Morning sweet friends,

What a week I’ve had. Chris Moles and I had an amazing time at The Village Church. Pastor Matt Chandler and their entire staff were extremely supportive of our work and wanted to know how they as a church could do better. I was very encouraged by their humility, affirmation, and support of how we can help men and women in destructive marriages find genuine healing and good biblical help. Thank you so much for your prayers.

I’ve also had a few surprises this week that will uproot my life in the next few months. Please pray for me as I navigate through those changes in the midst of everything else that I need to do. Please pray that I have focus, energy, good decision-making and a positive attitude. It’s one of those things that will either overwhelm me or strengthen me. I choose for it to strengthen me, but it’s a fine line. I sure would appreciate your prayers.

And our CONQUER conference is quickly approaching. We are getting new registrations every day and people are bringing their friends, their mothers, sisters, and daughters. Trust me, this will be a wonderful conference and you will not want to miss it. For more information click here.

Today’s Question: I'm a newlywed of 10 months who has realized that I am in a destructive marriage. My husband didn't have a major outburst of controlling abuse until our honeymoon. I was excited about wearing lingerie, and he didn't want me to. I tried to explain how exciting it was for me to wear it (I was a virgin when I got married and had dreamed of wearing pretty things like that for my husband on our honeymoon).

He went into a yelling tirade about our disagreement and how much I (emphatically and disdainfully called, “his wife”) was hurting him by disagreeing. I ended up sobbing on the couch as he yelled at me. This was just the beginning of the worst 10 months of my life so far. We have had at least one explosive episode like this every month since we've gotten married. He engages in incessant texting or calling until I answer him, badgering and pressuring me to change my thoughts or answers, physical restraint from leaving an escalated conversation, as well as sneering at and mocking me.

I was then able to actually talk uninhibitedly about what was going on in our marriage. We separated. We don't have children yet. I make twice as much money as my husband since he is finishing up his degree. I also have a wide support group in my city. The costs of separation have not been high for me.

But here is my question. I'm fearful of reconciling too early, working on our marriage, getting pregnant (that is the scariest thought to me right now), and then finding out that no change has happened. I live in fear of a “what if.” I'm just not sure how to handle it. I know I don't want to go home yet. But if and when I do… sex will be extremely difficult for me. I am on birth control, but what if it is ineffective? I don't trust my husband what-so-ever. I really want to withhold sex until I do see true change. Is that wrong of me or an over-reaction? If so, can you offer some insight into battling this “what if” scenario?

Answer: First, I’m so glad you recognized after 10 months that this marriage was getting worse and more destructive instead of waiting 10 or 20 years and having children in the mix as well. You wisely separated.

That said, how will you “know” he’s changed? In your question, you said your husband didn’t have a major episode of controlling abuse until your honeymoon. This is not uncommon but did he have some minor episodes of controlling behavior while you were engaged or dating? You didn’t mention how long you dated or how well you knew each other before dating but I’m wondering if you have taken the time to explore for yourself the red flags you ignored or missed that may have given you some indication of these destructive tendencies?

You also didn’t mention in your question what were the terms of your separation or what kinds of changes you asked him to make in order to reconcile? You mentioned that he is finishing up his degree, but what is he doing to change his behavior and attitudes? Is he getting help to recognize and repent of his destructive ways? And, how has he been treating you now that you are separated? Is he still incessantly texting you? Badgering you? Insisting that you see things his way or else? Mocking you?

You said that you do not trust him whatsoever. That is not a good sign if you want to put this marriage back together. You are especially afraid of reconciling, getting pregnant and then finding out that nothing is different. I hope you never get to that point. You should see many small and large changes before you reconcile or get pregnant. He should respect your thoughts and feelings. He would allow you to have your own ways of doing things instead of always making it about disrespecting him if you disagree. He needs to know how to handle his disappointment or anxiety in a way that doesn’t lead to control or belittling of you as a person. If he hasn’t worked on this and you haven’t seen improvements in these areas, nothing is really different.

I imagine he does have a charming side. After all, you fell in love with that person. So his charming side may have resumed and you are tempted to believe that the other side is gone. But unless he has owned, explored, and repented of that other side, it will definitely come back.

No one can predict the future. All we know is what’s happening now and what’s happened in the past. If the now together isn’t changing and the past is what it is, then there is a high degree of certainty that nothing is going to change with him in the future.

Remember, healthy people live in reality, in what is, not in what they wish was true (tweet that).

So let me ask you some final questions. How has your husband handled your opinions and perspectives when you do have conversations or interactions together while separated? Is he different now and if so, how is he different? What has he learned about himself? What insights has he gained about why he did what he did while you were living together? What changes is he committed to making over the long haul? Who is he accountable to for these changes? Have you seen any humility, sorrow, and concern or true biblical repentance for how he treated you? Or, are you finding that he is quite capable of being his charming self when it serves him to do so, but there has been no real internal change in his mindset around marriage or you as his wife.

If you don’t trust him at all, then you are nowhere ready for reconciliation or raising a child together. Why are you afraid that you would rush that process? What’s going on inside of you that fear you won’t stick to your boundaries? Who or what is pressuring you to reconcile before you are ready or see significant changes?

On the other hand, if over time while you are separated, you see that he is gradually and consistently changing in the right direction and you choose to reconcile, I would wait a while longer before getting pregnant even if you do resume your sex life. You can take effective methods of birth control that will greatly lessen the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy while the two of you are working to repair your marriage. You don’t want to bring a child into this relationship if you aren’t comfortable and safe with him.

Friends: How many of you saw destructive behavior on the honeymoon that continued on through the marriage? If you did separate, did he change his ways? How did you know genuine change was occurring?

53 Comments

  1. Trish on August 31, 2016 at 8:19 am

    This is a heartbreaking story and one I lived out just this past year. My husband is a Godly man and when he finally understood he was hurting me, he was miraculously delivered of control, criticism and mocking. It was clear the behaviors came directly from his mother and how she raised him. I suggest you look to his parents for clues as to where this came from so you can have some compassion on your husband as you decide what to do. If your husband will not see that he is hurting you, don’t attempt reconciliation. I found articles by Craig Malkin to be very helpful during this time. In my first year of marriage I put on 60 pounds, was deeply depressed, isolated myself and hardly slept. I leaned on God and prayed. It took a year, but my marriage is now everything I could ever wish for. God bless sweetheart.

