Bible Study Discussions with Gary Panell
Question: Should a Christian woman stay in a marriage of verbal abuse for over 20+ years when the husband refuses to go and get some help and counseling and is angry at the whole world and he is also a racist. He has repeatedly said that he has done nothing wrong and that he is not changing for anyone especially his wife and daughter. The family had almost ended up in a physical fight with which all three involved could have been hurt or killed.
The husband had told the wife and daughter to get the ______out!!! The wife and daughter finally left and have not been back for about 10 months. He has called and harassed [his] wife and daughter on the phone several times with threats etc. The wife and daughter were getting so physically sick that they could NOT take it any longer. He is a very, very, prideful man and does NOT like a woman to tell him anything or what to do.
He does NOT listen and respect his family’s views. The wife has left him over and over again and still went back because of their baby. This man was always in and out of work and it was always the other employee’s fault and he blamed it on the management all the time. You just could NOT reason with him anymore and the most important thing is that he just would NOT listen either way.
The only thing that he really did a great job (100%) was paying all the bills and putting money in checking account for food. He has stopped paying the car insurance for wife and daughter since they have moved out.
I would so appreciate some advice on this situation. The wife and daughter have felt sooooooooooooo much better and have had no knots in their stomach and feeling sickly [as they did when they were] living in that home. It had gotten to be truly un-bearable.
Answer: Weigh what we say with the Word of God [the Bible], and with what He is saying to you personally. [If this is a friend you are speaking of, what God confirms in her heart, as to what she feels He is saying to her.]
One of the first issues you bring up is the fact that the husband told his wife and daughter to get out. If he is unsaved, this would be one of the Scriptural reasons to get out of the marriage. However, move slowly as God can still perform a miracle!
Another issue is the continual abuse being done over the telephone. That needs to stop. You need to get records of phone calls- # of calls, times of day, and try to record the threats. Get the police involved, and seek a restraining order.
God has stated that He hates divorce Malachi 2:16. The Scripture also states that the only reason for divorce is unfaithfulness in the marriage partner or a Christian and non-Christian in a marriage where the non-Christian no longer wants to be married to the Christian. “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:15-16)
Having said that, there is never a time when it is appropriate for a marriage partner to give verbal, mental, emotional, or physical abuse. A person should not stay where there could be harm done to themselves or their children in an abusive situation.
I do believe that the best route is to seek either an informal separation or a legal separation first. This will possibly be a wake-up call to the marriage partner that there needs to be some serious changes made. God can perform miracles even when the situation seems impossible or the marriage partner seems obstinate and unwilling to change.
Only God can change a person though. We cannot make a person change. We can only pray for them and ask God to work in that person’s life. A third issue is that of financial support. What kind of emotional and financial support system does the wife have? Does she have a job and can she support herself and her daughter? What kind of support does she get from her family or from his family?
This woman needs a network of people—family, pastor, and friends—that she feels she can go to at anytime to get help emotionally or financially. She needs people she can just talk to who will listen to her without judgment or even advice at times.
Both the mother and daughter would probably benefit from going to see a good Christian counselor. This mother and daughter also need to attend and get involved in a good Bible believing church—one where people care about them and will surround them with love and understanding. (That is of course, if they don’t have one already.)
Also, in a situation like this it is easy to blame God and drift away from Him. That’s why it’s important to maintain a daily relationship with God in prayer and Bible study. Tell God how you feel—you won’t shock Him! Remember God loves you and wants His very best for you. It’s our poor choices that often prevent us from getting God’s best. Don’t blame God for choices the husband has made or for the stronghold Satan has gotten in this marriage. Instead, run to God. Cling to His promises until you see their fulfillment! We will be praying for you.
In Christian love,
Marlene Kay Panell
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Gary Tomás Panell
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Key words: God, Christian, wife, marriage, husband, abuse, family, verbal abuse, physical abuse