Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When Your Husband’s a Jerk

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Sure, it’s easy to be biblically submissive when your husband’s in the Nice Guy category. But what if he’s just mean? Or ornery? Or annoying? Or super strict? And he’s nothing like me? And well, on some days he’s a lot more like the spawn of Satan himself? 

 

When Your Husband's a Jerk

 

This is a question (in various forms) that keeps coming to me by women who are reading My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife, or who have heard about it but haven’t taken the leap to read it, and I think it’s a legitimate one that I thought might be helpful to address here on my blog. (Though I do wonder why one would marry the spawn of Satan – but hey, demons do have a reputation for being beautiful when you forget about that whole red tail, demon horns thing…)

It’s also not the first time I’ve heard the argument. An editorial review about the book seemed to imply at the end that sure, it was easy for me to be biblically submissive to my husband because he’s Mr. Wonderful, and not every woman is that lucky.

My husband is wonderful – but he’s not perfect. And there are many moments or days I have found myself during our 15 years of marriage and counting that I’ve wanted to scream, or pull my hair out, or just tape the toilet lid down already (especially at 2 in the morning when you might in your sleep-induced thoughts think someone put a bidet in when you weren’t looking but no, you have in fact just fallen in because someone else neglected to put down the lid)!

And let’s be clear – in this jerk category, which this post is about, we are not including legitimate, real abusers – men who physically and/or emotionally abuse their wives. They deserve a special category all their own (and actually Spawn of Satan really could fit there).

No, we’re talking about jerk behavior. A husband who says thoughtless things, and when you tell him you’re hurt, he doesn’t seem to care. Or a husband who refuses to call when he’s running late and rolls his eyes at you when you voice your displeasure (cue sarcastic or caustic remarks) when he finally walks into the house. A husband who refuses to pick anything up or a husband who insists everything stay picked up, like you live in a museum – and you’re the one who doesn’t see what the big deal is.

We’re talking husband behavior that drives you crazy. Husband decisions you don’t respect. Husband issues that make you want to take a long vacation and never come back.

We’re talking about husbands who act like jerks.

Who wants to be submissive to those guys?

In the last four years or so, since going through the Proverbs 31 experiment, and now more recently, the Biblical Submission experience, I feel like I’ve had a chance to go to marriage college. Because I’ve finally learned something I wasn’t willing to admit when I was first married.

I can’t change my husband. But I CAN greatly influence him. 

No – I’m not talking about manipulation. Anyone can manipulate to get your way. But that usually doesn’t help for the long term. Usually, manipulation only gets you as far as the small-minded thing you’re trying to get accomplished, and the problem with manipulation is you find you have to do more and more to get what you want – and eventually, even you get tired of that.

I’m not talking about manipulation. I’m talking about godly motivation. I’m talking about influence. For better or for worse.

See, I can’t change the things my husband does that aggravates me or frustrates me or drives me crazy. I can’t force him to do what I want him to do or be the man I think he should be. But I can work on myself. I can be responsible for my own actions. I can be more intentional about my behavior and my attitude. I can be more intentional in my relationship with God and my understanding of how important that is when it comes to being a wife.

What I’ve found is that as I’ve worked on myself, as I’ve pursued living out my wife life the way God’s called me to live it – and not how I think I should do it – I’ve changed for the better, and some of the things that my husband does that used to drive me crazy, doesn’t drive me crazy any more. And an even nicer unexpected benefit? There are things in his life, in his ways, in his behavior, that he has also changed.

Maybe this is because my attitude has changed…

or maybe it’s because I’m not so insistent to always get my way or I’m not so resistent to hearing what he has to say, or wants to do –

or maybe, just maybe, it’s simply because I’ve stepped out of the way, and God’s stepped in and worked on my husband’s life the same way He’s working on mine.

So let me speak to you, the precious wife who has woken up today with a pounding “my husband is a jerk today” heartache. Or maybe it’s a stomach ache. Or a severe headache from all the crying and “woe is me’ing.”

Someone today wants you to roll up your wifely welcome mat and go home. Someone today wants you to say “if he’s not going to try, then why should I?” Someone today wants you to give up.

 

Don’t. 

Sometimes I think the enemy loves to convince us that as women, we have little to no influence when it comes to our husbands. But I think that’s a lie. I think God designed it for  wives to be amazingly influential when it comes to their husbands – I’m talking about positive actions, encouraging words, that will speak to your husband’s heart where he needs to hear it most.

God can use you to be the wife He’s called you to be, and when you let that happen, I believe you will see your husband become the man God’s called him to be for you.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t always happen as fast as we’d like it to. But I believe it does happen.

Don’t give up on your husband. I don’t think biblical submission happens overnight either. I think it’s best when we take baby steps, and it happens out of a heart that’s willing, not begrudging.

Ask more questions and actually care about his opinion or thoughts; look for ways to be kind (even when you don’t think he deserves it); ask him to make a final decision on something – and then respect him enough to not try and change it.

I don’t think God leaves us as individuals to wind up  the same as when we first start out married. I think He calls for us to change – not necessarily to be the image of our SPOUSE – but the image of our SAVIOR. And when we start looking at our relationships that way, I believe things can change. For the better.

So yes, there may be more days than less right now where your husband seems to be a jerk. Maybe all that’s needed is a change in the equation.

You.

Try this:
1. Take a piece of paper and put a line down the middle.

2. On the left side, write out every single thing your husband does that drives you crazy. That makes you mad. That frustrates you. Take time to think about each of these things.

3. For each thing you wrote down on the left, write down on the right how you respond or react when your husband does those things. Are you being kind? Are you being ugly? Are you saying exactly what you think in the heat of the moment or are you willingly editing your words? Are you more hurtful than helpful? Ask God to show you how you can change your actions, and pray for the actions of your husband.
God is in the change business. The business of changed hearts. Let Him start with yours. 

