Appeasement is Never an Option for Christian Husbands

What follows is an email I received from a man named Mark.

“BGR- I have been reading your articles for about two years now. Been married to my wife over 16 years and we have children together, our oldest of which is a teenager.  My background includes being raised in the church and my father was a pastor. For the first 14 years of our marriage I pretty much went along with whatever my wife wanted with a few times where I went against what she wanted.  And now let me share what my wife did on the occasions when I did something she was opposed to.

She fought me over career moves that I deemed were necessary; she didn’t work at all and so I was the main and only provider. When we did move away every day, she would just complain about being there and tell me to take her home. Every. Day.  After a year and a half of hearing it I finally did. It cost me tens of thousands of dollars in moving fees and lost wages.

I have tried to reason with her in several different ways but she simply would not hear it.  It was her way or no way.  At times I even withdrew myself and gave her the silent treatment which you have recently wrote on.  She was not having that either.  Her response to my silent treatment toward her was to literally go nuts and start throwing things around the house.

On one specific occasion when I refused to speak to her, she literally (and I mean literally as in the sense it is supposed to be used, not metaphorically) destroyed the house. Pulled shelves down. Ripped up books. When that didn’t work, she attacked me. I mean physically. I ended up calling the police after I couldn’t take it and could feel that I was starting to get angry. She got in her car and drove away before they got there and they did nothing but laugh at me. If it was the other way around, I’d have been hauled off in handcuffs. That isn’t the only time but the time I called the police which only taught me not to since they’ll do nothing.

And then of course there are the problems we have had with sex over most of our 16-year marriage.  At one point we had sex only 8 times over 15 MONTHS. She has told me on several occasions that she has to “feel” connected before having sex and I don’t just get to “use her body for sex” for sex when I feel like it. I have responded to her opposition to me wanting “use her body for sex” with the fact that she has no problem at all “using my body to provide food, housing, shelter, clothes, entertainment etc.”

She complains that I’m not verbal enough or I don’t leave notes telling her how great she is enough and not meeting her “love language” and I point to the other things I do – like never miss a payment on a bill, don’t cheat, drink, do drugs, beat on her, protect her from any threats and it still isn’t good enough.

My wife has told me that I just need to change my communication style and how I hear her. She says that “God intends for marriage to be consensual and loving and that we should want to please each other and do things not from duty but because we want to do them”. And course when she says “loving” she does not mean the Biblical definition of love, but rather love that comes from feelings and emotions.  So, in other words she is saying that God intends for marriage to be based on feelings and consent and not on duty.  I tried in vain to find a verse in the Bible that states what she has said to me about marriage.

So, over many years I had just accepted that his would be my life with her.  For the most part, aside from completely changing my personality for her, I would do whatever she wanted.  I worked where she wanted me to, did what she wanted with the kids, let her buy what she wanted and of course had sex when she wanted which was far less than what I wanted.

Then about two years ago my wife had said she wanted to be more “devout”. I took that as a sign that she wanted to you know, actually obey what the Bible said.  So, I started to actually read what the text of scripture says in regard to marriage and husbands and wives and I really dug deeper into it I found that there were indeed specific roles given and there are reasons for those roles.

I had Googled “biblical gender roles” in the sense of what does the Bible say about gender roles because I was looking for more information when it sent me to your site which I would read alone or away from my wife. It clarified and articulated what I was trying to tell her. Eventually she found out that I was reading your site and it caused nothing but a conflict about how disgusting and horrible the material is…. which is straight from the Bible.

This is when it all went south then all hell broke loose.

We went and sometimes still go to the same pastor and his wife for counseling. This is a really sweet couple that really does care about people. Yet the pastor’s wife once told me that I was unloving and gave an example from I Corinthians 13. I told her that those were beautiful words indeed…and the guy who wrote them 6 chapters earlier said that the wife’s body doesn’t belong to her but to her husband. I have tried telling them over and over – my wife included – and quoted scripture VERBATIM but they will not hear it.

Another guy who’s training for the ministry told me flatly that I was “not wrong” regarding what the Bible says about gender roles and the way marriage should be and then he followed that up with “But would you rather be in a relationship or be right?”

I’ve caught her with credit cards that she opened without my knowledge and confronted her on those. She refused to even tell me what she spent the money on and continues to refuse to this day. The pastor advised that I just forgive and let it go. And then I wrote a check for the credit card account. I don’t know if that was the best option but in trying to “work on the relationship” I did it to try and move forward.

You see, it isn’t just people on the political Left that don’t believe. It is the so-called Christians – who I call CHINO – Christians In Name Only, that don’t believe. They swear up and down that they love Jesus and the Bible is God’s word…and then when I point out what it says it’s like I am the heretic speaking blasphemy and was the Devil himself. This includes the pastor, who I am friends with and care about. I once heard the pastor tell a group I was in that he was his wife’s “helpmate”…I literally spoke up and said that it does not say that; it says it in the reverse and I can read it to you in the Hebrew if you have any questions. It was not well received.

The pastor – a conservative evangelical pastor who if you asked him he would swear up and down the Bible is THE word of God – won’t stand up for what their very own scripture actually says. They allow women to preach and teach; why would they even bother to tell a wife she has to “submit to her husband” in ANYTHING?

These are people who are “devout” Evangelicals. These aren’t leftist socialists or liberals. They aren’t rabid atheists or raging feminists. They say they believe in the Bible. They are liars. But that changes nothing.  And the Bible, my wife doesn’t believe a word of it based on her actions to the contrary of everything it says about marriage.

I sought out a divorce attorney to see what my options were.  We did the math together.  I would literally end up homeless sleeping in my work vehicle. I couldn’t afford even to rent a studio apartment after the state has taken everything.

