Blessing for the Ultimate Sacrifice in an Abusive Marriage

By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved

When I refer to the ultimate sacrifice in an abusive marriage, most people’s minds probably think of what mine would – what happens if you actually die in an abusive marriage? However, that’s not what I’m talking about.

There is a sacrifice that may become necessary and it is one that the most dedicated of us do not want to make – in fact, many refuse to make.

The most determined of us hold firmly to our marriage vows and refuse to consider that God could actually lead another way. While we believe our actions are demonstrating huge faith and sacrifice for the cause of Christ, they may actually be an expression of unbelief.

First of all is the issue of holding to our marriage vows. God Himself cannot keep a covenant where the other party persists in violation. The other party’s violation voids God’s agreement and His blessing. God is faithful; that is His nature. And that is the deep desire of many of us in our marriages. We are faithful; we will remain faithful no matter what. But we cannot make the choice for the other person to remain faithful. And that voids our ability to maintain our end of the covenant. If we have a wrong belief (unbelief) about this issue of our marriage vows, we will remain in a situation God does not expect or want for us.

Second, we have to understand there is literally an issue of idolatry in place when dealing with an abusive spouse. I address this issue briefly in the article The Issue at the Heart of Domestic Violence. When it comes right down to it, we have to choose which master we will serve. Remaining in a marriage of spiritual idolatry boils down to a problem with unbelief – we do not believe God sees it just that black and white.

Another thing that can keep us in unbelief is our own selfishness. Yes, that’s what I said. It can be very hard to look at this hiding in the corners of our heart. You see, if we walk away we give up a lot. We give up our image, we give up our identity as a wife (huge!), we probably give up friendships and even church support we have valued immensely, we give up the respect of others. We may even think we are giving up on ourselves and God and our family – though this is not the truth. We may give up our home and our financial security.

For me, the single biggest step of faith I ever made was believing God when He told me to get out of my marriage and follow Him. It was a daring, blind step of audacious faith – and it came at huge expense. I did lose friends, family, church support, my identity, my role as a wife, my home and financial security (such as they were), and the respect of others.

But, I dared to believe what God told me.

Today, He gave me a huge blessing. Actually, today He gave me the promise of a huge blessing – which is sitting right in the Word and I had never realized it applied directly to me.

And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,

But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Mark 10:29-30

Now, lest anyone think that this sacrifice in an abusive marriage isn’t about the gospel, it is indeed about the gospel. Not only is it an issue of obedience to God, it is quite literally about the gospel. Jesus defined the gospel in Luke 4:18-19:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

The gospel includes healing the brokenhearted, preaching deliverance to captives, setting at liberty those that are bruised, and preaching the favorable – full of God’s favor! year of the Lord. The gospel is not just about going to heaven when we die. And that is definitely not what Jesus modeled in His earthly ministry, nor does it describe the fulfillment of what Jesus very specifically commissioned his followers to do when He left. Eternal life starts at the day of salvation and God’s salvation is for every part of our lives, not just our eternal destiny.

The promise of a blessing is literally also for those of us who have left husbands (or wives, as the case may be), family, friends, churches, homes, and financial provision to leave an idolatrous marriage and follow ONE God. God promises us a hundredfoldin this world – not only in the world to come!

This is a powerful promise for those who will dare to let go and abandon themselves to God. The sacrifice is astronomical – but God’s promise is a hundred times bigger.

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11 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing. After 9 1/2 years of seperation from my abusive husband {who has been serving a 10 year suspended sentence for molesting my then 12 year old daughter (who is now 21)}, the LORD has asked me, “do you trust me”? Will you trust me to provide and protect you? Will you allow ME to be your husband? I believe for me to remain in a marriage where there has been no sign of “hope” from my husband to make an effort toward learning HOW to treat me as CHRIST loves the CHURCH (true born again believers) is DISOBEDIENCE [on my part] to my LORD and Saviour. Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed? I believed I was being obedient to God’s Word in 1st Corinthians 7:16 that says, “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? Another verse is Luke 9:23….If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. The enemy of our souls can take scripture and make an abused spouse believe she is being obedient to GOD when in fact she is being disobedient by remaining in an abusive marriage. Like myself, many women want to do what is right, but often do not. We need to “rightly divide God’s Word”. We are NOT to lean upon our own understanding. The Holy Spirit is able to reveal the truth of HIS Holy Word to us when we seek, ask and knock. He is more than able to reveal the TRUTH to our hearts and minds. He wants to give us LIFE more abundantly. The enemy comes to kill, steal and to destroy. Unless a husband cares to build up, encourage, and be willing to lay his life down for his wife, then his heart is not right and is selfish. He cares more about being served rather than having a heart to serve as our LORD and Saviour Jesus did. I truly asked the LORD to change me. He has done just that. He has brought healing to my mind and heart so I could/can KNOW what is healthy Spiritually, Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Financially, etc. God is FAITHFUL and TRUE. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is my FATHER, Friend, Husband, etc. He is kind and loving. I do place my trust in HIM as I am now in the process of getting a divorce. I pray that the LORD will use my experience through domestic abuse to bring healing to others that are going through this HELL so they too can know my wonderful Saviour that is the GREAT PHYSICIAN who mends broken hearts and lives. We’ll never master life without Jesus (AS) the MASTER of our life. Thank you for sharing your wise insights with us Danni. God Bless You for caring and sharing GOD’s TRUTH.

    • Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!! As I was reading what you wrote I was agreeing all along. You have obviously been listening the same God I know!

      I love it when I see the evidence of God at work. I know what I walked through with God and how He taught me. I am 1000% sure (deliberate extra 0) that I have obeyed His voice and direction. There is nothing anyone can say to change my mind, no matter how firmly they believe a different theology. When I was walking that path there was no one out there saying it – it was a solo journey.

      It is additionally delightful to then find others who have walked the same solitary path and God has taught them the same things. He is so good! And now the visible chorus is growing as there are more and more and more of us who have walked the same path and learned the same lessons directly from God. That makes it easier for those who are walking the path now. The Word says faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word, and needs a preacher. Many of us had no preacher but the Holy Spirit — and it usually took us many, many years to finally understand we were not in bondage to an idolatrous marriage. Now with the “preachers” (Greek word means “herald, crier”) growing, that path out of bondage is getting easier and faster. Praise God!!!!!!

      God is opening the door for great things for you!

      — Danni

  2. Thank you for sharing. I have a question. I am getting a divorce from an abusive marriage. The thing is that I have been a youth leader for many years and there were several times when I had to talk to the christian girls (often members of our church) who decided to marry non-chrisitan men. One of them really wanted me to come to her wedding. At that moment after talking to her about God not wanting His children to marry un-believers I felt that God doesnt want me to come to that wedding even though she was one of my best friends. The words I believe He gave me were : “My dear friend I wish I could rejoice with you on the day of your wedding but I feel like crying because your husband who will be your spiritual leader might actually lead you astray from God alltogether because he doesn’s know Jesus. So, because I cannot rejoice with you I choosenot to come”. She was really mad at me and said I had no right to tell her she is making a mistake by marrying a non-christian man and I am a bad friend that I dont want to come to her wedding. Now, as I am divorcing from a chrisitan marriage I hear it in my head all the time “How could you tell all these girls not to marry non-christian but GOOD men when your own christian marriage is falling apart?” I was praying about it but this just doesnt go away, especially that this last friend of mine has a much better marriage than mine. This steals my peace of mind. And these thoughts come to me again and again.

    • This is a great question and there are actually two parts to the answer.

      I think as Christians who end up divorcing, one of the things we all have to deal with is condemnation. We usually get a bucket-load of it put on us by others, but then there is the even greater pile we put on ourselves.

      There are a variety of reasons. One is just that Satan is the accuser of the brethren and he will try any trick he can to put a believer into a defeated position. And if we are feeling condemned we ARE in a defeated position. Satan comes for nothing but to kill, steal, and destroy – and he will use condemnation to do it.

      The idea that your friend who married an unbeliever has a better marriage than your Christian marriage is straight out of Satan’s bag of tricks. There are too many variables in that judgment to be able to make such a definitive statement. God’s Word is still true – a believer must not marry an unbeliever because it puts us in a spiritually adulterous position. There are no two ways about it. Whether the fruit of that has yet been manifested in your friend’s life isn’t the test of truth.

      We also condemn ourselves. We have a paradigm of belief regarding what Christians “do” and “don’t do.” And divorce is definitely on the “don’t do” list. So even if we land in a situation where divorce is the only option, our hearts will condemn us because we are violating the “don’t” list.

      I John 3:20-22 is very helpful with this. It says that if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and He knows all things – He sees the whole picture. And if our hearts do not condemn us (the position we can be in before God – because Rom 8:1 there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh – then we have confidence and boldness toward God and our prayers will be answered.

      The truth is that our acceptance before God is based on Jesus’ sacrifice – not on anything we do or do not do. God does not look at us with displeasure, anger, or judgment – He sees only Christ’s sacrifice and it is more than enough. The same grace that provided our eternal salvation is the grace that provides for all of our todays, too. (That’s the subject for a much more in-depth study.)

      And God’s grace is not only enough, but if we are attempting to add to it or “do” for God by our “works” – even after salvation – we are stepping outside the bounds of His grace (of which condemnation is a sure sign) and are cursing ourselves (Gal. 1:8-9). God isn’t cursing us – we are cursing ourselves. That’s what condemnation is!

