Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships

I once heard a statistic that the average woman leaves an abusive relationship nine times before she leaves for good. Nine times. I still haven’t been able to track down the exact source of this statistic, so I can’t validate its accuracy. But I can tell you from my own experience, and the experience of close friends, this sounds about right to me.

Add to this the fact that 1 in 3 women will be abused in her lifetime and what you have is an epidemic of women who, during one of the most “liberated” times in our culture are still being controlled by violence and oppression.

abusive-relationships

You might think this is an issue that doesn’t apply to you. But if the statistics are right, you have a high likelihood (33{9ac618bfda39dd0c8c9a0232963cb9a2adfe54a7367c2d4954ad9e847b2e5305}) of being in some kind of physical altercation with a romantic partner at some point in your lifetime. And even if you don’t ever find yourself in that place, pick your two closest friends, because one of them will.

Read this for them. Read this for yourself.

Read so women everywhere can be set free.

Why do women stay?

This is of course the most often asked question about abuse, and it’s a valid one, although it can feel a tiny bit insulting to the victim—who does have valid reasons for staying, even if she can’t fully articulate them. Still, it’s an enormously important question to ask—and to answer—because until we understand how and why abuse works, we can’t begin to unravel it.

I’ll never forget watching this TED talk and listening for the first time to a smart, capable woman talk about staying with a man who beat her.

I was mesmerized.

I was in tears.

Because finally—finally—this gave me permission to see that victims of abuse do not always fit the stereotype we give them. It gave me space to see that a woman could be smart, independent, capable and successful and still fall into an abusive relationship. Maybe so many women fail to admit the abuse they’ve suffered because they’d rather stay trapped and in denial than to embrace a title that makes them seem weak and ineffectual.

Especially when what they know to be true, in their spirits, is that they are incredibly strong. They are fighters and survivors.

It must be mentioned, too, that just as victims do not always fit the stereotype we give them, neither do abusers. They can be kind and charismatic, leaders in their community, with plenty of friends and a considerable amount of influence. As long as we think of victims and abusers as having to fit a certain profile, we will, for the most part, miss them.

Abuse? What’s abuse?

One of the big problems with the epidemic of abuse in our culture is that those of us who participate in abusive relationships often do not know we are doing it. This confusion happens for a variety of reasons, ranging from the fact that we don’t talk much about abuse, to the fact that abuse is learned behavior, so anyone who has experienced abuse is likely to repeat the behavior that led to it.

As it turns out, this has a good deal to do with brain chemistry.

In his book, The Body Keeps Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk explains how the abuse cycle literally changes your brain. Your neurological pathways are routed so that once you’ve been in an abuse cycle once, you become predisposition to go back to abuse, again and again. It’s like a strange safety-blanket for a child.

Most [victims of child abuse] suffer agonizing shame about the actions they took to survive…the result can be confusion about whether one was a victim or a willing participant, which in turn leads to bewilderment about the difference between love and terror; pain and pleasure…

Did you catch that? Bewilderment about the difference between love and terror, pain and pleasure. What a confusing world to live in where you can sense something is “off,” but where you have no other choice but to assume that this is just “the way it is”.

No wonder we’re so confused.

The nature of the abuse cycle.

The other thing that makes abuse so confusing is that abusive relationships tend to follow a predictable but confusing cycle of abuse, which moves from good to bad, and back to good again, without much warning or explanation, making it difficult for anyone to get a grip on what is truth and what is fiction.

I’ve written about the abuse cycle before, but essentially, it has four stages.

  • Tension building
  • Violent or abusive act
  • Reconciliation
  • Calm

A skilled abuser will use flattery and gifts and what’s called “lovebombing” to win the approval and attention of a woman. Then, after he’s endeared her to himself, the abuse cycle begins. If the abuser knows what he is doing, there will be enough time spent in the non-violent stages of the relationship for a woman to have hope that the connection can be maintained and eventually restored. When in the “abusive” stage of the relationship, she will probably think:

“If only I can fill-in-the-blank, we will go back to that time when he admired me and loved me…”

Like an obsession, this becomes all she can think about until she has achieved that end. The only problem is, she will never achieve that end. Because the very nature of the cycle is that it goes around and around and around.

