Monday, November 27, 2006

Abuse Doesn't Happen in Christian Marriages... Does It?

Posted by Hannah at 8:05 PM




I was ten years old when I became a believer. I was raised in a great, stable, godly Christian home, with five siblings. My Mom and Dad had a good marriage. They were willing to work at it, and did. They were a wonderful example of the way a Christian home should be.

A year and a half after high school I left home to go to Bible School, graduated, and had then stayed on staff for four years. I went to candidate school with a mission organization and was chosen to raise funds for serving as a missionary.

I was not going to wait around for a marriage partner. I wanted to get busy and do something with my life. My parents, unbeknownst to me, were meanwhile praying that God would not send me to the mission field single!

While I was at Candidate school, a fellow from the Bible school I had attended wrote me and sent care packages. I kept reminding him that I was headed for the mission field and we were to keep the relationship platonic so I could keep focused on my goal. I felt that romance was unacceptable at this point in my life.

He continued to write, call and send care packages.

Before we knew it we were in love. We married two years later. I was twenty seven years old and had waited for God’s partner. I felt that I had a good idea of what a good marriage should look like because of my parent’s example of a good marriage. I felt my expectations were realistic.

Before long we were experiencing difficulties in our marriage and I didn’t quite know what was wrong or how to fix it.

My realistic expectations were shattered. I didn’t think that I had an unrealistic view of marriage. I didn’t expect a perfect marriage, married to the perfect man, but I was not expecting this.

My husband would yell and cuss at me for reasons I couldn’t understand. What had I done wrong? Why was he yelling at me and pushing me around? He would go into rages for the smallest thing. He couldn’t stand me expressing a difference of opinion or questioning him about things. Keep in mind he professed to be a believer. Alcohol was not involved. Most people think this doesn’t happen in Christian homes, and that alcohol has to be involved. Not so.

He would cut me down as a person, degrading me and telling me that it was my fault he was so angry all the time. He made me feel that if I was a better wife, he wouldn’t have to yell at me. He said that he had to yell at me to be heard because I was so stubborn and opinionated. I wondered if maybe I was just being hard to live with. I felt if I just tried harder, maybe I could keep him happy.

When I got pregnant with our first child, the behavior continued. He shoved me down on the couch when we had disagreements. He would drive crazy on the road if we had a difference of opinion while we were driving somewhere.

We lived in a basement apartment that first year of our marriage. I was mortified when the owner of the building, a Christian lady who had been a missionary overseas, came to talk to me and said I would have to move out if her and her husband (they lived in the level above us) continued to hear fighting, yelling and cussing down where we lived! I apologized and tried harder. Nothing worked.

He yelled, degraded, blamed, cussed, drove crazy, shoved, and generally demeaned me. I kept wondering how I could change the situation. I kept accepting the blame. I kept trying harder.

Then, I became pregnant with our daughter. This was our second child. We had been married just three years. I was now sick and tired of what was going on with my husband. I was discouraged and felt helpless. I finally confided in my mother, who suggested that maybe I was in an abusive relationship.

I was stunned. Could she be right?

I was ready to find out. I went to the library and started reading everything I could get my hands on. I read books and pamphlets on abuse. It was definitely an eye opener! In some ways I felt I was reading a part of our history as a couple. I was beginning to understand the dynamics of our abusive relationship.

As far as I’m concerned that was a turning point in our marriage.

I finally confided in my mother-in-law, being careful to not criticize her son, wanting to know about what my husband’s growing up years were like. I explained to her that we were having marriage problems and that I was wondering if there was something I should know about his growing up years that would help me understand, maybe, where the problems were possibly stemming from. She shared with me that my husband had come from a home where alcoholism and abuse were a problem. She had had to deal with that difficult situation over the years. That helped me understand our personal situation further.

God was definitely leading me. That has been the only time she ever opened up to me and shared with me about that past hurt. I respect her for that. It must have been painful for her. I wished I could take it away.

I went home and checked out more books from the library. I now read books on adult children from alcoholic homes. I read the books in secret, while my husband was at work. Then I hid them in the bottom of a dresser drawer before he came home. I knew he would be angry if he found out what I was reading. Every day I read a little more, and every day I could see that what was happening in our marriage was wrong.

In time I came to understand that it was not my fault. It was not my fault that my husband was so unhappy with me, or that he was angry so often. Nothing I could do would change that. It was not my fault that he lost his temper so often. The anger was his. It was not my responsibility and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing I could change about me to make it better.

