As much as we hate to admit it, spouse abuse happens, even among families who are in the Church. There are very few people who want to write on this topic, so it makes it very difficult for Christian women who find themselves in an abusive situation. I am going to attempt to address this topic, even though I know that my attempt will be imperfect.
While it is less common, some men are abused, even physically, by their wives as well. I’ll be primarily speaking to women in this article, but many of the principles can also apply to men who are abused.
There are different types of abuse: Emotional, Psychological (Mental), Spiritual, Physical, Sexual, and Financial. Often these categories overlap. My primary focus in this essay will be on the issue of physical abuse. That is not to in any way deny the severity of the other kinds of abuse, nor is it to imply that they are less important or even less damaging than physical abuse, but they are more subjective and more difficult to prove through a legal process, and therefore solutions become more difficult.
Here are some definitions of abuse and Domestic Violence from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence.
Abuse is a buzzword right now, and a lot of people play the “abuse” card in situations where it is not warranted. Every marriage faces difficulty, disagreement, and conflict. That is not abuse. The fact that your spouse doesn’t see eye to eye with you, or doesn’t always say affirming things to you, or doesn’t appreciate you the way you feel he or she should does NOT mean that you are being abused. There will be some people who are looking for an excuse to leave their marriage and those folks may seek to find an excuse to do so in what I write here. Please remember that you stand before God for the marriage vows you made, and you may not simply annul them because you are experiencing some bumps in the road. This article is NOT intended to give anyone an easy exit from their marriage. Marriage can be difficult and godly people seek reconciliation and peace whenever possible (Psalm 34:14, 1 Peter 3:11).
This article is to try to help those who are TRULY and GENUINELY being abused. I recognize that can be somewhat subjective, but I’m aiming for the reader who finds himself or herself squarely and consistently in the definitions provided in the link above.
I need to say also that there is NO SILVER BULLET that will magically fix all of your problems. When people sin, it makes life messy. When someone is committed to being selfish in a relationship and abusing another person, there will NOT be a quick and simple solution that will make it all better in a few easy steps. I wish there was one, but there simply isn’t.
What Does the Bible Say About Marriage?
Let me begin by saying that I believe the Bible is God’s word (not man’s opinion) and every Christian must submit to and obey the commands of Scripture (whether they personally “like” what it says or not).
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22-33, KJV)
The word “submission” appears in this text. Regardless of whether you like it or not, it is there. However, it is there in a context. In the context of the passage, it is clear that the Bible is NOT recommending a scenario whereby the husband treats his wife as property, and is licensed to treat her however he wishes. That is NOT the Biblical view of marriage, nor of submission. Christ does NOT abuse the church, nor should the man abuse his wife (whom he is commanded to love as his own body).
“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. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For,
“The one who desires life, to love and see good days,
Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
“He must turn away from evil and do good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.”
“For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:1-11, NASB)
This passage is sometimes used by church leaders to convince women that it is their imperative to simply bear up under the weight of abuse and take it. It does clearly show the necessity for a woman to be godly and respectful towards her husband, even when he does not obey the word and treat her gently. HOWEVER, it does NOT say that she needs to simply take abuse and live with it. It is true in ANY human relationship that we need to have a godly and Spirit-led response towards those who do wrong to us, but it does NOT imply that we should avoid taking steps to stop the mistreatment. This passage also, again, insists that the man is to show her honor and live with her in an understanding way, respecting the fact that (in most cases) she is physically weaker than him (not exploiting that in an abusive way). Verse seven of this passage reveals that God Himself will oppose a man who mistreats his wife.
You Do Not Deserve Abuse and it is Not Your Fault
The first thing I want to say to you, Christian woman, if you are being abused by your husband is that you NEVER deserve to be abused, and it is NOT YOUR FAULT! You are cherished by your Heavenly Father. He loves you infinitely. You are treasured and loved by God. If you are in Christ, you are His child, and nothing can ever separate you from His love that is in Christ Jesus:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
If you are being abused by your husband, he is sinning against you. He is wrong. He has major problems. You are not responsible for his behavior. His mistreatment of you can never separate you from God’s love. God is for you, not against you. For a man to harm his wife (or children) in any way (even emotionally) is one of the most despicable acts of cowardice he could ever commit. His role is to protect and defend; NEVER to harm. EVER!
The Civil Magistrate
Romans 13:1-6 and 1 Peter 2:14 inform us that the Civil Government is established by God to punish those who do evil and promote (protect) those who do what is right. Any case of physical and/or sexual abuse of any person (assault) should be reported to the police. That is the purpose for which they were created by God. In our modern judicial system, if there is no physical evidence of abuse, there often will not be a prosecution (for obvious reasons), so whenever there is physical evidence (bruises, marks, cuts, burns, etc.) make sure you report it right away and DO NOT DELAY. It is important to establish a legal documentation of every case of physical and/or sexual abuse. Make sure these individuals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Government officials are God’s agents of wrath, to bring about justice for the oppressed.
A temporary restraining order can sometimes be filed for cases of abuse, but they only last for a time. A State-sponsored women’s shelter may protect you and give you shelter for a night, but you’ll need to have a long-term game plan beyond the short-term solution.
Emotional, Spiritual, Economic and Mental Abuse
Let me attempt to address the non-Physical and non-Sexual aspects of abuse for a moment. If you call the police and tell them that your husband is mentally, emotionally or verbally abusing you, or depriving you financially, they are probably just going to tell you to divorce him, and you are not going to get any help from them. So the next place to turn is to the Church.
The first element in any relational conflict, or even in a case of abuse, is to talk with your abuser and confront them with their sin.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matthew 18:15, ESV).
Assuming that this has been attempted and no true LASTING CHANGE has occurred, you move on to the next steps in Matthew 18:16-17:
“But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
The real missing element in this whole issue is the Church. Unfortunately, in most cases, the Church leaders simply do not want to get involved. Or, in some cases, when they DO get involved, they side with the abuser, and tell the wife that if she wants to be godly, she must simply bear up under the abuse and submit to it. This is a gross misapplication of Scripture and demonstrates the ineptitude of such men to be leaders in the Church. Men who refuse to bring church discipline upon an abuser should be instantly defrocked and replaced with men who rightly divide the word of truth.
