80th

Good morning friends,

I spent the weekend celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday with my family and all their friends from over the years.  It is an amazing thing to see a life well-lived up close and my step-mom embodies an ordinary woman who has lived extraordinarily well.

She had many hardships as a young married woman.  The death of one of her babies, chronic infidelity, divorce, economic difficulties, and then when she married my father, an unexpected addition of three more children (me, my sister and brother) when my father won custody of us.

Before they had any information on doing blended families, my dad and step-mom figured it out and 50 years later, they are leaving us a tremendous legacy of faith, courage, persistence, and love.  I am grateful.

Today’s Question    Can you give me some advise and encourage me to leave a man that has abused me for 34 years?  My husband is homosexual and has lived this life-style his whole life. He is abusive in every way physically, mentally, spiritually. He claims to be a Christian, I don't know by his actions.

He uses Scripture from the bible about how women are suppose to be submissive no matter how their husbands are towards their wives. He uses every scripture known for how woman are suppose to be obedient towards men in marriages. I am tired of God's word being used towards myself and my adult children.

He says he is faithful, but we haven't been sexually involved in over three years. He still claims he is gay, but a Christian, he practiced being celibate in our marriage. He breaks all the rules. I pray constantly to the Lord and it seems to never ever change. He speaks to me like I mean nothing, everything that goes wrong in his life is everyone else fault but his. He is never wrong.

I want to feel safe, I want to be safe. My problem is I don't get enough money to provide for myself. I attend college to get a degree in teaching because I am disabled, I cannot do the work I used to do, therefore I attend college. I been looking for work, but I feel God has me waiting.   What should I do?

Answer:   It’s always incredulous to me that a man can live like the devil but hold his wife accountable to follow the letter of how he interprets the Bible. It is important for you to understand that your husband isn’t using Scripture correctly and because of his actions, you cannot trust a thing he says.

Hebrews reminds us “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” ([truth]Hebrews 5:14[/truth]).  In other words, we need to be able to tell the difference between people who use Scripture manipulatively and those who use it wisely.  Even Satan used Scripture to manipulate Jesus to do what Satan wanted during his temptation in the desert (see [truth]Matthew 4:1-11[/truth] or [truth]Luke 4[/truth]).

The Pharisees often twisted the Scriptures and Jesus called them on it over and over again (see [truth]Matthew 15 [/truth] for one example).  Just because your husband says something comes from the Bible, don’t automatically believe he’s right.

The Bible has a lot to say about his own behaviors, and attitudes, yet he doesn’t seem to have eyes to read those verses about himself.

I hear you expressing that your financial dependence is a real concern for you but is it worth your mental, emotional, and physical health? I would recommend that you immediately contact an attorney and find out what your legal and financial rights are if you separate from him or file for divorce.

The second thing I would recommend you do is call 911 if he ever threatens physical abuse or uses physical force against you.  His behavior is illegal and you need to make a clear stand that you will not allow it to continue and you will ask the authorities to hold him accountable for his abusive actions.  The apostle Paul also called upon the legal authorities when he was being mistreated by the Romans (see [truth]Acts 22:25[/truth]).

Have you talked to your adult children about making an exit plan?  Since they have witnessed this behavior, what alternatives do you have together to get out of that environment?

I would also encourage you to call your local women’s shelter and share with them your situation.  They often provide housing for women who cannot escape without some help and you would certainly be a good candidate for help.  You could still attend college to finish up your degree but you’d be living in a safe environment with supportive people.

Lastly, have you talked to your church about what he’s doing and saying to you?  Sadly church is often not a place of safety and refuge as it should be, but I can’t imagine any church supporting or endorsing your husband’s behaviors or attitudes.  Please don’t keep what’s happening to you a secret.  That only empowers your husband to keep bullying you.  Once you bring his behaviors, words, and attitudes into the light, it’s much harder for him to have that power over you.  It’s wrong. It’s sinful. It’s abusive. God hates it.

