Nov

25

2012

Matt Smethurst|3:32 PM CT

Don't Mess With Her, Man

Male leadership in the church and the home is designed by God to be characterized by tender strength, courageous protection, and self-giving devotion. Male authoritarianism is about neither. Indeed, it's a pathetic distortion that broadcasts a gospel lie (Eph. 5:32).

Today is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a fitting occasion to rehearse some of God's thoughts on the matter. As it turns out, he has quite a lot to say about (and to) the sort of men who would ever dare harm their brides. Consider just a sampling:

"Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them" (Col. 3:19).

"Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Pet. 3:7).

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self . . . proud, arrogant, abusive . . . heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people" (2 Tim. 3:1-5).

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. . . . Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

"Now the works of the flesh are evident . . . enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21).

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" (Eph. 4:29-32).

"Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'" (Rom. 12:17-19).

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up of her. . . . In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church" (Eph. 5:25, 28-29).

"[The] LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth" (Mal. 2:14-16).

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20).

"[The LORD's] soul hates . . . the one who loves violence" (Ps. 11:5).

That last verse is particularly scary, isn't it? You'd think it would simply say God hates violence. Instead, it says God hates the violent. He hates wife-beaters.

No matter how it's spun, abusing women is unacceptable. Always. No asterisks.

God calls husbands to love their wives (Col. 3:19; Eph. 5:25, 33), to enjoy them (Eccl. 9:9), to understand them (1 Pet. 3:7), to honor them (1 Pet. 3:7), to nourish them (Eph. 5:29), to cherish them (Eph. 5:29), to provide for them (1 Tim. 5:8), to praise them (Prov. 31:28), and, well, you get the point.

Brothers, may the Lord deliver us from ever tolerating a pugnacious coward who would dare damage one of his beautiful image-bearers.

Matt Smethurst serves as associate editor for The Gospel Coalition and lives in Louisville, Kentucky. You can follow him on Twitter.

  • http://bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com Julie Anne

    Thank you for addressing this difficult issue. Can you please define the appropriate response to spousal abuse by leaders in the church and also what to do if church leaders choose to overlook spousal abuse in their church?

    • Victorious

      Good question, Julie Anne. As with any crime, the appropriate response to physical/sexual is to report it to the proper authorities. The abused (female or male) should be referred to a safe house for victims of domestic violence. Then a judge will determine the punishment for the batterer. This issue must be handled by the appropriate civil/federal authorities who are (by God's design) in place for the protection of the citizens.

      The church can minister to the batterer and abused following these procedures and applications according to the law.

  • Anthony

    Of course this article is right but there is another side to this. Women are often just as guilty of abusing their husbands. Titus 2 says that older women are to teach younger women to love their husbands and love their children. In my situation my wife's mother deeply Hated her husband without cause and taught her daughter to hate him too. After we were married all that secret hatred quickly transferred to me. I've Never been hit/Kicked as hard by a man as I was by my wife when her temper would flair. As far as loving their children, no they both idolize and essentially worship children.
    It's a much longer story that I won't get into here but women are fully capable of often violent physical and spiritual abuse, there are plenty of news stories out there about wives even killing husbands, women often use abuse as a tool to get what they want in divorce courts too even if it's false.

    • LG

      That is absolutely true, but I'm sure you recognize that women are victims of abuse, battering, relationship rape, intimidation, and exploitation almost exponentially more commonly than men are. All the stats I've read indicate that between 80-95% of spousal/partner abuse victims are women. Since this day is about violence against women, not domestic abuse generally, it stands to reason that this article would address men who abuse women.

      • Anthony

        Many of the stats out there are put out by feminist groups, they have a political agenda and making things look so lop sided helps it. Why do we even have this UN anti abuse focused on women? Because of that agenda... You have to dig way deeper to find the studies the feminists don't want you to see, the ones that the show the scales are much more evenly balanced unfortunately. Women are no less fallen and capable of sin than men.

