I never would have imagined I would be someone who would commit abusive actions. I was raised by two loving Christian parents and had the fortune of growing up in a healthy home. I had many who shared they knew I would be a wonderful husband and father someday.
When I married my wife I was over the moon. She was “the girl” in high school who I was completely smitten with. During our engagement she talked about her deepest fears, that I might be yet another chapter of someone leaving her. I was offended. I stated that God would use me as a key player in healing any brokenness she felt. Genuine as those desires were, there were scary flaws in my thinking.
Not long after the honeymoon days, we began to struggle with various arguments. I began to demonstrate a number of abusive behaviors. Most frequently, I would raise my voice or yell. There were instances of me pounding my fist on the table, punching a hole in our wall, and even kicking and breaking the foot-board of our bed. Things would return to normal for weeks or even months and then I would act in some sort of intense or scary way again.
I tried everything, saw my doctor, went to counseling, but the cycle of explosive events continued. My pastor asked if I had considered that some of the actions were abusive. I had never thought that. I had never hit my wife. I entered the ManKind program and completed it. It wasn’t a magical or quick thing, but over time my mind and behavior began to change. My wife was beginning to trust me and feel safe again.
A couple years later, I shattered that trust with another angry outburst. How could I have let this happen? My wife was ready to pack the bags and divorce me. I re-entered the ManKind program this time to transform my inner being.
The program has helped me choose loving responses in every moment, no matter how small. It has helped me gain understanding about how non-physical forms of abuse can cause as much or even more damage to others than direct physical violence.
I appreciate that while Mankind program is extremely high on accountability and facing tough realities, it is just as high on compassion and embracing our true value in God. For me the program has helped me not only in the critical and practical area of helping me change how I respond, but it has also been an important support in helping soften my heart to be more humble and open to deep, lasting transformation of who I am. For all of these reasons, I’m grateful for ARMS for all they do.