Communication problems between couples can cause serious issues in relationships.
If it feels like you can’t talk to your husband without him getting angry, then you need to find a way to break through his walls.
The problem is, sometimes we don’t know how to effectively communicate with our partners. This article shares 19 tips for how to talk to your husband when he gets angry.
How to talk to your husband when he gets angry
1) Stay as calm as you possible
Trying to reason with someone who is hotheaded can be an incredibly frustrating process.
Remaining calm in the face of anger is always going to be your best bet. But that doesn’t mean it’s so easy to do.
One thing that can help you to do this is trying to stay as present as possible whenever you talk to your husband about something that you fear could get fiery.
These tools not only help you to stay grounded in the present moment, but they can also help you to deal with the likely stress from the situation.
Things like meditation, conscious breathwork, mindful movement, and tension release like exercise can help you to have the strongest foundations possible.
And these are the foundations that will help support you during challenging times not only in your relationship but in life in general.
Even if it sounds pretty unfair, the truth is that you being at your best will help improve the situation when your husband may be at his worst.
2) Be clear on your own needs and be specific with your husband
Maybe it feels sometimes as though you are talking to a brick wall. Your husband seems incapable of understanding where you are coming from, and when you try to tell him, he just gets mad.
Judy Ann speaking on Quora voiced this common relationship problem:
“Nothing gets resolved because my SO gets all defensive instead of trying to work with me to fix the problem. I’d also like to add that he always tells me he’s fine and that they’re my problems not his. When something he’s doing affects me in a negative way, he refuses to take responsibility for it. So unless it’s something that affects HIM and HIS feelings, it’s completely irrelevant to him.”
Trying to communicate how you feel and what you need from your partner starts with being crystal clear in your own mind.
So it can be useful to pinpoint exactly what it is you want and need.
When you get to the heart of this, make sure you are specific when you talk to your husband. Don’t assume he should know how you are feeling or what you need from him.
3) Check in with your intentions
Before bringing certain issues to your husband that you fear will cause conflict, ask yourself this simple question:
What do I want out of this discussion?
That can help you to check in with what your real aim is. Resolution of conflict should always be our biggest desire in a relationship.
But sometimes we can find ourselves acting as though the main intention is to make our partner feel bad, see the error of their ways, and criticize or chastise them.
The problem is this is far more likely to lead to defensiveness and your husband either shutting down or getting angry.
Don’t seek to point out your husband’s flaws to him, seek to find a way through your problems together.
4) Be emotionally vulnerable
An incredibly powerful way to break down other people’s anger is vulnerability.
That’s because this is the absolute opposite of defensiveness. And anger at its heart is a form of defensiveness.
When faced with someone’s vulnerability, it has a softening effect.
Vulnerability strengthens our relationships with others, because in the words of the researcher Brene Brown:
“There can be no intimacy—emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, physical intimacy—without vulnerability,”
Being brave enough to show vulnerability sets an example for your husband and sets the tone for the conversation.
It’s a way of signaling — I don’t want to fight, I want to connect.
5) Choose the right moment to raise problems
Timing really can be everything.
When you bring up a topic, choose your moment carefully.
For example, if you wait until you’ve had a few drinks, then you might end up having a row over nothing. Or if you do it at the end of a very long day when tempers are already frayed, then it’s more likely to end in anger.
I know it’s never a “good time” to potentially rock the boat. Especially when you feel it will lead to conflict.
But choose a time when you are both more likely to feel calm, and relaxed, and can give the conversation the time it needs to properly discuss things.
When it comes to timing though, it’s also smart not to let issues build.
Waiting until problems reach a boiling point can also lead to extra unnecessary tension, compared to nipping them in the bud quickly.
6) Choose your words carefully
You can be direct and still be kind.
So this point isn’t about diluting your message, it’s more about mindfulness over how you deliver it.
Without even realizing it there is often a mismatch between what we want to say, what we actually say, and how the other person hears it.
Choosing your words carefully is going to help you to bridge that gap.
Especially if your husband has a tendency to automatically take whatever you say “the wrong way”.
Using “I feel” statements can be a good way to avoid assigning blame. In contrast, “you do/ you are” type statements tend to sound more accusatory.
Focusing on your own feelings helps you to take ownership of them, rather than making your husband responsible for how you feel.
7) Use this phrase to instantly defuse tension
Sometimes we need to get discussions back on track when they dissolve into an argument.