        • Victorious

          Anthony, having been a victim advocate at a local shelter, as well as director of a 24-hr. on-call program for domestic violence, trust me....it's not an agenda nor is it lopsided. It's the old-age bully principle. Men bully women because they can. In the 10 yrs. I was on staff at the shelter, working with law enforcement, I only saw one or two male victims. That's not to say that men can't be victims, it's just that normally they aren't.

          • Anthony

            Whenever you have the UN proclaiming something there is a Huge fat pig of a political agenda behind it. One of the factors of violence against men by women is that most never report it to the Police because they don't see it as abuse at the time. I didn't, it was a marriage counselor and my pastors who finally said after looking at everything for a long while that I was the one being abused Physically and spiritually. Her mother was doing the same things to her father for years and even openly told us of her plans to kill him in various ways. One good Judge even told her that it was clear to him that she was the aggressor when she accused him of DV trying to get a PO against him. Everyone likes to forget that the curse of the fall is on both men and women... She will desire her husband... his position and authority and he will rule over his wife, instead of loving her the way God intended. Both men and women have a temptation to step out of Gods ways for marriage.
            My wife did that in many ways one by becoming jellos of my income she desperately wanted to make more money than me and she couldn't (she was a stay at home mom, her choice). I had to lay down the law that her mother wasn't allowed to interfere between us but neither I nor my father in law ever abused them, their combined bitterness broke both marriages.

          • Brian

            Unfortunately, it works both ways. Women may not physically abuse men, but they certainly can and do emotionally, and physiologically abuse them. To deny that is to deny original sin.

            • http://bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com Julie Anne

              Anthony: Perhaps you could petition the UN to have a day to highlight abuse against men. Adding your comments about UN and political agendas, feminist agendas, etc, does little to address the issue of this article: abuse against women.

              I would, however, recommend that you check out this blog: http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/

              I think you would find it to be very helpful for you as it sounds like you went through a very difficult marriage. Both men and women who have been victims can find support there.

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  • http://www.bradhambrick.com Brad Hambrick

    Here is a blog series were I try to deal with the issues of abuse and chronic neglect within a thoroughly biblical, gospel-centered paradigm -- http://www.bradhambrick.com/selfcenteredspouse.

    As a church this is a subject for which we must become more skilled in our assessment and pastoral care. Thank you for bringing the subject out of the shadow.

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  • betsy.hart@rocketmail.com

    As a woman who has written about this issue professionally many times, I find it discouraging that the writer here makes a common error, assuming that most abuse of women occurs at the hands of a husband. Actually, statistically speaking the safest place for a woman to be is living is with a husband in her home. Yes, some women are abused by such men and that is an evil thing, but most abuse of women comes from boyfriends, ex husbands, or husbands who are separated from their wives. We need to value and honor marriage for what it is an institution that exists to protect women and children and typically - though not always! - does. We fail women and children by celebrating any other sexual and intimate union outside of marriage.

    • http://twitter.com/mattsmethurst Matt Smethurst

      I appreciate this reminder, Betsy. Thank you for weighing in.

    • http://www.newbeginningsbrainerd.org Bob Kemper

      Thanks for that reminder Betsy! As a Pastor and Mentor I work with men - single or married to bring them back to God's standard of leadership - in and out of the home. We need clear leadership in the community at large. Thanks for your work as well!

  • red

    "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up of her. . . . In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church"

    i like this one. husbands are told to love their wives as 'Christ' (a reference to his humanity, not divinity, as divinity cannot die) loved the Church - to the point of giving up his human life. to see Paul compare the husband to Christ or his humanity reveals a servanthood sacrifice that Paul called for husband's to give to their wives. that paul calls men to lead by giving up everything for their wives, turns worldy leadership upsidedown on it's head. leading then becomes 'serving' or being as a servant, not a 'ruler' or one with authority over another. though it would not be a sin for a wife to do the same for the husband, as it is not a sin to serve, it is the husband who paul calls to servanthood. servanthood = jesus' kind of leadership.

  • Geeb

    Abusing women is absolutely unacceptable, you're right. Now we've got that clear, how about we work on the patronising sexism too?

