What does the Bible say
about abusive husbands?

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QUESTION:  I want to know what the Bible says about abusive husbands.  I was married to a man who mistreated me for more than 25 years. After I divorced him, he said he turned his life over to God and that he would never hurt me again. Is becoming a Christian, of itself, enough to have changed him?

ANSWER:   I was also married to an abusive husband. I know what it is like to live in a situation like yours.

Can a husband with abusive rage change simply by believing in God, or by just reading the Bible and praying? My answer is NO. The typical repeat offender will beg forgiveness, make promises to God, you, the family, and even to himself but he is unable to keep any of these. It is like adding more fire to the flame. You are not ever going to be able to live together as husband and wife and that is the first thing you must learn and accept.

We women have to come to the realization that our ultimate Father in heaven does not want women hurt and DOES NOT condone abusive treatment by their mates. It is not your fault nor mine nor any other woman who finds herself in this same situation.

Domestic violence is about power and control. Those who behave in such a manner do have an amount of control over their thoughts and actions. Many times those who act in this way have been raised to disrespect women by doing the same things they saw their father or grandfathers do to women in their own family. It is part of the character of the man and he has to be totally healed by God. As you have already witnessed, it is safer for you to stay away from the likes of your ex-husband.

As a believer and someone who was determined to do what the God of the Bible said and not veer from it to the right or to the left required a lot of years of study and some bad experiences too. For instance, I had just begun to go to church again when an abusive explosion happened and I just ran away from home. I took my two teenaged kids and drove to the west coast alone on a few bucks I had managed to save without his knowledge.

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What are some guidelines for prayer?

I went to every Bible study offered and met new friends. At that time, the issue of what God says about divorce and remarriage was raging in our church. My new pastor told me to go back to my husband IF he spent the money to take me back home and allowed me to continue attending church services. I dutifully went back to my husband and resumed what most people thought was an idealized marriage. In reality, however, it was not.

God can help you cope with or heal any depression you may possess. Elijah experienced depression when he hid in the cave (1Kings 19). Did God punish or criticize him for it? No, he fed him and comforted him until he had rested enough to be sent on his way into another chapter in his life. I spent about six months in the depths of depression and did contemplate suicide for a time.

I suggest being kind to yourself and allow yourself some extra time to rest and sleep and mediate and fast if necessary. Sometimes menopause can making coping with the situation worse but I find that when I am depressed it is because of some major decision I have to make or some trauma I had just experienced. I suggest getting close to the Father and ask Jesus to intervene on your behalf and you can be healed as well.

In closing, rather than turning to a pastor for help about a former, seemingly repentant, abusive husband, turn to God and ask him to fill you with his power and wisdom. This will help you understand and put into practice the things the Bible says to do.

Additional Study Materials
Does being mistreated justify a DIVORCE?
What is SPIRITUAL Depression?
Is it better to be single than married?
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