What to Do with an Angry Spouse
Do you know what makes people angry? People -- all people, not just husbands and wives and life partners -- get angry when they feel they are being denied something they sincerely believe they have a right to.
When your spouse is angry...
Do you know what rightful thing or act you have denied your spouse? If not, try asking. Gently. Gingerly. Generously. As if you can't possibly be hurt by the answer, because you know what to do with it. (Read on if you don't yet.)
Do you agree it's a right and that you screwed up? If so, try asking, lovingly, how to make your relationship right again. If you have an explanation for your actions, save it until things are good again.
Do you disagree it's a right? Then you two need a Third Alternative. That's an option that pleases each of you as much as what you're asking for and not getting. The first step there is to let go of your first alternative and assure your spouse you have every intention of satisfying him or her, even if you don't do what's being asked of you.
Not on the list of useful things to do with an angry spouse? Arguing about whether what's expected of you is reasonable or comes close to being a right. The cleverer your defense, the greater the distance you put between you.
Also not on the list of useful things to do with an angry spouse? Pretending you can't tell the difference between the right your spouse is claiming and the specific situation. If you promised to bring home milk and you come home empty handed and the person who cooks your meals for you is yelling about not keeping promises, you don't need milk or a Third Alternative for getting milk. You need a better way of handling promises.
What's the difference between an expectation and a right? A few rights are demands, also known as boundaries. Ignore them, and your relationship falls apart. All the trust leaks out and there's nothing left to hold it together.
Most are expectations. The difference between these expectations and the ones I suggest you let go of? They are not your expectations. You are not the one who gets to choose whether to let go of them or not.
Nonetheless, they create anger, which becomes resentment. The resentment makes it harder for your spouse to notice your loving acts or treat you lovingly. The anger and lack of appreciation makes it harder for you to be loving. You can go get a beer and let all that happen, blaming your spouse for causing it, or you can take action and fall back in love with each other.