I’m so grateful to Andrea Stunz for joining us today from her blog, “Empty Plate. Full Heart.” to candidly share her story of anger within her own marriage. Read as Andrea explains how she realized the source of her own anger and the healing she sought and found in herself and in her marriage.
Go back in time with me…
We fall in love. We exchange rings symbolizing eternal unity. We say our vows and enter the magnificent covenant relationship of marriage. Bliss!!
For like three minutes… until the bottom falls out and we find ourselves needing to be reminded to love one another.
Why? Because we are a selfish people. At our core, we want what we want and we want it now. Observe any toddler for 2 minutes and you’ll be reminded of this quality in yourself. Anger comes both naturally and easily.
Enter 1 Corinthians 13.
The “Love Chapter” was not written specifically for marriage, but simply about living a life of love. However, I believe it is so often used in the context of marriage because we need to be reminded of how to love in the marital relationship more than any other.
Ironic, isn’t it?
It is no secret that the person we love the most is the person who also has the ability to push our last button. The person who can make us the angriest. Our spouse is who we spend the most time with, share with, sleep with, live with. The reality is that they have more chances than anyone else to make us angry. The odds are not in their favor.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the theme of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is placed between chapters about using our spiritual gifts in service to one another and worshiping our Creator.
The kind of love that is sandwiched between service and worship and bound up in love. This kind of love “is not easily angered.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5
Paul did not say love is not angered. There are things that happen when we love someone who absolutely make us angry (rightfully so).
Paul did not say love is always angered. There is definitely something wrong if we find ourselves living in a constant state of anger.
Paul DID say that love is not easily angered.
Temperature and Timing
During the holiday season, I make peanut brittle. Loads of it. I make it the old-fashioned way like my Granny did and how my mom taught me. I don’t use a microwave or a candy thermometer. I put the ingredients into my favorite old pan to which my dad soldered the handle back on, turn the heat to just the right temperature and stir with my favorite Oneida serving spoon just like the one my mom used to use.
When I think it’s close to time, I lift the spoon into the air and the liquid sugar forms a perfect thread which is an indicator that this batch of peanut brittle will be just right.
From experience and training, I know how long it should take and what it should to look like. If I turn the heat up too high and cook it too quickly, I run the risk of ruining the batch. Temperature and timing are crucial.
There was a time in my marriage when anger was my state of being. I was in a painful situation, not of my choosing, and it hurt. My pain came out fighting. What I’m going through hurts, it wasn’t my fault, this isn’t fair and someone needs to pay. In my mind, that someone was my husband. My anger was like a flaming dart, and it took him doing or saying the littlest of things for me to eagerly release it.
Through counseling, I learned that my anger was directly related to pain. (If this is the case for you, I urge you to seek wise counsel, find out why and deal with any underlying issues.) To be clear, the reason for my anger was valid, but I was quick to react in anger rather than respond in love.
Over time and through hours of counseling, I began seeing the reflection of a wife bound in anger. She was an angry, bitter, and unkind woman. Regardless of what or who had hurt me, something needed to change. I needed to change.
Reacting out of anger is in opposition to responding out of love.
Certain types of anger are not wrong. We’ve established that, right? There are injustices in this world that should 1000% make us angry but how we react when anger bubbles up – this is the key. There is an anger that promotes change and there is an anger that brings destruction. A “love not easily angered” differentiates between the two.
It is impossible for us humans to experience love without experiencing conflict. There will be issues in our marriage that will spark anger. Paul knew this. God knew this. So they reminded us to respond in these times on low heat rather than reacting to them in a rolling boil.
A love that adds just the right ingredients and stirs them up over just the right temperature; this a love that spins the perfect thread and serves up a pretty sweet marriage.
A love not easily angered; this is a love that I desire to live.
Andrea Stunz is a wife, mom, a mother in law and a ridiculously proud grandmother. She is a well-traveled stumbling pilgrim in need of coffee, a gorgeous sunrise and all the grace. She’s a story-lover and a story-teller who finds hope in Colossians 1:17. Connect with Andrea on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter and find more of her writings at www.emptyplatefullheart.com.