Lilly Park
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Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage

October 1, 2013

Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage
Lilly Park

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Lilly Park

Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage

This post is dedicated to the women I’ve met who have inspired me by their faith and strength in the midst of painful marriages.

I’ve seen marriages that reflect Christ and the Church: husbands lovingly leading their homes and wives lovingly submitting to their husbands. How good (and hope-filled!) it is to see real life examples, especially at a time when marriages are being attacked from pornography, homosexuality, and cohabitation. I’ve also seen broken marriages and emotionally abusive relationships, which has taught me a lot about faith.

The women I’ve met believed in submitting to their husbands and tried to do so. At some point, however, they began to change negatively without knowing it. They isolated themselves. They questioned themselves. They started to make excuses for their husbands’ sins.

What do you do when your husband emotionally abuses you? Some might say that you should continue to submit to his leadership, pray for him, and trust God. Is it acceptable to seek help and possibly even separate, if necessary? When I think of marriage, “protection” is one of the concepts that comes to mind. Perhaps that’s why emotional abuse, or any kind of abuse for that matter, in marriage saddens me in a different way.

My desire is that God might use this blog post to encourage those who are weary, to challenge those who are not trusting God or seeking counsel, and to provide some help to those who are not sure how to help women in emotionally abusive relationships. I’ve also met men who have been abused by their wives, so I certainly do not believe that only women are abused.

The Bible doesn’t use the label “emotional abuse,” but it does prohibit it. First, we are not to curse people who have been created in the image of God (James 3:9). Second, emotional abuse violates the two greatest commandments: love God and love others as yourself (Matthew 22:35-40). Third, emotional abuse violates God’s design for marriage where the husband lovingly leads and the wife lovingly submits (Ephesians 5:21-33). Fourth, it violates Christian living by denying yourself (Mark 8:34) and speaking wholesome words (Ephesians 4:29). Fifth, it displays pride and a lack of fear of God, which leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). A husband who commits emotional abuse deceives himself to be a king who deserves glory, honor, and praise. Sixth, emotional abuse is betrayal to God and people by trying to be like God and deceiving others.

The Nature of Emotional Abuse

A common term found in the definition of emotional abuse is control. Emotional abuse occurs when someone tries to control you through actions or words. They might not physically hurt you, but they know how to instill fear through intimidation and manipulation. If emotions are produced by your evaluations or perceptions,[1] then emotional abuse involves hurting how you view yourself and others. Over time, you negatively view yourself. You might question yourself, blame yourself, or not see the severity of the situation. You become a weary person, trying to please your husband’s unreasonable demands but rarely is he pleased.

Emotional abuse is more deceitful than physical abuse. The women I’ve met endured emotional abuse for years and no one knew about it. They didn’t even know until they finally talked to someone. (Of course, the same could happen with physical abuse.) Emotional abuse is unacceptable and sinful. It is slowly killing a person. It is also not the same as occasional arguments in marriage; it occurs frequently.

Common Themes in Emotional Abuse

Anger. Emotionally abusive anger is a sin (Colossians 3:8). In this case, it reveals a desire for control. For example, a husband sends texts or calls throughout the day from work and gets angry if the wife responds too slowly. Or, he gets angry if she disagrees with him.

Manipulation/hypocrisy. This sin is revealed in different ways:

  1. The husband is a different person in front of a church leader and others. He knows how to blame the wife.
  2. The husband starts crying in the counseling session and convinces the pastor or friends. Then, everything that the wife had shared in the past carries little weight. After all, he cried. The wife  trusts people even less.
  3. The husband meets with other family and friends to win them over.

Fear/Threats. In some cases, this involves finances or child custody if the couple is in the process of a divorce.

Blameshifting/Denial. “If you did what I told you to do, then I wouldn’t have been angry.” “When did I say that to you?”

Isolation. The wife spends less time with family and friends because her husband does not want to see them or another argument happened.

Minimizing the problem. The husband says that the wife is exaggerating. Sometimes, the wife minimizes the problem. Another instance is when the person trying to help is deceived or doesn’t know how to help. “Every marriage has problems.” “Both the husband and wife have issues.”

In-laws. Leaving and cleaving never happened in the marriage. The in-laws are the leaders in the marriage, not the husband. The in-laws believe that their son is perfect or they see their son’s faults but place the blame on his wife.

What to Do For the Wife

It is not uncommon for emotional abuse to lead to physical abuse, so seek counseling as soon as possible. We might think that emotional abuse would not happen in Christian marriages. I’ve seen cases where the husband was a church leader.

Don’t keep it private. You think that your spouse will change or won’t get angry again if you’re more obedient. Be careful of such thinking. In a way, it deceives you to think that you’re in control of the situation.

Find someone who will believe you. Sometimes, church leaders are deceived or don’t want to get involved in messy problems. Don’t give up until you find a godly person who knows how to help.

Biblical submission. This is not obedience at all costs. Yes, wives are to submit to their husbands, but not to sin or sinful treatment.

Prayer. Pray for the spouse’s repentance. If the spouse is not saved, pray for his salvation. Pray that God would protect your heart from anger and bitterness.

Trust God. It is so hurtful when family or friends don’t believe you or desert you, but God knows the truth. You can rest in His care and know that vengeance belongs to Him.

Remember God’s character. He is faithful. He is all-knowing. He will never desert you.

If someone shares about any kind of abuse with you, know that a lot of courage and trust were involved. Be careful of shattering it! Most likely, this person is vulnerable and fearful. As I often tell people, good intentions are not enough. I’ve seen friends get involved by meeting with the husband and then they are left more confused.

Watch out for complaining and gossip. Use wisdom in determining how much the person should share with you. In the end, our effort to minister shouldn’t have enabled a venting session, but a return to God’s perspective session, which gives hope and honors God.

One woman said to me: “If God allowed this pain to happen so that my husband might know Christ, then it was worth it.” She also recognized that God used the trial to draw her closer to Him. At that moment, this person who never completed college taught me about faith in a way that I didn’t learn from books and lectures. It’s easier to submit to a loving leader in the home, but to love a husband who constantly questions you, belittles you, and lies to you is a powerful display of faith in God.

Join the Conversation

What additional biblical counsel would you give to an emotionally abused wife?


[1]Brian Borgman, Feelings and Faith (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009), 26.


152 thoughts on “Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage

  1. These are good points. Can you direct counsellors to a source that deals with this in greater depth?
    God bless, Karen

  2. Pingback: Responding to Emotional Abuse in Marriage | Truth2Freedom's Blog

  3. Hold him accountable to men of the church, which is often difficult to do, but necessary nonetheless…and when you do this, bring Pastor’s wives or strong spiritual women on board, not just men. Require INDIVIDUAL counseling, not COUPLES counseling. In true abuse cases, physical or emotional(usually physical does not occur before the emotional), control still continues in the counsellor’s office and on the way home. Loving a husband who is sinning against God and you by being abusive and not expecting/requiring a change to take place is called enabling, not displaying faith in God.

  4. Did all the counseling, individual and couple, marriage retreats, got pastors involved, and accountability partners……I have no regrets, because my ex used his Christianity as a mask. He is a Narcissistic person, and is a very sick man. 10 years post divorce, he is remarried and still taking me to court and fighting me for everything. The last remaining ‘thing’ is our 10 year old daughter….he just ‘won’ custody. Fools everyone with his masks he wears…..the church believed him and cursed me. The judges and lawyers believe him and ridicule me. Abused women don’t get the time of day or the listening ears. I tell the truth, and it is ignored.

  5. “Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them: Breaking the Cycle of Physical and Emotional Abuse” by Paul Hegstrom
    “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans and also “Victory Over Verbal Abuse” by P. Evans
    “A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church” by Jeff Crippen

  6. I have to admit I spent many tearfilled mornings crying to God, praying for mercy. I got to the point of emptiness, fear and desperation that I wanted to just die, even if it was by my own hands. Yet, knowing that if I was gone, there would be no one to protect my children. I had no where I could go (long term) and I couldnt get him to let me go. I did the counseling, marriage counseling, got counseling from our pastor. My husband told the pastor that I criticize him. My pastor told me to stop being critical of him or he’s going to kill me and he needed to stop or I’m gonna leave. Needless to say, I was crushed. What my husband considered me being critical was me telling him he needed anger management because I couldn’t stand how he would lunge at us with his fists, throw things, punch holes in walls and doors and say terrible things to us. You would think that we are divorced. No, we are not. I am one of the lucky ones in that he did change. Even if it took 12 years of blood sweat and tears. I have to heal. I have my good days (where I like him) and my bad days (where I hate him). The bitterness mixed with forgiveness I feel is confusing and frustrating and a process. Its not only my healing that I have to work on constantly, but my kids’. They (especially one child) and my husband still struggle with healing their relationship which I feel is at times irreparable. I feel that as long as my kids can heal and be stronger from this experience, God can be glorified and I do my best to guide them in the direction of being better and not bitter.

  7. http://www.whenetwork.com speaks to the issue of faith-based abuse intervention and prevention.

    I was in an emotionally abusive marriage for years, I didn’t recognize it until it started to turn physical towards our young children. I spent many hours in prayer and believed that maybe it was my role/lot in life to be abused, that my Christian duty was to grin and bear it… God spoke to me in that moment and reminded me that HE suffered abuse, HE accepted ridicule and shame so that I didn’t have to. Malachi tells us that God hates violence against women and children.

    I did some studying and realized that divorce is a gift God gave us “because of the hardness of {our} hearts”. When a spouses heart is hard towards the one they pledged to love always and their children, God gave us divorce so we would have a way of escape.

    My sister died at the hands of her husband who, for 18 years, emotionally abused her. The first day he hit her, he killed her. Emotional abuse is as dangerous and as deadly as any other type of abuse, sometimes more so because you don’t see the danger until it’s happened.

  8. I lived in such a marriage for 17 years, and still endure periodic abuse in various forms, though he finally abandoned us nearly a year ago (after first securing my replacement).

    Biblical counselors repeatedly failed us both over the years, and most likely made our marriage worse rather than better with a variety of surface quick-fixes that didn’t get to the heart of the matter. I read many books, followed the advice of many teachers who counselled me to submit more, trust God more, love more, serve more, forgive more, stop my own sinning more etc etc etc….while addressing very little of the real problem, which was the choices he continued to make while denying he did the things he did (and leaving me to clean up the wreckage he left behind). He lied, manipulated, and charmed his way into painting me as the problem and himself as the victim…it was if the marriage itself was of more value to the pastors than the people in the marriage; the marriage must be preserved, no matter what the cost or collateral damage to the children, or God’s reputation would somehow suffer….

    The harder I tried to make our marriage work, the worse his private behavior became; it wasn’t until I turned in desperation to others outside the church and starting learning self-respect and how to stand up for myself that he recognized the end of his reign of terror was near.

    In the end, after it all fell apart, while the members of my local church were a great source of comfort and assistance for me and my family, those trained to counsel shied away from knowledge of what really happened in my home. By that point, I had lost hope in finding answers or help from pastoral counseling, and instead turned to others outside the church during my greatest need.

    Secular counseling (with a young Christian lady) at a local domestic violence shelter helped me through the roughest patches as I began the transition from a worn-out, isolated homemaker with little confidence and no college degree, to a single working parent of two teens, trying to move forward and begin to heal from the years of mistreatment.

    I’m not completely free yet of this man who still takes pleasure in hurting us all while denying responsibility for his choices and refusing help for his own issues. I still must face divorce at some point, but I have found much comfort and peace from help I know God has provided me at critical moments during this year of renewal.

    God is my husband now and I desire no other; His faithfulness has shown itself in thousands of ways over the years….My trust and faith in God has deepened and strengthened a great deal over this past year, while my faith in the institution of the church as it exists in America today has all but vanished. And that, I am finding, is not a bad thing at all.

    Perhaps if Biblical counselors focused much less on the sin that Christ died to free us from, and more on who God says we already are today, the church members would stop sinning so much (while hiding their shame), finally learn how to take off the masks we hide behind, and rest in our true identity as God’s own beloved children.

  9. I pray that no one believes that their submission to emotional, physical, spiritual or other abuse is the road to an abuser coming to Christ. Too many of us believed that to destruction, murder, and the waste of lives. Also children are warped as they grow up left in such an environment.

    Thank you for expressing some very good thoughts.

  10. Thank-you for this timely article! I have been married over 5 years, and the first 4.75 were filled with emotional abuse. I was yelled at, cursed, constantly criticized, blamed for everything that went wrong & for all of his anger (if I had just done ____, he wouldn’t have gotten angry). In my confusion, I kept trying harder to be the perfect Christian wife. Things just got worse. He started pushing me, threatening to punch my face in, throwing things, until I would have to leave the house. Finally, when my health hit an all-time low from the constant stress, and I started thinking of suicide (except I knew I needed to live for my 2 little kids’ sake), and I started feeling a great deal of internal anger – I woke up & started listening to a dear friend who’d been trying to tell me about my husband’s personality disorder. Denial is huge for women in abusive relationships. To break through it is one of the hardest & best things you’ll ever do.

    I have to say that our marriage is much different today – not because I submitted more, prayed more, suffered more, but because I finally started seeing God’s perspective of my life, and walking in it. God hates violence toward the vulnerable, and oppression of any kind. He values me. He cares about my feelings. He brings a sense of peace & adequacy, not a sense of constant failure. He doesn’t put me down, but died to lift me up to constant fellowship with Him. He is quietness, rest, grace, encouragement & endless love. He has not designed our bodies to live with emotional abuse. Ultimately I did have a choice, and when I realized that my silence & “submission” was actually enabling abuse, I begged God for wisdom to help me wisely, kindly stop this incredibly harmful cycle.

    And so – I contacted a counselor who specializes in emotionally abusive marriages. (pray & google!) I packed up the car & headed across the country with my two kids, toward the counselor’s office. I told my husband that if he wants to have us come back home & continue with him in full-time ministry, he will have to meet us in the counselor’s office. I quietly, firmly explained emotional abuse & the damage it has done in our relationship, & that I was no longer willing to tolerate it. He yelled, screamed & threatened me. He tried to get others to convince me to come back, but I kept driving & firmly repeating that I will no longer tolerate any type of abuse. He actually did fly across country, took intensive counseling & began to see the chaos his anger had created. Restoration took weeks, as we would move one step forward, one step back. But several counselors & several months later, I returned home to a very different relationship. He has really been trying hard to control his anger & be more calm & kind with all of us. Believe it or not, he is more in love with me than he has ever been! I know he’s come to respect me as his equal, and a woman to be reckoned with. Things aren’t perfect – humans don’t completely change overnight! I still get weary of being on constant alert for the mind games, the subtle accusations & put-downs – and of being ready to nip them in the bud. But the sooner I speak the truth, the sooner the issue gets dealt with.

    So I’ve learned a lot of things. God calls us to kindness, but that does not mean ignoring sin or allowing hypocrisy to continue unchallenged. Part of both kindness & being a helper to our husband is insisting that our Christian husbands become what God wants them to be.

    We are equal partners, and therefore equally responsible for a continually chaotic home life. Once our husbands realize we will choose to live alone rather than live in endless chaos, they are faced with the effects of their sin on the family. Is it better to keep the marriage “intact” with constant hidden chaos & abuse? Well, is that being honest? Doesn’t God hate lying? Abuse is not God’s heart for marriage, prevents true intimacy, and I believe causes huge damage for any children involved. If there needs to be a temporary separation (and this is very likely), then so be it. It is only facing the reality of where the marriage has been in secret…. and when we live in truth, God can begin to heal us.

