Depending on your personal beliefs, convictions, and faith you may have an opinion as to whether an individual in an abusive relationship should stay with their partner or leave. Here are some important things to consider:
Abuse in relationships is unacceptable. Christ desires all people to live in life-giving relationships with one another that are free of harm and abuse.
Abuse is not the same as conflict. All relationships involve conflict and difficulties that require commitment and work. However, we should never think of an abusive relationship as a marital difficulty that just needs to be worked out. Usually, conflict in a relationship decreases as the partners mature, but abuse escalates.
Abuse in relationships typically follows a pattern that gets worse over time if the person abusing doesn’t get help. Click here for information on how the cycle of abuse works.
A victim’s safety is always the primary concern. Regardless of whether the person experiencing abuse stays in the relationship or leaves, their right to and need for safety is most crucial. Thus, if someone chooses to stay in a relationship, their safety continues to be the number one priority. Creating a safety plan is a good way for a person to pre-mediate how they can keep themselves safe when their partner gets escalated.
There are many reasons why someone might stay in an abusive relationship:
- They love their partner and believe he/she will change
- They are scared to be without their partner
- They have kids and don’t know how they will support them alone
- They are afraid of what the abusive partner will do if they leave
- They fear losing family, community, or church support if they leave
- They have been told or believe it is a sin to leave a partner; divorce is wrong under any circumstances.
- They are financially dependent on their partner
- They are afraid that no one will believe or support them if they leave
- They have been led to believe that the abuse is their fault
- They do not realize they are experiencing abuse because it has become so normal.
There is no clear-cut right thing to do if you are in a relationship with an abusive person. The important thing is that you know that you deserve to be treated with love, respect, and kindness. Regardless of whether someone chooses to stay or leave, support is everything! Please consider reaching out for support or help so you do not need to go through this alone.
“He says he will change”
There is help for people who use violence in relationships, and change is possible. It is important to remember that using violence in a relationship is a difficult pattern to break and typically requires at least two years of ongoing therapy and accountability support.
Those who use violence in relationships will often have justifications for their behaviour. But there are no acceptable excuses, and the victim is never at fault or to blame.
Promises to change need to be followed up with action. The person using abuse must take responsibility to seek help in making change. It’s tempting to believe that when an individual promises to stop acting violently, they will. However, without professional help the abusive pattern will likely not stop.
Click here for further info on what is required for change.