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Marital Abuse & the Bible

I’m on edge today. Here’s what’s happening. I’ve agreed to make a presentation to a group of church leaders on the subject of marital abuse. The invitation came as a result of materials and programs we have done on the subject.

As I prepare for the presentation, I find myself with mixed feelings. I’m not an authority on the subject. Yet, I also know that those of us who have used the Bible over the years to support marital permanence have often inadvertently contributed to a loss of peace and safety in the home. So I feel an obligation to do what I can to speak to a problem that, through so much misunderstanding, is robbing men of their honor, and women of their safety.

I’m convinced that most of us have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes the number of women and children who are living with the terrible knowledge of what is happening behind closed doors.

Since this is on my mind, let me just summarize a few of the biblical ideas that have been twisted out of context to contribute to the problem. This, by the way, will be a longer than normal post. But at this point I don’t know how to break it up. For those who want more information, I’ll include links to other materials and programs we have produced.

The Creation of Woman– I’ve been amazed how much of my life I spent with a wrong assumption about what the Bible meant by the biblical phrase “help meet” (Gen. 2:18,20 KJV). Not until recently did I discover the richness of meaning this term had in the original biblical language. According Old Testament scholar, Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, the Hebrew word helper (in Gen. 2:18,20 as a designation of the woman) is used only 16 more times in the Old Testament. In those cases it is always a designation of God as the One who saves, upholds, and sustains His people (as in Ps. 46:1). There is no sense in which this word connotes a position of inferiority or subordinate status. The word suitable for literally means “in front of,” signifying one who stands face to face with another, qualitatively the same, his essential equal, and therefore his “correspondent” (Hard Sayings Of The Bible, pp.666-67, IVP, Downers Grove, 1996).

The Curse— On the heels of our first parent’s sin, God made it clear that “male dominance” would combine with thorns, thistles, and death to sound the alarm that something had gone wrong with the world. Yet, for too long, so many of us have assumed that when God said that the man would rule over the woman (Genesis 3:16) this is what God wanted. Yet an honest look at this text will show that male dominance is no more of a virtue than weeds, death, or multiplied pain in childbirth.

Headship– The Bible uses the word picture of the human body to illustrate Christ’s relationship to the Church and a husband’s relationship to his wife. From this metaphor, the Bible shows us that, like the head of a body, a man needs to use whatever thoughts or choices he has to protect and care for his wife, just as he uses his own head to protect and care for his own body (Eph 5:23-30). Yet, for too long, so many of us have turned a beautiful word picture of sacrificial love into a self-serving expression of domestic entitlement. Instead of seeing the head as the source of protection and provision for the body, we have seen it as a justification for self-serving direction, control, and authority.

Even if benevolent leadership is implied in the “head”, it will not be authoritarian in style. Jesus made that clear when he said of leadership in general, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors’. But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves” (Luke 22:25-26).

Submission– In context, submission between husbands and wives is to be a two way street. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he uses the principle of “mutual submission” (5:21) to set the context for how husbands and wives are to understand what a Christ-centered relationship looks like. This mutual submission becomes clear, however, only as we understand that the sacrificial love that is needed for a husband to care for his wife as he cares for his own body is an even stronger picture of submission than what is asked of the wife. Yet on countless occasions, women have been told to be more submissive so that their husbands will be less abusive.

Superficial repentance and forgivenessHealthy repentance and forgiveness enables us to turn away from self-destructive and dangerous behavior– rather than to prolong it. Yet in settings of marital abuse, the words, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me?” are too often used to demand forgiveness without consequences or a lasting change of heart. Once the man admits he is wrong, the pressure is back on the wife to act as if the abuse never occurred. The result is that a return to business as usual allows for the predictable cycle of abuse to continue.

Marital permanence– From the beginning, God made it clear that his ideal was for marriage to be a one-flesh, life-long relationship. What we have too often overlooked, however, is that when hearts became hard, and when the contract and trust of marriage was shattered, God is the one who allowed for divorce (Deut 24:1-4). The Law of Moses treated marriage as a covenant of mutual responsibility, and if a man refused to live up to his marriage commitments, a wife was to be released from the relationship (Exodus 21:7-11; Deut 21:10-14). Too many of us, for far too long, have overlooked the fact that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, [and] for instruction in righteousness” (2Tim 3:16). It is the Word of God that teaches us to allow for the dissolution of marriages that have ceased to exist for the purpose they were formed.

Church authority– The New Testament urges church leaders not to “Lord it over the church” but rather to lead by example (1Peter 5:3). This counsel is consistent with what Jesus taught about the servant role of those who lead in his Name (Luke 22:24-27). But when faced with issues of marital abuse, and a wife’s conclusion that she must leave for the sake of her own safety and sanity, many elders and church leaders have used the leverage of church membership to try and keep a marriage together. The result is that many victims of abuse lose not only their marriage but their church fellowship.

Jesus’ example of suffering– Women who quietly, or even openly, admit to being abused are often told to look at our Lord’s example of suffering, patiently, and unjustly. But when this happens we are overlooking the fact that Jesus was suffering in a redemptive way to show sacrificial love for his bride, the Church. To turn this around and say that a wife is to patiently endure the self-centered, violence of her husband is to unintentionally promote heresy. Encouraging a woman to suffer abuse as Christ did is to inadvertently tell her to misrepresent the good purposes of Christ (Eph 5:22-33).

God hates divorce– God’s strong disapproval of divorce as expressed by the prophet Malachi (2:14-16) is often used as a reason to believe that the termination of a marriage is not an option for the people of God– even in situations of marital abuse. Yet in context, God is talking about those men who willfully put away the wives of their youth to take other wives for themselves. The emphasis of Malachi is very similar to Jesus’ confrontation of the religious leaders of his day. Many of them were also dismissing their wives for self-centered frivolous reasons (i.e. for any reason). In the process they misused the intent of Moses’ allowance of divorce. (Matt 19:3-11). Yet by telling these men that he hates what they are doing, God was not contradicting the wisdom that he gave through Moses to allow divorce rather than to force couples to remain together in hardness of heart. Malachi speaks of the kind of divorce God hates as a kind of unjustified violence that God loathes. In fact, the prophet Jeremiah makes it clear that God himself gave unfaithful Israel a certificate of divorce (Jer 3:8).

In each of these examples, a good principle is taken out of context and used to support the idea that nothing is worse than divorce. When we do this we fail to see what all too many victims realize– that as regrettable as any divorce is, forced subjection to continued abuse can be far worse.

Now let me ask you, do you disagree with my understanding of any of the above ideas? Or, have you seen the damage that misapplied principles of the Bible can do to a marriage?


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78 Responses to “Marital Abuse & the Bible”

  1. dachshund says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I did not want to have to separate from my husband, let alone divorce him. God gradually led me on a gracious, loving path. Through scripture (Gal. 5:22, 1John 4:20, etc.), I began to see that, although my husband spoke of having a solid relationship with the Lord, his behavior and spirit proved that he did not. I finally had to have him removed by force when I was unable to adequately parent my children due to my spirit being continually crushed. God provided such love and support from many people as I made that move in order to emotionally survive. Although this divorce is certainly not what I originally planned, I came to realize that my home is less broken now than it was before. Too often Christians put forth “answers” which are not scriptural and add to pain and abuse. Thank you for being sensitive to the deeper meaning of scripture concerning this unfortunate phenomenon.

  2. Mart De Haan says:

    I got help in thinking through the headship issue from an article by Stephen Tracy that appeared in a February 2003 edition of Christianity Today. In his article titled “Headship With a Heart” Tracy says, “While feminists are correct to highlight the widespread abuses of male power, many of us believe the best solution is not to reject male headship but to clarify it. For us, 1 Corinthians 11:3 provides the best imaginable corrective to distortions of male authority by defining human male headship in terms of the Father’s headship over the Son.” Then he goes on to add these important words, “The radical implications of this text should not be overlooked. Based on 1 Corinthians 11:3, we should consider it just as heretical to imply male superiority over women as we consider it heretical to say that Christ is inferior to the Father. We should consider it utterly unbiblical for men to dishonor women, as we consider it utterly unbiblical to deny worship to Christ. Just as we would be offended by and oppose the teaching of anyone who would deny that the Father raised Christ from the dead and will empower him to have final victory over his enemies, so we should be deeply offended by and oppose anyone who fails to honor and protect women. The most instructive model for sex roles is the headship of the Father over the Son.”

  3. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Mart my wife Joy went to be with the Lord 2 years next week, we were married 49 years, even though the most beautiful West Texas young lady considered marrying me, after a few years, i verbally abused her, and caused her much pain, and even after becoming a child of God this continued until i thought i had lost her through a doctors prescibing medicines that caused her to go out of her mind, it was only then that the Holy Spirit was able to show me this presious gift He had given me could be taken from me, the Lord healed her through other doctors i took her too, and the last years of our lives together could not have been better.
    Presious moments is what God gives each of us to enjoy, and every married couples needs to be able to grasp this before it is to late.
    My opinion of Male and Female dominace, is there is none, i believe the Lord created Woman for the way of another human being to be brought into the world period, i believe when a woman becomes a child of God she has the guidance of the Holy Spirit exactly as a Male does thereby i have absolutle no problem with a Woman teaching thoughts she has recieved from God through the Holy Spirit.
    My opinion of Mariage and Divorce is also too long as you mentioned Mart to bring out in one writing, but taking vowels in order to be Married i believe was not only mans idea not God’s, and has caused Billions of humans to commit as great a sin as divorce through breaking the vowel.

  4. brownsfan1642 says:

    I think Tracy is on the right track here. The terminology of the Bible is never intended (it seems to me) to imply superiority, just distinctiveness.

  5. hal.fshr says:

    So much of what Mart set makes sense. Certainly, depravity has a way of taking God’s design for marriage and turning it into something that can enable abusive behavior. As if the issues are not complicated enough, we have to remember there are a few men out there who are loving and responsible but receive rejection and criticism from their wives. Reality testing on both sides of husband and wife relationships in marriage has to be kept in balance. Thanks for taking on such an important subject.

  6. wpleasant says:

    Marriage in our culture and is subject to so many influences that aren’t “marriage friendly”. The key ingredient to any successful relationship is time. A very little known and seldom quoted scripture is Deutoronomy 24:5 where God commands that a newly married husband shall, “not be charged with any business:but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife…”, The principle being that both husbands and wives need to be in periods of intimacy for a period to strengthen the relationship. Israel would soon be in the midst of highly stressful conflicts and establishing a nation once entering the promised land, and this “extended honeymoon” had practical benefit. Today, non intimate committments often compete for our attention and unfortunatley men and women allow those distractions to starve the marriage which leads to feelings of neglect by both husbands and wives.

  7. wpleasant says:

    In my last comment I failed to say I am not surprised that some church leaders are interested in your views on marriage and abuse. I have read doctrinal statements by [a radio network] which broadcasts your Our Daily Bread radio broadcasts. They are pretty strict based on my intepretation on their doctrinal belief that marriage, even under abusive conditions, is not to be broken. My problem with that is under most civil laws in our society, physical abuse is against the law. Where does one requirement that we submit to governmental authority and the notion that divorce under any circumstances is not acceptable come into play? Does that mean a wife who charges her husband with abuse and has the law incarcerate him is committing sin if she remarries? On the other hand if she remains single and celibate is she still within the New Testament principals of marriage.