Need  more motivation for yourself about marriage? Sign up to receive my blog in your inbox and get a free download of my 30 Days to Love His Way devotional

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53 Responses to When Your Husband’s a Jerk

  1. I needed this today. My heart feels wooden and yet I can only keep praying the same prayer I have been for the last 3 years. Change me into the wife this marriage needs. Thanks for the loving and timely reminder! 🙂

  2. Sara, I love this…even though I struggle too. You are spot-on with your “experiment”. Interesting that many of us are taught the acronym J-O-Y = Jesus, Others then You. I’ve learned though it is JYO instead — our submission to Jesus shows up in us — in our behavior and then it affects others around us.

  3. I jumped online to ask you this very question, and here is the answer! 🙂 Exactly what I felt God telling me, but I didn’t want to hear it. If I may add my own suggestion, use Stormie Omartian’s book The Power of a Praying Wife to pray for your hubby out loud. I am doing this. I see certain chapters that really seem to hone in on issues my hubby has and I focus on them. If we pray for God to reveal Himself to our husbands, He will. Pray for it and then stay out of the way so God can work on them as he helps us work on ourselves. It’s so hard! I’ve listened to that song “Worn” with tears in my eyes pretty often lately, but God is faithful. When it gets REALLY tough, pray. It works and can be done as often as needed (no overdose possible!).

  4. My husband wrecked my car tonight on the ice after cocktails at the neighbors. Me, my two sons and a neighbor boy were all in the car at the time. No one was injured. He is a jerk when he drinks, which is once every other month or so. He is very defiant about being the driver if we are not at home (physically shoving me out of the way). He is very defiant about everything. We argued afterwards at home. I told him he was totally chronically immature. I pray for him more than anyone else everyday. I try to stay strong in my faith, but right now, I seriously want to hurt him back for his lack of growing up-which seems constant.

  5. I have been dealing with anger issues in my husband for many years, 18 years of marriage the last 8 or so with him being angry most of the time. I to sought after God’s Word and tried to follow the model of the Proverbs 31 Wife. Over the last year I have changed so much allowing God to make changes in me. After much prayer and God’s leading the next step He gave me was not to accept the SIN “Anger” in love,set boundaries and be prepared to stick to them. I realized we were made to have a great influence of good over our husbands so they can rise to be they godly men they were meant to be. My hope is in God, and I have already seen significant changes in my husband once I set those boundaries and refused to be the object of his anger. What is interesting is my children are 100% behind my decision (both teenagers) so they understand what is happening- My oldest has always spoke negative comments under his breathe about my husband’s behavior and I asked him to no longer let any negative words come out of his mouth against his father because our words are so powerful for good or bad. And he actually agreed and has not.
    All of these thing’s can be done in Love, but we as wives must not accept these behavior’s. The enemy comes only to kill, steal and destroy. I was shocked to find myself in this situation with a man I have loved over half of my life, and I am so grateful that God gave me the action plan to accept it no more and have the husband God intended for me from the beginning!

  6. Why hiding our enabling weaknesses behind faith? Being confronted to no challenge or no accountability has never made any man a better man, EVER, whereas it has built generations of abusive brats & abusers. If a man is an ass, well the only way he will ever get it is by being called on the carpet. Why? Because men aren’t wired the way we women are (look at your own boys and girls, are they the same? No? So there is your proof). Men pretend they don’t get the hints, they don’t get the cues and they don’t even ever get the memo! Why? Because it is easier on their over-sized ego to pretend they did not get it instead of acknowledging they have been an idiot purposefully (or instead of taking a long, hard look at themselves and figuring out that they are so selfish that they did not take the steps to find the solution to their behavioral problem). Now loving God does not mean enabling poor role models.

    If your hubby has anger management issues and thinks it is OK to unleash Hell on you each time he has to take the slightest frustration, it is likely that this behavior will rub off onto your own kids: it is not a religious issue, it is a psychological issue and an upbringing issue (abusive fathers make abusive husbands). God has nothing to do with this. It is OUR responsibility as a mother to NOT take an abusive man as husband and to NOT tolerate this behavior. If you have picked the wrong number or you have enabled this behavior, God wants us to fix the issue for our kids’ sake and this fix is more likely “tough love”. You actually OWE that to your kids and to God. This implies being able to take action and remove or eradicate all evil influence and all caustic environment from around them. So either you set strict boundaries, your husband gets his acts together, lives his life as a decent man and you move on with your happy life; or he pretends he does not get the message and you can always separate for a little while (this is not a divorce). I can tell from experience that this helps them grow a conscience. Consequences actually do work, how odd huh?

  7. I Googled , my husband is a jerk, how to respond. This blog entry came up first. I thank God it did…I was and am still a little in revenge/payback mode. It would take way too long to go into all the history. He can be the sweetest guy, but when he’s in jerk mode…he can STOMP on my heart and not seem to even care. A $30 bunch of flowers could have headed off so much. Is that too much to ask for a 30yr anniversary? He’s a long haul trucker. He used every excuse and the last, that he’s on the road and “can’t do anything so he doesn’t know what I want from him” fell through when I pointed out he CAN do stuff online and by phone while on the road when it’s for a project car part etc. I didn’t yell. I think I did pretty good explaining that I was hurt my his indifference. Our 25th was almost the same and every bit as painful. I am hurting a lot right now. Feeling like the last 30yrs were a waste of time. Now, he’s expecting me to stuff everything the way I always do and move on. I don’t pray anymore. I can’t feel God’s presence much anymore…and I’m mad that once again, I’m the only one who has to be accountable TO God. His 60th birthday is Tuesday. I’ve played through a million ways to make him feel like a jerk…but I know he’ll be clueless as usual. He’s not a believer and I know I’m not being a good example of a believer either…doubting if I even really am…or how could I feel like this if I was? I’m seeing a christian counselor and it helps…until I get a fresh set of boot prints on my heart. Sorry for the vent. I’ve signed up and will be reading…Thanks

  8. Where do I begin? Honestly I knew that no internet material would help my relationship but I guess it helps to know others suffer from the same afflictions. I have known my husband since I was 19. Now, I have had relationships other than him,but we have had an on-going on and off relationship until we were married last March. Why did I think that things would get better just because we married? Stupidity I guess! 🙂 He is mean not just a jerk!!!! I’m telling you all, mean as all get out. He has called me horrible names that I will not repeat here; he has hit me. He is verbally abusive, explosive, and has a violent approach to those who he feels disrespected by and so on, I have read The Praying Wife; I have tried the Love Challenge (my husband wouldn’t even try it). I have read the Five Love Languages, I have prayed, and I have asked others to pray. And do you know what has happened? Absolutely NOTHING. NOTHING has changed. I have tried being docile, keeping the house spotless, try not to ask him to do anything; heck I even went and got a part-time job because he always complained that we never had money. (but this man drinks a 12 pack or more of beer almost every day). I could go into more detail but would rather just ask, “When you have used all the resources (besides marriage counseling and honestly? my husband is not going to go!) what is your next step”? Where do I go from here? I have a 4 year old boy I need to consider in all of this as well. I would hate for him to “learn” this behavior and think its okay to treat women the way his father does. What are your thoughts ladies?

