SERIOUS Marriage Problems or Abuse

Precious wife,

How my heart completely breaks for you if you are suffering at the hands of a cruel, abusive or violent husband who is not meeting his responsibilities to love, provide for, protect and lead his family in the ways that would honor God. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

I pray for healing for your spirit, for your children, for your husband and your marriage – and I completely believe that Christ is able to bring beauty from ashes in even the most awful situations.

FIND HELP, ASAP!

Please seek godly, experienced help!   There are some men who will be abusive no matter what their wives do – and that is not a wife’s fault!!!   There are also some husbands who, in the name of being the “spiritual authority” demand their wives’ “submission” and total obedience.  They ignore all the other verses in scripture and ignore what God commands them to do – to love, honor and protect their wives and to lead them selflessly and humbly.  They ignore the fact that they will stand before God and give an account one day and live as if they answer to no one.  

That is not at all how God describes godly leadership in His Word.  Husbands are never commanded to force their wives to obey God’s Word for them to submit.  Submission is a voluntary act that a woman does out of reverence to Christ.  If a husband is demanding that she put him in the place of God in her life or that she must obey him without question or he tells her she has no right to share her perspective, feelings and opinions – that is NOT a godly situation and a wife in such a situation needs godly help.

You are going to need greater resources than I can offer here if this is your situation..

  • Your respect and honoring your husband’s leadership can’t “fix” your husband’s PTSD, ADD, Asberger’s, narcissism, mental disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, criminal behavior, severe emotional/spiritual/physical abuse… etc.

You cannot change your husband.  Only God can heal and change him.  You are not the Holy Spirit.  Your love is not powerful enough to fix mental problems or addictions.

I do not believe that it is wise to submit to/cooperate with a man actively under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a man with an untreated mental disorder that is altering his thinking, or a man who is entrenched in some kind of major sin addiction (infidelity, gambling,  false doctrine/cult practices, homosexuality, criminal activity, etc).

There are times when physical separation may be very necessary. Seek God’s will, His Word, His face, His power and His glory. Seek godly, experienced, wise counsel if you have serious problems in your marriage!

If things are out of control in your marriage – and your husband’s thinking is impaired, or you or your children are in actual danger – please find godly, experienced, local help – a Christian pastor, counselor, a women’s shelter, the Salvation Army, etc… 

You may need to get somewhere safe for a time and pray for wisdom and seek God’s direction as you pray for healing.  

Husbands and wives ought to both be treating each other with respect and love!

If you are in danger – please find a way to safely get out!

I write my blog from the perspective of a wife who was controlling and disrespectful with a passive husband.

I do not have a history of being abused.  My parents were godly, Christian parents who set a good example of marriage.  There was never violence in our marriage on either side and my husband and I were never abused as children.  My husband doesn’t raise his voice or yell at me.  He has never attempted to physically harm me.  He has never called me names or verbally abused me.  I am not equipped to give advice to wives in abusive situations.

  • Some people raise concerns at times about my blog – saying that I am endorsing husbands abusing their wives.

Let me be as clear as I possibly can.

I absolutely NEVER condone abuse of any kind or any kind of sin towards anyone.  Abuse is sin.  It offends God.  It is destructive and it is wrong.  People will be accountable to God for any sin against others – unless they repent and find forgiveness in Christ – and they will be accountable to the law.  Abusers need help immediately.  And spouses who are being abused need help immediately.

  • Some people believe that because I don’t teach husbands and don’t tell them what to do – that I am saying that wives are totally responsible for all marriage and relationship problems.  That is not at all what I am saying.

Men and women are all wretched sinners – capable of plenty of different kinds of evil. We are each responsible for our own sin before God.

There are absolutely times when the loving and respectful thing to do can be:

- separation until there is healing

- creating healthy boundaries

- asking for abuse to stop

- seeking help outside of the marriage from a professional counselor/doctor/pastor

Please also keep in mind that I write primarily for those who are committed to Christ Jesus as Savior and LORD of their lives. The principles of God’s Word always apply, but the greatest blessing comes when we are walking in relationship with Christ. The reason biblical submission “works” at all in any situation is because a wife is living in the power of God’s Spirit in obedience to His Word and He will fulfill His promises to her that are in Scripture. Those who don’t know Jesus can’t claim the promises of God in the Bible. They may benefit somewhat from following God’s biblical principles. But I want you to experience God’s greatest blessings by trusting Christ fully to make you right with God by His death on the cross for you. To find out how to have a relationship with Jesus and to be right with God, please read here.

That is something for which people will have to seek God’s face, pray unceasingly and listen carefully to His Word and His Spirit for wisdom.   I am not in a place to tell women what to do in these situations.  God’s wisdom is infinitely higher than mine and there are many counselors whose wisdom is greater than mine in this area.

If there are serious problems in your marriage – physical abuse, major verbal abuse, major control by one spouse, substance or alcohol abuse, uncontrolled mental health disorders, infidelity… those things go way beyond the scope of my blog.  I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist.  I am not a licensed counselor.  I am not a pastor.  I have not experienced abuse myself.  I am not writing for women in these situations.  If you are experiencing these kinds of situations, PLEASE DO NOT READ MY BLOG, but seek qualified help.

If you are a wife who has gone almost totally quiet and silent and your husband is extremely controlling – my blog may not be a good fit for you – I am concerned that my blog may make things worse for you because of the filters you will read through because of your background and scars.  You may want to find a blog written by a godly wife who has gone through  a similar experience as yours who can offer more wisdom about the obstacles and challenges you face.  (Nina Roesner author of “The Respect Dare” hopes to have a site up specifically for abused wives in March of 2014)

This is a link to a post by Nina Roesner – author of The Respect Dare – that I think may be very helpful.  She recommends the book “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” by Leslie Vernick.

For Victims of Abuse.

RESOURCES

The Salvation Army may be able to help victims of domestic violence and abuse

The Doctrine of Spiritual Authority – my notes from a class I took on this subject from a man who has been an ordained minister for over 45 years.  I asked him about wives who are abused and whose husbands are actively addicted to drugs/alcohol or who are not in their right minds.  His comments about that are at the bottom of this post.

Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas

http://www.marriagemissions.com/why-do-christian-spouses-abuse-their-marriage-partners/

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2004/september/11.68.html?start=1

One of my readers suggests:

I’d like to recommend the following site.  http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/contact-about-us/ Jeff Crippen does an excellent job in his sermons of bringing to light biblical approaches to abuse. The one thing I would add that I feel he doesn’t always do the best job of is reminding us that abusers are certainly capable of experiencing redemption through the Lord. Though, statistically, it’s a small percentage of those who experience a heart change and thus change their ways. This should be remembered when advising anyone in an abusive situation. So, I do think someone like Jeff Crippen – speaking with such power on this issue – is what some people need to get them to sit up and take notice of how wrong and devastating this stuff really is and how it is dealt with in scripture. So much negativity and fear of misdirecting someone gets placed on divorce. And rightfully so. However, I strongly believe it is just as necessary to be this way toward abusive situations.

Lord,

Please give these wives the wisdom and direction they need to find the help You have for them.  Heal these broken marriages and remove the influence of the enemy in these homes!  Let Your Spirit be free to work in these husbands and wives and children’s lives.  Please restore these families to Yourself and to each other whole and healthy and let them bring great glory to Your Name!

Amen!

63 Comments on “SERIOUS Marriage Problems or Abuse”

  1. hurtmenomore
    June 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Hi April,

    Thanks for visiting me and leading me here. Am initially attracted to this page, “For Abused Wives”. I appreciate your kind and hopeful words. I know that God wants us to have a blissful marriage and I do believe that God understands why we can’t. It takes two to tango, so to speak. And despite efforts to save marriages, nothing happens, I trust God gives HIs blessing to whatever remedy the concerned may take.

    • peacefulwife
      June 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

      Hurtmennomore,
      Things would definitely be much better if husbands were all seeking God first in their own lives and repenting of their own sin and desiring to be godly leaders, husbands and fathers. Absolutely it takes two to make a marriage work.
      But I am so encouraged that even when just one spouse begins to apply God’s Word and obey God’s commands, so many times that spouse finds God’s peace and joy and the spouse begins to change and the marriage can become something beautiful. I am so sorry that you have been in pain, maybe for a very long time, and that it seems that nothing is working. :( That breaks my heart!!!! I pray that God might work and that you might have renewed strength and hope and be empowered by God’s Spirit to be the wife God desires you to be so that you can have no regrets, and that God might use you to draw your husband toward Himself and toward you. I know there are no guarantees. And I pray that if you are being abused that might stop and that your husband might be convicted of his sin and repent to God and to you. I pray that God will give you the strength and resources to know just what to do to bless your husband and child and to help you seek God above all else and find strength in Him to be the woman of His dreams!

