What do you do when your husband treats you and you feel helpless? You don’t want to (or can’t) leave your home. These tips for living in a difficult marriage may help.
I always like to start by recommending a book, because they contain so much wisdom and insight! If you feel like a helpless wife, read Thriving Despite A Difficult Marriage by Michael Misja and Chuck Misja. Here’s what one reviewer said:
“Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage is a hard book about a difficult topic. It is an honest book about real change from the inside out. It is the book for any spouse who wants to love well, hope endlessly, and rejoice deeply . . . despite external circumstances and relational disappointments.”
If you want to go beyond living in a difficult marriage to actually THRIVING, you need to read it!
My husband and I just returned from a two week vacation in Jamaica, and we didn’t fight once. Sometimes travel brings out the worst in us, but not this time. And we didn’t hear other couples fighting, like we did in Waikiki last year (they were yelling at each other on the street, no less!). Sometimes difficult marriages are easy to spot.
On this trip, we spent several days lounging by the pool and gazing at the ocean (if you haven’t been to Jamaica, you should check out these money saving tips for a vacation. They’ll also help if you’re tired of feeling like a helpless wife and you want to leave the difficulties behind). We spent one morning next to a family of five – and that husband was a Class A Jerk. He spoke to his wife in a condescending, demeaning, patronizing manner. He didn’t call her names outright, but his whole attitude and tone of voice was sarcastic, mean, and offensive. She seemed helpless to defend herself – she was your “typical” passive, quiet, submissive, helpless wife.
It broke my heart to hear that jerk treat his wife that way, especially since they had three children under age six. I suspect she has to stay with him – being a single mom to ONE child is difficult, much less three.
Tips for Thriving in a Difficult Marriage
Is your husband (or live in partner) a jerk? Are you confused about what to do and how to live in a difficult marriage?
Here are a few things to think about…
Decide if confronting your boyfriend or husband is worth it
The wife by the pool in Jamaica didn’t defend herself or snap at her husband – her response was to passively treat him kindly, gently, and as though he was actually being nice to her. That was her way of surviving her difficult marriage, of getting through the minutes, hours, and days with that a$$hole. For her, confronting her husband when he treated her badly was more painful and difficult than just rolling over and taking it.
What about you – would it be worthwhile to confront your husband? You may need to talk to a counselor about how and when to respond to a man who treats you badly. I can’t tell you if you should stand up to your husband or just go with the flow…only you can decide that. But, you may need to take some sort of action so you don’t feel like a helpless wife.
Stay connected to the people and activities that build you up
When was the last time you talked to your best friend, sister, mom, or favorite coworker? Who do you wish you could re-connect with? What activities make you feel happy, refreshed, energetic, and fulfilled? What about counseling – have you talked to a professional about your marriage? Do you exercise, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and love yourself? These may sound like trite or corny things to do, but they are so important. The healthier you are, the better your life will be.
If you can stay connected to people who love you and centered within yourself, you’re more likely respond in healthy, positive ways to your partner. Maybe you’ll develop the strength to leave your relationship, or maybe you’ll find ways to communicate with him so you can avoid a serious marriage crisis.
Be honest with yourself about your husband and marriage
This is the hardest thing to do, even when you’re in a difficult marriage – and when your husband treats you like dirt in front of others. Do you really think he’ll change? Is it worth it to spend your life with this type of guy? Yes, it would be painful, heartbreaking, hard, and scary to leave him. Yes, you will have financial struggles, social embarrassment, and problems with your children and other family members. But is this how you want to spend the rest of your life? You can’t change him – if he treats you like garbage now, he’ll probably keep treating you badly until you find the strength to leave him.
If your husband lied to you, read How to Recover From Broken Promises in a Relationship.
If you know in your heart it's time to move on, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.
How do you respond when your husband treats you badly? Are you living in a difficult marriage? I welcome your comments below.