A Cry For Justice

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

How God set a woman free from a lovely husband who became an ogre

One of our readers has kindly allowed us to publish this part of her testimony. Many thanks to her. 

I loved having a home and my husband and I enjoyed a lot of happiness. Part of the reason we had so much fun together may have been that we were both still children in some ways. I remember going to Bible study and feeling sorry for the people who just had ordinary homes, when I had just come from a home filled with so much laughter and enjoyment, after watching my husband play with the puppies.

Unfortunately, something very ugly crept into my marriage, very early.  I was married about six months, the first time my husband slapped me.  I was shocked.  No one had ever slapped me across the face before.  It was humiliating.  We had dated for four years and this had never happened.  What was I going to do?  If we were just dating, I could break up with him, but I was already married.  I couldn’t leave.  I didn’t know what to do to fix it, so I didn’t do anything.  A few months later the memory faded.

Gradually, a pattern emerged in our marriage.  My husband, who no longer had a brother at home to wrestle with, would wrestle with me.  I was a lot lighter than him and I didn’t like to wrestle.  I was starting to get hurt, more and more.  These wrestling matches were intermingled with other times that he would slap me, during an argument or when he was upset.

The pattern continued and gradually escalated.  Sometimes he would scream at me for what seemed like little or no reason.  I remember one time him screaming at me just after getting up from the bed after we had been intimate.  I hadn’t done anything to upset him.  It was baffling.  I was confused.  I didn’t understand it.

When I was married for about five years, I was getting more distressed and was sustaining minor injuries.  But as many women that are in these relationships will tell you, the true target of the inflicted pain and abuse is not the body.  I decided during prayer one day, to stop fighting back.  I reasoned that if I didn’t fight back, my husband would realize what he was doing to me, that he was hurting me and that he would stop.

Not fighting back physically did not stop the violence.  In fact, it got a whole lot worse.  However, not physically defending myself did help me to see things a lot more clearly.  The violence was no longer shrouded in the polite façade of wrestling.

A clear pattern emerged.  Tension would build and then there would be an explosion.  The trigger for an explosion could be something so minor as not being able to find a tool he wanted, or dishing him up too much spaghetti.  The cycle of tension build-up followed by explosion would happen again and again, until we reached a level of intensity and violence that scared us and that we had never reached before.  Then tensions would dissipate and Mr. Hyde would turn back into Dr Jekyll.

I later found out that this pattern is called, “the cycle of violence”.  It is a well-documented pattern experienced by women in abusive relationships.  As much as we would like to think of everything as 50-50, this pattern is primarily an abuse of male power against females.

I was becoming panicked.  Nowhere could I find in the scripture that it was ok to leave your husband because he hit you.  Jesus said we could divorce for infidelity, but he didn’t mention violence!  I had no children to protect and I didn’t think I was justified in leaving for myself.

Finally I asked God to remind me to pray during one of these episodes.  Previously, I would remember to pray before, when tensions were building, or after when I was recovering, but I never remembered to pray during an episode.

The night my life changed and I started my journey out of that marriage, I remembered to pray in the midst of the violence.  I had locked myself in the furnace room to take a temporarily safe reprieve.   The furnace room had a pretty good lock on it.  My husband was in the living room watching TV, waiting for me to come out.  Finally, I remembered to pray.  I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to pray when you are angry, but it was an act of force!  My prayer cut through the heavy evil shroud that had encircled my home and was heard.

When I left the furnace room, the violence did not stop, but I no longer felt cut-off from God and I did not feel I was going through it alone.  I was able to pray freely.  That night God gifted me with two extraordinary miracles. They are particularly extroadinary for someone like me who has no charismatic background. He gifted me with a vision and He gifted me with an audible word.

My vision was of a large very beautiful blown glass house.  That beautiful glass house was my home.  It was being smashed and destroyed and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

My audible Word came during a confrontation from my husband.  I silently prayed,  “What am I going to do?  I can’t leave him.”  The Word came to me, “You might have to leave him,  ___.”  [ ___ was her personal name; we’ve omitted it for safety’s sake.] That Word opened the door for me. Maybe I could leave.  Maybe it wasn’t all of my fault.

My Pastor talked about seeking the whole counsel of God.  He spoke of how Scripture could be twisted to justify anything, even an erroneous non-Christian cult.  Jesus told us the two great commandments were to love God with all our heart mind and soul and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Somehow, by staying in this marriage and allowing this evil to continue and escalate, I was breaking both of those commandments.  My husband was becoming less and less the man that I had married and was turning more and more into an ogre.

We are to serve God.  He is our Master.  I sometimes wonder what the Christian advice was to a soldier in Hitler’s army or to the wife of an SS officer.  Was this the correct time to drag out the doctrine of submission, which Peter talks about in 1st Peter and which Paul talks about in Romans?  Yet, I remembered, as Isaiah had prophesied, at the appointed time our Lord gave his back to the smiters and his cheeks to those who plucked out the beard.   How do we walk with God in the face of evil?  How do we follow our Lord’s example and do as both Peter and Paul admonish us and overcome evil with good?  Isaiah tells us that Jesus was awakened by God’s word each morning to hear God’s instruction.  If we can more closely mimic our Lord’s walk, perhaps we too can correctly discern God’s instruction and discern between good and evil.