    So many wonderful things have happened in my husband’s heart in the last few months, that would NEVER have happened had I not confronted him about his abuse & refused to tolerate more. I could write pages on that, but many times I just cry with gratitude as I see God changing & using Him in much deeper ways.

    Please ladies – you do have a choice about the kind of life you live. Take care of yourself first so you can love others well. When you respect yourself, others automatically begin to respect you too. No woman deserves to live in abuse. The sooner you disrupt the cycle, the sooner it will stop. Move decisively, and create a meaningful intervention that will stop the cycle for good.

    God has worked tremendously in our marriage, but the change came once I was willing to face reality, confront abuse, and pay whatever price I needed to pay to have a different atmosphere in our home.

  11. I have a fiance that recently took off after 2 yrs. We got along excellent and then he started a new job, we saw less and less of eachother and one day he just left stating he could not show the sensitive side of him. he continued to help me with bills but i had no idea where he was or where the vehicle that was in both of our names was. he was very decietful and it felt as if he was just keeping me in his back pocket until only the Lord knows when. The pain I felt after he left drive me to the doctor who then gave me zoloft and xanax. after that i decided the lies were going to stop, it was literally killing me, i had not eaten in 14 days, lost 13 lbs in those 14 days. i finally told him to come get the rest of his stuff….this was after i had promised him and myself that I wouldnt give up on him. I just hope I made the right decision.

  12. One of my biggest challenges as a Christian marriage coach is to get past the years of hurt that a non-leader husband has caused his wife. On too many ocassions, I have been unable to help a couple revive the flame of romantic love for no other reason than the wife is too emotionally hurt to do the things she must do to have the marriage she has always wanted.

  13. I just wanted to make a quick point here. I know that often times we focus on the women of abused relationship, and its hard to see the wife of a marriage as the abusive one. Sadly, this isn’t the case and many men just stay silent. For so many reasons we stay silent. For me one of those reasons has been because it is my “job” as her husband to protect her.
    I have been isolated, called names, hit, and all affection has been torn from me. She wont let me touch her, and she wont touch me. Everything I do is “wrong” and then she turns the tables on me and tells me that I’m the abusive one. She expects me to do everything perfectly, and my manerisms must be flawless at all times, and then, if shes in the mood, she may warm up to me enough to give me a brief hug.
    I don’t want to rant too much. I more want to know what is the duty of a Christian male when it comes to an abusive wife.
    Yours in Christ,
    L

  14. Eljay – our issues are much more subtle, but I would love to hear more direction on how to best lead an abusing wife. Not only do I feel as if I am the target of her emotional manipulation and control, I also feel a great sense of failure when i look at my “role” as a Godly husband and father.

  15. This was absolutely amazing!! I wish I had this article years ago when I was in an emotionally abusive marriage. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever happened to experience, partly because I had no clue what was happening to me. Thank you for writing such a great article…even years after it happened this still helped me tremendously. God Bless

  16. Eljay, just a few questions for thought. Did you give your wife the emotional security she needed? Many times when a wife withdraws there are unresolved issues in the marriage. When there is unresolved hurt, I have come to realize that it is difficult for a wife to open up as a defense mechanism. Were her concerns heard? This behavior is never right, but most of the time there’s an underlying issue that isn’t faced within a marriage. The thing husbands and wives both need to do is search themselves to see how each contributes to the problems/behavior. They must both be willing to admit their failures and be willing to discuss them without fear of retribution. They must feel safe in their marriage, that their spouse is going to be there through the valley. As the head, did you lead in prayer and devotion? I’m not undermining what you say by no means, but each must take responsibility for the issues. It sounds like you both were not getting needs met by the other. As for the duty of the christian male, you must pray for a God to lead you. As each of you pray (providing both are christians) as God to help you become the person YOU need to be to each other. When you do this it will cause the other to

  17. I agree with all of this. The only thing I would add is that sometimes it actually is the wife doing all of the emotional abuse, the manipulation, and continuing to not tell the truth, and even when caught in a lie, she continues to defend her lies even though more than one person has direct knowledge that the opposite was in fact the truth in many instances.

    An example of the wife being emotional abusive and manipulating the situation is as follows: A couple got married when the husband was temporarily unemployed (the husband has been in IT sales), and one week after marriage, in an effort to force the couple to move, the wife asked the husband what he would do if he could not pay the mortgage in an upcoming month. The husband, who has still never once asked for one penny from the wife (even though the wife makes well over six-figures in base compensation), asked why she was asking. The wife responded by saying that they could lose the house. The husband first said that after being unemployed a couple of times in the last couple of years, it is a reality that he has had to deal with before, but he stated that he has still never missed a mortgage payment. Then the husband explained that after saying that, he took a step back and thought for a moment, and then he asked his wife if she was saying that if he had no means by which to pay the mortgage that she would not assist financially. And the wife did not respond for way too long, but when she finally did, she said no and she said she had debt to pay off and she needed to save. Well, it turns out that the debt she was referring to was not actually debt. Instead, the debt she was referring to was actually her moving costs after moving to the same city to be with her fiancé and soon-to-be and now husband, and her company was paying all of her moving expenses. Anyway, the couple said that after a couple of hours had passed after the wife said this to the husband, not only did the wife not apologize for what she had said to her husband, she got physical with her husband, first slapping him hard, and then closed-fist punching him in the face, which stunned the husband. This instance occurred one week after the couple was married! Interestingly, even though the wife has been physically abusive, which again started 1 week after marriage, she does not give any indication that she takes responsibility for her actions. Instead, her focus is what the husband said to her a couple of hours after she hit him. A couple of hours after she hit her husband, the husband said to her that if this is happening one week after marriage, everything in his body is telling him to run away as far away as possible and as fast away as possible (which honestly seems reasonable). And ever since this incident, the wife’s focus is not making amends for literally hurting the husband but instead that the husband did not immediately apologize to her for saying what he said after she hit him. Further, the wife starts crying and said that what the husband said to her (referring to how he said that he should be running away from her after she hit him since it occurred one week after marriage) so deeply hurt her. By doing this, what the wife is in effect doing is minimizing the severity of her actions, not taking responsibility of her actions, and worse, deflecting blame onto the husband. Even worse is that the wife then starts saying that it was the husband’s aggression that has gone too far and even said that she was backing up when she hit her husband, which does not seem possible as she hit him that hard.

    In another incident, the wife began by pulling the husband’s head and neck, then she tried to hit him again, but the husband blocked her fist and after catching her fist, he says he pushed her with his hand on her fist onto the bed and walked away. Then she physically jumped on the husband who was standing at the time and not expecting her to jump on him, and she started hitting him. In this incident, the husband was wearing his glasses at the time and his glasses were pulled down off of his face and were thrown down and broken. The wife denies breaking his glasses and said that his glasses were not pulled down from his face, but instead, she said his glasses were pushed up over his head. So, the husband said ok, they were pushed over his head, but said she still broke his glasses. She again denies this and said that his glasses fell off his face because her face and his face rubbed together. The husband then said that does not make sense because if his glasses simply fell off of his face, his glasses would not have broken like that. For them to break like that, he said, they had to have been thrown down. The wife denies throwing his glasses down and still says that their faces rubbing together caused his glasses to fall.

    Then in an effort to remove himself from the situation, the husband said he was going to take the dogs for a walk, but when the wife sees the husband at the door with his dog and her dog, she walks over to him, pushes him away from her dog and does not allow him to take her dog for a walk. So, the husband opens the door to take his dog for a walk, but she will not allow him to close the door by blocking the door. He said that she let go of the door and the door slammed. When the door slammed shut, he said his wife followed the husband out onto the front porch yelling at him that he intentionally tried to cut off her fingers by slamming the door shut. So, the husband took his dog for a walk, and during his walk, he spoke with his parents about how he was now scared of what his wife might do. He said that he told his parents that he actually feared for his safety because she gets so mad and angry and has already been physically abusive with him and also because she does not tell the truth, or manipulates the truth, and will tell complete lies to shift all blame to him. The husband said that he told his parents that he seriously thought she may have been trashing the house while he was on his walk, and then he told his parents that he feared that since she is not telling the truth and shifting all blame onto him that she will have him arrested or take out a restraining order against him. Then the husband said that when he got back to the house, she was standing just inside the door, and the husband said that the wife said to him to that she fears for her safety and does not feel comfortable at the house with him and that his aggression had gone too far. Upon hearing that, the husband said that he was in disbelief, and replied to the wife saying let’s not forget that she hit him and not the other way around. The wife responds by saying again that his aggression has gone too far and that the husband had intentionally tried to cut off her fingers by slamming the door shut. And then the wife, who had already packed up her car with clothes, essentials, and her dog and two cats, while the husband was walking his dog, left.

    Now, the husband says he is really scared, and he said that he thought about calling the police, but didn’t because he feared that the police would simply arrest him because he has heard of situations in which the husband is arrested anyway, even with evidence showing the woman abusing the man.
    Furthermore, the husband said that he is definitely now afraid that she will manipulate the truth and completely lie to take out a restraining order against him (unjustifiably) or even have him arrested, with the purpose to shift all blame to the husband.

  18. Thank you for sharing. I have just left an emotionally abusive relationship that has lasted 20 years – after finally realizing what is happening isn’t love, and I don’t have to put up with it any more. It’s very fresh (yesterday) but I am trusting that God will hold me and my 2 kids up as we move forward into a new life.

  19. I’m a pastor and husband of 25 years. For a good 15-20 of those years I was emotionally and verbally abused by my wife. She came from a very dysfunctional family where the father used verbal abuse. She would curse and say horrible things in fits of rage. She did this in front of our kids, neither of which are in church or serving God today. For most of that time sex was also a reward/punishment. I was often deprived sexually and romantically. I got tempted by porn. I developed high blood pressure and depression.
    For many years I asked that we go to counseling and she refused because she didn’t have time. Finally when the nest was empty I said either we go to counseling or I’m going to leave you.
    Amazing how a little accountability to an outside authority can straighten out a persons behavior. She changed drastically after being confronted and counseled by a professional.
    She still has her moments of cursing and rage, but nothing like before. I pray for her and choose to love her but I struggle with regret over wasted years and kids who do not respect our faith.

  20. So, how do I get past that hurt? After 35 years of marriage he found another 22 year younger sexy woman. He says that he still loves her but God commands him to work on loving me. I feel like an a obligation not love

  21. “I’ve seen marriages that reflect Christ and the Church: husbands lovingly leading their homes and wives lovingly submitting to their husbands. ”
    This was posted in 2013, not a century ago. A relationship where the individuals involved are not equals is a relationship that is doomed to a harmful power dynamic which, in some cases, can exacerbate abuse in order to maximize that power for one partner at the cost of minimizing the power of the other partner. It is absurd (among other things — including misogynistic) that you should recommend that one partner should “submit” to the will of the other. Goodness.

  22. Start with knowing that you can hurt people too. Realize that hurt people can’t help but go around and hurt other people. Confront your husband with how you feel. Forgive him whether he asks for it or not. Go from being a victim to being a survivor. Establish yourself as a survivor rather than a victim. Desire his happiness even if it doesn’t include you.

  23. This post has given me a bit of slight hope. Im not married, according to the bible i am only betrothed. me and my betrothed man have been together for 1 1/2 years. during this time we both have expressed much anger. i have admitted that my anger comes from the house full of dominant woman that i grew up in. i admitted that i am not used to submissiveness because that is not how i was raised but something in me tells me that i am to be under a man. anywho this man of mins has emotionally and physically abused me.

    a good example is that the bible says that if a woman is to learn anything, she is to ask her husband at home. i ask my man some questions at home and he throughs a fit or huffs and puffs, calls me stupid; simply because i do not listen which is why i do not understand and have a question. WHAT? now i know that sounds very simple minded but its what happens. well anyways, being that i was raised to be dominant, i become hurt and angry at the same time. this causes many more issues to come about.

    now there were times where i would become silent and submissive, he would still disrespect me and not care for my well being.
    Just to think that i am 18 years old, no children, and have always had trouble with weight (stayed in the 90 lb range). i finally reached 107 lbs in april, just to find out may 1st that i weigh 90 lbs. i have been trying to feed myself but lose appetite, his family thinks im sick and may be dying. YES! i am dying on the inside. the emotional AND physical abuse has caused me great plain.

    an example of physical abuse between both of us – i hit him with a belt one time out of hurt and anger because he was belittling me. he beat my ass like i was a child with the very same belt.
    daily, when we argue and voices are raised; my 1 year old dog runs and hides instead of protecting me from him but she will surely protect me from any other man :/

    HELP ME!!!!!!!!!

  24. Hi Paul,

    As a man I have always provided for my wife because I thought that is what God place us here to do. I also figured that the wife was also to help. I wish to state I believe, that no one every seeks to enter a relationship that will fail. But what I have come to realize is that people usually marry for the wrong reasons and God will usually be pointing out the reason they should not and yet they still enter only to realise the sin of disobedience through the marriage. However, this are even more complicated because now you have made a vow before the Lord which is until death. I have experienced where I heard that still small voice saying not to marry my wife and my mother had also told me, but I ignored. I am a christian and my wife is also a christian,we attended the same church etc. But she has always said she believed differently to me and I do not intend to cast negative aspersions on her faith but it bothered me and enough for us to discuss it repeatedly. I became a confused man. not knowing which way to turn and other things crept in because of this confusion. Not adultery nor fornication but the mere fact that she refused to allow me to see the woman that I fell in love with. I was controlled and barked at. I was good enough to hear what she had to say, but i feared to speak my feelings or hurt to her because of the backlash. I was so depressed and numb that I could not even celebrate our anniversaries nor birthdays. I tried harder by doing more chores and helping in the home in except for cooking and that was nothing, all she wanted was to be taken out. even though i felt so down she still wanted me to take her out and act as if i was romantically attracted to her. How do you do that? We spoke frankly about what was going on. We had financial issues I asked her to sit with me she has not sat yet. The children I manage them each and every day she has only said twice in the five years let me manage them for you and you take a break. anyway she has left the marriage, but she is still trying to control me. I am ridden with guilt before God because my marriage has failed.

  25. Neverwife
    There has never been a wife who could resist her husband while he was meeting her most important emotional needs.
    It appears to me that in your provision for her you neglected to show her loving care in the areas she needed it most.
    Don’t feel guilty. Do something about it. Just ask her, “In what ways have I neglected to show you caring love?” and get back to doing what you did in the beginning that made her say, “Yes!” at first. You can do it!!

  26. What do you do when women emotionally abuse their husbands… What do you do for the husband who thought he should turn the other cheek because that is what God expected of him even though the wife would use words to hurt. A hurt so deep that he actually thought something was wrong with him and that the criticism was true because someone who loves you would not be capable of belittling, devaluing his contribution and sacrifices for the benefit of his family. Destroying and tearing down instead of building up to create unity and harmony. My endearing greeting and happiness to see my family was met with gall and a hand that sent a message loud and clear. Rejection became the order of the day when he arrives home from work, after journeying in heavy traffic. The young children model this behavior exhibited by their mother, although they do not have words to understand nor articulate what they see, but hear her saying “do not touch me”, “do not come close to me”. In their little minds Daddy should not touch me either.