The only way to end the cycle is to get off the merry-go-round.

What ends the abuse cycle.

I was talking to a friend the other day who bravely ended an abusive marriage. The violence in her house was physical, emotional, spiritual, financial—pretty much the entire spectrum. As we sat on her couch and talked about the specifics of what happened to her, we shook our heads at the ways we blind ourselves to what is really happening in order to survive.

If you were to meet my friend in person, you would be shocked to think she could end up in that kind of relationship. She is an Nationally awarded network TV producer, who has literally been trained to communicate clearly and effectively with celebrities, political candidates, high profile personalities, even convicted felons.

Again—abused women really do come in all shapes and sizes.

She also shared how many times she would think, “as soon as… [this stressful season is over, we live in a new city, we have a stronger support system, we can get into therapy, he gets a raise, I get a new job…] the abuse will end.” Victims of abuse will often do this. We blame the abuse on ourselves, on our outside circumstances—anything but the abuser himself.

The truth is the abuse never ends because outside circumstances change, or because you have suddenly learned to do a better job of following instructions.

For abuse to end, the abuser has to change. And you have zero control over that.

She thinks it’s her fault.

This is what keeps so many women from getting off the merry-go-round of abuse: the underlying sensation that whatever drama is going on in the relationship is her fault. It was something she did or didn’t do, something she said or didn’t say, something about her that is fundamentally wrong. If only she could find a way to change that thing—whatever it is—everything would be okay. So she spends all of energy trying to figure that out.

Meanwhile, the merry-go-round spins on.

If you’re wondering why a woman would take on this kind of responsibility, the answer is simple.

She has been cultured to feel this way.

Women are—statistically—less confident than men, less likely to express their opinions in a meeting, more likely to qualify their opinions when they do express them, more likely to apologize for something that isn’t their fault, less likely to trust their intuition or instinct, and more likely to defer big decisions to someone else—usually the men closest to them.

This is not to say all women feel this way, but so many women do, partly because the idea that women are less-than is woven deep into the fabric of our culture.

When a woman finally decides to walk out the door (time #9) it’s usually because she has decided to put an end to this way of thinking. She’s found a way to say, “This is not my fault. There is nothing I can do to change him.”

It’s woven into the fabric of our faith

Speaking of the fabric of our culture, I can’t address this topic and not talk about the fabric of our faith communities and the tremendous role they play in encouraging women to stay in abusive relationships.

I read a book recently by Ruth A. Tucker called Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife that does a great job of unpacking this phenomenon. As a woman who was married for two decades to a pastor who beat her repeatedly, Ruth talks about the terrifying way so many faith communities teach women to stay—even when it may cost them their life.

The message is, “this is just part of the program.”

Check out what John Calvin—one of the great church fathers—has to say about a woman’s “duty” to her husband in the face of abuse.

We do not find ourselves permitted by the Word of God, however, to advise a woman to leave her husband, except by force of necessity; and we do not understand this force to be operative when a husband behaves roughly and uses threats to his wife, nor even when he beats her, but when there is imminent peril to her life… we… exhort her to bear with patience the cross which God has seen fit to place upon her; and meanwhile not to deviate from the duty which she has before God to please her husband, but to be faithful to whatever happens.

Not only is a woman not permitted to leave her husband when he beats her, but additionally, she must fulfill her “wifely duty” to “please” him in spite of his abuse? And this is what God wants? This text is from a few hundred years ago, but if you’ve spent any time in church culture recently, you know the whisperings of this ideology have not fully faded.

How many abused women have been sent back home to their abusive husbands by a church that believes it is her role to “save” him?

Pastors, church leaders—you have to be more careful about this.