  8. misterb says:

    In my former employment as a legal assistant to a defense lawyer, I frequently attended circuit courts and witnessed the dissolution of marriages first hand. As a Christian I was deeply wounded emotionally when listening to our own clients easily giving up on any possibility of reconciliation. Many of these couples were in their early 20s with a few couples over 50 years old. Whenever a couple did reconcile before or during court we were highly elated. I believe that anyone who is able to provide sound advice to people thinking about marital separation should not hesitate with their information. Your thoughts about taking passages of the bible and other good reading out of context is truly a warning not to do so. This is sound advice that should be read and clearly understood. My wife and I have attended several marriage seminars, not because we were considering divorcing, but because we knew that our own focus on being better Christians would lead us to others who will be experiencing marital discord. We have been able to assist many couples, young and old, in the salvation of their marriage or at least in seeking marital counseling to enduce hope of keeping their marriage intact. We know as life goes on there will be many more opportunities to assist others as we strengthen our own marriage, now at 33 years. I am thankful to be able to read this blog, understand the meaning, and personally provide whatever measure of help I can to build on what has already been rendered.

  9. charlie64 says:

    I have been in an abusive marriage for nearly 48 yrs.My faith in God has only grown,and althiugh I donot hate my husband I am indifferent.Still he is now old and sick an d still verbally abusive and some may think I am playing the martyer,but God always helps me and gives me His peace!I did leave him once but no one wanted to help him and I couldn’t live with myself if I deserted him .I am n ot saying my life is for everyone but I can say God hsd blessed me and taught me alot! Maybe my husband may come to know the Lord before he dies but that is for God to decide.For me obedience is the key and God will always Bless.Many factors keep a woman in a abusive relationship one of them just may be she is safer where she is than if she leaves!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. dachshund says:

    I appreciate “misterb’s” posting. This blog can be a powerful tool to help couples on the verge of divorce. May God bless his work and outreach.

    In the case of spouses with hardened hearts, reinforced by compounded issues such as unhealed childhood pain, current pride, ongoing viewing of pornography, deception, substance abuse, unbridled anger and/or financial unreliability, such outreach falls on deaf ears and heart. It is worth a try nonetheless. Yet it is important to NOT assume that both spouses are equally culpable. Some spouses with hardened hearts are even skilled at saying all the right things and making it look as though the other person is the problem.

    A milestone in my own painful journey was looking at Gal 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” My husband had been assertiing his close relationship with the Lord as he blatantly and underhandedly put me down. This verse indicates that when someone has a close relationship with the Lord, the above qualities will show. Instead, my spouse showed the fruits of the flesh. (Gal. 5:19-21) He was also very negative about other people and did not form any close friendships. 1John 4:20 says “If someone says , “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar…” Through my marriage, I learned that I can not believe someone’s words unless they line up with behavior. The Bible opened up my eyes to the seriousness of my situation. I kept praying and trying to make it work, speaking my concerns, developing courage, being open to how the Lord might work. Ultimately as my own ability to take care of myself and my children became more and more challenged, I separated, without intending to divorce. His spirit and behavior remained just as rigid and negative as before. Ultimately divorce released any legal hold he might try to use to his inappropriate advantage.

    Plan A would have been to have a healthy marriage and family. Since this was not forthcoming after much effort, prayer and soul-searching, always leaning on scripture, I realized God allows for Plan B. I came to see Mal. 2:13-17 (…”for I hate divorce,” says the Lord…) as a message speaking to people who are ruining their marriage, such as my husband. I could not change him and I could not continue to live that way;
    God did not design me to rise above such treatment. Nowhere in scripture and in seeking His guidance did I read or discern the Lord demanding I continue to live in a spiritually destructive environment. Instead I sensed His gracious hand leading me in Plan B.

  11. Mart De Haan says:

    I agree with and deeply respect those of you who are emphasizing the importance of doing everything possible to work through normal and even serious marital conflict. I also believe it is an individuals choice to even remain in an abusive relationship. My concern in this post is to try to answer some of the biblical twists and misinformation that are often used to keep abused persons in a marriage against their will and better judgment.

  12. RobertGlibb says:

    Mart De Haan has again clearified the true biblical meaning of God’s hate toward divorce. Also the truth about the biblical guidence for seperation and divorce in situations of abuse that is continually not truely repented of.

    I verbally abused my “unsaved wife” for a few yrs after coming to Jesus, as I was lead to believe that I was to dominate her. I was finally taught by the Holy Spirit in Gods word and pastors councilling to love her even as Jesus loved the church and was willing to die for her.

    God has given both of us the grace to stay together after much counciling and a desire to be together. It is not an easy road when you are spiritually single but each of us has to give the other space to follow our own path within the boundries of the marriage covenant.

    Who knows whether God will bless my dear wife with the gift of repentance and salvation before it is to late.

    As far as speaking the truth in love to your spouse, I know she has taken it to heart and is considering this great calling to faith in Jesus.

    I also thank Jesus for His cleansing and enabling me to turn away from self-destructive and dangerous behaviors.

  13. tmonroe says:

    I needed this to be made clear to me for a long time. I has been said to me, but not in this manner, with scripture to back it up, especially in so much detail. I am in the process of separation and divorce. I have taken care of a man for the last 5 years, that was very unappreciative. I was actually in the position of head. I did not want to be but that is how it ended. This began a frustrating cycle for the both of us. He would be reminded by me out of my frustration of words, and he would lash out physically out of frustation of not having enough as well not feeling powerful. I have gone through it so that, I have been stressed to therefore my health began to lack. I agree with you and it is the season to me to receive these words of wisdom. Thank you again!

  14. lilly says:

    I am a Christian woman in my early 40’s . I have been married 7 years of which most i experienced the horrors of domestic violence. I will share that it has now been one full year since my abuser has harmed me. For this I give God all the glory and honor, only he alone could have changed the circumstances in my home. Today i choose to share because so many other women are dealing with this situation. And I know there is a purpose for your life other than your present wounded existence. I have learned through Christ to be patient, humble, submissive and most important to be silent in my spirit. If I allowed the turmoil of my outward circumstances to consume me I could not have heard God’s voice. Through this very frightening and difficult process, I learned that only God had the answers to my questions. I asked often, “Why Lord?” Why is he so angry? God was faithful, He answered and shared that my husband’s abusive behavior stemmed from something painful deep inside him. There was pain, hurt, anger and bitterness that had taken root, due to past experiences in his own life. I would not have known this if I had not taken the time to seek God’s counsel. I had to suffer many years confused and lived in fear for my life. It was so easy for me to point the fingers all the time, and blame him for all that was occuring. I allowed anger to grow inside of me and numb my emotions. There was no excuse for this behavior, this is true, but there was a reason. We need to ask the Lord to deal with us also. Yes, in my situation the Lord was dealing with me. I learned compassion, understanding,and most of all I learned to hear the silent cry in my husband’s heart, because I trusted God to reveal this to me. For me this is when healing began. God’s word began to minister to my situation. 1 Peter 3:8-12 We must be of one mind, having compassion one for another, love as brethren. Be pitiful, courteous, not rendering evil for evil.” The Lord restored our relationship. We learned to communicate better, put the past behind us, and look at every day together. The key to where we are today is Prayer. Praying for my husband and our relationship, no matter what the circumstances were. I read a book recently that explained “There can be no harvest unless you do some sowing. This means you must begin to seed your love, attention ,effort and affection. As you sow these you will also reap them”. (The Unresolved Dispute by Gilbert Coleman). I want to enourage you to trust the Lord, hold on to God, like never before. You are not alone. The Lord wants to mold you to be the woman he created you to be.

  15. veebee33 says:

    I have enjoyed this blog concerning divorce. I am a 74 yr old Christian woman, married 55 years to a wonderful Christian man, and have no personal experience with such upheaval in the marriage. However, as most of us have, I have had associations with those going through these struggles. A neighbor asked me about scriptural views of divorce, but told me nothing was personal in the question. I was SO not helpful to her! My strong belief that only infidelity/adultery allowed for divorce with freedom to remarry did not answer her need. I found out months later that physical abuse caused her to run with her two daughters. I would have happily given her sanctuary had I known, but would still not have been clear on how to council her future relationships.

    Also, in our church body, a husband began a relationship with a fellow employee. Many of us tried to encourage counseling and turning away from the temptation, but were always told there was nothing going on, and the two of them eventually broke up both homes, leaving spouses and children behind. Church discipline (as I know it) was enacted. We broke fellowship with him publicly. The divorced wife and children are still in our fellowship. He and spouse do not attend anywhere. What is your advice to those of us who turn away from him because he does not admit he sinned even after 6 years, nor asked to be forgiven for the hurts he has caused, to his family and the church family? He still tells others our church is his church home. Are there scriptural directions for how we should be functioning?

  16. missy says:

    I have a question: at what stage do you define abuse. I was 62 yrs old when at my families wishes I married a man, who supposed to have been a friend of my late husband.He was suppose to be a minister,on our wedding night he told me he had no feelings for me and went to bed and refused to let me share it.now its 11 yrs later and he is still sleeping in the guest room. He has taken all joy from me by his critical words. my church doesnt believe in divorce. so You good people out there , tell me what is abuse and what do I as a christian do.

  17. Jean Thomas says:

    I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that you have addressed this issue both on TV and this blog. Finally, a respected christian brother and ministry has the courage and leading to reach out to woman like me.
    I was married 34 years, in my 60’s, when God miraculously provided a way for me to leave my abusive marriage! I struggled for years to know God’s will. I agonized over His Word. I went for Christian counselling for years. The conclusion would be:”If your husband won’t come, then we advise you to leave him”. Yet, in the Christian circle I was in, people rejected me for this thinking. I lost several friends. Gradually, God gave me knowledge and peace that I should leave. But how? I grew spiritually for many years, waiting for His timing.
    Some of the negative consequences: a painful chronic illness that is dibilating and 2 wounded grown children. The effect of this disfunctional home on the children continually pulls on the core of my being.
    It is 4 years, now, since the legal separation. I had hoped for reconciliation. There has been no repentence on his part and he continues to live a self destructive life. I am content and at peace. I am in a loving and encouraging fellowship of believers.
    May my story encourage some christian woman, out there, to have hope!
    From the bottom of my heart, Mart, I thank you for being teachable and allowing God to bring you through this struggle of teaching His truths on this subject that has been perverted for so many years!!!
    Recently, a book given to me by a committed christian woman has shed light on MY situation. I add caution as it is a secular book: ” The Sociopath Next Door”, by Martha Stout.

  18. Mart De Haan says:

    missy,
    When speaking of marital abuse a common definition would be “A pattern of behavior whereby married persons use power and authority over their mates to get their needs met through (1) physical or sexual assault or by (2) creating an environment of fear by threats of violence, sexual coercion, deprivation, isolation, or shame. Patterns of emotional abuse include but are not limited to: name calling, ridicule, humiliation, isolation, control of finances, destruction of property, threats to harm, sexual coercion, withholding of appreciation, or locking a mate in or out of the home.