  • http://geoffchapman.wordpress.com GeoffC

    I've noticed that I have to guard my heart carefully when thinking and talking about issues of abuse. I have to be careful that I don't ignore James' warning that "the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."

    I find that I want to be heroic when confronted with the abuse of the vulnerable, and naturally I become imprecatory. While this is natural it is also selfish, in my mind I am putting my target beyond the reach of God's grace and placing myself above them in self-righteousness.

    Even our confrontation and, if necessary, forceful correcting of wrongs has to be filled with love not just in action but from a compassionate heart. This applies of course to the abused but also for the abuser. The Lord told us that if we are "angry with a brother or sister [we] will be subject to judgement" too. It is not easy to love the unlovable but to "whoever asks it shall be given".

    While God is free to hate people, I am not!

  • http://www.apoorwretch.com Seth Fuller

    Appreciated reading these verses Matt. Thanks for sharing brother.

  • julie

    I wish we would use biblical terms. "Abuse" is what? Hatred, strife, contention, and enmity; harsh treatment. Instead of "unacceptable" which is the world's word for just about anything from a burp to out and out adultery, how about sinful instead?

    Also with all the focus on physically harming another person, there is also emotional pain that is inflicted on women by their husbands. Often churches will not address these things but send women home to submit, telling them to do what they ought and leave their husbands for God to deal with. Thousands of church going men sit in pews every Sunday, pretending to be Christians yet harming their families physically or emotionally during the week. They know how to fly under the radar and charm those in leadership.

    • Victorious

      Good words, Julie. Actually it should be called a crime because that's what physical battering is. If you assaulted someone on the street, you would be arrested, charged, and prosecuted. That's because there are laws against assaulting anyone.

      For this reason, it's imperative that these types of crimes must be reported to law enforcement. Spiritual ministry can follow the proper legal procedures. Most times, a batterer will be court-ordered to a anger management program.

      • Diane

        "For this reason, it's imperative that these types of crimes must be reported to law enforcement. Spiritual ministry can follow the proper legal procedures."

        Your comment is quite correct. How many times have I seen this reversed in policies for dealing with abuse (sexual abuse of children esp.) in churches. Law enforcement first. They are objective and trained to ascertain if a crime has been committed. Then spiritual care/counsel. Pastors, are you listening?

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  • Elizabeth

    On the one hand I feel like applauding this. It is Truth that (in this broken world) needs to be heard.

    On the other hand, why do Christian men need to be reminded of this? Is this not elementary? What kind of church or religion are some men in that they need this laid out for them? On some level this is comparable to TGC posting something about stealing being bad and quoting all the verses that support the concept that we shouldn't steal from other people. I know. I know - abusive relationships are common in the church (dare I say especially in churches that preach strict complementarianism?). The church should have been such a clear, compelling, continuous voice AGAINST domestic violence for hundreds of years that it would be completely unnecessary for Matt to remind us all not to hit our spouses.

    Sadly, I know this post was needed. But it boggles the mind that the church needs to be told this.

    • http://thegospelcoalition.org Collin Hansen

      To what sin would your critique not pertain? In other words, what sin is no longer a problem for humanity? What bad can come from admonishing one another to flee evil and pursue righteousness?

      Also, please let us know how you determined that spousal abuse is especially problematic in complementarian churches. Thank you in advance for providing us with sources.

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  • http://www.theologyforwomen.org Wendy Alsup

    I think it would be helpful to offer gospel wisdom to a man who is violent. What if a violent man reads this and is convicted by the Holy Spirit? I only hear that God hates him. But surely he too has hope for redemption, forgiveness, and complete change. Any resources?

    It seems like Step 1 is to remove yourself from those you have hurt to protect them from yourself. Step 2 is confess to appropriate authorities. What then? Where to go for real, deep help, especially if your actions haven't risen to the level that government will intervene?

    • http://twitter.com/mattsmethurst Matt Smethurst

      Thanks, Wendy, for your comment. I think your Step 1 and Step 2 are spot-on. In terms of "real, deep help," I'd recommend going first to Jesus in repentance, second to one's pastors, and third to a biblical counselor.

