Is Marital Indifference Emotionally Abusive?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Welte and me at America's Keswick

 

Hi Friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. I just finished a fabulous weekend women’s event at America’s Keswick and now I am on the home stretch of writing to finish this new book on Destructive Marriages. Please continue to pray, I have much to do.

Here is a sneak peak of one of the chapters.

 Is Marital Indifference Emotionally Abusive?

The opposite of love isn’t hate, it is indifference. Indifference says I don’t care enough about you to give you my time, my energy or other resources to show interest, care, or love towards you. Indifference says how you feel or what you want doesn’t matter to me. Indifference says you are not a person to love, but an object to use. Indifference says I don’t need to change anything to make our relationship better for you if it’s okay for me. Indifference says that you exist for my benefit and when you don’t please me or benefit me anymore, you are replaceable or disposable.

One of the most horrific abuse stories in all of scripture is one of gross indifference. A Levite and his concubine wife were traveling home when they stopped in the town of Gibeah for the evening. Expecting the typical Jewish hospitality, they waited in the open square of the city, hoping someone would invite them to spend the night in their home. As evening descended, an old man spotted the couple and graciously took them in. While the two men were getting acquainted, vile men of the city surrounded the home, beat on the door, and demanded the old man bring his guest outside so they might ravish him.

The old man pleaded, “No my brothers, don’t do such an evil thing. For this man is a guest in my house, and such a thing would be shameful,” What he said next shocks us to our core. He said, “Here, take my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine, I will bring them out to you, and you can abuse them and do whatever you like. But don’t do such a shameful thing to this man.”

The men of the town refused to listen to the old man so the Levite grabbed his concubine wife and shoved her out the door. All night long the men of the town raped her, taking turns until dawn. Broken and bleeding, she stumbled back to the doorstep where her husband slept and there she collapsed.

The scriptures say, “When her husband opened the door to leave, there lay his concubine with her hands on the threshold. He coldly said, “Get up! Let’s go! But there was no answer. So he tossed her lifeless body on his donkey and took her home” Later on he cut her up into twelve pieces and sent one piece to each of the twelve tribes of Israel, portraying himself (not his poor wife) as the victim of a horrible injustice (Judges 19:1-30).

This Levite husband chose to sacrifice his wife to ensure his own safety. When she lay broken and used up dying on the doorstep, he showed no compassion or care for what she had just been through. He was indifferent to her torture and the pain she endured. When he saw her sprawled on the doorstep, he ordered her to get up not realizing that she was already dead. The rape and torture by those vile men was traumatic, but I often wonder if her greater suffering was that her own husband indifferently tossed her out the door like a piece of trash, knowing full well she would be used and abused.

Marriage is the one relationship where we publically make promises to not be indifferent. We promise to love, to cherish, to protect, and to honor the person we choose to marry. We all may be indifferent in minor areas at times but when we regularly fail to keep our fundamental marital promises, the marriage is in deep trouble and to pretend otherwise is not healthy or biblical.

Karen loved her husband and wanted things to work between them but he had little time for talk or fun together. He was busy running a business and making money and these things took priority. When she tried to talk about her feelings, he became harsh and then refused to talk with her at all, sometimes ignoring her for months. When Karen pursued or pressured him to discuss their problems, he accused her of being controlling and manipulative. The only connection he was willing to offer her was sexual and this left Karen feeling empty and used.

Finally for her own sanity, she decided she needed to have a heart-to-heart talk about changes needed in their relationship. She hoped that once Steve saw how hurt she was, he’d begin show some care about her and her feelings. She also knew that the area he’d be most receptive to improving would be their physical relationship. Karen prayed and pondered, asking God to give her the right words to invite her husband into a different kind of relationship with her. She prepared what she wanted to say and practiced it over and over again until her tone was neither accusing nor sharp.

One evening, after wiring up all her courage she said, “Steve, there is something that I need to share with you that’s really important. Do you have time tonight?”

