Morning friends,

Pray for me. I know many of you do and I deeply appreciate it. I would love to have more time to be still, to ponder some deeper things that God is showing me and somehow I have to carve out the time to do it. I’ve also promised myself that I will get back to regular exercise. Sitting all day has it’s own side effects and studies are now showing that too much sitting is as lethal as smoking cigarettes.

In order to care for the people God has brought to me, I have to put my own oxygen mask on first. That’s not always easy to do, or prioritize but I am learning and I hope you are learning too.

I’m going to be doing a free webinar on February 2 on Depression and what that malady has to do with being in an unhappy or destructive marriage. I hope you can attend. To register, sign up here.

 

Today’s Question: I read your book, really helpful, especially backing separation up Biblically and the practical parts of waiting to see change. I knew my husband 5 months before we got engaged and got married 5 months later.

That was 6 years ago. I am unhappily married now for about four years. Separated 9 months ago. My husband is a doctor and was a pastor (stepped down last year). He has a temper, verbally is abusive. We have been in counseling since 2012.

Last year, I felt unsafe and prayed and spoke to the counselors and we separated. It is hard as people say just get divorced or you cannot stay separated forever or he might never change, or you are young you can start over, etc. He says I’m deserting him and suggests it is grounds for divorce.

He is very frustrated as he said he thought it would be over now. I am fortunate to have a counselor who supports me in prayer, over email and the phone. She loves God, the Bible and she and her husband worked with us as a couple for a long time so she has seen the truth.

Here is my dilemma. I struggle to keep hope alive as nothing seems to change and my family are concerned for my safety and don't quite understand why I’m still in this. Please comment on how to keep hope alive if no change is evident.

I know to pray and read the Bible, but am emotionally finding it harder and harder to be positive.

Answer: I’m sure you do struggle to keep hope alive in the face of mounting evidence that your husband is not changing. I also don’t hear anything in your letter that says he is aware he needs to change. As the saying goes, you can’t change something unless you see it needs to change.

Let me ask you a question. Why do you need to keep hope alive? What’s the pressure to stay positive about your marriage or about him? Isn’t it more Biblical to be truthful than to be falsely positive?

Are you hoping that God will miraculously make your husband humble himself and admit his sinful ways so that he can repent?

I don’t know anywhere in Scripture where God forces someone to repent. That is always a person’s choice. Even when God orchestrates painful circumstances like he did for Israel in the Old Testament or Pharaoh when he wanted him to let the Jews leave Egypt, their change was not permanent. It only lasted long enough until the painful consequences subsided.

Also, you mentioned that he’s accusing you of desertion, which he claims is grounds for divorce. It seems like he has no concept of the pain and fear he’s caused you. It appears that he believes that you owe him unconditional devotion as a wife, regardless of how he behaves. Is that true?

But you are not alone. I often see a lot of confusion among women in destructive marriages because they continue to cling to the hope that their spouse will change, even when it’s time to let go of that hope.

Protesting, they usually say something like, “I know God’s will is for our marriage to be restored. He can change my spouse and God hates divorce. So I will wait, and pray and believe and hope that my spouse will change someday.”

Then they wait and wait and wait. That’s where you are at now. And after waiting and hoping and seeing no evidence of any change, they begin to ask, “If I give up hope, does that mean I don’t trust God?”

It sounds to me that you are afraid of that too. You fear that if you let go of hope, you are giving up. That’s not true.

Giving up means you don’t trust what God is doing. Letting go and surrendering to God means “Not my will but yours be done.” Jesus showed us this in the garden when he didn’t feel like going to the cross, it was painful, yet he trusted his Father and surrendered.

There are times we do need to let go of our own desired outcome (such as a repentant spouse/ restored marriage) by surrendering it to God. Jesus let go of the rich young ruler. The young man didn’t want to do things God’s way and Christ let him go, even though he loved him (Mark 10:21).

Jesus let Judas go, even knowing that he was up to no good. The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11 shows a loving father, letting his younger son go to live a sinful life. He didn’t beg him to stay or cling to him when the son wanted to leave. He let him go.