      Justin has a helpful roundup of several of the pieces written (each complementary, not exhaustive, of course), along with a few pertinent gospel-centered resources. If you (or anyone else) know of more, though, please share!

      http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/11/25/the-church-the-gospel-and-violence-against-women

      Blessings in Christ,
      Matt

  • Victorious

    "If you (or anyone else) know of more, though, please share!"

    First resource should be 911 to report the violence to the proper authorities. This is primary for the safety of the children as well as the woman. At the first sign of violent behavior, they should leave the situation and realize the example being set for the children.

    Second resource is the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE to speak with the most qualified, knowledgeable counselors whose specialized training and education is in this area.

    Third would be to notify the church to make them aware of the problem with the abuser and request prayer for him as he will do doubt encounter much difficulty in managing his anger and need to control.

    • http://twitter.com/mattsmethurst Matt Smethurst

      Yes, this is what Wendy (and I) meant by Step 1 and Step 2.

      • Victorious

        Yes, except it seems Wendy's steps 1 and 2 are directed to the abuser. I was directing my steps 1 and 2 to the victims.

  • http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com Barbara Roberts

    A Cry for Justice is a blog that focuses on domestic abuse in Christianity. Ps Jeff Crippen and myself are the administrators. We are both Reformed conservative believers. The blog has become a supportive community for survivors and their supporters. We have lots of scriptural teaching & discussion, we share stories, we encourage each other, and we are hoping to awaken the evangelical church to the crisis of domestic abuse in its midst.

    On the blog we hear from all sorts of survivors including women who are married to conservative evangelical pastors. We vet all comments before publishing them and we make sure the blog is a safe place for victims of domestic abuse.
    Ps Crippen has also written a book called A Cry For Justice. You can get it from Calvary Press.

  • Anthony

    Law enforcment is No guarentee of objectivity, the domestic courts will drive an imovable wedge between a couple and almost always guarentee a divorce. Paul condemns going to the heathen courts, the church should judge such things first. My ex wife and her mother refused to listen to church leadership about their own sin against their husbands and ran to the law using it as a tool to get what they thought they wanted (revenge). My wife's father two of my pastors and several women from my church all testified against my ex wife but without fail every judge decided against me. She never called the police to our house never made a charge of DV, no one ever saw the bruses and black eyes she claimed I'd given her. She ran to the courts because she knew she could lie to them and get away with it... All she wanted was a divorce because her mother hated me as her own husband because I wasn't perfect like she thought in fact I'm so bad in her mind I AM her husband, yet my wife didn't file for divorce... I waited 4 years and finally filed myself at my lawyer's advice my pastors didn't like it nor I but they agreed she probably isn't saved so I just had to let her go. Now she's getting ready to marry some other sucker, we'll see how long that lasts.

    • Victorious

      Paul condemns going to the heathen courts, the church should judge such things first.

      Hi Anthony,
      You made use of the "heathen courts" to obtain a divorce, but consider it different when a crime has been committed? If my neighbor, for example, steals my car from my driveway, I should go to the church to report it? If I am being stalked by a predator, I should tell it to the church?

      If your wife's salvation was judged on the basis of her actions, shouldn't the same judgment be made of a man who batters his wife? Does this sound reasonable? Of course not! We can't go around judging who is saved and who isn't based on sin in their lives. Otherwise, we would all be found guilty.

      If we stop treating divorce as the unforgivable sin, we won't be so judgmental about a victim of domestic violence choosing to leave the very dangerous situation for both her own well-being and that of her children as well.

      • Anthony

        You making a false argument, Paul was talking about issues that come up within the Church between professing believers. My wife's salvation was questioned because she has left her husband and joined herself to another man, plain and simple unrepentant adultry. She even admitted at one time early on that she knew she was in no danger. By the way "abuse" to my wife amounts to me asking her to help me with something that she didn't want to do like anything to do with doing the taxes or paying bills, but no judge ever wanted to ask deeper questions about that.

