Your husband is worse than difficult: he treats you badly at home and in public. The problem is that you can’t just leave your marriage or change your husband. Instead, you need to learn how to cope with life in a difficult marriage and to gain strength for whatever your future holds.
I recently returned from an all-inclusive resort trip to Jamaica. A family of five swooped in and took over the pool deck area next to us. The kids weren’t a problem – I enjoyed their energy! But the husband wasn’t just difficult, he was abusive. He called his wife names under his breath and spoke to her in a condescending, demeaning, patronizing manner. His whole attitude and tone of voice was sarcastic, mean, and rude. His wife seemed helpless to defend herself. She was passive, quiet, submissive, and helpless.
What do you do when you live with a difficult husband – a man you wish you never married? Maybe your husband is even more condescending and abusive than you’re willing to admit. You feel powerless and helpless. I’ll share a few ideas here…but the truth is that you don’t need more information. You need power, strength, help and hope to get through the day. You need to talk to someone in person about living with your husband…and you need to decide for yourself what the best solution is. My tips for living with a difficult husband won’t solve your marriage problems. I can, however, show you that you aren’t alone.
“My husband treats me like crap,” says Erika on When Your Husband Says He Hates You. “I have no where to go and no help or money. So I am stuck in this marriage and its starting to really get to me. My husband has lost my heart that I patched up for him, thinking he was the one who would fix it for me. I feel so much pain and try not to show it. When I say anything my husband freaks out tells me how ungrateful I am.”
Some wives aren’t just living with difficult husbands. They are in abusive marriages, and they think they have nowhere to go. But this is a lie, a false belief that keeps women trapped in unhealthy and even abusive marriages.
When You’re Living With a Difficult Husband
The most important thing to remember is that you aren’t trapped in this marriage. You may feel stuck and isolated, but you do have options. Your options won’t be easy or even all that attractive…but it is possible to leave a bad marriage and start over.
The truth is that there IS somewhere to go, and help is available. Your job is to find the help you need and stick to your plans.
Imagine how your life could be different
You can’t change your husband, but you can start planning a new life. Even if you think there’s no way you could ever live without your husband, you can allow yourself to dream! Dreams plant seeds of hope, life, energy and future plans. Amazing achievements and successes have to start somewhere, don’t they? And they always start with a tiny seed of hope.
Yes, your husband is difficult. Perhaps he treats you terribly, like Erika’s husband. Maybe your husband isn’t as bad as he was before….or maybe he’s more abusive than he’s ever been. No matter what your situation is, you have more power than you think.
If you’re struggling financially, read How to Leave Your Husband if You Have No Money.
Seek counseling – with or without your husband
The wife by the pool in Jamaica didn’t defend herself or even respond to her husband. Rather, she treated kindly and gently. It was as if her husband was actually being nice to her. Her coping mechanism was to passively accept her husband’s bad treatment. She survived each day of her marriage by placating and soothing her difficult husband. Maybe it wasn’t just easier for her to get through the day by being nice to her husband, maybe it was physically safer for her and her children.
Difficult men aren’t easy to confront. Abusive husbands can be dangerous to talk to, even gently and softly. This is why talking to a counselor or trusted friend about coping with your difficult husband is safe. It won’t be easy, but taking some sort of action may help you move forward. Confiding in a friend or even writing about your husband’s words and behavior can help you decide how to cope. You may find that the more you talk about it, the easier it’ll get to open up.
Find people and activities that fill you with life, hope and faith
When was the last time you talked to your best friend, sister, mom, or trustworthy coworker? Who have you lost touch with, and wish you could reunite 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 useless or meaningless things to do, but they are so important. The healthier you are, the better your life will be.
Stay connected to people who love and support you, you’re more likely to make healthy decisions for your life. Even more importantly learn who you are as a child of God. Turn your face upward, meet God’s gaze, and ask for the strength and power you need to cope. When your husband treats you badly you begin to think you deserve it, that you’re worthless. This is another lie that will drive you into despair. You can break free, but you need to start taking steps – no matter how difficult it is.
Be honest about living with a husband who treats you badly
Tell the truth. Talk about your marriage with someone. Be honest with yourself, too. Do you really think your husband will change? Can you see yourself spending the rest of your life with a man who treats you badly? Why are you still struggling to cope with a husband who treats you so badly? Try to figure out why you feel stuck and helpless.
It may be painful, heartbreaking, hard, and scary to leave your husband, no matter how difficult he is or how badly he treats you. Maybe it seems impossible. You’ll have to cope with financial struggles, guilt, shame, your family’s opinions and your children’s reactions. It’s important to find people you trust, whom you can talk honestly and openly to. It’s even more important to rebuild yourself spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Look up, and feel your Father’s gaze on you. Know that you are not as powerless as you feel. Remember what you learned about faith and God in the past…and let the Holy Spirit nudge you forward in ways you never thought possible. My prayer for you is that you’re filled with the strength, faith, power and hope you need to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below! Share how you’re doing, what you’re dealing with, and how you’re handling life with a difficult husband.
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