Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Suffering Love:  A Redemptive Force or an Enabling One?  

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”   heart pendant

Romans 12:9

As we seek to understand God’s way for us in the midst of an abusive relationship, there are times when the Scriptures can provoke us to doubt or fear the heart of the One who loves us.  The Scriptures indeed acknowledge that there are times when enduring harsh or inappropriate treatment serves as a powerful testimony and can bring glory to God.  But too often we are inclined to believe that, if we are suffering in marriage, we are called to pray, perfect ourselves to attempt to earn our abuser’s love, and hope for change.

But what if a hostile husband’s behaviors have nothing to do with a lack of understanding, a difficult phase in his life, his struggles at work, or a traumatic childhood?  What if the one with whom you share your bed is an utterly self-absorbed, abusive – even wicked – man?  What if he knows exactly what he is doing, doesn’t care if you are hurting and uses your faith to keep you bound to him?  Does your commitment to sacrifice yourself to his will minister to him or merely enable him?  If it is the latter, you must ask yourself:  Is that what God would have me do?

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The Great Constrainer

The conversation with my counselor went something like this:

I feel like I’m chasing after him. It’s like I’m trying to convince him that I’m worth loving.”

What do you think will happen if you stop?”

I’ll lose him”

Stop anyway.”

God knows I did my best to keep my husband from walking away from me, his children, his home. I cannot count the nights I had lain awake crafting to perfection the words I might use to help him see that his choices and behavior were tearing up our marriage and our family. Or the number of times I confronted him with hurtful evidence of moral failures that were chipping away at the foundation of marital trust.

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The Turning Point

It was the spring of 1993. I had been living in an abusive marriage for many years and had continued to honor my husband and submit to him as any “good” wife was supposed to, living under his “umbrella of authority.” But there was a critical turning point, and this was it.

The evening before, I had learned that my husband had initiated a dating relationship with another woman months before, not long after I had given birth to our third child. Though he assured me that the relationship was short-lived, I was devastated.

Emotionally spent and equally disillusioned, I left for work early the following morning, if nothing else just to put some distance between us. I wondered if I could ever trust him again, or if I even wanted to. Still, I couldn’t think only of myself; I had to think of our children. I had always believed that God could heal anything – even a broken marriage. But, at that moment, I questioned it all.

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