Domestic Violence 101


This past weekend, I attended a presentation on domestic violence by Rev. Steve McMullen with the organization Religion and Violence Elearning, or This presentation was part of our annual Safe Church Committee meeting of Classis Eastern Canada, attended by representatives from most of the churches in this classis. Steve shared with us information and data about domestic violence, especially as it relates to church communities, noting that approximately one in four women around the globe has been physically abused by an intimate male partner, such as a husband or ex-husband.

Domestic violence also occurs among families in our churches, and pastors and church leaders need to be prepared to deal with this issue. Over the last 15 years, has collected data from over 500 religious leaders concerning domestic violence. Here are some of the findings shared by

  • Pastors believe that one in five couples in their congregation is violent
  • 9.3% of pastors have counselled five or more victims of domestic violence
  • 83.2% of pastors have counselled at least one victim of domestic violence

For this reason, offers various online training resources  to be used individually or with your council or committees to help pastors and other religious leaders learn about responding to victims of domestic violence.

Included in these online resources are:

  • Religious reflections on abuse
  • Domestic violence 101
  • Useful fast facts
  • Stories of hope

Consider choosing just one of these resources and share it with your Safe Church committee, deacons, elders or caregivers. Check out all of these excellent resources and be prepared to deal with these issues when they arise in your congregation.

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Thanks for a great posting.

Another great topic which needs discussion.  Do you think it is possible to broaden your resourses to include a resourse for male victims of domestic violence.   The RAVE Project does speak to male victimization but only those in same sex partnerships.  For hethrosexual men in the Christian community.... what resourses do you suggest?




Hi Shawn, I will most certainly cover a wide variety of resources in upcoming blogs. I was pleased to attend a session sponsored by my classis that featured a guest speaker and researcher from the Rave Project. So I decided to highlight this topic this week, and that is why I have featured the Rave Project website. If you have suggestions for other resources, I welcome you to post them! Sometimes people post other resources in response to a blog. Thanks


Thanks for the reminder that males can also be victims of domestic violence. As a licensed counselor I have worked with men who have been victims. We will continue to seek out resources for men as well. Thank you for your vulnerability.

Alicia Mannes

Safe Church Associate

The best resources are Lundy Bancroft's books; I finally understood WHY and realized it was his choice and I could not change him no matter how hard I tried.  He doesn't want to change as he (read abusers) like the power and control and refuse to give it up.

Community Builder

I agree that Lundy Bancroft's books are an excellent resource in understanding the dynamics of power and control that operate in many abusive relationships. His books can help open people's eyes to the reality of what is really going on in a relationship. Having this greater understanding leads to a much better response and better outcomes. I  highly recommend his work.

I have great difficulty understanding the belief that the abuser does not want to change.  To think that she "enjoys the power and control too much to change" says that she does not experience the separation from God that spiritual illness brings.   In this matter of domestic vilence; the spiritual illness is her violence against her spouse.

Agreed; it is very difficult to understand that concept. Unfortunately, it is true with many abusive, controlling men. They do not want to change as they would have to give up that control. Everytime my spouse was in counselling and making progress (I thought), he quit as soon as he was required to actually DO something about his controlling behaviour. It has taken me decades to understand this. I thought he would want to be a better husband and father; I know now that was not of interest to him at all. As long as his needs were met, everything would run fairly smoothly in our home but his needs were often at odds with what was best for our children and family.

I heard a recent sermon on Ephesians 5.  I've heard similar ones before, but this one was very specific and explicit.   It was a sermon by Mark Driscoll as part of his marriage series.   Ephesians 5 provides an answer and a solution to abuse, but only if people are really interested in making God the priority in their lives.   Only if they are interested in living by God's word rather than by their own ideas and desires.  

