Morning Friends,

Our CONQUER Conference will be here in just 2 months. It’s hard to believe how wonderfully God is pulling everything together. We have 3 great main speakers plus 16 different workshops for you to attend. Many of the workshops have to do with difficult and destructive relationships so they will continue to help you build your CORE strength. You will find everything you need to know at www.leslievernick.com/conquerconference/.

Don’t delay – early bird registration ends August 31. I would love to meet all of you in person. I promise you it will be amazing!

Today I was reading in Psalm 57. In it, David said that he was “weary from distress” (verse 6). The cause? His enemies. Yes, we can get weary when we are constantly bombarded by lies, accusations, criticism, and cruelty. So what did David do to refresh himself? He praised and thanked God. Worship was his antidote to weariness. Taking his eyes off his feelings, and putting them on God’s unfailing love and faithfulness helped him reorient his mind, his spirit, and his body. This is a good reminder for all of us. Try it this week and let us know how you were refreshed.

Today’s Question: I am almost 3 years on the other side of my divorce and I still hear the arguments of my ex in my mind as to why I was selfish and unloving to our family by leaving. The latest hit was a few days ago when I heard someone reading the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13) on the radio. When they got to the part about love always trusts, I couldn't hold back the tears because since I was a child, I've taken the scriptures so literally and if I was to err, I'd err on the side that would require me to change.

I desperately want to follow Christ. I was married for 20 years before I finally got to the end of worrying about ‘doing it all right'. I just knew I needed to learn to think for myself again and remember who I was.

I felt like I was about to go crazy if I stayed any longer. I knew it would be hell to go through (and it was!) but I couldn't keep sweeping things under the rug in the name of ‘giving him grace'. Trust was broken time and again. I got plenty of apologies, but no follow through or making amends.If I tried to confront or tell him how his behavior was affecting me, I was told I was selfish, judgmental or condemning. I'm sure I could've come across that way because I was usually reacting in the pain of the moment. Or I would try and try to show empathy, grace, and forgiveness, but resentment was still building up and instead, it eventually boiled over onto him.

I guess my question is narrowed down to, ‘why does love always trust?' Or better yet, HOW does love ALWAYS trust?!

It's so hard for me to even think about entering into another relationship because of the issues that I had to deal with throughout my marriage thinking that it was normal or expected of me to just ‘deal with it' and keep going. In my mind, there was no way out.

Divorce was not an option. I can honestly say I loved him and wanted our relationship to be healthy, but how could I trust him when the same behavior and table turning continued? And how do I trust a man again after what I've experienced with the only man I've ever loved?

Answer: This is a great question because it shows us how easily we can get thrown off track with a Biblical talk that doesn’t take into account the big picture.

On the radio, you heard someone speaking on 1 Corinthians 13, where it says “Love believes all things”, or as the NIV translation states, “love always trusts.”

What that means is that loving someone puts a lens on your eyes that sees the best about him or her, that “see” that person’s potential and what he or she “could” become.

There are many individuals who have problems with trust because of past betrayals. Just like you feel right now, they are afraid to trust again. They look with cynicism or skepticism at others and assign bad motives to a person’s behavior without any evidence to back up their interpretation.

For example, “He brought me those flowers just because he wants sex tonight.” Or “He said he was sorry, but I know he didn’t mean it.” When we have thoughts like this, we immediately assign bad motives to the other person even when our thoughts are not true. Because we think them, we believe them. This habit builds walls and fractures relationships.

That’s why God calls us to give people the benefit of the doubt. He wants us to trust and believe in people because that is what’s required in order to have healthy loving relationships. He wants us to be like Him, who extends the benefit of the doubt, even to those who have messed up and disappointed us, hoping that they will show us that they’ve changed.

Yet, God also calls us to love our enemies. But does that mean we place full trust in our enemy? I don’t think so or they wouldn’t be considered an enemy. What if our enemy hasn’t repented or acknowledged what he or she did that was hurtful? Do we foolishly trust people who repeatedly show us that they are untrustworthy?

I don’t think that’s what the rest of the Bible teaches. For example Proverbs 25:11 says, “Putting confidence (trust) in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.”

Jeremiah 7:4 warns “Do not trust in these deceptive words” and later laments “Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer” Jeremiah 9:4.

Micah warns, “Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms” Why? He goes on and says why. “For the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” Micah 7:5-6. When people are repeatedly hurtful, continued trust in them to behave differently than they’ve always behaved is to your own peril.

In that passage about love in 1 Corinthians 13, it also says love does not rejoice in wrongdoing but love rejoices with the truth.” When the truth shows you that someone has been consistently deceitful, that actually helps you realize that although you may still care about him, you cannot believe what he says. Not because you are being unreasonable, but because the truth tells you that this person doesn’t tell the truth. In a weird sort of way, you can trust him not to tell you the truth.

Jesus himself did not “entrust himself to them, because he knew all people, and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what is in a man” John 2:23.

This sounds contradictory because Jesus did love everyone unconditionally. He believed in his disciple Peter even after he failed him and trusted him to build his church. Yet there were those he didn’t “rely” on or “trust – as our language describes” because he knew that they were not safe to trust. Their consistent unrepentant behaviors broke trust.

In another biblical example, the apostle Paul ( 1 Corinthians 13) warns young Timothy, “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message” (2 Timothy 3:9). In other words, Paul is telling Timothy not to trust Alexander considering how he harmed Paul. He wasn’t telling Timothy not to love Alexander.

Therefore, I don’t think 1 Corinthians 13 is speaking about every relationship. Yes, ideally love trusts, but I think we can love our drug addicted child, want what’s best for him or her, yet not trust them with $100 because they will be tempted to get high, nor do we have a good relationship with him or her. I think we can believe in the potential of our destructive spouse, the man he could become, without believing what he is telling us in the moment, because of his history of lying to us.

Broken trust is a real and tragic relational consequence of someone’s poor behavior, especially when that same behavior is repeated over and over again (tweet that).

I don’t think God is asking us to foolishly put our own well-being in the hands of someone who has consistently shown that he or she does not have our welfare in mind.

Friends: Have you wrestled with this passage in Scripture about love always trusting? How have you come to peace with it?

98 Comments

  1. Survivor on August 17, 2016 at 7:32 am

    These words are a balm to my weary soul this morning. Tears are flowing as I process this….. I am 4 months out of my abusive marriage (for the third time) and determined not to go back to that mess. He is not accepting it and is still yanking my chain. Just last night I had an email from him making himself sound righteous and heaping guilt on my head. “How long, Lord? How long must the innocent suffer?”

    This morning I’m doing spiritual warfare against the effects of all of this on my children…..one gave the other a bloody lip after they had only been awake for a few minutes!!

    My sisters, I covet your prayers. Today I do not feel that I am surviving very well…….

    • Jac on August 17, 2016 at 8:02 am

      Understanding, praying from Psalm 18 for both of us this morning.

    • Suzanne on August 17, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Praying for you…

    • Leslie Vernick on August 17, 2016 at 9:13 am

      So glad you found it helpful.

    • Amber on August 17, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Survivor, I will be praying for you. I have also recently left my husband after he strangled me. I am sorry leaving is difficult for you. It has been about three or four months since I left and I don’t miss him. I still have concern for him, still love him, but I have very little desire for him to be around. It’d be nice to have the good side of him here, but you can’t have the good without the bad and his bad is too bad right now. Life is so much more peaceful and full of freedom. I hope that you find peace. I am so sorry your children are causing so much stress. They have probably been through a lot and are experiencing a lot of emotions right now. I read the book When Dad Hurts Mom, by Lundy Bancroft. Certainly, my most blessed book is the one God inspired Leslie to write, but Lundy’s is focused on helping the kids. Hang in there. 🙂

      • Survivor on August 24, 2016 at 1:23 pm

        Amber, it sounds like we left around the same time…..and under similar circumstances. My H has not been that physically violent for about 6 years, but he also strangled and suffocated me on multiple occasions. When I left this time, things were just escalating to a point where I feared that level of violence would resurface…….

    • KK on August 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Praying for you. You ARE a survivor and you WILL make it! God loves His daughters and you are His so rest in that today as you are struggling. You are His.

      • Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:27 pm

        Amen!

    • Carolee on August 17, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Praying for you! So hard to be dealing with heartache and have children fighting. They don’t understand. I was a single mom too and can sympathize. God bless you today. Rest in Him. So glad you got out. Do not let your ex make you feel badly!! Leslie’s blog is always so helpful. Survivor, you are not alone.

