Yesterday I asked this question (to Facebook community of women in difficult Christian marriages): “If you could give advice to husbands in how they should treat you as wives specifically related to being in a difficult marriage, what would you say?”
Within moments of posting it, I received a comment that the answers seemed to be more to a husband who was simply inconsiderate than to a husband who was actually abusive. So, I’m going to give it a shot.
I know you told me that you don’t read anything that I write, but I can’t say any of these things to your face because I don’t think you listen to me. And you won’t come to counseling with me anymore. And the couple people I have told about us don’t believe me so there is no one else to talk to you about this but me.
I feel unequal to you. Almost all of the time. I don’t think it’s fair that you can buy whatever you want at the grocery store but I have to ask your permission before putting it in the cart. I don’t think it’s fair that I get an allowance and you get the entire checking account. I don’t think it’s fair that you can discipline our kids but I am not allowed to tell you when I think you’re wrong.
I feel controlled by you. You take the debit and credit cards out of my purse and hide them. You block my access to our money. You won’t let me paint our bedroom because you said I’d do a bad job. Even though my cell phone was broken, you wouldn’t buy me a new one until I promised that I’d take it everywhere I went, including if I went to sit outside for a few minutes to read.
I don’t trust you. You have lied to me so many times. About when you’ve been drinking. About where you’ve been. About what you spend and where. About who that number belongs to on your cell phone and about why you text it in the middle of the night. And that’s just what I know about! And then you yell at me, ‘I can’t believe you don’t trust me!’ after a few days of supposedly not lying.
I don’t feel safe with you. You drive while intoxicated. And the last time I stopped you from taking our kids with you in the car while you were drunk, you stormed back in the house and didn’t speak to me for days. You leave our doors unlocked at night and mock me for saying I want them locked. You sometimes don’t come home at night and you don’t always let me know.
You’re mean to me. You call me names. Telling me to stop acting like an ass is the same as calling me an ass. Telling me that I’m insane or a lying moron or out of my mind is cruel, and you do that a lot.
You don’t love me. You only love yourself.
Husband, there is so, so much more I could say. But you need to know this: I can’t do this anymore. How you treat me isn’t okay. I don’t care if no counselor has ever called you on this. I don’t care if everyone at church just thinks I’m a bad wife and I deserve to be treated like this. I’m saying it’s not okay. And it’s not.
Do you – in your quietest moments, when you’re most honest with yourself – actually believe how you treat me is okay? Do you really think how our marriage is working is the way it’s supposed to be? Is this what you always thought it would be like?
We need to get help now. I am going to ask for help until someone helps me.
If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.
This is textbook verbal abuse and control. This is not healthy for her in the long run, nor is it healthy for anyone around this man. He treats everyone the same way. And i can probably say with a 99% accuracy that he was abused by his mother or father or both at a very young age.
Elisabeth, please point this woman to the places she needs to go. You’ve shared them here before.
It hurts my heart to once again read the same story ive read so many times. This man will not change or look at change until she takes action.
I may have shared this before, but another book that has done wonders for so many, and received great reviews from Oprah and in O magazine is:”
How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It”
It was written by a man and a woman. I met a couple at a seminar I attended. They had divorced and remarried. The wife said, “if i had read this book long ago, i would have never divorced my husband the first time. She passed it to a friend who also said, she would have never divorced had she read this book.
Please continue to share these Elisabeth.
I know in my heart there are men that are also reading these posts, they just arent at the point to accept the damage they have done.
This is what I would add…
What you are doing is WRONG no matter what your wife’s shortcomings are. Quit blaming her fir your violence and intimidation. Be a man and own it.
You need to get help for YOUR issues separately from couple’s counseling, which is probably not in your wife’s best interest because sharing her thoughts with you in the room can lead to serious backlash from you.
If you are endangering your family’s safety, your wife has the right and even responsibility to separate, and you may be the one who needs to find another place to live. You are still responsible for supporting the family and you should not keep demanding to move back in.
Your actions will have a very lasting and very damaging effect on your wife and children, and even your grandchildren and future generations.
What you think if as your authority as the head of the home may be masking pride and selfishness.
Learn to serve and protect, not demand and attack.
Bill, thanks for the encouragement and the resource!
Anonymous, thank you for the additional thoughts.