Got An Angry Man??

Her heart desires to be respectful, whether he deserves it or not… because she knows God at least enough by now to know this is a matter of obedience for her…but he’s a scary man.

Prone to anger.

Prone to harsh words, threatening stances, and bruises for her and the children.

Young woman with red duct tape on her lipsAnd she asks, “Is it disrespectful to confront him before he hurts the children?

And I tell her, “To speak for those who cannot speak for themselves is not disrespect – how you go about it, however, is a different story. As a mother, you are responsible for the safety of those in your care. Neglect or condoning abuse is also abuse.”

And my heart remembers the too many women whose hearts were broken by one of their parents doing nothing while the other hurt them either with words, or worse… As adults, they are still feeling abandoned and unsafe.

I let her know that she, like some women, might feel called to leave. I may have shared 1 Corinthians 7:11 with her, where she’s not supposed to leave, but if she does, it is for the purpose of reconciliation, so God is already aware that He might ask some of His wives to leave. 

I remind her she is not responsible for his sinful behavior.  

And she reveals a depth of faith I have seen in but a few women. She says, “I am here to change me… to grow closer to God… Because I really do believe He told me about a year ago to be obedient to Him in respecting my husband regardless of how he treats me. I do love my husband for who he is… God has given me eyes to see and love him the same way that I believe He loves him. I know God is bigger than the hurts that have been committed against me, I trust that He is bigger than any damage may be caused to my children, and I know – for a FACT – that He is bigger than whatever is in my husband…”

And I know I am treading on sacred ground.

Ephesians 5:33 “and the wife must respect her husband.”

Ephesians 5:22,24 “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord…Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Those are hard verses, particularly when combined with the even harder truth of the walk of faith found in 1 Peter 2 – that we will endure much suffering for the cause of Christ.

And so I share with her some of the things we’ve learned over the years. And she lets me know the next day what happened, and I stand in awe of the strength and dignity with which she communicates.

With words, she not only avoided being perceived as a threat, but she also raised the standard for her husband, and called him to a higher ground. Her words were few. They were encouraging, and factual. Her tone and her demeanor also portrayed the deep compassion of Christ. This is an example of what wise women can do, when they are completely plugged into God, listening to His direction for every word…

And this is what happened:

Her husband came into the house from work and immediately said to their son in a harsh tone, “Did you go shovel the manure yet?!” The eight year old got upset and ended up outside crying. I went out and handled the situation with him. I let him this is not punishment, it’s just a chore of his. I reminded him we need to be cheerful in what we do. And that he needs to be respectful and have a good attitude. Then I went back inside. I said, “I know that you love him. When you come through the door and ask him immediately about shoveling manure, you’re not conveying your love.” We were actually able to have a conversation and when our son came back in, he called the boy over to him. I quietly said, “Please talk with love, patience, and kindness.” They had a decent conversation and even ended the evening going on a walk, just the two of them. My husband said that when they came back our son smiled, hugged him, and said, “I wish we could do this more often, Dad!”

This is with an abusive man. Many are dealing with men who are simply angry.

Know that these men feel alone, often helpless to communicate in a way that connects them to others. This anger that we see is a secondary emotion, frequently rooted in deep pain.

I remember the wife whose husband yelled at their four year old daughter about something trivial and made her cry. She said to him, “I know you want to have an amazing relationship with your daughter. She is sobbing right now because you have terrified her. Please go help her understand that you love her and you are sorry for scaring her.”

And I remember the woman whose husband raised his hand to strike her and she left the room, locking herself in their bedroom for a time. When she came out, she knelt by his feet as he sat in a chair in their family room, took one of his hands in hers and said, “I love these hands. I love the callouses they bear from working so hard for us. And I never want to be afraid of these hands again. I want to stay here with you and know that the children and I are always safe, and that these hands bring us protection and safety.”

I don’t pretend for a moment to know what God is telling you about your situation. But I do know from the lives of the many women we have the privilege to encounter, that if you pursue relationship with God by reading His Word and obeying it, you will begin to hear His voice.

He’s always speaking.

The question really is, “Are we listening?”

And when we are, we can respond to life’s circumstances with strength and dignity and without the sin of judgment, smiling at the days to come, even in the midst of difficulty. And like Sarah, we will be her daughters if we do not give in to fear.

Know that if you are dealing with anger, you can still have a respectful response – one that respects your husband, your God, and yourself as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Know also that if your words are dripping with judgment, criticism, and condemnation, or if you are lacking in the compassion of Christ when dealing with those who hurt you, your relationship with God has some serious room for growth to eradicate pride before strength and dignity become rooted in your character.

