How To Forgive Husband For Emotional Abuse: Forgiving An Abusive Husband

Like most people, you probably have lots of "stuff" stored in your attic or garage. Boxes and crates of who knows what are living under the stairs and in the linen closet. The thing is, most of our marriages are a little like this, too; we've got old hurts and insults buried in our memory, waiting to be dusted off and used as a weapon. While trotting out good memories can be a beautiful, marriage-affirming activity, bringing out old hurts is not. Forgiveness in marriage shouldn't be one of those things gathering dust.

Forgiveness is as vital to a marriage as air. There's no way that two people can live together, share a life together, and not butt heads. Feelings WILL get hurt. Unkind things WILL be said. Without forgiveness, all of that is going to build up, cluttering under the staircases of our relationships, until it finally reaches the breaking point and spills yesterday out into today.

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Decide that today will be the day that you start spring cleaning your marriage. Take out those old hurts and affronts, and make the conscious decision to forgive them. Forgiving them means that you won't bring them out ever again. You will banish them from your thoughts, by refusing to give them credence when they rear their heads again - and they will. After a time of deliberately kicking them out of your mind, they'll eventually take the hint and leave.

Forgiveness isn't just a blessing to your spouse, either; it's a blessing for you. By choosing to forgive, you reaffirm your commitment to your marriage and to your partner. You sweep old hurts out of your marriage's "space", leaving room to move forward and make new, good memories. You free yourself from the hurt of poking at that old wound, keeping it open and bleeding. By offering forgiveness to your partner, you give yourself permission to heal and move on.

Now, if your spouse's behavior is threatening, or if they're physically or mentally abusive, you don't need to put up with that. However, chances are they're not intentionally "annoying" you. Even if they are, even if they DID do whatever you're holding onto - is it really benefiting anyone, hanging onto the hurt? Air it out, then forgive it and let it go. Ultimately, you can't control someone else's behavior; you can only control your reaction to that behavior.

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Q: "I'm getting married in a month and want to know why so many marriages end in divorce. What should I look out for? How can I prevent divorce?" ~Sandra, Houston TX

A: Understanding why a marriage or relationship might fail can alert couples to their own unique relationship vulnerabilities. These are not meant to be doom-and-gloom predictions about anyone's marriage, but rather information to help you identify potential marriage problems that can arise and that should be addressed.

Let's look at five reasons why a marriage or relationship might not survive.

Marriage help: 5 reasons marriages end in divorce

1. The marriage or relationship started for the wrong reasons.

The motivation to marry or start a committed relationship was an act of escapism, not love. For instance, you married to flee an abusive household, or to avoid feelings of loneliness, or to cover up the pain of a failed first marriage. While this doesn't mean your marriage is destined to end, it does pose some challenges.

Preventative Measure: For this marriage to survive, it's important to separate the person you married from the reasons you married him/her. This will allow you to break the negative associations and really "see" the person you now call "husband" or "wife."

2. The couple has grown apart over the years to such a degree that there are no longer any common interests.

The "we" of the marriage or relationship has been neglected to such a degree and for so long that you no longer recognize the person you fell in love with. When this occurs, the relationship may feel like it offers little meaning to your life and the danger is that you'll seek to get all of your needs met outside of the relationship.

Preventative measures: Make the commitment and take the necessary steps to keep your marriage/relationship a priority-even when life and competing priorities seem to get in the way.

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3. Years of unresolved conflicts and deep emotional wounding have shattered the very fabric of the union.

Chronic defensiveness, resentments and deep emotional pain caused by a relationship that has spiraled out of control have invaded the union and dissolved the foundation of mutual love and respect.

Preventative measures: Have those uncomfortable discussions to make sure important issues don't go underground where they can fester. You may need to seek professional help to get things moving in the right direction.

4. One or both parties unconsciously repeat unhealthy relationship patterns from their family-of-origin.

We're all vulnerable to repeating patterns from our past. When unhealthy relationship patterns predominate (e.g., acting abusive just like your father did), combined with an unwillingness to examine these destructive dynamics, one's marriage is placed at serious risk.

Preventative measures: Reflect on your parents'/caregivers' relationship and think about how you want to be different from them in your role as a husband/wife or partner. Each day make a conscious effort to stop negative family-of-origin patterns.

5. The marriage or relationship is built upon expectations that cannot support the realities of a committed relationship.

We all hold expectations about what a marriage or romantic relationship should look like. When overly romanticized dreams predominate (my spouse should always make me happy), you're likely to feel disillusioned and not commit to the work that all marriages/relationships require.

Preventative measures: Examine the expectations you hold about marriage and share this with your spouse-discuss any differences in perspective that may exist between you and then take a hard look at which expectations feel realistic and which are likely to buckle under the day-to-day realities of life.

While the above list isn't exhaustive, it does capture some of the most common, essential reasons marriage problems arise and why an initially loving, committed relationship can fail to thrive over the long haul. Don't forget to take the preventative measures needed to keep your marriage or relationship healthy.

