I doubt I will ever be invited to share this in front of a church, and definitely not in a class about marriage, it doesn’t meet the criteria of the usual success story.
I’ve been asked a few times when I knew there was definitely a problem with my marriage. Obviously, I knew from the beginning. Being in denial and blaming myself became my norm. The latter is a must in an abusive relationship. The abuser will do everything within their power to make sure their victim always blames themselves in order to maintain power and control.
It wasn’t until we started having problems with Farmer Boy, and my abuser wanted to place the entire blame on me, that it finally dawned on me that there was something bigger going on. I willingly admitted my fault in the situation, but he wanted it ALL to be my fault. When I pointed out where he could have done better that was the last he wanted to speak on the topic.
But I continued on with things as they were, hoping I could some how fix it (see future post on the perfectionism required to remain in an abusive relationship). At least until I was saved three years ago. After that, what happened one month ago became inevitable. See, once I was saved, I could begin to see my behavior for what it was and to change it. And as I changed I finally saw that my abuser was not changing. We attended a marriage Sunday School class but he never did one thing suggested in any of the classes. Eventually we ended up in marriage therapy (I forced it saying I would divorce him if he didn’t go) but he refused to do anything the therapist suggested, and they were all pretty wimpy things.
There is a common example used in discussing marriage within a Christian context, the little triangle diagram where it shows how the two people draw closer together as they draw closer to God. Well, there’s an alternative that I might have to draw up some day, that is when one of the couple draws closer to God, In my case, at least, it ended up furthering me from my abuser and, finally, opening my eyes fully to the abuse.
Most Christian “success” stories center around the restored relationship, but, in the case of an abusive marriage, I hope some day people will be able to see that this breaking away from someone incapable of even the most basic acts of love is just as much a success.
I feel better anyway. 🙂