So glad you are on the journey with us! This RESPECT Dare business is challenging, isn’t it? Have hope – as you grow closer to God, it gets easier. We see this over and over again from the women who “do the book.”

Love to you,

~Nina

So what about you? Do you have a strength and dignity story to share? Have you been able to walk through a difficult time in gentleness and love? Dare you to share it here and elsewhere – be a Titus 2 woman of encouragement today!

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Comments

  1. says

    I have been married to my husband for 17 years and he has emotionally abused me for most of our marriage. I really have at times convinced myself that he was right for saying the negative things he said about me. Ever since I have taken the initiative to love him as God would and show him respect even when he does not deserve it he has been treating me so much better. We communicate better and do not argue very much at all now. He has been asking for my opinion more and valuing what I think. This is a big deal because he has made clear to me in the past that he doesn’t care about my opinion. This formula God created really does work when you apply it with your whole heart. When you put your eyes up toward God and let God know that you desire to be closer to Him and go where He leads you and do what He would have you do it is blessed. He feels the void and you do not go looking for your spouse or others to fill it. He meets your needs. My heart goes out to everyone of you who have had to suffer at the hand or demeaning words from your loved one. I will pray for everyone of you to find peace and to know that one day joy will replace the tears even if it is not here on earth, but in Heaven. Psalms 126:5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. God bless!!

    • says

      Darla – thank you for sharing this. Bless you as you show courage and a Godly heart for your husband and your marriage. Courage to you as you continue on.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Darla – Thank you so much for your comment! His Word is True, John 17:17. I just LOVE it when a wife perseveres and obeys God and can share her story! We have to be careful not to judge one another, having said that, too, because so many of our stories are not finished yet. :) Perhaps that’s why He says if we divorce, we are not to marry again…
      Love to you, baby!
      ~Nina

    • Nina Roesner says

      Oh, and I hope you saw through the enemy’s lies – that you are NOT those things he said you were, nor did you deserve them… It does sound like you loved Him with the love of Jesus Christ Himself. :)
      Thanks so much again.
      Nina

  2. says

    Every situation is different, every marriage, every conversation. Every wife and husband is different too. When I was in an abusive marriage, like the other abusive situations I had been in before, I was responding in survival mode. I tried to ‘make him happy’ which I could not do. I tried to ‘stay out of his way’ which he did not allow. I was told I would be medicated or die.

    There was no conversation, no reconciliation, I was not a person I was property. And not very valuable property at that. That was MY reality. I HAD to leave. Not every woman who should leave does, or is able to stay away. Some are able to stay, and their marriage is reconciled and healed. Every one needs to decide that based on their situation, and what God is leading them to do.

    The way we approach intercessory prayer and support for our sisters and their families when they are in abusive situations is so important. Support, encouragement, loving reality checks and if you say you are going to be there, be there.

    And no condemnation. I was told point blank by a very passionate church going lady that it would have been better for me to stay and die than to divorce and be living ‘in sin’ with my husband and having a ‘sin child’ on top of it all. We need to show love, compassion and be there how God guides us to be.

    I’m so proud to read these comments, and the love and respect shown. Well done ladies! God bless you all.

  3. Mandi says

    Abusive angry man is not unaware that he is abusive, angry and is actually deliberately refusing to be accountable to anything or anyone but his anger. There is no other emotion, there is no higher logic or love to find under the anger.

    The disconnected narcissist who does not see comprehension in his children without tears or an emotional upheaval and who suffers from not seeing any emotion but his own is a very different animal from abusive angry man. Abusive angry man will break your childs wrist playing too rough and then tell you why it was the childs fault for playing.

    The abusive angry man is reactive and is working double time to back fill against the knowledge that he is deeply deeply wrong. He fears being wrong and at fault at all cost. The world has wronged him, no wrong he can do would ever put a drop in the bucket against the debt he feels he is owed. With every action he takes the weight of his wrong grows. Instead of coming back through it, surfacing to a breath of fresh air, angry man dives deeper and clings to his anchor. He becomes more skillful at developing rationalizations – why it was necessary. When he runs out of air, it wont be his fault. No matter how many times you swam to the bottom after him, begged him, pleaded with him to let go of the rock he will turn on you and take you down with him. Suddenly without any warning from someone who you hoped and prayed was ready for something new, comes this burst of energy and you see the bubbles as he pulls the bait and switch again. You reached out to a dying man and now you get to die for him.

