Dealing With Angry Husbands

Dealing with angry husbands is an issue not many people like to talk about. Having an angry spouse can make life difficult and can damage the family system. But there is hope! Being aware of what is causing the anger, having some patience, and doing some hard work, can help your family overcome the anger that has seeped into it.

Dealing With Angry Husbands

Image reads "dealing with angry husbands" shows a wife comforting her husband

One of my popular talks at conferences is Winning the Heart of Your Child. One of the things I mention and talk about is the problem of parental anger. I discuss the fact that when a parent has an angry spirit toward the child, and doesn’t make it right, it usually causes the child to close their heart to that parent, and often nudges them towards a path of rebellion.

After my session was over at one conference, a mom came and asked me a question, while 3 or 4 other moms were standing there. She told me that her husband has an anger problem, resulting in harshness towards the kids, and she wanted to know what she could or should do about it.

The other moms standing near commented that they had the same situation, and weren’t sure how to handle it. I don’t claim to be a pro about this, but here is what I suggested to these dear ladies.

1. Don’t try to change your husband. 

It never works. Pray that God will change you, and that your heart and attitude will be right. Then you can ask God to reveal to your husband how his anger is hurting his relationship with the kids.

How do you love an angry man?

2. Ask God to open the door for you to share your concern with your husband at the right time, and in the right way. 

What makes a man angry all the time? There was a time when I pointed out to my hubby that he had been rather hard on one of the kids. He kind of sighed, liked he was annoyed with me and admitted that he knew it. I mentioned it to my pastor when I was counseling with him about one of the kids, and he said, “Do you want to know why he responded that way? Here’s how a man thinks:  ‘Man, I messed up again!’  He wasn’t mad at you for telling him, but he was mad at himself.”

Then he went on to tell me that even though he doesn’t like to hear when he’s messed up with the kids, he has given his wife the freedom to tell him if she notices him being too harsh, or over-reacting. Even the husband will admit he doesn’t like dealing with angry husbands. (Meaning himself!)

That made sense to me. Our husbands want to be good dads and feel bad when they mess up, just like we do as moms. However, if your husband hasn’t given you that invitation to point things out to him, then IF you do, it should be very rare and worded carefully.

How do you respond to an angry husband?

3. When you see your kids are hurt by the angry responses of their dad, talk to them about it. 

My husband came from a family of 14 kids, and his dad was an angry, harsh man. He loved the kids. He worked hard to care for them, but affection was never shown. Therefore, my husband has had struggles with an angry spirit, and with showing affection to the kids. He has mentioned to me at times how bad he felt after he had responded or reacted with anger. When he realized he had done it, he would normally go and apologize to them and make things right.

However, there were times when he wasn’t aware or meant to apologize but hadn’t yet. I would then make a point of talking to my kids about the situation. I never said anything negative about him but reminded them how much their dad loved them. And I also mentioned how he works very hard every day to provide for them.

I encouraged them to remember he loved them, and then suggested they should go to him and let him know how his words or outburst had hurt them. I wanted them to learn how to go to a person who has offended them, and I also knew he would apologize and make things right when they expressed their hurt.

By the way, it’s important that we stand together as a team, and don’t criticize our husbands to our kids. (or anyone!)  Undermining your husband will in turn undermine your own authority, and if you disrespect him to the kids, they will do the same.

4. Have them write him a little note expressing their love for him, and their appreciation for his hard work to provide for them. 

This helps take their focus off the hurt, and on to encouraging and showing love to him. Dealing with angry husbands means you have to point out the issue, but also emphasize their good character traits. Acknowledge how your kids are hurt by the anger, but help them learn how to deal with it in the right way — go to their Dad about it. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones so they don’t become bitter and focus on the negative only.

How do I deal with a short tempered husband?

5. If your husband is one of those men that is aware of his anger issue, and how it is hurting the relationships in the family, ask him if he’d be willing to read a book, watch a video or listen to a podcast about anger.

Again, be very careful how you word it. In fact, you could even mention how you need it as well. Usually when the husband is angry, it kind of rubs off a little on the wife, and she picks up that angry spirit to a lesser degree. Admitting your need for help in this area might open him up to working together on it.

Click HERE to read a previous post on angry parents.