  2. empathologicalism
    September 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    I have a lot to say on this topic, but will wait for our three way dialog

  3. megan
    March 30, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Hi April, i’m fairly new to your blog and really enjoying it. Would like to ask some questions regarding this topic, do you have an email address i can contact you at?

  4. David
    March 31, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    Thank you for your blog and Wonderful balanced insights here. Would only add that it is not only men who are the abuser in relationships and misuse of power and manipulation. But you have made that clear in many other areas of your blog.

    • peacefulwife
      March 31, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      David,
      That is an excellent point. Thank you for bringing it up. I’ll take a look to see if I need to add something about that in this post as well.

    • peacefulwife
      March 31, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

      David,
      Several men have mentioned the issue of women manipulating them as a topic I might want to address. Are there specific types of manipulation you would like to see me discuss?

    • Brad
      March 10, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

      100% Agree! I married my personal trainer of 2 years who spoke endlessly about her Proverbs 31 goal, then we married, and she quit her 2 jobs and sits around the house all day (without kids). Women can be just as cruel, which you’d know if you heard her words. I’m sooooooooooooooo tied of “abuse” being tied eternally with men when portions of women are (sinners, too).

  5. lph
    April 26, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    Hello I need some insight on how to handle a situation my husband wants me to attend his church I’ve been saved 23 years. My husband only about 5 . I started out going with him but because I needed to be fed meat I ask God to please help me. So I was led to this church where my soul leaped for joy. But knowing the word the way I do . I spoke to the pastor of this church my husbands pastor and my husband . I needed him to say he understood . He gave me the release to go. Now he has a change of mind. To me I feel he feels it doesn’t look good for us to be in 2 different churches . My soul is at risk here. I need to be fed or I’ll die. He and his pastor are very good friends even before he became his pastor. He is an elder now his amour bearear. And my husband loves to have a title he loves to be the leader and never the follower if he has the say so. Help me please. I only want to please God but I don’t think God wants me to die spritually either. This man of God is still learning how to bring forth the word. I just can’t recieve his style of communication . My marriage is in trouble with this and a host of other things. I need some help please

    • peacefulwife
      April 26, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      Iph,

      It’s wonderful to meet you!

      Well – I would love it if you both liked the church you were going to – that would be ideal. But I believe that, unless your husband is asking you to go to a cult, the respectful thing to do is to honor his spiritual leadership and go with him to the church he wants to go to. You can say, “I want to go to X church. I don’t want to go here anymore because of X, Y and Z.” But then say, “But I trust you to make the best decision for us. I know you are accountable to God for this decision, not me.”

      Thankfully – you can grow in your faith by your personal time of prayer and Bible study and you can listen to thousands of biblically solid sermons online. So, going to a church where you aren’t getting “fed” isn’t really the most important thing, in my mind.

      I had a similar situation earlier in our marriage. I wanted to leave, my husband wanted to stay – it was his dad who was the pastor. Ultimately, I cooperated with my husband – and God changed my heart and opened a lot of doors of ministry opportunity for me at that church and by the time his dad retired and we did leave, I was in tears and didn’t want to leave.

      If you can support your husband’s spiritual leadership here, I believe it honors God and your husband.

      Sometimes when people are called to be missionaries to remote parts of the earth – they don’t get to hear their favorite pastor, or their favorite worship music – but their mission from God is to minister to the people where God has sent them. It may be that God wants to use you to minister to your husband in the church where he wants to be. Or it may be that God wants you to minister to other people there. Or it could be that God wants you to pray for and encourage and support that new minister.

      I believe that if you will cooperate with your husband’s leadership, he will feel like you trust him and he will be much more careful about the decisions he makes. He will also see your faith and trust and that will inspire him to be a more godly man himself.

      You are responsible for your own spiritual growth and for abiding in Christ. You will not spiritually die if you continue in your personal relationship with God and listen to praise music throughout the day and listen to sermons online.

      Much love to you!

  6. Nekiwa
    May 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    I thank the Lord for the wisdom on your blog. Im praying trying to fig out if my hubby is controlling in an abusive way or not. Ive not been a very submissive wife. My hubby threatens to “allow God to move me out the way for his other better more submissive wife” all the time. He blames me for our marital problems. He’s a minister/prophet and he expects me to be at place spiritually where if he sahs to do something, i should do it wihout question, ina great mil spirit. In line with scripture of course. Ive struggled with letting my emotions get outta control when i think he’s making or leading our family wrong. Right now, neither one of us is working and he refuses to let me work bc we have a fojr yr old still at home. We have 4 children but god is providing for us thru public assistance. We fight everyday.if i dont wake up and put onnice clothes, he rebujes me, sometimes harshley. Seems like everyday we argu. I dont know what to do, can u pray for me snd give me sny advice? I know that God hates divorce and we’re not in a sitjation where separarion is convenient. I want to be a godky wife but it seems like be doesnt respect my thoughts at all. When i mention this to him, he says that he dont. He says he dont care bought my feelings bc im emotionally driven. He say he will never change. Hes gonna get more narrow minded and strict. He says bc im so carnel, he cant listen to me. I ge nervous and quezy to mh stomach anytime i feel the need to bring sn issue to him. Knowing,it probably wont matter and im wasting myplp time…hes been diagnosed with bipolar and he suffers from high blood pressure and is sick a lo. What should i do?

    • peacefulwife
      May 21, 2013 at 8:05 am #

      Nekiwa,
      I am very glad to meet you!

      Biblical submission and respect cannot be forced or coerced – they are done joyfully out of a free will and out of reverence and love for Christ!

      Yes, God does command you to honor your husband’s leadership and respect him – and that is primarily between you and God. You will be accountable for your attitudes, motives, thoughts, behavior and speech to God when you stand before Him.

      Your husband is to love you tenderly, gently, with honor, not being harsh, but selflessly laying down his life for you.

      You cannot change him or make him obey God, either.

      But as you obey God and seek Him with all your heart – God may work on your husband. I Peter 3:1-6 is God’s prescription for wives whose husbands are walking in disobedience to God’s Word. That is where your power is – not in preaching, nagging, lecturing, yelling, screaming, demanding your way, criticizing or complaining, but in living out a godly life, filled with God’s Holy Spirit, in front of your husband.

      If he is not asking you to sin – trust that God will lead you through him, even if you do not agree.

      Do all that you can to build him up, affirm what is right, admire what is good, focus on his strengths and use your words to breathe life, support, encouragement and respect in him.

      THEN, he will hear God’s voice much more clearly. He may still sin. He may still mess up. But our God is so sovereign, that He can use even your husband’s mistakes for your ultimate good and His glory.

      Is he on medication for bi-polar?

      Lord,
      I pray that You might empower Nekiwa to respond in the power of Your love, grace, mercy and healing to her wounded, bitter, resentful husband. Help her to lay her own resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride and any rebellion in her heart against Your Word down at Your feet and turn from her sin with all her heart and turn to You. Let her completely submit to You, Jesus! Then from that position of strength and the power of Your Spirit, give her the ability to be the godly wife of YOUR dreams – no matter what her husband does or does not do.

      IN the Name and power of Christ,
      Amen!

      You are welcome to email me if you would like to! aprilc@sc.rr.com. IF you want to talk about some of the issues you fight about and give me examples of how the conversations go – I can offer suggestions about how to approach things more respectfully if you are interested.

      BIG HUGS to you, my beautiful sister in CHrist!

    • Stephanie
      May 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi Nekiwa,

      Sorry to intrude on your conversation here, but in order to answer your question of whether or not your husband is verbally abusive, I highly recommend you read “The verbally abusive man: can he change” written by Patricia Evans. It will explain what verbal abuse is, where it comes from, and what might help bring about change if verbal abuse is indeed an issue in your marriage. I recently read through this book and it has changed my marriage so completely.

      Praying for your marriage,
      Stephanie :-)

  7. Nekiwa Smith
    May 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Thank you so much! No, he’s not on it now but we’re in the process of getting him bk on them but the side effects are so extreme.

    • peacefulwife
      May 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Nekiwa,

      Bi-polar can be difficult to treat. As a pharmacist, I have seen how frustrating and heart-breaking the effects of this disorder can be on marriages and families. If he is currently untreated – I pray that you might be able to offer him more grace – as he may not have as much control over his emotions and reactions as he normally would.

      Is he primarily manic or depressed right now?

      Yes, the side-effects of the anti-depressants and lithium and mood stabilizers can be quite significant. I pray for wisdom as you seek treatment – for the doctors and for your husband. Is he dealing with any addictions?

      I’m glad to talk with you as much as you would like. :) Sending you a big hug!