  2. Ava on August 31, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I couldn’t help but cry while I read your question and Leslie’s response. Your situation sounds eerily like mine. Unfortunately, I did not heed the warning signs and the warnings that the Holy Spirit had put into my heart. After 19 years and two children I finally had to divorce my husband. One of the most confusing things during those 19 years was that he could maintain his charming self for months at a time. When he would lose it again, as he always did, he would spin it so that it felt very much like my fault. My friend, it is very confusing when you’re trying to please God to make hard decisions in regards to your marriage. You get lots of “God hates divorce advice”. God, however, is not a God of confusion. Ask him to only give you that crazy peace with choices that are what He wants for you and for your husband! God hates sin. Abuse is a sin. A wise friend once told me that I could always remarry him if it ever truly appeared that he had made the changes that would be necessary for me to be safe in a relationship with him. Please be careful? God is so good to answer our prayers. One of my prayers was that were I to be making a decision that was not within his will that I would have NO peace about it. As you consider how to proceed , Think about asking God to do that for you? You should have perfect peace that surpasses all understanding about reconciling with him if it is God’s will. If you feel anything less I would not do it! One last thing… Consider the fact that God loves your husband and is heart broken that he Is being this abusive person . God wants to change your husbands heart. Your husband will NOT look to God if you stand in the divide easing his natural consequences by reconciling with him. God wants that man reconciled to himself first. Take it from one who knows, an abusive marriage of any kind is a long slow painful death to your spirit. Don’t choose it.

    • Martha on August 31, 2016 at 9:40 am

      I agree with Ava 100%. I am divorcing my husband of 9 1/2 years…a man who, on the outside to everyone else seems charming and the perfect “Christian” husband. Unfortunately, after praying for many years that his blaming, controlling, manipulative, ugly behavior would change, it did not. Finally, I realized how mentally, emotionally and financially abusive he had been to me, making everything about him and not having any tolerance for my feelings/emotions/opinions on anything. On the outside, to everyone else, he appears wonderful, but he is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. My advice is to run as fast as you can if you do not see true/lasting change in his behavior, including humility/humbleness, Godly sorrow, sincere apologies and a strong willingness to listen to you and work on his issues over a long period of time. It is not worth the hurt of a long term relationship gone bad, just to be married and miserable in a marriage where you are doing all the work to keep it together. I did not want to divorce my husband, but I was exhausted from excusing bad behavior. Walking away is the most difficult thing I have ever done, but I could not stay for the abusive behavior that he would not own and change. You will know what to do and God will show you…trust Him, He is the best leader.

      • Angela on September 4, 2016 at 8:48 am

        Martha, the husband/marriage you described is exactly my situation. So you understand completely how manipulative this type of man can be when you decide you cannot and will not live with his unacceptable behavior any longer. He is trying to make me feel guilty for deciding to seperate. But he is in such denial, he will not own any of his behavior. Just lies, excuses, justifies, blames. It’s not him..its me, he says. I am now losing my home because he stopped paying the mortgage and my house went into foreclosure. So I’m forced to leave my home in November. am just heartbroken and devastated. I don’t know where I’m going to go. I have two teenage children. They support me. They see their fathers behavior. I am paralyzed with fear to be on my own. I have been dependent on this man for 20 yrs of marriage. I stayed way too long because I have so much fear. I can’t bring myself to divorce him because I’m afraid. Afraid of being alone, afraid of not being right with God, afraid of making a mistake. So I getting a legal seperation with the hopes of reconciliation, if he changes. But he says there is no chance of reconciliation if I leave him. And that scares me too. I have too much fear and it clouds my judgement to make wise decisions. Any advice?

  3. Caroline Abbott on August 31, 2016 at 9:34 am

    There is a very slim chance this marriage can be saved. I would recommend she not reconcile until he has willingly completed at least a 9 month batterers intervention program. After that, he gets 2 or 3 male accountability partners and does individual counseling with someone trained in DV. Even then, as you say, if they do get back together, she should make every effort to not get pregnant for quite a while. Many abusers begin their abuse when the victim is pregnant. I hope she doesn’t ever return.

  4. Aleea on August 31, 2016 at 10:47 am

    >“Friends: How many of you saw destructive behavior on the honeymoon that continued on through the marriage? If you did separate, did he change his ways? How did you know genuine change was occurring?”

    . . . .I saw no destructive behavior on the honeymoon, but maybe I was unaware. . . . .but since then I have seen some acting out. . . . but I am really focused on healing me for now. The problem with alienating, self-destructive behavior is that people get it into their heads it’s a cry for help but it isn’t. We are all at war with the husband who wars against himself.

    >“How did you know genuine change was occurring?” . . . .oh my, that is the question for everything and a question for the Holy Spirit. The easiest person to deceive is ourselves and that is why we need wise others. But we choose the “wise others” so even that is not objective. If you can find truly objective, wise others their thoughts may be more important than our own.

    >“Remember, healthy people live in reality, in what is, not in what they wish was true (tweet that).” . . . .Leslie, thank you so much for all this teaching that you provide every week. I very much appreciate it and always learn a lot. . . . .I just want to make the point, and I am open to being totally wrong, that I think most people really live in selected realities because full-on, uncut reality —fully realized— is enough to make one despondent. . . . .I think God is so merciful to only allow us to correlate the contents of our brains, books, Bibles but so far. —Reality —fully realized, that is a tough, tough place to live. Most people are not looking for the truth, they are looking for conformation of what they already think. I try to remember that what I do not yet know is more important than what I already know but I fail, lots. Reality is far more vicious than most will really admit. It is so hard to be really, truly open. Most people are ignoring lots of things. But if there’s a single lesson that life teaches us, you are correct, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so.

    To our questioner: Remember, Godly, good wins in the end because evil is a seriously self-destructive, cannibalistic force that inevitably just eats itself up, so stand aside and pray and seek the Holy Spirit. . . . . This statement: “. . . I was excited about wearing lingerie, and he didn’t want me to.” —that leaves me speechless, it would take some real depth psychology/ psychoanalysis to get at what levels of twisted control and why are going on there. I don’t know but it would seem that your husband is self-abusing and that is making its way into the relationship. We can’t abusive ourselves or withhold self-love or self-care or we will externalize that. If the Holy Spirit of God does not help us recognize our true self, we will never see and resolve all the brokenness and patterns we have inside, and those patterns will continue to “magically” cycle “outside”, manifesting in our lives over and over and over again, until they are healed by Christ through the Holy Spirit in a real way. Anyways, I don’t know that but I think that might be true. . . .However, I know I will pray for you and your husband.

  5. Amy on August 31, 2016 at 11:13 am

    On my honeymoon in 1989, my then-husband kept putting off having sex the whole time. We were gone a week and only had sex once in that time. And that set the stage for the next 20 years of our marriage. Sex was on his terms, he in no way ever once tried to pleasure me and basically told me once that was my ‘problem’ and he likely viewed porn because he did before we married.

    I did have red flags about that relationship before we married, but unfortunately I did not heed them and still chose to marry a man who was psychologically abusive our whole marriage, and not just towards me, but our two sons as well.

    I would bet there were some red flags before this woman married, maybe very discreet ones as her husband was trying to win her over. But I cringed as I read how she described his behavior towards her and would say there is likely no chance of true change unless he is willing to allow God into his life. I would not recommend reconciling very quickly, if at all. Respect and love yourself enough to only allow mutual respect and love into your life.