See, in the state I live in they will give her half of everything. I have worked our whole marriage and provided for her. I have protected her, loved her, given her children. She only started working in the last year and a half. I would lose my children because the state would automatically award her custody for no other reason than she is a female. She would be entitled to alimony payments, child support, and she would get the house.

So, I have gone back to the way things were before I tried to actually apply the Bible to our marriage two years ago because I’m left with no other recourse and there is no help coming.

I grind my teeth, curse her false shepherds, and pray that Ragnarok come and wipe all of this out. Then I smile and do whatever she asks. If she wants to go on a vacation – we go. If she wants something – she gets it. If she wants sex – it happens when she allows it.

It’s all backwards and reverse.

Recently she told me that “we wasted the last couple years fighting” to which I thought, but dare not say, “uh, YOU wasted the last couple years rebelling”. She once told me “F*$k off; I will NEVER submit to you.” This is from a woman who has a bible degree, went to bible college, attended evangelical “bible believing” churches almost all her life.  And yes, I still go to our church only because if I don’t, she will rage and it will adversely affect our children.

And believe it or not, despite all of these things I have just told you about, I still do love her. We have really great kids together.

So, I’m not sure what the answer is. I’ve only seen a society that favors women. I have long thought of writing you on these points and finally brought myself to do so. Perhaps there’s a lesson in there for others and for other husbands and wives and the state of the conservative church.

Mark”

Why Publish Such a Sad Story?

Lately I have been absolutely flooded with emails from MGTOWs. Stories like this one from Mark feed right into their beliefs of why the modern feminized form of marriage is so bad for men.  It would have been easier not to publish this man’s story knowing the MGTOW reactions it would get.

I am sure I will get many MGTOWs writing me saying “yeah there’s a lesson there and the lesson is men should not get married”.

The Christian feminists reading Mark’s story will come away with another lesson.   In their view Mark just needs to go back to where he was before he discovered what the Bible says about the roles of husbands and wives.  He needs to just do what his wife said and work on his “communication style” and “hear her” better.  And of course, his wife mentioned the Christian feminist and humanists’ favorite word which is CONSENT.   And when all else fails, Mark should just fall back into the appeasement mode with his wife, because after all “Happy Wife” = “Happy Life” right?

But despite the predictable reactions I knew would come from the Christian feminists on my left flank and the MGTOWs on my right flank I really felt the Lord leading me to publish this man’s story and he is right that there are lessons that can be learned from his story not just for other men, but for Mark himself.

Before I get into the lessons that can be learned as well as advice in dealing with this kind of marital situation Mark faces, I just want to make a few things crystal clear.

The philosophies of MGTOW on the right and Christian Feminism on the left are unbiblical philosophies.   See my previous articles “Was Jesus Christ a Feminist?” and “Why MGTOW Is an Unbiblical Philosophy”.

Also, in regard to the false humanist philosophy of “consent” please see my previous article “It is Not a Woman’s Consent That Matters, It is God’s”.

With that being said lets first tackle some lessons that can be learned from Mark’s story and then I will give some advice based on Biblical principles for a husband dealing with a contentious and angry wife.

Lesson #1 – We Must Continue to Speak Out Against Error in Our Churches and Our Homes

What Mark did in challenging his Pastors and teachers at his church as well as his wife in his home is exactly what we as Christian husbands are called to do as seen in the Scripture below:

“2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

2 Timothy 4:2-4 (KJV)

I know that Mark is feeling discouraged after doing just what this passage commands and not seeing the results he expected.  But it is not the results that matter, but only our obedience to God’s commands.  God is the only one who can truly change the hearts of men and women, we are only his messengers.

Lesson #2 – While Preaching Against Error We Must Not Add to the Gospel

We who still believe in, practice and defend the doctrines of Biblical gender roles must remember how the Gospel is presented in the Scriptures:

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”  

I Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV)

The Gospel is clear in the Bible.  If we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, that he was the sinless Son of God in human flesh and that he died for our sins and rose again we will ARE saved.  We have passed from death to life.  The following Scripture passage actually describes the process by which we come to trust in Christ and are saved:

“12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.  13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Ephesians 1:12-14 (KJV)

We heard the Gospel, believed the Gospel and then we were sealed with the Holy Spirit which is our guarantee that one day we will see our Savior face to face.   And our belief in the Gospel and the subsequent indwelling of the Holy Spirit has a transforming effect on our lives as the Scriptures state below:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”

2 Corinthians 5:17

But the Apostle Paul tells us of the sad reality that there will always be divisions in the church, whether it be on a local level or on a universal church level:

“18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (KJV)

And this is why God gave us the various church offices and spiritual gifts:

“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”

Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV)

This is why we have different Christian denominations.  This is why even within each Christian denomination we have opposing schools of thought on many different doctrines whether it is the interpretation or application of such doctrines.

So, there are two extremes.  One is to say “Unless you agree with me on every doctrinal interpretation and application of the Bible then you are not saved and you have no business calling yourself a Christian”.  The other extreme is to say “No one knows what is right or wrong and no Christian should ever teach that another Christian’s behavior or interpretation or application of the Bible is wrong”.  We as Bible believing Christians can and should call out unchristian behavior and false interpretations of the Bible by other people who call themselves Christians.  And we can do so without questioning their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

So, we can rightly and vehemently condemn the false philosophies of Christian feminism and MGTOW without saying Christians who believe in these philosophies could not possibly be Christians.  This is a very important distinction that must be made.

To say that a Christian must have no blind spots and have the correct interpretation of every passage and doctrine of the Bible is to add to the Gospel and we have no right to do that.

The next logical question that could be asked in this would be “How then can we know that we are correctly understanding and applying all the Scriptures relating to gender roles? Or in other words how can we know that the traditional understanding of Christian gender roles was right?”

