A Committed Love: My Wives' Past Abuse

Friends, this blog is by my sweet husband Vince. I asked him to share some of his thoughts and experiences with you, and I cherish each word. - Ginger

I married my wife, Ginger, 32 years ago. Since we began our marriage as Christians, I believed we were in for a great life of ministry, family and growing together.

Our first year of marriage went well. Both of us were surprised when during the second year, many of Ginger's emotional scars began to surface and I didn’t know how to handle her emotional baggage.

Ginger grew up in a very abusive home with her mother and stepfather. She endured constant beatings, emotional humiliation, and sexual abuse. This went on for 10 years. Most of the time her mother stood by doing nothing to stop it, and amazingly, many times she even participated.  As you can imagine, Ginger felt worthless, hopeless, and terrified in her home where a child is supposed to feel the safest.  

Ginger had no real example of how a normal home functioned. The learned behaviors that she acquired in this abusive home, coupled with my lack of understanding, nearly destroyed our marriage. Ginger was demanding, needy and had severe mood swings.

My love for Ginger was about to be tested to its limits and so was her love for me.  Even though I was not physically abusive towards her, I was becoming more and more verbally abusive.  Along with an increasingly bad temper I was slowly becoming like the abusers that my wife needed so desperately to be freed from.  

At times I found myself hating my wife, wanting nothing more to do with her. One evening after one of our many arguments, in my mind's eye I saw the devil laughing at us rejoicing over our failures and pain, his evil plan was working.

Worst of all, there was nothing I could do about it or so it seemed. The evil one wants us to believe that there is no hope and that we can never overcome such great obstacles and that is partly true if we try to succeed on our own strength. The truth is that God is greater than any obstacle that we may come up against. By his Holy Spirit we truly can receive courage, wisdom, and all the strength necessary, to be victorious in life, so that not even the devil himself can stand up against us.

God began to work deeply in my heart and show me that our story didn't start with sin and thank God it does not end with sin, it ends with our glory restored in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:30)

My wife is God's beautiful creation, and his precious child to be cherished, accepted and loved unconditionally and to believe in her as He does. God sees the beauty of His creation even though it is muddied with sin. I needed to do the same. He sees past the imperfections and sees the possibilities of greatness in her, I needed to do the same. His love for her is unconditional, therefore, I needed to love her unconditionally. My love for my wife should not depend on feelings, her performance or  even how well she can love me, my love for my wife is purely based on the fact that God first loved us so perfectly.

With that sobering thought in mind, I had to stop looking at how my wife was failing me, rather I had to be responsible to God for what came out of my mouth and the attitude of my own heart. If my true intentions were to build our marriage, there was no room for selfishness or selfish expectations, no room for hate but rather love and compassion. She had suffered enough and this was not her fault.  My confusion, through communication, turned into understanding and my judgmental attitude turned into forgiveness. This is the same kind of forgiveness that I received from my heavenly Father, which means I don't bring up past offenses during an argument and, of course, I needed much forgiveness as well from my wife and my heavenly Father.

As we look back and see the legacy that we are leaving behind as opposed to what Ginger was handed down, it has been well worth the fight and I am glad that I stayed in the marriage. The devils plan has been altered and God's plan prevailed. We claim this as a huge victory for us as a family and for our future generations.