By Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, M.D. AKA â€œDr. Sharonâ€ is an energetic, motivating and insightful speaker and author who shares her expertise in the area of health, wholeness and self-esteem particularly focused on women.
Visit drsharononline.com to learn more.
Dear Dr. Sharon,
I am 44 years old, have three children and left my husband four months ago. I know that God hates divorce but my husband has been physically and emotionally abusive to me since the second year of our 14-year marriage.
My husband is a good man, he\’s a Deacon in the church and on the outside we were the perfect Christian family. However, my life with him was a nightmare and the violence got worse over the years. I left after he threw me down the stairs in front of our 13-year- old son who then grabbed a knife to defend me. My husband beat him so badly that the school called child protective services.
I have a restraining order against him but he keeps calling, asking me to come back, and he has people in the church talking to me about forgiveness. I have not told anybody at church why I left and so it looks like I am out of the will of God.
I wish I could say that I don\’t still love my husband and that I\’m comfortable with the idea of divorce. I wish I could say that I will never go back but I can\’t. I\’m in my mid-40s, overweight and don\’t have a college degree. What other man is really going to look at me? I know my husband needs me and I believe he loves me. What should I do?
-Melanie Providence, Rhode Island
First and foremost you and your children and even your husband are in my prayers. I believe that psychological illness causes spousal and child abuse. However, while we can pray for you all, there is nothing that you have said that warrants me advising that you go back into this dangerous relationship.
He\’s not a â€œgoodâ€ man; he\’s a violent, abusive man. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 women in the US are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. Domestic violence disregards boundaries of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, gender, socioeconomic background or educational level. Every 9 seconds in the US, a man beats a woman. Each day, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
The greatest hold that abusers have over their victims is fear and silence. I suggest that you speak with your Pastor and tell him about the situation in confidence. Your concern must be for your familyâ€” your son should know that real men don\’t beat their wives and if you have daughters, they need to know that being physically or emotionally abused is not an option.
Christ did not belittle, negate, berate, beat or damage the church. Therefore, your hus- band is not allowed to do the same to you.
My sister, I plead with you to seek psychological counseling and support. If you had a broken arm you\’d go to a medical doc- tor; you have a broken and abused â€œspiritâ€ and you need to be made whole; a mental health professional can help you.
God can mend your heart and spirit. Don\’t return to an abusive relationship or think about a new relationship without professional psychiatric and spiritual counseling.