The answer can be found in one Scripture passage we already mentioned and another passage we have not mentioned:

“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

1 Corinthians 11:19 (KJV)

“The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.”

Matthew 11:19 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that their must be false interpretations of doctrines in the Bible so that the true interpretations of the Bible can be clearly seen as right and approved by God.   And Jesus said “Wisdom is justified by her children” or in other words our correct interpretation and application of the Bible can often be proven by the results that it yields.

And what has abandoning the traditional gender roles based on the Biblical passages regarding gender roles produced? Has it been shown to be something that God approves of? The fact that divorce rates shot up from about 3 percent to almost 50 percent, sex outside of marriage became common place, and millions of babies have been slaughtered under the banner of “women’s rights” shows us God does not approve of the modern liberal and feminist interpretation that there are no more gender roles for Christians.  And truly Feminism has not been justified by her children.

Lesson #3 – The Seeker Sensitive Church Philosophy is not Approved by God

And this brings us to the third lesson we can take from Mark’s story.   The seeker sensitive church is not approved by God nor has the children that this movement has produced proven it to be wise.  The seeker sensitive church movement is based on false interpretation of Scripture passages like the one below:

“21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

1 Corinthians 9:21-22 (KJV)

Basically, what churches are doing is they are setting up their churches to be as “non-offensive” to non-believers and even professing believers as they can so that they can “by all means save some”.  Many of these churches have completely stopped preaching against homosexuality or even sex outside of marriage.  Many of them don’t even preach against sin at all.  A lot of them just basically preach “self-help” messages that you could find outside of church.   And they have lots of fun activities for children, teens and adults.

Now some of these seeker-sensitive churches don’t completely abandon all the doctrines of the Bible.  They might even say like Mark’s church that the Bible is the Word of God and they may even preach that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

But what all these seeker-sensitive churches have in common is that they all have completely and utterly abandoned the doctrines of Biblical gender roles.  Every single one of them.  You show me a church that has abandoned the doctrine of Biblical gender roles and I will show you a seeker-sensitive church.

And Mark is absolutely right that many of these churches claim to be “Bible believing” and they even proudly wear the label “Conservative” while still utterly abandoning all teaching on Biblical gender roles in an effort to please both unbelievers and professing Christians that come to their churches.

And what have these churches produced? They have produced a lot of people who are not even true believers and of those that are true believers they remain babes in Christ.  They remain this way because they are never given the meat of God’s Word.

And what else has this seeker sensitive church movement produced? It has produced wide scale divorce within the churches.  It is a shame before God that Christians in America have the same divorce rate as non-believers and in some surveys it shows higher.  Now for those secularists who say “see the traditionalist Christian philosophy of marriage does not work” let me help you out.  First secularists don’t marry at the same rate that Christians or religious people in general do.  There is a lot more long-term cohabitation amongst secularists than Christians.   So, since Christians marry younger and at higher rates the chance of divorce would higher because the incidence of marriage is higher.

But what is the reason for the higher divorce rate amongst Christians? It is for the very fact that the Christians who divorce were NOT following Biblical gender roles.  If a man is loving his wife by leading her, providing for her needs, protecting her, correcting and teaching her as Christ does his church and the wife loves her husband, submits to her husband in everything and reverences her husband and she takes care of the needs of the home they won’t get divorced.   You show me a Christian couple that got divorced and I will show you a Christian couple that may have started doing these things, but one or both of them began to fail in doing these things God has commanded.

And even when failings occur, God has not granted the concept of no-fault divorce.  There are limited reasons for which God allows divorce and the vast majority of Christian divorces do not take place for reasons God allows.

Again, I will refer the reader back to what the Apostle Paul told Timothy.  We are called to preach God’s Word, all of God’s Word even if some parts are not popular in our culture.

Now we will move from the “lessons learned” to speaking to how Mark and other Christians should deal with a contentious and angry wife.

How Should Mark Deal with his Contentious and Angry Wife?

First and foremost, this is not just a contentious and angry wife that Mark is dealing with.  This is a wife who sexually denies her husband.  Now in many cases a contentious and angry wife is also a wife who sexually denies her husband.  But this is not always the case.  I know of many a Christian man whose wife will give him her body, even if it is grudgingly given, in order to keep him in the marriage while still maintaining her contentious and angry spirit.

So, I will say from the beginning that sexual denial, on either the part of the woman or the man, is one of the few reasons for which God allows divorce.  See my previous articles “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” and “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal” for more on those subjects.

Here is the truth of the matter though, even if a wife is sexually denying her husband there are some men who just do not feel that God wants them to divorce their wife.  Others feel they must stay with their wife for the benefit of their children.  And still others are afraid to leave for fear of the financial devastation it will cause them.  We can see in Mark’s story that he seriously considered divorce from his wife but he saw the damage it would cause to himself personally as well as his children.

We can also see in the story of Mark’s 16-year marriage and especially the last 2 years that he has tried the following four approaches:

  1. Directly confronting his wife by showing her from the Bible she was wrong.
  2. Counseling sessions with church Leaders who told him he was wrong in his interpretation of the Bible.
  3. The silent treatment.
  4.  Appeasement.

And from this email we have shown here, as well as other subsequent emails I have received from Mark none of these approaches have worked to change his wife’s behavior nor helped her to recognize the error of her ways.

So lets talk about his approach that he has settled back into and that is appeasement.

Appeasement on the part of a husband toward his contentious and angry wife may bring peace, but it is peace at the expense of obedience to God.

God calls husbands in Ephesians 5:25-27 to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” and we see that Christ’s love for his church is seen in his washing his wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God.  This concept again is seen in Christ speaking to his churches when he states in Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”.