      • Survivor on August 17, 2016 at 9:01 pm

        Thanks Carolee!! The day got worse before it got better. My son acted so much like his dad in the fights that I got triggered to the point of almost a complete breakdown. SO incredibly thankful for good friends who stood by me through it. Doing a little better this evening, but very exhausted…..

      • Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:30 pm

        Thanks Carolee, she is not alone.

    • Robin on August 18, 2016 at 12:35 am

      Praying for you, Survivor!!

    • Free on August 19, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Dear Ladies, I have blogged over the past year on this site using various usernames for my own protection. I need for all to know that I am out and gone from my abusive situation. With a new PFA (Protection From Abuse) order the court has blessed me with email communication only with my abuser.

      So Survivor, I can understand what you write!! What I have done to help myself is to only answer my husband once a day. He writes and writes and writes, violating the limitations of the communication for finances only and matters of our adult children. He desperately still wants to manipulate me.

      I want to speak the truth here. It is very, very, very, unlikely almost impossible that these abusive men will EVER change. Getting out is hard and it requires support. My Christian faith has held me from leaving the holy sacrament of marriage, yet I am finding that now that I am away from my abuser, God has never been more close or real. I feel absolutely no guilt about leaving my destructive partner and although I still have to interact with him, I am in a much, much happier world right now.

      Let me tell you it is tough. I sleep many nights in my car and have been told be remain a moving target for my own safety. The house is up for sale (he agreed in one of his good moments) and I have spent time in a shelter. Yet, I AM NOT willing to be abused again. Sisters, stop the madness as soon as you can. Don’t let him manipulate you once again. God loves you and is waiting to reach out and hold your hand.

      My only other comment is to do everything to plan practically how to leave. My saving grace has been the forethought to get my own job with a savings and checking account. He didn’t like it, but I did it and now I have a debit card linked to the checking account. My job is extremely stressful but it is keeping me afloat so it is worth it.

      Other fall out is the attitude of the children. Mixed. As Dad manipulates them too. I have been honest about everything and I agree that truth will set us free in the end.

      Blessings to all. Love yourself. Leave the martyrdom to the real martyrs. We are strong women, greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world (or inhabits our husband as an axis to evil.) 🙂

      • Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:26 pm

        Thanks Free for sharing how important it is to prepare yourself for reentering the job market.

    • Jen on September 3, 2016 at 9:33 am

      You ARE surviving and thriving!! Look at you aware of your childerns needs and reaching out and connecting with others! You are doing amazing for four months out and just the night before getting an email like that. You are so strong! (I only got one email like that and thankfully it didnt have scripture in it – I dont evny you that!) Just wanted to point out how amazing you are doing even though I know from experience you may feel the exact opposite. Praying for you and your lovely kids.

    • Anita on September 18, 2016 at 9:07 am

      The Lord is with you! Please hang on.to your faith! Do not open that email, do not see his face or meet him Save yourself and the children from further damage. This mans soul is hurt himself and until he can recognize that you stay away!!! Get your family counseling. He will choose to be saved or can stay dead but you must LIVE!!!

  2. Sunshine. on August 17, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Leslie, I have never read the version of the bible that says love always trusts. This is new to me. I like how you stated that you can trust him to not tell the truth. For my whole life, I have put my trust in people who didn’t deserve it. I have given the benefit of the doubt. I had never been taught to question what I was told as the “truth”. I just swallowed the lies and stories hook, line, and sinker. I am working on this skill. I stop, consider the source, question their motives and think about what he is telling me before I make a decision. I consider my choices because ultimately, I do have choices. I do not always have to do exactly what someone tells me to do because they are the professional, or authority or they speak loud and proud like I should not question them. I can think for myself. I can hear God speaking to me if I quiet the voices of this world.

    • Leslie Vernick on August 17, 2016 at 9:14 am

      So glad Sunshine you are learning these things. Good for you.

  3. Michelle on August 17, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I think also to trust is to believe the truth as you know it, or as you have learned it to be. Don’t turn a blind eye., like I have been doing to keep the peace. It doesn’t work. For me, when he comes to me in a calmer state and wants to ‘get past’ it again, my ‘always trusts’ needs to remember what always has been. That’s what I can trust. It’s been almost 7 years now. Things were suppose to get and be better. We even had the nerve to look for a new house to purchase before school begins. We had it narrowed down to 2. Logically I didn’t think this was the best idea, but I was trying to be positive and trying to ‘move past’ it and go forward to a better life, better home life,…everything would just be better, right? Is that really trust? How ridiculous does that sound? I think a better house would be nice and could even help, for a time in some areas, but if my husband is naturally controlling and angry, a new house could give him more ammunition to keep his bad behavior going. Back in May, I told him the kids and I needed to separate from him for a time of healing and peace and to not be afraid, even if temporary. After he came to be calmer once again, and then the crazy broke out again a week later, he brought up how I was going to move out and make it on my own. He now believes I’m hoarding money. No matter what I do, the truth remains. He is going to stay suspicious, controlling, and indecisive, for awhile at the very least. If our situation is going to change, if will be if/when I make the change.
    I am able to post this today from my home computer because my husband left town for an over night trip taking 2 of the 3 children with him. He was suppose to take all 3 so that I could go to work for at least 2 days this week. I should have known. I don’t go to work, I don’t get paid, and he seems to try to ensure I won’t make it. That’s what I need to remember to always trust in when it comes to him.

  4. Penny on August 17, 2016 at 8:57 am

    When I was a young Christian, I heard or read that we are to trust God. This frees me up, He is worthy of my trust. When all around my world gives way…He then is all my hope and stay. Also, recently I read that 1 Cor. 13 is a reminder of God’s perfect love for His children…also freeing. Parents, spouses, people fail! My good friend is one of the most grateful humans I know. This weekend I tried to find out why because her Christian husband left after 20 years of marriage and she has no children. She said, “What changed me forever was my divorce. It was then that I realized the truth of all that God has done for me in Christ.” It gives me hope, because I have been so deeply wounded by those who should naturally be there and love. (Parents,spouse). But as my counselor said last week, “that is actually evidence against them, NOT a personal evidence against you. God has given you worth and value in Christ. He determines your value! No one else’s opinion matters….NOT even YOURS.” Thank you Jesus!

  5. HisEzer on August 17, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Your counsel is such a balm to weary souls. The Holy Spirit confirms so much through your words. I cannot tell you how many times the things you say in blogs are exactly what the Lord encouraged me to express to spiritually abusive church leaders years ago when they were misusing 1 Cor. 13 and other verses. Sadly, so many seem to be locked into the art of cherry-picking verses like this in order to protect their man-made paradigms. They are unable to see the overall big picture God is communicating about what real love, trust, and healthy relationship looks like.
    Of course we are to believe the best initially and trust people’s word if we have not been given any reason for hesitation! Certainly. And especially we are to trust our spouse initially!! But when a person/spouse over time proves him/herself to be an unrepentant cold habitual liar and manipulator, a proper harmonization between “love rejoices with the truth” and “love believes all things” means that loving that person well involves walking in reality — walking in the truth — not pretending or believing something false. God does not want us to be foolish and pretend… to construct false realities …all for the sake of “loving our neighbor”…. He would not have told us to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing and to flee false teachers if that were the case! He would not have told us to avoid factious men… and to not be unequally yoked, etc… if His real desire is for us to always turn a blind eye, wink, and move on. I love how clear you make it all, Leslie, that truly loving others well means not enabling their destructiveness. Believing ALL THINGS means believing who that person has proven him/herself to be…

    • Nancy on August 18, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      I love your screen name – hisEzer. So fantastic 🙂

  6. Loretta P on August 17, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I lived with broken trust for 40 years and in the end no matter how hard I tried to believe and pray and Trust he still didn’t change. Even after leaving him he’s harassing me with a restraining order in place. Sometimes we have to trust God more and walk away and allow God to work on the other person.

