Today we’re going to talk about Domestic Violence and Couples Counseling. Is it an option? Is it safe? Keep watching and find out!

I’m Angela Howard, my passion is to break the stigma of mental illness among fellow Christians. I’m here to help you live a more purposeful life with God, and with one another. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can get the first updates of new content.

Whenever a couple is struggling in their marriage one of the first suggestions that people will make is “You should go to couples counseling!” But when domestic violence is in the picture is that something that will help or harm?

First, let’s break down what domestic violence really is. It’s physical or psychological behaviors that are meant to scare and control your partner. The key dynamic is one person exerting power over the other using anything from sexual, emotional, physical, or even spiritual abuse to threaten, manipulate, isolate and control the victim.

I consulted with Psychologist Bart Fowler, the founder of Charis Counseling when conducting my research for this video. He shared that domestic violence and abuse is one of the most painful and destructive experiences in marriage and family relationships. Couples therapy is not recommended if violence or abuse is present in the marriage and there are couple of main reasons why:

  1. It is rarely, if ever, helpful and often is harmful.

Dr. Fowler states that the “essential ingredients for a change are not present—that’s a recognition that I’m messing up.”

  1. The problem is the abuser not the marriage.


Dr. Fowler says that “Not until the abuser is demonstrating behavioral change can their spouse reasonably consider taking a risk to be vulnerable.”

I’ve talked about this in prior videos: We all need to take responsibility for our choices and behaviors. I love what Mark Twain said, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” Believe me I’m guilty of this, you can ask my husband how much I talk. The bottom line is that our actions are a demonstration of our thoughts and reveal who we are.

When it comes to domestic violence Dr. Fowler explains that if “a person uses a pattern of assaultive and coercive behavior it is a statement about themselves not the relationship. Consequently, they cannot be, and should not be, trusted to respect others till they demonstrate a change with different actions.

Our actions are the indicators of our heart. When a person’s words and actions are incongruent (as is the case with abusive relationships) we should believe the behaviors. When the words and actions are congruent, we can begin to trust the words.”

Let’s not forget what it says in Titus 1:16…



“They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” Titus 1:16


What would you add to the conversation about domestic violence and marriage counseling? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

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