First posted July 2012.
About two years ago or so, I visited a local non-profit agency in my town that helps people who are abused or disadvantaged. I presented my marriage situation to the young lady who simply said: “There’s nothing we can do to help you with financial abuse unless you divorce.”
Nothing to be done. Unless I divorce.
She explained that then they can garnish wages and he owes me money for suspending my career to raise our three children. I divorce and he has to support me via court order and my life will be better.
How many more lies do I need to hear?
My husband is self-employed. He can hide money in trusts. He can bankrupt himself. They could never garnish his wages. He’s wily and controlling. We didn’t own a home and had no assets or savings.
There will never be a “happily ever after” as long as he is in the picture (barring a miracle from God) – and divorce does not remove him from my life or that of my children.
And he is still their father. For better or for worse.
Most of the attention regarding abuse is on the physical. I have people tell me that verbal abuse is even worse. You heal from bruises but words stick deep inside your heart and continue to do damage. I’m not denying the truth of any of that. Emotional abuse is twisted and can make you feel unwanted and crazy (yeah, like none of the rest does?). In the end it’s all emotional abuse and control. But financial or economic abuse is a very twisted animal in its own right and not many talk about that.
So often people will say, “just leave.” As if that’s the easiest thing in the world.
I want to honor God. I want to honor my vows even if my spouse is unworthy of that kind of commitment. Is that a bad thing?
No. It’s not.
Is it an easy thing?
No. It’s not.
But let me tell you what I have learned even through the ups and downs of our financial picture and my husband’s irresponsible financial choices – which of course he blames me for (since I insist on having gas for the car and food and clothing for the kids).
God has been faithful. HE is my provider. I’ll be honest. I get panic attacks when I look at my bank balance. I am afraid whenever I have to ask for money from my spouse because it is never given to me cheerfully or in love – but always with blame and accusation.
I don’t know what your situation is.
Just know – you are not alone and God sees it all. There have been days I called a trusted friend and said “Remind me again that God is faithful.” And she does that because I need to hear it and be reminded once again that the God of the Bible is THE one in whom I can place my trust. HE is my hope and my salvation and He will sustain and lead me in the path I should take.
Once I emailed someone in pain and asked for the reminder of God’s faithfulness and was told I lacked faith. I have faith but sometimes I doubt. It is human to do so. We don’t need to beat ourselves up when we need the assurance of the truth of Scripture.
Someday I may have to force a separation, but I want to do that from a position of strength, not weakness. God has yet to open the door for that financial independence from my husband. But I’m more at peace now in the waiting. More hopeful and trusting in HIM, because of what I have had to endure that has forced me to lean on him and not my spouse.
So let me remind you. God is faithful. He sees your pain and struggle. You can trust in Him.