Ephesians 5 says that man is head of the wife.   If the household is not going well, it is the man's fault primarily.   Sometimes men use this as an excuse to abuse, since they feel the guilt of an inadequate or disharmonious household.  But when they abuse, they are ignoring the command to love their wives, which is part of the same chapter.  The chapter does not say that the man and woman can negotiate who is head;  it is simply the man.   The choice is not who is the head, but does the man do it well or poorly.  If he does not love his wife, and does not show her and prove to her that he loves her, he is leading poorly.   This means a man who abuses his wife is leading very poorly.   He is demonstrating poor behaviour and poor leadership.   Primarily he is simply demonstrating a lack of love. 

On the other hand, this chapter says that a woman must respect her husband.   A woman might assume that her love for her husband means she must take over his role of leadership.   But she would be wrong.   This would demonstrate a lack of respect, which is more important to a man even than her love.   Her love without respect would diminish him, make him smaller and less significant, and thus would be regarded as a false love or an insincere love.   The simple attempt to assume leadership would be a measure of abuse, since it abuses his honor and self-respect.   The ways in which this is done, such as to imply that he is incompetent, or that he does not have the mental capacity or knowledge, or that he will not be respected by others, or that he doesn't know how to plan, etc., are the beginnings of a process of abuse.    In some cases, physical abuse or sexual abuse (denying sexual intimacy) are ways of driving home this point.   Threats, arguments, even tantrums are sometimes used to drive the man to submission.   But the basic problem is the lack of respect. 

Mark Driscoll points out that the man is head of the wife (and the household), but the wife is the referee.    He decides when he is being respected, and the wife decides if she feels loved.   This is part of the mutural submission of one to another.   When this is done well, then abuse can be removed from the situation.   Then love for each other is real and respect for each other will work.   And both will be happier!  

A controlling man can never give his whole heart to Jesus.  That would require a loss of control and a requirement to follow God's word.  In a controlling man, love is conditional.  I will love you if... If you cared about me, you would do... and the list goes on and on for a lifetime.  God can heal an abusive man if the abuser is willing to change.  That rarely happens in real life.

To fully understand how an abusive, controlling man behaves, read Bancroft's book "Why Does He Do That?"  You will find that man in this book and finally begin to understand why he does what he does. Bancroft has spent over 20 years working with thousands of abusers.  He knows whereof he speaks.

I find most speakers on the subject of abusive and controlling men talk a good talk but unless they have worked with abusers, it doesn't mean a lot.  They simply don't get that a man can behave like this for years and years and not want to change.  It's all a big smoke screen with him controlling the smoke.  I didn't get it and I lived it... for decades.

Lundy Bancroft has and does tremendous work in the area of Male Offenders of Violence Against Women.  This woul dgive one point of view into the violence but does not speak to Domestic Violence as a whole because it excludes male victims and/or female offenders. 

I believe we have a book of Gods word which provides us with everything we need to know about how to overcome but we often choose not to look to it preferring to look elsewhere for our answers.  I think I purchased every self help book there was for most of my life all the while ignoring Gods book.

Violence knows no gender and is a hater of forgiveness.  I firmly believe having Survived violence that forgiveness is the only solution to violence and only God, through Christ Jesus can offer us forgiveness..... as I forgive others.


My wife Lucie and I watched a series on "Love & Respect" a couple years back and for us it spoke truth.  I love my wife to the point of distraction and I know she does me as well.  I also know, that while I cherish her love for me it is nothing if I do not have her respect whereas she has said many time.... "Go ahead and respect me all you want but it better come with a whole lot of loving words and actions"  ha ha  God did design us differently wether we like it or not.  Blurring the lines will not change that reality.


Bancroft does not exclude violence against men or in same sex partners.  One of the first things he says in the book is that the book is written as women as the victim as this is most often the case.  He goes on to say that evidence proves the same actions happen against men and in same sex partners.

His expertise and his studies all focus on "Male as offender in violence against women' model.  The fact that he notes it is possible to step outside of that model does not qualify as speaking to domestic violence as a whole.  As for the myth that it is a situation of mainly male offenders I disagree.  The fact that male victims have nowhere to come forward to for treatment or recourse does not change the fact that they are victimize but unaccounted for.  

