This is an email I sent to an elder in our church describing my situation after I had called him asking for help in our marriage. (unfortunately he didn’t have the knowledge or skill to help us.) Our marriage has gotten worse. We’ve had separate bedrooms for over a year… all I can say is there is nothing left… it’s like he despises me so much he can’t even speak to me without going into a rage if I do or say anything he doesn’t like.
I guess I’m posting this because I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve tried everything I know. I know I can’t make him love me. Any advice you would share would be appreciated. Thank you.
( The letter was quite lengthy and has been omitted. Basically, Lisa has endured years of shocking emotional abuse and told by her church to put up with it and to not give up on her marriage.)
I’m not even sure where to begin as I was extremely perturbed from what you had written in the letter to the elder of your church. There is a lot happening here, but I’ll try to address what I feel are the most crucial things for you to do.
First, let me address the issue of your church. It greatly disturbs me when churches use scripture in order keep children of God trapped in abusive situations. Furthermore, using scripture to make people feel guilty about ending a marriage that is destructive and picking and choosing what scripture to mandate while missing the very essence of what Jesus came to do.
You my friend are free to walk away from this marriage, in fact I would encourage you to. God wants you to be loved and be able to express love in a safe, healthy environment. He does not require you to stay in an environment where you are disrespected, despised and abused. Any church or Christian that would tell you otherwise is dead wrong and quite frankly, I would steer away from such places or such people because they fail to grasp the character of the Father nor do they grasp His love for us.
God is especially fond of you and his desire for you is to have abundant life, what you are living in is far from abundant and His Spirit which lives in you has no doubt been urging you to get out and start living in freedom and love, but you have been receiving bad counsel that convinces you to keep staying.
As for your husband, God loves him as well, but your husband has some deep issues of brokenness that he needs to address, however, it sounds like he is not ready to be honest with himself or with God. Therefore, things will never change until he comes to the place in his life where he is ready. You can not fix him and you are not required to stay. Your vows “for better or for worse” did not mean that you were stay in an abusive situation. It also sounds like your husband may have some pretty dark secrets which could possibly be some type of infidelity. I would wash your hands of all of this and not waste a second more of your life on this guy.
I would advise that you personally see a professional counselor as I’m sure the years of verbal and emotional abuse have left you with distorted views of yourself and relationships. I know that there are good things in store for your life and things may get worse when you leave before they start getting better, but just stay true to what you know in your heart is best for your life and your well-being.