Prince Darling and Princess Sweetness – Aren’t

A guest devotional by Tracy L. Smoak

domestic violence

Domestic violence doesn’t begin with attack. If it did, everyone would recognize danger and run

No, domestic violence often begins with a whirlwind courtship. Prince Darling or Princess
Sweetness appears on the scene as an answer to our prayers. At first.

Fragrant flowers, delicious dinners and gifts overwhelm us. We swoon at the intense attention
and tell our friends how happy we are.

Soon after we make our commitment to the “fabulous,” hiccups start. We must give up this
hobby or friend to “prove” our loyalty to the lover. And so the erosion of self begins to preserve
the relationship. The cost of keeping our controller content is high.

We ignore warning signs such as economic demands or manipulation with guilt. Later, when we
awake to dissatisfaction, the abuser can—and will—resort to physical harm to maintain power.
By then, we usually are so overwhelmed we give up and try to make the best of a horrible
situation. This is particularly true if marriage vows have been exchanged and if children are

While low self-esteem, inadequate finances, lack of a job or education, and limited housing
options hold us hostage mentally, the biggest setback often is shame. We finally admit to
ourselves we ignored our better judgment and compromised our standards. But we tell no one
because we feel guilty and embarrassed.

But shame is a sham. Our God is one of love who forgives. He sees all and isn’t surprised when
we fall. He is present to lift us up, cleanse our wounds, and enfold us in a tender hug. He doesn’t
sentence us to continue suffering.

“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings,”
(Hosea 6:6 NIV).

This Bible verse shows us that even if we’ve fallen, we can get back up. We can trust God to
help us move forward. He hears us and will mobilize on our behalf.

We don’t have to live a lie with a spouse who harms us repeatedly without true remorse or
willingness to change. The difference between forgiveness and enabling our spouse is this:
Forgiveness paves the way for long-term restoration and wholeness with commitment to healthy

Enabling cements a vicious cycle of hurt with no responsibility taken and leaves a victim

Courage is required to change our narrative. We are capable. We don’t have to settle for
mistreatment. We can make changes. We can choose to continue loving, but that doesn’t mean
we hang around to be a punching bag.

Jesus gives this assurance, “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not
sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent” (Matthew 12:7 NIV).

Today is a new day. A fresh start. Don’t let the shame of the past, nor the fear of the future, hold
you hostage anymore.

Today’s prayer:
Dear Lord, we need courage to confront poor choices and wisdom to proceed forward into a
healthy future. Please guide us. We are listening. Amen

Resources to help:
Break the Cycle: Healing from an Abusive Relationship -nonfiction account of one survivor’s
fight for freedom with healing principles to help others

Who Brought the Dog to Church? – contemporary fiction exploring complexities of domestic
violence in a non-graphic way with the power of community to protect survivors from continued

Video resources on YouTube playlist “Carnival of Craziness”.

Tracy Smoak

Smoak holds a master’s in Education and a bachelor’s in Communication. She is a trained advocate for survivors of domestic violence. At her church home, she leads small-group Bible studies. She is an active member of Word Weavers International. Her website is Devotions with her photography set to music are available on YouTube at

4 thoughts on “Prince Darling and Princess Sweetness – Aren’t

    1. Hi Priscilla, so happy to hear things are going well for you. Please feel free to share the resources with others who may be in difficult circumstances and need a trustworthy confidant. I have been shocked in various women’s small groups about how many are suffering in silence because they don’t know where to go for help.

  1. Blessings, Tracy, for speaking truth! The whirlwind courtship thankfully doesn’t *always lead to domestic violence–I know several instances where it didn’t. But that requiring the other to give something up–yep, such a red flag. I’m so grateful the Lord is with through everything–even abuse, even and maybe especially when things don’t seem to change. And that difference between forgiveness and enabling can be SO very hard to discern …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share the Post:

Related Posts