The bottom line is, whenever possible, your family should be in a church led by Biblically-qualified elders (1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) who will exercise church discipline on these miserable excuses for men. They will provide a safe environment for the family to live (if it is not physically or emotionally safe for them to live with the abuser), and will hold the man accountable, and walk through a process of repentance and restitution until the marriage can be healed and reconciled (with all parties living together in a safe, non-threatening environment).
Rule #1 is REPORT ANY NON-PHYSICAL AND NON-SEXUAL ABUSE TO YOUR CHURCH ELDERS! This is true for children and young adults still living at home as well. (As I said, call the police immediately if you are being harmed physically or sexually abused.) Make the church leaders respond in one way or another. Lovingly demand a response. You have a Matthew 18 complaint here against a brother who has done you harm, and this is step 2 (bringing two or three witnesses) after confronting the abuser yourself. The elders then should bring it before the church and excommunicate the man if he is unrepentant. Give the church the chance to do the right thing. Your abuser is engaging in habitual sin, and your silence is allowing them to damage themselves and their relationships. You are not doing them a favor by being silent. You need to speak up. Someone will surely listen. Don’t be afraid. Fear is what is keeping you in bondage. Bringing this sin into the light is what can allow everyone to find wholeness and healing. If the Church refuses to help, you have been used by God to hasten their demise. God will judge them and discipline them for their inactivity.
A couple of distinguishing characteristics of an abuser are control and isolation. It is not uncommon for an abusive person to try to avoid accountability and also to keep his or her family away from people who might “interfere.” If there is no church willing to get involved, or if the husband is not a believer, or if he will not submit to the discipline of the church, then the woman needs to move on to plan B.
Leaving Your Spouse?
Can you divorce your spouse for abuse? Here is what Jesus said:
“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:9, KJV)
As far as I can tell, this is the ONLY allowable exception for divorce. Abuse doesn’t count. Now if your spouse has sexually molested another person, then, of course, the verse above applies. You can rightfully divorce them. Again, if I were God, I might have written the text differently, but we are not God, and we must submit to Him and His word.
So can you leave your spouse for your own safety and the safety of your children, not divorcing but giving physical separation for your protection?
“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:10-16, KJV)
God tells husbands and wives NOT to separate from one another, but then, in the same breath He says, “But if you do separate, don’t remarry, try to reconcile.” I believe that God recognizes that in some EXTREME situations there may need to be a time of physical separation, for the ultimate purpose of reconciliation. This is my personal advice (I could be wrong, but I’m going to give what I think is a Biblical position on this matter):
If you are in a situation where you and your children are being harmed by abuse of some kind and it is too difficult for you to live in that environment anymore, I’m going to advise you to find a place of physical safety, apart from the chaos and the stress, so that you can clear your head, pray, and seek God’s wisdom. When you are living in the midst of the abuse, you can’t think straight. The purpose of this separation is NOT to start looking for a new spouse, to start planning your divorce or to simply hit the eject button on a normal marriage that has had the same bumps in the road as every marriage. No, this is in an extreme case where you and/or your children are being harmed, physically and/or emotionally. Christian woman, you need to protect yourself and your children from true harm.
My suggestion is that you tell your husband that you want to be married to him, and that your goal is reconciliation, but that you are no longer willing to live under abuse. He has a choice to make. He needs to seek help, counseling and accountability through a local church, walking out repentance over time (I’d recommend six months for emotional abuse and at least a year for physical abuse) before you are willing to live with him again. The ball needs to be in his court. You are not divorcing him, but you are also not willing to be the brunt of his abuse anymore.
When/if you decide to separate, you will need to have a game plan. If your situation is dangerous, you may want to consider getting a restraining order (which is hard to obtain without evidence of physical abuse), contacting a domestic violence help line to find a domestic violence shelter in your area (for a short-term place to stay) and line up family or friends who are willing to house you (perhaps even in a secret location) on a longer-term basis until you find a more long-term dwelling you can afford. Depending on your situation, this transition process can be very dangerous for you and your children, so think it out well, pray and plan strategically, and move decisively.
If you go to a state-run women’s shelter, they will tell you to divorce your husband. If you talk to many people in the Church, they will tell you to divorce your husband. We need to remember that not only does God say He HATES divorce (Malachi 2:16), but divorce is NOT a simple solution that makes all of our troubles go away! There are custody battles, child support wars, split visitation, the influence of the other spouse when your children are away from you with him (or her), the possible remarriage of your spouse and the introduction of a new step-parent into your child’s life, and on and on. Divorce is nasty and ugly. It is not God’s design.
I recognize that there are sometimes very complicated legal issues, which vary from state to state, that may bring extenuating circumstances to bear, and you may end up divorced. It is my understanding from Jesus teaching above that EVEN THEN, you are to remain single and seek reconciliation until such time as that person dies or remarries. My advice is, if at all possible, make the termination of your marriage the decision of your spouse, rather than your decision. Attempt to leave the door of hope open to them. I personally believe that it is important for your children to know that you did not terminate the marriage, but rather, you fought FOR your marriage (even while providing necessary protection for yourself and your children in the meantime). If divorce papers are going to be filed, if someone is going to permanently bail on the marriage, if you at all can, make sure it is your spouse who closes the door, not you. Your children will be far more likely to understand the situation for what it is and stand with and support you if you are not the one who terminated the marriage.
In keeping with the 1 Corinthians 7 passage, if your abusive spouse makes the decision to walk away from the marriage, and serves you with divorce papers, my advice is to consider them to be an unbelieving spouse (having rejected the Church and being treated as an unbeliever), and LET THEM GO. Remain single, continue to pray for your spouse, and seek reconciliation, but only upon repentance that has been walked out over time under the accountability of godly men.