    In a booklet titled “God’s Protection of Women” we point out that “Moses wrote laws granting protective divorce to the most powerless and socially disadvantaged women in Israel. Even for daughters who were sold into slavery to satisfy a family’s financial debt (Exodus 21:7-11), and for foreign women captured as spoils of war (Deuteronomy 21:10-14), Moses decided against the husband who did not honor his marriage covenant.

    In another law, Moses allowed a husband to divorce his wife with only one surprising stipulation: he could not marry her again if she was divorced or widowed from another man in the meantime (24:1-4). In a legal system severe enough to require the death penalty for those who committed adultery, Moses did not forbid divorce or remarriage… under conditions that Jesus later explained were allowed because of hardness of heart.

    These laws are like “the other side of the coin” to foundational values of home and family. While recognizing that marital permanence is God’s ideal, Moses apparently recognized that hard-hearted conditions can be worse than divorce.

    You can find that booklet in our Discovery Series at this link.

  19. Mart De Haan says:

    eagle, I’m so glad you told us some of your story. I hope you’ll stay in touch with us. If you are inclined I wish you would read a longer treatment of the subject in our Discovery Series booklet called “God’s Protection of Women”. I know the title might sound like a stretch or a put off to you. But there really is more to the God of the Bible than the way his words have been twisted to fuel abuse.

  20. pm says:

    Wow, I just found this site by surfing the Web. I really agree with the things you said. Right now, I am in the midst of an emotionally abusive marriage. I want to leave so bad but financially cannot afford to.I have been a chrisitan since I was 19 and have been married to a man who is emotionally unstable since 1989

    This man is driving me crazy. He took over the finances last summer and refuses to help me pay “my ” bills. He has gotten so out of hand that now he won’t even provide me with grocery money. He buys his own food for our teenage daughters’ and himself ( he is very obese), but refuses to give me extra money to buy for myself. I have had a chronic illness for 2 years. It might possibly be crohns disease, but the doctors are not sure. I cannot eat a lot of meat or anything greasy. Still, my husband does not provide what I need.

    I think I am going crazy. I want to leave so bad but barely make enough money to get by. He claims to be a christian and participates in a bus ministry in our church. Many of the male leaders in our church think he is a “good” man. He even has the pastor fooled.
    Sometimes when we counsel with the pastor , I will get very upset and lose my cool and then pastor thinks I am the one with the anger problem.

    Please, just pray for me to have SOLID direction. I seriously want to leave this marriage. My kids are miserable at home and they think the problems are “my” fault because I can’t get along with their dad. I don’t want my kids to turn on me too. I just want to do what is right.
    On top of all this, I have nurtured on daughter ( through the help of a great counselor) through anorexia, and , at present and dealing with my other teen having thryoid cancer.
    please, just pray for me.
    thank you

  21. rlauer says:

    Mart, Thank You for your obedience to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I grew up in an abusive home all the while attending church as a family. Accepted Christ as Savior as a young adult. I married the man I believed the Lord led me to. My husband was unfaithful numerous times and became abusive, I was compassionate and forgiving. He became more abusive, I eventually began to retaliate. I repented and prayed for release from the marriage but “religion” never released me because religion is not God but an idol. Relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord replaced religion and the Holy Spirit became much easier to hear. I now know I am free to stay married or divorce not based on laws written on tablets of stone or paper but on the Guidance (Truth) I can only receive from a person – the One who made me and knows me (and my husband) better than anyone else. Having said that thank you for speaking against using religious law to beat up victims of abuse. God loves me and my husband even when we are not following his will. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and/or the other person may be setting a clear defined boundary of divorce. As you said, God is love and even He issued a decree of divorce to his beloved people. It is for freedom’s sake that Christ came so we should not listen to any human teacher who tries to put a yoke back around our necks. I believe God used and will continue to use you to remove many yokes off people through your writing. May God Abundantly Bless You!

  22. mpoteet says:

    Matt, I really appreciate your response to Missy in which you clarify the definition of “abuse”. Connecting all this to Scripture as you did in your article, particularly elaborating on Christ’s suffering, is invaluable. Invaluable. You can see by my responses to other posts, that these are confusing issues to me. In Jesus’ name, I await the will of the Lord to become clear when I look at my marriage. And, I wil follow. I know I can trust Him to do what is best. I feel, for the first time in my life, that Jesus loves me, and understands the dimensions of my suffering. He cares for me now, and makes decisions, particularly, lately that make life much more bearable. I am in His hands, and I am grateful, forever grateful.

  23. kdpsengine3 says:

    As a man who has lived through being sued for divorce, I can say this. It brought me to my knees and I was born again.PTL!!! Not for the divorce, but that He would have mercy on me and allow me to be born again. Granting me a spirit of repentance. All things work together for good for those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose. Sin is sin, only one sin is unforgiveable and that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Divorce is sin, the bible calls it adultery. I agree with Charlie64 who has stayed with her husband. When the Light shines in us it exposes the darkness, which quite often causes anger from our spouse. Why because the light is shining and they do not want to come to the light, so they experience unrighteous anger. Many times the unrighteous anger is their refusal to listen to their conscience and the Holy Spirit convicting them. If you are willing let me also say divorce is a very selfish act. As for those that are in abusive relationships the answer is Jesus! We have Christians all over the world who lose their lives simply because they are Christians, should we expect anything different?

    As for male dominance, I signed a contract to work for my boss. He/she is not superior to me, but has a different role. Is his/her role made easier when I submit to them? Yes of course it is. It is easier for them to rule over me and they probably then rule over we with joy rather than grief. How much simplier does it need to be in Christianity. As male and female we have roles. I didn’t pick to be born a male, God choose it for me. I must then rule as He has told me to. Ruling in grace and mercy, longsuffering etc. Ruling does not make me superior, it is a different role. As a man I must rule with wisdom in our home because my wife and I are one flesh. Many times the wisdom that I rule with comes from my wife. Why because God can uses her and speak through her just as He can through me. It is my responsibility to listen to Him, if that wisdom comes from my wife, my neighbor or my Pastor. If you will notice Adam was created first, and woman was taken out of him. So at one time Adam was fully man and fully woman. I don’t have to understand why the Lord seperated them. Yet the bible teaches it is a fleshly picture of Christ and the church to give us a bit of understanding of spiritual principles using eartly examples.

    Thank you for your time
    Be Blessed
    Walt

  24. imhis says:

    A couple of comments for kdpsengine3, I am happy for you that you came to a spirit of repentance. It is my experience that most abusive husbands do not get there. It is a concern that you say the Bible calls divorce adultry. I used my concordance and looked up all I could. It is what you do after the divorce that can become in a state of adultry. For so many of us it is just getting away from the abuse that is the important part. Yes, the answer is Jesus and He lifted me up and move me out and away. Your implication is that an abused wife should stay there and lose her physical life to a husband who doesn’t want to be her Biblical husband; however, the loss of the physical life is the easy part and it’s the tearing down of who God made her to be that is so very devastating. I am a blessed survivor.
    On another point you made: God created Adam and He created Eve using a piece of Adam in the process. On what do you base the belief that a whole female was in that little piece of Adam’s physical body?
    For your consideration,

  25. susanpwmh says:

    If I could go back in time, and spend my life completely away from Christians, I would. I love Jesus, but my life has been damaged beyond imagining by churchgoing, “bible-believing” people who call themselves Christians. I honestly believe that many conservative Christians are the meanest people on the face of the earth. I have wasted my life, throwing my only set of pearls before the swine that inhabit the church. I now believe that almost all of what is taught in the church regarding marriage is actually heresy. I believe that it is almost impossible to use the words “man” and “authentic Christian” in the same sentence. I cannot stand to hear the words or see the arrogant, self-seeking fools who actually think that they deserve to even say the name of Jesus. If I had it to do over again, I would stay as far away as I could from these people, like the man kdpsengine3 above. His thoughts are typical of the men in the church…disgusting and pitiful soul that he reveals himself to be. When he wrote those words, they actually sounded appropriate to him! I have finally gotten out of a long-term marriage to a horribly abusive outspoken “Christian” man who is two totally different people…the real person that I found myself married to, and the public persona of a wonderful, gentle and even funny, guy. Through the years, his abuse has been enabled and empowered by “Christian” counselors who were no more lead by God than my dog is. Wait, that is an insult to my dog! Where in this blog is the verse quoted…”God HATES cruel men.” ??? I have never heard a sermon on that one. Wonder why? Could it be because the people doing the sermonizing were all MEN? I will never, ever darken the door of another conservative church in my life. My young son HATES Christians after seeing what I have gone through. He has contempt for the church as an institution, and believes that all pastors are just suffering from a form of narcissism, a need to stand up in front and tell other people what to do. He believes that churches feed the misogyny prevalent in our culture. He thinks that I couldn’t get any help from anyone in positions of leadership in the church because they are so invested in the concept of male dominance that they can’t even consider the horrors of abuse because it might create a liability for that theory. They prefer to call abuse “relational problems” so that they don’t have to actually get involved. Why? Most church people have an almost total lack of actual moral courage that means anything to someone in distress. I don’t disagree with any of the conclusions that my son has come to. I am just glad that I met Jesus before I met any “Christians.” Do I sound angry? You bet I do. Christians betray women and girls almost to the extent of the evil Taliban…just with a more acceptable veneer. I just wish I could turn over some tables in the temple….

  26. Mart De Haan says:

    susanpwmh,
    Thank you for honestly expressing your anger and pain. If,possible, I wish you could watch the fourth of a 4 part video series we did at this link.

  27. dannimoss says:

    I was in an abusive marriage for 20 years. After the first 7 I went to my face with God about the issue and stayed there for the next 13 years (obviously, not literally! — but persistently, consistently). After 10 years I realized there was a name for what was happening in our marriage and that I would be legally liable if I did nothing to protect my children. I went to the church.

    You described what I experienced. After a 6-month separation, my husband was able, with the church’s help, to manipulate me back into our marriage. Four years later (same church) we were separated again for 6 months. Again, a Christian counselor convinced me I was wrong and to return to our marriage. My health failed.

    Five years, one new baby, and breast cancer later I finally quit letting fear of man (the church) speak louder than what God was telling me in the Word. I told my pastors (different church, but they knew what was happening) I was getting a divorce. Even though they knew my children and I had been persistently abused for all those years, they were not supportive of my divorce.

    This was the only thing in my life, including cancer, that ever threatened to shake my faith. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. But God has proven Himself faithful and has affirmed over and over that I did, indeed, do exactly what He led me to do.

    THANK YOU for speaking the truth. It was so good to read what you have written on this site. On point after point, you wrote exactly the same things God showed me and that I write about for others.

    I know you’ve gotten positive feedback, but I want to add my voice and say, for those of us who have walked, or are still walking, in this path, it is INVALUABLE to have a voice in a position of respect in the church who is saying these things. There aren’t enough words to express how much it matters.

