Push Past Mad

I was spittin’ mad at my man. We had scheduled to watch a movie together but then he got a phone call. A call he had to take.

And instead of being patient and remembering how he had been understanding all the times I’ve gotten phone calls I had to take, I just got mad.

I felt put off.


Less important.

Because this was supposed to be our time together. And I was really looking forward to our time. I wanted to know he was looking forward to our time. That’s one of the most important parts of a date for me- knowing that he is looking forward to it.

But the longer the call lasted, the more I convinced myself he was just doing this movie date with me out of obligation rather than out of a desire to really be with me.

So, when the call went from “it will just be a minute” to over 40 minutes, I shut down and went to bed. Mad. Really mad.

The next day, Art asked if we could try again.

I was still mad. I didn’t want to try again.

Because this wasn’t just about that one phone call and one missed movie. It was about a collection of situations where I’ve gathered up little pebbles of frustration. I carry them around and think it’s no big deal.

Pebbles seem so innocent until they collectively turn into boulders.

And boulders don’t just weigh you down, they wear you out. They don’t just frustrate, they fracture.
Remember the effect your words can have on your relationships in the heat of conflict. www.lysaterkeurst.com

That’s why I had to push past mad and talk this through. The scariest place in a marriage isn’t when the talking is hard- it’s when the talking stops.

Keep talking. Keep connecting. Keep pushing past mad.


  1. dianne says

    I’m reading your book unglued. I get mad but most of the time I seem hurt (hubby/work issues) or shocked (kid problems). I either get mad or more likely dissolve into tears thinking I’ve messed everything up or feel the world will end right then. Not sure how to handle that but I keep plugging. It’s just nice to hear that others are working through the same things.

    • says

      Yes, sweet sister… I think as long as we have relationships we will have things we need to work on. But that’s where growth comes from. And growth is good. So is making up:)

  2. Georgia says

    Thank you for this Lysa. I have printed it out for the next time I get really mad at my husband and to help me NOT to get so mad at him. 🙂

  3. Connie says

    Lysa, as I was reading this a few minutes ago the thoughts that came to my mind were, Lord, do I do this with you? She’s mad because he was saying through his actions that the phone call is more important and what have I been saying is more important than you, Lord? What “appointed” times have I missed lately? Please forgive me, Lord. Can we try again? Thanks for the reminder! As far as the scariest place in a marriage…you are SO correct. Have a blessed Friday!

  4. says

    Oh girl… been there more times than I care to acknowledge! Those selfish moments of gathering rocks – to be used as weapons later when we think they will hurt the most. If we keep holding onto the pebbles, our hands (and hearts) are too full to grab hold of the good stuff!

  5. says

    Wow, God knew to let me see this article today. This is where I am right now. Ignored, put off, and less important. Thank you for your honesty.

  6. Amber says

    YES! This exact thing has happen to me, boy im glad im not the only one who gets mad over stuff like this. great post

  7. Tammy says

    I read your post. Oh keep talking girls. I tried. But it does take two. It’s a scary place in a marriage when communication breaks down, and the longer it goes on for the harder it is to repair. Sometimes it just can’t be repaired as in my case – or should I say my husband now ex. No matter how much I went to him and tried to talk it out, that wall got built – higher and higher. The only good thing about the last few month is the wall between God and I has been torn down brick by brick (still some coming down). I see where I failed in my marriage, still learning from it. I see where my husband failed in our marriage – still learning from it and I’m talking to God daily, hourly at times to get through all the mess that the last few years of pepples, stones and bricks created. Now all I have to say is keep talking, don’t hold it in, don’t pile it up and most definently don’t go it alone, God is your best friend and he wants you to come to him. Thanks for the Post, Sometimes just talking to each other reminds us where we need to be.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing your story Tammy and adding your valuable insights to this discussion. I have family members and friends right where you are. It’s so hard. I’m praying for you right now.

      • Tammy says

        Thank you Lysa, I can use all the prayers I can get. The good lord is by my side, but the days are still scary and this is all so new. I feel like I treading new ground after 15 years of marriage and 5 years of dating, it’s a new world out there, and I’m not so sure one I really want to be part of. I’ve raised my son, and now both he and my husband are gone (it’s been 4 months) and life is so different. It’s quiet and a lot less stressful, but so scary, I’m very lonely and some days, most days it’s just me and the dog and God. Sometimes I’m scared it’s not enough, but I’m trying really hard right now to go moment by moment.

