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We are eternal optimists – make no mistake about that!  With us, glasses are always half full, not half empty.  The sun is always shining where we live!  We are eternally hopeful that tomorrow will be a brighter day – and it usually is! We love life and are excited to get out of bed every morning.  For us, every day is a joyful experience.  We hope you spend most of your time feeling the same way.  

Frankly, it is hard for us to think negatively about any aspect of our life and our existence.  Over the years we have been accused of seeing a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.  And when you think about it, our view of the world is not a bad way to be.  Our mothers always told us that being positive is a virtue and not a vice.

But in all honesty, in our collective hearts, we recognize that all things are not possible.  We know that things don't always work out for the best.  And, we have to admit from time to time that there are some bad people out there.  Sometimes, we have to acknowledge that life is not always fair, just, and beautiful.  Sometimes, life deals you a dirty hand!  Sometimes, good women like you marry bad men.  

The truth is, some really, really wonderful women marry some really, really bad men.  So what are the taletell signs of a bad man?  How will you know when you have found the man that you cannot fix?  How will you recognize the man that you should stay away from?  How will you know when you should run down the street in the opposite direction of the way he is running?  The answers are more simple than you think.

First, let's talk about the categories these bad men fall into – and there are many.

There are men who physically abuse their wives.  There are men who mentally abuse their wives.  And, as many women know, there are men who physically and mentally abuse their children.  And the list of abuse goes on.

Most of the abuse is not so obvious as the aforementioned.  Most forms of abuse are subtle.  They are hard to notice.  There are no obvious telltale signs.  These forms of abuse include men who treat their wives like slaves – get me this or get me that – a recurring and constant theme among these abusers.

Then, there are those that show amazing and considerable disrespect for their wife.  They belittle them.  They make sure their wife gets served after they do at a restaurant!  They make sure their wife knows she is incompetent.  These husbands make sure their wife understands that her place in life is to serve him.  Some men simply suffocate their spouse by controlling their every behavior.

And now you know, spousal abuse is often obvious and, more often, is subtle – the kind that leaves no marks.

So what do the sufferers of this kind of "subtle" abuse do to protect themselves and their children?  The answers are many, but here are the most obvious and recurring ones:

1.You can't fix him!  If the behavior your husband or "significant other" is exhibiting is of a recurring abusive nature like we have described above, you must understand – you can't fix him!  If you witnessed these behaviors before you got married, you should have paid more attention.  So many women fall into the trap of thinking they can take a man with "bad behaviors" and fix him after they are married.  While nurturance is an admirable characteristic, don't believe that you can change these kinds of abusive behaviors because you love him and are emotionally attached to him.

2.Don't be fooled.  Human beings display pervasive behaviors – those recurring patterns of thought and behavior that tell us how a person will behave in a given situation.  Pervasive behaviors in a person are predictable.  If a person acts a certain way over and over – those behaviors are pervasive.  Those recurring behaviors reflect who they are as a person.   The truth is, they are what they are.  Don't be fooled.

3.If you have children, protect them above all else!  Your children are so very important to you.  You love them in so many ways.  You brought them into this world.  You take care of them.  You nurture them.   And above all else, you will protect them to the ends of the Earth.  The abusive behaviors he shows towards you will, or have been, shown towards your children.   If his pervasive behaviors ring true insofar as your relationship with him is concerned, expect the same behaviors towards your children.  Protect them from him.  Expect his abuse of them as well.

4.Be strong and take the action you know you must take.  Sometimes, you need to take the actions required to save yourself and your children.  While we have studied successful marriage and relationships for some 26 years, and are committed to making marriages work, we always say this – most marriages are worth saving, but not all!   Sometimes, you have to walk away from your marriage.  Sometimes, you need to start over.  Often times, you must do what is best for you and your children before it is too late.  Continuing in an abusive relationship, subtle or otherwise, is not smart.  Sometimes, it is smart to just walk away.

5.You can't do it alone!  You will need wise counsel as well as support groups to help you make it through these trials and tribulations.  Don't be a martyr.  There are many out there like you.  Seek their help.  Seek their support.  And above all, seek their advice.  Going it alone will not serve you or your children well.  If you have the added benefit of supportive parents, ask for their support because you know you can count on them.

Sometimes, good women marry bad men.   The truth is no more simple than that.  You can accept this fate or do something about it.  When you marry a bad man you, like many before you, should muster the strength to do what is in your best interests and in the best interests of your family.

Simple things matter in love and marriage.  Love well!

Enjoy receiving our new companion hardback book Simple Things Matter in Love and Marriage at no cost with the purchase of the multiple award winning book [Link Removed]
Winner of the 2009 Mom's Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Look for [Link Removed]  due out in January 2010 (Jossey-Bass/Wiley)


Doctors, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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