For the women who have suffered or are suffering.

For women who have suffered an abusive relationship in the past, or who are suffering now, first I want to say: I’m deeply sorry. But I’m also deeply hopeful. Because if you have demonstrated the kind of courage and resilience it takes to face of this kind of terror and survive, imagine how much power and resilience you will have when that opposition is out of your way.

You are already so brave and so powerful.

And you have only scratched the surface.

First and foremost, if your safety is in immediate danger, call an abuse hotline. There are resources out there for women. As scary as it can seem, you can make a decision that is right for you. You can do this. Think of all you have already survived.

If you are unwilling or unable to take that step right now, or if you’re not sure you need to, I want to urge you to tell someone. It doesn’t have to be someone specific. Trust your gut with this. Sometimes you’ll have a sense that one person is “safe” and another person is not safe. Trust that. Tell someone who seems safe. You’re holding a tremendous weight. Let somebody hold it with you.

If you are reading this and questioning yourself—thinking, “something feels off about my relationship but I’m not sure…” my advice is the same. Tell someone. Breaking the silence is your first step to freedom. If you think your partner would be angry that you told another person, well, there’s a good hint that what’s happening probably shouldn’t be happening.

Evil hates to be exposed.

Love has no fear of exposure. Love is light.

Ultimately, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that if you feel there is something wrong with what is happening to you, there probably is. You can trust yourself. You can trust your perception of the world.

For the friends and family members of victims.

There are a few specific things I want you to hear.

First of all, don’t assume that because your friends have never told you that they are in an abusive relationship, that means they aren’t. Just because you don’t think you know anyone who is stuck in the abuse cycle—doesn’t mean you don’t. Abuse victims come in all shapes and sizes and have become incredibly good at hiding.

Second of all, the best thing you can do for someone who you think might be in an abusive relationship is just to be there. Don’t push the issue. Don’t try to convince her to leave. Just be the kind of person she could come to when she’s ready to “tell someone”. Listen and don’t try to fix. If you push her, you may push her away.

Instead be someone who says, “what do you need? How can I help?

Make sure she knows, “anytime you need to call, come over, spend the night, etc—I’m here.”

She will come to you, eventually. Hopefully before it’s too late.

Final thoughts.

There is so much more to say on this subject, I couldn’t possibly fit it all here—even in this long format. I’m certain I’ve left something out. I’m certain I’ve misspoken. I’m not a trained expert on this subject. I’m just a woman who has suffered and who is passionate about doing anything I can to light the way for others.

All that to say, don’t let the conversation end here!

Share your stories. Share your experiences. Share your resources. Share your advice. Share this article and talk about it.

So much good work has been done for women in the past 100 years and I’m so enormously grateful. So much progress has been made. I am able to do work I love and support myself and live in peace and freedom because of the sacrifices those good women and men made.

There is more work to do.

Onward.

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36 comments on “Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships

  1. Wow. Thank you so much for this incredibly articulate, eloquent and insightful blog. I run a home for women who have experienced extreme abuse in Haiti, and your words could not ring truer. In order to be able to truly help victims, we have to break stigmas. Thank you for being so brave and writing such an amazing post.

    • “In order to be able to truly help victims, we have to break stigmas.” Yes, thank you Maria! Thank you for the good work you are doing to heal women and shape the world. So appreciate you reading and sharing.

  2. You’ve helped me understand why my mother stayed in an abusive relationship from the time I was 10yrs old until I was 16yrs old. The physical abuse was toward me and my siblings at first. She probably blamed us for it and excused her boyfriend. Then when we got older the physical abuse turned to her. She probably hoped it would end.
    I have always felt that my mother chose her pleasure over the safety of her children. The abuse started within the first 24hrs of her boyfriend moving in. For some reason she allowed him to stay and continue to abuse us for 6 more years. That part I don’t understand but I thank God we survived.
    Thank you for sharing this post.