    • Jessica, first, thank you for sharing your story and I am so sorry you are going through this. It is NEVER ok for a man to hit you. NEVER. Your husband has a drinking problem and anger issues, and he needs to get help, and you will not be the one to help him. His problems and his poor choices are not your fault nor ultimately your responsibility. But you are responsible for your son, and for yourself.

      Your next step is to get help for yourself and for your child and to physically remove yourself from the situation. A separation from your husband is needed, especially if what you’ve described is happening daily or is ongoing and nothing has improved and your husband shows no intention of getting help for himself. If you have family you can rely on for help and support during this time, reach out to them and rely on them. Otherwise you need to find other resources that can give you what you need right now.

      Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) and talk to someone who can give you advice and resource information for your area. Do not wait. Do not rationalize that it’s not that big a deal what’s happening. It IS a big deal and there is NEVER a reason why someone should physically or emotionally hurt someone else – especially when it’s someone they claim to love. The hardest thing to do sometimes is be the one to walk away, but when you have tried everything you can, and from your description you have, you have to protect yourself and your child.

      I do know that God can work in these situations and He can heal and restore – but time and distance are often required in order for Him to work on your heart and in your life, as well as your husband’s. I’m praying for you today.

    • Jessica, I would really like to know how your situation is now. How I see it, you did not have a way out from your abusive marriage(just like me) without hurting your child.
      I am in an abusive marriage right now, and I also have a 4 year old daughter. I am suffocated in this marriage. He is aggressive, mean, controlling , abusive and violent. He does not care about the child, he is not interested in spending time or money on her, and he is mean to her. But the only reason I am with him is MY DAUGHTER. In a divorce, we will have to share a custody, and I cannot allow my baby to stay with this monster alone. It would be negligence because she is in danger when she is with him. That is why I never leave her with him alone.When he is mad at me , he can throw her on the floor, or scream at me in front of her, or throw things around, or slam doors when she is right there. So, I keep it quite for the sake of my baby. I don’t get ingaged in conversations with him, I do not ask for anything, because when I do, he turns into an angry animal.. I am trapped. There is no way out for me until my daughter is 18. But I am protecting her now, which I would not be able to do when we are divorced, and she will have to spend weekends with him and his inadequate (mentally and visually impaired) 14 year old son from previous marriage.
      I am just venting here. However, it would be nice to know that Jessica Daniel is in a better situation, as well as other women who used to have similar tragedy.

  9. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and just recently got married. We have two kids, 18 months and 7. I didn’t think marriage would change us for the good or the bad but thought just maybe my husband would grow up a little. It’s so hard to be happy when it’s like every other week his mood changes. One week, he’s amazing, sweet and super helpful and the next week he’s a rude, careless, person. I know we all can’t be in perfect moods 24/7 but, it’s hard trying to juggle his behavior on a weekly basis. This article took the words right out of my mouth. I try so hard to keep my family together and have spent a good amount of time reflecting on myself, and what am I doing to make the situation better/worse. It’s super hard when you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing you do seems to be enough. I don’t want to be without him but, when you feel like you’ve done everything (counseling, talking, expressing your feelings, reflecting on yourself) what else do you have left to do?

  10. So glad that this showed up again. I have taken your advise and I have seen less”jerk” moments in my husband. I have also noticed that my attitude has slipped back a bit. It was awesome to have the gentle reminder.

  11. HI! my name is nikki. I’m not really sure how to start this but to be honest i don’t really know if i’m over reacting or if i should be angry. I do believe in Jesus but i’m not a big church goer. I still pray every once in awhile when i’m at a loss. I haven’t prayed on this subject yet because honestly I don’t believe God can really help me with this. This isn’t God’s doing, its my husband being an idiot.
    Recently Brad came home from deployment (We are both in the military.) He has changed a lot and i don’t believe it is for the better. He is more demanding and always worried about everything. He isn’t happy with what he has done with his life or the things we have.

  12. He has freely admitted that but i get the feeling he is not happy with being married to me or happy with having our daughter (3yr old). He is not physically abusive but some of the things he says and the way he reacts to certain things really scares me. HE DOES NOT HAVE PTSD from deployment BTW. again he is just an idiot. Well anyway. He doesn’t appreciate anything i do. I fold his sleeves for him sunday night and he complains all night that they aren’t tight enough. Then when i tell him to do it himself he get all lovey and says i do it better but then goes right back to complaining. (This isn’t just with the sleeves. This is everything, Cleaning, disaplining our daughter, cooking, taking care of our dogs, Bills, insurance, finding a baby sitter. It’s left to me because “I do it better” but He is constantly complaining.)

  13. .) We both work long hours, where the same uniform and wake up at the same time. (except on weekends, he sleeps in.) He is always acusing me for something i did, forgot to do or didn’t do it right. to be honest I’m tired of it. I’m tired of him. I can’t deal with his constant bad attitude. I know his job is stressfull but it’s not our family’s fault he had a bad day but he takes it out on us. Like we caused all of today’s drama, and it’s my fault because i wouldn’t be late to work or wear his nasty boots for something that he needs. I’m supposed to cater to his every whim. I WORK TOO! I get tired too! i don’t bring it all home to him. I still manage not to drink myself stupid on the weekends. I still can play with rayne at the end of the day, cook dinner, wash dishes and bathe rayne and put her to bed without having a meltdown and yelling at everybody because it’s everybody elses fault i’m in the mood i’m in.
    I realize i am holding onto A Lot of resentment and frustration towards him.

