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About a year ago you did a few posts about what guys and gals are looking for (and NOT looking for) in relationships. (Watch out with that one.) They might do good deeds. The church is one of the best hiding places for an abusive individual because they know Christians are often gullible about stuff like this. Do you feel like he doesn’t care to understand you?

After following your blog for the last year, and reading through the many comments, I see that you are not alone in naming abuse and getting recognition for what it is. Some abusers may express their anger in passive ways. It’s a manipulative technique meant to make you feel guilty for calling them out on their behavior and get you to actually believe that you are the guilty party. George Simon puts it like this: Covert-aggression is at the heart of most interpersonal manipulation.

As a young, unmarried woman, it is unsettling to hear so many married Christian women reply over and over in the comment section-“yes, this is my story too”, “…and me too…for 20 years…” How can the current 20-something women be a generation that doesn’t repeat this struggle? What the artful, subtle fighter knows is that if they can get you to doubt yourself, feel like you have to explain yourself, and question your perceptions and judgment, there’s a good chance they can get you to back down, back-off, or better still, cave-in.

Perfect and we won’t marry Jesus…but I don’t desire an abusive marriage. The stone-cold fact is, if a young person refuses to look carefully at the other person from all angles, taking time to observe them objectively and get the input of other objective observers, the feelings, romance, dream, excitement, and fulfilled longings will end abruptly at the altar. They count on you being far too conscientious for that.

God uses even devastatingly hard relationships for his purposes, yet I know that because God places value on me, being in an abusive relationship is not his desire for me. And then there’s the long “and they lived unhappily ever after.” I’m not talking about the normal transition from the amazing drama of the dating days to the daily grind. I’m talking about when you wake up and realize with horror that you are married to an abusive spouse. An abuser doesn’t introduce himself like this, “Hello – it’s nice to meet you. And they know that if they don’t come across as openly out to defy the generally accepted rules for civil behavior, exploit your good nature, and get the better of you, you’ll ignore that feeling in your gut that tells you you’re simply being played.

I know there’s no secret formula- as long as we are in a relationship with another human being, abuse is possible- and that’s where our own ability to roar has to be developed. I’d like to take you on a whirlwind romance, sweep you off your feet, marry you, and then abuse you until death do us part.” Noooooo ma’am. Covert aggression is probably the most common type of abuse found in Christian marriages. They want to learn more about you, and you fascinate them, not because of what you offer to their existence, but because of who you are as part of God’s creation. Abusers cling to this teaching tenaciously, and use it to feed their flesh.

But if abuse- and silenced abuse- is so prevalent in Christian marriages, do you think there are “warnings” or “red flags” we can look out for as young women, to avoid marrying into an abusive relationship? I think there are almost always red flags waving high, but very few young people are willing to acknowledge them when passions are waving higher. They follow in the footsteps of their father, the devil. It’s deceptive and hard to detect, and it destroys entire families in a slow, methodical way. The Bible calls this selfishness, and it destroys relationships.

We’ve all experienced this either in our own lives or as we’ve observed the lives of other young people. Barbara Roberts of A Cry for Justice website told me a DV professional shared a case study and put this this way, “ – you are probably living in an emotionally destructive marriage. Sometimes the guy will let you have your way if it doesn’t matter much to him.

I personally know women who believed that and lived to regret it. Don’t think that just because someone calls himself a “Christian” – that he will grow out of it. Does he blame you every time something goes wrong in the relationship? When a physical abuser “owns” you, he will stop at nothing to control you. If you aren’t even married yet, and they are already doing that, you will be the target of increased physical abuse once the knot is tied. You might find them in, or jockeying for, leadership positions. Others may even use physical violence if they feel that you already “belong” to them. ) touches you in a violent way – and this includes just grabbing your arm or pushing against you a little – get out of that relationship immediately. ) in order to see what the potential mate is like under pressure. At the beginning of the relationship, you might just see him shut down a bit. Some abusers will express their anger with words and shouting.