    I’ve been remarried for almost 5 years and can now say I know what a healthy marriage is. There is communication, no put downs, no sarcastic hateful remarks made, no withholding sex, etc.

    Please think long and hard about what you want from a marriage and unless you see some real change, do not purposely walk back into such destruction.

    If you haven’t done so, please read Leslie’s books on destructive relationships. These books really helped me to understand what was happening in my marriage.
    Also look for a new book called Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas which is now available on Amazon.

    • Leslie Vernick on August 31, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks for sharing. I loved Shannon’s book and thanks for recommending it.

    • Cath on September 5, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      My husband was very charming when we were dating. The red flags were that he tried to get me to bed or indulge in heavy petting even before marriage but I excused his behavior away that he was a passionate man. He was financially dependent on me at that time as he earned much lower than me. I helped him with money as I loved him and he could not have made it without financial help.

      After our marriage, he hardly wanted intimacy and would not come near me at all. he would not even kiss me or hold hands. I suspect that he was indulging in porn although I did not know it at that time. Two years after our marriage he lost his job and he has not worked since. I have taken care of all the financial aspects of the marriage. He has withheld sex until now and even told me that a wife would feel rejected when a husband withholds sex! He blamed me entirely for not wanting sex with me and said I was not appealing or feminine enough for him. He continues to indulge in porn and refused any kind of help. He is now having an affair with a woman and has refused to repent or give up on her.

      He crushed my spirit during the marriage and I was depressed for many years. I could not tell anyone. I never realized that withholding sex, ruining my self image and self esteem and refusing to work amounted to emotional abuse. I earn well and am well educated and I feel so ashamed that I did not even know the signs. It was only recently that I started reading blogs like this when I became aware that many other women are going through what I am going through, some in worse positions than me. I understand that God has led me all these years and has now brought to light what my husband has been doing. I just don’t know why I had to wait so long to find out and what are God’s plans for me but I have to trust Him now.

      It is so encouraging to read that many of the abused women are recovering or have recovered from their abuse. Please keep up the good work.

      Cath

  6. Loretta on August 31, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I was in an abusive marriage for over 40 years before I realized that he wasn’t going to change. There were red flags I missed but didn’t see because of the way I was raised and my lack of knowledge. I lived hoping for change and existing, but nothing really changed long term. Every time I threatened to leave he’d “change” for a couple months, but then be worse than before once he knew I was staying. It’s difficult when you want a loving marriage and he’s promised at the alter to love you forever. After I almost died and he screamed in my face for the inconvenience of loosing an hour of sleep on a work night I knew he really didn’t love me.

    The longer we were married the worse the abuse became. For a period of 11 years he injured me badly and I ended up having 2 surgeries but will never be complete normal unless God does a miracle. It’s easy to “want” a Christian marriage and believe that if you can only do “something” enough he’ll change, but his heart has to be open to God and change or there is no permanent change. I prayed for 40+ years for him to change and love me, I served him, walked on eggshells to keep him from exploding (which he did frequently), but that only enabled him to continue the abuse!

    I left the marriage, filed for divorce and he harassed me until I got a restraining order (the judge asked me why I was only now requesting the order), but he’s continued to harass me until the police had to arrest him. Now he’s facing a court case. He’s still trying to send me messages and “get me back.” He doesn’t want to live without his slave.

    I’m trying to rebuild my life, difficult to assimilate all that’s happened and work through it. I still fight denial. Denial is such a protective response to ignore the truth, but it leads to death. Death of self, personality, dreams, and sometimes life! In my case it was terrifying at the end of the marriage. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to leave without being brutally assaulted.

    I only share this as a wake up call to those who dream and pray for change but don’t see it, don’t follow my footsteps! When my GYN told me you will HAVE to leave sooner or later and it will be easier now, I should have listened. But I thought I’m a Christian women and don’t believe in divorce. She was correct and eventually I had to leave to survive. I’m still living looking over my shoulder as he stalks me.

    Please consider carefully and look at reality for what it is before ever going back to an abuser!!!!!! Most of them don’t change in the long term. One of the books I read by a man named Bundy who ran a treatment program for male abusers (many sent by the courts) said most men can live a year or two without abusing when it’s beneficial for their cause, but will return to abuse. They don’t abuse because they can’t help themselves, it’s a choice they make.

    A good resource I was given was the book “Men who hate women and the women who love them.” It may have helped save my life, along with Leslie’s books and Bundys’ book.

    • Leslie Vernick on August 31, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks for sharing your heart and experience Loretta.

  7. Gayle on August 31, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    In reading the comments I see that many of the women in this similar situation divorced. I have been with my husband for a total of 12 years. The first 10 he was very emotionally, spiritually, and financially abusive. He has been in counseling and has repented to me and God. This year I have seen the biggest change. Our marriage is finally becoming healthy. Once in awhile though his old behaviors will sneak in but I have my appropriate boundaries up and in time he usually will come and apologize. My fear is that I am just fooling myself that this can truly be a permanent change. Does anyone have success stories or advice?

    • Aleea on September 1, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Gayle,
      One thing that always seems lacking is evidence-based, peer reviewed research. I have not seen resources providing serious information on therapies that have been demonstrated by studies to be effective, along with data on relapse rates, recidivism, etc. I have never seen any serious longevity data. . . . you know, out-of-sample results, with say confidence intervals, cross-validated, randomized controlled treatment studies, etc. . . . .What constitutes tangible beliavioural change is usually just talked about with language way too simple for its own good. How did the treatment produce its effects? Was it even really assessed? I see lots of very subjective language. What can we be reasonably sure of? How long do any beneficial effects last? —for what conditions?; —against what diagnostic criteria? . . . It is very frustrating. If you find any evidence based assessments, I would be interested in reading them. The things I have seen are not empirically based, and those that have data are individual case studies. I don’t know how we draw solid conclusions on that.

      . . . So, maybe, if you have not already done so, maybe, you might consider asking the Holy Spirit what you should do. . . . I know my counselor seems mindfully and attentively dependent on the Holy Spirit during our counseling sessions because she is periodically praying “flash prayers” such as “Spirit of God, please guide me”; If we hit a huge impasse; “Holy Spirit, help us at this point of impasse.” I like that Dr. Meier prays when we reach impasses because frankly, all these techniques CBT; relational psychotherapy; depth psychology, et.al. look like they are in their infancy.

      . . . I do know neuroscientists are always saying our brains renew themselves throughout life to an extent previously thought not even possible. . . . If we can get out of our comfort zones it creates new neuro pathways within our brains, so maybe we can become more aware, wiser, with more clarity. Now, maybe they are totally wrong but they say our minds have incredible capacity to both alter the strength of connections among neurons, essentially rewiring them, and create entirely new pathways. It could mean that emotions such as happiness, kindness, compassion, etc. can be cultivated in much the same way that we learn through repetition, and it could be that practice changes the activities and physical aspects of specific brain areas. . . . . I don’t know how we square all these things with what the Bible says, however but that is a separate issue. . . . I think if you consistently pray about it (—which you probably are) and find “wise others” as Leslie would say to confirm your thinking that can go a long way.