  14. He won’t talk to me
    He won’t let me talk to him.
    He throws things in my face that have nothing to do with anything.
    I have been doing research online on how to effectively communicate with your spouse but how can i even try if it works if everytime i ask him to talk to me i get “just drop it, i’ll talk to you when i feel like it.” HE NEVER FEELs like it.
    What do i do? none of my friends have useful advice. I don’t even know if i want to stay with him and try to work this out. I think i’m looking for an excuse to leave him. I don’t know. I want to save our marrage because he can be so kind and wonderful. But i just don’t know if those moments of kindness are worth all the anger and resentment i am used too. I hope you have some type of solution. If not i understand. Have a great day!

    • Hi Nikki,

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this difficult time with your husband. I’m not sure how long you’ve been married, but I can definitely attest to the fact that there are always seasons and certain times in marriage that are harder than others.

      You don’t say whether you have deployed yourself or not before, but let me caution you not to assume that your husband isn’t dealing with some things from his deployment. No, it may not be traditional PTSD – but there may be some things he’s still struggling with. Things he has seen, things that happened that he’s not happy about. Men especially are never going to open up about feelings or significant topics if they don’t feel like they’re in a safe place, or a safe relationship, to open up in.

      The way you’re describing your husband’s reactions to you sounds like he has shut down. His attitude of not wanting to do anything and telling you that you “do it better” may seem like just a lazy selfish attitude on the surface, but it also could be a form of insecurity and doubt in himself that he’s not useful for anything so he’s not going to attempt to try. He may not be sure where he fits in at home since he’s been gone, and he may be struggling with where he fits in with other things too. But he’s never going to open up to you and share why he feels that way if he feels like he’s always being pushed or attacked.

      I’d like to suggest a few things. First, I think you should declare a Time Out. Not with your husband – but with yourself. Though it was a different situation, I was in a similar place as you are many years ago, where everything my husband did made me mad, frustrated, dissappointed or feeling ignored. The more he did wrong, the more I found things he did wrong. And pretty soon I realized I was looking for what he did wrong. It’s a slippery slope.

      So take a Time Out. For the next two weeks, don’t react to things he does that makes you mad. Do what you need to do with your job, around the house, with your little girl, and don’t add to anything he tries to start. Be willing to be neutral. Play the peace maker, and not the instigator. When he gets angry about something, instead of getting defensive, tell him calmly you’re sorry he feels that way. If he complains about his sleeves, don’t react angrily – ask him to show you how he prefers them to be done. If he’s not willing to do that, then let him know it may be better that he does them himself so they’re the way he wants.

      I’m not sure if you read my post, but I would also recommend that you do the list I suggested.

      Try this:
      1. Take a piece of paper and put a line down the middle.
      2. On the left side, write out every single thing your husband does that drives you crazy. That makes you mad. That frustrates you. Take time to think about each of these things.
      3. For each thing you wrote down on the left, write down on the right how you respond or react when your husband does those things. Are you being kind? Are you being ugly? Are you saying exactly what you think in the heat of the moment or are you willingly editing your words? Are you more hurtful than helpful? Ask God to show you how you can change your actions, and pray for the actions of your husband.

      You are an influencer – for better or worse. Yes, you’re strong. And yes, you can handle the millions of little things that come up each day – your job, your little girl, the house. But ultimately, you don’t want to be doing that alone. There are good things your husband brings to your life, and there are good things you bring to his. And there are good things that you both bring to your little girl.

      We can’t force change in someone else. We can only work on changing ourselves. And I need to gently say, one of the first things you might think about changing is the name calling, like referring to your husband as an idiot. There is power in how we use our words.

      I went through a time where I loved my husband, but I didn’t like him very much. But I heard a speaker talk about the power of our words, and how he always used really positive words about his wife, and his kids, and his feelings reflected those. So I started calling my husband Handsome. I’m not a normally affectionate person like that, using pet names, but I decided I would do it any way. So I’d text him when he was at work and write “Good morning, Handsome, I love you.” Or when we saw each other at the end of the day, I’d smile and say “Hey Handsome, how was your day?” It felt awkward, uncomfortable, at first, but I still did it. And after awhile, I noticed my frustration, my negative feelings toward him, started to go away. And then I noticed after about a year of me doing this with him, that he started calling me Beautiful. And I REALLY liked that.

      It’s tempting to say, when we’re in a rough season, that the situation is never going to get better, or he’s never going to change, but honestly, that’s not fair, and it’s not really true. Because we change what we put our minds on changing. And we can’t change other people, but we can change ourselves. And how we change ourselves can make a huge impact on how others respond to those changes… and ultimately change themselves.

      I’ve heard from so many women who have put these ideas into practice and have SEEN the changes in their own husbands, so believe me when I say that what I’m telling you isn’t fluff or pie in the sky suggestions that don’t really do anything. But they also don’t happen overnight. It takes time.

      And God CAN help you with this. But it may be in a way you’re not expecting. I’ve already suggested a couple of things to you –

      1)Take a Time Out for the next two weeks, and don’t react to him when he does things that normally pushes your buttons;

      2) Make that list of what he does that bothers you, and then write down what you normally do when you react (and be honest). Be more intentional about using positive words, and not negative ones (including name calling).

      And here’s 3) – instead of asking God to change your husband, ask God to help change your heart towards your husband. Ask Him to help show you what your husband needs. Ask Him to help show you where your husband is hurting or struggling. And work on your own relationship with God. Talk to a chaplain and see if there are any good ministries for military wives and/or female service members that you can connect with. Visit a chapel or church service one Sunday. I bet your little girl would enjoy the Sunday school time. Let me invite you to check out my military wives ministry at wivesoffaith.org. Another great ministry where you can find resources is crumilitary.org.

      I hope this is helpful. I know when you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to imagine anything can get better. But it CAN. Try these steps I’ve laid out. I’m praying for you.

  15. Wow, you’ve set women back 50 years with this blog. It always surprises me when women are themselves the cause of keeping us from a fair and egalitarian society. If you have children you are teaching them unhealthy things that will damage their relationships as well.

