God Help Me!
I tried so hard to make everything right,
but tonight, ended in another scary fight.
I don’t know what to say, and I don’t know what to do,
as I lay here curled up in fear of you.
I wonder what happened to our love.
How could your kind words become so cruel,
killing any lingering love, I have for you.
Pain cannot be God’s plan for my life and marriage?
Lord, help me see your will, I need to know,
Should I stay, or should I go?
~Darla Colinet, Speaker and Author
How Does a Marriage Get to This Point?
This was my plea for thirteen-years and my abusive Christian marriage. I struggled to understand how it could be God’s will for me to stay with my husband who was hurting my children and me. I went to church, only to be faced with being told to submit to whatever my husband wanted.
After fleeing my abusive ex-husband and partnering with Jesus to heal, I am now an advocate for women who are still lost in abuse. As I have taught and listened to many Christian women over the last twenty years, I can see how they are being abused, but they don’t even realize it.
Many Christian marriages are struggling to find happiness and fulfillment. They love each other, they go to church together, they pray together, but they can’t seem to stop fighting or being frustrated. Some of these marriages may be in an abusive cycle without knowing it. However, this is not a death sentence for their marriage.
You Do What You Know
Each of us comes into our marriages with our specific design and perspective of love. It never occurred to me that people had different perceptions, expectations, and designs for love and marriage until I was around thirty-five.
As I started studying God’s word about marriage, I realized that I, as well as my husband, had a different perspective on love compared to Christ’s. In reality, my hope for a love like Jesus collided with my design of love and my husband’s abusive design. It’s no wonder that my hope and two broken love designs brought confusion, frustration, anger, resentment, and abuse.
Until you learn the perfect love design of Jesus, you will keep using your broken default love design. Even when you learn and use Christ’s perfect love design, your spouse may choose not to follow it. No matter what your spouse decides to do, Jesus is still calling you to follow his perfect love design.
Christ’s Design of Love Brings Truth
God’s two greatest commandments are the foundation for Christ design of love. We are given the authority and power to live in these commandments as Christ lives in us. We can love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind. God must be our priority and compass for love. Next, we have the authority and power through Christ to love others as we love ourselves, equally. The life of Jesus shows us the characteristics of the fruits of the Spirit and how his design of love can bring us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
No one is born knowing Christ design of love, and they don’t have a personal relationship with him. Therefore, we must learn and live in Christ’s perfect love design, or we will love from our imperfect one.
Will You Both Choose to Follow Christ’s Design of Love?
Learning about Christ design of love and choosing to live in it does not guarantee that your marriage will be healed. It will take the both of you choosing to die to whatever design of love you had before and start living in Christ perfect love design.
When your spouse refuses to stop abusing you, you must accept that you have no power to change them. You are only responsible for making sure that you and your children are treated with respect and honor, in Christ’s love. For some of you, like me, you will face a divorce. But I can tell you if you stay and follow Christ design of love he will redeem your life beyond anything you can imagine even if you get divorced.
As you start looking at yourself and your marriage, you may discover unhealthy mindsets and behaviors, including abuse. If you find abuse, don’t be afraid. You have the power of Christ living in you that overcame death. Ask Jesus to help you use his wisdom and knowledge to understand that any type of abuse it’s not in his design of love.
If your abuse is life-threatening, call the hotline immediately or go to your nearest women shelter for help, (1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224).
If you realize there is verbal, mental, or financial abuse that is not life-threatening, you will need to make an assessment and some decisions, especially if you have children. First, you need to honestly ask yourself if your spouse is truly trying to follow Jesus? Is he willing to do whatever it takes to live in Christ love design?
If you believe your spouse will work with you, and you have agreed together, seek marriage counseling with a Christian counselor. Do not lose hope. I have seen some of the most unhealthy marriages healed and brought back from the grave when they are both determined to have an astounding marriage centered in Christ’s love design. Trust Jesus when he said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 NIV