Perhaps what you need to let go of is your hope in what God will do in your husband. Henry Cloud has a chapter in his book Necessary Endings called Hoping Versus Wishing: The Difference Between What’s Worth Fixing and What Should End.

Briefly, here are a few questions Cloud uses to discern whether someone should have hope or let go of hope.

Do I want the same reality, frustration, or problems six months from now?

Do I want this same level of performance a year from now?

Do I want to be having these same conversations two years from now?

 If the answer is no, then here are a few more of Cloud’s questions.

What reason is there to have hope that tomorrow is going to be different? (The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior)

 What in this picture is changing that I can believe in?

Cloud says, “The difference between hoping and wishing is that hope comes from real, objective reasons that the future is going to be different from the past. Anything other than that is simply a wish that comes from your desires.”[1]

God calls his people to put their hope in him, not necessarily in what he will do, or what we think he should do. Elijah is a good example of a godly man with misplaced hope. He believed it was God’s will for King Ahab and Jezebel to repent and he was right. It was God’s perfect will, but that’s not what happened.

Elijah became so despondent at his “failure” that he wanted to give up. In his small story of hoping what God would do, he forgot who God was and God’s larger story. God was still present. God was still good. God was still in control and God showed Elijah that his hope needed to be placed firmly in who God was, not what Elijah hoped he would do (1 Kings 18,19).

I don’t think Jesus hoped that Judas would change. He lived in truth and reality and knew he would not change (John 13:27).

I don’t think Abigail hoped that Nabal would change. She knew who her husband was and lived in that truth to protect her family from David’s outrage at Nabal’s foolishness (1 Samuel 25).

I don’t think that David hoped Saul would change after repeated lies and false promises. David knew that Saul was out to kill him despite promising change (1 Samuel 24,26).

Each of them lived in reality and truth, not in wishful thinking or false hope.

Proverbs remind us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). In other words, when you hope and hope and hope and your hope is continually dashed, it makes you sick inside. It sounds like that’s where you are at right now. But if what you hope for is showing some movement, then your hope grows and flourishes into a tree of life (nourishing and alive).

The first component of CORE strength is to live in truth and to stop pretending. I don’t have hope that God will enable me to fly if I jump out of the window. Could God perform a miracle and enable me to fly? Yes, he could, but will he defy his own laws of gravity? He might, but it’s not something I am going to hope for or test. That would not be living in the truth of what I know and how God acts.

In the same way, there is no evidence in Scripture that God changes people without their consent and cooperation. Therefore to hope that he will, is not living wisely (Click To Tweet). 

But to hope that God will work in you through the painful process of letting go is living in truth. From that place you can regain your energy and stay positive for God promises. He will cause all things to work together for OUR GOOD, which is to be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:28,29), and we can hope in that truth.

Friend: What helped you to let go of hope without giving up that God was still good and still at work, even if the outcome didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?

[1] Necessary Endings, page 97

826 Comments

  1. Ann L on January 25, 2017 at 8:11 am

    “Friend: What helped you to let go of hope without giving up that God was still good and still at work, even if the outcome didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?”

    Similar to the old joke about the person hanging on a cliff edge crying to God for help, afraid to trust the message to let go because s/he cannot see the strong platform an inch past his or her feet — what helps me to let go by having faith that I will survive whatever’s next.

    I find that letting go of the outcome in my prayers allows for a powerful and meditative experience to explore how to ask for what I want in ways that is not a demand to give me what I want.

    For example: When two of my children were teens, they did not return from an outing at the expected time. It was tempting to pray for their safe return. But the contemplative prayer also led to praying for the family’s resilience, forgiveness, grace, peace, regardless of the outcome.

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a dis-service when someone asks for prayers that their desired outcome is met. There’s nothing wrong, in my opinion, in asking God to save the life of a loved one, but that’s a set-up for future pain. Why not build out the prayer to include all the human elements of the situation: For love, for peace, for acceptance, for relationships, etc.

    Lastly, it seems to me that praying for a specific outcome is like treating God as one’s personal prayer genie. What happens when we realize that good luck charms don’t work? We throw them away.

    Summary: The key for me is to focus on God’s will instead of mine and to consciously shift my thoughts to accepting the unknown — because God’s there regardless.

