Morning Friends,

I spend the weekend cleaning out my closets and boy did it feel good. I am reading the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

I think there is something very healing about decluttering your space. When we get too full of stuff (internally or externally) we can’t be at peace. Our environment feels overwhelming, our thoughts feel overwhelming and our emotions get overwhelmed.

This weekend I’m tackling my bookshelves. That will be harder. I’m much more attached to my books than I am my clothes. I have hundreds of books to let go of and give to new homes. I believe this too will be a good thing and will help me focus on what’s necessary and essential.

Oswald Chambers tells us, “The great enemy of the life of faith is the good that is not good enough.” Do good things clutter out the best things in your life?

After living this winter in a tiny condo in California for 2 months, I learned I feel better with less stuff around me. Now it’s time to make it happen at home.

 

Question: I’ve been a part of your coaching sessions and read your books on destructive relationships, including marriage. I was in a destructive marriage and stayed well, until I couldn’t stay well any longer. Then I told my husband that I was divorcing him. We are separated now, and the process went well.

I would like to know what to do after leaving? (Tweet this)

How to heal, how to avoid falling into the same kinds of relationships and how to choose healthy relationships. And how to lead my children in the right direction (boys 8,10).

Answer: I believe many other women who are in this blog community will want to chime in on answering this question but let me just give you a few things to work on in order to heal and avoid falling into the same type of destructive relationship pattern in the future.

First, It’s important that you understand that healing is a process of growth and you can’t rush the process. I think a lot of our mental and emotional distress comes because we aren’t growing faster. We get angry because we’re still stuck in a lie, or a negative emotion. We get discouraged because we thought we were getting better, but then slipped into some old behavior.

But think of it this way. When you become pregnant, there are things you can do to harm your unborn child – drinking, drugs, smoking, and excessive roughness to your abdomen. There are things you can do to nurture your unborn child – eat right, sleep, take your prenatal vitamins, get regular check ups by your doctor. But there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to make that baby grow faster. A healthy baby takes 42 weeks to grow no matter how much good self-care you do. Good self-care is important to the overall development and growth of your baby but good self-care doesn’t make the growth itself come faster. That is on God’s time-table.

In the same way, your own maturity, whether physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and even financial, takes time. Please give yourself that time to grow, especially if you lived a long time in immature patterns. Do your part, and let God determine the amount and speed of your growth

During this time I’d recommend not dating. Dating will distract you and keep you from doing your own work. Also the person you want after you are a healthier person may be very different than the person you would date now. Give yourself a good two years to be single and flourish on your own

Once you are happy and comfortable in your singleness, you are much more capable of finding the right person you want to share your life with. When you are unhappy and scared in your singleness, you may be more eager to get remarried before you are ready or have found the right man.

Second, you must take an active role in your healing process. Staying helpless or passive won’t produce the healing you’re seeking.

1. Educate yourself on healthy and unhealthy patterns – whether externally – in relationships, finances, eating and good self care, or internally with your thinking patterns and how you deal with your negative emotions. You can’t change something you don’t see or recognize as an obstacle to your maturity. Learn all you can – read books, seek a mentor, take classes, go to church and Bible study.

2. Get involved in a support group. Growth happens best with other people who can help us move forward and hold us accountable. If you start a new relationship, ask your friends for their opinions and be vigilant when you notice any red flags. It’s important not to close your eyes to these things. Practice the healthy skills you are learning in your new relationships such as resolving conflict, having good boundaries and speaking up for yourself.

3. Identify the lies you believe and the wrong thinking patterns you regularly use. For example, some people are by nature more negative. For those of us who fall into that pattern, our negative thinking feels true. It seems much more realistic than our optimistic friends who refuse to seek the dark clouds on the horizons. But just because you think something doesn’t make it true. God says that change happens by renewing our mind (Romans 12:1).He says we’re to take every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are to learn to think truthfully – not positively or negatively, but to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

One of the biggest lies you may believe is “I am not enough.” In other words you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not spiritual enough, not acceptable enough, not smart enough, not skinny enough, etc. to be loved and valued. When we believe this lie, our growth goal becomes “I want to be enough” which is like chasing your tail. Whoever feels good enough in every single area of her life? As soon as we feel good enough in one area, ten other areas will pop up where we don’t feel good enough. When you live by this lie you become self-centered, self-absorbed, self-focused, and self-conscience. These are not the emotions that foster good emotional, spiritual and mental health.

Some other lies that we must face might be – no one will want me, I can never change, things never go right for me, I’m helpless over my emotions, I am too screwed up to grow, my parents damaged me and therefore I can’t help the way I am, life is too hard, if I fail that means I can’t do it, and there is nothing I can do. All these lies will keep you stuck in the same place and you can’t grow.

As a mom you will also notice your children telling themselves lies. It’s important that you identify them as lies and say, “That’s not true” and then put the correct thought out there. They may or may not believe it, but at least you are doing what you can to help them think truthfully.

Remember, don’t beat yourself up when you become aware of all the lies inside of you. The Bible tells us that our heart is naturally bent on lies (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:25), and that Satan is a master liar and tries to confuse us about what’s true (John 8:44). That’s why it is so important to regularly renew your mind with God’s truth.

4. You must learn to let go. Sometimes the reason we stay stuck is we can’t let go of the past. We cling to it because we still aren’t accepting the present. We know we’re divorced, but we don’t accept it. We rehearse everything that we did wrong, or that should have happened differently and we live in the present looking backwards to the past in regret. Stop it. You can learn from your failures or mistakes but move on from them.

You must learn to let go of your negative emotions. We all have them, jealousy, hurt, anger, bitterness, self-pity, envy, insecurity, fear, depression and despair. And, for a time, they may serve a purpose to help us see what’s going on. However many people hang on to them far longer than necessary and this cripples their growth. They invest a lot of energy in hanging on to their anger or hurt for example, and therefore have limited energy for investing in new growth or a future life. I know – you may feel very entitled to your hurt and anger. Yes, you were wronged. But what does it cost you to hold on to these feelings now? No one suffers more than you do. Do you want to feel miserable for the rest of your life? If not, then you must learn to let them go.

I think this is something where we need some additional help in learning how. The Bible tells us that we should forgive, or stop feeling anxious, or let go of our bitterness, but we’re not exactly sure how to do it. I’m going to be offering a three session class in early June on how to let go of negative emotions. If you’re interested, click here to get more information.

Third, to grow you need to be aware of your brokenness but you also need to become aware of your beauty. God has put wonderful thing inside of you. Gifts, talents, abilities and passions that he wants you to discover and use for his purposes. In order to thrive, we don’t just need to recognize and put off the bad stuff (Colossians 3:8-12), we need to recognize and nurture the good qualities inside of us. Make a list of the strengths you have, not in spite of what you’ve endured, but because of it. Perhaps you have become resourceful or tenacious. Maybe you’ve learned how to look at the humor in situations and can laugh at yourself. You might have persistence or great endurance or patience.

