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 towards anyone. Abuse is sin. It offends God. It is destructive and it is wrong. People will be accountable to God for abusing 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
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.
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
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.
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!