    • JoAnn on January 25, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Well said, Ann. We can’t always know what the will of God is; He’s the One who has the big picture. But when we pray for Him to have His way, for peace to reign, even to pray according to Paul’s prayers in Ephesians, then we know we are aligned with His will no matter how things turn out.

    • Connie on January 25, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Yes!!

  2. Erin on January 25, 2017 at 8:41 am

    This hope you speak of and this place is exactly where I am. I too have been separated for over a year waiting for the actions that look like true repentance. The truth is I haven’t seen consistent movement towards a changed life. It hurts. Thank you writing and Leslie for sharing. I need to see where my CORE is not in truth.

  3. Mineral on January 25, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Hi Leslie, I don’t ever let go of hope. But God changes the object of my hope to be more and more hope in Him and less and less hope in my circumstance(husband). To fix my eyes on Him so that the reality of my circumstance can take its proper place in my life instead of overshadowing everything else. Now of course, marriage is HUGE and so it can’t be entirely ignored.

    So then the questions becomes, once hope is either released as you suggest or transferred to the Lord what comes next? It is clearly Biblical that love is “long-suffering,” “endures all things,” and so on. Therefore, even when there is not hope in change by the husband, I do not believe divorce (or even separation because can that go on for 20 years?) would be Biblical. How to live in such a marriage and glorify the Lord? Here is where wisdom and dependence upon the Lord is even more critical. But God can & will do amazing work in the women even as she lives, potentially the rest of her life, with an unrepentant husband. Remember Joseph, where God “made (him) fruitful in the land of (his) suffering.” God has a calling on this woman’s life: She can minister to her children or to woman in her church; she can gain skill in negotiating life with her husband when relationship doesn’t really exist; she may forge relationships with other Godly women to meet some of her unmet emotional/spiritual needs, she can still have joy in the Lord…. That is not at all an easy road, there will be much pain, and many mistakes made, but it shows hope that the Lord can give her a beautiful life for Him even in this awful situation.

    • SaraJane on January 25, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Don’t forget safety, though! An unrepentant, abusive husband is dangerous to wife and children and physical movement out of the house might mean the difference between life and death.

      • Wonuola on January 28, 2017 at 4:43 am

        Too true! No healthy minded person would stand in the middle of the highway waitching a truck coming full on high speed. Abuse damages the mind resulting in responses that are detrimental like staying in a toxic relationship while damage continues. Help may be required to get of the highway!

    • Ruth on January 25, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      I respectfully disagree. I gather you’re from the ‘divorce is only granted for adultery’ camp.

      God designed marriage to be a lifelong covenant but abuse wasn’t supposed to be part of the deal.
      God designed parenting as a safe place for children to grow up but when there’s abuse, the state steps in and removes the kids from the home. Shoot, if I start kicking my dog in the front yard someone will call the ASPCA on me.
      But we tell a sister in Christ: “Just endure”.
      What about her children!? Their minds are going to be screwed up. They’re going to have BIG resentment issues with the church bc the church wouldn’t help them.

      Love endures all things. God is Love.
      God endures all things, but even He eventually cuts ties with someone who doesn’t Love Him back.
      If your neighbor kicked you in the knee everytime you walked over to say hello, how long would it take before you decided that situation was toxic and started staying off their yard.
      A terrible marriage doesn’t glorify God. It’s not like the story of Joseph. These women are not coming out better. They’re coming out CRUSHED. Now, not every non-believing husband is abusive. Some are decent, hard-working men. In that case, she would probably not get a Holy Ghost green light on divorce. But the man described in the blog sounded abusive. I consider abuse as his breaking of marriage vows.
      Please, let’s no start whacking the original poster over the head with condemnation over her ‘Biblical right’ to divorce.

      • Ruth on January 25, 2017 at 1:12 pm

        My response was to Mineral.

      • Connie on January 25, 2017 at 2:41 pm

        My take on this, Ruth, (besides that I agree with you) is that it’s usually the men who push for ‘submission’ and ‘God hates divorce’. Because they are afraid. They fear our strength, they fear we might leave, they fear that they actually have to put some effort into this relationship thing. If we were loved as Christ loves the church, we wouldn’t even have this blog. If they can hold the “God hates divorce” over our heads, then we are prisoners and they don’t have to work at being godly husbands.