    With mutual agreement the husband resigned from his job to care of their young child when he was born; a wife who does not agree to any suggestion that would make life more meaningful; not even the suggestion to move to another town where it would be easier commute for both working parents, while the children are placed in daycare When your wife tells you that you have low self-esteem, and need to talk to a professional… then the professional says ‘nothing is wrong with you’ you need to go back to work “go get a job”

    I am a professional and good at my chosen career. My plan for part-time work met with disdain and accusation of changing the plan even in the face of complaint from her that our finances need to be on sounder footing. Her inflexible stance created tension and such volatility, I cower even to talk to her. Everything must be her way or the highway… and it actually came down to that when she ordered me from the house – her house. She demanded this and ensured that I followed through even at the expense of hurting our children whom I care for so deeply and was content to turn the other cheek for peace because deep down I loved her, and would go the extra mile but all the time realizing that nothing I did ever pleased her.

    I now know that she never understood the meaning of being wife and husband nor the principle of covenant in marriage. As I have read,
    “This newer psychological view of marriage predisposes couples to selfishness, the major enemy of marital love and a lack of fulfillment and happiness that is found in self-giving. Subsequently, serious marital conflicts regularly develop.” Copyright © 2005 – 2011 Richard P. Fitzgibbons

    And “The church presents marriage as a sacrament that is supported by the Lords love and grace and requires cheerful self giving, and openness to children according to God’s will, and sacrifice.” Copyright © 2005 – 2011 Richard P. Fitzgibbons

  27. Markus, Your words sound like great advice but mask the issue and worsen the confusion the victim is already going through. When you live with an abusive person, you already carry so much guilt for somehow not doing enough for the abuser otherwise things would be better. I know you did not mean to insinuate this and you want to help. Victims wish “fixing” a relationship could be so easy. I learned through the years that there is no excuse for someone to feel they have a right to unload hate and anger on you and then make it your fault. You sound like a very Biblically knowledgable person that has a heart for God and I know it is hard to believe there are Christians out there that would be so messed up as to intentionally abuse their spouse and then deny it or blame shift. I have found that there is a lack of maturity with abusers and it is like trying to reason with a 2 year old having a tantrum. The scary thing is their size is that of an adult not a small 2 year old and they lie and do not admit to the abuse so it continues at any moment for any reason. It’s like living on a mine field. A week goes by with no explosion and then BOOM. By the abuser hiding behind lies and getting the support of Pastors who somehow turn the victim into the problem leads the victims to mentally unhealthy thoughts and confusion. What is black and white is made to be so many areas of gray. Our Christian brothers and sisters in Christ need to support the victims by listening, believing, and encouraging the victim to set boundaries that includes leaving to a safe environment so the abuser knows their attacks are no longer an option or acceptable. Then God through His church can help the victim heal from the mental scars to become a survivor that can be used by God for His glory.

  28. I’ve been married for 5 months and before we got married, my husband always cursed at me for not doing things his way, and we would argue about where we would live and of course he chose to live in the area of his choice. We don’t go to visit my relatives they have to come visit me because either they live to far or I have a dysfunctional family etc, etc. The times I wanted to leave I was afraid of him taking away the very little things I had worked for from me and leave me without nothing or afraid of him causing a big scene and going crazy, he always knew how to convince me to stay and how things will get better and he is just stressed and always apologizes for treating me wrong. When I did talk to him about the things say to me and how much they hurt my feelings, he sure did day that I was a nut case and I’m just exaggerating, and he never said anything to me for me to start crying (i’m a very sensitive person) and that i’m just a cry baby! but yet he is apologizing?!?! We got married in January 2014 and months before the wedding I still didn’t see any changes in him, so I always had faith that when we do tie the knot, he will change, Well…. Until this day things are the same I’ve became more stressed and depressed to where its taking a toll on my body. I’m also starting to keep to myself I’m constantly thinking and worried about what the outcome will be for us. My family believes that my husband doesn’t want to live nearby them so that he can treat me however he wants. I had a good bond with my sister and kids we were inseparable and now that I don’t see them, my sister feels like something is wrong and like always, I come up with excuses. Finally, I did talk to one of his sisters and she told me it will be ok we are married now and its too late to think about leaving him, so now I feel like I’m in the wrong for seeking help. I am trusting God that He will guide me through this difficult time, I believe God doesn’t like the fact a man treats his wife bad, in the bible it states that a man should love his wife just as Christ loves His church. I’m so hurt and confused but my faith in God will never fade, it’s only making me seek the wisdom He will give me.

  29. Paul-

    I have a wife who is an interesting case. She’s a great woman. But she is simultaneously very particular and also very unexpressive. A lot of times, I can make a small mistake and it will lead to intentional silence that can last for weeks. She also gets extremely angry at me if I say anything she disagrees with in front of others, and I will likely not be spoken to for weeks. Usually she will say “I need to see you change.” And I will say “what would you like me to change?” and the answer will be “everything I wanted to marry a great man of God but I’m stuck with you.” One of her justifications for this was that I called and asked if she was bringing home food (not rudely, I was just curious because I didn’t know if I should cook or not). Another time it was because I missed a prayer meeting due to a mandatory work event.

    The criticism is very general. I’m often confused what she means and there aren’t any examples. If I ask or apologize, the answer is usually “Im not telling you why Im angry you should have known before you made me mad”

    We’re going to counseling now and she will often say she wants to work on the marriage, yet when we get home she will stop talking and say “I don’t have to talk to you if I don’t want to.” And then she’ll usually explain that she doesn’t care about our marriage and I have to make it work,

    I know its weird but since shes always mad about my attendance at church events and when I do prayer or the way I do prayer, I feel like theres no freedom left with God. I can’t choose to come to him. I have to act the way my wife wants, go to events when my wife wants, and say things about God that fit inside her theology. It’s like the individual relationship I had with God is gone because this new thing is required. If I don’t do it the way she wants, she will insult me more, deny me sex for longer, and will extend the silence.

    I love my wife, but I don’t like her anymore. And by like I mean, if I had a choice (not out of obligation) I would choose to spend time with most other people than my wife. I believe a family should be close though, so I am in a room alone with a silent person for 4 or 5 hours most days (and no, it wasn’t at all like this in courtship).

    She’s Christian, but she has this weird and narrow view of what “being on fire for God” is. I’ve come to dislike the Christian culture, and I’m sick of having to be a politician at church events.

    I wish that it was ok to be myself again, with God. Those were good times.

    Oh well I guess.

  30. I have been married just under 2 years. I have 3 sons from a previous marriage, and my husband didn’t have any and had never been married. My oldest son was 19, and graduated from high school just after we started dating. I was honest with my husband and told him before we got serious that because my son has learning disabilities, I wanted him to focus on college during the school year and not to worry about working. He told me that he agreed with me 100% (or he did at the time). After just over a year of dating we got married, and my children and myself moved in with him. My husband never said that his feelings had changed about my son and his school, but apparently just a couple of months after our marriage he changed his mind (or his family changed it for him), but he never came to me to talk about how he felt, he gossiped to his family about us. This went on for over a year, and nothing was ever said to me, suddenly his family started uninviting my son to any family functions…and then a letter came through the mail addressed to my husband with no return address. When I opened it, it was a letter from his mom telling him how wrong I have been, and how I was taking all of his money (I work, and actually make quite a bit more than my husband), and that I was being abusive by expecting this (when actually, we have actually been going to counseling because my husband, as the psycologist says, is narcissistic and is unable to show compassion, love, and understanding). My son has since moved to Louisiana to be with family there….I am having a extremely difficult time forgiving him, and the fact that every time he says he is going to start working on his issues and then falls back into his abusive behavior, is making it even more difficult. I miss my son terribly, and am heartbroken that my husband has driven him away, and has no remorse or understanding about my feelings. But he has admitted that he would not have stayed with me if the roles were reversed. I dont know what to do anymore, I love my husband and dont want to leave, but I dont know if I can continue to deal with this

  31. I am not sure if I even belong in this discussion. If I am really being emotionally abused. I know that others have it so much worse. I love my husband with all of my heart and I think that is why his words can hurt so very bad. And then I think i am being emotionally abused. But it is not an everyday thing so maybe not. It’s just when he gets mad. Like today for instance. I am in Texas right now and he is in Florida. He got into an argument last night with my 19yr old son. My son called him an ahole and he got up and open hand hit his eye pushed him on the floor and held his face down really hard. He told me that he only pushed him. My son sent me a pic of the top of his eye bruised with a knot on top. In the fifteen years we have been together I told myself if he ever hit my child that would be it. So I called him and very nicely said please don’t put ur hands on my son. And he said he is lying I only pushed him and I tried to explain the picture and he started cussing at me calling my son the p word. And telling me f u and f him and then he said f the 13yr old daughter we have together. F all of you I am done with you. You make me sick. I am tired of u sticking up for his little p a word. I am really going to f him up tonight so you can see what its like. I said I am not trying to say what he did was right I am asking you not to put your hands on him. F u
    …u already said it u believe him. In the mean time he kept hanging up on me and I would try to call back to explain myself. And I was balling because his words hurt. My 13 yr old daughter text me and says mom if that is you that keeps trying to call him back please stop. He will only hurt you worse. He is just a jerk. So embarrassing that she told me this. I shouldn’t be scared to speak my opinion now and then. We are suppose to bring each other up and guide each other. He only does this when he is mad. So I started googling if it was a sin to want to leave ur husband for hitting your son. Then I found this amazing article. I am so lost.

  32. Hello every one i am Gracy Dumez a German citizen but with my family here i Canada, i had some problems in my marriage because thought i keep some secrets from him before we get married and i was unable to get pregnant because my husband hate it to sex with me that again develop to my filter problem but before we get married he so much love me and i love him as much so i decide to search for a solution on marriage site and from friends and i find so many spiritual doctors then i contacted three of them one after the other but they all disappointed me till my family seeks for divorce and he happily divorce me because he already find another lady. so while i was alone with pains i still look for solution every where till a meet with a friend of mine that just came from Germany then she direct me to this site where i read about Dr [email protected] on how he solve marriage, relationships, family , healing and so many testimony about then me and my friend decide to contact despite i he told me about the materials that i must provide i just have to do all that he told me because of what other persons said about him. three days after we have done all he ask me to do, he said he have done everything i did not know how it will work because i could even contact my husband again he already block but i was so sup-rice Hashberg call our home line to ask of me. well we are happily married now with one kids but expecting another one soon. My dear contact [email protected] if you have any problem that give you pain. contact [email protected] today he is helpful and excellent

  33. Thank you Lucy. 🙂 At this point I am just praying several times a day that he be a good and patient father until I get to Florida.

  34. thank you for this post on emotional abuse. This explains SOOO MUCH! The hurt, the rejection, and pain causing agent is now in focus and can be dealt with!! Knowing where to start is the first step in this process of restoration. But now I can also call it what it is “abuse”, and not stand for it! Very thankful.

  35. Hi Jane,
    Sounds like you need to get counseling I am and it is helping me. Please seek counseling. Yes, a husband is supposed to love you like Christ love the Church. I have found out that my husband cannot give what he does not have. He wants to live to lives Dr.Jekyle and Mr. Hide. I am learning to put my foot down. My husband is a constant liar. I have been depressed at the edge ready to snap. I call on Jesus he will never leave us or forsake us. There is a way out and he will show you. He is cutting you off from family true sign of abuse. Get away from the control. Find a women’s abuse shelter. Trust God he does not advocate abuse in no form. I told my husband I love him but don’t like him. His response was ,”Oh yeah.” He didn’t ask why. I believe the drugs and alcohol has given him brain damage. I pray God will direct you. Be encourage we will make it!

  36. MY HEART IS FULL OF JOY I GIVE THANKS TO GOD ALMIGHTY AND DR ANU HE SENT TO WIPE AWAY MY TEARS. I AM JASMINE FROM U.S COUNTRY I GOT MARRIED FOR 11 YEARS LIVING HAPPILY WITH MY HUSBAND, WITH 2KIDS BUT OF RESENT MY HUSBAND BEHAVIOR WAS CHANGE DOING WHAT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND ALL MY THOUGHT WAS BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE MALE CHILD FOR HIM, WAS MAKING HIM TO BE PERFORMING STRANGE BEHAVIOR BECAUSE WE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT LONG TIME AGO, HE DROVE ME OUT OF HIS HOUSE SAYING THAT I CAN`T LIVE WITH HIM ANY MORE OVER 6 MONTHS . NOT KNOWING THAT THERE WAS A SPIRITUAL PROBLEM CAME UP IN MY MATRIMONIAL HOME THE SAME SPIRITUAL PROBLEM MAKE ME NOT TO HAVE A MALE CHILD FOR MY HUSBAND AND WANTED TO DESTROY MY FAMILY. ON A VERY FAITHFUL DAY I WAS READING ON BLOGGER AND I SAW A LOT OF TESTIMONY ABOUT DR ANU ON HOW HE WIPE OUT SPIRITUAL PROBLEMS AND RESTORE BROKEN MARRIAGE. AND I COPY THE EMAIL ON INTERNET AND EMAIL HIM HE ONLY ASK ME & MY HUSBAND DETAILS AFTER THAT ALL HE PROMISE WAS MY HUSBAND WILL CALL ME BACK HOME. 2DAYS AFTER ALL DR SAID CAME TO PASS MY HUSBAND CALL ME BACK HOME WITH SMILING FACE I WAS SO SURPRISE, NOW MY HEART IS FULL OF JOY DR ANU RESTORE MY FAMILY NOW! WILL LOVE EACH OTHER MORE THAN EVER BEFORE. YOU OUT THERE YOU MITE ALSO NEED A HELP OR YOU ARE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE IN YOUR MATRIMONIAL HOME ALSO GET TO CONTACT HIM HIS EMAIL. [email protected]

  37. Hi everyone, I want to be lead by the Holy Spirit as to what to do in my situation. I totally want to please my Father. I pray for my husband, who has become violent, manipulative, etc. I know that I have nagged about his non cleaning and spending habits in the past, but I believe that I can’t continue to go around in circles. He has put his hands on me several times, and the other night was last straw when he threw me out the bed on my back. Yes, 30 secs later I go up and defended myself. I know that I’m not loved by this man. We’ve been married for 3 years as of April 16, 2014 and he seem to not want to change. He put up a front in front of alot of people, very munipulative. I’m praying for him and I even thought of seperating until he can think some. However, I don’t know if this is what the Lord want’s me to do. It’s my flesh wanting to do this at the moment. I can’t let this man bring take me backwards, when I know I’m pressing to go forward for God glory.

  38. How did you financially afford to have all of you pick up and go cross-country? Where did you and the children live for the month? What about your husband’s job?

  39. I would advise you to separate from him soon now that the physical abuse has started so that he will know that you won’t tolerate that. I think that the habit becomes more engrained over time. I hope you have some good supportive friends that won’t take advantage of you while you are separated . God bless you and I hope you and your husband find a way out of the cycle. I am separated from my husband and am looking for a way out too.

  40. Children and I have been emotionally and verbally abused for 6 years. I got the guts to confront spouse she went to church crying and I actually got asked if I was doing anything tto turn the kids against her. Yes holding them, drying their tears, and telling them they are of worth. I wish the church wouldn’t act so sexist. It took alot for me and the kids to admit we are being abused and they now observed the church not only doesn’t care but tries to blame the victim. I don’t want a divorce but I want my kids to know abuse isn’t okay. I really thought the church would believe me and the kids

  41. hello , I have been marry for 12 year but we have been together for 16 years ..now he is starting to control me , on who am I talking to…who I see and how long …i feel claustrophobic and not sure what to do…or where to go

  42. Heather I delt with the same treatment from my husband and after being married 4 years and I left. You are being abused and he will continue to abuse you emotionally. It will only get worse. Eventually he will physically abuse you too. Get out now!

  43. I have been in an abusive marriage for 4yrs now and desperately looking for a way out. I have tired everything I can think of and no longer make excuses for him. But finally realize its his problem and he will not change. But what I am struggling with is how can God continue to allow me to stay in this relationship and not help by providing a way out. Every single person or shelter I have turned to for help has turned their back on me. I am so isolated and at a lost as to a way out. I pray and pray, but but see no light in sight. I feel like I am losing myself and no longer have any energy or will to try. There is no one I can talk or turn too. Sometimes I think, let him just kill me and get it over with. God where are you?

  44. Keep your confession whatever it looks like in the natural. I know it feels Gods not there.. but He is. He will never leave you or forsake you. Ask Him to give you strength..the words to speak. Let Him fight your battle. If you have made Jesus your Lord and Saviour then you can hold onto the promises of God. Sometimes a period of separation helps while you clear your head and heal.. Jesus is your healer. It feels like your only one experiencing this but trust me you are not alone. Everytime he throws a curse word your way.. speak promises from God over yourself. Devils using him against you. Pray for his salvation and hold to confession even when it feels too much. . Your not those lies..you are Gods beloved daughter. This season has to end. I speak life, health, restoration, healing and peace over you, your family and your life .. in JESUS NAME! Amen. dont give up. Lean on the Great I AM.

  45. Dear Marriage in an empty box, reading about your problems – I see that same problems that I went through and am still going through. Please do not feel guilty about you failed marriage. Your wife has equal responsibility in wanting to save the marriage like yourself. You cannot allow yourself to be manipulated to dance to her tune and comply to remain in the marriage. That is not how God designed marriage to be. If your wife is constantly putting you down, making you feel guilty for your short-comings, has no respect for your feelings or your hurt, and her single agenda is to make you feel inadequate – so that you are forced to show her ‘more love’, give her more time, make her feel like a princess, have no say in making decisions but just agree with her to keep the peace – you are ‘walking on egg-shells’ – I am sorry to say this. I was doing this for 5 years – but now I have taken a conscious decision not to. She may say that you no longer love her , manipulate you, get angry and scream – but do not allow yourself to be deceived into believing her. If the above is true in your relationship – your wife may have a personality trait/disorder. The devil also deceives you by making you feel guilty that the marriage has failed. It has failed because your wife has caused it to fail. If you have taken all steps to tell your wife in a loving way that things need to change , and if need be by seeking help through a counsellor but she has left – this is an extreme form of manipilation – so don’t get dragged into it. Find a christian counsellor , share your problems with him or her, do not worry about the cost of professional help – it will serve you well in the long-term. Avoid single counselling sessions with pastors and so-called godly people who offer band-aid solutions to a deep-seated cancer that needs surgical removal. Read John 8:32 – then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. It took me a long time to understand the deep and profound meaning of this word by Jesus , but when I did- it make complete sense. Do not let the devil deceive you. You don’t have to feel guilty. If you are a believer – seek God earnestly, get Godly counsel and pray – God can change your situation. If you feel guilty about making a mistake in the way you chose your spouse – again do not feel guilty. Everyone makes mistakes – but when we submit our broken lives to Christ – he heals them . I hope your situation changes to the better soon and I will definitely pray for you. Remember- there are many people who are sailing in the same boat like you and me – Jesus is the only answer to these problems.

  46. Dear paul, I would like to lovingly point out to you when you say that ‘ There has never been a wife who could resist her husband while he was meeting her most important emotional needs’ – that you may be wrong to make a generalisation that may be grossly misleading to some people.

    There are some people out there who despite meeting all their spouses’ emotional needs are still made to feel inadequate and trod upon like a door-mat. So not everyone’s wife or husband will respond in the way you have found or have had experience with. There are some women and men out there who feel so empty, they can never be satisfied. They then project their emptiness on their spouses and falsely accuse them of not meeting their emotional needs. Such people need special help and the spouses of these people need to feel acknowledged that they are in a difficult situation and that their hurt is real . The answer is not to show more ‘love’ but to address the actual issue and try to seek help and not be manipulated.

  47. nothing had changed. like u I was hoping, praying he would change. he has emotionally mentally and physically abused me. I have no one and im empty. he has gone on public media making ppl believe he is the victim. he even convinced a large part of my family, including my mom and my 11yr old son tht is not biologically his. I was marked as mean and nasty, but I wasnt that at all. my husband has everyone fooled. his mother yelled and screamed and accused me of being insecure. my husband jumped on me in front of my mom last month while she was visiting from tx. I was so glad it happened then because my mom finally believed me. I finally had support. my husband has been out of the house now for 2mo. all I wanted to do is hate him. I didnt want to pray for him nothing I didnt even care if he died man. I was hating myself for marrying him and putting myself and my twin boys in such a terrible situation. im the bread winner here. he has taking everything from me, my health from stress and fear became worse. I was smoking weed and drinking vodka to take the pain away. I thank God for his Holy Spirit and convicting my heart. he told me if i wanted a change I needed to focus on me 1st. I need to change. I was very confused because I KNOW im the victim, y I gotta change!?! God told me I needed to change my heart and my mind, make Him my Lord and Savior and serrender to Him completely, forgive him and forgive myself. NOT EASY. last week I threw away my weed and threw away my alcohol. still not feeling free and still very confused emotional, the Holy Spirit lead me to fast. I fasted two days last week. consuming myself in prayer and reading my word also watchimg a lot of Christian tv. I was seeking God for answers, seeking God for peace and strength. I also needed God to give me an answer, do I divorce him? Father I dont wnt to grieve u, but I know thisis NOT what u want for me. All I keep hearing him say is wait. wait? for what, are u gonna restore my marriage, do I leave him??? wait for what Lord? after more prayer and seeking God, I understand that God wants me to be patient and continue to seek him the way I have been so he can strengthen heal me and my home so he can prepare me for the next move. idk what God has in store for my marriage bur just so long as he’s in it, im satisfied w that. my husband and I are still separated and just made one rough year of marrige this past friday. since iv made God 1st in my life and totally serrendered my problems to him, my mother in law has apologized to me and God is yet dealing w my husband. I want my marriage to work. I love him and so do my twins. is there anything to hard for God? No! So come what may, Lord ur Will be done in jesus name. im just gonna wait on him.

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    choices for you to reach your destiny, they can further help you become fully
    attuned and empowered.

  49. Read The Emotionally Destructive Marriage Book by Leslie Vernick or watch the 2 videos on Time For Hope. I am trying to get help and possibly find a safe place to stay since I have no income of my own. We have been married for 31 years and I have pleaded with him for years to get help. Our children are adults now. I have been through the self questioning and foggy thinking, hiding things and …maybe its just me.I realize that I have contributed to the problems also, but I have asked his forgiveness and God’s as well. My husband takes no responsibility and shows no sorrow for the things he does. He tells me that I don’t have it that bad. I am at the place now that I just want to be healthy.

  50. I don’t know what city you are in but, here is a # in NC. They have a waiting list but, may be able to give you some emergency advice 828-298-5365 and 828-398-6920 to get on the waiting list. They are a Christian Organization and will allow you to stay for about a year while you get your life together. Also another # 828-693-3840 is Mainstay another shelter. Mainstay had vacancies this week when I spoke with them. If you have no transportation please try to ask a church or family member to help you get to safety. I am praying for your safety and the healing of your family.

  51. My husband checked all of the boxes for emotional abuse, including doing such lovely things as killing my beloved cat when I was 8 months pregnant. Our marriage finally ended at gunpoint. While he technically never laid a hand on me or even made an attempt on my life, he did endanger our newborn and me by waving a loaded gun around before threatening to shoot himself before me. When repentance does not come, sometimes even “just” emotionally abused spouses have to leave for the safety of all involved. If I had stayed I believe that at least one of us would be dead. Emotional abuse can lead to much more than just the slow death of the soul, sometimes it leads to actual physical danger. I still pray that my former husband will one day repent, but I am thankful that I left and stayed gone when he did not make a change. Our child deserved better, and frankly, so did I.

  52. Why stay with a person who betrayed you to the core of your soul? Forgive them but dont believe they didnt enjoy their bad behavior. They just dont want to deal with the consequences of losing everything because they are cowards. I had a relationship with a married cheater, I can tell you cheaters through away their vows just like Judas betrayed Jesus and Esau traded his blessing away. So you tell me how does God fix that?

  53. I know that when your chilren marry, you should stay out of their business but does that also include when you are seeing and others are seeing that they are being emotionally abused and manipulated? It’s hard watching this.

  54. Jennifer, if children aren’t involved, (and I say this as an emotionally abused Christian woman with 17 years of marriage and 5 children to care for), and you can’t have romantic love for him, it’s all very painful everyday of your life and he’s saying he still loves the younger woman, I would forgive him and set him free as a bird. And yes, go thrive! And pray for his next victim’s welfare. Go be an Agent of God wherever He leads you next. . . you are still very valuable and useful. Don’t waste your God-given gifts and potential on a man who has turned his very back on God and the marriage covenant.

  55. I looked up on the net about emotional abuse and this is the third article and forum where it basically says only women are victims. This is insidious man hating, which has become so prevalent in society, today. Right—poor victimized are always women. A man can never be abused by his wife on an emotional level. Its because woman abuse men on a passive aggressive level that goes undetected.

  56. I stayed in a horribly emotionally abusive marriage for 15 yrs. It really almost destroyed me. My stake president in our church called to make an appt. with my husband and me, and he said the Lord had been revealing to him what was going on in our home, and what my husband was doing to me., He said he had witnessed me all but “disappear” from the woman I was before I married him. It was true. I put up with the abuse b/c I felt I had nowhere to go. I had been on disability for 5 yrs. with arthritis. I could no longer work. I was in pain constantly. It was bad enough enduring the physical pain from the disease, but trying to put on a brave face living with a man that would go on insane “rants” for 4-5 hours at a time, cursing and screaming and totally removed from reality……he mentioned years before that he was diagnosed a “sociopath.” While in counseling while married to me (his 3rd marriage) he was diagnosed “bi-polar.” He was hospitalized on 3 occasions with “pseudo-seizures.” Most of his family suffered from severe depression. I didn’t know any of this until after I married him. He was also a pathological liar. It was truly the worst, most horrific time of my life. I am so sorry I did not leave him after the 1st year we were married. My daughter who was newly married, offered me to come live with her and her husband, as she couldn’t stand to see me with him another day.l kicked him out of my house and my life…..I lost most of the material things I worked all my life for. But I am happy and at peace and the Lord loves me and looks after me so mercifully. My sweet daughter saved my life. I have found my joy and the Lord blesses me with the sweetest peace I have ever known. I give my heart and my life to Him. I pray daily for forgiveness. I ask Him to clean my heart and my mind of the anger and hurt and bitterness that my ex-husband caused. I have so much to be thankful for.

  57. Thank you for sharing. You were typing my life. God Bless you & I am praying for you… please pray for my custody battle & impeding divorce settlement, and for his salvation.

  58. I was told by a counselor that that nothing I could do would change him. Hopefully God is working miracles for you two, but for me, there has been no change & he’s already found his next victim/girlfriend & has filed for divorce. Prayers for me please.

  59. My situation
    is that my wife has been verbally and emotionally abusive with progressing intensity over many years (frog in warming water situation), with a couple light physical episodes. Originally from the US, I moved with her to her country of France (after living in the US together for 5 years). This is when the abuse really picked up steam. Early on, her dad was not happy about the marriage, as he was afraid I would take her to the US and he would never see her again. Before the marriage, I told him that we would spend 5 years in the US and that I would try my absolute best to then spend a minimum of 5 years in France, if at all possible. He was very happy about this and I sought to fulfill my word.

    My family background isn’t perfect, of course, but generally warm and nurturing with lots of positive encouragement, emotional support and a general good will towards each other, understanding no one is perfect. Her family looks great from the outside, but this is understandable as
    they are perfectionists. Inside, there is absolutely no emotional expression, sharing of feelings (other than stress or anger), or appreciation for each other’s daily contributions. All good that occurs is expected. There can be major explosions, which include much yelling, accusing and character attacks followed by tears. Then all go to bed and the next morning, everything is ‘fine’ again. In my family, disagreements of whatever nature are discussed respectfully of each other until the relationship is healed.

    She criticizes my manhood in how I deal with life (with no empathy for my experience of moving
    to France), criticized my manhood romantically, is now criticizing my fathering, judges my feelings for my child, criticized my role as provider, taken away my self-confidence, my sense of humor, my interests and based on the other things she says—basically seems to see me as a horrible monster of a human being. I
    never quite measure up. Always feels like just ‘almost’. She has said she loves me, but she has attacked, criticized and ridiculed every part of my being. I have told her several times that I have no idea what she actually ‘loves’ about me. I feel like I have turned into a zombie or robot. I was once very social, funny, outgoing, friendly, empathetic and all those things. How I just feel numb and unlovable.

    I have researched the subjects of verbal and emotional abuse extensively (with your website being a particular help), as well as, how men need to be treated in order to continue feeling like a man in a relationship. I am pretty sure I have found and taken every online verbal/emotional abuse questionnaire there is, and my experience scores 90-100% in every one. Regarding how not to treat a man, my wife has done them all…and with absolutely no restraint. In the descriptions of what men do need in a relationship—all are absent.

    When we moved, I did not speak French and had left all my friends, church friends and support, family, clubs and everything else I knew, so she could be near her family. I never felt more alone in my life. I was totally isolated. Whenever I shared my feelings with my wife, regarding the loneliness given the changes resulting from the move to France (thinking this may be the ONE thing that would garner some shred of appreciation…wrong) and loss in missing all of these things,
    she would respond with either attacks, defensiveness, or tell me to ‘be a man and deal with it’ and if I can’t, ‘to just leave’, or some other negative
    reaction. I recently learned (in her words) that she reacted this way because she felt responsible for my feelings, so responded in defensiveness and attacks on who I am and how I handle life. Acceptable or justifiable rational? I don’t know anymore.

    Whenever I share ANY feeling deemed less than ‘contentment’, the reply was blame or some sort of attack on my character, psychological well-being, mental disposition and/or the feeling was attributed to the logical result of one or more of my countless poor decisions or failures. She has never been my partner or friend in any supportive way and when anything negative occurs, the blame and finger points immediately to me. NEVER do I remember receiving encouragement, understanding or anything resembling support. She says she did, but why don’t I remember a single time or one encouraging word? She says it’s because I am a negative and depressed person who is deeply troubled and needs professional help. I think I just need a loving, supportive and uplifting partner.

    Before I met my wife, I knew I was (or at least considered myself) a bit different, but saw as a good thing (as Portlanders say, ‘Keep it Weird’) and was generally a happy person. I used to believe I could do anything, but now barely have the confidence to get out of bed. I once considered myself an intelligent, creative and fun person, but now question absolutely every move and decision I make. I now wonder if I am a creep, weirdo, degenerate, overly-sensitive emotional wreck needing serious professional psychological help. I no longer see the things unique about myself as good, but as things needing repair.

    I think I have tasted Hell. It is the feeling that you could not be any lonelier than you are right now, but then with every moment that follows, you ARE more lonely…and this just goes on without limit. I am more lonely (and anxious) with her than when I am alone. My drinking went from occasional/social to almost full-time, yet remaining ‘functional’. Not hard alcohol, but lots of beer. I was basically a ‘happy’ drunk, never abusive or mean, but slowly checking out of the relationship.

