For the whole month of November, missionaries Jeremy and Liz Pinero and I took my four little “grand-angels” and lived up in the mountains of Big Bay in Vanuatu doing all the… well… jungle-stuff—like washing our clothes in the river, crouching over a fire to cook, doing without power or running water or (gasp!) internet, riding in the moonlight frantically hanging on in the back of a truck fish-tailing through deep muddy ruts, taking cold bucket-showers on days we couldn’t go down to the river, swatting mosquitos, and hiking for hours up and down serious slippery mountain trails to hold meetings and baptise in different villages where graduates of Big Bay Bible School are starting new churches. I loved it!

Day after day, I watched a teeny ant repeatedly poke his head out of a hole in a bamboo pole to dump a tiny mouthful of sawdust on the ground. He had quite an impressive pile down there and I imagine that he’ll soon have done enough internal damage that the entire pole will collapse, bringing the thatched wall with it. In Uganda, small termites were also secretly doing their internal damage to a telephone pole by my other missionary daughter’s house. No one had a clue until the pole collapsed, putting the whole town in darkness for a couple weeks.

In both cases, no one could predict, from the outside, the relentless destruction in progress on the inside.

No one knew

With that little termite in mind, let’s begin a series on the destructive—often hidden—abuse within (even Christian) marriages.

“But this doesn’t apply to me… I’m single!”

Singles should be more interested than most because being willing to educate yourself can spare you a lifetime of daily pain. “But…”

  • It’ll never happen to me.
  • He/she is a Christian from a good family.
  • If I don’t find a way out of this house, I’ll go insane! Life with him couldn’t be any worse.
  • My parents have this marriage all planned out.
  • If I break up with him, I may never get married.
  • It’s not that bad. I just know he’ll change after we’re married.


Why this topic?

As much as we’d like to close our eyes, the abuse-awareness organisation White Ribbon states that, in Australia, one woman every week dies at the hand of her violent husband/partner! If you haven’t been touched by abuse, someone you know has.

The purpose of this series is…

  • To equip (especially IB) young people to identify abuse before they marry.
  • To throw out ideas for those striving to help a friend involved in a destructive marriage.
  • To propose Biblical options and give hope to the abused.

You can access domestic violence resources here.

this is part 1 of 6 in the series
How to Spot an Abuser

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About Joy Harris

Joy studied elementary education before going on to teach at the primary school level as well as homeschooling for twenty-six years. Joy has touched the lives of thousands through her ministry in state Religious Education, Sunday Schools, and Holiday Bible Clubs as well as through her speaking at various seminars and retreats. Joy is also a gifted musician and has collaborated on multiple recording projects as well as maintaining a private teaching studio for over thirty years. Joy is retired and lives in Cairns, Australia. Joy has seven children, twenty-one grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. You can contact Joy at


  1. Kez 4 January, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Excellent!! The beginning of a much needed discussion!! I look forward to the posts to come!! =)

  2. Jenny.hooker 4 January, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Looking forward to reading the series joy… Jenny

  3. Debby 4 January, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Very interesting…my daughters always ask how you can tell BEFORE you marry if a guy will be violent or mean spirited AFTER marriage. Hopefully your answers will fill in gaps where mine fall short! God bless your outreach to women with this much needed topic.

  4. Danielle 5 January, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Hi Joy, I want to hear more! God is using you in a mighty way and I will be glad to have the information in order to bless another. Thank you.

  5. Joy 5 January, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you for the encouragement because it’s a scarey topic to tackle! Debby, I plan to cover how to spot an abuser before marriage in about 4 posts! I’ve got 16-18 posts sketched out: why an abuser abuses, why the abused stay, Biblical options, untwisting the verses in an abuser’s arsonal, etc. It’s a whole ‘nother universe!

  6. Bec 16 January, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Good on you, and thank you for having the courage to put this much needed information out there, and expand upon a topic that is difficult and rarely talked about.

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