I’ve been working with women impacted by abuse for over 18 years. I have never met a woman who wanted her marriage to be over. I have met lots of women who wanted – needed – the abuse to end and came to the painful realization that the only way the abuse was going to end was if she distanced herself from her husband.
The end of any marriage is gut-wrenchingly awful. Often women stay in the marriage and hope things will get better and try everything they can think of to make things better. But abuse kills marriage like cancer kills a healthy body.
When people get married, they make vows to each other. The vows vary from couple to couple but usually they talk about loving the other person and honouring the other person and cherishing the other person. Abuse is the polar opposite of what is indended by such vows. Abuse breaks the covenant of marriage.
It is normal for a woman to grieve at the end of her marriage even if the marriage ended because of the abuse. It is like any other death. The marriage is dead. The hopes and dreams for the relationship are dead. Support people serve women well when they understand that grief is a normal part of the process of leaving an abusive man. The woman has lost just as much as if her husband died. Let women grieve and support them in their grief.