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Maybe you didn't see this coming. If you are like I was, then this news hit you like a punch in the stomach. The betrayal and hurt I felt was overwhelming. But I learned that you can save your marriage even when your spouse says "I don't love you" and wants a divorce! It happened for me and has happened for thousands of other couples in your situation. This may be the most important article you ever read.

The morning that my wife hit me with this bombshell still seems kind of fuzzy, almost like a bad dream. I was completely unprepared for this, even though it was no secret that we'd been having problems for years. Since I didn't see it coming, I didn't know how to properly respond. I had no plan. I was upset, emotional and hurt. And so I began making some of the most common critical mistakes that nearly ruined my chance to save my marriage. And the situation became even worse!

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Then, when everything seemed hopeless, I found out about an approach that would work for me when everything else had failed. It involved learning about these critical mistakes and how to avoid making them. It involved getting out of my emotional state and putting myself in a resourceful state that would help me to take calm and rational action. It involved a very specific clearly laid out step-by-step plan that taught me what to say, what to do and how to behave. It was really about the simple law of motion that states "with every action, there is a reaction."

I saved my marriage even though my spouse had said "I don't love you" and wanted a divorce. It turns out that I had been doing almost the complete opposite of what I should have been doing. My best thinking nearly caused me to get a divorce! Time is not on your side right now if you are trying to save a broken marriage. The sooner you take action, the better your chances. The key is to be willing to do what it takes, even if it seems counter-intuitive. Trust the process and it will work for you!

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I sometimes hear from wives who are very disappointed in their husband's changing behavior while they are on a trial or martial separation. Sometimes, things have even been going extremely well and then suddenly, things change for the worse.

I heard from a wife who said: "my husband and I mutually agreed to separate. Our marriage had been struggling and although I knew I wanted to work things out, he was not so sure. I was afraid to allow him to leave our home, but much to my surprise, things actually began to improve during our separation. I think that he missed me and we had some of the best, most honest talks we had ever had in our marriage. It seemed to bring us closer for a while. I held off on asking him when he was coming home because I didn't want for him to feel pressured. But as soon as I started to mention how nice it would be when he came home, his attitude changed slightly. So I backed off. Things appeared to get back to normal, but then a few days later, he acted distant again. Then days after that, he stopped calling. When I called him, he said that his life just got busy due to work. He was friendly enough but I sensed something had changed. I want to ask him about this but I'm not sure if I really want to know the answer. I'm scared to hear that he has met someone else or that he really doesn't want to be with me after all. Why would he suddenly become distant when things were going so well? And what can I do now?"

There are many reasons that a husband can be hot and cold during a separation. In the following article, I will go over some possible reasons as well as offer some suggestions on where to go from here.

Why He Might Suddenly Pull Away During A Separation (Even When Things Are Going Well.)

Deep in her heart, the wife already suspected that asking her husband about coming home had suddenly turned him cold. And she might have been right about this. It's very common for men to become distant or to back up a little bit once his wife begins to pressure him (even just a little bit) to come home.

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I know that this seems unfair because you have every right to want him to come home. And you want to share how you feel with him. And you want him to tell you that he was hoping that you would ask because he wants to come home also. But there is a real risk that opening that door will cause him to close another. It is no coincidence that most of us separated wives get the best response from our husbands when we make a very conscious attempt to make things very light hearted, playful, and low in the pressure department. Once we abandon this strategy, he can be disappointed and can wonder if we were just pretending all along.

So I would say that feeling pressured is the most common reason that you will see a man become distant. The more you pressure him, question him, try to gauge him, or make him feel negative emotions like guilt and shame, the more likely he is going to be to distance himself.

Another reason that you might see him becoming distant is that he is under the influence of friends or family who do not share your cause. Often, his single friends will try to pull him into their lives or his separated or divorced friends will tell him how much better their lives are now that they are single.

Sometimes, he backs up a little because he realizes that he's not yet experienced those things or explored those feelings that he meant to when he began the separation. In short, he might feel that he became distracted while things were going so well between you, but now he needs to see things through.

How To Respond When You Don't Understand His Distance:

I would caution you to not overreact. I know that this hurts. And I know that it is hard not to assume the worst. But if you come at him with all sorts of accusations or pleas for assurance, you just might make this worse. Because there is a decent chance that this is just a passing thing that will fade to memory once you bide your time.

So to the extent that you can, take him at face value until he gives you a concrete reason to stop doing that. Continue to do what was working before. Remain playful. Keep flirting with him. See where that strategy continues to take you. Do not panic. Do not apply more pressure. If you do these things and you meet some resistance, then you may wish to back off and see if that will entice him to move toward you. Sometimes, your own silence will inspire his curiosity. I would caution you, however, not to take this to extremes. Don't out and out ignore him, pretend that you don't care, or make him think that you are seeing someone else. You want to behave in a way that you can be proud of. And you don't want to do anything that can come back to haunt you later.

Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.

You don't have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.

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