In working with victims of domestic violence and abuse, I hear a common question: “How do I know that he has changed?” This usually happens when a wife has left hubby and he’s scrambling to get his “normal” back.
It’s an important question. After all, how many times do we hear from our partners: “I’ve changed”. “I’m different now”. “I won’t do it again”. And yet, it does.
In Christian relationships, we often try for YEARS to salvage the marriage. We’ve grown up with:
- A wife should never leave her husband.
- God is pro-marriage, no matter WHAT.
- We should always forgive him and that means you should hang in there and keep truckin’.
- Staying together is always best for the kiddos-make it work!
But I am here to tell you differently. A wife cannot nurture her children or family properly when there is abuse in the home. AND the kids or grandkids witnessing any abuse (even emotional, spiritual or financial) is inexcusable. It’s proven that kids who witness or experience abuse while they are growing often become abusers themselves. They’ve not learned how to properly deal with conflict and return to what they know. Even those that say “I’ll never do that to my wife/husband” often turn there in times of high stress. And thus the cycle continues to rotate.
Most importantly, God values us as His children. It is NEVER His choice for there to be abuse in a family. And it is never the fault of those who are abused-it is the (wrong) choice of the abuser when they react with abuse. Healthy family units are units where one can make a decision (even a bad one) and not be yelled at or hit. And not suffer emotional consequences like a cold shoulder or verbal abuse. Where one can voice an opinion and not be ostracized. Where one can spend money without every penny being accounted for to their partner. Where one can have friendships and healthy relationships outside of the home. When one can attend church without ridicule, put-downs or consequences. And yet, in spite of “church” and Christ in our lives, still over 25% of women experience abuse in marriages.
So it’s a valid question. Today at Focus Ministries in Villa Park, I took a course on “The Mind and Heart of an Abuser”. I learned a great deal. There we watched a video which really did put all the points out there to look for when an abuser in your life says that they have changed. I remind you please, “….be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16).
You can watch the video here: