My wife is super jealous. Every time I get home, she wants a detailed explanation of everything I have done. She checks my cell phone and is always on the lookout for what she might discover.

I am at a crossroads. I don’t want to leave her. I love her; but when she acts this way, I feel very badly, for I think it shows a lack of respect. She calls my work to find out when I’m getting off. She calls my cell phone at the time I’m leaving work. She wants to control everything.

I have exploded and have hit her, because that is the only way she’ll be quiet; but I don’t want to go on with this quality of life.

Dear Friend,

Thank you for being honest about your own shortcomings in your relationship with your wife. The fact that you have resorted to physical violence with her is an important part of your story. No matter what she has done, what she has said, or how she has acted, you do not have any justification for hitting her. This kind of violence is NEVER acceptable under any circumstances.

You make it clear that you believe you hit her because it is the only way she will stop being so controlling and jealous. But you are telling us about it because she hasn’t stopped those behaviors. So, obviously the hitting is only making her quiet for a short time and does not yield any long‑term results. Yet you keep hitting her. This is because the physical abuse is not really about what she is doing; it is about a lack of control on your part.

If you cannot control your temper, you will have to get help. Your community or local hospital probably has a group of people who are meeting regularly together to learn to control their tempers. We strongly encourage you to make inquiries today to find out when and where they meet. For if you minimize the severity of this issue and refuse to take our advice, there is a high probability that in the future you will beat not only your wife but also your children. Do you really want to be that bully standing over his crying, wounded child?

Please don’t misunderstand us! We know that your wife also has a serious problem. But we don’t know the history of your relationship. Have you ever been unfaithful to her before? Has she ever caught you in lies? Have you given her reasons not to trust you? How about her father? Was he unfaithful to her mother? And your father? Was he unfaithful to your mother?

There is almost certainly some situation in your wife’s present or past that has caused her to be unreasonably jealous. If you know what that situation is, it would be helpful to have calm conversations with her about how your current relationship is different from that situation and why she has reason to trust you. As you sit together, ask her to make a list of all the things that she is worried will happen. Then, one by one, tell her why she does not need to worry about each item on the list. Take her concerns seriously and make an effort to discuss each item until she is reassured. There are things she may have never heard you say, and your reassurance will dissolve her fears.

Make promises to her that you know you will keep. Then tell her that, so long as you keep your promises, she must promise to stop the unreasonable behaviors. Now you make a list of the behaviors that she must stop, including calling your work and checking your cell phone. Explain that when she refuses to trust you, she builds a wall of distrust between the two of you. Tell her that your desire is for your relationship to become more trusting and intimate, and that you are willing to do your part to make it happen.

Women need verbal communication in order to feel close to their husbands. Most men, however, when they arrive home from work, tend to want to watch television or do some work rather than to have a long and involved conversation with their wives. If you will make an effort to voluntarily talk to your wife more and share more of your experiences and feelings, she will most likely stop asking so many questions.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the people of Galatia, made a list of behaviors that he called “acts of the sinful nature.”(1) Acts of rage (such as physical violence) and jealousy come one immediately after the other in his list. Both acts come “naturally” to us as human beings because they are part of our “nature.” But both are destructive to us not only physically but also spiritually.

What about your spiritual life? What about your relationship with God? He is ready and willing to forgive all acts of sin when we ask Him. But He is also ready to help you and your wife develop the kind of marriage relationship that He designed in the first place, a union in which there is complete trust and intimacy.

We wish you well,

Charles and Linda
1 Gal 5:19-21