He Said-She Said: When "Love" Is Abusive
- Thursday, May 07, 2009
You are freshly divorced (probably still very vulnerable) and are not yet remarried, so there is nothing binding that is holding you to this man. If you are still unsure what to do at this juncture, may I advise you to (at the very least) take a breather from each other. At least a month. See what happens during this time. Does his behavior change toward you? Does he become increasingly hostile and controlling and demeaning? Do you feel threatened and do his “tantrums” that you indicated cause you to fear for your safety? Or do you find your own feelings changing toward him? Are you able to see that this is not the way in which you want to be treated in a relationship? I think you will know sooner rather than later and will gain much clarity when you spend some time apart.
Ask your trusted friends and family members to join you in prayer and to walk alongside you in this process. You need support right now. And friends and family can be a good sounding board for you during a time when you may not be able to see clearly and when your emotions may be clouding your judgment. Also, speaking of friends and family, do any of them know what you have referenced in your question here? Do they know what has really been going on? And do they approve? I can’t imagine anyone standing beside you who wouldn’t advise you to take some steps away to reassess the situation. I mean, I don’t even know you personally, and I am not feeling good at all about what I have read in just a short question.
But the bigger question here is not whether you need to stay in this situation because you think that “love is patient.” It is more so this: “Why is your boyfriend, who claims to know Christ, not showing you love as defined in Scripture?
- Love each other as I have loved you (John 15:12). As the spiritual leader in your relationship, is your boyfriend loving you the way Christ loved us? Do you see him frequently sacrificing for your needs? Does he go out of his way to ensure that you are being protected and provided for?
- Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). Do you feel that your boyfriend cares about what is truly important to you? To your needs? To your dreams, wishes and desires? Does he really listen to you and hear from your heart? Does he seek to do what is best for you?
- Love is patient, love is kind … It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). What evidence of this kind of love is in your relationship right now? Make a list of anything that matches up to this definition. And then make a list of what does not. Which list is longer?
- In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body (Ephesians 5:28-30). I realize you are not married to your boyfriend, but dating is the preparation for marriage. It is the training ground in which you will learn how to relate to one another as man and woman (and eventually husband and wife). So given that, and keeping the model of Christ and the church in your mind, can you say that you are being nurtured (fed and cared for) lovingly and in specific ways that you can identify in your relationship?
On the whole, my answer may come across as “selfish” or with an underlying tone of “what’s in this relationship for me?” And so be it. Right now, I feel that you simply must ask yourself these questions and think about these issues. You are obviously confused because this man apparently professes to know Christ, and yet his actions do not match with what he says he believes (and thank God that he [God] has given you this confusion right now that is giving you pause!).
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