  7. Roger on August 17, 2016 at 11:01 am

    As a man who has broken my wifes trust, I can understand the need to be skeptical, however, at what point do you decide that you will never be able to trust again, own that feeling, and be honest and decide to end the relationship. I believe I have tried everything a man can do to make amends for my poor behavior, I was not the man I should have been, I have sought God’s forgiveness as well as my wifes. I have allowed her time and space to heal and have put no time limits on her…..and yet no progress on her part is visible and we are nearing 2 years since her detachment and 5 months since she moved out and began a physical separation. I feel strongly that God has not released me from my marriage vow, she feels differently, and continues to express anger and resentment towards me even though we no longer live together. All of this has taken a huge toll on me as I feel stuck in limbo with no end in sight. She seems content on staying this way and keeps reminding me how I have not changed. I wish she could see into my heart and understand I would never be the man I was. God has shown me how my emotional abuse destroyed my marriage, and I must live every day knowing how badly I hurt her, a heavy burden to bear but I am reaping what I sowed….If trust is not attainable, would it not be appropriate to let me go…..I have asked for one last chance, perhaps just the chance to date her and see if bad feelings could be replaced and love found again, but I get no response one way or the other…..I don’t expect her to trust me again without showing that I have actions to back up my words, but how do I that when we never see eachother……I understand that my past behaviors could very well lead to the permanent loss of the relationship. I must accept that as hard as that is. I just don’t understand why it is acceptable after all this time to not have some kind of decision on what the future will be in our marriage. I know our children are suffering as things are now, and it breaks my heart……I still love her very much and would make amends in any way possible to attempt to restore the relationship, but it takes 2 people willing to do a lot of hard work to attempt that. I have heard Leslie say that after 6 months, if no progress can be made, that perhaps it is time to move in a different direction….it seems unfair when I desire to try again, that I would have to make that decision…..and I realize that healing has no time limit, does that mean we live in limbo indefinitely? I agree that Love does trust and want the best for the other person, but it does not say to be blind to sin and abuse….I have paid a huge price for my sin, God has truly forgiven me, my spouse says she has as well but still doesn’t trust me, maybe she will never be able to again, I am praying that at some point she decides that facing that truth means making a hard life changing decision…I will hope that she can love me again, if not I must accept what I did, forgive myself, and try to rebuild my life without her…..a broken man I am but with Gods help I will find a way to survive….Long post, hope what I have tried to say makes sense…..

    • Free on August 19, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      Roger, How many years did you abuse your wife. Was it greater than 2yrs. 5 months? I imagine she is in counseling or should be. She deserves as much time to heal as you had to abuse her.

    • Maria on August 20, 2016 at 5:07 am

      Roger,

      Was wondering what steps you have taken to change your behavior. One thing all of us here have learned is we don’t have the power to change anyone. All you can do is focus on yourself. If you pressure her in anyway to see you, date her, get back together, she is most likely going to detach more. The best thing you can do is work on yourself with no expectations that she will get

      • Maria on August 20, 2016 at 5:23 am

        back with you. You have taken the first steps of admitting your problem and asking her for forgiveness, but how does she know that you have changed? Behaviors are the product of our way of thinking. What have you done to change that? If you haven’t taken the steps to change and your wife does give you a chance, you will revert back to your old behaviors. The best thing you can do is work on yourself, become a person whom your wife will be attracted to, and accept that she may never get back with you.

        • Roger on August 20, 2016 at 2:10 pm

          Thanks for the reply….I agree that I must focus on being a better man for myself, i can’t expect she’ll ever return… I love her and realize now how bad I treated her and hurt her, i know I must let her go , I’ll b here waiting if she decides to return, but that will take gods hand on both of us to b possible….my biggest question is how long do u wait , so far I feel God telling me to stay the course…just confused on why she has decided to divorce me….living in limbo is just a tough emotional place to stay….

          • Roger on August 20, 2016 at 2:11 pm

            Typo… Why she hasn’t decided to divorce… Sorry…



          • Maria on August 20, 2016 at 2:22 pm

            Roger,
            You didn’t answer my question-What are you doing to change? It sounds like as long as you are not intentionally working on changing your wife will not take you back. Instead of focusing on how long to wait, shouldn’t you focus on working on yourself? If your wife divorces you, if you haven’t dealt with your issues, the negative patterns you had with you wife will continue in another relationship.



        • Roger on August 20, 2016 at 2:15 pm

          I feel confident in saying I would never go back to the way I was or how I behaved… I have learned so much these past 2 years… I would honor her the rest of my life given the chance… To receive her grace would produce tears and emotions I can’t even imagine … Praying for a miracle…

          • Roger on August 20, 2016 at 3:32 pm

            I’m in counseling and have spent many hours studying about how we got where we r and understanding that my sense of entitlement was a blatant sin… I have accepted all the terms of the separation she has asked for… I continue to pay all the bills and understand that I get nothing in return…Patrick Doyle s videos have opened my eyes to just how wrong I was……I believe God has forgiven me…and I understand that sometimes the wounds r too deep… Not sure what else I can do except keep working on myself … Everyone around me an see the change… Not sure that wife has enough trust in me to believe I will ever change enough…it takes 2 to make a marriage and it’s unfair to lay all the blame at my feet… I accept the majority of blame , from there if she chooses to not return I must accept it and trust God to help me through….almost 2 years now… We r both still young…life is short…seems like we should b able to figure out where we r goin sometime in the near future…



          • Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:39 pm

            Sounds like you have begun the process of realizing what you’ve done to hurt your wife. I’d encourage you to persevere, whether or not she responds positively. You will grow and become a better man.



          • Maria on August 20, 2016 at 5:27 pm

            Roger, I’d encourage you to keep growing and praying.



          • Connie on August 20, 2016 at 5:39 pm

            Roger, I still sense entitlement and blame-shifting in your posts. Expectations. She needs to be set free to make her own decisions. You still believe that you know what is best and even what is God’s will for her. Surrender to God ALL your rights to her and even surrender your right to tell God what is best for you.

            My two cents.



          • Roger on August 20, 2016 at 6:35 pm

            Connie I understand your perspective … I have 0 expectations….I just need honesty and if she can’t get past the past, for the sake of our families and kids then let me go …. I’ll stay the course till God tells me otherwise…



          • Connie on August 20, 2016 at 7:56 pm

            The first thing I would look for in my x is for him to get over himself. Self-pity is a huge red flag. “It’s not fair!” is the cry of entitlement. There are many expectations of her evident in your posts, and you certainly don’t make her sound like a wonderful person. If you love her so much, we’d like to hear why…….what is it you are missing…….her, or your pride? Are you not getting the divorce because you love her, or because you want to be able to point your finger at her, that she ‘broke the vows’? (when actually you broke them long ago when you didn’t cherish her) What if you said, “Susie, I will take FULL responsibility for this disaster, even to getting a divorce to release you from all this pain.” She knows where you live. A divorce will not stop her from coming back if she feels led to come back, and not getting a divorce will not chain her to you. She may have PTSD and your nearness could be a huge trigger for her. She may need far more than 5 months to heal from all that. If she says you haven’t changed, she is very likely seeing something that you don’t see.



      • Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:36 pm

        Agreed Maria.

        • Roger on August 21, 2016 at 2:00 am

          I agree w all the points made here… I love her and understand that if she needs a divorce to heal I accept it…. I take all the responsibility for the failure and I have told her that….I also have told her that I will wait as long as needed for her to heal…. I do not want a divorce… Period….I’m committed to her and to my personal growth as I hate the man I was and never want him to return….I realize that letting go is needed… And I do…. Is it unreasonable to hear her needs if she is not led to file???? I can wait forever, I can’t imagine a life w out her…. So that means I must endure a period of loneliness and sorrow in order to have a chance for her to return…. I accept that… God has told me to stay the course…. And I will….she is a wonderful mom and was a great wife…. I was blind and didn’t appreciate all I had…. I cannot change the past… But I will never go back to what I was…. I lost a beautiful loving women…. And I know I’ll never find that again…ever…:(

          • Maria on August 22, 2016 at 6:55 am

            Roger, You ask whether it’s unreasonable to hear her needs if she is not led to file. That’s her decision, isn’t it? Sounds like you have told her you are going to wait for her, give her time etc. Then don’t contact her again. Let her contact you when/if she is ready, and then pray.



          • Aly on August 30, 2016 at 6:15 pm

            Roger, I’ll try to summarize;
            I agree with Maria, Leslie, Connie

            These ladies are pouring wisdom onto you! Please listen to them,my heart goes out to you. I pray that you will ask for wisdom and God’s will is that you embrace his truths.

            Your story seems similar even though not exact.
            Here is a snapshot of my own chaos married at one stage to a self entitled adolescent thinking man:

            It takes huge amounts of work to rethink how you got to where you are.

            As for My BRAVE ‘recovering’ husband ~ it’s taken years and lots of godly ‘real’ authentic men and lots of professional Godly counsel to assist him with a road to recover on. Leslie’s books and videos were so validating and helped me wake up further to the marital chaos.

            As much as you believe your own self Roger that you will never mistreat or misuse your power toward your wife, you can’t or at least at this point believe yourself. That might sound harsh but I hope you know it’s said with compassion.
            You might not have the built in capacity to honor that in action and longevity(Yet)

            As I got healthier and began thinking healthier …lead ME to changing. Please think of your wife’s separation or possible divorce as the best gift ever.

