Morning Friends,

I am blown away by the wonderful response so far to our LIVE Conquer Conference. So far, we have over 150 women registered for this amazing event on October 14th and 15th, 2016. You will not want to miss it. For more information or to register, click here.

Also, this past week I ventured into Facebook Live and we had a great response. I will be doing another 30 minute Q&A tonight at 7:30 pm ET. I will be answering the question, “How do you say No to a manipulator?” I’ll be sharing for about 5-10 minutes and the rest of the time you can ask your questions LIVE.

Hope to see you there. To get there simply to go my Facebook Fan Page.

Question: How do I decide if I should remain separated from my husband biblically? How long should you stay separated? I will need to make a decision about whether to accept employment in another state very quickly. I feel like I am hanging by a thread emotionally and mentally and about to break.

Answer: You left many details out of your question that would have helped me give you a better answer.

For example, you don’t indicate why you separated or how long you have been separated, or if your husband has addressed the issues that caused the separation to begin with. But you did say you are hanging on by a thread and mentally you feel that you are about to break. That tells me that the stress of it all is taking its toll on you. That is a huge warning bell to pay attention. So the first question I want you to ask yourself is where is all this stress coming from? Is it residue from your destructive marriage? Is it due to the separation? Is it from the pressure to reconcile? Or, is it stressing you out just to make this huge decision?

For the sake of all who are reading this blog who may be separated for a variety of reasons or thinking about separating, let me give you some general guidelines.   These will help you decide whether it’s time to work together on the marriage living in the same house, or continued separation is warranted.

First, I want to be clear that I believe marriage is a covenant relationship and separation is not to be entered into lightly. Separating from one’s spouse is a difficult decision and if done, should be initiated after efforts to resolve the situation in other ways have repeatedly failed or you are in danger.

First, separation in marriage is warranted when the marriage has become unsafe for you. (Tweet that)

It’s important to note that you may be physically safe (no physical abuse has happened) but you are unsafe emotionally, mentally, spiritually, sexually, and/ or economically. In most cases your lack of safety has been directly caused by the deceit, irresponsibility, unfaithfulness, and/or the verbal and mental abuse of your spouse.

In special circumstances, safety issues could also be related to or caused by illness – mental or physical. Nonetheless, for you and/or your children’s safety, you still may need to separate.

For example, if your spouse had a brain tumor that made him paranoid or violent, separation might be appropriate, even though the cause is beyond his control.

If he was bipolar and refused medication and continued to rack up large debt on the credit cards while manic, you may need to physically and financially separate from him in order to keep financial and emotional stability for the family.

As I’ve written in previous articles, safety and sanity are important values to God and I do not believe God values the sanctity of marriage more than the safety and sanity of the people in it. If you are in danger of being physically harmed, your health is chronically compromised, your mental health is deteriorating, your stress levels are through the roof, you are overreacting and not able to calm your own emotions down, being sexually abused, or financially powerless to stop huge debt from accumulating due to the foolish actions of your spouse, then separation may be warranted.

The second reason separation may be necessary is to send a very clear message to a spouse that his (or her) patterns of behavior in the marriage are grossly unbiblical and damaging to you and your children. Separation is done after numerous attempts to talk about “what’s wrong” has been discounted, minimized, or ignored and you can’t continue to live together as if his behavior and attitudes are acceptable. Separation can be a means to wake your spouse up to the destructiveness and sinfulness of his own ways. For more information on reasons for separation and the Biblical support behind it, click here.

But your question is really about how long should you stay separated and how do you know when is it time to reconcile?

Many pastors and/counselors put an arbitrary number on the maximum amount of time a couple should stay separated. I’ve often heard three months as some magical number. I believe their rational for this thinking is that the longer a couple is separated, the more likely the marriage will end up in divorce and there may be a smidgen of truth in that thinking.

However, the alternative is to put people back together before any real repentance or change has taken place in their hearts, health or marriage. I do not see the wisdom in going back to repeating the same old cycle and doing so completely negates the reason for the separation to begin with.

Therefore here are the criteria that you should look for that may tell you it’s time to end the separation.

1. The most important benchmark to look for is this. Has there been any evidence of repentance and change? Not words or promises of change but real change. For example, if there was financial mismanagement, has he caught up on filing his income taxes, paid past bills, gone to a financial counselor, made his financial dealings clear to you, and made a plan for future fiscal responsibility?

If there has been disrespect, verbal battering, belittling, sarcasm, and controlling behaviors, has that stopped? Is there a more respectful interchange when the two of you need to communicate? How is he with the children Does he take responsibility and admit that his behaviors were hurtful and is he learning to express his thoughts and feeling in more constructive ways? Are you “seeing” this change while you are separated? If not, why would you expect any changes if you move back together?

Two terms I use is old history (how the marriage was before separation) and new history (evidences of change). For example, do you see some new humility where there once was pride? Is there a willingness to hear feedback and self correct where before there was blindness? Is there a desire to grow and effort made towards that end where before there was minimizing and blame shifting? If there is no new history (don’t confuse charm and promises with genuine change), there is no change. Getting back together will result in the same relationship dynamics you had before separation. Is that what you want?

2. Have you done your own work? There is no perfect marriage and there are also things you must do and learn in order to grow through this separation. It might be you need to learn to stop being so passive and learn to speak up for yourself more. It might mean you need to take a more active role in being responsible for the financial health of your marriage instead of assuming your husband has everything covered. It might mean working on building your own CORE strength so that you are more God-centered and less husband or marriage centered as a person.

It also might mean are you learning to take better care of your own needs. Your body, your mental health and your spiritual well-being. Have you grown stronger as a person without becoming hard hearted towards the possibility of reconciliation?

The purpose of separation is for your safety and healing and reconciliation. But true reconciliation will never happen until there is recognition that something was wrong coupled with a change of mind and heart as evidenced by specific action steps.

3. How long? There is no perfect timetable for separation or when separation should end but here are some general criteria. If there is no evidence of change, then reconciliation is foolish. If there is some evidence of change, that is where it gets harder to discern. How much change is enough change before you move back together? Here are three benchmarks:

a. When change has been consistent over a period of time – at least three to six months.

b. When the old history patterns creeps back into your interactions, you see evidence of him catching himself and self-correcting. For example, if he is getting verbally aggressive, he might stop himself and say, “I shouldn’t have said it that way. I’m sorry.”

c. When you give him feedback on unacceptable behaviors such as, “You’re getting loud and scaring me,” he listens to you, doesn’t argue, mock or ignore you. Instead, he respects and trusts your feelings and modifies his behavior.

We cannot know the future. Therefore, we make the best decision based on evidence we see before us. Most women I work with desire reconciliation and would give their husband the benefit of the doubt when they see consistent movement forward. Later on, reconciliation looked like foolishness when he reverted back to his old ways. Yet, the alternative is to live in fear and “what if’s” which is not walking by faith.

So the tension we face when deciding whether or not reconcile is this. Is his change real and is he committed to sustain it?If you discern that it is and he wants that change for himself and not just to get you back, then it may be time to reconcile and see how things go.