    • Denetta—wow, I’m so sorry for what happened to you. This is something I didn’t have space to address in this article, but the children of women who stay in abusive relationships are negatively impacted in exactly the ways you’re talking about. Like Van Der Kolk talks about in his book, this sets you up to be predispositioned toward abuse cycle in adulthood… and the cycle continues. That is until you decide you’re ready for it to stop!

      You can be the one to break this cycle for good. And in doing so, I bet you’ll uncover heaps of grace for your mom who, despite a choice that really wounded you, was probably doing the best she felt she could.

      Again, so sorry for the pain you’ve suffered. Now to put that pain to good use. 🙂

      Much love.

  3. Ally, as someone who is a Domestic Violence Advocate for my current profession, thank you for writing this! It is so needed for those in this situation. Most victims think they are alone. “Why don’t they just leave?” is a question that makes me cringe because there are so many barriers to leaving. Maybe the safeR plan for her is to stay at the moment until she can secretly get all her ducks in a row. I have a client who finally left the marriage, but then 5 months later let him back into her home because she couldn’t afford to put food on the table for her and her kids. I’m not saying this is the right thing for everyone, but this was the only option in her case because he refused to pay child support unless he came back into the home. A lot of the time the abusers prevents the victim from ever getting a job as well, or threatens them that “you will get nothing if divorce me” … If that is you, contact the National Domestic Violence hotline (1-800-787-3224) to get the local domestic violence shelters or advocates in your area. More likely than not, they will have some sort of connection to a lawyer that can help you for free with the legal side of things. That is exactly what I do at the women’s shelter that I work at. Don’t be ashamed. Domestic violence crosses all socio-economic levels. Again, Ally, thank you for writing this. It needs to be heard!

    • This is so great Haley! Thank you for adding all this great information. So appreciate the good work you’re doing. Keep it up!

  4. This is a great article. There are many points that speak volumes into this topic.

    However, I think that it very strongly implies that abuse is physical violence. Abuse can just as easily (if not even more so) take the form of emotional and mental abuse. And very often, this type is even less evident and more overlooked by the people around the victim. I think it is highly negligent to miss this point out, since the abuse cycle, results and victim/abuser relationship is very much the same in both instances.

    I just thought I would add this point for anyone who has been the victim of emotional abuse and still relates highly to this article.

    • Darylle—you make a great point here and it was never my intention to make it sound like abuse is only just physical. It can of course be mental, spiritual, financial, emotional, etc. In fact, there was a whole section of this article where I talked about that, but had to cut for length. So thank you for bringing that up. Such an important point!

    • This is a really important article on a difficult topic – thank you for writing it! The only bit of feedback I have is that the article doesn’t seem to fully incorporate emotional/mental abuse. In my opinion, the toughest thing about these kinds of abuse in particular is that there is likely to be such a grey area for the victim. Particularly if we’re drawn to codependent or otherwise dysfunctional relationships because of parental addiction growing up or other factors, it’s easy to think we’re overreacting to normal behavior, instead of calling it what it really is: abuse.

      I was in an emotionally/mentally abusive relationship for two years and only recently, about ten years later, am I realizing it truly WAS abuse. My current partner treats me with love, kindness, and respect in all areas, and it has been so healing for me, though the majority of my healing took place while I was single. Now I know and experience what love is supposed to feel like, and it’s the polar opposite of what I experienced in an abusive relationship.

      • So important Julia! I can’t believe I didn’t make that more clear in the article. You’re right. It’s a hugely important piece to overlook. I had a whole section written called “Grey areas” that I ended up cutting for space that addresses exactly what you’re talking about. Thanks for adding that.

  5. I live in a small town in a southern state. It is a safe place to live and yet, this past weekend I met someone who had been sold into sex trafficking here in my small town. She is out and married to a good man but healing from the horrors. When we sat and talked, I just supportively listened, she said that she had never told anyone the whole story. She has been out of that life for 5 years and has told no one the whole story. Be there for people.