  8. Nekiwa Smith
    May 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I don’t know if he’s manic or not? He smokes marijuana sometimes. He believes the scripture ordains it in genesis as a herbal remedt for pain, etc, and that god gave it to us for food, etc. He smokes cigarettes but thats it.

  9. desiringeden
    May 30, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Love this post! The hardest thing to do is to teach an abused woman that it’s not her fault. I really liked how you outlined the man’s responsibility in this. God commanded man to love woman, our commandment was to respect. Abuse is in no way shape or form love and walking away when you must is not disrespect! Most abused women have the idea that they are somehow required to love their abuser. They try to change them and rescue them from their addictions and call it love. You can love the person that is abusing you but by allowing the abuse you then become an enabler. One of the top reasons Christian abused women give as to why they cannot leave their abusive spouse is because of they loyalty to God and their fear of divorce.

    • peacefulwife
      May 30, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      Desiringeden,

      Abuse is definitely not love – that is not the kind of love God wants us to have for anyone.

      And it is not disrespect to walk away from abuse – you are right. Some men will try to say it is. That is not true.

      Many women think they can change men. PEOPLE CANNOT CHANGE PEOPLE!

      Only God can change people.

      We can love people. We can respect people – God calls us to do both of those things with everyone. We can influence people. We can pray for them. But our love cannot change people or stop addictions or stop abuse or convict others of sin. That is the Holy Spirit’s job.

      The Bible does allow for separation – with a view towards hopefully a healthy reconciliation if possible. I don’t believe that the Bible calls women to stay there and be hit or beaten. Sometimes it takes separation for a man to wake up and see his sin and to hear God’s voice more clearly.

      Here is a post about healthy boundaries and control that might be helpful, too.

  10. Katie H
    June 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    I need help. This blog has helped me and my marriage tremendously, but we’re still dealing with fairly big problems. Over the last few years has been hard for us, my husband got injured and had to take months off work. Just after he healed from that he got meningitis and was off work even longer. In the mean time we had no real income one toddler and one newborn. After he got sick he got depressed and withdrew from life and left me abandoned and trying to take care of everything by myself. With his depression he began to look to me to make his life better, the house had to be impeccable because a messy house aggravated his depression, the children quiet and content because he didn’t like to hear them crying. We had no money but he needed alcohol and cigarettes or he’d get angry. I felt like his emotional punching bag. He would spend all day on the couch while I tried to keep everything together and the children loved. My heart was hardening. It was now when I found your blog. With this I understood him better as a man who lost everything and I learned to love him again. But things didn’t get better on his end, yes my continuous love and respect pulled at his heart, made him regret treating me badly but after a year a half of abuse it had become second nature. Emotional abuse turned into mild physical abuse, he hates himself for treating me and our children like this, his hate of himself manifests to further withdrawal and depression. He works 8 hours a day 5 days a week at a job he hates. I do all the cooking and cleaning and child rearing and work part time. When he comes home he puts me down and complains I never do anything. He blames me for everything. He blames me for his depression because I don’t say anything, he blames me for his anger when I do say something, the house is a mess because I work part time, we don’t have enough money because I don’t work enough. I feel like a failure wherever I turn. My heart is hardening again. I’m close to leaving him. I love him dearly but I can’t live with this anymore. He’s angry all the time, he puts me down, he mocks me and sometimes he hurts me physically. Is it over? I know this is a result of his depression but when is enough enough? In moments of clarity he begs my forgiveness but I can’t forgive him anymore. So to make things clear as well he won’t go for counselling, couples or alone, and we can’t afford it anyways. Our pastor and congregation is aware (to an extent) and is trying to help but he rejects them and God. His friends (whom are informed because of him seeking help) are trying but he can’t break out of this abusive cycle. More than that, he knows he treats me badly but he doesn’t acknowledge it as abuse. Above all I know that I would rather be a single mother than allow this to hurt my children. Thus far they have been too young to understand but that won’t last long. I must protect them. Is this a storm in our married life or is this where I draw the line? Do I stand by the repentant man I love or do I tell him to fix this while we take time apart so not hurt our children? I pray for an answer and what I feel is not harden my heart to him but he needs a shock in his life to put things in perspective. Leave him in love, not in hatred. Does that make sense? Please help. Anyone at all. Help.

    • peacefulwife
      June 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

      Katie,

      Goodness. What a heartbreaking and difficult situation. :( I wish I could hug your neck!!!!!

      If he is hitting you, punching you, physically leaving bruises, cuts and injuries – my first reaction is to say “Get out and get help!”

      I pray that you will seek godly counsel and pray and seek God’s direction.

      Is it possible to tell him gently, softly and respectfully – “I can’t live like this, being treated with this kind of disrespect and violence and all the insults. I want to learn to trust you. I want to respect you. I want to cooperate with your leadership. But I am not safe here. I want you to go with me or by yourself to Christian counseling, and maybe to see the doctor, too. I think I may need to leave until I know that I am safe with you.”

      I am not saying this is what God wants you to do or say. But please pray about what God wants you to do.

      A repentant man will change his behavior. That is what repentance means. It means a 180 degree U-turn. If he says he is sorry, but continues the abuse, that is not repentance.

      There are times when a godly wife must separate from her husband- while praying for reconciliation – first for him with Christ and then for the marriage.

      I will be glad to pray with you and listen.

  11. patricia
    July 4, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    To April and Katie H
    I don’t know how closely Katie’s pastor and elders are following scripture, but the bible is clear that situations like this require the intervention of the pastor and elders. The man has already received biblical admonition about his sin. Repentance is not merely the expression of emotional sorrow. It is going in the completely opposite direction. It almost sounds as if this man is waiting to FEEL the right way in order to change and is trapped in emotions of shame and failure which are provoking further self destruction and other destructive behaviours. Right actions lead to right feelings but there is a transition period where it feels horrible and artificial. The bible says to Put off the old man and to Put on Christ. It does not say “Wait for a Holy Jolt from above. Though we can and should pray for God to enable us as He often does.

    I am married to a man who can be verbally abusive and at the same time I’ve helped contribute to this by compromising God’s standards at times, by disobedience and disrespect, towards God and him, and by not treating myself with respect and allowing abuse in the name of submission. Its been tough to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of what is true about how to practice biblical submission and what is false. Often men who are verbally abusive are lacking emotional maturity and may have significant resentment towards important female figures in their lives. They indulge in the sin of self pity and blame shifting and so fail to take responsibility which in turn breeds shame and guilt and self contempt. Its easier to find a scapegoat than to face one’s own sin and weakness. That’s why its important to have godly male mentors who can share honestly as to how they overcame their own life dominating sin patterns. We all have them.

    Such men need to develop some maturity and strength in this area. They seem to pick women they think will make up for some deficit of female nurture, which they blame for their present situation, albeit unconsciously, and then simultaneously put us in the position of having to take mother like responsibility but at the same time hate us and themselves for this attachment and for their own “weakness” for needing such a thing.

    I think the next step should be the men of the church going with Katie to confront her husband about the need to get help, taking care to share honestly about struggles and failures of their own and to express their love for him and willingness to assist him in reclaiming his self respect and self control. In the mean time, they should let him know they are moving Katie out to a safe location where she and the kids will remain until he seeks help and evidences change and stabilization. To send Katie alone to confront this is dangerous and also misses a significant opportunity for the men of the church to take charge. They should plead with him earnestly and with tears and let him know that they are fighting for his life as well as for Katie’s and the children’s.

    To tolerate abuse and remain in it when children are involved is to endanger them and normalize abuse. I believe many women and children suffer prolonged torment and misery precisely because the scripture is not followed where church discipline is concerned. Discipline is not just about punishment and correction it is also about restructuring and reshaping according to God’s word. Yes, in the wrong hands church discipline can be very wounding and not helpful. But done in God’s way it can be the cut that brings healing and restoration. If the pastor and elders are uncertain about this, Jay Adam’s Handbook of Church Discipline may be a good place to start. I’d suggest having the pastors contact John MacArthur’s ministry, they likely would have some good information for pastors and elders who are just beginning to form a policy for biblically addressing abuse situations.

    Hope something in this is helpful to you Katie, hang in there and don’t give up on what is right. As you display love and mercy and let your husband know that you want your marriage to continue and are praying for him and as the elders and pastor step in, it may be the kind of “Holy Jolt” :) that is scriptural and much needed.

