They are seeking the truth and if it is coming from me it is the truth. Maybe it is the anger that has finally given you the license to say what you truly think and believe.

    I realize that this line of thinking is very non traditional so let the flaming begin.

    FHG

    Rob

    • Noddie says:

      Rob you almost challange a tirade against you, but on the whole I agree with you (I am a woman by the way). There are things that do annoy or upset one that doesn’t get brought out into the open for whatever reason, and in anger one allows oneself to say what you perceive to be ‘the truth’. Often though what is said is truely meant at the time, but not an hour later when one has calmed down and realised that perhaps anger wasn’t the best emotion to be filled with when you spoke.
      Taking responsibility is very noble, but admitting that perhaps you didn’t mean it with quite so much vigour and apologise is being just as responsible.

      • Rob says:

        Noddie,

        You make a good point. But for me, I may have to apologize for the tone and fashion in which I said something. However I said it and I will stick by what I said. Maybe my thinking is off but if I were to say something and then later come back and say that I didn’t mean it. Which time was I lying? When I first said it? or When I said I didn’t mean it? Guess for me it is more of an honesty thing. Thanks for your comments.

        FHG
        Rob

        • Denise says:

          Rob – I am a woman who feels 100% the way you do. I most definitely can acknowledge that my tone and/or delivery was off but I, too, am very intentional and speak what I mean. Pretty consistently, I’d say.

          I do believe that maybe we are rare birds because I see it at work and in personal relationships where – for whatever reason – people do not feeel safe to say what they truly mean. I try to steer clear of those encvironments when I discover that they are not safe for honesty.

          Thanks for your point of view. Blessings.

  3. Colleen Christopher says:

    Anger is a great topic. One that can rarely be avoided. My ex & I used
    to fight verbally for three hours, then the next few hours would be
    an arguement on who started the arguing. We are now divorced, but both
    first-born. The human spirit is very head-strong & unfortunately, we did
    not have the skills to stop our pattern. We had several marriage counselors. I remember, how exhausted we had become & never even solved
    one problem. After 22 years, I am free of arguing.

  4. Cass says:

    ROB:
    I don’t feel as if you said anything that needs to be “flammed”

    I am also in the low percentages of ppl who actually says what she means, sadly my husband rarely believes that and tries to figure out what i REALLY mean. Its very frustrating. IN fact when we were in counseling with our Pastor he said that my husband was very lucky to have such an open and honest partner. I have faults though, but yeah I say what I mean.. and sometimes I guess others see it as hurtful… I have been told I am “gifted with boldness” but tact is critical. Maybe ppl like us need more work on the tact area?

    • Rob says:

      Cass,

      I can appreciate your comments and not worthy of my flaming. Unfortunately I am not very forthright in general discussions. It is only when I am pushed, do I actually say what I want to. At other times I am very reserved and mindful of what reaction my words will have on another. My mind is always 2, 3, or 4 thoughts and comments ahead of other people in a conversation. I plan my words carefully as to how they will respond to what I say. It is a terrible thing. I have done this for years and am just now starting to be MYSELF and being someone that others will see as someone who is genuine and honest.

      Alas the older we get the more we learn. Why couldn’t we learn all this in our younger years and have all that time to improve and enjoy it?

      FHG
      Rob

      • Brandon says:

        The problem with this thinking is that now if you ever do happen to get caught up in anger and let something fly, your spouse will realize that whatever comes from your mouth is ’100% true of how you feel’, according to you. Goodluck trying to hash that out afterwards :)
        And I think as Mark stated, most of the time men just say what they mean (And this is what I think you are mostly referring to when you say you only say what you mean). But in intense heated arguments, things can fly out of the mouth. I dunno, it looks all noble to say that you only and always speak total truth and exactly what you mean . . . but if you profess that to your spouse and even one time something slips from your mouth, you’ve already kinda dug your grave.

        1 Corinthians 10:12 “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

        There’s nothing wrong with saying “hey look, 99% of the time i say what I mean” but it’s good to cover your ground and say “but if something stupid and hurtful flies outta my mouth in an intense argument, it doesn’t necssarily mean thats how I feel”.
        Just my 2 cents anyway. Always better to be safe than sorry!