During the time of searching and struggling within my marriage, I found several copies of the book The Total Woman, at the back one of the local churches.   For those of you too young to remember, The Total Woman was one of Marabel Morgan’s books, written in opposition to the women’s movement.  As near as I could tell, it gave helpful hints on how to use submission and feminine wiles to manipulate your way to power in your marriage.

I heard Christian women’s testimony on TV of how God had healed their marriage by changing them.  In the late 80’s and early 90’s, I heard very little teaching on the man’s role in providing Christ-like headship.

Evil grows in the dark.  I think the first and best steps in confronting evil, is to expose it and to drag it into the light.  One of the first steps in coming out of an abusive relationship is to tell someone what has been going on.  Like many women, I hadn’t told anyone.  I was ashamed and I didn’t want to make the problem bigger by turning it into a public circus with everyone giving me advice that I may not be prepared to take.  I think I also still felt loyalty to my husband.  In my mind, he just didn’t realize how much he was hurting me and if he did, it would stop.  I was still in love with Dr Jekyll.

At the beginning of the next cycle of violence, for a relatively minor assault, I phoned the transition house.  The woman on the phone pointed out that by living in this situation for years, I had become desensitized to the level of violence.  What I would have considered a major incident, in the years of dating my husband and grounds for ending the relationship, had now become a “minor assault”.  I was becoming less and less alarmed, by a higher and higher level of violence.

I also found out information on an anger management program, which I could force my husband to attend, by laying assault charges.  My next phone call was to the police.  I laid charges.

I left my husband on two occasions.  On the first occasion, I was in relationship with God.  I was hopeful that God would change my husband and heal my marriage.   After all, it happened for those other women, who gave their testimonies on TV.  I felt spiritually strong, I was decisive and I felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit and relationship with God.

On the second occasion, I was angry with God.  My husband had not changed!  Though he was no longer hitting me, he knew of other ways to torture me.  I came to realize that he DID know he was hurting me, hat he WANTED to hurt me and I was truly “Sleeping with the Enemy.”  I was furious with God.  I thought if anyone deserved a miracle, it was me.  After all, I had tried my very best.

How foolish of me!  Why would I expect that God who had given me free choice in my relationship with Him, would remove free choice from my husband?  My husband had it within his power to choose and he chose not to repent, not to accept responsibility and chose to continue not having a relationship with God.  It was his choice, not my choice and not necessarily God’s choice.  (In fact, studies have shown that most abuser do not choose to change.)

Because I had turned my back on God, in my anger, I became weak.  The weakness was noticed and acknowledged by those closest to me.   It shames me to admit that while I was coming out of the marriage, I started to date a man who had been a friend of my husband’s and mine since our college days. At the time, I remember telling my sister that this decision would make things easier in the short run and harder in the long run.  That was true.  It was sin.  It marred my clarity of vision in determining correct choices.  Worst of all, it thrust an emotional knife into the man that I claimed to love and had sacrificed so much for.  Despite this sin and my anger, God did not abandon me.

I was being stalked, I was exhausted working three part-time jobs to pay the mortgage on the home that my parents had co-signed for.  I was told by a facilitator in my support group, that once these men really know it’s over, the nice guy act is finished!  In my case, that was true.  I was being stalked and there were weapons involved.

On one occasion, I believe God sent me an angel.  I was exhausted and had flopped down on the sofa, after returning home.  My phone was ringing.  In those days we had answering machines.  I heard the start of the message with my husband’s voice and then the answering machine cut off.  This happened again and again and again and again.  The phone would ring and then before he could leave a message, he was cut off.  It was if someone was in there pressing the buttons on the machine, but it wasn’t me, I was on the sofa, too exhausted to move.

With the encouragement of my Mother, I moved to another part of the country.  My Father was unhappy about the idea of losing another daughter to a long distance move, but he loaded up the truck and u-haul and moved me.   Another family member was waiting to receive me and to give me temporary dwelling, so I could restart my life.

Due to my marriage troubles, I lost my home, my dog, most of our married friends and all of my in-laws.   My mother-in law had been particularly good to me, better than I deserved.  I hope one day God will reward her for all of her goodness to me.

It takes a while to recognize the internal damage from abuse inflicted upon us.  During my marriage, I couldn’t see the extent of the injury.  I was never hospitalized, bruises heal and I could still walk.

I was told that most women find an abusive relationship devastating to their self-esteem.  I couldn’t say this was true for me.  Because my relationship with Christ was growing during my marriage, I actually found my self-esteem growing.  If Christ can love us that much, to die for us, surely we can love ourselves.

I had developed a sensitivity to emotional tension and displays of anger.  I am in danger of “over-reacting”.  By this, I mean I ‘m in danger of reacting not solely to an existing threat but also to the groundswell of memories of similar threats that can be triggered and overwhelm me.  I found I could “flash-back” and experience a flood of debilitating feelings from past explosions.   I learned that to keep myself mentally healthy, I needed to protect myself from male displays of anger.  I must use caution to correctly ascertain the level threat with emotional tension or anger in a professional setting or a meeting.

Despite these changes in me, I still wanted to marry.  I did not feel I was fully able to express myself as a woman or give venue to the gifts that God had given me, without a husband, home and family.  It seemed to me to be a waste of God’s gifts and life to be unable to marry. Repeatedly scripture compares His love for us, to a bridegroom rejoicing over a bride.  When I finally understood the importance of the woman in typifying His bride, I started to feel very good about being born female.