    Just as an afterthought, I would encourage your husband that he is not obligated to stay at a job he hates and that you aren’t going to be disappointed in him if he searches for a better job on his off hours. I don’t know why but men somehow seem to get the idea that they are wimps if they don’t stick it out forever in a soul crushing job. Six months to a year is long enough to try anything on for size. He may lack inner permission to change things in his life. Some of us were raised in environments that produce so much guilt that we cannot move without feeling like we need major endorsement|! Perhaps this is part of his issues. Don’t know but maybe. I hope I have expressed my thoughts in a way that is sensitive and certainly doesn’t make light of your anguish. Hugs dear sister.
    Patricia

    • peacefulwife
      July 4, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      Patricia,
      Thank you for this wise, biblical, thoughtful insight for Katie. I appreciate it so much!

  12. Unsurewife
    July 28, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    I’ve read your blog a number of times and just happened to come across this post. I’ve been saved for about 10 months yet, have been enjoying this marvelous journey I’m on. My husband on the other hand, claims to be a believer, but never comes to church with me, doesn’t read the bible, and is certainly not a man who loves his wife as Jesus loved the church.
    He’s always been the type of person to put the problem on someone else, lay blame on someone else. Most of the time it turns out to be on me.
    I can’t say I have been perfect, of course we are all imperfect beings. However, since going to church, I’ve tried to turn my life around by being kinder and humble.

    I’ve read your blog, have really pondered being a submissive wife. i understand that one should be respectful, honoring, caring, not nagging, or anything like that.

    Let me give you a little history: my husband hasn’t had a full time job since the day I met him almost 10 years ago. He’s coasted by, getting side jobs from friends and family to make ends meet. I’ve been the one who has had a very full time work load, save the three months I took off after my baby was born. Though I was let go from the job I held prior to having our now almost two year old child and spent 1 year on unemployment, I am now and have been employed once more for 6 months. My husband on the other hand is still without work.
    I pay all of the bills. I buy all of the food. I pay for clothing,shoes, Netflix, cable, Internet, dinners out, everything.
    I know I should do it willingly, and since my husband isn’t working, I have no choice, but it has come to a point where I feel like am being taken advantage of. My husband has admitted to the fact that he doesn’t want to work construction any more. He’s got a dream that our store’s website will take off, and that he will just have to process Internet orders all day whilst sitting in his pajamas. Every time I question him about work, he snaps. Like I’m not allowed to talk to him about it. This evening, I made him aware that I feel taken advantage of when he benefits from everything I pay for in the house and get little appreciation for, he snapped at me, and told me I was being abusive.
    In all honesty, I understand that he is probably depressed and suffering from a self esteem issue. I pray for him all the time. I have laid down in my shower crying asking God for help and try to lay it down at the cross, as I have been suggested to do. I know he’s going through a rough time in he is life, but honestly, it’s been like this for 10 years. I should not be surprised by his behavior, and really should not expect more of him. But I do. I pray that he gets ambition, Gets courage,strength and the ability to become a true man of God, instead of the loud, angry, swearing, cursing, foul name calling person (the c- word has been said to me more than i care to hear in a lifetime) that he has transformed into after the birth of our baby. Yes, I will admit that his attitude toward me has completely Changed since babe entered the world. I have been put down, made to feel like less of a mom, like I’m not nurturing her well, though that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m at the point where I guess I should just start believing him and dealing with his angry self because he, after all of the praying, has yet to change.
    I’ve listened to that song “Blessings ” by Laura Story, where she says “what if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise”, and think to myself that this is the trial I must contend with in order to fully develop my relationship with Christ. Like every argument should only make my bond with Jesus stronger and stronger. Here’s the thing… It does! I only want to go to him even more so after an argument. I talk to him out loud! But i doubt my Lord and Savior wants to see me cry every day. I’m his little girl, and I’m sure it pains him to see me upset.

    these issues just continue to compound in our marriage, after six years, and I feel like I have no way out.

    We hit a rocky patch where, before the child came, i moved out. i could no longer deal with his anger and abuse,so i moved out. After six months, he and I reconciled, and got back together, we did not divorce. But he resents that time I spent away from him and has still yet to forgive me for doing that. It’s been three years, and though I have repented for everything I did, he still rehashes the situation every other week, so as to never forget it, or move past it.
    In the bible it talks about how one must forgive others and then Jesus will forgive you of your sins. I don’t think he understands that at all, and continues to make me feel like less of a person. At this point, after all the abuse before the rough patch, up until today, I feel as though I can manage so much better on my own, raise our child on my own, since I pretty much do anyway (though the only thing he does is watch her when I am at work).

    He refuses to go to counseling. Christian or otherwise. He won’t talk about his problems with a stranger. He’s not been going to church, so finding a pastor to talk to wont help.
    I’ve even read Stormiest Omartian power of a praying wife, and though many chapters in that book spoke to me, I dont even know how to put them in practice. I pray the prayers, but they don’t seem to do any good. I’m afraid that I’m not doing something right. I never lay blame on God whatsoever. I’m not a person who gives ultimatums to anyone, The Lord included, as that is just really bad bad thing to do. I lay my burdens down at his feet. I pray for mercy and kindness to wrap around my family. I feel like my husband’s issues stem off of demonic strongholds that just can’t be shaken … Something stronger than my husband’s snotty attitude is at work here. I feel like I need some Holy Spirit intervention.

    It is too bad that I feel good when I’m not even home, more so because I feel more in control of my emotions. I feel even better when I am at church, praising my Lord, and then when I come home, it’s a bitter, angry, resentful environment. That’s really frustrating.
    When I get upset or show any bit of discontent with my husband, he says ” oh you think you are so holy and you’re really not. This church thing isn’t helping you at all. And ” Maybe you should stop going.”

    What do I do when he says that? I cry. I start to think that it is as though I should have just continued to be taken advantage of so as to not experience the wrath of my husband. I’m not happy. I haven’t been happy for a while. So much rests on our marriage – stupid things like property, belongings. But the most important thing is my daughter, who will most likely not even remember this time in her life, but I don’t know what to do to keep her from suffering from pain when she gets older. My mom grew up with an abusive father, and doesn’t even like him now. I do not want my child to hate her dad for his terrible temper.

    Anyway, I think I’ve just rambled too much. I feel selfish for even putting this on paper, but it had to get out of my head or else I would just stew.

    Any advice for a person such as myself would be great. Because I am about this close to filing divorce papers.

    • Unsurewife
      July 31, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

      Sure I can…

      • peacefulwife
        July 31, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

        Awesome!
        I am so sorry it took a few days for me to get to you – I approved the comment, then had trouble finding you again later when I was planning to comment. I am looking forward to getting to know you and praying together and watching God work mightily in your life. :)

    • peacefulwife
      August 2, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Unsure Wife,

      I have been hoping you would email me! You have a LOT going on here.

      I am very glad to meet you – and I want you to know that I have total faith that Jesus can bring healing and hope to your situation. He is more than able.

      A few things:

      1. WHen the wife is the only breadwinner – it almost always ends in her feeling extremely resentful. Respect is a much more difficult thing to do when the husband does not work. Not to say it is impossible, but it messes up the concept of the husband representing Christ – who is the Provider of everything in our relationship with Him – and the wife representing the church – the recipient of Jesus’ provision.

      2. Are you safe? You talk about abuse. Are you only meaning verbal abuse? Are you physically safe?

      3. If your husband is far from God, then I Peter 3:1-6 is God’s prescription for you. He CANNOT hear your words about GOd, church, spiritual things, sin, being a better husband, etc. The only thing that might impact him and make him want to draw closer to God and to you would be your living out the joy and hope you have in Christ and being full of reverence for God and your husband.

      4. I believe that God wants to change you first. I would suggest not praying for him to change at this point. But focusing on asking God to change you. I believe that you will need to accept him as he is right now, even if he never changed, and ask God to give you His heart to love Him.

      5. Please scroll back on my home page on the blog timeline to the post from 1-1-13 and 1-2-13. Those are two really good places to start.

      6. I am sure that you have a great deal of resentment and bitterness after all that has happened. It is totally understandable. However, if you want to live in the power of God – those things have to go. If you cherish bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness in your heart, you cannot be full of GOd’s Spirit. You HAVE to have God’s Spirit to be the wife and woman He desires you to be. So it is going to be really crucial to repent of every trace of any kind of sin.

      My biggest sins were:
      – idolatry – I trusted myself much more than God – that is how I lived. I would never have said that out loud. I also wanted to be in control and do things my way. I thought I was supposed to make everything happen and didn’t understand God’s sovereignty
      – PRIDE – I believed I knew better than my husband about almost everything and that I was right and he was wrong.
      – Self-righteousness – I looked down on my husband as spiritually inferior to me. I thought I was so much closer to God than he was. I thought I was the only one who could see GOd’s will. I prayed for God to change my husband but didn’t see my own sin.
      – Gossip – I spoke poorly about my husband to others and ran him down.
      – disrespect – I did not respect my husband properly, which was disobedience to GOd’s Word.

