You never struck your spouse, but you were accused of being involved in an abusive relationship. You're shocked. How can you be accused of abuse without any physical altercation?
The reality is that there are many different types of abuse. Making threats is still very serious, especially when coupled with outbursts that make your spouse believe your threats are quite real.
For instance, perhaps you got angry after your spouse wouldn't do what you wanted. You threatened and verbally assaulted him or her, trying to intimidate your spouse into giving in. You threatened violence if you did not get your way.
In the end, your spouse did give in. No violence occurred. You never laid a finger on one another. However, that does not mean that the threat did not feel very real to your spouse at the time.
In some cases, abusive relationships also lead to harassment. This could be done online, in text messages, on the phone or in person. Perhaps you even tried to reach out to friends and family members to get them to join in this verbal harassment. Perhaps it took place on social media, where almost anyone could get involved.
Again, it never led to physical violence, but it could still be considered abuse. That's how it could lead to very serious allegations when you felt like you did not do anything wrong.
Maybe you maintain that you were joking, or you think your spouse is taking what you said out of context. Perhaps it's all a misunderstanding. It's important for you to know your defense options.
Source: Live About, "What Are Some Types of Domestic Abuse?," Cathy Meyer, accessed April 23, 2018