        James 3:1-8 “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

        • Rob says:

          Brandon,

          I appreciate your comments. My spouse knows that what I say is what I mean. We have been married for 32 years. In that time I have raised my voice one time during an argument. I maintain my emotions in great check. In that argument I made a statement about how I saw the situation. By most standards it was a very hurtful statement. It was truth and I stood by it. I feel that at times I need to apologize for the manner in which I said something but never for what I say. I pick my words carefully.

          FHG
          Rob

      • sheila says:

        If you don’t mind me saying Rob, if you are constantly thinking of what you are going to say while the other person is speaking then you aren’t really listening to them. Many people do this but to really focus on what someone is saying you have to give them your full attention. This alone can stop alot arguments as people need to really listen to each other. That way we hear them and not what we think they said. I hope this makes sense. I truly respect your honesty.

        • Rob says:

          Shelia,

          I fully understand what you are saying. I have done that for years but am now making a conscious effort to listen more carefully to what is being said and then respond accordingly. What really brought this to light was many years ago I went to counseling and during our discussions the counselor asked many questions. I usually knew what he was going to ask and I already had my reply for him. However after quite a lengthy discussion he asked me a question and I replied “I don’t know”. He smiled and said “I got you” :) Thanks for you comments.

          FHG
          Rob

  5. Karen Britt says:

    Rob:

    My instincts are telling me that honesty in your comments
    is not the issue, rather an avoidance of conflict. However, avoidance
    doesn’t make issues go away, only simmer and boil usually
    leading to a hurtful fight! God Bless

    Karen

    • Rob says:

      Karen Britt,

      You are absolutely correct in the avoidance of conflict. That, unfortunately is a great downfall of mine. I probably do that in order to maintain the “What I say is what I mean attitude”. If you haven’t noticed in my comments is that I am an extreme protectionist. I do not project that on to others but I hold myself to an extreme standard. I appreciate your comments.

      FHG
      Rob

  6. Angela says:

    I agree with your statements. However, what if it is a topic that your husband will not address regardless of being angry or calm? What if he says hurtful things to you while angry, takes it back later, then says that he did mean it? What if you can approach your husband about anything because he will always get mad even though he promises he won’t then says very hurtful things that you can’t seem to get out of your mind and makes you wonder if he ever loved you? How do you talk to a man like that?

    • Therese says:

      Angela, I believe I know of what you experience. Been married over 25 years, we do not talk about the intimate matters unless it is about sex. (which really for me is not very intimate). Unfortunately, from my experience, no matter how it is prefixed or delivered, there will be an all out war. His voice will raise first and blame for spoiling a nice day. I believe it is a matter of respect and validity. Unless a point can be proven by anyone other than myself, it is viewed as “my” problem. All I can say, trust in a good friend, talk with your mom if you can, or even a therapist. As there are so many understanding men, there are even more mean men. It can be a sad reality to know what you want in a relationship will never happen.

  7. Gretchen says:

    Actually…my husband exhibits more “feminine traits” in using anger to attempt to provoke the truth, while I’m the one who usually is the voice of reason, measuring carefully what I say.

  8. Kris says:

    Karen, you make a great point. Conflict avoidance practice is also one that backs off from one of the key elements of what Marriage was designed to do . The relationship of one flesh confronts us with areas that we need to measure against what God commands us in areas of sacrifical love and obedience to HIM . Often is a person is selfishly seeking to live their lives in an independent way to avoid obediece to this and other commands that are useful to LORDSHIP in marriage and then the overall will of God anger will be the response.

    Look at what happened time and again with the WORD was spoken.Those hiding and seeking to cover their sin respond in anger , accusation and denial.

