Saturday, May 02, 2009

Faith Site Enables Emotional Abuse?

Posted by Hannah at 12:44 PM

I read an article on Family Life recently. The title of the article was Do You Have a One-Way Marriage? I was appalled that a faith site would enable emotional abuse, and somehow feel its okay to show others how the author endured the emotional abuse...and to show how YOU can TOO! What is wrong with this world!



Before you can know that peace and joy, you have a huge decision to make. Will you love Jesus more than you love yourself? How far are you willing to go in this love relationship? What holds you back? The better you know God’s character, the more your fears will dissolve. You cannot lose by living life God’s way.

Over the years my husband has been out of work several times. One of those times, he didn’t bother seeking a new job. He sat and played solitaire every day or watched television. This went on for a year and a half. I had a little part-time job, and when our extended family asked if I would get a full-time job, I said, “No. He needs the pressure.”

Of course, after many months I was sometimes concerned for the house and car payments and other expenses. Often I had little food in the house; but through a variety of ways, God met each of those financial needs. I’m glad I had matured in my faith before that time so that I knew not to nag but to trust God for everything.

At one point I fed my family with only $20 for two weeks. It was the worst our food situation had ever been. During those two weeks, God gave me unbelievable ways to stretch that $20. For example, eggs went on sale at a tremendously low price. I made pancakes, egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs—all providing the protein for our meals.

You would think those two weeks were a dark time, but it was actually exhilarating as I started each day telling God, “I wonder how you’ll provide today.” I learned from that experience to have faith and depend on God without reservation.

Commitment to your husband is tied to your commitment to God. When you pull away from your husband emotionally, you’ll discover you have pulled away from God. If you toy with the option of leaving your husband or divorcing, then you will feel tossed about without God’s peace and presence.


I look at this portion, and I can see this story being handed to spouses that are enduring abuse within their homes. Its not done out of love, but as a weapon to guilt them in to staying. I mean LOOK at the message here!

You can't know peace and joy unless you learn to endure the abuse!

You can't say you love Jesus more than yourself if you will not endure the abuse of your spouse!

You do NOT know the character of God if you are NOT willing to do this in love, and allow God to dissolve your fears when you ask him to.

You are losing everything by not living life God's way! We are showing you HOW!

You commitment to God isn't there when you have to emotionally detach from an abusive person.

Here a faith site uses a women that enables her husband's sinful behavior as a tool for the church NOT to deal with domestic violence. YES you do NOT need to be HIT to be abused! Her husband needs help and an awakening, and he needs to realize that HIS relationship with God is HINDERED at this point!

Think about it! They are asking people to martyr themselves for marriage, and enable the abuse to continue upon themselves and the children. They are totally ignoring the broken person that is acting abusive towards his family. The church is failing this whole family by publishing this piece. She needs help and he needs it DESPERATELY!

Most people won't even grasp that part, because of the dripping manipulative statements about how you can't be right with God if you don't learn to endure.


Sometimes in our marriage I was angry or hurt, and I told my husband in a very unpleasant manner how I felt. I would try to make him feel guilty. I gave him books on how to meet your wife’s needs. I tried all the things that a human can try, without success. God showed me one day that I was trying to do His work—only He can change a person.

I remember one time in particular when I was upstairs in our home, and I heard my husband berating our children. It broke my heart. I wanted to run down and defend my children and remove them from the room, but instead I cried out to God. I told God that He promised not to give me more than I could bear. I reminded God that I had asked Him to protect my children from damage and to give me strength to not interfere. I also prayed for my husband to cease his words to them at that moment. God answered each of those prayers.

Prayer is powerful. It can go where you cannot. It reaches inside your husband’s head and heart. Often if a man is not a godly husband, he will not be a godly dad. As you pray and ask specifically, God will protect your children from your imperfect home and marriage.

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:1, “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” This verse became my anchor on how I should live with my husband. It is very freeing to know that it is God’s battle, not mine.


