“Can you fix it?” (A shirt ripped to shreds during drunken brawl with friends)
“I guess I’d better carry the checkbook.” (I told him that I wouldn’t bail him out if he got a DUI).
“Poor wacked out thing, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
“I don’t recall that.”
“What good are you if you can’t have babies?” (I felt it was best to have no more children).
“You’re a cold, calculating, conniving bitch.” (?????)
“You never address my concerns.” (An excuse to not address my concerns)
“Maybe Mommy will reconsider.” (When I backed up HIS parental rules)
“It’s just stress – don’t spend money on a doctor.” (Half my face was paralyzed)
“If you want to be depressed, OK. But it doesn’t have anything to do with me, my drinking, or the girls. And don’t spend too much money on it.”
“There is no place in our family for anger.” (A 90-minute bedtime lecture, one of many)
“You’re being ‘No-Fun Diane.'”
“Why do you make up things to be mad about?” (Previous Post: The Day I Figured It Out)
“I rate our marriage a 9.5 on a scale of 10. How can you say it’s a 4?”
“I’m the best engineer they ever saw.”
“I’m the best cook ever.”
“I’m the perfect father and husband.”
“There’s nothing wrong with a couple of beers after work.”
“Even Pastor J*** says there is nothing wrong with a few beers before church.”
“Your calling the cops on me makes you really hot.”
“I prayed for renewed love for my wife, and He has given me such a love for my wife!” (In context, do you believe him? How about if he said this during counseling?)
“God has given me the grace to drink socially.”
“Simple, yet brilliant. I paid for it, I can piss on it.” (Regarding urinating in inappropriate places)
“You’re such a hypocrite.”
“I saved you from being a spinster.”
“You just have PMS.”
“You’re a f***ing a***ole bitch, you know that?”
“I’d like to smash your face in.”
“I love you.”
“God has given me such a love for my wife.”
“Let’s teach Children’s Church together!”
Now stop. Close your eyes and for a few minutes BE the spouse of the speaker above. Step into shoes, skin and role.
What would YOU hear as truth? At first….then later?
On what would YOU base a marital relationship? Which statements would you trust to define WHO you are married to? Which parts would you dismiss as just a bad mood?
How would you FEEL? How would it change the way you think about planning for the future? Having children?! Taking on a mortgage together, or building a business.
Would you look at it as bad behavior, done by choice? Or would you see mental illness or self-esteem issues, done without total volition? How would that change your response? Would you consider leaving (and leave children in his custody, at least part-time?)? Or decide you are one flesh and it isn’t an option?
Welcome to the first episode of the Domestic Violence marathon reality show called “What Am I Dealing with Today (month, year, decade) – And How Do I Respond?”
OK, put yourself in your own shoes again.
What would you believe if Christian friend related this to you? Perhaps a wife who seems to have a great guy for a husband? Or from a wife in couples counseling, when hubby has a perfectly good explanation?
How about a non-Christian friend? Would scriptural admonitions matter? Would you be more likely to believe that a non-Christian would act like this? Would you be more or less likely to suggest prayer, submission, waiting, obeying authority, etc.?
How about your sister or daughter? How would her story sound to you? What would you say? Would you support her in some way? How?
No physical abuse here, but this IS abuse. Even the love, taken in context. It doesn’t cause bruises, but it does create scars:
Permanent…etched in DNA, cellular functions, memory, physical reactions to stress, trust, faith, children who carry it to the next generation. There is recovery, just as after a serious injury there can be recovery, but a limp may remain.
How much of a limp depends a lot on the treatment given at the “hospital.” Hearing me?
Here are some places to start, if you want to learn more:
Violence in Families — What Every Christian Needs to Know, by Reverend Al Miles
Domestic Violence — What Every Pastor Needs to Know, by Reverend Al Miles
The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Join me at “Ending the Silence…?”