“Okay, but I don’t have all night. There’s a football game starting in about 15 minutes.”

Karen took a deep breath and began. “I know you get very frustrated when I’m not responsive to your sexual needs. I know you want me to be more sexual with you and enjoy our physical relationship. But the way you treat me much of the time makes me feel angry and hurt. When you ignore me for long periods of time or accuse me of being things that I’m not, I just can’t manufacture warm and affectionate feelings towards you when I’m upset and hurt. Wouldn’t you enjoy our sexual relationship much more if you knew I wanted to be with you and enjoyed that part of our relationship rather than me just doing my wifely duty?”

“Of course I would,” Steve said, but then briskly added, “But if wifely duty is all I can get, I’ll settle for that.”

Steve’s response stung but it woke Karen up to his indifference toward her as his wife, as a woman, and as a person. Everything in their relationship revolved around him and his needs and, as long as her body was available when he wanted sex, it mattered little to him whether or not she loving and receptive or she was hurt or angry.

Later, Karen told me, “God used this utterly selfish response of my husband to powerfully speak into my heart — by letting me know that He desired my husband to care for me and my feelings. God never intended me to be a sexual object nor to sacrifice my body to enable my husband’s selfishness to continue unchallenged.”

Indifference in marriage can be one of the most unrecognized yet damaging forms of emotional abuse. Let’s be wise to not to enable someone’s selfishness to grow by encouraging the ignored partner to try harder.

 

26 Comments

  1. Amy on October 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I was in an emotionally, mentally and verbally abusive marriage for twenty years, and my ex was very indifferent towards me. He could be so caring and kind to others around us, but it just always seemed like he didn’t like me, he just didn’t seem to care about me. There were so many times in all those years that I would say to him through my tears of extreme heartache how I just wished he liked me and would be my friend. And he would just glare at me with what seemed like hate in his eyes.

    And honestly, it wasn’t until I read this post about indifference being emotionally abusive that I ever really thought about it like that. I mean, I knew I was being abused and I knew that my husband was indifferent towards me or what I used to call having a lack of empathy, but I just never really put the two together.

    He could say the harshest, cruelest things to me and if I even shed a tear or looked like I was going to cry, he would just brush past me and walk away, usually while saying something snide. If he was having a bad day and I wasn’t feeling good, he just walked away and basically told me he didn’t care.
    I felt a lot like the woman in the bible story, like I was just discarded by my husband. And the pain of that is beyond what I can even describe to someone. After all, you enter marriage hoping to be loved and cherished by your spouse and when they come right out and tell you they do not care how you feel or you are stupid for feeling a certain way, it cuts to the very core of your being.
    At times I used to want to scream at him to just hit me, just do it and at least I would have something to show for the pain he caused me.

    This type of abuse may not leave outward bruises, but the wounds it leaves are so deep and painful that it can take a long time to heal.
    And I realize now just how destructive this abuse was to our children. Our two boys, ages 21 and 17, lived with this type of abuse and learned to be indifferent towards others because that is how their father was with them. If I had been stronger, I would have taken them out of that situation a lot sooner.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing this. As a Christian, I must say that one of the stumbling blocks for me while in an abusive marriage was having other Christians, including several pastors, tell me I just needed to submit and respect more and he would then change. It was devastating not to have any support from the Christian community in learning how to deal with this type of situation. So, thank you again for doing what obviously the Lord has called you to do.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 26, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      If you read my blog on When Trying Harder Becomes Destructive you’ll know that trying harder to keep up a relationship that is destructive only adds more pain and enables the destructive person to stay blind to his or her own sin. There are some things we need to work on and try hard to do (like not retaliating) but trying harder to become what he wants us to become isn’t one of them because you will never succeed. Focus instead on centering yoruself in Christ, not your man or your marriage and you will be much healthier.

  2. Leslie Vernick on October 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. Sadly it is not uncommon and felt very strongly that this was a hidden part of many marriages that is never addressed adequately.

