I write from a complementarian perspective, that is the view that I believe most conforms to Biblical teaching.
So, I can easily tell you that the solution to spousal abuse is not to eradicate or even discourage Godly men from leading their families in Godly ways.
First, we can look at preventing it. Well, perhaps first we have to define it.
The U.S. Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) defines domestic violence as a "pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner."
Okay...let's define "abusive behavior". Here is a rather extensive list of behaviors that may (or may not be, depending on the couple) abusive.
The only one that I have any issue with in general is "pressures you to have sex". In normal circumstances, this is covered in Scripture, we are not to deny our partner. NOTE: IN NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES. If a wife denies her husband because she thinks sex is "icky" and they haven't had sex in months, it's time for her to grow up and realize that she is a grown up with a husband who has grown up desires for his wife.
If we can accept this list as pretty inclusive, we can move on to preventing it.
It's more than "don't do this list of stuff." It's a good list, but following lists merely leads to legalism.
"If I don't do the things on this list, I'm a good husband." No. No.
What we need to do is to What Godly men need to do is to teach young men growing up and older men who need to be taught HOW to be Godly leaders in their home.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Eph 5:25-28 - ESV)
This is sacrificial love, a love that leads a man to put the needs of his bride before his own. A love that would allow a man to lay down his life for the love of his life.
The word "sanctify" is used - is it inappropriate to use that word in context of husband and wife? Consider the second definition (per Strong's)
2) to separate from profane things and dedicate to God
a) consecrate things to God
b) dedicate people to God
Imagine a marriage where a man is taught that in order to love his wife in a Godly way, he is to be ready to die for her; he is to be ready to give himself up for her. He needs to keep his bride away from profane things, protect her, dedicate her (and their marriage) to God.What would such sanctification look like? He would bathe her in Scripture, lead her in righteousness. LEAD her, not send her.
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Col 3:19 - ESV)
The KJV says, "be not bitter against". One of the meanings (per Strong's) says "- the word for bitter means: to visit with bitterness, to grieve (deal bitterly with)
What if (in term of how a husband can love his wife) this is understood to be "do not grieve your wife, do not deal bitterly with her". What would that look like?
What is love?
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
>Love never ends(1 Cor. 11:4-8 - ESV)
If this is the standard of "love", if men are taught that this is the standard by which to treat their wives, this would be a huge step in preventing abuse. How can you be abusive toward another person that you are striving to love with love such as this?
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 - ESV)
My friend did a study on this (perhaps we'll hear in the comments)...I am asked, "have I bestowed preciousness?" Do I feel as though I am honored as a co-heir?
Men should pay careful attention - if they do not live with understanding, if they do not show honor as co-heirs in Christ - their prayers will be hindered.
If that consequence does not make men who claim to be Christians sit up and pay attention...well, it should.
I believe that if men were taught (and held to this teaching) that to be in a marriage meant the commitment to love with this kind of love, many, many marriages would look a lot differently than they do; you cannot be abusive while loving with this kind of love.