Pastor Abedini Disputes Wife's Marital Abuse Allegations
Pastor Saeed Abedini says he loves his wife and is praying for healing and restoration in their marriage.
On Saturday, Abedini issued a statement to the Idaho Statesman newspaper about his wife Naghmeh's allegations of marital abuse.
"While I am far from perfect as a man or a husband, I am seeking every day to submit to God as He molds me into what He wants me to be," the statement read.
Abedini also said much of what his wife wrote in her Facebook posts and subsequent media reports is not true.
His wife has filed for legal separation from her husband. The Idaho Statesman reports that, while it has not been able to review the case file, online court records show Saeed pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault in 2007.
The judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail and suspended the sentence, but Saeed was put on one-year probation.
Abedini said he will continue to seek reconciliation with his wife in private.
Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., knows the couple well. Using his influence as a member of Congress, Pittenger worked closely with Nagmeh to push for Saeed's freedom, repeatedly calling for his release. He also flew to Germany to meet with Saeed immediately after his release.
Pittenger told CBN News it's important not to be dismayed or discouraged about the Abedini's private marital problems that have recently become public. Watch his comments below.
"Do we look at King David as a hero of the faith? He had his own fragility," Pittenger said. "Psalm 51: 'Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness.' So he understood his mercies are new to me every morning. It's true for me as well. I come here as a broken vessel, one who needs the grace of God every single day."
"So they need a lot of love, a lot of support, and a lot of privacy," he continued. "I'm glad I don't have to work out all the details of my marriage before cameras and before the scrutiny of individuals. I've been married 38 years and I can say it's involved a lot of love, a lot of forgiveness, and a lot of forgetting on the part of both of us. So that's what marriage is."
"They will work through this; I pray and hope. He's back at home back in Idaho with his kids. And I know she loves him. She went all over this country," he said. "I spent a lot of time with Nagmeh. Spent a lot of time with him."
"We correspond, email and we talk. So, my hope and prayer is that they'll get this worked out," he said. "But I think we need to give them the privilege of some distance and allow the grace of God to be there."
You can read Saeed Abedini's full statement below:
Two weeks ago today I was released from an Iranian prison after being held captive for three-and-a-half years. My crime? Being a Christian and refusing to renounce my faith in Jesus Christ. Throughout my imprisonment my wife Naghmeh drew national attention to my case and encouraged millions of people to pray for my release. God answered those prayers and brought me safely home. Naghmeh has been a hero to me and suffered enormously as a result of being 7,000 miles away from me and being a single parent to our two precious children while traveling and leading a crusade on my behalf. I will always love her for her sacrifice.
Last November, Naghmeh began to write about our marriage on her Facebook page and suspended her public advocacy for me. Her Facebook reports have been widely reported in other media outlets, raising questions about me, and the state of our marriage. As a prisoner in Iran I was not able to respond to her comments and accusations. I have chosen not to respond in the two weeks I have been back in America because I believe personal issues are best dealt with personally.
When I arrived in America I went to the Billy Graham Training Center in North Carolina with my parents and my sister, fully expecting Naghmeh and our children to join me there. She chose instead to remain at home in Idaho, and when I arrived there this week I was met with news that she had filed a domestic relations case, apparently in order to ensure our children could remain in the state. Of course, I had no intention of taking our children away from our home or our state.
This latest development, which Naghmeh first made public, leads me to offer this brief statement.
1. Our marriage is under great stress and I am hoping and praying for healing and restoration.
2. I love my wife and want God's will for both of our lives.
3. I am a sinner, saved only by the wonderful grace of God. While I am far from perfect—as a man or as a husband, I am seeking every day to submit to God as He molds me into what He wants me to be.
4. Much of what I have read in Naghmeh's posts and subsequent media reports is not true. But I believe we should work on our relationship in private and not on social media or other media. Naghmeh wrote this week, "We are taking personal time to work on very serious personal issues." I intend to do this hard work in private.
5. The God I serve today is the same God I served while being interrogated and beaten in some of the harshest prison conditions in the world and He is capable of restoring a marriage that has withstood unbelievable pressure. I ask for prayer for another victory.
It is not my intention to speak further publicly—through social media or any other channels—at least until I believe we have made significant progress in private. I thank you for your understanding and support.