Domestic Violence – Signs to look for.

Domestic Violence
Dr. Jim explains how to spot early signs of a violent partner and how to guard yourself from falling into the trap of having a violent spouse and a broken marriage later on.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence – What early signs should I look for to tell if a man might have the tendency to abuse women?

This is a great question and one that many women should be asking. I am not a trained counsellor and not able to provide the ‘clinical’ answer. However, I do have experience and insights as a Pastor relating to many single adults.

The first few months of any relationship are mostly an act. Yes, I realize that is a strong statement and I am not suggesting that everyone is malicious or hiding anything in the ‘act.’ During this period each person is very excited and naturally wants to put their best effort toward the potential of the relationship. I suggest that it takes many months before the rhythm of the relationship settles into behavior that is more accurate and reflects the true inner self.

This fact is the significant reason to cause me to advise single adults to give plenty of time for a relationship to mature so that behavioral and temperamental styles can surface. I really do not believe that it is possible to know all needs to know about another in the first six months and often for up to one year (read more on Commitment. This additional time will allow opportunity to see each other’s behavior and attitudes in a number of family and personal situations.

“Involve God in every step”

Warning Statements

I would be alarmed if a man makes strong statements about his need to be the sole leader in the home. The Bible does teach that the man has the responsibility to take the initiative for spiritual and caring aspects of the relationship. It does not teach that man is the ‘ruler’ of the relationship. If a man makes a statement in this area that you ‘feel’ uncomfortable about, I would view this as a big caution (future domestic violence) and investigate it further.

Another blog post talks about: How To End A Relationship

What Past Relationships Can Tell You

Another condition that would cause concern is if there is no evidence of healthy relationships with women in this man’s life. Why? It would serve you well to learn why.

“Give Plenty Of Time For A Relationship To Mature”

Support Group

Everyone should have a Christian buddy of their own gender with whom they can share details about a developing relationship. This buddy can often sense something is not right before you will. Seek their counsel and listen to their input to see if there is any value in it.

Finally, before you move into consideration of a marriage, find a counsellor that is experienced in premarital counselling. Spend at least 5 or more sessions with them asking them to help each of you ensure that you have a healthy and complete picture of each other. This can be extremely valuable time to help with many issues including awareness about possible domestic violence.

Involving God In Every Step

There are many wonderful Christian men who are using the Internet for potential dates. Involve God in every step of your dating activities and ask His Spirit to guide you and give you wisdom and discernment. He wants you to enjoy days of fulfillment and joy.

Dr. Jim
Author of “Guide to Successful Online Christian Dating”

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  • Blanche Lewis says:

    This is some of the best advice about dating, relationships and marriage that I have ever come across.
    Thirteen years ago I found myself attracted to a man who claimed to be a Christian. Within a few weeks after we started dating, he took me to a fancy restaurant and proposed. We married just a few weeks later. What followed was a nightmare. Up until the point where we married he had been on his best behaviour, but he slipped up now and again. But I was already determined to love and accept him, so I didn’t recognize those red flags as signs of trouble. Rather, they were just bright decorations.
    Only during and after the honeymoon, did I discover that he expected unquestioning acceptance of all his behaviours, including acceptance of his pornographic video library, his fits of rage, his decisions about when he would have sex with me, and many other behaviours that were quite disturbing.
    Two additional events completely totalled the marriage. The pastor of the church we attended backed my husband entirely, and told me that I needed to be more accepting of my husband’s decisions, his desire to control and spend our finances, and many other behaviours that were unethical and amoral.
    Then my mother died. Her death was very difficult for me, but instead of providing love and support to me, my husband mounted a vigorous campaign of barbed criticisms, erratic spending, abusie behaviours and demands to control my inheritance, which were echoed by the pastor and his wife.
    We’re it not for the love of God, I never would have escaped or recovered from that marriage.
    To anyone who is falling in love, I caution you to go slowly and carefully and ask for feedback from close friends and family (your mother might be taken in by his charms, but a female friend might see right through them. Don’t be afraid to test the relationship by making a few reasonable statements that run contrary to the flow that is established by the boyfriend. Take notes about his responses and his anger. Don’t marry until you and your objective partners agree that you are not concerned about any destructive, controlling or abusive vbehaviours. Prepare to break off the engagement if you begin to realize that this is not the person who is best for you. I know it’s difficult to go against the trend, but you do not want to ve tied to a cruel, hypocritical abusive person for the rest of your life. It’s better to break off the engagement than it is to risk your life and possibly the lives of your children in a marriage that threatens to destroy your spirit and your sel-confidence, making you unfit to do the good deeds that were prepared for you to do by God.