      7. Idolatry – think about what you believe you need to be happy or content in life. Where do you find your purpose and fulfillment? If it is not all in Christ Jesus – you may be dealing with an idol. I know that for me, I wanted my husband to be what I wanted him to be and I wanted to feel loved by him and I wanted him to change – that was one of my many idols.

      I also cherished my grudges against him and did not want to forgive him. HUGE SIN. Jesus says if we do not forgive people when theyssin against us, God will not forgive us.

      8. If you haven’t already, please read the posts at the top of my home page about respect, biblical submission and disrespect.

      Does your husband feel respected by you?
      9. The job thing. At this point, I believe that he cannot hear your words about a job. It almost sounds like you may need to not say anything and pray for God’s will and let God work on him.

      10. It is possible that your husband may not be able to hear God’s voice because he is hearing your voice so much – I don’t know a lot of details – but I know this was the case for my husband with me, so it is something to think about. If you are trying to convict him of sin and motivate him to be a godly husband by telling him what to do and what he is doing wrong – he will resist you and he will probably not be able to hear God’s voice over yours.

      11. How is your relationship with Christ going? What are you reading and learning?

      12. What was your husband’s parents’ marriage like?

      13. What was your parents’ marriage like?

      14. Is there any mental health disorder, addiction, infidelity or anything going on?

      15. WHat does your husband say he wants in the marriage? What does he want you to change?

      16. Do you ever take his advice or appreciate his perspective or wisdom?

      17. What do you say and do when he disappoints you?

      Much love to you my precious sister in Christ!

    • Judy
      September 2, 2013 at 4:35 am #

      Hello,

      I just wanted to reply to you. My father worked a thankless construction job for 15 years and finally had a mental breakdown. It took him a long time to put himself back together again. My dad never worked steadily again after this. tThe only time I ever saw him really excited about work was when he would talk about buying his own truck and starting his own business.

      I know you are in a very unfair situation right now, but I thought I might put to you this. Ask your husband what he wants to do, what is he interested in becoming. Does he want to go back to school and retrain for a better job? Dream and plan together about your future and his place in it. Dreams and hope are really important for motivation ab ambition..
      Maybe try not to talk about “work” but what his goals in life are and whatbhe wants to accomplish. Even if he doesn’t know, just asking him my get the wheels in his head turning.

      Maybe he is in need of a male mentor in his life. Is there a godly man you could ask to approach your husband to be a friend and mentor?

  13. nina
    September 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    My story is a dousy.
    I am 29 I have 3 kids. My first husband left abruptly and said he was never a real christian but was fae our whole 6 year marriage. He said we were in different paths. (me trying to live for God him NOT) He had an affair with a 18 year old. He left me and my 2 boys suddenly in one day. Very tragic.
    Moving on, I met who I thought was the LOVE of my LIFE. He was very romantic, made me feel amazing and I fell HARD. I quickly married him. I was totally n love with this man. Hook line and sinker. Maybe part of it was covering the pain from my lat husband and how he hurt me , but all in all I seriously really did love him.
    He knew my pain from my ex. Still….that did nit deter him from his actions.
    He presented himself as a christian as I was. I was not perfect and not exactly “right” with God but I was trying. He seemed to be on the same path as I was striving higher.
    Well desite everything, QUICKLY this 2nd husband was a nightmare. He was verbally and physically abusive to me. Called me unthinkable names, and verbally put me down to the point I felt unworthy of living.He had such little respect for me he pawned my jewelry without asking me including the rig he bought me on our engagement. Then I found out on his phone he was on “life is short have an affair” websites. I was devastated. We were only married 4 months by then. He said it was a mistake, I believed him. Well he still treated me so bad I think I “dissociated” sometimes. Then i knew in my heart I couldnt take another day. I asked God to SHOW ME the truth. He would always be on porn sites and then lie and promise never to look again and then do it again.I got a gps tracker and set it in his car. within 2 days he told me he was going to the mechanic. well gps showed him in “hooker town” I caught him. He has had an escort and hooker problem since he was 18. OH YAY!!
    Words can NOT describe the pain I feel inside. That was May ’12. I call it D-Day. when I found out now for a second time I married someone who has a double life. I have a daughter with him. I could not put my kids through another divorce. So I stayed but made it VERY VERY VERY clear. One more time of cheating and i am GONE. He also confessed to having sex with a girl he met during military training last March. One month after i had his daughter. I feel like men have failed ME. I have been 100 percent faithful EVEN AFTER everything came out. It is simply not n my character and fear of God to be immoral sexually with other men.
    Heres the thig. He is supposed to be a christian. And Im trying to be a better one. But how can I do that when my LEADER is not on the same page as I am? I have watched him like a hawk, and my standards are high. He has not cheated since. BUT he still will tell me to “shut the BLANK up” or call me a B. in an argument. It hurts inside. I am a reserved and I respect myself for the most part. However he always talks with me about wanting me to dress trashy. He wants me to look trashy outside the home He likes it. He also struggles with wanting me to be immoral with other men, dancing or even the unthinkable, he is right on the line of wanting me to have relations with them. I HATE T. I feel like a piece of meat and a sex object. Is this somehow MY FAULT? Everything on here is about the woman changing, but seriously some MEN need to change. I am at the end of my rope. I am in love with a man who has done unthinkable things. I forgave him and have NOT retaliated and am trying to get closer to God and he seems to always be double minded ….whats your advice on that? I love him and want God to work but t seems the closer to God I get he more annoyed he becomes. He knows the truth yet can break free from the sin. I feel like I have to displease God to please my husband and vise versa.Above all I dont feel cherished loved or good enough for my husband and I am a very attractive 29 year old woman…….where do I start??

    • peacefulwife
      September 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      Nina,

      Ugh! What a nightmare!

      From your husband’s “fruit” – it is clear he is far from God.

      I Corinthians 7 describes Paul’s advice for women who are married to unbelievers and what to do if they leave.

      I believe very much in marriage and that God can heal and change anyone.

      But, you are not guaranteed what will happen.

      If your husband is using escorts and prostitutes, that is NOT OK!!!!! Physical violence against you is not ok!!!
      Do you have a godly pastor or Cristian counselor you can speak to?
      There are times separation can be necessary until a husband repents and shows fruit of repentance for a significant period of time.

      This is why I hate short engagements. Some men are so magnetic and charming temporarily, that women fall for them and never investigate their true character. Now everything is a huge disaster. :(

      How my heart breaks for you!

      I pray that you will find a wise, spiritually mature, experienced godly counselor who can help you navigate this.

      I at with Single women about watching men they date – how they treat others when they are mad, how they treat their family, what their family was like, if they can control their temper, if they have the fruit of God’s Spirit, if they have any kinds of addictions. This situation you are in is exactly what I don’t want to see. :(. Just because someone goes to church or claims to be a believer, does not mean they are abiding in Christ and walking as a disciple of Christ, dying to self and living in obedience to God.

      God can heal your husband. You cannot.

      You can focus on Christ and getting yourself right with God. But you cannot be responsible for your husband’s sin. What he is doing is NOT your fault at all! He is addicted to this sin and can’t seem to break out of it. He will need very specialized and godly help from men who will keep him accountable. He needs your prayers. But I don’t know that it is wise to live with him right now. I pray God will make that clear.

      Severe situations like this go beyond what I am able to address, and go beyond my experience. I am glad to pray for you. :). Much love to you!

      • peacefulwife
        September 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

        Nina,

        PS
        right now, he is a slave to these addictions. Apart from the power of Christ – he can’t change himself. It is going to take God’s Spirit working in him to bring real regeneration, life change and reconciliation between himself and God. Like all of us, he is a wretched sinner. There is no good in any of us apart from Christ. How I pray he will get the help he needs and especially that God’s Spirit might work powerfully in him and give him freedom from these awful chains and this horrible prison he is in.

  14. nina
    September 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Thanks for listening. I just wrote you an email.

    • peacefulwife
      September 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      Thank you, Nina! I am always glad to hear from you and pray for you. :)

  15. peacefulwife
    November 13, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    FROM “ANONYMOUS ME”
    Hi, April!

    I have read your blog many times, and I want to say that I completely agree with you on just about everything. Your message is SO needed today. I also really appreciate your efforts to set the record straight on where you stand regarding abuse on your blog at http://peacefulwife.com/for-abused-wives/. That, too, was much needed for those of us who have been and are in abusive marriages. So, thank you for posting it. I will admit that it was your blog, paired with the prompting of a woman in my church, that led me back into the home that was mine and my husband’s after an 18-month long separation. I did it to give things one last effort since it seemed as though he might have improved enough to be safe to live with again. I wouldn’t say it was the best decision, but God still used it. Unfortunately, my marriage is ending in divorce. However, through all of the pain and suffering, God still manages to bless. I am so thankful for this.