I hope these thoughts will be a help for you if you are dealing with an angry husband and looking for answers. If you have ideas to share, please feel free to comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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10 Responses

  1. I agree with Innkeeper. My husband is a soldier and anger issues are common, as with many soldiers. I think it’s important for the dad to be the one to talk to the kids – whether he forgot or not, it’s on him to go to them and apologize, just as I do when I lose my temper. To have mom go and excuse his behavior to them, may lead them to disrespect mom and feel that she’s trivializing their feelings. While, yes, we as wives need to side with our husbands, and I agree we should never say anything negative about our husbands to our children, I think it can do serious damage for us wives to do what our husbands ought to. It is my husband’s responsibility to seek our kids’ forgiveness when he screws up as a dad. It is my responsibility as his wife to pray for him, to support him as he works through these issues, and to help him see when he’s done wrong — always in a respectful manner. If I were to “rarely” bring things up to him when he slips up, it does a disservice to both him and our family. He needs to be the strong role model, spiritual head of our family, and I am his supporter, his champion, his friend, and his confidante. I’m not his nag or his lackey. I speak to him kindly, respectfully, and sweetly, but I ALWAYS let him know if he’s hurt the kids’ feelings, as it is his responsibility to make it right with them, not mine.

    Anger issues are extremely difficult – I agree counseling can help, but sometimes just being a praying, helpful, respectful wife who doesn’t just excuse the behavior and ignore it can make a huge difference as well.

  2. My opinion differs. I view your suggestions as enabling your husband to continue his behavior. You are teaching your children that it is OK to use fatigue or low blood sugar or other external stimuli to excuse behavior that is hurtful to others. Telling a child why you think Daddy blew up when Daddy really loves the child can teach the child to distrust your judgement. Your male children will grow up believing that they don’t have to exhibit self control because Daddy doesn’t need to and your female children are learning to make excuses for a future husband’s abusive behavior. Why would I think that? Look at your own words, ” If your husband hasn’t given you that invitation to point things out to him, then IF you do, it should be very rare, and worded carefully.” and your own admission that your husband learned his behavior at the feet of his own father. If your husband doesn’t choose to learn new behaviors and you don’t choose to confront his inappropriate behavior there isn’t much hope of change your household. It saddens me to think that your children will continue to suffer. Perhaps you need to focus more effort on getting your husband to counsel with the pastor if secular resources are unavailable or unacceptable to you.

  3. Great post! As always, full of wisdom and grace!

    I totally identify with #3 above! I thinks Moms often serve as Peacemaker of the family, helping to defend the father or even one of the sblings to the others, trying to soothe hurt feelings, etc. It’s all in a mom’s job description! 😉

    THanks for linking up this fantastic post with my Marriage Monday Link Up!

    blessings,
    Elizabeth

  4. This is such a HARD HARD issue. For us though I tend to be the one with a short fuse, and my husband does bring it to my attention when I over-react.

    I felt better about things when I read in one of the Duggar books (I think it was the 2nd one) that both Jim and Michelle struggled with anger, early on in their marriage (who wouldn’t with that many little kids running around). They gave their kids permission to tell them when they were getting angry, and that helped both of them immensely.

    As funny as it sounds, it’s worked for us here too. As soon as my daughter says, “Mom you need to be slow to anger” I can check myself and apologize for my behavior and then address theirs. This of course only works with parents who accept they have an anger problem.

  5. This is great, and I love the part where you are saying not to talk bad about the husband to the kids by being negative or critical. It can easily become mom and the kids against dad and that is not a good thing!

    My dad had a very bad temper when I was growing up. He was harsh and although we knew he loved us, we were also a bit afraid of him. We actually dreaded him coming home and when he WAS home, we tried to avoid him and stay outdoors as much as possible.

    My dad changed when I got into my teens. He became softer, more loving and laughed more, and blew up much less (he changed his job so it wasn’t as stressful which helped). Unfortunately he had to do some repairing to his relationships with my older siblings who hadn’t been able to live with him once he’d changed.

    My kids can hardly believe the dad that I grew up with. The grandpa they knew was NOT a disciplinarian, was not harsh. He was kind and loving and laughed a lot and made them laugh and was a push-over, lol! I once told my dad “Where were YOU when I was growing up!” Lol!

    Thanks so much for linking up to “Making Your Home Sing Monday!”

  6. Great advice! Respecting our husband is so important. It helps me to remember that I can ALWAYS trust God and His word even though sometimes if feels very difficult to trust my husband’s decisions.

  7. Thank you – so glad it hear it was helpful!

  8. Thank you Julie. Nice to meet you too! 🙂

  9. I love this post. So simple and so sincere.

    I am also glad I popped over here because your name is KathIE. Just like my daughter Kathie who insists on being Katherine now… I still unabashedly call her KATHIE! :~)

    Nice to “meet” you via the CreateWithJoy – Inspire Me Monday linky!

  10. SO SO helpful! Love your wisdom friend! So thankful for you sharing this!
    Much Love!

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