      Another factor that enters into your question is the qualification of a Christian vs non-Christian marriage. God tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. But who is an unbeliever? Unfortuately, church teaching on this subject is woefully lacking. We accept anyone who has “prayed the prayer” and says/does the right things as being a Christian. That is foolish and dangerous.

      The Word describes a godly union –

      A man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife. Then — and only then are they one flesh. Anyone who puts asunder that union has committed adultery. Putting asunder happens a long time before a legal document is handed down by the courts! And the person who has “put asunder” that union is the one who is at fault.

      Also the Word says that a man who does not provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever. Among other things, this points back to the definition of a godly union. If a man (or woman) puts asunder s/he has demonstrated that they are an unbeliever – regardless of what they may say they have prayed or whether they go to church and serve regularly and “do” all the “good Christian” things. An abuser most definitely puts asunder – an abuser puts his/her spouse away in every action they take toward their spouse. There is no union, no cleaving, no one-flesh.

      And the Word has a process of how a Christian should be able to take this offense to the church, in Matthew 18. Ideally, the church would ultimately judge an abuser as an unbeliever and put them out of fellowship. This doesn’t happen in today’s church, but it is what the Word says is supposed to happen (I Cor. 5 – an abuser is a railer, even if no other of these applies).

      Once someone has been judged an unbeliever by Biblical standards the guidelines of I Cor. 7 apply, and a believing spouse is not required to remain with an unbelieving spouse who isn’t “pleased” to dwell with them. And abuser isn’t pleased with anything! It doesn’t matter if that person refuses to remove him/herself from under the same roof. They are not being pleased to dwell with their spouse. There is no peace there. And the believing spouse is NOT bound to remain in that marriage.

      So, this is what the Word says. You weren’t in a Christian marriage. You were unequally yoked to an unbeliever – though you didn’t know it.

      You have no condemnation. And you can use the truth of the Word to stand up to those voices – whether external or internal. That, in turn, gives you boldness and confidence with God.

      — Danni

  3. Dear Danni,

    thank you very much for your reply, I read it several times and prayed about my situation again and again. Iam filing for divorce next week.

    Danni, you know different stories about different women who divorced from abusive marriages. Do you know of any examples of them being married again to christian men? (especailly if their church wasnt supportive of their divorce)?

    Also, do you know if a person who divorced without their church support from an abusive marriage (and divorce was the only way to escape physical danger) can still take communion maybe at another church. If you allready answered these questions somewhere else on your site give me a link please.

    • Viktoria,

      Yes, I do know of Christian women who remarried other Christian men after divorce. It is very important to take plenty of time to really learn the truth about how God sees you and His love for you because those who have been in abuse have a tendency to accidentally remarry someone who is abusive – just in a different way so it’s not apparent at first. But others have remarried wonderful men and gone on to serve in church.

      On the question of communion, the brief answer is — definitely, yes. I’d like to answer that in more depth but don’t have time at the moment.

      — Danni

  4. Thank you Danni,

    this is really encouraging to hear! I love Jesus and want to be in His church and in His ministry, i also know that He wants me to be a pastors wife someday. I know He will work out everything according to His willin His time, it is just that it is hard to know how. But I just have to trust Him. Thank you for reminding me to learn more about His love – this is really important!

  5. Dear Danni,within the next several months people around me will be finding out about my divorce and reacting to that. Can you please pray for God to give me special grace to go through that time. I know you are really busy, but I still thought of asking for a prayer, it is just hard even though I know that this is the only way to go right now (divorce) it is still hard. It is not just my hurt pride (we were an example of a “perfect” marriage) it is also painful because many people will sincerely grieve about this loss (as I and my ex-husband together). Last week I told one of our close friends and she said that it feels like someone she loves died even though separately both of us are alive. I also am not going to tell people why we divorced because I dont want to talk badly about my husband and it is hard when you cannot explain why this happened and you know that people will be guessing all kinds of things….. But God keeps on giving me confirmations about my decision almost every day andI trust Him to guide me through this difficult time. After all it was more painful and difficult when my husband was twsisting my arms, calling me a prostitute and threatening to kill himself if I dont always agree with him.

  6. Dear Danni, I wanted to thank you again for all your answers to my questions. I read them many times. I am grateful for your ministry – it has been a great resource for me. In my last post I asked for a prayer, I hope it was ok to do

    • Viktoria,

      Absolutely it’s OK to ask for prayer! I do pray for the people who ask for it, whether here or by private e-mail, plus whomever else God puts on my heart who comments. I’m also very open to praying with people on the phone if desired.

      I’m glad it has helped you. That is my greatest desire. I wish there were a way for me to communicate how much I love and care for those who are walking in this place. God has so much more and better for us.

      — Danni

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