    I found Christ looking down through the water at angry man, preparing to dive down once again, striving to stretch my brain around how to make the wrongs he did okay, to turn the other cheek, to reach him through his own darkness, and I realized something.

    He was never looking to join me in the sun, he was looking to transfer the weight of his actions onto my shoulders and to leave me at the bottom of the ocean of his anger. I had to be low enough that I was safe to demean, safe to hurt, safe to cheat on, safe to leave closed in and alone. After all, I hadn’t killed him in his bed in spite of it all so the signs were good that I was going to keep on keeping on for another ten years or so.

    Every attempt I made to uplift my own spirit and to fill my reservoirs was met with more anger, because it could be the resource that uplifted me enough to see past fearing his anger and gave me the power to walk away.

    Much like a rapist, abusive angry man isn’t looking for love, he is simply looking to commit crimes against women, who have for some reason become the justification for why his life is out of control and who “owe him” in his estimation.

    When he has his hands around your throat and has you pinned to the wall. When he is telling you he’d like to kill the part of you that said something he didn’t agree with. when you’re counting the beads from where your necklace pressed into your skin in bruises and his hands did it, when it’s happened again and you really can’t believe it’s you this is happening to, when you’ve locked yourself in a bathroom knowing that eventually you have to come out and your kids are on the other side of the door with a person who has chosen to terrorize his family, don’t die trying to speak logically to a person who does not value your life as anything but a place to deposit blame. He can blame you all the way to the grave and will continue to do so long after.

    Abuse is not an accident or a slip of control. It is a lifestyle choice of someone who values their anger more than your life. Every interaction has to be weighed against that knowledge and the clock ticking as to whose life you are living. Suicide in the name of Christ is no less suicide.

    • Amy says

      Wow! Mandi, your response is amazing! My sister was married to an abusive man. She chose to stay at first, thinking many different things like it was her fault, I will get him to change, and I have to stay for my child. By the time she realized that she had to find a way out, he had taken control of everything. He refused to leave. She wasn’t given any help by authorities who she admitted her fears to. Unfortunately, she is now in prison because it finally came to the point where he snapped and she had to defend herself. The case is under appeal and we are praying for a miracle!

      I am sure there are cases on both sides of this. Some relationships do workout, thank God, when the abused decides to stay. I, however, have seen the dark, ugly side of a relationship that ended in the worst possible way because the abused thought she had to stay (at least until she found a safe way to leave). Every situation is different, the only thing I know for sure about this situation is, whether you think God is telling you to stay or go, please reach out to someone for help. It never helps to keep silent! If you reach out for help, and do not get any, keep trying! The abuser does not have the right to treat you that way! Yes, he can be changed by God’s grace, just like anyone else, but he has to choose that. You can’t change him!

      • Nina Roesner says

        Amy,
        There is much wisdom here in your response, and my heart aches for what your family must be going through.

        The first thing you said that really caught my attention was that she stayed because she thought it was her fault. We need to teach our sisters that those thoughts are from the enemy, and are lies – we are precious to God, not responsible for anyone else’s behavior (good or bad!) and only He knows what we should do.

        I am in full agreement with your encouragement to not be silent. Proverbs 15:22 speaks to this: Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. He will often use others to confirm His leading to us, and is always consistent with His Word.

        Love to you, and prayers for your family as they go through this tough time.
        ~Nina

    • Nina Roesner says

      Mandi -
      I’m so sorry for what you have been through…my heart aches at the amount of suffering you and too many other women undergo.

      I do believe the women who contact me and let me know that God has led them away from these men – and 1 Cor 7:11 indicates that God knows these women will leave for a time (even “divorce” as that is the meaning of the word in the original language, even though our current translations mostly discuss it as “separate”) and encourages them to do so. I marvel at the women who are led to stay – they are so like the 11 disciples who were martyred. I don’t pretend to think I have that level of faith, though I wish I did… and I pray I will never suffer as they do, but I so admire them. I also don’t question them, but rather support their relationship with God – especially when they come from a place of strength and dignity, and with confirmation of His direction, as the woman in this story does.

      I so appreciate what you wrote, however, because it gives a glimpse of how heinous and horrid these abusive men can be – too many of us don’t fully grasp what their lives are like. It’s as hard to imagine God loving them as He loves all His children. I know many many years ago, I would have taken revenge in any form against my boyfriend. Thank God He rescued me, but for the grace of God…I have wondered, if I knew the Lord back then, what He would have told me to do. I called the police. And I have intimate knowledge of several other women who follow Christ who have been led to do the same.

      I’m glad you are here – you make the dialogue richer with your experiences, and deepen the understanding for others. Thank you for this.

