Many marriages have normal conflict. The spouses get along mostly, but there are times when they argue or disagree. And it can get pretty heated. Some may not speak to each other for days because they’re so upset.
But there is another kind of marriage that is really no marriage at all. It’s the abusive marriage. It’s wives living in fear of their angry, cruel husbands. It’s husbands fearing the tirade and abuse of their wives. It’s a living nightmare for the children.
It is a marriage where one person consistently uses a variety of means to control and instill fear in his or her spouse. The abuser hits, calls names, belittles, ignores, withholds affection or money, isolates, and is honestly a tyrant to live with. The abuser will use any means to bring down the other spouse. And the other spouse is truly afraid.
It’s so far removed from what God intended in the union between a man and a woman. There is no freedom, therefore no love. There is no respect, therefore no joy, peace; no feeling of being safe. The injured spouses feel trapped, alone, and terrified. The shame for an oppressed spouse often is too much to bear, so he or she does everything to hide. His pain goes unnoticed. She suffers alone, silently.
Followers of Jesus can come along side and give comfort to the abused spouse. We can help them get to safety. We can pray for the abuser to come to his or her senses. Abuse assaults our dignity and no one can tolerate it, nor should we.