He who is slow to anger is better than the might, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. Proverbs 16:32
Some people never pass up the opportunity to get upset with their spouse when something goes wrong. They take full advantage of expressing how hurt or frustrated they are. This reaction is the opposite one of love.
“To be irritable means “to be near the point of a knife”. Not far from being poked. People who are irritable are locked, loaded, and ready to overreact.” Love is not supposed to turn angry under pressure and minor problems should not give way to major reactions. Love does not get hurt unless there is a legitimate reason in the eyes of God. In a loving marriage, both people should remain calm and patient, give grace and show mercy, restrain from their temper, and exercise self-control.
There are at least two main reasons that contribute to someone becoming irritable:
1. Stress – Stress drains every area of your body and life -energy, health, happiness. It is brought on by many different things and causes relational problems such as arguing and division. We often inflict this one ourselves by depriving our bodies of rest, nutrition, and exercise. We have to balance and prioritize what life hands us to keep from being irritable and stressed out!
The Bible teaches us:
a) To avoid unhealthy stress by letting love guide our relationships so we aren’t caught up in arguments. (Colossians 3:12-14 – 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.)
b) To pray through your anxieties instead of tackling them on your own. (Philippians 4:6-7 – 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.)
c) To delegate when you are overworked. (Exodus 18:17-23 – 17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain —and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
d) To avoid overindulgence. (Proverbs 25:16 – If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit.)
e) To take a “Sabbath” vacations day every week for worship and rest. This allows you time to recharge and refocus for your week.
Selfishness – The heart of the problem is usually a problem of the heart. Being easily angered is an indicator that a hidden factor is present where love is supposed to be. It can also take on other faces:
a) Lust – being ungrateful for what you have and wanting something that you can’t have. (James 4:1-3)
b) Bitterness – comes in when you respond to something in a judgmental way and refuse to work through your anger. (Ephesians 4:31)
c) Greed – will frustrate you with unfulfilled desires. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
d) Pride – leads you to act harshly in order to protect your ego.
These negative motivators can never be satisfied but when love enters your heart, it calms you down and inspires you to quit focusing on yourself. It helps you let go of unnecessary things. Love will lead you to forgive rather than hold a grudge. It encourages you to be happy for others and lowers your stress. Love sets up your heart to respond to your spouse with patience and encouragement all the time. You need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.
Where do you need to add margin to your life? When have you recently overreacted? What was your real motivation behind it? What decisions have you made today?