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Slow Burn

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My wife has a temper on her. When she goes (as well as all the other women in her family) she goes nuclear. You can see it for miles. Grab onto something tight, duck, or just walk away. No good will come of it, especially when it's directed your way.

But then it ends.

I have a temper on me. When I get angry I get quiet. I don't count to ten and then release it into the universe. Mine is clandestine, non-confrontational and polite for no one to see or take notice. I tuck it away somewhere in my soul where it smolders indefinitely.

So which is better, the fire that goes nuclear, leaving almost as quickly as it comes (barring fallout - there's always fallout), or the flame that burns long and slow...forever?

Someone with no age on them might believe the second kind is better, but in no way do the two even compare in terms of strength and intensity. The first is almost harmless in the face of the second, because it holds no grudges and doesn't keep score.

The other day my wife and I had a heart to heart where I did most of the talking. I confessed something she already knew: I've been drowning in my own anger for years. In the backoffice of this blog and the backoffice of my life I ride myself harder than any taskmaster ever could and when I make bad decisions (most of which I realize while I'm making them) I've been merciless with myself. As a single man it didn't matter, I was the only who suffered. But as a married man with a wife and a family things are so cut and dry, especially when in having a wife, a man is bound to run into a disagreement or two, and certain to be faced with a bad decision or two that either: a) he did not make; or b) he felt compelled to make for the sake of others (wife/partner).

I say all this to say I unknowingly harbored a serious grudge against my wife for one of these types of decisions since before we got married. I watched her walk down the aisle with it festering in my soul. We began our "official" lives together with it as a cloud over my head. And then saw the "I told you so" that I knew would happen unfold before me. Her anger although spectacular in production over various and random things, has been no match for the vitrol I spit when I'm finally pushed over the edge. I've laughed when she's said, "Why are you so angry?" or "You're coming off almost cruel." This is because I've been angry about only one thing no matter the catalyst --- be it dishes, garbage, the cat, the kids, or going out to a restaurant for dinner. I didn't know who she was talking about. Ironically, neither did she, which was the very point she was making.

For whatever reason I just "got over it" on my own over the past weekend and reached the end of my anger. Maybe it was the result of a prayer answered without realizing what I was actually asking for. I'm not sure. I spent a day putting my words together and I apologized to her for allowing my anger and inability to let go have a negative impact on our first year of marriage, and affect who I was as her husband and partner in parenting. I told her I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her happily and I said I was sorry one last time.

She told me it was okay and she loved me. And we both moved on.

I have no recipe for curbing, distilling, stemming, blah, blah, anger. That is less so my point than to say, once you identify it (whatever the cause might be), get rid of it, come clean with it, move beyond it. For the sake of yourself, first, your marriage, second and your kids, last (but definitely not least).

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. (So much for me keeping things light and easy - see yesterday's posts). And after you leave this page, please go over to:

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs
This a group of buddies of mine who blog about fatherhood (and mommydom) and all the stuff that comes with it. Dad-Blogs.com!

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