A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Thursday Thought — Profaning God’s name with false vows

Victims deserve to be consoled with the truth that God hates a certain kind of marriage — the kind of marriage that profanes his name due to false vows. [Pastor Dietrich Wichmann]

(The above quote was taken from Ps. Wichmann’s guest post — False Vows do not a Covenant Make)

25 Comments

  1. a prodigal daughter returns

    It is good to see this post as Valentines day nears and many of us have horrendous memories of abuse around holidays. While it is encouraging to hear the scriptural justification for ending a (non)marriage it does little to alleviate the internal shame some of us carry by having the word divorce associated with our lives.

    This is not just an internalized shame but that reinforced by institutionalized religion. I’ve been in churches where divorcees where not allowed to teach Sunday school or do anything but bake cookies for church functions. They were looked at with suspicion and as a spiritual inferior. Knowing the shame associated with being divorced keeps many women in the hellish prison of living with a monster. 15 years post divorce I still cringe having to circle divorced as my status on every medical intake form.

    There is also a layer of vulnerability in being single (and intentionally remaining so) that is not for the faint of heart to endure. LIfe as a single person in churches that cater to couples makes you feel forever the outsider. Financially as well, life is harsher.

    • SeeClearerNow (prev NotHeard)

      Hey, APDR, have you thought about bucking expectation/etiquette for those forms and handwrite in another option to circle instead of ‘divorced’: single, unmarried or similar.. Yes it is tough at Valentines Day etc: I usually get a honeymoon phase thrown in for good confusion and to try break down my resistance..

    • celestebella

      It’s the financial turndown I fear the most; especially since I have medical issues.

    • Seeing Clearly

      Being divorced for 5+ yrs has given me time to take a fresh look at myself. It is a slow process, but that one line on medical forms has encouraged me to see myself as a single lady. Yes, I did go through a divorce process, but it is not who I am. So I peacefully circle single. I now see the box ‘divorce’ as a mute issue. Whether I am single, never married or single, having gone through a divorce process, has no bearing on the information needed to treat me medically.

      I agree that religious institutions do a poor job of accepting us as they do married women.

      Also, as I am healing from major surgery, I am aware of the need to do much more for myself without a spouse. Fortunately, I am blessed with family and friends who are caring for me. Not all women have a network for times such as this. And it is because we have been abandoned. We were abandoned prior to divorce.

      • Lisa

        I like that…..circling single instead of divorced. I actually had to do that on the duty forms coming back from the DR a few months ago. I was perplexed because there was not a “divorced” box to check so by default I checked off “single.” It felt good and weird at the same time. I figured it was because being divorced was so new to me, only 5 months at that time. But, this is good.

  2. Wenche

    My x last year valentines weekend – while We were standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean said: don’t go too near the edge because if you fall everyone one will believe I pushed you! That weekend I was done – I knew he was crazy! This valentines I give my thanks to God that saved me ~~~

    • HI Wenche, here is my belated welcome to the blog. 🙂
      If you haven’t yet done so I suggest you read our New Users Info page.

  3. Purchasing a card and gift for this Valentines day has been the hardest ever in over 30yrs. Not one card struck me… they were all so lovey. I purchased one that had a very ambiguous meaning “You rock my world” lol I know how I mean it…he rocks my world to the core of my being.
    I was thinking today about the scripture.that says it is better to not make a vow than make one and break it, in regards to my marriage. … how true my husband has made false vows.

  4. Heidi

    I need to remember I was abandoned. Thanks for posts. The “church” is probably the least safe place for abused women. What’s wrong with this picture? Just last Sunday pastor of the church I’ve been attending preached on divorce —- no mention of divorce for abuse. I’m not planning to go back. Planning to send email when I have emotional energy.

  5. Brenda R

    Since I am no longer married, Valentine’s Day means all the more to me. I don’t have to try to buy a card that I don’t want to give. I don’t have to sit through a dinner and act like I am in love and that everything is just fine. I do believe I might buy myself flowers or maybe buy them next week after the prices go back down. I think I will skip the box of chocolates. I’m still trying to get my sugar level down.

  6. Lisa

    False vows……There was a time in my process that I found the tape of my wedding so I put it in the cassette to listen to it. I was trying to rekindle some kind of “loving feeling” for my now ex. I couldn’t feel anything and I didn’t know then that I was dealing with abuse. I was still in the fog. When I heard the vows and my father’s voice (he had just died and this was the only recording of his voice my sisters and I could find) I started to sob. Suddenly, I realized that for 16 years the ex was not treating me as he said he would in the vows. I actually had him listen to the tape hoping it would “wake him up/” But, of course, that didn’t do a thing. I also was so sad thinking how my father trusted this man enough to “allow” me to marry him. Yea, false vows……..

  7. Round*Two

    Round two…Well, it happened. I fell for it again, I went back to him, however it didn’t work out. This time around my husband has filed for divorce and he is claiming I am the one who abused him. A lesson learned. Yes, I’m still in a fog. I wanted to reconcile, and I believed he did as well. BUT, what he really wanted was for me to say the abuse NEVER happened. I guess I was deceived! I suppose if I denied abuse, we would be reconciled. So, back to court, refiling paperwork, defending myself once again, running up attorney costs…etc. I hope I use more ‘wisdom’ this time around!
    A christian counselor said to me “you are are not honoring God by keeping yourself in an abusive marriage because your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…”
    I really hope I have learned this time!

