Asking the Impossible: Being the Right Spouse to an Abuser
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
The following article was written by Wendell. Many thanks to him!
As I was driving in to work this morning, I heard the little 2 minute Focus on the Family blurb our radio station carries and it got me thinking. Normally, I don’t hear this as I am in to work earlier than it comes on, but this morning was different. The host, Jim Daly, was talking about the fantasy world created by Hollywood and modern culture, that God has the right one for us and we just have to find him or her. Ok, valid point. This attitude does make finding a mate more like a giant lotto game and leads to much disappointment and many mistakes.
He then went on to decry the fact that it is prevalent in our society that if the one you “find” does not give you supreme happiness 24/7, then it is permissible to just leave and start over. Ok, I get that. Too many divorces are frivolous and it is completely unreasonable to be living on a cloud of marital bliss all the time. We are human after all and we disappoint each other.
The rest of it is what got me thinking today. He then stated that instead of trying to find the right one, we should become the right one for our spouse, essentially morphing ourselves into what our spouse “needs”. Now, on the surface, and in a normal situation, that may be fine. Sacrificial love is a good thing to have in marriage, and I should do what I can to be the best I can for my spouse; however, what about when your spouse is abusive?
But from what I have seen on this blog, and in dealing with my own daughter’s situation, I see accounts of abusers demanding that their spouses fit into a mold they were never designed for. It is a warped view of meeting only the needs of the abuser and the victim is expected to contort themselves into a grotesque form, that satisfies some warped view and desire of the abuser, yet is not recognizable as humanity to anyone else. Further, rather than sacrificing to become better for our spouse being a gift to our spouse, it becomes an obligation in an abusive relationship, stripping the “specialness” out of the whole process.
Upon hearing the stories of so many here, I have seen comments that portray how unpredictable their abuser is or was. It is sheer torture to desire to be something pleasing to another person, when their definition of pleasing is in constant change, and when one tries to do what he/she feels is the right thing, their efforts are simply thrown back in their face.
I know that many times growing up, I so wanted to be accepted and loved by my mother. I was willing to change almost anything to please her, yet I never could find what I needed to do. It was only later that I realized how self absorbed into her own pain and shortcomings she was and that nothing I could change would be enough. I finally became like Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof when he stated that if he bent too much, he would break!
Now, I hold no ill will toward Focus on this. I know they are catering to an audience within a certain spectrum; however, I wish more ministries would recognize and deal with the fact that to the abused, some of the teachings they espouse are asking the impossible and the harmful of so many victims who have tried to bend so far they are in danger of breaking!