Through our years working with married couples, my wife Ashley and I have learned that many spouses are suffering in silence because of abuse in marriage. This abuse isn’t always physical. In fact, many forms of abuse in a marriage never leave a visible mark, but they cause devastation to the mind and heart of the abused spouse and to the marriage itself.
Below are the three main forms of abuse in marriage. If YOU are experiencing physical abuse or extreme emotional abuse in your relationship, please get help. Contact the hotline for domestic abuse by clicking here and also check out our new program for struggling couples by clicking here.
1. Verbal abuse
This is perhaps the most common form of abuse in marriage. It takes place when one spouse consistently shouts, belittles, curses, degrades, demands, accuses or insults the other. Verbal abuse is usually a gateway to other forms of abuse, because once a person has abused another through words, he/she will likely progress to abusing in other forms as well.
2. Emotional abuse
Verbal abuse and emotional abuse usually accompany each other, but there are some differences. With emotional abuse, the abuser will typically attempt to manipulate the emotions of the other spouse as a means of controlling him/her. The abuser will often attempt to “punish” the abused as if he/she was a small child instead of an equal partner. The abuser will often heighten his or her own emotions and then blame the other spouse for their own emotional state. Like other forms of abuse, emotional abuse is a means of trying to control the other.
3. Physical abuse
Verbal abuse and emotional abuse often lead to the most aggressive and destructive form of abuse which happens when things get physical. If the shouting has progressed to shoving or hitting, then you need to take IMMEDIATE action. EVERY touch in marriage should be tender and loving; never angry or threatening. Don’t make excuses for the abuse. Take action for your own safety and also for the safety of any children who may be in your home.
There’s help out there and you don’t have to face this alone. For safe, confidential and immediate help, please call 1−800−799−7233 or visit TheHotline.org.
Don't give up on your marriage. It is worth the effort and investment. If you feel like your marriage is struggling, or even failing, there is hope. There is healing.