I am married with two children under nine years of age. My husband claims he is not an alcoholic, but he must have alcohol every day of his life. I have been to 12-Step Programs enough to know he definitely is an alcoholic just like my father was.
My problem is my children who must live on this roller coaster with me as he changes from being solicitous to abusive. It’s like walking on egg shells, never knowing when the change will happen. They hear him berating me verbally, and I know it is teaching them that this type of behavior is acceptable.
I cannot afford to live on my salary alone, so I’m still here. He has never physically abused me, but takes every chance to cut me verbally while the children listen. I need some help as I decide whether or not to separate the children and myself from this unpredictable man. ~ A discouraged wife from Dallas
Dear Discouraged, I wish I could tell you that your situation is unusual, but I think you know it is not. There are so many women going through similar circumstances.
What I would say to you is that the most important thing you can do for you and your children is to know who you are in Christ. In other words, when God looks at you, what does He see? Go through your Bible and ask God to show you who you are according to His Word. There is a very important reason I addressed this first.
Men like your husband are solicitous when fear strikes them: the fear of losing their wives. Once he has won you over temporarily, he will become verbally and emotionally abusive again. It’s a game, and it’s a game these men live for: the games of the alcoholics. Their own insecurities drive them to hunt and peck, and if you play their game, you will lose (and so will your children). Your husband may try to convince relatives, associates, and you that he married a “crazy woman”. This, he believes, will engender sympathy from his buddies and will justify how he treats you.
What makes men like your husband angry is when their wives have confidence in their God and in themselves. A wife who works in the home may decide to get an outside job, and the husband will attack constantly because he fears she will gain confidence once she has time away from him.
I cannot, in good conscience, advise you to leave your husband and the father of your children. But I can advise you to begin to teach your children how special they are to you and to God. I would advise childrens’ bible studies, along with learning songs that reinforce how much God loves them.
Also, I would advise you to get involved in a Christian 12-Step program in your area. Your objective is not to demean your husband to the members, but to gain strength from them. Make sure you and your children are involved in a supportive church, and stay connected to loving, supportive Christians.
Also, ask God (constantly) to help you in your desire to “mirror Christ”. Christ was mocked and reviled, and yet he opened not His mouth. He knew Who gave Him His peace and His power! The same One who will give you yours, Discouraged.
I know God and have been through unspeakably hard times with Him. I can assure you that He will work out your circumstances in His time. Your job is to trust Him and wait. “He who stands and waits also serves.” Should your husband decide to leave, let him leave, but no swinging doors, Discouraged. Take your fears to your Lord and keep giving them to Him.
One caveat, Discouraged: Should your husband hit you or your children, find some place to go. There are friends, churches who can help, and homeless shelters if you have to use them. But do not let him abuse any of you physically or sexually.
Also, there is help available to you in counseling. If your local mental health department has no Christian Counselors, then make it clear to your counselor that you are a Christian and you believe the Bible to be 100% accurate. Don’t ever do anything in counseling that is contrary to what your Bible teaches.
I pray God will fill you with His peace and help you to be the virtuous woman He created you to be.
(c) 2009 April Lorier