However, if you’re still hesitant or uncomfortable with reconciling even with evidence of real change, you may have to come to accept that however he changes, his past behavior been so damaging to you and/or your children that even if he changes, the marriage cannot be saved because you will never be able to trust him.

Friend: If you separated from your spouse, how long did you separate and when did you know it was time to end the separation? What criteria did you use?

108 Comments

  1. Jamie on June 15, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Such wonderful and good to follow advise! Thank you.

  2. Rosie on June 15, 2016 at 9:54 am

    This is a great question & I can’t wait to read what everyone posts. I’m currently separated & am wondering the same thing.

    What I’m looking for is a conviction on his part that his controlling behaviors were/are wrong. I think until God convicts him, he’s not a safe person for me to have an intimate relationship with. Knowing & accepting that he’s not safe is totally different than looking the other way at his sin (which is what I did).

    We’ve been separated since mid-April. The fog lifted. I thought I was strong enough to not get sucked back into his controlling & manipulative behavior…. But I’m not ready yet. I recently took two steps backward. My counselor encouraged me in that at least I recognized him being controlling & didn’t allow it to continue. So I’m working at re-establishing boundaries I let down.

    • Kelly on June 15, 2016 at 10:19 am

      I too have been separated for 11 months now and I desire his change and as much as I want it he can’t or won’t see it. This is not what I want but I have filed for divorce. That still has not changed him, he still thinks I’m going to come back and I should see it is my fault! I feel like I have done everything possible, and I still hate this is happening, it is very hard and sometimes I feel weak and think I could make it work if only, but I know that is not true. I am trying to let go and let God be in control!

      • Sunshine. on June 15, 2016 at 10:31 am

        What did you tell yourself as you sat through a meeting with a divorce lawyer? Iam curious because I am headed there shortly. I think that at this time, only an act of God via the Holy Spirit will change my husband’s way of thinking.

        • Kelly on June 15, 2016 at 2:03 pm

          Exactly I prayed for a miracle because that was the only thing I had hope in. I still believe a miracle could happen, but feel like time is running out. The divorce will be final in a month. It’s hard because I feel like I had tried everything, books counseling praying going before the church going to the minister, everything I knew how and could do, then I get to the lawyer and he says are you sure you want that I went three times to the lawyer before I finally decided to do it. I felt like the squirrel in the middle of the road trying to decide which way to go and I felt like if I didn’t make a decision I would be flaten in the road!

          • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:46 pm

            It is a tough decision to make. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You can do everything right and still not get the results you want. Jesus longed for the Pharisees to repent, said it all to them, but they hardened their heart and in their pride, turned on Christ.



        • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:37 pm

          It’s freeing to come to realize that you can’t change his mind, only he can with the HOly Spirit’s help.

      • Michelle on June 15, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        I’m with you Kelly and can totally relate!

      • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:36 pm

        It is so hard to let go and face reality – he doesn’t want to work to repair a broken relationship. It is hard and please get plenty of good support.

    • Sunshine. on June 15, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Good for you for recognizing the controlling behavior. That is a good first step. Sometimes it’s like a bell ringing”ding, ding, ding” and I can say to myself “there it is! That is his controlling behavior.” It is difficult to stay out of the pull of the old ways and patterns. Give yourself credit for recognizing the behavior and making a change. That is important!

      • Elizabeth on June 15, 2016 at 11:04 am

        I also recently filed for divorce. As soon as I had made the decision to do so, my next encounter with my husband (when I told him that I had decided to file) went completely differently than usual. He was sarcastic and blaming and intimidating, and all of a sudden I didn’t care a whit. In my heart, once we were no longer a couple, this made it okay for me not to contort myself in a hundred knots trying to please him, or trying to explain my feelings and motivations in a way that he will understand. As I told him, “this means that I don’t have to care how you feel, and I don’t have to be hurt by the fact that you don’t care how I feel.” It was amazing how that thought clarified the conversation. Shortened it, too.

  3. Michelle on June 15, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Leslie,
    You mentioned about being hesitant, even if there appears to be consistent change, due to his past behavior being so damaging that trust can not be had. And that the marriage may not be saved because of this ruined trust. Is this right? If he really is improving consistently, shouldn’t the wife make a daily conscious effort to learn to trust him again? Wouldn’t that be the right Christian thing to do?

    -Michelle

    • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Michelle, the answer might be yes, the wife should try to see if she can trust again, and it might be no, the sin has so broken her trust that sh can never trust again. I believe there are some sins that are just too damaging – serious physical abuse, chronic sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a child, that shatter trust and shatter the relationship. Sometimes that is just the sad consequences of sin. If someone molested your child and said and looked like they were improving, how would you know whether or not you could trust him or her again with the care of your child? Would you take that chance? Sometimes you just aren’t willing to take that chance and I don’t think we should pass judgement on those who decide that they cannot.

      • Ann L on June 16, 2016 at 9:10 pm

        Thank you for saying that.

      • Sunshine. on June 19, 2016 at 11:15 pm

        Leslie, my husband has underlying attitudes that I disagree with. He speeds and says he is being cautious so we drive separately. He tells a lie to get a better deal. I avoid doing business transactions where I know he will try to take advantage of the situation. He truly feels that his wife is on earth to make his life as easy as possible. He makes the girls do more work than the boys and he lets the boys get away with bad behavior where he would punish the girls. I know my husband can be better and kinder for a time but truly his underlying attitudes have never waivered. Someone once told us that we are trying to talk through and fix problems that are on the surface, like frosting a burned cake.

      • Hannah on July 9, 2016 at 12:08 am

        Leslie,

        Thank you, thank you! I am in that situation, where a spouse with a horrible porn addiction has turned some inappropriate attention to our two year old daughter, and people do. Not. Get. It. “But did he really mean it? Are you sure? He couldn’t have…” Oh my gosh! Despite the awful feelings of betrayal and emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse, a separation, counseling that just made him feel even more entitled to treat me badly, and more– when I saw what I saw with our precious little girl, I immediately took her and fled and filed, and yet somehow this is all my fault. I hung in there for four years, and he just wasn’t ever really sorry, and the consequences weren’t ever enough to encourage any real change. Now he is reaping the breakdown of his family, and I am finding it so hard to find support. I think, especially in Christian circles, many people are just uneducated on abuse and for some reason put the lion’s share of the marital problems on the wife to fix. It is so unfair when you feel like you have tried everything, and there is still no change. Thank you for being a voice to call a spade a spade and for your gentle yet firm guidance. You are making a difference, at least you have for me!

  4. Angelina on June 15, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Is there a way to make your posts PIN friendly? They block it saying it may lead to spam.
    Thanks,
    Angelina

  5. Aleea on June 15, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Friend: If you separated from your spouse, how long did you separate and when did you know it was time to end the separation? What criteria did you use?

