Angie’s Marriage Column – October 10, 2007

 How to Live with a Controlling Spouse


Marriage Question: How do you live with a spouse who is very controlling and can become so angry so fast and becomes verbally abusive, and then blames you, doesn’t take responsibility for what he says or does?


Marriage Guidance: Most likely your husband has an underlying emotional issue bothering him and when things get too stressful or when something does not go his way, he gets overly emotional through anger. He probably is not angry with you, but is angry with himself and the world. It certainly is not right that he becomes abusive in any way towards his wife.  He is living in a bad attitude and He really needs to free himself from that attitude so he may be "all" of the person God intends him to be. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that you can do except detach from him when he gets abusive with you.


You do not have to take any verbal or emotional abuse from your husband - only when we make ourselves a victim do we actually become one. Your husband has some inner turmoil going on within him, and if he is willing to talk with you about it, you can be an encouragement and a support for him, but if he is not willing to talk to you, but only wants to lash out at you with his anger, then you NEED to detach. Only by detaching are you helping him to see that he has an anger problem so he will take responsibility for his actions!


What happens when we don't detach from other people's abuse, we end up feeling awful inside too, because our spirit is getting trespassed on.  Don’t let yourself become a chameleon and become angry with your husband. In other words, don’t let his abuse rub off on you! Don’t be responsible for a grown man – his actions need to rub back on himself and that will happen when you separate yourself from his anger and angry actions.


How we help our spouse deal with their pain and suffering is by keeping mentally and spiritually fit ourselves. We cannot keep spiritually fit if we allow the abusive actions of another trample all over us! This is where prayer really helps to keep us doing what is right instead of what may only feel good for the moment. Our focus should always be on God, and we should base our own thoughts and attitude upon our personal relationship we have with the Lord. Make God a priority in your life so your husband may see “His light” shining in you.


By trusting in God for your marital difficulties, He will guide you in the direction you need to go - you are not alone if you only ask Him.


Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go. (Joshua 1:9 NIV)


Pray about it and try to forgive your husband of his erring ways, you can even let him know that it hurts you to see him with such anger and frustration, but after that, you must walk away from him if he is getting abusive. Why should you take the abuse of another person, even if it is your husband? You do not have to take in angry and abusive words.  


If your husband does not let up and his anger gets really bad, you might have to even leave the house for a few hours until he calms down. Give him a big smile, tell him that you love him, but you don't love his angry attitude. Explain to him that for your own mental and spiritual well being, you must leave the house until he calms down. After awhile of doing this, he will see on his own that his verbal abuse is not getting a reaction from you, and now he is left to himself to deal with his emotions and take responsibility. Do you see how that works?


You see, by fighting back with him, or getting upset, you are only enabling his mean behavior. If you let his actions control your actions, he will continue to be abusive. Stop fighting back with him, don't let him see you get upset, and just take care of YOU! You have every right to take care of yourself and not allow anger to become a part of your daily life. Stay focused on Christ and pray for your husband's healing. When you stop taking responsibility for his attitude, he will have to take responsibility for it!


We cannot make someone become what we want. We cannot change people unless we do it out of control and manipulation. But what we can do is make known to them what is in hiding to them. I suggest you print out the article resources below and inconspicuously leave them somewhere where he will accidentally stumble upon, and then read on his own. This way, it is not coming from you, but from a stranger. 


Scriptures Resources:


Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared. (Proverbs 22:24,25 NIV)


Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19 NIV)


Article Resources:


4 Ways Couples Abuse Each Other


Are You Allowing Negative Emotions To Control You?


Why Do Marriages Fail?


Until next Wednesday, May God bless each and every one of you for His glory in His kingdom!  -- Angie


Copyright 2007