    • Hi Abby,

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you commenting, and I can relate to what you’re saying because I used to think the same way. But my goal for this post had nothing to do with setting back or advancing women – my purpose was to help women in their marriages. A marriage involves two people and really does require more “we” thinking then “me” thinking. Women are such a strong force of influence but I believe we use it in wrong ways when it comes to our marriages – and I’ve seen in my own, and I’ve seen it with other women, that we can actually make a bigger impact and a greater influence on our marriages and our husbands when we aren’t thinking only about ourselves. That’s not weakness. That takes a whole lot of strength.

      It’s not unhealthy to be willing to think of someone else before yourself. What is unhealthy is only thinking about yourself. Selfishness is the root of most issues in marriage and when one spouse is selfish, the other spouse has a choice: be selfish herself, which only adds to more selfishness, or she can be the bigger person and practice selfless, loving behavior, and believe she can be a positive influence.

  16. I am just plain tired of putting him before me and before my family (not his – second husband – makes the first one look almost a saint…at least he didn’t criticize me and then claim he never criticizes anyone). I was raised Jehovah’s Witness and though I am inactive and have my own issues there…believe me I know what a submissive wife is and all that stuff. I spent 15 years working those qualities with my current husband….only to be rewarded by being accused unjustly of having an affair with my boss and my husband signing up on all sorts of dating sites – just to look. So I tried I different approach. Separated for 6 months. Pretty much said – ok you had it your way – it’s my way or the highway now. (I’m 55 so not a spring chicken anymore). But like most he has managed to manipulate my fears (being alone…though sometimes I wonder if that’s a bad thing) misquoting stuff from my religion as it suits his viewpoint – (he’s muslim). He acts as though he is entitled to everything I guess. After I got laid off I started working with him full time. I hate his work. My place in it was always back office – networking – and troubleshooting. Never mind tending to a household – (we have no kids together – thank God) Although that is another issue on his end. (another stupid story) Now that is not enough. Because I say no or try to – to certain things he asks me to do – I am not supportive and he plays the victim – he can only graciously accept what I choose to do to help him. (looking for my violins) I order some supposed Diabetes Cure protocol – which includes a morning cleanse mixture and a bunch of other crap. First I am to read it and tell him what it says. Well it’s not that easy. So I start with the liver detox a couple of days and then get criticized because I didn’t follow through – as if that is all I have to do in life. So with his conspiracy mindset I must have some ulterior reasons for not wanting him to get well. But he doesn’t TELL me this – just tells me for weeks/months now – he has a list of things that he will present to me 1 or 2 at a time when he is ready. Today – I got impatient – found the document on his laptop and looked myself. When I called him out on it – his focus was that I looked into his laptop without permission – not the actual issues – which also included – being a hypocrite. – not helping enough with his work ( I am 5% whopping owner) – the ‘cure’ thing – I twist how I tell things — so basically am not honest and I forgot the other….I was too pissed. Of course he is on the couch and I am in the bed — and silence is not the answer supposedly – communication is – but how can you talk to a lunatic who constantly twists things? I just want to shut him out – go about my work – my life and wait to die. My son died 2.5 years ago unexpectedly and yes I suffer from depression but not enough not to let me think right. I am an intelligent woman — just very stupid in the man department. Any suggestions…other than harikari?

  17. Thank you for the article! I’ve been struggling in my marriage and searching for an answer. My husband cheated on me with one of my coworkers two years ago and I haven’t recovered. It happened once and when he was drunk but afterwards and when he told me, several other confessions about a general lack of commitment to me came out–in his thoughts and feelings. Since then he says he’s 100% committed to me and wants to have a good life with me. He says he’s sorry for the pain he’s caused me and hates himself for what he’s done. But, I am unable to accept his apology. He still says mean things to me and every time he does it feels like knives hitting my heart. If he’s so sorry, how could he continue to be so mean in his words. We have a 1 1/2 year old son. My husband is a great father to him and I can see the love between them. The only reason I haven’t left my husband is because of my son and because of my faith in God. But, I feel myself sinking further and further into depression every day. I don’t love my husband and I wish I never married him. I feel trapped. The person I’m with is an imposter of who I thought my husband was. He did a pretty good job of lying to me. I try. I really do. I try to say nice things. I try to rationalize with him when he gets angry. I try to keep a cool head and explain my point when we argue. He just doesn’t listen to me and distorts my words. The thing is, I don’t think he even knows who I am. I should have known the first time I asked him what he loved about me and he didn’t have an answer. I don’t know if I can take it. I want to take your advice but I feel so defeated. Hopefully the others reading this haven’t reached the point I have. I hope those who read this will pray for me to have strength in this relationship.

    • I am with you, Shannon! I’m in the same situation… There is no way out if you have a child. My daughter is 4 y/o. I am trapped too. He is abusive, violent, aggressive, does not spend time or money on our daughter, and simply disgusting. But I am with him because in a divorce, my daughter will have to spend weekends with him, and that would be negligence because she is not safe with him. So, i am trapped and stuck with him untill she is 18.
      Please let me know if your situation has improved. I would be happy to hear that.

  18. Good discussion. And I think the line between being a jerk and being abusive is not always clear. Living with a constant jerk feels like abuse. For my kids, I want to know that I tried everything I could, and this tip, among others is good. My husband is a jerk…it may be a chemical imbalance but 12 years of therapy, psychology and medications he won’t take hasn’t helped. I have threatened to divorce and that helps for a few days or weeks. So it is my option to try harder or leave. I feel enabled of all the choices to respond that the past 50+ years of women’s liberation efforts have given me. So today when he says, “We are selling this house and moving in 2 weeks because the neighbors are %#@*!ers.” I know that I can divorce, but first I will ask him, “That’s interesting? What are you looking for in a new home and neighborhood?” I know it sounds silly to some, but it changes me and makes me a calmer person and I am tired of spending my time thinking I can change him or the situation to have peace. Divorce will always be an option but this article reminds me that I have more than one approach to take.
    \

  19. I needed this today. I am reading My So Called Life as a Submissive Wife with a group at church and am trying to make the changes I need to make, but it’s sometimes very difficult when he is being emotionally abusive on purpose and is acting out in a very public way. There are many days when I feel like packing up my son and leaving.

