Do you understand abuse in marriage?

I am taking this opportunity to update one of the most useful, and possibly controversial posts, from the online marriage counseling forum at BestMarriage.com.

This was revelation to me. Like most guys, I assumed abuse just meant physical abuse. That’s just one of 21 recognized forms of abuse in marriage. When I took this test, we found 16 ways I had abused my wife. Most of you will find 5 or 6. Your wife might find more.

Print it out, really go through it and answer honestly. This was life changing for me. After I saw this, I started understanding what I had become. Your family is worth whatever it costs to save them. This test is only about the husband’s behavior, we will deal with wives later…

Erik

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Abuse/Power/Control QUESTIONS TO ASK of husband about how he treats his wife ….and of the wife about the husband (NEVER the other way around). When answering, just check off the ones that are a “yes“ — do not defend, explain or overlook any question — do not excuse it as “this is how our family is” or “that is how I grew up” — simply use the “yes” or “no” method with either an “x” or a check-off.

Since husbands might not necessarily recall their bad behavior, the wife most probably will, so it is important for both husband and wife to honestly answer these questions. UNLESS the wife feels “safe” enough to answer, she should only use this list when feeling safe enough to discuss it without recoil and retaliation. Determining the type of abuse is VERY helpful in beginning the healing process in a damaged marriage relationship.

Have you ever exhibited these behaviors, even ONE time?:
Beating ___ biting ____ choking ____ grabbing ____ hitting _____ kicking _____ pinching ____ pulling hair ___ punching ____ pushing ____ restraining ____
scratching ____ shaking ____ shoving ____ slapping ____ excessive tickling____ twisting arms____ using weapons ____ spanking ____ smothering ____ tripping ____ hitting with an object either with striking or throwing, etc ___
If yes: Physical Abuse

Have you ever treated your wife like a servant ____
Do you make all of the decisions ____ act like “Master of the Castle” ____
If yes: Male Privilege Abuse

Have you received therapy, OR gone to seminary, OR used self-help books then come back and turned this knowledge/info against the wife, but do not take responsibility for personal behaviors.___
If yes: Knowledge Abuse

Have you ever demanded unwanted or bizarre sexual acts ____
Made physical attacks to sexual parts of the body ____
Treated her as a sex object ____
Interrupted sleep for sex ______ forced her to have sex ____
Ever exhibit extreme jealousy ____
((side note: Jesus said that a man who lusts after another woman has committed adultery in his heart already) viewed any type of pornography _____
If yes: Sexual Abuse

Have there ever been displays by the husband of
hostile humor ____ publicly criticizes____ degrades her appearance ____ degrades her parenting skills ____ degrades her housekeeping ____ degrades her cooking____ forces her to eat foods she doesn’t like ____
If Yes: Humiliation Abuse

Do you make your wife responsible for everything in life ____ ie bills ____ parenting ____ etc____
If Yes: Responsibility Abuse

Have you hurt your wife and then do not allow her to receive medical treatment ____
Have you ever forbid her to receive medical treatment for normal health issues. ____
If Yes: Medical Abuse

Have you ever used Scripture and words like “submission” and “obey” to abuse ____
Used spiritual language to defend any hurtful words or actions ____
If Yes: Scriptural/Religious Abuse

Have you ever used the children to give messages ____
used visitation rights to harass ____ uses child support as leverage ____
If Yes: Using Children Abuse

Have you ever exerted control regarding:
what is done ____ who is seen____ who is talked to ____
limits or listens in on phone calls ____ sabotages car ____ restricts outside interests ____ insists on moving frequently ____ required your wife to stay in the house ____
restricts access to the mail ____ deprives your wife of friends ____
If Yes: Isolation Abuse

Have you ever denied your wife of basic rights ____
used the law to enforce your power ____ deprived her of a private or personal life ____ Have you ever mandated duties of your wife ____ control everything ____ (ie, the amount of bath water she uses ____)
If Yes: Power Abuse

Have you ever had spies checking on her ____ follows her to activities ____
ie store ____, church ____, work ____, etc just to make sure she is where she “should” be ____ Have you displayed extreme distrust and jealousy ____
If Yes: Stalking Abuse

