3 Tricks For Diffusing Your Short Fuse
Let’s talk anger. The flip your lid kind. The hurl boom-boxes out in the snow kind (guilty). The lose your marbles kind. The kind where regret, shame, self-hatred, guilt, and sorrow follow closely behind.
I was born with a short fuse; a fuse, it seems, which is shorter than the average bear. And I’ve blown it with my husband and my kids in my early years of marriage and motherhood. I hated it. No one dreams of being a yeller or an angry wife. No one imagines themselves living perpetually frustrated, overwhelmed, and mad.
So how can we do to turn our sinful nature into a marriage builder?
- Accept the length of your fuse. Admit to your spouse and a dear friend that you have short fuses. Accept that if gone unchecked, you will be out of control. Humbly ask for help. Believe that only the Spirit of God can produce the fruit of self-control in you.
- Uncover unrealistic expectations. Chicken Little walked under a tree and an acorn fell on his head. He immediately responded with alarmist emotions screaming, “The sky is falling!” He spiraled out of control and took others with him. He failed to have realistic expectations. The truth is if we walk under a tree, acorns may fall on our heads. This is a fact of life. We are not exempt. Plan for this and embrace reality. Toddlers have tantrums. Milk gets spilled. Car keys are lost. If you can embrace the reality of your fallen and uncomfortable world, you will avoid a lot of frustration and anger. You can say things like “whoops!” instead of damaging outbursts of anger.
- We need tools in our toolbelt. By God’s grace, three tools are always in my tool belt. Because a wife needs help. And Jesus. And a vacation can’t hurt.
- Blow out a candle. When I sense all the physiological signs of rising anger, I need an equal and opposite calming force. So I use my breath and blow out a pretend candle (instead of hollering at others). I take a nice huge inhale and exhale as long as I can. This relieves a ton of tension. Especially if I do it 17 times in a row. You think I’m kidding.
- Wife Timeout. We give our kids timeouts to reset their emotions, right? My kids know when they hear, “Momma needs a timeout” that I’m in the bathroom by myself. I can talk myself off the ledge, remove myself, and get a grip in my timeout.
- “I’m sorry.” This is also used on the daily in our house. Everyone. Back and forth. Mom to kids. Kids to kids. Kids to mom. Apologizing is like toilet paper in our house: essential. And I certainly apologize if I’ve lost my cool.
If anger and flipping a lid are part of your story, you are not defined by them. Where crazy has increased, grace has all the more. You don’t have to remain a yeller. God can give you strength and tools and hope and control and transformation through His Spirit.
Wife Step: Pray with open hands this prayer:
Dear God, I admit I am weak and my fuse is short. I accept that I cannot change myself apart from your Holy Spirit. Show me tools and resources through your Spirit. Change me and soften my frustrated heart. Help me to apply the word from James: “Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.”
James 1:19-21 (MSG). Amen.
Amy graduated from BGSU in 2001 and married her college sweetheart, Rob, one week later. Amy worked in the college ministry of Cru from 2003 to 2015–8 of those years she served as Team Leader. Since 2003 she has regularly blessed the Cru staff, students, and BGSU Greek life with her exceptional speaking, teaching, leading, and mentoring abilities. In June of 2015, Amy brought her experience to the Brookside Staff Team as Director of Outward Movement. In November of 2017, Amy wrote her first book on motherhood titled “Chin Up: Wearing Grace, Strength, and Dignity When Motherhood Unravels Our Souls.” Amy loves anything athletic and competitive, especially tennis and Spikeball, and in her words she “really tries to believe that winning isn’t everything. But, that’s hard.” Amy also enjoys creating things, decorating, and helping others make beautiful spaces. Amy and Rob have three amazing kids ranging from 3 to 10 years old.