Q. I have been married to my husband longer than I care to remember. He is a very strict person, and this is what I admired at first. He was dependable and hard-working. He was punctual. He was a church leader and well-respected in the church and community. He can be mean spirited. He abuses me and even hits me. He claims that our pastor says that women must be submissive to their husbands.
In fact, he tells our sons to do no household chores. So they do not wash dishes or sweep the garden or spread their beds. My husband does not help around the house either. He makes good money and buys food, etc, but the housework is all mine, and many times I am tried after working at my job.
However, what I am tired of most of all is the abuse and hits for the simplest of things. He says I am disrespecting him because I ask questions or disagree with him. Nobody will believe what I am going through because I pretend in public that all is well. I need help. What should I do?
A. Marriage is a partnership of equals. The husband is not superior to the wife. In addition, since it is a mutual partnership, then both should look out for the best interest of the other. He should care for your welfare and likewise you do the same for him.
Your husband has a warped understanding of marriage and family. He is instilling dangerous values into the consciousness of the boys. He seems to have a weird understanding of God, interpretation of Scriptures and the role of the Church.
Submission in marriage is not one-sided; it is both partners being submitted to the other and both submitted to God. He is to protect you and not to harm you. He is to enable you to fulfil your potential and be the best person and not beat you down physically or emotionally.
Children are supposed to learn to engage in household chores as part of growing up and becoming more responsible. There is no church that would condone a husband beating his wife or vice versa. He is saying that the Church condones wife beating to cover for his insecurities. He does not have an adequate answer to your questions. He needs help to relate better to you and be a good and responsible father of his boys. He needs to get professional counselling.
You should report him to your pastor. Hopefully, the pastor will tell him that he is taking his sermons out of context. There is no justification for beating a wife. The society is moving away from teachers having the right to beat children at schools. Even the judicial system is moving away from ordering lashes for criminals. Beating, therefore, has no place in a husband-and-wife relationship. If your pastor endorses his behaviour, then you should leave that church and find a church that will affirm your worth and respect your needs.
If your husband continues to abuse you, hit you and thereby threaten your safety and security, then you will have to take steps to protect your person.
Your sons need to be resocialised and to understand that there is no disgrace in helping the proper functioning of the house. If your husband does not want to do any household work, then he needs a full-time helper. You are a wife not a domestic helper.
Obviously, you are not happy in your marriage. Pretending to be happy is not the answer. In any case, there is usually someone who can see though the pretence. You need to confront your husband. Something needs to change quickly and for the better.
Contact the counsellor at email@example.com.