You know what bothers me most about the scripture she cites at the end, and when you look at the dynamics of domestic violence? The word MAY - they MAY be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, etc. It doesn't say they WILL - they MAY be won!

Since our total focus is to keep these people together at all costs the word MAY never turns into 'MAY NOT' ever! That's unheard of! May not? Nope. It doesn't compute with the church. Their way of again enabling the emotional abuse within this family. I have seen this verse used time and time again! Did you ever see an article mentioning the 'may not' part? NOT when they are trying to prove this point huh!

We also have this woman allowing her children to be abused, because she feels she can't stand up and protect them. She tells other victims that if they pray GOD will protect them so you don't have to. You have NO responsibility to help in anyway. God will protect them from the emotional abuse, and your mother NOT stepping in at all isn't enabling him to continue!

As we look to the next generations of this type of family she may see her children did have to deal with the effects the ungodly father placed upon them, and also the enabling mother that allowed herself to 'walk away' from her responsibility to her children.

I find this portion of the article totally irresponsible! They are telling wives to allow their spouses to continue to berate the children, and if you don't? WELL you don't have enough faith in God, because he will protect them ALWAYS! Why? She asked him to!

If there is one thing I have learned in my walk in faith is that God has three answers he uses to our prayers. Yes, No, and NOT now! To me she is using God as a crutch to not deal with her life, and uses very good heart tugging phrases to make others feel badly if they can't do the same.

Its a perfect weapon in the church's arsenal to keep people together, and NOT have to get their hands dirty!


I love cooking and trying new recipes. It takes planning and a lot of work to make a really nice meal. I was so disappointed the times my husband came home late without calling. Sometimes he would say, “What is this slop?”

For birthdays or anniversaries, I hoped for a surprise, a gift, or at least a card. I shared my expectations or gave modest suggestions of what I would like. Most years he gave little acknowledgment to the occasion and gave me nothing … or he gave me something he wanted. Through these experienced I learned to take my hurts to the Lord and ask Him to heal my heart.

Intimacy was another problem area. My husband was selfishly driven in the area of sex. He wanted sex, but not non-sexual affection.

If this area is difficult for you, just remember that God will reward your obedience. The major turning point for me was one instance when he wanted to make love and I did not, but God brought to my mind that I should anyway. As a result, we conceived the only one of our children that I birthed. This was particularly special because we struggled with fertility issues and never expected to be able to have children outside of adoption.

Part of loving your husband involves forgiving him daily. Keep short accounts and don’t let the negatives build up. When you do that, you give up the right to seek revenge. It brings peace for you and your home.

What does unconditional love look like? There is a great model of what commitment to love your husband should look like in 1 Corinthians 13. “Love is patient, kind, not jealous and does not seek its own nor take into account a wrong suffered. Love bears all things and hopes all things. Love never fails.”


Denial reigns in the church, and using scripture to enforce it is the way to go!

She speaks nothing of the broken trust between the spouses. I suppose she blindly trusts him as well right? She assumes her forgiveness brings peace to her home.

I have to ask one question!

Does her husband seem at peace?

If he was at peace wouldn't the abuse stop? I'm not talking romance novel relationship after that, but a healthy one! If he was at peace he would be able to give his family a healthy, loving and peaceful home could he not? He might be able to show love as she cites in her scripture if that were the case - him being at peace.

Denial is not peace. Denial is a lie.


God has given me joy

I have not practiced these things perfectly. I’ve failed many times, and I’ve acted unbecoming as a follower of Jesus Christ. But confession and repentance bring me back to where I should be.

Do I still wish I had a husband like I’ve seen others have? Yes. Is it my ultimate goal? No. When I let go of my expectations and gave them to God, I was set free. He offers a joy that no one can steal and a peace that passes all understanding.

I am so grateful to God for teaching me these spiritual disciplines. My marriage is not the major struggle it once was. My relationship with my husband is basically peaceful, and God has given me great joy in life. You too can thrive in a difficult marriage and experience an intimacy with God you never thought possible.


None of us are worthy, but God always wishes for us to live in reality. God wishes her to have true peace, and her husband to have the same.

