A wife is to be treated with great respect and honor, even if she is not as physically strong as her husband. A wife will receive the same gift of life as her husband. A wife is to be intimately understood by her husband. She is not subservient to him in any way. Husbands who fail to grasp these basic truths will have their prayers hindered by God. These are some of the things that we learn from I Peter 3:7.
When husbands physically intimidate their wives, either by threat or by injury, they turn from God and bring disgust and dishonor upon themselves. When husbands verbally intimidate their wives they fail to treat them with the understanding and respect that God demands. This physical and verbal intimidation is a breeding ground of domestic violence and brings great harm to women.
Respect, honor and understanding are to be given to wives because God requires it. Violence, physical or verbal, often occurs because the husband believes he has been disrespected in some way. But a violent response is never justified or appropriate. Physical or verbal violence defies God’s commands and does great damage to wives; it is shameful!
If these things can be true of men who have made a commitment before God in marriage to love and honor their wives, how much more will they be true of men who are not constrained by marriage vows!
Peter urges husbands to be like Christ. When a wrong occurs he says to follow Christ’s example and entrust themselves to God. Physical and verbal violence is never the answer.
Husbands, if your words and actions are not designed to cherish and nourish your wife, you are failing to honor her and God. If you are not understanding her in such a way that she is confident you really know her, you are bringing disrespect to your wife and to God. If you see your wife as failing to meet your expectations, you are only one step away from domestic violence. If you do not view yourself as God’s servant to bring the love of Christ to your wife, you will only be happy if she is a servant to your desires and lusts.
Husbands, entrust yourself to God. Follow his commands to honor, respect, understand and love your wife. Use words and actions that are gentle and compassionate. Do not be dominated by anger, but in humility consider your wife as of greater value than yourself. This is the way to bring an end to domestic violence. This is the example Christian husbands must show to a watching world. This is the path of safety and security for your wives. This brings honor to God.
Have the courage to teach and model these things to your sons and daughters. Love your wife as Jesus has loved you.
15 thoughts on “God’s answer to domestic violence”
For a husband who does not treat his wife in a Godly way and abuses her (physically and mentally) is it okay for her to divorce him if he is clearly unwilling to change?
Niki – the best way to answer your question is for the wife to seek the counsel and care of her church leadership and for them to pursue church discipline if that is warranted. This will provide the best context to address the question of divorce.
Niki, if a woman is being abused, they absolutely should remove themselves from the situation through separation at the very least for their safety and the safety of any children. Too often, too many churches offer the advice that you should go home, pray for him to change, and submit. That is dangerous, sometimes deadly, counsel.
Niki, Titus03 raises an important thought. if there is physical violence being committed in the home, that is a criminal offense. Safety is paramount. In this case both the civll authorities and the church should be involved. Solid church leadership will recognize this and work for restoration if possible or for discipline if necessary.
Restoration is not an appropriate term for a marriage where there has been abuse. Restoring is putting things back the way they were. Repentance is needed, a complete change is what’s needed. Would you restore the heart of flesh? No, that would be returning it to its original stony condition. The term “restore” betrays the underlying wrong assumption that an abuser is a misunderstood Christian. http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/rejecting-real-jesus is a wonderful Tim Keller sermon that helped me to see that my abuser wasn’t rejecting me; he rejected Christ. Abusers abuse because they are seeking THEIR kingdoms first. Restoration is not what’s needed. Repentance is.
Your points are well taken and your reference to Keller;s sermon is also on target. Restoration can take severe forms. For some marriages it is appropriate. For others it is not. But it should always be the goal for all involved to be restored to Christ through repentance. Hope this helps.
This is the first time I have ever heard this teaching for men where the wife is *not* blamed for her husband’s spiritual condition. Praise the Lord! Men emasculate themselves & each other when they tell women that they would be better husbands *if* wives were more submissive. That pretends that she is in control, in spiritual leadership. Good for you, sir, in allowing & encouraging men to accept responsibility for themselves!
Kate – Matthew 18 is clear – physical violence needs to be addressed by the church and by civil authorities. This matter needs to brought to the church. failure to address the physical violence would be failure of that particular church to honor God and protect its members. If this happens you have a decision to make. I would recommend Jay Adams’ Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage for additional study. May God bless you.
Violence is never a good thing no matter who is doing it. Wives are just as much in need of God’s restraining grace as husbands are.
I appreciate this article. I’m not as wrong as I am being led to believe. Thank you.
Yes. But although, I wholeheartedly agree with the attitude of the heart and the purported Word of God’s admonishment towards men, the tone of the piece seems more like ‘finger-pointing’ session, without really addressing the issue of domestic violence and how to deal with it.
That said, I strongly object to any and all forms of abuse towards women (our wife or mothers, daughters, etc), be it physical, mental or emotional. I also agree fervently that a man who mistreats his wife, brings judgement, or at the very least severe discipline upon himself. We have a responsibility to treat our wife with the utmost respect, and honor that she deserves. She is wife of our youth, the wife of our marriage covenant.
There is a little bit advise given to me a few years ago that I believe (for me at least) puts this in a framework of what God intended; and it really is very simple: Never forget men, NEVER forget, she chose you. Of all the guys in this world she could be with it, you’re it. Treat her as the priceless Gem she is, and do as God commands. Love is not born out of the emotions of what we feel. Because anyone can love when it feels ‘right’ to do so. Where it is truly differentiated, is when as an act of the will, *that* love informs you to consider her before you consider yourself.
OK I understand all of this, so what is a wife suppose to do when the husband is verbally, mentally and emotionally abusive. I know someone who has been married for 23 years and her husband is disabled. He will cuss her while she is taking care of him. So what does God say for her, she has prayed, begged and cried for God to help.
This situation really calls for outside help from the church community.
getting help from the church community and law enforcement in situations like this is essential.
Dawn, the quote you mention is not a defense or an excuse, just a reality. Sadly, this sense of disrespect often leads to the violence and abuse that you speak of. The feeling of disrespect, real or imagined, is just the first step to men feeling justified in their violent responses, verbal or physical. Once some men get a taste of ungodly power, that power turns into lust that knows no bounds. Qualified Help is needed to address this.