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Emotional Instability, Domestic Violence, and Parenthood

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Should we have kids if my spouse is emotionally unstable and has been physically abusive with me? We've been married for four years and are in our mid-thirties. My wife has become physically and verbally abusive with me on several occasions. We've seen counselors about this and other issues, but the problem persists. A trusted friend has advised me against bringing a child into our home under these circumstances. I very much want kids and don't know what to do. Can you help me?

Perhaps we should begin by asking you what you think. Are you questioning your friend’s wisdom? Can you picture your wife as a mother? Do you really suppose it would be a good idea to introduce an infant into this mix? For our part, we can’t help feeling thankful that you haven’t had kids yet.

Physical violence and abuse are serious problems in a marriage. Naturally, we can’t hand down an authoritative diagnosis without knowing a great deal more about you and your wife, but the kind of behavior you’re describing may indicate the presence of personality or mood disorders. That’s not a good situation for a child.

We’d advise you to make a determined effort to deal with these issues decisively before giving another thought to the question of having kids. You can’t possibly move forward on any front until you’ve addressed this pressing need at the heart of your relationship. If you’ve tried counseling and it hasn’t worked, try again. That means individual therapy for your wife and intensive marital counseling for the two of you. If this process fails to yield measurable results after a reasonable period of time, you and your therapist will have to put some serious energy into an attempt to find out why.

Remember that progress is unlikely if either one of you is unable or unwilling to listen to the Lord and seek His guidance with an open mind. You may need to place your desire for children on the altar before this is all over. As for your wife, she’s going to have to admit that she has a problem and do whatever it takes to get in touch with the sources of her anger and frustration. That could mean digging up past hurts, facing fears about the future, or exploring the possibility of chemical imbalances. Motherhood is out of the question until these hurdles have been overcome.

Focus on the Family’s Counseling staff can direct you to qualified Christian therapists in your area who can get you moving in the right direction. They would also be pleased to discuss your situation with you over the phone. Call us for a free consultation.

 

Resources
If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Grace for The Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness

The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving It

Verbal & Emotional Abuse: Victory Over Verbal and Emotional Abuse

Love Must Be Tough: New Hope for Marriages in Crisis

Mood Swings: Understand Your Emotional Highs & Lows and Achieve a More Balanced & Fulfilled Life

Boundaries in Marriage

Broken Children, Grown-Up Pain: Understanding the Effects of Your Wounded Past

Referral
Life Skills International

Celebrate Recovery

Articles
Bipolar Disorder: A Brief Overview

When Your Marriage Needs Help: You Are Not Alone

Play It Safe: Dealing With Domestic Violence

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