Rising above the mundane
Marriage is an institution God established for man and woman to love as God loves. But marriages do face several challenges not because the institution itself is flawed but because the stake holders fail to measure up to it. When a partner turns abusive, family life becomes a real challenge. How as a catholic, we should survive an abusive marriage especially when there is a risk of harm to ourself and children.
First of all we must get our parish priest involved and take his guidance. Remember a parish priest is the spiritual father given to us by divine provision. It is operative that we take immediate steps to mitigate the situation and prevent further physical or mental harm to those affected. We must seek expert help to settle down and heal the hurts. Take time to understand how precious we are and our children despite the situation. Be convinced that this is happening to your marriage not because you are bad, or sinful. Know that our God suffers with us. Isaiah 53:5 says "he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed".
We also realise that God desires that we grow in holiness in ways that only God understands, within the very vocation we have chosen and not outside of it. We are called to unconditionally trust God when we cannot comprehend the meaning of all that is going on.
Marriage is an inseparable permanent bond that man and woman willingly enters to serve each other and raise a family. But the church recognises the effectiveness of a time of separation in times of extreme challenges such a abuse. This is called a separation of bed and table. While this is done we are called to spare no effort to truly understand the abusive spouse, offering him/her help to recuperate, heal, reconcile and reunite by our efforts and prayers. All our actions should be done willing the good to all involved including the abusive partner. This can get difficult. We are called to depend on the God's grace and rise above our self-centred desire to withdraw and evade responsibility and to dishonour the covenental promise that we have willingly entered. Remember it was "my yes" that God blessed and ratified, and sealed it with his pronouncement "what God has joined together let no man separate".
The life of a Christian is a unique call to greatness and greatness comes only through heroic, selfless acts of love operated solely by grace and mercy of God. True joy is a fruit of life emptied for the sake of the other. We see this joy on the cross. God loved us to the very end. God remains faithful to us despite our abusive relationship with him. So shall we be in Him with the one "we have chosen" to spend our life with, in the remaining years here on earth hoping for the fulness of our earthly marriage - the heavenly marriage with our eternal bridegroom - Jesus Christ.