“My boyfriend loves me,” stated Emma, “but sometimes I make him angry, and he shoves me. He hasn’t broken any bones or seriously hurt me. My friends say I should break up with him, but I don’t want to lose him. He’s so handsome and popular; I’m lucky to have him. I love him, and he says he loves me. When I do what he wants, he treats me like a queen and buys me expensive gifts. Most of the time we have a lot of fun together. Sometimes I want my way, and that makes him mad. If I’m feeling down or upset about something, he’ll punch my arm and tell me to snap out of it. It’s not fair for me to push my problems on him and bring him down. He doesn’t want to hurt me. I just need to stop being so self-centered.”
The Bible says that love is patient and kind, not rude or self-seeking, and not easily angered (1 Cor 13:4–5). Love does not threaten, belittle, or mistreat; it helps and protects (v. 7). When a person truly loves someone, he seeks that person’s well-being above his own. In Galatians 5:22–23, Paul includes gentleness, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control as characteristics of love, the fruit of the Spirit.
For any relationship to succeed, each partner must show kindness, courtesy, and consideration to the other. If one person makes all the sacrifices and constantly gives in to the other’s demands, the relationship is unhealthy and one-sided. The willing partner is allowing the bully to exert control over her. Neither person should seek to dominate, tear down, or force his desires on the other.
If a boyfriend is easily angered and physically or verbally abuses his girlfriend, whom he claims to love, and then he blames her for his own lack of self-control, he is a bully. He refuses to take responsibility for his actions and manipulates through fear and deceit. Although he may claim to love his girlfriend, his behavior reveals the truth. Because he is completely focused on himself, on his needs and desires, he cannot truly love someone else.
When an abusive person repeatedly gets his way, verbal threats often escalate to physical abuse. Eventually, the level of violence increases and ultimately results in serious injury or worse. God does not want anyone to be involved in a dangerous relationship. Proverbs 25:24 says, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” The same can be said of an abusive boyfriend. Better to be alone than to be subjected to verbal and physical abuse.
Jesus demonstrated true love by laying down His life so we could be reconciled to God. Romans 12:10 urges us to “honor one another above yourselves.” If love, respect, patience, and gentleness are not evident between a boyfriend and girlfriend, the relationship will be characterized by disappointment and pain.
If you are involved with an abusive person, God wants you to know that He truly loves you and has something much better planned for you. He knows your deepest feelings and desires. In spite of what your partner may tell you, you are not responsible for his angry outbursts and bad behavior. You do not deserve to be hurt, humiliated, or mistreated.
If you are afraid to break off the relationship because your boyfriend has threatened to harm you or himself, talk to a trusted relative, a teacher, a pastor, or a school counselor. Ask for help in breaking off the abusive relationship.
Finally, ask God to show you His will for your life. Before you were born, He designed a special plan just for you. Psalm 37:4–6 promises: ‘Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun” (NIV).