  6. My mother made me dump someone who liked me for someone abusive. The person who liked me was the person of my choice. He was never abusive. He was supportive but the thing is, he didn’t meet my mother’s extremely high expectations while this abuser she set me up with did. He hated the person I dated before him and was extremely jealous of him and other people I socialized with. This abuser never had many friends of all sorts while I did because I’m normally an adventurous social butterfly who gets pretty wild. He thought of himself as a good person due to the fact that he met my mother’s extremely high expectations while he called my ex a bad person and hated the fact that I dated other people before him.

    And then there’s a childhood friend of mine who’s been in several abusive relationships. My dad has told me it’s because of her bad-girl persona, due to her narcissistic attitude towards others. She obviously lacks empathy. He thinks that when she gets married, her husband will always verbally and physically abuse her because of her attitude. I think another reason men become abusive is that they ended up with the wrong woman whom they retaliate against, according to what my family has been telling me. Men who get involved with bad girls can sometimes be hostile towards them, which shows men are not forgiving of women who wrong them. Just ask Roosh V, Matt Forney, Julien LeBlanc, or anyone that is obsessed with finding a good girl to become his wife or so. You can Google them if you want. They write blog posts on how to tame bad girls by enslaving them. There’s a lot of people like that on the web these days and they generate a lot of controversy. It would be dangerous to be involved with people like these since they abusive tendencies.

  7. Thank you, Allison, for putting to words what so many abuse survivors are dealing with. It can be so hard to explain the inner workings of an abusive relationship – the feelings, the thoughts, the two-fisted pulls by the abuser to stay as their pawn in their twisted view of life. What makes sense to an abuser certainly does not make sense to the rest of the world, but when that’s all you’ve known growing up it becomes reality.

    It’s a challenge for us women to make sure that rotten, decaying tree branches don’t carry over to our own family tree. What is typically passed down from generation to generation can quickly spread like a fungus and kill the roots of any healthy family. Honestly, the moment I made the firm decision to leave my abusive ex-husband was the first time he screamed obscenities at my 2-year old. And when she fought back, he screamed back and I drew a line in the sand. Why I didn’t leave him after he screamed the same heart-breaking lines at me I may never know.

    Dealing with the aftermath was no easy task. Like the TED talk, after we leave we fear being labeled, we fear having to explain ourselves, we fear being uncomfortable, being shamed, being misjudged, being abandoned, being alone. And, you know, all of that happens anyways. Our fears are correct, but it’s what we do with those fears that brings us safely on the other side.

    My ex still won’t acknowledge that what he did was wrong. He never will. He once told me that what he did was normal in a marriage….because that’s what he witnessed growing up. I can’t change him. But I can raise my girls to be strong and hopeful, independent yet reliant on God, confident yet patient. He will always be a black fungus in my life but by building sky-high boundaries, I can keep his tree limb out of my property, and his lies out of my head for good.

    Prayers for anyone else dealing with an abusive relationship. Please don’t wait to do something. I promise you it will NEVER get better. You are a strong and dynamic woman. Take this opportunity to take care of yourself, and your kids. Don’t allow the fungus to spread.

  8. I did my doctoral research in attachment and complex trauma and my dissertation was on this exact topic (titled “Why she dosen’t just leave”), and you condensed the essence of it in a beautifully accessible way! The stats on times attempting to leave are all over the place and hardly ever with cited sources. The only thing I was able to find in a scientific peer reviewed journal was from 1985 and it said 5 times,(Okun, 1986. Woman abuse: Facts replacing myths.) but I have heard cited everything from 5 to 10 times, and in my research many women stated they tried to leave anywhere from 2 to over 100 times.
    There is no “typical” victim or abuser. The fact is most people probably know someone who is currently being abused (or was) and they likely don’t even know it. Abusive relationships are complicated, leaving is hard and messy for so many reason. victims need support not judgment for “staying so long”.
    Thank you for writing this article and helping put this information out there.