    The more fear I felt in going home the more often I would stay out, which meant drinking at bars, as I found nowhere else to hide and quite obviously, the meaner she became. Also, it was a desperate (and unsuccessful) attempt to find someone who would help or even care about what I was going through. Bars in France are not the best places to find a supportive friend. On the dark side of all this, the abused individual often does not see the problem as they believe the abuser’s character evaluation. I considered myself deserving of the treatment and fully
    bought into what she said about me. So, I basically figured, ‘What’s the use in trying?’, ‘I’m garbage, anyway, so I’ll just drink myself to death’.

    After many years of this vicious cycle, I met a Christian woman who had just finalized her divorce from a physically and emotionally abusive man. Finally, someone was willing to listen without judging or accusing and what’s more…she actually understood. She assured me that ‘yes, the drinking is not good, but the drinking was a sign of a hurting, beaten and lonely heart, rather than simply being a bad, horrible, disgusting, worthless person, rotten to the core’.

    She assured me that I did not deserve the abuse and that God loved and valued me MORE than I could imagine. For the first time in 14 years, someone reminded me of my value which had slipped away completely after so many years of put-downs, insults and generally being made to feel like a complete failure and constant disappointment. I have significantly reduced my alcohol intake. Now I see very clearly I was using it to suppress my feelings and avoid dealing with the real issue. God sent me an angel who showed me the truth.

    My wife is a quality person, but grew up in a perfectionist family where love is completely conditional and there is also mental illness. Her mother regularly insults, degrades, criticizes and disrespects her father. We have gone to several counselors and my wife admits she ‘did not handle her anger properly’, but it is still very clear that she does not know or accept the level of damage she has done or even recognize the behavior as real abuse. She says I am simply over-sensitive and using the ‘hurt card’ to excuse my behavior. Is this true? I don’t know anymore.

    She has stopped calling me names and directly insulting me (mostly), but still, just the way she talks to me, reacts, looks at me, as well at the things she says if I do something incorrectly (using water from the Brita filter instead of bottled water for the baby formula, for example) tells me quite clearly what she thinks of me. Anything not done to her standard is determined to be caused by my ‘inherent character flaws and deeply rooted ill-will’. But, when I express how these things make me feel, she goes back to saying I am too sensitive, over reacting and reading too much into things. And then I start to question my whole reality all over again. Is she right?

    I could go on for pages, but after about 8 years of this (that I can recall) SOOO much damage has been done and for SO long, that I do not believe I can ever trust her with my heart again. One counselor, as well as myself, told her than I need a LOT of positive and encouraging words for healing–none of which I have received. Her view (as stated by herself) is that I just need to get over it and/or seek professional help. She is entirely unwilling to work through my healing process with me, as a partner or friend, which is what I think is necessary in this situation. Her words broke me down, so I think only her words can restore trust. Are my expectations too high?

    Men’s greatest need is to be respected and made to feel like a hero to the one they love. Haa hah haaa. After studying in depth what men need to feel safe, secure and valued in a relationship, I now see that she broke every single one many times a day and without any impunity. Like shooting ducks in a barrel. I was made to feel like the lowest form of life to the point of suicidal attempts and general recklessness, hoping a fatal accident would take me away from it all–as I am strongly against divorce.

    I love my wife very much (but in a different way) , but can not even begin to imagine a romantic, husband/wife relationship. For so many years I felt totally emasculated and told I am not a real man. She called me, weak, pathetic, pussy, selfish, a-hole, too sensitive, fragile, lazy, a deeply troubled man and whatever else. Besides the name-calling, there was
    just a general demeanor, tone in her voice and look on her face with how she talks to me that communicates disappointment, disgust and complete lack of respect for me. I do not remember ever feeling completely and/or
    unconditionally loved and accepted for just being me.

    She now says that if not for the drinking, none of that would have happened. But, if someone you love is killing themselves with any substance, wouldn’t showing unconditional love, support, encouragement and loving communication be the obvious preference to insults and telling them they are worthless (which they already feel)…especially if you claim to love them? Wouldn’t a loving partner come along side and simply try to share in your hurt and pain and ask what is wrong or if there is anything they can do?

    I understand she is not a professional counselor, but wouldn’t ‘her love’ for me alone be naturally SOME kind of positive guidance in how to treat me?? Can I believe that if not for the drinking (which was a way to suppress the feelings and avoid facing the abuse) she would not have treated me this way? I spoke with a therapist recently who assured me that regardless of the drinking issue, the behavior would have still manifested itself, but that the drinking may have exacerbated it to a higher intensity or frequency. I have been assured that the abuse was not justified.

    There is no discernible evidence of empathy in her family and mine is FULL of empathy for each other and for strangers. I finally believe that God DOES want me to be in a happy, uplifting, supportive relationship with someone who respects and shows they value me. I can’t even begin to think that this person is my ‘wife’. Furthermore, I believe she broke the marriage vows early on. I have never felt cherished or honored in any way. I do not remember ever receiving any expression of empathy from her. I do not remember ever feeling like she has shared in my joys or my sorrows.

    Since our marriage began, I have become a far unhappier and feel increasingly worse about myself as a person. This also deeply influenced/changed how I felt God saw me. As I respect my wife’s intelligence, I believed what she said must be true, so how could God see me any differently.

    Since beginning to deal with the real issues, I see myself naturally
    wanting and changing to become a better person. She has supported me to basically stop drinking and to really grow into the true me. The me that
    basically vanished is coming back to life.

    According to Proverbs 14:1, “Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.” Daily you are shaping the marriage, either by building it up or tearing it down. Recognize your powerful influence.

    A wife holds in her hand the power to determine whether her husband feels capable, or not. If you choose to encourage your husband, especially in the midst of failure, you’re drawing out the hero. Criticism, on the other hand, will squelch heroic qualities. Your husband needs your approval. Demonstrate it every day.

  60. If you are reading this blog, I noticed 3 out of the last 5 posts were from men who had abusive wives. Control and Manipulation are not gender issues, they are control issues. Statistically, however, 90% of reported abuses are men abusing women so most blogs reflect that percentage as well. Nobody is saying only MEN can be abusers and women are perfect but please don’t deny these hurting women their possibly only place to voice their pain and confusion because it offends you. if you have something positive to say to help them, great! If you NEED help, then let us help you. We are in this together, those of us that have been on the receiving end of controllers, “we” being women AND men. Blessings to you, Ed!

  61. Do you have a reference for that statistic? If not you are lying and in sin. To counter that look up Johnson et. al, and Bates et. al.

    In the most recent study (within the last few months) it indicates women are more abusive.

    Currently I am studying how most studies indicate murderers and mass shootings come from on parent house holds. To look at it in one snap shot, you would say, “The father/husband left and abandoned them, there fore they are criminals etc.” If we look at it in the light women are so loving gentle etc. you would think the young man would not become a criminal. After all they were shown love and kindness throughout life by their mother.

    http://www.newuniversity.org/2007/10/news/women_more_abusive_than45/

    Had trouple pasting this, but look up Alabama Family Rights.

    As christians we need to be Bereans and look into things, not take them at face value.

    I know there is a study that shows mothers are more emotionally abusive toward their kids than fathers. I will look them up and post them here.
    1 US Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1998a, xi-xii

    2 Robert Whelan, 1993, 29

    3 Justice Department, BJS 1994

    4 Patrick Fagan and Dorothy Hanks of the Heritage Foundation, 1997, 16

    5 U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, reference

    Stop looking at the surface and look into the deeper trend of what is going on.

    I am disgusted with myself for never seeing these things before. The church leaders will placate to women. Simple as that.

    I know more men that read than women, so when I say that churchy type books are geared more toward women than men, there is no excuse. From raising kis (except James Dobson’s raising boys) to Marriage. All the help books are market to the demograph of women.

    If christian marriage and secular marriages have a similar divorce rate, let us look at the statistics which are easy to look up.

    Women file divorce up to 80% of the time. College age divorce is filed by women 90$ of the time.

    Women read Karen Kingsberg and others and if you look at the men (of honor) in the books they are depicted at suh a high level that in reality you husbands cannot compete with it. What about the romance in other books? Men cannot compete with that in reality. If we equate that with men looking at porn (that women say is unrealistic and they cannot compete with) you can see lust for ????? Men are visual, women are emotional.

    Women want to be led, but they do not submit. Have you ever heard pastors say, “Women are more spiritual than men”? Where is that in the bible? Why do they say that? The reason: Women are more emotional.

    For the men like the counselor above…. Look up the statistics, do not ignore what is in front of you. No, we should not label them with dx etc, but you need to look into what is driving christian societies thinking and what is truly biblical.

    Nouthetic counseling is pointless if you do not know the facts.

  62. I was off by a small % but you are missing the point. ANY abuse victim needs a safe place to vent. This can be that place for you but you cannot use it as your own “I dont think its fair that women get all the attention” soapbox.

    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:

    Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.

    84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.

    Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers

    50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.

  63. you said not gender issues, but control issues. what we are trying to say is the article and most articles are pointing at men.

    who is talking about deaths, hosptilizations? Men commit more VIOLENT abuse, duh because men are bigger/stronger and are built for war/defense, but women are more abusive, both emotionally and physically. To deny that and imply women are more likely the victim is false. Not talking about fair, talking reality.

  64. Not sure Paul where you get this teaching that one must forgive regardless of whether they ask for it or not. While I do believe that as an act of worship we ought to maintain an attitude of forgiveness (a heart ready to forgive) we cannot (nor does God) forgive where there is no repentance. To ask an abused person to forgive an unrepentant abuser is to do nothing but lay an even heavier hurt and burden on the one hurt.

  65. Please take a look at women’s shelter pamphlets.

    The key features on those are a lot of what people do to each other, men and women. Outside the physical abuse, those things are what many of us struggle with in our marriages, BOTH HUSBAND AND WIFE.

    What this blog and others do, is lay the blame at husband/men’s feet, when not only is it both, but more often than not it is women who are emotionally and mentally more abusive and it starts on the play ground, example:

    Two girls verbally and emotionally bullying (when both of them are not bully types). They learn this and can easily do this to boys.

    Two boys starting hitting each other until one gives (non bully type boys). After the fight they go about playing, even on the same team with mutual respect!

    My b-i-l is going through a divorce because she is “not happy”. He literally eats tuna and apples every other day because out of his 5k/ mo he pays his rent, her car payment and all her outings and HER childs things and he has no money left over. We can hear her yelling at him on the phone. His response, “nice people don’t talk to others like this” and hangs up. You know what? The neighbors heard her screaming her head off at him and the cops came, arrested him and he had to go to anger managment classes. HE IS THE MOST PATIENT PERSON I HAVE EVER BEEN AROUND!!! We have spent days/hours together. He is a muscular man who can lift a lot. We do a lot of physical things together and he is always chuckling and patient when it take me longer to get something done, and I am the guy who does ironman triathlons!

    Think deeply into what society has engrained into our thinking. Have things truly gotten better since women’s lib? That cute, independent, athletic girl who every man is “intimidated” by? No they’re not intimidated…. think about it. They don’t want to compete with her, they want to impress her. If she can “do anything a man can do” where exactly can he impress her with his abilities? If he can’t, will she respect him? No. If she doesn’t respect him why would he want her? Why would she want him?

    This could go on and on. It’s all our faults, we have strayed from what God wants us to do… love Him, love others, and obey his word.

  66. The teaching comes from the Master of Forgiveness, Jesus of Nazareth, who equates our ability to be forgiven with our ability to forgive as per Mat.6.12-15; 9.2-6; 12.31-32; Mar.2.5-10; Luk.5.20-24; 7.47-49. Otherwise, the forgiveness we need is delayed until those that offend us apologize.

  67. I think my mom is in an emotional abusive relationship but I don’t know how to tell her (she might not believe me) or if I should tell others. It’s usually when he’s drunk and/or high, but he seems angry and bitter all the time. I just don’t know what to do 🙁

  68. I just posted a long message about my marriage and the negative husband but I don’t know if it posted. I need some christian counselling or advice. I tried to even post as a guest.

  69. When I married my husband, we were both Christians. He had an angry streak, but I was young and naive and didn’t know the difference between a loving man who got angry on occasion and a man who had anger issues. Therefore I married the first man who ever expressed interest in me.

    After 20 years, I’m now finally realizing what it means to be verbally abused. I was the classic victim, thinking myself the one in the wrong, wondering what was wrong with me? Was I actually mental? Why didn’t I think “normally”? A couple of years ago, my husband revealed he’s now agnostic. He is very judgmental and skeptical about Christianity. Thinking back to the good old days, I never remember him praying or reading a Bible when we were young. Mainly he would go to church and question and pick apart the pastor’s sermon. I was a Christian, but I didn’t know God in an intimate way then. I thought perhaps hubby was skeptical of charismatic types. However now, I don’t believe he was ever truly a Christian.

    For the past four years, God has been calling me into deeper intimacy with Him and I’m head-over-heels for my God. I’ve been studying my Bible, reading about theology, and exploring the works of the Puritans. During this same period, my husband has been exploring his agnosticism and putting all his time and energy into the idol of “science”. Never in a million years did I expect to be unequally yoked. I specifically LOOKED for a Christian man to marry as a young woman. He showed up, knew all the jargon, and was likely deceived himself, because he was never born again (although he believed himself to be). He is the “seed which fell on rocky ground”, which sprouted up with joy, but withered away after the trials of life moved in.

    So I’m stuck with two dilemmas – one, that he’s verbally abusive and I walk on egg shells around him, and two – I feel as if I’m a widow, and that “Christian boy” I married died years ago. It’s literally like being married to another man. The abuse has gotten worse over the years. We had a huge fight in July of ’14 and I told him I felt like a dog in the corner who’s been smacked with a rolled-up magazine for 20 years. He didn’t take that well. He’s yelled at me to leave if I feel that way. He’s challenging my resolve, because he knows I hate change and he’s betting the farm on the fact that I won’t leave because of the cost of upheaval.

    Aside from the abuse, he belittles my Christian faith – not me personally, but the beliefs I hold dear, and it is very hard for me to take. I do not know how to love a man who seems to hate the very One I adore. My life is Christ. Literally. But hubby doesn’t want to hear about what sets my heart and soul on fire. Therefore, he no longer knows me because he does not know Jesus.

    This has caused an intimacy rift in our marriage and I can no longer stand it when he touches me. Perhaps this is my sin, but God is FIRST in my life and I cannot reconcile giving myself over to one who hates Him. Therefore I have no other avenue but to pray for hubby’s salvation and quietly endure.

    I feel as if I was duped all those years ago, that I ignorantly shackled myself to a toxic man. And the thing is, when times are good, the marriage is good! But when times are bad, words fly like rocks and smash everyone and everything in their wake.

    We have 5 children, from ages 15 to 6. They’re all afraid of him. They’re afraid to ask him simple questions for fear of what he might say or do. He has a penchant for making one feel silly or stupid for asking a small question. Sometimes he seems highly put out if he has to do something, so we all rely on each other rather than include him in our day-to-day problems. But what message does that send to my children?

    I’m a stay-at-home mom. I do have my own bank account that he cannot touch, and I’ve been thinking about viable plans should I finally chose to leave him. But for now, I’ve been fervently praying and trusting in God to lead in this relationship. The Lord knows this marriage stands either by His grace or falls by His will. As for me, I refuse to be anyone’s doormat any longer. My tolerance for his outbursts is wearing very thin and I fear one day I’ll reach my limit and take off my ring in the heat of an argument. Christ is my Greater Husband and in Him I have all I need. Come what may, He shall sustain me.

