I’ve Lashed Out at My Wife in Anger, But I’ve Apologized: Isn’t That Enough?

If you’ve been angry and abusive to your wife and children, I believe it’s best that your wife hold her ground with you and let you know, clearly, that this behavior will not be tolerated.

It’s not uncommon at all for an abusive husband to express regret and even sorrow over what he’s done to his wife. But often this is part of the cycle of abuse. After the violence occurs, there is often a period of regret, and then a “honeymoon” period where the husband gives his wife gifts or shows affection. But if a husband is not willing to go beyond an apology and deal with why he has abused, it’s only a matter of time before tensions rise in the marriage and he abuses his wife again. It’s a cycle that must be broken, and it takes much more than an apology (Jeremiah 15:19, Ezekiel 14:6).

The pressure you’re putting your wife under to reconcile with you indicates that you have not yet acknowledged the severe damage you’ve done to your wife personally and your marriage relationship (James 1:20). You should be broken up over the fact that you’ve had a pattern of punishing and dominating your wife. And you should be willing to give your wife as much time and space as she needs to work through the harm you’ve caused her. Your heart is moving towards repentance when you, without excuses, acknowledge that you’ve been abusive, commit yourself to understanding the damage you’ve caused, identify controlling attitudes and behaviors, and explore reasons why you abuse. These steps are crucial in personal as well as marital healing.

The process of healing a marriage takes a considerable amount of time. It may take years for you to show that you’re a changed man and for your wife to feel safe enough to take you back. Only after you’ve consistently shown that you’re a man who’s facing his anger and control issues, not pressuring her to take you back, and being broken over your sin can you lovingly invite her to a renewed relationship built on love, respect, safety, and trust.

I hope these thoughts are helpful. I’m sure they’re not easy to read, but it’s my hope and prayer that you can face the damage you’ve done, not only for the purpose of reconciling with your wife, but also to experience the freedom and love only found in complete abandon to Jesus Christ.

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