Take the time to nourish your growth and put yourself in the company of others who will encourage you. As you do this you will find yourself looking forward to what God will do instead of looking backwards at the past rubble of your life.

Remember this important truth now. God has created you and he has a purpose for you, just as he did for the Samaritan woman who had five former husbands and the man she was living with was not her husband. Jesus spoke healing and truth to her. She believed what he said and was transformed (See John 4).

Friends, what do you do to nurture your healing and growth?

64 Comments

  1. Patricia on April 22, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Leslie, what I struggle with in the topic of leaving a destructive spouse is remarriage. Wouldn’t the covenant be broken with God (between us and Him) if we stepped into another marriage? I realize there are differing opinions out there on remarriage after adultery but by and large the church today has blessed the notion of remarriage while counseling people seeking a divorce. Maybe this is just something that bothers my conscience but I value your opinion as I’m sure you have run across people who may feel the same way as I do.

    • Natalie on April 22, 2015 at 8:58 am

      There are some good books on that subject.

      I read Not Under Bondage: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0980355346/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=0980355346&link_code=as3&tag=acrfoju-20

      And I’m currently reading Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0830833749/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=0830833749&link_code=as3&tag=acrfoju-20

      Both have been very helpful to increase my understanding of this issue. (Leslie, these are the links from Cry for Justice blog – just FYI. I’m guessing they are affiliate links.)

      I’m sure there are others people could recommend. Leslie, do you have any that you feel are better than the rest? I’m curious.

      • Leslie Vernick on April 22, 2015 at 9:59 am

        Thanks Natalie. Those are my two go-to books on this subject as well.

      • Patricia on April 22, 2015 at 10:05 am

        Thanks Natalie for the resources. What I keep coming back to is God’s character. He has been faithful to Israel even though she was not. I just can’t get past the depths of His love. And sometimes we don’t have a choice in divorce but we do in remarriage. This is just what I am learning but I want to continue to seek Him and understand Him more. Blessings

      • Robin on April 23, 2015 at 1:06 am

        Also read the chapters in A Cry For Justice on divorce!!!

    • Linda on April 22, 2015 at 9:29 pm

      God will never break his covenant with us, if we are in Christ. His love is not based on us, it’s based on the price Christ paid on the cross. if you limit his covenant to our behavior, you are limiting the power of Christ’s blood to save.

  2. Natalie on April 22, 2015 at 8:50 am

    This is such thorough advice. A tool that has helped me do every single item on Leslie’s list is The Ultimate Journey. (Google it) If you can find a church in your area that offers these groups, it is profoundly healing and will systematically walk you through everything Leslie mentions here. You are in a small group setting (up to 4 people) with a facilitator. There are three phases – 12 weeks each. It’s very intense, but I can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve been in a group with three friends who are also in destructive marriages, and our lives are being transformed in ways we never dreamed. All the things Leslie mentions are critical components to healing.

    Leslie, I just culled my library too. Threw out a bunch of books that contributed to my false thinking and kept me stuck in destructive patterns. So there’s another reason to declutter! Declutter the mind! 🙂

  3. Laura Di on April 22, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Hi Leslie,

    In order to nuture my healing and growth I commune with like-minded people who are seeking healing and growth. I attend Twelve Step Program meetings of recovery whenever possible. I have found these steps venues provide a consistent guidance to understanding myself, and acceptance of others. The steps are a great tool to incorporate into daily living along with the use of the “Serenity Prayer”. The meetings have kept me grounded with firm footing as I travel on a healing road with “God” as my group leader. He places other people in my path as conduits to fill me up with knowledge of the miracles He’s produced in others who are willing to share their own courage, strength and hope walks. This faithful journey has lead me to lean heavily on God with less incidences of forgetfulness, dangerous snap decisions where I find myself trying to go it on my own. Living life on my own was and still can be disasterous. if I am remiss….1 Peter 5:7….” Cast all your cares upon Him”. GOD not gods….. Amen!

  4. Alene on April 22, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I can relate to wanting to grow ‘faster’. Someone told me recently that I was in this pattern a long time and understand it takes time to get out of it and break free. I heard that I should let it be a process. She encouraged me that I am way ahead of my h because of the work I’ve been doing and in one sense that is true. I have been focusing lately on ‘taking the next step’ – that slows me down and focuses me on where I am at and keeps it do-able.

    I can see from what Leslie said that I can also simply focus on the step I am on right now. I am trying to be aware of where I might have anxiety. Feeling anxious about what was happening didn’t help me in the past; and it won’t help me now.

    I felt encouraged by Leslie’s words to be patient with myself and with the rest of the family while keeping up steady growth and growing awareness.

    I have struggled with what felt like unfinished business the last decade when my husband didn’t seek closure after a major problem and subsequent losses. He moved on but without resolution. I wanted him to seek closure. In the past few months, I realized I myself could provide the closure if I approached it a certain way, stating truth, stating where I stood, clearly, and passing the responsibility to him, whether he ever understands or takes that responsibility or not. The Lord allowed me to do that…and I had developed the strength and clarity to do it. I am thankful.

    I DO tend to ruminate. I enjoy history; I learn from it; I build on it. So the challenge is to be me…while letting go. “It was what it was” but I am doing the work so that what is and will be are different. I think so that my perspective is different. I am seeking to live in truth and not fantasy. I felt poked by Leslie’s words “entitled to hurt” and allow any truth in them to be exposed in me.

    This growing has definitely been a process. I am highly motivated to do the work because I love my children, my family, and my Lord…and I need to. I don’t want to live like I was living and enable the things I was enabling. I am thrilled with the steps I have taken, the understanding I’ve gained. Leslie has been a huge help and interacting with other ladies and getting outside support.

    To the lady who wrote the question; if you are looking for an excellent resource for how to help your children; Lundy’s book “When Dad Hurts Mom” has excellent encouragement and ideas. A main thought was to affirm the person but shine the light of truth on behavior, either directly or indirectly. Another was so ask how they are feeling, how they took something, and help them process. There was more.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 22, 2015 at 9:51 am

      Lundy’s book for mothers with children is an excellent read. I recommend it also.

      • Leilani on April 22, 2015 at 10:41 am

        Leslie I just left a very destructive Marr in December. I have two grown daughters with families and they had no idea so it came as a huge shock to them because I covered it so well. Are there any recourse for their healing?

        • Leilani on April 22, 2015 at 10:42 am

          Resources not recourse.

        • Leslie Vernick on April 23, 2015 at 10:09 am

          I think if they read The Emotionally Destructive Relationship they would be able to gain some awareness of what they lived with too. I also think you need to be as honest with them as you can without revealing specifics. YOu can say things like, “I was an expert pretender” or “I thought it was in everyone’s best interest to hide the truth so our family wouldn’t fall apart” but I have now learned that wasn’t wise. That will give them also the awareness that they don’t have to pretend either or cover up inappropriately when bad things are happening at home.

