Comments on my previous article, revealed a misconception that any woman, who puts her survival interests above staying in her matrimonial home, is a heretic. Plenty believe that there’s something wrong with ‘leaving to live;’ especially Christian women! So I’d like to share the story of Abigail from the Bible, and use it to illustrate some godly principles.
As found in 1 Samuel 25, the story goes, David was running for his life from King Saul and he wandered to the Northern part of the country where Nabal, a wealthy man had fields and cattle. While they were in the fields, David constituted himself an un-hired bodyguard to Nabal’s workmen. Then he sent his men to Nabal to ask for food thinking, one good turn deserves another. But Nabal cursed him out. So David decided to kill all the men in Nabal’s house.
But one of their servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife what had happened. She quickly sent the food David requested, begged him to reconsider, and thus averted David’s planned mayhem. Later, when he was sober, she informed her husband what had taken place. He suffered a heart attack and died ten days later. Then David turned around and asked Abigail to marry him. They got married. Thus ends the story of a smart woman in a dysfunctional marriage. Now to the principles we can derive from her actions:
1. Believe in yourself – don’t let an abusive spouse swipe your self-esteem or personality. Abigail remained smart though Nabal was foolish. She didn’t blindly follow his wicked ways like the wives of Korah and co. Keep your head screwed on right. Psalm 139: 14 states ‘you are fearfully and wonderfully made’ in other words, ‘you are all that and more.’ When someone calls you worthless, remind yourself God calls you worthy. Precious. Valued. Wonderful.
2. Use your brains to make your gains – Abigail was described as intelligent just as you are. She used her brains to save her husband’s hide. Come to think of it, if David’s men had proceeded to raid Nabal’s household, in usual Israelite fashion, they would have killed the men and taken away the women and children. So Abigail would have been spared either way. But why wait for the bloodshed if you can avert it? You’ve got the brains and survival instincts to bail yourself out of your current predicament so do what works instead of running from Pastor to Afaa asking for counsel. You are likely to get the kind given to an acquaintance whose husband was sleeping around and she was afraid of catching AIDS. She was told, “count your beads seven times before you lay on your bed and if your husband turns to you, oblige him. The almighty will take care of you.” Yeah, right!
3. Build a network. Ever heard of the new bride who accused her mother of witchcraft? Her husband saw her flying in his dreams. Seriously though, anybody that tells you to stop talking to your family will oppress you big time! Without a good relationship with her network, Abigail would not have known what was going down! Be friendly with your neighbors and they may tell you that the same day you travelled to England, your husband arrived from the airport with a buxom light-skinned woman who left the same day you returned. Just saying…
4. Brave Up! Strategize, make the right decision and have courage to follow through. Abigail planned and worked a great strategy to prevent bloodshed in her household. Don’t lose your mind to love. Think!
5. Be humble and diplomatic. You don’t want people saying, “Oh, it is because she has a Ph.D. that she disrespects her husband,” even when they know you are innocent. Use the right words to get ahead in life. Abigail spoke humbly to David as well as to her husband, Nabal. Of course, there would still be people who would cast aspersion on your personhood like those who feel Abigail was an opportunist who saw her chance to trade her husband for a handsomer model. Simply do your best.
6. Get your facts straight. If your spouse is a philandering abuser, don’t get in front of elders and say he’s as faithful as the pope. Instead, document every abusive move he makes because you will need those docs in court. Abigail did not lie about Nabal’s foolishness.
7. Choose your timing and season your words. You don’t say everything to everyone every time. You don’t tell an abusive spouse you plan to leave or that you will report him to the authorities (that’s tantamount to asking for your own murder). Disclose only information that would yield less unpleasant outcomes.
When you position yourself right, God blesses your efforts. So Nabal died of a heart attack (sorta) and David asked for Abigail’s hand in marriage. And as with all fairy tale endings, “they all lived happily ever after.”