“Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest” (Ecclesiastes 9:9)
In Christianity, men are to marry women who they love and are thereby responsible for the maintenance of their wives and the children they produce.
Abusers may take the word “weaker” out of context and use it to their advantage, so that they will justify their unacceptable abusive behaviour. Yet, by reading the whole verse one can clearly see that in Christianity men and women are equal partners, and husbands are instructed to love and honour their wives, and to not treat them harshly.
“In the same way, you husbands must give honour to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. If you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard” (1 Peter 3:7) “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:18-21)
Very often, abusers try to justify their behaviour by blaming the victim, saying that she caused it by something she said or did, by not obeying them, by upsetting them etc. This is not true, as abusers will abuse you no matter what you say or do. But even if you did something to upset them, it is clearly stated in the Bible that love is patient and kind, not rude, irritable or resentful. And since God instructs husbands to love their wives (Ecclesiastes 9:9), your husband should be kind, patient and loving towards you even if you upset him.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
In the New Testament, we see that Christ loves His church to the extent that He gave His life for the people. We see references in the New Testament too, for the husband to love his wife as Christ loves His Church: not withholding His life but giving it up gladly. Yet, abusive husbands do not live their lives according to the standards that God has set for us. Apart from verbally, emotionally, and physically abusing their wives, some may even cheat on them. However, the concept of polygamy is not a way of life that God condones. When God made Adam, He created ONE Eve for him. Furthermore, God was faithful with Israel and never let anyone else take the place of Israel. In the Old Testament we see the Wisdom Literature where we see the wise men telling again and again to forsake not the wife of your youth, to love your wife; to women He says to love their lovers that is husbands. If we read the whole context we find that God honours one man and one woman to be faithful towards each other:
Again, abusers may distort the meaning of these verses and use some phrases out of context to justify the fact that they sexually assault their wives, e.g. ‘My wife should fulfil her marital duty to me’. Yet, they deliberately avoid referring to the fact that ‘just as the husband has authority over his wife’s body, so too has the wife authority over his body’. In other words, ‘don’t do to others what you don’t want others do to you’. And since nobody would want to be abused, nobody should abuse others as well.
“It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.I say this as a concession, not as a command” 1 Corinthians 7:1-6 New International Version (NIV)
As we see in the above verse, the Bible tells the husband and wife to stay faithful to each other. It does not speak to only one but to both at the same time. It in no way implies that staying faithful is only the job of the wife or the husband.
It is clearly stated in the Bible that all humans are the same and that men and women are equal. Thus, no one has the right to control your life and have power over you.
“So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women, you are all one in union with Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28)
In Christianity, love is emphasised more than anything else. Without love, we are nothing. People who are full of love, just as the Bible instructs us to be, would never hurt another human in any way. Hence, abusive individuals do not live their lives according to the word of God.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
God does not want you to live a distressful life where you are continuously being abused because, after all, He gave us this life and He wants all of us to be happy. If anyone tells you that divorce is not allowed in Christianity, beware: you are being fooled! God is all-knowing and all-seeing, and He knows how you have tried to make it work and how much effort you have put in the relationship. You need not explain it to anyone. If you know how much you have tried then that’s enough. Yes, in some arranged marriages love may come slowly but violence is not allowed. That is simply a big red flag for you. It may take time for you to love your husband or vice versa but violence does not fit anywhere in any relationship. The husband is the one closing all the doors because of the violence and he is the one provoking you to part ways. You cannot be expected to try to make it work all your life! God is love and therefore He would never want you to bear any kind of abuse or to stay a slave all your life. If your husband is incapable of giving you love then how can you think that God expects you to stay with such a man? Find a husband who makes you feel like thanking God all the time for him because that is what God wants your life to be: full of love and joy.
‘God is a shelter for the oppressed’. God does not want you to live a life of oppression and abuse.
“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you” (Psalm 9:9-10)