Thursday 6 October 2016

The Girl on the Train: a Christian perspective on domestic violence

I wish I held off the release of a previous article on the subject of marriage, This movie had a profound effect on me when it had finished.

I had used Back to the Future Part 2 as an illustration of how marriage should and should not be conducted. See the article for more information:

I have said the following in the paper itself

"Paul exhorts men to do the following in Ephesians 5:
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendour,without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Here, marriage is to be honoured and kept pure in honour of the Lord, How can this be done when the husband doesn't love his wife? If there is no love, the wife will either submit begrudgingly or be rebellious. There is no sanctification in the sight of the Lords if this is the attitude that is been demonstrated.

Christ is not abusive, it is hypocritical to abuse your spouse when your Lord and Saviour doesn't treat you that way, you can't have it both ways."

There will be spoilers of the film in this article so if you have NOT seen the film, go see it first before reading, but be warned, the movie itself has squeamish moments.

Anyway, I'll give a quick rundown of the film.

Rachel Watson, our protagonist (Played very well by Emily Blunt) is divorced and an alcoholic. She commutes on a train to New York every day and passes by a house, observing that a woman named Megan is cheating on her husband Scott (Whom we learn has been abusive to her). Rachel awakens from a drunken stupor one day with blood on her face and believes that Megan has been killed by her, but can't remember and whenever she was drunk, her husband would fill in the blanks (or so he claimed).

Events unfold showing us that Megan has accepted her abuse as a norm but seeks sexual pleasure from her therapist to compensate for the fact she is unloved. 

Tom Watson, Rachel's ex husband, has marriage another woman named Anna who has had a child with him.

To cut a long story short, Rachel discovers that she is not the violent callous or insane woman she was made out to be, Her ex husband Tom had abused her and drove her to alcoholism and lied to her in order to control her and won't allow her to be trusted by Anna and not only that, Megan was killed by Tom. We also learn that Tom loves sleeping around and was fired from his job (His claim that Rachel was the one who got him fired when it was actually his fault he lost the job. 

Her divorce stemmed from the fact that she couldn't have a child and Rachel at one point, not hurting Anna's child, but actually wanted to just hold Anna's child to feel like a mother.

She has had her marital life torn from her, no baby, no husband, no means of supporting herself (She often stared out of the train to see a perfect couple, her desire to be part of a marriage again).

Tom is killed, both Anna and Rachel are arrested and Rachel is free at the end, presumably with a new job and a new lease on life.

The film never shies away from the horrors of domestic violence and treats the subject matter with respect, as it is a serious issue that plagues many marriages.

With Rachel and Megan, we have both women damaged and ruined by their husband's wicked behavior towards them. I am aware that domestic abuse can happen to men too, but the film nevertheless demonstrates very effectively why domestic abuse is wrong.

Domestic violence can destroy a person's mind, it causes them to turn to drink to dull the pain or become desensitized to the violence that is done to them, so much so that they accept the pain as a part of their life.

It even shows a person seeking love from another source, even if it means engaging in an affair with another person in light of their spouse not loving them.

While the fall has caused women to try and dominate their husbands and be their head, the fall has caused men to be violent or cruel to subdue the women to retain control, the opposite extreme.

Husbands loving their wives and wives submitting to their husbands is the biblical norm that God established and The Girl on the Train gives us examples of what happens when the husband becomes manipulative (Tom) or paranoid (Scott) and becomes cruel towards their spouse, it leads to a spiral in which the wife becomes disillusioned, afraid and broken.

In some cases, it may cause the person in question never to trust someone of the opposite gender again or see marriage is a horrible existence to never be experienced.

Domestic violence is something God hates and the husband will be accountable for the way he treats his family, both his wife and kids. May the Christian men who are married to Christian women be the protectors and leaders of the household but NEVER the dictators of the household. 

As long has the man acknowledges that his head Christ is not abusive, the wife can rest assured that her husband is the head who would never seek to ruin her intentionally.

Answering Judaism.

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