Klasie Kraalogies: Bound, Chained and Suffering

Bound, Chained and Suffering
By Klasie Kraalogies

In my last post, I hinted at the painful consequences of purity culture – a disastrous marriage. It is not my intention to air dirty laundry. But some very basic facts will out. These are not the thrust of this post.

Marriage is forever. No matter what. Only 2 exceptions were allowed – unfaithfulness (in the full, physical sense), and if it appears one party was never a true believer. The latter I have never seen occur. You see, since all of this happened in an ecclesiastical context, with each marriage ostensibly divinely ordered, in a direct, personal manner. “God hates divorce”. And should one of those things happen, the suffering party would have to enter a life of celibacy. The latter is a bit stricter than some, but not unique.

Fine. So what happens when, not too long after the wedding, the gradual reveal begins that the new partner is a narcissist – with a temper problem? Or, as has often happened in other cases, the young wife discovers the husband has a heavy hand.

From the Washington Post, dated May 9, 2018, Hännah Ettinger:

The burden of proof was on me, and at stake was my family’s support, the validity of my faith and my character. I couldn’t win. For him, and many other Christians like him, the only reason to end a marriage is when a partner has been unfaithful and is unrepentant. In my marriage, no one cheated, so there were no “valid” grounds to divorce, no matter how emotionally abusive, disrespectful and unstable our marriage had become.

This set of beliefs has been front and center in the news recently as Paige Patterson, a highly respected leader in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) of churches and the president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was called out for making similar statements about abuse and divorce. Since 2000, he has been recorded advising women in abusive marriages to “pray about it,” “settle it in the church of God,” and “if you suffer for it, and if you were misused, and if you were abused, and if you’re not represented properly, it’s okay. You can trust it to the God who judges justly.” Patterson has responded to the online backlash over these comments by saying that he cannot apologize “for what I didn’t do wrong.”

Think about that. Carefully. Domestic abuse is a major, major issue. Consider the following statistic:

1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (NCAD, https://ncadv.org/statistics).

This does not take into account years of mental torturing. And what is even more, children in such relationships suffer, tremendously. But here we have a religious leader who councils those who suffer that, well, to put it bluntly, they should suffer some more – potentially (and understanding something about abusers, most likely) till death do us part.

The longer the abuse continues, the more difficult it is to depart. And even when attempts are made, they are often unsuccessful. Consider that on average, an abused woman will attempt to leave 7 times before it is definite

And now moreover these preachermen lay this burden on top of the abused woman (or man) – that their divorcing will be an unspeakably evil act. From people that confess to believe that God is Love, this is incomprehensible. Fundamentalism is a curse.

I was successful on the second attempt. With strong support and encouragement from my children. It cost a lot – emotionally, physically, financially. Financial security will be elusive for a long, long time. But the abuser is not there. And yes, healing will take a long time… a life time.

But of course – the burdens don’t end there. After the dust settles, the fundamentalists return, urging celibacy.

Prooftexting till the cows come home. Again – where is the love? It is said that the new plague upon the land is loneliness.

Loneliness isn’t only making us sad. It’s fast becoming a public health crisis in the Western world.

Lonely people are more likely to get sick. Chronic loneliness is as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness is even more damaging to your body than obesity and diabetes and has been linked to high blood pressure, dementia and premature death.


But so what? As long as literal interpretations are adhered to, who cares about suffering? But their own Scriptures judges them – John 13:35.

We will do much better if we care for one another. And that includes supporting those that have to separate or divorce – or find new connections as they restart life.

• • •

PS: If you or anyone you know are caught in an abusive relationship, don’t stay quiet. Don’t continue suffering. It is your right to leave, and if there are children, to take them with you. Forget the preacherman. Forget the “bible-thumping” parents. Forget “family honour”. Do not become a statistic. Also remember: Not all abuse is physical. There are many varieties of abusers, narcissists and sociopaths out there. Be honest with yourself and your circumstances.

In Canada: http://endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help/
In the US: https://www.thehotline.org/

80 thoughts on “Klasie Kraalogies: Bound, Chained and Suffering

  1. I think children suffer from the fighting that goes on in some marriages as much as they suffer from a broken marriage where parents don’t communicate or behave responsibly as parents. Sometimes divorce is the best option, yes. An abusive spouse, even sick, is a reason for separation, of course.