So, we can rightly say that a husband who does not rebuke and discipline his wife is a husband who is in disobedience to God’s command to husbands to love their wives as Christ loves his Church.  And a husband like Mark who is dealing with this kind of wife is a perfect example of how a man must sometimes sacrifice his own happiness to do spiritual battle in his home.  The easier and the less painful approach in many cases is to take the path of appeasement.  But this is not an option for a Christian husband.

My recommendation in these cases is to use the same approach God used with his wife Israel in the Old Testament.  First, he confronted her sin and rebuked her for it calling her to repentance. After she utterly refused to repent (as your wife has done) then he engaged in the silent treatment toward Israel as I recently wrote about.  Mark might say “I tried that but she went nuts”.

Let me ask you a question.  If your child threw a temper fit whenever they did not get what they wanted would it be ok for you to appease them so they would not throw a fit? The answer is no.  And the same answer goes for your wife when she throws a temper fit.  When she starts doing that leave the house.  Get your keys, get in the car and leave.  Go some place and park for a couple hours and just take a nice nap in the car.  Or go to a park and enjoy the peace. Sometimes it might be so bad that you just need to find a friend or relatives house to stay at for the night.

Remember how the Bible advises men to deal with contentious and angry women?

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

In other words, it is better to live out of your car than in a house with contentious and angry wife.

And one other thing I would like to add. You need to be VERY consistent in your disciplinary approach with your wife just as you need to be very consistent in your disciplinary approach with your children.  So, the approach is, you rebuke her and she fails to repent and just keeps arguing with you then you walk away and engage in the silent treatment.  If she becomes violent you leave the home for a few hours or even for the evening.

This consistent behavior toward her will result in one of three actions on her part:

  1. She will completely change her behavior.
  2. She will file for divorce.
  3. She will at least stop the raging so you won’t leave.

And if she does file for divorce – I would highly recommend that you speak to multiple attorneys.  There are a lot of bad divorce attorneys out there.  You need to find a good attorney that specializes in divorce from a man’s perspective.  You also need to get recordings of her raging as that will not play well in divorce court for her.

Why God Wants You to STAY in an Abusive Relationship

Stay in an abusive marriage? Stay with an abusive father or mother? To assert anyone should ever stay in an abusive relationship is counter to everything our culture teaches.  We are to confront or flee abusive situations but we should never ever endure abusive situations or so we are told today even in the vast majority of Christian circles.

In my previous article “What Does The Bible Say About Abuse?” I talked about what abuse is from a Biblical perspective.  I stated that the word abuse literally is “ab + use” which means to misuse or mistreat someone or something.  I also talked about both emotional (including verbal) abuse and physical abuse as they are spoken to in the Bible with a specific emphasis on what abuse looks like in marriage and the family.

But what I did not cover were two important areas on this subject of abuse.  The first is what role does God grant to the government in dealing with abuse?  The second is how family members, including husbands, wives and children, should respond when they are abused by one another in various ways.

Did God Grant Government the Power To Determine What Abuse Is?

Many Christians instead of looking to the Bible for their definition of abuse instead look to their feelings, their culture and most commonly their civil government.

First we must understand that it is God who defines the responsibilities, rights and limitations of the spheres of authority of the civil government, the church and the family. Abuse is a moral issue and it is God and not culture or government that defines what is moral and what is immoral.

Many Christians have been wrongly taught that civil government is an unlimited power established by God.  This comes from a false understanding of passages like the one below:

“13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”

I Peter 2:13-14 (KJV)

Passages like the one above must be taken into context with the entirety of the Scriptures.  Christ himself stated that civil government is in fact limited in its scope and authority:

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.”

Mark 12:17 (KJV)

Jesus did not say “Give to God what is God’s and everything else belongs to Caesar”.  His words were carefully measured.  He said to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s which tells us God actually intends for civil government to be limited.

So the next question we must ask is “What is the scope of responsibility and power that God has given to civil government?”  The answer is found in Romans chapter 13:

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Romans 13:4 (KJV)

The government is God’s “revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”.  It is the civil government’s job to ENFORCE God’s moral law – not to MAKE moral law on its own. Murder is not wrong because the United States government or our State governments say it is wrong.  Murder is wrong because God says it is wrong. So when police officers or other law enforcement officers arrest murderers to stand trial and ultimately face punishment they are acting as God’s ministers. When the judge or jury hand down the sentence they are acting as God’s revenger executing “wrath on him that doeth evil”.

Now our punishments for breaking God’s moral law may be different in each state, province or country but the moral law of God itself cannot be added to or changed by anyone but God himself.

The civil government must always be respectful of its limitations when it enters the sphere of the church or the home.  This means that they must never usurp or take authority in matters which God has not given to the government but instead he has given to the church or the home.

When the government attempts to usurp authority in the church or the home Christians have the God given right and in most cases the responsibility to exercise civil disobedience against such usurpation.

God has appointed Pastors as the interpreters of God’s moral law in the church assembly and he has appointed husbands as the interpreters of God’s moral law in the home. God states this regarding our obedience to church leaders:

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Hebrews 13:17 (KJV)

When I walk into my church assembly I must always recognize that God has given my Pastor the spiritual oversight of that assembly.  That means if I were to teach Sunday school in my church or teach from our pulpit in his absence I should not teach contrary interpretations to his that would cause division. This is one reason that I have not taught in the church I attend in many years and I would not because I might easily come into conflict with my Pastor’s interpretations on many doctrinal issues.  Also I and my family follow whatever rules my pastor sets for dress standards for church activities if those standards are more conservative.

But think of how absurd it would be for me to go to my local mayor or state governor and ask them their interpretation of the scriptures and also what they think the rules for behavior within my church assembly should be.  Imagine if I brought these interpretations back to my church and in direct defiance of my pastor began trying to implement them. Not only would these actions be absurd on my part – but they would be in direct contradiction to the Word of God.  Those civil authorities have no authority in these matters in my church.

