So far, we’ve covered physical violence and the cycle of abuse, plus emotional/mental abuse. Another method an abuser uses to get and maintain control of his wife is …
He may make her account for every dollar she spends, limit her access to money, and keep her in the dark about income and outgo and investments. Often he will withhold basic necessities or keep her from pursuing her career. If she has a job, he will sabotage it.
The ‘Christian’ abuser appeals to a higher power to guarantee control, claiming God made him the appointed and anointed leader. And who dares fight against God?!
Matthew 19:5, “they shall become one flesh” is used to demand, “You are not to send even one email without me approving it and signing both our names.”
Ephesians 5:22, ” Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord”, is used to insist his every whim is to be catered to and every command obeyed instantly because it’s the same as if God gave the command. If she gets out from under this “umbrella of authority”, her rebellion will bring Satan’s attacks and destruction upon her and is equal to witchcraft in God’s eyes. 1
Ephesians 5:24, “submit in everything”, means even sinful things, if he desires. Claiming God will hold him responsible, there is no ceiling on what he can require.
Ephesians 5:26, “cleansed her by the washing of water with the word”, has been used to claim the abuser’s responsibility before God to punish any perceived infraction, even, for some, to the point of physically spanking his wife.
Ephesians 5:33, “see that the wife respect her husband”, can be used as a merciless weapon. “I’M the head of this house and it’s your job to respect and support me, not criticize me.” Generally, minor disagreements, pointing out faults or having a different opinion is considered definitely “disrespectful”.
I Corinthians 6:4 is used for selfish, harsh and harmful sexual demands because he’ll remind her that her body belongs to him.
I Corinthians 7:2-5, “let not the wife depart”, is used to eternally keep the wife trapped, no matter what he does.
All of the above verses will be ‘untwisted’ in a later post.
Keeping up a good public image is part of the delusion that traps her into staying. He can effectively, while getting out his phone, threaten to report her to their pastor or threaten divorce. A way he uses to keep the abuse secret is by convincing her it will defame the name of Christ in the community or tear apart their family. The woman whose sincere goal is to please the Lord will agonize over exposing the abuse – IF she indeed recognizes his actions as such.
Much child abuse occurs because an abusive dad insists he stands alone before God in the area of discipline. His wife is not willing to risk the dire consequences (to herself and her child) of her giving unwanted input.
Many a ‘Christian’ abuser has cited I Kings 21:25 to prove that what his wife did or did not do caused him to be abusive, because, like Jezebel, she “incited him to do wickedness.”
God hates the oppressor – Psalm 11:5, Proverbs 8:13, 13:2, 28:5, etc. – and, I think, especially when that man is perversely using God’s Word as support.
My next post will give specific guideposts to spotting an abuser before you marry him.
1 Bill Gothard’s teaching which has influenced thousands of Christians since the 1970’s. Read A Matter of Basic Principles by Vernoit, Vernoit and Henzel, published by Midwest Christian Outreach, Lombard, IL (available on Amazon.com) and also check out recoveringgrace.com