Gratefully we serve a God who is bigger than abuse, bigger than gender, bigger than stigma and myth, bigger than discrimination and can change anyone’s heart.  He loves each of us and wants each of us to glorify Him when we witness His love in action on those who we weak sinners deem unchangeable.  I think I must amuse God some days with my weaknesses and my attempts to shoved Him into a mold of my design rather than my following His design.


Myth?  are you serious?  I guess that's why there are so many men's shelters around the country for battered men?  I thought this was a serious discussion. 

@ M. Laura Kooger

I do not follow your last comment on myth and men’s shelters.  I suspect it is sarcasm in response to my previous comment regarding my belief that it is myth that domestic violence is a situation of mainly male offenders.   

It is obvious from your comments that you and I have two polar opposite views on Domestic Violence and on God’s place in that equation of violence for that matter.  I believe violence does not have a gender and your comments suggest that it is a matter of men offending women with few exceptions.

I respectfully disagree. We have known for several decades without promoting the facts within studies such as Steinmetz 1978; Straus, Gelles and Steinmetz 1980 & Straus 1997; which show clearly that females physically assault partners in marital, cohabiting, and dating relationships as often as males assault their partners. 

You point out that there are no shelters for battered husbands as proof that there are no victimized husbands.  Before the sixties there were no shelters for battered wives either but that did not mean we did not have female victims of domestic Violence.  It simply meant women did not have a designated resource to reach out to when they were victimized the same as men have few if any designated resources available to them today either within society or within the body of Christ.

The fact that our society has chosen not to recognise equality of the genders except in situations where it benefits the agenda of that gender, does not change the fact that violence does not discriminate and that as a Christian community we should not discriminate either. 

Where in my participation of acceptable discrimination am I emulating Christ’s teachings or actions….

Where is God’s redemptive love and forgiveness in my promotions of this worldly belief…. 

These are just two of the questions I had to look at over the years in my walk with the countless victims of violence who I have had the privilege to journey with as they found their voice and stepped into Survivorship.  Through prayer and self-evaluation of my own biases I was able to honestly answer these questions.  Doing so has freed me to help other victims of violence to make the decision to leave the life hatred and anger of unforgiveness in victimization behind, and to seek out the redemptive healing of Christ Jesus.  I respect the fact that you believe and experience the topic of Domestic Violence differently than I do and I strive to maintain my belief and understanding without condemning or belittling with sarcasm yours or others beliefs.  I expect the same in return if we are to debate and learn from our differences and experiences.

NOTE:  I seldom use statistics as they are typically generated to promote a specific finding that favors a specific agenda.  I do so in the matter because the studies were conducted by/in partnership with a female working in the anti-violence community. 

Our society makes an idol out of physical well-being.  For that reason, it has all kinds of laws and fines about seatbelts and bicycle helmets, with very few comparative fines and laws about watching pornography, or using bad or abusive language.  If your skin is scratched, it is bad;  if your mind and emotions are damaged, well, not quite so bad. 

How does this relate to our discussion here?   This discussion centers on physical violence.   But men and women largely look at physical violence differently.    Men are drawn to it.   This is why they like to watch football games and hockey games.   Bodies smashing against each other.   Feats of strength and physical contact.   Ultimate fighting.  Boxing.  Wrestling.  Car derbies.   glorious!  

Women tame them down.   And so they have to keep violence in control, within boundaries.   The main boundary is not to hit a woman.  Basic.   But when they themselves are hit or physically abused in some way by a woman, they regard that as unpleasant, but permissable.   They can take it.  They are tough enough.   They wouldn't whine and complain about it, because it would make them less of a man to do so.   Only a few make an issue of it.  

Even physical abuse by other men often gets downplayed and ignored for the same reason, unless it is very serious and repetitive.   I can think of several instances from childhood where school boys have physically abused others, which everyone simply accepted and kept quiet about.   It was just a fight.   Or it was just a bunch of guys trying to teach someone a lesson.   Or some guys trying to prove they were tough.   So from my experience, physical violence is considered very differently between most men and women.  For this reason, you have different reporting of similar type incidents. 