I am sure when we get to be close to Him, we will have an eternity of time to understand the answers to our many questions.  He or the angels will better explain to us the concept of Biblical marriage as a picture God’s love for his people.  We’ll see, first hand, the importance of women to Christ.

60 Comments

  1. Still Reforming (previously newlyanonymous)

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. You are a gifted writer and you accurately portray what it’s like to be a target of abuse. Especially with the escalation and the reasons why we don’t speak up earlier.

    Like you, I was targeted (still am) by his anger, but unlike you, he has never hit me. For that reason along with the fact that I used to uphold the institution of marriage higher than the individuals (namely me) in it, believing “God hates divorce so I must never divorce,” I unwittingly protected his anger and abuse of me from others. I would periodically share when things got really bad (his spinning the car around in anger or exploding in rage at me or lying to or about me), but generally, I kept these things to myself or took them up in prayer (and he never changed) or to marriage counselors (three – none of whom helped the marriage, not that they could given his personality type).

    Still, it is encouraging to read testimonies like yours in which God delivers the victim by showing her that she can leave and that He loves her still and that He is glorified as His children receive this good from Him hand. Thank you.

    • Author of This Post

      I’m glad it was encouraging to you. Thanks for writing.

  2. freeatlast8

    Thank you for sharing. It helps so much to see I am not alone in choosing to leave. Even with the justification for leaving, though, I still get feelings of conviction that I am partly to blame. Now that I am alone so to speak (I do have my kids with me), I can more clearly see my own flaws and shortcomings. I wonder if these things would have made my marriage better had I addressed them back then…mainly a lack of self discipline and procrastination. My ex hated laziness…not that I think of myself as lazy…I have a very large family and things must, and do, get done. But I do put certain things off until I feel/get motivated. Sometimes it was his anger that motivated me to action. Wierd, I know. Now that I don’t have that fueling me anymore I put things off more. I have a hard time setting goals for myself if there is no reward or punishment to work toward. I wonder if this is a product of having lived in an abusive relationship for so long, or just a character flaw in me. Anyone else experience this?

    • Author of This Post

      Thanks for writing. I remember when I remember how much stronger I felt, when I shared with other women going through the same thing. They seemed so wonderful and clearly didn’t deserve the abuse.

  3. LH

    Freeatlast8, I too have a hard time with setting goals for myself still – 10 years after getting out of a 27year long abusive marriage. I’ve been reading “Learned Optimism” and picking up some insights, like how I learned helplessness during my marriage: that nothing I did made any difference. Also dealing with PTSD after getting out. My ex also accused me of laziness often – while totally overlooking what I did do (homeschool 5 kids, cook all our meals from scratch, try to keep our large home clean…) and I often questioned myself if I was lazy after all. Now I know it was him messing with my mind… Now I also have to deal with Adrenal Fatigue and Fibromyalgia – all those years took their toll on my body – and I still sometimes question myself if I’m lazy when I can’t do as much as I want to. Sigh.

    I recently found a box of papers from my divorce when cleaning my garage, including copies of emails my ex sent me during that time. I had not read them for 8+ years, and was shocked at the hatred and ugliness in them. I knew he was mean at the time, but I had become desensitized to it over the years; reading them now after 10 years (this month) of not living with him any more opened my eyes to how nasty he was.

    • Author of This Post

      You sound like a you were a wonderful wife! He certainly didn’t deserve you and I’m glad you got away!

  4. AbusedHusband

    Wow–I’m so glad God showed you it was OK to get out. I can relate to your experience, except for the physical abuse. (The only physical gesture I’ve received is being given the finger by my “Christian” spouse.) I’ve been with my abusive non-wife for 24 years. I can’t believe I’ve made it this long. No intimacy, no sex (literally, no sex), no affection (not possible with an abuser–she’s made herself my enemy), sleeping in separate bedrooms–and just constant attempts to destroy who I am as a person and destroy the self-worth of my children. It’s like living with a controlling, psychologically evil roommate.

    You wouldn’t believe all the psychological and emotionally abusive tactics she’s used on me. (Actually, I’m sure you can!) The only reason I’ve stayed is to be able to be with my kids while they’re growing up and to try to be a loving counterbalance and shield them as much as possible from the abuse she’s thrown at them as well. I hope they don’t turn out to be abusive or marry abusive spouses and thus perpetuate the cycle.

    What’s especially disheartening is that other Christians tend to discount your experience the few times you venture to try to get some empathy or emotional support. They pretty much think that it can’t be all that bad, or that you’re making things up, or that you’re just having a few “disagreements” with your spouse. And if, after having been battered for a long time, you react emotionally to the abuse and they see your reaction (but they haven’t seen all the deceitful behavior that preceded it, which the abuser does secretly, for the most part), they tend to believe and take sides with the abuser, who claims that you’re the one being abusive. Then you become the one viewed with suspicion. It’s truly like being in a POW camp, undergoing brainwashing and psychological torture which are invisible to everyone else but yourself. The only Christian who has ever believed me is a pastor, who himself was abused for years before he got a divorce. Incredibly, his church was wise and kept him on as pastor, discerning that he was not the one at fault. When I opened up to him about my experience, he immediately accepted me and validated me, since he’d been through the same things. Still, as kind as he was, his advice to me was not to consider the possibility of remarriage if and when I divorced. That made me very sad, since I had no hope of being married to a nice, truly Christian woman.