            I hope you have healthy ‘real’ men in your corner to help you through this time.
            And as we all know with these types of relationships, time doesn’t heal these abusive relationships. It’s what you choose to Do with your time that can make a difference.

            My husband;
            had to get other more mature men in his life on a weekly sometimes daily basis to deal with his ‘addict type thinking’

            He had to be willing to work hard with a therapist on Grief, fear and how to honor another person.

            As a sister in Christ to you Roger, Your posts trigger me some because the thinking and behavior are so similar.

            My husband and I are both working hard at our journey of recovery and the best thing for me being a ‘non trusting’ wife is for my husband to acknowledge that the person that takes a sledge hammer to a sacred relationship, is the one who cleans up the mess.
            Change is always what one DOES, rarely ever what one ‘believes or says’ or hopes will happen.

            The closer you get to the issue at heart, the better you can live in reality. Hopefully someday together. God loves you and wants the best for you.
            If you truly want to repair this marriage there are MANY things you could be ‘adding’ to your journey.
            Restoration is what your wife needs, and that is your responsibility alone if you want a marriage with her and want to earn her Trust back. There is no, “it takes two” type of thinking right now.”

            She has probably nothing to offer, and if she did have something to offer your relationship pattern might just a guess prove that you don’t value her the way you are called to from the Lord.

            You could consider her not signing the divorce papers as ‘her participation right now’

            Sorry this is long, but Roger my hope is that you will seek out earnestly your recovery and trust the Lord to change your thinking that is deeply rooted in your outward behavior.
            There is so much help, godly men, books, seminars etc available to you that it’s sad to see marriages dissolve because the one partner that must step up and in, deceives themselves.
            Take this as a challenge Roger, set your heart after God’s own.
            Either way what do you have to lose… Nothing but becoming the man that God calls you to.
            Recovery, restitution is a choice.

            I hope this offers hope and healing. Again I can’t stress enough the importants of Strong Honest Godly men in your life to hold you accountable to grow and transform.
            You’re worth it
            Thank you again
            Leslie for all you do as us women navigate out of the fog and are set free by His word and love;)



        • roger on August 30, 2016 at 4:40 pm

          LAZARUS: Thanks for your post, I have been searching myself to understand the path that God has for me and for my marriage, your post just reminds me of how far I have to go…..My list of offenses is long and humiliating, I let sin get a foothold in my life and from there I destroyed a marriage and a family…. I accept that I may very well lose this marriage….the road back for us would be long and hard…..My wife sees nothing good in me, reminds me often of how I have not changed…. all very hard words to hear…..truth is that I have changed, yet I know not nearly enough….Can I ask why your husband did not divorce you? Clearly it seems that he has not embraced his side of dysfunction and as such seems like he would be eager to move on and start over with someone that has no history to combat….I myself struggle with the loss of a companion friend, lover…..I miss a kiss goodbye, a hug and even just the thought that someone at home loves me……..it will be 2 years in Jan 2017 since she emotionally checked out…..I do understand that the time to heal is different with everyone, however it seems that after all this time she has not showed any hope of reconciliation….I feel I have been very patient and as understanding as a human can be who’s life has been ripped apart….Do I wait another 2 years? I honestly don’t know if I can….Right now I do not feel led to give up….I believe God has helped me endure the lonely nights and days and with his help I will still be here should it be required to hold on that long…..I have made a mess of this separation, questioning too much, feeling betrayed, feeling like she is plotting against me, I realize now more than ever that I have been too focused on what she is doing when I should be focused on myself and my continued growth….She may very well decide to divorce….and if she does I need to be prepared to stay strong and accept what she decides….the world says cut your losses and run, find someone new, I have chosen to not follow that advice, I have a long road ahead of me, knowing that can be overwhelming….I do question why she has not cut her losses and filed…..I wish she could share that with me…..seems like she will never be able to get over the past hurts and disappointments…..I guess I do not understand how she could not have a clear idea about our marriage and if she has any desire to try again, seems like she should want more for herself, and be done with me, start over and find a man that can better meet her needs…..I have failed terribly in that department…..I would love to try again, I do still love her very much, I understand that we would have to start from scratch but I believe it would be worth it……so I will wait, take your advice, leave her alone, continue to work on myself and ask God to help me become the man he needs me to be…..maybe she will come back someday, only God knows that….thanks so much for your input, I value all you have disclosed and continue to pray and seek Gods will, he loves us both, I hope one day I can have a praise report that we have been healed and our marriage saved….God Bless….

          • Connie on August 30, 2016 at 6:29 pm

            Roger, I get the feeling that you are stalking her, if not in real time, in your head, and she knows it. It would cause her to feel very unsafe and pressured. I’m sorry, but I bet you are looking for sympathy in the wrong place. Many of the women here have suffered for 20 – 35 years or even more. All this time without that kiss, that hug, that knowing that someone at home loves her……..and you are whining about 2 years? Let go, let go, let go. Focus on Christ. Every. Single. Time. That you start ruminating on poor you, take every thought captive, force your mind to praise God, to thank Him for every single pain and that He will use all for your good and His glory, that He is good and you need nothing but Him. You could be persecuted for Christ and stuck in jail for years, and you would not have that either. You NEED food, water, and sleep, everything else is a bonus. What God is after in each of us, is the same as He was after in Job. To meditate on the greatness and wonder of God, where Job says, “I heard of You with my ears, but now my eye sees You.” He wants us to KNOW Him, and to do that we need to seek Him with our whole heart, like that hidden treasure. It takes time, and it takes letting go of everything and everyone,



          • Doulos on September 4, 2016 at 4:12 pm

            Roger, this is probably not the best place to make your case.   I say this only with the caveat that you’ve given your life to Chrst and are repentent in your heart to God and committed to living differently and making amends wherever possible. If that is the case, “there is no condemnation  for those that are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1).  Unfortunately here, you’re the wrong sex, and there is no shortage of prodigal older brothers (sisters in this case), with their arms folded standing outside the feast, angry that the Father so freely offers grace and forgiveness.  I do agree that hopefully you have a group men to hold you accountable AND to offer wisdom, strength and encouragement, because your decision to stay will not be an easy one.

            I’m in the same boat but in a slightly different way.  My wife is an alcoholic and very emotionally and financially abusive, even during periods of sobriety, the classic  “dry drunk”.  I have prayed and sought guidance over it, and my faith always calls me to remain.   I’ve had pastors tell me that addiction is a form of infidelity, but between prayer and mediation, God has not said I’m free to break my marriage covenant.  I read these newsletters and blogs on abuse, but find them short on sound doctrine, particularly in the comments and justification of separation and divorce.  Sadly, I often find the wisdom of Al-Anon and how to focus on myself and not the alcoholic/addict to be more aligned with Scripture.  I commend you on your decision, and encourage you to stay the course, but understand that she still has freewill to divorce you.  You can still remain faithful and be confident if you are walking in faith and truly repentant, God will judge your heart and reward your faithfulness and longsuffering. (2 Thess 1:6,7)

            Regarding this thread and all things, I would answer in Scripture. We are commanded to trust and hope all things in love, and there is no qualification to those commands.   If someone has an ulterior motive,  they will stand before God for that, not us. (Rom 14:10; 1Pet 4:5; 2 Cor 5:10) So, as Christians, we are obligated to forgive others who sin against us and then repent (Matt 6:14,15; 18:23–35; Mark 11:25; Luke 17:3,4; Eph 4:31,32; Col 3:13). This holds true even if someone sins against us repeatedly (Matthew 18:21–22).  Scripture is equally unqualified even when someone sins against us and is not repentant.  God makes repentance a condition for saving a person, but that does not give us license to withhold forgiveness. God can judge a person’s intentions because He knows what’s in a person’s heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Hebrews 4:12–13), and we don’t. We are not God. We are not the Judge. For us to play God by refusing to offer forgiveness is an act of judgment on our part, something Jesus warns us against (Matthew 7:2).  Jesus illustrated forgiveness with the parable about a man who, when forgiven by his master of an overwhelming debt, refused to forgive another a paltry sum. When this man’s master heard about his ingratitude and injustice, he was outraged and had him handed over to the tormentors. “This is how My heavenly Father will treat each one of you, unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matthew 18:35).
            Everyone of us that has received salvation have such a massive pardon from God, we have ni right to withhold forgiveness from others. We are to emulate the example of our Savior. Forgiveness is not a fruit that needs time to grow in our lives. It is an act of the will. Jesus commands that if someone sins against us seven times in one day and repents as many times, that person should be forgiven (Luke 17:4).