    . . . No direct experience and please Lord may it never be. . . . . I did talk to one women who uses the same counselor I do about three weeks ago, she said: “. . . . . I’ve had four dates with my husband since we have separated. It’s been so wonderful. When he leaves me he’s going to see his girlfriend. I know that damned well. But you know, I still enjoy it. I’ve gone out with him four times since we separated and we’ve talked more than in the fourteen years we were married. Besides, I’m going out, having a pleasant evening, and it’s one night I’m not staying home. I’ve had ten years of his lying to me. Now I figure he’s lying to her.” . . . . . Well, that is an easy case of knowing what to do! —Yes? . . . . I would say: Is your husband willing to do the hard work of reconciling? Can you be honest with each other? What is your motive for even reconciling at all? How much have each of you grown in Christ since separating? —Certainly ask the Holy Spirit to guide you! Is he and are you really teachable/ coachable and willing to consider new input? Can both of you act on what you learn? Can you envision a new purpose for your relationship? If you have ongoing significant betrayals (—like that women in my counselor’s office) or hiding money, deficit spending, or shirking major responsibilities such as parenting or holding a job, NOT mentally stable. You know you are not ready.
    . . . Anyways, that’s more than enough speculating from me because I have no direct experience but I can pray for everyone daily and I will, —including and especially me.

  6. Jessica on June 15, 2016 at 11:17 am

    After separating, how long should you give your husband to make an effort before filing for divorce? I’ve been separated for 10-weeks and my husband hasn’t made any attempt to even talk about our relationship or acknowledge that any work needs to be done. I’ve repeatedly told him that I need to see an effort and that I’m not going to wait forever for him to do something.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      How long is an individual question, but if after 6 months to a year, nothing has changed and he hasn’t moved one bit towards working on himself, I think you’ve given him plenty of time to show he’s serious about change if that’s what he wanted to do.

  7. Heather on June 15, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I’ve been separated 5 months due to emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse, and I’m wondering about a timeline as well. However, I clearly do not see any real change in 5 months. Still the same blameshifting, rationalizing, minimizing, spiritualizing, etc. Just more cleverly hidden under the guise of repentance.

    So I’m wondering how I will know when it is time to file for divorce and not look back. I’m a very decisive person normally. When I decide to do something, I do it very quickly as I don’t see a reason to waste time. In one sense I feel this here, too. He’s not changing and I’m losing my time with him, so let’s just get this over with. But I’m not emotionally ready yet to divorce. The spiritual and emotional and social cost is so high. And I continue to hold on, even feebly, to the hope that he could in fact change and it could be the greatest miracle I’ve ever seen with my own eyes.

    • Daisy on June 16, 2016 at 7:28 am

      I’ve been separated for three years and my husband hasn’t budged a bit in his stance. I filed a year and a half ago and have put it on hold twice hoping and praying that we could reconcile. He does t want to divorce, but he also doesn’t want to change a thing. We have 3 children together. He has managed to alienate the oldest two from me. He’s told my children that I’m a mentally
      ill and crazy person. The list of wrongs is so long that it would probably not have an end. My youngest (10) is having a hard time with me divorcing. Because of him I put it on hold this last time because he was threatening suicide. With the help of his therapist I am
      moving forward with the divorce because she said to stay indefinitely separated would be like Chinese torture for my youngest. I still hear my husband’s voice of judgement in my head saying that I will reap the fruits of my decisions.
      When I look back at all I’ve lost, one of the saddest losses has been the ability to make decisions with confidence and move foward. I second guess myself A LOT. I was never allowed to make decisions, so now that I’m free, I second guess everything. I have made
      My decision to move forward and never reconcile. Just as Leslie has stated at the end of this article, the damage has been too much and I feel irrevocable.

      • Leonie on June 16, 2016 at 2:39 pm

        It really is hard Daisy but at least you have definitively decided that one thing! I hope you have peace about it now.
        If you could go ‘no contact’ with your ex and not let any of his messages into your head you will find yourself feeling better in awhile (no illusions, it takes time and space – when you have successes of your own in your new life apart from him you will start to feel better!)
        Try to keep it to times and dates and activities & exchange of kids ONLY and block out all other messages from him. Communicating with a narcissist robs you of your soul – try not to internalize anything he says. Praying for you, I have been there!

      • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:50 pm

        I’m so sorry Daisy. The loss of your marriage and your children’s affection is a double blow no one should have to endure. Stay the course and hopefully in due time your kids will realize why you had to do what you had to do.

    • Leonie on June 16, 2016 at 9:31 am

      I filed and no longer felt guilty when I saw over a few years that my ex would not change. I kept hoping that he would change and he kept pushing for reconciliation but he never did anything to show me it would be better and different if we reconciled. (We had already separated and tried to reconcile once before). I prayed a lot and one day he went on a spiritual retreat with the purpose of prayer and reconciliation of the marriage.
      When he came home and told me we should take our sons out of boy scouts.
      My jaw was on the floor – I thought he was going to say stuff about our relationship or something he learned at the retreat or that he had been delivered from his stronghold of pornography through prayer … Anything that would make sense when you are separated but trying. I remember thinking – he missed it, he missed the point of it all, the purpose that he went on the retreat. After that I filed for divorce because I saw that he wouln’t treat me different and he wouldn’t acknowledge the problem or change or work on himself, then I no longer felt guilty or conflicted, and had my answer, I just did what I had to.
      I like what Leslie said: “Has there been any evidence of repentance and change? Not words or promises of change but real change … Are you “seeing” this change while you are separated? If not, why would you expect any changes if you move back together?”
      ” If there is no new history (don’t confuse charm and promises with genuine change), there is no change.”
      I think this is one of the biggest mistakes in reconciling too soon – listening to charming words while not observing any action proving he will be a safe partner when you reconcile.
      I was so heartbreaking, me ex kept telling my small sons that we were getting back together and I can still see one of them sitting at the kitchen table saying “what about the reconcile mom, what about the reconcile.” I had to explain to them that I could not reconcile. It was heart breaking for them that daddy and mommy coukdn’t live together anymore.

      • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        It is heartbreaking for kids, but living in a household where their mom is being abused is also not good for them.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Don’t rush yourself. Divorce is a LAST resort and you are wise not to enter into it without giving him every opportunity to show the fruits of repentance. However, so far, there are none from what you say and only you can decide how long you are willing to wait and see before saying to yourself that I am done waiting.

  8. Remedy on June 15, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Very good question and response this morning, Leslie, as I think there are countless numbers of us in this exact position. The long term uncertainty of it is a particular stress hard to quantify.

    One response I would offer is that even if the decision is made to go through with a divorce, this does not mean you could not remarry one another in the future if there is genuine repentance and long term change. As long as neither remarries someone else, this option remains on the table. I would suspect the remarriage would happen only when there has been intensive premarital counseling to deal effectively with the past problems and counsel through healthy, Biblical ways to handle the interactions, etc. I would also assume that this remarriage would be shrouded with much, MUCH accountability with trusted men AND women who have healthy grasp of Scripture and what healthy relationships look and function like.

