Weekend Wisdom – Reconciliation with an Abusive Spouse

Before our divorce was final, my spouse pushed for reconciliation. And he used the Scriptures as the bully stick to put intense pressure on me. I heard things like “You need to forgive me. You are sinning against me and God by not reconciling with me.” Note that I only heard him apologize in general terms. I was not seeing any fruit of repentance – not even a grape.  I didn’t hear a humble confession of how he had sinned against me. I wasn’t told how he would make amends. There was no evidence that he saw himself as the problem; in fact, he was still telling others the opposite.

Patrick Doyle in the video below explains reconciliation, and he outlines four things needed for it to work. This is the best information I have heard on the topic from a Christian perspective. If you are wondering if you should reconcile with an abusive person, this will CLEARLY explain when reconciliation is appropriate and when it is not. He also goes into boundaries, and why you need to be willing to put your relationship on the alter, or the person will continue to harm you. This may seem opposite of what we sometimes hear from the church, which seems to be ‘preserve the marriage at ALL COSTS’. However, that is not loving the abusive spouse or yourself well.

The video is long, but worth it!

Love and Blessings,



2 thoughts on “Weekend Wisdom – Reconciliation with an Abusive Spouse

  1. Love Patrick Doyle, he lives in my town and I watched nearly all his videos and found his perspective so incredibly helpful. I wish I had seen this video early in my marriage. My ex did the exact opposite of all the things Patrick talked about… And he did everything that Patrick warns about… Like to a T. Our whole marriage was filled with false repentance… Saying “I’m sorry” in general … usually only to smooth things over with me so that I would have sex with him or be affectionate, as I seriously withdrew into a shell anytime he yelled, guilt tripped, criticized, manipulated etc. As a “good Christian wife” I always felt I had to forgive him … And forget the offense even though I knew … After repeating the process many times.. that he wasn’t going to change. After deciding I was done with this pattern… After 14 years, I went to a counselor… Really just to prove to people that I had done everything I could. I already knew I was divorcing him. The counselor told me that I needed to forgive him and basically forget all 14 years of offenses.
    There were so many things I couldn’t articulate about his abuse. Even to this day with all the books and articles and blogs I have read, I still can’t articulate very well what he did that was so hurtful. I have forgotten so much of the abuse as a coping tactic. Sometimes I will run across an old email or letter I sent him during our marriage and I’ll be shocked at what I was trying to express to him about how he had hurt me. Like how could I forget that incident? Then trying to explain that to other people who have never been in a relationship with a narcissist is like trying to explain the ocean to someone that’s never seen it. One of my very dear friends (who knows my ex) said “well people can change, maybe he’ll change” when I expressed skepticism about my exes new relationship. I knew then that it’s useless to talk to people that have never walked this path.

  2. Dear Kristen,
    Yes, something about abuse can create a “fog” that makes it hard to remember all the incidents. I speak in a few blogs about being in a fog….so please know you are not alone. Leading up to my divorce, I kept an electronic journal to help me remember all the terrible things. That may sound harsh or unforgiving to those who haven’t experienced this type of abuse, but I needed to be able to be articulate and describe the abusive incidents to the people trying to help us. And in court, if needed. I just couldn’t remember it all, due to the “fog” I felt, so I was advised to keep a journal.

    I agree it is difficult (and frustrating) to explain to others who have not dealt with a narcissist. People do not “get it”. At all. They are probably in denial that people are really that bad, or that evil. I frequently have to remind myself that other people do not understand my journey, but they don’t have to. It’s not their journey. That gives me some peace.
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    Love and blessings, Melissa

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