  3. Virginia Garcia on October 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Leslie,

    You are so correct when you state that you strongly feel that this is a hidden part in so many marriages. I am a survivor of a 26 year volatile and toxic relationship. Unfortunately, when I was in the midst of my marriage, survival is all I can do or think about. It wasn’t until after my divorce that I began to process the ugly nature of my relationship with my ex and all the verbal, mental, emotional and physical abuse. I would love to tell everyone that I processed all the anger, hurt and bitterness with a Christian attitude. But that is not the case. I became the toxic ex as I worked through the many years of hurt and abuse. Our relationship has not improved either. I went on a year and a half sabbatical and cut all communication with him. It didn’t help because we were just involved in a verbal altercation this past summer as he verbally abused me in front of our youngest son who is 11. Our older 2 sons, 29 and 25 have their own issues that they are working through. All I can do at this point with them is be there and prayerfully show them a different life, a Christ filled life.

    What I can say is that I am learning to detach and not engage in the back and forth that was so prevalent in my communication with him. I listened to your program on Focus on the Family and was able to relate. I am a work in progress and I know that GOD will not let me down as I continue to work through all the abuse that has been a huge part of my life.

    Thank you.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 26, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      Thanks for your honesty. Most of us who have been injured by a destructive person do not process those negative emotions quickly or easily. It is a journey and I”m glad you’re learning not to engage in destructive communication.

  4. Amy on October 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    It’s been almost four years since my ex walked out and almost two since we’ve been divorced, and I’m STILL processing the feelings of having lived twenty years in an emotionally, mentally and verbally abusive marriage. During the past few years after he left, I found writing in a journal and blogging to be amazingly therapeutic for getting out those feelings and in a way getting back in touch with my feelings. One of my survival tactics while in the marriage was to learn how to turn off my feelings, because if I cried or rightfully was angry it only made my ex more abusive. So, to avoid that I learned how to stuff down the tears and anger, and just not speak up.

    Now it’s refreshing to be in a healthy marriage where my man wants to know if something is wrong and listens to what I have to say without getting on the defensive. He has always been kind and caring towards me and never made fun of me, criticized me or gotten angry over my feeling a certain way. So, I’m learning how to speak up when necessary and not sweep things under the rug like I did in my first marriage. It is so refreshing, so freeing to be able to truly be myself and know I’m safe in doing so.

    But having said all of that, I still deal with anger towards my spouse, not only for how he treated me (and still does when we have any contact), but also how he treated our sons and now acts like he never did anything wrong. Our boys still see their father who lives in the same area and they seem to do so willingly, which honestly puzzles me because of the abuse they endured all of their lives with him. They are now 21 and 17 1/2, and both live with me and their stepdad.

    My ex is really good at turning the truth around and I know that for a fact because of what people in our small town have said to me. My ex has told lie after lie about me, and what happened in our marriage and what happened following him leaving. And I never got into the whole “he said, she said” thing after he left because I was not going to put our children thru that, so most people heard my ex’s version of what happened and never heard my side of it…but I figured that people who knew me would know the truth.
    Unfortunately, my oldest son bought into those lies and a few months ago when he was moving into our house, he went off on me, spewing out hateful things that his dad had told him about me…one untruth being that my current husband and I had an affair while I was still married to my ex, which is completely bogus. I was so floored that night, that I never stood up for myself only because when I tried to say anything, he would yell at me that he was tired of hearing my lies and had already spent six hours listening to what his dad had to say. I did stay calm through the whole thing and told him that those things were untrue.

    My son and I have since reconciled in a way, mostly just stepping around the issue and not really dealing with it.
    When my son went off on me that night, I stayed calm, but did not engage with him and therefore did not get to really speak the truth or discount the lies he had been told about me.
    I’ve often wondered since then if I should sit down with both of my boys and tell them exactly what happened between their father and I, especially after he left. But I also don’t want to open up a can of worms and risk losing them.
    I don’t want to do something that is only for selfish reasons, just to “get it off my chest” so to speak. I want to make sure that if I do speak with them it would be beneficial to them.
    My boys have a lot of issues from being raised in an abusive environment like that and I still think it’s unhealthy for them to hang out with their father, so perhaps that is why I feel this tugging at my heart to speak with them and tell them the whole story of their dad and I, from beginning to end.
    I keep praying that if this is something I should do that the Lord will open the door and create the perfect moment for it to happen.