If you have reached the end of this article and still feel stuck with no direction, because my counsel, for some reason, doesn’t work in your situation, please find solid Christian people in your area (or online if nowhere else) who can pray with you and give you Biblical counsel. You probably need this no matter what, but especially if you are in a situation where you feel hopelessly stuck. As I said, I don’t have a silver bullet to offer you that will magically fix all of your problems, but I do believe in the power of prayer and the desire of our Heavenly Father to perform a miracle on your behalf.
If your spouse will submit to counseling, I’d highly recommend trying to find a certified Biblical counselor in your area. www.BiblicalCounseling.com
Years ago, I met a Detective Sergeant Don Stewart who wrote a book on called, Refuge: A Pathway out of Domestic Violence and Abuse. Here is a five page interview on this topic that features him: The Silent Epidemic.
Here is a helpful article, But He Never Hit Me: A Christian Primer on Emotional Abuse, from Christianity Today.
Focus Ministries is a Christian organization designed to help victims of domestic violence. I attended a seminar hosted by their founder many years ago and was impressed with their balanced and Biblical perspective.
I don’t know much about this group, but perhaps it will be useful: The Christian Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADA).
Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker. He is the Director of Family Renewal, LLC and Site Editor for www.ChristianWorldview.net.
Good job, Israel.
My only concern is with the recommendation of a NANC counselor. I was counseled by a husband and wife team who were NANC counselors. They sided with the abuser because of how good he sounded in his apology ; they did not look for the fruit of true repentance. (My abuser’s track record was to apologize when found out and to go back to his abusive ways when he wasn’t being held accountable) I actually received additional guilt and shame from them about my abusive relationship instead of the help and protection that I was seeking. (I had already been to the elders of the church.)
I just wanted to remind the men and women that are in abusive relationships that even their counsellors can make poor judgements. Like it is mentioned in the article someone who is helping in this situation really needs to be Spirit-led to see through the lies and deception that are occurring. Beg God for this! He sees your situation and the evil that is occurring – He will lead you from it, but you must be willing to take some very scary steps of faith to be removed/protected from it.
May all, in any abusive situation, see God move on their behalf!
Repentance is not an apology. Repentance is walked out and demonstrated over time in a context of accountability.
Thank you for sharing your experience.
Abusive people tend to be sociopaths and be Machiavellian, so they are very good at tricking counsellors. An honest person has nothing to gain from attending marriage counselling with an abusive person.
Your story sounds all too familiar…. The exact same scenario for me as well. And upon then seeking out church elders for help, it only got even worse! I have been shocked by the choices displayed by leadership of two different churches — claims of being unbiased all the while clearly practicing favoritism (as if there is a “good ole boy” club governing the process with the unwritten rule men are to always be believed and defended. Otherwise, women will take over the world… ); the exercise of rash judgment and following of first impressions (believing themselves to have infallible discernment capabilities… ) rather than recognizing the need to explore deeply for facts, ask hard questions, and expose lies; the seeming refusal to see a difference between forgiveness and trust. Instead, “forgive and move on” is the mentality promoted, which only further enables abuse. The emphasis is, “Things will be better, wife, if you just do this, this, and this” which only emboldens the twisted and entitled thinking of the abuser that his behavior is somehow justified. Starkly lacking is any emphasis on the need for repentance … the need to see genuine fruit… the need to see full ownership taken… and as Israel points out — to see this consistently presented over a long period of time… (as abusers are slick at constructing outward appearances for a time. All too soon, once accountability either wanes or charm has worked its magic spell of believability, it is right back to the old patterns of living the double life… the private realm which does not match the public one…).
All in all, the ease with which leaders have fallen to my husband’s manipulation has been downright alarming and dismaying…
Sigh… so, yes, Margo… yes, Israel, this is indeed a real problem within the church, and many families are unnecessarily being destroyed instead of finding rescue.
Thank you Israel for taking some bold steps. This subject is one in dire need of being addressed. Perhaps in time God will use you to wake up a few leaders… and at least some families will be saved.
Thank you, Israel, for your Biblical reasoning on this most difficult subject. Now a widow, I had 36 years with a Godly husband, and praise the Lord for His goodness in that. However, in these days in which we walk, when individuals think they should be able to do whatever they want, the Biblical methods must be the means of correcting wrong in abusive homes. I appreciate that you only recommend divorce when it is founded upon the Biblical standard.
Thank you for your feedback. This is such a silent, hidden sin in the Church. May God expose it with His light and bring hope and healing!
Is it your position that divorced people should not seek remarriage with someone other than their former spouse?
What do the Scriptures teach?
I have my own interpretation, but I’m not at all sure it’s the right one. That’s why I’d like to hear yours.
The Bible never encourages remarriage except for death.
Thank you for this excellent advice which is proven from Scripture. My mother was abused in her first marriage and she had to flee in the middle of the night without my two brothers. At the time the church she belonged to took her abusive husband’s side and pronounced my mother as unfit for leaving.
This topic has got to be discussed and a plan made by church leadership on how to help the abused spouse, as well as how to counsel both parties. I pray those reading this will take interest and begin discussing how they can be part of the solution.
It is so tragic that your mother’s situation is so common. I pray that churches will begin to discuss this issue and seek Biblical solutions as you suggest. May this article be like two small fish and five small loaves in the hands of the Savior.
Thank you for your balanced approach to handling this often ignored issue in the family. It is easier to cast a vision for what would be the ideal than to tackle what to do when things go horribly wrong. So needed! I wrote a small blog post on this a number of years back as I saw so many women on biblical women’s forums who were given what I considered harmful advice: http://ehomebody.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-to-handle-troubled-marriage.html (Submitted at Israel’s request).
Israel, I really enjoyed this article. I am not living in an abusive situation (my wife is a gift!) however, reading your remarks has given me some good guidance in the event that I ever am called on to counsel someone through a situation like this. Thanks for the Biblical and practical information.
