In this blog series, I’m giving you a “sneak peek” into my “Reader Mailbag” – sharing actual questions I’ve received from (and answers I’ve shared with) folks who struggle over “Real Relationship” issues – just like you and me!
I hope the series is both eye-opening and edifying! And if YOU have a question you’d like to see answered, send it our way! You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
“My husband and I argue all the time and it can get pretty intense. But what is normal in arguing and when does it cross the line into verbal abuse?”
Disagreements in marriage are entirely normal. If you never disagree, check your pulse for signs of life. Disagreements can quickly turn into disasters, however, if we don’t draw verbal and emotional boundary lines. As the Bible warns in James 3:8, the tongue can be a “restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
Even in the absence of physical blows, tremendous mental, emotional, and spiritual blows can hurt – and those can take years longer to heal. Couples should avoid:
- Screaming, cursing, or name-calling
- Constant criticism or frequent humiliation
- Acting jealous or possessive to block healthy relationships with others
- Incessant calling during work hours just to argue
- Threatening to harm them, their loved ones, their pets, or their belongings
- Verbally throwing their past up in their face even though forgiveness was previously extended
- Belittling or minimizing the other partner’s concerns about the relationship, or blaming the other person entirely
This list isn’t exhaustive, but should give you a measuring stick to gauge if arguments are crossing the line. If you’re doing any of these, stop. If your husband does them, calmly call a time out until you both feel more in control of your emotions. Verbal & emotional abuse can’t be underestimated. It can be just as destructive (if not more so) to a relationship as physical violence.
If you (or a friend) need to talk to someone about this issue, search online for a domestic violence prevention hotline or women’s shelter in your local area.
Every Woman’s Marriage (click here to order)
How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong by Leslie Vernick (WaterBrook Press)
Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy? by Gary Thomas (Zondervan)