        • Victorious

          It's not a false argument, Anthony. While we recognize the serious nature of adultery, it's not against the law. God's law, yes; civil law, no. Therefore, it doesn't need to be reported to law enforcement. That matter might be resolved between two people involved with spiritual counseling.

          Battery, however, is against the law. That type of crime comes under the jurisdiction of civil law. That's why Paul tells us that it provides protection from those who break the law.

          But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Romans 13

          • Anthony

            In the 11th ammendment to the US Constitution Everyone is granted Equil protection under the law. When it comes to DV all a woman needs is an accusation no evidance needed and she can get a protective order against her husband, this is a Special "protection" which is really unconstitutional But the Domestic courts opperate on a second set of books. The woman has to nearly Kill her husband to get any help, I tried time and again to tell the court of her violence toward me but they didn't want to hear it. The deck is stacked unfairly toward women and the only reason for that is the modern liberal feminist movement. It's easy to start thinking that DV is so wide spread if you look at all the feminist stats. My X and her mother really believe that just about every woman and child is abused and every man is now or is potentially an abuser just because they're men. My case never was in a civil court because I was never charged with a crime like DV or anything else. Yet they broke our marriage by preventing me from communicating with her. The system Grinds families to pieces.

    • http://bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com Julie Anne

      Nicholas: Many churches are not equipped to judge abuse situations. They keep it at the level of "sin", overlooking the fact that there are crimes being committed - crimes that should be turned over to authorities and dealt with through our justice system. If a crime is committed, it must be reported, period. The sin issue can always be dealt with. Read Romans 13. This is a God-ordained process.

      • http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com Barbara Roberts

        I would say the vast majority of churches are not equipped to judge abuse situations, unfortunately. Perpetrators are such arch-manipulators and they often devote masses of energy to massaging and shaping the views of the congregation and the leadership, to win them over with lies and half truths. They get people to blame the victim, they make the victim seem like the crazy one. The list goes on and on.

  • Anthony

    So basically I would put it like this, if a woman really wants to keep her family together inspite of abuse or what ever dissagrement and have a redemptive seperion for a time to try and work things out then run to the church or maybe a marriage counselor. If she wants to be bitter and break the marriage then run to the law, that's the only outcome they can give. The more responsible path is to keep it together especially for children.

    • http://bgbcsurvivors.blogspot.com Julie Anne

      Anthony -

      If the abuse is of criminal nature, only dealing with the sin issue at church without involving civil authorities sometimes does not provide the natural consequence of crimes: judgment and conviction in the civil court system.

      Keep in mind that time in jail for crimes sometimes can be a "redemptive separation" that brings the family to restoration and healing. Pastors/church leaders can be visiting in prison, sharing the word, praying, counseling.

      It troubles me greatly that you think that a woman who uses the law "wants to be bitter and break up the marriage". What a slap in the face to God who established the law. Read Romans 13:1-7. When you say "that's the only outcome they can give", after reading Romans 13 and realizing that God established the law, are you willing to say that that is the only outcome that God can give? Think about it. The law can provide a righteous "spanking" or wake-up call to the abuser and help restore a family if there is repentance.

      • Anthony

        The laws we have pertaining to DV situations and the JD courts are not of God,and they fall far short of what a person would encounter in a criminal court where you have to have real evidence to make a case they are broken perverse laws and in my area the whole system is filled with incompetence and corruption, that's how my lawyer described it he doesn't trust them at all.
        I am mostly speaking of my own situation but there are many I have read about from various places. My wife became obsessed with trying to get me arrested once she found she had the power to do it. In the JD courts all she needed was naked accusations and circumstantial deviance like "he raised his voice, he had a bad temper when..." spinning stories of situations that did happen and weren't the best times but were not things I could be blamed for and tacking on embellishments about physical abuse or just the fear of it that never happened. Her lawyer even suggested that my "religious beliefs" might make me a more dangerous person, but they never let me explain what I really believe. At the same time making every effort to cover up any thing good about me, like how I play classical piano and organ... instead they wanted to paint me as a brute just because I work in a Ship yard as a machinist and somehow that makes me a dirt ball. Her mother did all the same things and both did it all out of pure unmitigated bitterness, they Hate anyone that fails to believe their story, and that includes everyone in my church.
        I have read through many feminist abuse websites and the things they spew encourage women to be bitter toward men, things such as long lists of "Forms of abuse" There's not much a man can do that's right according to these lists, just having a family budget equals not letting your wife spend as much as she wants and that's called "Financial abuse" and they say to Never return to an abuser... my wife kept saying that in emails with our pastors. So she most certainly used the courts to break our marriage in bitterness and she's not the only one.