    THANK YOU.

    — Danni

  28. Hannah Thomas says:

    susanpwmh:

    Your post made me cry. I understand where you are coming from, and there was a time in which it was hard for me to see the light. I feel sorry for Christians that don’t understand the spirit behind God’s word. So much of what I have heard over the years counterdicted what was in the bible. There was a time in which I could feel it in my heart, and yet I was to weak to be able to communicate it to others. LOL At least that is what I thought! The truth is they were not listening, and to busy preaching at me!

    A got a bee in my bonnet one night on a faith board when some lady told me that if a wife died at the hands of her husband – it was God’s will! It was better to suffer as Jesus did, and it was her cross to bear per God’s word. She was saying to me that she felt it was OKAY that she be beat to death! Maybe GOD wanted it that way! It was then I realized she idolized marriage more than she did the people within that marriage. They were both broken souls, and in need of different kinds of help. Then others come behind her and watered down her message a bit, but basically were saying the same thing…I could have bust a gut at that moment! I also quickly realized no one was going to help either party! If they were NOT going to help someone in danger of losing their life….where does that leave alot of us? As far as fellowship? ON OUR OWN I guess!

    Years ago I started a blog, and at first there was little of my opinion and more articles from others. There was so little information out there on this subject, and I would quote the source – give a link – and copy every LAST word of it! I was afraid someone would tell them to take it down, and what little resource I did find would be gone from the web forever! It was more for me than anyone else, but I soon learned that others were coming….and reading…and asking me questions! MOSTLY by email, but that is okay! I found I wasn’t alone.

    I went into an angry stage, and I could see it towards the faith boards I attended. I could see it in dicussions online on other venues about this. I could feel it in my words as I pounded my keyboard on the blog. I was mad. To be honest – way PAST mad! I felt the church had lied to me all my life about being a safe place. They had to many excuses, and to much benefit of the doubt. All the time I felt that they were not seeing the word of God as I did! They couldn’t see the lie..the hurt…the misery they were handing down. Its not about making sure he feels loved- or submission or any of their other excuses. It was about seeing the truth – as ugly as it was – and healing the hurting with validation, prayer, study, and reminding them of what God’s word really says. SHowing the man that his root of rage could be healed as well, and the aniexty and shame he felt could be dealt with in more healthier manner – besides the prayer, study, etc. The church missed the boat with both parties …. and instead of anger after a while I started to feel sorry for them. Those poor lost souls. They are so ignorant. I calmed my approach down, and people started to listen. It was like God gave me this HUGE BANG across the head – they are seeing your anger Hannah, but aren’t hearing your message because of it! I think God allowed me that angry period because I needed it. I was never allowed before, and felt it was shameful. I gave myself permission after a while…and it felt GOOD! I think God stopped me before I became bitter!

    This whole path has been amazing for me! I got contacted by authors, newspapers, magazines! People sending me their books, and asking for my opinions! Goodness knows I’m no writer! LOL I do much better with my mouth one to one! LOLOLOL! I remember asking my friends why in heaven’s name would they want my point of view! There are TONS of real writers out there that say so much – so much better than I can! I wasn’t after that – I wanted the hurting to feel heard. My path led me to people that hear me that are my friends now. I think that was the best gift of all! God heard me, but now I have friends that hear me also…he handed me that because I needed that also. The fact others felt they could write all their hurt out on my blog, because no one bothered listening…was my reward! They needed that. James 3 is all about power of words. They say even emotional and verbal abuse isn’t that bad. Nonsense! The word of God says its VERY serious! Keep searching because there are Christians that hear your pain. We are in the same boat, and we need to fight together this fight for others to open their hearts, minds and EARS!

    Fellowship is to help lighten burdens – not add to the heavy load. If they can help that is their calling per scripture. They are to help find solutions, and not sprinkle spiritual pixie dust on things … and hope problems will vanish! THe road for some is long, and I have to wonder if people care more about the soccer games then they do the impact on this issue on people’s lifes! Its like they open the door and SEE this huge mountain, and decide to close it and hope it doesn’t break down the door that holds it back. Its to much for them to handle. They have their own lifes! They need to deal with thier decisions, etc. What they are really doing is saying WHO cares about the cycle of violence! They don’t want to face that. Its truth tho!

    Within the last year I have found some LOCAL christians at my church that have dealt with, or are dealing with abuse now. They are a source of great grounding to me – along with others I found online that also call me weekly now! LOL others email me! Find your network if you will!

    I do have faith that God will BANG the heads of others like he did mine! LOL Maybe like the scrooge story! Here is the past, present….and LOOK at the future you could have changed! TSK TSK TSK…I will see later on won’t I! Evil thought I know! It may not happen like that, but it will happen! I had to get over my rage to see the truth! Churches are not only harming the victims, but harming the abusers by not addressing their REAL needs…not the ones they tell you are the real ones!

    My prayers are with you and your child. I hope you find a christian friend that hates abuse as much as you do, and you can love Jesus together!

    Blessings!

  29. Sarah says:

    Hi Mart,

    I give all the glory to God for the teachings that comes to you through him. I’m in a marriage where my husband and I just reconciled in 2006 from a 3 year seperation. Begin to go to martial counseling before reconciled. During the seperation he became a father with another but didn’t tell me until after we moved back in together. Now the child’s mother is interfering and using the child to control our marriage, along with my mother-in-law and my husband places them over me. Like me being his wife doesn’t mean anything. I’m really trying to hold on and trust God but I’m also tired of being belittled and called out of my name. He’s the bread winner of the house so I feel as though if I leave I won’t make it. We’ve been married for 5 years but I’ve known him since high school. we also have 2 children together. I feel as though if I leave or stay I will be miserable either way. Could you possibly tell me what I need to start praying for from God? And how will I know if it is the Lord that is leading and guiding me if he’s telling me to leave? Please Help!

    Sincerely,

    Sarah

  30. kitcat says:

    I too thank you for biblical clarity on this issue. As a woman in an abusive relationship who is seeking God’s will for her family, I just recently came to the conclusion that I am to separate from my husband and have taken my 6 children and moved out. After 12 years of struggling through the biblical debates and working with both secular and Christian counselors and pastors who all had differing opinions, trying DESPERATELY to find a conclusive BIBLICAL answer, the Lord has given me peace in making this decision. It was most certainly not made lightly, and I made every possible attempt to reconcile with my husband while remaining in his home. Each attempt was met with profuse apologies and promises of reform that were all too quickly broken. I hold such love and sadness for my husband as I know that he is struggling to break out of his own cycle of abuse that began as a child from the hands of his own parents, but I can no longer allow that to be his excuse for continuing to abuse the members of OUR family. It is my responsibility as a mother to protect myself and my children and provide a safe and spiritually whole environment for them. Let me add – THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT I CANNOT CONTINUE TO BE A LOVING WIFE FROM A DISTANCE. I believe that the Lord has made provision for me in scripture (as Mart so wonderfully laid out above) to set appropriate and safe boundaries for myself and my children by removing ourselves from an abusive environment, and I can still continue to pray for my husband and for his spiritual condition from the safety of that distance. We speak often on the phone and I pray daily for him to be made whole in Christ and for a future reconciliation. Allowing him to continue in sin through his abusive behavior was in no way serving to help him see Christ and grow in faith! However, allowing him to experience the negative consequences of his sin may lead to godly shame and ultimately repentance and forgiveness. Separating is an act of true love that I can show to my husband, just as I would lovingly correct one of my children out of a desire to see them grow in the knowledge of right and wrong. I am not separating from my husband because I hate him and want to run away, but because I love him and truly desire for him to be spiritually whole in Christ and realize that may require some “tough love” while I provide a safe home for our children. Of course I was incredibly concerned that I would not be able to provide for our large family on my own, but when I stepped out in faith, the Lord provided for our every need in ways that I could have never imagined! God is sooo good! I recently read a book that is helping me tremendously to heal from the wounds that were caused by the abuse, and to understand how to help my children heal as well. It is called Mending The Soul by Steven Tracy, and I would recommend it to anyone who has been a victim of any type of abuse or struggles to understand God’s love in the midst of abusive situations.

  31. Ellie says:

    Just a reminder to people that women abuse also. I have a friend whose children were terribly abused by his wife, to protect them he divorced her. There was much criticism by the church and friends. He is now getting on with his life, but it is difficult as the courts are insisting the two children should be with their mother part of the time. In reading these blogs my heart breaks for those that have been in abusive situations – but it’s not only men.

  32. sngngbrs says:

    Mart, Thank you for this article. I left an abusive marriage 8 years ago. I was lucky enough to have all my Christian counselors, pastors, and friends advise me to leave as quickly as I could. Of course, leaving was helped by the fact that the police arrested him due to his own boastfulness and pride in how he treated me.

    Now I wonder if I can ever marry again. Matthew 19:9 appears to leave no option for remarriage after leaving an abusive relationship. Does this one mistake result in a life of living without a husband ever again?

    It has taken 8 years for me to even consider the idea of being in a relationship with a man again – but why bother if I can never marry again?

    My question stems from a place of healing. I have forgiven him, but most importantly, I have forgiven myself and accepted God’s forgiveness. This process has taken a long time, but now where do I go from here? I desire intimate companionship – someone to confide in, support and be supported by, someone to share unconditional love with, someone to hold hands with. Is this no longer an option for me? Do I stop the healing process now because I am doomed to a life of solitude anyway?

    After 8 years, I’m well practiced at this kind of solitude now, and actually not too opposed to a life of celibacy – but my heart still yearns for companionship. I worry my ministry will be stifled if I stop the healing process here and don’t let my heart open up again to the possibility of experiencing the fullest level of vulnerability, reserved for the marraige convenant. Your thoughts?