By the same token God does not tell wives when they have a moral or spiritual question to go seek out their Pastor, local mayor or state governor.  Instead he tells them to seek out the spiritual head of their home:

“34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV)

This is why it is highly inappropriate for government or church officials to come into a home and give wives or children instructions on morality that are counter to the teachings of the husband who is the head of that home.  In fact, the husband is the only human authority in all the Scriptures where God commands the one under his authority to submit to him “as unto the Lord”:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:22 (KJV)

It is a sad testament to the wicked times we live in that husbands, the most powerful of all human authorities that God ever established, have had their spiritual authority completely usurped and gutted by both our civil and our church authorities.

The Government Has Nullified God’s Law With Its Domestic Abuse Definitions

The Scriptures tell us this regarding God’s law:

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV)

As we previously established, the government has absolutely no right to add or take away from God’s moral law.  None whatsoever.  Also Christ spoke against human laws which nullify God’s laws:

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

Mark 7:13 (KJV)

This is what our current US Justice Department definitions of domestic abuse do – they literally attempt to add to God’s moral law and in effect nullify God’s moral law in regard to this issue of domestic abuse. With that said I will briefly address some of this addition to and nullification of God’s law in current US Justice Department definitions of domestic abuse which you can find at https://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence. Also keep in mind that all these definitions have to do with domestic violence – meaning what is considered abuse in the home between members of the home.

The Government’s Definition of Abuse Vs The Bible’s Definition of Abuse

 Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.”

The first problem with this definition is that it completely negates any type of physical discipline which is commanded by God for children (Proverbs 23:13-14) and is also allowed by God for adults (Deuteronomy 25:1-3, Proverbs 19:29 and Proverbs 26:3).  Under this definition of physical abuse spanking of one’s child or one’s wife would be consider abuse (See my article “Does the Bible Allow Wife Spanking” for more on that issue).  A mother or father slapping their rebellious child even with an open palm (front handed) would be guilty of physical abuse under this definition.

I agreed in my previous article on abuse that things like shoving and punching have no place in the home not even as methods of discipline because they risk serious bodily injury or even death in violation of God’s law regarding limits on discipline (Exodus 21:26-27). I also agreed that things like biting, kicking and hair pulling have no place in the home as methods of discipline as it should be done in love and in control and not as brawl or a fight.  But again overall the biggest problem with the government’s definition of physical abuse is that its definition negates physical discipline in the home which God allows.

 “Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.”

First we will address where this government definition of sexual abuse aligns with God’s moral law and that is regarding children.  A parent has absolutely no right under God’s law to touch their child in a sexual way, to coerce them or force them to have sex.  This is a violation of God’s moral laws regarding incest (Leviticus 18:6).

But really the heart of this definition is directed at husbands in regard to how they engage in sexual activity with their wives.  And when applied to the husband/wife relationship this definition of sexual abuse for the most part nullifies God’s Word.

This government’s definition of sexual abuse as with physical abuse nullifies a husband’s God given sexual rights to his wife’s body in marriage.  It also nullifies his right to discipline her for sexual refusal.  The Bible says that sex is both a right and responsibility in marriage (Exodus 21:10-11, Proverbs 5:18-19, I Corinthians 7:3-4) and that the only thing that must be mutually agreed upon in the area of sex is when a couple will NOT have sex (I Corinthians 7:5) for a short time.  See my articles on sexual refusal, sexual consent and forced sex in marriage for more on what the Bible says about these topics.

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.

While we need to be careful of how subjective this government definition of emotional abuse is I think for the most part it aligns with what the Scriptures say that we should generally be trying to build people up and not tear them down(Ephesians 4:29,James 3:8-10). See my article on “What Does the Bible Say About Abuse?” for more on the subject of emotional abuse.

Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.

This government definition of “Economic Abuse” is a complete addition to God’s moral law and it also nullifies a husband’s rights toward his wife under God’s law.  And again let’s not kid ourselves that they are speaking equally to husbands and wives. This is an attack on patriarchy and men having their wives being economically dependent on them.

The fact is this definition of Economic abuse is exactly the opposite of God’s moral law on this issue.  In Exodus 21:10-11 we are told that if a man does not provide his wife with food and clothing she may be free of him (divorced from him).  God considers it economic abuse when a man forces his wife to economically independent of him, not when he forces his wife to be economically dependent on him.

And yes husbands under God’s law can absolutely forbid their wives from going to college or seeking careers as wives are to be subject their husbands in EVERYTHING as the Church submits to Christ in everything (Ephesians 5:24).

Also as far as household finances go – whether a husband allows his wife to work or not all the financial decision making comes under his direction.  If he wants to take away his wife’s ATM card he can do that under God’s law.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include  – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

If read in a certain way, the government’s definition of psychological abuse may actually align with the Scriptures.  God does forbid the use of threatening (Ephesians 6:9).  If a husband or wife threatens to kill themselves or their children or pets or to destroy property if they don’t get what they want that is the very definition of threatening behavior which is condemned by the Word of God.

However a warning from an authority toward one under them of the consequences of their actions is not engaging in threatening or psychological abuse. If I isolate my teen son from friends that are bad influences on him is that psychological abuse? The answer is no.  It all depends on my motivation.  Is my intent simply to exert my power over him or is it actually for his own good? If it is the latter there is nothing immoral about this from a Biblical perspective.

Many people would agree that the example I gave is not immoral.  But what if I replaced my son in that example with my wife? OH NO – that is completely different right? Why? Because she is an adult? The Bible however makes no such distinction when it comes to the discipline of wives and children.  If my wife was talking to or hanging out with other women who were bad spiritual influences on her affecting her morals, relationship with God or with me I have absolutely ever right before God as her spiritual authority to restrict her access to those women.