  5. Leslie Vernick on October 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Friends – you who have told your kids the truth, and you who haven’t, why did you do what you did and what were the results? Would you have done it differently if you could do it over again?

  6. Ruth on October 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Bought and read in one day your book “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship”. This last year has been a discovery of why I have felt so miserable being in this 28 year marriage. I have felt so guilty for despising my husband… knowing something was terribly wrong but not realizing exactly what because of his subtle mind games and abuse.

    Until I started understanding how multi-faceted abuse is I kept asking God to help me love my husband. To forgive him more. To overlook his offenses. To be long suffering in silence, having the same misconceptions concerning submission and authority that are a commonly repeated themes in this community here. Forgiveness and love are good. But a quiet and gentle spirit does not mean silence.

    I am so thankful to God for your ministry, Leslie. I have been searching for biblical help for about a year. Somehow I stumbled upon your blog. The normal avenues within the Church seem so deafening silent on this painful issue.

    Why does the church make it an issue of the woman’s submission rather than the man’s hateful and sinful treatment of the ones (wife and children) he made an oath to protect?

    God made us emotional beings. I learned early in our marriage not to cry in front of my husband. When I needed him most to comfort me; when I have been afraid, or hurt, or upset, my tears were met with anger. I do not remember the last time my husband found me crying and wrapped his arms around me, or asked me what was wrong. I have been careful not to display such emotion in front of him. Over a course of years, my husband has walked in on me crying maybe three times. He just turns and walks out of the room. Disgusted rather than caring. Not even curious as to what has upset me enough to make me cry.

    He cannot fathom why I have become so distant to him. For years I have told him over and over, both verbally and in letters asking him to be kind… to repent. It’s like that part of his brain cannot acknowledge the information and it is all my fault. He believes he is really a great husband and father. Our children (ages 21, 19, and 18) only tolerate him because we are still married. They know the truth. They have been his victims their whole lives. Physical intimidation, verbal abuse, the whole package. He has neglected and treated them as inconveniences. Endeavoring to separate me from our children and trying to force me to choose between him and them. He is jealous of my time spent with them, or anyone else.

    I desperately wanted our marriage to work. But now I feel it is nothing more than a ash heap in the dust bin. Early this year he told me he never wants to hear again my complaints and just wants me to return his romantic advances… “even if I have to fake it.” That was a turning point for me. I do not trust him anymore and don’t know if our relationship can be or if I even want it to be repaired. I want to do what honors God. I’m not sure what that looks like.

    Recently my husband has “jokingly” made comments concerning my untimely death at his hands. I do not take these comments lightly. He does not like that I have begun to address his abuse and am taking back power that I gave him to control me. He has isolated me well. But I have begun to tell my family and a couple of very trusted friends what is going on. My family, they already knew…

    • Amy on December 2, 2012 at 6:34 am

      Oh Ruth, my heart goes out to you.
      I was in an emotionally destructive marriage for 20 years and my now ex-husband left me and our two boys almost 4 years ago. I admit, I thank God that He took me from that abusive marriage for I did not have the strength or courage to leave.
      I too learned early on not to cry in front of my ex. It only sent him into a more abusive manner and if he found me crying he would just give me a hateful look and leave the room. Then he would not speak to me for a couple days and then he acted like nothing ever happened.
      It became a vicious cycle, one that could never be determined when it would occur or what would somehow provoke him. One time it was because I put away the vacuum cleaner “wrong” and whenever I did anything “wrong” I was told that normal people did not do things the way I did.
      I walked on eggshells for two decades of my life and could not even say the word abuse for almost ten years into the marriage.

