He Shoves Me -and- He Seems to Hate Me

Shoves me abuse Pixabay woman-1006100_1280Question:

My husband and I argue frequently. But lately he even shoves me. He claims it’s just in the heat of the moment. While I’m certain I’m being overly sensitive to my husband’s anger, I’m not sure his physical actions are okay. Am I overreacting?


While you may be oversensitive to aspects of your husband’s anger, you aren’t overreacting to his shoving you. There’s never, ever, under any circumstance, due to any real or perceived provocation or slight, any reason for a man or woman to push or shove each other. That’s a line that cannot be crossed.

In your situation, we’d encourage you not to wait until more shoving, pushing, grabbing, hitting, or any other behavior that exerts abusive control occurs. But let your husband know his behavior’s unhealthy, unacceptable, and will no longer be tolerated. You need to set unequivocally clear boundaries.

Let him know that if he pushes you again, you’ll ask him to leave the room and/or leave the house for a time-out. If he refuses to do that, then you should leave. Leaving provides time for the angry spouse to calm down. It also helps him to focus on healthier ways to communicate his concerns.

If this doesn’t help, then you may need to take stronger steps. You may need to involve your pastor, a licensed Christian counselor, and, if it continues, the police. Being proactive in setting clear boundaries now can help prevent escalation.

Band-aid Method

But dealing only with the shoving is like putting a band-aid on a broken bone. You and your husband are at a relational crossroads. You can either continue to do more of what obviously doesn’t work or you can choose to see this as a valuable opportunity. Reach out for help, and cultivate healthier ways with which to express your anger.

The process of becoming one in Christ involves learning how to understand our differences. We are to deal with conflict in ways that heal rather than hurt. This is an opportunity for you to learn how to apply the principles of 1 Corinthians 13:4-6. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Also apply Colossians 3:13-15. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” to the day-in and day-out issues in your marriage.

We encourage you and your husband to read those two passages at least once a day. As you read them, ask yourself, What is one way I can apply this to my life today? We’d also encourage you to contact a licensed Christian marriage and family counselor who can help you find practical ways to chart a new course for your marriage.


– Couple Counsel – by Gary and Carrie Oliver


How much verbal abuse is a woman supposed to take from her husband? We have been married for ten years, and even before the marriage my friends and family would tell me about the horrible way he spoke to me, but I was deaf to it. Now I am getting more and more depressed. I confront him with it and he says he doesn’t know what I am talking about.

He’ll be okay for awhile and then goes right back to his sarcastic, hurtful ways. He claims to love me while acting like he hates me. He always wants to be with me and is always home. I don’t want a divorce, but I don’t want to take the abuse any more either. What should I do?


The old saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” just isn’t true. We’ve worked with many people whose broken bones have healed. But their broken hearts and spirits are still hurting from wounds inflicted many years earlier. Verbal abuse cannot be tolerated and is never something to be accepted. If it isn’t dealt with, it will only get worse and may lead to physical abuse.

An important first step is to get clear about what behavior is healthy and unhealthy, what is appropriate and inappropriate, what is acceptable and unacceptable. If you’ve lived with this for ten years, you’ve probably become desensitized to what healthy and appropriate look like. Dr. Grace Ketterman’s book, Verbal Abuse: Healing the Hidden Wound (Servant), will help clarify what healthy looks like and give you practical suggestions for new ways to respond.

The next step is for you to state to your husband what you will and will not tolerate. Then have a specific plan as to how you will respond the next time your boundaries are crossed. If he calls you names, leave the room or leave the house. Set specific boundaries for what you will tolerate and how you will respond to him. Retreating in silence, crying, yelling back, or threatening aren’t healthy responses and won’t produce positive results. Actually, nothing will guarantee positive results from your husband. However, there are things that you can do to protect yourself. They can also increase the probability of change in your marriage.

Unhealthy Patterns

In our early years of marriage we can give into unhealthy patterns that become unrecognizable to us. Over time they appear to be “normal.” We may not understand that we can do things differently and sometimes get better results.

As the wife, know that you can learn new ways to respond to your husband. If he puts you down, you can refuse to allow that to be truth for you. Many women don’t understand that there is a place for healthy anger in a marriage relationship. Consider telling him that you both need counseling to get through this hindrance to your marriage’s growth. Let him know you are willing to take responsibility for whatever you bring to the relationship that is not helping it become all it could be.

If he isn’t willing to go, there’s no reason why you can’t. Finally, find some support from other women. God didn’t design us to walk through life alone. Reach out and find some women who will pray with you and for you. Regardless of what he chooses to do, you can grow, learn, deepen, mature, and become more of who God designed you to be. Remember that all of his promises still apply to you.

The articles featured above came from past issues of Marriage Partnership Magazine.

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Filed under: Abuse in Marriage

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5 responses to “He Shoves Me -and- He Seems to Hate Me

  1. (UNITES STATES) I dont know where to start. I grew up watching my dad abuse my mom, my little brother, and me, so at the age of 18 I married my first husband who was 34. He was sweet and loving when I met him but that all changed after we married. He began to abuse me in all ways possible; he did not allow me to work, we had 2 children together and he did not help at all with them.

    He abused pills and beer and he called me every name in the book. He threatened to kill me, he kicked me and my kids out plenty of times. I always came back because I didn’t think I could do it on my own. But 8 years in after serving him hand and foot, I left and divorced him. A year later I married my husband of today and he has a smoking problem. He is disabled AND he is abusing me also but I love him and feel he needs me so I put up with it but he is telling me now either I bow down to him or he is leaving me.

    I do not know what to do; I dont feel like I should have to bow down to him when he does not respect me; he spits on me and tells me he hates me all the time. I do love him and dont want to lose him but feel like me and my 2 children deserve better….Prayers needed.

    1. Bridget, You certainly have our prayers. You DEFINITELY need wisdom. But please know that your husband does not “need” you if he feels you are his to abuse. He is more disabled in his mind and actions than any other way if he feels he can treat you this way. Please know that. He has no right to treat you that way and you have no obligation to take the abuse.

      We’re so sorry you find yourself in this place again with another abusive husband –especially when you have 2 children watching and taking in all that is going on between you… so, so sorry this is happening.

  2. My husband & I have been married 50+ years. We’ve had many problems but when he retired, he took over, making me feel incapable. He’s very controlling & moody. In the past his volatile outbursts would cause me to cry. Now I’m fighting back with harsh words of my own. With that he says I’m mean! He’s totally detached, doesn’t talk, and refuses to believe I have multiple broken bones from an accident. I suffered and still do because I didn’t get medical attention. He blames everything on me. I need help or I will die.

    1. I pray the Lord comforts you and wraps you in his arms. I pray the Lord intervenes in your situation and that your husband comes to know the Lord deeply. You are loved sister in Christ.

  3. Hi. I am 27 years of age. I’ve always been a God fearing woman of God. I’m married for almost 3 years, have known my husband for 9 years. Alcohol is a big problem and the influence of friends, but each individual has a choice. Me and my husband have been through a lot. We are young but have become hung up on the past hurts. We hurt each other and we never seem to move forward no matter how hard I try. Until recently he pushed me in front of my son and it became a regular thing so I then opened a case. They wanted to lock him up but I withdrew the case. He does not want to talk to me and we are still living together; he wants a divorce and I am so lost without him. I don’t know what to do.