August 18, 2009

One Reason I Stayed So Long

One of the main reasons I stayed in my abusive relationship for so long is that I was praying and believing God to turn the situation around. I had been praying for my husband to change. I prayed for him to become born again, to come to church with us as a family, to pray with me and the children, and to become the man that God created him to be.

I saw some of these changes over the years and it gave me hope. He did get born again, he gradually began to come to church with us and he began to pray with us every night. I felt that if I gave up before the abuse ended, that I would not get the victory that I had been praying for all those years. I thought I had to keep hanging in there and keep enduring and that one day it would all be over and I would've saved my family from becoming another broken statistic. I couldn't let all those extra years of pain be for nothing.

While I waited for the change to come, I continued to work on me. I kept adjusting myself in an attempt to make him happy. I tried to figure out what I could do to learn to live with the abuse. I tried to be like Edith Bunker and thought that when he began his verbal assaults that I could just smile, laugh, pretend that it didn't hurt, and not say anything back besides, "Oh, Jeffie."

But it didn't work.

I thought if I could just be like Jesus Christ, the perfect example, then I would definitely be able to handle it in love and forgive him while he was hurting me. If I could just turn the other cheek as the battery waged against me as Christ did while his accusers smacked him, punched him, and spit on him, then victory couldn't be far behind.

But I failed.

I thought I was being a bad person and even worse a bad Christian because I reacted in anger when he began to curse me and I would curse him back. When he hit me I instinctively came to my own defense and hit him back. I felt like a complete failure. I couldn't win this battle.

The thing I didn't realize until the very end was that I had every right to be angry at how he was treating me and that unless my husband wanted to change, then there was nothing I could do. There wasn't even anything God could do. God is all powerful and can do anything, but His kryptonite is man's will. He has given mankind free will, so that we would love Him freely, not on command, order or because we have no choice.

My husband was making the choice to remain abusive and that rendered God who is all powerful, powerless. All God could do was help me to save myself and our children, and He has.

I put this montage together a couple years ago. When I first showed my husband, he actually cried. I couldn't believe it because my husband usually stayed very flat in his reactions to anything I did that was good or positive. It's like he didn't want to encourage me in anything. He couldn't even compliment me when I returned from the beauty salon.

But the tears he couldn't hold back as he looked at the slide show of his beautiful family were more of a thumbs up than anything he could've said.

I guess a couple years and another child later, he has forgotten those tears as he has forgotten the family that I truly thought that somewhere deep inside, he loved.

The family that I thought he would fight all the demons in his personal hell to save.