      I pray that you can find someone trustworthy to help you. For me, it was a Christian counselor who helped me understand what was happening.
      And my family wanted me to leave for years, they too saw it as you say your family does.

      Yes, we want to do what is honoring to God, I did too, but unless we step out in some direction in order to take care of ourselves, God cannot lead our steps. I’m not saying you have to end your marriage, only you can know if that is the right decision for you, but by staying and doing nothing to help yourself, you are further enabling your husband to continue in his destructive ways.

      God loves you and cares for you. He will not forsake you no matter what your decision is.

      Blessings.

  7. Jane on November 1, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Oh…I have been married 39 years. Last week my prayer pal sent the link to this site. At the same time I “happened” to hear Leslie speak on Focus on the Family. Oh God…oh…where will my journey lead?

  8. Wendy on November 4, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I thank God for you Leslie, You have put a voice to the pain and having understanding pour into my heart is such a healing thing.I was also told by my church to just submit and love more, God did teach me allot about self sacrifice and getting strength from Him through it but it came at a great cost.
    My Daughter was so wounded that she went seeking love in all the wrong places.She ended up pregnant and abandoned by the father of her child. It was at this time of watching her self destruct that my eyes were opened.For the second time I asked him to leave.Then I began allowing Christ to work on me. O what a mighty loving awesome God we serve. He told me how much he loved me He walked with me through my pain and has brought so much healing to me. i always felt that it was my fault and that i was selfish now i know that I was abused but now soo loved in Christ.
    My question is do you offer any help in women getting started with a support group in their church. I feel that God has called me to help these women and give us a place to heal as we make wise choices on how to handle our marriages.

    • Leslie Vernick on November 5, 2012 at 3:43 am

      Wendy,

      I don’t have support groups in place for you to use in churches but contact Paula@focus1ministries.org as she does.

  9. Alessandra on February 27, 2013 at 4:10 am

    I came upon this website looking for answers. I have been feeling emotionally drained. I often feel worthless when my husband ignores me. He makes me feel like I’m not worth his time to even acknowledge my feelings. I often cry without stop because it hurts me to much emotionally. I usually cannot stop crying my head ends up hurting. At this point he finally has the decency to reach out to me. He often does not respond because he does not want to fight. He thinks I’m over dramatic. My husband has a lot of amazing qualities but lately he chooses to ignore me. He has done it in front of relatives. I do not think I’m ready to get divorced but I’m getting to my limit. Little my little my life is being drained. My inner strength is disappearing.
    I told my husband of how his indifference is messing with my head in ways I cannot explain. He stopped for a bit but I guess it only lasted for a month or so.

  10. Elle on February 28, 2013 at 4:15 am

    I have ordered your book, but I’m just not sure if my relationship is really “abusive” or “destructive”. I think in some ways it is. But sometimes I think I’m the destructive one. My husband doesn’t hardly show emotion towards things I’m interested in. If I talk to him, he gives a kind of “Oh that’s nice” response and then goes back to his TV, sports, or computer games. He hardly ever seems passionate about anything we do together. He hardly laughs with me or enjoys things with me. This isn’t always, but 80% of the time, I’d say this is true. When we argue, he doesn’t name call. In fact, I call more names than he does. But what he does do is make comments to make me feel as if I’m stupid, like “how do you not get this??” or “Do I need to explain this to you better?” like I’m some idiotic moron. I try to stay calm with this type of belittling up to a point and then I just lose it and start calling him all sorts of names so he’ll leave me alone. Because most of the time, I tell him to stop talking to me and he won’t. He’ll keep badgering me on the issue. Sometimes if I’m really frustrated or ranting about something that bothers me, he’ll get upset that I’m upset and sometimes he’s told me to shutup or tells me to stop yapping. It’s really rude because I’m honestly just trying to air a complaint (not even about him necessarily). He also talks in circles, so if I bring up point A, he doesn’t stick to point A. Instead he avoids the topic and starts arguing about something else. Sometimes I feel very confused and crazy when I argue with him. In moments where we don’t fight, I feel alone. He goes into his little world and I go into mine. He knows I hate sleeping alone, but he will just go on the couch and watch TV, sometimes falling asleep there too. He knows I hate sports, but he turns it on. When I ask him why he would not at least ask me, he tells me I act like I’m his mom. I can’t win. He drops hints of disapproval, not with words, but with body language. One example is when I load the dishwasher, he doesn’t like how I do it, so he says “why do you put the forks there?” which isn’t really a question of him wanting to know so much as a question of him disapproving of my actions. There are so many instances of him not so much saying mean things or outrightly verbally showing his annoyance, but I feel like an inconvenience to him. I have spoken up about it, but things don’t seem to change. So I guess it is destructive now that I’ve laid this all out, but I’m not sure what to do except read your book and hope for answers.