        • Winnie

          Anthony,

          My heart goes out to you. I believe you and I wish I knew what could ameliorate this situation. I consider myself a feminist because I have benefitted from changes in the law which support my situation.

          I was the victim of violence for 30 years, often had blue marks running down my arms and legs. For many years I could not wear short sleeved blouses. In one incident I was knocked out of the passenger seat of the car onto the ground in a parking lot, at night, and then dragged by my hair away from the car so my ex could drive off with the kids, who were howling in the back seat.

          I was able to get a taxi home because by that time abuse was so common that I kept a visa card in my pocket at all times. (I worked equally with my husband and he was not able to prevent me from having my own visa card.)

          When I did leave I was very afraid that leaving would infuriate him and escalate the violence. So I did not charge him, or even say anything to have him charged with assault, although he had been charged with assault years before when a neighbour called. Of course, he did assault me more times than I can remember, every week for 20 years.

          But in the end, all that happened was, after I left, the police went and called on him, and gave him a warning that if he stalked me, he could be charged with criminal harassment. He never stalked me, I never saw him, I never complained to the police, also I asked the children, now young adults, to keep in touch with him.

          Many people thought I was very hard hearted, but I needed to go. I have a serious auto-immune disorder and stage 3 cancer, all aggravated by living 30 years with abuse. In the time I have left, I want to breathe freely and not be beaten up all the time.

          I want the church to apologize to me for teaching my husband that I was supposed to submit all those years, God knows, I tried.

          And I would very much like to see a fair justice system for men as well. I have no desire to demonize men. However, people need to know that violence, chaos, poverty and ill health, PTSS, and many other problems haunt those who are victims of abuse. Life is ruined by abuse, for you and for me. This needs to be faced square on.

          • Anthony

            Of course there's no excuse for your husbands actions that is Real abuse, my ex is a disgrace to any woman that's really gone through that.
            She claimed I had given her black eyes and bruises all over her body but the problem is no one ever saw any hint of that, She only covered up if it was cold outside. She did occasionally have bruises on her legs, that were from her bumping in to things but not from me. Her accusations sprang up suddenly after reading abuse literature given to her by a friend she barely knew when she ran away in her panic.
            Before that between her physical and spiritual attacks she was often telling me how discerning and wise I was... "I know I have a tendency to lose touch with reality but you always lead me back to what's true" I knew I had a problem when she told me that... and she spread her praise of me to everyone often, so when all of a sudden emails started flying out about how I was a violent abusive monster it just didn't add up.
            I have been going through allot of spiritual and physical struggles, physical pain more than just hear break and an inability to pray out loud. Most of that has been removed, really suddenly removed... He took it away. I still ache for my son though... he's just 5

            • Winnie

              Anthony,

              I have a friend who has gone through something similar. But not in a Christian situation. Fortunately he was able to have joint sessions with a counsellor, with his wife and son. However, the wife did call social services on him and it was pretty tough.

              He would often come and sit and talk to me about his situation. I don't have answers, but I can truly say that I recognize that women can be as abusive as men, even if it is not grounded in physical violence.

              For me, I was simply shattered. The truth is that I wish my ex no ill. I do wish that all those who preach the subordination of women could have access to the virtual experience of being curled up in a fetal position kicked and yelled at with Bible verses. Then if they could have the virtual experience of the ill health that remains with the victim for the rest of their life, that would be great too. It should be an IPad app or something. Also your situation too.

