The following are quotes concerning the subject of abuse in Marriage. We pray you will find them helpful.
• All marriages are sacred, but not all are safe. (Rob Jackson)
• Most people think “abuse” is just physical attacks such as hitting, punching, kicking, pulling hair, twisting limbs, pinching, slapping, biting, etc. There are many other type of abusive behavior which hurt just as much or more than physical abuse. Just because an abuser stops hitting his spouse doesn’t mean he has stopped being abusive. (Brenda Branson, from article titled, “All Abuse Hurts”)
• Bottom line:
Outbursts of anger —including screaming, throwing things, banging inanimate objects, slamming doors, squealing tires, stomping around, making threats, shoving, restraining, cornering, or yelling down, all carry the threat of physical harm —even if that threat is not intended. All these things are abusive, and completely unacceptable. Nothing a woman [or man] does (including any of the above) justifies doing any of these. If you are doing any of these, you have a problem —PLEASE deal with it before it escalates. (Paul, from The-generous-husband.com)
• You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder,” and “Whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable of judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool” you will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21-23)
• Keep in Mind:
Just because you aren’t being physically punched, slapped, or kicked doesn’t mean you aren’t in an abusive marriage.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you determine whether or not you are in an abusive relationship: • Does my spouse ever try to physically stop me from leaving the room? • Does my spouse ever push me, grab me or my clothing, or hold me against my will? – Has my spouse ever told me to kill myself? • Does my spouse ever threaten to hurt me for any reason? • Does my spouse ever point a weapon of any kind toward me, our children, or him or herself? – Has my spouse ever used language that suggests he or she will “solve” our marriage problems forever through death? • Am I afraid of my spouse?
These questions are not gender exclusive. If you answered yes to any of them, your marriage is fear based and you are in danger of being a victim of domestic violence. Put a plan together now to get the help you need. (Joe and Michelle Williams, from the book “Yes, Your Marriage Can Be Saved”)
• Regarding Anger:
Anger that’s used to control, manipulate, and hold another emotionally hostage is out of control and abusive. It typically starts with name-calling, emotional jabs at a person’s self-worth, painful teasing, public insults. It progresses from there. Eventually the abuser is yelling, grabbing, pushing, slapping, and becoming increasingly aggressive and violent. Remorse follows. So too does more abuse. Even just one of these tactics is abuse, and it won’t stop without serious intervention. If you or your children are being treated in this fashion, please seek help. (Meg Wilson, “Hope After Betrayal”)
• Simply being an eyewitness to family violence has a great effect upon a youngster.
“A child witnessing his mother being battered is equivalent to the child being battered,” notes therapist John Bradshaw. One youth named Ed hated seeing his father beat his mother. Nevertheless, although he may not have realized it, he was being conditioned to believe that men must control women and that in order to do so, men must scare, hurt, and demean them. When he became an adult, Ed used these abusive, violent tactics on his wife.
Some parents cautiously forbid their children to watch violence on television, and that is a good thing. But parents should be even more cautious when it comes to monitoring their own behavior. They are role models for their impressionable children. (Frankie Goh, from article, “What Causes Domestic Violence”)
• Studies show:
One third of children who witness the battering of their mothers demonstrate significant behavioral and/or emotional problems. Children may experience such problems as depression, anger and hostility, isolation, school problems (low achievement), drug and/or alcohol use, and more. They may attempt to get attention through violent behavior. This includes lashing out or treating pets cruelly, or by threatening siblings or mother with violence.
Boys who witness their father’s abuse of their mothers are more likely to inflict severe violence when they become adults. Data suggest that girls who witness maternal abuse are more likely to tolerate abuse as adults. Children from abused homes often have relationship and marital problems as adults. (From the booklet the booklet “A Way of Hope”)
• Husbands, love your wives, and never treat them harshly. (Colossians 3:19)
• Verbal Abuse:
Though prevalent in our culture, verbal abuse often goes unrecognized because it leaves invisible scars. The abusers often come across as nice, even charming, people when they interact with the general public. But behind closed doors, they use cutting words to exert control over those closest to them. And they do it by sending a two-sided message: “I love you… but I don’t.”