  33. soloyo says:

    I’VE READ ABOUT THIS ISSUE IN MART’S LETTER OF MARITAL ABUSE IN 2007. MANY TIMES I TRIED TO TALK TO MY PASTOR ABOUT THIS, JUST ONE TIME HE HEARD MUST OF ALL I AD TO SAY, FOR AT LAST, ADVISE ME NOT TO JUDGE MY HUSBAND, TO MAKE WELL IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, AND SO HE’LL SPREAD HIS GRACE FOR ME WITH MY HUSBAND, NEXT TIME I STARTED TO TALK AND HE STOP MY WORDS WITH THE PHRASE “GOD IS NOT UNJUST”, IN THE MEANING OF WE HARVEST ALL WE PLANT, AND IT HAPPENED SO FAR, WHEN I’D TRIED TO TELL HIM WHAT HAPPENED THE SAME ANSWER EMERGE. BUT I’M SURE NOTHING I DO WRONG WILL JUSTIFY THE NAMES, THE SCREAMS, THE WOUNDED HEART, BEATS, LET ME IN BIG PAIN WITH OUT MEDICAL ASSISTANCE OR MEDICINE, INSTEAD, ORDERING TO KEEP WORKING, LOST TOOTH… I DON’T WANT THE DIVORCE AS A SOLUTION, I ALWAYS BELIEVE WE CAN GIVE UP, SURRENDER AND SUBMIT UNDER THE LORD’S HAND TO BE HEALED, AND A HUSBAND MUST DO THIS WAY. I ONCE ASKED GOD TO MAKE ME FORGIVE ONE OF MY PARENTS OBOUT THE TREAT IN MY CHILDHOOD, SO HE DID, REALLY I UNDERSTAND NOT FORGIVING IS A SIN AGAINST GOD, AND OLNY THE LORD CAN CHANGE THIS HARDENESS IN THE HEART AND BRING REAL REST, NEXT, I TOLD MY PARENT ABOUT MY LOVE AS MANY TIMES AS YEARS GOD GIVED TO DO, AND THE GRACE TO CONFIRM THE SALVATION, NOW MY PARENT IS IN HEAVEN. MORE THAN ME, ARE ABUSED BECAUSE A PARENT DID NOT CARE OF HIS CHILD, AND WHEN HE (OR SHE) GROWN, LOOKED FOR ONE TO PAY, WHE DON’T WANT HIS PARENT TO PAY ‘CAUSE HE LOVE HIM OR HER, BUT HE NEEDS SOMEBODY TO PAY, BUT I’M AFRAID REVENGE DOES NOT HEAL NONE WONDED HEART, INSTEAD, FILLS IT MORE AND MORE OF WRATH.
    ALSO, MORE THAN ME, CHOOSE A VIOLENT MAN BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND THE LOVE IS THIS WAY, WE’VE BEEN TREATED THIS WAY WHEN WE WERE CHILD, AND FAR TO ACCEPT NOT BEING LOVED APPROPRIATELY, OR NOT LOVED AT ALL, WE CHOOSE TO FEEL THE LOVE THIS WAY, SO WE LOOK FOR THIS WHEN WE GROW, ¡WATCH! HOW WE LIVE AND HOW OUR CHILD ARE TREATED, WHO THEY’LL CHOOSE TO MARRY THEM!
    I HAVE MANY THINGS TO ASK, BUT I WOULD NOT LIKE TO WRITE IT HERE, BECAUSE IS NOT ONLY ABOUT ME, AND SO IS DELICATE TO TELL. PLEASE, IF THERE WERE THE POSSIBILITY OF MART CAN WRITE DIRECTLY TO MY MAIL, BECAUSE I FEEL I CAN ONLY TELL HIM MY VERY BIG PROBLEM.

  34. poohpity says:

    soloyo,

    Please talk to someone as soon as possible. You have been heard here. My first husband hit me so hard he knocked my eye through my eye socket. I know the pain of abuse. In the bible it says for the husband to care for his wife as the Lord cares for us and that does not include hitting, yelling or cussing. Jesus doesn’t want anyone to hurt anyone that is not love it is the hate in someones soul. If your husband hurts you then he is probably hurting your children too. Please find somewhere safe to go where he can not find you until he gets some help. You do not even have to think about divorce but safety for you and your family that is so important. Please, please find somewhere safe to go everything will work out when you are safe. Tell no one where you are going just get away in secret. Hide.

  35. pegramsdell says:

    soloyo, you are not alone. I agree, you need to get somewhere safe and then you can begin to heal. I had to do that and what a difference it was. I pray for your safety and your children, in Jesus’ Name.
    Remember, He is with you and if you ask Him what to do, He will tell you. Jesus wants to protect you because He loves you so much.

  36. Mart De Haan says:

    soloyo,
    poohpity and pegramsdell are right. Be careful. See if you can find a shelter and counselor (maybe YWCA) in your community where abuse is understood and where someone can help you come up with a plan and a safe place. Often danger increases when an abusive spouse finds out that they are about to be challenged, found out, or left.

    You might find help also at this site: http://www.theraveproject.com/ We have worked with the leaders and I believe they have put together a network of domestic violence shelters and abuse counselors.

  37. soloyo says:

    THANK YOU ALL, I WAS OUT OF HOME FOR THREE WEEKS, IN THIS TIME, I HAD THE OPORTUNITY OF TELL HIM WHO HE IS, AT FIRST, HE BECAME SO ANGRY, LIKE EVERYONE WITH THIS PROBLEM, HE TURNED AGAINST ME TELLING ME I’M NOT PERFECT AS I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF, BUT FINALLY HE HAD TO HEARD WHAT I HAD TO SAY, “YOU ARE AN AGGRESOR” I SAID, HE ASKED “WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME I BEAT YOU?”, IN 25 YEARS THERE WERE ABOUT 10 TIMES, FEW FOR AN ABUSER, TOO MUCH FOR AN ABUSED, BUT WORDS ARE SO HARD TOO, LIKE A SWORD SAIS PROVERBS, SO, HE WENT WITH THE PASTOR AND TALK WITH HIM FOR 2 HOURS, AND THEN I CAME BACK, I KNOW THAT IS NOT OVER, I KNOW THAT THROUGH THE NEXT PRESSION HE CAN BE THE SAME AGAIN. BUT I TRULLY BELIEVE THAT A WOMAN MUST NOT SAY IS FOR ME, FOR MY MISTAKES HE IS THAT WAY, BUT BEING THE HELP GOD WANTS OS TO BE IS PRAYING, TELLING GOD I’M IN SIN, CLEAN MY HEART, AND: MY HUSBAND IS AN ABUSER, PLEASE WORK IN HIS HEART BECAUSE ONLY YOU CAN WORK IN THERE. I’M NOT CLOSSING MY EYES ABOUT WHAT IS COMMING, I CAN RUN AWAY AGAIN, I DON’T HAVE LITTLE CHILDREN, WE STAND ALL THIS YEARS BY HIM I DON’T KNOW HOW, BUT MY DAUGHTERS (20, 17 AND 14 YEARS OLD) HAVE DIFFERENT PLANS EACH, ONE OF THEM HAD FACED HIM MORE THAN ONCE, AND SO, SHE DID NOT RETURN BY TODAY.
    MART, IF I CAME TO YOU FOR COUNSEL, I’LL DO WHAT YOU TELL ME. I’LL CONTACT THE SITE. THANK YOU SO SO MUCH, AN PLEASE PRAY FOR ME, I DON’T WANT TO BE AT LAST FAR FROM GOD, LIKE MANY WOMAN DOES AFTER TOO MUCH PAIN. I KNOW HE (GOD) IS ALL I HAVE IN HEAVEN AND EARTH. MY FATHER HELP ME THIS LAST DAYS, KNOW THE STRESS TOOK HIM TO THE HOSPITAL, HE IS A RECIENT WIDOWER (DECEMBER 1ST) AND HAS ASTHMA, AND I’M AFRAID HE IS NOT SAVED YET, THOUGH HE HAD BEEN HEARING THE GOSPEL ALL HIS LIFE, HE TOLD ME THAT ALL THIS YEARS WHEN MY HUSBAND TRIED TO TALK HIM ABOUT THE GOSPEL, ALSO SAID HIM AGAIN AND AGAIN NAMES, LIKE LIAR, AND MORE, MY FATHER IS A MAN THAT GIVES ALL THE TIME ALL HE CAN AND MORE, AND HE DID NOT SEE GRATITUDE IN MY HUSBAND ANY TIME. THE WORSE THING MY FATHER DOES, IS TO BE A BETTER FATHER THAN MY FATHER IN LAW, I THINK THIS IS THE PROBLEM FOR MY HUSBAND. PLEASE PRAY FOR HIM, THERE ARE TRULLY CONCERNED CHRISTIANS AROUND HIM, PRAY GOD FOR GRACE IN THIS ISSUE.
    THANK YOU ALL AGAIN, I TRULLY WANT TO HELP MY HUSBAND.
    YOURS,
    SOLOYO FROM MEXICO.

  38. poohpity says:

    soloyo,

    You are not the one to help your husband. Only through someone else will he find the help he needs. You have to find help for yourself and put your husband in God’s hands. I wish this was easy but it is not and change is very hard but with the help of the Lord it can be done. Time away is the best healer and not to return so quickly because change takes time. Someone needs to earn trust back because lies about never going to abuse again is always how it works for every person. The truth is it is not going to change if nothing or no one changes and does something different. I pray for the strength you need to change and find safety for yourself.

  39. soloyo says:

    THANK YOU POOHPITY, I’M WORKING ON IT. I’LL LET YOU KNOW ABOUT ME AND WHAT THE LORD DOES WITH US.

  40. poohpity says:

    soloyo please let me know, I will be standing with you in prayer. Thank you so much for posting on this website. Be safe.

    Love Deborah

  41. soloyo says:

    OH, I’M AFRAID THE RAVE PROJECT HAS’NT WORK IN MEXICO, THERE ARE LEAGUES TO HIDE WOMEN IN DANGER BUT THEY’RE NOT CHRISTIAN, I FIND OUT YESTERDAY I NEED SOMEBODY NEAR ME, PRAYING AND READING WITH ME, BECAUSE RATIONALLY I KNOW GOD UNDERSTANDS AND CARES, BUT AFTER SO MANY YEARS OF PAIN, FIRST IN MY PARENTS HOME, AFTER IN HUSBAND HOME, THE LIFE IS HARD, SO WHEN I READ THE BIBLE I FIND THAT I CAN’T PRAY IN THAT MOMENT, I DON’T KNOW WHY, MAYBE IN MY HEART I’M NOT TRUSTING ANYMORE IN GOD AND THAT SCARES ME BECAUSE I KNOW HE IS EVERYTHING, I DON’T WANT TO STOP READING, NOR REALLY TRUSTING.
    YESTERDAY, THE WIFE OF MY PASTOR (WHO’S MY BEST FRIEND) CALLED ME, IS NOT ABLE TO CALL ALL THE TIME BECAUSE WHEN HE IS AT HOME THE PHONE IS RINGING ALL THE TIME. SHE TOLD ME THAT PASTOR ASKED MANY TIMES WHILE I WAS FAR FROM HOME, WHY DIDN’T SHE CALL ME? SO, SHE FINALLY ANSWER HIM, “IS BECAUSE YOU COMMENT SOMETHING ABOUT HER PROBLEM AND HIS HUSBAND PERCEIVED SOMETHING WRONG AND THAT WASN’T A GOOD DAY FOR HER”, HE DOESN’T REMEMBER, HE SAYS NEVER HAVE TALKED TO HIM ABOUT ME, BUT IT WAS AN ‘OPEN COMMENT’ (“DON’T TELL ME YOUR HUSBAND DOESN’T LET YOU GO” HE SAID BUT NOT LOOKING AT ME) IN THE DISCIPLES STUDY.
    WRITE OTHER DAY, HE IS AWAKIN NOW.