Wow. Margo and AnotherStatistic. I have gone to church leadership in two different churches for my husband’s repeated adultery… about the same story as yours. He totally deceives them by saying exactly what they want to hear. He looks great on the outside but at home he is cold, hard-hearted, unaffectionate, says he can never love me again, has lost his love for the Lord. If I try to tell the truth, I am rebuked for speaking ill of my husband. Also went to a NANC counselor couple who just kept telling me to forgive and submit and get a better attitude while my husband sat there with a smile on his face and lied, lied, lied about everything. There has been no biblical repentance, so no reconciliation or recovery or renewal. I am trapped in a living nightmare with no hope other than death. Yes, I am depressed because I can do nothing to change my situation. God hasn’t found fit to bring my husband to repentance, and the Church supports my husband while making me feel like dirt. He is a leader in the homeschool community and everyone (other than me) tells him what a wonderful father and husband he is. Women fawn over him and tell him he will have extra blessings in heaven because he is so inspiring to them. Some of our children buy into his “image” (they are his favorites and receive all sorts of love and affection and attention) and others are disgusted by the public act (I worry they will leave the faith because of living with a pharisee.) I can’t divorce, and this isn’t abuse so I can’t separate. I’ve confessed every sin I can think of, I’ve done everything any pastor or counselor has told me to do, read all the books and articles, forgave him over and over and over again… Those who are in a loving, normal marriage can’t begin to imagine what it is like to live with someone who does whatever he wants and gets away with it. Bottom line: going to the Church or counseling doesn’t necessarily help and might make things worse.
Kim, I’m confused. If he has repeatedly committed adultery, why can you not divorce him?
Perhaps because she can’t support herself, or because he will try to prevent her from being involved with the children?
These problems are often a part of what leaves women, especially women who don’t work outside the home and who homeschool feeling trapped.
Good points, Israel. Whoever files court documents first often has an advantage.
It shouldn’t be this way, but often it is. The abused party can reconcile their desire to avoid being
the one to file for divorce by filing for Legal Separation. This way they still leave a door open,
but are still the first to file. Also, it should be noted that counselling WITH an abuser is
NOT recommended as the abusers are skilled manipulators
(even of counselors sometimes) and the abused party will
never be able to disclose her full experience in that setting. Abuse can even worsen after joint counselling sessions. If there is suspected abuse, separate counselling sessions are really important. Some ideas…
Jackie, there are a lot of nuances legally with legal separation depending on your state. One lady I know filed for separation as a way to get her husband’s attention, but the state puts you on a timeline as soon as you file and you either file a divorce in six months or you drop the legal separation (at which point, it isn’t doing you any good). It can just have the same effect as divorcing (you are seen as the instigator and you are making a statement that you are done with the marriage (at least it appears that way). I realize there are extenuating circumstances where that may be necessary (to distance yourself legally from liability if he is being charged with child abuse for example, but people need to think long and hard about each of these decisions and be ready to walk out the long-term ramifications of each. There is no silver bullet that just magically makes it all better. It’s all hard.
Jackie, I’ve experienced the same thing in joint NANC counseling. We are counseling for my husband’s infidelity. I’m scared to go to counseling with him. I get the talking-to in the car afterwards. I’m not sure if separate counseling sessions work either because men like this are really good at putting the good face forward at the right time, even to me, so he can “prove” that he is “trying to reconcile”. It leaves me feeling frightened and in a continual state of emotional confusion and pain.
Well written! My question is should pastors be marrying couples when one or both of them have divorced?
That’s a good question. They should only perform marriages that are allowed by Scripture. So the question is, “What does the Bible allow in terms of divorce and remarriage?”
That’s a vital question for church leaders to struggle with and try to resolve from the text of Holy Scripture.
However, it is not really the focus of this particular blog, and I’m not going to attempt to try to resolve that issue here.
Thank you for commenting.
1. Because he “repents” when he is caught (he stops the affair) and he says he wants to have a good marriage. He is very convincing. I have to forgive 70 x 7 because God has forgiven me much more. Forgiveness according to Peacemakers means not ever talking about the incident again or talking to others about it or letting it hinder our relationship: http://www.peacemaker.net/site/c.aqKFLTOBIpH/b.958157/k.B361/Four_Promises_of_Forgiveness.htm
No one (pastors) would support me seeking a divorce when he is so “broken and humble”.
2. Plus I have to admit I have a large number of children and haven’t worked outside the home since we were married – my father has told me I need to stay unless I’m being beaten because that is how God is providing shelter/food/etc for my children and myself.
Sadly, your reply represents much of what is wrong in the church today — the skewed thinking and use of twisted scripture. While you are correct we must forgive (regardless of whether or not our offender repents), that does not mean there should be automatic restoration of fellowship — not if there are no accompanying signs of genuine repentance. It is wrong to isolate out one set of verses at the expense of others. Stand firm and remind those people telling you those things that God’s Word also stresses the importance of walking in the truth! If your husband’s private behavior toward you does not match his public presentation, than he clearly is showing himself to be nothing more than a complete liar and manipulator. His “seeking of forgiveness” is only a means to control you, to fabricate a positive outward image, and ultimately to protect himself.
We are not to enable liars and those those who are in self-delusion — all the more so if they are our own spouse, for we have made a vow to love them. And loving well does not mean turning a blind eye to sin and/or moving on when things are not right. It sometimes means calling things out… naming them for what they are. Saying it in love not bitterness, but saying it firmly and with the knowledge it is indeed the truth — even if you know you and God are the only ones who know it and believe it. You can rest in a decision to leave if you feel God leading you to. It does not matter what your father says, what your husband says, what your church friends say, etc. it does not matter… You stand before God and answer to no other. You will be judged by Him alone. Take rest in that.
