I think it is admirable that you have held on in your marriage for 20 years hoping that God will transform your husband. I know that you have seen glimpses of change. Yes, you are right God does love marriage but he also loves you. He isn’t okay with your spouse abusing you and basically acting like you are his mother not his wife.
You have said that he puts you down all the time; he is called to love you, be kind to you and encourage you. You have said that he withholds finances coming in through him and leaves you to pay all the bills and maintain the family lifestyle. ‘But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.’ 1 Timothy 5:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB). You have said that he isn’t involved in parenting, he is called to parent in partnership with you.
You are not experiencing the kind of marriage that God loves. That looks like two people loving each other, sharing the responsibility, caring for each other, raising the kids and being a unit. Yes, God could wave a magic wand but as I learned the hard way sometimes you have to make hard choices for your sanity and self worth. Also, for your kids who are suffering even if you think you are protecting them.
No, you don’t have to leave but you have to get God’s perspective on what is going on. Then you need a strategy from heaven as to what to do in each situation you face.
I found the book ‘the emotionally destructive relationship’ Leslie Vernick very useful.
I was in a tough one sided marriage. I remember looking for support from a couple of ladies at church. The ex kept giving me the silent treatment, it was horrible and punishing. These ladies told me that it was his pain and that I should just love him through it. Eventually, I stopped asking for help and stayed in the situation because that is what I thought God wanted. All the while, saying to God if this is good enough for you then it’s good enough for me.
I have to admit that I was partnering with a lot of denial. I’ve heard of a mental wishing condition that is like a slot machine. You keep pulling the lever and hoping that this time you will hit the jack pot.
Now I try to partner with ‘it is a sign of madness to keep doing the same thing and hoping for a different result.’
Anyway, denial because when I look back at all my journals God was clearly saying that what I was experiencing in the marriage was not okay with him and because I was enduring things that caused me suffering wrongly in the name of Christ. Later I would discover that I didn’t need to be the sacrifice, Jesus is the sacrifice.
Twenty years after the nice ladies at church gave me advice that stopped me reaching for help and started me on the path of suffering, but not for Christ. I faced a situation where I was ill and not being supported, I asked myself what have I done that makes you take me for granted? During this time I looked up ‘silent treatment’ and found that it was ‘a form of punishment, control designed to cause harm by making the victim feel powerless, invisible, insignificant and non existent. That was the day the truth started to set me free.
I realised that I was being controlled and punished, this guy who had promised to love and honour me was inflicting unspeakable cruelty on me. It was impacting every sphere of my being. God started to educate and empower me to minimise the destructive behaviour of the ex and to start to look after myself.
So what are you going to do? Are you going to stay in denial under the false belief that God is okay with your spouse abusing you? That you are suffering for Christ? Or are you going to be brave; face the cold hard facts with Jesus and start to empower yourself?
I hope it is the latter. Be brave, you matter and God loves you with safe love and will walk you through the valley.
Love Anju x
I know what it’s like to be the one who is responsible for the whole family. It is tiring and feels isolating and you must be wondering where is God in all of this.
I was conditioned to take responsibility for my ex husband and my children. I think firstly this is because my mother was the responsible parent in my childhood home and my dad was a child. She was the one who decorated and provided for our basic needs. He provided for himself first and foremost.
A thought that has just dropped into my mind is what was your role in your childhood family? Are you still playing that role in your adult life? If so let’s dismantle that!
I gained insight and freedom when I listened to some teaching by Kris Vallotton and Danny Silk. The lie that got dismantled was that I was responsible for everyone. I managed the atmosphere, I kept every one calm.
Picture this my ex husband is upset and ready to blow. I would be the one who would take responsibility to calm him down and keep the peace.
Well in the above teaching I learned that I was only responsible for managing myself and he was responsible for managing himself. Once I stopped reacting to his stuff and left him to deal with it I was free. I remember the first few times I did that, I could see the look of shock on his face. Almost saying aren’t you going to stop me? Aren’t you going to take responsibility for my feelings and make me stop acting like a child? It was liberating.
Following on from that I remember in one of the talks Kris stating that ‘I was not responsible of managing/taming a lion.’ This is how my marriage felt, I was forever trying to manage or tame the lion. Woo that was freeing. Everyone in my family got to take responsibility for themselves!
During this time of revelation and new found freedom a relative in-law was dying in the hospital. I had gone to support the ex and also to pray for her if I got the chance, I did; it was lovely to see the Lord minister to her as I touched her arm. There was a young woman there who was a responsible sort, she had been given/taken the role of keeping her man calm. He looked to her for support, she was the one who told him what his responsibility was and how he should conduct himself. I noted that it was too much for her to bare but also that this is what some pockets of society expect from women and so that is what we have done. I wondered how long it would be before she would be the one being resented. A little while later I was in a conversation that went something along the lines of ‘she is mothering him,’ and he didn’t like it. So first we are given or take the responsibility of managing or taming the lion, because the lion doesn’t want to do the work himself and frankly has never had to and then we are hated by our men who are full of resentment.
Have a listen to the talks from Kris Vallotton and Danny Silk and enjoy your new freedom. You are responsible for you and he is responsible for him!
Brothers, if you see yourself in this why don’t you do something about it? Stand on your own two feet, listen to the above teaching; take responsibility for yourself and become the man you are called to be. You won’t regret it and your family will be blessed. God is able if you are willing!