7 Steps to Come to an Agreement When You Are Mad as Hell at Your Spouse

BY: - 19 Aug '11 | Marriage

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One thing that couple’s don’t do before they get married (that they should do) is make a plan for making decisions when they disagree.   So when they disagree, they end up arguing…which could lead to anger…which could lead to hurtful things being said.   And once you go down that path, it is very hard to come to an agreement.

We have been married for 10 years now, and for the most part I am really pleased with how we handle our anger and disagreements.   I definitely think we have grown since we were first married.  But I am definitely a work in progress.

In the book, Anger, Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Positive Way, Dr. Gary Chapman, provides the following 6 tips/steps for handling Anger Agreements:

  1. Acknowledge that you are angry.   Anger is a perfectly natural emotion and when dealt with properly can lead to positive change.   So there is no need to deny that you are angry and suppress it.   After all, the first step to solving a problem is to first acknowledge that you have one.
  2. Make an agreement that you will acknowledge that you are angry to each other.   Ahh yes!!! Don’t walk around silently festering and plotting.   Don’t make your mate guess what’s wrong with you.   Agree that if you are angry, you will express how you are feeling with each other.
  3. Don’t go off on each other. Seriously, do you really think that exploding on each other is going to make things better?   Don’t cuss each other out, don’t call names, and don’t get physically violent with each other. None of these things will solve your problem. They will only make matters worse.  I mean really, if you just cussed me out and called my mama a name, I probably will not want to hear anything else you have to say (even if you are right.)
  4. Listen to each other before jumping to conclusions.   Allow your spouse to explain before you go and make ASSumptions.   Chances are, your spouse will be able to provide you with a good explanation and additional details that could clear the matter up or shed some light on the situation.
  5. Work on a solution together and compromise.   Don’t just leave the situation unresolved. You now have all of the facts because you LISTENED to each other; you allowed your spouse to explain.   Now work together to find a solution that works for the both of you (a compromise.)
  6. Say I love you at the end.   After you have come to a resolution, don’t end this process without confirming your love for each other. How about a hug (and I am not talking about one of those loose hugs and a pat on the back…I am talking about a real embrace.)   Seal it with a kiss.   And say I love you to confirm that no matter what….we are still partners, we are still lovers, and we are still friends.

I think those are excellent tips. But I am going to be honest; sometimes I can’t get over being angry immediately.

Sometimes I get stuck on step 1.

Or, oh Lawd…please don’t let step 3 happen!!   If step 3 happens, you can best believe it is really hard for step 6 to occur.   This is real talk because sometimes it is not as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 to resolve things. Sometimes this process is iterative, and you have to agree to disagree until you solve the problem.

So how do I get beyond the anger when we haven’t resolved things right away because maybe we can’t hear each other (step 4) and maybe we said some things that we shouldn’t have said (Step 3)? Well, I will say there is a seventh step needed for this list:

Step 7Let go of your pride. Let go of your ego. Sometimes you have to determine what’s more important.   Is being right so important that you will walk around mad for days without talking to your spouse?   Or, sometimes you know you’re wrong “…but your pride will not let you apologize”…let go of that pride.

Sometimes you have to think about the bigger picture and make a decision that no matter what you are disagreeing about, a healthy relationship with your spouse is more important. You have to put things into perspective and know that you will eventually come to an agreement on this topic…but until you do, you will continue to love and respect each other. (BONUS: Click here to view our FREE Communication Training called “Stop Fussing & Fighting: 5 Keys to Successful Communication in Your Marriage!”)


Stop Fussing & Fighting: 5 Keys to Successful Communication in Your Marriage - You'll Learn the Most Important Steps to Stop Fussing & Fighting and to Finally Feel Heard In Your Marriage! If Your Marriage Needs Better Communication This Is for You! Click here to get started!

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 522 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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24 WordPress comments on “7 Steps to Come to an Agreement When You Are Mad as Hell at Your Spouse

  1. Optimistic Mom

    I love the advice that you shared. A special AMEN to number 4 & 7!! We have been married for 9 years and I think these two areas are the ones that have been the most challenging to implement. We say “I love you” pretty often but not so much after arguments so I guess we need to work on that too.
    Every couple should read this for encouragement, thanks for sharing.

    1. Givingit2god

      As a woman fighting the battle to win my husband back…I definitely agree and have began to use tips listed. They definitely work and a lot of stress is alleviated. It used to be so hard for me to give in but now its so much easier because I think about the long term results. I luv my hubby n wish I would’ve known then what I do now. But I have Faith in God and I believe the changes he is working within me n my husband he willwant to work our marriage out rather than end in divorce. Live the #marriagechat.

    2. Ronnie_BMWK

      Thanks, I also struggled with step 7.   When we were first married, I had problems apologizing and   I waned to hold on hurt feelings for an extended period of time. My husband has actually helped me in this area.