              Sometimes, I think people in official positions in the church or state, don't have any imagination.

              But when you hear a woman sounding bitter, think of those like me who really were beat up. I believe your story and you believe mine, and we can fight our separate battles without stigmatizing the opposite sex.

            • Anthony

              I think allot of the misunderstanding people have about "complementarianism" is that people think it means subordination which it does not. I don't really like the word complementarianism I haven't heard of anything yet to replace it though. Kind of like the old word Trinity I prefer Complex Unity.
              I think people forget that all these isms are just human efforts to figure out some system particularly in this case to overcome our fallen natures artificiality in relations between husbands and wives. There will always be these issues. Just like with salvation you can't say a prayer once at 12 and call yourself a Christian years later when you're living in some kind of depravity. Husbands and wives can't just read books about marriage or subscribe to some ism philosophy about marriage roles and then coast along thinking they've arrived. That is all human effort to do something only God can do and continue to do. You're not a very good Christ follower if you're not continually returning to the Gospel. I think the majority of marriage problems in the church are because of a lack of understanding the Covenant of Grace. No man who understood and trusted in the Gospel would brow beat his wife with theology or Bible verses, those things would be piercing his own heart alone.

  • Winnie

    Anthony,

    I know that certain comments have been removed, but I don't know why. I was thinking that perhaps my comment was removed because I wrote a couple of the swear words my ex used when he swore at me. I am completely sympathetic to what you are saying, of course women can swear also and be abusive.

    In my case, it was very violent and I will never be completely healthy again. I did keep together till the children were 18, but I don't think that they would agree that I did the right thing.

    I was trying to describe the violence, what it felt like to have someone hitting and kicking you when you are lying on the floor, and the person hitting is also quoting excepts from sermons on submission, and telling you that you are going to hell, and telling the kids that you are going to hell, all because of the sermon on submission of wives. It was like that.

    But its a funny thing that when I try to tell it like it really is, my comments get deleted. There is a real intent to cover up this issue and silence abused men and women.

    • Anthony

      Well I haven't looked but I would guess putting up swear words even as examples would be against some terms of use agreement on here somewhere I don't think they're trying to cover anything up.
      In my church any time they talk the roles of men and women in marriage they warn... don't you dare hold this over her or his head but to treat each other according to the Gospel.

      My ex wife used to run up and kick me in the rear as hard as she could when she would fly into a rage and swear at me, then some times she would run up to the bathroom shortly there after and have her period and apologize to me because it was Eve making her mad at me. Or she would cut me down because my prayers weren't eloquent enough for her. She loved to set me up for failure too by making a small mess for instance and expecting me to clean it up but not telling me to and then screaming at me when I didn't "You're a Bum and a slob and I do All the work around here!!". I guess she forgot that I really did do all the work that provided her a house to complain about. She loved to cut on everyone for not being as knowledgeable about theology as she was, the other women in our church were some of her favorite secret targets. When I kept telling her she was wrong to do that she began hating me for that too.

      • Winnie

        Anthony,

        I am sorry and I don't know the answer. For me, I left and my ex divorced me, which is what I wanted anyway. I am single now and the children are young adults, they can spend time with us according to their own decision. I always encourage them to see their dad.

        I know its hard to get used to being single, I would rather not be, but I think it is the only way to have a peaceful life if one's spouse is abusive. I definitely think that one should be able to remarry, but it isn't that easy to meet eligible partners so I am resigned to being a contented single if that's the only other option.

        I also disagree with the notion that the man should have to carry the burden of providing. I think that couples need to come to an arrangement that is appropriate to everyone's individual circumstances, and not put unnatural pressure on either the husband or the wife to fill some predetermined role.

        • Anthony

          I didn't mind being the sole provider, I enjoyed it and was doing well at it. My wife was helping by keeping the house in order and taking care of our son but she had other gods in her life that became more important to her than God, me, our church.
          One of those was money, when she did have a job before our son came she kept everything she earned and acted like I was stealing from her when I asked her to contribute to our home... I guess I really married a child not a woman.

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