I cannot tell you the number of times women, pastors, family members and friends say, "But there's no physical abuse..." as if that means a man's behavior is negligible. With or without physical violence, controlling patterns of behavior restrict and confine individuals to a level of isolation and torment.
Why You Don’t Know
It's common that individuals who come in regular contact with a woman experiencing domestic abuse don't know about it. She doesn't want you to. And you won't see it. Why?
Love is a Dangerous Word
One of the most common pieces of advice is for husbands to tell their wives, "I love you" when things have gone awry. (Trigger warning) This is why that's a bad idea: The word "love" is equated with action. So in imbalanced, or sin-driven marriages, "I love you" means: I love how you make me … Continue reading Love is a Dangerous Word
Headship: Take 2
A body that is cared for the way Jesus cares for His bride will be healthy and vibrant. It will love and serve others outside itself.
Rules and consequences easily set themselves up for hierarchy. They don't have to, but that is our natural tendency as sinful creatures--to set ourselves up to be served rather than to serve.
It’s Not Anxiety
Woman after woman is accused of--or describes herself as--suffering from anxiety. Making decisions, moving through the day, talking to individuals, caring for children, going to bed. All are riddled with a sense of dread, fear, panic, unease. The words, "If only..." precede every other thought. The Bible speaks to anxiety. Pastors and Bible study leaders … Continue reading It’s Not Anxiety
The same is true of marriage. You and I can give advice, try to relate to a suffering or distant woman, and come alongside her, but if we don't have the words or ability to understand the difference between a mutual relationship and an oppressive one, we aren't even speaking the same language.
So when we clean or cover up another's sin and remove consequences and the opportunity/need for repentance, we are not serving them. We may be serving ourselves without realizing it. We are not working with God, but against Him.
Good and Angry
If grief is the normal response to abuse, anger follows honesty or candor. "How could I keep going back?" "Why didn't I ____?" "Who does he think he is?" Because anger is a response to moral failure, it reveals what we perceive to be right and wrong. In the case of abuse, anger is not … Continue reading Good and Angry
A House of Cards
It's normal and good to help individuals who are struggling. We all want relief and an end to conflict. The problem is, if we don't understand the dynamics of abuse and of any given relationship, we can easily work against those who are hurting. We will find ourselves working against God. For years a wise … Continue reading A House of Cards