    So that’s why this site has been a Godsend to me since I discovered it a month ago. I had always planned to leave my non-wife the minute my last child left home (which is very soon), but I was sad because I believed that I couldn’t get a divorce and be remarried unless my “Christian spouse” committed adultery. I believed that I was sentenced to a life of loneliness. Now I have hope. God may perhaps not decide to give me a wife after I get a divorce, but at least now I know that I at least have the scriptural right to do so. I realize that abuse is indeed in the same category as adultery and desertion if you look at the scriptures comprehensively and not pharisaically.

    • Remedy

      AH…you mentioned it feeling like being in a POW camp….. yes!!!! I said this to my pastor two summers ago while we were still counseling with him. This was the best way I knew to describe what life was like…..truly. His response “Stop trying to manipulate me.” I was stunned beyond words.
      Glad someone else uses that description to explain how it feels. Like if the devil took up residence in your home, this is how he would treat you because he hates you.
      There are others living for the moment just like you are. It is a horrible way to go through life.

      • AbusedHusband

        What in the world?!! “Stop trying to manipulate me”?? What kind of response is that? So much for pastoral compassion and discernment. I’ve found that many pastors have enormous egos.

        It sounds like you were doing “couples counseling,” which, IMHO, is a recipe for disaster and increased abuse. In my naivete, my “spouse” and I had one such session 13 years ago (suggested by an elder we knew), and I could immediately see where things were going. I was desperate for help and understanding and for someone to call a spade a spade. You can imagine my distress when I saw that the counselor was being taken in by my very smooth-talking wife and was not going to be called to account for her abuse. (Counselor: “I think it would be a good idea to schedule 9 more sessions (at $100 per session).” I declined, seeing that the “counseling” was going to be worse than useless. The “counselor” later remarked to the elder that he was “surprised” that I “gave up” so soon.) Sure enough, right after the session, my non-wife (in the parking lot) became exceptionally nasty and brutal. I like your devil metaphor. The devil truly lives in a home where there’s an abuser, especially when the abuser puts on a “Christian” façade.

      • Hi AbusedHusband, welcome to the blog 🙂

        Please forgive the fact that this second comment of yours was not published as promptly as your first comment. It’s to do with the fact that my time zone (in Australia) is so different from the USA and when I woke this morning I glanced at the comments in Pending and saw your second comment but didn’t realise your first comment had already been published. I have a practice of generally giving careful consideration to comments from new male commenters who have submitted something to the blog, because so many males pretend to be victims but in fact are perpetrators. So I put your second comment in our ‘holding bin’ until I’d had a chance to review it.

        Now I have read your first comment I see that I have no red flags about you at all and therefore have happily published your second comment.

        I am not the only comment moderator on the blog, we have a team of 7 who moderate, but I tend to be the one who gives close scrutiny to comments we may want to closely scrutinize. You got caught in the middle! I trust it’s all okay now.

        If you haven’t already done so, you might like to read our New Users Info page in the top menu.

        And just out of curiosity, how did you find our blog?

      • Still Reforming (previously newlyanonymous)

        Remedy,

        Re: POW camp, this is one of the questions I asked myself when the fog was just starting to clear a little. I asked myself – when I would wonder if I still needed to pray for my anti-husband – “Did prisoners of war in camps during the holocaust pray for their captors?”

        I think they just tried to survive. If they ever prayed for their captors, it was likely after they were freed. Those who prayed while still captive were very few – like Betsie Ten Boom. (Betsie is Corrie Ten Boom’s sister; Corrie wrote “The Hiding Place,” among other books.)

        I asked someone recently about Corrie. This friend had seen my reposting from ACfJ on FB. He was questioning the teaching. So in a message, I asked if he was familiar with Ten Boom and her testimony of having an SS officer approach her after a talk she gave in a church. She recognized him, and he approached her saying she speaks of God’s forgiveness, but could she forgive him? He had repented and said he was now a saved man and asked for her forgiveness. She hesitated, but then said that she did forgive him.

        I asked my friend what if the man had not repented, should Corrie forgive him. He said he didn’t know.

        Corrie’s story on that incident is here, if you’re interested:
        http://www.familylifeeducation.org/gilliland/procgroup/CorrieTenBoom.htm

    • Survivor

      >>>No intimacy, no sex (literally, no sex), no affection (not possible with an abuser–she’s made herself my enemy), sleeping in separate bedrooms–and just constant attempts to destroy who I am as a person <<<<

      After my father died, I found his diary, and he basically described my mother in this very way. I don't like labeling her as an abuser, but I have been on the receiving end of her psychological and emotional cruelty (no true mother would do/say what she has done/said, but I feel guilty for saying that, even though it is true), and have observed it in other ways.

      I'm so sorry this is your story. It should never be anyone's story.

    • loves6

      Praying for you Abusedhusband. You are in a minority but I have a close male friend that was in a relationship like this for about 20yrs.

