Fair warning…. this isn’t the typical happy fluffy thankfulness post. This week I over heard a conversation that gave me a shift in perspective. My sweetie and I were out for date night at a small restaurant. The kind without walls between the booths, one where you can see most of the people enjoying the cuisine. A couple of friends walked in and sat at the table nearest us. I think we did the polite head-nod, you know the kind that you do when you inadvertently make eye contact with someone you don’t know but don’t want to be rude. All this to say, even though the conversation was overheard, they knew we were there.
The friends, let’s call them Tom and Owen to make it simple, settle in at their table ( I have no idea who they were). I’m shocked when I hear Tom talk about treating a woman poorly. I can’t help but think, did he really just talk about abusing his wife??? As the conversation evolved unfortunately, that indeed seemed to be what he was talking about. Although, I don’t know that Tom saw his behavior as abusive. My degree is in social work and I worked in that field for 4 years before becoming a mom, and I honestly had never heard an abuser talk about his behavior.
As I processed their conversation, several days later and I’m still processing it to be honest. I realize several things…. even though I wanted to march over and tell him how wrong his behavior is, Tom needs my prayers far more than condemnation. Not once did I hear Owen condemn Tom’s behavior; however it was clear that they both understood that Tom’s behavior was not acceptable and needed to change. Owen was trying hard to help his friend. Not just with band-aid suggestions, but with suggestions that would get at the root of the problem and hopefully provide long term solutions. I don’t know Owen at all and yet I respect him for his willingness to ask the hard questions. To refrain from condemnation, in the interest of being heard and hopefully being able to make a difference.
In domestic violence the need to help the victim, usually the women is so great, to protect their physical and emotional well being it’s easy to forget to overlook that the abuser needs help, too. A very different kind of help and help that may not be wanted, but to change things they also need help.
Hearing Tom talk made me even more thankful for my sweetie! Truly he’s the best! There are so many things I am thankful for when it come to Joe. I could write post after post about how awesome he is. I don’t know that I had ever really stopped to be thankful for the fact that never once I have I had to worry about my physical safety in my own home. Joe’s not perfect, but he is perfect for me. He’s my safe place. They one I long for on a bad day, because I know just being with him will make it better. He’s the one that brings my world back to center just by being him, with me. And I’m so so thankful that God gave me him to do this thing called life with.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence their hotline information and a small exert from their site can be found below.
Safety Alert: Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.