  2. “What was Jesus up to?”

    Pretty clear that he was more about “put your stones down,” aka “stop abusing the Law and using it against others.”


  3. Knowing your triggers and how to deal with them when they’re triggered is very healthy, for self and others.


  4. Dana: i don’t think i knew that….but yes, it seems like an ordinary situation can remind me of a certain trauma from many years ago, and right away i get agitated, my heart starts racing, and in those moments my religious convictions certainly are overwhelmed…have a good night


  5. “for the sake of CHILDREN who suffer most when divorce happens”.

    Often said, but the fact is that on many cases, the children suffer infinitely more, either from perpetual fighting, or from abuse by one parent. I couldn’t really divorce earlier, but I hate the fact. My ex is somewhere on the narcissist-sociopath spectrum.


  6. What was Jesus up to? I thought under law of Moses the penalty for adultery was death for both the man and the woman.


  7. Of course it is. I was pointing out that even many of those who subscribe to it only do it selectively.


  8. This is a general trend with Culture War issues. Conservatives are by definition fighting a delaying action, and they eventually lose the fight. So what then? Once the fight is lost, the former warriors, or their descendants, switch to the other side. This is conceptually awkward, so the end game is to deny that the Culture War issue ever really was a thing. We see this with my standard example of Sabbatarianism, and Sunday baseball in particular. There was a long Protestant tradition of severely restricting what was socially acceptable on Sundays. This included nearly anything that fell under the category of “work, but also anything that might be plausibly characterized as recreational. This ban was enforced by law wherever possible, and by social custom everywhere else. With the rise of baseball in the later 19th century, both as a popular recreation and as a spectator sport, it became the focus of Sabbatarian fights. It was generally understood that any baseball league that played on Sundays, even where this was legal, was giving up any claim to respectability, and therefore respectable (i.e. middle class) persons wouldn’t attend their games. Of course Sundays were also the only day the working class had free, so a league had to decide which revenue source to give up. And as for working class people who wanted to play for recreation and exercise, they were out of luck. This fight raged into the 20th century. It wasn’t until the 1930s that Sunday baseball was legal in all major league cities. And yes, it was absolutely the Evangelicals fighting this war.

    Nowadays this all seems terribly quaint. You can find some places that ban liquor sales on Sunday, and there are the occasional curiosities like Chick Fil A that close on Sundays, but modern Evangelicalism is long past Sabbatarianism. NFL is practically holy ground on any given Sunday in the fall–or at least it was until it was desecrated by a handful of players kneeling. When I talk about how this was once a raging Culture War fight I am routinely met with disbelief. I mean that literally. i don’t mean people are amazed that such a thing could ever have been true, but that they refuse to believe it.

    This is an older example, and therefore further from cultural memory than many other former culture war issues. Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll as the Devil’s music? Divorce fits right in this pattern. There is still some awkward shuffling of feet on the issue, but virtually no one is serious about it. Too many have themselves divorced, and even those who haven’t have friends and relatives who have. The issue is quietly swept under the rug.

    See also: LGBT. The older generation will have to die off, but we aren’t too far from this being like those KJV-only weirdos.


  9. Just thinking about divorce; Jeff Bezos came to mind.

    Not only is his wife a real person; he’s a real person too as is his girlfriend. Plenty of pain to go around right Klasie?