    • Andrea says:

      I was very saddened to hear of your experience; a man who is secure in his identity does not treat a woman like that. Be wary of a group who condones abusive behaviour.

  • Te says:

    Dear Dr Jim…
    Just read your column regarding signs of future abuse. You couldn’t be more wise and I nodded as I read through your advise. My second marriage was exactly all you discussed.
    And abusive the 6 yrs were.

    • Sanpre458 says:

      I am in total agreement with your advise.
      It is easy for people to fall in love quickly and experience nightmares, which are sometimes difficult to get out of. Take time to learn about each other, and gaze into each other’s eyes during conversations. Eye contact. Ask questions about former relationships, and find out how you resolve disputes. Allow God to guide you.

  • Chrysostom543 says:

    I am 100% for stopping domestic violence and abuse. I appreciate this article and pray any woman who is in an abusive relationship would immediately exit. The longer the abuse continues the more dysfunction and scarring it will create. It will NOT get better. At the same time, I would point out men are abused as well – sometimes physically and sometimes mentally. There are ways both males and females use to control others in order to achieve their wishes and by not addressing this possibility it simply leaves men wide open to be hurt. It can also perpetuate a society prejudice/myth that predatorial males are dangerous while females are not ever predatorial. I would very much appreciate an article that deals with how men of Christ can spot early signs of manipulation from their counterparts.

  • Egotastic says:

    In the beginning an abuser will attribute controlling behavior to concern for the victim (for example, the victim’s safety or decision-making skills). As this behavior progresses the situation will worsen, and the abuser may assume all control of finances or prevent the victim from coming and going freely.

  • Sam says:

    Ladies, it’s not always the man.. I was engaged for a few months to a Christian girl that was physically abusive, manipulative and controlling.. at one time she had our picture posted on the Christian cafe website as a success story.. I finally saw the light and got out..
    Time is the key.. don’t ignore the red flags or the advice of close friends. God has the right person planned for you if marriage is the true desire of your heart. I found that PTL and so can you.. Faith is believing you already have what you can not yet see..

  • Gary says:

    I can relate to what Sam is saying. Unfortunately I married a person who was controlling, mentally and physically abusive (I had to seek medical attention on one than more occasion). She committed child abuse more than once, fraud and theft on a regular basis (she even stole my wedding band and sold it and hers), controlled the money and destroyed my property. The worst abuse was threatening to take our child by accusing me of DV and saying “I will take him and me and another man will raise him”. The unfortunate part is that it took 2 years of abuse to collecting the evidence to proved it (recordings, video). I stayed in it to protect our then infant child. It eventually came out out in court that she wanted to have a child so she could collect the child support and also disable the child so she could also collect government benefits on our child the rest of her life, which she did disable our child to some degree. I have forgiven her, yet there are many times where I still cry about the damage and injury done to my innocent child, that heart ache never dies. By the Grace of God I gained primary custody of our child, yet the insanity continued. She would call the police claiming I had kidnapped our child (trying to illegally gain custody), show up at our home and try to kick the door in, etc. This lasted until our child was 17. What stopped her was her being arrested again for an attack on our home and a second order of protection being issued.

    The point being that we are dealing with men and women who pray on those who are Christians. My brothers in Christ flee to Jesus, make sure your mind is saturated with His Word. Find and remain in fellowship with those who teach that Gods Word (Who is Jesus and reading it IS being in Christ Jesus) is the authority to guide your life. In this you will glorify Him and be a blessing to your future wife.

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