The Bible teaches a clear social order – the husband, an adult male, is the head of the wife, an adult female and children are under the authority of their parents(Ephesians 5:23-24, Ephesians 6:1-3).

And for all you feminists out there the practice of a husband exercising his spiritual authority over his wife in these ways does not infantilize her or make her equal with her children.  God has granted a wife and mother more rights than he has her children.  She has sexual rights to her husbands body and she is given the position of manager of the home and of the children which are sacred and honored roles.  She of course exercises these positions under the authority of her husband but by no means does the Bible make wives and children equals with another.

So when we throw out the straw-man argument that a husband exercising control over his wife infantilizes her we come to the real heart of the issue.  Feminists don’t like the fact that while God gives women more rights than children he does not give women equal rights with men.  In other words, its not about women be treated as children but its about women be treated as women.  Feminists want women treated as men.

When Are Women Allowed To Approach Civil or Church Authorities About Abuse?

A wife and mother should only go around her husband who is her spiritual authority in the gravest of circumstances. If a husband violates the Exodus 21:26-27 principle and threatens or actually causes serious bodily harm or what he is doing has the potential of causing death to her or her children a wife has every right to approach her church authorities and civil authorities.

In I Samuel 25 we see that Abagail went against her husband’s wishes to save her family from his wicked actions that would have had them killed.  This teaches us that if a woman finds out her husband is involved in some criminal or otherwise wicked activity that endangers the life of her family she has every right to go to the civil authorities to protect her life and the life of her children.

Also if a wife finds out that her husband has been sexually abusing one of her children in violation of the Leviticus 18:6 principle she has every right to turn her husband over to both the church and civil authorities.  When husbands commit such heinous acts they invalidate their ownership and headship over their wives and children allowing their wives and children to be freed from them.

Why God Wants You to Stay in an Abusive Relationship

The natural follow up question to what we have just said about a woman and her children being able to free from a man who physically abuses them(by Biblical standards of course) is What about non-physical abuse like emotional and verbal abuse? What recourse does a wife have in such situations?

First I will fully agree that men can abuse their wives in non-physical and less extreme ways than what I have previously mentioned. A husband may not be a drug dealer who places his family’s life in jeopardy by his wicked lifestyle and he may not ever lay a hand on either his wife or children in a sinful manner.  But perhaps he has a problem with anger and flying off the handle and saying hurtful things.

Maybe he has a problem with bitterness and taking that out on the family in various emotional or verbal ways.  Maybe he is hyper critical toward his wife and children and never uplifts them.  Maybe he even abuses his authority and gets off on power kicks and trying to humiliate his wife or children by various unreasonable demands. Maybe he isolates his family not for their protection but to project his power over them.  There could be a myriad of ways that a husband either verbally or emotionally abuses his wife and children or he simply abuses his power to meet his own ego needs.

I also want to stop here for a second and make a very important point on this subject of abuse.  Often times we center these discussions of domestic abuse on husbands and fathers but we forget that wives and moms can and do physically, verbally and emotionally abuse their husbands and children as well.   Do wives or moms sometimes engage in hypercritical behavior toward their husbands or children? You bet they do.  Do some wives or moms even punch, shove or engage in other forms of physical abuse toward their husbands or children? You bet they do. Do some wives play emotional games with their husbands and insult their manliness or sexual ability? You bet they do. Do some women push their husbands away sexually which is a form of emotional abuse toward men?  Absolutely there are many women who engage in these behaviors.

Also children sometimes abuse their parents in various ways. Do children steal money from their parents? Yes they do. Do children despise and curse their parents? Yes they do. Do some children strike their parents? Yes they do.  Do children reject their parent’s authority over them? This happens all the time in our day and age.

But let’s now return specifically to the subject of wives and children enduring emotional, verbal and other forms of abuse that are not the physical or life threatening types of abuse we have previously mentioned that would warrant outside intervention and in many cases divorce.

As I mentioned at the introduction of this article our modern culture has an attitude that we should never endure any kind of abuse from anyone whether it be someone who is our equal and especially from someone who is our authority.  We are told to confront the person and then flee the relationship if the abuser does not repent and change their ways.

But when we read the Scriptures we see a very different view of how we should respond to abuse:

“18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

I Peter 2:18-24 (KJV)

When we endure grief or suffer wrongly at the hands of others, in other words when we endure mistreatment which is abuse and take it patiently the Scriptures tell us “this is acceptable with God”.  God is not excusing the actions of the abusers.  But God is saying when we are on the receiving end of various kinds of abuse and we take it patiently that this is acceptable with God.

Such a thought is foreign to our thinking but the Scriptures tell us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).

We often talk on this blog about how God likes to image or model things.  Man was created to image God and thereby bring him glory (I Corinthians 11:7) and woman and by extension marriage was created to help man fully image God as a husband and father (I Corinthians 11:9, Ephesians 5:22-33).  When it comes to this matter of suffering abuse – we, both men and women, actually model Christ when we suffer abuse from others taking it patiently as he did. And that is why God wants you to stay in an abusive relationship.

Now again we must look at this passage in light of the entirety of the Scriptures.  I have already shown that God does not expect us to stay and endure physical abuse that could risk serious injury or death from Exodus 21:26-27.

There were certain areas Jesus would not go into during his ministry because he knew the Jews there sought to kill him (John 7:1) and it was not yet his time to die.  Although Paul suffered great persecutions he also sought to avoid them at times (II Corinthians 11:33).  But did Christ or Paul run from “verbal and emotional abuse” as we often hear people telling us to do today? No. They were fleeing the threat of serious bodily injury or in most cases death.

So what this means on a practical level is this.  As a wife or as a child there are going to be days when your husband or your father may act in the flesh and not in the spirit.  He may say hurtful things.  He may raise his voice for what appears to be no reason at all.  He may act sinfully toward you by being verbally or emotionally abusive.  But his wrong actions do not justify wrong actions on your part.  Not only should you never return insult for insult or repay any type of verbal or emotional abuse but you must also never forget your subordinate place as either the wife or the child.