I empathize with you, dear friend. It is easy for me to say all these things, but yet another thing altogether to implement it. I am still at home too !!– trapped by inability to hear clearly from God about the right timing… trapped by not yet having found work (though I have been applying to numerous jobs) trapped by wanting desperately to be able to leave smoothly…. But knowing that will likely never be a possibility. There will be pain if I stay and pain if I go…That is just a given. People just do not know the truth… They will condemn because they misunderstand. But when God makes it clear the timing is right, and He has helped establish the financial means to make the move, I will not hesitate. He will be with me.
And He will be with you, too, Kim, to help you take the steps needed. It may take years to get there, (so far 8 for me) but He will guide you. Continue leaning on Him… Find at least one faithful friend you can confide in. That is all you need besides the Lord…
Kim, I agree with AnotherStatistic’s advice and will be praying for the Lord to send you help.
Kim and AnotherStatistic,
My heart goes out to you both. I can’t imagine how painful it must be to have lived through your situation.
Kim, I think AnotherStatistic is dead on in her advise. Your husband has proven that he is not repentant.
“’Tis not enough to say,
We’re sorry, and repent;
And yet go on, from day to day,
Just as we always went.
Repentance is to leave,
The sins we loved before,
And show that we in earnest grieve,
By doing so no more.”
The fact is, according to Scripture, you don’t own him even one second chance. Marital unfaithfulness, according to Jesus, is Biblical grounds for divorce. Period. A repeated offense is adding insult to injury. There is no justifiable Biblical argument that binds you to your marriage, in my view.
There is also no Scriptural command that insists you MUST leave him if he has been unfaithful, but it is very clear that you may.
On the practical side, I definitely hear you. That’s a tough spot. Again, you separating or divorcing doesn’t mean that God couldn’t regenerate his heart and that things couldn’t be mended later, but it sounds to me like you need to be out from under the hypocrisy and so do your children.
Again, I’m basing what I’m saying assuming that everything you are telling me here is true. I realize there are always two sides, but based on an assumption of the truthfulness of your testimony, I think you have received bad counsel that says you MUST remain in that marriage. You MAY if you so choose, but for whatever it may be worth, I don’t believe the Scripture teaches you MUST stay. I pray that God will lead you in paths of righteousness for His name sake!
Thank you for writing this, however I find the “Biblical response” to be somewhat unhelpful. Some of your advice is good, it’s probably SAFER not to divorce as well, at least not until he’s moved on and started up a new relationship of his own and is thus no longer trying to stalk you. I think that’s why God put that in the Bible, not to punish women but to keep them safe because when you leave it is so dangerous to be in a new relationship and risk him getting insanely (violently) jealous. And you NEED to take pictures every time and report it to the police (but not in front of your abuser or you will pay for it later). The police may be there for our own good, but they don’t like getting involved in dv cases, and if they charge your abuser and he gets a slap on the wrist, you’re going to feel his wrath later. There is often absolutely no one to turn to. It’s not just that abusers are skilled at knowing how to isolate you for years, it can also be the case that when you try to tell people, they either lie very convincingly or spout an exaggerated version of everything wrong you’ve ever done. They can and do make people believe THEY are the victim. So what are you supposed to do when you’ve TRIED to live the Biblical way and had many children, little to no job experience and not much college education because you were a homemaker all those years, forfeiting your education so he could work on his, and suddenly realize that your marriage is unsafe? There is no one to help. All they do is tell you how wrong it is that you have to live like that, and how you should leave. But you already know that, and you CAN’T leave. Even getting all the welfare you can (and I believe in a case like it is warranted) you can’t afford to raise all your children alone. It’s like $700 a month, which wouldn’t even pay the rent, and the law now requires you to work a certain number of hours to receive it. So say you get a job making an additional 7 or 800 a month, you still can’t afford an apartment big enough, not when the landlords all insist your income be 3-4 times the price of the apartment and that you have to have an apartment with only 2 people per bedroom. You can’t make do with a smaller one even though you’d be happy to try because they won’t rent to you. Who is going to help you if you don’t have family or friends willing to? You really CAN’T rely on the elders of the church. They don’t want to get involved, and they are very prone to thinking you’re a liar and siding with your man. I don’t even think it’s their fault, it’s just that abusers can lie so WELL and so convincingly! They have so much practice. I wouldn’t even try it because your abuser is just going to turn them against you and then punish you for talking about him like that. Leaving is so so dangerous and when the worst violence (even murder) usually happens is when you try to leave. So if you can’t stay hidden, you might actually be better off staying. Even if you think he won’t, he WILL stalk you. The only other advice I have for people in this situation is don’t think that just because it’s “a little” physical abuse it’s not bad enough to warrant leaving. If he is a pattern abuser it will not stop no matter how nice he seems for a time (this is all just part of the pattern). He will say he’s changed and be extra sweet and kiss the ground you walk on for a time, but that time will end and next time he abuses you is probably going to be worse. One lady told me her husband had never done much besides yelling, and she thought it was safe when out of the blue one night he got good and drunk and put her in the hospital. She barely survived and her face was unrecognizable for weeks. It was then that God told her it was leave him or die waiting for him to change. And I don’t mean waiting for him to say that he’s changed, because abusers are all too ready to do that. I would be very very reluctant to advise anyone to ever try reconciling with an abuser. An abused person wants their relationship to be saved SO badly, and an abuser will try very hard, like I said he will kiss the ground she walks on and try to convince everyone he has changed. Don’t be surprised if your lapsed Christian spouse suddenly starts going to church, reading the Bible and praying with you, he will even go to counseling for a few months. It’s not true repentance, it’s manipulation!! He’s just doing whatever he thinks you want. If you asked him to renounce the faith he would probably do that too if he really thought it would make you happy and convince you to come back. I doubt if abusers ever really repent. I have never seen it happen. I have never even heard of it happening, and one woman who works at a crisis dv shelter said she never has either. Forgiveness means you let go of your guilt, bitterness and blame. It does not mean you let someone walk all over you or even continue to be in a relationship with them. It would take years and a lot of true sorrow and effort for them to really change, it would be very hard work and would mean they no longer lied or excused their behavior. Like I said, I’ve never heard of this happening. I would advise other women to look for signs of abuse but often there are no signs until after marriage except that they will try and rush you into a serious relationship without taking the time to get to know them. In my mind this is not a whole lot different than a shotgun wedding. I wish there were more help for abused women but sadly there is not. I highly do NOT recommend dv shelters as they are often extremely dirty, crowded, lacking in food etc but if you absolutely have nowhere else to go they can help you. They don’t really pressure you to divorce, most are trained not to pressure you in any way at all because they know you will see pressure as a threat. Oh in case you haven’t figured it out, I’ve been in them before.