            This comment will probably be modded and that’s quite unfair, an open consideration of Scripture should be the foundation of any ministry.  If you disagree,  please answer with Scripture.



  8. Maria on August 17, 2016 at 11:48 am

    It’s funny how when preachers preach about marriage, logic seems to be thrown out the window. Wives are encouraged to trust their unreliable husband, but
    it doesn’t apply to other relationships, for example a pastor would not be expected to trust a questionable Christian investors in the name of love. I think elevating marriage and making it an idol causes scripture to be taken out of context. Another thing that happens when marriage is idolized people saying parts of scripture don’t apply to marriage.

    • Remedy on August 20, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      Agree Maria. Makes no sense that marriage is supposed to be the highest earthly relationship, yet unmarrieds have all sorts of scriptural counsel to handle fools, angry people, divisive people, etc. Marriage in this context gets reduced to no beating or cheating. All else good with Jesus. Those Scriptures for the unmarrieds are just that…..not for the marrieds.

  9. Connie on August 17, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Jer. 17:5 “Cursed is the one who trusts in man…..”

    Is.2:22 “Stop trusting in man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for what account is he?”

    Several years ago my sister brought these verses to my attention. I think one of the downfalls of our society is our tendency to trust in man. Just see how effective advertising is, and how many of us fall for get rich quick schemes and pyramid sales. And when a ‘famous’ ‘christian’ speaker says or writes things, we tend to be followers. Just look at the whole Gothard thing (our family was a part of that). Maybe the Corinthians passage is simply talking about trusting all things to God? I used to get that, “But you HAVE to trust me, the Bible says” along with, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” Well then, isn’t the whole Bible a big record of wrongs (and rights)? Besides, that’s only one translation. Context, context, context.

    • Roger on August 30, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Connie,thanks again for your input, I am on a mission to do just that…. Leave her be, work on myself. And let God do the rest…. My pride was something that I needed to get rid of…. I love her, so therefore I must let her go,if she returns , great, if not then God has a plan regardless ، sin sure does have a price to oay…..

  10. Rosie on August 17, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    “Friends: Have you wrestled with this passage in Scripture about love always trusting? How have you come to peace with it?”

    The NASB says, “Believes all things.” I came to the conclusion that it means to believe someone’s actions over their words. That I can’t keep re-writing history to make them into something they’re not. If the person is unfaithful, I can safely believe they’re an adulterer. If the person lies, I can safely believe they’re a liar. Their actions show me the truth of who they are clearer than their words do.

    Oddly enough, I listened to this YouTube video about betrayal today. Counselor Patrick Doyle talks mostly about the betrayal that happens on a Spiritual level, but toward the end he talks about some things that might apply to marriage. The whole session is worth listening to in my opinion.

    https://youtu.be/jkmoHlr5wyo

  11. Aleea on August 17, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Friends: Have you wrestled with this passage in Scripture about love always trusting? How have you come to peace with it?

    —Wrestled with passages like that? —Yes, yes I have. Come to peace with them —Not fully, not really. These logical contradictions exist and only the Lord God knows how they fully work. I certainly don’t. . . . .“love always trusts” . . . . I think means we are not suspicious of the ones we love. We are slow to believe any damaging news concerning them and generally giving them the benefit of the doubt, ready to believe the best about them, etc. Mistrust and suspicion are at odds with this type of love. Scripture condemns such thinking as “evil suspicions” (ὑπόνοιαι πονηραί see First Timothy Six, et.al.)

    . . . . But that is not the whole story as everyone well knows, especially with the serious issues we deal with here. —Maybe, I don’t know, but maybe the answer to all these serious conundrums is something like, αλήθεια εξυπηρετεί ζωή (truth serves life) . . . . . God gave us super-strong rational reasoning abilities and we should use consistent standards of evidence and reason and not be naïve, undiscerning, God forbid —credulous or gullibile. Maybe lack of skepticism is not a part of love? —Maybe?

    . . .And yet, I don’t know what to think because we are to love, really love one another not just tolerate each other. Tolerate is a very different word than love. If you are just tolerating someone, you are not really loving them. I fear I am doing that lots of times with my abusive mother. . . . . . Christ loves us unconditionally, He calls us to love others that way. Love is based on who He is, not on what others do, or don’t do. —Sigh. I just don’t know.

    The issue is that abuse short-circuits the entire relationship and creates all these unhealthy, destructive patterns and it is such a tangled mess after that. Loving relationships are those in which your needs are filled: you are understood, you are accepted, you are affirmed. I don’t know how you solve it based on the texts we have. . . .In abuse cases I have no idea how to solve the logical contradictions. Loyalty has its limits and unconditional love can maybe coexist (—I don’t fully know how, logically) with conditional involvement? Maybe you can say that unconditional does not, after all, mean uncritical. You can both love someone unconditionally and place conditions on your interactions to protect your own boundaries. Something like: “I love you unconditionally and I take care of myself by not living with you.” I don’t know if that is shrewd text/ logic twisting or what, but it is so sad it ever has to degenerate to that.

    You say: “I still hear the arguments of my ex in my mind as to why I was selfish and unloving to our family by leaving.” Then maybe, maybe when you do hear them, each time, go back to that situation in your mind and re-write the endings. What would you say now knowing what you know? . . .”The latest hit was a few days ago when I heard someone reading the love chapter (First Corinthians Thirteen) on the radio. When they got to the part about love always trusts, I couldn’t hold back the tears because since I was a child, I’ve taken the scriptures so literally and if I was to err, I’d err on the side that would require me to change.” . . . .If your heart is that sensitive and that broken (—and you know you) and that desirious to follow God, realize you probably did the right things and you are on the right path. What else can you do but keep your heart clean and let the Holy Spirit guide you? . . . . .In Matthew, Jesus declares, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” In Mark, He says,“Whoever is not against us is for us.” Did He say both things? Could He mean both things? How can both be true at once? —And that is a very minor example. . . .So, we are back to Truth serves real life. . . . .Let me tell you something I do know, if God is a peevous theology professor, we are ALL finished, every last one of us. . . . .So, snuggle into the love of God for strength and refreshment, and keep asking the Holy Spirit to direct you and share that with wise others for feedback (—like you did with your question to Leslie). It sounds like you are doing all of that already, yes? —Good for you! —I’m praying for you! Only God knows why He takes us along these paths. All we can do is keep seeking God in Christ and let Him direct us. He loves you, you have the greatest value. He gave His life for all your worth!

  12. Connie on August 17, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    God loves us unconditionally? He loves us no matter who we are, but our relationship with Him is very conditional.

    https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2016/08/15/does-unconditional-love-even-exist/

    • Aleea on August 18, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Thank you Connie. I very much appreciate what you are saying because it goes to personal responsibility and accountability, which I am always a fan of. . . . . But nothing is simple, is it? Not really. The Bible is so nuanced that everyone can find the passages to plant their flags. God can love and hate at the same time and He is always a mystery. A wonderful mystery but a mystery. I get that unconditional love is an illogical notion, but such a great and powerful one that, I think, God uses it. Together, they form a necessary paradox; not a senseless contradiction —I hope not anyway. —If we did this right, we would have to touch everything the Bible says about it. That would be my definition of FUN and I think that conclusion would be systematic, that is, all the passages and texts fit together, not in isolation pulling a proof text from here or there. . . . But I’ll have to limit myself to a few thoughts.

      I understand the question that if God’s love is absolutely unconditional, why do we tell people that they have to repent in order to be saved? The problem with this is that people are dead (like really dead) in trespasses and sins not just a little hindered. They would never, ever choose Christ. Every part of us is in bondage to sin: our bodies, our minds, and our wills. Our hearts are “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” I know mine was. In our natural, unregenerate state, we are carnally minded, not spiritually minded. Who wants Christ? He asks us to die with Him. No person without a heart transplant and changed by God wants that.

      . . . .So the question might be: Is it true that in some sense God loves even those who fail to meet the conditions of salvation, but that, that subtlety is often missed by the hearer when the non-careful person declares the unconditional love of God? Think about this on one of those signs in front of a church: “God Loves you Uncondictionally*”
      *Terms and condictions apply, see full contract.

      Connie, all I know is nothing compared to all that there is to be known. I do care about being somewhat reasonably right, but above all, I just want to know God’s love, period. I am insufficiency and ignorance, in the final analysis, afraid and weak. I also understand that what I do not yet know is far more important than what I already know, so I am really eager to learn, grow, take personal responsibility and I am grateful despite my psychological suffering (—my mother’s abuse).