This man may lose his children, and she may have her heart broken when she found her children were NOT protected by her faith. You do NOT stop the cycle of abuse by enabling the abusive person to continue to abuse. You do NOT end the cycle of abuse by writing articles on how to enable the abuse, and then use scripture in a manipulative way to guilt you into staying.

These types of articles are the reason people LEAVE the church! We have Faith Sites that endorse articles that show others how to enable the emotional abuser. She may feel she has the strength to continue, but telling others they have no faith if you don't do it my way? We enable abusive people to continue, and we as the church don't bring that true healing we are called to show the path to.

What is wrong with people that bring the truth into the light? The truth may not always be easy to deal with, easy to shallow, and it may HURT alot! If the followers of Christ truly wish to show the world a light of hope they need to stop telling oppressed family members to martyr themselves for the sake of marriage stats. The people within that union are what is important to God, and denial of the issues just makes things worse.

This family needs help, and it screams THAT all over this article. This man needs Jesus, and he needs to turn from his abusive ways so that his relationship with God is not hindered.

I seriously have to ask Family Life which is more important! All the abusive souls in the world with their souls at stake, or the marriage stats they scream about to much? They may be able to save alot more marriages if they could deal with reality. Asking a wife to endure the abuse of her husband, and ignore the neglect and outright sin upon her children ISN'T the true way!

If you have the opportunity I would ask you to speak out LOUDLY against this type of article ENDORSED by Family Life! Our responsibility as faith followers is to step in and HELP all involved! We are not to just allow this woman to drown in denial, and show others to live with false hope. Do we step up and speak TRUTH, or do we allow faith sites to show others how to enable abuse? Abusive men are not entitled to abuse families, but articles like this tell them they ARE! Shame on THEM! SHAME! I'm praying for this family tonight, and I hope you will to.


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22 comments:

Amy on 9:06 PM said...

Ugh! This is exactly the type of thing I read and heard so much after I became a Christian and had already endured 10 years of emotional and verbal abuse. I needed to give it all to God, pray harder, submit more and respect him no matter what. I was to turn the other way when he belittled our children because if I stepped in I was undermining his role as a father and it was for me to pray about the situation and trust that God would stop it all. I was to step out of the way and let God in to work in his heart. Hmmm? Never did seem to work so therefore I beat myself up over not being a good Christian wife. I must be doing something sinful in my life that was keeping God from protecting me.

Then this past fall I found your website and another one by Joel and Kathy Davisson which turned everything I had been told and had believed on it's ear.
I finally discovered that it wasn't okay and that God was working and He was going to work through me. I wasn't supposed to turn the other cheek over and over again, I was to stand up to it and say NO! And God was going to honor that and lead me to safety, which He has.

Enough of these ridiculous articles under the guise of Christian articles that keep women trapped in abusive marriages by making us feel guilty, not worthy, and selfish.

Thank you for all you do...your site has restored my faith and showed me what true love and a real marriage should be by defining what an abusive marriage looks like.

Sorry for the long post! LOL

Hannah on 9:38 PM said...

Tee hee Amy! I love your long post! It gives me hope that people are listening! (I didn't think it was long, and I enjoyed it)

There are alot of ridiculous articles I agree. The advice you receive is called spiritual pixie dust. You just sprinkle it around and miracles happen they feel. Marriage and healing takes work, and in most cases you don't get handed this miracle without it.

What I think is strange? Abusers tell you that if you would do marriage GOOD ENOUGH they will be happy. Churches - well they use the same guilt trip. They both focus on one party (and it AIN'T them or their advice or well...lack of there of!). Strange how they both point in the same direction at times huh?

To be honest I think the church does it out of ignorance, and the abusers? They do it due to alot of issues. Brokeness, Entitlement, Control, etc.

Jamey on 7:06 AM said...

