Participants: Alanzo Smith, June Smith
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000045
00:30 Welcome to Marriage in God's Hands.
00:33 I'm Alanzo Smith and this is my wife, June Smith.
00:37 We're both licensed Marriage and Family Therapists,
00:41 and licensed Mental Health Counselors.
00:43 And we have been married for 31 years.
00:48 Today we will be discussing violating God's image.
00:52 But before we do so, I invite you to pray with us.
00:59 Our heavenly Father, we thank You for creating us
01:02 in Your image. We know sin has distorted
01:06 Your concept and Your plan for our lives and our marriages.
01:11 And now Lord, we pray that You will transform us.
01:14 And help us to become more like You.
01:17 In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.
01:23 Violating God's image.
01:27 As I think of that topic, I think of Genesis 2:24.
01:33 I invite you to read with me this beautiful passage.
01:50 This is the marriage covenant that God set up in Eden.
01:56 That the two becoming one flesh reflecting the image of God.
02:02 Unfortunately, this image covenant has been broken
02:09 frequently, and as a result we have abusive anger
02:15 taking control of many marriages.
02:18 When we talk about violating God's image,
02:23 in this context, we're talking about abusive anger.
02:30 The Bible is not silent. In fact, it documents several
02:37 references to the concept of anger.
02:41 We're going to look at just two, however.
02:43 In Proverbs 16:32, it says:
03:02 In Proverbs 14:29, it says:
03:21 That says it. Those two texts
03:24 are in themselves self explanatory.
03:30 The bible speaks of two kinds of anger.
03:34 The first one is what we call Controlled Anger.
03:39 I like to reference it as the Ephesians anger.
03:46 Because Paul says in Ephesians 4:26,
03:51 "Be ye angry and sin not. "
03:55 And so what Paul is saying is there are times
03:58 when you will get angry.
04:00 But you should control your anger.
04:04 The notion of understanding that it is human to get upset
04:10 or to get frustrated, but what it appears that the Bible is
04:15 saying is that the Spirit of God must always reside in us.
04:20 So that we don't allow our anger to control us.
04:25 So what we are saying to you is that in your marriages,
04:30 you have to have the ability to demonstrate impulse control.
04:36 You have to control yourself when moments arise
04:42 and you are angry.
04:43 Impulse control is very important.
04:46 And it comes with must prayer.
04:50 The second type of anger that the Bible talks about
04:53 is what we call Uncontrolled Anger.
04:57 I like to refer to that as the Ecclesiastes anger
05:02 because the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:9,
05:20 That's another powerful text. It is saying that there are
05:24 individuals who are not able to control their anger.
05:30 In fact, the Bible calls them fools.
05:35 And you can understand why because it appears
05:37 that when you're out of control, you really will do
05:40 very foolish things.
05:43 Isn't anger an issue of lack of control?
05:48 Well, it's lack of control, but it's also a need for control.
05:53 So, people who get angry and get out of control appears to
05:59 want more control. And when things in their lives
06:02 are not going the way they would like, or they need to
06:06 accomplish things that they need to achieve, then they sometimes
06:10 get frustrated and that gets lashed out in angry ways.
06:15 And anger can be either overt or covert.
06:24 I'm listening and I'm hearing you saying
06:27 all these things about anger.
06:30 But if I have covert anger, how does that affect anyone?
06:36 Well, that sometimes might even be more dangerous.
06:38 Because when you're covert in the display of your behavior,
06:44 you are not up front with it.
06:47 It's almost like a passive aggression.
06:49 So, the person who is attacked by covert anger,
06:53 really might not see it coming.
06:55 But you're sabotaging and you're undermining
06:58 and you're really very angry.
07:01 As a matter of fact, we need to say to you that
07:07 frequently, the demonstration of abusive anger
07:12 occurs behind doors, behind closed doors.
07:18 Individuals who are very abusive, oftentimes do not come
07:25 up front and out doors to have it exposed.
07:28 But it is happening right behind closed doors.
07:33 It is interesting that you said that, because frequently
07:35 what happens with abusive experiences or relationships
07:38 in marriages or in the family in general,
07:41 is that the person who is executing the anger
07:46 is perceived as a really nice person.
07:50 And people outside of the family who hear this would not believe
07:55 that this person is even capable of behaving in that way.
07:59 And so that makes it so dangerous because you're
08:02 almost afraid to ask for help.
08:07 Let me share with you some myths about anger.
08:14 First of all, here's one.
08:17 "It can't happen to me. "
08:19 I suspect some of you listening to this program right now
08:23 and hearing us talking about anger and abusiveness,
08:26 you're saying to yourself, "Well it couldn't happen to me. "
08:31 Is that a safe position to take?
08:34 It is not, because the ability to control your impulse
08:39 is an intentional effort that one makes.