Oh, I was never hit hard enough that I was bruised and battered. My heart goes out to you women who experience that kind of abuse at the hands of your husband. I never had a bone broken. I realize that abuse can be so much more serious than I experienced. But I was being abused. I was living daily with a man who had an explosive temper. I was scared. I always wondered how far he would go. His anger was so intense. He broke things in our home, throwing objects across the room and smashing them against the wall. He punched holes in walls. He threw food. He would kick the dog across the tile floor. It was always scary. I was almost always upset. How long can a person live with that?

It was also humiliating. I was a Christian. I had waited to married the man whom I thought was God’s choice for me. I couldn’t talk to anyone in Christian circles, because I was sure they wouldn’t understand. I had tried several times to “leak” out information, putting out “feelers” to see if I would be understood. The reaction was always the same. I just had to work harder at my marriage. Some said that it took two people to fight, so I must be doing something to initiate or aggravate it. I should pray about it more. I needed to be more submissive, they said.

I felt that I couldn’t even witness to my neighbors because I was sure they could see and hear what was going on in our home. I struggled with why God had allowed this. Was I being punished? Did I make a mistake in marrying my husband? Was I living in sin somehow? Was I missing out on God’s blessings? Where was God in all this? Was I not responding in obedience to God, when it came to submission to my husband? Was I not trying hard enough to be the kind of wife I should be?

In those beginning years of our marriage I just quietly backed off into another room, or got down on the floor to clean up the mess he made. I tried to pacify him.

As I read books and pamphlets, I realized abuse was happening in our home. The books gave me the courage to do something about it. They gave me vital information to work with. They gave me ideas for where to go for help. They encouraged me to get help now before it got worse. They gave me the courage to fight back emotionally. The books warned me that things would definitely get worse if I didn’t do something about it.

And the situation did get worse.

One night he punched me in the face. I fell down and he, screaming, demanded that I get up. When I didn’t, he grabbed my hair and tried to pull me up. I was petrified! I looked up into his anger-distorted face and was mesmerized by what I saw. Did he hate me that much? What was he going to do next?

I had just put our four very young children to bed, and they had crawled out of their beds to see what was happening. I looked down the hallway and saw that they were all watching from the safety of their doorways. I immediately tried to pacify my husband so I could attend to the children. I don’t remember what I said or did, but whatever it was, it worked.

He stopped what he was doing, dropped me on the floor, walked over to the sofa and turned on the TV to watch something! Just like nothing had happened moments before. I couldn’t believe it! Was I imagining the whole thing? A look in the mirror told me I wasn’t dreaming.

I shakily walked down the hallway and focused on consoling our frightened children, getting them back in bed. When they were all once again asleep, I knew what I had to do.

I was tired of the abuse. I knew it could get worse with time. I knew myself and our children were not happy, nor safe. It was my responsibility to do something for their sake. Questions filled my head. Doubts plagued me. But concern for our children and anger at the abuse motivated me to do what I knew I had to do. Fear filled my heart.

Could I do it? Could I leave my husband and get to a safe place? Would I have the courage to carry it out? How could I do it? Where would I go? What was the first step I should take? Call the police, the safe-house, or my Mom? How would I support myself and four young children? They were all under five. Would I still have to spend the night here? I didn’t want to!

I cleaned up the kitchen under the pretense that all was well with my world. I was buying time to think. My mind raced. How could I do this and not raise the suspicions of my husband?

He was still watching TV. The children were all safely asleep.

I walked over to him, gave him a kiss on his forehead and told him I was going to the store to get some milk. He accepted the lie and I left the house to call the police. They met me at a corner convenience store, took my statement and made arrangements for a restraining order the next day. I was physically shaking the whole time. I was so nervous about what I was about to do.

I went home that night, with the bottle of milk. I stayed in the same bed with him until he was asleep, then crept out of our bed to check on the children and fell into a fitful sleep on the couch, being careful to wake up before he got up to go to work. When he left for work, I called a friend to keep the children while I watched the house from a distance to see if the police would serve the restraining order to my husband. I knew he came home for lunch. I left a note on the kitchen table saying I was shopping with the kids and watched from down the street. Sure enough, he came home, had lunch, and as he relaxed, the police came. They ordered him to get a few clothes together and then escorted him out of the house.

Now guilt flowed over me. Where would he go? Then fear gripped me. Would he stay out of the house, honoring the restraining order, or would be so angry that he would come after me later? I didn’t know for sure. I’m thankful he honored the restraining order and stayed away. I don’t know where he went, but he managed.