    • Also, AbusedHusband, if you havn’t already found it, you might like to know that we have a tag for male survivors:
      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/tag/male-survivors/

      • AbusedHusband

        I understand completely, Barb, about wanting to make sure that male perpetrators are not pretending on the blog to be the abused party. I kind of figured that the delay in posting my comment was due to a need to be careful.

        I found out about the blog I believe through an answer to the prayers I had asked for at another site. I had asked for prayer that God would show me whether I had the right as an abused husband to divorce and remarry. I can’t remember what link I clicked, but two days later I arrived at the ACFJ site, and immediately I realized that you guys are the genuine thing. An abused person can tell when others “get it” about abuse or not. And this site “gets it.”

        Survivor, thank you for your validation. Was your dad a Christian who remained with your mother out of obligation? I know the older generation tended to “stuff” feelings and keep things like abuse hidden and secret. Sad to hear he went through what I’ve been through.

        Loves6, thank you for your prayers.

      • Still Reforming (previously newlyanonymous)

        AbusedHusband,
        I heard of such an abusive situation recently when I started talking about what happened in our home. I felt all the worse for the man involved because I thought others might be less inclined to believe his story, given that he’s the father in the family (and the wife often turns tables on him, calling the police herself and spinning a tale that he’s done something). Also, he may feel he doesn’t have a leg to stand on in court (although in my experience, men certainly do have very protected “rights” these days in court).

        Speaking from a female perspective, I do think that since men are naturally stronger physically and have a God-given authority in the home (one that many Christian women respect even when that authority is abused), it’s more common to hear about women suffering abuse than men.

        That said, I’m glad you’re here on this site because there’s a lot of needed support and truth spoken and granted freely here. You’re in good company and welcome. It’s always nice to have the perspective of men who “get it.” I’m sorry to hear that you get it from your own personal experience however. It’s never right when abuse occurs, no matter which gender is on the receiving end.

    • joyam

      I believe you. My husband and I are both divorcees and survivors of previous abusive relationships. He also reports not being believed, even by the police and still suffers occasional flashbacks and nightmares years after leaving.

      [Eds — screen name altered to protect commenter]

    • Mandy

      Your story sounds so familiar to my husband’s story of his former wife. He has only recently started referring to her as his “ex-abuser” and acknowledging that she did indeed abuse him. He too tried to stick it out for the sake of their child. She is the one that left the house and started divorce proceedings. I don’t know your specific situation but it is possible that even after your last child leaves home and you are divorced that the abuse may not end. My husband’s ex-abuser continues to use emails (her work email provides a “read response” option) to keep the memories of abuse fresh.

      Remarriage is possible but please learn from my mistakes as the new wife. I wish we had gone to premarital counseling with someone who specialized in my husband’s unique situation. I have unknowingly caused flashbacks for my husband and that breaks my heart. We are still learning how to navigate this emotional minefield of abuse recovery. I love my husband dearly and I do not regret marrying him. I just wish I knew a little more about being a partner in recovery.

      • Hi Mandy, not all survivors of domestic abuse experience severe enough responses to the abuse to merit a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but many of us experience some aspects of it. You may find it helpful to look at our tag for PTSD and also look at our Resources tab (top menu) for the sub-section Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

  5. Sunflower

    You asked how a soldier in Hitler’s army would manage. My father, who is about to turn 103, was one. As a young man he knew he had to be drafted for a few years, but had no idea there would be a war, of course, so he was ok with putting in that time. His family had already had cautions about the Hitler regime, in fact my grandfather on my mother’s side had preached about it and ended up on several years of house arrest. Yet dad noticed that members of his horse club were being drafted into the SS, and that made him very uncomfortable. So, he went to another town where nobody knew him and enlisted as a private. One day, the command came to march, and the war was on. Dad prayed that he would never have to shoot a man. He was a soldier throughout the whole war and never had to shoot a man. On two occasions he was asked to, and refused, and was very surprised not to be shot himself. He ended up saving a lot of lives, but that’s another story. His brother went along with the SS thing (he just turned 100) but after the war wrote a book of repentance for the choices he made. The German people were trained from small to always obey and never question authority and Hitler took huge advantage of that. I think that is similar to especially the ‘Christian’ women of our country, being raised to always be nice, always submit, accept it when a man tells us we asked for it, or it’s somehow our fault…………we hand over out power.
    In the end, my family fled, and God provided, as you did.

    • Not Too Late

      The part about Hitler’s army also stood out to me. I was thinking, as a Christian wife to a soldier of Hitler, you would be pressured by fundamentalists to submit to your husband. But what if your pastor happened to be Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was plotting to overthrow Hitler? It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who famously said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” So, I suppose, at church, you would submit to your pastor, and support him in the subversive but holy plot to overthrow evil, but at home, you would support your evil husband because you were required to be a good Christian wife. And in the process, you would develop a split personality!

      • Still Reforming

        Not Too Late,

        That’s a really excellent point that clearly demonstrates how we also should not tolerate evil in the form of abuse at home. We obey God, not men.

      • I remember the many years of marriage to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There was abuse and then he was sorry. This circle kept going on for years until he was not even sorry anymore. For the sake of his grown daughters of his previous marriage, I kept quiet. I wanted for them to have the hope for their father to have become a better man … until I snapped! I could no longer pretend. I told the truth to whoever wanted to hear it without caring about the consequences. The truth will set us free … that is what the bible says. All the church could tell me is that God can change the man! I had waited my life away … because God gives each human the freedom to choose. Why, for God’s sake, is the church so brainless!