The twisted expression of their “love” creates confusion and a sense of helplessness in their victims. This form of abuse includes humiliating, threatening, insulting, or intimidating one’s partner. It also is characterized by withdrawal of approval or affection. The abuser may try to control what his partner wears or who she spends time with. He may even isolate her from family and friends. This constant belittling can cut to the core of a person’s being. (Holly Hudson, from the article, “Recognizing Abuse; Both Seen and Unseen”)
It is not enemies who taunt me —I could bear that; it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me —I could hide from them. But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend, with who I kept pleasant company; we walked in the house of God with the throng… My companion laid hands on a friend and violated a covenant with me. With speech smoother than butter, but with a heart set on war; with words that were softer than oil, but in fact were drawn swords. (Psalm 55:12-14; Psalm 55:20-21)
• A person can be so verbally abused that they don’t know what’s true anymore.
This abuse is designed to put a person in a numb state so they are unable to make clear, concise decisions. The path of verbal abuse leads a person from what they know as truth into a confused state. This confused state arises because the abuser consistently interjects lies as truth until the abused no longer knows what to believe. For example, we can see this happen when the abuser uses truths from the Bible to justify a lie, or the abuser twists the Bible’s true intent to satisfy his own selfish motive.
The sad part comes when the abused embraces the lies from the abuser as truth, thereby disregarding the real truth. At this point the abused feels like they are in chains of bondage with no way out. A trusted godly person is like a life preserver to the abused at this point. For “the mouth of the righteous is a well of life“ (Proverbs 10:11). (From the article titled, “Verbal Abuse in Marriage”)
• Verbal Abuse:
What makes verbal abuse particularly threatening is the fact that verbal abuse always precedes physical abuse. The progression to this level of attack may take years —or months. (Holly Hudson, from the article, “Recognizing Abuse; Both Seen and Unseen”)
• All forms of abuse follow a pattern that, left unchecked, will only increase over time. Injuries from verbal and emotional abuse can run deep and leave lasting scars. Many emotionally and verbally abused people reason that, because there are no bruises or broken bones, their abuse must not be serious. But it is. …If pain motivates you to act against emotional and verbal abuse, then listen and act. You may be saving more than your life. (Beth J. Lueders, from article titled, “Emotional and Verbal Abuse”)
• While the optimum situation is for both parties in an abusive situation to seek help, Dr. Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors, insists one person can change the relationship. “Change a person; change a relationship,” he says. On the other hand, if the abuse is severe and occurring within the marriage relationship, it’s time to take bold steps and assert biblical, healthy boundaries. (Mary J. Yerkes, from the article “Healing the Wounds of Emotional Abuse”)
• “The anatomy of an abusive relationship is really very simple.
There’s a cycle of violence that takes place. “The cycle has three stages: • Tension Building Stage • Acute Battering Stage • Honeymoon Stage. Dr. Phil McGraw says of the honeymoon stage, “This is where, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I will never do this again. I hate that this happened. I’ll make it up to you. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,’ but then the cycle starts over again.”
Dr Phil notes that nearly half of abusers re-offend, most within the first six months. “And then you’ve got what’s called traumatic bonding. This is because there’s an imbalance of power, and there’s an intermittent reinforcement schedule. You never know whether you’re going to get hugged or hit. And so psychologically that’s a very strong tendency to stay involved in that relationship.” (Dr Phil McGraw, from: “The Cycle of Violence”)
• Regarding Separation:
Sometimes separation can be a powerful attention-getting boundary if you’re fully ready to use it. The purpose of the separation can be to physically or emotionally protect you and your children or to convince your husband (or wife) that you’ll not continue to live the same way. Separation can also be by mutual agreement for each to work on your own problems separately with the goal of reconciling your marriage. (Karla Downing, from book “10 Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages”)
• Keep in mind:
If you decide to leave your home to protect yourself from physical harm, your husband may view your leaving as betrayal or rejection. He may become even more violent as a result. That is why you need to develop your safety plan with outside counsel and guidance. You may even need the help and protection of the police. Do not make your plans alone!