          • Jill on December 21, 2016 at 2:32 pm

            The Emotionally Destructive Relationship is excellent for adult children, but the same way it takes us time to get through our changes, it takes our adult children time to be ready for such a resource. The fact that I cannot hurry this process in my adult kids is building my patience with myself as well. I stayed for 42 years, thus my kids were terribly shocked when I left. I covered the narcissism well for their lifetime, was a buffer, wanted my fairytale to turn to truth. But much was buried, and is coming to light for the kids and myself. After I finally left well. I got a good attorney, had copies of every legal document, all finances, etc. left without him knowing. Contact with him was not possible, as I fell right back into victim mode. So many women’s journeys are much more difficult because of additional legal and financial challenges. Leave well, and stick with Leslie, build a good support network.



  5. Linda@Creekside on April 22, 2015 at 9:32 am

    For healing, for growth? I get focused on putting a halt to being my own harshest taskmaster …

    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2015/04/6-graces-for-when-we-are-our-own.html

    I cut myself a break and give grace to myself in ways that are practical and make life easier.

    And peace and sanity and gratitude comes in like the tide …

  6. Jane on April 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I am currently trying to heal from decades of hurt and pain as I attempt to “stay well” in a destructive marriage. I made the decision to throw away many books that I’d accumulated on making a happy marriage. Books that put pressure on me to DO all the right things to make a strong and happy marriage. Books that made me feel like a failure for so many years, even though they actually were not meant for my situation.

    I also decided to throw away decades-worth of cards and notes from my husband (I’m a sentimental saver) that were filled with empty promises he never followed through with. Again, every time I would clean my closets and see that box full of cards I would feel sad, discouraged, and hopeless.

    The best step toward hope and healing, though, has been my involvement in Leslie’s “Empowered to Change” group. I have found a wealth of help and support and information and practical strategies for getting strong. What a blessing to my life!

    • Sarah on April 22, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      “I also decided to throw away decades-worth of cards and notes from my husband (I’m a sentimental saver) that were filled with empty promises he never followed through with.”

      I also did this and it was very uplifting…20 years of lies removed from my house. I did keep the wedding pictures for my children. I also purged the ‘family’ photos, keeping the ones I felt good about and gave the rest to him.

    • Lynn M on April 25, 2015 at 7:55 am

      I also threw away all those marriage books I had bought over the years.. They made me feel icky and like a failure. And they don’t work if only one is doing them. There were eight or ten of them. I put them in the trash one day and watched my husband roll the trash can out to the curb, not knowing they were in there.

      We separated last month and are going through the dissolution process now. During my move out of the house I found the stacks of cards as well. I read through them and noted the “wooden” language — like how he was painfully trying to pull the kind of words he was supposed to say from somewhere, for show, but they were so empty and false. I also read mine, and could track where I was in our marriage by the kinds of things I was saying….. it was so sad. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to throw them away — don’t really know what to do with them.

  7. Sandra on April 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you so much for this godly wisdom from the heart, dear Leslie. I know I’m struggling with letting go of the past, and although God has helped me to forgive my ex-h, I still keep relating the abuse to others, and feeling the hurt regarding the failed marriage.
    I related in yesterday’s blog about the gentleman who sits next to me in church every Sunday. I’ve noticed that he never brings a Bible and doesn’t attend any other services or fellowship. However, we seem to be attracted to one another, and finally last Sunday he asked me to have lunch with him sometime. I told him I’d like that. However, I decided to ask my pastor’s wife (also Leslie!) for advice, and she said that even though he’s divorced and I soon will be, we’re still married in the eyes of the Lord, and wouldn’t recommend my going out for lunch with him.
    All that aside, I believe I would be unequally yoked to this man, even though he claims to be a Christian, as I’d want a dedicated believer, like myself, if I were to remarry. I’ve already had the “other kind!” I’m praying and trusting the Lord for His will for my life.
    Sandra

    • Leslie Vernick on April 23, 2015 at 10:07 am

      Good decision.

  8. Caroline Abbott on April 22, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Great advice Leslie! These are the two things I like most. The first is, you can’t rush healing, it will take as long as it will take, kind of like you can’t rush a baby being born (though every mother has thought about trying!) The second is you need to let go. I would go so far as to say you need to learn to forgive, as crazy as that may sound. Otherwise, as you so aptly pointed out, bitterness, anger and hurt will get keep you stuck.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 23, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Yes and I liked your phrase learn to forgive. We’re told to forgive, but we don’t always know how to forgive. But the key is being willing to forgive.

  9. Cora Landis on April 22, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Leslie, as always, thank you for this reminder. Your reminder about healing being a process and giving it time was needed. It’s been over a year and I’ve come a long way, but last night something happened that made me realize that I’m kind of stuck with some very painful and hurtful feelings that re-occur. Not as often, but they are still there – and they can be powerful and can take me back a few steps. I prayed earnestly about them, I reminded God that He has promised that His strength would cover my weakness. And in less than 24 hours I read this. We serve an amazing God. Thank you for your faithfulness to His kingdom.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 23, 2015 at 10:05 am

      You’re welcome. Even when we’re healthy we still can have set backs, triggers of old hurts, memories of what we wished was and isn’t. Be compassionate and grace-filled towards yourself when that happens, and then let go.

  10. Aleea on April 22, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Thank you so, so much Leslie! Oh, it is so wonderful when we work on growth in Christ! As you state, these are so important: renewing our mind (Romans 12:1); taking every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5); learning to think truthfully – having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). You may ask: –But how?

    To me, the key is never, ever, EVER stop inviting the Holy Spirit to deep clean and guard your precious heart (Proverbs 4:23–26)! Get wisdom (James 1:5) sell it NOT! Keep your heart broken before Jesus, keep it thankful, meek, and pure (Psalm 95:7-8, Hebrews 3:13). How?

    No woman is greater than her prayer life —and— if we are weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere (—Jesus was praying all the time, about everything! Reread the gospel of Luke! Look for the times Jesus is praying.)

    For me, it went to the next level with learning to more effectively pray. I just went on the assumption that it was the same as when I learned to swim. Did we sit in a chair with our feet up drinking mineral water learning to swim? No, we got out in the cold water and struggled hard and kept at it until we could swim for miles, same with prayer.

    Nobody else can give you a clean heart but God. Nobody. Nothing can do that. Why is that important? If your heart is clean, God can flow Christ’s healing love into it. That love heals and reconfigures the very CORE of myself. I actually believe that Christ’s love is what everyone is always trying to bring into their lives often in ineffective, dramatic and dysfunctional ways. It is “addiction” of a different kind (Psalm 112:7) —It truly is the path of victory (Psalm 19:7-11, 33:11, 119:105). God’s pure love reaching our heart —nothing is like it.

