How do I handle my verbally abusive husband?


I have been married for several years and about the same time, I became a member of the Lord's church. I am in a situation where I am not sure what to do as a Christian. The whole time I have been a Christian I have fallen many times, but every time I try to pick myself up and try again. But this marriage is hard, he is verbally and mentally as well as emotionally abusive to me and the children. He is very negative and hard to get along with and please.

He became a member of the church earlier this year and not much has changed with him. He is not being the leader of the home, he curses all the time at us and in everyday talk. He also calls us names and puts us down. Every day there is nothing but screaming, cursing and yelling from him. He doesn't want me to have friends, he doesn't even want me around my family or to get a job, every time I am going somewhere and spend a little bit of money he has to have the receipt. He spies on me when I am on the phone, listens to my conversations and questions me about them, he reads my journals and I have no privacy.

I have now become a very bitter and angry person and I am worried about the effect this is having on our children and myself. How can I try to have a Christian home and live a Christian life in this? I feel like he is dragging me down as a Christian it is like I will try to take a step forward only to take three steps back. I am depressed and I stay a nervous wreck all of the time. I know my kids are nervous, also it is like walking on eggshells daily.

He does work hard and he provides for us and he doesn't use drugs or drink so I am thankful for that. It is the other things he is doing that is harmful. I do not feel loved and respected at all. I know that God would want me to work this out because I married him, but I am not sure how much more of this I can take. I have begged him to go to counseling for himself and with me. There is a church of Christ in our area where the minister does free biblical counseling, but he refuses to go or to do anything to change things. I have begged, pleaded and threatened to leave and he just tells me to go right ahead and do it. I also bought the movie Fireproof and we watched it. I bought the Love Dare book and I tried to use it, but I got disgusted with him and I quit.

I am so afraid that if I stay with him that I am going to end up losing my soul and I am worried about the damage it is doing to everyone. I am also afraid if I leave that I wouldn't be able to remain single for the rest of my life. I do not know what to do, and what the right thing is to do. I have been praying about it and praying for him and myself as well as my kids. Can you please help me, tell me what is the right thing to do biblically?


Though your husband became a Christian in name, you make it clear that he is not one in practice. Thus I would suggest that you treat this as a marriage to a non-Christian. There are two passages which should be considered:

"But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?" (I Corinthians 7:12-16).

"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear" (I Peter 3:1-2).

Much of the hardness in your marriage is being self-generated. Yes, he is mean, foul-mouth, and annoying. The consistency of his poor behavior is wearing. But that is him, not you.

Some things really don't matter. Does it matter if he reads your journals or asks for your receipts? I hope in the latter case he is actually keeping track of the expenses in the home. But since you have nothing to hide, if he wants to play the part of the jealous husband when there isn't anyone out there; well, it's his life.

Put God first in your life. Go to church services. Raise your children to love the Lord. No, you're not going to get much help from your husband in these realms, but you didn't have them before either. But the most important thing is don't get caught up in his game. If he wishes to make himself miserable, that is his choice. But you can choose to have a peaceful attitude and a joyous home (at least when he isn't around). Don't get pulled into arguments with him. Don't shout and yell back at him. When he asks you to do something, so long as it isn't wrong, help where you can.

But don't expect him to suddenly transform into the perfection of leadership just because he got wet earlier this year. He has a lot of growing to do. What you can do is show him the way, but you do it without lectures. You live a Christian life and show him how much it improves you. He will eventually see that he wants that as well for his own life.

Understand that your husband has no control over whether you go to heaven or hell. That always remains in your own hands.

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4).

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