Local descriptions of abusive types of behaviour and situations in the rural surroundings and the city of Aksum invoked normative arrangements and expectations around marriage and the conjugal relationship, such as the norm for the husband to act as breadwinner and for the wife to respond to her husband’s sexual needs at all reasonable times. Various interlocutors spoke of the persistence of an ‘old’ mentality that fostered abusive behaviour among some men toward their wives, with some explicitly referring to cultural influences on these mentalities, although almost invariably the deeper motivations of abusiveness were attributed to the individual personality of the perpetrator. On the other hand, many interlocutors spoke about women’s improved liberties, which were able to amplify conjugal tensions in recent times. To develop a more nuanced understanding of how gender norms and dynamics have underpinned abusive patterns or situations in the conjugal relationship, this chapter provides a closer look into marriage norms and spousal ideals in the local society as suggested in the research participants’ discourses, participatory workshops and direct ethnographic engagements. The overall analysis helps to contextualise the forms and situations of abuse that were described locally within society-wide gender dynamics and kinship expectations, adding important nuances to the gender-sensitive scholarship from Ethiopia.