    • oh wow, Sunflower, what a powerful story you have just shared with us! It is a jewel.

      Please give your father a big hug from me 🙂 XXX

    • ForMyDaughtersSake

      Sunflower, I hope this story gets published one day…it is one that needs to be told.
      Thank you for sharing

    • Glad

      Thanks for sharing that very interesting story. Life seems overwhelmingly difficult sometimes and it is hard to always make the most correct choices.

  6. Round*Two

    It is truly amazing how similiar, but yet dissimiliar our stories are. Thank you for sharing your testimony with us. I feel the pain in each of your stories, as I deal with my own situation! Oh…how I wish my husband would change… doesn’t he know that I love him? I can only work on myself…my issues, yes, I have issues. YOu see, after all the emotional ups and downs, having dealt with stalking, having to feel that it wasn’t my fault, etc. etc. pick up the pieces that another bestowed on me… I need to find balance in my life. I need the Holy Spirit to guide me, to heal me, to comfort me…. This is heartbreaking!

    • Author of This Post

      Thanks for reading my story. He puts our tears in His bottle. When I think of Him dying for all that sin, I think of Him dying for all that pain. I happily give it to Him!

  7. Brenda R

    Thank you for telling your story and your honesty. I am sure that at some point that God will send someone your way that will love you the way that you deserve to be. He has been with you the whole time, hasn’t left you and won’t.

    • Author of This Post

      Thanks!

  8. thepersistentwidow

    I am awed as I read the post and the comments by the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in these Christians. What faithful and courageous people they are. God is glorified in these testimonies of faith.

    • Author of This Post

      His strength is made perfect in weakness! I happily volunteer the weakness.

  9. joyisnowfree

    Oh, I absolutely loved this post. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I loved what you said, that our Lord rejoices over His bride. He treats us like queens. He loves us!! And yes, evil grows in the dark. Thank you again. God bless you.

    • Author of This Post

      I see more and more the importance of the woman in Scripture. I feel very loved and cherished. Misogynist lenses distorts His Word.

  10. loves6

    Thank you for sharing your testimony.

    I have not been physically abused sometimes I wish I was so I could just walk out the door.

    I have a huge complication or should I say temptation come my way. I’m struggling. A man likes me and has made it known to me. Problem is he is in a difficult marriage. I have told him I don’t need this in my life. I’m vulnerable and cannot be friends with him. I am attracted to him and I’m so scared. Last night my husband said to me I was like a porn star, while we were cuddling on the couch….the words are still ringing in my ears.
    Please friends on here pray for me. I really struggling just now.

    • I have not been physically abused sometimes I wish I was so I could just walk out the door.

      Loves6, you CAN just walk out the door! You are not disqualified from doing that just becuase you have not been physically abused.

      I shall pray for the temptation issue. It is right to be scared of falling into it. I would suggest to you that neither you nor that man are in an way psychologically (let alone legally) able to explore a relationship with each other, without courting multiple minefields of danger.

      I would suggest to you that the first step in your deliverance is to separate from your husband and do all that is required for making that legal and then give yourself a lot of time to recover and become stable, so that if and when you were to entertain another relationship you would be doing so from a position of balance and stability, not a position of great vulnerability.

      For that man to have told you he is attracted to you, was most unwise. It indicates that he does not have your best interests in mind — perhaps because he is so overwhelmed by his own needs and own suffering. By telling you his feelings towards you he has given you information that you, in your very vulnerable state at this time, will find it quite hard to deal with. He therefore is not a person who can make good judgements about how to best look after your needs at this time. Please beware. 🙂

      • loves6

        You are right Barbara I’m going to screenshot your comment so I can reread it.
        I’ve had a very hard week. My head has been spinning out. I have not been coping with this. I felt to confess and say this is happening it helps to being it to the light and ease the struggle the devil is happenings putting on me. I have never in all my Christian life had this happen…not the feeling of total vulnerability and fear that at a vulnerable moment I could make a huge mistake.
        Thanks for your wise words. ..needed to hear this xx

      • loves6

        Brenda R… My husband makes remarks like this all the time. This is one area in my life I find it very hard to stick up for myself. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I lose my voice at times like this…what is so disgusting is my husband knows that my abuser started the abuse with me at a vulnerable age of 3 showing me pornography. He had a stash of these books in ‘our hiding place ‘ that he would show me and have his way with me. My husband knows all this…all of what happened and he still cannot treat me as I precious flower, a treasured jewel in our times of intimacy. He makes me feel like a prostitute and he dosent even know it… I have told him over the years but he says sorry and tells me he dosent want me to feel like that…he just has this view that the marriage bed is undefiled.
        X

      • Brenda R

        loves6,
        I was also sexually abused as a child. I think these guys can sniff us out thinking that because we have been defiled by a pedophile that we will take whatever they dish out and pretty much they are right because we do loose our voice. I went through much without being able to open my mouth and have a word come out. When I did, I was told that he “didn’t know”. So he didn’t know or didn’t believe or was unconcerned about what had been happening to me throughout my life. He often asked if or accused me of having or wanting other men. Why in the world I would want 2 is beyond me. I was barely surviving having him around to contend with. The marriage bed is being defiled whenever he makes you feel like less than what you are.

