Verbal Abuse and Emotional Abuse in a Christian Marriage...
by Del Hungerford (2012)
If you're a Christian woman who's been in an abusive marriage, first of all... you are not alone. You may have been taught that you are to submit to your husband at all times, or that his desires are above yours. Others truly believe that if you love your husband enough, he will love you back. What about the teaching that when your husband treats you poorly... If you are kind enough, you will eventually win him over and he will learn to be kind to you. Another popular belief is that "a soft answers turns away wrath." Although this is sound Biblical advice, not everyone (including abusers) may respond to this.
Abuse is all about control. Christian or not, if your husband feels that he should "rule over you," he wants to control you. No action on your part can change this. He will need to alter his paradigm of Father God in order for there to be a change in attitude towards you. You don't have control over how your husband behaves. Therefore, you can't be responsible for his actions.
If your husband expects to "lord over you," the marriage will never be what God intended it to be. God did not give the husband the right to treat his wife poorly (see abuse definitions). If he still chooses to abuse you, even after counseling, why would God expect you to stay in that situation? This is ESPECIALLY true if your life is in danger! I don't believe God would expect you to stay. Abuse of any kind in marriage (or to anyone else for that matter) is not an acceptable behavior to God. It will take true repentance of the abuser in order for it to be "safe" for you to return to living as a couple.
I am a divorced Christian woman. No one around me, including my pastor or counselors, knew what was wrong with my marriage until long after we separated. Our separation was a time for seeking the truth, of which we found. Despite the fact that my marriage appeared to be heading toward divorce, my church stood behind me. However, YOU may not be in a church that looks kindly on separation and/or divorce. If that’s your case, go outside the church for help. In my situation, the people that were the least helpful, and the least compassionate, were Christians. They judged me, told me that I was in sin, and believed that I didn't do enough as a wife to hold the marriage together.
A special note on judgment...
I've received e-mails from clergy, Christian counselors, and even abused women who believe I'm wrong, in sin, and didn't do enough to keep my marriage together. As I said to one counselor, I did everything Biblically expected of me. After much correspondence with him, he finally agreed that I'd done all I could and scripturally, I'm "released" from the marriage. However, it was the initial contact that was a shock to me. By the end of our correspondence, the "tone" was much more loving and kind.
What happened in my marriage may not be apparent throughout this web site. Most of the disgusting details are in my book, "...But Words Will Never Hurt Me." It wasn't my choice that we are divorced; my husband made that decision. He then married his secretary within six months of our divorce. She passed away in May of 2010. If you want to know more about my story... read the book. It can be purchased in PDF format from this site or through www.amazon.com.
Please, before you make up your mind what you think of me, make an attempt to understand where I'm coming from. I don't expect you to agree with my beliefs but I do expect you to do your homework to see if what I say has any Biblical validity. Do a "Word" study on what I present. Put your pre-conceived ideas aside and allow God to speak to your heart. As I say in one article, God gave you a brain to think for yourself. Don't swallow a doctrine without studying it out yourself. God did not make you to be a puppet. Your decisions are to be based off what God shows you in His word. If you don't do the homework yourself, you'll more than likely fall prey to bad teaching. You are constantly a "student of the Word." This requires opening The Book...
NEWSFLASH! If we stop watching these kinds of programs and movies, producers will stop making them. Everything is based on “supply and demand.” This includes music, movies and television.
The old saying, “Garbage in – garbage out” is very pointed and truthful. We ARE what we watch, do, see, and say. When WE make a decision to shift our paradigm of what is considered acceptable behavior, our society might change for the better. Until then, we will deal with abuses of all kinds. The more we allow abusive behavior to be a focal point of our lives, the more we become desensitized to it. The more we become desensitized to it, the more rampant it becomes around us. The cycle has begun and can only be stopped when we no longer allow it.
What part do we individually play in this cast of characters?
Are we the audience who can change what we view?
Or, are we one of the contributing characters to abuses of all kinds?