Your Marriage: Control or Collaboration?
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence, or abuse, is defined this way by the Department of Justice:
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that one partner uses to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.
You may be thinking, “Why would you write about this? There must be more pleasant things you could address.” And you would be right in thinking this. However, the national statistics on domestic abuse are startling. Here are just a few:
– As many as 20 people per minute are subjected to physical abuse from their intimate partners. These are often the most dangerous situations, but among the most difficult to escape.
– One in three women are victims of domestic violence, while one in four men has been abused.
– Only 34 percent of domestic violence victims seek medical attention.
The critical thought taken from the Department of Justice’s definition above is that one partner is violating the other to gain power and control over their spouse.
This is in direct disobedience to God’s Word found in Ephesians 5:33:
“So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
The spirit of this passage is each spouse is to love their spouse as they love themselves and protect the dignity of one another through respect.
God’s desire in a marital relationship is collaboration, not control. Collaboration is built upon love and respect, while control is built upon fear and insecurity.
Principally, according to Scripture, a man’s role is to be a servant leader in his home, and a woman’s role is to be a helpmate, or better translated in Hebrew, to be a delivering ally. Ephesians 5:21-31 underlines these thoughts and is an excellent passage for a couple to study.
Again, God’s desire for your marriage is collaboration, not control. If a man is lovingly serving his wife and family, his wife will naturally respect him and affirm his manhood. And if a woman comes alongside her husband as a delivering ally, her husband will have the desire to love and protect her. Consequently, if a couple has children, these children will experience home as a refuge, not a war zone.
What is your experience? Would you characterize your marriage as collaborative, or controlling?
What if you have found yourself in a controlling relationship, or you know someone who is? You may think counseling is the answer. It can be, but sometimes it is not. Productive counseling is based upon both partners wanting to grow into God’s scriptural roles for their lives.
Is there help available for you if you are in an abusive relationship? Yes, there is. Here are some to consider:
– If you are in immediate danger, call 911. No one has the right to hurt you physically.
– National Domestic Violence Hotline: Open 24/7. Languages: English, Spanish and 200+ through interpretation service. Call the hotline at 800-799-7233
– One-on-one domestic abuse support for victims at Worship Center. Click here for more information.
– Upward Call Counseling Center on our Worship Center Campus – 717-656-4834
If you, or someone you know, are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, there is help. You are cared for and deeply loved by God and your physical, mental, and emotional safety is important to him. Consider reaching out to one of the resources above to find help and healing.