    Sometimes it is just the outward manifestation of the inward sinful idol deflecting the ‘hurt’ of the truth of God’s Word …which is likened to a SWORD revealing the thoughts and INTENTIONS of the heart…first to the person who DOES love it ..and then as they speak it {weld] it to others. It stings when the sword of truth hits an idol of the heart. Those that love GOD love this and seek this process, Those that are still OF and IN the “flesh’ have a carnal mind that is going to war as it is ‘enmity ‘ against GOD and must be submitted to God in order to appreciate this sort of ‘warfare’ which is actually surgical love upon our hearts, souls,mind and all we do and are.

    Thus the wisdom to marry “in the faith’ but if not the Word is still the truth and we need to put on the WHOLE armor of GOD in order to stand in every day …which in THIS world IS the ‘evil day’ and having done all to STAND .

  9. Christine says:

    Mark,

    I liked this article….

    How do you then get through an issue that ends up turning into an argument because the husband always seems to be in attack/combat mode? The wife has an innocent question or statement, does NOT want to get into an argument, but ends up there all the time because the husband responds this way….. This promotes distance, the relationship is always on pins and needles, and then,in the end, the question or issue is never really answered. My husband’s work is never done. He works every day on the computer and I feel half of the combat response is because he doesn’t have the time or want the take the time to deal with anything else in his life (box thing)

    Got any tips? (I hope this makes sense.)

  10. Lisa says:

    I am cracking up!! Talk about conviction! This is totally me and my husband. I feel bad that I do heat up matters thinking it will get me to the truth! I am so busted on this! Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing this to light! I didn’t realize that this is what I was doing and I totally repent and ask God to forgive me. Thank you Mark–I know God used you to bring change into my marriage.

  11. Heather Smith says:

    Hi! I saw you on TV last nite. You were so funny! After 23 yrs of marriage, I couldn’t agree more.On an absurd note, John+I drink too much beer (at home, no car, no kids).We both sound like idiots when we argue. It’s the beer talking! We don’t remember a whole lot the next day! I think God put us together together to argue away our deeper emotions. Occasionally, I would “tape” the arguments. Didn’t do any good. I did institute a few years ago a new policy: When we fight, we will also use the words: “Sweetheart” + “Darling,” like: Darling, you !#!X#! The one thing I notice about familiesis that they don’t think their families deserve. Good Manners–the words Please+Thank You. For everyone else, yes, but not their families! It’s sad. I judge situations by actions, not words. Joke: He’s no Prince Charming, but I ain’t no Princess Charming either! Heather

  12. Audrey Dunham says:

    Your laughter is good but at the same time we have to find God that does not allow hate, wars, sucidal bombings and nuclear weapons.

    Children that did not ask to be born are suffering due to adults doing
    nothing to elimate all these things fast. All adults including me.

    Bless you.

  13. Ellen Myer says:

    I saw your show today about showing feelings. I think you are way off base.
    Laughter is good. I agree there. But I was taught to NEVER express how I felt. My father beat me. I married a man who could not express his feelings. We had many miserable years. I would try to tell him what upset me and he would ignore me because he called feelings “the f word”. It was ridiculous. We loved each other and could not communicate. I went on an antidepressant. It helped. Then our daughter died and we both wanted to die. He died 4 years later of cancer. 13 years later, I am still here, and in therapy trying to learn how to express how I feel instead of letting people walk all over me, intimidate me and be allowed to use or hurt me. Yes, deciding what you want is true, but gut feelings tell us when something is wrong, or off. God invented feelings. Jesus showed an array of feelings- joy, love, anger, pain, fear. I think you are very far off line with this one.

  14. Anna F. says:

    I saw the last 4 minutes of your show today, 9/30/09, and I am convinced that our Almighty Father God led me to you. I could go on and on about my wonderful marriage and it is good, however, your piercing words enlightened me to the truth of understanding men. I immediately looked up the website and found this powerful blog. I hope I can pull myself away to do my commitments today. I will be back. Blessing to You. acf

  15. Joseph H Camerlengo says:

    I watched your show for the very first time yesterday (sept. 30 2009). I enjoyed it very much and will look for it again. I will be married for 3 yrs. wed. oct. 7 2009 and have caused many problems to my wife, but she hasn’t given up on me yet. I wish I was more like her. I just found out my son, my firstborn, was married on the same day and year. Whats incredible is we don’t know each other and I haven’t seen him in 30 yrs. when he was 6 mo. old. We live a 1,000 miles apart at least. Keep up the good work and give GOD all the glory. Joseph Numbers 6:24-26

  16. Tom says:

    We’ve had what I call “cyclical arguments” in which we always come back to the original hurtful comment,each cycle becoing increasingly heated and hurtful. These arguments only create heat and not light and we need to learn a different approach. We are working on it.

