When should a God-fearing, Bible-believing wife leave her husband? Or should she ever? There is no physical abuse at all, but there is a great deal of control and emotional abuse. Yes, it’s starting to effect the children. If you don’t finish your entire dinner, there’ll be a tirade. Didn’t ride your two wheeler without falling the first time? You must be an idiot.
Is the cost of leaving greater than the cost of staying? Is no father better than an abusive one? Am I teaching them that this is the way a man behaves toward his wife and children, that this is a marriage?
First of all, I am honored that you would share something so intimate and personal with me. I know what it’s like to be in an abusive marriage, and I am familiar with your concerns for your children. You don’t specifically mention divorce, so I assume that when you say “leave” you’re talking about a separation. Either way I see a person who is walking a very difficult road, and quite possibly looking for a way out.
I know what it’s like when you’re walking on eggs … and no matter how hard you try, the least little thing will set off the tantrums you’re trying to avoid. The only reason I’m familiar with what God’s Word says regarding marriage and divorce (or separation) is because I looked them up several times during my trying years in an abusive marriage. One grows weary with all the drama and wonders if it would ever end.
I asked a dear friend of the family and a pastor to confirm what I was reading and both were very sympathetic in their responses. Like I said, it’s a difficult road. Divorce IS “allowed” in certain circumstances, but it was never God’s intent, nor was it meant to be a sign of approval when it falls under that category of “indecency” or “sexual immorality” mentioned in the scriptures. Jesus said that divorce was permitted because of the hardness of man’s heart and that what God has joined together man must not separate. The scriptures also say that a woman should not leave her husband, BUT IF she does, then she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.
We were married ten and a half years when my husband left us for another woman and her two children. Not too long after that, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in some time while I was out grocery shopping. Once she was all caught up to date she surprised me when she said, “You look happy.” She could see the puzzled look on my face, and I truly wondered how she could say that, because I was now a single mom struggling to take care of my three littles on my own and I wasn’t sure what direction my life was going to take us. She clarified what she was trying to say. “You always looked like a frightened rabbit around your husband.” Oh … I didn’t realize it was that transparent! What she saw as “happy” was really just someone now living in a quiet, peaceful home.
The hardest part after our separation was being open to reconciliation. Seven times he asked me if we could get back together and each time I told him, “yes, but we need to get counseling first.” I wasn’t going to let him just waltz back in like nothing had happened. The last time he asked, the kids caught wind of it. The following day when he went to church with us my little “square piece” clung to him for dear life. He went forward for prayer and things looked promising. Then he called the following morning and said, “I can’t do this to her.”
I said, “You can’t do this to her? You can do this to me, and our children, but you can’t do this to her?” He indicated that she “needed” him and I seemed to be doing fine without him. I let him know that he couldn’t keep doing this, to either of us, and that he needed to make a decision. So he did … and at that point, two years after he left us, he married her … and I was no longer bound to him.
Now, with all that said … the abuse in your home needs to stop, plain and simple. You need someone that you can trust and confide in, hopefully your pastor and his wife, or another godly leader where you worship. You need someone to help guide you and your husband to a better relationship with each other and the children. Maybe you could do the “Love Dare” challenge together. In any event, he needs someone to hold him accountable for his behavior towards you and the children. If he won’t join you in getting counsel, take the children and go without him. Get yourself some type of support system where you and your children can be encouraged and reaffirm who you are in Christ.
You are loved, you are worth dying for and you are precious in His eyes. I will be praying for you in this.
(If you’d like to send Momma a question, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.)