How should a Christian wife respond to an abusive husband?
When the husband is abusive, the wife should seek the Lord earnestly through prayer. God has promised in Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." Isn't that good news: God wants to guide us! Maybe you need to take some time away from each other or seek good Christian counsel and try to work things out that way. Maybe God wants you to stay with Him, maybe He doesn't: we don't know, but God does. (If the woman's life is at risk, then she will definitely want to get away from the physical danger as she prays for her husband's heart to repent and turn from his abusive ways). There are many types of "abuse" (physical, verbal, emotional, etc.), so this is a difficult question to answer. If there is a great deal of physical abuse, then a separation is a good route, but if there is only mild verbal abuse, then the marriage can probably be worked out. Again, seek the Lord's will for your life and look to those trusted Christian's who personally know more about the specific circumstances.
The Lord has a wonderful way of restoring marriages, as long as we are willing to follow His plan. God knows what you both need, so do your part as a godly wife and seek the Lord for guidance. Remember to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6) God has a solution to all of our problems: we just need to seek His guidance and wisdom for each individual situation.
Be sure to lift up your husband in prayer on a regular basis. It may seem unlikely that he will come to Jesus, but with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27). Have faith that the Lord can transform your husband and that your Christ-like example will have a convicting influence on him. Trust and believe that God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" Ephesians 3:20.
Here's what the Scriptures say about the woman's role as a wife:
The Bible assigns the Christian wife to a very high calling. Wives need to focus on being the godly wife and mother God has called them to be (Proverbs 31:11-31 is a great example of a godly wife: a woman that really truly takes care of her family and walks with God) and they shouldn't focus on the shortcomings of the husband. (This is not saying that abuse is a "shortcoming". We are talking about the general faults of a husband)
A A wife needs to learn how to submit and surrender to God first: "Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord" Ephesians 5:22. The wife's prayer to God should always be "Not my will, but Thine be done" Luke 22:44. This isn't easy and it is only possible through the abiding power of Jesus Christ. We need to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Jesus where He may lead (Luke 9:23).
The Bible provides encouraging words for wives with unbelieving husbands: "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" 1 Peter 3:1-2. "For what knowest thou, o wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?" 1 Corinthians 7:16. So wives, if you are walking in the Spirit and not after the flesh (Galatians 5:16), then God can work through your example to reach your husband.
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