Trusting God After Leaving An Abusive Relationship

Long ago before I made that decision to follow Christ I was sitting in church complaining to my sister that I didn’t want to come to church any more because I didn’t believe. She said, “Fake it till you make it.” Yeah, it sounded funny to me too at the time!

She meant to stick around and hear it out, so that I’d have enough info to put the pieces of the puzzle together in order for me to see the full picture. Then it hit me. I’d been in church for a long time with a wall up.   The reason for that was the many years of abuse created some serious trust issues within me. Church was a nice break from the reality of my life so I stayed put.

The Home Life

Living in that one sided relationship that started when I was only fifteen years old, I was married at 18 and felt that I’d lost my identity to a kid living in a man’s body.

Fear had me living for someone else instead of me. Three months into our marriage and my life was becoming a violent and vicious cycle of denial and abuse.  I washed his clothes, cooked his meals and lay in his bed lying to myself.  The truth was that he was a womanising, violent, drug addict who was so messed up, convinced he was right and didn’t want any help to change.

I was so scared to face the truth about my situation which would make see how broken I really was, or to confront him which would mean a violent reaction.  The lies I told myself were numerous but the big one was telling myself that he would change from the strange person before me who was becoming the embodiment of every loathsome characteristic I didn’t like in a human being.

When the threats began, I felt trapped like a hostage in my own marriage. The situation seemed hopeless. He was totally convinced that my family were trying to separate us. Yet my family had never interfered in our relationship. When I tried to leave him he told me that he’d sneak in the house at night while we slept to kill us all.  Believing that he was capable of carrying the threats out, I stayed.

When we separated the only things I got out of that relationship was PTSD.. Years later I found out that I had been living with a certified Schizophrenic.

So after my experiences giving myself over completely to God took an enormous amount of trust.  Then I discovered that true love is found only in God.

God is Love and the source of love  

I was convinced that I hadn’t fully learned what love was so a quest began to understand God’s love.  This bible passage below describes His Holy (perfect) love and after reading I saw how distant we all really are from it.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails…….”.

GET HELP

If you’re in a violent situation don’t bury your hurts by lying to yourself.  See a counsellor, a church leader, your pastor and even your doctor for help. Don’t do it alone.

Lifeline 13 11 14 (Australia)

If your life is in danger don’t hesitate to dial 000.

A Loving Relationship between a Man & Woman

As a mother the most difficult part of my job is watching my child suffer so she can learn her lesson. While I’m the one dishing out the discipline, (taking away privileges) I know the experience is making her wiser. She’s soon to become a teenager and currently shows a little interest in boys. But that’s all soon to change.

She’ll eventually grow up to make her own decisions and make her own mistakes, so I teach her the value of taking responsibility for her own actions. This teaching will come in handy when it comes to relationships. The person she settles with will come from a different family, have a different upbringing and have a different set of values, so she needs to be observant and remain alert when choosing.

I pray for her future husband and teach her to do the same. We’ve led by example and the legacy we leave behind with a loving relationship will hopefully have a positive impact. I’m hoping she’ll grow up to be the kind of woman that makes mindful decisions for her life and future.

I’m no relationship expert but I’m hoping my daughter will take hold of what has taken me a lifetime to learn.

  1. Treat each other with respect. Do not talk about your partner/spouse behind their back. Your loyalty is to each other. Don’t ignore the friendship.
  2. Your spouse/partner shouldn’t be totally dependent on you.  They need to have their own goals in life, a job, their own interests and enjoy living a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Nobody has the right to lay a finger on you.  Nor do you have the right to be violent with someone else.  There is no reason on earth why violence should be accepted in the home.  A lack of self esteem can trap women in violent controlling relationships. You are awesome. Get out as fast as you can and don’t go back. You might want to consider pressing charges should this happen to you. It might save another woman’s life.
  4. Feel secure in your relationship and know that you are loved.  You’re fine the way you are and the right person will accept you just as you are.
  5. You’re worthy of love and happiness. Love isn’t just about giving. It has to be reciprocated.
  6. Being together is fun.  Spending quality time together is even better and a must. Make time for each other, listen always and love with all your heart.
  7. Your opinion is to be respected.  You’re consulted on major decisions and what you have to say is valued.
  8. The foundation of your relationship is based on mutual love for one another not lust.
  9. Don’t ignore the sexual intimacy. Keep that healthy but sex must not be the foundation of your relationship.
  10. Any man who demands more than you’re willing to give to gratify his own sexual desire is not loving you more than his own need. Leave this guy fast! He’s using you like a sex toy. Don’t waste your time. Time is precious and you can’t get it back.
  11. Looking at members of the opposite sex appreciatively of their beauty is normal, but flirting is not acceptable.  This in my books is the same as window shopping.
  12. Choose the father of your children very carefully.  Marriage is a lifelong commitment. Work together to keep the relationship sweet. Get counselling if you need help as a couple. Pray for him. Trust your instinct.  It’s your call if you need to bail.