    You can never fill your emptiness with anything but the Lord God. The Lord God can fill you with His love so you don’t have to be “filled” by other people. This get us off that horrible treadmill of peer pressure, people-pleasing and codependency. Without God, people are merely dependent upon one another.

    Oh, and be extremely careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God and keep inviting the Holy Spirit to do all that heart cleaning and healing that brings REAL love to all those dark, lonely and sad places. Otherwise, we will settle our whole lives for little, lonely scraps of love/ approval/ affection from other people. Think about this: I have nothing to offer the Lord who created the universe and yet He will meet with me anytime and treat me like I’m the only one in the universe. —Closer than a sister, with me every day.

    It is good to think through and look at the expectations you have of God, what are they? Write out at least three. Here are mine:
    1) To let me know Him more and more.
    2) To let me serve Him more and more.
    3) His help in dying to myself more and more.

    God doesn’t want to share my life or yours. He wants to own it! He doesn’t want partnership, or us “managing” sin. God wants ownership of every part of my being! It’s not simple being a Christian but it is such a majestic thing! Christ comes and lives inside us!!!

    I also really believe we don’t have the Holy Spirit / personal revival because we are content to live without Him, without it. One day I became content no more. So too our revelation of God depends directly upon the measure of my desire. The finding is still to those who seek with all their heart (Jeremiah 29:13; Deuteronomy 4:29).

    Every morning and evening: Lord, I’m here to meet with You —please come and meet with me. Lord, I’m here to find You —please reveal Yourself to me! Lord God make my life an absolute tragedy for the devil. To know You, to walk with You (Genesis 15:2, Matthew 5:6, Hebrews 12:29, Psalms 40:2).

  11. Teri on April 23, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Qhi I have been recently divorced. I was married for 38 years and suffered immeasurably. I’m in a divorce support group and making wonderful progress. My blood pressure has gone down threefold since my divorce. I’m healthy, have a sound mind, and I am full of expectation for the future. I’d like to make a suggestion. This is something I’ve noticed in talking to others struggling with their separations and divorce. “Take a look at how terribly self absorbed you are. What I have noticed is that most of the women in my groups tend to be real whiners. I used to be one. And so I can observe from from a strategic advantage. The women spend an inordinate amount of time belaboring the pain and being personally offended at the behaviors of the destructive person (abuser). One needs to put on their business hat and get through this thing. One needs to recognize that the men we are mustering the courage to leave are sick. Your husband, ex husband, is not well. He is not a well man. He is ill. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually ill. To see my former husband in this light gives me the upper hand. I am in charge. I am the more stable of the two and able and responsible for terminating relationship with a man who is ill and not able to live and give to me responsibly. It is a smart woman business decision. And it is therefore incumbent upon one to forgive the individualy who has caused such pain. Again, he is ill. He is not in his right mind. And for us to spend too much time whining, and wishing, and wanting it to be different is teetering toward – illness. We want to get well, and stay well. We have the home court advantage. We are bound and determined to protect and re spect ourselves. It is critical to forgive this person. Forgiveness is somethiing one must be willing to give. You are cancelling a debt that the sick person could never pay back. You are letting him out of jail for free – and giving him to God. I had to plead with God to make me willing to fogive because I wanted to hold on to my “big, big, big owie”. I liked being bitter. It gave me identity. Again, part of maturing is viewing this matter of dissolution of a marriage as a sound business decision. It was empowering for me.
    One more tip that helped me is that I kept reminding myself that the divorce – the paper work, the legalities, financial terms is “business”. This is a business decision I was conducting. Put on your man hat and do the business. Fight the emotions of it all, and conduct the business. It too was empowerimng and I grew in self respect and confidence. Wishing all the best. God is Good!

    • anniehall on April 23, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Thanks Terri, I needed to hear this!
      I’ve been trying to live a God honouring life in a marriage with an indifferent husband for so long, trying to ‘stay well’, working on my CORE.
      I’m still working on my lie-based thinking about myself, our situation and about how God sees this.
      I mean, My husband doesn’t hit me or does pornography or one of the bad things many of you suffered…he just ‘left’ me emotionally and lives his own life apart from me ….so, on the one hand I should feel grateful that he doesn’t do these Big Bad things, but on the other hand: is indifference good enough reason to leave him?? Sometimes I’m just so confused…
      Lately I am struggling more and more to keep my focus and have to fight hard to not become overwhelmed with the ongoing loneliness, losses and sadness.

      And it HAS made me self absorbed on the one hand …and focused on the sins of my husband who has not come to the table ..in 15 years…
      And it kept me stuck in ‘whining wishing and wanting’!

      I know I need to make a decision to move forward. I have forgiven him and let my anger drop, and aften feel great empathy with him,for he will definitely be in a worse place than me when we divorce.

      Thank you dear Leslie and friends for your support, love and compassion.

      • Leslie Vernick on April 23, 2015 at 9:59 am

        You’re welcome. Indifference and neglect can be just as hurtful as the more “obvious sins”. Has he always been checked out or did it happen after something specific?

        • anniehall on April 25, 2015 at 10:15 pm

          When we had 7yrs of bliss and joy in marriage, my husband experienced a big loss in his family of origin. He developed depression and pulled back from me and everyone else. I kept on being caring, loving and supportive and carried most of the responsibilities for the family and kids as he truly could not cope. Then another similar tragedy happened in his family and he disconnected even more.
          I knew I had to support him and keep the stability for the kids sake. That was fine and God gave me strength to do everything,

          But as his depression lifted, he stayed disconnected, grumpy, angry, discontented with everything and everyone, bullying me with words and exploding in anger for the least thing. The family walked on eggs around him, while I continued to try reaching out and trying to be a more Godly 1 Peter 3 wife!
          Everything centered around his emotions and keeping out of his way and trying not to aggravate him.
          At my insistence we tried marriage counseling with 3 -4 different counselors, but he was never committed to the process of change and could not see ‘that there was a problem’! I lost my personality and became a placid and ‘perfectly codependant’, but very unhappy, lonely wife!

          Then I burned out physically with all the responsibilities and became extremely ill. God started teaching me about boundaries for myself, looking after myself, letting consequences rest where it should rest,etc. I worked on my ‘core’ and have a good and diverse support group now. As I ‘grew up’ and started confronting him in love, he resented me more and more and started bullying me with words.
          Over the last 2-3 years we just live together like flatmates, but not talking. I can’t share my heart with him at all anymore.I could ‘stay well’ while my daughter was still at home, but now she is studying away from home and telling me that I may ‘be good to myself’ now.

          He is not primarily a mean spirited narcissistic person, but he has become completely passive in his mindset. He is embittered towards God and cynical, and has allowed false guilt and shame to steal his life and his family. The kids have grown up and has only a shallow connection with him.
          I accept now that he will not change and has not cared about me for a long time. He is in his comfort zone and wants to stay there.
          I have mourned the loss of my marriage, or the one I thought I had, and gradually let my anger against him drop. I do not love him anymore, and feel mostly sorry for him.
          But it still feels like living with constant death in my home….At times I need to take tablets to sleep (we still share our bed, but he has not touched me in 2+ years) and medicine for a spastic colon and anxious attacks I get at night.
          Do I have the Biblical right to ‘legalize’ his choice over so many years? I feel stuck.