    For those who long for this, it would not be an inappropriate place to be in long term prayer about. If your ex spouse truly, truly loves you, wants a real Christ honoring Biblical marriage, they will grasp the importance of going through healthy steps toward rebuilding on a proper, stable foundation. If they refuse, you can probably know it’s not genuine and they will have known you were serious about ending the destructive marital situation and will not tolerate in the future.

    That, to me, is what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks Remedy for your perspective. If someone wants something badly enough, she or he will work towards it. Otherwise it’s just lip service. They may sincerely want something, but not enough to do the work to get it.

  9. Michelle on June 15, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I seperated from my husband last year and didn’t speak to him for 2 months. When we began to move towards reconciliation, both of us living in our own seperate dwellings, he did not hit me or verbally abuse me for 9 months and would correct himself etc… We began looking to buy a home and I figured I was safe because this was the longest time he had gone without abusing me physically or verbally in 10 years. Our 2nd day looking he slapped me while I was driving. I reacted and though his words said one thing he looked shocked like he himself didn’t expect that. I put the boundary in place and he enrolled himself in a Domestic Violence 26 week program. My mom decided to buy a home so me and my children could have stability, outside of waiting on him. He and I moved into the home. I gave up my place but he didn’t give up his. I went to his home to pick up some plants that I was storing there and learned all kinds of things about people who were living in his home amongst other things. It’s been 3 months and I have finally filed for divorce and have accepted that I never knew this man. It has been hard to face reality and it hurts. I go back and forth trying to figure out how he was able to pretend for 9 months. This has been very hard and I’m not sure change is possible in these situations. Though I love the Lord and know all things are possible with Him, I have learned that some people are just content in this dysfunctional state. I have decided I do not want to be one of those people. I thank God for Leslie Vernick and through her learning of Patrick Doyle and pray Romans 8:28 – God’s Glory will work all things meant for evil for good!

    • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story Michelle.

  10. Kay on June 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Is he getting the best of both worlds here at your expense?
    Please don’t settle for that. Forgive me if I offend you with these words. You deserve more that that.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 16, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      Agree. Please don’t allow yourself to be used or abused. It’s not good for you, nor it is good for him.

  11. Prudence on June 16, 2016 at 10:33 am

    It would seem that if he has a girlfriend currently, there is no repentance or serious effort to restore the marriage. So I think that’s a strong indicator that it will be time for divorce (relatively) soon.

    • Aleea on June 16, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Kay, Leslie, Prudence,

      Remember this is someone who sees the same counselor I do. . . . But for her, I agree with you Kay, she does deserve better, I told her that and more: If he made you an option, you will always be an option vs. the person he really wanted. Don’t water weeds and call it a garden. Ask God what you can do to escape this. . . . . And Prudence you are right, she doesn’t need to investigate further. . . . .She just needs to not be afraid to ask herself the tough questions: Why am I letting this man humiliate me and value me less than others? Never pray to be a better slave when God is trying to get you out of your situation. . . . . Leslie, yes, it hurts both people when we enable abuse. Abusive relationships exist because they provide enough rations of warmth and affection to clutch onto like a security blanket in the heap of degradation. So, we have to BE the change we want to see in our worlds. It’s never pretty when you leave an abusive and controlling relationship. The warden always protests when the prison gets shut-down.

    • Aleea on June 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      . . . .last night I was thinking about this more (—especially the women from my counselor’s office, et.al.). . . . . It all comes down to our plan/ our procedures for stopping our emotions/ biology from hijacking our intellect. We can’t just “think with our heart” because hearts are unreliable organs for thinking. —But even using logic, evidence and reason, the deck is stacked against us because the easiest person to fool is ourselves. . . . Anyways, this was my analysis of her situation:
      1) She didn’t care if it made “sense”
      2) She didn’t care if it added up
      3) She didn’t care if she couldn’t explain it
      . . . She FELT she needed it emotionally. It was not that it added up or made sense (—because it obviously did not: i.e. You dance with the devil and then complain you are in hell). . . . So, how do we stop our emotions from hijacking our intellect? —It is a good question for all of us, —for me too, especially me, I am so emotional. —Prayer is always an excellent place to start. “God, I seriously lack wisdom, please help me. I’ve got nothing if You don’t help me.” . . . . Evil seeks to discourage others to think for themselves (—it fosters dependency). That is why we have to help people understand NOT what to think BUT how to think. How do you critically evaluate what you see without letting your emotions hijack your intellect?

  12. Kim on June 16, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    I filed for legal separation from my husband for precisely for the reasons described. To get his attention. Force him to deal with my requests for disclosure. After over 2 1/2 years of indifference to my concerns. Such as Unexplained Absences. Money hidden. Items sold. Phone hidden cell
    Bills Hidden. Female friends. Massages at home if therapist with No one else there. Etc. finally 2 months after filing. (my birthday) Finally, I was able to set up a 3rd party. (Matthew 18) mediation with a pastor where he revealed there had been 5 years of ongoing emotional relationships and one turning physical over the previous 2 years. I was hurt and he said he will end it and work on our marriage. I agreed that If it’s over. I needed him to Take two months no interaction as a couple. He would need to Work On his integrity and demonstrate remorse. Repentance and full Disclosure. Then we can see if we can work toward reconciliation. 1 month went by. It was discovered that He was with the woman again. In fact with in 20 minutes of the end of our mediation he was talking and texting on the phone. I moved out of our home the following month at the encouragement of his counselor. Here it is 1 year and 2 months since I moved out. There have been No attempts to reconcile or apologize or repent. Instead we are in a fight through attorneys and court to secure even spousal support. 1/2 of our home and business. Which I do not what will happen. I live in a community property state. I was a homemaker and ran our business. Home schooled our 4 boys for 16 years through their senior year of high school. I had Finished with my youngest the same month I moved out. We were together 32 years we would be married 29 years this year on June 11. Clearly. this is a case where there was no other option for me. But why is it so hard? Why am
    I judged? Why do the kids feel let down and abandoned? I couldn’t carry the marriage alone. I hope and pray one day we will all heal and see God redeem the loss. Leslie your ministry gave me the strength to confront and not settle for infidelity and indifference in my marriage. I’m sad the marriage failed. I’m glad I will be free of a hopeless situation. Where my hope deferred and my heart becoming sick was all I knew. Thank you from the bottom of my heart

    • Leslie Vernick on June 18, 2016 at 8:34 am

      I’m so sorry that he kept making poor choices, but glad you did not remain stuck and sick.

