RED FLAG 7: ABUSE – EMOTIONAL, VERBAL and PHYSICAL.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The Bible quoted verses are not for anything but for referencing our character against the Word of the Lord. It’s impossible to desire a godly marriage but keep Christ benching when it comes to the issues of the heart. If we are to date and date or court well, the kind of dating and courtship that exalts Christ, then our mirror should be Christ. Our character should be polished against Christ, our minds renewed by Christ and so should our mouths too – seasoned by the Word of grace that we know what to say and what to answer.
Does the Word of the Lord condone abuse? In whichever form? To whichever degree? No. it doesn’t. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean condoning abuse. It simply means entrusting our grievances to the one who is the Righteous judge without engaging ourselves on a revenge gear.
The Lord gives wisdom, the Lord gives discernment and the Lord gives us escape routes but we are always stalk blind to follow His lead. Abuse is not godly. The Lord cannot walk you through a relationship that has abuse. He is not that cynical to play “ping pong” with our emotions. Do not get to the altar thinking that love will change an abuser. Watch out for the red-flag now.
Did you know that abuse can exist in a relationship too – not only in marriage? Yet so many of them that are in the season of singleness hold onto such relationships, not because they are so in love, but more to be seen as not lacking.
We have come across ladies and men who are verbally, emotionally and physically abused, and yet, still hold on. Could it be that we lack discernment of what is around us or we are simply afraid of being alone that miserly feels just fine, if only not be termed alone? The latter is stronger a push than the former. The pressure is subtle, yet too powerful.
It crushes our hearts that people would bargain for less, much less than what Christ paid for on the cross with His blood. He didn’t hang up on the cross for you to be abused, he didn’t have His rib cage pierced for you to be belittled, he didn’t get the 39 stripes for you to feel the same level of pain, He did all that so that you can live life in abundance. John 10:10. He endured pain, vile, abuse, betrayal so that you could be set free from the yoke of self. Christ died, to save us, not only from sins from within, but sins from without.
Miss, if he is physically, emotionally or verbally abusive before marriage, chances are that you will not make it past the first year, or first few months without a scar or two or worse, you might lose your life. Occasional “am sorry” from him won’t make up for the wounds that you will bear nor the time that it will take to build up your scarred esteem.
Mr., if she doesn’t learn how to address issues without giving you some hardcore silent treatment, name calling, cussing, yelling, verbal putdowns, comparing you to her past boyfriend(s), manipulation, chances are that it will escalate in marriage. Remember, a dysfunctional relationship will only lead to a dysfunctional marriage.
Marriage doesn’t fix our flaws; it simply magnifies what we choose to live with or chose to ignore during our courtship. After all we all flawed. Do not ignore the red flag of abuse.
“But he/she said that they will be better in marriage.” You cannot change him/her. They should personally commit to change. They should call attention to themselves, be remorseful about how their anger outbursts, temper, verbal putdowns sabotage every potential relationship. Settling down with them “so that they become better” at handling themselves won’t straighten even a wrinkle on your face. It’s simply a facade.
“They are always sorry.” Indeed they are, but sorry remains as a noun if not actualized. Sorry needs to grow into a verb. If their character doesn’t change. If they don’t put in deliberate efforts to change, if they refuse to be held accountable to their deeds, if they get so angry when you share your issue(s) with your Pastor or a trusted couple, then the flag is waving up high. Run!
Abuse is abuse. We are called to love sinners, evangelize to them, pray for them and encourage them to turn a new leaf, but it is unwise to hide a sin. Its unwise to live in secrecy, all in the name of “learning how to sort out issues alone”. It should never be that way.
Even in marriage, you cannot walk alone. There should be a couple, at least one couple whom you should be totally stripped to. They are important in keeping you accountable. If we need accountability in marriage, there should be more than that before marriage. Honest friends who can correct, rebuke, admonish and exhort you in the path of righteousness.
Abuse should be called out. It should be addressed before things turn out to be worse.
If you are in that situation now, get the courage to phase that season out. Time to pack up some worth in yourself and stand your ground. No more abuse, in whichever form it presents itself. Cut the cord and trust the Lord for a better relationship. One that will build and not put you down, one that will hold you and not crush you, one that will nurse you and not parch your soul, one that will point you both towards Christ-likeness.
You cannot afford to carry the yoke of bitterness in you by holding onto someone who doesn’t know your worth. It’s too big a burden to carry. Trust the Lord to change them, but trust them from a safe place.
Singleness in Christ…