As Shawn pointed out, statistics indicate that men are as likely to be physically abused as women.   But because they are tougher in general, and refused to seek protection, and usually have sufficient resources, and usually don't feel their children are threatened, they will not seek shelters, even if they were available.   They might seek counselling, but even counselling is merely a confirmation of their inadequacy, and an admission that they are affected by the blows of a woman, so that will be a last resort.

But abuse is about much more than just physical violence.  Physical violence is a symptom of abuse.  As Laura has pointed out, she is concerned about  "controlling"  men.   But control by itself could be seen to be a good thing.   A man and his wife should definately control their kids.   The issue is not really about control, but about how that control is managed.   Is the control for their benefit?   Is the control stifling?  Is the control loving? 

Now a wife may not want to be controlled.   Sometimes she wants to do the controlling.   In reality, in a Christian context, it should be a mutual control.   They should each allow themselves to be controlled to some extent by the other.   They should both be controlled by God's Word.   They should both control their own selfishness and their own desires.   And they need to allow each other to help with that.   But, control sometimes becomes abusive if it ignores love and respect for the other.  

As an example, if a husband says he would like fish for supper on Tuesdays because it is healthy and he likes the variety in his  diet, then his wife has two choices.   Make every effort to provide the fish supper, or simply ignore his request as insignificant or preposterous or "controlling".   If she makes every effort to provide the fish supper, but misses it once due to forgetfulness, or budget, or lack of time, then the husband has two choices.  He can immediately forgive her, knowing she has his interests at heart, or he can complain and whine and accept no excuses, accusing her of wilful carelessness.   The way his simple request is handled, gives some idea about who is trying to control who.  The way about how a "miss" is handled, also gives some idea about whether the request is a reasonable control vs an abusive control.   The situation provides an example of respect for the husbands request, and of love for the wife's efforts. 

Not every request by a husband or wife will seem reasonable to the other.   This is because people are different.   So there will always be some conflict.  But just because a conflict does not end in physical violence, does not mean that somehow there is no abuse.   Any unfair fight involves a degree of abuse, whether it is yelling, tantrums, walking out (ignoring), preventing use of the car, or withholding money, etc.   I'm sure you can think of more unfair, mean-spirited things. 

Physical violence is a symptom of abuse.   But abuse is more than just the violence itself.   Nor does abuse equate to "control".   Abuse equates to using unfair or mean-spirited means to attain selfish ends.   Both the husband and wife are capable of this. 

Community Builder


And thank you to those who have posted comments. I feel a need to say a few words.

Our ideas about gender have been heavily influenced by our culture, which is fallen and darkened. We must be careful not to confuse these cultural ideas with our Lord’s design for men and women.

ALL people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect; we are created with infinite worth in the image of our Lord. Whenever we treat people as less than that, we dishonor Him. In a culture full of disrespect, we have the opportunity to shine like stars in the way we honor and love one another.

Abuse is the exact opposite of what the Lord desires for our relationships. He has shown us how to live, considering others rather than ourselves (see Philippians 2). He has commanded us to love one another. Ephesians 5 begins, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Verse 21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. That is the context for submission in all of our relationships. The marriage relationship is of particular importance as it reflects the relationship between Christ and his bride, the Church, whom he loves and for whom He gave his life.

Unfortunately, abuse exists. The statistics are staggering. And yes, more often it is the case that women are the ones victimized and men are the ones that abuse – although that is not always the case – and saying that does not diminish the pain of men who have been victimized.

The church must do it’s part to stop this evil among us. Safe Church is working toward that end.

It would be interesting to examine the statement that our ideas about men and women have been influenced by culture.  In most cases, when people say this, they are thinking about how someone else was influenced, and not about themselves.   Then there is the possibility that our culture was actually influenced by scripture to some extent.  And how objectively will we be aware of that?  