If you are staying in your home out of fear, or if your husband’s words or behavior becomes more and more threatening, you need to work out an immediate safety plan. With the help of friends and counselors, you will need to plan where to keep keys, clothes, medications, and important documents; what to do with your children’ where you will go if you have to leave suddenly, and much more. You may need to choose a safe, protected environment where you can be kept hidden from your husband. (From the booklet “A Way of Hope”)
• These are the “hallmarks of an abuser —both verbal and physical”:
They include jealousy, a need to control, efforts to isolate their partner or relative, attempts to rush a romantic relationship and disrespect for privacy and personal boundaries. Drug and alcohol abuse are often present in the situation. (Holly Hudson, from article titled, “Recognizing Abuse; Both Seen and Unseen”)
• Minna Schulman, director of a domestic violence and law enforcement agency, stated that violence is a tool that men use to maintain control and to demonstrate power and authority over a woman. She added: “We see domestic violence as a misuse of power and control.” Some wife beaters suffer from low self-esteem, the same trait they induce in their victims. If they can do that, then their ego will have been fed, and they will feel a measure of superiority and control over another human. They feel that they prove their masculinity in this way.
Yet, do they?
Since they perpetrate their violence on physically weaker women, does it prove that they are truly men of strength, or does it prove, instead, that they are unreasonable? Is it really manly for a stronger male to beat up a weaker, more defenseless female? A man of strong moral character would show consideration and compassion for weaker and more defenseless ones, not take advantage of them.
Another demonstration of the unreasonable thinking of the abuser is the fact that he often blames his wife for provoking the beatings. He may imply, or even say to her, such things as: ‘You didn’t do this right. That’s why I’m beating you.’ Or: ‘Dinner was late, so you’re just getting what you deserve.’ In the abuser’s mind, it is her fault. However, no shortcoming of the other mate justifies battering. (Frankie Goh, from article, “What Causes Domestic Violence”)
• Don’t blame yourself.
Realize that the abuse is not your fault, no matter what your abuser says. Understand that abuse can happen to anyone, of any faith, age, economic status, race, or neighborhood. Know that you are not alone. Know that you are not stupid or worthless; to the contrary, God loves you deeply and values you highly.
Realize that God does not condone abuse of any kind. Believe that His will for you is to break free of the abuse you’re suffering. Recognize your need for help, and decide to pursue it. (From the article “Heal from Abuse”)
• The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates everyone who loves violence. (Psalms 11:5)
• “…and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 2:16)
• He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind. And the fool will be a servant to the wise. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:29-30)
• Jesus is our Model.
Instead of following Christ’s model of servant leadership in the home, an abusive man views it as his God-given right to have power and control over his wife, and rewrites the scripture to give himself the right to punish her whenever she falls short of his expectations. Jesus would remind us that He, as head of the church, is the role model for the husband. Has he ever been controlling and abusive toward the church? Or does He, as a servant leader, lovingly guide and nurture His church?
… Although churches should offer unconditional love, far too often families are only accepted by the congregation if they seem to fit in with the status quo. …Jesus offers unconditional love and acceptance, and does not value a person for how he looks or what he owns. He said, “You are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside, but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28 NLT)
… Although some churches are guilty of perpetuating family violence, many other church communities and pastors are actively involved in stopping the cycle of abuse, providing safety for the victim and help for the abuser. Does your church offer hope or perpetuate the pain? (From the article, “Abuse and The Church’s Role”)
• Church leaders need to realize batterers can be manipulative.
I know a woman in my community who went to her pastor for help because she was afraid of her husband. The pastor called her husband and asked that he and the wife come in for counseling. The poor woman was absolutely terrified to sit in a joint counseling session with her husband and said nothing while the husband smoothed things over.
