Jesus came to earth so we could live at peace with God and with others. A victim of domestic violence can be at peace with God, but she* will never be able to be at peace with her abuser. Paul the apostle counsels us in Romans 12:18:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
What is it like to live with someone who sins against you day after day? Yes, we are all sinners. But God designed the marriage relationship to be one where the partners repent to each other, and forgive each other on a daily basis. This is a loving, reconciling relationship. Paul also counsels us in Ephesians 4:26 – 27:
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Living with an unrepentant abuser is unnatural and unhealthy. You can never reconcile with an abuser because he will never truthfully accept accountability for any way he has hurt you. It is always your fault. Even if he claims he is sorry, he is lying to you; manipulating you.
As a former victim of domestic violence myself, I personally spent years trying to live at peace with my abusive husband. I did whatever I could to make this happen, to the point where I almost completely lost my personhood, my soul. He was never pleased with anything I did or said. I could not be my true self with him because he didn’t love or care about my real self. He wanted a “yes” woman, someone to stroke his ego, do his bidding, and like it. It is possible to stroke someone’s ego, and do whatever they say, but impossible to like it.
What is a victim to do? Trying harder to please someone who cannot be pleased isn’t the answer. In January I will post blogs about holding a brother accountable for sin as outlined in the bible. I will also help you discern whether doing this is safe in your case or not. If not, I will help you decide if leaving your abuser is your best option, and if so, how to do that safely.
Until then, please know you are a treasured child of the King of the universe. God is not honored or pleased when someone, even, (no especially), your spouse treats you with hatred and disrespect. Try to hold onto this knowledge.
Blessings to you all.
* In this blog, I use the word “she” to identify the victim of abuse, and “he” the abuser. The same principles apply if the abuser is a woman and the victim a man, or if the victim and the abuser are the same gender.