Marriage is sacred—yet so am I.
I’m a beloved child of the Father. I’m called to an intimate relationship with Jesus. I’m desired and cherished. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19).
These are truths I’ve always rationally known, yet I wasn’t able to fully comprehend them in my heart until I began to heal from my struggle with domestic abuse. Because I’d been too focused on my relationship, I hadn’t cleared the space in my soul to allow such divine certainties to enter. I’d been trying to survive heartbreak for so many years that my mind had become shrouded in sorrow and even despair.
“Despair arises from some evil that is in the way of obtaining good.”
(St. Thomas Aquinas)
And make no mistake, abuse of any kind is evil.
In order to heal I needed to step back from my rationalizing thoughts and heavy emotions so I could release it all. That was difficult to do, because releasing all meant releasing my sacramental marriage, and I didn’t feel strong enough to do that. I was scared, I was trauma bonded, I was adrift and afloat. Yet I knew releasing my marriage was exactly I needed to do.
By releasing all, I don’t mean I gave up. I’m not talking about a sudden determination to divorce, or even to make any decisions one way or another. I’d already ruminated too much. It was time to let go—of my thoughts, of my confusion, of my anguish. It was time to surrender the outcome of my situation to God—no matter what that outcome may be.
I gave in to Christ, to His call pulsing inside my heart, to His voice quietly singing to me: “How beautiful you are, my love, how beautiful you are!”
(Song of Songs 1:15)
I had to stop listening to the tumbling thoughts in my head in order to let the depth of Jesus’ love surround me, to understand how beautiful I am to Him. I needed to allow that amazing truth to sink fully into my heart. It was time to awaken; my winter of sorrow and anguish could be at an end, if I would just take that first leap into full trust in God. I had to realize I am His beloved—and He is mine. I had to listen, because He was still singing to me in a soft, patient cadence:
“Come then, my love, my lovely one, come. For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth. The season of glad songs has come, the cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land.”
(Song of Songs 2:10-12).
I realized that clinging to an unhealthy situation wasn’t what Jesus wanted for His beloved. He longed for me to cling to Him instead, to let Him take care of every detail of my life.
I had to give everything to Him—especially my marriage. No matter what happens, with Jesus there is no “for better or for worse.” There’s only the best—because that’s what He desires for His beloved ones, for those called according to His purpose.
“We know that in everything God works for goodwith those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.”
I’d been Martha, anxious and troubled. I needed to be Mary. Again, I heard Jesus calling to me:
Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
I’ve decided to be like Mary and sit at our Lord’s feet, allowing Him to teach me, and to love me. I’ve taken the good portion as my own.
At some point, all abusive relationships must change—and that change can begin with you. Many women focus on whether or not their spouse will eventually admit to his harmful behavior, with hopes that he’ll return to the loving partner she thought he was when they first met. While it’s completely normal to hope an abusive person will undergo the conversion of authentic transformation, ruminating on the possibility tends to keep an abuse victim trapped inside her own thoughts—not to mention a damaging situation.
If this sounds familiar, I encourage you to focus on your personal journey of healing, rather than his. You can make a difference in your situation by allowing God to enter into it. When you surrender your all to God, amazing things begin to happen.
If you want to learn more about healing through the love of Christ visit Hope’s Garden, a sanctuary in which the spousal love of Christ the Bridegroom heals hearts, marriages and families.