For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
I appreciate the straight forward candor of the responses. Would it be so straightforward in the case of emotional abuse, which is just as damaging to the soul and just as "unChristlike" in conduct?
While these answers are sound, and I would argue, biblical, I'd love to see a biblical answer to this question - scripture and verse - on a course of action for someone who is under abuse.
I agree wholehearedly with all of the advice that Anonymous has gotten in the answers above. I would add only one crucial and significant point.
Whatever form any abuse takes, besides physical whether violent or not, i.e., emotional, volitional, or spiritual, run, do not walk, to implement each of the protective defences mentioned by others above.
I know this sounds harsh, but she should shoot him in self defense so he can no longer abuse her or anyone else.
There's a lot of gray area here. We don't know the context of the situation, thus to give the advice to take out your gun and shoot could easily be taken out of context in this thread. I'd hate for some women who is under abuse right now to read this and just start shooting. Are we talking physical abuse? emotional? Are either of them a members of the Body of Christ? Are either of them professing believers? If so, then the elders (1 Timothy 2, Titus 2) have shepherding responsibilities over the flock. This certainly includes this context.
Let's start with Matthew 18 protocol. If she is a member of the Body of Christ (and even more important, he) and this situation is not life threatening (i.e. emotional abuse, not physical), then the church should take the lead on this (pastors/elders) to protect her, care for her, advise her in the process of addressing his abuse. Two leaders in the church (preferably men) should approach him about it. If that doesn't go well and repentance doesn't take place, then the church has the right to discipline him and publicly call him out and excommunicate. If he still doesn't repent and confess, then a long separation. Prayer and laying on of hands are important here and maybe God will work on him and mold him through the church discipline process. Meanwhile, the church has the responsibility to step in and assume care of her.
Self defense should be a last resort to this situation - if her (or children) lives are physically at risk.
When two people taken an oath, each is responsible no matter what the other does.
FOR BETTER OR WORSE!
As Christens we must know that if Jesus had allowed unjust abuse to cause him to back out of his commitment, we would be without hope.
If we knew the future, know one would have to ask this question, which only you can answer. WHAT DID JESUS DO?
I speak from 36yrs. experience. Be blessed.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, First I speak a former victim.
Second, I concur with Charlie only on one level, if a person were coming at me, at the moment, with no place left to run, hide, and I had no other option; him or me... he is dead! Here in GA, USA we've had too many lil children left without mommys because of men who decided they would beat, burn, shoot, stab, throw, or slice their mothers. It will not happen to me, again. Lord willing!
Third to Kenneth, I am wondering about you sir? Are you saying that for 36 years you were abused, or an abuser, or just 36 years of marriage? Based on what? What Jesus did? Jesus allowed Himself to be abused for my SIN. What sin did you commit that He has not forgiven?
Yes, We are to take our spouses for better or worse. I totally agree, Does this mean we are to allow them to kill us? Perhaps we should rewrite our penal code and release some jailed felons under this thinking because they committed crimes against their spouses and were convicted and placed in prison! For Better or Worse!
Paul saw it when he wrote that we were to honor each other, to love one another even as Christ LOVED the church and gave Himself for it. When you are willing to give yourself for someone, you will not be beating on them.