It is not your place to rebuke your husband or our father for emotional or verbal abuses.

Now does that mean that a wife or child can never express grievances they have with their husband or father? No. I don’t think that is wrong but it should never come across as if they are they are equals and are teaching the husband or father.  In the book of Job we read:

“13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; 14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? 15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?”

Job 31:13-15 (KJV)

This is a teaching which applies to those of us who are in authority over others no matter what sphere it is in including the home.  We as husbands must realize that if we have truly wronged those under us God allows them to bring their grievances to us.  If we do not act justly toward those under us it is God who will rise up against us. That is why God warns husbands that if they mistreat their wives he will not hear their prayers (I Peter 3:7).

When it comes to expressing grievances we must realize this can abused as well.  Remember that God tells wives in I Peter 3:1-2 to win their husbands who are disobedient to the word by their subjection and reverent behavior.  If you as a wife are expressing your grievances with your husband every five minutes you are not “taking it patiently” as I Peter 2:20 exhorts you to do.

The same goes for children.  Far too often in our culture we make children feel completely comfortable confronting their parents with accusations of unfair treatment on a regular basis.  Again we need to teach our children that they too need to be “taking it patiently” and following the example of Christ in suffering what they believe to be wrong doing.

Wives and children also need to be reminded of something on a regular basis.  Just because you feel you have been mistreated does not mean you actually have been mistreated.  Sometimes your feelings can blind you to reality that is going on.  You need to step back and look objectively at what has occurred to see if what actually happened was in fact fair treatment that was warranted because of your behavior.

Should Authorities Allow Abuse From Their Subordinates?

But now we come to the issue of husbands, fathers and mothers who might suffer abuse at the hands of those God has placed under their spiritual authority. Should authority figures react to abuse from their subordinates in the same way that their subordinates should react to abuse from them? Should they simply endure and take patiently all forms of abuse from their subordinates as long as they are not being physically abused or having their life threatened?

To answer these questions we must first understand that all authorities God has instituted have not only a right but also a responsibility to discipline those under their authority.  Church leaders have a right and responsibility to discipline those within their assemblies, civil authorities have a right and responsibility to discipline those within their local, state or national jurisdictions and husbands and parents have a right and responsibility to discipline those in their home.

In the case of the family if a husband or parent allows all mistreatment of themselves by their wife or children to go unpunished then they would be violating the spiritual duty God has given them to rebuke and chasten those under their authority(Proverbs 23:13-14, Revelation 3:19).

So for instance if a man’s wife or child is cursing him, or disrespecting him or telling him they do not have to obey him then he is called by God to discipline them.  Yes these actions are an abuse toward him and mistreatment of him.  They are hurtful and unkind. But for the husband or father in this situation they must remember that this is not about their feelings of hurt after being mistreated by their wife or child.  It is about their solemn responsibility as the head of their home to discipline their family members.  That is why husbands and fathers must always realize that true Biblical discipline should never be an act of revenge for some incurred abuse, but rather it is an act of love to discipline the other and perhaps cause them to repent and change their ways.

Notice earlier that I said a husband or parent should not allow “all” mistreatment of themselves but the key word is “all”.  As human authorities we cannot read or control the thoughts and feelings of those who are our subordinates.  We can only hold our subordinates accountable for their words and actions, not their thoughts and feelings.

So we may see that our wife or child does the right thing after being disciplined but they still seem to have an attitude of bitterness toward us.  No husband wants to be despised by his wife and no father or mother wants to be despised by their child.  But at these times we must enter in prayer for our wives and children knowing that we can only seek to correct the outward actions as human authorities and only God can correct the heart.

If you as a husband or father live to always feel liked and loved by your wife or children then you will not discipline them as God has called you to and you will fail to be the husband and father God wants you to be.  Not being liked at times is part of the job description gentlemen.

14 “What If” Questions About Marriage

What if my spouse makes fun of my looks on a regular basis?

What if my spouse hurls insults at me on a daily basis?

What if my spouse is hyper critical toward me on a daily basis?

What if my spouse is bipolar or has some other mental illness and refuses to get professional help?

What if my spouse has some type of addiction?

What if my husband abuses his power and gets off on using his power to make me do ridiculous things?

What if my husband is a selfish lover and never asks me what I want in our sex life?

What if my husband never talks to me and only wants sex?

What if my wife is a contentious and brawling woman toward me on a daily basis?

What if my wife is like a constant dripping water and nags me on daily basis?

What if my husband is a workaholic?

What if my wife is never satisfied with anything I buy her (our house, her clothes, our car…etc.)?

What if my wife always gives me grudgingly given sex?

What if my wife is a selfish lover and only wants sex her way?

The answer to all these “What If” questions is the same.  Search the Scriptures and you will find there is absolutely no allowance for divorce in any of these situations.  All of these situations are hard to live with if you are the spouse who has to endure them.  But God does not give us an easy way out but instead he tells us this regarding the trials we face in life:

“3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope”

Romans 5:3-4 (KJV)

Often times the greatest trials we face in life are a result of the actions of those closest to us. It might be our spouse whose behavior tries our faith on a daily basis.  It might be our child. It might be our parents.  But in all these cases God does not allow us to simply push the eject button and leave these relationships because they are hard to endure.  He calls us to lean on him for strength knowing that his grace is sufficient to get us through each day of these trials.

When we as husbands or wives continue to live with a spouse that verbally or emotionally abuses us or they just make life difficult for us we not only follow Christ’s pattern in taking such abuses patiently on a regular basis,  but we also honor God by showing our commitment to his institution of marriage.  This is why staying in an abusive relationship can actually bring glory and honor to God.