    • Did you leave him, Michelle? If you did, so what is happening now? Your son spends weekends with an abusive person just because he happened to be his father, and nothing you can do about it?
      That is my situation. I am with him because I am protecting my daughter by keeping her away from spending weekends alone with an abuser.

      • Hi all, Had posted earlier in Nov. 2015, saying I am trying to adjust after a walkout and that my son n husband are fighting now. So sisters I walked out again on 1st April 2016. Its 4 months now. My youger son has taken up a job in a KPO, The older one has gone back to stay with his father as he said he felt guilty that he was alone. Also that i dint put up with his late hours n alcoholism. So he found staying with his dad a better option. I havnt divorced my husband, am staying with my daughter and monitoring the son n father from here. God has put me in such a good position now. Bless the Lord. That i earn better than my husband and if like my younger son , my daughter and me.. These both father and son want a life like us.. then they better improve. My husband is pestering me to come back coz he cannot live without my home cooked food and I put up a new condition every day. Conditions such as to improve their life style. At times he makes me feel guilty that am staying away from my wifey duties to pursue my ambition. He and his relatives give me a lecture on religion. But am sure i cudnt get this courage if the Lord hadnt willed. I am accepting this as his plan and moving on. May each of my sisters here find some solace. Never stop praying and beleiving. Miracles are miracles coz they happen when least expected. God bless and love you all.

  20. Sorry to hear the experiences of wives in the comments.

    I too relate. I married my best friend, we loved each other so very much. After 15 years and five kids I’m left with a dwindling marriage. Not for lack of trying on my part. He couldn’t care less, he thinks we have forever and thinks everything is great. Doesn’t explain why he is so nasty to me. He admits he is mean to me and says he doesn’t know why he does that. He says I’m perfect ( I know I’m not) and that he wouldn’t change a thing about me, that I’m smart, beautiful and a wonderful mother. Yet he mocks me daily, calls me names and at least a few times a month threatens physical violence and goes on psychotic rants. Apart from being very confusing, its not the marriage I signed up for and I hate to think how this affects my kids. The guilt associated with that is the worst part.

  21. Hi
    Am married 26 years now and I relate to everyone here, sometimes in part, sometimes in whole. I married when I was 19, did every submission thing the bible said. Helped him in business and continue to help from past 15 years. Before that I was a housewife, holed up in the house, not allowed to go anywhere alone, as my husband is a paranoid. I have been beaten physically, bruised emotionally, abused, challenged and utterly disrespected,as he always flirted with other women in front of me. He even made me do things for them like cook up throw a party, take care of their kids. Then he said he was sorry and swore he will improve. He then became an alcoholic and became more abusive. This started sprawling now towards the kids too, as he sensed that they were my supporters. I hung on because he is a very smooth talker, tells me that he loves me, he loves the kids despite financial ups and downs, he has luck and intelligence to bring in money and I knew I can never give my kids what he can in terms of luxury. But soon my patience gave way as I was beaten now almost every week in front of my kids and son-in-law, as my daughter is now married past 2 years. I was abused, beaten, I forgave and went to his office everyday as if nothing happened. Finally 8 months back I walked out with both my sons aged 17 and 23 who are still stuck in teens as far as mental and emotional development is concerned. stayed out with his own relatives, who knew I was right, in the same city. Took a job under his nose. Then I returned after 45 days of his immense pestering, pleading, he even started going to church regularly. I returned with faith, once again submissive, he has improved a lot, works hard, gives up on alcohol, time to time. But is depressed often as my walking out came as a big shock for him. Now I am trying hard to heal him. But biggest problem now here is that, my sons have rebelled. They have lots o poison stored in. I have healed from inside, but they are not able to forget and argue with him on slightest provocation. My husband does act like a jerk now and then, which makes my sons angry. I tell them that their father is trying, but the elder one has taken to alcohol and both father and son fight as if they are brothers, equally abusive. My son is a sweet child otherwise, but somehow feels he is responsible to correct my husband now. Its war at home every 15 days and am stuck and made to feel guilty. My husband puts in more and more hours at work after his bad behaviour. I don’t know how to correct this. My younger son lost his one year at high school, wants to earn money, not interested in studies and not interested to help his father in business. The elder one helps him from time to time, but has a bunch of friends, who think life is a big picnic, and they siphon him off to enjoy every night. I think, by being a very good, submissive and helpful wife to a jerk and abusive husband, I have completely failed as a mother. My prayer is for both my sons daily, with tears streaming, in bid to wash away my transgressions towards them. ALL OF YOU READING THIS. DO PRAY FOR MY FAMILY.

  22. One of my spouse’s “blame the victim” (me) patterns is to RENEGE. He’ll devise plans of action for BOTH of us to take – but when the time actually comes, he goes off in different directions without communicating and then launches into tirades. Prior to our move to a new state, he came up with the plan that we would BOTH UNPACK EACH BOX TOGETHER so that we would both know where everything is. He is retired and I was taking time off. When the time came to unpack, he opened a box in the kitchen. I stood at the ready, waiting for him to direct me to put such-and-such an item wherever, or else have me watch him place certain items. Then KABLAMM! “Why are you just standing there! You need to start unpacking the other boxes! Why don’t you just go for a walk?!” Etc. Instead of me reminding him (once again) “But honey, this was YOUR idea!” I started unpacking other boxes by myself. Later, when he couldn’t find items he needed, I told him good luck, he was now on his own.

  23. You go on and on about lousy husbands, but i’m here to tell you it’s the wife’s problem also i typed in google search, “my spouse is mean and thoughtless and 99% of the serch results were about bad husbands. Women need to look in the mirror and ask themselves this question before blaming your husband: am i being a cold-hearted bitch usung sex as a weapon? You are just as much to blame for issues as your husband.

    • Unless you know the individuals here individually, Steve, you have no idea what is going on regarding the relationship. I think it is lousy of you to come here and use the “b” word. True … there is more than one side to everything. However, nobody (woman or man) should be expected to put up with abuse …. be it physical, emotional and/or verbal. If this blog angers you so, then perhaps you should just opt for. Good luck to you.

