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Ask God to help you deal with your abusive spouse

Published 10:27am Monday, October 7, 2013

Question: I dated my boyfriend two years, we’ve been married five and we don’t have any kids. He gets mad whenever I do something wrong and it seems like I’m always doing something wrong. He still makes me look him in the eyes when he yells and curses at me, but at least he doesn’t shake or hold me down any more. It hurts a lot when he yells at me, when he says things like he realized from day one that marrying me was a mistake, but he decided to stick with it anyway, and when he tells me how miserable he is. I believe it when he says nobody else would put up with me. He has tried to leave but I have convinced him to stay because I know if I could get rid of my problems he would be OK. I want to be a better person but I keep failing. I want to honor my marriage vows to him and to God but don’t know what to do. Please help.

Answer: “You” gained 50 pounds since she got married. “You” performed an action that was misinterpreted as disrespect. “You” still struggles with an addiction, which despite her desire and constant effort to overcome is still evident in her life. After “You” hears repeatedly that she is, as you wrote, “always doing something wrong,” she becomes convinced she is 100 percent of her marriage’s problem, is a bad person, and deserves to be punished. Often these lies remain in place until “You” is encouraged to step back and look in upon her situation from the outside. This following analysis applies this approach to your specific situation.

Suppose you have a daughter and witness her husband yelling at her in the same hurtful way your husband yells at you. Would you think it’s okay because she has probably done something wrong and deserves to suffer? Suppose you see newlyweds having dinner at a nice restaurant and you overhear the husband telling his wife that marrying her was a mistake. Would you think it’s okay because she probably turned out to be an awful person and deserves to suffer?

If you agree these women deserve to suffer, you are agreeing with the use of cruelty on them. For by definition, cruelty is an act or remark that causes pain and suffering. When you agree these women deserve cruelty, you are agreeing with the use of abuse on them. For by definition, abuse is the treatment of a person with cruelty or violence. In summary, to believe a person deserves to suffer is to believe a person, including the daughter and newlywed, deserves to be abused.

Once you are able to see the truth that your husband’s actions are abusive and not the lie that they are deserved, you can no longer accept that type of behavior in your relationship. Yes, love should be accepting without expectation but not when abuse is present. Action must be taken.

The following suggestions are intended to help you find the stamina you need to accomplish this task in a manner, which brings honor to both your husband and to God.

Ask God to help you stay humble and non-judgmental of your husband as you address his abusive behavior.

The following biblical truths will aid you in this task. Truth 1: God loves us all equally regardless of the unloving actions we may take or bad decisions we may make. Truth 2: If a person is unloving he does not know God. Truth 3: We are not at war with people, but instead with spiritual forces of evil.

Pray not only for your husband’s heart, but also for God to change you so you can have peace from here forward. This effort is intended to help you waste less of your precious energy on trying to fix your husband and your marriage so you will have more to invest in improving yourself and your relationship with God. Find strength in God’s promise to use your every struggle for something wonderful in the future.

It is now time to confront the abusive behavior. First, if you have not already, approach your husband one-on-one. Explain how you feel and ask him to stop any cruel behavior causing you pain or suffering. If the abusive actions do not stop, consult a counselor immediately. No excuses are acceptable. If his abusive actions still continue, you must leave the relationship even if only for a pre-determined temporary time of separation. 1 Tim 5:8 and Mal. 2:13-16 provide reinforcement for this initiative.

It takes time for “You’s” misconceptions to be established and it will take time, effort and commitment for them to be destroyed. Don’t give up. Where there is a will there is a way. Where there is a determined will there is a guarantee for victory.

ABBIE LONG is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to askabbie@tidewaternews.com

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