    • Leslie Vernick on March 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      I hope you read my blog post today where I talked about the difference between a difficult, disappointing and destructive marriage.

  11. Bella on June 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    I have been married for nine years. But we dated for five before we married. I had flags that went off in my head that maybe it was wrong. He was controlling (didn’t want me to have friends, go many places without him, needed to check my cell phone and always read my diary). But I thought if I showed him I was trustworthy and that he was the only one for me it would be okay. Because I was totally in love with him. I was doing his laundry and cooking for him etc before we married. I would buy him things and he acted like he could care less. I would be SO happy to see him but again he acted as if he could care less. He didn’t like to show affection. But all of this was my way of showing how much I cared. Again I think this was all red flags but I did it anyway.

    Six months ago I asked for a divorce. I was tired of being ignored. I’ve begged and pleaded for him to show interest in me other than being a house wife (which I do as well as hold a full time job). I need more than sitting at home or just hanging out with him on the couch. I need more social interaction than just him. But we have no friends and anyone that I meet he automatically dismisses. He told me he didn’t like me connecting to anyone that has the same interests as me whether online or IRL because that means I’m connected. And of course females lead to males and yada yada. But even that is only a tiny part. I’ve begged and pleaded with him about helping me around the house. He did for about a month. But things have went back to normal. I know I’m not perfect. When we fight I am just as abusive AS he is. We know how to push each other’s buttons. I’ve gotten better about it but it creeps in from time to time.

    I found the book by Leslie in February. I read it and saw traits from us both. But I’ve wondered if he’s mostly lazy to me? Doesn’t want to invest time in me? He wants all of a sudden to take me on vacation. Well. Back then. As if that’s going to fix it all. counseling was talked about once. I’d mentioned it before but he refused. And when I tell him no for whatever (even riding somewhere with him because I want to stay home) i feel guilty.

    I know I’m bouncing all over the place. But I’m so confused. please give me some advice?

  12. Paulita on July 23, 2013 at 8:08 am

    My husband is putting through so much pane.
    I have discovered recently while he is another country for business he has another woman, and recently he send a picture of a newborn child that he has with this other woman.
    I am 42 years old and we have 12 year old child.
    I have no working experience so he has decided to overpower me and controlling the situation by threatening me he will stop our bill payments and he refuses to give me the divorce.
    I have been praying for work and a miracle to happen.
    I am so devastated since he told me he will come tomorrow to have a 3 week holiday with our daughter and he will stay in our home.
    He is cold and indifferent with me he rarely contacts me.
    I feel I m death inside and nowhere to go.
    He wants to lie to my daughter his double life, however I have told her the true, and she has decided to keep it a secret, awaiting till the day he will tell her.
    Breaks my heart to see how my daughter cries and the pane she is going through.
    I feel oppressed in my life believing god will restore my marriage.
    I lost the trust in everyone and I cry all the time.
    I only feel comfort in god and Jesus.
    I am very distress witnessing my husband arrogance and indifference it causes so much pane.
    Please any comments will help me at this stage.
    Thank you

  13. p_ebox on July 28, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Dear Leslie,