  10. I have seen it suggested that Jesus is actually dealing with two very specific aspects of Jewish divorce law in these passages, not making general points about divorce at all.
    The first point he is dealing with was a then current controversy about the valid grounds for a man to divorce his wife. Mosaic law said a man could divorce his wife for “indecency”: some Jewish scholars were expanding that to mean divorce on any grounds at all that the husband found her unsatisfactory. Others insisted on actual improper behaviour. Jesus went the other way and insisted on a formal accusation of adultery for this ground for divorce to be made out.
    This, however, only related to one ground of divorce under Jewish law – divorce for cruelty, neglect etc were separate grounds and Jesus never touched on them: there is no reason to suppose he sought to overturn these grounds. (Note that while a wife could not technically divorce her husband, she could require a court to order him to grant her a divorce if their were valid grounds.)
    Jesus in Matthew 19:7-8 does not change divorce law – this is apparently the result of bad English translations. What happens is the Pharisees say that Moses *commanded* divorce. Jesus doesn’t say “from the beginning this wasn’t so” as if Moses changed the rules: the Greek is apparently better rendered “From the beginning this has never been so” and he is correcting their understanding of Moses: Moses only permitted divorce, he never *commanded* it, and Jesus makes it clear this was a concession because people were stubborn (“hard of heart”) not an endorsement.
    The other point Jesus is making in these various passages is best illustrated in Matthew 5. In Jewish law a divorced woman, even if divorced for adultery, was (and is) free to remarry whoever she wishes, with one exception: a woman may never marry the man with whom she committed adultery during her marriage. This marriage would be invalid and the children illegitimate. However, if a man desired another man’s wife, and they persuaded the husband to grant a divorce without their having (yet) slept with each other, this would all be perfectly legal and above board. In this understanding the verses in Matthew 5:27-28 about a man who looks at a wife (and it must be a wife because you can only commit adultery with a married woman) with lust having *already* committed adultery are part and parcel of the same teaching continued in verses 31-32 about it being adultery if a husband divorces his wife or if a man marries a woman who has been granted a divorce, with verses 28-30 an aside or interjection. The point is that the oh-so-lawful bit of wife swapping is still adultery, because the wife and new husband have committed adultery in their hearts already before the divorce was granted. Jesus teachings on divorce say nothing to the situation of a divorced wife (or husband) who meets someone new subsequently.
    (To say otherwise would arguably undermine the Law of Moses, rather than perfect it, since the whole point of the requirement to issue a divorce certificate is to free the wife from her husband and enable remarriage.)


  11. Will,

    most credentialed therapists understand anger to be a secondary emotion – that is, it is covering something deeper that is more painful to look at. If you’ve not done so yet, I hope you can find a trained and credentialed therapist you can talk to, even if “secular” – a good one will respect your religious convictions whatever they are. Sometimes it’s hard to see stuff in our own life, but there is help out there. I pray for peace for you.



  12. Biblical literalism, e.g.

    Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Luke 16:18

    It has been said, Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce: 32But I say to you, That whoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery. Matt. 5:31-32

    See also Matt. 19: 1-12 (one of the strangest passages in the Gospels).


  13. Never mind Bezos, does anyone NOT THINK the Church has been horribly culpable in the way it provides cover for domestic abusers, and leaves their victims out to dry?


  14. When he says its isn’t new, he’s saying that not much can be done about it, because it’s a permanent feature of human nature. And that is b.s.


  15. Susan, it’s hard. There are no good answers. You are stuck in a kind of grief that is deep, lasting, and seemingly without hope. Your life will probably never be the same. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to cope. I’m sure you have interests of one kind or another. Spend time with hobbies or avocations. If you enjoy travel, do some of that, with a friend if possible. If you have expertise in some area, develop it even more. Try to find ways not to be lonely. Read. Maybe you’ve already done these things. But do whatever makes you feel good.

    I’m not even sure you need to visit so often. Try going longer without a visit. Remember that he is now only a shell of a person. Regarding him and his condition, you have nothing to feel guilty about.

    I’m speaking from some little experience here. My wife, Marge, has Parkinson’s with dementia, although nothing approaching what you describe. I had to take her to a nursing home. And recently a large cancerous tumor was found and surgically removed. But although we do not know how long, her days are numbered. She’s been the love of my life and my best friend for about 55 years. I never realized until her illness how deep and lasting grief can be.

    I’m lucky in that she has some moments of extreme clarity. When we met with her doctors and caregivers a couple of weeks ago, she turned to me and asked “David, if I’m going to die, what are you going to do?” It’s probably the most difficult question I’ve ever been asked.

    Susan, I’m not sure this helps, but hopefully makes nothing worse. Take care of yourself as best you can.


  16. Other Jean well said, common sense comments. Economic freedom does equate to personal freedom and more choices. That is why we study history, to learn.


  17. Oh Susan, your sorrow and pain is so great and your situation so tragic.

    You are showing your husband love, honor, and the act of cherishing him in every way possible right now. You are fulfilling Paul’s advice: “When you have done all, stand.” You have done all, and anyone would honor you for it.