Submission To One Another In Marriage

Harmonising a marriage is difficult but not impossible.

In my observations, the bible is taken out of context by some when it comes to women submitting to their husbands and vice versa.   A subservient 50’s style housewife is an out-dated picture that doesn’t fit with modern day masses of women holding full time working careers while taking care of their families.

Being submissive to our spouse isn’t a mindless act of subservience but instead it is an informed choice and an act of love and respect.  The bible calls for mutual submission of both men and women to each other. When a husband and wife act out of mutual submission, their love grows and flows into all aspects of their life including their intimacy.

Mutual submission and equality when it comes to love & respect in a marriage

From a Christian perspective, while we are to mutually submit to each other, we are also to treat our husbands with the love and respect they deserve. They too are to treat us with the same love and respect.

If I’ve learnt anything is that marriage shouldn’t be a struggle for power, but a union powered by love.  Yes, a power union!

What men and women need to keep in mind

A woman’s submission is not a license for a man to overpower a woman or mistreat her in any way.  A man’s submission is not a woman’s license to nag or say and do as she pleases.

Marriage is an ongoing commitment to love one another where submission to each other is purposeful in cultivating unity and intimacy in a relationship where couples can show appreciation and share loving affection for one another.  The bible says that man and woman become one flesh. This describes what happens spiritually and physically, but also mentally within the relationship and even though we are individuals, we become one.

When submission is not OK.

Husbands and wives aren’t to sin against God.  Nor are we to allow our husbands to cause us to sin.  This includes sexual sin.  We need spiritual boundaries!

 “A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.”  A quote from the book, ’Boundaries’ by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend have written another excellent book titled, “Boundaries within Marriage”. 

What about turning the other cheek?

Turning the other cheek does not mean turning a blind eye!  Nor does it mean we should allow a man or a woman to be violent against us, verbally, physically or otherwise. Mental abuse is as damaging as physical abuse.  Sin must be confronted.

Trust God

“I have plans not to harm you, but rather plans for you to prosper”.   Jeremiah 29:11

How to confront Sin

In everything we do, even when we are angry we are not to sin.  Ephesians 4:26

The bible instructs us to gently and humbly confront one another.  Galatians 6: 1-2

What you can do when you are angry to calm yourself down:

  1. PRAY – Pray for your husband or wife and spend time in prayer seeking the Lord before having this conversation asking for God’s direction and timing.
  2. REPENT – Search your own heart and repent of sins, now you’ve repented and are forgiven show your husband or wife  the same grace.
  3. RELEASE – Go for a walk to cool down then, determine to leave it in God’s hands once you’ve said your piece and let go of any unrealistic expectations.
  4. PRAY – Pray for your wife or husband seeking his/her wellbeing.
  5. FORGIVE – Forgive your wife or husband. When trust is lost it also becomes difficult to regain.  Marriage counselling can help couples learn to start over.
  6. TALK TO A CHURCH ELDER – If he continues to sin then talk to your church elders.
  7. SEEK COUNSELLING – Talk to a counsellor who is a trained listener.

By Sandra Ciminelli

Finding Help

Search for one near you www.theaca.org.au

Relationships Australia1300 364 277

24-Hour Telephone Counselling

Numbers to call if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide.

Lifeline on 13 11 14

MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978