My husband’s retrenchment six years ago and joblessness for the past three years have worsened his anger management issues. We attended marriage counselling for four years but the verbal abuse continued and there were two instances of physical abuse. Our young children are exposed to his violent nature and I can’t protect them. Is there room for divorce? Or will I be judged by God? I am trapped trying to protect his “gentle and kind” image in church, but the mental anxiety of living with him, inability to protect my children and the financial burden of being the sole breadwinner is taking its toll on me.
Dear grieving soul,
We are reminded many times that God hates divorce. But God also says he hates a man who is violent to his wife (Malachi 2:16). There are two parts to a relationship. Just as we are reminded that wives should obey their husbands, husbands at the same time should love their spouses. I would say that if husbands love their wives just as they love themselves, these same wives would not have a problem with obeying them.
It sounds like your husband has lost his moral authority to lead the family. He has failed to provide for, care for and protect you and the children. The law in Singapore is unambiguous of the right of anyone in a family to live free from harm, danger and intimidation. You have a right to be respected and to protect your children and yourself. The law will be firm and fair with him and may even provide him with counselling to help him change his aggressive behaviour. Not acting will only see him continuing his negative ways and estrange himself from the family and God.
Speak with a social worker or a counsellor who can help you stay safe even as you extricate yourself from this oppressive relationship. This is because some abusers may increase their violent action when they feel that they are losing control over others. Should you be in immediate danger, call the police (999) or go to your nearest neighbourhood police station. Alternatively, you may call the 24-hr National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harassment Helpline (NAVH) at 1800-777-0000.