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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7 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Worked Up

Preventing Later Regrets

Angry ManIt’s a rare person who never gets emotionally flustered. And I’m not sure such a person truly exists. Some people get worked up over the smallest things – the coffee maker didn’t start on time, or your coworker pulled into your favorite parking spot just as you were about to grab it. But there are plenty of big things that can cause even the toughest person to temporarily lose their emotional footing, such as a serious illness, a major financial loss, the death of a loved one, or a friend’s betrayal.

Reacting out of your emotions when you’re worked up is natural. And we each have our favorite ways of doing so: withdrawing into isolation, lashing out in anger, or dissolving into tears or anxiety. Strong emotions affect our decision-making ability, and it’s easy to say or do things out of those emotions that we will later regret. One of the first steps in emotional maturity is understanding yourself well enough to know when you need to slow down long enough for your rational mind to catch up.

When you feel the heat of being emotionally worked up churning in your being, press PAUSE. Here are several mistakes to avoid at those high-temperature times.

  1. Don’t make big decisions. Making wise decisions that will have long-lasting consequences requires a clear mind. Most of us can’t do that when we’re worked up. Quitting your job or your marriage, throwing away a friendship, selling or buying something expensive, moving to a new church or city, bailing out on a challenging project – none of those decisions can wisely be made out of fear, anger, disappointment, frustration, or any other strong emotion. Wait until your mental temperature cools somewhat, and include your rational mind in the decision-making process.
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How God Deals With the Consequences of Bad Behavior

5 Things to Know and Do to Move Forward

HopelessIn this world we all face bad stuff. Sometimes others wound you, and those scars are painful. But what can be even more painful is when you face the consequences of your own bad behavior, your “wrong choices.” How does God deal with you then?

I think we all face things like this:

  • Over years of unhealthy living you became seriously overweight
  • You’re struggling with infertility because of an STD you contracted during an unwise “hookup”
  • After smoking for a long time you developed lung disease
  • The credit card debt you racked up buying unnecessary “stuff” is making you physically ill
  • You had an affair, and now your marriage is on life support

Sure, you could rationalize. Most of us do for a long time. And there are plenty of excuses you could come up with that would actually be quite true:

How Would You Live If You Knew . . .

TragedyMost of us really don’t know. And perhaps that’s a good thing. We don’t know when the next life-altering event will change things forever. If we did know, we’d probably either be too scared to do anything at all, or put off making any necessary changes until the last possible minute. But by not knowing we’re at risk of being unprepared. How would you live today if you knew for sure that it would all end tomorrow?

In truth, there are any number of things that could happen. And many of these things are likely; we just don’t know when they’re going to happen.

Would you live any differently if you knew that one of these things would happen soon?

  • The economy falls apart with massive unemployment, inflation, and business failures
  • A house fire destroys your belongings
  • Your company goes bankrupt and you lose your job
  • Your child or your spouse develops a life-threatening illness, or has a serious accident
  • You have a heart attack
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Christianity in One Word

Thoughtful WomanDenominations. Cultures. Traditional vs. contemporary. Grace vs. good works. Community. Just love everyone. What is Christianity really about anyway?

Controversy has been a part of Christianity ever since Jesus ascended back to heaven. It took some time for Jewish and Gentile believers to work through what was essential and what wasn’t. Persecution pressed the believers to carry the good news farther and farther until the then-known world was turned upside down. (Acts 17:6) Even so, nothing could stop them.

What was it about having been with Jesus that so changed the first believers? What was it that so burned in their souls? What was it that continued to compel the gospel forward in the face of both internal conflict and external opposition?

If you had to sum up Christianity in one word, what would it be?

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