    • Unless you know the individuals here individually, Steve, you have no idea what is going on regarding the relationship. I think it is lousy of you to come here and use the “b” word. True … there is more than one side to everything. However, nobody (woman or man) should be expected to put up with abuse …. be it physical, emotional and/or verbal. If this blog angers you so, then perhaps you should just opt out. Good luck to you.

    • this is an old post but most of you men are asses. my husband even gets mad when I say “thank you” its his own insecurity. I could give a rip less lol.

  24. Thank you for posting this. I was feeling wounded emotionally today by some horrible words from my husband. He is an awesome guy just not as awesome when he’s frustrated or irritated. I googled “how to pray for my husband when he’s being mean” and your blog was the first thing that showed up. I believe God is still using you to encourage other women. Thank you. I needed this today

  25. Don’t ever think it’s okay for your husband to hit or be verbally abusive. Matters not whether it happens every day or once a year. As a Christian mom of 4, daughter of a pastor, raised in the Church, children’s church director for 19 years. My husband was addicted, aggressive and angry. I stayed. That’s what my church family advised. I prayed, I kept quiet. I now know that was a mistake. What a terrible example I set for my precious girls and my 2 sons. God tells us in Matthew, if someone will not hear your words to shake the dust off our feet and leave. Enabling someone is not an attribute. You can pray for your partner without putting yourself or your children in harms way. A good Bible believing church will help those in this kind of situation. God bless. He wants the best for us.

  26. I never thought I was abusing my husband when he came home after being under water for three and a half years the day after memorial day 1985. I was thinking I was helping keep him from disrupting the society and community by using sex as a way to get him to cooperate. not use the accrued seniority he came back with under his union contract to disrupt every ones life by taking the best jobs, shifts, vacations, holidays, and weekends. so when he came home the third day, he had put his shift preference in for days to bump a girl with only six months seniority to his nine years off days to second shift, I told my husband he was not going to be allowed his marital bed for two years to allow his return to be settled out, if he remained on second shift as his father and others wanted, did not push his rights under the contract, after two years we could start our marriage without and rancor in the community because he was being greedy. I said I wanted to raise a family without people angry at him because he was. He grabbed the keys to the hose we selected that day and walked out telling me I was a Mercenary b**** and he hoped my bed was as cold as my heart. Several times the next two years I went in to go to take a nap and found myself in a pool of ice water when I did another thing that displeased him, like tell him he had to work holidays and weekends. Not push his seniority over those with less.

    Two years latter everyone asked him to use a union perk for a large group vacation, The rates were so good that with 16 people going 55 percent came off the cost of the trip to Rome. Then things, We were within a month of the trip to Rome when his father pulled in after he left with the same blond girl that created the original argument, She was now 21 had a fiancé that worked in my husbands and her department. If my husband took the vacation slot he was already authorized then her and her fiancé would have been relegated to a wedding and honey moon that winter. They wanted to also go to Rome and marry and if my husband went they could not.

    When I went hat in hand to my husband to beg him to stay behind and work the doubles for the couple. I thought the roof would come off, instead he went into my room, grabbed my bible, then hammered on the typewriter for a few minutes making it sound like it would fly apart. With his vacation pay there was almost 24000 in the savings with another overtime check going in every week the next four weeks. so it was not hard for me to afford going as the matron of honor, but he called our notary neighbor to bring her seal over and he had me sign what I was to promise in return for him staying, That any time, any place and any way he wanted a vacation after my return, I would be both the sex partner and wife he had expected the last six years as well as travel companion, That was the last time I had any cooperation out of him. I came home with a plan for a three week vacation in the time between Christmas shutdown and Valintines day to stay out of other peoples needs. I had not researched the plan and the ability to implement it but I sure found out my husband did.

    The only time he would consider was a windjammer cruse starting before the shut down to Trinidad, barring that there were no reservations to be had, to someplace like the Caymans, Barbados, the Bahamas or Hawaii, they would have had to be made over a year before.

    So when my feet hit the disembarkation ramp he was already taking our luggage to the van. I cleared customs first to find out what his hurry was. I got to the van and he had a seabag, and his cloths were in the back and I was filled with fear at what was going to happen next. we wanted to go have a nice breakfast, give him the peace offering ewe had bought in Rome. show him the Albums we put together of what we had seen and the wedding pictures. the girl and her knew husband went home from Naples so they were not with us for the argument that happened next, He was not going to wait until mid winter, unless it was the windjammer before the shutdown. He was planning to point the vans nose west that day, stop and visit his grandparents where we live now Wyoming. then continue a road trip west just seeing things and stopping where he wanted. I knew he was disrupting other plans if he did this, by the time we were heading home there was not going to be a discussion about any thing, he had made up his mind about what he was going to do and he was using the promise I made as the gun at my head.

    I found myself put on a bus 45 minutes latter back to my mothers. with a copy of the divorce filing he was going to make. A letter to my mother telling her he was returning me in the same condition received an unconsummated marriage, the Guardianship the state put on him two years before for my bi polar with the place to assume marked.

    Things did not go at all well with family and friends at the station his father went to the phones with his address book out, everyone was asking just exactly what he would take to stop this. he held out the promise and said her keeping her word. I couldn’t it hurt but I felt he was being unreasonable, he handed me 20000 out of savings made up the cash I had to 1000. grabbed my arm and said goodby, when I caught the next chump he would put up with just a woman that did nothing in the marriage.

    #1 years after we married there has been many people badly hurt, the guardianship stopped the divorce 2 years latter and after he was disabled by MRSA in his spine he came home after three years in rehab not intending that he was putting up with his pre MRSA life. On a night I had promised to go to an invitation only event he came home form a post MRSA Pshyc eval which itself was nasty for me and the family being accused of abusing an adult, conspiring to deny civil rights and conspiring to maintain an indentured servant through intimidation and coearesion. as well as the single charges of marital fraud and extortion.

    He came through the door on that super cold evening and grabbed his cane by the after his father told me he had arranged another weeks stay in the center. all he had done was anger the staff when he told them to put him out the door to walk home the 20 miles on that -40 below day as a character builder.

