According to research by the Center for Disease Control, one in three women in the U.S. will experience some form of domestic violence from an intimate partner. But women aren’t the only ones. One in four men will also experience some form of physical abuse from an intimate partner.
If you are in an abusive marriage, you may have believed some lies about yourself and the situation you are in. Here are some of the lies about abuse in marriage, and the truth that will help you begin your journey to freedom!
- It’s My Fault. Perhaps you think you did or said something wrong to offend your spouse. Or, maybe you don’t feel worthy of love. But the truth is, you are worthy of being loved. And you are not responsible for your spouse’s anger—they are. Remember that domestic violence (physical, financial, sexual, and psychological) is detrimental to all who are affected. Please seek help immediately, and begin the process of healing.
- God Condones Violence. When you read the Old Testament, you see countless stories about violence. Does it mean that God condones violence? NO! We read in Malachi 2:16, ” ‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel, ‘and the one who is guilty of violence,’ says the Lord who rules over all.” God hates all violence, including abuse in marriage. If you believe God condones violence, you may feel guilty for leaving an abusive marriage. DON’T! You are stopping something He hates—domestic violence. Here’s the truth: God is Love. And the process of healing will begin when you reach out for help.
- I Can’t Support Myself. If you leave, are you afraid that you won’t be able to support yourself? Don’t let fear keep you in an abusive relationship. You can find help, but you need to know what you’ll need for support. It could be financial help, getting connected to healthy people, or just discovering what your next best step should be. Before you decide to leave, talk with a counselor.
- I’m a Christian, so I have to stay. Christ came to heal the brokenhearted, set captives free, and liberate those who are hurting. We read in Luke 4:18, “He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.” If you’re in an abusive marriage, you are captive to a dangerous relationship. Safety should be your primary concern. You don’t want to put yourself and your children in harm’s way. Make sure that you find a safe place to live, and take steps to find healing. The truth is Christ loves you, and help is available for you to learn how to steer clear of harmful relationships.
- I Can’t Get a Divorce. Perhaps a pastor or another spiritual leader told you that you have no biblical grounds for a divorce. They encouraged you to either stay or separate. Staying with an abusive spouse is dangerous. While separating from them is a good first step, it’s still a big decision for you to make. Know what your options are legally—understand what your options are biblically. Ask for help from a pastor, counselor, domestic violence shelter, and support group. Truth is found when you explore what is the true truth.
- I Must Reconcile. Some Christians believe to forgive an abuser, they must reconcile with them. Forgiveness does not mean nullifying the consequences of abuse. You should not reconcile with an abusive spouse unless:
- They accept responsibility for the abuse.
- They seek counseling for themselves.
- You do your own healing by working with a counselor.
- They make amends for the damage they have done.
- They change their behavior long term.
God desires marriages to be a place of healing and safety, not a war zone. Sometimes words hurt more than physical harm. If any of these lies are part of your marriage, please seek help. There is hope!
If you or your children’s lives are in danger, call 911. If not, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). Please know we are here for you! We can pray, help you find a Christian counselor, and get you connected to a Life Recovery Group. Call us at 800-639-5433.