Hannah, the ignorance and apathy of many in the faith community towards those who are abused is appalling. The way I see it, domestic violence is a sin. No man has the right under a marriage to abuse his wife or children. And those who are encouraging a woman to stay in this situation, are encouraging the abuse to continue. When are people going to wake up and see the truth. I don't see how any christian can see the sin of abuse and think it is ok. Since when does a marriage contract give anyone the right to abuse his family. I also believe that when a man chooses to abuse his wife and children, he broke his vows to the marriage. When a man refuses to get help and change, he broke his vows to the marriage. When a man chooses violence over love, he broke his vows to the marriage. A real christian man who is walking with God would not abuse his family. And anyone who claims to be a christian would not be condoning this sin of violence, but would be speaking out against it.

Hannah on 10:07 AM said...

And anyone who claims to be a christian would not be condoning this sin of violence, but would be speaking out against it.

AMEN to that Jamey!

I'm afraid people have brainwashing this women into thinking she must tolerate it, and just improve herself in order to endure for her family.

People love to quote Malachi. So lets look to the last verse of Malachi 2!

17 You have wearied the LORD with your words.
"How have we wearied him?" you ask. By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?"

Its a wonder they never get to the bottom of that verse.

Amy on 10:11 AM said...

An elderly couple from my church that has been working with me as I make decisions about leaving my marriage explained something to me the other day about divorce in God's eyes. For years, and even lately, I still hear how much God hates divorce and He does not allow it except in cases of adultery, therefore I've always felt trapped and guilty for wanting out of an abusive marriage because my husband never commited adultery.
This wise couple explained to me that although yes God hates divorce he also hates violence and unfaithfulness. And not just sexual unfaithfulness, unfaithfulness in all areas of our lives...financial, trust, etc.
I had never seen it that way, and as they said, my husband has been very unfaithful over the years and just recently, and therefore God doesn't expect me to just sit by and continue allowing that unfaithfulness to destroy me.
Huh??? First time someone EVER explained that to me, and when I researched it, yep it's right there in God's word, Mt. 19:9...

Re: the article you wrote about, if you haven't read the comments on the website following the article you should. Although the article is bad enough, what really got to me were the majority of approving responses. It made me so sad, and mad to read comments from women in abusive situations that said the article gave them hope to continue enduring through a bad marriage. Wow! Yet that was me not so many years ago...I was told that I just needed to continue and know that through my suffering God was making me stronger, and perhaps that is true, because now I have the strength to leave and finally live a healthy life. :)

Hannah on 2:35 PM said...

I know I saw some of them, and let some comments myself! This just maddening!

That's so awesome about the couple!

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely terrified concerning how churches in the past havent even tried to help me; especially after knowing all details in regards to severe abuse~concerning my husband against me- a women with no children~

I have endured two painful marriages~with two different men~ over A period of twenty years time. Both which were extremely abusive, in every way possible~

I dont know what a healthy christian marriage looks like- But I do recognize an destructive and dangerous one- that is abusive~

How?~ thanks to many years of reaching out to others~family - friends~

My Heart's cry is to let others know, that you arent alone-God hears you! and also your children's cries- He Loves You!~ no matter what happens!- what was said!, what was done!~
GOD Jesus He Loves You Unconditionally!-
No Matter What~!

From A friend Of The Lord Jesus~
Love Pamela

Jamey on 4:11 AM said...

Hannah, I have been reading all the comments left on this article. I have left a few comments as well. It is maddening! I can't believe some of the comments people are making. And at the same time I am so sad at the reality of this. By this woman remaining, her children are suffering as a result. They have no choice or voice in this. My mom stayed with my dad for 20 years and tried to endure the abuse.My siblings and I suffered because of it.
I hope she comes to realize how destructive staying in an abusive marriage is to her and her children.

complegalitarian on 11:36 AM said...

Excellent commentary, Hannah. We're talking about this article over at Complegalitarian, too. I love what you said about "spiritual pixie dust." YES. That has been my experience.

I am just floored that a mainstream ministry like Family Life Today, a ministry that is supposedly FOR the family, would think that teaching women to remain in abusive marriages is a "pro-family" teaching. !!!?????

Frustrated,
Molly

E on 11:44 AM said...