    If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? ~~Psalm 11:3

  70. Rylie, I hope you can go to an adult that you can trust and talk to them about what’s going on with your mom. It does sound like she is in an abusive relationship. I’m praying for you.

  71. Wow Paul, that is so hard to do when it hurts so deeply. Sometimes I wish I knew what to say back that would cause my husband to realize how he sounds and how his words stab me like a knife. Instead of taking it lying down, and not knowing how to stand strong. How can I be strong?

  72. Can someone give me tips on what to answer my manipulator and not stand there looking stupid with nothing to say…..?

  73. Ckhrissy: Hep him fill out this form:

    I feel _______
    When you ________
    Because _________
    In the future, please ________.

    The “Because” is the hardest. Here you help your husband connect see why his actions lead to your feelings. If he doesn’t care, ask:
    Do you what to help or hurt our relationship?
    Is what you are doing helping or hurting our relationship?

    Please get back to me.

  74. He has broken his marriage vow, and Jesus Himself, our Lord, said that was grounds for divorce! Go get yourself a truly Godly man, after some counseling to heal and time with God asking for wisdom so you are not fooled again, but marry a man worth your love. Trust Jesus to send one your way, until then, just get closer to Jesus and enjoy the love of our truly Perfect Husband! God bless you!

  75. As an emotionally, verbally, financially abused wife, I have to step in and comment. I knew my husband was extremely controlling, I have NO access to money, no friends anymore, he’s gone to all my family behind my back to make me look bad, I could go on and on, but he’s so very manipulative and denies everything so effectively, it has not been until recently and much prayer that I realized what an abusive relationship I am in. I realized, I have bought his lie and really began to believe I was the problem and worthless. It’s amazing to me to hear that women do the same thing, and what I wouldn’t give for a man who cared for me and our marriage that way. Just as no woman should deal with what I am, no man should either. I’m sorry, but unless someone has felt the true agony and pain of abuse, it’s very very easy for them to say forgive, try harder, etc. I agree we must forgive, but can ONLY do that with the help and strength of Jesus….but that does NOT mean we should encourage and help another to sin. As we remain victims to these people and embolden them, they have no reason to stop sinning and seek The Lord. The best thing we can actually do for them is to give them consequences (leaving, separation) so that they will hopefully have to face their sin, and restore their relationship that THEY are hurting between themselves and God. The only relationship that matters. In the end, as hard as it may be, that is the most loving thing you can do for them and their eternal future! Trust me, because of the abuse I’m under, not only is that almost impossible because of financial reasons and the way he has alienated me, but because I have two young children and it’s just scary! But God has opened my eyes to all of this for a reason and I know what I’m to do, I don’t know how yet, but with Jesus there is ALWAYS a way. I’m trusting Him, pray and do the same. The pastor giving advice here, God bless him, but he should be a little more careful. I read the beautiful Word of God every day….it doesn’t make me an expert in relationships I’m not involved in, and maybe he should be referring you to prayer and The Lord instead of making blanket statements like “no woman could resist”, etc, I’ve heard that myself….”no man can resist an honoring and submissive wife”, that wasn’t true, and the harder I try to do that, the more empowered my husband feels and the worse the abuse is and not only do I suffer, not only do my children suffer, but I know my husband’s relationship with Jesus Christ suffers. So, good luck to you all, more importantly, may God bless you all and give you His perfect wisdom and peace. Let’s not stand by any longer and enable this sin!

  76. I totally agree with you Shelly. Your statement in your response ” As we remain victims to these people and embolden them, they have no reason to stop sinning and seek The Lord. The best thing we can actually do for them is to give them consequences (leaving, separation) so that they will hopefully have to face their sin, and restore their relationship that THEY are hurting between themselves and God. The only relationship that matters. ” is exactly how I feel as well…very well said.

    Making them responsible for their actions and giving them consequences is the most loving thing you can do to them. That is the only ‘language’ they may understand. Though, as unfortunate as it may be, whether it is the husband or the wife in the relationship who is the perpetuator, they need to be made aware of consequences for their actions. As a husband who has gone through a similar experience, I appreciate you for your bold stand, sister. God will surely not leave your alone. He will indeed bless you for the bold action you have taken.

  77. Sorry Paul but you are very selective in the verses you choose. We need to develop a sound systematic theology on the theme of forgiveness. No where does Jesus advocate unconditional forgiveness when you take the sum of His teaching into account. Eph 4:32 states that we should forgive as we are forgiven in Christ. God’s forgiveness of us is to be our pattern of forgiveness of others. Again I state that God does not forgive the unrepentant. True, Christ Himself asked the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him. However we know that only those who came to faith in Christ at Pentecost or thereafter experienced the cancellation of their debt to God for His murder. Those who continued to reject Christ will one day answer to God for that very crime. Forgiveness is never unconditional as you make it out to be. Practically your stance on unconditional forgiveness as a counsellor adds an almost unbearable burden upon the abused. Also it becomes the very reason why so many abusers feel free and empowered to continue their abuse. Personally speaking someone very close to me was sexually abused. The offender never repented or took ownership of his sin. For me to have counselled the abused to forgive would be just nonsense for seeming short-term personal therapeutic value only. It was only the abused’s pursuing justice and refusing to overlook this heinous crime that finally brought the perpetrator to his senses and repentance just before he died.

  78. 474: You have a very popular misconception of biblical forgiveness: It must be withheld until the perpetrator asks for it. Biblical forgiveness is not about who asks for or does not ask for forgiveness. It is about you and whether or not you want to be released from the pain of holding a grudge. How would you answer St. Peter’s question, “How many times should I forgive my brother, if he offends me?” “As many times as he asks for forgiveness”? An answer like that makes the Cross rather small.

  79. Hi Paul thanks for your response. Let me say at the outset that I believe that we are both sincere in our desire to assist others towards forgiveness and reconciliation even in times of great and multiply offences. I believe this goes without saying. However, I am fearful that those who are reading our interaction at the same time as they struggle with deep hurt may question our genuine desire to help over our desire to be proved theologically correct. I do not believe this to be the motive of either of our hearts.

    Can I advance that the more popular misconception regarding forgiveness is that its therapeutic value is of greater importance than the reality that God’s forgiveness, and ours as image bearers, is about the
    offender’s release from the offence that deserves punishment and alienation from him and from ourselves.

    Can I also say that God is willing, ready, and eager to forgive everyone: That’s the wonder of His nature, His compassionate character, and His continuing desire. This is what Jesus was challenging Peter about. However, there is a difference between offering forgiveness and granting it. Offering it is unconditional; giving it is conditional.

    Jesus never granted forgiveness to those who did not want or seek it! To suggest otherwise would be universalism.

    God’s forgiveness is conditional upon repentance (Luke 13:3; 17:3; Acts 2:38): God’s forgiveness is conditional upon the offender wanting forgiveness and wanting to turn from His offending ways. (I understand that quoting just a sample of verses here might lead to the accusation of being selective however, I believe that while we must follow Scripture’s clear commands, we must also put it together with the rest of the Bible’s teaching on forgiveness). When we do this carefully it’s clear that for there to be full forgiveness and full reconciliation, there needs to be repentance for the wrong done.

    Forgiveness through repentance produces reconciliation on both sides: Offering forgiveness can help diffuse the conflict; but only the giving of forgiveness, in response to repentance, ends it.

    Paul you may want to respond but if you do I will not
    necessarily respond back. Please do not take that as being anything other than I believe we could go around and around on this issue and I am sure we both have many things to do and people to care for.

    I want to credit David Murray with much of what I have written as someone who has helped shape my own understanding and thinking on this issue.

  80. I don’t know about God, but my definition of forgiveness must embrace the notion that I can forgive people who do not want it. Otherwise, I must hold grudges against the estranged and the dead. I just don’t see that as therapeutic. We both know there are people who find healing and the ability to move on after they decide not to hold grudges against others who victimize them regardless of what the victimizer wants. That is what I call “forgiveness.” Perhaps I need a different word, but I must have this definition.

  81. So, in reading advice given to others, it seems as if someone here might have some for me. I am the wife of a pastor, married now 34 years. Lately all we do is fight about everything. It seems everything I say causes him to blow up in anger and this makes me respond angrily in return. Finally yesterday after such an altercation I started thinking about just leaving because I am tired of being treated this way, even though I knew this wasn’t what God would want me to do, I just didn’t think I had it in me to continue fighting for a marriage when I didn’t feel loved or cherished. Through the day I tried to pray through this. I know I have to have joy outside of my marriage and will work on my relationship with the Lord and how I respond. So last night we seemed to be OK with each other, but still treading on eggshells. Today I am considering that over the years I have maybe stolen leadership of the family away from him. My question is — how do I restore him to feeling like he is the head of the family? Bearing in mind, that I am still too hurt to make monumental changes. Also, how do I be kind and loving while at the same time not allowing myself to be treated unkindly?

  82. RIS
    my son got married with a girl that was in CPS, since he got married to her it’s all been a problem. I’m constantly worried about my son thinking that someday height end up dead. She’s always crying playing victim and telling everybody my son is real mean to her. I feel sorry for my son cause he works a lot, his work day starts at 5:00 am and ends at 10:00 pm everyday. He works cause they have alot of bills to pay. She’s constantly crying cause she’s depressed she wants a husband. I told her you wZnt for him to be home being that you all have so many hospital bills. I think she got used to recieving welfare benefits when she was with CPS for everything little thing she runs to the hospital. They have three children two of them are my sons and one of them she had her when she was 14 years of age. Now lately she been wanting to divorce my son, at the beginning she didn’t want my sons children she had said she was only going to take Her daughter. But then I guess when she found out that she wasn’t going to get any money she started fighting for my sons children. It hurts me to think what kind of life my sons children are going to have. Being that his wife wS in a mental hospital and has a real bad criminal record. The courts had ordered that they didn’t want for her to have any kind of aquientance with her family because they all have a criminal record. She has talking to all of them. I also found out that she was having affair but I never told my son anything cause I didn’t want to get involved. So now I’m super worried I know for a fact my son doesn’t deserve what’s she’s doing and she does need help. The worst thing is that she doesn’t let my son call us and we don’t know nothing about him. I’m super worried my heart hurts for my son and my grandkids which I love. But it’s not like you all state above that mothers slwsys want to see that thier is perfect. I know his not perfect but he did marry a disturbed person. Could you all please pray for them so she can try and readon for the sake of the children and she doesn’t hurt them ir my son. That’s all I’m asking for please pray for them. About her having an affair I saw a picture of Her with another guy that looked like a thug, I have the picture with me I never told my son cause I didn’t want to get involved. Please could somebody please give some advice.
    Thank You,
    Please Pray For My Angels

  83. Very moving and encouraging to hear your situation changed for the better, please pray for me, I feel powerless, I pray a lot, but sometimes feel very alone, my husband is a christian as well, but very cruel with me, manipulative, angry and verbally abusive, I’m not allowed to say anything to him, question him about, what seems suspicious to me, lies, infidelity because some how I get blamed for it

  84. Well said, I have the same understanding, we must forgive our transgressors, so our father that is in Heaven may forgive our trespasses, it couldn’t be more clear than that. And that’s not conditional!

  85. Hi, going thru a rough one. Husband saved for about 4 1/2 yrs…says he loves Jesus…hes a Jesus freak on Facebook & at church (sundays only) but at home the complete opposite. We counseled with our former pastors for almost a yr. Things were ok for maybe close to 6 mos now he’s right back to the same. He grew up in a very toxic environment so i k ow where its coming from but i cant allow that excuse however real to continue to damage me or my kids (we have no kids together). We are a blended family but his kids dont care to be around him either. Hes giving my adult kids such a bad testimony no one looks at him as a man of God but a hypocrite. He has shun me for days and its not even anything i did. He blew up when i asked him to plz back his car up so i can park in front of him due to limited parking space after snow storm. He came out slamming the doors, squealing tires. I try to encourage him with the Word and he literally turns it around and tries to make an argument of it. Sits on couch doesnt talk to me, im his worse enemy. He controls all intimacy. I pray, ive been kind nd but at a point that im not doing anything for the Kingdom because im so wrapped up in this nightmare of a marriage. Finances forget about it. Whats his is his- not mine dont ask is his attitude. Always seeks validation from me or ppl on his accomplishments but doesnt really about my dreams. His dreams are all that matter. These are just a few things. Hes been known in the past to throw things and once even got physical with my 17 yr old son and choked him (about 3yrs ago). I should have left then but ready to go now.

  86. To both Morton & Paul….i hear ya both loud and clear. I believe u both to be right as it may depend on the offender and his choice to continue to sin. As with my hisband, i tried counseling, i prayed, i submitted, i forgave even tho he never asked for forgiveness (doesnt feel HE has to) and continues to behave and misyreat me the same so now i still forgive but i cannot tolerate anymore at the expense of my health, joy & personal walk with Christ. So now when i try to have an honest conversation today with him where i tell him that if he doesnt get some help for his anger and his behavior on his own it will be a matter of time before i leave. What do u think of my decision? A yr ago was going to leave and we continued counseling but hes right back to same behavior. As much as i love Godhim i cant live like this anymore

  87. Lise: I am a big fan of honesty. But rather than tell him what you think, you might try telling him how you feel. Many people confuse the two. How you feel is truth. What you think may not always be about the truth. It is much more telling for him to disagree with what you feel than think. Further, it would only help your cause to do it in a spirit of love.

  88. CK: I would go with interrogation. More important than what you look like standing there is your comprehension of how he feels. You can help him tell you how he feels. You can so this by asking questions that will help him fill out his “I feel” statement, e.g. “How would you fill out this statement: I fell blank?” This and the three other clauses above will get you to the point of knowing what he is feeling. How do you think you would be “looking” then?

  89. I have a question that hopefully can be answered with scriptural backing. My girlfriend and I have a problem that I’ve often heard of, but have yet to find a solution to. If I calmly, respectfully express my concern to her, I’m met with a blank stare, a cold attitude, and when she’s pushed enough to respond, and lifeless, “Ok.” The problem could range anywhere from

  90. As I read your story, I feel like I am reading a autobiography. The emotional abuse, the verbal abuse that you try so hard to not let anyone know what is really going on. The more you try to keep things from getting any more chaotic, the more chaotic it becomes and the deeper trapped you feel. You even start making jokes about the treatment hopeful that someone will read between the lines. I’ve been married for over 15 years and although the first few years were not as obvious as it is now, I look back and wonder how I did not see it back then. I thought it was just the normal pressures of marriage. The past 6 years have changed drastically. I told myself it was because of the many surgeries that he has had and that he is just depressed and needs to feel important. The selfishness, the pressure to provide for his needs and getting phone calls throughout the day demanding that we “snuggle” when I got home from work, the pressure to not do anything for my family, having to hear the words he called our son because he was close to me. The more I researched the personality traits that he has, the more I realized that something was not right. I was not the same person because I caved in to being the person he wanted me to be and although I was miserable inside, I thought it was what God wanted me to be – kindhearted (but to only him), poor in spirit ( so that I would not object to his lifestyle), meek, merciful ( I had to be that to live with him). I thought these things were to be attributes that were applied to my marriage. But then something happened with me. I made so many mistakes trying to please him that I forgot about God, about Jesus, about the holy spirit but…he did not forget about me. Years ago, I lost my dad in an accident and my husband was the perfect comforter or that is what it seemed to be but the more I look back he did give me the comfort I needed but there was always payback for his “good” treatment. My mom passed away in the past year and that’s when I started to see the person he really is. Just 2 days after my mom died, he started back with the pressure for me to do things to please him and although I tried my heart was not there and he went ballistic. He made some rash decisions that turned out to be what opened my eyes to his narcissism personality. I have got back into church and feel like I did before I met him. I have a daily walk with Christ and know that I can never go back to that lifestyle. I do however still have a great amount of compassion for him and I pray for him to turn to God and I pray for God to take the demons from him. He says he has been saved but his life is full of sin. I know in my heart that the only way our marriage will ever be saved is for him to completely recognize his behavior and to seek help and forgiveness. I’m not perfect and often get pulled into arguments that I try to avoid but human nature gives in and I say the things that are on my heart and he can’t take it.