  2. Ernestine L Dunbar

    I would love a copy!!     I’m not married but in ALL relationships…if more of us did Step 4…we’d be happier. I believe jumping to conclusions and assigning motives is the number 1 reason we have issues in relationships.

    1. Ronnie_BMWK

      I agree….jumping to conclusions and assigning motives will cause you to end a relationship with someone without knowing the facts…this happened to me with a very good friend..and we did not talk for so long…and then when we finally talked…it was like too much time had passed.

  3. Msteacher13

    I LOVE this advice! For my marriage AND for my classroom!
    I worked in an urban school where it seemed like the kids were ALWAYS angry
    About anything! I think this would really help them ad well as my husband and I cause we aren’t
    Always doing the right things when we disagree and beinng newlyweds, even though
    A healthy marriage is always the goal it isn’t always visible when we disagree

    1. Ronnie_BMWK

      This is a very good book for married and singles…it even has a chapter for dealing with anger in children.   i am going to select 2 people randomly to receive the book on Monday..please make sure you pickup a copy if you are not picked.   I wish I could give everyone that wants one a copy.

  4. Briana Myricks

    I’d love to get a copy. Dr. Chapman’s books have been helping tremendously so far. The way me and my husband handle disagreements, usually whoever gets the most frustrated wins, which isn’t a great thing. I’d rather talk it out, and he rather not. I like the idea of saying “I love you” at the end though.

  5. Amy Harman

    Thanks for these steps!  I think it’s always good to have as many tools for getting over a disagreements.  I also like that you added #7.  When I think I’m right, it’s hard to come to any resolution.  Step #6 is especially important for me when we argue.  Sometimes we’ll come to a resolution, but I don’t feel like I can truly let go of the hard feelings until we express our love for each other.

    If I had to add a step, it would be a “Choose Your Own Adventure” step.  If at any time, things aren’t going well and they seem to be escalating, take a time out.  After 15-20 minutes, come back and try the steps again.

    I would love a copy of Dr. Chapman’s book!

    1. Ronnie_BMWK

      Great Step – Choose Your Own Adventure!!   A time out can prevent you from going down a path of no return….there are some things that are hard to take back once they are said.

  6. Joanne

    Loved the list…my husband and I must be doing good ( I know we are!).  This is my 2nd marriage and my husband’s first.  We try not to get real upset if the other is real upset.  Only one really upset person at a time keeps things in perspective and the calm one can call a break.  We always reconnect after an argument with I love you’s.

  7. A King's Queen

    I love Step 6…it is definitely something I would like to try to add because I think it would also lessen any remaining tension plus if you have children it shows them that conflict resolution can genuinely exist.

  8. Shontaejones29

    I wished I would have read this sooner! But going forward I will keep these steps in mind. It’s so easy to fall into tha habit of tradition. Thank God I’m focusing on Gods results & not my own. Thanks for the tips!

  9. Shanita1973

    I agree with everything in this article, and my hubby and I live by these examples. We have been married for 16 years and its been rough. In all things prayer is what saved my marriage. It was headed for destruction but God saved it. One thing both my husband and I live by is to NEVER go to sleep angry. If that means we will be up to six in the morning than so be it. We settle or agree to disagree but never angry because one of you may go to sleep and not wake up before saying I’m sorry…

  10. Pknight41

    These are great tips.   I would add grace to the list.    Marital partners  must afford one another grace when we fall short of the “ideal” way to resolve  conflict.   Many of us came from families that did not show us the proper ways of relating to one another in marriage.    Although we love eachother, and are putting in effort,  overcoming  bad relationship habits learned in childhood can take years to show results.    That’s where we need to grant one another grace.    

    Knowing the bad communication styles of a person’s family  (of origin) can go a long  way towards granting grace.        

    1. Ronnie_BMWK

      AWESOME!!! Grace is definitely needed on this list and you are so right….many of us (like me) have acquired bad habits.   Thank God for Grace and thank God for my understanding husband.

  11. Skrnole

    It’s very comforting to know that everyone goes through the same thing no matter how good it looks on the outside. We all have to learn from others who have lived through what we are going through. I recently had a very bad break-up after 5 years because I got angry, assumed what he had been doing, and blew up (which is an understatement). We haven’t spoken in 3 weeks because he can’t get over the disrespectful things I said! He has hurt me in the past and I haven’t let go! This is going to be a long road to recovery but if it’s Gods will it can be done. I am trying to better myself and move forward, in hopes he will join my journey. This has been so difficult but these steps are what I need to master along with my emotions! I feel like I am turning into a self help book addict but there are so many good things out there to carry me through and better myself! I’ve looked for this book at library but it’s not carried… Gary is such a popular author none of his books were in!! My search is not over!! It’s a piece of the puzzle I can’t live without!!

  12. Pingback: 10 Healthy Actions to Take When You and Your Spouse Are at Odds | Black and Married With Kids.com - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  13. Pingback: Those Moments When You Can’t Stand Your Spouse: 4 Ways to Get Over It! | Black and Married With Kids.com - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

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