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How Husbands Relate to their Wives
A Biblical Definition of Domestic Abuse
God created Adam and Eve and placed them in a garden. Their relationship with God and each other was loving, happy, balanced, and without strife until Adam and Eve took fruit from the forbidden tree. Their sin of rebellion (1) immediately affected their relationship with God, breaking the sweet fellowship they enjoyed with Him, (2) led to their exclusion from the garden and the tree of life, bringing unhappy toil and hardship into their lives, and (3) brought strife into their marriage relationship.
Consider the following paraphrase of Genesis 3:16, God’s explanation of how their sin would affect their relationship with each other:
Ronald Allen, The Majesty of Man (Portland, Ore: Multnomah, 1984), 145-47.
Women do abuse their husbands, usurping their role as leader in the home and belittling their manhood, but men more commonly abuse their wives, relating to them in loveless tyranny, dominating and stifling them. To some degree this has been the legacy of Adam and Eve’s rebellion in every marriage in every age in every culture. Sad as the situation is, though, there is hope – in Christ. His death on the cross changes everything. We can be free from not only the penalty of sin, but the power of sin. We can change. In addition Jesus left us an example of what healthy marriage relationships can look like.
In Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29 Paul explains:
The King James edition in verse 29 uses the words “nourisheth and cherisheth” to describe how a man ought to love his wife.
Nourishing is far more than putting bread on the table. What women deeply need is nourishing on the heart level. They need their husbands to communicate and connect with them in a way that feeds their emotional needs. They also need their husbands to cherish them - to value them highly - and to communicate this to them in such a way that they have no doubt about how much they mean to their husbands. Jesus has done and is doing this for us, and husbands are to follow His example with their wives.
But more specifically how does this affect the way in which a man treats his wife in their day-in-day-out relationship? What behaviors characterize healthy and abusive relationships?
"Scriptures Related to Abuse"
Pastors' Guidelines: "Responding to an Abuser"
Pastors' Guidelines: "Responding to a Victim"
"Biblical Definition of Domestic Abuse"