  91. I am going through a very tough situation where my husband has been mentally abusive since the honeymoon. We have only been married 2 years, but he has forced me to leave our home 3 times, the last one being a fake assault charge which I now have to go to court for. We have an 11 month old little girl who he has been very jealous of since I became pregnant. All of his actions are the complete opposite of how he acted towards me before marriage. I am living with family right now because he has made it so it wouldn’t be safe for me to return, but he keeps asking for time with our child. I’ve explained that I don’t feel comfortable leaving her alone with him and I have met him every week to see her some place public. But I am starting to feel guilty that I haven’t let him have her alone so he can take her to his family. I have been trying to line my question up with the word, but I really don’t know what the right thing to do is. He has never hurt her that I know of, but it’s hard to trust him after everything he has done in our marriage. Of course to everyone else he is painting the picture to be that I just left and am now trying to control him from seeing our daughter.

  92. I thank you for this article dear God. I started searching for some answers to questions that I have concerning my situation. I believe that my husband had started changing after he became a religious leader. I never had this problem before in our marriage unless I was just blind but now I see soooo clearly. Please pray for me as God lead me and guide me as to what I need to do. Thanks Lord for my eyes being opened. Amen.

  93. Thank you Markus. I also believe that if he prays, God will lead him on how to lead his marriage through every and any situation it may battle. I tried asking my christian husband to lead me and my family in prayer, but he refuse stateing that “he didn’t need to do that cause his prayer is suppose to be between him and God alone” . For that statement, my marriage is still threatened. Just learning I am a a victim of emotional abuse after 30 years. Now realizing why I was so insecure, lonely and always second And never first.

  94. In my case I am not abused by my husband, rather emotionally abused by my in laws. Can that happen. When they are away from us my husband is strong hard working. When they are around he is submissive toward them. My mother in law says I need to take better care of her son.

  95. Thank you for all of your posts! I have spent the last 22 years feeling like I was doing something wrong; that I was somehow less than. It hurts me to the core that all these years have passed living as a subserviant person. I only tried to be a reflection of Christ, but that was taken advantage of. I have so much regret and sadness. I know God will never leave me, but I feel so lonely right now. My husband has made many changes in his ways and claims to be a changed man. I don’t trust him; to let him back into my heart. I’m tired of hurting…we are both in counseling, together and seperate…together just seems to be working on a broken marriage with people who are not ready or willing to work on it. I gave up hope in this union after years of asking, praying, believing and subjecting myself and our two boys to the anger and manipulation. My boys are teens and have had little relationship with their father. He wouldn’t let anyone too close, and his behavior insured that most wouldn’t want to. I’m exhausted…my fight to save the marriage has left. I’m so deeply saddened by the relization that my family has been broken all along. I made excuses and forgave 70×7. I feel like I’ve been running a race with the finish line that keeps getting moved. I’m tired, hurt, misunderstood and emotionally fragile. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to settle anymore… I’m tired of resigning and giving up on my hopes, dreams and desires.

  96. So Paul, are you saying that we need to forgive our emotional abuser, submit and continue to be good spouses while the abuse continues and even escalates? Are you even considering that maybe the abuser is mentally ill going a LONG way back and refuses to see that they are doing ANYTHING wrong, and towing the line just gives them more power? Do you know how many christian spouses get to the point of hoping their spouse will HIT THEM so they have a biblical reason to leave??? Most importantly, does Jesus teach us to forgive those who hurt us and GIVE OURSELVES TO THE ABUSE over and over again? If that is what Jesus teaches, then I need to rethink my faith….because it sounds a lot like another religion that is in the news these days. Sorry, but my God is not a sadist.

  97. did you read the dedication of this BLOG POST?
    “This post is dedicated to the women I’ve met who have inspired me by their faith and strength in the midst of painful marriages.”
    You are reading a blog post aimed at a specific issue for a specific group of people and taking OFFENSE. Shall we see what the bible says about taking offense? Rather than cry about unfair representation, why don’t you “enlighten” the author in a constructive way. Trust me when I say I have heard my fair share of “justification” for abuse, and while I am in NO WAY denying that women are capable of abuse as much as men, HOW does pointing the finger the other way without firsthand knowledge help? Are you trying to say it is all these ladies fault and that they are actually the abusers, or that they ask for it? Please be careful what you post in situations like these.

  98. I was talking about forgiveness. I don’t see a connection with submission and abuse-enabling.

  99. Jeff this is not a forum to debate. Its a forum to assist the abused. Lets focus on that.”Heavenly Father we pray for peace understanding and love to continue to rule over this forum. We bind the devils work against your purpose for this forum. We pray that the Holy Spirit operates in this forum. Thank you Jesus Christ for your support and love in the forum. Thank you Jehova for your presence in this forum. Let your blood Jesus rule forever in this forum. In your Jesus we pray.AMEN”

  100. I’m only 21 and I keep asking God what to do. Everyone wants me to leave my boyfriend of only a couple months but I feel like God wants me to say especially know since I am about to have a child by him. This makes things worse, and what’s bad is that although we were wrong for having premarital sex, he convinced me that its ok since one day we’ll get married, but I believed him and now he tells me he got me pregnant on purpose. Of course i feel trapped now because I only knew him since Nov. and its like we’ve been together for 10 years or more because of the constant arguing and going back and forth. He hasn’t hit me but he says things and then adds lol or “im just playing”, like he said “i’ll burn the house down” im just playing, ill punch a “baby in the face”. When i confront him about it his answer is the same: I was just playing, I can’t play with you,you take things too seriously. When i confront him about his explosive anger he’ll say, “I wouldn’t had been angry if you wouldn’t had done this or done that a certain way”, “noones perfect” “you have issues too” etc. People have been warning me that that type of manipulative behavior could lead to domestic violence and i believe it, but i feel like everytime i break up with him, he somehow coaxes me to going back with him and i do and i feel like God wants me too and the same thing would happen. We’ve been “friends” for a week or so now and I’ve stood my ground, but we did have sex. i told him i didn’t want to but, he kept trying to coax me so i gave in. And i regretted it. the next morning, now its “i love you”, “i feel so much better now”, “my anger has left me” I want to leave the relationship, but he’s told me about what “God would do” if i did, and it kinda scares me. Plus he talks to this “prophet” woman who basically takes his side and has called me the manipulator and that im wrong, etc. which used to make it hard to trust myself and confused me and made me feel like im wrong when I’m not. I genuinely feel stuck right now and I don’t know what to do. I feel like its messed up that God would want me to stay in a relationship like this, because my strength and confidence used to be diminished by him, and I’m just now getting it back. And i feel its hopeless to confront him because he turns everything on me. We’ve spoke to some christian lady, and it all falls back on me and its not fair and I want God to do something because I feel confused as hell. its like he has 2 different personalities.

  101. For many victims forgiveness has been represented as an immediate restoration of relationship, putting the victim back in the line of fire. Trust is something that is earned, not something that is coerced or demanded.

  102. Krista, sadly too many “counselors” are unable to draw the distinction between forgiveness and restoration of relationship. The belief that we must forgive and forget is flatly wrong. One can forgive (not excuse, deny, or excuse abuse), yet not put themselves back into the abusive situation. God gave us a brain for a reason.

  103. I’m currently in an emotionally/verbally abusive relationship. It’s crazy difficult. Tonight he mentioned how he could just tape my mouth closed if he wanted me to stop talking. I’m feel stuck and really need help. I’ve talked to my pastors before but they don’t want to be deeply involved, just want us in counselling. Husbands against counselling. It’s like he knows he’s doing wrong but not willing to work on it at all. Tons of behavioral sins are front and center and completely obvious to me but he won’t hear it, and also hides it at church … very hard. We also have 2 little ones and one on the way. But we’ve only been married just over 3 yrs… so how do you really know?

  104. Shame on you for advising a victim to confront their abuser! 12 years in law enforcement taught me that much. As a christian woman, I would encourage the abused to seek help outside of their church so it does not get back to the abuser. I have witnessed this more than I cared to. I understand the the church’s councilor ‘s had good intentions, however, it did not turn out so well for the abused victims.

  105. Tinka: I was talking about emotional responding, not “confrontation.” I am equally opposed to confrontation. What would you suggest?

  106. I’m so confused. My husband has emotionally abandoned me when I needed him most. Most of the time from him breaking me down and then crying how much he loves me only to turn around and amp up the silence. He can be very mean. Cruel. Immature and defensive. He pushes me away. Pulls me in to start it all over again. He has a personality disorder which he blames often. My problem is I’ve been a good friend, faithful wife and I’m always the glue. I have fallen into such deep depressions I’ve struggled with alcohol and gambling. Even had to leave my kids to go to treatment. It didn’t phase him. So my problem…I’m SO CRAZY ANGRY. I fear for my soul. He cuts at me so much even after I beg him to stop. I’ve turned into a raging ball of fury. I feel like a beaten dog who naturally is going to bite. I ask God to forgive me and help me and yes I pray for him. Have prayed with him. I feel like he is using me to fill a void. I’m a title that’s it. No intimacy, no friendship…he works in another state now but same difference. If this isn’t meant to be, how do I let go of this anger? One would say I’m not making it easy for him; I have. Trust me. I have no respect for myself for what I’ve taken. Any advice? I’m almost 50 and my kids have been hurt by him to the point they don’t trust him. It’s complete mayhem. Everything is about him. He won’t emotionally put himself out there. I’m afraid God is disappointed in me. I can’t shake the anger. I’ve cried too much. Hurt too much. It’s just abuse now but I feel like I can be just as wicked in defense. I feel so justified in that I feel like I will crack if I don’t stand up for myself. Prideful. Terrified of breaking again. I feel like he is evil! I have been abused and mistreated before so I’m extra sensitive and have hair-trigger to take a stand. Wrong?

  107. The concept of one partner “submitting” to another in either a Christian marriage or secular marriage is a form of male entitlement that serves as the foundation for possible abuse. It IS abuse. Get rid of that concept w/in marriage and you will reduce abuse across the board. Christians can argue about this forever but the truth is that entitlement of one partner over another is NEVER healthy even if the man thinks he’s trying hard to act like Christ, a mythical ideal that so far doesn’t exist. Maybe men and women should just try to listen to each other and cooperate rather than set up a rule that has no place in mature, adult relationships. What man or woman would want to marry someone who acts like a loving parent toward them? Your spouse is NOT your parent, weather male or female. I’m sorry that ancient people wrote this concept down on paper because now there are people who actually think that any progress made since then has no validity. It’s sad really. The fact that Christian submission also provides for (gives big kudos) praise and ego adulteration to those who try to practice it makes it that much harder to discard as the unhealthy concept and expectation that it truly is. The happiest marriages I’ve witnessed involve two people who live together but neither tries to dominate or “lovingly” assume final control whenever there’s an issue that must be resolved between them.

  108. One more thing: the very definition of abuse outlined above is very good and yet it comes strictly from non-biblical sources. What I see again and again on Christian blogs are people honestly grappling with incongruent messages taken from biblical sources and secular sources. The cycle of abuse and (pimarily) male entitlement in marriage is well known outside biblical circles and has been for many years. I did not have a biblical mariage yet this is a Christian society (our values are derived from the bible to a large degree) and my husband acted accordingly with all the entitlement bestowed upon him from the bible he never read. I divorced him finally and got counseling. As expected, his sense of entitlement and superiority severely limits his ability to see his own faults. Christian or not, we all suffer from this archaic approach to marriage.

  109. I think the husband needs to completely repent and let his wife know that he understands her hurt. He needs to compassionately let her go. He needs to give up control of her and the marraige. Give it to God. He needs to pray for her healing. If he cannot do this, she will never ever heal and turn back to him. And she should not. The major issue with abusive husbands is control. Abuse of authority by the husband will eliminate any trust his wife has. A woman wants to trust. To convince her to trust again sometimes may take many years. She took years of abuse. It may take years to trust again. I think it is the primary responsibility of the husband to make amends if he is the abusive one. Sometimes as christians I believe we look to the wife to forgive and trust to fix the marraige before allowing the husband to relinquish control of the marraige and himself and give totally to Christ. That is extremely difficult for a controlling man to do. Women understand this.

  110. I believe in giving the pain and vengence over to God. That is the forgiveness I can do. Give it to God.

  111. I agree with you. A land owner had a slave and the slave owed him money. The landownet demanded payment or he would put his slave into prison until the debt was paid. The slave pleaded for forgiveness of the debt. The landowner, softening his heart forgave the slave of his debt. The slave went to another slave who owed him a debt. What did the forgiven slave do? He threw the slave who owed him money into prison. The landowner saw what his forgiven slave did. The landowner was appalled. What did he do? Because his slave had not repented, he threw him into prison. Repentance is the key. However, in order for me to live in peace and love, what I can do is give my pain and feelings of vengence to God.

  112. I have no doubt that emotional and verbal abuse occur in Christian families. However, when a spouse claims that there is abuse, it’s very difficult to know if the allegations are true. In the last 3 years, our church has had 5 women separate from their husbands, 4 of them claim emotional and verbal abuse. All 4 of them are also good friends with “single lifestyles” when the kids are with the husband. My question is this: how would leaders in a church know for sure if allegations of abuse are factual or if the spouse is seemingly wanting out of an inconvenient marriage? Keeping in mind, there is always sin on both sides of a conflict, it is vital that both spouses have spiritual counseling and encouragement.

  113. Learning the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation was the single biggest help to getting handle on the abuse I lived with for 28 years. I believe that we as humans are to forgive (give up the “right” to be bitter and vindictive and want harm to come to our oppressor) because we are all sinners. Now, before you all boo me, let me tell you that a few short months ago, I would have cringed at yet another “we are all sinners” statement, but what i have come to understand is that the forgiveness is for ME, MY heart, MY health, MY sanity, MY freedom. It in no way frees the unrepentant sinner (the abuser) from GOD’S judgement. That’s the whole point. I can speak TRUTH and take steps to distance myself from a toxic person, but I am not to JUDGE (actually give punishment) because I am just as guilty before a PERFECT savior. I get the privilege of being forgiven by HIM (and NOT having punishment) because I REPENT and accept his perfect sacrifice. GOD is the only one who can actually JUDGE (give the punishment that will ensue unless repentance is forthcoming) but it doesn’t mean that I cannot speak the truth of the sin being done, nor be forced to reconcile and have fellowship with an abuser. Does that make sense? I also have to say that I NEEDED time to really BE angry and to not feel guilty about it. I just don’t want to BE angry for the rest of my life because if me being NOT angry is dependent on that abuser being truly repentant, then he/she still has control over me. I will end again with this: There is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. They do not necessarily go hand in hand. Forgiveness is for our relationship with Jesus, the other is for our human relationships. Since we can always trust Jesus, we forgive. Since we can’t always trust humans, they must earn the right to our fellowship.