    If you have the time and desire, I would like to share a few things with you concerning the topic of abuse as it relates to my experience. I know you haven’t experienced abuse and that your blog is not to be used as advice for the abused. You’re very clear about this. So, if this isn’t something you want to give your time to, I understand. I’m only emailing because the subject of abuse – whether you want/like it to or not – comes alongside your blog topic from time to time, as you know better than anyone. And I must say I’m glad you haven’t been abused! If you had been, I don’t think you would be doing the type of ministry you are doing today. So, WOOHOO for many reasons! ;)

    One aspect of abuse I want to just speak to a little is that of the impact on a person’s soul and relationship to the Lord that even “just” verbal abuse and control can have. In addition to receiving counseling, I read many, many books/blogs/websites during my marriage seeking advice, strength, inspiration, encouragement, and truth as to how best deal with and endure my husband’s abusive treatment. As a side note… because I had never been in relationship with an abusive person before nor was I ever really educated on the subject, I didn’t actually think of my husband’s treatment as “abusive” except when I was actually physically hit. I just thought of him as mean. It took individual counseling, having my boss ask me about the re-occurring bruises, finally opening up to a friend about my situation, and dealing with legal authorities at the onset of my first separation from him for me to start considering it as such. While that might sound crazy, it’s not uncommon. I say all of this to say… it’s often the people who show the greatest insecurity or fear in talking about their spouses treatment that are actually experiencing a great deal of abuse. A book I came across that I felt best explained the feeling of “spiritual death” that often occurs when being abused was Leslie Vernick’s book, “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship”. (It’s a Christian book.) So much attention gets put on physical abuse, but it’s the other types of abuse that often create the greatest damage at the deepest level – resulting in total squelching of your inner light and spirit, where you truly live from. It’s impossible to really understand it unless you have experienced it.

    The woman that responded to your blog above – the one with the husband who is a pastor and has bi-polar – is clearly in a bad situation. Spiritual abuse – and I know this one well – is one of the worst kinds of abuse a person can endure in my opinion. I was quite concerned for her. I know you know this, but I just want to serve as a reminder that there is a real necessity of being very, very careful with those who are in these situations. Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to have a counselor or two who specialize in and maybe blog about this stuff whom you can refer them to because when they write in asking questions, they are desperately clinging to the answers they receive. Abuse has a horrible way of creating such a loss of self that you are unable to look at things clearly and trust yourself to make wise decisions. So, you look for signs/miracles everywhere you turn. Leslie Vernick says it well in her book when she quotes the following verses – “When you continue to offer yourself in relationship to people who consistently mistreat you, disrespect you, control you, abuse you, deceive you, and use you, you will feel sicker and sicker (Proverbs 4:14-27)”. It’s so true!

    The sites you list on your website – unless I missed some – don’t really touch all of the issues and forms of abuse. I’d first like to recommend the following site. http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/contact-about-us/ Jeff Crippen does an excellent job in his sermons of bringing to light biblical approaches to abuse. The one thing I would add that I feel he doesn’t always do the best job of is to remember that abusers are people, too, and are certainly capable of experiencing redemption through the Lord. Though, statistically, it’s a very small percentage of those who experience a heart change and thus change their ways. This should be remembered when advising anyone in an abusive situation. So, I do think someone like Jeff Crippen – speaking with such power on this issue – is what some people need to get them to sit up and take notice of how wrong and devastating this stuff really is and how it is dealt with in scripture. So much negativity and fear of misdirecting someone gets placed on divorce – understandably so. However, I strongly believe it is just as necessary to be this way toward abusive situations – and not just primarily physical abuse. I’m not implying you do this. However, I do have a little concern – maybe I’m wrong – that you might accidently steer someone to carry a cross that isn’t theirs to carry in the marriage. I’m just not so sure you gave the best advice to Nekiwa when you said…

    If he is not asking you to sin – trust that God will lead you through him, even if you do not agree.

    Do all that you can to build him up, affirm what is right, admire what is good, focus on his strengths and use your words to breathe life, support, encouragement and respect in him.

    THEN, he will hear God’s voice much more clearly. He may still sin. He may still mess up. But our God is so sovereign, that He can use even your husband’s mistakes for your ultimate good and His glory.

    It can still be abuse – and very harmful abuse I might add – even when they aren’t asking you to do something “wrong” or “bad”. Sometimes the sin would be in doing what they are telling you to do because doing it would be enabling their sin and furthering the damage being done to you. So, please… just be very careful with your replies. These people are in very delicate positions and want to do the right thing. I don’t want you to feel bad as a result of my email today. I really don’t. I’m thankful you are addressing the issue and having the discussion. I just wanted to suggest that maybe less is best when it comes to offering specific advice in these situations and to simply refer them to some really good, comprehensive resources and counselors. “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud is another great book. As is “Not Under Bondage” by Barbara Roberts. “Reclaiming Your Heart” by Denise Hildreth Jones is a really wonderful book for anyone who’s heart has just shut down. It’s especially good for the healing phase after leaving but can also serve as a great tool and inspiration for re-connecting with your heart within the marriage.

    The good news is that God is bigger than anything we might do or not do perfectly. His will prevails! However, being someone who has been in an abusive relationship and having taken the advice of well-meaning people during my marriage that didn’t serve me well, I just wanted to bring this concern to you. I pray you will take what good there is to take from this email and let what’s not go. J

    If you have any desire to know a little more about my story, my blog is http://moonblazer.wordpress.com/. I haven’t written many posts. Nor do I go into much detail of the abuse.

    For actual details of the abuse I endured and the efforts I made to save my marriage, go to the following website and scroll down to December 31, 2011 and read what “anonymous me” wrote. (that’s me) http://wisecounsel.wordpress.com/2006/11/14/living-faith-bombshell-honest-wrestling-with-mental-illness-and-divorce/ I don’t like the idea of defacing my soon-to-be ex-husband because I don’t believe that serves anyone any good. So, I choose to share my story anonymously. I also have high hopes he will one day become a true follower of Christ and would not want his ugly past to hurt his potential future good reputation. For the record, he was never diagnosed of any mental illness to my knowledge. I was just desperate for help/answers and thought that he may have BP when I posted this statement, which could still be possible.

    Thank you for taking the time for this email. Again, I thank you so much for your ministry. You are doing a great service to marriages, April.

    Blessings,

    Anonymous Me

    P.S. It’s not my intention to offend anyone with the generalities I have spoken in about those who experience abuse. If I do offend anyone, I apologize and understand there are always exceptions. Mostly, my statements come from my personal experience and of those I know personally who also experienced abuse.

  16. peacefulwife
    November 13, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Anonymous Me,
    I appreciate your willingness to share and the resources you recommended greatly. Thank you!!!!

  17. megan
    December 22, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Anonymous me, alot of what you said describes how i feel and my situation. I am in such confusion that i am clinging to any Godly advice that i receive in trying to gain clarity. I feel sometimes that although i am no longer suffering physical abuse that verbal/spiritual abuse is kind of accepted as something that can be ‘fixed’ if only i submit and respect more. (I am not speaking of Aprils advice as she makes it clear that abuse goes beyond what she teaches here). But i guess because i read christian wife blogs to find help for my marriage i feel like I just need to work harder at being a better wife because he no longer is physically abusive etc. However like you say, the other side of abuse can be very soul crushing and leave you feeling crazy not knowing what is normal anymore because what he tells you becomes your normal. I’m suffering intense control and manipulation and anger when he does not get his own way. I struggle to please him as i feel like his expectations are just too much to live up to and feel so much resentment because i don’t feel like there is real repentance. We are currently separated and although i want us to work, i am afraid to get back together because i can’t trust his word that he will work on his part. I don’t know if he really sees a problem with how he behaves or not. Anyway thank you for shedding some more light on this topic and sharing your experience.

    • peacefulwife
      December 23, 2013 at 6:40 am #

      Megan,

      There are men who can be intensely emotionally abusive/manipulative. It can definitely be possible that you may need a godly counselor to help guide you through a situation like that. It may be wise not to move back in until you see some changes.

      I have a post about that “respect doesn’t fix everything.” There are some issues that husbands have that are THEIR issues. It doesn’t matter how godly a wife is – there are some things that her respect and biblical submission wouldn’t fix: mental disorders, severe sin addictions, demon possession (yes, seriously, that is an issue)…

      Sometimes when a wife in severe situations like that reads Christian wife blogs about “normal” marriage – it can make you think that things are your fault.

      Why was he physically abusive? Does he have any major mental disorders or addictions going on?

      What as his parents’ marriage like?

      What was your parents’ marriage like?

      What kinds of things does he say when it gets really bad?

      Does he try to convince you that what you know it true didn’t happen?