      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  4. Rachel says

    Seeing the responses of a mom intervening for her kids was really helpful to me! I’d like to see a whole post with ideas for responding in situations like that, but I’ll take these ones and go from there.:) thanks!

  5. Amada says

    This sounds really great. But what if one isn’t in that connexion? I am on the way with Jesus since over 12 years. He healed me from depression. I try to do my best. But I can not be always loving. And if I would talk to the father of my kids like that, he would just tell me that this is none of my business. Well, he’s actually very nice with the kids. As long as they do what he wants. With me he^s not. He always critizcises me. And I dodn’t have the strength to shut up. And I am too scared to talk to him because I don’t want to be hurt again and again. At the moment I am about to leave. Actually he already left me years ago. Emotionally and phisically. I am already divorced there was (maybe still is) adultery on his part.But we wanted to try again. I am feeling very bad and I see satan attack me trying to put depression on me. And I can’t let that happen. I maybe am a bad Christian. But I don’t want to suffer anymore.
    In an hour I willl talk to my divorce busting coach. She is helping me since 9 months. Maybe she’s got something for me I can still try, but I don’t see any sense in this anymore.

    • Nina Roesner says

      Am so sorry to hear this! It IS exhausting emotionally, and physically to bear up in these situations – they are the most trying…know our Father in heaven collects every tear you cry and they are precious to Him.

      We are praying for your meeting with your divorce busting coach – glad to hear you are working with someone, too. It is my prayer that as you come to know the Lord more deeply, you will hear Him more clearly – don’t give up on that. You may need to leave (1 Cor 7:11) or stay (1 Peter 2,3:1-6) but He will show you what to do – and in the mean time, there’s learning in the middle. :) ((((hugs)))) to you, sweet sister.

      Love to you,
      ~Nina

      • Amada says

        Thank you, Nina =)
        Thanks to you I know divorce busting, because about nine month ago (NO! it’s 18 months…!) I wrote you an email, telling you about my situation and that it isn’t possible to do the respect dare with him for me, and you told me about DB. After my session this morning I was (and still am) totally convinced that I need to leave. If he doesn’t wake up then this is my last step in my trying to get this family work. I have done everything that is possible for me, there is no more I can do but this last step. So I prayed to God, to let me find a good place soon and then I called a lady that rents departments that are equippped with almost everything. The price was high but ok. I told her I needed to think about it and went to a date with a very good friend (women) of mine (I told her in the morning that I would leave). So in the evening she told me that she was thinking about what to do with her apartment that she is renting out to people just before I’d called to tell her, . I didn’t even know she had an apartment (she told me once, but I understood her wrong that time and I thought she didn’t have one). Well, long story short: she’s got two bedrooms for me for a price I could only dream of. The place is bigger than the other and closer to the house of my kids father.
        I can move in Sunday or Monday already whereas in the other place I would have had to wait until the 25th.
        I know God is with me, and I am so thankful for all
        He does for me and my children!
        Thank you again, Nina! You’re doing such a great job!!! God bless you abundantly, more and more!!
        Love
        Amada

  6. says

    Seeing examples of godly and appropriate responses to very challenging situations builds awareness in me of ways I can respond in my good situation that has developed over nearly 40 years. The wisdom displayed by these women is awe inspiring. God’s way works and builds up (edifies) people and relationships. It is the enemy’s whisper that says that people and relationship are beyond hope and redemption. We may not be able to do this on our own but with God’s help nothing is impossible.
    Another day of thanking God for what He is doing in and through you Nina and ladies.
    Hugs,
    Mary P

    • Nina Roesner says

      YES. :) He is so very good! :) We are just trying to stay out of His way! :)
      Love to you, so glad you are here!
      ~Nina

  7. says

    These sisters humble me, and I’m praying for them. Their grace and faith is wonderful to witness and is a powerful testimony.

    Gentleness and love. Those are very powerful places both to rest in and to work from. They are worth seeking. When we can be gentle and loving we are not being co-dependent or enabling. We are in a healthy place, a good place, amid a stormy sea that can threaten to overwhelm us. Too often we mistake gentleness for weakness, and enabling with love. Society would like us to see them as the same – and they are very different.

    When I deal with my husband with gentleness, knowing I can be a very strong person and personality, it is only accomplished through a God given love. Not a love of me, but of Him and of him. The same with our son. With our family.

    I’m praying on this post, and over these women. Bless you.

    • Nina Roesner says

      YES! And you are so right – it’s Him IN us… left to my own, my heart is as black as they come.
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

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