IIa.6. What Does the Bible Say to Abused Wives?

This article was compiled from several letters on this subject. In essence…”My husband does not claim to be a Christian. He abuses myself and our children with his uncontrolled rages and threats. Also, this leads to physical abuse of myself and the children. He says he cannot control himself when he gets upset, but refuses to seek help. I am a born-again Christian. What advice can you give me?

Answers : First, let me say that you certainly do have my sympathy and concern. Verbal and emotional abuse can, in a moment of time, turn to physical abuse, as you have described. I am sorry to hear that you are in the multitude of abused wives. You need to think of the effect this has on the children, also. Remember...you, as a Christian, are just as entitled to protection under civil laws as anyone else.

A good Scripture to read is 1 Corinthians 7:13-15. Here we find a Christian wife with an unbelieving husband. If he is "pleased to dwell with her", she is not to leave him. However, I believe that being "pleased to dwell" means, dwelling with the wife in the manner Christ gives in Scripture: Ephesians 5:25,28‑29,

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;...So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church."

Further, we find 1 Peter 3:7 says,

 "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."

These are two good definitions of what it means to be "pleased to dwell" with a wife. A husband, who loves you, would certainly try to do these things. Even using the excuse he is mentally ill; he needs to get treatment so he doesn't act this way. I feel his "mental illness" could be just an excuse; so, he doesn't have to control his anger or himself. If your husband were pleased to dwell with you, in the marriage bond; it would mean that he would love you and would not abuse and mistreat you.

One course of action I would recommend would be a legal separation, due to safety precautions. See a lawyer and get a legal separation with a RESTRAINING ORDER! If your husband is mentally ill and is treating you this way, it must be because he is doing nothing in the way of helping himself through treatment and medication. If, in the course of an agreed-upon period of time, you see no evidence of genuine change on his part, i.e. seeing a doctor, medication, etc., and no change in behavior, you can prayerfully consider your next step.

This is not the result of your actions. It is the result of HIS actions. Because of his actions, he has departed. I feel one who behaves in this manner has “departed” from his marriage commitment, of his own choice. I believe 1 Corinthians 7:15 teaches that the wife, in such cases, is not under bondage to stay in the marriage.

You have the scriptural responsibility to keep yourself and your children safe. If your husband thinks a marriage license equals "a punching bag, verbal or otherwise; he has “departed” from the marriage. You are "not under bondage." Too many wives in your situation have believed “mere words" and death and injury have resulted. The civil laws are for you, too.

Rest assured, you will be in our prayers. God bless you!

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