I received a message from a woman recently who has been through a very rough divorce. She told me about how her husband became physically abusive after being married to him for nearly 15 years and how the last beating was so severe that she just could not remain with him. Her last message was the following:
Normally I talk to men and I address men’s issues. However, today I to address both men and women. I want to tell men what a great violation of trust it is to harm a person who looks to you for protection and who hopes to find stability with you.
It’s not an uncommon sentiment for women to want men to protect them and provide for them. In fact, it is such a common sentiment that even women who are independently wealthy often still want men to provide for them. The issue goes far beyond men having money. It’s a deep sentiment of wanting to be cared for. Women often want to feel like they belong. Contrary to what many are saying, it isn’t really just pure materialism. It’s sometimes a bit of materialism mixed with the sentimental value of being looked after.
Imagine someone predisposed to have a need to be looked after by a man she trusts to look after her best interests, suddenly turns rogue? Imagine never knowing when next a man will lose his temper and beat the crap out of you? That’s the reality for some women and it must be properly addressed. I cannot presume to know what the reasons are that some men beat their wives, but I do know some of what that is about.
Sometimes men are deeply insecure about their wives and are not sure that their wives are truly loyal to them. However, instead of trying to address these issues that make them insecure, whether actually coming from the wife or found within his own personal battles, he keeps it bottled up. He doesn’t say anything to his wife about how he feels because men aren’t allowed to have feelings. He doesn’t say that he isn’t comfortable with his wife putting her sexiest pictures up on Facebook, or that he is uncomfortable with the kinds of attention she attracts to herself in her high heels and miniskirts. No, instead, he keeps quiet and he suffers quietly. Instead, he goes out more with the boys and tries to drink his problems away. Then one day, he snaps. His possessiveness comes out in violence and finally after not being able to express his emotions verbally, he does so physically. What he is, is a deeply grieving and hurt man who has allowed things to fester so far that he doesn’t anymore know what to do. He feels that he needs his wife but he also doesn’t feel safe with her. He can’t really keep her but he also can’t walk away. She won’t listen to him. She won’t help him feel more secure, it’s not her problem. Well, what does he have in excess supply? What does he have that she doesn’t have? Strength? He can beat her up. That’s where unhealthy relationships end up almost all of the time!
Then there’s the guilt. He beat up a woman he is supposed to protect. He harmed someone he loves. He couldn’t control his temper. He is always wrong. He is always bad. He can’t live with himself. Every so often, he doesn’t. Every so often a man in this situation ends up killing himself. He kills himself because he doesn’t know how to be. He doesn’t know what to do between instincts and not having the right to have any autonomy in his own life. He kills himself because he can’t anymore. Because he knows he’s wrong but no one around him can understand the pain he feels. He doesn’t want to hurt anymore, but he is hurt. This is the sympathetic narrative. It’s the narrative when men haven’t been in the habit of hitting women or their wives but when something snaps in them and then they start doing it. What they need is help.
The sentiment of needing to be protected by a man is a sentiment that corresponds with men normally wanting to protect women. We are meant to live together in harmony. God gave us corresponding attributes that compliment each other. However this sentiment is also one that drives men crazy at times. It drives a man crazy when his wife wants to endanger herself and doesn’t want to be told that it is dangerous. What does he do with the sentiment to want to protect if someone is unable to avoid the disaster he sees coming? What does he do with the sentiment to protect when he in effect cannot protect his family because he doesn’t possess any authority to do so? Despite any or all of that, my advice to men is never to try to assert the right to protect a woman who doesn’t think you have the right to protect her. Let her be and if it comes to it, where you cannot authentically exist with her while retaining your true masculine energy then simply divorce her.
However, don’t shy away from saying exactly what you feel or what you dislike, or what you find unacceptable. Because if you don’t do that you will suffer a slow death, and the relationship will ruin both you and your wife. Don’t fail to assert yourself where it matters and then try to assert yourself through rage later on. If you cannot convince your wife, for example, to stop wearing miniskirts because you feel that you dislike other men staring down your wife, there’s no need to stay married to her. Don’t get aggressive. If you don’t mind your wife walking around half naked, and you really don’t mind, then you don’t have the right at rare moments to lash out because you actually mind but decided not to say anything. It’s important for you to stand your ground and do it ethically, politely and as gentlemen. Don’t abuse anyone.
If you, as a woman, decide that you really want a man to protect you, choose a man who is protective (that’s not hard to do- most men are). Also respect his need to protect you and allow him to do so. You don’t get to decide you want a man to protect you and then also decide that you can protect yourself. If you can protect yourself, you don’t need a man to protect you. In that case, it’s probably better not to get married and just have short term flings. You will destroy a man if you don’t allow him to actually be a man in the relationship. However, if a man displays violent tendencies towards you, you should not stay with him. Not only for his sake, but for your sake too. If you do want to work things out then both you and him will have to seek professional help. Violent tendencies in men who were not violent don’t happen in a vacuum and it may have as much to do with what you’re doing as it has to do with what he’s doing.
Men don’t just become violent because they are evil (some men are evil). Usually they become violent because they are not able to address a problem they are facing. If you really want to stay with a man who has hit you, you will need to discover what that problem is. A lot of the time it has to do with jealousy, possessiveness, hurt and insecurity. Men are unfortunately told that they are not allowed to feel those feelings and that they are wrong to have sentiments about wanting other men not to make sexual passes at their wives or in trying to modify some of their wives clothes (for example). Those are all considered toxic forms of behavior. Truthfully, it’s not. Most women themselves modify their dress code slightly after getting married because the tight dresses already did it’s job. They already landed the guy. Guys know it, girls know it, and obviously you are going to run into problems if you keep wearing the clothes you wore to try and attract a mate, after you already attracted a mate! Hundreds of men ask, “what do I do if my wife hasn’t exactly taken herself off the market?” or “What do I do if my wife acts in a flirtatious way with other men.” Well, what you do is tell her to cut it out. What you don’t do is let it fester and then beat her up. If that’s the type of relationship you have, you are better off leaving.
If your husband is jealous or possessive you can deal with it in a smart way or stupid way. The smart way is simply to reassure him that there’s really nothing to worry about. You are not out there looking for another man. You could incline towards making reasonable adjustments (trust me, it doesn’t really matter whether a guy says it or not. He does actually want to be the only one looking at your ass). The stupid way is to tell him off and say he has no right to want exclusive rights to your sexuality. You are saying to him, yes I want you here and f* you and your manhood at the same time. It never works. If he is over the top and totally unreasonable then there are other things a miss in your relationship, and those things will need to be worked on. From my own experience, being in relationships with several women, I can say that men interact differently with different women. Sometimes a man is insecure regarding one woman but not another. It’s not only the man insecurity stems from, it’s sometimes also the nature of the relationship. You might need to get counselling.