        • Lisa says

          My relationship/marriage was 11 yrs and now have been divorce for 10 years but more content than even having really reconnected with our amazing and omnipresent God! Too suggestions that helped me: The Boundless Show (www.boundless.org) and a booklet by Nancy Leigh DeMoss “SIngled Out for Him” (find it on http://www.cbd.com). Also, there is a ministry specifically for healing from divorce called DivorceCare (www.divorcecare.org) Take advantage of this new season in life to rediscover God’s purpose for your life. I’ve found helpful resources online but rely mostly on being plugged into with a loving church family and small group.

          • Tammy says

            Thanks, I’m checking out the 2 sites you offered. I’ve been to the DivorceCare, I’m actually signing up for a second go – I think I was too numb the first time, the instructors said by all means, join up again. I’m sure I will take a bunch more in this time. Thanks again for the suggestions.

  8. Diane says

    Oh how this post resonates with me today! It is the little things that add up! My husband and I have been through thick and thin in our 33-year marriage. Just this morning as I was leaving the house to run an errand, I got very mad over a slight and petty reason. I did not have a car charger for my cell phone, so I bought one, a white one…very different from my husband’s whose charger is black. We don’t even have the same type of phone, and yet when I went to charge my phone, the charger wasn’t there! I called him to ask where it was and he said either it was in the other car, or his briefcase! This is only one of many examples of how unimportant I feel. He takes without regard for me, thoughtless, and selfish. He will answer his cell phone regardless of what is going on, and never apologizes for interruptions. He has yet to apologize for taking my phone charger and I still don;t know where it is. I hate feeling the way I do.

    • says

      Oh Diane… I know how frustrating things like this can be for sure. Here’s one thing I’m learning about my man… it’s not that he’s trying to disregard me. He just needs me to gently communicate to him how certain actions of his affect me. But it’s always better if I have this kind of talk with him in a non-heated battle. That way they can be gentle suggestions rather than weapons of proof I use against him.
      Praying for you right now…

  9. says

    When I get mad, I tend to get quiet too. Both of us do. Not a good combination. I really think couples need to learn how to fight – the right way, instead of internalize. Learn to talk things through and fight the right way. Quiet is deafening and very hard on a marriage.

  10. Mary T says

    Lysa…thought about feeling that way in other relationships…about how sometimes I keep my lesser frustrations bottled up and finally when there are a few too many, I am beyond mad, but not necessarily about the most recent event. Guess the key is to continue to try to turn the other cheek by addressing those little things as gently or tactfully as possible and then seek the Lord’s strength to let go of them and/or forgive others as I would hope they would do the same for me. Thanks for your honest sharing of what we all experience at one point or another!

  11. Amy says

    Lysa the timing of this is just amazing!! About six months ago my husband decided he didn’t want to be in the marriage anymore after 15 years of marriage (4 kids). This is exactly what we are going through/been through. It was mainly just “little boulders” as you say and we never dealt with them properly. However, those “little boulders” turned into a “big boulder” and now I’m fighting for my marriage. I need God’s wisdom and strength now as I am not sure what to do anymore. Every time I read one of your devotions Lysa it is very helpful! You are a blessing!

  12. says

    I don’t often read what you wrote and get teary-eyes. I did here. I could not agree more – it’s when the talking stops that things get dangerous. Thank you for reminding us not to let the pebbles turn into boulders!

  13. Natasha says

    Thank you for this post! Your words are extremely encouraging! I go through different phases of feeling frustrated, angry and hurt but I’m learning with God’s help I can overcome.

  14. Phoebe says

    thanks Lysa, going through that state where the talking stopped , the connection broke. please pray for me to overcome.

  15. veta millard says

    thank you for your honesty and your thoughts! I am celebrating 22 years of marriage today! You have to fight for your marriage you’ve got to fight for time with your spouse uninterrupted time without technology without the kids! You have to talk even when you don’t want to talk and you have to be honest with each other!spend time praying together and just talking about what bothers you and your plans and your goals! God’s design for marriageis to be each others help mate. We have to set an example in this world of technology and distractions and if you do God will bless you!!!