I'm reminded of an incident as a youth, when the junior high boys were playing "keep away" the football from each other.  Somehow the ball rolled to the feet of a group of girls, and one large girl picked up the ball.  She was tall, and heavy and athletic.   She held up the ball in one hand.   The boys tried to jump up to grab the ball but they were shorter and couldn't reach it.   They didn't want to touch her.   She swatted them to the ground with her other arm, and the other girls were laughing at the boys.   There was no hope of the boys getting this ball back.   She was tough, and big.  

Finally one boy ran around her and jumped on her from the back, knocking her to her knees.   The ball bounced loose and the boys got it back.   They left the girls and went back to playing their game.   But some of the girls were outraged that a boy had knocked down a girl.   Some of the boys had question marks on their faces about whether that was the right thing to do.   Just because she had been knocking boys down for some time did not suggest to them that they had a right to do the same.   

The boys would not dare be indignant, nor complain about unfair behaviour.   But the girls would.   Those boys and girls are the 'boomers" of today, but their attitudes were formed many years ago.   Good attitudes in many ways.   But, a double standard existed then, and still does today. 

When we look at Ephesians 5, submit to one another as Christ sacrificed himself for us, or submit out of reverence for Christ, then we could potentially say that as Christ was abused, so we should be willing to be abused.    At one level, this is true.   Imagine if both spouses were willing to be abused... would there still be strife?   But it is not helpful for how we mutually must strive to serve one another.   The rest of ephesians 5 provides a more clear guideline for how to provide peace and harmony when there are times of disagreement and conflict.   The woman must respect, the man must love. 

Community Builder

First one question, can you truly love someone without respecting them?

Now, more to the issue - Before the fall we can see the Lord's plan for men and women unmarred by sin:

In Genesis 1 (TNIV) we read:

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created human beings in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Do you see it? It was designed to be a partnership - that was the original plan. Gender has been very messed up since Genesis 3. Praise the Lord that we are redeemed and through Christ are able to live lives that are more loving toward others and more honoring toward God. Our true home is a place where the original design for relationships will be a reality; that's what we were created for. And until we get there, I will pray for the Lord's will to be done in earth as it is in heaven. I don't think that there will be any abuse in relationships there.

Yes, Bonnie God created a partnership.  But, are all partnerships created equal?   To say it is a partnership is an oversimplification.   It is not a partnership of two homogenous beings, but of two complementary humans.   That is precisely why homosex partnerships were not intended.   And that is also why scripture says the man was created first.   Inherent in this partnership is the beauty and uniqueness of the difference of the partners.  

But more than that, Genesis 3 illustrates what happened when the partnership became involved in sin.   What was the sin or sequence of sins that destroyed the way the partnership was supposed to work?   The woman was created to be a helper to the man (Gen 2).   In Genesis 3, she decided she could make her own decisions, contrary to God's command, and without apparently asking the man whether it was a good idea.   So it says, "she took and ate".   She stopped being man's helper, and became man's temptation.  She "gave it to him, ...and he ate of it".   Their partnership seemed to be working; they were doing things together, getting along.   She wanted it, he agreed....  

And God held the man primarily responsible.   Why?  because he was with her, and kept his mouth shut.   He didn't tell her to put it down.   To leave it alone.   He didn't remind her that God not the serpent had created them.  He didn't take control.   So God held him responsible.   He blamed his wife, but it didn't help, because he was still primarily responsible.   She was his helper, not his boss.   He neglected his responsibility.  And suffered as a result.  If he had taken control, they could still have been living in paradise. 

They both wanted to blame the serpent, but that didn't help either. 

Does this mean that the man is more important to God than the woman?   Absolutely not!   The woman and the child are as important, significant, and valuable to God as the man.  The child and the farmer are as important and valuable to God as are the Pope and Billy Graham and the apostle Paul.   But just as the apostle Peter had a different role to play than the children on Jesus knees, so the husband has a different role to play than the wife who loves him. 