    • Thanks Hollyn! I’m sure you have plenty to add/share on the subject since it was your dissertation topic. I appreciate you reading and sharing!

  9. Thank you for a very thoughtful article.

    Our immediate family is dealing with a toxic situation that, for some reason we can neither figure out nor can the abused articulate, continues on and on…

    One question: can you provide a citation for your John Calvin quote? I would like to dig deeper into that.

    Many thanks!

    • I got it from the book Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife that I mentioned. On page 90, chapter 6. She cites it as being from “Letter from Calvin to an Unknown Woman” June 4, 1559. You can see the full citation on page 200 of her book in the footnotes.

      • Ah yes, of course. Right there in the article… oh well.

        I have not read Ruth Tucker’s book but a person I trust said it is a decent one but it has numerous faults in theology and application. Tim Challis has an excellent review here: http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/black-and-white-bible-black-and-blue-wife which kinda confirms what my friend said.

        Googling “Letter from Calvin to an Unknown Woman” June 4, 1559 is helpful in understanding usage and contexts. It sure looks like the consensus is that “The Church” has historically done a dreadful job at accurate Scriptural interpretation and application on this subject. That has been my direct observation also.

        Thank you again!

    • Thanks Keith! Also, sorry to hear about the toxic situation you talked about. Keep fighting and loving. There is healing and hope on the other side.

  10. Thank you so much for bringing awareness and understanding to this topic that has been muddied and misunderstood by so many. I left an abusive marriage after 6 years and 2 kids. He was the assistant pastor of a church and I was told that it was my duty to forgive him and that I must never separate from him, since I didn’t have a good reason “biblically” unless it was just to stay a couple of houses down on the pastor’s property to get some space. I was so close to taking my own life, but am fortunate enough to have a family that saw what was going on and gave me another way out. I left with our daughters and got treatment for myself and it has been a journey ever since. If I wouldn’t have made that crucial choice to get out when I did, there is no way I would be here today. I know that God was with me the entire time and that His will was not for me and my daughters to be mistreated and abused. People love to say “God hates divorce” since it’s in the old testament, but how about “God hates abuse?” I think he hates that just as much!

    • Wow, Julie, you are a warrior. Good for you for getting out, and for doing the hard work you’re doing to recover and thrive. You are so strong. Sending so many blessings your way.

    • Julie W, congratulations for seeing past the church’s opinion of abuse! I have dealt with the same issues but came to the same conclusion that God’s hand is upon us, keeping us safe and will help us get out from under control of our abusers. He hates divorce. He hates abuse. He loves and forgives and will not hold this against us.

  11. Thank you for speaking out. Abuse really does come in all forms. Sometimes I wished it had been physical, just for proof that it was real and that I wasn’t a bad wife for leaving. It makes a world of difference to not be his “manager” and to no longer be walking on eggshells.

  12. I fall into one of those grey areas and was wondering if you could add back in your section on those areas (or maybe a new article). My husband of twenty years is emotionally and verbally abusive. Sometimes I think it is hard to see abuse for what it is when it is not physical. Knowing when enough is enough is far more confusing. Unfortunately, financially I can’t leave and emotionally I can’t stay. I feel stuck. I guess it comes down to knowing when staying is worse than leaving and more than likely, that is a conclusion we have to come to on our own. Still, I would love to hear your thoughts and advice on this.

  13. I have spent days reading articles from your blog. These articles have enabled me to breath and get up. I am not in an abusive marriage relationship, but I was abused by my mother. My mother is dead and I have worked through most of that pain, but I have a daughter-in-law who has poisoned my son against his family. When she realized how close we were as a family, she set out to destroy each relationship and make sure our son was totally dependent on her. I can only imagine the pain of losing a child to death, but I offer that the death of a child who is still alive is excruciating. He is in an abusive relationship with a textbook narcissist. I cannot help because he will not speak to any of us. Why am I telling you this? Because abuse takes many forms and is not gender specific. We are not willing to give into her demands knowing it will only be a matter of time before the ax is dropped again. Unfortunately our granddaughter is the real victim, but we will not allow this woman to continue to use the child as a hostage. Severing the contact was our only option. Please keep writing Allison, please keep telling the truth.

