Do not only address the women’s sin issues. Trust me, the abused woman already knows she’s a sinner. She’s been told that for years and she has belittled herself in every way possible. I read of a woman who even wrote out a prayer of confession in her journal for wanting to go back to school in the helping profession because her spouse told her it was wrong of her. God hadn’t told her it was wrong, her spouse did; but she felt it was sin and needed to be confessed. The abused woman, for the most part, is already very aware of her own issues and is working on them tirelessly. The husband’s issues of abuse or addiction must be addressed simultaneously or you are just throwing her to the wolves and adding on to her shame with a new list of things to work on that won’t change the marriage.

Don’t continue to counsel her if you have no experience working with abuse or addiction. This is a whole different animal and you may end up unintentionally doing more damage or prolonging the process to healing if the real issues aren’t addressed. So please be humble enough to know when you’re in over your head and pass her/them over to someone who knows how to work with these delicate issues.

So, I’m pleading with you, please take the testimonies of these women as one huge cautionary tale of what not to say to a hurting woman in an abusive or addiction-filled marriage. Next time we’ll talk about some of the good stories and what you can and should say to help her get to the healing place.

Elisabeth K. Corcoran is mom to Sara (16) and Jack (14-1/2).  She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing.  She is the author of At the Corner of Broken & Love: Where God Meets Us in the Everyday; One Girl, Third World: One Woman’s Journey into Social Justice; He Is Just That Into You: Stories of a Faithful God who Pursues, Engages, and Has No Fear of Commitment; In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart; and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul.  All these books can be purchased on Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

Visit her website and her blog.

You can follow her on Twitter at ekcorcoran or friend her on Facebook.

If you are in a difficult marriage or find yourself going through a difficult divorce, I have created two private groups on Facebook that I would like to invite you to. Simply email me at elisabethkcorcoran@gmail.com, let me know if you're interested in the married group or separated/divorced group, then send me a friend request on Facebook. If you're in need of some encouragement, I invite you to join us.

Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer's Guild.

Publication date: January 10, 2013