My name is Jonathan*. I'm a peace-loving, gentle bloke. And what I don't get is all this belting up your wife stuff. Why anyone would do anything to hurt the one person in the world they love most is beyond my understanding.
A few months ago, for example, my wife and I had a bit of a disagreement. It all began when she said something that put me down. I can't remember what it was now, but I do remember feeling I was being treated like a naughty child. She suggested that what I had done was the stupidest thing ever. She even questioned my motives and got it all wrong. Of course this got me riled up. But hitting her, using physical violence, never entered my mind. The trouble was she never let it rest. When I objected, she went on and on with crazy talk about how it must then be all her fault; that nothing she could do was every right; and all I seemed to do recently was criticise what she said and did.
But I still didn't think of hitting her. I wanted her to stop, that's for sure. I thought about interrupting her, drowning her out by shouting how this was just crazy, because I loved her more than anything else in the world, but undoubtedly she would have heard this as even more criticism.
So I grabbed her and kissed her.
Immediately, I knew things had gone very wrong. For a start the 'grab' didn't feel right. It was like I was trying to dominate and control her. It sure wasn't gentle, caring or loving. And the kiss? I meant it to be strong and overwhelming, like the ones you see in Hollywood films. It was when I stepped back and looked into her downcast eyes, I knew I had somehow turned an act of gentle love into an act of … violence. I was shocked, ashamed, frightened, and overwhelmed by remorse.
It's so important we become aware of the problem of violence and abuse in society. It's a sad necessity to feel revulsion when we hear of the brutish actions of some horrible men. But it's critical that at the same time we never cease to look within our own hearts and lives. The problem of domestic and family violence doesn't just exist 'out there'. It lurks within each one of us no matter who we are.
My name is Jonathan, and I am a pastor of the Lutheran Church of Australia. I am married to a wonderful woman.
* The name has been changed to protect this man's identity.