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Arranged Marriage

June 15, 2003

Dear Mike and Deb,
My sister went through the courtship thing and married in complete harmony with Dad and Mom, etc. and she really believes she married the man whom God chose for her; but things have not worked out too well.

Although her husband was raised in a rough family, he was a very nice guy when they did the betrothal year, but changed dramatically after the marriage. He belittles her, puts her down, makes her feel worthless and says she can’t do anything right. He has lied to her, complains about anything she does, and tells her she did a terrible job. He spends money foolishly, and then yells angrily at her when he is broke. She feels anxious, hurt, and not sure how to make him happy. She has always been the sweetest, kindest person, and has always gone out of her way to please everyone. She is one of those people with a quiet spirit. I would fight back or at least give him a piece of my mind, but she could never do that. He gets worse as the months pass. What can she do?
Big sister

Debi Answers
Dear Sis,
Most men cannot read minds or spirits and have no idea how crushing their words can be. If he is from a loud, rude, yelling, name-calling family, then he is just acting out what he grew up with, and he presumes she is just like the females he knows best. When a man first marries, he often has to learn that his wife is not one of the guys. As the weaker sex, a young married woman needs to allow her feelings to show when her husband is wounding her. In other words, she needs to cry loudly, brokenly, and express to him (not to you) how hurt she is. He will be shocked and embarrassed, and soon learn to treat her more kindly. This is not to say she should go around with a pouty, unhappy or disappointed countenance, always ready to whine or reproach him when she does not get her way. That would be a sure way to run him off (to the office, sports or another woman). I am not suggesting that a wife should live with a chip on her shoulder, ready to show him how much he hurts her. A woman needs to ask herself, “Am I being a sensitive, silly girl, trying to manipulate my husband with my feelings, or am I truly mistreated?” If a husband takes a verbal slug at his wife, she needs to let him know she has been hit and that it really hurts. Pretending everything is fine will only make her broken or bitter.
Some men won’t respect a woman until she earns it. If a woman lets her husband know that she desires his company but not his criticism, he may just like her better. Not everything that crawls like a worm is a worm, but who is to know unless it hollers “Ouch” when walked on?

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8 comments on “Arranged Marriage”

  1. I am a bit confused by this article. I have done exactly what Debi says when my husband treats me badly -- I felt like I was reading my own story! -- but it was always unsuccessful. It only resulted in him delivering more verbal ammunition. I discovered that the only thing I could do in regards to my husband was just ignore the verbal barrage. I made my husband the center of my marriage for a number of years, and it was not a prudent thing to do -- I ended up neglecting my children as a result. Now I just ignore the verbal barrages, but make sure I meet his needs for meals and quiet, and focus on homeschooling and forging good memories with my children. They are now my world. This, I have found, is the only solution to my problem in my particular situation. I'm learning to accept that not everybody will necessarily have a happy marriage....but I have to admit I dread what life will be like once our children are all grown up....but Our Lord carried his cross, so I regard this one as my cross.

  2. Reply to Elizabeth:

    But you don't have to carry that cross. You DON'T have to accept your husband's insults--no human being should have to be treated that way.

    My mom was married to a guy who would often belittle and insult her. When I was ten, my parents divorced, and although I love my dad, I'm glad my mother was able to get out of a relationship where she was treated badly.

    Please don't sell yourself short by thinking you have to put up with your husband's abuse. You are obviously a good mother and a good person and deserve better than him. It may be hard to get out of your marriage, but there are other women going through what you're going through--you're not alone.

  3. Try Merlin Carother's Power of Praise. The first chapter is about the alcoholic father whose family prayed for 30 years and there was no change. They decided to try the praise method (Thank you Father for our father's alcoholism, We trust you are working your will in his life), and within 2 weeks, he had gotten saved and stopped drinking.

  4. The logic here does no t make any sense. This man is behaving in a way that well raised human beings know is awful behavior. I would not treat my friends or family this way. Why is this woman being asked to explain to this man what he should, by all rights, already know?

  5. This sounds like my Hubby family; sadly the end result - two very damaged children and both husband and wife died of cancer well before their time. Stress in the home is bad for everyone.