Hi, My Name Is Ralph Bass...This Is My Library

The fourth in our series of counseling case studies.

DEAR PASTOR: I made a mistake. I married right out of high school to my boyfriend of 4 years. He has been getting progressively more and more abusive. He threw hot coffee at me last week because I told him I didn’t have time to run some errands for him. He has always yelled and called me names and I usually yell right back. Now it is starting to get scary. He often holds his fist up to my face and threatens to hit me. I think I should get a divorce, and now would be a good time, since we don’t have any children. My parents tell me that divorce is sin, but I don’t think God would make me be miserable for the rest of my life because of one mistake. Don’t you agree? Susan B.
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Counseling Case Study 4

Answer: Susan First, you must call the police when you are the object of a crime. Throwing hot coffee on you is a crime. If you do not do this, he will never get the message that this kind of behavior cannot continue. Every physically abusive act should result in a call to the police. When you became a Christian, you did not surrender your rights as a citizen of this state to the protection of its laws. Assault and battery is against the law. See that the law is enforced.

Second, when you “yell right back” you dishonor Christ and grieve the Holy Spirit. In doing this, you sin against God and your husband. His sin does not justify yours. Memorize, practice, and habituate these two verses.
A GENTLE answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1-2

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification…. Ephesians 4:29

Third, the apostle Peter deals with this kind of problem without suggesting divorce. He says that you are to handle it this way,

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. And let not your adornment be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. I Peter 3:1-4

Fourth, both you and your husband should seek counsel from your pastor. If he won’t go, you should go alone. The church can and should provide “care and discipline” for both of you. Give them an opportunity to do that before you do something you cannot change.

Fifth, at the present time, you do not appear to have grounds for a Biblical divorce. The Bible allows divorce for fornication and for desertion. These do not appear to be a part of your situation.

Don’t get a divorce. Do live a godly life before your husband.

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