Q&A: Wanting children but in an abusive marriage


Should we have children if my wife is emotionally unstable and has been physically abusive with me? We’ve been married for ten years and this has been going on the entire time. I very much want children and don’t know what to do.

Answer: We’re saddened for you and understand the painful prospect of life without children. Still, under the circumstances, we think it’s fortunate that you haven’t had children yet. Physical violence and abuse are serious problems in a marriage. It’s impossible to say for sure without more details, but that kind of behaviour you’re describing may indicate the presence of a personality or mood disorder. That’s not a good situation for a child.

We’d encourage you to make a determined effort to deal with these issues decisively before giving another thought to having children. You can’t possibly move forward until you’ve addressed this pressing need at the heart of your relationship.

Ultimately, your wife must acknowledge that she has a problem and do whatever it takes to get in touch with the sources of her anger and frustration. That may mean digging up past hurts, facing fears about the future, or exploring the possibility of chemical imbalances. In the meantime, parenthood will need to wait until these hurdles have been overcome.

If you’ve tried counselling and it hasn’t worked, try again – preferably individual therapy for your wife and intensive marital counselling for the two of you. Please don’t hesitate to contact our Family Support Services at 03-3310 0792 or write to support@family.org.my.

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