Have you ever put her down____ called her names____ played mind games ____ commits mental coercion ____ exhibits extreme controlling behaviors ____
withheld affection ____ caused her to lose her identity ____
If Yes: Emotional Abuse

Have you ever threatened to end the relationship ____
threatened to emotionally or physically harm her ____ threatened her life ____
threatened to take the children ____ threatened to commit suicide ____
Threatened to report her to authorities ____ Forced your wife to break the law ____
If Yes: Threat Abuse

Have you ever:
puts restriction on her employment ____ made her ask for money ____
give her an allowance and take the money she earns ____
required her to account for every penny she spends ____
If Yes: Economic Abuse

Have you ever:
ruined her credit ____
put the car(s), house, recreational equipment, and/or property in ONLY your name ____ spend her money ____ used her credit or savings to make her dependent on you ____
If Yes: Financial Abuse

Have you ever:
used looks, actions, gestures, and/or voice to cause fear ____
argued continuously ____ demand that your wife says what you want to hear ____
If Yes: Intimidation Abuse

Have you ever during your marriage:
punched a wall ____ destroyed property ____ broken down a door ____
Pounded on a table ____ abuses pets ____ etc
If Yes: Property Violence

When speaking have you:
Used curse words ____ accused your wife ____ called her names ____
used past to control and manipulate ____ committed mental blackmail ____
made unreasonable demands ____
If Yes: Verbal Abuse

Have you ever used silence as a weapon ____ punished her by not speaking to her ____ unwilling to communicate ____ do not express emotion ____
refuse to repeat back statements to your wife ____
If Yes: Silence Abuse (aka in Hegstrom’s book as the “Silent Knight”)

Have you ever used jealousy as a sign of love ____
controlled what wife does ____ who she sees ____ who she talks to ____
controlled when/where your wife goes ____
refused to let wife participate in activities outside the house ____
drop in “just to watch” ____ isolated wife from friends and family ____
is possessive of wife in every area of life ____
If Yes: Jealousy Abuse

IF ONLY ONE answer in a category is a Yes, then the entire category is an ABUSIVE behavior that the husband has exhibited, making the husband an abuser. IF you have repented fully (in ways that are wholly acceptable by your wife) and no longer act in these ways, then you are a recovered abuser. THAT is the goal.
Most men in an unhappy marriage are abusive in at least 6 categories – some more, some less. Reminder, however, that only ONE category still an abuser makes.

What is abuse ?
Physical Abuse: Any touch not given in love, respect, and dignity.
Emotional Abuse: Any communication, admonition, reprimand, or reproof that does not uplift, edify, or bring conflict resolution.

Are you aware that there are 21 forms of abuse? Some forms of abuse are so subtle that people accept them as normal. All forms of abuse are devastating and destroy individuals and their relationships. (per Paul Hegstrom)

Not accepting the reality of the abuse is detrimental to the marriage restoration. Humility is needed — the Lord can help the humble – the teachable.

So now, on to the process of bringing healing and breathing life into the marriage, towards an outrageously happy marriage. IF we can do it, You CAN do it!

Paul Hegstrom says, “Until he becomes accountable and responsible for his behavior and starts getting help in developing his character and his core, the abuse will not stop.”
Jeremiah 6:14 “And they have made little of the wounds of my people, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.”Bible in Basic English) simply stating that in order to bring healing you must fully address the wounds.

Please do not get stuck in the muck of shame — only satan wants you to do that. Admit that you have abused your wife. Believe that God is the answer and that the husband can bring healing to his wife IF he will humble himself, apologize properly as needed (LOVER), REPENT, and be PRO-active in bringing good things, good attitudes, kind words upon his wife. (exercising the Fruit of the Spirit as much as possible) In other words, become more Christlike, maturing in such a way as to honor God, the Maker of heaven and earth and us and marriage.

Ladies, if you need legal help with this. We have partnered with LegalShield to help the ones who need it. Don’t be afraid to get help.

Even the worst marriages can be saved, we are proof. Sometimes men require something traumatic, like divorce papers, to wake us up.

Find more articles on abuse here.


M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.comProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.

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