      • Author of This Post

        I like your comment about the other man. I think we sometimes should not look to the world for our white knight. There are many broken people. When we are stronger, we can make better choices for ourselves.

    • Brenda R

      loves6,
      You should run as far as you can from both men. The man in the “difficult” marriage should be working on his marriage, not making it more difficult. He has no right to take advantage of your situation. He likely realizes that he could be your Achilles heel.

      I had a husband once that made what I felt were vulgar remarks, such as “you are my whore”. I am not anyone’s whore, but this was his idea of foreplay. It made me sick and he hated it that I didn’t buy into it. I think your H’s remark falls into this category. He became more violent over time until I spent time in the Underground Railroad. You can walk away for your own safety and sanity.

      • loves6

        I spoke to my husband about what he said to me the other night. .. he said he was sorry and said he thought it was what I wanted to hear!!!! I said seriously? ? That is not what I wanted to hear at all!!
        Incredible how they sweetly throw it back and it is so sweet and sincere. You wouldn’t think butter would melt in his mouth!!!!

      • Brenda R

        loves6,
        Satan is lurking in men’s hearts. His response is sadly typical.

      • Men that are into pornography or prostitutes become addicted. It is called sexual addiction. When a person is addicted, no matter what the addiction is, what was sufficient yesterday to give them a “high” is no longer true today nor will it be tomorrow. That is the sadness of it all. Sex is no longer “love in progress” but a mechanical way to get a high which has nothing to do with the person involved for this purpose. One becomes a tool of an addicted person. There is no love and emotion involved at all. Who would want to go through life like this?

    • Loves6, I am praying for you.

    • Kim

      I was where you are right now. And think you will be making the mistake of your life if you do not end all contact with this other man.

      Looking back, my narcissistic husband rarely laid hands on me, but the emotional abuse was akin to being in traction after a bad accident. I know how you are feeling. I realize now that my pride was hurt in that he lusted for me but I was never valued as a person. So that other man might seem irresistable to you now, but it can have no end but disaster for all and the repercussions will follow you.
      Prayers to you,
      An ex wife of a narcissistic abuser

      [Eds. comment edited as part of our duty of care]

    • Author of This Post

      God bless you and keep you.

  11. Round*Two

    Loves6,

    Any man who is married and knows you are married but yet expresses his feelings for you should be a red flag! I assume you don’t know why his marriage is not so rosy? Could it be he is an abuser or very possibly abused? Either way, you are very vulnerable. Please don’t put yourself into another bad situation while dealing with the bad situation you are now in. I know its easier said than done,but stay strong, keep your eyes on the mark…!

    Barbara,a thought came to mind. I have to wonder if any man has attempted to meet women here…prey on the vulnerable? I met my husband the internet on a christian site. I was divorced he was at the end of his divorce. I don’t need to tell you all how that turned out! I personally have no interest in bieng in another relationship (i still have a heart for my husband) even tho we are divorcing, but I know many vulnerable women feel they need a man in their life. Just a thought…

    • loves6

      RoundTwo…you are right about the red flag. I’m seeing clearer today.
      His marriage is not rosy due to lack of ‘great sex’ and him not giving his wife enough attention. I told him buy her flowers, take her out for dinner, send her texts through the day, make an effort and do smomething about it. I told him I am not a piece of meat and I am not prepared to be the ‘other’ woman in any relationship ever. I am a straight shooter here. I have to be… The temptation, even though I have said these things, has been huge. I’ve never experience anything like it.

      The mark of heaven gets very blurred at times for me. We left our church of more than two decades, only a few years ago, losing all my friends and not having any close Christian friends, nor a pastor I can go to Im wobbly on my feet. I know the right way but I’m struggling. I dint like the church we go to. I have not connected with anyone closely. My councellor goes there and I have to pay to see her for advice. I’m praying and seriously considering going to see my old Pastor and his wife …. The church is a strict fundamentalist place and they do not believe in remarriage after divorce but I am desperate for Christian wisdom from people that know my husband, I know after this time, they would believe me about the abuse. One of this Pastor’s favorite novels is Jeckyl and Hyde.

      I am very vulnerable at the moment …this is what is so scary to me. My husband is being so nice… this is when I feel even more terrible and crazy. He is touching me, making me coffees, breakfast, lunch for work, not complaining about much…. I then start thinking is imagining the abuse when he’s like this. I need a support network around me before I move on. I’m trying to build this up, well I’m trying to think of ways I can build things up.

      As for this man…. I am not going any further with this … I appreciate the prayers as I’m feeling a lot clearer in the head x

  12. Karen

    Thank-you Guest for sharing your life experience. There is one precious gem that I will remember when my abuser/accuser comes against me, which occurs daily as he roams the house criticizing and condemning me on even the most insignificant…and that is to pray as you did DURING the incidents, while the abuse is taking place. For no man can steal your relationship with Jesus or your prayers away from you, it is a free gift.

    Also, in prayer for you too, Loves6, for healing and continued wise counsel offered in to you in love.

