The Cycle of Abuse… and a Question: Does a Christian Husband Have the Right?

By on April 25, 2013

When Dan slapped Wendy for the first time, both of them were shocked. But after it happened repeatedly Wendy saw that there was a typical cycle. Here’s some information every woman needs.

The abuse cycle has seven stages that can be tracked by women in abusive relationships. They are also recognized by those who counsel with them (To be fair, a percentage of men are abused by women but for this post I will refer to the man as the abusive partner.)

1. Rising tension, irritability, fault-finding, and anger often precedes verbal, physical, and other forms of abuse (see the first post on this topic). This attack is intended to assert power and control.

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2. Guilt often follows, particularly at first. There are apologies, promises never to do it again, giving of gifts. Later this typically diminishes when he sees that his partner is willing to stay. He fears others might discover his behavior so threatens his wife if she tells “their” secret.

3. He rationalizes and justifies his behavior by saying it was her fault. Often she believes this and makes excuses for him: he was tired, dinner wasn’t ready, she’s not meeting his needs. She rationalizes that he’s really nice except for those occasions when he’s out of control.

4. Between abusive episodes, the appearance is often given by both partners that everything is normal between them. Because of shame, fear, or love, both act as if nothing happened.

5. When the tension mounts again, the abuser starts to build a case by focusing on what he doesn’t like and how he’s justified in asserting his power again.

6. At this point he starts planning when and where to show who is in control. He considers what situation would create the desired effect.

7. He sets up the situation to attack, often escalating from verbal and emotional destructive behaviors to physical and sexual.



Christ told men to love their wives as He loves the church and gave Himself for it. Ephesians 5:25-33



Question: Is there someone you could share these posts with on domestic violence? Prayerfully ask God how He wants you to use this information so others can experience God’s love for them.

If you need help, call a trusted friend or pastor, or your local women’s shelter.

Blessings and strength to you,

Originally Posted on: Poppy Smith Inspiring Women to Thrive

About Poppy Smith

Born in England to a non-believing family, Poppy grew up there and in Sri Lanka, Singapore and Kenya. She met her American husband in Nairobi and they soon moved to the United States. The adjustment to her new marriage and new country, combined with loneliness and the loss of all that was familiar, brought Poppy to a defining moment with God. The resulting change, from anger to acceptance, from fighting God to seeking Him, led her into a life-long love of Scripture and the One it reveals. Her website:

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The Cycle of Abuse… and a Question: Does a Christian Husband Have the Right?