Shortly after this, the woman made a decision to leave her husband. One night when she thought he was away, she returned home to get some of her things. The husband was there hiding and beat the woman so severely that parts of her brain were exposed.
Leaders also need to work to dismiss misinterpretations of Scripture such as 1 Peter 3:1-6, which abusers often use to defend their actions. It’s unbelievable how many Christian men think they’re entitled by God to discipline and control their wives. As 1 Peter 3:7 reminds us, no man has a God-given right to punish or retaliate against his wife under any condition. And a woman shouldn’t be led to think that through her submission and suffering she’ll become a better person. To allow someone to abuse you does not bring glory to God. (Corrie Cutrer, from article titled, “The Silent Epidemic”)
• Marriage is for committed lovers, not hostages.
Marriage is a sacred relationship created for two people who complete each other spiritually. While it requires sacrificial service, it is not a call to martyrdom. In many cases of domestic violence, a therapeutic separation is necessary to gain safety and direct attention to the gravity of the need for change. (Rob Jackson, from chapter “What If My Spouse Abuses Me?” from the book, “The First Five Years of Marriage”)
• Break your silence.
Reflect on how much pain you’ve suffered, and remember your abuser’s broken promises. Consider the fear you feel and how your children are being affected. Gather your courage to take action. Realize that God offers you real hope for a life free of abuse. Take stock of trustworthy people with whom you may safely share your story. Start by telling one person as soon as you can. Then reach out to others so you’re not relying just one person to meet all your needs.
Don’t let the person abusing you know who you have told so he or she won’t try to harm the people who are trying to help you. Understand that it’s critical for you to break your silence, however. Know that many people are willing and able to help you if you let them know what’s going on. (From Crosswalk.com article “Heal from Abuse”)
• Abuse is always wrong.
Some try to excuse it. Most perpetrators have a sense of entitlement, thinking their actions are justified. Ironically, their victims may also believe they deserve to be mistreated. Some will even defend their abuser, citing his or her earnest apologies afterward. But abuse in any form, for any reason, wounds both spouses. It’s always sinful, and few things destroy trust in a marriage as quickly. Regardless of childhood pain or marital conflict, mature spouses learn to set limits. They do this so anger doesn’t become abuse by frequency, degree, or duration. (Rob Jackson, from the book, “The First Five Years of Marriage”)
• Most people assume that men are almost always more violent.
They assume men are sometimes seen as the only ones who need help with anger and the sources of anger. In reality, both genders need help. Spousal abuse from the wife to husband is currently an underreported problem in homes of passive men. Domestic-violence research overwhelmingly shows that women are as likely as men to initiate and engage in domestic violence, and that much of female domestic violence is not committed in self-defense. Studies show that women often compensate for smaller size by greater use of weapons and the element of surprise. (Paul and Sandy Coughlin, from the book Married But Not Engaged)
• No one, under any circumstance, deserves to be abused.
They don’t deserve to feel disregarded, insulted, controlled, coerced, intimidated, hurt, hit, pushed, grabbed, or touched in any undesired way. Nothing that anyone in a family says or does justifies abuse. One act of abuse never justifies another. Everyone has the right and the responsibility to heal suffering. Whenever we hurt a loved one we bleed a little inside. That internal injury, unhealed, becomes the source of still more anger, aggression, diminished sense of self, and enduring misery. (Dr Steven Stosny, Compassionpower.com)
• Angry and controlling husbands are very anxious by temperament.
From the time they were young children, they’ve had a more or less constant sense of dread that things will go badly and they will fail to cope. So they try to control their environment to avoid that terrible feeling of failure and inadequacy. But the cause of their anxiety is with them, not in their environment. The sole purpose of your husband’s anger and abusive behavior is to defend himself from feeling like a failure, especially as a: • Protector • Provider • Lover • Parent. In truth, most men feel inadequate about relationships. We learn to feel adequate by providing what all relationships require: support and compassion. (Steven Stosny, from Compassionpower.com article, “You Are Not the Cause of His Anger or Abuse”)
• What All Forms of Abuse Have in Common:
Whether overt or silent, all forms of abuse are failures of compassion; he stops caring about how you feel. Compassion is the lifeblood of marriage and failure of compassion is the heart disease. It actually would be less hurtful if your husband never cared about how you felt. But when you were falling in love, he cared a great deal. So now it feels like betrayal when he doesn’t care or try to understand. It feels like he’s not the person you married.