    • Melissa on September 5, 2016 at 11:55 am

      What did the emotional/spiritual/financial abuse look like in your relationship?

      • gayle on September 5, 2016 at 3:51 pm

        Melissa-
        He called me names constantly and put me down. I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion other than his. If I did he would tell me I wan’t a good christian. When I was working he would get terribly angry with me if I spent my money on anything other than groceries this was even before we were married and I had a separate bank account. I wasn’t allowed to go to my grandfathers funeral. He felt it was a waste and I needed to just get over it cause he lived far away anyways. When we got married I was only allowed to talk to a few people he approved of. He isolated me from my whole family but we had to live next door to his. When he would criticize me he would tell me I needed to be more like his mother. When I finally got help and was deciding if I wanted to stay or not he would tell me if I left I wouldn’t get into heaven and I was destroying many peoples lives. At one point he drove me past a little shack and told me if I left that is where I would end up and he would make sure I wouldn’t get money from him even if that meant him working less. I wasn’t allowed to be my own person. I had to be his dream wife. That is just the surface and all I care to share at this point.

        • Melissa on September 5, 2016 at 11:10 pm

          Thanks for your willingness to share. I respect you for your openness. It’s hard to write I’m sure. Just was wondering what some of those things liked look for others.

        • Leslie Vernick on September 7, 2016 at 9:36 am

          Horrible. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hope on August 31, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Leslie thank you for this platform of learning & growing. God is using you to change lives through out the world.

    I saw my h destructive behaviour on the honeymoon, things got better for the first few months, then hell broke. I separated from him after our first year anniversary for about three months when we began marriage counseling. The counselor asked me to move back to our house so we can work things out while attending conselling sessions together.

    I was really hopeful for change and moved back with him. He reverted to his old behaviour of verbal, emotional & sexual abuse a few months later. My heart was very broken when I realised he has not changed. He had a history of abuse in his previous marriage, I knew when I married him but thought people change and grow & didnt want to judge him based on that.

    I moved out of the house again because I realised I was not safe anymore. He threaned and caused me so much pain. My health was deteriorating and I knew I was dying a slow death as a result of depression & the way he treated me.I feel safer and I’ve become healthier since I have been surrounding myself with loving family members and friends. God is helping me heal from the past and I look forward to a better future. I thank God that I came across Leslie’s book, which enlightened me with regards to destructive behaviour in marriage.

    Thanks to all women and men who share their experience and knowledge on this blog.
    You have been a blessing!

    • Leslie Vernick on August 31, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Hope for sharing your experience.

  9. Melissa on August 31, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I was in an abusive marriage for 10 years. Knowing what I know now, I would recommend cutting her losses. He already broke his vow to love, honor, and cherish her, so I believe she is free. Even if he is “changed,” I’d say it’s too late.

    My second husband has cherished me from the moment we met, but even being single was so much better than loving in a toxic relationship. I can’t imagine ever trying to make things work with a jerk ever again.

    • Mel on September 13, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      I am also in a ten year marriage with an abuser. My counselor recently asked me what is holding me back from filing for divorce. I’m scared. How did you get to a place that you were able to file? I’ve been battling depression as well as other health issues. I believe the stress of my marriage is largely to blame for my physical illnessss.

  10. Stephanie on August 31, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I was in an emotionally abusive marriage for 21 years (he intimidated me enough that I feared physical abuse, but it never came to that). I am just now separated and going through divorce. I admit to seeing red flags before we married. I ignored them, because of his charm and passion. His first harming/humiliation of me was to shove our wedding cake up my nose, forcefully, after whispering in my ear that we should be neat and gentle with each other. His glaring, silent treatment, and telling me I wouldn’t be his “nag” began on our honeymoon. Just shortly after we returned I caught him telling his friends about our frequency and some of the details of our intimacy. The first year was a very big wake-up call. I did not separate. Over the years he became worse, eventually having numerous mistresses and sexual addictions and playing with my mind in every way possible. He went through nearly two years with a licensed therapist, a pastoral counselor, and a mentor to prove his “love” for me and his changed character. He made confessions and submitted to all kinds of oversight. We did not separate during that time, because I thought it would be bad for our three children. For those two years he behaved quite well. As soon as the supervision was off, he went right back to his old behaviors. Eventually manipulating and deceiving me until I just hoped to die. Some nights I prayed to. Some nights I prayed for God to take his life and free me from him. My greatest regret is not leaving him after that first 10 years. He left me this past winter (he has another mistress) and, of course, all of our problems were my fault. I just thank God I’m free and so wish I had been strong enough to free myself earlier. Life as a single mom is so much easier than with an abusive husband.

    • Leslie Vernick on August 31, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      I think you tell the truth for many women.

    • Mel on September 13, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      I too want to be free but I’m scared to make the decision. i have often thought and told people I think being a single mom would be better than married to an abuser.

  11. Tina on August 31, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Well I wish now I had this information when I was dating. I was deceived and led down a very dark road with my now ex. I did not know what where the “red flags”, I just thought it was me and told it was me. Oh that is a Big Red Flag I know now. I need help to help the 3 children that have been brought into this marriage. And so far not going very well.

    • Leslie Vernick on August 31, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      Tina you can get help to be the woman and the parent you want to be. Educate yourself. Get support. Go to Celebrate Recover, join CONQUER, or do something else to get some support.

    • Stephanie on September 1, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Oh, Tina, I didn’t know about red flags either until I was in the midst of awful. I don’t know how many of us really do. I thought it was me too, until a friend and then a therapist from church told me it was not me and that my husband’s behavior wasn’t just normal behavior for a difficult marriage.
      There are many online supports and books out there. If you seek it out you’ll find it. My local library even had some things that have helped me. Be gentle with yourself. Put your focus on taking care of yourself (and your relationship with God) and then on your children. I am learning that a healthier momma will see and deal with things more clearly with her children. I the midst of abuse I lost that. Blessings.

  12. Kaycee on September 1, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Run sweetheart run! There are so many of us 10 years, 15 years or more down the line that would love to have had this advice given to us years ago. He didn’t want the lingerie? He is hiding secrets. Mine did the same and it was 16 years of rejection, shaming and hurtful control. Listen to Leslie, read about domestic abuse, start building a new life and keep your chin up. You are not a failure, you are precious and you have a gift of an opportunity to get out now. May God show you in the most personal ways how He is leading you.