    It was a terrible surprise as I came out of the bedroom after getting ready to go to that event that evening to run square into my husbands chest and he saying good we can go out, he had not been any where since our rehearsal dinner 31 years before where were we going was the question. He knew I was not in my jewelry and new coctail dress to go out with him. I don’t think I said the first word before starting to cry knowing that evening was not going to go as planed.

    I reached into my purse and held out 100 to him explaining I had promised his father, mother, and his fathers best friend I would go to this invitation only dinner, I said his suit after the bout with Cdiff would be far to large since he lost almost down to 135 from 240. I said he could pick a place to meet in four hours and we could at least start the conversation that was three decades overdue, into what he could be allowed in his life now, how to work him into traditions and into a sex life over a few years. we just needed time to get used to him now.

    HE did not allow this. he backed me until my rear was on the sofa yelling at me that one he was the one and only judge and arbiter of what he was allowed under the roof he had put over my head with sweat, blood and time the last 31 years. That I had made and broken hundreds of promises to him during that time and as far as he could tell I had not lived up to a one to him, No family, no sex just trapped in a marriage that he was just a slave in.

    HE said That everyone else took the horses rear to him from that second on in his house, I was going to start keeping the promises starting that evening and he did not care in the least what his father expected that evening. I took for the door because he was in front of the phone to try and get help when he ripped my dress and everything else off. I was again backed into the living room crying that things did not have to happen this way, I was sorry about the affairs he discovered and then the sex refusal was his own fault for his defiance. We could try and talk this through hope for a better life now couldn’t we he said no He was owed 31 years of restitution for a stolen life and I was the start of getting it back.

    He left me without a choice about sex trying to resist, I said no please it did not have to be this way Not in the rage he was in but I resisted and hurt for it.

    His fathers friend was the first to arrive, I don’t think his father would have been allowed to survive a confrontation that evening , his fathers best friend was sent off the porch at his windshield after yelling he was coming in so get his crippled rear out of the way, my husband had told him to get a badge and warrant.. He missed his father who stopped short an a 6×4 inch flap of his forhead wasd peeled back with a bad concussion from slamming face first into the drive.

    I did not think that the life my husband lead was so bad, He had a place to sleep, at least one meal a day, he was warm year round, and if he had tried there had to be some joy on his job. But for 24 years he built resentment over no time off. making him work this way was many times painful to others. the last three years any arttempt to slow anything down just to think ends up with somebody broken and bleeding. The last time was his mothers funeral and memorial service in june. to keep peace with friends his sister set up a private service for him as they conducted the graveside service for his mother his mother, He showed up at the home an hour before time and was met by a friend of the family to tell him to come back latter when my husband started past him he put his hand on my husbands chest saying leave or be made to leave, My husband said he did not see an army behind him so how was he going to do that, I saw my husband break that mans arm in four places and look like the hulk slamming him off walls and concrete steps.

    Everyone in the service was terribly surprised when my husbands sat in the front row. he farther started to say he was supposed to come back in an hour and my husband stopped him saying one word he would go in the grave first. Two weeks ago his father sent two friends with a cps order to take our two year old from that night 2 years ago.

    He had warned his father that we no longer lived there and our son had never been there, to keep his friends and others away and if they did something like this he would consider it an attempt at kidnapping.

    They parked their car on the road and went around the gate. when I answered the door they handed me the order, I was crying getting him ready to go with them when I heard them both hit the deck after a few yells. my husband came out of the pole barn and saw them at the door and he could have gone in and got his 3030 out of its safe but he chose an axe handle, went up behind them and asked why they were here the showed him the cps order from 12900 miles away. I heard hi say get off his deck and off his property and come back with the sheriff and a legal order from where we live, His fathers friend an ex county commissioner said just shut his face or get his rear kicked they were taking our son then he was going to be place with his sister until it was decided on the disposition, I heard the axe handle hit and they were badly hurt on our deck, My husband took some of his cloths throwing them in a bag as I said we could have handled this in the courts, He took our son and vanished for 2 weeks.

    He’s back with the sheriff and state, here Guaranteeing he would not be harassed again.

    I don’t know how others define jerk, but many hold my husband up as the poster child.
    I don’t know what to think really, He did everything asked of him from 1985 to 2001 with no days off, but after a tumor was removed from the center of his brain, in the summer before 911, things changed greatly. to the point weapons were used to force him. then taking that position 3 months latter defying everyone, just about killing four men doing it. Refusing to cooperate at all until we could figure something out to get him what he wanted without friction. I offered him sex, to not say a word about the holidays he wanted off. he could pick a position off the next bid list in two weeks. it was an attempt just to slow things down until positions were made. It did not work. Even threat that next morning was ineffective leaving the Commissioners son and three others broken and bleeding on our porch, and I was laying under the front door with my ankle broken with him standing on it telling me he would kill me the next time I tried getting him hurt.

    I don’t know how to get peace, to many ended u badly hurt and families ruined. Controlling him should never had been attempt and he should have had his rights from may 28 1985 to present he will just crush any interference.

  27. I truly do not have any answers I sit here at 61 and being with this man for 28 years and it has only gotten worse. Since I never worked a job and stayed at home raising 5 mostly on my own. He was an over the road driver, I am at a loss. I contributed MORE then 50% of your living through inheritance and now its all gone. I sit here with NO money of my own and no way to support myself. Because of my health and situation I stay this living hell. NO amount of changing myself is going to help, he is a jerk to everyone and I really believe HE learned this from his own father, grandfather and on. I am just sorry I did not leave him many years ago and feel my life a waste.

    • Oh am so sorry for you! Its been 27 years for my marriage too, but am 46 now as I got married early. Wont your children help you? I mean, they also understand that you have sacrificed a lot. They may be grown up now. Why not start some work from home things which do not put further pressure on your health. You need to talk to some psychologist, they will surely find a way to boost your income and self esteem too. Please take care. Praying for you.

  28. So what do you do when your husband is flirting with the cashier and asks her what time she gets her break and asks her if she would like to consume some of our food on her break?
    I say absolutely nothing. But I think this is inappropriate behavior. Some people are just jerks.

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