Unlike love, which masks the differences between people, compassion makes us sensitive to the individual strengths and vulnerabilities of other people. It lets us appreciate our differences. Love without the sensitivity of compassion is: • Rejecting (who you really are as a person) • Possessive • Controlling • Dangerous. (Steven Stosny, from Compassionpower.com article, “Emotional Abuse, Verbal Abuse”)
• In abusive relationships, violence usually occurs in cycles.
The cycle of violence begins with increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing. Then the cycle progresses to a violent stage where the abuser begins to afflict physical violence such as hitting, kicking, slapping, etc. After the storm of violence blows over, he may experience remorse and swear he will never resort to such behavior again. This is called the calm stage or honeymoon stage.
There are several tactics a man might use to sweet talk his way back into his victim’s life. He may try to convince her to return to the home if she has left. These include showering her with love and gifts; telling her he will be a great dad; starting to attend church services; halting his drinking; and starting to receive outside counseling. Often the cycle begins again, however, and continues under his control until the battered woman learns to break free. (From the booklet “A Way of Hope”)
• How to Know If Your Husband Has Truly Changed:
If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you have no doubt experienced “honeymoon” periods in the past when, driven by remorse, he seemed to change and everything was fine. The following will help you know that your partner is in the process of permanent change. You will feel that he consistently (every day): • Values and appreciates you —you are important to him; • Listens to you; • Shows compassion —cares how you feel, even when you disagree with him; – Respects you as an equal and doesn’t try to control you or dismiss your opinions; • Shows affection without always expecting sex; – Regulates his guilt, shame, anxiety, resentment or anger, without blaming them on you. (Dr Steven Stosny, Compassionpower.com)
• Seek wisdom when deciding whether or not to reconcile with the one who abused you.
Make sure that your abuser has demonstrated strong accountability and thorough change before you consider restoring your relationship with him or her. Understand that, if you are to reconcile, you should feel stronger, safe to voice your own opinions, and able to live without fear or the threat of violence. You need to be valued for who you are and have your skills and talents appreciated and respected. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom about whether to reconcile, and if so, when. (From the article “Heal from Abuse”)
• If you have been abused and are hurt deeply inside, there is hope, healing, and full restoration.
If you will yield your heart to the Holy Spirit sent from God to be our helper, He will lead you through every traumatic situation that you have been through into wholeness. The process is painful. However, on the other side of each “door of pain” is a place of joy, peace and rest.
The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God (the Bible). Which means, you must diligently give yourself to study of the Bible daily, surround yourself with godly people, turn your ears and eyes away from the secular media including TV, radio, movies, books and the like, and turn all of your heart over to Jesus, He will tenderly minister life to you instead of death. Share the pain of your heart with Him while searching the Scriptures for the answers. As you’re doing that, turn your eyes and ears to godly Christian books, tapes, videos, TV, radio stations and music that God can use to administer healing to your heart. (From an article titled, Abuse in Marriage)
• Use the many resources that can help you.
Spiritually, bring all your painful feelings and hard questions to God in prayer. Invite Him to minister to you through His Spirit and His Word —especially passages such as the Psalms. The biblical characters pour out their own pain and doubts to Him and find deliverance. (From the article “Heal from Abuse”)
• Your life is not futile because God has not forgotten you.
Although it may seem you are on an endless treadmill of despair and tragic circumstances, God is working behind the scenes, in spite of your pain, to bring you out of bondage and “give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) (From the article, “Because He Loves You”)
• You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalm 10:17-18)
• To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:1-5)