Although Biblical marriage calls couples to yield or submit to one another, most specifically wives to husbands (Ephesians 5:22), it’s a concept widely rejected in today’s society, even among many Christians who believe it’s no longer culturally relevant.
1 Samuel 25:1 - 44
ESV - 1 Now Samuel died. And all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah. Then David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran. 2 And there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
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Neither partner in a marriage (and especially a marriage that is supposedly Christian) should have to endure deliberate cruelty or abuse. Yes, the Bible tells wives to submit to their husbands, but that assumes that the husband is using Jesus as the model for his conduct. (In the larger passage containing the verse cited in the question, Paul directs husbands to love their wives as they love their own bodies, in addition to loving them as Christ loved the church.) To me, this does not exclude the possibility of subjecting a physically abusive husband to the full negative consequences (legal or otherwise) that might pertain to his actions. In fact, it may take such an extreme measure to finally make him realize his need for repentance and change. The logic would be the same as Paul's counsel to turn a church member who is engaging in flagrant sin over to Satan, with the goal or hope that it would still be possible for the individual to ultimately be saved (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).
Here are some practical helps for dealing with this type of situation. 1) Pray She can ask the Holy Spirit why the husband is being cruel. She can ask the Holy Spirit if there are sin issues in the marriage that need to be confessed and forgiven. She can ask the Holy Spirit what she could say or do that would stop the cruelty. 2) Counselling She can seek the wise counsel of her Pastor or a Christian marriage counsellor. She can ask her husband to seek counselling for the issues that are driving the cruelty 3) Separation She can physically separate from her husband to protect herself from the cruelty. She can demand that her husband get the help he needs as a condition of her return to the home and marriage. She needs to see that he has truly changed before she returns. 4) Growth After the couple are back together, they need to work on growing their love and devotion to each other. They also need to work on growing their faith in God. Both these actions will protect their marriage from spiritual and worldly attacks that would try to break them apart.
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