Premarital relationship abuse knows no boundaries and can happen to anyone. There are many forms of abuse that take place and just as many reasons. A person can avoid being involved in an abusive relationship by looking for warning signs early in a relationship. Religious leaders would do well to teach about relationship abuse within their churches as well as in premarital counseling situations. Awareness can help stop abuse. God intended for relationships to be intimate and loving.
Dating is an exciting time for young adults. It is when two people are discovering their likes and dislikes about what they want in a long term relationship, such as marriage. People date in search of that one person that they hope to be able to spend the rest of their lives with. What happens when that relationship begins to have conflict? Is it just a matter of disagreement or is there something deeper? In the ritual of courtship there is much to consider, including if there are signs of abuse or violence. What is considered premarital violence? Premarital or domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of coercive and violent behaviors used by an adult in order to intimidate or control another within an intimate relationship (Lingston, 1997). Usually there are some warning signs within the relationship that will allow a partner to know if the relationship will turn to destructive behaviors.
Warning Signs Some of the early warning signs of premarital domestic violence in a dating relationship are jealousy, control, and harsh criticisms. While these things may seem mild to some people, it can lead to more serious implications later on. Another warning sign which should not be overlooked is the history of a person. Has there been a history of any type of abuse in the other person’s life? Did the abuse occur in their childhood or in another previous relationship? What type of abuse happened and was counseling or other treatment sought out? Another important observation would be to see how the other person relates to his/her family members. Do they treat them with love and respect or with disdain? If someone is treating a family member with disrespect or abuse it can be a clear sign that they will treat their partner the same way as the relationship moves forward. Other warning signs that every person should become aware of include; checking cell phone, email, or other social media without permission, derogatory comments, put downs, extreme jealousy, insecurity, explosive temper, isolation from friends or family, false accusations, mood swings, physically abusive, possessiveness, and placing demands (Love is Respect, 2013). Many of these signs may be explained away by the perpetrator or even the victim may give excuses for their partner’s behavior. If one sees any of these warning signs with their partner it is time to reevaluate the relationship and leave before further damage is done.
Types of Abuse There are many forms of abuse and often the perpetrator will use more than one in order to control their partner. Some of the types of abuse are verbal, in the form of coercion and threats. The abuser will use words to manipulate their partner making them feel less than who they really are. In emotional or psychological abuse, the abuser will play mind games, humiliate in front of others, make the person feel as though they have mental problems, and call them names. Intimidation occurs by using fear to control. The abuser may destroy property, throw things, or display weapons in order to bring their partner into submission. (Center For Relationship Abuse Awareness, 2013).
Other forms of abuse which might occur in a premarital situation would be physical and sexual abuse where the abuser may physically hurt or use forceful means in order to