Though others don't agree with me, my thoughts upon reading the article was that it was too perfect, and the situations too perfectly fit the "ideal" rotten and abusive marriage.

I.e., this woman's "testimony" seemed almost tailored to fit the Website's point and point of view and theology that no abuse suffered by a wife is too great and no misery she and her kids experience at the hands and doing of a bad husband are so awful as to justify doing anything other than turning the other cheek and turning to God, rather than ending the marriage. I.e., it covers all the bases and eliminates all the excuses and doesn't allow a female reader in a similar situation any option other than to do what this woman did - or be guilty of failing to trust and serve God.

I admit that I still remain skeptical of the legitimacy of the article.

YMMV

zoeygirl on 12:10 PM said...

This article is really distressing. This woman sounds like a Stepford wife. Her writing is devoid of sympathy, feeling, or true reflection. I shudder to think how her children will most likely perpetuate abuse in their own lives.

"Commitment to your husband is tied to your commitment to God. When you pull away from your husband emotionally, you’ll discover you have pulled away from God."

Where is this in the Bible? This sounds like idolatry to me--putting your husband on the same level as God. When my "covering" was an abusive husband, I could not pray. I could not worship. As soon as I got out from under that covering, I was finally able to restore my relationship with God.

I don't think I could read the comments after this article. I'm afraid they'll make me nauseous.

Hannah on 12:40 PM said...

I can certainly understand your frustration Molly. I have read some decent articles there, but with this one? They totally BLEW IT, and I find it offensive and irresponsible!

Thank you for stopping by!

Hannah on 12:41 PM said...

My Heart's cry is to let others know, that you arent alone-God hears you! and also your children's cries- He Loves You!~ no matter what happens!- what was said!, what was done!~
GOD Jesus He Loves You Unconditionally!-
No Matter What~!

AMEN Pamela!

Hannah on 2:17 PM said...

Though others don't agree with me, my thoughts upon reading the article was that it was too perfect, and the situations too perfectly fit the "ideal" rotten and abusive marriage.

lol E!

Its the same ugly advice you find other places, but instead of author 'advising' you what to do they actually have a women living it telling the same. The idea part is just part of their faith bubble they live in.

I'm sure its legit, but there has to be some sugar coating I will admit.

Hannah on 2:32 PM said...

I don't think I could read the comments after this article. I'm afraid they'll make me nauseous.

I agree with you. They make me MAD tho! I wonder if they see the 'stepford' wive part - I see that as well!

Anonymous said...

E said:

I.e., this woman's "testimony" seemed almost tailored to fit the Website's point and point of view and theology that no abuse suffered by a wife is too great and no misery she and her kids experience at the hands and doing of a bad husband are so awful as to justify doing anything other than turning the other cheek and turning to God, rather than ending the marriage. I.e., it covers all the bases and eliminates all the excuses and doesn't allow a female reader in a similar situation any option other than to do what this woman did - or be guilty of failing to trust and serve God.Amen and Amen to that sister! It was setup to try to convert women to the belief that this is what they must do in order to please God.

jlp

E on 3:36 PM said...

jlp wrote:

Amen and Amen to that sister!
"E" (aka EricW elsewhere on the Net) is a male. :)

Hannah on 3:43 PM said...

Welcome to you both!

Nice to see another man commenting here as well! (EricW) :)

Anonymous said...

Family Life probably would have thrown in physical abuse also but knew they couldn't get away with it.

The publication of this article is so abusive to women that its unbelieveable.

jlp

Hannah on 10:42 PM said...

I agree with you there.

Anonymous said...

I need to pray for patients because it hard for me to endure. Today was one of my worst days, and I asked God, why me. How much do I have to endure because this is going on for three years. I look up to others that can find strength to endure the hurt and the pain. I have ask God to remove this man from my life, if he is not for me.

Hannah on 12:33 PM said...

You both need the healing of God, and enabling the pain to continue will not bring that.

Please find wise counsel that validates the fear and pain you are in, and gives you more than telling you to PRAY for a miracle!

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