    Try also every day to focus on your own life, to make it a little better each day. Focus on yourself. Your husband is well cared for, so care for an cherish yourself. (Yes indeed, easier to say than to do.)

    You’re in my prayers.


  18. Seneca, nice try on the Squirrel! tactic.

    Who cares about the personal life of some billionaire? It is not as if he is a president or minister or something. On the other hand, the church has failed millions in love and repect. Maybe that was the focus of the post??


  19. All what’s convenient to MEEEE.

    The Constitutional Right to What I Wanna cannot be infringed.


  20. Every time I hear the buzzwords “plain reading of SCRIPTURE”, I remember my time in-country where the “plain reading” of Revelation 9:3-11 was plainly “Helicopter Gunships armed with Chemical Weapon “stingers” and piloted by Long-Haired Bearded Hippies”.


  21. They won’t get it from Evangelicals (“Trump Is LORD!”), that’s for sure.

    Plus, there’s got to be some “Make an Example of one and a hundred will fall right into line” in the mix.

    Alpha Male/Herd Bull has absolute sexual rights over ALL females in his Herd.


  22. And now moreover these preachermen lay this burden on top of the abused woman (or man) – that their divorcing will be an unspeakably evil act.

    Klaasie, I’m convinced that a lot of those preachermen who preach this are abusers themselves, and if they didn’t keep preaching How God HATES Divorce with Such a Perfect Hatred, their wives would leave them in an instant. So they gotta Keep Widdle Wifey from ditching them by threatening Eternal Hellfire if they ever do.


  23. Concerning divorce, I refuse to believe that God wants people to suffer for a lifetime over a mistake in judgement.
    In the lst Century and before, and for a long time after, the prohibition on divorce made sense: most women had few money-making skills, little education, and were bound to be a burden on someone–their birth families, their churches, or whatever public welfare existed–if they were abandoned or divorced. At least, however miserable their lives might be, they would be housed, fed, and clothed if they were forced to stay married.

    We are fortunate that that is no longer universally true. Many women have, or are able to earn, money of their own, and are freer to make choices to stay married or leave a bad marriage. Today, much more than in the past, individual happiness matters. I cannot see that as a bad thing. Certainly, people should make efforts to save their marriages, if saving them is possible. If not, then I will not condemn couples who divorce. If they choose to marry someone else, I wish them luck. I refuse to believe that God wants people to be miserable.


  24. I think Jeff Bezos made the mistake of his life when he cheated on his wife. I think that he did the only reasonable thing when he announced that someone was attempting to blackmail him, and he wasn’t going to pay them to go away. I think that his wife has a right to divorce him, and if he didn’t have a pre-nuptial agreement, it’s his own fault that half his assets will go to her. It’s not like he’ll be hurting for money after the divorce.


  25. Hello Susan . . . sending hug

    I wrote a note, but Chaplain Mike did not print it. Maybe it will print later. I hope so.


  26. speaking of rich and powerful men:
    the connection: Trump’s Secretary of Labor, Epstein, and ‘the Lolita Express’ scandal

    the underage victims were never notified of their rights . . . . . Epstein should have got ‘life’, and the Sec. is still in office . . . . money talks?

    those girls need justice, now that the whole country knows what was done to them


  27. I hear ya. When “non-Holy-Spirit-filled” people bear more fruit than those of us who are “of the Spirit”… Well, I don’t know what to make of that.

    Jesus wept, I guess.


  28. “holy spirit-filled” that just seems to provide more bafflement, in the sense that, i’ve received so much kindness from people wouldn’t know what ‘holy spirit filled’ meant, never heard of the idea, and personally i just get overwhelmed getting through the day, keeping one foot in the other, to check if i’m holy spirit filled or not… .it sure does keep me desperately running back to the communion bar, that’s for sure. thanks for commenting.


  29. I think it’s safe to say that being violent and abusive seems to cross a line that most redeemed, Holy-Spirit-filled people don’t cross.


  30. –> “There appears to be a significant percentage of evangelicals (in the pews and pulpits) that have abandoned the ‘plain reading of scripture’ on divorce.”

