Cyprian and Brenda Patrick support the White Ribbon campaign and speak to Sarah Coddington about their own experience with domestic violence in a bid to help other couples.
Cyprian and Brenda Patrick would end up in a physical fight whenever they drank too much alcohol
"Drinking alcohol would take my anger to another level. I felt like murdering, even though I have never murdered before," Cyprian says.
Police were called to their house several times over five years.
On one occasion Brenda had scratches down her face.
"He had the control to stop what he was doing. He would do it once and then realise what he had done and leave in the car and I wouldn't see him for a week," Brenda says.
The Patricks have been married for 11 years and have seven children between them.
When the police told them they would have to get child protection services involved next time, they knew they had to do something, Brenda says.
The couple signed up to Destiny Church's marriage counselling courses.
Nowadays they say they are in a better place in their relationship and are working on their drinking habits.
"It wasn't something that happened instantly. Now I understand my wife better, I know not to react when she pushes my buttons," Cyprian says.
"I stop and I love her over again as I first loved her and a few moments later I'm good and glad I didn't react."
The couple have learnt strategies to change their ways - Brenda goes to the gym and Cyprian has started traditional carving.
Every couple is different and the courses that worked for them might not work for others, they say.
They stress the need to have support and to shower love on their children.
"To all the men out there just stop and think - don't react," Cyprian says.
The White Ribbon campaign finished Sunday. It asks men to pledge to never commit, condone or stay silent about violence towards women.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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