You’ll never find joy if you stay with your abuser. Why? I’ll give you my top three reasons. There are so many, but I’ll stick with three for now.
- An abusive spouse/boyfriend becomes your prison guard…from which to escape. He controls you. The way he treats you, which is a systematic plan of dominating you, puts you in an emotional prison. This type of relationship doesn’t celebrate you and allow you the freedom to be you, therefore you can’t experience true joy. Marriage and relationships in general require freedom, so if you’re with an abusive person, someone who wants to dominate you, you won’t feel any joy. You feel beaten down, unhappy, sad, angry, depressed, lonely, fearful.
- An abusive spouse/boyfriend becomes your puppet master… from which to untangle. He manipulates you. He lies to you and tells you one thing, then he does another, and tells you that what you saw didn’t happen at all. It’s called gas lighting and it will cause you to feel crazy. Abusers want you to do what they want you to do. It’s impossible to feel joyful when you’re constantly doubting yourself or fighting with your spouse about your version of what happened or feeling guilty when you didn’t do anything wrong. It drains you of your joy.
- An abusive spouse/boyfriend becomes your Villain…to fight without getting killed. He is a cruel human and will intentionally say and do some of the most hurtful things to the one he says he loves the most. He calls you names and puts you down. He uses the Bible to create rules for you that only Jesus could keep; and yet, he spits on you, berates you in front of your children, lies, cheats, bullies you, hits, punches, pushes, isolates you from your family, pulls your hair, holds you down, rapes you, and a host of other horrendous things that if a stranger did them, you’d press charges in a heartbeat.
Who could ever be joyful in that?
A woman in an abusive relationship is torn down. If you find yourself saying yes, that’s me, I want you to know you’re not alone. I was in that kind of relationship, too. But there is hope for you and I believe the first step is to begin talking about what you’re going through. Find a trusted person you can tell. This is nothing to go through alone, so please don’t think you can out-maneuver this guy. You need one or two good friends with you to escape.
As a side note, if a church leader compares the pain and suffering you’re experiencing in your abusive marriage to that of the apostle Paul when he was in prison, and even hints to you that you should “consider it all joy”, run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit. Domestic abuse isn’t even close to a comparison.
We’re talking about you’re well-being and you matter. Your joy matters, and it matters to God, too.