  13. Mary on June 16, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    My husband and I are separated due to some ongoing destructive behaviours which after several years it became obvious he had no intention of believing were his problem (after many attempts to address them with him). We are living under one roof, but in different rooms and like “respectful flatmates”. I am amazed at how quickly he has begun to own is behaviour – he even asked me last week for a clear list of his destructive behaviours, including examples, so he could begin to work on these. I often find him now in his room reading books about relationships, journalling, and his bible. I have seen some concrete changes in behaviour too. However for all of this I really feel like the Holy Spirit is clearly saying “not yet, not yet”. I sense that if I was to reconcile now, after only a month of things beginning to change, it would all revert to the old patterns still. Sometimes I become fearful wondering “Lord what if he never truly changes at a heart level and we can therefore never reconcile?” but the Lord keeps saying “you need to trust me with the outcome”. I have been a serial rescuer – that is what I have come to see during this time of separation – and I can see that not only does my husband need to work on his destructive behaviour, but I need to work on my rescuing behaviour. I need to be restored to a Christ-centred woman before it is safe to reconcile as well – it’s not just about him needing to have changed. This is a hard journey but for the first time in my life I am trusting God more than man and his burden truly is light – far lighter than the burden of male irresponsibility which I carried all these years. I have a lot of hope but I know this might be a long road ahead. It took us four years to get into this dysfunctional pattern of relating (that’s how long we’ve been married) so I figure it could take us four years to get out of it!! Not that I know that for sure – but it helps me think of this as a marathon, not a sprint.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 18, 2016 at 7:51 am

      Mary, you are wise to wait and listen to God as to when it’s time to reconcile.

    • Robin on June 18, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      Great sentence Mary–not only does my husband need to work on his destructive behavior,
      but I need to work on my rescuing behavior.

      So very needed.

      • Michelle on June 24, 2016 at 6:17 am

        That’s great! I too have learned that I am a rescuer and am working on that.

  14. Daisy on June 17, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Thank you. That is great advice that I need to implement.

  15. Daisy on June 17, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Thank you, Leslie. Thank you also for allowing God to use you to help so many of us that are in this predicament. You are part of my support system. Thank you.

    • Leslie Vernick on June 18, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Thanks Daisy, I appreciate it.

  16. Leslie Vernick on June 18, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Agreed. Thanks Aleea.

    • Aleea on June 19, 2016 at 6:14 am

      . . . thank you more, especially for providing this wonderful electronic journal where we can pour out our thoughts and run not from our pain —but walk directly into our pain. . . . .People think it is courageous to promote what they believe, fight for what they “believe” and even die for what they believe. . . . . but history shows that is the cowardly stance. It takes staggering courage to sit with and really face, confront and keep facing our own internal fears: ―abuse in childhood or later life; ―abandonment; ―also for me, issues with Christian origins. . . . It is very hard to keep from using defense mechanisms (―frantic activity; ―numbing devices, etc.) covering over and keeping me from really confronting my own hurt and my own wounds.

  17. Christy on June 18, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I am also separated from my husband and my question is when do you decide that you have waited long enough for him to do what is needed. I feel the same way as she does but I have no change or repentance from him and he actually blames me for the problems in our marriage

  18. sunflower on June 19, 2016 at 12:31 am

    I separated from my spouse for one year. We had contact through email only. I noticed many changes in the way he spoke to me and how he manager his life. He lost weight, exercised, volunteered at a charity and really looked at me when I spoke. He was more gentle. His voice changed. My pastor called and said he was such my husband was safe. I started to have feeling for this new man.

    Now many years later, it didn’t last greater than six months. A personal crisis occurred and he began to collect injustices and resumed his controlling behavior slowly. The first time he yelled at me he became nauseated, over time, he doesn’t even notice or acknowledge his behavior.

    Counseling continues over and over again with no results, he just switches behaviors, deflects and talks about what he thinks is wrong with me. Tonight for example, he corrected me for using the word “noise” when he thought “sound” was a better term. He corrected me when I said “dinner” when it was “lunch” and also when I mentioned he backed up the car and he said he would u turn.

    Every little thing is a power struggle. He no longer repents, just denies and projects. We have run out of counselors and ideas of what to do next. My next plan is for an accountability person that I tell his behavior and the accountability person believes me and talks to him about it, a pastor is willing to do this. Oh, well..

    • Robin on June 19, 2016 at 1:17 am

      Sunflower, have you considered stopping making it your problem and let him be in charge of his destructive behaviors? My husband kept me hopping for 30 years because I was always hopeful if I went to counseling with him, if I could just find the right accountability partner or maybe the right pastor. The day my eyes were opened- was when my counselor met with his and he asked her-
      ‘Why has this woman not left him yet, because he absolutely has no interest and does not want to talk about his own issues’. I finally was able to contact a lawyer. As long as they can keep us always trying to find the magic trick that will change him/ he absolutely has to take no responsibility.

      • Sunshine. on June 19, 2016 at 11:21 pm

        Woman,YOU have just spoken words I have heard said out loud to me. Thank you. I am so sorry that it took so many years of you trying before you got some relief. I struggle with the question,”have I done enough yet?”

        • Robin on June 19, 2016 at 11:47 pm

          Only you can answer that question, Sinshine. But personally I think that is a question that often deceives an abused victim. I kept asking that question too. I think the right question might be- is he doing enough? Is he being faithful to his vow? Is he taking responsibility by looking for pastors and accountability partners?? Because you probably know just as I do- that yes I did enough. I did stay faithful to my marriage vow. The real questions are his to answer.

      • sunflower on June 20, 2016 at 5:54 pm

        So, help me with this. He does find his own counseling. I don’t ask him or recommend anyone. I am trying to find someone who will listen to me, and then hold him accountable.

        Has anyone tried separation which was personal rather than public. By this I mean, he is on good behavior when other people are around, it is when we are alone that he begins his manipulative power and control games.

        I am willing to keep the public, social relationship but not the personal, alone relationship. Any thoughts on how to do this?

        • Ann L on June 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

          I’m not up on your backstory, sunflower. The question that my brain asks is, “why are you looking for someone outside to hold your husband accountable? Why is your husband not accountable for holding himself accountable.”

          I am living with my husband in a one-bedroom apartment. We are as separated as you can get without separate quarters. As soon as I get a job, I’m out of here.

          Between the two of us, we look like a couple, if you overlook the total lack of intimacy — no special looks, no touching, no special smiles, no sharing of personal thoughts or feelings.

          That’s how we do it. I am sad, and I can’t wait to get out of here and make the separation and divorce legal. I am sick of the public show, such as it is.

          That’s what it looks like from here.

          • sunflower on June 23, 2016 at 11:16 pm

            Ann, I can’t imagine living in a one bedroom apartment together. You are certainly superwoman in my book!

            I like your question, why doesn’t he hold himself accountable? He denies he is abusive and finds a way to dismiss my claims or explain away his behavior. He has agreed that if he is abuse I can call accountability people. I don’t want to expose our issues to the people he listed for various reasons such as, some of the men don’t know they are on the list and some of husband’s of my girlfriends and i don’t want to drag them into it. I am trying to find a counselor who will take on the role.

            But, yes, excellent question, why won’t the man take his own accountability? Because he is still abusive and if put a boundary up like asking to stop of leaving the room he comes after me and moves onto intimidation, physically threatening behavior and verbal assaults. Then, with a blink of the eye, I do what he wants and a quiet, gentle person emerges.

            It’s all about control.



  19. Michelle on June 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I am always questioning myself also. Have I done enough yet. Is there anything else I haven’t thought of. When is grace going to have enough? Then I think of my children, and I sense a deadline coming. I think the thoughts of their well being keep me in check on a certain time frame.

