“But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you.” Exodus 4:13-14 (NIV)
Even God gets angry! When Moses expressed his doubts and inadequacies about leading the Hebrews out of Egypt, “the Lord’s anger burned against Moses.”
Anger shows up in every relationship. Like most emotions, it can be productive or destructive. In the dynamic with God and Moses, God then provided an adjusted plan which Moses embraced, transforming his life and bringing freedom to a whole nation.
Consider this scene: Bill is mad. He has come home from work to find no plan for dinner yet again. Between taking care of sick kids and fitting in a couple hours working online for her employer, Jan has not had the energy to make dinner. Bill then becomes silent, withdrawn and expresses his frustration with harsh words. Jan responds in kind and feels like a failure. Everyone is getting “hangry.” Instead of repeating this unhealthy pattern, a win-win plan could have been reached through the process of Name It and Solve It.
Name It — Bill could have expressed his feelings: “I feel disappointed when I come home hungry and there’s no plan for dinner. That makes me feel unimportant.” Jan could have responded: “I’m so overwhelmed with caring for the kids all day and fitting in at least some work. You are important but sometimes I just have nothing left to give at the end of the day. I’m sorry.”
There should be no blaming, just naming the emotions using “I feel” language without intense emotions derailing the conversation. This saves energy to focus on the issue at hand.
Solve It — In this case the problem is having no dinner ready for a hungry husband and an overwhelmed wife. Bill and Jan decide to start planning their menu and doing their food prep together on the weekends, with at least one emergency meal in the freezer for unexpected circumstances.
Go Deeper Together
Are there any lingering feelings of frustration or anger related to unresolved issues that need to be named? Call for a name it-and-solve-it session. That could be right now or some time this week. Remember that anger is just an emotion, so use it as a constructive building block in your relationship!
God, thank you for your example. Give us the wisdom and strength to use our anger to create solutions that bring us closer in our relationship. Amen.