  42. poohpity says:

    soloyo,

    God uses everything and everybody because Christians sometimes do not answer the call. So the leagues whether Christian or not are OK because they are there to help and God can use them. I have been helped by many things that are not Christian because sometimes the people from the church are not there. They may not know they are Christian but they are doing the Lord’s work. It would be nice if you took sometime time to think about what you really want to do. The same strength that you have used to stay in an abusive relationship you can use to find a way out. You are a very strong women to have stayed in there as long as you have and I think it is great you still read your bible. You are a beautiful person and worth being treated right and loved. What would you do if your daughter was in a relationship like you? How would you help her? Love Deborah

  43. soloyo says:

    GOD NEVER WASTE A PAIN, I’M SURE, LIKE HE SAID IN CORINTHIANS, HE CONSOLE US TO CONSOLE OTHERS, THAT’S WHY I WANT TO GROW THROUGH. ONCE I ADVISED MY BIG DAUGHTER ABOUT ALARM SIGNES IN ANY MAN NEAR TO HER, “WATCH THE RELATION IN HIS FAMILY, THATS THE WAY YOU WOULD BE TREATED” BUT FOR MY SURPRISE SHE SAID “SO, WHO COULD WANT TO MARRY ME? IF THEY SEE MY FATHER’S TREAT?” I TOLD HER TO PRAY, TO ASK GOD NOT TO ACT IN THIS INHERITANCE, TO HEAL THE HEART. SHE IS A VERY SWEET GIRL, NOT SELFISH AT ALL, KIDS FOLLOW HER JUST TO SEE HER BECAUSE SHE KNOWS HOW TO TALK AND PLAY WITH THEM. AND I’M REALLY HURTED ABOUT MY HUSBAND WHEN I SEE HER IN ANGER, I CAN’T SPARE TO THINK ‘IS THAT YOU, WHO BROKE THE SWEETENESS’. AND I FEEL BAD ABOUT THIS.

  44. soloyo says:

    I READ ABOUT ELLIES COMENT (SEPTEMBER 30TH ’08) REALLY, MY MOTHER IN LAW IS A VERY AGRESSIVE WOMAN, SHE IS SAVED, BUT ALL THIS YEARS WERE SO HARD NEAR HER, NOT BECAUSE I LIVE NEAR, IS BECAUSE SHE WERE IN MY HOME EVERY WEEKEND FOR “WORK CIRCUNSTANCES”, BUT MY FATHER IN LAW SISTER TOLD ME SHE CAUGHT HER HITING HER HUSBAND WITH THE HEEL OF HER SHOE IN THE TEMPLE, ALSO, SHE MY M. IN L. TOLD ME WITH SO MUCH PAIN THAT SHE THREATEN HER HUSBAND WITH SCISSORS ONCE, AT POIN OF GOING OVER HIM SHE STOPPED, BUT I KNOW HE IS ALSO AGRESSIVE. SO, YOU MAY ASK,WHY DID YOU MARRY THIS MAN? WELL, AT FIRST, I THOUGHT THAT A PERSON WHO LIVED THIS WAY MAY NOT WANT TO LIVE THE SAME IN THE FUTURE, IT WAS MY THOUGHT AND MY ACTIONS, BECAUSE WHEN I SEE MYSELF BEATING MY LITTLE FIRST DAUGHTER, I BEG TO GOD FOR MANY TIME NOT TO BE THE SAME, AND HE DID. MY DAUGHTERS LIKE TO BE WITH ME. GOD CAN, JUST IF WE WANT.

  45. poohpity says:

    When I was dating my first husband I watched him hit his mother so hard it knocked her out of her shoes and I still married him so I know what that is like. Our children learn what they see not what we tell them, I wish that were different but it isn’t. I am so glad you are continuing to talk because I can get to know you better you seem like a wonderful person. So what do you do for work? You are right about God being able to do anything as long as we let Him. Coming to a decision is I think the hardest part isn’t it?

  46. soloyo says:

    COMING TO A NECESSARY DECISION SEEMS TOO BIG. I’M SICK, SO I CAN’T WORK, HARDLY I DO MY WORK AT HOME BIT BY BIT. I’M 44 AND I HAVE A DISEASE FOR AN OLDER WOMAN,I HAVE A NERVE COMPRESSION IN THE NECK, ACTUALLY AL MY SPINE IS LIKE A ROAD, THAT IS LOOK LIKE IN THE X RAY. I’VE PAIN IN MY ARMS AND THEY FEEL LIKE ANTS MARCHING ON MY FINGERS, YOU KNOW. SO, I ASK MY SISTER FOR A CLOTHES CATALOG SHE SALES, BUT LOOK THE WORD ECONOMY, THERE WERE NOT TOO MANY WOMEN BUYING BY NOW. WELL, GOD PROVIDES. LOVE YOU DEB, THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH ME.

  47. poohpity says:

    Good morning my new friend. I know how you feel with the pain thing. I am so glad you get to post everyday. I am having to face some giants in my life too. I am around someone who has abused me physically and emotionally as a child and continues to say stuff hurtful whenever I am around. I am the only one to care for her so I am having to make decisions and it is so very hard. I know like King David in the bible you just have to work with one little stone at a time. Have a great day today and remember we can cry out to God every moment of everyday and He is near. Love Deb

  48. soloyo says:

    HI DEB, LET ME TELL YOU. ONCE UPON A TIME A THIRD CHILD IN A HOME, ME, MY GRANDFATHER LOVED ME SO SO MUCH,HE TAUGHT TO ME ABOUT MUSIC, FOR HIM I LIKE THCAYKOWSKY AND SO, HE WAS A HEAR FOR MY POEMS AND TALES, PUBLIC FOR ME AS A DANCER, AND HE SAID TO MOM: SHE HAS A VERY GOOD CHARACTER BUT HER BRO AND SIS WILL MAKE HER ANGRY. THEY WERE NOT THE PROBLEM, MY MOM HAD EARLY DISEASES THAT AFFECTS CHARACTER, SO THE MEDICINE LIKE CORTISONE. SHE WAS ANGRY MUST OF THE TIME, ALSO SHE WERE SO PAMPERED AS A CHILD (THIRD AND ONLY GIRL AT HOME. MOM WAS THE CENTER, HER MEANING WAS THE LAST WORD ALWAYS, NOT FORGIVING, THE SAME, SAYING STUFF HURTFUL. GOD’S WORD CAME TO HER FAMILY I DON’T KNOW HOW, BUT THOUGH SHE USED TO READ THE BIBLE, IT WAS’NT A REALTY IN HER LIFE, SHE EXPECTED AVERYBODY TO TREAT HER AS SHE LIKED, AND MAKE HER HAPPPY. WHEN I RECEIVED JESUS IN MY HEART AT 22, SHE GOT ANGRY, SHE THOUGHT I DESPISED HER RELIGION OR TEACHING. SHE KEPT THE EYE OVER ME ALWAYS TO SAY “YOU! WITH BIBLE IN HAND SAID TO ME THIS OR THAT, TREATED ME THIS WAY…!” MUST OF TIME LIE, SEE, I SAID “LOOK HOW WHITE YOU HAVE THE KITCHEN TOWEL, I LIKE IT SO, MY MOTHER IN LAW HAVE THEM GREY BY NOW HE HE” (I GAVE THEM BOTH THE TOWELS) THEN NEXT TIME SHE TOLD ME, “I’M NOT USING THE TOWEL ‘CAUSE YOU DON’T WANT ME TO, NOT TO MAKE IT STAIN” DISGUSTED SAID. AAAAHHHGGHHH! JUST I’VE TRIED TO BE NICE! ‘U KNOW, ALL YOU SAY MAY BE USED AGAINS YOU OUT A TRIBUNAL HE HE. SO, FOR MANY YEARS I HAVEN’T MY MOM’S HEART KEY FOR THE GOSPEL. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF SHE FINALLY DIES AS SHE WERE ANOUNCING FOR YEARS? (“YOU WILL BE SORRY WHEN I DIE, YOU WILL SAY OH HOW GOOD WERE THE AGED AND I WAS SO BAD WITH HER”) BUT, I HAD TO REALIZE THAT I’VE NEVER FORGIVE HER, I HOPE THAT TIME IN THE DEEP OF MY HEART, SHE COULD TRY THE HELL TO SEE I TOLD HER THE TRUTH, BUT THEN, I MUST THINK THERE’S NO RETURN. SHE SAID ALWAYS SOMETHING AGAINS ME, MY FAMILY, THE WAY I DID THE THINGS, IF SHE CAME AND MY DAUGHTERS WERE AT CHURCH “OH, THEY WONT CONDEMN FOR ONE DAY THEY DON’T GO, I’M HOME!”… MANY FRIENDS TOLD ME FOR FORGIVENESS, I REALIZED I DID NOT WANT TO! NO NO NO, IMPOSSIBLE, SHE BEAT ME, SHE TOLD ME HOPE NOT TO BE BORN, SHE TRIED TO BURN ME WHEN CAUGHT ME SMOKING AT 18,….. SHE NEVER EVEN PATTED ME OR KISSED ME FOR YEARS, IT WAS FOR MY BROTHER… I DID NOT LIKE TO TOUCH HER, KISS HER, SAY I LOVE YOU, OR EVEN BE NEAR. BUT, AGAIN AND AGAIN GOD SHOWED ME THE BAD SERVANT, THAT WHO WERE FORGIVEN AND DID NOT FORGIVE, I KNEW I WAS THAT. ONE DAY, I FINALLY FELL IN THE KNEES OF MY HEART, AND ASKED GOD TO MAKE ME FORGIVE ‘CAUSE I CAN’T, TO DO WHAT I CAN’T DO, AND HE DID. THEN I RELIZE THAT I WAS GOD’S DEBTOR, NOT MY MOM FOR ME, AND THE DEBT WAS PAID. SINCE THAT DAY I WAS ABLE TO TOUCH MY MOM WITH TENDER, SAY I LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE, AND SHE WERE GETTING MORE SICK AND MORE AND MORE HANDYCAPPED (ARTHRITIS), PEOPLE SAID THE LONG PAIN WAS UNJUST TO HER, BUT PAIN MAKE HER BIT BY BIT MORE DOCILE, AND LOVING, AND TENDER, SMILLING, HEARING, ONE DAY FINALLY SHE HEARD ME WITH THE GOSPEL, NEXT SHE ACCEPT TO APPOLOGIZE WITH MY SISTER AND SAID HER HOW SHE LOVED HER AND HOW IMPORTANT IS FOR BEING THE FIRST. SHE HEARD THE GOSPEL 4 TIMES, LAST WAS IN NOVEMBER 30TH, ON DEC 1ST SHE WENT HOME, WITH GOD.
    AT HOSPITAL SHE DID NOT TALK, IT WAS HARD BUT WHEN I CAME, SHE DID NOT STOP TO TALK WITH ME, AND THEN WITH ALL, SHE ALMUST CAN MOVE THE TONG BUT SHE WERE MAKING JOKES. MY FATHER TOLD ME “YOU GO BY NOW, YOU ARE HER FAVORITE”, YEAH, IN MY CHILHOOD I WAS THE LAST IN THE LIST OF HER HEART, BUT THIS IS GOD’S GRACE. THE LAS TIME I SAW HER ALIVE, SHE WAS GREEN FACED, AND MY FATHER MOVING HER FACE TO BE SURE WHAT HAPEN, I SAID HI, THEN SHE OPENED THE EYES HARDLY, I’M SURE SHE WAS DYING THAT VERY MOMENT, BUT WHEN SHE HEAR MY VOICE MAKE A BIG EFFORT TO SEE ME FOR A LAST TIME, THEN SHE LEFT.
    I DID NOT LEFT ANY KISS IN MY MOUTH, ANY ‘I LOVE YOU’, ANY WORD, I GAVE HER ALL, I MISS HER VERY MUCH WITH ANY GUILT… MANY PEOPLE RECEIVED CHRIST IN THEIR HEART AT HER FUNERAL, IT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE IF I WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ASK GOD TO MAKE ME FORGIVE, I’M SURE.
    GOD WILL DO THIS FOR YOU TOO.
    LOVE U DEB.
    SOLOYO0964@GMAIL.COM

  49. soloyo says:

    AAAHHHH, SORRY,
    soloyo0964@gmail.com

  50. poohpity says:

    Good morning friend! My mom is a believer and though her God brought me to Himself in a beautiful way. She has cancer and my brother and I are her only children. I take care of paying her bills, going to the doctor and just listening, my brother does nothing. She was abusive to me as a child and still talks to me as if I were her worst enemy. Sometimes she is nice but the majority of the time she is always telling me what to change and how I should dress and other things, I am 55 and get tired of hearing it which just pushes me away but I will always be there for her just do not want to spend a lot of time with her. I got your email address so I will start sending you emails. Have a great day, I have got to read my bible this morning before I start my day. God bless you dear one.

