A road worker drunkenly beat up his partner and told probation officers that he is "old school Irish," a court heard.
Thomas Cummins, 42, left her with a swollen face and admitted the injuries were "disgusting" after the attack in their home on Rodney Way, Cotmanhay.
He pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and was put on a "building better relationships" probation course for 18 months at Nottingham Crown Court.
He also got a nine-month prison term, suspended for two years.
Judge Timothy Spencer QC studied reports on Cummins and told him: "You describe yourself as 'old school Irish,' who works hard and plays hard.
"It is not 'old school Irish' to be beating the woman who is effectively your wife."
The judge said that he is often sees photographs of people's injuries and said those in this case were "shocking."
Cummins told the judge: "Disgusting is the word."
The judge said he had decided on the sentence because Cummins had been in custody since March 31, shortly after the incident, had been out of trouble for two years and has a job starting shortly.
Edna Leonard, prosecuting, said that the couple had been together for 20 years, went out drinking and began to argue in an Ilkeston pub.
She had four pints of lager and they left the pub five hours later. They continued to argue at home.
The woman was knocked out and was left with swelling to one side of her face.
Miss Leonard said that he already had 40 offences on his criminal record. One covered an attack on the same woman, who was pushed backwards and hit her head on a radiator.
Felicity Campbell, mitigating, told the court: "He recognises alcohol has always played a part in his offending behaviour."
She said it would have been easier for Cummins if he had been jailed.
But Miss Campbell said: "The 18-month order is perhaps more onerous than a custodial sentence. It is certainly no easy option for him."
The court heard that the couple have now split up.