This statement isn’t exactly a “magic fix” but it can help you to get back on the same team rather than being rivals.
If you find that anger is escalating during a discussion then say something along the lines of:
“I’m sorry you feel that way. What can I do to try to help you feel better?”
This shows your husband that you want to listen to him, that you care about his feelings, and that your main focus is on a resolution.
8) Use psychology to look beyond the anger to find the hurt
I’ve already touched upon the fact that more often than not, anger is simply a mask we wear.
That doesn’t make it ok, but it’s usually a part of our armor that we use to push others away whenever we feel threatened.
We can be more prone to anger when we’re feeling stressed, when expectations aren’t met, and when we feel sad or anxious.
There are also some common gender differences when it comes to anger, as highlighted by Psychology Today:
“Studies show that masculinity is associated with anger. When men’s masculinity is threatened, they react with increased anger. Challenging men’s testosterone levels yields a similar effect. And seemingly dormant masculinity often emerges when men get drunk.”
Many complex factors come together to dictate why some people get angry more easily than others. Factors like personality traits, past trauma, anxiety, exhaustion levels, and cognitive appraisal (how people frame things in their minds).
Understanding the psychology of anger can help you to better understand your husband. And understanding is going to help bring you together, which brings us to our next point.
9) Be as empathetic as possible
You may already feel as though you are being called to invoke the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with your husband’s angry reactions.
So to ask you to muster up empathy on top of that might at first feel like too much to ask.
But this goes back to our earlier point about intention. If you love your husband and want a resolution, then empathy rather than reprisal has to be the best approach.
Actively trying to see his side may help to lower his defenses which are leading to his anger.
Clinical psychologist Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D., tells Psych Central that empathy is always an important building block in a healthy relationship,
“With a lack of empathy, and therefore lack of understanding, most people are left feeling empty and unloved. While a couple may stay together for all sorts of reasons, without empathy, the bond, the glue, and the fusion that accompanies a romantic relationship will not develop or will not sustain.”
10) Be as diplomatic as possible
You know what they say:
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Diplomacy is one of those tools that can really help you resolve conflict. It’s a skill that takes practice, but it’s worth learning.
In a nutshell, diplomacy is about navigating situations with as much sensitivity and tact as possible. That way you can better diffuse tension.
It involves listening carefully, acknowledging emotions, and offering solutions. Ways to become more diplomatic can include:
- Avoiding certain negative words
- Saying sorry when you are at fault
- Avoiding pointing the finger
- Adapting your communication style
- Seeking more information rather than making assumptions
11) Ask questions to try to understand
The best way to get more information is always to ask more questions. There is something about asking questions that allows people to feel more seen and heard.
In fact, research has even shown that we like people more if they ask us questions.
The reason asking questions can be so powerful during conflict is that it shows your commitment to improving the situation and that you are willingly engaging in the conversation.
Questions help you get more laser-focused on creating a better understanding — which is more likely to lead to resolution.
How do you feel?
What is making you feel this way?
Is there a better way we can find to communicate with one another?
What do you think a good solution would be?
What are your thoughts on that?
Ask lots of questions. That way you will also be sure that you are listening as much as you are talking.
12) Listen as much as you talk
Whenever you are having a difficult conversation, the expert advice is always to listen just as much, if not more, than you talk.
As Harvard Business Review points out:
“This wisdom has been around for a long time: “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” The quote is attributed to Zeno of Citium, a Hellenistic thinker. Be genuinely curious and interested in what is being said, even if initially you’re not. Pay attention to cues: Does the person spend a lot of time on a particular point?.. Listening more and with curiosity not only helps you to better connect and understand what is being said, but also provides valuable input on how you may frame your response and navigate the conversation.”
The same goes for listening in a relationship too.
Practicing active listening is a skill that can help your husband to feel more understood and heard, which may reduce his reliance on anger.
13) Don’t internalize his anger
Yes, you want to get through to your husband, but you also need to simultaneously protect yourself.
When anyone loses their cool with you it’s very challenging to not take it personally, let alone when it’s your own husband.
But reminding yourself that your husband’s anger is a projection and a reflection of him and not you is important.
This form of mindfulness can help to prevent you from taking it personally.
Because the problem with internalizing his anger is that you’ll not only be left feeling worse, but you are also more likely to become defensive if you feel under attack.
- Avoid ruminating on arguments afterward, as this can lead to storytelling and holding on to frustration.
- Practice emotional resilience.