  13. Alicia on September 1, 2016 at 7:11 am

    I have spent many years with a porn addict. I can tell you you husband’s actions are coming from a porn addiction. He doesn’t like you wearing lingerie for one of two reasons; all his porn women are naked all the time. He needs you to be like them bc that is what He loves and he may not be able to get an erection if you don’t act or look like his addiction. Or he is afraid of you being sexy will lead to other men finding you sexy which will lead to other men having sex w you which is what always happens in porn. There can be many things going on in the mind of a porn addict. If he is a church going man he is dealing with the issue of porn being wrong and he must hide it which makes him angry. I truly believe that the porn industry is the source behind every angry man. A large portion of men watch porn and begin to have no idea on how to treat women. When their wife is not like the porn women he has come to believe are what is real and normal he doesn’t understand why! He honestly believes YOU are the problem. Porn women are ready for sex at any time any where. They look like a million bucks any time of day. They do what they are told. They are always agreeable. When you, his wife, don’t fit that mould he becomes angry. He also can be ashamed of his addiction but still blames you because if you were just sexy enough, had sex w him enough, did what he wanted when he wanted he wouldn’t have the addiction. Run my dear, Run. Being away from his manipulation is the only time you can hear God clearly.

    • Aly on September 4, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Alicia, you pointed straight here and I solely agree with the fire like red flag ~ issues that reveal she most likely has been saved from a longtime marriage of addiction and abuse.
      Few will talk about how ugly this addiction is and all of the facets to it. I say, expose it! Get it out there, it is ruining our families and generations after. Usually, when you see a destructive marriage… Porn is usually in there somewhere in the history even if the offender in not currently using they have all the attitude and belief system that eventually will come to the surface.

      Alicia,You are so correct that the addicts mindset is SO warped! They always want to blame the other person for what they feel SO much shame in.
      This recovery takes such an overall and takes such a multitude of counsel that neither partner should trust their own thinking (right now for her especially) what wife doesn’t want the Hope and reconciliation that she is WORTHY of!!

      Don’t many of us see the cycle of how the abuser can be on good behavior for a certain about of time ~who doesn’t want to give hope in that season.

      Just given the state of where they are at after 10 months. I can’t tell her what she should do or not do but I can share my decisions. I look back and wish I had the insight and support to separate and get help ‘that early in’….so there wouldnt be so many years to repair what addiction steals not just from the offended but the offender.
      Over years, I have done a lot of work evaluating ‘my tolerances’ my willingness for reconciliation without evidence…and how I came to be so manipulated and decieved… Much of what I contributed in ..is rooted in my past and my upbringing relationships.. I don’t blame them but I continue to work on my choices and values in being a child of God. I empathize with all of you here who can relate to living with such confusion and knowing deep down inside there is a better solution.., and this certainly is not LOVE as God gives us. How easy it is to be decieved when one is in it. It’s hard to see past and also get good objective Godly perspective from others that don’t want to see separation or divorce because they don’t want to impact the whole family image.

      I have a long way to go in recovery and love living on this path rather than the wishful one.

      I pray that God will continue to empower those affected by abuse, addicts and especially sex addicts to speak openly WHAT the signs and behaviors of a person who has a severe abusive mindset and pathway of thinking.
      Here’s my acronym for
      PORN~
      Pathway of Resistant Narcissism

      Meaning… Even if the porn isn’t actively being used, the pathway thinking that has been created is still in route of ‘self’. Unless someone is in severe accountability and working on transforming by the renewing of our minds!

      My prayer is that young women ~ teenage and up are well educated with the dangers of these long lasting mindsets and attitudes from the worldly acceptance of a sexualize and addictive world. That they don’t find themselves in a situation that can be prevented and protected from.

      I feel strongly we have a responsibility to the younger generation to equip them with the dangers of all substances and counterfeit examples of false intimacy and love.

  14. Kristy on September 1, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Run don’t walk to the nearest exit. A man who couldn’t keep a lid on it during the honeymoon must be so disturbed it’s scary, and given a start like this I can’t but wonder that he will be physically violent. Usually they start out more subtly and then escalate it over years until you are a shell of a person with no fight left in you. Listen to these ladies. They weren’t dealing with normal marital conflicts like where to squeeze the toothpaste tube or whose parents this year for thanksgiving. What would you tell anyone else in any relationship who related being treated like this? A man like this doesn’t consider you a real person, as anyone of true value. These thought patterns and ideologies are so deep rooted that change is nearly impossible. It’s not like correcting poor table manners. End it now while you don’t have kids. After that it becomes exponentially more difficult. I’ve been in an emotionally abusive marriage for 23 years. There were red flags but having a poor self image I blamed myself (I was also told I was at fault). I hold advanced degrees, make over 6 figures a year, but being married to this person made me feel worthless. Over the past 2 years I have finally taken a stand. Things are better-for me-but I don’t delude myself that he is truly different. I hope to find the courage to finally leave for good, but with children it is so hard. Especially since the people he has hoodwinked are always lamenting about the “damage” to the children. I don’t know-they are damaged now and will continue to be damaged. I’m just praying for God to protect me from bitterness and lead me one step at a time.

    • Amy on September 5, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Kristy,
      I was in your shoes just a short while ago. I have been with my husband my entire adult life, 26 years. I have lied to myself that when my daughter graduates in 8 years I will walk down the aisle with her and never look back. I have deceived myself all these years that this marriage was my cross to carry and that Jesus suffered much more than I have. I had underlined, long suffering, bearing one anothers burdens, submissive in my bible and was doing what I thought was right in GOD’s sight. He has used my religion agaisnt me to keep me thinking this way as well. My husband had an affair in July and I was about to lay down and become a welcome mat yet again when I found Leslie’s book and it peeled away my foggy vision and has given me not only a voice, but seeing a loving GOD who has shown me who I am, not made to suffer in my marriage but to be cared for and respected and truly loved. And so are you! We have been in counseling for 10 years and I have never felt like any counselor saw me, saw my suffering helped me to understand why I was so overhelmed and confused and bewildered. We would go and put out the next fire my husband had created and I was there as clean up crew. Leslie has illuminated my pain and heartache and it has been liberating. Bring it to the light to safe loving people who care and can help you along the journey is important. READ HER Books and you will see yourself as you are a child of God. I am in the process of preparing for separation and have to sneak around and make safey plans, get a secret phone, things I never thought I was brave enough to do but GOD has blessed every step. It is tense in my house as he is realizing that I am standing and not crouching and when he is given notice of our separation I will be safe and so will my precious children. I will not allow my children to see more destructive relationship in their home. I will not “wait it out” I want to show them that God has shown me that I deserve to be treated well in my marriage while still honoring their father. AND God give me strength to break this chain of destructive cycles so my children do not repeat history! I owe that to them. It is a delicate balance right now but I look forward to the hardest thing I will ever have to do because I know God is going before me and will be waiting for me with open loving arms every step of the way. I owe it to my children now that I have the truth to not ignore it. LOVE YOURSELF-GOD ALREADY DOES.

  15. Heather on September 2, 2016 at 12:51 am

    I’d like to note in case no one else did yet, physical restraint (for example, from leaving an argument or a situation), in in fact a criminal act that can be prosecuted in a court of law.