      Has he ever apologized/repented for any of his own sin?

      Do both of you have a relationship with Christ?

      Sending you a HUGE hug my precious friend!

      • SherylB
        January 29, 2014 at 11:04 am #

        I feel like I have been in a similar situation as this. Although I just replied to a blog on Godly Counsel, i was going through this section and reading more details on abuse. I’ve had a Pastor and a Marriage counselor tell me that my husband is emotionally abusive. He’s very controlling. It’s his way or no way. He is a christian but carnal. I am not judging him because I am not perfect. When I bring up doing things God’s way and loving each other how God wants us to love each other all he see’s are old testament laws. He is very rule oriented and if a rule is broken someone is going down and it is not him! I am trying to be positive and overlook alot because none of us are perfect.
        If It’s alright to ask, how do I define if it’s really abusive OR just an imperfect person as we all are with weaknesses and flaws? We are suppose to be moving back together in July but under his conditions and one of those conditions is that my kids will not be allowed to stay over night with us at any time for any reason. Long story on this but as the time is approaching to move back with him I am kind of nervous about it. I do not look to support my adult kids of course so I’m not opposing this. I’m opposing being there when they need mom in a real life crisis. I need wisdom! The counselor we see told me he’s abusive and I need to decide if I want that or if I want to stand up to him and say NO to the control.

        • peacefulwife
          January 29, 2014 at 11:08 am #

          Sheryl,

          I am not sure if he is abusive by your description. That decision is ultimately up to you to discern with godly wisdom and prayer. We can talk about it, if you would like. :)

          What does he do that the counselor says is abusive?

          What does the counselor think he should change?

          What does he ask if you?

          How old are your children?

          Much love!
          April

          • SherylB
            January 29, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

            The counselor has addressed control issues that he has. Examples are locking my son out of the house because he forgot his house key, not giving me grocery money because he thinks food has been wasted by going bad in the fridge, telling me I cannot put my stuff in his garage, not allowing me to park in the garage, his house is his house, his finances are his finances and not ours, much more than this. I think it’s more control than abuse. If I don’t phrase a question or comment the way he would then he states that I am not nice and unkind, If I ask questions about issues that bother me he states if I would act the way I should then he would too. All of these things which we are trying to work out in counseling and on our own as well. Some are changing and some are not. In getting Godly counsel from our church Pastor he has stated that my husband has a hard heart and only God can change that, which I know to be true! The church counsel will not counsel him anymore because he won’t heed the advice and do those things that he should. When I ask him to Pray about things and try to do what he thinks God is telling him he doesn’t. It’s based on how he feels and thinks even though the counsel we get is to not do things that way. I think there is alot more to work on before I can move back in with him.

          • SherylB
            January 29, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

            The counselor wont address the contro issue much with him because he states in his one on one times with him that he is unwilling to go there and talk about it. So, he won’t address it when we are together in sessions…He tells us to come up with resolutions that we both like which makes sense but my husband refuses to work on the issues with my son or the finances and the couselor says it’s because my husband wants full control of his house and his money and that he probably wont change. So, i have to decide if I want to move back in with him knowing that it will be a his and hers marriage…….Or I can decide to not go back to him. I just want to honor what God says but I also want to be able to define if this is really emotional abuse?

            The counselor has addressed control issues that he has. Examples are locking my son out of the house because he forgot his house key, not giving me grocery money because he thinks food has been wasted by going bad in the fridge, telling me I cannot put my stuff in his garage, not allowing me to park in the garage, his house is his house, his finances are his finances and not ours, much more than this. I think it’s more control than abuse. If I don’t phrase a question or comment the way he would then he states that I am not nice and unkind, If I ask questions about issues that bother me he states if I would act the way I should then he would too. All of these things which we are trying to work out in counseling and on our own as well. Some are changing and some are not. In getting Godly counsel from our church Pastor he has stated that my husband has a hard heart and only God can change that, which I know to be true! The church counsel will not counsel him anymore because he won’t heed the advice and do those things that he should. When I ask him to Pray about things and try to do what he thinks God is telling him he doesn’t. It’s based on how he feels and thinks even though the counsel we get is to not do things that way. I think there is alot more to work on before I can move back in with him.

            • peacefulwife
              January 29, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

              Sheryl B,

              How is your relationship with Christ going?

              How old is your son?

              How long have you been married?

              What was your relationship like before marriage?
              When did things change?

              What was your husband’s parents’ marriage like?

              What was your parents’ marriage like?

              Much love to you!

              • SherylB
                January 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

                My relationship with Christ is going great! I’m open to what he has for me and open to changes I need to make. I pray for my husband as well.
                My son is 18, my husband and I married when he was 14. My son came in with an open mind and heart. He’s not a troubled teen and he wasn’t a trouble maker…not into drugs or anything like that, just the typical boy that was messy but only when it came to dishes..lol, he kept his bedroom cleaner than anyone else in the house!
                As time went on my husband couldn’t overlook things like leaving a jacket on the sofa or backpack in the living room and he would corner my son and lecture him on different things….in which my husband was counseled not to do. It just got really ugly with them both.
                Things with my husband changed when he would not let up on my son. He would lecture him over everything and wouldn’t let him in the house if my son forgot his keys. He gave him rules without talking to me and he would tell me that he was not going to financially support him at all OR support me if I used my money to buy him things that were not a need.
                I came from an abusive background from my stepfather.
                My husband father was an alcoholic and his parents divorced when he was young. He was divorced once. His second wife committed suicide. I’m the 3rd wife.

                We’ve been married almost 4 years with over 1 year of it now seperated. He told me i could not raise my son in his home and that once my son was out on his own then I could move back with him.

                • peacefulwife
                  January 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

                  SherylB,

                  What an incredibly difficult background you both had. :(. That sure didn’t help things.

                  Your son isn’t really old enough to be on his own, from my perspective. It is not like he is 22 and out of college.

                  It makes me VERY, VERY sad that your husband seems to want you to have to choose between him and your son, and, from what you are describing, over small things. :(

                  How is your son? Is he ok? Does he live with you? Does he still have a relationship with his biological dad?

                  Has your husband ever repented or apologized for anything he has done that was hurtful?

                  Much love
                  April

                • peacefulwife
                  January 29, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

                  Sheryl B,

                  What do you want to see God do in your life, your son’s life and your husband’s life?

                  Do you have contact with your husband now?

                  • SherylB
                    January 29, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

                    As far as I know my husband has not repented for any hurtful thing. In counseling he points to me and my son being the reason for his hurtful actions. He says he wants to work on things and we see each other often and go over issues to resolve. He’s willing to resolve most but not the issue with my son. My son is 18 and will go to Basic training in July and that is when I was going to move back in with my husband. I am not sure i can do it under the conditions that when my son comes back from basic training that he is not welcomed to even stay one night in our home. This is where our marriage counselor tells me to not allow Anthony to control this and it may mean that Anthony/my husband walks away and divorces me. I don’t want to choose, I want to have my son and my husband in my life. Our marriage counselor is not a christian so he isn’t counseling us based of biblical grounds. He has helped us alot though. This is where I am conflicted because I want to honor God in my marriage by continuing to work through it and reconcile with Anthony but at the same time I don’t believe God wants me to just not welcome my son in my home either and not help him if he needs it. I have the pastor who married us tell me that Anthony has a serious control issue and that If I go back to him then it will be the same stuff all over again. Then the pastor of our home church tells me I should reconcile and put my husband first.
                    I want to see God work so that I can have both in my life.
                    My son does’nt ever want to live with us if I go back to Anthony but we can’t predict the future and what if he needs my help? My husband says I need to promise before I move back that I won’t allow him in to stay the night ever! He can come visit but that’s it. My family, friends, now a marriage counselor tells me to stand up to him and not go back.
                    I need God’s wisdom!

                    • peacefulwife
                      January 29, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

                      Sheryl B,

                      You do need God’s wisdom.

                      I cannot fathom a husband demanding a promise like that. :(

                      I pray God will give you wisdom. I want to see healing for your marriage, and I want to see an intact relationship with your son. I believe it will take a move of God, so that is what we can pray for together.

                      I wish I cold hug your neck!!!

              • SherylB
                January 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

                when i mentioned my background I didn’t mention that I have gone through lots and lots of counseling for that and i believe I have been healed from all that baggage. The Lord dealt with me on forgiving my stepfather and moving forward and I did. I did that years ago.

                • peacefulwife
                  January 29, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

                  SherylB,
                  I am so glad to hear you were able to forgive him. Holding on to bitterness is so toxic.

  18. Malloy
    January 21, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Like most Christians, you are probably greatly dismayed (as I am) at our current political administration. If you could have an hour alone with Michelle Obama, what advice would you give her?