Can you love someone without respecting them?   Well, many women think they can.   They think they are marrying the man their husband will become when they have changed him, rather than the man he already is.   They believe they love him;  they feel they love him.   Probably they do, in a way.   The man also knows that his woman will love the baby she  gives birth to, but respect for dirty diapers, no.    Therefore for the man, he wants a love that is associated with respect.   Men see love in the respect shown.   If the respect is not demonstrated, then they will not see the love. 

Community Builder

I might suggest the website - Christians for Biblical Equality for an alternate view. The CRC holds in tension more than one view regarding gender roles. That is because people of sincere faith, with a high view of Scripture, interpret it in different ways.

My point is that whether one has an authoritarian view of gender or an egalitarian view; there is no room for abuse in either one. The church must learn to more effectively respond to the evil of abuse.

Community Builder

BTW, speaking for myself, as a woman, I desire respect and do not feel love without it. I won't claim to speak for all women, but I would guess I'm not alone. (Can you hear Aretha Franklin singing, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, just a little bit?)

I have followed many of the discussions on this site since joining approximately one year ago including discussions on Pornography, Dating Violence and the need for Small Groups.  I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to be a part of these discussions and I believe I have learned a great deal about who I am as a follower of Christ from being able to read the other members’ comments and experiences.  While I find the anger, sexism and unforgiveness in many of the forums very disheartening I am very grateful for the opportunity to see how other men and women experience Christ.

Tonight when I came home from the hospital and looked into my email account to find several email notifications from the crcna site I was excited.  I was hopeful that I would see more from John as I like his style of writing (it is very easy to visualise his sharing) and I noted that Bonnie too had commented and I was very anxious to read both sets of comments knowing they would be very well written. 

As I was reading through the comments I read about how “all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect” and then I read the closing comment promoting male victims of violence as a minority and male offenders as a majority.  To say I was stunned to hear this coming from the director of Safe Church would be an understatement.  I then began trying to put the comment into context with the rest of the writing but could not.  I finally realised that I was not able to understand why you would choose to re-victimize male victims of violence…… because there is no understanding that

For myself as an individual male victim/Survivor I find I am experiencing a higher rate of re-victimization here through the sexism and gender politics than I do working with both victims and offenders daily.  This being said, for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing I must end my membership.  Christ does not victimize He redeems and uplifts.

I strongly suggest that Safe Church look at what their purpose is for promoting a gender specific statistic focusing on the supposed minority.  To the male victim/Survivor there is only one reason as shared previously with Safe Church; to lessen the impact of violence on that gender and that is re-victimization. 


Shawn, I empathize with you.   I have personally seen a woman shove a man against a vehicle in a marital dispute, without immediate provocation.   She was not a weak woman, she handled carpentry tools, and was strong.   Yet, in the end, her complaint was that her husband was abusive.   Maybe he was in some ways, but if he complained about her action, it would be pretty well disregarded, and in fact, he probably wouldn't think of complaining about it.   And who knows if he started it, or if she did. 

I know of another case where a man was kicked around a room by his "wife", a drug addict who was 50 lbs heavier than him.   He did not fight back.   When telling of it, he just grinned ruefully.  For his own sake he would not take her to court, nor seek other help.  For a child he would. 

On the one hand, we know that physical abuse by women against men is just as common as the other way around.   On the other hand, we know that men are usually dealing with it in a different way.   A woman who hits a man may get hit back twice as hard, or could be restrained by the man, or could have her broom or other weapon taken away and broken.   This is less likely to happen when a man physically abuses a woman.   Thus on average, the consequences are different for men and women, and that is what these programs are addressing.  

The difficulty for us is to separate consequences from intent.    While women suffer more severe consequences more often, that does not mean that men inherently have more evil intent than women.    In that way, they are pretty well equal.  Egalitarian, if you will.  

When you see pictures of thousands of young men in squares in mid-east cities, chanting slogans, inciting violence, encouraging retribution, you should visualize a mother behind each young man, many of them encouraging their young men in their violence. 