    Most people think that a husband hitting his wife is when it crosses over into criminal acts. So the kind of behavior she is describing is horrific, but not something criminal that she can take legal action against and seek protection from the law. Not true. Physical restraint and even threats and derogatory name calls can be prosecuted criminally if it produces fear for the victim’s life.

    I’ll say it again — PHYSICAL RESTRAINT FROM LEAVING AN ARGUMENT, as well as threats and derogatory name-calling and any physical violence such as pushing, hitting, choking, etc., no matter how minor, are ALL CRIMINAL ACTS and punishable by law.

    If you are in a relationship where your husband is scaring you because he screams at you and holds you and prevents you from leaving the room during a terrifying argument, or prevents you from accessing your phone or your car keys, or tells you he will kill you or threatens you in any other way, do not by any means reconcile! Your husband is behaving criminally, and even as a Christian it is entirely appropriate to call the police and make reports and testify against him in court so that he can face the just sentence of the law.

    I speak as one who’s been there. My husband’s actions escalated farther than that, and only after he was physically assaulting me did I realize his acts were criminal and I could recieve protection from the law. But it all started with intense screaming arguments that left me in tears and terrified and confused. I only know now that his physical restraining and threats were also acts that could have justified legal intervention.

    So there is no reason at all for a woman in this situation to contemplate going back to a husband like this after separation. What you should be contemplating is pressing charges. That’s not revenge, that’s proper justice. If your husband is going to change and be “sorry” (which is doubtful) then he should understand that his actions deserve just consequences.

    God cares about you so tenderly, as his little precious white lamb that he shepherds. He hates what your husband is doing to you. His wrath burns against it. He may eventually have mercy on your husband for the things he’s done to you, but it won’t be done by brushing stuff under the rug.

    • Aleea on September 2, 2016 at 6:59 am

      File charges, absolutely. . . separate, et.al. absolutely. . . . .but women through the centuries believed they had to stay and they got those ideas from the churches which clearly taught them that and from the Bible which still clearly teaches them that. In Matthew nineteen, et.al. Jesus says: “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committed adultery and whoso marries her which is put away doth commit adultery.” . . .Now, today we have “sophisticated” hermeneutical text deconstruction; text reconstruction and text reinterpretation but for centuries and centuries and centuries the church taught these things. Even the most “godly” and educated New Testament Greek scholars of the past, many who gave their lives for Christ, interpreted those verses that way. . . . . Here, Jesus had a chance to impart a divinely inspired view of marriage and instead said something that clearly would not stand the test of time or maybe Jesus never really said that to begin with. . . . .There are unnumber books documenting all church teachings. If you ever start wondering how it ever got this way just read some history. For example, “Ungodly Women: Gender and the First Wave of American Fundamentalism” by Dr. Betty A. DeBerg page 70 on. . . . Let me tell you, no book I have ever seen has ever shown with greater precision (or volume) of documentation just how thoroughly saturated with this churches were: “. . . . To curb divorce, leaders advocated a “Divorce Sunday” on which ministers throughout the nation would preach on divorce as the gatewall to hell, “the great American sin.” It is America’s crying and burning shame. Divorce was permissible only on the grounds of adultery, and remarriage of the adulterer was prohibited.” . . . .And they were not making this stuff up, you see this same teachings all through earlier Chrstianity. . . . 3rd century: “. . .Ministers of the Way who have a tolerant attitude toward divorce and the remarriage of divorced persons were taken to task as tools of Satan. . . A minister who does so winks at the outraging of divine law and is worthy of hellfire and can not be faithful to his ordination vows. The church and the minister who sanction and bless an unscriptural marriage are guilty of matrimonial blasphemy.” . . . . and on and on and on from hundreds of sources for thousands of pages. . . .

      . . . Anyways, —anyways. . . . Heather, I just love your last paragraph, Christ cares dearly about everyone. He loves you, you have the greatest value. He gave His life for all your worth! —But in places, the Bible is an all too human book. Only humans could construct chains that look like that. . . . .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. . . . . I so don’t want to lose the center of Christianity, it is so, so beautiful . . .praying, caring, loving, sharing. . . That is the power of the cross. That is why Christ came, period. The rest is often legalism, misogynistic, —on and on— trying to control women and even trying to control men instead of an all-loving, all-moral God and Jesus.

      . . . In fact, I think most systematic theologies are a defense mechanism against really/ truly experiencing and encountering God. . . .I have never found real answers to so many questions about the why of these teachings in the first place, maybe no real answers exist. . . . .One thing I have experienced is that the cleaner I can keep my heart, the more of God’s love I can experience. . . . .Heart as clean as possible; broken before the Lord; thankful, grateful and humble. That is where I want to be . . . . down low where the Grace of God can find me. —All things as they move closer and closer toward God are so beautiful, and they are so ugly as they move away from Him.

  16. Maria on September 2, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I did not see destructive behavior on our honeymoon. Most of our problems occur because he thinks all he is responsible for is going to work. As long as someone else does everything else, there is peace. He cooks and does other household chores when he feels like it. When we we first married, I worked while he finished grad school post grad studies. Because he was so busy, I did most of the household work. My greatest desire was to be a good wife. We would have disagreements when I was too tired to get everything done. These arguments never got resolved, and i would feel I was at fault. I would feel guilty for my reactions, and blamed myself. Then he finished school, started working and I stayed home, had kids. We continued to have arguments when things wouldn’t get done, with no resolution. Then, when I had my last child, I couldn’t keep up with the housework. Instead of pitching in and helping he started putting me down. In the beginning of my marriage I didn’t think of separation/divorce- i thought it would be silly to separate/divorce because of disagreements because of household chores. Looking back, these problems stemmed from his entitlement thinking. I did not see this because of my desire to be a good wife. He was also careful not to push me too far, knowing that if he did, I might decide to leave the marriage. It was confusing. I ended up hiring a maid to help out, but it was his entitlement thinking that was the problem. When he started the put downs I sat down with him and told him how it hurt me, he did not apologize, so I sought help and later emotionally distanced myself. He does not think he is a fault.

    • Nancy on September 3, 2016 at 3:49 am

      Dies anyone remember the movie, when a man loves a woman? It was 1994 and my then boyfriend, now h, went to see it. At the end of the movie, the theatre emptied and I couldn’t leave, I was sobbing so hard. The story starts with Meg Ryan’s character hitting the bottom of her alcoholism, and the rest of the movie is about her recovery. But her journey is not the main story. It’s about her super nice husband ( Andy Garcia). You really fall in love with him and how supportive he is of her, when she’s an alcoholic. But as the film progresses and she becomes healthier, you begin to see the ugly side of him and his codependency.