    • sunflower on June 20, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      I don’t really struggle with this, I know I have done more than enough for him and his issues. Last year, I declared it is the year of me. Enough talking about you and your issues, emotions and attitudes. I tried very hard to adhere to it and for a few months I did find ways to do things that benefit me. He couldn’t hold up his end and switched conversations back to his favorite subject, himself.

      What I did do is pursue my interests despite him. Given the choice, I don’t bother with “us” issues. I find something I enjoy and feed my desires and dreams.

  20. Michelle on June 20, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I have actually decided this summer is it. We have about 6 weeks to give grace just one more time. If it’s not improved or improving, we will have to move. For the sake of the kids emotional and mental health as well as a better school. And my emotional and physical health, which seems to be declining. By mostly the kids.

    • Mavis on June 20, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Michelle, may I ask why you think six more weeks is going to make a difference?

  21. Michelle on June 21, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Well, I don’t think 6 weeks will necessarily make a difference or The difference that is needed. That’s just about how much time if summer that’s left before getting situated in a new place and my children to a better school. There are so many factors.

    • Robin on June 21, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      Michelle, I think Mavis asked a good question. It’s so easy to keep a false hope that things will change and sometimes we need a good word from a friend to give us a little push. I don’t think anyone looks forward to ending a relationship- but try to look at it as an opportunity for him to get the help he needs. Sometimes staying– we become in the way of God working with him. There are so many pieces that need to fall in place- certainly. I was amazed when it happened for me, how God took my hand and walked me one step at a time , providing for all my needs. I know He will for you too.

  22. Michelle on June 22, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Thank you for your response. I will keep that in mind. I do understand what you say. I believe it. It’s just that when my husband is on with trying to do better and I feel there’s time for grace one more time, I think I should give it one more time. It doesn’t put me at ease though. Right now I’m at work and he has decided to take a sick day, and my kids are there. I’m nervous. Ugh!

    • Robin on June 23, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Michelle, it’s a real process spouses go thru- trying to decide when I’ve done enough, one of the things that really helped me at this stage; was H.Cloud’s words to seek for a true reality and don’t get stuck in false reality. I learned false reality is always hoping something good is happening when it’s just a temporary look of change to appease me. True reality is acknowledgement of their abuse to you and seeking help for himself, not using words to convince u but definite changes in behavior.

  23. Michelle on June 23, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    H. Cloud? You mean Dr Cloud that co-wrote boundaries? I’m reading that book right now. I just started last week.
    I really appreciate your insight and words. I will remember them as I go along with open eyes and ears to what’s really going on.

    • Robin on June 23, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Yes, Henry Cloud that wrote boundaries. The book I read that changed my thinking overnite was
      NECESSARY ENDINGS. It’s not all about marriage relationships, but he gives excellent advice when to know its time for a relationship to end. I highly recommend it.

      • Robin on June 23, 2016 at 3:18 pm

        Another excellent book when to end a marriage is – SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO. Lundy Bancroft understands women in Destructive relationships as he has worked with abusive men’s groups for years and understands their minds.

        • Robin on June 23, 2016 at 3:20 pm

          Have you read Leslie Vernicks books on the Emotionally Destructive marriage?
          Also excellent counsel.

  24. Michelle on June 23, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Ok. I will definitely look into that one also. Thank you.

  25. Michelle on June 23, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    I have read her book on the Emotionally Destructive marriage. That’s how I got here.

    • Robin on June 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Oh good!!! I hesitate to say this, but I’ll try anyways. I would pray and ask the Lord if He wants u reading Boundaries . While it is an excellent book, it could lead you to trying to make your marriage work. And at this point you want your husband to get the motivation to do his work. Be careful about ‘doing more work’. Us women are so willing to fix our relationships and give-give-give. At this point, it’s critical for your husband to work for your marriage. We know you will!!

  26. Robin on June 23, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Sunflower, do Ann asked you why doesn’t he find his own accountability and you said because he is still abusive. Listening to how you explained that, I’m wondering how long you will be willing to do what only he can be responsible for? Do you see as long as you do it, basically he’s having to do nothing. You do it all for him. Maybe if you stepped aside and let him fall to the bottom/ he’d be more motivated to find accountability??

    • sunflower on June 24, 2016 at 12:28 am

      Robin, I guess I don’t understand what you are saying. I am not doing anything for him. I am doing such things for myself, so i can live life with the least amount of being hassle and have a roof over my head. I think I need more explaining. Can you expand?

      • Robin on June 24, 2016 at 12:41 pm

        Sunshine let me think about what I was trying to say. I’ll get back to you!!

        • sunflower on June 24, 2016 at 9:01 pm

          Thanks, I really do want to hear what you have to say. I think I am missing something.

  27. Robin on June 24, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Sunflower, I’ve attempted to reread several of your posts. This is what I hear: your husband is abusive. He doesn’t acknowledge his abuse. He doesn’t treat you with respect and honor. You are setting up a situation for pastor and accountability person to help. Ann asked you- why isn’t he is own accountability? You agreed that was a good question. I do understand you are trying to have some personal boundaries- I’m so very glad to hear that. What I was trying to say is it doesn’t seem like you have much of a relationship with him, but it seems important to you, to keep trying to arrange some sort of path of healing. But isn’t he clearly showing you he is disinterested- and if so – I’m wondering how long you are going to keep trying. Have you considered stopping all measures of trying to make things better. And let him be more in charge of the healing of your relationship???

    • sunflower on June 26, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      Robin, I couldn’t care if he heals or not. I care about not being abused and trying to live the highest quality life possible. He can wallow in his own emotional issues, and learn to behave like a gentleman. I am not trying to fix him and I don’t want healing of the relationship. I am willing to accept the “new normal” and continue our commitment with the acceptance that my husband destroyed any hope of having a traditional, biblical marriage.

      Just like a spouse who needs to accept the diagnosis of alzheimer’s or quadriplegia in their partner, I accept my abusive husband’s mental health issues. It is his problem and it results in some pretty disappointing consequences for which he is completely responsible. After all these years of pain and suffering, I now get what I want and create my own “new normal.”

      • Robin on June 26, 2016 at 11:27 pm

        Why havnt you left?? Your kids are grown, and you no longer have a relationship in tact. You deserve to be respected and honored. Wouldn’t you prefer to live in dignity??

        • sunflower on June 27, 2016 at 9:48 am

          Thanks for the tough love!! You are right, yet I have so much more with his money than I could ever have with just mine.

  28. Angie on June 25, 2016 at 12:16 am

    Leslie

    My husband has been having a relationship with a married woman. I found out about it by chance and confronted him. He never apologized to me about the hurt he has caused me and in fact shifted partial blame to be by saying that I am not presentable, cold and distant. It is like a valid excuse for him to have an affair. He told me that he never slept with her but I am not sure if I can trust him on this. He has not been transparent or honest in his past dealings with me.

    When I asked him if he will leave this woman and work at our marriage, he he only said that he will sort it out. He is not including me in the sorting out and dealing with this problem and does not speak about it. I believe he finds it difficult to leave her. I cannot accept that he will continue to love and see this other woman and still continue to live with me and the children.

