I have been married for two years. Ten months ago, my husband started verbally and psychologically abusing me. Four months ago I left him. We have a five-month-old child.

Recently my husband has been contacting me to say that he has changed…. He has been treating me differently, and during our time apart he has not neglected our child. He says that we should get back together, that everything will be different, that he loves me; but neither my family nor his want us to get back together. I don’t know what to do because, in spite of everything, I still love him.

Dear Friend,

We have more questions than answers! You don’t mention any problems during the first year of marriage, so what changed ten months ago when your husband started verbally and psychologically abusing you? It was during the second half of your pregnancy, so did the pregnancy affect your marriage in a negative way? You left your husband when your child was only a month old, so you were pregnant for five of the six months during the time that he was verbally and psychologically abusive. Now that you are not pregnant any more, he is treating you differently and wants to get back together.

It is possible that the pregnancy had nothing to do with the way he mistreated you, but we have no way of knowing for sure. The fact that he was not abusive during the previous year indicates that something happened to change his behavior ten months ago. It also leads us to believe that he has the ability to control himself and to refrain from taking out his anger and hostility on you.

However, it is not enough to say that he has changed. He must demonstrate the change by his behavior. We recommend that you set aside a time period to begin dating him to give him a chance to prove that he has changed. Spend time with him, without spending the night and without living with him. Explain that you love him and want to be together, but you must protect yourself by being very sure that he has changed. At the end of the time period (three to six months), you will be better able to determine whether or not he has changed, and you can begin living together again at that time. Alternatively, if he does not demonstrate that he has changed by the end of the first time period, set a new time period in which he can try again.

It is extremely important that you also get marriage counseling. Both of you need to learn how to communicate more effectively and positively. If you cannot manage private counseling, find a professional who does group counseling.

In your wedding vows, you both promised to be faithful until death. It really doesn’t matter now that your families are not in agreement. Their opinion mattered before you were married, but it does not matter now.

We recommend that both of you seek first the kingdom of God by having a strong daily relationship with Him through prayer and Bible reading. Jesus Christ said that if you make your relationship with God your first priority, everything else will fall into place.(1) As you become what He wants you to be, you will also become a better husband and wife to each other.

We wish you the best,

1 Mt 6:33