  14. Allison, Thank you so much for sharing! I could say this for every single one of your posts. Even 3+ years removed from my abusive relationship, I still find myself “hiding” that part of my life from a place of FEAR if that man or his family found out and a place of shame because I allowed it to happen to me. Thank you for reminding me of the strength in my story.

    “Evil hates to be exposed. Love has no fear of exposure. Love is light.”

  15. Allison, I’ve been away from reading your blog for a while and during that time so much life has transpired. I’m glad to find you are in a beautiful place of healing and freedom and spreading that work to others. This is powerful stuff, and I want to thank you for plowing the way for exposing lies and bringing truth to light. Especially the untruths of faith tradition that have somehow mainstreamed into “things Jesus said and told us to do…” Girl, keep speaking! “Evil hates to be exposed. Love has no fear of exposure. Love is light.”

  16. Having noticed for years the erroneous teaching that “God hates divorce”, I thought I’d share some facts I’ve learned:
    1) There is no place in the Bible where God said “I hate divorce”. He said “I hate putting away”, which is vastly different. Putting away is the equivalent of forcibly ejecting someone like trash. Ever wonder why that Olympic event isn’t called “The Shot Send”? Strong’s Concordance lists two other definitions: To condemn, or to curse. THAT is what putting away is They’re not divorced, so they can’t remarry without committing adultery. Neither can they start over, for the same reason.

    2) There is no provision in the Bible for divorcing your spouse for ANY sexual sin, including adultery or fornication. What God actually said can be found in Dueteronomy 24:1-4, where God told them that if a man takes a bride and later hates/dislikes her because he found some uncleanness in her, then let him write out a bill of divorcement, give it in her hand, and send her away, and she shall be free to become another man’s wife.

    An “uncleanness” is not a “sin”, nor are these two ever interchangeable. If any sexual sin was found, there was no divorce. There was only stoning to death, which was required by the law. Notice God commands the husband to “send” her away, which means “to release with one’s blessing, even as with forgiveness”. Doesn’t sound at all like putting away, which was considered a way to “condemn, or to curse”, does it?

    The church has confused divorce and putting away because of Jesus’ reply to the pharisees. They asked if it was lawful to put away their wives for every cause, and then they tried to trip Him up by mentioning what God said about DIVORCE (they’re two different procedures). They didn’t know who they were dealing with. Putting away is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments, where the two terms are used interchangeably, but in error. Use a Concordance to check the original language and you’ll see that, in most places, where it now says “divorce” the original language used the term “putting away”.

    Sorry if this is too long, but I just had to share it.

  17. The mental cycle of abuse that you described is so easily absorbed into ones psyche as a child and unknowingly we enter into this cycle as an adult or teenager even.
    Sometimes the abuse is not physical but just emotional and mental. I recognise small signs in my own life that I have picked up from my parents relationship. I don’t live with an abusive partner but I recognise the mental cycle that I go through from having been in an emotionally and mentally abusive childhood. I challenge this line of thinking and am so grateful that Gods grace has lead me down a healthier and loving path. I can’t imagine being in an abusive relationship and the abuser represents God (i.e. a pastor). How hard it must be to break that silence.

    Grateful for your post and the manner in which it has been written. So encouraging and deeply respectful of others. Thank you.

  18. Actually, God does not want this at all. In fact I got out for the simple fact they the Bible states how NOT to treat your wife and I realized that I can leave and God does not want me to live this way. The rest of the article is good and on point but not that part. Without God I would have no courage now or then.

  19. Wow. Thank you for writing this, this article really resonated with me. I have left an abusive relationship where I never felt fully myself. But I turned the experience into something positive by taking control and writing a book about it. I called it what I truly feel: He Never Deserved Me!

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