      The Lord gave me this memory ( sobbing in the theatre) last night. I also got some imagery of how, my h’s behaviour when I spin out of control, is enabling. I got fixated on getting the “right” journal. I disrupted our entire evening routine and took my eldest to the store where she got exasperated with me because I couldn’t make a decision. Finally, laughing, she dragged me to the cash with the one I had in my hand. We were laughing about it as I told her, ” don’t become a perfectionist, this is what happens when you do”. I got back home,told my h and other daughter about it at dinner- that my mind just froze in the store. But then looked at my h and said I wanted to go to another store. He did all kinds of stuff to encourage that to happen.” No, don’t clean up, you want to go to the store. ” He had cooked so I should have cleaned with the kids ( thankfully to this I heard myself say “no, I’ll finish my responsibilities before I go”)

      Cleaning up helped to ground me, and then my youngest asked if we could read together. That was great, I was settling down, until she realized that her Dad was playing video games downstairs. Now I was by myself. So what did I do? Went to another store. Found a really cute journal but The Lord calmed me, told me to put it down – the one I had chosen with my daughter was “perfect”. I returned home to them watching Dad play video games. I got them to bed- he had gotten lost in the game. (he had been triggered)

      I had a massive headache and crawled under the covers. Once the headache pills kicked in I was so angry. I had this image of my spinning toward a cliff, grabbing my daughter, and my husband moving all the obstacles out of the way and pointing me in the direction of the edge.

      Can anyone recommend a resource that deals with this covert abuse cycle?
      Me abusing myself and my husband enabling it?

      Today I was furious with him for encouraging “the spin” , and not protecting me and then when I had managed to settle, he left me alone, and I gave in to it. I do need to confront him with it. But first I need to get the log out of my eye. It was crystal clear last night, that he is Andy Garcia. All those years ago my instincts and emotions knew the truth. But that also means that I am the addict. But an addict of what? Perfectionism, yes. Self sabotage, yes. Self abuse- in the form of being excessively hard on me…yes.

      Ya. Still spinning. Thanks for “listening”

      • Aleea on September 3, 2016 at 8:12 am

        Hello Nancy,
        I don’t know a resource specifically but I would encourage you to stay all over the direction you are going in (healing). If we don’t, with the Lord’s help, really heal, radically renovate/repair the factory of ourselves, the same issues and results keep coming out of that factory and show up everywhere again, and again, and again. Maybe read. . . “Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior” by Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz. He and Dr. Rebecca Gladding are researchers in neural pathways and have done lots of counseling work in helping people heal. Their research clearly shows links between perfectionism and obsessive compulsive disorder. The cognitive processes likely to be involved in that level of selective perfectionism (excessive concern about the consequences of not getting the “right” journal. . . being imperfect) are often obsessive-compulsive related. I am not saying that is what you have. I most certainly don’t know but it may be worth thinking about. . . . .Because your husband can’t enable what you are not doing and if you are doing healthy things enabling even more healthy things sounds healthy.

      • Leslie Vernick on September 5, 2016 at 3:40 pm

        Great insights, but to really get healthy in the midst of this, you have to do it, not wait for your husband to do it. As he tries to “encourage” your dependency on him as the “nice guy” you must continue to assert your own needs – not to get another journal, but to stop yourself from being overly obsessed with “the perfect journal” and learn to live the phrase “this is good enough.” Perhaps if you internalized that phrase for yourself you would not be so hard on yourself.

        • Nancy on September 6, 2016 at 6:42 am

          Thanks Leslie.

  17. Nancy on September 3, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Thank you for the encouragement, Aleea. I’ll speak with my counsellor on Wednesday ( I haven’t been able to do so all summer). It’s a relief to admit to it ( even though I don’t know exactly what “it” is).

    Last summer I did a 21 day brain detox by Caroline Leaf. She has a program that helps you replace negative thoughts with scripture. It might be an idea to go back to that.

    • Aleea on September 3, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      . . . . Hmm. . . I love that idea of memorizing uplifting scriptures, I’ll do that. I already memorize but don’t focus on any particular theme. . . .The Scriptures also humble us into realizing that God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing at stuff. “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” ―How wonderful is that? That’s what you want coming into your mind when you are frustrated, stressed, etc. . . . To be loving. . . to bring love into the world is to know God, for God is love and to love like that means a transforming relationship with the source of all love. How cool is that to dwell on!

    • Aleea on September 5, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      “. . . but it helps us remember to LOVE LOVED!” . . . . Leslie, I guess I don’t understand that “LOVE LOVED.” Are you saying we made for Love, Loved by God and that allows us to love ourselves and that make us loving toward others? Love => Loved => Loving! —or just— Love (ourselves) because we are Loved (beyond-our-imagination love of God). . . .or something else?

      . . . .Anyways, on your second point, even beyond those constant lies (—the world, the flesh and the devil) we are still very (—unbelievably) limited beings. For example, I don’t even know what I don’t know, so I can’t even work toward knowing those things, unlike, for example, “LOVE LOVED” at least I recognize I don’t know that. . . .We humans are really not that aware (sheep). . .

  18. Leslie Vernick on September 5, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I think when we hide God’s word in our heart, it not only helps us not to sin, but it helps us remember to LOVE LOVED! IT helps us remember who we are – because the world, the devil and our own flesh constantly bombards us with lies.

  19. Leslie Vernick on September 7, 2016 at 9:37 am

    I meant LIVE LOVED.

  20. Aleea on September 8, 2016 at 6:23 am

    I see, thank you so much.

  21. Helend on September 8, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    “If you don’t trust him at all, then you are nowhere ready for reconciliation or raising a child together. ”

    That is how I feel right now..I have been married 11 years to an emotionally and verbally abusive man– whom I have started to stand up to…I think he may be starting to turn the corner…but I am not sure.. he gives mixed messages ..

    but I know that I don’t trust him yet..and wonder how long it will take for me to really trust him again….my lack of trust comes from abuse but also his “Illusionist act” – The great guy act in public but nasty and moody in private. It took me a long time to realize that no matter how nasty he was to me in private it could turn at the flip of a switch in public.

    Friends- I am struggling with feelings of ambivalence when it comes to separation. A part of me wants to and screams “Do it!” another part of me says don’t- that it seems like he is trying to change so wait it out..

    I know I have work to do on myself– I have been caught in lies about “putting up with everything” since otherwise I am not holy or strong enough….I am working on countering but voices sneak in…Now I feel like I would be selfish if i were to separate- when I can’t help but feel that that it would be helpful to me. I have been told that in Christian marriages you are “to die to yourself” to have a good marriage…I realize now that that kind of advice in an abusive marriage does more harm then good but due to my upbringing this lie is deeply entrenched in me. Most of my family whom I truly love keep telling me to hang in there and believe that this is the Godly thing to do..

    my older sister- the only non-christian in my family is the only one who tells me to look out for me and work on myself– .

    • Free on September 9, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Helen, I have thought and said exactly what you have written. Yet, the marriage we are in is NOTHING like biblical marriage. We are to stand by a Godly, loving man. That man is fantasy in our marriages. It only exists in our heads.