In the early 1990’s, anyone who was on a restraining order had to appear in court ten days after the order was served. At that time it was decided by the victim whether or not the restraining order was to be permanent or not. I didn’t know what to do. If I lifted the restraining order I was worried that my husband would come home and make life miserable for me, after what I had done to him in having him escorted out of the house in front of all the neighbors. He was always so “image” conscious. If, on the other hand, I made the restraining order permanent, he might file for divorce and try to get custody of the children. He knew our children were very precious to me and that I would agree to take him back if they were jeopardized in any way.

I called my Mom and explained to her what had happened, and she flew down to take me and the children into her home. I left a note for my husband before I left. My husband went to court, expecting me to be there. When I wasn’t, he went home, expecting that all was forgiven and that I would be there at our house. I wasn’t there either. All he found was the note from me explaining that I had left him and that until he got help I wasn’t coming back.

That was a difficult time for me.

Thirteen years later, as I write this, I still shake physically and emotionally. I still know that I did the right thing, as difficult as it was, but the trauma of it still haunts me at times.

During the time of separation, I felt God closer and dearer than almost any other time in my life. The verse God gave me encouraged me so much during that time. In Isaiah 40:11 it says that “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young” I read this over and over those days. I felt God’s gentle guidance and presence. I had four children under five. I certainly qualified for God’s tender care and for His leading “those who have young”!

I experienced His care in so many ways. My newly acquired step dad (my father had died with cancer a few years before) handled the angry calls from my husband. My friend kept us safely, for a time, at her house on the farm. My husband had no way of contacting me. People we didn’t even know brought boxes of children’s clothes and toys. People had a housewarming party to help us set up house when we got into an apartment. We had left everything back home except a few clothes for the kids and me. At Christmas, people brought gifts and toys for me and the children. My Mom and Dad helped me get a car, an apartment, and household things to help us get settled. They all helped in more ways than I can express. God used people in our lives to express His care for us. My husband and I were separated for seven months.

It was a difficult time. I never knew for sure if our marriage could survive the separation or if it was over. At first I wouldn’t allow him to contact me. Little by little I allowed contact. At first, I called him but didn’t give him my phone number. That provided boundaries of safety for me and the children. It allowed time for emotional healing. Then, when I felt I was ready, I gave him my number so he could call me, on the condition that if he got angry or abusive over the phone, I would change my number, which I had to do twice. People said he would never change. People said it was probably over, and that I might as well get on with my life.

The separation forced him to get help and to consider the importance of our marriage, and of our children.

The biggest impact on my life, besides my parents, was a women’s Bible Study group who openly and graciously invited me to become a part of their group. I will forever be grateful to those women! They prayed, cried and laughed with me. They took my children so I could regroup. They played with my children when I didn’t have the emotional strength to do so. They listened as I poured out my heart in concern for my marriage and husband. They were my lifeline!

I found myself again. That’s the only way I can describe it. Through that time of separation I gained perspective. I saw our relationship for what it was. I connected with God in a new way. I became emotionally stronger. I felt that I could now return to my husband and that I would have the emotional strength to fight the abuse if it continued. I had to give our marriage one more chance. I had to at least try one more time.

After the seven month separation my husband and I got back together and, in spite of my and my friend’s fears, the abuse stopped. We are still married. It will be twenty years this year. We have five wonderful children. Life is full.

Our children are going on in the Lord. I’m so glad! Because they were young when we separated, the children seem to have not had any repercussions from the abuse in the beginning of our marriage. The separation turned out to be the best decision I could have made at that point. It was hard, yes, but right.

I believe with all my heart that there are other women today who are in the same situation I was in. They are in an abusive relationship. I also believe that if God had not given me the courage to leave my husband for a time, that there would still be abuse in our relationship.

If you are in this kind of relationship:

1. Read books and pamphlets about it. Get educated. Find out where the safe-house is. Talk on the phone to other women who have gotten out of a relationship like this. A caution I would give you, however, is that when you talk to these women you will find some who are very angry and bitter against their husbands. It’s to be expected. But don’t allow yourself to get embittered. It will prevent you from doing what you need to do. Anger, however, will create the motivation to propel you to action. What your husband has been doing is wrong and harmful to you and your children if you have them. God hates it. Righteous anger is okay at this point. It sounds strange I know, but anger really did help me take the steps to freedom.