  51. freetalive says:

    hi Mart,

    Thanks for writing this.

    My mom has been in an emotionally, spiritually, and verbally abusive marriage for going on 23 years now. She believes she should not divorce him. There are seven of us kids and four still at home. She homeschools them. They despise my dad. I try to maintain respect for him.

    He does that whole forgiveness push, looking like he’s better until something goes wrong. The question is, how are they to know if he’s real? no one believes him any more. He acts like bi-polar but will not absolutely will not go to get tested. He has tried many different counselors and bashes them all in the end. I personally hate seeing her get hurt. I don’t know why she stays in the relationship. He makes sure they have enough money and that they have what they need and want, but has gotten them so deep into debt.

    The emotional and spiritual abuse is incredible. ANd he does not know or care that he is absuing them. He still tells me he didn’t abuse me but he’s wrong. I’m not mad at him, I just want to know why she stays with this and how to help her, and him…and how to see if he’s really doing better.

  52. poohpity says:

    When people are in abusive relationships it is easier to stay than to attempt something new. They feel secure and some feel as if they deserve the treatment. How I mean secure is this is something they know and know what to expect. When someone is beat down their self worth is really low and may feel that this is their only option. The best thing you can do is to pray for them and get some counseling for yourself and maybe they will see the change in you and maybe want it themselves. If you ever feel that anyone is in any kind of danger you need to tell someone.

  53. soloyo says:

    MART PLEASE,
    COULD MY ENTRIES IN THIS ISSUE BE ERASED? SOMEBODY KNOWN BY ME COULD LOG IN, I RECOMENDED THIS ISSUE BUT HE DOESN’T KNOW WHO I AM, BUT I LEFT TOO MANY CLUES HERE. I’LL LOG OUT AND CHANGE ID. SO, I NEED YOU TO CONTACT ME, YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE CAN READ I HAVE TO TELL! SERIOUSLY.
    soloyo0964@gmail.com

  54. soloyo says:

    I’ve heard many times about women that choose to remain even when their husbands are in other relationships in an open way, I’ve heard how they were praised for their big big love. even when their husbands came back home from the other woman, the wife shows lovely and looking what he needs. I think this is a decision each woman has the feedom from God to take, ’cause how about those men can be gain for the testimony of a faithfully wife. but, are all really faithfully or some of them has a lack of self-steem, I think could be either.
    but, when I heard about these exemplary women, I just think they say to me, look what a woman can stand in God’s faith, and you are shaking with some sceamings, their problem is really bigger than your’s.
    I can’t be confident in who I have to, since once I was in danger for an open comment about me, and this was forgotten. “I would never talk about anybody’s problems”, I’ve been complained these few days for being mouth clossed, also awared not to ask help from other instance but “that which God put fot you to advise you”, I just want to be heard, and not hear again it’s my fault, the tree is known by the fruit, and if I’m not giving fruit, is because of my sin only? I just don’t want to be rebellious, just I want to be heared and helped, not to lose the hope. I do like people to know Jesus loves them, and I’m happy when somebody comes to Him, but I have a big big load over me, and I don’t want this load to turn off my light, since people even said ‘how do you do to be happy? I want to have your peace and joy’. last month a woman receive Jesus in messenger, just because since she know me, she started to enjoy how I could be happy even when lose dear ones, ‘I can’t even think about when my mom will die’ she said, and now, she has peace from God, but it was on december, I would like somebody make a decision each week, but I feel like having a ballast. I’m in a struggle, in the middle of two authorities.

  55. Golda says:

    Great article. I fully agree. Thanks. God Bless You.

  56. suelee23 says:

    Thank you so much for your clarification of many Biblical passages that have many times been mis-
    understood, taken out of context, or just used as a
    “club”. These words are desperately needed because I
    believe that there are many women sitting in our church pews that are being verbally abused at home but feel they have no recourse. After all, there are no “visible” bruises! Having been divorced for about five years, I know what it is like to be “shunned” as
    it were, by your church. It was some of your publi-cations that helped me to see the truth and realize that I had not committed the “unpardonable sin”!!!
    Thank you again and I do pray God’s blessing upon you.

  57. christianobserver says:

    I must write that I agree only 99% with Mart’s blog. Here is the 1% I disagree with:

    “It is the Word of God that teaches us to allow for the dissolution of marriages that have ceased to exist for the purpose they were formed.”

    Jesus made only ONE exception for divorce: Marital unfaithfulness (Matthew 19:4-9, NIV). Taking into account Malachi 2:13-16, to have “broken faith with her” by “covering himself (footnote reads “his wife”) with violence” is definitely marital unfaithfulness, and is clearly not Christ-like! Your quote above can easily be loosely interpreted, as any marriage could be dissolved for any reason that could be argued as a valid reason to render the union as outside its purpose.
    Some examples: “Burnt toast” and trivial matters, as well as financial matters (She outearns me and that threatens my role as the husband!), plus immature power struggles, and the list could go on and on. I’m mighty glad Jesus put the brakes on divorce, Old Testament-style!

    off-topic, but briefly — We are not to conform to this world, nor the things that are of it, and I believe that also means not mistaking fitting the world into the scriptures as new revelation!

  58. Charis says:

    I know this is an old thread, but it ties in with the latest discussion… I saw it on the bottom under “Most Talked About” More great insight here!

    Gale Jarvis’ testimony in comment 3 was very moving! Every church needs to hear honest humble heartfelt testimonies like his!

  59. debbiet says:

    Wow! This has been really helpful, because I am so CONFUSED!!!! I was raised in a Christian home. My father is a retired pastor, and he and my mom have a very peaceful marriage. My husband was raised in a home with an abusive, alcoholic father – with a great deal of conflict. His parents divorced when he was 18. I have been living with what I would call verbal abuse (control, manipulation, emotional and mental badgering, etc.) for 21 years now. Things hit rock bottom about 10 years ago. I decided if this was a “godly Christian man” then I didn’t want anything to do with him or God. After 2 years of no relationship with God, the Lord miraculously drew me back to himself and has given me a hunger and thirst to know him and his word. I thought things with my husband had been better, but I am realizing now that I had just hardened my heart – numbing myself to the pain – and had really divorced him in my heart and mind 10 years ago. I have been praying for wisdom and can see where I am to blame in much of this. My husband says I don’t want to spend time with him or communicate with him. He’s right, but it’s only because I’ve been hurt so much that I’m afraid to spend time with him – things always turn ugly, and even though I WANT to do the right thing – to have a godly, healthy marriage, I’m scared to trust him. We are going to begin counseling, but my greatest fear is that the counselor will agree with my husband (He says I’M the abuser.) I think I would go insane if this happened. Our 20 year old son has suffered much through all of this – he has a poor relationship with his dad and sees the need for counseling. He was very rebellious and had problems with drug abuse, but the Marine Corps has done wonders for him. We also have 3 daughters, and I worry that they will end up with men like their dad. My husband is a wonderful father and provider – but as the kids have hit their teen years, he has continued to “overparent” creating much stress for us all. He “parents” me. It gets crazy. I can’t really put it into words. He tells me I don’t know what “abuse” is (because he never hits me). I wan’t to be forgiving, but usually saying “I’m sorry” seems to give him a clean slate for dishing out more abuse. If he read this, he would say I’m being melodramatic – that I’m the one causing him to suffer. I’m very confused, but the Lord has given me much joy and has been a faithful source of comfort and blessing. My church is very supportive. I know I have much to change, because I’m “indifferent” to him most of the time, but if there is no change after counseling, I’m ready to separate from him. (He would say I’m overreacting and accusing him of abuse as a cover-up for the fact that I never really loved him.) Even now, he’s back in bed alone as I write this and will say I’m neglecting him – or that I’ve abandoned him. I really don’t think that’s true, but my once hard-heart has been made soft and tender again by the Holy Spirit, and I’m just being self-protective right now. I guess I should trust God to protect me. I know I’m rambling in circles. My husband is open to counseling and wants to get help. We need an objective outsider to show us both our blind spots. I know this will help, but again, I’m just scared that I’ll come out looking like it’s “all my fault” because even if it is, I can’t take any more of this – but if we divorced, he’d probably stalk me – it would probably be worse. I feel better just writing this all out and am trusting the Lord to guide my steps. He has been so faithful.

  60. poohpity says:

    Thank you for sharing your struggle with us. With a good counselor there will be no blame assigned to either party only some tools to use to restore which will also include helping each party to look at their own behavior. If each of you wants to put some work into restoration you will and if not then you won’t. Nobody is forced to continue in a marriage that is each persons choice. There are always different options and avenues to pursue. It is usually good to see a counselor together to set goals then do some individual sessions and then back together depending on what you both want to see happen. It is very encouraging to see that you both want counseling because not very many people know what a help counseling can be even if you decide not to stay together but I hope you both can work it out. Anything really good takes a lot of work. God bless you both.

  61. jasonangie2 says:

    I am so grateful to read this blog. My dad is abusive to my mom and myself and my parents have had to move in with me and my family after they went bankrupt and lost there home. I told them that the abusive behavior would not be tolerated in my home and that they both had to get counseling if they were to live here. They are now trying to use scripture against me to manipulate me into accepting their abusive behavior. This made me want nothing to do with Christianity. I don’t believe the Bible was intended to be used to allow people to abuse others, but my dad is sure trying to twist what is said so that I will submit and accept the abuse. Reading your article gives me hope, so thank you.

  62. poohpity says:

    jasonangie2,

    I know you did not ask for a reply. I would like to say that many Christians are not perfect so please do not base you faith on us but on only what Jesus did on the Cross for all of us. I will pray for the Lord’s protection from your dad’s abuse and to bless you for your kindness. I think you did very good by setting boundaries for them, good job.