    There appears to be a significant percentage of evangelicals (in the pews and pulpits) that have abandoned the “plain reading of scripture” on how He would like us to love Him and love our neighbors.


  31. So what SHOULD be the norm for people who believe in the Bible and a loving, just God:

    -Shame women for considering leaving an abusive husband?
    -Shame men for abusing their wives?

    Sadly, history of Christian religious institutions does not show itself in a positive light in this regard.


  32. DennisB — yikes, i sure HOPE it’s not that simple. i’ve been to tonnes of altar calls, sat in the front row for years, led bible studies, endless prayer….and i still have a problem with anger (instead of my regular, less dramatic melancholy—anger is like despair with more energy)…


  33. There appears to be a significant percentage of evangelicals (in the pews and pulpits) that have abandoned the “plain reading of scripture” on divorce.”

    That is way to true Clay.


  34. Jeff Bezos has decided to abandon his wife for a girlfriend. By all accounts Bezos likes and respects his wife of a quarter century.

    Bad trade by Jeff

    No comment on NY and Amazon.


  35. –> “I’m not at all sure that abusive behaviors are in any way new.”

    Probably not. But they’re being RESPONDED TO in a new way. As in, “No, this is unacceptable.”

    That’s the crux of Klasie’s article, me-thinks; that fundamental “old school” approaches are unacceptable. And if your religion tells people, “Hey, this is nothing new, so buck up and stay true to your vows,” then you using your God and your beliefs in an unhealthy manner.


  36. “But so what? As long as literal interpretations are adhered to, who cares about suffering?”

    The Mantra of those Who Have Never Suffered Themselves.
    (Or who have Never Been Caught.)

    Remember Job’s Counselors? It’s always those who have NEVER been there who are first in line with glib advice (and wagging fingers) for those who are.


  37. You never know when you might need that escape route yourself.
    Better to pound your Bible and Scream about the OTHER guys’ SIN SIN SIN.


  38. In most evangelical churches if you took out the divorced newly married couples, the divorced women and man you would lose 60 percent of your membership.

    i.e. 60 percent of those TITHE$.
    Which is why Divorce is de facto OK (just keep it hush-hush) while GAWD H&S FAGS! and GAWD H&S TRANS!


  39. “But so what? As long as literal interpretations are adhered to, who cares about suffering?”

    I have to admit, to my shame, that that is exactly what I would have said if I were asked this question 20 years ago. I would have said, “Look, yes, this command can and often does cause suffering, but you have to understand – this pattern of life was eternally established by God’s Law. He is always right, He never changes. If we can’t live up to it, that’s our fault, not His. We are ultimately not called to be happy, or to question His rules – we are only called to obey. Period.”

    It took a lot of rethinking and pain (both received and inflicted) for me to break out of that mentality.


  40. St bndctv I was trying to be funny, as I thought Seneca was referring to Bezos weenie pic and divorce. My humor failed as has my campaign to convince the world I am good looking. Guess Amazon does not sell common sense.Talk about price people will pay to leave a marriage. Glad Bezos is the “face” of Amazon, not the body part photo he sent his mistress. Apologizes for getting off important topic.


  41. Hello Senecagriggs,

    I was thinking about the ‘Catholic edge’ on staying married by a few percentage points,

    that the Church requires MANDATORY pre-marital preparation meetings to do with the importance of sacramental marriage for a Christian couple, so that maybe the ‘edge’ is front-loaded in getting people to consider what they are doing, as opposed to putting all that time in ‘choosing a dress’ and ‘planning the wedding’, etc. etc. . . .

    The Pre-Cana couseling is undertaken seriously and thoroughly so that the couple going in to Christian marriage will make the commitment whole-heartedly and with an emphasis on marriage as a sacred responsibility before God . . . .

    I do think that other denominations must have some kind of pre-marriage counseling, but I do not know how this is oriented.

    I may be wrong. I’m married over fifty years. My parents were married over fifty years, Their parents also. And back as long as we are aware, it was ’til death do us part’, so the ‘edge’ might also be influenced by a very strong family example in many Catholic families.

