If a marriage is unsustainable, or worse, violent, divorce is often the better option. No one should stay in an abusive situation. And I tell women, the first time he hits you, leave. Abusive, violent men rarely change. Our culture and our Church needs to do much more to teach men that physical violence against women is completely unacceptable. It’s not “wife abuse.” It’s “Cowardly Men Beating on Those Physically Weaker Than Them.” I wish newspapers would write headlines like, “245 lb. John Jones, a coward, beat up his 135 lb. wife last night. If you see him, turn him in.”
Abuse is also grounds for annulment. It signals that the person in question is not taking their marriage vows seriously and probably never did. Leave this marriage and get somewhere safe immediately! Catholic Charities often sponsors domestic violence offices for these purposes find one ASAP.
Of course, women can be physically violent too. And verbal abuse, from females or males, can cause deeper harm than physical injury. Still, there are a lot more battered women and children in emergency rooms than men.
As Catholics, as disciples of Christ, we are called to root out all violence and abuse in our lives, any that we perpetrate and any that we allow to be done to us.
Editor’s Note: Mike Hayes contributed to this article.