          • anniehall on April 25, 2015 at 10:22 pm

            Or I should rather say, I want to move forward, but are not sure how.



          • Robin on April 25, 2015 at 11:57 pm

            Annie maybe it’s time to stand up. Speak out and tell him what you need. If he doesn’t listen or show he also would like some change- perhaps that will be your answer?? I gave my husband one more year of chances after I was ready to quit. I thought being married for 30 years deserves to be given another opportunity to decide its time to change. I followed Leslie’s directives in her book step by step learning how to set boundaries and then speak up and stand back. It might be worth a try. You have carried a big load for many years. Glad you found the encouragement found on this blog!!



      • Lynn M on April 25, 2015 at 8:38 am

        It helped me to look at the indifference (also a 15 year marriage) as a conscious decision he was making to hurt me. It was a passive aggressive way of making me “pay” for whatever real or imagined hurt he felt he had endured — instead of coming to the table as a mature individual to resolve issues, which I practically begged him to do, he retreated in way that he knew would punish me by withholding the things I wanted and needed. Indifference can also be a proactive way to hurt you — that made it easier for me to see indifference and neglect as a “leavable” offense.

    • susen on April 23, 2015 at 9:46 am

      Dear Teri~

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and lessons learned, as well as the resulting empowerment.

      In Texas we say, “Cowgirl up and get ‘er done.”

      Self respect is in the doing. Becoming independent is exhilarating–proving to myself that I can stand tall on my own two feet, despite dire predictions to the contrary, is living the life that God wants for all of His children.

      Forgiving him takes awhile. Forgiving myself was the harder task. Then I think on God’s sacrifice of His Son–I’m not the exception–Christ died for all of our sins–for my former husband’s, for mine.

      Fear of making mistakes keeps us stuck. It’s safer to whine and blame and commiserate with others. But that’s not freedom.

      So, while healing does take time and can’t be pushed, pulling oneself out of the mud does take conscious effort.

      When I felt immobilized, I went on walks. Lots of them. Just moving and breathing free air proved I wasn’t paralyzed.

      For me, creating something was (and still is) essential to my mental health. I feel closest to the euphoria of God when I am letting my Spirit soar as I use my talents. The first thing I did was create a bedroom that reflected me–a peaceful, safe place.

      I took more walks where I began to see my surroundings.

      And then I took a road trip. No planning. Just rambling and serendipitous experiences. That road trip represented freedom to me. Returning home in one piece proved I was capable of taking care of myself!

      Professionally, I made a move, as well. I asked for a middle school assignment with at risk kids that challenged me in ways I had never imagined. Lots of silent prayers offered to God and answered in that classroom. Best years of my teaching career.

      I guess what I’m trying to share here is to agree with celebrating the step you are on, reflect on the progress made, but also view it as a step that leads to another step. And another. And there will be miss-steps. We aren’t beyond making mistakes–even the mistake of seeking the “safety” of staying stuck. There is a future out there, waiting for you to embrace it.

      My hope for those of you who have just found your freedom: Find something that you have been longing to do, and go do it. It’s okay to laugh, to find happiness, to enjoy the moment.

      susen

      • Debbie on April 23, 2015 at 6:50 pm

        Amen to the road trips. I’ve had a chance to take several over the last few years. I love the freedom of the open road. Although I’m usually a bit nervous before hand about the possibility of flat tires, icy roads, etc, once I take the leap and head out, I’m so happy I did it. These trip away from the house are great times of renewal for me. I have so much peace and joy away from my husband; it’s like a cloud of oppression lifts off me. (Sad to say, but true.) I too have found walking very helpful to my well-being. There’s something about putting one foot in front of another and choosing where I want to go, that gives me hope. I can so relate to everything you wrote Susen. ‘The mistake of seeking the safety of staying stuck’–yup, that’s where I’ve been for some time. So glad to be able to connect with women who understand my experience. This blog always encourages me. Thank you for sharing.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 23, 2015 at 10:04 am

      I think your observation is spot on is one of the main places women get stuck is in the self-pity, self-absorbed place of “my dreams for a good marriage have not come true” or “I’m a failure at making this marriage work or this man love me” and I’m entitled to feel miserable the rest of my life because of his failures and mine. What a horrible place to stay stuck. He may choose to do that, but don’t do it to yourself. Break free from the lies and negative mindset that you are helpless, you can’t make any choices, that you can’t change. You can. You see women all over this blog who have and are changing, growing, thriving and surviving. You can too.

    • Debbie on April 23, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Wow Teri-this is a breathe of fresh air for me. In so many ways my marriage bonds are already dissolved-spiritually, emotionally, physically. I am only bound legally and it really is a ‘business’ decision isn’t it?! I am soooo tired of being self/husband-absorbed- trying to fix everything. I am tired of ‘whining’ to my friends and more often my journal about being/feeling stuck. Because I really am not stuck am I? Choosing not to leave is actually a choice to stay. I want out; I need to ‘muster the courage’ to take that next step.
      The truth is, my husband is not well-something is not right. Relating to him is virtually impossible. His behavior has broken my trust and it will never be repaired. It’s taken me 10 years of personal healing to say that with confidence. One step at a time, I am getting where I need to go. I have more hope for my future than ever before. God is truly good!

    • Hope on April 26, 2015 at 12:33 am

      Terri, I must say, I’m with you here about the woman who have to work through every conflict (some of us do this in our minds) by their mouths. I grew up with a mom whom would tell everyone she ran into her most recent crisis. This drove me crazy and I decided then never to behave like that. She is still working through her emotions by telling her crisis stories everywhere she goes. But I’ve watched the Lord send people her way who knew just what to say to get her over the next hump. Her brother had a stroke and isn’t married. The docs said take him off of the ventilator he is non responsive, but if we were in the room with him he would hold our hands even put his arm out to get us as we walked away, he looked at us and tried to talk, so we just had to wait to see if he would improve.(We knew God would have us choice life). Well she had to catch a plane back home from the hosp. and she was so tired and stressed she couldn’t think to find her gate so she just stood in front of a group of passengers and said is anyone going to this gate, show me the way,please. A woman got up and said I’ll take you; as they were walking over, Mom starts to tell her about the stroke. This woman stops puts her arm around Mom and said “I had that type of stroke and I can talk and walk, it takes time and work but look at me just a small limp now. Mom had noticed a limp.She was in awe without a doubt God sent that woman to Mom to tell her He was in this. Anyway now I’m a little more patient with my mother’s way of working through trials. I still prefer to think, read and pray through trials, but that’s how God usually works in me, not Mom. Thanks for the advice, I have been observing my husbands behavior instead of responding and to me it’s just like business. I’ve responded enough and I don’t have any regrets. God’s Word states Love your Neighbor as yourself and I’ve done that. Looking at this as business(staying well) helps to keep that in prospective (neighbors are often business partners). I’m doing this from the outside in now instead of from the inside out. This blog has been an answer to prayer and has helped me to get this prospective. I literally step away when I feel unclear about something and come back to it later. I’m glad I gave up on the dream it was bondage. I’m looking forward to reality and it’s truths.

