How Can I Determine If My New Husband Has Abusive Tendencies?

BY: - 13 Mar '18 | Marriage

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I recently got married and I am learning a lot about my new husband. My sister said that she does not like him and expressed that she feels he is abusive toward me. She said that she witnessed him talking to me in a demeaning way. He does talk to me in a “loud” tone and treats me in a controlling manner. My sister was married to an abusive man and told me that she knows what abuse looks like. I have started to pay more attention to his behavior and I am kind of concerned. How Can I Determine If My Husband Has Abusive Tendencies?


Confused and Potentially Abused Wife

Ask Dr. Buckingham

Dear Confused and Potentially Abused Wife,

You can determine if your new husband has abusive tendencies by understanding what abuse looks like for yourself. Some women are in abusive relationships and do not know it. Love does hurt occasionally, but it should not be intentional. Recognizing signs of abuse is critical because perpetrators typically become more aggressive over time. Unfortunately, a lot of people only pay attention to physical abuse because it is easier to observe and understand. However, emotional or psychological abuse can be just as bad as physical abuse. It is not my intent to compare physical and emotional abuse, but I want to emphasize that physical abuse is easier to recognize. Also, I want to emphasize that there are three common forms of abuse.

  • Physical Abuse (inflicting physical discomfort, pain, or injury)
  • Sexual Abuse (forced sexual contact, rape, or incest)
  • Psychological/emotional abuse (diminishing your identity and self-worth)

Abuse occurs when an individual misuses his or her power and attempts to control others. In order to help you gain more insight about abusive tendencies, I have listed some information below.

Physical Abuse Tendencies

  • Pushes or shoves you
  • Holds you to keep you from leaving
  • Slaps or bites you
  • Kicks, chokes, hits or restrains you for control
  • Locks you out of the house
  • Rapes you
  • Threatens or hurts you with a weapon

Sexual Abuse Tendencies

  • Makes demeaning remarks about you
  • Insists that you dress in a more sexual manner than you desire
  • Calls you derogatory sexual names like “whore” or “freak”
  • Forces you to have unwanted sex with him or others or forces you to watch porn
  • Forces sex after beatings
  • Forces sex for the purpose of hurting you with objects or weapons
  • Commits sadistic sexual acts

Psychological or Emotional Abuse Tendencies

  • Puts you down
  • Makes you feel bad about yourself
  • Calls you inappropriate names
  • Makes you think that you are crazy
  • Plays mind games with you
  • Humiliates you in front of others
  • Makes you feel guilty telling him no
  • Intimidation (smashes things, displays weapons, uses aggressive gestures or looks)
  • Ignoring you
  • Isolating (limits your involvement in things, controls who you see and talk to, etc.)


It is not uncommon for men with abuse tendencies to treat women like servants, make all the big decisions, act like the “master of the castle” and believe that they should define roles. Also, a man with abuse tendencies often displays one or more of the following behaviors: has low self-esteem, believes all the myths about battering relationships, is a traditionalist, blames others for his actions, is pathologically jealous, presents a dual personality, has severe stress reactions, uses sex as an act of aggression and does not believe violent behavior should have negative consequences.

Please be mindful that the above-mentioned tendencies are not intended to serve as a means to label your husband, but as information to help you make an informed decision about the importance of getting professional help. I realize that your sister is knowledgeable about abuse based on her experience. However, I highly recommend that you speak with your husband about your concerns before you define who is or is not. Also, I highly recommend that you get professional help if warranted. Professionals who are trained can help you better identify behaviors that you need to be aware of.

Click Here to Join our FREE 5-Day Spiritual Intimacy Challenge

As you move forward, please do not minimize how you feel or ignore your concerns. Denial is a major player in abusive relationships. The more that a person denies abuse, the more it will happen. Also, keep in mind my personal quote, “Love me or leave me because abuse is not an option.”

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions, and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 206 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at


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Beyond Sex: How to Make a Marriage Work Outside of the Bedroom

BY: - 14 Mar '18 | Marriage

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One of the greatest pleasures of marriage is knowing you have the opportunity to have awesome sex, almost at will. For many couples in a relationship that’s headed toward marriage, the status quo is that you should be physically intimate with the person before you wed to “make sure” you are compatible. Unfortunately, many times, couples substitute hot sex for emotional love. After you walk down the aisle, life has to move beyond the bedroom and function in all the other rooms of the house and beyond. So, here are some ways to make your marriage work outside of the bedroom.

Marriage in the Living Room

The living room is a great place to have some truly intimate moments with your spouse. It is the place where you “live” together. There are opportunities to be close to your mate physically and emotionally. It’s a place to watch movies that you both enjoy, or have meaningful conversations, or play fun games. It is a great place to bond without sex necessarily being involved. Of course, some of those moments where you emotionally connect in the living room can lead to action on some other furniture besides the bed.

Marriage in the Kitchen

In an odd way, marriage in the kitchen can be as “hot” as marriage in the bedroom. This is probably the one place where you get to use all of your senses and truly enjoy time with your partner. To make your marriage work in the kitchen, spend time cooking meals together. It’s a great opportunity for teamwork and fun conversations. Of course, some of those moments where you emotionally connect in the kitchen can lead to action with tools and tastes not found in the bedroom.

Marriage in Dining Room

Some of the most successful couples will tell you that eating a meal together contributes to a fulfilling married life. Spending time talking over a nice meal (even nicer if prepared together in the kitchen), can help you de-stress and release some of the hardships of the day. That time needs to be about more than just talking about stuff that needs to be taken care of. It’s a time to talk about your struggles and the things going on in your heart.

Marriage Away From Home

Bonding opportunities away from home can be a challenge. But there are some ways to make sure you don’t miss out on times and place you can connect with your mate.

  • Send a nice text message to your spouse while they’re at work
  • Call your spouse during your lunch break and let them know you’re thinking about them
  • Surprise your spouse with a nice delivery – whether personally or via courier

Marriage With Extended Family

By far, this has to be one of the most challenging parts of a relationship. It can be easy to run back to family or friends as a safe haven when you begin to experience challenges in your relationship. But if you are to make your marriage work, you have to keep airing your married business to your family down to the bare minimum, if at all. The temptation is to desire someone familiar to be on your side, but it’s unfair without them hearing both sides of a conflict. It also puts a bad taste in their mouth for your spouse. Eventually, you are setting your spouse up for a combative relationship with your extended family. The truth is, your spouse is your family now. So, if you want to make your marriage work, then put your spouses best face forward with your extended family.

A good romp in the bedroom is exciting in a loving marriage. But a loving marriage is achieved beyond the bedroom. Remember that even if you and your spouse have the hottest sex and are able to compartmentalize your emotions, it won’t be long before unfulfilled emotional needs turn a hot sex life cold. When you take time to build your relationship outside of the bedroom, you will build a marriage that will last for life.

BMWK, are you ready to make marriage work outside of the bedroom?

About the author

Joann Fisher wrote 143 articles on this blog.

Joann Fisher has been a writer and editor for both print and online newpapers and magazines for the last 10 years. She now serves as a Writer/Editor at BMWK and lead Editor for The Joy Network.


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