2. Have a plan. When you have read the books, your dysfunctional relationship will become clear to you. You will know you need to get out of it. Don’t accept excuses your mind comes up with to justify your husband’s behavior towards you. I had a very clear perception of my situation once I had separated from my husband, and couldn’t believe I had put up with the abuse. I felt dumb at first. I was disgusted at my lack of courage. But I knew I had done the right thing in separating. You must realize too, that the separation may be temporary, or it may be a long time. There’s no way you can know ahead of time what your husband’s reaction will be and how God will work. You are not responsible for that. You are responsible for keeping yourself and your children safe. So make plans now for getting out and getting safe. The books have lots of good ideas, and other people are good resources.

3. I want to encourage you, if you are in an abusive relationship to gather around you some women you can trust and build a firm relationship with them. You will need the support. This is an emotional time for you. At some point share what is going on in your home so they can start praying for you. They may not understand abuse, but they can understand hurt, rejection and pain. They will be able to help and support you now, and later, if you decide to leave your husband. They can also help pray for your husband when you, in your pain, may not be able to. That’s important. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the prayers of His people.

4. Don’t let fear keep you back from taking that step. You must take the step of separating from danger and abuse, for your sake and for the sake of the children. It may not turn out as well as my separation did, but I know it can only get better than what you’re living with, no matter how difficult your separation may be at times. No one should live with abuse.

I’m still not sure exactly why God allowed me to marry into an abusive relationship. All I know is I’m stronger in my relationship with God because of what I’ve experienced, and I have the added “bonus” of five beautiful children. I can also relate in a new way to women who have experienced abuse in their relationships.

I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t seem that God leads this way. I know it’s difficult to understand.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that, even though it’s difficult for us to understand why, sometimes God allows things in our lives that we don’t comprehend. He is still in control. He is still sovereign over those circumstances.

I did not experience this difficult relationship because God was punishing me in some way. I was walking with Him. I was growing in Him.

Life is difficult because that’s life. Life here on earth is not perfect. God does not spare His people from difficulties just because we’re His children. If you believe that because we’re believers we will never have trouble, how do you explain the difficult lives other believers outside of America have? They experience war, hunger, persecution, etc. all while they follow God. Are you saying then that they are not in right relationship with God? That they couldn’t be? Not so! I have met the godliest people you will ever meet overseas. They are stronger for their troubles. Life does not spare us troubles just because we are God’s children. We are still living on this earth, with its troubles.

So, if you are walking with God, and you are in an abusive relationship, take heart. God loves you and sees what you are dealing with. You really are not alone, as you may sometimes feel. He does not want it to continue. Do what you have to do to get out of the abusive relationship, and He will carry you through the rest of the way. I promise.

Remember God is with you. He loves you very much. I say that with full confidence.

I have experienced it firsthand!

God bless!


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16 comments:

molly on 12:42 PM said...

What an absolutely wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it.

molly on 12:08 AM said...

PS> I've quoted you in my recent blog post, assuming that my intent was compatible with your copyright rules *(that we could quote if we had similar intent--to help educate, etc).
Please let me know, though, if my quoting is a problem!
Warmly,
Molly

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your story. I have e-mailed it to a friend of mine who is currently in an emotionally abusive marraige simular to how yours was. She has been very reluctant to see it and is just now willing to look without a cover. She still struggles and I hope your story will help her to see more clearly and decide to face the abuse.
Did you end up seeing a counselor? Did your husband? How was the road to recovery? How has your husband dealt with his anger?

h on 5:04 PM said...

The above article was found online, and you can click the title and it will take you to the source!

I have personally got help from a local DV counselor, and it takes years to move out from the mindset. Every journey is different, but one thing I do encourage is to make sure your help is educated on abuse! Alot of places will claim they are, but sadly they are not!

Grace Required on 8:42 AM said...

