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