    In any case, the Catholic stat of 28% is pitiful, and there is much work needed to help young people understand what they are undertaking. If nothing more, for the sake of CHILDREN who suffer most when divorce happens. Being a teacher, I have sent many a troubled child to the school couselor for help and it is heartbreaking to see how these children suffer emotionally.


  42. John, why should Amazon move to NYC ? If I own a private company I should be able to move wherever and for any reason of my choosing. Telling companies where they can and can’t be located isn’t our issue. If Nike wanted to leave Oregon should they be able ? And what if you want to move to a different state. Should I be able to tell you where to live ?


  43. There appears to be a significant percentage of evangelicals (in the pews and pulpits) that have abandoned the “plain reading of scripture” on divorce.



    The study showed that the percentage of adults who have been married and divorced varies from segment to segment. For instance, the groups with the most prolific experience of marriage ending in divorce are downscale adults (39%), Baby Boomers (38%), those aligned with a non-Christian faith (38%), African-Americans (36%), and people who consider themselves to be liberal on social and political matters (37%).

    Among the population segments with the lowest likelihood of having been divorced subsequent to marriage are Catholics (28%), evangelicals (26%), upscale adults (22%), Asians (20%) and those who deem themselves to be conservative on social and political matters (28%).

    Born again Christians who are not evangelical were indistinguishable from the national average on the matter of divorce: 33% have been married and divorced.


  45. While Evangelicalism is certainly an epicenter, I feel there is a larger generational issue: the tolerance of abusive behavior.

    It’s always one sinner marrying another.

    I’m not at all sure that abusive behaviors are in any way new.

    Due to childhood backgrounds, however, some people are simply attracted to drama and abuse – almost like it is part of their DNA.

    My theory – there are less and less mentally stable individuals to marry as you get older. Baggage appears to increase over time.


  46. Hmmm. Marriage statistics by themselves are problematic, as Marriage is skews towards the Wealthy, particularly in the multiple marriages. Additionally each statistics in that sequence applies to something like half of the population size as the previous value; by the time you get to Third the sample is small, and their AMI is far above median.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with those values over time.

    Footnote: 50% seems high. The latest numbers put the number of marriages at 6.9 per 1,000, and the number of divorces at 3.2 per 1,000. So more like ~46%. Recent analysis by Bowling Green found a tremendous surge in divorces of those over 55, which rates doubling or higher for that cohort – which is interesting, can’t blame them upstart kids for this one.


  47. Sadness.

    While Evangelicalism is certainly an epicenter, I feel there is a larger generational issue: the tolerance of abusive behavior. All the way down to interpersonal belligerence. Evangelicalism adds the extra, very ugly, component of hiding what is all too common behind a screen of Scripture quoting.

    If the rising generation(s) over correct here or there, doesn’t bother me, that is natural part of finding a new way forward. Enough is enough, and we are way past enough.


  48. 70% of all divorces in the USA now initiated by the wife.

    No wonder. Marriage is better, more beneficial and helpful, for men than women. It’s been arranged that way for millennia. Should we be surprised when women opt to get out of a bad deal?


  49. Some Christian religious leaders put subtle and not-so-subtle pressure on women, wives, to be the ones to initiate fixing the problems in the their marriages to angry and violence-prone husbands, and fixing the husbands themselves. It’s not just a problem of “new arrivals to our country”; you can hear it from Focus on the Family and other influential Christian ministries. Things have not changed enough.


  50. I so, so empathize with people who have gone thru a bitter divorce. Certainly, there are situations where one partner should run away as fast as they can.

    But it gets dicey when you move on to the second marriage. You think you’ll get it right the second time but the odds are against you.

    “Statistics show that in the U.S., 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second, and 74% of third marriages end in divorce. Second marriages have difficulty for a number of reasons. First, once a person discovers that he or she can manage a divorce, they are less scared of going through the process again.”

    I don’t think there are easy answers –
    of course in these United States; you can be totally against your divorce and end up being divorced simply because your spouse decides to divorce you.

    70% of all divorces in the USA now initiated by the wife.


  51. Sadly, because of lack of political, social and/or economic independence, many victims of domestic abuse in many places around the world are unable to take Klassie’s good P.S. advice. This is why it’s important, when possible, for domestic partners not to be economically dependent on their significant others; this is why they need to have financial and social resources of their own, again when possible; and this is why the personal political, social, and economic “autonomy” (however we may want to qualify that word) of the modern era are so important for classes of people who historically been victimized in their domestic relationships by more powerful, dominant social partners.


