Appearances can be so deceiving, can’t they? That guy at church who has his arm around his wife, checks the kids into their classes, is the life of the party at life group…such a great guy, right?
Maybe so. But many of you are married to “that guy” and it isn’t so happy at home. Mr. Nice Guy also yells when things don’t go his way. Cabinets and doors get slammed and he has a list of demeaning adjectives for describing you. But, as long as you’re keeping the house clean, the kids from being overly demanding, and giving him enough sex, according to him, it’s the “perfect marriage.”
Often, a woman in this situation tells herself that every marriage has ups and downs. Nobody’s perfect. And, she’s right. No man or woman is perfect and there might even be an occasion where his – or even your – behavior would be considered abusive. But there is a crucial distinction that must be made; a question only you can answer:
Is this abuse a one-time incident or is it a cycle that regularly repeats itself?
If this is a cycle and you find yourself regularly walking on eggshells to avoid an adult tantrum, don’t fool yourself. The truth is you are in a destructive marriage. Your husband doesn’t see nor does he take responsibility for the damage he is causing to your family. Here is another question that only you can answer:
What am I going to do about it?
You absolutely can not change him. (Trust me. Countless women have tried coercing their husbands to change … not one has ever succeeded.) But you can stop being a victim. You can decide what you will and will not allow in your life. You can decide to stop walking on eggshells and respond calmly but very differently to his tantrums. You can learn whether to stay well or how to leave well.
One thing that’s especially hard about being married to “Mr. Nice Guy” is that people don’t see the truth. And, usually, he isn’t exactly forthcoming with who he really is at home. So, when you stand up for yourself (and for your children) you’re often seen as the problem by mutual friends, churchgoers, your pastor, and even your family. Letting go of the need for people to understand and be on “your side” is going to be key to keeping your emotional well-being.
Too many Christians define being a good wife as someone who placates and keeps the peace. But how is this doing good for your husband? And is this really keeping the peace?
Your community of friends and family may not understand the choices you make, but please understand, you do have choices to make. My prayer is that you will begin to make healthy ones for yourself and for your children.