      Separation seems shameful, to we the conservative Christian. I think we have to examine ourselves for pride issues and the need for belonging in our Christian tribe. When you are alone with God, really alone, what do you hear?

      I heard, “You are not to be spoken to like this” AND “I love you my daughter.”

    • Nancy on September 10, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Hi Helen,

      Seperation is not divorce. It is a tool that can save your marriage. The emotional safety and clarity that comes as a result, is astounding. If you haven’t read Leslie’s book ( Emotionally Destructive Marriage), I highly recommend it 🙂

    • Maria on September 11, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Helend,
      My heart hurts for you so much because I have been exactly where you are. My ex-husband confessed to years of infidelity. At first I listened to his lines such as “I’m working on myself, it’s just so tempting…” and “the enemy just really has me right now”. Then as I continued to pray and seek Godly counsel, I started to learn to stand firm with the sword of the Spirit, God’s word, and started really reading it and understanding it, and most of all believing it, that’s when the light exposed the darkness and the conflict escalated. I think it is always wise to separate if you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that things are unhealthy and your home has become a war zone. My family, as wonderful and Godly as they are, could not relate to what I was going through, that’s why you’ve got to just dive into God’s word and ask him to speak to you, show you what to do. We are not called to sacrifice our lives for our abusive, angry husbands. Romans chapter 1 was the first place God led me 4 years ago to try and understand what was going on in my family and he’s led me every step of the way since. Do not be afraid to know what you can and cannot put up with, and stand firm when you get push back on it. If what are you asking for lines up with God’s word, no matter what his reaction God will not let you fall. He is our protector and defender.

  22. Maria on September 11, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Isn’t it interesting how so many of us face the same situation? It is like we are describing the exact same man! Similar to the question posed here, my husband and I got in a fight the night of our honeymoon, the night we all look forward to and it just ended up horrible. That turned into (luckily for me) only 7 years of marriage before he confessed to a sexual addiction. He confessed he had been unfaithful for a number of years. As I type this over 4 years later, I have now survived a difficult divorce and a year later a 2-year custody battle that just ended recently. My advice to the question is, take the focus off of your husband and focus on yourself. Meaning, get away by yourself or with a trusted, Godly individual and determine what changes need to be made for you to stay in the marriage. Remember, you have no control over his reaction to your list of changes, but you have control over your own thoughts and decisions, despite what they want to tell you. Look at God’s word and his instructions to husbands for their wives. Obeying God’s ways always bring about his will, so make God’s instructions your own, and stand firm when you are being blamed, criticized and belittled. Confronting someone with the truth of God’s word always shines a light on the darkness, and sometimes it gets scary, as in my case, the kids and I had to leave. Write this down and carry it with you wherever you go: Ephesians 6:13, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

  23. Aly on September 11, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Maria;)
    Well written and most certainly I give Thanks for the power and truth of God’s word to give you courage and freedom!!
    Thank you for sharing your journey, your steps so clearly and offering your strength.

    My situation was different but similar in the attitude and behaviors I was receiving from my ‘professing husband’
    He was not unfaithful with another person so it took many years for me to uncover the real issue.
    He was not at sex addict, as if the term itself ‘explains it all’ (those poor addicts.. They can’t help themselves)
    He was not addicted to porn, but had past exposure~ so in my recovery work ( that qualifies)
    He was however having an affair with ‘himself’
    His desires, his schedule, his priorities.
    I suffered with the neglect and abandonment feelings much of what but not the exact as any person who experienced betrayal.

    My situation is similar to yours in that my extended family were clueless but also upped the pain, they fed his choices. Told me I was crazy, I needed to be more patience and not try changing him. I was told my needs were not important and I needed to be grateful that I had such a great workaholic spouse.
    Had I told them something like, he’s an alcoholic, they would have probably said well you can’t do anything about that but at least be grateful it’s not heroin!
    My biggest battle was and sometimes still… Are these voices and influential people in my that loved me but were seriously injured themselves in what healthy boundaries are.

    When I faced my fears and chose to battle for myself and my children’s well being..
    I heard God’s heart for my own. He was helping me in ways and strengths to this day make me cry.

    Please note: we all have different levels of destructive reactions by our H. This is not a recommendation, just some of my personal journey through a very confusing relationship.

    I was ready to separate for the purpose and hope of healthy reconciliation.
    My old broken skewed thoughts, told me I should leave and manage the kids early in the morning etc keeping them in their own rooms. Basically hired myself for nanny and maid.
    Then I remembered all of what I had been learning, through Leslie’s book, website and others…
    My new thoughts.
    ‘Im not going any where…
    H~ looks like it’s time for you to go figure it out and I locked the door!!! ( I had several other steps in place prior to doing this) remember I’m not in physical harm by this person, I had a couple close godly friends who knew the situation and were involved.
    He didn’t deserve to stay in the safe place of home
    and have the luxury of our home to ponder his choices.

    Today, my H and I can smile a bit about that moment, but he knew at that point I was serious and he told me that he started to believe I really was ‘changing’
    He didn’t like it, but it was the catalyst for a better journey ahead.
    I will continue to Praise the Lord for His word and how transforming it is.

  24. Myka on September 13, 2016 at 11:13 am

    I was so happy to hear that you were well received at The Village Church because of the things that I had read about that church in the past, specifically how they have treated women in destructive marriages previously. It was encouraging to see a church actually try to do better in their pastoral care. Thank you for being there and for helping churches understand how to bring healing.

  25. Becca on September 18, 2016 at 12:11 am

    It became evident before we even left for our honeymoon. Someone had put sardines under the hood of the car. When my H realized it he jumped out of the car screaming and yelling. That night he became angry and brooding about getting supper. The next morning he rushed me out of the hotel with no breakfast. We didn’t stop to eat til almost 2:30. I couldn’t understand why he was treating me this way. Fast forward 32 years of emotional, verbal and psychological abuse that became physical eventually. Separated for over a year with a protection order in place and then reconciled. Huge mistake. Ended up leaving with the kids 2 more times for our safety.. The last time I returned I was so determined to make it work. I was 1 Peter 3 submissive in every way no matter what he did or how he acted. I finally had a nervous breakdown .I have spent the last year in a safe place trying to rebuild my life. Was he a charming , passionate man? Oh yes. Still is. I almost lost my life because of him. Drugs, porn, financial abuses, and other risky behaviors on his part all contributed to the mix. My codependency only enabled. I was so brainwashed and beaten down I just finally broke. He still doesn’t get it. I am moving on. I want to have a relationship with my 5 children and that is all that matters. The saying “when someone shows their true colors, believe them.” Wish I had done that a long time ago. To him I am a piece of property, a child who must be taught to respect and obey him, forsake all my family and friends (according to our vows) and submit in every way. A complete narcissist. I see no hope of change.

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