  17. Rhonda says:

    For women, in most cases (not all), when they are in an argument, they say what they’ve been holding their tongues about. So, (again-in most cases) we mean it, we’ve just been too nice to say it, but when we’re pushed (whether it be by a man or a woman), it comes out. Even then, we usually don’t like to say it, it’s just the only way we can get someone to back off. It’s like poking a bear w/a stick. Women fight better w/words than fists. We don’t like to say hurtful things in most cases even when we mean it because most women can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. I don’t know if men do that or not-I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, I just really & truly don’t know if they do that.

  18. Bobbie says:

    I don’t think that is always true. I think in the heat of an argument saying something extreme doesn’t always mean that it’s what you feel deep in inside.

    I think that saying things that are hurtful is just a defense mechanism. It doesn’t always mean they’re true, it’s just something we do to ‘one up’ or push the buttons of the other person in the argument.

    I’m guilty of doing this in the past. I’ve said some nasty and untrue things to my husband when arguing just to be hurtful and to push his buttons. I’ve felt horrible afterwards and have apologized. It’s just human nature.

    I’ve since learned to get a hold of my emotions and I have also learned to have a constructive argument without saying things that are purposely hurtful.

    • Nikki says:

      The sad part is I think its usually one party who says the hurtful things while the other just sits and takes the abuse. I treat others like I want to be treated and i know that hurtful words are abuse. Being angry is no excuse to treat another human being like they are nothing more than trash.

      • laila says:

        That is so true. Sometimes when you are angry things are said that you don’t mean. I have that problem myself. It hurts so bad to hear the person you love say things so hurtful to you. You can’t take back things you say cuz even years later I remember things my man has aid to me. It ruins relationships how do you think before opening your mouth??

  19. Mary Jose says:

    My husband and I had an argument recently about some changes I made in the house when he was away. He said things at that time in anger and he repeated it also when he was not angry.So what a man says in anger may not be right but may be what he truly feels.As you said anger does not solve problems.

  20. Nikki says:

    My boyfriend has said some very terrible things to me, things that have just broke my heart little by little. I would like to believe that he truely never means what he say. And that. And that the love I thought he had for me would make him regret things he has said but when I ask him he says he is not sorry and has no regret. I dont have anyone to ask for advice thats why I am here reading. Truth be told everyday I know it takes its toll out on my spirit and heart.

  21. Renee DeMoss says:

    Good Stuff…push me to the breaking point and I will spew out everything you have ever done to offend me to support my case against you, prove you are wrong, and I am right. What does it accomplish? Nothing, he doesn’t even get mad.

    My husband says little but what I have utterly forced him to say, and if it is hurtful – I remember it forEVER.

    It’s not really a good method to argue.

    Much also depends on what country you are from – do the flagpage.

  22. laila says:

    There are some good points made here. How do you deal with all the stress of broken promises. I don’t have any security and I’m scared to waste my life away on somebody that doesn’t really love me. What do I do?? Help me plz

  23. Rama says:

    I think we all have a myriad of thoughts and emotions inside us. some good, some bad. But in normal circumstances we exercise control over ourselves not to act on the bad thoughts. When we’re angry, we’re vulnerable – we may not be able to suppress the bad thoughts which we may be able to suppress at other peaceful times. Thats why things happen in the heat of the moment – whether they be harsh words or harsh acts.

    In the heat of a battle, we’re too focussed on that one thing which we’re fighting about – step back and see a bigger picture – if there is one thing that you dislike, there may be 20 other things you like? And if so, thinking about those 20 good things, will help to dilute the bitterness for that one thing you’re fighting about.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>