  63. fifipoodle says:

    I don’t know if I’m saying too much or if I’ll get a response, but here goes:

    My dad has always been verbally and emotionally abusive to my family. However, he’s never physically abused us. The verbal and emotional abuse has done plenty of damage though: I’ve had suicidal thoughts since I was 9, and my mom and sis have had them as well for who knows how long. Plus a myriad of other…mental/depression-related symptoms. My mom always thought divorce was like the “unforgivable sin” and that she was just supposed to “submit”, so she never left him.
    Well…my dad’s sort of improved. A few years ago they became missionaries and still are. We recently moved to a different city, and things have been HORRIBLE. My dad has become very verbally and emotionally abusive and I’m barely hanging on. My mom basically lost her sanity last week one night and almost tried to commit suicide because of him, but he stopped her. Is this just spiritual warfare? Should my mom stay with my dad? I’m so confused! God called them to be missionaries, but I don’t know how long my mom can last with him! I don’t know how long I can last! Would it really be a horrible sin if she left him..?

  64. poohpity says:

    I do not think so and here is why. The bible tells us many times that husbands are to care for their wives as for their own bodies. It also says repeatedly to love others as you love yourself. With many more references to how to care and love each other. If a person loves another then they are going to seek the best for that person and emotional or physical abuse is not loving. Even the God of all creation gave His life for those He loved and there was no condemnation in Him. If He then is our example then abuse is not right.

    I have suffered physical and emotional abuse from both parents. I love and honor them but I did not spend a lot of time around them. My mother just passed away this year and my dad is in the hospital getting part of his lung removed. I do loving things toward them but I do not need to be around them when they begin emotional abuse. The bible says to love others as yourself and if you saw a friend being abused what would you tell them. Then follow the advice you would give them. We are told to hold each other accountable when we sin and anger especially when it hurts another person is a sin.

    In a marriage each person is to sacrifice their needs for the needs of others just like every human being is to do to each other. It also says to think of others more highly than yourself it does not say however to hang around and day after day allow someone to rip you apart. In a marriage two people are to be best friends would your best friend do harm to you if so then maybe they are not your best friend.

    It is very scary to leave something one gets used to but the Lord will give you strength to change because He loves you and cares for you. On this site there is now help. http://blog.helpformylife.org/ get some good advice and learn what it truly means to love someone what you are living is not love.

  65. Momster says:

    Thank you Mart, for such an enlightening post. I have been married to a man for 23 years who has rarely been verbally or physically abusive, but has habitually abused me through emotional distancing, withdrawing and withholding. At least when someone verbally and physically abuses another person, it as an acknowledgment of their existence. I can’t describe the pain of being married to a man who doesn’t initiate conversation unless it’s about something practical (the bills), who rarely initiates physical intimacy, and who has no desire to spend time with me. I can’t describe the pain of being married to a man who has no warm, tender love for me (does not thalpō/ cherish me; Ephesians 5:29), but is emotionally frigid. What Biblical advise can you give me concerning this form of abuse?

  66. pianopatty says:

    Thank you so much!! I have been living in a destructive, emotionally and verbally abusive marriage for 17 years. Although there have been some good times, it has been so difficult. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to Scripture looking for a way out because I couldn’t take it anymore. Because of the teaching I have received I saw no way out, and I didn’t know what to do. Right now I am financially stuck, but I am back in school so that I can get a job that will support me and my two daughters. I am also seeing a Christian counselor who is teaching me how to communicate without adding to the problem. I used to fight back verbally which only made things worse. Then he would turn it all back on me and tell me it was all my fault. He has also ignored me, demeaned me, yelled irrationally at me, withheld money needed, and broken promises many times. The hard part is that he can be so mean and then appologize and be so nice. It’s very confusing. I really appreciate your shedding light on the original meanings of these passages. It helps more than I can say. Another sad thing is that our daughters are now nearing the teenage years and although they love their dad, they despise the way he treats them and me. They struggle with respecting him because he has abused that honor. It’s hard. Another side issue is that both my family and his family are from a background that will be against divorce. I am afraid of losing not only church family but my real family as well. If anyone feels led to pray for us, we could certainly use it.

  67. poohpity says:

    pianopatty,
    I feel led. Mart is also running a series on DOD dot org right now about this issue. I have found it to be very interesting and offers an understanding heart. Please know you are not alone in this struggle and the churches who listen to the heart of Jesus are open to helping. Thank you for sharing your struggle with us.

  68. pianopatty says:

    poohpity,
    Thank you for the link. I checked it out and it was very helpful. I watched some of the videos and read the pamphlet. It definitely built upon this blog and was extremely helpful. I used to think I was tricked by my husband and let down by God. I know that’s not true. I simply didn’t know, and had been mistaught.

  69. poohpity says:

    I am so glad it was beneficial to you, I hope it will also help others because this is a very large problem in the Christian community by misapplied and misunderstanding scriptures to the benefit of the abuser with no help for the victims. It seems that many can take scripture out of context to use as weapons to make bad behavior sound like it is good or right. I really feel the Lord weeps in those cases but I know with out a doubt they will answer to God one day as we all will.

  70. bornagainrn says:

    I read this article when I was contemplating divorce from my wife last year, who I had only been married to for a little over a year. Within that year “I” was the victim of physical & mental abuse, as well as physical damage to my home & minor injury to me on more than one occasion from my wife. Even though we live in the 21st Century, people still don’t realize that men can be abused by their wives too. In fact, I NEVER once laid a hand on her, & just ‘took it.’ I had become a Christian 6 1/2 years ago, & she was raised in a Baptist home & gone to Christian churches her whole life. We had sought counseling from numerous people – her parents, our pastor, 2 church elders, a deacon & his wife, a Christian counselor, & a clinical psychologist (who we found out later was a Christian). My struggle was on the fact that “God hates divorce” & that abuse wasn’t one of the ‘exception clauses’ in the Bible for divorce. This article gave me such an insight that I had overlooked on marriage, abuse, & divorce. I truly believe that God had led me to this article. When I filed for divorce, my church sent me a certified letter threatening to excommunicate me for not continuing to seek their ‘wise counsel,’ which stated that I should forgive & that my wife is not accountable to anyone but God for her actions – yet they continued to allow my wife to sing, play the piano, & work with the children’s choir – despite her rage & violent behavior towards me, simply because she ‘repented,’ even though she continued repeatedly to act out violently towards me physically & verbally. My divorce is final now, & I can honestly say that after much prayer, soul-searching, & genuine repentance, I am peace with God with my decision. Maybe if more churches read this article & used some of its content in premarital counseling, it may save some marriages, by communicating that although God DOES hate divorce, that’s not an excuse to minimize the sin of abuse in a marriage, while maximizing the sin of divorce, that God DID allow for divorce, & that divorce IS FORGIVABLE!!! Thank you SO MUCH for posting this article. I truly believe God led me to this post! It has given me so much peace, & has refocused my attention completely to serving our Lord again. May our Lord, God, & Savior, Jesus Christ bless you!

  71. pianopatty says:

    bornagainrn,
    Thank you for sharing. I totally agree in that the church strives so hard to keep marriages together that they choose to make divorce an unforgivable sin. It is not that. In fact, I honestly do not see divorce as a sin in itself. It was a legal allowance made by God through Moses because of sin. Whenever people were corrected about divorce in Scripture it is because of how they were using divorce to manipulate and undeserved pain. I posted in 2010 and am still with my husband for two reasons. One because of finances. I went back to school and have one more year left. Until then I cannot handle fulltime work and full time school and parenting. Also we have had some serious troubles but also what seemed to be hope. Our church started a marriage mentoring program. We signed up and it seemed to help, but honestly it has come back. The same attitudes are there. I feel like the “God hates divorce” card is being pushed on me to stay from some. I personally can’t take the up and down of nice one day and mean the next. He easily forgets the pain he causes and acts like nothing happened. For my own sanity and for my kids I really need out. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through another year. I am also discouraged in that this teaching is almost hidden in the church. This is the only place I have actually read about what the original words and context was about for these scripture passages. Personally I think the church as a whole takes a defensive stance in warring against broken marriage instead of a proactive one. It seems it would be better to educate people on what real Biblical marriage is about. So many have grown up in broken or disfunctional families that they do not know what a healthy relationship looks like. Those of us who grew up in the church, like myself, and had verbally abusive and domineering fathers have a warped view too. More needs to be done to tell the truth. I am weary with hearing how my kids will be unholy if I leave and so much more. I appreciate this site beyond words. Thank you.

  72. oneg2dblu says:

    The church never says you are to stay in a physically abusive relationship, or should you stay in an ungodly emotionally abusive one either. There are no perfect marriages. There are no perfect parents, no perfect husbands or wives, there is only a daily working out of the most difficult of times to try to weather through, what now seems impossible. But, nothing is impossilbe for God, and He alone knows how to remedy this.
    Not knowing your circumstances, but only telling you what my church would recommend, if you can, you should go back to your church and have them try again, to bring some type of resolve into this now damaging relationship. If you are staying for financial support only, that may not be the right choice for you or your children, or is it the only choice that your church can provide for you? All things are between you and your God, He has your perfect answer, and I can not know what that is for you. I will pray into your life, a special compensation of compassion for your having brought this most stressful event before this body of believers. We do not know why we are sometimes called to be in such turmiol, but you can know that God has a purpose for everything you are going through.
    Your faith can keep you, your faith can provide what others can never know, a Place of Peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray that peace comes upon this situation even now, as you place your faith in His Mighty Hands. Be Blessed, Gary

  73. pianopatty says:

    Thank you for your encouragement. It is a hard place to be in. Today my husband told me that he got cold feet on the way home from our honeymoon and did not want to be married to me. He kept that a secret for 17+ years. It explains why he always acted like he was single and never took on the responsibility of husband and father. It explains why he always saw me as the enemy when things weren’t going his way. I’ve cried a lot today. Our pastor is out of town, but is planning on meeting with us when he gets back. I just don’t think I can go on. I really don’t know why he still wants to be married to me. Right now I don’t want to be married to him, and that hurts because I poured out all my love to him. When things were tough I stayed and did what I thought God wanted me to do. Thank you for the reminder to keep clinging to Him and that the Lord can give me the peace I need. He will also order my steps and help me choose the right path.

  74. oneg2dblu says:

    Cold feet may be a sign of a lukewarm heart. We can never change the heart of another to love us or God, but God can. Only God can. What we can do is pray that God will change that heart for Him first, then it may well go better in all things. It is the heart that betrays, or stays. It was your heart that told you to stay it through in the worst of times, and if that heart is for Him, then even the worst of times become within His hearing as we pray, within His possiblility if we ask, and is that peace of having what we ask for as if we already have it, that is His realm as well.
    It is our faith given by Him to us! In that faith do we live for Him, as we live through this life he has given us.
    A wife who shows Christ in all she does is the most powerful example I know of, to change the heart of even a cold footed man.
    My pastor shared with us something he said he will never forget, He heard the prayers of a woman to her God for him, and it changed his life for Him.
    That woman was his Mom, praying to God for her son.
    Our prayers are heard by more than we can ever know!
    Be Blessed, Gary

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