From Fear To Peace
10 years of marriage Jim is threatening to leave Jane if she doesn’t break off a friendship with a female friend (who
Jane insists doesn’t interfere in their marriage at all).
that her husband objects consistently to her being close to anyone – including her own family members. He says he is
only "looking out for her."
Jane realize that Jim feels threatened by
any source of personal support she may find besides him (although he is rarely any support to her at all)?
Does she realize that Jim is maintaining control
over her by keeping her isolated from her family and destroying any friendships she may forge?
see through his overt attempts at controlling her through fear and threats to leave her, but is she onto his covert efforts?
see through the camouflage he is using when he criticizes her friends and acquaintances?
his threats to leave and phony concern may cause conflict within her for a while, they eventually work, because she believes
him on both counts. Jane loves her husband. She is afraid
of losing him, and she wants to believe his concern for her is genuine.
Does Jane need to
take the scriptural admonition to honor her husband to such an extreme as to include giving up family and friends that she
loves and needs just to please his ego and cater to his fear?
If no one has previously
said so, I will say it now. No!
The fear of losing one’s
spouse ranks very high on the fear meter. The journey from fear to peace is a long and painful one, and I don't know of any short cuts. I can
only say from my own experience that when I reached saturation point; the point at which I could tolerate no more pain or
fear; I finally became willing to give up my methods of dealing with the problems within my marriage relationship and allowed
God to begin to teach me his.
When I reached that point,
I was desperately crying out to God for direction and he answered me. It wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but it
definitely was the answer I needed.
I remember randomly
flipping open my Bible. It opened to Proverbs Chapter two, and verses ten through twelve leapt out at me in such an astounding
way, I knew that God had just spoken to me.
wasn't until I studied and analyzed the passage that I understood what truly remarkable and concise direction it gave. But
I immediately understood that here was a turning point for me.
just been given a tool with which to change the direction of my life, and I knew that I would be free forever from the torment
of indecision and fear of losing my spouse.
Pain is a reality
in this life, and there are no guarantees that we will always be free from pain. But we can be free from fear.
What I immediately understood from the
passage in Proverbs, was that when I became willing to see things God's way instead of my way, I would be cared for by God,
and I would no longer be at the mercy of abusive treatment and threats of abandonment.
I saw that deliverance from an evil man
(even if that man was my husband) was very definitely God's will.
Can anyone argue that abuse is evil? We
cannot separate the person from the behavior.
It is not good intentions that make us
good people. It is good actions.
It is the same with
evil. Evil actions make one an evil person. Many evil people abhor their own actions. That does not make them good people.
run out and file for divorce? No.
Over the next several
years (through many separations and reconciliations) I made many efforts to save my marriage. Finally my efforts boiled down
to trying to free myself both emotionally and physically from my abusive husband.
had to give up the control, and stop trying to figure everything out. It was a painful conclusion for me to accept that my
efforts to change my beloved abuser might be fruitless.
willing to pay the consequence of divorce or permanent separation if that was necessary.
were times when I left in an effort to manipulate my husband into seeking professional help. Was that wrong? I don’t
believe so. Did it work? Sometimes. Temporarily.
were times I left in an effort to be free from him forever (both physically and emotionally). Was that wrong? No. Did it work? Over a period of time - Yes.
Is it ok for
the abused spouse to love the abuser? Yes.
Is it ok
to want to make the marriage work? Yes.
Is it ok to leave if the abuse escalates?
Is it ok
to return and try again? Yes.
What is not ok, is to be motivated by
fear and confusion.
I finally reached the point that, even when we were reconciled, I could deal with his rejection and emotional unavailability
without the fear and pain it had previously produced.
That, in turn,
made it possible for me to take off the rose-colored glasses and see the marriage for what it really was instead of what I
wanted it to be.
It made it
possible for me to recognize the covert as well as the overt abuse, and to see clearly the unacceptability of any abuse. I realized that I had developed
a tolerance for some of the abuse and found myself accepting certain types of abuse without challenging it.
mean the abuse wasn’t dangerous or at the very least degrading and emotionally painful. It simply meant that I had lost
the ability to discern the acceptable from the unacceptable due to constant exposure. The
fine-tuning function on my discernment had been damaged..
Not allowing my life
to revolve around this man that I loved so much, and accepting the fact that he might not change, were the first steps I took
to being free from the fear and pain that had previously kept me bound to him.
I finally let him go.
for a long time to love him, hope for the best and seek solutions to our marital problems, but I gave my fear of losing him
on acknowledging God in all of my ways, so he could direct my paths. I could not do that for my husband, only for myself.
I began to grow, and
rest, in the knowledge that wherever God’s direction took me, even if it was away from my husband, it would be a place
that was good for me.
Was the journey painful? Yes.
worth it? Yes.
Do I have peace?