    • Sandy on April 26, 2015 at 10:26 am

      Amen!

    • Jill on April 28, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      This ‘whining and complaining’ issue plagued me, still does at times. However, I am learning that I had a very real need to focus on the problems (specifically the ex) that led me to leave a 41-year marriage. To whine and complain. To reread journals to clearly remind me that I could NOT go back to the marriage. It was so tempting to think of going back, and that was absolutely not what God wanted for me. I had amazing friends and support groups who knew my need and listened to my whining and complaining. Now the need is dissipating and I have no more desire to mend the marriage relationship. Now is the time I am nipping that whininess in the bud if it pops into my head. I am more able to focus on seeking God’s plan for my own future, my own areas where I need growth, and my true joy in finally being who God created me to be. The joy and happiness are overwhelming and wondrous! God has been with me the whole way and I love the insights in this blog. My daily goal is to put him first and follow his lead. Very difficult at times, but I choose to turn back to him.

      • Leslie Vernick on April 28, 2015 at 6:13 pm

        Jill it is difficult at times but this community helps us remember why we’re here and where we’ve been and where we want to go. Yes we want to put Him first and give him glory, and sometimes that means ending something that is completely sinful and harmful when it won’t change.

    • Tracey on April 29, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Teri, I really appreciate your honesty and truth. I am in business owner. I am constantly looking for ways to be more effective with my time. I am constantly looking for ways to increase my income yet be more efficient by working smarter not harder. As I am reading your post it makes perfect since to me. I get your point. I realize that I was looking at my situation out of the wrong lens and that’s why I have been so confused and unfocused. I find myself wanting others to feel my hurt and be empathetic to what I have gone through. Yet, the empathy did change how I feel because of the unforgiveness and bitterness in my heart. I desire regaining my confidence and power back but i realize every time I rehearse my pain I give them away. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowledge of what you have learned on your journey. I really needed to hear this.

  12. Robin on April 23, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Teri, excellent words of advice and wisdom. Thank you for sharing. I am copying this down in my journal, to re-read on a difficult day. Thank you!

  13. Cora Landis on April 23, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Teri, what you’ve said is spot on. From holding on the the big ‘owie’ to ‘doing the business.’ One thing I’ve noticed is how people respond in the church. When you hold on to the hurts and moan about it, you get attention and people feel sorry for you and take you in. When you ‘man up’ and do the business they pull away and leave you to deal with it on your own.
    Have you found that to be true?
    To be honest, I’m so disappointed in church as a single – I only go because the Bible tells me to go. This from someone involved in church from the nursery.

  14. Aleea on April 23, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    RE: letting go of “________” . . . For me, the difficulty is always the same with each new issue: letting go of something tangible in my hands that I think is going to bring some type of “something.”  When I let go, I do not YET have anything tangible in my hands, yet it is at that moment that I have opened my heart and the doors to my own freedom in Christ.  This, to me, is the very essence of lots of our faith decisions: The way we rid ourselves of “issues” is the exact way we always find our way back to God’s heart!  It always seems the problem is letting go.  In letting go there is a perception of a loss.  Yet in many cases it is the loss of something that is usually an illusion. –Just an illusion. (Yet, what seems to be is always better than nothing, then nothing at all, right?)  So, like a drug that makes us feel better for an hour, we think, if I let go, I’ll miss out on something really valuable (-and we know better, we just know better!!!).  We know that is an illusion too but we take it as true.  Loss means sadness, and most of us are petrified of experiencing yet more sadness.  The reality is, however, by holding on we are already experiencing sadness.  It is just disguised in the form of depression, anxiety, perfectionism, addiction, eating disorders, all sorts of drama, you name it.  We are losing our very selves.  If we let go, trusting the Lord God, we have nowhere to go but UP.  However, we do not want to invite loss and sadness, because we think to experience sadness would immobilize us (-at least, I often think that).  Yet we must travel through this sadness if we want to rid our lives of “you name it”, really follow Jesus in love, forge a new path, create a new story, and build unbreakable bonds with our REAL lost love, our Lord God. Let the old pass away, re-consider it done (re-consider: Romans 6:11, Galatians 2:20). If we can just keep our hands, hearts, heads open!

  15. Petersens on April 24, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Thank you Leslie for expounding I. The topic as I am in this place – almost 2 yrs free- but stuck in my own resentment and bitterness towards my h..your blogs have saved me and helped me get free and not get sucked back in again… I have been feeling Gods tug towards forgiveness and speaking life into my h, as we are still raising kids and have a special needs daughter also… It is so difficult to deal with him re: kids and communication…but I am determined now to become more positive in my texts and pick the high road…. I have accepted he is limited and refuses help.. I have benefitted so much from your E2 group , blogs and counsel.. Every opportunity I try to recommend this website and your books to all women in similar situations- thank you for bringing this subject to light in the Christian church – Ezer warriors Unite!

  16. Brenda on April 24, 2015 at 8:28 am

    This has been quite the week. My daughter had a premature delivery of a baby boy who lived but a few precious minutes. A beautiful Sister in Christ passed away that same day from cancer. On top of those losses the xh was sending me texts that were full of name calling and accusations. I believe that the losses gave me strength to say, “NO MORE”. I hadn’t been answering, but I was also so tired of reading the texts or hearing his words on my voice mail

    I had my phone number changed. No more texts or calls. What his mindset is I really don’t know. We have been separated and divorced during the last 2 years. How is the word “divorced” not understood. Doesn’t that mean that I do not owe you anything anymore. I don’t call him when I need something. I figure it out for my self. I don’t blame him for my situation now or look to him for any needs. The last set of attempted contacts was over something so trivial and I had stopped answering him a while ago. When I didn’t answer his abuse escalated. So now his name will no longer show up on my phone. There will be no more harsh words. The losses and grieving I have experienced this past week have been difficult and I run to God often to get me through each day.

    When I got home from work last night there were several cards of sympathy along with a couple of others acknowledging by birthday in my mailbox. The one that scared me was one left on my door. My first thought was to throw it away thinking it was from the xh. But when I looked at the envelope closer I didn’t recognize the handwriting. It was from the dear man who lives across the hall from me with the sweetest wishes to me on my B-day. How he knew I’m not sure. I have reread the card over and over. It went straight through to my heart as if God had used this man to comfort me.