Is It Wrong to Feel Hurt Because of Abuse?

This is a very legitimate question.  Even if we as Christians set out to follow Christ’s example in taking patiently the abuse we may suffer from others does this mean it is wrong for us to allow ourselves to experience anguish or hurt because of past or even future abuses we know are going to happen?

Again we have Christ’s example to answer this question for us:

41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Luke 22:41-44 (KJV)

You think your husband’s verbal and emotional abuse is bad? You think your parent’s emotional or verbal abuse is bad? Think of the abuse Christ suffered.  And because he was God in the flesh he knew before he suffered exactly what he was going to suffer.   Christ was literally in “agony” knowing what he was about to face.  He asked his father if it was his will that he would remove this coming trial – yet he prayed not his will, but his father’s be done.

So again Christ is our model in dealing with abuse that we suffer from others.  It is not wrong to feel hurt about past abuses or impending abuse that we know we will continue to suffer on daily basis from our family member. It is not wrong to agonize over these things.  We are not called to suppress our feelings.  Christ did not suppress his.  But Christ controlled his feelings, he did not let them control him.   We should all follow Christ’s example when suffering abuse asking God to remove the abuse perhaps by changing the heart of the abuser.  But we should always end such prayers the same way Christ ended his – “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done“.

Conclusion

Our culture teaches us a one size fits all approach to when others mistreat us (abuse us). They teach us we should never allow any type of mistreatment from others to go unchecked and unchallenged. We are told we must confront all forms of abuse from wherever they come and they make absolutely no distinctions between a husband and wife, a parent and child, an employer and employee, a church member and a Pastor or a citizen and his government.

We have literally created “grievance industries” within our political arenas, business arenas, churches and families where people air their grievances both big and small and real or imagined with one another on daily basis.  There is very little following of Christ’s example in regard to abuse to “take it patiently”.

So from our world’s perspective children are encouraged to correct and rebuke their parents for every harsh word they may speak toward them. Wives are encouraged to confront every harsh word their husband speaks toward them. And this pattern is seen in churches as well as nations. In other words – every perceived or actual injustice is encouraged to be confronted no matter where it is or how it occurs.

The Biblical approach to us handling mistreatment which is abuse is not a “one size fits all approach”. The type of abuse and the sphere it occurs in whether in marriage and the family, the church or in society with government are handled differently if we are following Biblical principles in these areas.

Those in authority must confront sinful words and actions of those under them whether those words or actions are direct abuses toward the authority themselves or toward others.  But these actions of discipline are not to be a repayment of sorts for abuses incurred but rather they are meant to be corrective actions taken in love to help that person better conform themselves to God’s moral law.

Those under authority while having the right to address grievances with their authority should not over use this right.  The over usage of the ability to respectfully air grievances with one’s authority goes against Christ’s example of “taking it patiently”.  Also specifically when it comes to wives, if a wife is airing grievances ever five minutes with her husband she is violating the I Peter 3:1-2 principle that she is to win her husband who is being disobedient to the Word with her subjection and reverence, not her contentions.

So on the one hand Biblically speaking we do not have to suffer or allow every kind of abuse from every sphere in our life but on the other hand the Bible does not allow us to or encourage us to do what the world says and confront EVERY kind of abuse or mistreatment toward us no matter what the offense is or where it comes from.

We all need to look to Christ’s example of “taking it patiently”.

Does God allow divorce for abuse?

Does God allow a husband or wife to divorce their spouse for abuse? Is domestic violence a Biblical cause for divorce?

So far in this series we have shown that while God hates divorce, and God does not allow “no fault divorce” or “divorce for any cause”. He only allows divorce for certain causes. Many Christians believe that divorce is limited to only two causes – adultery and abandonment. This is based on Christ’s words in the Gospel on divorce and Paul’s words about abandonment.

However this interpretation ignores other key passages of Scripture like Exodus 21:10-11 that allow a woman to be freed from her husband for other causes.   Neither Christ nor any of his Apostles removed these rights from a woman, or her right to divorce if these rights were denied.

Does the Bible speak specifically on spousal abuse?

No. The Bible never specifically speaks on spouse abuse. However the Bible does speak on the subject of physical abuse in other contexts:

“And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.” – Exodus 21:26-27 (KJV)

If a man physically abused his male or female slave and caused any type of serious physical damage – he had to free them.

It is human right that God has given to all mankind –we do not have to allow ourselves to be physically abused.

Some have tried to point to passages in the New Testament like Matthew 5:39 to suggest that a spouse needs to allow physical abuse to continue for Christ’s sake:

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Matthew 5:39 (KJV)

But they are ignoring the context of Christ’s statement. For the sake of the Gospel –we are to endure all manner of persecution – even unto death. He is not talking about a husband or wife taking a beating from their spouse in marriage.

The right to be freed from physical abuse is a human right, regardless of who the abuser is – whether it is a parent, an employer, or even a spouse.

In the context of marriage physical abuse would constitute a breach of the marriage covenant.

What kind of abuse are we talking about?

If you look at the language of Exodus 21:26-27 it clearly speaking of physical abuse that causes bodily harm. It is not talking about “emotional abuse” or any other kinds of abuse. In fact in I Peter he tells slaves:

“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” – I Peter 2:18(NIV)

God does not allow a master being harsh, or a husband being harsh, or a wife being harsh as a reason for a person to be freed.   In other words, God does not allow divorce for emotion abuse, only for physical abuse.

Conclusion

There is no reason to believe that God would expect a husband to stay with a wife who stabbed him and tried to kill him (physically abused which resulted in great bodily harm). There is no reason that God would expect for a wife to stay in a marriage with a husband who continually beats her or her children as this is a basic human right given to all people – the right to not be physically abused.

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