    I am sorry to let you know but you do not know what you are talking about. You refer to Judges chapter 19 drawing your own arbitrary
    conclusion about indifference missing the fact that this passage you are refering to is a prophecy and the woman symbolizes
    Jesus Christ while the Levite symbolizes God the Father. This passage you are reffering to pictures the
    sacrifice that the first person of the Holy trinity God the father, did to sacrificy his only beloved son (Jesus Christ – the
    second person of the holy trinity) to save the twelve tribes on Israel which pictures us the people on earth (this is why He at last
    cut into twelve pieces the body of the woman – Jesus). Dear Leslie, although I agree with you about your message concerning indifference
    I wish you were more carefull on choosing your examples from the bible and more on interpreting them. The holy fathers
    have spent all of thir lifes studying the holy scriptures and they were hesitant many times of interpreting them
    and who are we that we come just because the passage seems to help us in our argument to totaly turn upside down the meaning
    of this holy passage?

    I am sorry for having saying this but I did it out of love spending these minutes to write this note in my
    full of mistakes response.

    As far as indifference concerns yes I agree that it is a very very bad situation in work and in marriage and sometimes
    it makes you quit from everything…Prayer can help but also decisions in clear mind can help…

    sincerely

    p_ebox

    • Leslie Vernick on July 28, 2013 at 9:48 am

      I am very open to correction theologically and love to discuss the Bible but I must respectfully disagree with your idea that the passage in Judges 19 symbolize Christ and the Father. That interpretation contradicts everything we know about God the Father and Jesus. First of all, God the Father loved his son. He did not toss him out to the world like a piece of used trash as the Levite did to his concubine. In fact, Jesus wasn’t tossed at all, he volunteered. The women in the story did not volunteer, nor was her death in any way redemptive, it was tragic. Jesus was not a victim as the woman was, but he himself said, “No one takes my life, I give it.” The woman did not give her life, it was taken from her. The Levite showed no compassion, no remorse, no love for his wife nor for the way she was treated. If this Levite represents God the Father than how can honestly say God is love and God is good? This Levite represents all that is selfish, self-seeking and sinful in all of humanity, he is not a picture of God the Father. A better example or symbol of Christ is in the next book of the Bible, Ruth, where Boaz redeemed Ruth.

  14. Marie on October 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I have a different type of issue but it is related to indifference. My husband seems emotionally dead. (He even says this.) We have been married 28 years and both came to Christ shortly after our wedding. I understand it comes from his childhood environment, but I guess I keep thinking Jesus will make a difference in his life like He has in mine, but so far, I don’t see any real progress. I vacillate between feelings of compassion and anger/impatience. In the past I’ve thought I could “help” by talking to him, counseling, reading books together, etc. but now I guess I’m just worn out. I feel a sense that I am really powerless; it’s between him and God now if he’s going to find emotional health. My concern is that it’s affecting our physical relationship now because I reached a point where I’m not satisfied with empty sex (and I don’t believe that’s God’s design). My husband doesn’t seem to know what to do and therefore, we are just becoming more and more distant. Is it okay for me to just “wait for God to work”? I don’t know what to say anymore and I don’t think it would make a difference anyway. He is kind and considerate, but there is a big wall around his heart and as a result, there’s never been any real intimacy between us.

    • Leslie Vernick on October 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      How sad for him to be willing to stay emotionally dead. How sad for you to be married to a walking dead man. Why isn’t he willing to get help for himself? He sounds depressed. Has he talked to his doctor about it or taken a depression test on-line?

  15. Sheila on November 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I have been married to an abusive man for 44years. I am ashamed I did not leave him sooner, but this past weekend my adult daughter called the police after his abuse and they arrested him. I am not letting him come home. My daughter is an addict and she got angry last night because I would not allow a boyfriend to spend the night here and with her four year old daughter here. She has been abusive in every towards me as we’ll. she said she learned that from her dad,however even if she did, she is 36 years and is responsible for her own behavior. Today has been very hard, very lonely. I miss my granddaughter very much. My husband asks to come home,but in the next breath he calls me stupid. Iam hurting,crying, and I am sick and dependant on my husband financially. I am 66 in age and because I stayed with him so longer, thinking God would change him, but it just got worse. I must be co-dependant because I am very lonely and feel myself getting ready to cave in to his demands. Help me if you can.