        • Connie on January 25, 2017 at 3:04 pm

          And the reason that pastors like to cling to that belief is because it’s so so much easier to walk by on the other side of the road than to help the beaten one, and if you can blame her and guilt her and spiritualise her suffering, well then we have the problem solved, don’t we? Women have been ‘given the privilege’ (tongue in cheek) of being the scapegoats for men’s sins since the very beginning. Makes me think that maybe God can really use us, if the enemy is so hell-bent to destroy us.

          • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 5:12 pm

            So true, Connie!! Well said!



          • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 5:43 pm

            Thank you, Leslie! You bring more and more clarity when our heads get muddled with bad theology, and wrong thinking. Thank you for helping us face and deal with truth and reality.



          • T.L. on January 25, 2017 at 5:57 pm

            Thank you, Leslie! You bring more and more clarity when our heads get muddled with bad theology, and wrong thinking. Thank you for helping us face and deal with truth and reality.

            Mineral, another thing to remember is that Joseph was kidnapped and held against his will, and then imprisoned and held against his will. He allowed circumstances beyond his control to make him wiser and better. I’m quite sure if Joseph could have said, “Hey; I’m leaving!” he would have.

            A woman chooses to marry of her own free will, believing that her husband means and intends to keep his promises. If instead of loving and cherishing her, he uses and abuses her, he is flagrantly breaking his covenant with her and with God. I agree with Leslie that a divorce would simply be a public recognition of what is already true.



          • Lori on January 25, 2017 at 11:48 pm

            Wow Ruth and Connie! Well said! THANK YOU!!!



        • Wonuola on January 28, 2017 at 11:44 am

          It is convenient for those who state “God hates divorce” to use it as a reason for keeping people entrapped in abusive relationships. Why does God hate divorce? I believe this is because it stems from factors like pride, deceit, manipulation etc

          Proverbs 6:16-19King James Version (KJV)

          16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

          17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

          18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

          19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

          • Lori on February 13, 2017 at 11:23 am

            Wanuola,

            I LOVE how you clarified the REASON God hates divorce:

            “It is convenient for those who state “God hates divorce” to use it as a reason for keeping people entrapped in abusive relationships. Why does God hate divorce? I believe this is because it stems from factors like pride, deceit, manipulation etc

            Proverbs 6:16-19King James Version (KJV)

            16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

            17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

            18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

            19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

            Thank you for this!

            Another thought as I read your post is that these “characteristics” are cultivated and flourish easily in a marriage covenant that is only kept for the sake of a piece of paper.

            The reason God hates divorce is because it is a heart issue of enmity stemming from the characteristics you so clearly exposed.

            Man looks on the outside, while God looks on the heart(s).

            These characteristics: pride, deceit, manipulation (and I will add a few also), power, control, exploiting the other for self nourishment, humiliating, etc. etc.
            are all opposite aspects of love.

            The Christian marriage is supposed to be an example and a light to the world of Christ Love for His bride.

            No wonder the enemy would seek at every turn to cause it’s deformity. He has succeeded in a LARGE way from what I have seen.

            How are you doing now? Did you say you are newly separated? Thought I saw you mention having children also. How are they and may I ask how many/ages?

            Mine are all but grown now with the exception of 1 who is 15. I have 4 children.

            Praying for you and your faith in Gods provision.



      • Rene on January 25, 2017 at 8:59 pm

        Ruth, I couldn’t agree more!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

      • Lori on January 27, 2017 at 2:43 am

        Ruth,
        Love your clarity and scriptural application: “Love endures all things. God is Love.
        God endures all things, but even He eventually cuts ties with someone who doesn’t Love Him back.”

        Yes. Exactly! God perfectly examples separation from the unrepentant sinner. The prodigal son story comes to mind. Where was the Father in the story? Being dragged through the painful choices of his sons unrepentant lifestyle, or on the hill waiting and praying, longing for his sons return? He was separated from his son because of his sons sinful and self centered choices. His son needed to experience the consequences of his choices in order to remember the Perfect Love his Father had for him.Without the wisdom of the Father to stay on the hill and allow his son to follow his plans to sin….we do not imagine it to end well for the son. Where would he return if the Father had left the hill?