  52. Susan, your words bring me to tears:

    “In 2019, where do I stand. I care for him in his dementia. Divorce is not an option. I still love John for the man I once knew who is now in the nursing home.They care for his needs every day. I visit every few days.
    He doesn’t know me and is in later stage dementia. No speach, can’t walk, has to be fed, is incontinent.
    But where am I in this situation?”

    sounds like you didn’t take ‘for better or for worse’ for granted, and the kind of love you are showing your husband is consistent with cherishing . . . he is ill, it’s not his fault, and your visit him in his sickness

    that is not ‘nothing’, it is something honorable and born out of strength, Susan

    you have my prayers . . . that you find Christ’s peace in the midst of that place where so many long marriages come, when in old age, one partner suffers, so will the other suffer in spirit

    there is something very beautiful and faithful about your devotion to your sick husband, and if you don’t know this, I think we have seen it here and found in it an example to be honored and, in time, emulated if need be, with the help of God’s grace

    God Bless you, Susan Dumbrell


  53. In 1968 I made the promise with John to love, honour and cherish till death does us part.

    In 1989 this was no longer an option. I cannot elaborate. His decision.

    Three years ago because of his violent behaviour towards me with injury resulting in us both being taken to A&E, the police then took him into a nursing home for dementia patients.

    In 2019, where do I stand. I care for him in his dementia. Divorce is not an option. I still love John for the man I once knew who is now in the nursing home.They care for his needs every day. I visit every few days.
    He doesn’t know me and is in later stage dementia. No speach, can’t walk, has to be fed, is incontinent.

    But where am I in this situation? I have good mental capacities but without him knowing my plight I am in limbo.

    Where does love, honour and cherish fit into my life now??

    Endless days of nothing.

    Eternity seems too small. Till death us do part seems a long way off.



  54. in my lifetime I have seen the change in attitude by society and people on a personal level regarding the issue of leaving an abusive relationship and divorce. Hannah Ettinger experiences unfortunately would not have been uncommon in many a religious community. However, as the songster wrote “The Times They are A Changing” and for the most part have changed.

    Most faiths consider marriage and its solemn oath to remain together until death the bed rock of society and the family the strength of the church as well as society. Even in the frustrating evangelical circles those days are drawing to an end. I have attended many a evangelical church service while visiting relatives , friends and to learn about other services when I travel. Divorce is now not a “deal” breaker in any religion including the Catholic faith , by the lay people, as far as I can observe. In most evangelical churches if you took out the divorced newly married couples, the divorced women and man you would lose 60 percent of your membership. Except for a few die hard , fire and brimstone throwbacks , I do not believe any church would advise a person to remain in an abusive relationship. Good article bringing up the subject but who here has any disagreement with the author’s viewpoint.

    Now in the USA and I would guess Canada how will the issue be handled with newly arrived and even native born Muslims and people who follow very fundamental and extreme social dictates. The “western” religions have lost their influence on the culture and social issues. Sure there are still some fundamental hold outs but they are on the way out but the fundamental Muslim faith is growing . Will there be a governmental and major social media effort to change their fundamental views of women’s right, place in society and ability to leave an abusive marriage? Will our civil law override their religious mandates? that are the core of their culture?
    This will be the challenge or will it be okay as we will honor the culture, traditions and religion of the new arrivals to our country?

    Just thinking out loud, and I appreciate the honest concern expressed in the article. I can relate to the struggle of women in the late 50’s who had to leave their abusive husband with no support , no safety net and face the stigma/challenges of supporting yourself and children. Thank God, things have changed .


  55. I think the verse that says if “anyone hates his brother and says they know God, they are a liar” sums it up. Being violent & abusive consistently cannot come from a redeemed heart. It puts someone in a similar category to a paedofile…”but I love the kid”, he says. That love isn’t developing from 1 Cor 13 ! Goto as many altar calls, sing as many songs, sit in the front aisle…you’re still a liar, so in effect an unbeliever, or more accurately, an un-disciple.


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