Hi h
I have just found your blog. It has made for some very interseting reading. I understand that this is not your story but one from a blog by Melissa of Virtuous Women -the page is a victim of link rot and no longer exists. What I wanted to say is that my story is almost identical up to a point. I left my husband after much research and much much prayer and I too have 4 children and took them to stay a friends house. I also got back with my husband after 10 months. Whilst much is improved (no physical violence, no longer visits internet porn) he is still quite emotionally abusive and now 2 and a half years after getting back together I still fell under a cloud and feel less sure of what to do. Because he is so much better than he used to be and we do have good times. I have in the last 2 months stopped going to church largely becuase the church we have been going to only since our reconcilitation preaches almost weekly on the need to submit to authority and the curse of a Jezebel spirit. My husband has often used the sermons to justify his beliefs although he choses to disagree with what is preached when it suits him. And he has little respect for those preaching and decrys them often. In some ways my not going to church has made him uncomfortable. He feels that if I don't go to church then I will feel I have no cause to stay in our marriage. That my not going to church will somehow alleviate me of my faith and that the collective church concience pressuring me to stay married, not being there will cause our marriage to fall apart. Yet he is also somewhat relieved to not attend church I feel that it releases him from the stress of pretense around other christians. Of course I have not verbalised this to him - it would not be wise or circumspect of me. I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. He will not touch me physically because he knows I would not put up with it. Yet I have visibly seen him restrain himself when enraged. I worry what if one day he does explode and act out. Will he think "Oh S*%t now I've blown it, I'm going to lose everything why bother restraining the ful force of my anger" and simply let me have it or will he beg me to stay in the vein of I've been good for so long it was just one mistake. All though I can quite reasonably articulate my situation I am still very fragile emotionally and don't know if I can make a stand now. I don't know if I want to make a stand or if I am making a mountain out of a molehill because surely he has improved.

Worn out,
Grace Required

h on 9:49 AM said...

Grace:

Pray about your sitution! Please note what I am about to say is my OPINION only!! Okay?

I heard something at my church last night when someone was describing something they read I believe it was:

It was a picture of a woman on one side of the door, and Jesus on the other side. The only difference was that the woman had a doorknob on her side. The message was all you have to do is open that door, and Jesus will be waiting. He waits for us to open that door, and he will come into your life!

Alot of churches speak of suffering. How it is GODLY to suffer for your marriage - they don't care what you are suffering from! To me God asks us to suffer for truth! He doesn't ask us to suffer so that someone can stay broken, cope with their sin, so the marriage can stay in tact to the church's liking! I'm not speaking of divorce - maybe separation. That to me is a personal decision only you and God can make for you life! LIFE is custom as we know! When you bring things into the light (truth) you will suffer from the abuser's reaction, but that is where God steps in! He helps you with this burden, and is with you during this journey! WE are never alone! He is with us!

I think if I were you if you have some Christian friends that don't feel man is "KING" as your decription of your current states - I would feel the waters out to see if they are willing to fellowship with you! Even if you do not you will be surprise at who God places in your life so you will have that! ASK HIM! He wants to give this to you!

Please trust what the holy spirit is telling you inside. I do believe you have a clear message of whether or not YOU are making a mountain out of mole hill! It seems to me you are reading the situation fairly well! Fear is satan's tool to keep us broken and stuck.

http://jesushealsabuse.informe.com/index.php

is a board I posted on the blog a while ago. They have a pastor there running the board, and you will NOT feel alone once you start to read! There is your first fellowship stop, and you will always be welcome!!

Prayers going up for you right now!

Anonymous said...

The story I read helped me open up. I am married for 27 years this year and have been emotionally abused by my husband. We are born again believers and he;s in missions. He openly flirts with women in my company where he would stare a woman all night and disregard me. Then he would profusely deny it. I pray for him that he would get deliverance from this sick way of lustful living. I feel maybe its time that I uncover the real person he is and not cover up anymore. Hes always saying I'm imagining things and shame he's so engrossed with himself - I know that my life is in God's hands and with my kids now grown I can go forward, but he does not want to go for help
Please pray with me for Kevin.
Blessings
Benita

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord please give me the strength and wisdom to make the right decisions in my marriage where Kevin has the overwheling destructive attitude for 27 years. I need help please pray with me i want to move forward in Jesus name.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your story!
God has from the beginning been the first person I turned to, and I encouraged my husband to go to see our Pastor and has an appointment today.
If there is one thing that I would like to say to everyone is that if you sit quietly before the Lord, He will whisper your answers to you.
Also, read Hezekiah, and do what he did when he "spread" out his problems before the Lord.
I have to say, that God will use all circumstances to bring His children home, and He loves our spouses as much as He loves us. Pray for salvation and a thirst for God's word and the wisdom will be revealed.

I pray for all of us that have lost our homes in this economy and have been a victim of physical abuse.
GOD IS THE ANSWER, THE BEGINNING AND THE END. BE GUARDED WHEN YOU SHARE YOUR STORY. MAY THE PEACE OF GOD THAT SURPASES ALL UNDERSTANDING BE WITH YOU!