      . . . .With abuse it is so, so different. Unconditional love is like a country of two with no laws and no government. Which is all fine if everyone is peaceful and law abiding. In the wrong hands, though, you have looting and crime sprees, and let me tell you, the people who demand unconditional love are usually the ones who will rob and pillage and then blame you because you left your door unlocked. . . . . And I fully understand (with my own mother) that to love everyone unconditionally does not mean to give everyone your unconditional time. Sometimes, to love completely, we must never see someone again. This, too, is love. Love gives without expectation, while hate carries an endless tally of debts and is calculating everything, not serving. . . . .But if pure, eternal, unconditional Love is the foundation on which you stand, even if all else falls away, you are still valuable because you are loved. That said, I am open to being totally wrong: Again, I understand that what I do not yet know is far more important than what I already know, so I am really eager to learn, grow, take personal responsibility and I am grateful despite my psychological suffering (—my mother’s abuse).

  13. Nancy on August 18, 2016 at 7:35 am

    In the very first Bible study that I ever attended, the leader asked us to read 1 Corinthians 13 aloud, replacing the word love with God, throughout.

    It’s a very powerful excercise.

    God is love. And so to me this passage does not describe human love, but God HIMSELF. This is perfect Love – completely, utterly, and totally – free of distortion. Something I cannot “do”.

    [God] always trusts, [God] always believes. This trust or belief is not based in lies or distortion because these are not part of His character. I see the entire passage from the perspective of perfection – things I’m not capable of, but as His child, am privileged to witness glimpses of, from time to time.

    This passage is a famous wedding passage. When we can “let the Lord fight for [us]” exodus 14:14, in marriage, The Lord reveals His character to us. Not one of these “love traits” is something I can ACHIEVE, they are a RESULT, of being in Him (and again, only for moments at a time).

    It simply puts way too much pressure on me to approach any of these as attainable. It’s not about how I am to love. It’s a passage that reveals His perfect Love, to me.

    And so, for me, when I read this passage, I marvel at His perfection, and the awesome priveledge I have in being a witness to His Love and it’s transforming effects in my life.

    • Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:33 pm

      Amen Nancy. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Caroline Abbott on August 18, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Great post! It is very easy for an abuse victim to take these kind of verses ultra-seriously. You made some good points about other things the bible says – like Paul chastising believers who are liars and sinners.

    • Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:33 pm

      Thanks Caroline.

  15. Robin on August 18, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    For me, I trust very few people in my life who have had s history of faithfulness and repentance when needed. My husband wasn’t trusting in any way throughout our relationship. I knew I couldn’t trust him and I didn’t lie to myself and believe he was trustworthy. I learned in and by Gods Word, what is to be trusted, and it’s very rare that it’s people. My trust is in God and His Word. But I understand how certain Scriptures can be confusing.
    In a healthy relationship we will likely see more option to trust. But where trust has been broken down and mutilated ——by abuse; I think we get some good lessons on how to trust. Being divorced now, I would caution anyone not to let your exhusbands words get inside of you. That is one of the ways he’ll keep you right where he wants you.
    I would encourage you to find new trusting relationships, and not that they will all be very trusting. But we learn to discern as we move out and see what is trusting and what is foolish to trust.

    • Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      Thanks Robin, Sometimes I think we are naive in thinking we should trust everybody who claims to be Christian.

  16. JJ on August 19, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Thanks so much for posting this. The person who asked the question’s situation closely mirrors my experience except I’m separated and not divorced. One of our pastors preached on this exact passage a few weeks ago – that we should believe everyone has good intentions – with no caveats for situations when it’s not wise to believe the other person has good intentions. Bc the church I attend has huge influence and reaches many people, I shared my concern with a friend who’s on staff, and she affirmed that the message definitely didn’t apply to people in situations like mine; I found out later that in another version of the message (the one posted online), the pastor did clarify that “believing all things”, in the sense of always believing others have good intentions, wouldn’t necessarily apply in situations involving addiction or abuse.

    I really appreciate how you covered this topic so thoroughly and clearly. Thanks for all you do!

    • Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      You’re so welcome. Thanks for your encouragement of my ministry.

  17. Phyllis on August 20, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Roger, I have been in an EDM for 25 years. A five-month separation would not provide the peace I need to be able to even process trusting again.
    Why are you so anxious to be “let go”?
    Do you love your wife enough to accept a divorce and then begin dating her again?

    • Roger on August 22, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Phyllis, I do love her and can wait for her return as long as needed, if she came to me and said, ” at this point I cannot return, I am unsure of what my future feelings will be, I do not feel led to divorce but I cant promise I will be able to return either’….then I could at least feel like she is being open and honest……the concept of accepting a divorce and then dating her again is confusing, why would it be necessary to put ourselves through the financial, emotional gut wrenching process of a divorce if you are open to dating again in the future……seems to me that if you need to divorce me then you are making a statement that you are done and moving on with you life without me….our children have suffered through this whole process and divorcing to them will seem permanent…..I cannot say that I believe divorcing me to see if I can persevere, testing my love, is an acceptable means of dealing with my failure….why not just say you need more time, or do you believe that divorcing me and seeing how I respond through that devastating process will the ultimate test of my integrity and character…I believe I am showing my integrity and character by accepting the terms of separation, living a solitary life, paying for everything, all while getting nothing in return….loving her from afar and knowing that she may never return…..the world tells me to cut my losses and run, yet I am choosing to stay the course, work on myself, be the man God intended me to be, and pray that she can heal and be the women God needs her to be…..yes 5 months is not enough time, although she has not been my wife for 18 months now, and yet I m still here, fighting for the woman I love, not sure how else I can prove my love at this point, I realize that the barriers in the relationship that caused the failure must be removed in order for reconciliation to occur, the biggest barrier being my sense of entitlement and not treating her with the honor and respect she deserved….going forward those issues would never be a problem, it took the potential loss of the relationship for me to wake up and face my sin, and for that I am thankful…..if I must accept a divorce, I will do my best and with God s help try to understand that sometimes the wounds are too deep and marriages fail….Her divorcing me says to me she believes that God has released her and she is moving on, I would find it difficult to believe she is divorcing me with the intention of dating me again….im not anxious to be let go, but her current behavior tells me she has no intention of ever returning, if that’s the case I would expect that she will face me with the truth and have some compassion for me knowing that I will be devastated and need a lifetime to grieve the loss of the only woman I have ever really loved…..I have to live with the knowledge of what I did and try to forgive myself, I cannot undue the past, but I am not doomed to repeat it….sorry for the length of the post, just trying to express my feelings as a man that hurt a wonderful women, thanks for listening….

      • Maria on August 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        Roger, when you were abusive to your wife, she probably wondered constantly and did not understand why you were behaving this way, when you had so much going for you- a wonderful family, great wife etc. Yet, she could not stop your behavior. In the same way, you have no control over what your wife does or thinks. That’s one of the tough lessons we’ve all had to learn here.

      • Leslie Vernick on August 25, 2016 at 8:46 am

        Sounds like you have made some good progress in seeing the damage you caused and I’d encourage you to continue your own work, not trying to “second guess” what work your wife is doing. That is God’s domaine and it’s important that you give her time and space to figure out her own feelings and heal.

      • Aly on August 30, 2016 at 7:09 pm

        I missed this above post Roger,
        In addition to what I wrote earlier..
        To me, your words seem to continue to point to how ‘your feeling’ how this separation is effecting you? (You do not seem to express much about how your wife is living through this? What concerns you have for her feelings and impact(Maybe I missed it.)
        But this is one of the biggest part of the problems at least for me…
        Please see that ‘her feelings’ ‘seem’ to be marginalized or dismissed in your posts.

        As I said in my earlier post… We have similar stories and probably a similar marital pattern (not identical by far)

        If you choose to get healthier as you are ‘waiting’
        Which personally I would not want to hear the word ‘waiting’ if I were in your wife’s shoes. It sounds passive, upside down…to me.. especially if you were the one who’s needs were usually met. ? Just a guess… I could be very wrong.

        I would or must hear that, my husband is getting to work and rooting out the thinking and behaviors of dysfunction. What is fueling the attitude and why?
        I would want to see that you are taking ‘action’ not waiting ~
        Meaning you are getting holistic help , spiritually, mentally and very much emotionally to address your own personal responsibility for the marriage chaos.

        I have children myself, and I decided one day that my responsibility as a mother to love and protect was a greater responsibility than continuing the cycle of modeling for them an unhealthy marriage dynamic. I loved my husband dearly enough to leave enough to divorce, whatever it took I was willing to be the mother that God called me to.
        I have a weird feeling that you don’t like the association of ‘divorce’
        The word. But look in the mirror and ask yourself if you actually have been the one to divorce ‘her’
        Maybe not on paper, but in attitude, covenant and heart.

