My Husband And I Have Abused Each Other
I am at a crossroads, and desperate for guidance. I have been married for 10 years, with 2 kids with my husband. Things have never been perfect, but this time last year, we sought out some real counseling to assist us in saving our marriage.
We have always had rough fights with lots of nasty name-calling, and screaming, and in the early days, I slapped him in the face plenty of times.
But last year, after I had angered him with some sarcastic remark directed at him, he shoved me. After that, we took our classes as a last resort, and it saved us. It was then that we realized how wonderful our life together could be, when we truly put forth the effort we had for so long neglected. Fights became fair and low-key, and we realized how foolish we had been for so long in dealing with one another.
Fast forward to this year, and many changes in circumstances. For the last few months, our needs were once again being unmet, leading to many arguments, and threats of leaving. We had reached that unthinkable place again. But after a friend reached out and offered a free night out alone for us, we were relieved.
After many drinks that night, we were floating on air, loving our time together...and then it happened. All the anger and frustration of the last few months surfaced in our drunken state, and although the details are unclear, I am sure that he said something that clearly upset me, and I struck him.
He struck back, harder than I could, leaving me bruised. He packed his things and left, assuming there was no way I could ever forgive him.
That next morning, I woke up and attempted to sober up and recall the details of what had truly happened the night before. Had it all played out so filthy, the way I remembered? I couldn't believe it.
I always knew that the both of us have always had tempers and anger management issues, but this was farther than either of us had ever dreamed it could go. I begged him to come home, realizing that this is not a violent man, but one who was provoked in a drunken state. I do not excuse his behavior just as I do not excuse mine, but I do believe that this is something we can work towards fixing.
I asked him to come home on several conditions; one - we throw out all alcohol. We stay sober indefinitely. Second - we both seek anger management.
Am I naive that this can be fixed with both of our efforts? I do not feel as though he is the only party at fault, and I am more so aware that in order to expect him to fix his problems, I need to wake up and realize my own. With both of us putting our best efforts into this, can this marriage be saved?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I think that you and your husband can definitely save your marriage, if you both do exactly what you outlined. Getting sober and staying that way can be very challenging for many people, and then there's the anger management on top of that. That's a lot of work, but if you're both willing and committed, you can do it.
Here is what I suggest:
Both of you read this page on alcohol abuse, to make sure you understand that part of it. And then do all of the exercises on this FAQ page, which will take the two of you through an anger management healing process.
If you do all of the above, thoroughly and consistently, you may reach your goals, and I hope you do. If you need more help than that, or guidance for these processes, please consider professional counseling to support your efforts.
You can do this, if your love is strong enough...and I have a feeling it is.
My very best to you,