  114. I have not here my wife. She has told me for years that she feels alone and that I do not cherish her. I have no problems with the rest of the world but with her I act and talk rude. She tells me this and I want to defend be as we I love her but she does not feel loved. I have emotionally abused. I need help please point me to books that help the abuser.

  115. Wow, you are not powerless this is what the spirit behind your husband want you to think. I was feeling like I wanted to die a year ago, but I remembered that is what bought me to Christ! You have to plan your escape,
    I do not believe God want you to stay in an a usive relationship. Trust God to give you the courage & strength.God Bless !

  116. Yes, I have forgiven my husband for his countless times of drug, & drinking . How can you forgive someone who repeats what he does but only pretend he is remorseful? When I tell him he can’t stay a y where for free he want to be nice & give me money until his next let’s get high and stay out move. God gives you wisdom and reals truth about a person and situations.

  117. Amen! You could not have said it better! God gave us a brain to use. Choose life, death ,good or evil Deut. 30:1-14. I choose life!
    Pastors, counselors and Christins mean well but until they have to live this then they really don’t know what’s best for you. God know and will give you the a answer ! God Bless

  118. When my husband use to curse at me call me out of my name. I told him Jesus didn’t curse at people.
    I asked him why are you with me, he says I don’t know. Then would walk away angry.

  119. Will God still love me , and except me into heaven if I can’t get away from my abuser ?

  120. Thank you so much for this post. I have recently come to the realization that I am in an emotional abusive relationship and feel utterly dead and empty inside. I have tried to be a good Christian and want to do the right thing. Bringing up the subject with my Husband he says that I am over reacting and just hormonal from pregnancy. Bringing the subject up with my husband’s aunt who is the wife of a pastor she explained to me that a wife needs to submit and pray for her Husband and that separation is OK as long as the wife does not marry again. She won’t acknowledge emotional abuse or considerate it real abuse. She laughed at me when I told her about how I was having second thoughts about having another child and my Husband pressured me and told me I couldn’t take it back even though I told him I would regret it and felt violated. I told her about how I did have partners before marriage and felt more comfortable with that partner and in sin than I do with my own Husband in a marriage that is supposed to be blessed. I have been so frustrated and my head been so overwhelmed to the point I have questioned my own sanity and that maybe I am the one who has it all wrong. I had become very angry at God and Christians and felt trapped and doomed. I have been blessed with the most amazing friend who happens to be a good Christian and she has encouraged me not to give up and to research what God really wants and has explained things to me. Now, I read your post. It’s so comforting. I have felt like because I made a poor decision that I will have to remain miserable to please God. Almost like a punishment. I have come to a point of asking “why does God want me to give so much of my spirit and well being to someone who does not protect it?”

  121. Women (or men) need to truly open up their eyes. You are so much more than the victim! You have so much more to live for. I’m not speaking out of line, as I filed for divorce from my husband as soon as I saw the signs of abuse start…we have 2 girls together, not the house I want to raise them in. And I know how it can all escalate as my mother was murdered when I was 7, on Christmas Eve. There’s a reason you’re put on this earth, and it’s NOT to be a victim. Find yourself, and free yourself.

    http://fromwednesdaysheart.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-emotional-and-spiritual-challenge.html

  122. CK, Proverbs talks about answering a fool in his folly, and it’s usually not a good thing. I have learned that learning to act rather than react it helpful. I lived through this and the more I tried to argue or defend myself, the worse things became. There are times when you should just say this conversation is not getting us anywhere, and then remove yourself. Usually, when you learn not to be manipulated, it will make him angrier, and if he gets angry enough to become physical in any way, call the police. Reasoning with an abusive person is often impossible. I also say that submitting to a person who is constantly trying to hurt you is just promoting their sin. I wrote a blog on it if you are interested. https://joyforrest.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/biblical-headship-and-submission-in-emotionally-abusive-marriages/

  123. The prayer of God letting you feel and understand what and how it hurts us. To not be liked by our own husbands is emotional abuse. God wants us to know how special we are in him. How much he truly likes us not just loves and how he loves us the way you are. We absolutely must forgive which depending on all that has gone and said it will probably take a pursuing of God’s forgiveness. Which I welcome God is good. I own a couple salons and spas and. As a hairdresser I feel and see them slowly dying. Hurting. I have an abusive husband as well. It is an absolute to guard how you respond think and react as being better seasoned in the Lord. However if you are dying physical and mentally PRAY. Yes forgive but with some help from God ,but lots take up responsibility Church! I don’t feel we have equipped the saints for what is verbal emotional abuse. I have seen it be where many well meaning pastors say these things. However the water being drunken by the toxicity in it….can make you VERY sick in the natural. Like me. Commuting home feels like I need a gas mask on. God gives a grace period …..However when it is blocking our way to our destinies that grace might be removed. I am praying. God knows ours and our husband’s heart and wants the best for everyone. I know that I know he will reveal to me his will. . seperation? I am staying so sick. Mentally and physically. Stay…..not unless everything in you knows God is with you. And you will. When his grace cloud moves off completely you know it. We are to be loved and cherished and liked! The battle is God’s and he Will reveal. May God bless all of us bc even the ones we get hurt by don’t know what they fully do. We are to be cherished and God lllooooovvvveeeeesssssss us sooooooo much he will give us the wisdom. Seperation can be fearful but May be needed. AND WAKE UP CHURCH….talking to myself with that too. Physical abuse gets taught and is easily recognised but the one who is ABUSED in verbal and emotionally kills them. Yes even physically depending on what they have been through and the depths. They also do not have a very good if any support group in the church like the physical. It is a slow painful death etc. The enemy tried and often times due to us not teaching what this is to our congregation steals, kills, and can destroy their lives. Watch for the pendulum swing though ladies marriage has its difficulties, we all need more education on this. God will show us. I pray the church will too. God’s will which sometimes he says Go and sometimes stay. Repentance is a heart issue I loved what that lady spoke out. Before church we tell people to stay …..pray.the enemy could be trying to take God’s beloved down and children learning the behaviour and allowing it could be enabling it.
    So forgive Yes ….stay….that depends on you and God. I mainly want to say this IS abuse that needs to be taught in a balanced way. Even though our pastors etc. Have had the right heart motive.

  124. Plus forgiving is for you not the other person. To help your heart to not be filled with anger.

  125. I have been married for 42 years. Throughout I have experienced I think emotional abuse such as control manipulation disrespect and most importantly to me he never ever defends me.
    I’m 65 and think should I just stay cuz so many years or leave for the remainder of my years here on earth? Most importantly how would God look at this?
    Please help a very wounded woman..

  126. Please tell me about this lady that stayed with her husband, bringing both him and her closer to God. I’m going through this right now and at times I can’t tell if it’s my faith in God that I should stay or the devil pushing me to leave? I’m so confused.

  127. I have been in a increasing abuseive marriage for almost 14 years. I left once for 18 days with our two beatfuil Childern a few months ago to live in a homeless shealher. I can back because he told me he had found Christ, it almost killed me the day the judge order his ankle bracelet off and I signed paper work to drop all DV charges it was like a light scwith he started abusing me and the kids that very day but now it’s way worse he walks around saying me and the kids are not allow to go to church, listen to ,Klove radio, talk about or believe in our God!! It’s killing me and the kids. I’m in desperate need of prayer for me in the kids to find a safe way out. I know now this is wrong and I’m not crazy or mental ill like he has try to tell me, the Childern and anyone the will listen to him. I’m so scared and need God and help so badly before I’m no longer here to defend my little babies. Thank you and may God bless you all who suffer.

  128. Today my husband cussed me out and told me I am worthless to him, and He is sick of me right before we were leaving to go to church. Of course, I started crying and didn’t go, but he always goes right ahead . I can’t imagine doing the same to him and then sitting in church with that much hate and venom toward my spouse in my heart. He acts like as long as he goes to church he’s “covered” and God is just going to forgive him because he showed up for the service, (There is never an apology to me. I just try to stay out of the line of fire and not let it wreck me for days on end like I used to do.) I know this can’t go on for the rest of my life. The last 2 years he has worked out of time and I have only seen him once every 2 weeks. Now we will be under the same roof with his abuse occurring daily. He thinks I never do enough, and that I always fall short of his expectations. (Though he refuses to tell me what they are,). It is eggshell walking and now I will be 2 hours away from all my friends and family who love me and think I am good person and who love to be around me. Any time I have ever tried to communicate with him, he just gets mad and attacks me through insults, screaming and bad language and names to the point where I have to flee for a few hours. How can I Live like this? No money, no prospects, am I sick with asthma and firbro and they both flare up with stress. I tried to have my only business, but he said I was not making enough, so he said I needed to shut it down and stay home. In my 57 years, I have never loved anyone who has hated me so badly.Is it abnormal for him to keep abusing me even though he goes to church on Sunday?

  129. Hey! is anyone still getting on this blog?
    I have a few questions!!??
    I have been married for 5 months now, and my husband pushed me against the wall the other day!
    Here is my full story,
    I was in an abusive relationship before I meet my husband!
    When I started dating my now husband, I asked him if there where things he would like his wife to be like? (yes I walked into that) and he said yes and gave me his 2 things… I prayed and prayed about getting married and had back and forth feelings. My whole family, and all my friends did not like the idea at all. They all thought he was controlling! I was blinded, and when I did see it I would just say no we all have issues!!! I think I even blocked God out!!
    So after dating awhile we decided to quit smoking cigs together. Of course I couldn’t do it, it was easier for him. So at the beginning I was honest, then he made me feel quilt about it and so I started hiding it. Then, he would find out and be upset (“a normal upset”) well we decided to move away from my home. I am from Alabama he grew up in Rhode island. Of course I agreed, but said if my grandparents ever need me I need to come back, he agreed to being open and understanding to that!
    Well, once we got married I started struggling, going back and forth on smoking and was always scared to tell him. Also, my grandma is doing really really bad and he wont even consider going back to Alabama… even though we have no place to live and he has no job
    (also note: I have an amazing 6 year old boy… whose dad and I get along, we where just young and didn’t know Jesus at the time to ask for help)
    anyway at Christmas… is the first time I’ve been allowed to go see my family in over a year (besides them coming to Rhode Island for the wedding) and the reason I wasn’t allowed to see them is because he doesn’t want me smoking and seeing my old “bad influence” friends!
    So, getting to “what is going on now” since marriage when he catches me in lies about smoking, which I am the one who confesses because I feel God wants me to… He has started calling my really horrible names, and said mean things about my mom and my innocent son!! Last week I finally set up boundaries… he asked me if I had smoked and I said I will talk to you about this when we go see Nathan (our counselor) and he freaked out (alone) but then I went to go smoke and he caught and I went in the house to hid from his name calling and he was shouting LAIR LAIR where are you? then he found me and grabbed me and pushed me up against the wall to tell me how horrible and deceitful I am
    Please know I realize more than anything that lying is wrong, and lying to your husband is very WRONG!!! I’m 100% okay with saying I am quilty of that!
    after the yelling and pushing happened, he began to drink… then he cried to himself and screamed to himself. He threatened to punch me in the face. then after awhile I thought he was asleep, then he came out to “make up” with me… in other words, have sex with me!
    the next day he tried to take all my cigs (in an aggressive way). I am not allowed to have a phone, car, or money! we saw our counselor and he told me not to leave!…??? he said I have a tendency to run, but I don’t think so… I stayed with the last guy who abused me for 4 years until one day I came to know Jesus!!
    thankfully I am going home on December 18th… I really need HELP!!?? is it right for me to think it will get worse, all the same signs are there…? Should I stay home till he realizes what he did isn’t justified, even if I did something wrong? do I need to stay and see if he will seek counsel first? PLEASE ADVISE ME!! I have been praying and fasting… I am at point where I would love my marriage to work, but at the same time I am over letting people change me and abuse me, whether I bring it upon myself or not! I do not want to sin against GOD!! I really do love Jesus so much and I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!!????
    Also, sorry if I sound like I rambling …. I have to type fast.

  130. it is also sinful to enable sin and that is what you’ll be doing if you stay. If he really wants to work things out with you he won’t mind doing it while separated–but what I think is more likely is that what he wants to do is control you. He has an idea in his head what his life and marriage should look like (and by extension how you should be like) and he is determined to make you bend to his will. Your sins of lying etc. do not justify his sins of abuse/control. He will justify his behaviour no matter what (usually by blaming you for causing it). The problem is that to some extent you are doing the same thing in the sense that you want a certain type of husband (a godly one–nothing wrong with desiring that) but he just has no interest in being mature and emotionally healthy. Not to say that he won’t some time in the future with God’s help, but there is no guarantee of that. The only way to stop abuse is CONSEQUENCES. By staying you are enabling the abuse to continue. You need to get away and concentrate on becoming emotionally healthy and mature yourself. Leave him to God. Take it from someone who learned the hard way. In Christ, Janis

  131. thank you. i left last night.
    my family is coming to get me from my friends place in R.I on monday to take me home! i still keep praying and of coursse i go back and forth with what to do, but i also keep feeling like i should leave more than anything and id be stupid to return right now. BUT everyone has the “opinions” …. can be annoying right!!!
    anyway thank you friend~ blessings

  132. It is amazing that no text was written for when the man is being emotionally abused. Or when the wife uses sex to manipulate or control her spouse.

  133. justlove: I don’t know that anyone replies to posts here so a few thoughts… If Nathan is not ACBC certified I would encourage you to find a counselor who is and stay with him/her.

    biblicalcounseling.com

    Hopefully, your husband will attend counseling with you but ultimately you cannot change him you can only change you – so continue counseling even without him. Remember that God can and does use difficult husbands and marriages to conform us to the image of Christ so do not be tempted to quit because it is difficult. At the same time, remember that the law is for your protection and if your husband is physically harming you do not hesitate to call the police – but do not play games – if you call them sign the papers and lock him up and let the judge deal with him. Short of physical harm to you or your child God can give you the grace to love even a very difficult husband to the glory of God.

  134. Ray, you missed this line “I’ve also met men who have been abused by their wives, so I certainly do not believe that only women are abused.”

    You are supposed to be the spiritual leader of your home, so find a biblical counselor at biblicalcounseling.com and lead your wife on an adventure in growing in grace to the glory of God.

  135. Carol: Please find a biblical counselor to help you, they are usually a ministry of local churches and free.

    biblicalcounseling.com

  136. Kudos to you for wanting to take responsibility to grow in this area. Find an ACBC counselor to help you. They will direct you to good biblical resources as well as the Word itself. Most counsel for free as a ministry of the church and if there is nobody in your area some will counsel by Skype. biblicalcounseling.com

  137. We need a better theology of suffering. We are all too quick to leave our marriages because we are suffering and we fail to understand God’s good purposes in suffering. We often miss the application to real life of the most common scripture passages such as Psalm 23.

  138. Kina: You realize of course the purpose of this site is not to receive counseling but your case is easier than others in that you are clearly living in sin – get out – cut the ties – seek counsel for your own spiritual need. http://www.biblicalcounseling.com/

  139. In a traditional western marriage ceremony the bride and groom both promise to love and honor one another. When either of the spouses abuses the other, then the promise they made was a lie. It was a counterfeit covenant.

  140. Why do all articles I look up about this topic automatically make the husband to be the culprit? I’m a husband and everything described here is my wife.

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