[callout]This is a guest post from Denise Rezsonya. Denise is a Christian author, speaker, and youth advocate who inspires teens and families through faith. She’s the author of the Be The Light series, developed to help adults introduce faith-based concepts to youth which can be applied to their every day lives. You can read more from Denise on her blog, DeniseRezsonya.com, and connect with her on Facebook. If you want to guest post on my blog, check out my guest post guidelines and submit your post.[/callout]
If your wife has suffered past abuse, it’s important that you support her and work with her to help her recover from the myriad of emotions that come with being abused. She may feel shame, hurt, anger, and/or sadness over this part of her life, and she will need you to stand by her side and help her.
As her husband you need to understand that abuse isn’t something that happens one time and then it’s over. For your wife, she will carry that with her forever and remnants of that abuse can surface at any time. As such, she will be looking to you for strength. You are her husband, her pillar, and how you react and treat her will go a long way in her recovery.
1. Don’t push her
Let her lead the conversation. If she wants to talk about it, allow her the freedom to do so on her terms. While this may seem unfair to you, it is necessary. You may not understand just how much courage it takes for her to open up to about this, so be patient.
If you have questions, ask them in a kind and compassionate way, but most likely she just wants you to listen. You must allow her to initiate the conversation. If you try to push her, she will turn away and turn you off.
2. Don’t take it personally
If your wife suffered abuse in her past, chances are she has what the professionals call “triggers.” That means that the day could be going along just fine, then she may see or hear something that sends her back to that dark place in her memory and reminds her of the abuse.
Do not take this personally; it has nothing to do with you and is something she must deal with. If she goes to that place, just give her some space and let her work through it.
3. Do support her
If your wife wants or needs to go to counseling, offer to go with her. Let her set the tone when you get there. If she wants you nearby, hold her hand. Offer her comfort. There will be times when she may just need a hug. Give it to her, no questions asked.
4. Do pray with her
Your wife wants you to be her strength when she is weak. Initiate daily prayer with her. Praying with your wife will help give both of you reassurance and strength.
5. Do allow her grace
Abuse can take years to manifest and many years to overcome, if ever. Know that your wife may have bad days as she deals with the emotional ramifications of an abusive past.
She may need to stay in bed sometimes. Let her do it and pick up the slack. Send her to the spa for a day or take the kids out of the house and give her some time alone. Know that this is part of the healing process, and it’s important.
It is not easy to be the husband of a woman who has suffered abuse, but God has called you to this role, so trust in His strength to help you and your wife work together through this.
[reminder]What are some other ways you can help your wife, or someone close to you, heal from an abusive relationship?[/reminder]