Thank you for commenting. You bring up some important considerations here.
Please keep in mind that I am trying to address an extremely wide spectrum of possible “abusive” situations that may range from a husband complaining about his wife’s cooking, to him threatening (or trying) to kill her. It’s hard to provide broad, general counsel when specific details are not provided and you are reaching a mass audience.
The cases you are describing are much farther down the line in terms of actually physical violence. In cases of physical or sexual abuse, I did NOT recommend talking to your church elders for some kind of mediation or help. I also said that you’d have to see repentance consistently walked out for a year or more in such cases before you could begin to think there was some genuineness to it. So I’m not encouraging women to blindly believe an abusive man who claims to now “see the light.”
Unlike you, I HAVE seen churches provide help and facilitate healing in non-violent situations. It is extremely rare, but it does happen (and should be a norm). Also, your assumption that abusers never change is a rather harsh one. I have seen abusers stop abusing. It CAN happen.
Paul says this in 1 Cor. 6:9-11:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
If we believe the gospel of grace, we believe that no one is beyond God’s reach. If abuse is an unpardonable (or unchangeable) sin, then the gospel isn’t really the gospel.
At the same time, I totally understand your caution and you are right, abusers are manipulators and they are not to be trusted lightly (I don’t think I advocated for that in my article).
At the end of the day, whether we like it or not, if we are Christians, we have to live within the confines and restraints of the teaching of Scripture. Whatever we recommend or promote must be informed by the Word of God. If you feel that I have erred in terms of what the Bible says about this issue, I would invite you to share a better understanding of what the text teaches. I don’t want to defend a position, I want to know what God thinks, because that is what will bring the most healing and wholeness and liberation (not our opinions or pragmatic solutions).
As I said in the essay, I wish there was a simple silver bullet I could give to women in these situations, but I don’t know of one.
Finally, as a child, I spent LOTS of time in DV shelters. More than you can imagine. I’m not unaware of the drawbacks. I said, it’s a temporary shelter, and you need a long-term game plan. I’m not at all unfamiliar with this scene and have had first-hand experience being victimized by evil that would make most people (even in the DV community) shiver. So I’m not glibly throwing out ideas off the top of my head here. I care deeply for these women and their children, otherwise I wouldn’t have written this. I’m not saying I have omniscient knowledge, I don’t, but I’m also not merely an armchair quarterback here.
I recognize the Church has failed in this area. I’m bringing this up in the hope that it will spur discussion and perhaps result in real solutions that are not usually on the table right now: Long-term housing for single parent mothers, financial support from the church, employment options from home for moms who want to be with their kids and not abandon them for others to raise, etc. I wish I could snap my fingers and make all of that appear, but I can’t. But perhaps in us discussing this, someone somewhere will decide that they can help a family in their area who is in need. Who knows? I figure it can’t hurt to try.
Israel, great article. What do you say about a wife who is caught in a situation where her husband is a chronic porn addict and “repents” but lies, and manipulates her with anger and other tactics? Jesus said if you look at a woman to lust after her it is the same as committing adultery in your heart…so is chronic porn addiction grounds for divorce? She refuses to put up with it so he told her to get out…to complicate the situation, the church they attend is pastored by his father.
My personal view is that viewing porn (which is absolutely a sin of the heart according to Jesus) is not something that can be dealt with on a civil level. For example, if someone hates his brother in his heart, we don’t seek the death penalty for murder from the Civil Magistrate. If someone covets his neighbor’s TV, we don’t call the police and have him arrested for theft. Does that make sense. So no, I don’t think a porn addiction equates taking a civil action of divorce (even though in God’s eyes, it is spiritually equal to adultery).
HOWEVER, I don’t believe that a wife should accept or tolerate a porn addiction as a normal part of life. She should NOT be okay with his degrading sexual sin of lust. This may sound like a simplistic solution, but I would have them contact http://www.PureLifeMinistries.org (PLM)and seek help there. They have a 6-12 month live in program for men who are bound in sexual addiction. I’ve seen a lot of men truly break free from the power of sexual sin and lust from going through their program.
Personally, I would recommend the wife take the same approach of separation (not legal divorce) with her husband in such a case. The fact is, he is not being faithful to his marriage vows (to love his wife alone and save himself for her), and he very well may be a risk to her physically (if he is engaging in sex acts with other people) or may be a risk to her children (if they still live at home) as child porn or homosexuality are often the next steps taken by sex addicts.
So, I think she needs to take it to the church, move out if need be, insist he go to the PLM live-in program, and stick to her guns that she will NOT move back in with him unless he has walked out repentance consistently, with accountability, for 8-12 months. Again, the ball needs to be in his court. This is not business as usual. He needs to deal with his problem and stop it completely.
That’s my take.
Sorry, I ignored the part about the church (because I was trying to think of generic advice for women in general, not just this case). But if the church won’t help, stick to your guns and don’t be bullied into accepting that perverted lifestyle. It’s not okay. God isn’t okay with it. He needs to get help, and apart from that, you don’t have a real marriage. He needs to be confronted with that reality in a way that costs him something.
Just like Israel says…there is no silver bullet to fix the mess of domestic violence. I have to stress that although it has the image of being mostly wives being abused, that has changed. I’m a woman so I can say this….I have heard of more cases in the past two years of women abusing men than men abusing women. I believe this is due to the imbalance of women doing more now than ever…caring for the children, caring for the home, caring for the husband, and working full time. It’s too much. Women are maxed out.
