Faith Therapy: Should I Reconcile?
My Husband and I Are Separated. He Has Verbally Abused Me. What Should I Do?
Q: I’m currently separated from my husband, whom I’ve been married to for less than a year. During our two-year courtship, I knew my husband to be very loving and committed to our home church where couples consistently support each other. When we moved to a new city this fall for him to begin work as a police officer, his personality drastically changed. He became verbally abusive toward me, and he began to refuse support from the church, and his behavior even escalated during one hostile exchange to directing a loaded gun at me. I want my marriage to work, but I’m afraid to reconcile. What should I do?
A: First of all, I’m glad you’re out of the home and hopefully in a safe place where he doesn’t have access to you. It would be unwise to even consider reconciliation until he has demonstrated bold and lasting commitment to change in the form of individual therapy/medication to address a possible clinical problem with self-control, participation in groups for men with anger problems such as Men Stopping Violence, a consistent show of remorse for his actions through verbalized expressions and consistently gentle treatment toward you with NO violent relapses, and re-involvement in the church life that had been so supportive of your marriage before.
I strongly encourage you to consider alerting the police academy about his volatile nature as he may soon become a danger to others. I suggest you remain separated from him while this process of repair occurs, for a year or more or as long as it takes, in order to see the evidence of change in his behavior toward you.
Involve close friends and family to hold him accountable and monitor his reactions to those in your circle of support regarding their interventions. If he welcomes the changes and interventions, you may be on the road to recovery; if he rebels and is angered/indifferent about the interventions, he has essentially made a choice to continue his threatening behavior. Promises of change mean nothing; only actions count.Change isn’t change until it’s change.