I am twenty-five, and am in a relationship with a twenty-three-year-old man…. We love each other and have plans to get married; but I feel like it’s not yet time to do so, because we have always had problems in our relationship. He gets upset about things that I think are insignificant. For example, he gets angry when I don’t answer his calls or texts immediately…. This happens all the time, and is the reason we have big fights…. I think that he is insecure and immature…. Am I wrong, or being disrespectful to him?

Dear Friend,

It is never disrespectful to be concerned about the emotional qualities of a boyfriend. If your boyfriend does not control his anger and impatience while in a dating relationship, he will certainly not control those emotions once married. In fact, there is every reason to believe that he is the type of man whose anger might even escalate to physical abuse.

You say that you are in love. However, you are wise to recognize that the time is not right to marry this man. In fact, the time may never be right. We believe that it is important that you stop discussing even the possibility of marriage.

Anger is a very powerful emotion. You may be right in saying that your boyfriend is insecure, and possibly his insecurity leads to his impatience and fits of anger. However, no matter what the root cause, anger and rage have the very dangerous potential of leading to verbal and physical abuse. Even if you think that he would never hit you, the arguments that you are already having are enough to create a hostile and tense atmosphere. Is that the way you would want to live all the time? Is that what you want for your future children?

Many communities and medical centers offer anger management classes. It is possible to learn to control anger, but it requires a person who recognizes the problem and determines to get help. If your boyfriend is willing to attend classes and learn to control his anger, then you might want to wait and see if he overcomes this problem. Otherwise, we suggest that you stop wasting your time with a man who has such significant emotional issues.

Wise Solomon recognized that “a hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”1 Solomon’s father, the great King David of Israel, taught, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath.”2 And Jesus Christ, God’s Son, made it clear that those who act out of anger deserve judgment.3

Anger is a natural human emotion. Feeling anger is not unusual or bad, but acting upon anger, either verbally or physically, is wrong. We suggest that you pray and ask God to give you the wisdom and strength you need to protect yourself from the effects of your boyfriend’s destructive anger.

We wish you the best,

1 Pr 15:18
2 Ps 37:8a
3 Mt 5:22