    I do not know how to deal with this as I am so distressed. Divorce is not always the easy answer although at this point i want to kick him out of my life. He will pray and sing Christian songs and go to church like nothing has happened while I feel like dying on the inside. I am left to wonder if he has repented before God. Does God expect me to either leave him or continue to live with him but suffer knowing that he may be with this woman. Is there a middle ground?

    Distressed

    • roxanne on June 26, 2016 at 11:08 pm

      It would seem he is getting everything he wants. Why is that ok? It is time to tell the world about his sin. Tell your church family, so the elders can confront him. Tell your extended family,tell your friends, and most importantly tell the other woman’s husband. Expose their sins! Why do they get to hurt people in secret? Keeping quiet makes you an accomplice to their crime.

  29. Rachel on June 26, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    After many attempts (marriage counseling, family interventions, drug counselor) to get my husband to wake up to his destructive behaviors (emotional abuse, rages, daily Marijuana addiction, pornography, sexual pressure, financial irresponsibility, control and manipulation), I finally decided, with God’s help ,that separation was the only hope our marriage had. We have been married 14 years and have two young children. We have been separated 5 weeks. During this time, my husband had remained sober from drugs and alcohol, recommitted his life to Christ, and we have been receiving biblical counseling. He has been more wise with money and says he stopped watching pornography. He has made great changes and I think they are real. Although he still struggles with some things, he seems to be working on real change. Today I was encouraged by our counselor s to consider allowing him to move back home soon, since I had given a general idea of a 6 month separation, possible shorter or longer depending on how things go. I am concerned if the separation is too short, the change won’t last. I feel that I need time to see if this miraculous change is real and going to last, but now I am worried I am just being stubborn and hard hearted by wanting to “wait and see.” I would appreciate any thoughts, ideas, or encouragement. I have read Leslie’s book (loved it), boundaries in marriage (loved it too) and many others which have helped, but I am really struggling with this decision. Thank you.

    • Rachel on June 26, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      I want to add that he completed a 4 week intensive outpatient drug program, has been reading his bible and praying daily, and attending celebrate recovery meetings.

    • Robin on June 27, 2016 at 1:56 am

      Rachael, you’ve been separated 5 weeks, that’s a little over a month; a long shot from 6 months. I would recommend you spend some time reading posts on several of these blogs, and see how many women let their spouse return home too soon, and the disaster it became. We can learn from others experiences. I think it’s awesome your husband has been so willing and is making some good steps forward out of sin. But this is just the beginning. He needs to show you he will endure thru some of the temptations that will surely come. I think setting 6 months, is a great goal. You can cheer him on and go out for dates, but I definitely wouldn’t have him return this soon. Good for you being full of courage and embracing a separation, to give opportunity for your husband to turn away from the things that was destroying the Homefront. Way to go and set an example for your young children, who are indeed watching. !!!!!

      • Remedy on June 27, 2016 at 8:15 am

        Rachel…I heartily agree with Robin. The numbers of highly skilled manipulators roaming around is staggering. Early in my marriage, there were two separation, one for six weeks. A joke, as it turned out. The second for 11 months. Within 3 weeks, all returned to exact same destructive foundation. I dug in and resolved to tolerate all, in the strength of Jesus, to avoid divorce. Twenty five years later, I look back in sorrow that I did not have courage to stand for what is right in marriage, according to Scripture.

        My three are my blessing, but even they could not escape the effects of the toxic environment forever. I have worked hard to teach and demonstrate healthy relational life and pray constantly for God’s mercy toward them in their future relationships. But had I to do it over again, I would have scooped all of us out of there and opted for true healthy living vs trying to always wash off all that toxicity in a divided home

        Pray for God to direct you into all truth and light and what is truly best environment for all of you. I allowed guilt and shame (Satan’s tactics) to rule me.

        • Remedy on June 27, 2016 at 8:17 am

          My three children…..sorry I missed that word!

        • Rachel on June 27, 2016 at 4:35 pm

          Thank you so much for sharing.

      • Rachel on June 27, 2016 at 4:34 pm

        Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement. Very appreciated.

    • Rosie on June 27, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Please consider checking out ‘a cry for justice’ website & watching some YouTube videos from counselor Patrick Doyle. These resources, along with some others, have been really encouraging for me to make wise choices to move forward during my own separation.

      I think it’s easy to begin thinking things will be different if we make allowances….. Words don’t always match behavior. Behavior is shown over a period of time. I’ve been separated since April. I feel like I keep getting sucked into his manipulation when we spend time together. I journal a lot. I look for patterns of ways things are changing & staying the same. For me, too much is still the same.

      I hope the website & YouTube videos help you make well-informed decisions. Take care.

    • Robin on June 27, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      Rachel, even if your situation is the very best scenario ; your husband truly wants to change and will do anything to make things right—-

      You’d still be wise to have him do the work for 6 months. He needs time to grow and learn and make up to you, all the harm he caused you.

  30. Michelle on June 27, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Thank you for your words. They really speak to me.

  31. Mavis on June 27, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Sunflower.
    Your “new normal” still places you in a toxic environment. Even though you have more financial resources living in the same house, you still cannot escape the evidence of his destruction. Although you accept his mental and emotional issues as his problem, are you at real peace with your living situation? Can you focus on being all that God wants you to be given the stress in the home and having to watch his destruction? Also, living at home may give him a false sense of security that someone else is there and would call for help if needed, rather than knowing that he is completely on his own. I’m not trying to be critical, just concerned about your own mental welfare. Praying for you.

  32. Daisy on June 27, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    No amount of money could ever replace the freedom and peace you will feel from coming out from under the abuse.

    • Robin on June 27, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      Amen Daisy!! It’s easy to be fearful when we havnt saved or prepared for our future. What I have found is I have learned to trust God so much deeper , and He truly is a better provider than our abusive husbands!

  33. Robin on June 27, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Great sentences- Rosie

    WORDS DONT ALWAYS MATCH BEHAVIOR.

    BEHAVIOUR IS SHOWN – OVER A PERIOD OF TIME.

    • Leonie on June 27, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      I agree, my 1st husband would demonstrate repentance for the pastors at the church but he was so cruel and crazy making with me that I felt like vomiting whenever I saw him walking up to the house. I could not reconcile, because he was never repentant for the abuse he was doing to me nor did he stop the abuse until about 8 years after the marriage ended. It is my experience that God provides and in more ways than one!!

  34. Daisy on June 27, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I didn’t have anything when I left, but it was a divine intervention from God. I call it a POW rescue. He has provided for me for the past three years in ways I could have never imagined.

    • Joy on August 4, 2016 at 3:46 am

      Ditto!

  35. Michelle on June 28, 2016 at 5:02 am

    I second that. I’m trying to memorize it. I keep hearing words, but the behavior isn’t matching up so well.

  36. Leonie on June 28, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    If he is willing to do anything, waiting 6 months will be no problem for him.