I’m so glad you’re going to school. That has been a great step towards independence for you.  But I’m afraid that between now and the time you finish you will be so worn out and beaten down that you won’t be able to finish well. Please don’t let that happen.

Finally, here’s a quote I read recently by our former president John F Kennedy:

“There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.“

It’s time to take some action for your safety and sanity.

Friends, where you have found Biblical support for safety and sanity? What ways have you found financial and emotional support to move forward?

 

9 Comments

  1. Andrea on May 28, 2014 at 11:12 am

    This is a really tough place for you. I don’t know where you are located or what resources are available, but here is a website that may offer some help if they have a ministry in your area: http://bridgeofhopeinc.org Prayers and blessings!

  2. Sandra on May 28, 2014 at 11:31 am

    My heart and prayers go out for this dear lady. You have given her some vital counsel and advice, Leslie. My goodness, I thought my situation was bad, but hers is much worse. Unfortunately, I stayed in my abusive marriage for 57 years because my church taught it was biblical to stay and keep praying for his salvation and change (which never happened). Actually, my support came from first reading Patricia Evans’ and then John Townsend’s books. I then realized the Lord didn’t want me to allow the abuse, and once I set boundaries my husband refused to accept them (nor change) and finally left. I do receive counseling through United Way and have sold my home, so will soon have a small nest egg when I move to an apartment. God is good!

  3. Peg on May 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I agree with Leslie that she needs to consult an attorney very soon. She can be guided in her rights and what she can expect financially once she decided to separate. If the church is not aware of the serious sin this man is committing, I strongly suggest that you write a letter to the pastor and board of deacons(elders) of your church. If they do not exert church discipline, then you have a right to ask them why they will apply Matthew 18 to this situation. The pastor of your church should also be aware so that he can offer help to you. I know that you might be fearful of your husband’s reaction to your ACTIONS to bring out the truth; if so, reveal that in your letter to the pastor and deacons. Express how hurtful and painful this has been for you. The truth must be revealed to those who have some influence over your husband’s behavior. It seems to me that he has controlled you through his abusiveness for so long that you are suffering from feeling helpless and yet you are reaching out! Keep reaching out and keep pressing on toward truth! Your husband will probably attempt to become even more controlling. Leslie’s book, Patricia Evans’ book and the Boundaries book by Townsend and Cloud are all excellent and even after I read them all, I kept going back and re-reading passages to keep my resolve and keep my plan confirmed! God bless you! I am so sad for you! BUT I am one who has claimed victory over an abusive husband and I am now living in peace and he is history!

  4. Brenda on May 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Leslie, Your stepmother sounds like a wonderful woman. I am so glad you have her and your father found her.

    I agree with every word of the advice that you gave to this lady. I hope she follows through with it. I also agree with Peg. If a man is a member of the church and is an openly gay man who abuses his wife, why has Matthew 18 not already been followed through. Realizing that some “churches” and I use the term loosely allow this form of behavior these days, true biblical churches do not.

    • Leslie Vernick on May 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      She is a wonderful woman Brenda and I’m thankful God put her into my life.

  5. Heidi on May 28, 2014 at 5:34 pm
  6. Heidi on May 28, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    This was ate source for me: http://www.shelters.welfareinfo.org. My county was not much help but a neighboring county was different.

  7. Amy on July 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    What a heart wrenching post, but sadly a reality many of us face. I was married to a repressed closeted homosexual for nearly 9 years. I was abused daily that I was so oppressed that I could not muster the intestinal fortitude required to leave, BUT GOD. I will tell you that once you decide to take this stand dear sister, watch the mighty hand of God move and open doors for you, and it’s just amazing!! I believe you will thrive once you take that courageous step! tomorrow makes 10 months I have been a survivor, and you have Christ in you, and you can do this!

  8. Hgf on August 7, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    I dont even understand why this lady is asking questions like that ? ..its obvious that she needs to get out from her horrible marriage but she needs money to do it …so this is it…without money she has no options ….who wants to go to overcrowded shelter full of crazy people fleas and bedbugs…?……this world is brutal…

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