Marcelo is the pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, and the author of Biblical Prayer for Today's Believers: Transform Your Prayer Life.
Amnon and Tamar
“Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.” (2 Samuel 13:14-15, KJV)
Amnon’s love for Tamar was not the self-sacrificing love with which the Lord instructs husbands to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25). His love was the kind of love that a woman should flee and that a man should not entertain. It was the kind of love that hurts those it loves: a lustful obsession, a selfish desire, a passing feeling that easily degenerates into hate--perhaps Amnon hated Tamar because he felt rejected by her, or because he blamed her for his sin.
My point is that there are relationships that can hurt you in many ways, and you should stay away from them. Men can be abused by women, and women can be abused by men. I am writing primarily to women because they tend to be the victims in these abusive relationships, but men also can become victims.
Men are usually physically stronger than women because God designed men for the hunt and for hard labor. Women, on the other hand, tend to have more stamina because God designed them to nurture their families. Consequently, a physical struggle between a man and a woman is usually unfair (although there are some women who are strong enough to defend themselves).
Therefore, women specially must pay careful attention to how men treat them. They must be wise and make sure their relationship will not turn into an abusive relationship that will harm them instead of bringing to their lives the happiness and support we all wish to find. A woman should carefully observe the man in whom she's interested.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7, KJV)
No Force. A man must never force a woman. He must not touch her without her consent. If she pulls or moves away, he should give her space. He must not kiss her without her permission. He must not force her during sex. Neither should he demand from her anything that makes her feel dirty or uncomfortable. If she says “No,” he should stop.
No Harm. A man must never hit a woman. He must not pinch her, hit her, or slap her. He must not push her. He must not throw any objects at her. He must never threaten or intimidate her. He must not make her feel unsafe by his voice, words, or actions.
No Insults. A man must not call a woman by any offensive names (like whore or bitch), even if he is mad. A man must not use unkind expressions against her. Neither should he yell at her. Moreover, he should not say mean things in order to hurt her.
No Disrespect. A man must not humiliate a woman. He must not embarrass her or ridicule her. Neither should he be condescending toward her. Instead, he should treat her with dignity, with respect, and as his equal.
When Boundaries Are Crossed
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.." (Ephesians 5:11, KJV)
A man who wants to be in a relationship with a woman should demonstrate throughout his relationship that he is safe and trustworthy. This is a good reason why relationships should advance slowly (first, an acquaintance; then, a friendship; then, courthship/dating; afterwards, a fiancé; and, finally, marriage). The slow and steady progress of the relationship gives the woman plenty of time to get to know him well (and it also gives the man time to know her well).
When boundaries are crossed, the woman (or the man) needs to surround herself with a strong circle of support: parents, siblings, pastor, counselor, spiritually-minded people, and friends. Together with them, she should determine what is the best course of action in regards to her relationship: whether (1) to confront and forgive, (2) to confront and slow down the relationship, (3) to confront and end the relationship, or (4) to contact the authorities.
Tips to Remember
Women should be clear at the beginning of the relationship about how they expect to be treated. Let men know from the beginning that your goal is to feel safe in your relationship. If at any point the man you intend to date or marry is not safe (whether toward you or toward another woman), tell him about it and let him know you don’t want that in the relationship.
Also, be sure to be consistent. Consistently demand respect, and consistently correct anything less. Send clear signals at all times that you expect to be treated with dignity and respect. In that way, the standard will be clear, and your man will think twice before breaking the standard.
Finally, women must offer men the same kind of dignity and respect that they demand. Jesus said, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31, KJV). Do not put men in a defensive state of mind, for that is not good for your relationship.
Questions for Reflection
Here are some questions for women to evaluate your relationships:
- Does he come from an abusive past?
- How does he treat me?
- How does he treat his mother, sisters, and cousins?
- How does he treat his female friends?
- What do my friends (male and female) think about him?
- What does he think about women?
- Why did his previous relationship(s) fail?
© 2016 Marcelo Carcach
Pennington on October 03, 2016:
Great Hub. This is really good advice for men to know how to treat ladies and for women to step up and be firm on their expectations and not allow themselves to be abused in any form.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 03, 2016:
"Be clear at the beginning of the relationship about how they expect to be treated." Too many women do not take the time to clarify their expectations (or they may have no expectations) and let themselves become accustomed to abuse. I wish they would take the time to heed this and all your other good counsel.