    • Brenda R

      Round Two,
      We all want our marriages to work. The fog will lift. Let it lift and replace it with a firm recognition of the red flags that abusers will slip up and allow us to see if we look very closely. If you haven’t already done so, make a journal of all of the things he has said and done so you remember why you are no longer together. Your counselor is right and I believe I will add that to my quotes to remember. Prayers and ((((Hugs)))) coming your way.

    • Hi Round*Two, at least you are now on the outward journey rather than one which is conditioned by the fog machine.

      Keep reading here and read our resources pages too.

      We understand about going back. Many of us (including me) have some version of that as part of our stories.

    • Lynn

      rOUND’TWO, wow I wish I could find a Christian counselor like yours,,, I have ruined my health over this marriage,, although I can’t blame it on all my marriage, I made choices to get heavier leading to [or exacerbating] chronic disease. My counselor tells me to stay for my young child, and she is no support at all, in fact she sees me as most of the problem, as all the pastors I’ve counseled with. A depressed woman who has had a childhood filled with sexual abuse. I no longer see this counselor. The only support right now for me is reading this blog. I thank God for it.

      • Lynn

        Round Two, I wanted to add that I admire you getting out, it takes a lot of courage! I am sorry you had to go thru a second time, but at least it will be your last,, I’m sure like all of us ,, marriage with an abuser feels like so many starts and stops,,,you forgive and get hopeful, only to go thru the same cycle over and over being deeply disappointed that the marriage bottomed out again. Too be free from all that will bring you much peace, after all the divorce drama!!

      • Round*Two

        Lynn,
        I’m sorry for your situation! We must remember that God does not want us to be in an abusive relationship. He wants the husband to love his wife as Christ loves the church. He wants wives to be submissive to that LOVE. It is perfectly understandable how we let ourselves go when we are in such situation. It is never to late to be proactive in taking care of yourself.
        As for the advice of your counselor, he/she is definately ignorant to abuse. I would look for another counselor. And I may add, I sought advice from from an agency where the advocates have seen and dealt with many abused cases. Many are not Christians, however, this is their profession. They know what to look for in these situations!. I am grateful and thankful for their help! There are many kinds of help and support in your state, please look into it. You and your son deserve so much better! And I honestly believe we gain the respect of our children when we remove them from an abusive situation May the Lord give you strength through this all!

      • Round*Two

        Lynn, even the second round is VERY painful! But, I know its for the best. I still cry about it and I still get depressed about it, but I know this is only temporary. I know my God is bigger than any problems I deal with, and even more so, HE will never leave me or forsake me! Please, look into all the help that is available to you. It can never hurt to be informed what your options are…

      • Brenda R

        Lynn,
        Your counselor is full of bad advise. If you are being affected by an unhealthy relationship, how does she think your child is escaping it. Kids feel the pressure too. In addition to this blog I would also recommend Leslie Vernick’s blog. Between these 2 sites and a great Biblical counselor, I was able to get my life together and break free. Praying for you.

      • Dear Lynn I disidentified some of your comment. Please read our New Users Info page to reveiw how to disidentify details in your comments. We don’t want your abuser or his allies being able to identify you if they happen across this blog.

      • Lynn

        Round2, I am going to go to our local Domestic abuse support group tomorrow. Hopefully get a name of a Christian counselor who would be more supportive. I always ditched the councilors who wanted to help years ago ,,, because I was in such denial. But I am ready now.!!

  8. Not Too Late

    Yippee, about time a pastor responded to the erroneous “God hates divorce” line by reminding us that God hates a certain type of marriage. Yup, God hates a certain type of divorce and He hates a certain type of marriage as well. He simply hates falsehood.

    • Lynn

      NTL, If I could I would get up and do cartwheels!!!!! Reading this for me to has been unbelievably freeing. You nailed it, God hates falsehood period.

  9. Lynn

    Brenda , thank you for praying. I am searching for a new counselor, I’ve been attending Celebrate recovery for a few weeks, but it is not for me, I realized I needed an abused women’s group, which they don’t have. So I’m going to our local domestic violence group tomorrow. There I’m sure I’ll find a supportive counselor. My counselor has really done a number on me by telling me that I should stay for my young child, What she doesn’t understand….. none of my children has ever seen me genuinely happy for long periods of time, and….. functional. I know THAT is not all my fault. I am wondering if some Pastors and councilors do not want the responsibility of being part of breaking up a marriage.

  10. Lynn

    Barbara,
    Thanks, for reminding me to read new users guide. I did ,,, and I’m careful to be more vague. I will change my user name since this is a shared computer. I bought your book and Lundy’s book. My next purchase will be Pastor Jeff’s book. This blog is a godsend, I am no longer hard on myself for being in denial for so long, even though I had glimpses of the truth of my marriage, it took more than a couple decades to finally see and know the truth, and to stay grounded in it. Reading the stories of others that I can identify with made that possible.

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