As far as women being abused, I have lived it. I have called the police in fear of my life knowing that my spouse is in a rage from being bipolar and dealing with the loss of his father and had snapped several times. When it happened I didn’t hesitate to dial 911 even though I was naked outside our home afraid to attempt to go back inside to get clothes. When threat is real…you run. I don’t understand being afraid to run…I only know being afraid to stay. I know right from wrong. I know that when I’m washing my face in the sink, getting ready for bed, then out of no where being dragged down the hall trying to get my feet under me…only to find resisting got me more injuries so go with the flow so I’m better off….THATS ABUSE. I never waited to get the police involved. I was well loved growing up….I knew how to love well…and I did. I did nothing to deserve this!
I’m stumped by women who can’t understand their worth. My worth has nothing to do w being married or single. Having 5 kids or no kids. Having a job or being a stay at home mom. My worth is based on Christ gave his life up for me while I was a sinner. I treat people according to how Christ treated me. I love people for their potential. It’s not based on what I get in return.
So wives love your husbands regardless if they watch tv nonstop, believing they will one day recognize the need you have for help…AND COMMUNICATE the need you have…and say no to the things that max you out instead of going to bed too exhausted to have intimate times w him. I get disgusted when I hear married women gripe about their spouse who is working and paying all the bills and their home raising the kids and they would rather stay late at bible study chatting w other girls than get home to their husband that will just want to have sex w them. WOW….really? Don’t get me wrong….I know being a stay home mom is hard…I did it for a couple years….while I ran my own business and paid more than half the bills. But most marriages have communication problems that build and build to the point of verbal abuse….a time or two of lashing out ( shoving) …and going to counseling is what couples do as a LAST RESORT….hello. It’s too late then. People detach when their hearts rest in bitterness.
The church needs to be proactive in counseling BEFORE there are problems. Communicating issues of compatibility before marriage. How you live, how you spend, how you touch, how you spend your time, how you raise your kids is a prior to marriage problem that’s not addressed because the church,…YOU AND I are the church and we let our friends get together based on lust…not deep friendship and spiritual principals.
The church ignores the dating season. That’s why marriage is unsuccessful …so much to the point of physical abuse at the minor level. By the time it’s major abuse….I don’t feel its salvageable . Major abuse is beyond a fixable repair to be in a relationship. And yes I’m giving abuse degree levels. I’ve lived it. I have the right. Shoving, yelling, controlling your friends, eliminating your financial grasp, threatening items of value…it’s minor. Beating you, threatening lives, dragging you and having no inclination of what your body drags across or through in the process is major abuse. Major abuse….run, call the police, stay away, get counseling for yourself and your kids, make your circle of friends be aware of the truth…they won’t be surprised, as a child of God, His favor will be with you and your worth will show to those that are spirit lead.
If your dealing w minor abuse…don’t stall in getting counseling ….ask God to change your heart and to change your spouses. Learn to forgive. Never believe the lie from satan that someone else would be easier to live with….everyone is difficult. My councilor once told me, every problem you have in your current marriage has to be fixed before you can ever move on. If you don’t fix it, they will still be there for the next marriage . Too many people spend too much time on the things that don’t matter, than on investing into relationship building activities .
Husbands….Christ gave his life for the church….even while we were sinners he gave himself up…..so you are responsible for the reconciliation of your marriage. EVEN IF YOUR WIFE is wrong……don’t let her sit and cool off….she will only sit and stew hotter. Men need to be the nurturers …..then the wife won’t have a problem submitting. Women submit easily to men who nurture them instead of USE them.
Ever since I was labeled as the girl that was abused by her husband in my church, women started coming to me with their stories….stories that most of the time I felt were situations that were provoked to the point of minor abuse just so the person can separate or divorce. And then in no time they were already dating someone else….that they met in recovery class at church. Really? Don’t get me wrong….a few cases that came to me, I genuinely felt their need for separation. And in some cases, both parties were not healthy individuals to be in a marriage at all. That happens. Marriage isn’t made for everyone even though our society makes you think it is….and at the same time makes you think being self centered is they only way to survive.
Our church needs to address dating…and address more about the side of not marrying. Somehow the church has focused more on getting married and having kids than it has that being single forever is very admirable and you are better to serve God full time this way. What happened to that message?
I’m sure I stirred the pot with this long message! I promise, it’s out of love for all my friends that are hurting and to prevent those from going down my path. And yes, I’ve been single for 7 years after my divorce ….what a relief!
First of all…I am SO SORRY that you had to live through that! It breaks my heart. I’m amazed that you made it through. God’s grace!
Remember (I’m a like a broken record on this line): “God never allows us to go through any pain or difficulty that He does not fully intend to redeem for His glory, our good, and the benefit of others.” I can see the reality of that in your experience.
Secondly, thank you so very much for sharing your story and your perspective. I know that many women will find your honesty to be empowering and hope-building for them! Blessings to you!
Great job Israel. WE counsel enough marriages to know that abuse takes many forms and is never acceptable.
Margo, I am so sorry that your nouthetic counselors gave you bad advice and piled guilt on you. That is not true nouthetic counseling. Gods word is sufficient in all situations and He never gives permission or puts His stamp of approval on abuse or abusers. Forgive those of us who have hurt you. As a general rule the counsel you would get from certified NANC counselors would never side with the abuser or tell the woman to stay with him and put up with the abuse.
Two other good resource persons are Leslie Vernik who wrote Emotionally Destructive Marriages. And also Dr. Jimmy Evans who does excellent marriage ministry.
I agree. You cannot judge or dismiss all nouthetic counseling because of this one bad example. Most are still your best option for counsel based on biblical principles.
