Question: I am wondering whether I should give my spouse a second chance.
We are separated because he had verbally abused me. It seems that my spouse doesn’t want to change but keeps pressuring me to take him back. What should I do?Answer: This is a very big dilemma for Christians since the Bible does not seem to speak directly to the problem of abuse and domestic violence in marriage. Certainly, if he had physically or sexually abused you, threatened you or if your children’s lives are in danger, the Lord would want you to protect yourself and your family. The Lord desires peace not anger and strife in relationships, and He forbids people from endangering another person’s life.
Lev. 19:16 reads: “Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.” And Prov. 22:24 says: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered,..” (NIV)

If your husband actively begins work on his anger problems and power and control issues through counseling and accountability with a pastor, elder or spiritual mentor then you might consider working on your relationship with him. Since abuse generally escalates – you would want to see some demonstrable changes over a period of 6 or more months before moving back with him. You want to know that you can trust him. You will need marriage counseling to help you both learn conflict management skills. That way you can learn what provokes and escalates his anger and how to help stop the escalation.

Conflict can be managed, but there are usually communication skills and underlying issues to work on as a couple. Putting Christ at the center of your life and seeing your spouse do the same is critical before you just “get back together”. If Christ is not in control of your lives then the old behavior will probably not change. With Christ you and your husband can begin again, put the abuse and conflict behind you;
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Cor 5:17 (NIV) and behave in healthy and loving ways towards each other.
Visit for domestic abuse infomation and listen to the following podcast:
Is it Anger or Abuse? How do you know when someone is just angry or is being abusive? Here are some insights to help you recognize anger and how domestic abuse and battering differs. 32407.mp3
Learn about assertiveness,  anger and relationships at the What’s Good About Anger Institute!

I would also recommend that your read this excellent book on the topic of separation:
Hope for the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed by Gary Chapman.

© copyright 2007 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC