When I counsel a woman whose husband is basically a difficult man, my goal is to teach her how to live with him just as he is. To help her accept there is no changes she can effect without his desires to change, and there is nothing she is going to force on him about her faith.
If you are one who has been regenerated since your marriage I encourage you to look at what has happened from your husband's viewpoint. Who you once were, you no longer are. The woman he married was most likely not regenerated. You may have drank, swore, and been very worldly. Now, you spout Bible verses, go to church and Bible study, and are striving to be godly. He is still the same unregenerate man you married and he may not understand what has happened to his wife! This is cause for much discord in the home.
He may pick at you, make fun of your beliefs and try and goad you into sinful responses. He may belittle you or speak to you in a condescending manner in front of the children. Worse yet, he may become verbally abusive to you. What do you do?
All your dignity and pride rises up within you and you badly want to reply in kind. You really want to strike back and tell him he is being a jerk. What do you do?
Sometimes women wake up to find the man they married is not who they thought he was. Take the case of the couple who married young; prior to marriage he was a great communicator, they had much in common and spent time together when they were not working. When the children arrive, your husband suddenly turns into a man who is unavailable. You find you now love a man who is supremely selfish and who thinks only of himself. How do you cope with this?
In each of these cases, it is important that you do not sin in your responses to him. You are responsible for your actions and you are responsible to demonstrate Christ likeness and to be kind, and loving and respectful toward him even when he is less than kind to you.
However, it is never acceptable to remain in a place that is dangerous to your safety. I am not saying you are to stay in a marriage where your husband is beating you, so save the hate mail! You are always responsible to confront sin, and physical abuse is sin. Anytime a woman or her children are abused she must involve the authorities (Rom. 13). To hold him accountable is not sinful, it is honoring to God and submissive to His Word.
My goal in the counseling process is to help a woman see her own sinful issues that need work. No one is sinless, so there will undoubtedly be heart-work to be done in her life. The areas I look for problems are in the realm of anger, bitterness, a lack of forgiveness, hatred, malice, gossip, coveting, and jealousy just to name a few. Very often, the woman is full of pride in her heart as she holds herself up as a better person than her husband. Surely this is not something many women seek to begin to practice, but the flesh is strong and the heart is deceptive above all things (Jer. 17:9). We are so easily self-deceived that it is easy to think the best of ourselves and the worst of others who are not living up to the standards we have set in place.
It is for this reason that very often women have told me that once their eyes begin to open through the counseling they receive that they can see their own sin in the relationship. They see that their husband is not the only one who is acting unbiblically and repentance and biblical change is needed in their hearts as well.
As the Lord convicts, there must be a change on the thinking level about your husband and this will ultimately change your actions and responses to him.