Recently my husband has become very irritable. Everything bothers him. Not long ago I was with my family, and I stayed overnight with my children. He was working, but when we returned the next day, he was furious, saying that he wasn’t the least bit important to us, as if we had abandoned him…. Now it upsets him for me to leave the house…. It seems unfair to me that I have to stay in the apartment all of the time… doing all the housework and hardly ever going out, even to the grocery store. I’d like to know if I’m the one in the wrong, and what I can do to make things better.

Dear Friend,

It is possible to have marital conflicts in which neither the husband nor the wife is wrong, and therefore placing blame is not the way to resolve them. Furthermore, almost every conflict or disagreement has multiple contributing factors, some that are easy for the husband to identify, and others that are easy for the wife to identify.

However, we first have some questions that we wish you could answer, but since that is not possible, please think about what we are asking and if it is possible that the answers could help you identify some factors that you haven’t considered.

The first question is about your husband’s health. Is he taking any medication that he hasn’t taken before, or has he been diagnosed with an illness that might be concerning to him? Is it possible that he needs to consult a physician?

Secondly, has your husband had past experiences that may have made him feel that he was not cared for? Has he been married before? Did he have a loving relationship with his mother and his father? His brain is obviously telling him that this current situation will end up the same as whatever he went through in the past. A professional counselor might help him explore his current fears and identify the fears of the past that are still haunting him.

Lastly, do you have any relationships from the past or in the present that might be threatening to him? Might he believe that you are more faithful to your family of origin than you are to him? If this is the case, we would recommend marriage counseling for the two of you.

There is no way for us to guess what is behind your husband’s actions and words, but it is definitely something that needs to be explored. We suggest that you listen carefully when your husband speaks. Don’t interrupt him, and don’t be so distracted by your own emotions that you discount or fail to care about his feelings.

In the meantime, plan activities that you do together outside of the apartment. Show him that you want to spend time with him. Go to church together and pray together that God will heal the hurts and give you hope for the future.

We wish you well,