    • Leslie Vernick on November 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Sheila, don’t beat yourself up for being lonely – but understand the cost of caving in. Is it worth it? Is his companionship worth being abused? I can’t answer that for you but I would encourage you whatever decision you make right now to do what you need to do as a person, as a woman, as a Christian to grow to be more dependent on God so that you are not living by fear (fear of being alone, fear of not having what you need, fear of finances, etc). Our faith journey is one from fear to faith and God says perfect love casts out fear. It’s not your husband’s love that will give you that inner light and inner stability but God’s love. You are not too old to grow, to find some healthy Godly friends who can help you and to build CORE strengths so that you are not so easily manipulated and controlled by others.

      • Breanna on December 14, 2013 at 10:56 pm

        Sheila, my heart goes out to you. And everything that Leslie says is so true. God loves you so very much, more than you can even imagine. God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11. He wants you to be happy and loved and respected. Know that even when we feel incredibly lonely, we are never alone because our friend Jesus is cradling us in His arms. He is always besides us and will never abandon us because He loves us so very much. God wants you to surround yourself with people who will love you. If your marriage is only destructive, then my advice is to get out of a relationship that is only going to hurt you. I have learned in my experience that sometimes, it takes a lot of bravery, but you simply have to say “I am a child of God, and I deserve respect!” In order to attend my high school, I moved out and had to live with my aunt and uncle. After a couple years, I felt uncomfortable with some of my uncle’s behavior towards me. But, I was scared of moving out and, thus, leaving behind my school/my friends/the life I had always known. Eventually, my uncle sexually abused me. At this point, I knew things had to change! I was uncertain of my future, but I knew that I deserve respect. I knew that God loves me and has a plan for me and He did not want me to be abused like that. Therefore, trusting that God would provide as He always does, I left my uncle and aunt and the lifestyle I had known. I regret none of it. It was God’s will for me to leave that abusive situation. Now, I live with my loving mother and father, God has given me the 3 beautiful gifts–happiness, health, and safety. And I know that God wants the same for you. Go to your church if you have one or if not, go to a good Christian church, and talk with God and talk with some people in the church and God will help you find loving friends. Trust in God. He will provide.

  16. white light on July 27, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Sheila –

    What you did is an example to us all. To stand your ground against two abusers is the greatest feat. PLEASE stick to it!! Reach out to god – if you let them come back, the harder they will be to kick them out. I am so proud of you. You did it. When we choose to stay in a destructive relationship we are really killing ourselves. I know that every woman who reads this site deserves to be happy for who she is.. We need to stop punishing ourselves. There is no crime that deserves this torture. I know. I am in a relationship with a borderline psychopath. And I have tried to leave several times. I love him or is it my codependency? e used to be an abusive drunk now he indifferent except to get mad at me or put me down. It is a cycle. He sets me me and I fall for the trap. He looks at me disgust. He is just waiting for me to fail so he can either go off on me or kick me off. He never smiles or has fun with me. I thought that when he became sober a year ago he woke up and was disgusted by whom he married and I feel as if I have been the burden. The tables turned this year as I needed to address my role in the relationship – I played victim very well. I would be out on the streets any way as I have no family and no money Plus, I sill am waiting for that day he shows me how much he loves me.We have never been intimate. We have never really kissed. Shelia – http://www.psychopathsfree.com really open my mind. It is hard to empower yourself when you are living with your destroyer but I have found God and I know that I am being looked after – I know better things are to come. You are so bold. Stay strong. God is with you!!!! n

  17. Never Signing Up on May 16, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    These are good points made with a really sick story as a springboard. The story’s so horrific, telling it is a form of abuse. So terrible!

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