Ask Angie: What should a wife do when the husband puts her down constantly and is verbally abusive?
Guidance: Your husband is having problems within himself. He is manifesting his feelings in aggressive verbal language to you because he us unable to manage his emotions properly. Usually people who put down others (judgmental and critical) are unhappy within themselves. Please print out this marriage column and read together with your husband.
Have you tried reading the bible together as a study and discussion about what you read? Have you prayed and asked God to help your husband find peace of mind? You see many times we are so concerned about ourselves that we often overlook the obvious. Your husband is having a difficult time expressing himself properly and his anger is making him bitter and cold inside. It’s almost like living with an alcoholic.
You need to detach with love. How do you do that? Easy! Simply walk away when he becomes verbally abusive or when he begins to disrespect you. Do not take his verbal abuse – let it slide right off your shoulders – let it go in one ear and out the other. I realize that no sane person can actually do this, but you are going to try and do it, and eventually it will make you feel better doing it. There is no other way. You can’t make your husband be nice to you. Only he has the power within himself to change himself.
Why let his misery control how you feel? Walk away from it. And when he asks you why you are not getting angry back or why you are leaving the room, tell him that you are not going to talk to him when he is abusive. You have to take care of your own emotional and spiritual well-being. How can you do that when you are constantly getting trampled on? Rescue yourself from the abuse.
The worse thing you can do is to get verbally abusive back. What does that show? It shows your husband that you have a problem and not him. When you stop letting the abuse bother you, he will actually “see” his own behavior and how rotten he has been behaving. Your husband has to take responsibility for his own behavior. You are responsible for your behavior.
Lack of Proper Communication
The power of our words can make or break a marriage. The way we treat our spouse because of our own inability to communicate properly can literally build up barriers between couples. Words hurt, even though as children we learned to say, “words may never hurt us” the simple fact is, words can be darn right abusive. Most of us when abused with words, abuse back, because we don’t know how to fight (communicate) back properly.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
Disrespect In Marriage
Verbal abuse of any kind is disrespectful. It hurts a person emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Many couples disrespect each other and they don’t even know it. It is very possible they were disrespected while growing up, either by a parent or someone close to them. The pattern of disrespect shows itself in unproductive communication. It is not that you cannot tell your spouse your feelings, but it is in how you tell them! If it is destructive or negative towards your spouse then it is unproductive, and disrespectful.
Why do we disrespect the person we are supposed to be loving? One reason is because we don’t know how to be loving people. Superficial love is what most couples live off of. Is there any wonder marriage cannot survive on superficialities. Another reason is because when one spouse verbally abuses the other it causes a chain reaction.
Do to others, as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
Negative Feelings In Marriage
How we communicate our feelings to others shows in our emotional and spiritual well being. I have learned that we do not have to be aggressive with our feelings to get our point across. We only need to be assertive. In this way we do not hurt others with our abusive words.
Don’t say: “You can’t do anything right, I’ll just do it myself?” (This is invalidating and rejecting)
Do say: “Yes, that is one way of doing it, but I like doing it this way too because…” (This is not invalidating or rejecting)
Don’t say: “You make me so angry” (This is blaming and accusing – no one can make you angry but yourself)
Do say: I feel angry when…” (This is directing your anger toward the circumstance instead of on your spouse)
Don’t say: “You made me commit adultery because…” (This is making your spouse feel responsible for your weakness. You need to be accountable for your sins, not your spouse.)
Do say: I made a mistake, I’m sorry for being unfaithful in our marriage. (This is taking responsibility)
Don’t say: “All you care about is what you want, what about me?” (This is selfish. What about you? Do something to take care of you.)
Do say: “I feel that we do a lot of things that you want, and I would like to do something that we both like.” (This is compromise)
Do you see where I am going with this? You would not believe how many times a day that we direct our negative and destructive feelings at our spouse, and accuse each other for stuff that has nothing to do with them. We have control over our feelings and how we use those feelings in interaction with those we love. Think before you speak. Stop hurting your spouse with mean, disrespectful words. Learn to be nicely assertive instead.
Lack of Faith In God
A Good relationship with Christ means a good relationship with our spouse. I encourage couples to start applying God’s wisdom filled ways into their marriage and using that as a guide toward inner healing and restoration of marriage. As long as we are devoid of the Holy Spirit within us, we will direct our emotions and feelings in negative and destructive ways towards one another.
Please read the articles at the end of this marriage column together. If there are questions at the end of the articles, discuss your answers with each other. Be loving towards one another and love will come back into your hearts. Take care and God Bless!
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:6-8