My Husband Has Been Abusive: Should I Take Him Back?

It’s best that you hold your ground with your husband and let him know, clearly, that you will not tolerate his abusive behavior.

It’s not uncommon at all for an abusive husband to express regret and even sorrow over what he’s done to his wife. But often this is part of the cycle of abuse. After the violence occurs, there is often a period of regret, and then a “honeymoon” period where the husband gives his wife gifts or shows affection. But if a husband isn’t willing to go beyond an apology and deal with his abusive behavior, it’s only a matter of time, however, before tensions rise in the marriage and the husband abuses his wife again. It’s a cycle that must be broken, but it takes much more than an apology (Jeremiah 15:19, Ezekiel 14:6).

The wife of an abusive husband needs to be cautious about taking him back too quickly. She must realize that her husband’s apology may be a way for him to maneuver his way back into her heart and get her to believe the abuse will stop. Many apologetic husbands believe they can stop the abuse on their own, but experience tells us that this is not the case. Clear and effective intervention that confronts the husband and holds him accountable for his actions is necessary.

For a wife who’s afraid of her husband and his cruel treatment of her, separation is an option she should seriously consider with the help of friends, family, a pastor, a counselor and/or an agency equipped to deal with domestic violence. Usually it’s extremely difficult for an abused wife to leave the relationship on her own. If the husband continues to abuse, police involvement is appropriate, not only because domestic violence is illegal, but it can also be an opportunity for him to wake up and realize he’s going to lose his wife and family if he continues down this road (Psalms 7:15-16; Proverbs 29:11).

The pressure he’s putting on you to take him back indicates that he has not yet acknowledged the severe damage he’s caused you (James 1:20). He needs to acknowledge that he abused you, commit himself to getting help, identify his controlling attitudes and behaviors, and face the reasons why he has abused you. These steps are crucial in personal as well as marital healing.

The process of healing takes a considerable amount of time.  It may take years for him to show that he’s a changed man and for you to feel safe with him.

I hope these thoughts are helpful. This is not an easy road to follow, but neither is living with a cruel man. And it is the road that provides hope for change and healing in your marriage.

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