Anonymous said...

my husband was/is the youth pastor at our church, and has been emotionally abusing me for 10 years. yet, I am always told, by him and others, that I just need to submit more. it's always my fault, I am just being selfish and not loving sacrificially....only through the support of our current senior pastor and a professional christian counselor and reading books on emotional abuse, I have finally seen our relationship for what it really is....and it is NOT my fault. If my husband doesn't treat me in love the way that Christ would treat me in love, then he doesn't really love me. His version of love is NOT love....it is control and domination and manipulation. My husband has left me, and believes he is the victim because "I won't change". But I am understanding now what true love really is, how Christ demonstrates it, and true love is not demanding and belittling, demeaning, and devaluing. I only hope that God will work a miracle in my husband's heart and life in order to bring glory to God. That is what is most important. God's glory. I praise His name for His continual goodness in my life in spite of my circumstances. He blesses even through the trials.

Anonymous said...

I am a victim of emotional abuse from my mom and sister. For the past 20+ years, my husband and I have had a good marriage, but I often see hints of emotional abuse from him too. Things like: invalidation of my feelings, selfishness, and lack of patience. Please pray for me, because sometimes I'm not sure if he's really being emotionally abusive, or if I'm transferring my past ways of reacting onto him now. Some days, I feel like leaving, but there is no real reason to leave. He's never hit me.

But it does make me sad because HE always seems to comes first. And he "teases" me and upsets me, claiming it's just "playing around". When I read those Bible verses about "husbands love your wives as your own body", I think...wow, that would really be wonderful. But maybe I am being too romantic and not realistic too? No man can be perfect and adore a woman 24/7.

We never really have "deep" conversations, but sometimes, after he's said something hurtful, I've been able to make him understand how bad he hurt my feelings. Please pray this will get better: that I can see what's real from fantasy; that we can communicate on a deeper level; and that I can be healed of the pain from my family's abuse and not imagine it where it doesn't exist. Pray for him that he will know he's really hurting me, and will stop.

Hannah on 4:14 PM said...

Anonymous 11:

I think we have all questioned ourselves at times. When we know what abuse is truly? The chances we are wrong aren't very strong it seems to me. We know what it feels like, and we need to learn to trust ourselves.

I will pray for both of you!

Hannah on 4:19 PM said...

Anonymous 10:

I pray that the strength that you are showing in your post continues! Seeing the truth about abuse, and not falling for the 'submit more' cure all is the best for you.

My prayers are with you all.

Anonymous said...

dear Grace - if I may be so bold as to suggest, that you leave your husband again, and let it be permanent this time.

This does not have to do with scripture anymore. This has to do with the fact that despite him having made some improvements, you are still living in fear daily. This is no way to live.

Your only justification to yourself for staying is that he has improved in that he has not hit you since the reconciliation. But clearly this improvement is not enough for you to feel safe in your own home.

Anonymous said...

Grace, I feel for you. I thought long and hard about reconciling after I left, because I had never thought that permanent separation was the answer. What I DIDN'T want was a situation where we got back and the abuse returned because I had read of too many cases.

I think that regardless of what other well-intentioned but misinformed Christians might say, the abuse will always come back if there hasn't been aggressive, intensive, long-term intervention with professionals (not pastors who haven't been trained). Refer Christian Coalition for Domestic Abuse guidelines for pastors.

So the issue is not whether he is "better". If he is still coercive in some form, if he hasn't fully dealt, in great detail, with the thinking that drives his behavior, his sense of entitlement and justification, the abuse will come back. Whether he hits or rages is irrelevant.

My ex is proud of himself for not blowing it when he feels like it. He simply clenches his teeth and knuckles. My question is why does he need to get enraged? It's not the anger that is the root of the abuse; it is the abusive mindset that makes a person angry. If that mindset (that his wife owes him; that he is entitled to get superior treatment; that it is all about him) doesn't change, then he is still abusive, even if he has improved in his outward behavior.

So my gauge to whether a person is safe to live with is not whether that person has stopped outward abusive behavior, but whether that person has changed his thinking. And if that person has not attended an intensive, batterers program for at least a year, the answer is "no" because it takes a lot of work to change that sort of thinking, even if the person really wants it.

Further, if that person has not changed, then to live with him is to tolerate evil. Which is unBiblical.

Grace, I know that such words imply that you should give up hope. That's not my intention. You are the expert in your own situation - I think that if you listen to the Spirit within you, and trust your gut, He will make a way and by faith you will be able to overcome.

Melissa Ringstaff on 8:56 PM said...

Hi, this article is linking to a photo on my website - avirtuouswoman.org. Please remove the link. Thank you.

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