Have you ever met someone who gave you butterflies? Just a touch or glance from him or her would cause the unruly suckers to lose control in the pit of your belly. When this happened, you swooned from the high it gave you. You proclaimed in your heart that you had finally met the one. Every time you thought of this person, the butterflies were unleashed once more.
Unfortunately, the butterfly effect does not guarantee a happily ever after ending. Many good relationships start out with chemistry. Some grow into a loving and healthy relationship. Others transform into a relationship that is physically and emotionally unhealthy.
It’s easy to say what you would or wouldn’t tolerate in a relationship. If the spark is absent, does that make it a good or bad relationship? Would you look over a relationship that lacked common interest? Does one size really fit all?
People often approach verbal and physically abusive relationships by questioning why the victim chose to stay. As I analyzed this question, I pondered over the possible reasons:
- To uphold the image of marriage. What you see is not always what you get.
- Ashamed of failure. It’s easier to pretend like everything is fine to avoid unwanted attention.
- Denial that they are suffering from abuse. The abuse is often justified and dismissed in the victim’s head.
- Isolation. There is no one to tell once the victim has pushed everyone away.
- Dysfunction becomes normal. The victim starts to see their predicament as normal.
- Numbness sets in. The brokenness and fear the victim once felt disappears.
- Belief that things will get better. The victim patiently waits for the abuser to change.
What’s the strangest advice anyone has ever given you about marriage? The four things I will never forget are as follows:
- Love is a good thing, but marriage is business.
- Save $20 out of each check for emergency purposes.
- Always keep an overnight bag in your trunk.
- Never lose your independence.
Did I understand the advice when I received it? No. Do I understand it now? Yes.
No one can tell you when it’s time to exit a relationship. It is my hope that you understand that God never intended for anyone to live in fear. As you guard your heart, pray that He will open the door for you to get out. When He does, don’t walk… run. If you are leaving with nothing except your life, count it all joy because that’s enough for you to start over again.
If you are not in an abusive relationship, I advise you to be there, listen and comfort the victim in their time of need. Don’t be so quick to judge and ask questions. Instead, use your energy for a greater cause.
For more information about domestic violence, visit http://www.thehotline.org.
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