        I believe that part of a father’s role is growing to be the husband God calls you to. Same for us wives.

        I was not being a good wife or mother by allowing my husband to model such selfish entitled behavior in front of them.

        I’m so thankful that is not our life anymore! I hope you know that these things can get restored but you have to be willing to surrender completely. We have been in dark places ~but God is truly so trustworthy;)
        He honors genuine hearts.

  18. Leslie Vernick on August 20, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Aleea, you always bring such a thoughtful response to everything. Which shows us that black and white thinking doesn’t work when it comes to all these things. We need to trust God to show us how to love – but not enable.

    • Aleea on August 22, 2016 at 5:45 am

      Please pray for me, anyone here, that God will help me rest in Him and really know His love. I am starting to realize that all my constant worry is so self-indulgent (sin), so paralyzing, draining, and even controlling (more sin). When I take my worry into my prayer it does becomes smaller, even smaller if I just flat-out worship God. . . . but it doesn’t disappear. It is always there. I don’t trust God in so many ways.

      . . .And, the Lord God . . .oh my. . .who can fathom the mysteries God has concealed? I mean how? This perfect mercy and justice in all His judgments is so foreign to my mind. . . my mind so dark and so easily deceived. . . . And how can I look to Him when even His shadow is too bright for my eyes? . . . ―The source of every life and every thought? ―How is that even possible? . . . . .Lord God, free me from my vast insecurities, by softening my heart. Lord God, help me find more of your Light rather than ―ever― putting out anyone else’s ―even inadvertently.

      “. . . . black and white thinking doesn’t work when it comes to all these things. We need to trust God to show us how to love – but not enable.” . . . Leslie, maybe because people and these situations are so complex and the complexity is so multiplied by sin? So much so that I believe there are many problems which can only be solved by generations which are still to be born and discoveries still to be made. I think it is only one way, of so many, that God gives answers to our prayers.

      Black-and-white thinking is the addict’s mentality, isn’t it? (―whatever we are addicted to), and it is a bar to wholesome discipline/ recovery/ non-enabling. . . . I don’t understand how it can be but I bet God sees all kinds of grey, without enabling, and He probably even dances on the grey (―Because He just does stuff like that! Even inverted shades of grey. . . .Who can fathom the mysteries God has concealed?) I would not be surprised if grey is okay to God. ―That is so, so hard for me to understand: Truth serves life, sans the enabling.

  19. Ruth on August 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    This is off-topic but I figure more ladies are reading the most current article. And I hoping one of you will remember who made a particular comment and when it was made. It was really a jewel of insight. One lady commented that she couldn’t understand why abusive when didn’t just pay for a maid and a prostitute. Why do they tie down a good woman under the guise of wanting a wife when they really want is a servant. Then another lady responded to her by saying that if an abusive man were to go the ‘hired help’ route that wouldn’t be satisfying to him bc those ladies would be free to leave if they wanted. He’s only happy if he has a wife over his control and domination.
    I’m thinking these comments were made in the last 6-9 months.
    Does anyone remember who made these comments and/or what the original article was titled ?

    • Ruth on August 21, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Oops. Typo- it’s supposed to say
      ‘…why abusive MEN just didn’t…’
      Not ‘…abusive WHEN…’

    • free on August 29, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      Yes, I remember those comments. Power and control is all he is interested in. He needs the wife around to blame for any and everything.

    • Ruth on August 30, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      I found it!
      It was from the article on Jan 27 titled “My Husband Wants To Control The Finances But Doesn’t Work”.
      The ladies who made those comments wisely articulated something that’s been stirring in my heart lately.
      Again, I’m so thankful for this blog. Leslie’s counsel is wonderful and the ladies here constantly inspire me!

  20. Robin on August 23, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    LOVE ALWAYS TRUSTS?? The testimony I’m about to give, is on my growth in learning that my trust is in Jesus alone. In my marriage my husband punished me by withholding finances, for groceries, household, and general needs when I didn’t submit to his sbusive behaviors. Today God rewarded me in the courtroom. My now ex-husband is still trying to withhold money any way he can. But I decided to not let him bully me anymore and file s motion before the judge. It has been 14 months since our divorce finalized– and the court ordered me 50 percent of his retirement pension. But it has not come. My husband kept making excuses and so I finally took him before the court, to hold him accountable for doing what the court ordered. He thought if he wrote a 25 page response to the court saying I needed to pay taxes on his IRA’s and CD’s he took money out of the year of the divorce, the court would let him off the hook. For 3 years I have been fighting him in the courtroom- and the sociopath he is, won several of those battles. I’m here to say now don’t give up. Keep enduring. Today was my payday, and the Lord worked thru the judge in ordering monies be given to me immediately, inspite of all my ex had been trying to pull. I went into the courtroom scared to death, trying to keep the faith. But it was hard. Very hard. But I came out with way more than I ever expected. I just wanted to share with everyone- keep setting boundaries and hold abusive spouses accountable. God will work on our behalf, as we learn to stand up for ourselves, as Leslie teaches in her books. My heart is so full for Gods generous mercy to me today. It’s been a horrendous battle, but I finally won the prize.

    • Maria on August 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Robin, Glad to hear you were successful with this. Hopefully, your court battles are over.

    • Ruth on August 23, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you for sharing this awesome testimony!

    • Leslie Vernick on August 25, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Robin, you have been a stalwart of faith during this entire journey, showing the women that God is good and can be trusted. Thanks for sharing this experience with us. Praise God.

      • Robin on August 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm

        Thank you Leslie. I would want you to know, your blog has been a place for me in many ways. A safe place when I was leaving my abusive relationship, support as I needed it to make tough decisions, and lots of love, acceptance, and training as I prepare to work with abused women. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this very safe place victims of abuse can be loved and lifted up!!!!!!

  21. Kammy on August 30, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Hi ladies

    I am in an abusive marriage (20 years)and planning my exit. I do not speak to him ( a month now) , I have left on numerous occasions only to trust him that he has changed but no I was the fool as usual.the last episode he broke my nose and he hits me in front of the kids, please pray for me God will provide me with a place I can afford. Any advise will be welcomed

    • Robin on August 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Kammy, good for you finally seeing it’s time to take action and stand up for you and your kids. Do you attend private counseling? Do you have people who support you and can help you in leaving?? Have you attended a support group at Domestic Violence Center? These things are able to strengthen you and give you the support you need. We’ll be holding you up in prayer!!

  22. Teena on August 30, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Thanks Leslie. You always bring the balance into the situation. I was tense reading “how does love always trust”. In fact, the entire 1 Corinthians 13 can bind me up at times convicting me. You have brought out truths. You’ve said, “I don’t think God is asking us to foolishly put our own well-being in the hands of someone who has consistently shown that he or she does not have our welfare in mind.” And you gave us scripture reference supporting that. What I’ve learned in my experience with my dishonest husband and others, is that I am to learn to TRUST GOD who cares for me no matter what I go through. THEN, I can always get back into the game with HIS POWER in patience, endurance, kindness, etc.

  23. Kammy on August 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Robin

    Thank you, just I have friends, need to go for counselling that I never thought of. God bless

    • Robin on August 30, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Kammy, personal counseling is so important. We need someone we can trust and have a safe relationship with, that will help you make the important decisions. One recommendation I suggest, is the church is usually not the best place to seek counsel. They just don’t have the training to understand the dynamics of an abusivement relationship. I left 3 years ago, and was awarded my home and I was able to move back in and have him removed. I can tell you from experience there are many fears as one starts this process, but as I experienced God always provided every need. Maybe not always how I wanted- but He was very faithful. My ex-husband was/is a sociopath so he worked hard against me, and tried to make me fail. I kept standing up fighting back even in the worst of times. Just remember it’s one baby step at a time. That’s all you need to do. Sometimes we get overwhelmed with the whole of leaving our relationship. That’s why a support group is so important- to remind us of what we forget in the midst of chaos.

  24. Robin on August 31, 2016 at 12:02 am

    Roger, sin certainly does have a price to pay. But when we genuinely acknowledge our sin and repent, it’s absolutely amazing the beautiful things God works out for us………
    Most of us on this blog, know that by our own experiences of sin and forgiveness.