    • Robin on April 24, 2015 at 10:32 am

      Brenda, lifting you up in prayer for all your needs to be comforted and Jesus please send Brenda the comforters and friends you have for her at this time. Brenda we love you and share your sorrow with you .
      Love, Robin

    • Susanne on April 24, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Brenda, my heart goes out to you at this time of loss. Keeping you in my prayers. Praying that God will continue to amaze you with The love He has for you!

  17. Loretta P on April 24, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I am back in counseling with a licensed therapist and I meet every couple months with my Pastor and his wife for prayer counseling. (He does an amazing job at helping and facilitating healing). I also read, read, read! I find good books helpful at understanding and giving steps to follow in healing.

  18. Robin on April 24, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Lundy Bancroft helped me learn to move on and use the energy I was spent on trying to calm a raging man or trying to get him to attend counseling– and now use it on myself for my good. I immediately left my old church whom I lived very much and found a new place to worship 60 minutes away so I could have a fresh start and live a new life. I started a bunch of firsts. I went on my first vacation alone to the beach and found out I could take care of myself very well. Although still live in the town we were married in- I pretty much walked away from any social life there. I seldom even go to Walmart in the town I live. I wanted a clean break. I didn’t want to run into people constantly who were mid-judging me. A lot of this last year, I have lived alone taking time to learn about myself- what I like- who I am- and what I want next. I sorta forced myself to enter into a small group into my new church immediately, so I felt I was moving towards new relationships. That was an excellent move on my part. I attend counseling weekly and have done so for 2 years. My hope and plan is to break the cycle and create a legacy for my family that could become healthier than what I’ve known. I have sad days when I grieve my husbands choice not to get help. It’s part of the process of healing and moving towards reality. I have no idea what my life will look like 5 years from now- but it’s been 15 months since I had my husband served with a Protection order and filed for divorce, and my life is amazing. I am deeply grateful for all the support on this blog and of those who gave surrounded me, while I stepped out into the unknown.
    Robin

  19. Shellie on April 25, 2015 at 1:36 am

    One of the greatest and most effective gifts I give myself in recovering from an emotionally destructive marriage coupled with chronic infidelity (sex/lust addiction) is PATIENCE (another one is grace). I have to give myself this gift every day. I recommend it to my close friends in recovery too.

    The process of healing belongs to God. I’m convinced of that. And, by being convinced of that, I am relieved of much burden. Of course, if I could have it my way, I would have been healed the moment I realized what was happening (and my destructive spouse would have been healed, too!).

    But that’s not reality. So, I commit to every point Leslie made in this blog post – daily. All of it is true, necessary, and works! Thank You Jesus! Applying these principles and tools gets easier with consistent practice, too.

    God is at work in me and has always been at work from the beginning. I just didn’t realize or understand that (and still don’t most of the time!). He will complete His work in me – in His way, will, and time. I can try to fight it; try to control it; try to “help out.” But none of that will change the process and unfolding of His plans for my life.

    And His plans are good. When I accept that, and surrender to the wisdom and guidance now set before me (Leslie’s books and blog, support group, counseling), I receive the benefits of His plans for me. I experience peace, and even joy, that is not dependent upon my circumstances or another’s poor choices. This is victory!

    This outcome of victory is available to all who believe in Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Savior. I must daily choose to practice patience (with myself, with God, with others) to continue to experience victory.

    God’s work is not finished yet, but we can still experience victories while in process. Thank You Lord!

    • Tracey on April 29, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      Amen!

    • Aleea on November 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      Shellie,
      That is beautiful. Thank you for that.

  20. Brenda on April 25, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Lynn M,

    I went through that same thing with pictures. I knew how I felt on the days they were taken. Mostly trying to mask my true feelings and looking for an escape route. I kept a few in a separate box from the ones that I like to look at as a reminder if I need it sometime. It has been well over a years since I looked at them.

  21. Sandy on April 26, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Thank you for posting, and especially the scripture references!

    • Aleea on April 27, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Sandy,
      You are so welcome. It is such a privilege to post here and pray for the individuals. . . . .Love is the greatest motivator to obedience. Right now, God is constantly challenging me to go deeper in love with Him and put childish ways behind me (—It’s amazing how childish I can still be in my thinking.)  There’s a deeper place to go (Hebrews 6:1a, Romans 1:17, Philippians 1:6) but it is straight up and the slope is sheer.  I was thinking about A. B. Simpson’s life this morning on the plane. . . .
       
      From: A. B. Simpson (—Think about what he is saying, Simpson really, r-e-a-l-l-y gets it):
       
      Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord; (—­I LOVE THAT, he’s not in this for blessings anymore, he is in this for Christ, to know Him!, to know Him!!!)
      Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
      Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;
      Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone. (—­I don’t even care if I am healed, maybe God knows why I should not be healed and things need to be this way, I just want You Lord and You alone!!!).
       
      Once ’twas painful trying, Now ’tis perfect trust (—Oh, I LOVE THAT);
      Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.
      Once ’twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;
      Once ’twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.
       
      Once ’twas busy planning, Now ’tis trustful prayer (I LOVE THAT);
      Once ’twas anxious caring, Now He has the care (I LOVE THAT).
      Once ’twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;
      Once ’twas constant asking, Now ’tis ceaseless praise (I LOVE THAT).
       
      Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
      Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me (—I DOUBLY LOVE THAT!!!).
      Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One (I LOVE THAT);
      Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.
       
      Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;
      Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
      Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;
      And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the vail.

      Because I think most clearly in terms of word pictures, sometimes I will imagine seeing Jesus hanging on the cross, literally weighed down by every sin ever committed, and I walk up to Him and thrust another one on His shoulders.  That is what our sins do.  If we allow the voice of the Holy Spirit to become muted (grieve Him), we might even come to deny that a sinful behavior is sinful (Taking the liberties that grace will not afford. I would NOT want to justify from Scripture what I see lots of people just “justifying”.)  But we can make the right choice, you know what to do when you hear God’s voice: Phil 3:13-14.