- Journal your feelings and thoughts to better process your own emotions.
- Use mindfulness techniques ( like the ones we have already discussed) to stay more aware and present.
14) Don’t be tempted to meet fire with fire
The less personally you manage to take your husband’s anger, hopefully, the less triggered you will become by it.
And that in itself is going to help you to talk to him without things escalating as much. As we’ve said, anger is a normal human reaction to feeling threatened.
And you also have this same protective instinct. You may be less inclined to fly off the handle than your husband. But it’s still important to make the point that no matter how tempting it gets, don’t meet fire with fire.
If you shout back, use cross words in retaliation, and match his anger then the situation can quickly escalate. Leaving you with less chance of finding a solution and the gap between you growing even further.
As we will see next, there is sometimes no reasoning with someone who is trapped in their anger. And so you also getting into that state is only going to make things worse.
You may need to decide when it’s a good idea to step back from a discussion.
15) Call a timeout
If you notice his anger kick in or if you find yourself getting annoyed and frustrated, then take a time out.
In the heat of the moment when tensions reach boiling point, nothing tends to get resolved. And for good reason.
Your husband when he is lost in anger is not thinking clearly. Again, this isn’t an excuse, just an explanation.
Anger causes a physical reaction, as explained by David Hanscom MD:
“What happens to your thinking when you are angry? The blood flow to the frontal lobes of your brain is diminished, the inflammatory proteins in your brain sensitize you to sensory input, and much of your reaction emanates from the more primitive centers of your brain. You are flooded with a barrage of angry, intense, and irrational thoughts. It is temporary insanity.”
If you are going around in circles, take a break and let things cool off.
16) Check in with your boundaries
We’ve spoken a lot in this article about things you can do when your husband gets angry.
Many of these are asking you to be the bigger person and rise above displays of anger in order to heal rifts.
But there is a danger in doing so that it comes at the sacrifice of your own boundaries. And that is never a good thing.
So even though you are being called upon to give as much as you can in order to find resolutions, you should never have to sacrifice your self-esteem, self-respect, and self-preservation.
That’s why checking in with your boundaries will make sure that you don’t allow your husband’s anger to overstep.
Setting and upholding personal boundaries helps to protect us from other people, even the people who we love.
Knowing where to draw the line is crucial.
17) Focus on solutions
Being solution focused is a good idea during any time of conflict.
Constantly rehashing your problems and bringing up the past can make someone feel attacked and bring out their defensive side.
Instead, focus on what you want more than your grievances with one another.
Where do we go from here? What would be a win for us both?
Sometimes there is a need to delve far deeper into the root of problems. This may involve diving into childhood or personal issues as well as relationship issues.
But sometimes the quickest route out of conflict is to not dwell on every little detail of your problems, and instead, spend far more time discussing how to address your problems moving forwards.
This can lift you away from a focus on negativity towards one of finding solutions together.
18) Get professional advice
Particularly when you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, you might not know what to do next for the best.
But there is support out there for you.
Relationships don’t come with a manual. And navigating them can be extremely difficult.
That’s why speaking to a therapist or relationship coach can give you support, help you to gain more understanding, and help you to find practical solutions to your difficult situation.
Relationship Hero is a website where highly trained relationship coaches help guide people through complicated love situations just like this.
Everybody’s situation is ultimately different, and that means the approach to best deal with it needs to be tailored to those circumstances.
You can either talk to a coach yourself, or as a couple. But either way, it can be a powerful step to help you and your husband to find a better way of communicating.
Here’s the link for Relationship Hero if you want to learn more or connect with a relationship expert straight away.
19) Remove yourself from dangerous situations
You can be understanding, tolerant, loving, and solution-focused. But you should never have to feel threatened.
Your own safety is the most important thing.
Nobody has the right to make you feel as though you are in danger or at risk.
There is a time for reconciliation and trying to get through to your husband, but there is also a line that needs to be firmly drawn.
Anger is never “ok” but in the real world and real relationships, it happens. For all sorts of reasons, people do lose their tempers.
It’s far from ideal to have to walk on eggshells in a relationship for fear of an angry husband. But when anger becomes abusive, remove yourself from the situation so that you can feel safe.
Recognizing the signs of abuse in a relationship is important.
When anger resorts to:
- Public embarrassment
- Belittling and put-downs
- Character assassination
…you may be dealing with emotional abuse.
Abuse is never your fault and never your responsibility to “fix”.