  25. Kammy on August 31, 2016 at 3:38 am

    Hi Robin,

    Thank you for the advise I have been to the church but they are very reluctant in helping- when you mention abuse I have noticed people try to keep their distance. My husband is also a sociopath , he will destroy me and sometimes I think he will be will be able to kill me, he is cruel nasty and does not even think about the children its all about him, everything is his, how hard he worked for this family, how I do nothing. And he keeps accusing me havings affairs and that’s the 20 years we together I have been hearing this. its a bit too much now – I am tired.

    • Robin on August 31, 2016 at 9:51 am

      Kammy, I never found using the word ‘abuse’ helpful either at church or with my husband. Your situation sounds very similar to mine. Churches are often not helpful in Destructive relationships, I highly recommend a counselor and ask them a few questions on first visit to see how they respond to abuse. Have you read Leslies book on Destructive relationships?? I found getting information was very helpful as I drew up a plan to leave………

  26. Robin on August 31, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Kammy, being tired is part of this process. Even after my children grew up and left home I would be so exhausted from living with someone whose bent was to bring me down and destroy me. Is there something you can do for yourself, to build some strength up???

  27. Kammy on August 31, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Hi Robin

    Thank you, will definitely get the book, any idea where I can purchase in South Africa :). I am busy looking for a Christian counselor, to help and get insight into this situation.

    • Robin on August 31, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Kammy, do u have access to a computer, if so u can get her book on Amazon.com….
      What brought u to South Africa??

  28. Kammy on August 31, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Hi Robin,

    Too scared to do anything now, while still with him cos if I come home he will get upset and accuse of of insane and bizarre things a norman person will not even think of. So for now I just keep quiet and stay as close to the kids as possible and try mu best not be alone with him

  29. Robin on August 31, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I understand Kammy. Praying for your safety and sanity!!!!

  30. Kammy on August 31, 2016 at 11:07 am

    thank you Robin and God Bless

  31. Kammy on August 31, 2016 at 11:08 am

    HI Robin

    Thanks will do, always lived in SA- originally from Durban but moved to Gauteng when I got married – living in Gauteng Johannesburg for 20 years now

  32. Kammy on September 1, 2016 at 4:57 am

    Hi Robin

    I have found the book, will purchase on Saturday – its called the emotionally destructive marriage. cant wait to read it

  33. Robin on September 1, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Awesome Cammy. The first time I read it, I read in one night I loved the good news. It taught me to speak up and stand up and confront abusive behaviors boldly!!!

  34. ITSWELL on September 2, 2016 at 11:56 am

    WOW
    Where do I start with my story
    hmmmm as an African woman plus a Christian , I noticed women are encouraged to suffer abuse. My culture also support abuse so you can see how hard it is for women over there which am one of them.

    I have told myself not to trust my husband of over 10 years but I start to give my reasons I am tagged “unforgiving Christian/wife”

    Same pattern, Leslie you opened my eyes via your youtube channel where you spoke about abusive relationship in detail with Our daily Bread. Because sometimes I thought and believe that I am the problem according to my husband.

    its so bad that I am so scared to separate cos I have no support whatsoever from neither my family nor the church, I don’t have much friends but those I have encouraged to stay and pray and believe.

    my husband is 100% narcisstic.

    my husband sister is abuse women counselor yet she supports my husband in his abusive behavior. If you are from Africa you will understand this part better.

    • Leslie Vernick on September 5, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      Yes I know women from other cultures have it much harder because there is a degrading of a woman’s voice and her right to choose. I’m so glad you’ve found this site and I hope you feel lots of love and support here.

  35. Teena on September 3, 2016 at 9:08 am

    It breaks my heart that you have no one who will support you there. I support you. I care what happens to you. I know of an African who used to come to church with her husband here in the US and I suspected abuse. I reached out to her a couple of times but she does not respond. Her husband visited our home for the first time yesterday, so I’ve been reminded of her. How can I help you? Or help her? I encourage you to listen and learn from Leslie who teaches a Christ centered, well balanced message on relationships. There you will gain much needed insight and strength to thrive in this lifetime.

  36. Itswell on September 3, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for your support and reply
    I was referred to Leslie by focus on the family staff.

    I think I have anger issue( it seems to run in my family) so that’s my number one need. I react to my husband’s abuse by either keeping silent or raising my voice. You can’t have a sensible discussion with a narcissistic. The conversation will turn to be all about him and how I made him react on certain way.
    I wish I can record my marriage details instead of typing it down cos it will be faster( my young kids are running around the house needing this and that lol)

    He said I don’t seem to forgive and forget however, he never genuinely ask for forgiveness nor repented on any of those sins.
    He always says: “Never bring up what happened in past ever again”
    ” don’t tell me I did the same thing last time”
    ” always be cheerful not always muddy cos I hate moody people”
    ” you should in night only” the after few years …..
    ” married ladies should not work night shift” then after we had more kids and he could not cope with them he changes to ..
    “you better work only few days after all I pay most of the bills”

    Then time to pay bills …
    “if only you had worked more it would have helped me in paying bills and make life easier for me”

    Then as a part time I try to pick more shifts he told me not to
    then when time for bills comes, he wished I could give him more money ????????????

    Anyway enough about him,
    I resent him and he knows, he reports me to my pastor, his sister and my family and at each point he lies and tried to make me look bad. He is hard working, lovably people pleaser, giver etc but he is different at home

    Wanting to control where I go, my choice of friend , even my sex life/position hmmmm
    Is like have lost myself in this marriage, he pursue his dream: edu action , spots , belonging and heading many association but my life is work and home repeat again
    Sometimes is like I have been believing all his lies that am bad person fool etc

    Our main problem is money: early in our marriage:
    I was working and he was in school and controlling all the family finance, but I noticed he will rather give money (my hard earned money) to outsiders rather than spending it on me
    Note: he can spend on me based on his mood and according to him
    ” I know how to take care of a woman but until you change and love and respect me as a husband then that’s when I can care about you”

    Am not sure if am making sense at all. Again if there is a media where I can do voice record

    Last month he left home
    and slept outside for 3 days cos he claimed that I needed good sex and that I was verbally abusive to him(I need help with communication cos my heart is heavy and I have understood his narcissist behavor so anytime he wants to play that usual game of emotional and financial abuse it makes me very angry and I recall all his past wrong deeds, he took me for a fool thinking that I don’t know his tricks. He even called me fool several time.
    Oh I forgot to mention that he threatens me with divorce since over 8 years , so I pray for my marriage but at same time I am saving some money and he knows which drives him mad, at first after saving over $30,000 I ended up giving all them of them to him which brought the best out of him for few months then back to his usual emotional verbal financial abuse)

    So back to him leaving home last month .,,,
    When he returned he said he will move out , he stopped paying any bills nor caring for the kids no following us to church, for 3 weeks
    He told me and his sister that I make him sad and depressed that he will kill himself if our marriage continues ( all to Manupulate me ) but he has not understood that my heart is hardened that I don’t really care nor love him anymore
    I am only here cos of God and my kids
    Am still here cos I have 4 little kids and afraid of how to cope alone
    Am still here cos no one supports me and I don’t have steady job

    After 3 weeks I sent him text that we should stop this querell
    Again we never resolve or settle any issue so for 15years it’s been building up

    So now I can’t stand making love to him and he is very concern about it( I can’t reach orgasm no matter how he tries .( I don’t care about sex or orgasim , I want to have joy of the Lord In my heart and to have healthy marriage!
    He refuse to see any marriage counselor cos he is perfect and am the one that is the bad egg in this marriage

    So coming to trust, I can’t see myself trusting him with my money nor body nor anything because of past repeated abuse and he know it so he kept preaching: ” you claim to be a Christian and attend church all the time yet you can’t neither be happy nor forgive me”

    I Pray that holy spirits will convict us and help us into healthy marriage

    Thanks to everyone in this group, it’s really an eye opener to me but I don’t want divorce I want healthy marriage
    I wanted Seperation but can I cope with the kids alone?
    Can he be faithful during the separation or should I be opening my door for the enemy?

    God bless you sister Leslie

  37. Teena on September 3, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    This sounds like my life! My husband! We’ve been married for 36 yrs. My husband got physical with me early in the marriage. I have no advice to offer. I only have my own experience. My marriage started to turn around when I matured by working with the Lord, hearing sound counsel, being silent, staying fit, and working in confidence that if he didn’t get it together, he would lose out. We have 3 children; one daughter mentally challenged and blind. We lost our son in his twenties. And the youngest daughter was my rebel. Go figure! Work with the Holy Spirit and Leslie. My life right now is like night and day compared to up until 2 years ago. God made me look great and the truth is out about my husband! Stay in faith and be safe. I’m hoping the best for you!!!

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