  22. Tracey on April 28, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Thank you Anniehall for sharing your marriage experience. I can relate to so many things you have gone through. I have realized recently while working on my CORE that I have been stuck in my hurt, sadness, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness for the past three years. I have not been able to move on and let go. My husband and I have been in a relationship for 20 years. In the very beginning of the relationship when we where dating I was not honest with him as I should have been. He truly was looking for a wife while I was looking for a boyfriend. Needless to say many of my decision hurt him deeply . He was already wounded from past experiences in his life so I added fire to the flame. As time went on and our relationship developed I began to truly fall in love with him . But at that point which was about 6 months into the relationship he had already checked out. I told myself so many lies and felt like he deserved my love since I mistreated him in the beginning. I started overcompensating in all areas of our relationship. I cover alot of the financial burden, and and I contently tried to reassure him how much I loved me. I got pregnant with our first child and after he was born the destruction really began. I did not confront him or hold him accountable on things like financial responsibility, good communication, and trust because I did not want to shake the rocky foundation. I became passive aggressive, I lived in fantasyland, and I ignored many signs that this was a destructive relationship. I did it for the sake of not wanting to break up my family, fear of not having a marriage, fear of being a single mom of two children unmarried, and the guilt and shame of it all. Seven years ago my husband decided to uproot our family to move into the home were he grow up so that we could save money and he could start his ministry. However, i was not in agreement with the move and I did not support him like I should have. In my heart I felt like thus was going to be a total disaster because of the way he was handling everything. It wad not a well thought-out plan it was very emotional. u That decision to not fully support him had truly cost me my peace of mind, my confidence, my relationships with friends, family, my church members, and my health. Yet, I still have stay in this pit. However, three years ago there was a shift in my mind. I began to cry out to God for strength to deal in the truth. I realized that every time we would have discussion regarding our marriage it always would started with talking about the foundation of our relationship, then it would the failure if the business venture and the move that I did nor support. Then, discussion will turns into want I need to do to fulfill my husbands needs, he would tell me how I have fallen short, then it would end with what am I going to do about. I as I dealt with the reality of my marriage I still found hope that maybe things would change. If I could make him happy, and do everything we wants me to do there is hope that things would get better but they didn’t. Things got worse. During this time I continued to take on the financial burned of our household. My husband has not had a income in almost 8 years. He put all of his hope in the move and business venture. To escape I even began taking on other responsibilities that would take me way from spending time with him and the kids. Two years ago my husband and I hit a braking point. I asked him to move out and I suggested we separate for while since we were just hurting each other and things were getting physical. I thought this was going to be it, the brake that we needed to seek God about our marriage, get counseling so we could move toward a healthy and loving marriage. But, that didn’t happen. My husband bullied his way back home. He threatened me with a nasty divorce, he pleaded with me to let him back in. He texted, me, called me, manipulate the kids, expressed how he was going to change and I was worn down and I let him back in when I new it was the wrong thing to do. In taken him back I set some boundaries. But, not shortly after lies he told others came up, financial obligations that I did not now about arises, and the financial burden continued to be on me. I just shut down. I stop talking, I stop listen, I stop trusting, and I stop hoping. But, I still continued to be inmate with him. Yet, as time passed I became more depressed and distant. I began rehearsing my hurts, I began treating him the way I was treated by him. Then, I took on more responsibility to escape. Throughout the past year and a half my husband has not pressured me for anything. He stopped the craziness and he just backed off of me. Yet, I have not moved from where I was. In addition certain situations have come up and that beast of craziness shows up out if him. Although he had back up off of me and has given me my space when we have discussions the past continues to follow, old hurts are revisited, and the solution of what I need to do to fix things are given. I realize that I can’t do thus anymore. Physically my mind and body is idle. I can’t fix anything! I can’t breathe myself. I have learned thru my CORE strength not to shut down but face the reality. Speak the truth in love, don’t be passive and just agree when I don’t, stop taking responsibility of the things my husband should be handling. Thru openly communication with my husband I have have received truths about me and my craziness, and my role and responsibly in the the destruction. My husband has worked on himself and has made an effort to communicate more effectively with me. But the blame game still continues. I feel like its still up to me to fix our marriage. Since he had made changes I have still been stuck in distrust. I still am stuck on him not helping me with the financial responsibility of our household. He tells me that since his needs are not being meet it’s a direct result of him not being able to be effective in the areas of business and ministry. Therefore he has nit been able to thrive. He has expressed to me that he needs me to take care of his emotional, and Physical needs so that he won’t go outside our marriage. To get them. I sm nit convinced he hasn’t based in evidence I found and conversation we have had. He stats he need me to get over the past and more forward. He needs me to make a commitment to be all in the marriage and get over it and move on. I don’t have the energy to invest in new growth in our marriage. I ask myself what will change? I need some wise council, I feel like I have been stuck in the pass for two years but I also feel like things are not going to change. How do I break this cycle of grazing. I ask myself is this just a plot to get me to continue to take care of him. Am I being selfish and not allowing a fresh start to guide our future instead of our past?

    • Loretta P on May 1, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Tracey, Prayers for you! You are in a difficult place. It’s not OK for your husband to leave the financial burden on you. His blame is also wrong. God forgives us and forgets. If you made a mistake, asked him for forgiveness, then it should not be thrown back into your face!!! It’s not OK for him to constantly bring up your past mistakes!!! That is a form of abuse! It’s not OK, and it seems like it’s his way of not facing his issues and being honest with you. It’s only an excuse that he can’t be financially capable because his needs are not met! That’s crazy, there are men all over the country in bad situations who still provide for their families. I see him making excuses and not facing truth.

      One person can’t fix a marriage! You are not responsible to repair your marriage, it takes two working on issues. If you don’t have a good counselor I would suggest one as they could give you guidance in your next steps.

      I see you living in emotional, financial and verbal abuse. Abuse is wrong. If you are stuck then you need help. Don’t criticize yourself! Don’t allow him to criticize you for your received flaws, we all have them. God gives grace!

      I hope you find encouragement here on Leslie’s blog, we are all working through problems. You can be strong and make changes in you and that will have effect on the marriage too. But you are not responsible for fixing the marriage, and if you look in the Bible you are not solely responsible for the family finances. The Bible talks about a man not providing for his family is worse than an infidel (that’s an unbeliever). God had some tough words for us to follow but they bring healing and life.

      Stay strong and expect God to help you as you walk through the midfield of a tough marriage. Let him help carry you.

      • Tracey on May 4, 2015 at 7:56 pm

        Thank you for the encouragement. I really have not spoken that truth to anyone expect my husband. It’s good to know that someone else understands and I am not crazy for feeling the way I do.

        • Leonie on May 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm

          Tracey, How can you possibly keep your husband from straying? It looks like he is challenging you to keep him from cheating. My dear, if you found evidence then believe your it. He is responsible for His choices, how can he possibly put that on you. If you are earning all the income in the family that frees him up to use all his time to get his business or ministry going. How can he blame you, he should thank you for supporting him in this way and eventually be able to help out financially as he launches his venture, which should be the goal. I think you have gone above & beyond in supporting him. If all you get is abuse and blaming from him, where is he going to find someone more supportive than you?
          Leslie has helped us with telling ourselves the truth and living in reality. If you pray for God to show you the truth, he will. Please take care of yourself and know God doesn’t want you to be stuck in an abusive relationship but to live life more abundantly. Please take care of yourself for you & your kids sake. Leslie has encouraged us to speak truth to ourselves for ours & our kids sake. I have learned it is so important for kids to hear (in love) truth so they learn to trust their own perceptions and the fog clears and sanity returns when we do this. I am praying for you, The Holy Spirit does open our eyes to his will when we seek the Lord!

  23. чемодан on June 3, 2015 at 2:34 am

    Thanks for finally talking about >I Left My Destructive Marriage, Now What?

    | Leslie Vernick- Christ-Centered Counseling <Liked it!

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