08:42 But it is also grounded in your spiritual connection
08:45 with the source of power, which is the Holy Spirit.
08:49 So, we might say, and this is what you may say to yourself,
08:54 "By the grace of God, it will not happen to me. "
08:57 Or, "I hope by God's grace that doesn't happen to me. "
09:01 Because, if someone is abusive, it may happen just one time
09:06 and you allow it not to happen again or you take steps
09:10 so it won't happen again. But the fact that one time
09:13 is still an abusive occurrence. So to make the broad statement,
09:18 "It can't happen to me. " we're saying, it's too absolute.
09:21 Say, by God's grace, by God's grace, I hope it doesn't happen.
09:26 And yes if it happens, you should take the necessary step.
09:31 Another thing that many individuals think,
09:35 and it's identified as a myth, is that, "If I try harder,
09:40 he or she will treat me better. "
09:43 And so they're taking responsibility for the abuse.
09:47 The reality is, it's not about the victim, it's more about the
09:52 perpetrator, the person who is inflicting the blow
09:56 or the angry behavior. So, it's a myth to think
10:00 that you can fix this person. The individual who is angry
10:06 and is out of control needs help.
10:10 You're listening to us. Are you saying to yourself,
10:13 "If a person stays in the abuse, well maybe it's not that bad. "
10:19 That is another myth.
10:22 There are several reasons, several variables, circumstances
10:26 that may occasion or cause an individual
10:31 to stay in an abusive situation.
10:34 It could be their children. It could be because of
10:38 financial dependence. We're not justifying it.
10:41 We're not saying it's right to stay in the abuse.
10:45 We're only saying there are several reasons that
10:47 individuals, because of those variables, individuals choose
10:51 to stay in the abuse. So, we should not conclude
10:55 that the fact that they stay in the abuse,
10:57 well it's not that bad. It could be very, very bad.
11:00 But because of these circumstances, they stay in it.
11:04 In fact, we would venture to say that abuse of any form is bad.
11:09 Another myth is that the victims bring this on themselves.
11:13 And as a result, they ask for it.
11:15 The reality is, the victim may have contributed
11:20 to the frustration the angry person is feeling.
11:23 But the victim did not cause this person to hit them
11:28 or to relate in an angry way.
11:30 So it is a myth that the victim caused this to happen.
11:34 And no one asks for abuse. No one deserves to be abused.
11:37 I think I like how Genesis 1:27 puts it in a capsule.
11:44 The Bible says we are both created in God's image.
11:50 "Male and female created He them. "
11:53 So, no one has autonomy over another person.
11:58 No one deserves to be abused.
12:02 And no one should be abused.
12:05 And going back to that last myth that you spoke about.
12:08 Victims bring on the abuse themselves.
12:11 They ask for it.
12:12 That is like victimizing the victim.
12:16 Or secondary victimization.
12:19 That kind of a misnomer cripples an individual
12:25 in an abusive relationship.
12:27 They hear people say these things, talk about these things.
12:31 And they feel crippled, and "Maybe I'm the reason".
12:35 "Maybe I'm the fault. "
12:37 So they blame themselves. And sometimes that retards
12:39 their ability to get the help that they need.
12:42 On both sides of it, the victim as well as the perpetrator.
12:47 So, talking about violating God's image.
12:52 What we are saying to you is that abuse is never right.
12:57 Whether you are the victim of abuse
13:00 or the perpetrator of abuse, it doesn't matter.
13:03 Whichever side you are on, you need help.
13:08 You need the grace of God. You need His help.
13:11 Well, we need to move on to the characteristics of the abuser.
13:15 And we need to talk about how you can
13:17 evaluate your relationship.
13:19 Characteristic, that is very important to hear.
13:22 And evaluation of your relationship.
13:25 But you know something, we have to take a break.
13:28 So, don't go anywhere. Stay right where you are.
13:31 Don't touch that dial because we're going to be right back.
13:34 We're going to talk about characteristics of the abuser
13:36 and how to evaluate your relationship.
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14:25 Welcome back to Marriage in God's Hands.
14:28 We have been talking about violating God's image.
14:35 We have been discussing abusive relationships.
14:40 And when we speak about violating God's image,
14:44 in this context, we're talking about abuse.
14:48 We're talking about physical abuse.
14:51 We're talking about abusive anger.
14:54 But is this something that we just have isolated cases?
15:01 Or are we talking about something
15:06 that is really happening?
15:08 We have a lot of Christian families listening to us.
15:13 Is this happening in their families?
15:15 Is this happening in your family?
15:17 What is the statistic saying?
15:18 It is an amazing, and I would say even an alarming incident
15:24 that is occurring in our families and in Christian homes
15:27 as much as in the society at large.