    • peacefulwife
      January 22, 2014 at 6:33 am #

      Malloy,

      Hello!

      I don’t believe that any person can fix the problems we have politically, morally, economically, etc… In our nation. We desperately need Christ. I pray we will repent of our ungodliness and return to God. That is the only way to bring the healing we need. :)

  19. need help
    February 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    Why is it my wife feels i need to abuse her physically she has been in abusive relationships and is happy with them i dont understand why she asks me to do i t she knows i dont believe in abuse and i will not and i believe we are equal and i believe abuse is wrong but she asks anyways why????

    • peacefulwife
      February 19, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

      Need help,
      Your wife needs godly counsel if she believes you should abuse her. Thank you for doing what is right and treating her with honor. I pray for you to have wisdom to help her understand how much God loves her and how valuable she is and how all people should be treated with love, dignity and honor.

  20. KGDNM
    March 21, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    I’m new to your blog. I don’t typically respond. I’m in an abusive relationship – but I’m the male. It is VERY COMMON that women are the abusers in relationships – moreso than men. (in my experience). The abuse is different. Men being abused is not considered possible by society because men are portrayed as stronger and therefore not subject to abuse which is false. A Godly husband submits himself (to one another) in love but there are MANY abusive wives. I’m not trying to create a contest but it’s time to drop (and I know you write this blog to women) the assumption that women are the victims and men the abusers. It’s simply false. I just wanted to share one thing with women that I hope they will understand. When men are “yelling, screaming, controlling” – what men are doing is crying. Women literally cry. Men get angry. It’s REALLY important for spouses to seek understanding. Also, another problem is that just because someone says or feels abused, does NOT mean there is abuse. Even the bible says the heart is deceitful and wicked. This really important to acknowledge. The last thing I would like to offer is that the ultimate goal after behavior is understanding. There is a formula I would like to share that if you consider it, it’s very true and will get YOU to the root of whatever problem you are in. We as people tend to address symptoms and not the problem. We’ve all heard the story of someone getting shot over a french fry at McDonald’s. A french fry was the symptom, not the problem. Here is the formula. “Pain is rooted in anger. Anger is rooted in control. Control is rooted in fear. Fear is a request for love”. Lack of love is ALWAYS the reason. Which means love is always the answer. If you really think about your situation, any situation, it’s true. It can be hard to cling to your viewpoint, or your feelings of violation – but I challenge you to put your relationship situation in this formula and see what wisdom, solution, possibilities and opportunities are there. Try, please try to get to the root of the problem and apply love to the root and see if it is not transformed. May be in a moment, a day, a week, a season – or never – but, try it. Truly try something new because doing the same “crazy” isn’t working. Thank you for reading. I’m just a reader and happy that women have this blog to really learn the biblical design of marriage in God.

    • peacefulwife
      March 21, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

      KGDNM,
      Thank you so much for sharing! It is wonderful to meet you! I am SO VERY SORRY to hear that you are being abused. I have heard from quite a number of husbands in similar situations. Are you safe?

      You are absolutely right – there are many abusive wives. It breaks my heart. :( I don’t want to see anyone sinned against or abused.

      And you are right – that not everyone who says they are “abused” is actually being abused. I wrote a post on that awhile back, actually.

      I love that insight about when men are yelling, screaming and controlling they are crying. I agree – that is how most men show their hurt and pain. Some men show it by shutting down – like my husband, too.

      I like that formula, too. Yes, control iso rooted in fear. All of us want love and acceptance. Many of us will do almost anything to get it, even some very destructive things that won’t possibly work.

      When we find our love and acceptance in Christ and put Him first and seek Him with all our hearts, He is able to give us the power to apply His supernatural love to our marriages and bring healing to so many difficult situations.

      Thank you for sharing!

      here is a post about wives being verbally abusive:

      “A Wake Up Call for Wives”

  21. linkh
    May 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Abuse is a difficult topic, especially if you post a blog like this one. Some women, when they read about submission, automatically think of ‘abuse’ for some reason. They associate the two ideas together, thinking of movies they’ve seen on the LifeTime network about abusive controlling men.

    And yet there are men who are violent, angry types. Most men in this culture really don’t like wife-beaters or the idea of a man beating his wife. But we also have to realize that the word ‘abuse’ is abused. There is an entire industry, dominated by feminists, built around spousal abuse. The Feminist philosophy on abuse can be very damaging, both to the abused and to society at large.

    I had a relative who spent some time in a safe house for women because her husband had some mental problems and she was afraid. It was one of those domestic violence centers. I was in my late teens, and I had a look at one of the pamphlets from the center. It said basically that if a man abused a woman once, he was an abuser forever, and it had a long list of behaviors that were considered abuse. If you look at websites about abuse, many of the ‘abusive’ behaviors are normal, though sometimes unpleasant, behaviors. Some of the websites that describe cycles of abuse including husbands giving their wives a certain look of displeasure as ‘abuse.’ Witholding money is called abuse. So if a man doesn’t give money to a woman when she asks for it, that is supposed to be ‘abuse.’ Some websites even state that a man quoting scriptures on submission is abuse.

    Clearly, some of this material is written from a perspective contrary to God’s word. I suppose an abusive man could know how to quote one scripture, about wives submitting to husbands. But a godly man might also quote that scripture from time to time. Encouraging one’s wife to do what is right isn’t necessarily abusive. In many marriages that believe in wives submitting to their husbands, the finances go through the husband. That isn’t ‘abuse.’ Many of the domestic violence centers are controlled by feminists, who label things that don’t fit with their feminist world view as ‘abusive.’

    And now ‘abuse’ is used to include verbal abuse. I am against verbal abuse, of course. Jesus taught against name calling like, “Thou fool” and the principle applies to other things. I don’t think anyone should put down their partner, call them worthless, or be needlessly critical. But I wouldn’t put that in the same category, at least from a legal perspective, as physical abuse.

    Like most men in our culture, the idea of a man beating his wife can make my blood boil. But is it realistic to say that if a man hits his wife once, he is an abuser forever and that she should divorce him? That’s the type of philosophy a woman who goes to a domestic violence center might hear.

    The domestic violence industry also promotes the idea that domestic violence is fairly one-sided, with men abusing women. But realistically, there are a number of marriages where women are violent. The idea that it doesn’t matter because women are weaker than men doesn’t help much if a man, trained not to hit a woman, is constantly being hit by his wife. If he eventually ‘breaks down’ and defends himself, and she calls the cops, chances are he goes away in handcuffs. If he calls the cops, he could still end up being arrested. Telling women that once their husbands hit them, their husbands are always abusers doesn’t take into account that some men strike back in self-defense. I’ve heard the once-an-abuser-always-an-abuser reasoning doesn’t hold true to real life research either. As Christians who believe that a new believer is a new creature in Christ Jesus, who believe that God transforms lives, it doesn’t makes sense to hold to this philosophy about men either.

    Certain feminists view all men as abusers or potential abusers, rapists, or potential rapists. Some of the more radical feminists think of traditional marriage as slavery. The philosophy behind many of the people in the domestic violence industry can be harmful.

    I read once where a pastor advised that ‘if there is abuse, get out.’ IMO, that’s is dangerously vague. The definition of ‘abuse’ can be rather wide and loose in some sources, including normal behaviors. On the one hand, churches need to provide real help for people in dangerous and life-threatening situations. We also need to look past the propaganda and realize that some men have violent wives, and are torn between defending themselves and the importance of not reacting violently toward their wives. There are both men and women who need help. Another thing to keep in mind is that those who are violent are not beyond redemption. They need to repent and be transformed by the power of God. On a practical level, teaching people to communicate without getting angry and frustrated can be a lot more helpful than simply breaking up marriages.

    On the other, we need to be aware that marriage is under attack in our country, and Satan can even use charities with the stated aim of protecting that abused as a part of this agenda.

    Something to keep in mind Biblically, is that Paul related the commandments of the Lord, “Let not the wife depart from her husband. But if she departs, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.” If a woman leaves her husband over violence, that doesn’t give her freedom to marry another man.

    • peacefulwife
      May 9, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      Linkh,
      This is a difficult topic. I tried to address it – including how overused the word “abuse” is – and had so many issues come up – that I decided I had to take that post down. :(

      But, I really appreciate your willingness to share your wisdom and insights. Thank you so much!

  22. Dr. Ken Newberger
    November 9, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    April, thank your for your post. As a rule, men who abuse their wives are poor candidates for traditional marriage counseling. They need individual therapy or the police. There is no Biblical reason for a wife to remain in a violent environment that threatens them or their children.

    Dr. Ken Newberger
    Ph.D. Conflict Analysis and Resolution
    Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary

    http://MarriageCounselingAlt.com

    Estero FL

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