7 Things to Know if your Spouse is a Christian and Abusive

Separating God-talk from Violence

Abusive SpouseGod-talk and violence – physical, sexual, mental, or spiritual – have mixed for centuries. Sadly that same mixture shows up in even “Christian” homes. Let’s agree that abuse of any kind is not what God wanted when He created marriage. But in our broken world too many face the reality that their “Christian” spouse is abusive. What then?

It may seem easy to look on from the outside and say, “God hates divorce, so deal with it.” Or, “Abuse is wrong. Just leave.” But for the person feeling stuck in such a hurtful marriage it’s never really that simple. Shame and guilt are heavy – sometimes almost heavy enough to take you out. You ask yourself questions like, “Can’t prayer fix this?” “What’s wrong with me that I can’t make this work?” “Doesn’t Jesus expect me to forgive?”

Yes, God can – and does – resurrect dead things and turn impossible situations into glorious displays of His grace. Nothing is too hard for Him.

But that – in part – depends on human choices – yours, and your spouse’s. God does not control your spouse’s free will, and you cannot control it either.

God hates divorce not because of some legalistic hierarchy of sin and righteousness, but because it hurts His children. Scripture makes clear that in our broken world there are times marriages are not saved. And God is neither surprised nor absent in your marriage dilemma.

So what do you do if your spouse is a Christian and abusive? Your emotions are certainly heavy and complicated. But putting emotions aside for a moment, here are some important things to know.

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What to Do when Your Husband Calls You Frigid

5 Things a Christian Wife Needs to Know

Frigid

Your husband berates you when you turn down his requests for sex, or when you don’t want to do the sexual acts he would like. Perhaps he even lobs Scripture at you, criticizing you for not meeting his sexual needs as the Bible says you should. Your husband calls you frigid. (Is that still a word the “younger generation” knows and uses? I could be dating myself.)

Your heart is crushed. You feel embarrassed or ashamed, or perhaps angry. Is there something wrong with you?

There are couples where the wife has a stronger sexual desire than her husband, and some husbands have learned wonderful ways to help their wives enjoy physical intimacy. But some Christian wives carry a boatload of guilt and/or shame about their sexual response or lack thereof.

Let me help unburden your heart. Here are 5 things to know as a Christian wife.

  1. You have the right to say NO.

Your husband does not own you. Your body is not his property. You are not sinning when you say NO to your husband’s request for sex. God gave you the responsibility of caring for your mind, body, and soul in a way that first and foremost honors Him, and that allows you to offer your best self to your husband, your family, and others He places in your life.

That means if you’re used up, exploited, and empty, part of your responsibility is to find godly healthy ways to get filled up again. You don’t sit back and wait for someone else to fill you; you proactively go after the nourishment your soul needs.

  1. God made your husband to desire sex.

Your husband is not a brute because he wants sex frequently.

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7 Steps to Dealing with BIG Marriage Problems

What to do when your spouse messes up badly

Woman Thinking AloneYou could handle the little things, or so you tell yourself. You could pick up his dirty clothes now and then, or overlook the times she forgot to tell you about a purchase she’d made. But this time it’s really BIG. Your spouse has messed up badly. It’s all you can think about, and you’re not sure you can live with the consequences.

We’re talking about such BIG marriage problems that your relationship is truly threatened. Little ongoing frustrations may eat away at you, but those are for another time. This is about the BIG stuff.

  • You find pornography on your spouse’s computer
  • You discover your spouse has been abusing drugs or alcohol – again
  • Your spouse has lied to you about something big – a huge financial mistake, telling you they were one place when they were somewhere else, etc.
  • A fight with your spouse becomes physical and you felt truly afraid
  • You find evidence your spouse is having an affair

Your mind is swirling. How could they do this to you? Shouldn’t you have seen the red flags earlier? Aren’t you supposed to forgive people, even your spouse, when they mess up? How could you ever do that? Hurt, confusion, anger, fear, despair, guilt, shame – it’s overwhelming.

One article such as this can’t tell you everything you need to know about dealing with such BIG marriage problems. But I can give you a framework for the questions to ask and the ways to think about what to do next. You can use these steps to get clarity about your marriage situation and about the actions you may need to take.

If Your Spouse has Messed Up Badly:

  1. What’s really going on here?

No sugar-coating the truth; it’s time to face reality.

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A Woman’s Beauty and Strength: Dangerous or Delightful?

How a woman can use her beauty and strength to wound or to heal.

WomanCan we talk? Just you and me, girlfriend?

A woman’s beauty is one source of her strength. But everything depends on how you use it.

As a woman, you are powerful, beautiful, strong, smart, vulnerable, intuitive, and resilient. When God made you earth and heaven smiled, and you completely took Adam’s breath away. You are the expression of the part of God Himself that longs to connect, communicate, and nurture life, intimacy, and so much more. As John Eldredge describes it, every woman has a beauty to unveil.

In part because of your combined beauty and strength, God’s enemy has unleashed his most destructive weapons against you ever since the beginning. You have survived indescribable pain, loss, and torment. You’ve faced the worst that evil can dream up.

And yet you are still here! The assaults on your body, mind, and soul have not taken you out. You may feel down, but you’re not finished yet!

But the question is, What Will You Do Now?

You have two choices.

You can use your beauty and strength to wreak havoc on everyone around you. You DO have that power.

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Helping the Least of These

Fulfilling Jesus’ Command to Help Those in Need

Asian GirlThere’s a long-running commercial on television in the US that tries to raise money for an organization helping abused and neglected animals. It shows videos of sick, cold, abused, or abandoned dogs and cats – and it pulls at your heart strings. You can almost hear the animals crying, “Does anyone see me? Does anyone care? Will my life ever be any better?” You can feel the fear, the hopelessness, the heartache.

That’s all about animals. And the effort is a worthy one. But what about the people who are struggling with the same kinds of needs? Surely these are the ones who Jesus meant when he talked about “the least of these.” (Matthew 25:40) Some of these groups have advocates that make caring about them “sexy”. And others are comparatively unseen and unknown. What about:

  • Family members struggling to care for someone with mental illness
  • Parents of teens who are on drugs or in gangs
  • Children whose parents are incarcerated
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