I feel like we Christians need a weekly (perhaps, daily) reminder that the strength of women is not for the rescue of destructive men.
An unhealthy, destructive man does not “need a good woman” to love him to health. Her strength is not for his consumption.
But as women, we’ve lived under “the strength of a good woman is in how well she loves her man in his trouble” lie for so long that we’ve believed it’s the gospel.
But nowhere in God’s good earth does one human being require another to make them non-destructive. Nowhere in the Scripture or the life of Christ do we see God asking women to take on the sin of men on their bodies, minds, and emotions.
Seriously, let’s think about it. If God will not fix destructive people who refuse to engage change, why do we have a theology that makes women and children sacrifice themselves to “help” men get better? At what point do we think God’s “enough is enough” applies? (See Galatians 6:7, I Cor 5:9-13.)
Ps. In this post, I’m discussing unrepentant destructive patterns (although the principle of individual responsibility still applies when a marriage is safe and healthy.) Before we discuss how marriage is a partnership or how a husband and wife can support one another, I hope we take time to educate ourselves on “normal” vs. “destructive” problems in marriage.)
The truth is, destructive men don’t “need good women to help them get better.”
- They don’t “need” intact families.
- They don’t “need” pity.
- They don’t “need” to feel comforted and affirmed in their current condition.
- They don’t “need” another message on “regular guy struggles.”
- They don’t “need” more “respect”, “submission”, “sex” (and a million other things women are told to supply) to stop harming.
- They don’t “need” more prayers.
- They don’t “need” marriage counseling or better communication skills.
- They don’t “need” hand-holding by their spouse or their spouse acting as an accountability partner.
- They don’t need human beings to be sacrificed so they can be well.
Destructive men NEED to
- Reflect deeply.
- Explore and accept the choices they have made and continue to make.
- Acknowledge, confess the impacts of their choices on their loved ones.
- Admit the repercussions and consequences of their patterns of wounding. Acknowledge their entitlements and hang up that hat.
- Explore and address deeply rooted pain and beliefs that have shaped the way they move in the world and how they do relationships.
- Explore the path to health and wholeness.
- Do the work of wholeness, follow-through on their word.
- Bear lasting fruit.
Inspecting and undoing the thread of destruction within one’s soul is a long hard journey. Few men will take it up.1 The victim should never be strapped along for the ride.
Now, I’ve been accused of being hard on the men.
But I just want women to know they have options.
I just want partners to know that if their marriage is chronically hurting, if they feel like they don’t have a say and the relationship is mostly on their partner’s terms, if their daily is an immature or abandoning partner, I want them to know they don’t have to settle for less than they deserve.
I’m not saying women *must* make life-impacting changes or that the choices before them are easy. But our evangelical and conservative churches focus on telling us to accept crumbs (heck, even celebrate them.)
We need to remind ourselves that we matter. That everything and everyone doesn’t matter more than us. Friend, God loves you too. Your pain, questions, and happiness matter to Him. You can listen to what your body is telling you, what your gut is saying.
And there’s help when you are ready to explore further. The invitation is to gently, and with curiosity, begin to cultivate an awareness of your needs, paying attention to the hurting, abandoned parts of your life: “I matter. My husband/marriage/family/friends/church are not more important.”
If you’re tired of being told to take your place in the valley of desolation, Courage: Reflections and Liberation for the Hurting Soul, my new book, releases next month (Dec 2023.) It’s affirmation, hope and opportunity for those who want more. Because women deserve more.
Systems of Abuse: A Guide to Recognizing Toxic Behavior Patterns I Ebook
Abuse can be difficult to identify, especially if you have been conditioned to see it as normal. Systems of Abuse: A Guide to Recognizing Toxic Behavior Patterns by abuse recovery coach Sarah McDugal outlines 13 categories of behavioral patterns, giving simple, tangible illustrations for each category. Access Now.
- The available statistics show that only 1 out of 10 abusive men who seek help actually turn their lives around.