  16. Lori says

    Thank you, Lysa. I have been going through this for years. I thought since I grew up in a home where there was alot of arguing, I would spare my children the grief I felt. So my husband and I never argue. We also don’t communicate very well. Which lead us to counseling to hash everything out. I am a better person because of the sessions we had. It is still a struggle to communicate. Thank you and all the ladies that have commented. Praying for wisdom and the right words.

  17. Jamie Bickle says

    Reminds of what a mentor told me years ago…..It’s not the elephant that will take you out-it’s the ants!
    And ready your analogy of the pebbles is so very accurate for me too. If I get upset about something before I know it I have let the one thing that initially bothered me become a lifelong list of character defects in that person, place or thing. An obsession forms in my mind and by then I am LOST.
    Only afterwards, when I have reconnected with reality, had some serious time in prayer and meditation, do I see that my misery was of my own making. Does knowing this prevent me from visiting this place again? Probably not. But I do go there less often and stay for shorter periods when I do.
    Thank you so much for sharing and the chance to connect.
    Love and light.

  18. Cathy Staurovsky says

    I so hear you on this one Lysa. Been there and done that myself. What I have found over the years is to go somewhere quiet and ask God how to handle it. When I let myself get this mad I realize I am acting like a child that doesn’t get their own way. I find a passage in the bible that He brings me to read and realize its only a moment or time of hurt and mad and disappointment. God just wants to test our reactions to things that come our way to see how we handle it. Out of all hurts will eventually turn out a help. Out of mad will eventually turn to glad. Out of a disappointment will turn out to be a blessing. I try and turn all negatives around and I find that among them there are positives. Its tough, but through Gods eyes and ours it actually will look different than it first appeared. God bless Lysa, and all the women who read this. May God keep us all focused to glorify Him.

  19. Randa Harbison says

    Thanks for sharing. Communication is so hard for us. I often get angry for things I do myself. I pray for God to soften my heart and I grow away from my selfish ways. I remind myself that God will use all things for His glory, for our weakness is his strength.

  20. Jamille says

    I am so exhausted and burned out from taking care of my 4 month old all day long. I tried to be super mom and it caught up with me. I in turn snapped at my hubby. Then I came across your article on Facebook. It’s like the Lord had me see this. He reminded me that I can’t do it all on my own.I definitely would like to purchase your book Unglued. God bless you and your ministry.

  21. kathy says

    Lysa ,I just had to write you and tell you everything I know about you is so much like me I started your made to crave series last august I have done the whole series there were so many things you said that struck home with me .the hole in the bucket concept, the story about your son and you having a long talk and you coming to the realization that how can you expect him to deal with his issue if you cant deal with yours I never ever thought of it this way. It gave me new perspective. I since have been battling this I have lost 30lbs with Gods help .I know this is not like a ton like some people but I am still proud of this.This is the hardest thing I think I have had to deal with(even harder than dealing with my aspergers daughter0 I am always looking for something to keep me motivated. My motivation has been losing steam .I also just recently bought your book unglued and am currently reading that one I am thinking of getting your book for teenagers to for my daughter I am starting to see signs of the way I was or used to be in her I dont want her to go down that path her path is rough enough with out this added to it. I wish I could just sit with you and chat and learn from your knowledge and maybe you could keep me in check
    and kick my butt if I needed it on this spiritual and weight loss journey .Any suggestion on what I should do on any or all issues would be great Just wanted to tell you how much you have impacted and changed my life so far.THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU ROCK!!!!

  22. says

    This is why I love you so much Lysa… you can be real and honest and humble and show your weakness, in order for all of us women to learn and walk right there alongside of you in our marriage’s struggles and strengths. I too, have been there. But I thank God that we muscle through the hard talks and tense moments and sometimes- down right crying fits to find a place where we are both heard and understood. God help us if we can’t do that…

  23. says

    another wonderful post and reminder, Lysa. I am not married but I know I shut down too, with friends. I am gearing myself up to make a return to church which also means having to face the people who hurt me, and I did try several times earlier to talk it out before I just walked away. I just felt unheard and uncared for, that I was make all the effort. I will be seeking out good counsel on how I ought to approach this situation upon my return. 2 and a half years later and I still feel mad but now mostly just all the hurt. Thank you for your writing and sharing about your struggles too that are so common to many of us!

