Being responsible with money is a wise attribute--except when you are trying to decide what to do in an abusive marriage or dating relationship. When it becomes clear that your partner is willing to injure you physically to try to keep control over you, safety becomes more important than worrying about how you will survive financially if you separate.
Financial fears are one of the top reasons that abused women and men stay in harmful homes. They hope the other person will get better and they can't visualize how they will make it financially on their own...so they remain.
It breaks my heart to hear the stories of people living in dangerous and painful situations because of money. When my children and I left my abusive spouse we had no income. I was a stay-at-home mom. I had absolutely no idea how things would work out financially. But when I felt God telling my heart that it was time to leave to protect my children, I left. God is our provider regardless of the existence or absence of paychecks. It may have been easier for me to leap because my spouse had already been unemployed multiple times during our marriage and I had personally experienced how faithfully God provides. It has to be much more difficult if you've been experiencing poverty already and are not sure how much God is or isn't helping. Perhaps more of my story will help. I left with my three children and rented an apartment with my parents as co-signers. We slept on the floor with borrowed blankets and pillows. But God consistently provided. I started a housecleaning business under God's leading even though I'd never considered starting any business, my separation timed with when my Dad received his first retirement money and my parents were able to help me with my basic needs for months, friends and family sent the children school supplies and gifts, the counselors discounted their rates, doctors discounted their services, people tipped me at the perfect times, neighbors thought of me when they moved and had food to leave behind, garage sales had just what we needed right when we needed it at ridiculously low prices, and fellow church members blessed me multiple times at God's urging. My kids and I had all our needs met by our gracious God.
Yes, we were financially well below the poverty line. But we ate three meals a day, every day. Even when it didn't look possible the day before.
And we were happier and less stressed than we'd ever been in our middle class suburbia home. We didn't walk in fear any more. We didn't have to hide tons of pain behind denial. We had priceless gifts--freedom, safety, and grace poured out abundantly upon us. God was in charge of meeting our needs and he came through with flying colors.
So cling to God and trust Him. Your safety matters.
P.S. And by the way, separating from an abuser is the biggest way (really the only way) that you can inspire him or her to get help for his or her issue with using violence as a power tool in your relationship.
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- Author Interview (4)
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