  13. Round*Two

    Pow camp… Wow! Tho I can only imagine what it was like being in a POW camp, I can relate to shutting down…numbing myself. Feeling like a rag doll. I couldn’t”t feel anything! This was my way of surviving his persistent verbal outbursts and constant causing me confusion. Always walking on eggshells wondering how much did he drink today. Is it going to be a good day or a bad day? All the while, trying to be on my best behavior, trying to do nothing to set him off! This wasn’t living, this was him holding me hostage!

    • Still Reforming (previously newlyanonymous)

      Round*Two –

      That reminds me of what our third (and final) marriage counselor said to us. She looked at my husband and said, “(My name) is like the adult child of an alcoholic. She never knows who’s going to walk in that door at the end of the day.”

      So many things like that come back to me now, although at the time when I heard things like that I recognized that it was true, but while living in the fog, it was hard to see that clearly.

  14. Round*Two

    SR,
    I still find it hard even tho I’m no longer living in this situation. Im hurt, I’m sad and I know this is only temporary,.. A lotofemotjons going through my head right now….

  15. Still Reforming

    Round*Two –

    I completely understand – and those emotions can show up at any time without the former provocations. It’s a lot like grief in some ways.

    I know what you mean re: sad and temporary yet jumbled. I feel so glad that he’s not here and I’m not living in the same old situation – and yet, I’m still more sad than I am happy. But it’s better than before.

    I keep knocking on the door of the righteous Judge to keep us, protect us, and move us to a place where we can worship Him in peace and serve His people gladly.

    I’ll remember you in prayer…. (((((((((hugs)))))))))

  16. Round*Two

    AMEN! Thank you for your prayers! Keeping everyone in this site in prayer… (Hugs)

  17. ForMyDaughtersSake

    Author Of This Post, you are a wonderful writer! I am sorry for the life you lived with the abusive husband. I am thankful for the relationship with the Lord that grew in the midst of that turmoil, and, so glad you are out of that marriage.

    I am very touched by how you were made to believe that women did not have much value in God’s eyes, and are seeing the GREAT value of women in His eyes, and hope you can write more, to help other women see their value, through God’s eyes. I believe twisted doctrines, can cause women to doubt their worth and value, and it is a lesson that needs to be taught.

    You referenced what sounded like getting involved with another man, while still not out of the abusive marriage? (I hope I did not misunderstand?) I have tried to help others understand how this ‘can’ happen, to women, in abusive marriages. Abused women have been left with huge emotional voids, daily, desiring to be filled, striving day after day, months into years, trying to ‘fix’ themselves so their spouse will stop making more and more holes in their hearts. I think a great deal of grace is bestowed from the Lord when an abused woman finds herself in such a situation, He shows mercy to the woman ‘caught in adultery’ and the woman at the well, who had five husbands, and was living with a man not her husband. The Lord knew the woman caught in adultery was with a man who was noticeably absent from the public conviction. It takes two — and only one was brought before the crowd to be stoned. What a clearly misogynist environment that woman found herself in. And, Jesus chose that woman who was living with a man, unmarried, to be the bearer of His good news to her city. He did not choose a man; nor did he choose a woman without a jaded past. He chose her, and in doing so, communicated her great value.

    Abuse is a covenant-breaking action. He who vowed to love, honor and protect, provide for and nurture all the days of his life, was a liar and a fraud, who annulled his vows by his abusive action. I think in some way, you were ‘not’ married, though still living under the same roof. Marriage as your vows had been spoken, was non-existent. You just had not gotten the legal paperwork done yet.

    You serve a merciful God, who loves you, and values you and knows your frame.

    Thank you so much, for sharing!

  18. Glad

    I left my husband twice. The first time, I went with God and I was strong. I went back to the marriage with my husband’s promises of change. I had to be sure. He no longer hit me, since criminal charges had been laid, but he was creative in new ways to strike at any vulnerable part of me. I was truly sleeping with the enemy. Early in the marriage, I told myself he did not know the harm he was doing to me inside. If he only knew, surely he would change. I later realized that he hurt me because he wanted to. Part of him wanted to destroy me.

    I was furious with God that He had not given me the miracle I thought I deserved. God did not force my husband to change!
    Turning my back on God when I left the second time, made me weak. A friend of my husband’s pursued me and I did get involved for a short time. I remember telling my sister that by making things easier in the short run, it would be harder in the long run. That was true. By being angry with God, I turned my back on my source of strength. I was so desperate for that support in the short run! The involvement increased the pain for me, my ex husband, whom I had sacrificed so much for and thought I loved and sadly, for my ex-family and especially my mother in law, who had always been so good to me. It also brought me shame.

    Not surprisingly, the man who pursued me turned out to not to be a friend of either me or my husband. I’m so glad God is faithful, even when we fall and I’m so glad I am out of that marriage!

    Thank you for pointing out that God used the Samaritan woman at the well, not even legally married to bring the good news. That is an encouraging thought. I want to walk with Him and please Him.

    • Dear sister, thanks so much for your comment and welcome to the blog! I really appreciate you sharing this part of your story. I’m sure it will help others. 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      I changed your screen name to “Glad” as a precaution. If you want us to change it to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain: twbtc.acfj@gmail.com —she will be more than happy to assist. 🙂

      If you comment here again, please try to ensure that the fields (little boxes) in the comments form do not give a name or a URL that could identify you. You may have to manually correct what your device has auto-inputted into those two little boxes.
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