All the women working in the munitions factories in the USA during the WWII were certainly not hoping that the bombs they were making would fall harmlessly into the sea.   When it comes to enemies, women can become quite violent. 

The objective for a marriage, is that the two become friends, not enemies. 

Bonnie, I'm aware of the tension about gender roles.   However, the way you describe this tension indicates how you see the problem.   The verses of the bible that are quoted, vs the verses that are ignored, also indicate a preferential view, rather than a holistic and comprehensive scripture based view.   I do not see it as authoritarian vs egalitarian.  I see it as complementarian vs homogeneous egalitarian.   In God's view, a fisherman is equal to an apostle;  that is egalitarian also.

If you choose to ignore the impllications of the woman taking the fruit and giving it to her husband, then you have reduced the validity of Genesis 1 also, since it is not more valid than the more detailed account.  If you ignore the headship of the man in Ephesians 5, then you have reduced the validity of paying attention to mutual submission in the same chapter.  It must all fit together in a comprehensible package;  not tearing off bits and pieces which are not as palatable. 

Of course, you are right that there is no room for abuse in any scenario, but if a woman  defines abuse as "controlling", can we be certain that she would not find Adam's restraint of Eve as a form of abuse?  

Of course you want respect.   But would you be happy with respect given grudgingly, without love?   Would you be happy with a respect given by an opponent who is out to destroy you?   Two spouses in the throes of divorce might still respect the tenacity of the other....   In reality, men will acknowledge respect easier than demonstrating love, and for that reason they are commanded to show love (which is often their weak point) rather than respect, which they are already more inclined to do. 

Respect is also a funny thing, especially for women.   To respect a woman for her peculiar role in child bearing, for how she demonstrates her love, for how she does her job, and for how she can step beyond her role....   I believe Demi Moore in one movie wanted respect as a soldier, but then, somehow also wanted respect for her woman hood.   And might receive extra respect simply because she went beyond expectations.   The only way to respect her in that case was to make life as miserable as possible for her....  but that is not much of a role model for Christians. 

In the end, what you want or what I want is not a definition of what God wants for us.   It is just as easy for us to want the wrong thing as the right thing, and therefore we must go back to scripture to find out what God wants for us.  To all of scripture.  

Hi Forum Friends ... I am sorry to hear that someone has been hurt by this blog discussion to the point of unsubscribing to the forum. We certainly regret any hurt caused as that is not our intention for this space. This is an online space in which we want to encourage open and respectful dialogue from a variety of perspectives. However, I also understand that we will not always agree, and I also realize that sometimes our differences can cause hurt feelings and reinforce pain from past experiences. Communicating in this way -- in an online forum -- can be challenging as we are limited to typing words on a screen, and we lack the face-to-face contact that would allow us to show our concern and compassion to each other. For instance, online communication lacks the sharing of facial expressions, emotional cues and other gestures that would demonstrate that we are open and hearing each other's concerns, despite having different opinions. Please rest assured that the caring and concern are there! I know that our Safe Church leaders are acting out of the greatest love and compassion and trying hard to help all of us create safe environments in our churches and homes. They are always open to hearing how the church can support everyone better. Thanks for your understanding.

To be specific, it was Shawn who was hurt, and the reason had little to do with facial expressions or lack thereof.  It had to do with his perception of the minimization of violence done to men by women.   Although he wasn't specific, it possibly included violence and even sexual abuse by mothers to their sons(I believe he mentioned this at another time or discussion), an issue not addressed as often.  Domestic violence is a larger topic than just abuse of wives, and he did not seem to get an acknowledgement of that, and of the real pain he suffered. 

It would also be interesting to research how often male abusers of women have themselves been abused by their mothers.   While it is true that usually their fathers are role models, sometimes it is the mothers who have built up the hidden resentments and powerlessness in the child which eventually manifests itself  in how they treat their wives.   It's complicated,  because sometimes it works the other way, where the man will look for someone similar to his abusive mother as a spouse.  

In any case, it is sin at work in us.   Simply blaming one gender will never help us to find a solution.