Though they never read the documentation (as it was never my intent to bring it in to the session and add further shame to my husband… It was meant primarily for his benefit to try to help him wake up and begin to recognize his destructive patterns of which he was in denial, and, only secondarily to have some evidence on hand, if ever needed) My nouthetic counselors quickly condemned me when they learned (from my husband) that I had been documenting “our problems” … They said it was a violation of 1 Cor. 13’s “Love keeps no record of wrongs…”
They were the first among many over the years from counselors to church elders who have taken that stance and by doing so have actually served to enable my husband to continue in his sin… and, thereby, allow the destruction of our family. In every case, my husband’s word has ended up just being automatically accepted over mine … Through his skill he convinces them he is the victim of a critical, unforgiving wife. Not one of them has ever wanted to explore deeply for the facts. No hard follow-up questions have ever been asked when needed (when lies have been revealed or a trouble spot begins unfolding… Husband quickly diverts attention to something else, they fall for it, and the truth is prevented from being discovered)…
It has been shocking to me to see what passes for Biblical counseling…
I have heard of a similar experience as yours. The only solution was for the wife to bring in other witnesses to their elders. They finally listened after the children also went to the elders. The father was church disciplined. I cannot go into more detail because of confidentiality.
Letting the children be witnesses may work for some situations of abuse – particularly if they are children being physically abused (I’m glad it did help for the family you mention!!), but it doesn’t often work in situations where emotional and spiritual abuse are the primary factors and the opposite is actually occurring — the children are being catered to, pandered to, and in many ways outright *groomed* to protect Dad and to see Mom as the problem. … i.e. When part of the abuse pertains to the husband forcing his wife to be “the bad guy” in the children’s eyes … because she has been given the sole burden of training/disciplining of the children, and those children are sons, and even more particularly when those sons are in their adolescent years — the time when boys most need to see their father standing up, calling out negative behaviors (lying, disobedience, selfishness, etc.) and lovingly defending their mother against disrespect but, instead, they regularly witness Mom being undermined by Dad when she asks for his help as he either stands by silently, or he provide excuses for their behavior enabling them to manipulate their way out of everything, those sons are not about to call out their “Best Buddy” in a confrontational setting… They want to keep him happy. He is the one who funds everything they want and condones their self-absorbed lifestyle …
I have done a study of Abigail (married to Nabal) and found much counsel there. Abigail was the wife of a fool and suffered much at his hands. I thought to send the article I wrote about it, but probably should not when this is only meant for comments.
Beth, please feel free to post your article here. God bless!
Great article Israel. This is a subject I have seen way too much of from all directions except experiencing it myself (from false accusations destroying a man’s life to women being abused and thinking they had to stay- with a boyfriend no less! not even a husband. Good grief!)
Remember, ladies, the definition of “repent” is NOT apologize. It is “turn around.” So you can’t tell if someone has repented until they have LIVED it for a long period of time (I agree, at least a year).
And even God does not forgive until the person has repented.
No, we should not hold grudges, be bitter, etc. That only destroys us.
But salvation (forgiveness of sins) is only given after repentance.
For a counselor to require forgiveness from you before repentance is demonstrated is to require you to be bigger than God (God has the advantage of seeing the heart and knowing immediately if the apology is true repentance or not. We can only go by a person’s behavior).
Thank you, Israel for addressing this difficult subject.
“For a counselor to require forgiveness from you before repentance is demonstrated is to require you to be bigger than God (God has the advantage of seeing the heart and knowing immediately if the apology is true repentance or not. We can only go by a person’s behavior).”
Thank you, Tracy, for that truth!! There are many these days who reject the idea that repentance needs to be confirmed before restoration of fellowship, but it is, again, only because so much twisting of scripture has occurred over the years, and people are just buying what they are taught without being Bereans who search the scriptures for themselves to see what real love and forgiveness really looks like from God’s perspective.
ooops, I mean, Betty… Sorry.
Thank you. You have Biblically given guidance in a tough situation.. Blessings to ypu.
My parents are separated at this moment. I agree that separation should be with the ultimate purpose of reconciliation. You recommend a period of about a year to test whether there is true repentance from the abuser. How would one know there is true repentance, especially since abusers are so good at putting on a good face? because neither the spouse nor the accountability partner (if there is one) will be living with the abuser so how do we know it’s not just an outward face of change?
I am so sad….Kim and AnotherStatistic and whoever else is in the same category…I believe you and I am praying for you.
I am a man who has been emotionally abused by his wife for decades. Only 2 times can I remember her physically striking me, but more times than I can remember she has lashed out at me verbally because she “didn’t feel well” or something went wrong with her day, or this, or that, or just an unexplainable wave of anger that overcomes her from time to time with no identifiable trigger. We are now empty nesters. She is retired. I can retire but I am not. We should be enjoying our golden years, but I for one am not. I am miserable and I truly believe there is no hope left for me to be happy in this lifetime if I stick to the Christian creed of staying with and faithfull to my wife. I know I will continue to be a large mass which is simply expected to absorb her meteoric hits with a smile. I just had my birthday anniversary the other day. As usual, she gave me a very nice and loving birthday card, even included reference to God and what a “blessing” I am to her. Two days later she is screaming at me that the avocados I bought at the store were not soft enough to make Guacamole and then screamed at me even louder when I proceeded to make guacamole(that was acceptable enough that she ate it) because my making it was a statement that she doesn’t know what she is talking about regarding avocados. I truly do not see how me staying with her glorifies God’s kingdom. I truly do not see how this helps our adult children to see their mother mistreat their father and watch their father descend deeper and deeper into depression as time goes on. I used to love riding my motorcyle. I haven’t ridden it in years. I used to like scenic photography. I haven’t taken a photo in years. I used to like to fish and golf. I rarely do either. I usually just watch TV and fall asleep early every night now. The best time of my day is when I sleep. Please explain to me how my life is advancing Christ’s kingdom?
You should attempt to meet together with a counselor from http://www.BiblicalCounseling.com, or better yet, the elders in your church, if they are Biblically qualified. If she won’t go, you might consider going by yourself.