I really appreciate this community and the help and support you give one another. I am on a puppy quest. As most of you know my beloved dog Gracie died over a year ago. I didn’t think I would ever get another dog, but I miss a furry companion and have started the hunt.
Many of you know Gracie was a great dog, very attached to me but not so good with other people, especially when I was not present. It was difficult to leave her with friends or relatives because she would become so reclusive and depressed. For that
So if you know of a reputable breeder of miniature Goldendoodles, that’s what I’m looking for. I’d sure appreciate a breeder name/recommendation. Searching for one is like trying to adopt a baby. A pretty involved process and not many readily available.
This Week’s Question: My husband says that he is put into a kind of uncontrollable rage when I disrespect him because it is his God-given right as the husband to be respected. Last night I told my husband, who has physically struck me in the past, that I felt unsafe in our marriage and that I thought it was necessary that we lay some ground rules and boundaries specifically to be enforced during our times of arguing and fighting so that we can keep each other accountable.
He resisted in agreeing boundaries were the issue but finally agreed. I told him that a universal boundary should be absolutely no physical striking or threats of physically or hurting of any kind toward one another. To that he said that his boundary equivalent to that was “no disrespect/raising my voice to him.” He said that when he is disrespected, he feels he is being verbally abused by me and it feels as terrible as I feel when he slaps me on the arm/leg/head.
In theory, this sounds “right.” He says that I am making a double standard when I put a boundary on his behavior but that he cannot on me. And yet, something does not seem right at all about what he is saying. I agree that disrespecting your husband is as sinful as physically striking your spouse in anger. Is it biblical to see these exactly the same in terms of setting “off limit” boundaries in disagreements?
Answer: Your struggle to think clearly in this muddle is common to women who live with abusive men. I want to help clarify some important truths. First, the sin may be the same, but the consequences are not. His sin of hitting you is not just sinful, it’s illegal.
Second, your husband’s rage and subsequent acts of violence toward you are not uncontrollable. He has total control and limits himself right now to certain levels of physical violence (that he feels are acceptable). His behavior is always his choice.
In addition, I’m sure he has experienced disrespect from other people in his life – his employer, a rude driver, your children, a friend, or an enemy. People sin against us all the time in many ways and sometimes we do get angry. However, that doesn’t mean we hit them. In fact, isn’t that what we teach our children NOT to do when someone takes their toy or makes them mad? We don’t hit people when we’re mad. Period!
Let me ask you a question. Does your husband hit other people when he feels disrespected? What do you imagine a police officer would say if your husband used that as his excuse when he hit someone who disrespected him in traffic or at the mall?
Your husband feels entitled to hit you when he is mad and you have chosen not to initiate legal consequences that would protect you from this kind of abusive behavior.
Third, your husband says that it is his God-given right to be respected. Does he also believe that it is your God-given right to be safe, feel loved, and cherished in your marriage? Therefore, when he fails to love and cherish you and you feel hurt or angry, would it be okay with him if you hit him?
I want you to be crystal clear on something. You will fail your spouse and he will fail you. Sometimes these failures are big but often they occur in little ways. When working with couples, I often hear, “He doesn’t love me like I’d like or she doesn’t respect me like I want her to.”
The truth is, no spouse can always give us what we want even if what we want is a good and godly thing. Hurt and disappointment occur in every marriage. But is abusive behavior or speech an appropriate response to our disappointment and anger when our spouse fails to give us what we want? Jesus says “Never!” The Bible labels that kind of behavior as sin and is never justified.
The truth is no one gets everything he or she wants all of the time. Part of growing up and maturing is learning how to handle ourselves in a godly, mature way when we are disappointed, angry, and hurt when we don’t get what we want. Click To Tweet
Your husband’s entitlement thinking has deceived him into believing that since he’s entitled to be respected, he’s entitled to hit you when you’re not complying with what he wants. That is not true.
How do other men handle being disrespected by their wives? They might pray for their wife. They might talk with their wife. They might get counseling as a couple. A much healthier response to his disappointment or hurt, if you don’t respect him, is for him to say, “Honey, that hurts me when you talk to me that way. Would you please stop?” Or even, “When you talk to me that way, I can’t hear you. I’m ending the conversation.”
As far as boundaries – you’re right, you will never feel safe to have a conversation with your husband let alone disagree if you fear for your safety. Also, I’m not sure of his definition of disrespect. You were very clear with your definition of what you want stopped, no physical threats or physical violence. His definition was fuzzy – “No disrespect or raising your voice.”
Does that mean that when you feel strongly about something or disagree, you can’t speak with an elevated voice without him feeling disrespected? Does that mean that you cannot argue because he will feel you don’t respect his opinion? Does that mean you have to agree with everything he thinks because not to will feel disrespectful to him?
Ask him to define or describe for you the behavior you do that feels disrespectful to him. Is it calling him names? Is it swearing at him? Is it rolling your eyes? If you know what it is specifically, then you can decide whether or not you can agree to stop or change it. If you don’t know what it is, then it’s much harder to stop disrespecting him (in his eyes).
Finally, in order to live together in a safe way, you both need to agree when either one of you feels unsafe, the one who feels unsafe can call a time out. That means you stop the
It’s important for you to realize those seemingly lesser violent incidents like pushing or hitting often escalate in intensity and frequency over time to more dangerous levels. I’m concerned about your long term safety as well what it says to your children who see their father justify and excuse his treatment of their mother by hitting her and then blaming her. Over time that pattern can lead to your children doing the same; blaming you and acting abusively towards you when they feel frustrated or angry with you. They also may very well end up blaming you for “ruining the family” when you’ve had enough of his abuse and want to separate or end the marriage.
Friends, how do you wade through the confusion of blame-shifting when someone blames you for their bad feelings or sinful actions?
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