  37. Millie on July 4, 2016 at 7:22 am

    I keep checking your blog to see if you have posted an article like this- so thank you! My husband and I have been separated for 4 months now. He was mentally and occasionally verbally abusive and last summer he tried to shoot himself in front of me with my 3 young children asleep on the other side of the wall. We had a brief separation then, and now I regret going back so soon. Currently my children and I are living with my parents. My husband seems slightly different just in the last month (before he was angry with me and blaming me for tearing our family apart). He says he’s going to see a counselor, but he’s been saying that for 3 weeks now. I had been angry with him for a long time and hoping that he would end it so I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about it, but a few weeks ago I felt my heart soften toward him. I think I’m just lonely and I’m worried how all this is going to affect my babies in the long run… Now I’m concerned that my heart may be too soft and I could be suceptible to returning before its time. I’m not considering that right now, but I’m just wanting it to work out and to be past it. Any advise from similar situations?

    • Robin on July 4, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Millie, the part about shooting himself in your presence and the kids near by- would be a HUGE RED FLAG FOR ME!!! Hard question, but can you trust it won’t happen again, and maybe it won’t be hisself he’s aiming at. I think this is very very scary. Yes, I believe your heart is TOO SOFT and it would be a very wise choice to run, not walk to see a counselor that can help you sort this through.

      • Robin on July 4, 2016 at 8:44 pm

        And altho every woman on this blog (or most) want their marriages to work, that’s not the goal. Your goal at this time is SAFETY FIRST. If you continue to set your goal for things to be good in your relationship- the likelihood of you getting soft and compromising safety and sanity is too high. Re-think what your goal is please!!

    • Leslie Vernick on July 4, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Millie your husband put you and your children (not to mention himself) in a terrifying experience. I would make sure he is under appropriate psychiatric care and well on his way in handling his depression and suicidal thoughts before you would even consider moving back together.

      • Millie on July 9, 2016 at 5:33 pm

        Thank you all for your replies. He is seeing a psychiatrist, but I don’t think he is honest with him about what is going on- he only goes because he has to to get his adhd and depression medication. He claims he would never try to kill himself again, but how can I ever be sure of that? He’s even gone so far as to say in an accusatory way, that it was my fault the gun went off because I tried to pull it from his hands. He thinks I am completely overreacting to say that I was scared every time he would get angry before I left. We had a conversation this past week about my daughter’s schooling, which we disagree on, therefore the conversation turned ugly. He told me I don’t care about my daughter and that everything I do these days is selfish. Needless to say, I was angry, and I told him that the most selfish thing I can imagine is him trying to kill himself in front if his wife. Of course, he just downplayed it as he always does, and said im just not being forgiving. Talking with him is the most maddening thing I’ve ever done. No matter how obvious his wrongs are, he refuses to take the blame and always tries to twist it into looking like someone else’s fault. I had told him a month or so ago that I had no desire to talk anymore at this point, because our conversations always seem to go that way. When he was showing small signs of change a few weeks ago he asked if we could get together and talk for about 30 minutes once a week, claiming that if we dont talk, I will never really know if he has changed. I agreed to it and then the previously stated conversation happened. Sometimes he appears to be broken and admits he is wrong and has issues he needs to work on, then the next day he will blast me out. It’s enough to make me want to scream!

  38. Rosie on July 4, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Hi Millie, you’re in a really difficult situation. I’m sorry. I encourage you to think about the health & safety of you & your children. It sounds like your husband is a harmful influence. I’ve heard that in some cases, it is better for the unhealthy parent to be absent from the children’s lives. I’m glad you’re safe, at your parents with your children. I couldn’t imagine what you must have gone through that night you described when he threatened suicide.

    I wonder how much contact you have with him. For me, the more time away from my husband, it seems like the fog lifts & I can think straighter & my confidence builds. If you’re still talking to him all the time, maybe think about limiting it. My counselor told me I don’t have to answer his calls or respond to his texts. So, I decided to limit responding to texts one mid-morning & once mid-evening, with few exceptions.

    I keep wondering if I’m doing the wrong thing too, by remaining separated. I think that’s just part of the process. But my husband’s controlling & manipulative behavior is still very present when we are together or talk on the phone. And, the real kicker is when I call him on it, he doesn’t even recognize he’s done anything wrong.

    I hope you find the advice that will help you make the best decisions for your situation.

    • Joy on August 4, 2016 at 3:44 am

      Rosie, I agree with what you are doing (see my story below). Because my husband’s accusing voice was in my head demeaning, belittling, blaming and controlling me, right from the start, I set the boundary that he was not to communicate directly with me, but through one of my 7 grown kids. That way they could filter through the junk and only pass on what I needed to know (as far as property settlement and such details, etc). I was unable to think straight hearing his voice.

      One thing that someone suggested to help me minimise the influence of his voice in my life was to transform his voice into Mickey Mouse in my mind! Takes away all the sinister influence!

      Hang in there!

  39. B- on July 30, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    I am wondering the same- my husband has accepted his responsibility in the situation and so have I. I’ve recently had a health scare and my son is returning to school. My husband wants us home. I want to be home. We have worked through a few squabbles with good results. We have been separated for a month. We are both in counseling- separately. I’m afraid if I return too soon I might negate our progress-

  40. Joy on August 4, 2016 at 12:12 am

    I separated for one night to wake him up to his actions. I’d endured 40 years of abuse from my pastor/husband, including threatening me with a loaded gun, forcible rape, choking, child abuse, etc.. A year before, we’d concluded 6 years of counselling and accountability for him, and he’d come to the place of self-correcting and my skin didn’t crawl around him any more. But he was quickly sinking back into his old entitled, controlling behaviour and our new pastor had no experience in dealing with this, so he did nothing.

    Then a week later, I ran for safety for what I intended to be a weekend, but my grown children pleaded with me to not go back and paid for me to stay for a couple months with one of them overseas.

    My husband was sent a list of steps he could take if he wanted to reconcile, but he only did 1 step and that was months later

    I determined to keep the door open, but not even considering going back until there was proven change over time. Even then, I would only reconcile because I believed God wanted me to, not because I could stomach the idea. The betrayal and lack of trust was so very deep and I was experiencing a new life of being allowed to have my own opinions and not having to apologise for existing or bow to his constant random whims, endure his insults and sadistic demeaning, etc.

    Within a year, my husband was in romantic relationship with someone else and by the end of 2 years, he divorced me.

    Right before the divorce went through, he emailed me some genuine-sounding words of repentance and admitted his wrongs, but it was emptiness in the light of his actions.

    He claims I abandoned him and plays the victim, but I have since agreed to do what the police begged me twice – I made a statement to the police so the Crown can prosecute him for his crimes. Several months ago, he was arrested and charged with 5 counts of rape (amid countless rapes) and trial starts the beginning of next year.

    I was happy to remain separated for the rest of my life, if necessary. I know now that I would have had God’s approval to initiate a divorce, but even so, it worked out well that he initiated it. When I left, it was like God released me from those years of being loyal and “protecting Christ’s name” by totally submitting to a cruel closet tyrant and said, “Run!”.

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