15:29 The statistics show that there is at least one incident
15:37 of physical abuse in 50% of all marriages.
15:43 50%, wow! That is very high.
15:48 But I must commend the church for
15:53 addressing issues like these.
15:56 Because for a long time, people were afraid to admit
16:00 or to even own that they were experiencing
16:03 abuse in their families.
16:05 Especially in our Christian homes.
16:07 So I think it is helpful that families are able to admit
16:12 that this is occurring and that we need to
16:14 stop it and we need help.
16:17 Let me say a word to those of you who are not yet married.
16:23 If you are in a relationship and there are signs of abuse,
16:28 for whatever the reason, take a second look.
16:33 We call that a "red flag".
16:35 There's something that you need to take seriously.
16:38 I received a call sometime ago from a lady that was engaged.
16:44 And her fiancé had slapped her a few times.
16:48 And she asked my opinion. I spoke to her candidly
16:51 on the concept of physical abuse
16:54 as violating God's covenant.
16:56 Well, she figured they could work it through.
16:59 So they got married.
17:00 But it wasn't long after the marriage
17:03 that the abuse continued.
17:05 So we are encouraging you. As a matter of fact,
17:08 what do the statistics say about individuals who
17:11 marry their batterer?
17:12 It says that people who marry their batterer, usually think
17:17 and anticipate that it will get better.
17:20 But the reverse happens. It really only gets worse.
17:24 That is so true.
17:26 Characteristics of the abuser. You're listening to us?
17:30 Do you possess these characteristics?
17:33 Are you an abuser? Listen carefully.
17:36 Likely to blame the spouse for the outburst.
17:42 "I get angry and whatever. I throw things around. "
17:45 "I have a tantrum. " Or, "I hit you or whatever. "
17:49 "But it's your fault", they say.
17:51 One of the chief characteristics of an abuser, "It's your fault".
17:55 "It's because of you why I did what I did. "
17:58 "And I'm not willing to take responsibility for my behavior
18:01 and for my actions. "
18:03 Another characteristic is that they're unpredictable.
18:06 Sometimes they're warm and they are cuddly people.
18:10 People who seem friendly and seem to relate to people
18:14 in general, to others in general, in a very nice way.
18:18 But at home, this same person can be volatile.
18:22 And can really get out of control.
18:25 Speaking about warmth, they are warm most of the times
18:29 to people outside. But they are unexpressive
18:34 of warmth to the victim.
18:39 They don't show that empathy. It's like they would batter
18:45 and walk away; go eat some ice cream,
18:49 go watch a baseball game, go visit with some friends.
18:53 And it means nothing, even though they have left
18:55 that individual hurt and crying, whatever it is.
18:58 There's just no empathy there.
19:01 It's as you said, no empathy, it reminds me of
19:05 something I read that says, people who abuse others
19:09 are unkind to animals.
19:12 The notion is, if you would hurt an animal,
19:14 you probably would hurt an individual.
19:19 Abusers are quick at comeback.
19:23 And they are good at using putdowns.
19:27 We call them "PD's", putdowns.
19:30 The slightest thing, they snap back at you.
19:32 They snap back in an angry way.
19:35 Nothing passes.
19:38 They sort of have a thin skin. A veneer that is very thin.
19:44 Whatever happens, they get back at you.
19:48 They get angry and will say the most demeaning things,
19:52 the most punishing things.
19:53 Because they want to put you down.
19:57 And usually these are people who have what we call
19:58 a poor concept of themselves.
20:00 And they believe that if they can minimize you,
20:04 then they will look better. At least think that they
20:07 look better in their own eyes.
20:09 And that's one of the reasons why they are so abusive.
20:13 They try to totally allow the other person they're abusing,
20:19 or the victim of their abuse, to almost shrink
20:22 in the relationship.
20:26 Now is the time for you to evaluate your relationship.
20:29 I thank God for those of you whose marriages
20:33 are in God's hand. And you know that abuse
20:37 must have no part of your relationship.
20:39 I give God praise for you.
20:42 But those of you who are listening, whose marriages
20:45 are troubled, those of you who are experiencing
20:48 abuse in your relationship,
20:52 now is the time for you to do some evaluation.
20:55 So we're going to ask you some questions.
20:58 For example, does your spouse constantly criticize you
21:04 and criticize your abilities?
21:07 Are you a person that is heavily criticized?
21:10 That's a sign of abuse.
21:13 Does your spouse behave in an overprotective manner?
21:16 Or appears to be extremely jealous?
21:21 Does your spouse threaten to hurt you
21:24 or to hurt your family members or your friends?
21:28 An abusive action.
21:31 Another thing that might indicate abuse is
21:35 your spouse's inability to have you have a network.