    • lois says

      Thanks ladies for sharing but my situation is just the opposite. I’m the one who’s always trying to conmunicate when we get angry and my husband he totally ignores me and does not want to be touched and he puts the blame on me. All I get is the silent treatment until he’s ready to talk. So I stay out of his way. This will last for 2 to 3 days. I don’t know what to do but pray. My husband is so happy during this time of silence and distance. Just wanted to share.

  24. says

    I really liked what you had to say here. My husband and I don’t really argue much…. we never have. That is because my husband is not one of those people who shares feelings easily. None of his family is. My sweet hubby can be worried sick and just doesn’t let it show, grieved and keeps it all in, angry or hurt and you would never know that he needs consoling. It REALLY bothers me. I am the opposite; I let it all out, tears pour when I am angry OR when I am hurt or sad. I really wish that I could get him to share more of his thoughts and feelings. I know that it isn’t healthy for him to do this, but I am not really sure how to help him.

  25. GraftedOne says

    A year ago my husband suggested we go abroad for two weeks to celebrate our 30th. I had hoped it would happen and was excited that he was initiating as I have planned any trip, large or small. Now one might think that indicates I desire control, etc… but this isn’t the case. If I were surprised by even an overnight, one where he planned and packed even my clothes, I would be delighted. Our 30th was a day away and our son let me know that he had asked his Dad whether our trip to take care of some paperwork would include dinner somewhere since we were going into a city. My husband told him there would be no time to stop there, we would eat dinner locally altogether when we got back. He said he needed to get back early to be on time for work the next day. While I try not to pin happiness on expectations, I was wrestling. Fiery darts were where coming my way such as “Are you just not worth preparing for? Are you just not important or loved enough to make time for? ” During church as I brought this to the Lord that morning, I felt this come to my heart…”Do you see these communion elements? This I prepared for you out of My great love for you. No surprise, no early plan or celebration can compare. Fix your eyes on me. Be filled by Me.” Oh what joy flooded my soul! Fiery darts extinguished by the shield of faith He has given! Joy in His Presence, everywhere and whether in earthly plenty or want! Your face, oh Lord, will I seek! Ladies, the Deceiver wants to steal, kill and destroy. As much as it is up to you, live in peace. Seek God’s face and pour out His love on others. Marriage is a symbol God ordained of Christ and the church. I read somewhere this quote, “If Jesus wanted to divorce the Church on grounds of adultery, He could certainly do so.” With that in mind, how much more so should we forgive one another while also dealing with the little foxes that are trying to spoil the vineyard. Not with a judgmental pointing of fingers but in humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord, praying and trusting in Him for all as we obey the Lord. (please ignore the rest of this. It is stuff I was unable to edit on my phone.)
    Lord, will I seek! Leors, the Deceiver wants to steal, kill, and destroy. As much as it is up to you
    you just not worth preparing for? Are you just not important our lived enough

  26. Kristina says

    Needed that! But to be honest its hard. Thanks for being real and transparent. God bless u!

  27. says

    Wow! so profound. It’s so important to just keep talking in any relationship, but I’m always tempted to deal with my anger by just ignoring the person. Thank you for reminding us that it’s worth it to keep fighting the anger, and choosing to talk instead.

  28. Carolyn Rogers says

    THANK YOU, Lysa. I needed to know I was not the only one. My husband is wonderful. But, I completely blew my top a week ago at a perceived injury and have been shaming myself ever since. It helps to know that if the author of “Unglued” can make this same mistake, maybe I’m just human. Thank you so much for your vulnerability.

  29. Christy says

    So I was “mad” at my man and sat at the computer and found myself here….really? lol Okay so I’m not mad I just need to ask better questions and when I don’t get the answer I was looking for… I need to “keep talking” okay okay… thank you!!!

  30. Christine says

    Currently reading Unglued with my Chicks for Christ Life Group and when I think of all the pebbles I have collected over the years my husband as annoyed me I suddenly feel weak from the weight of all the pebbles. I just finished reading chapter 8 and I then read this and I know I need to change my perspective and show gratitude for the husband and father his has been all these years. Yes, we just keep talking!!!!!

  31. Brenda says

    When the boulders in marriage seem so immovable and the history that caused them seems so unchangeable, it is soul wrenching. It affects every.single.moment of the day and every aspect of life. Another anniversary approaches……#23…..yet there seems to be no reason to celebrate. Oh,, on the outside it looks sunny and warm. On the inside it is empty…..crumbled and in ruins.