21:40 So, they seem even jealous of your friends and your
21:44 relationship with your family even.
21:46 This sometimes is a very threatening thing to an abuser.
21:51 Does your spouse destroy property
21:55 and throw things around? Break up things?
21:59 I saw a man with his hand in a sling.
22:02 And when I asked him why was his hand in a sling,
22:06 he said he was angry with his wife and he punched the door.
22:10 He punched it through several times and broke his hand.
22:14 You know, another lady told me that her husband changed
22:20 the door to their bedroom three times
22:22 simply because each time he's angry, he kicks the door.
22:27 So, if you have a spouse that is destroying property
22:32 and is demonstrating anger in that kind of a way,
22:35 self evaluate so you know where you are.
22:39 Abusers... we're talking about how do you know whether
22:43 this is happening in your relationship.
22:45 If your spouse is controlling, not just of you but of
22:49 the way you spend, there isn't an open discussion or agreement
22:54 on what your ability to spend is within the budget.
22:58 And so, they have you give account for every cent that
23:02 is spent and they want to know. And you have to justify
23:05 why you needed this, and that you needed this.
23:09 And that's just a sign that this person needs control
23:14 and could likely be an abuser.
23:16 Does your spouse hit you, punch you, slap you, shove you,
23:23 choke you, grab you, all those kinds of physical abuses?
23:29 If that is happening, no matter how the person tries to
23:32 explain it, that's abuse.
23:35 Now, we're talking about physical abuse, but there are
23:37 other forms of abuse, and we've not gone into all of those.
23:41 But we do want to underscore emotional abuse.
23:44 Because I think, many people are not necessarily being hit
23:47 and slapped around, but that they're emotionally abused.
23:51 They are told words that hurt their feelings.
23:55 Things that minimize them as an individual and they feel
23:58 less than human. The attempt is to diminish
24:01 their self worth, to embarrass them in front of others.
24:04 Or even for them to walk around feeling small and
24:07 feeling less than. So if you're in a relationship
24:10 where your spouse makes you feel, or says things to you
24:14 that allow you to feel less than God's daughter,
24:18 or God's son, then that is abusive.
24:20 The role of marriage is to empower us to feel our best
24:24 and to be our best. And not to destroy
24:27 our spirit and to rob us of our personal integrity.
24:32 Here are some steps to take for uncontrolled anger.
24:38 First of all, identify the factors that trigger the anger.
24:44 For example, if your spouse leaves the socks on the floor,
24:48 does that cause you to get upset and say unkind things?
24:52 Or maybe leaving dirty dishes in the kitchen sink,
24:57 does that cause you to get angry or upset?
25:02 Maybe he didn't make the bed, or she didn't make up the bed.
25:07 How do you react?
25:09 Those are some of the factors that can trigger anger.
25:14 Identify them and deal with them before the anger comes.
25:17 Another thing that needs to happen, is you must first admit
25:20 that you have an anger problem.
25:22 Many people who are abusive justify it.
25:26 You know, this is the way men are suppose to be.
25:28 This is the way a woman is suppose to be.
25:30 Or, "I won't take this from any man and so I am going
25:33 to then be abusive. "
25:35 So, you must first get out of denial
25:38 that you're behavior is justified.
25:40 If your spouse is saying, "You hurt my feelings
25:44 when you do this or when you say this",
25:46 you need to hear that.
25:49 Remove the negative messages that you're sending yourselves
25:51 and replace them with positive ones.
25:55 Call a friend, talk to someone.
25:59 In other words, don't bear it alone.
26:02 Talk honestly with someone you can trust.
26:07 And then, we think that an abuser is somebody who is
26:12 possessed with demonic spirits, wouldn't you say?
26:19 Yeah, in a case like that, you have to
26:22 take it to God in prayer.
26:24 Sometimes you may want to identify a prayer partner.
26:27 You may have to fast and pray for strength.
26:31 There's no question that the individual may need to get
26:35 professional help, professional counseling.
26:38 But the bottom line of all covenant breakers
26:44 violating God's image is that you have to claim
26:49 the promises of God.
26:51 You have to be able to understand that he that
26:55 comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a
26:59 rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
27:02 So we have to diligently seek God and ask for help.
27:06 So we're saying, abuse is not just a family matter.
27:09 But it is a spiritual problem.
27:13 It is something that we have to allow God to help us.
27:17 Don't take it for granted, don't say, "Well, I'll get over it. "
27:21 Don't ignore it, as we say, don't stay in denial.
27:24 We have to be humble enough and be willing enough to
27:30 know that we want our marriages, we want our
27:33 marriages to stay in God's hands.
27:35 For that to happen, you must trust Him.
27:38 Put your hand in the hand of God.
27:40 Let God guide you and direct you.
27:43 May He bless you.