        I am reminded now also, that when the son returned, he was quite a different man than when he had left. He was broken, and considered fellowship with the Father a privilege he could only hope would still be offered to him. How sweet that reunion was and how amazed (instead of entitled) the prodigal must have felt in the offering of his Fathers love for him upon his return (repentence) to Him. This story shows us how it can be seen when one has rent his heart and not merely his garment. It will be obvious when that is the case. Until then, how are we to behave in a different manner than our Father has exampled to us?

    • Leslie Vernick on January 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      Mineral, I would agree with everything you said in an unhappy marriage or a disappointing marriage or a difficult marriage but not in an abusive or destructive marriage. There is no glorifying God in enabling sin to flourish, sins of oppression and abuse. God does not ask a woman to be oppressed or abused in her marriage for his glory, he asks her to love her spouse enough to speak the truth in love, to admonish the unruly, to let him sow what he has reaped by calling the authorities, and asking for protection and help from the authorities and the church. To stay silent and suffer for someone to continue to oppress is some women’s reality, especially depending on the culture she lives in, but I don’t think it is the only way to be a godly women in an oppressive, ungodly and destructive marriage. And I think we need to be very careful not to put an additional heavy burden on a woman’s already sagging shoulders.

      • ~ Pam on January 25, 2017 at 6:05 pm

        AMEN Leslie! This is a keeper! Thanks!

      • Wonuola on January 28, 2017 at 6:48 pm

        Thanks Leslie, Even in cultures where abuse is seemingly the norm and women seem to be coping well, behind the scenes talking to the women one on one they are desperate for liberty from the bondage of control, intimidation and manipulation with a frustration of unfulfilled and suppressed living.

        Culture indeed as not infrequently made null the word of God that upholds live,

        • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm

          You so right. When I spoke in IRAQ I was asked about how to help women who felt they had no option but to set themselves on fire to die and escape and abusive marriage. It broke my heart.

          • Florida Lizzie on February 1, 2017 at 8:45 pm

            How horrible for these women in Iraq! I think some Christian women feel the same way, I just read Necessary Endings last week, and it is excellent. What woke me up was my sister listening to me break my silence, and say to me in love and truth: “Your husband’s heart is not for you, but against you.” When he began divorce proceedings and swiftly cut off credit cards, phone service and drain the bank accounts, I woke up to the fact there was no sense in false hope and I had to get myself safe. Four years later, and it was the best thing possible to be divorced from a man who was in his heart an enemy. Your example of Judas is spot on. He fooled all the disciples, heard all Jesus’ words, and yet betrayed Jesus. The truth will set you free, if you receive it.



    • Cindy on January 25, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      I would like to hear Leslie Vernick’s comments on your post Mineral, as this is where the battle lies – we either live this way as Mineral describes, or separate? Is it loving of me to allow no consequences to fall on my husband who lives in sin?

    • Aly on January 26, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Mineral,

      Oh my respectfully here are my thoughts but my sadness for what you have been exposed to or unexposed to relate to here.
      I’m quite in disagreement with your belief structure in you above comments.
      Especially this one:
      “It is clearly Biblical that love is “long-suffering,” “endures all things,” and so on”

      We are called to do and love ‘to glorify God’ and any suffering will come from doing His will, not a person’s comfortable approval. Nor will that come from hiding a person or especially a husband’s sin from himself or others. That’s called peacekeeping and adds to ones own denial.

      Of course when there is a married couple and they are not both believing spouses this can cause different roads to take.
      But a professing Christ believing spouse is more accountable biblically speaking to mutually submit to one another.

      Your theological arguments here based on your beliefs could be dangerous and sound like the idol of a marriage image is more valuable than two people becoming one flesh with Christ at the center.

      My question for you is how do you define Love?
      How do you define suffering for Good, His will and not just ‘plain suffering’? How do you know your living out your purpose for His will?

      To me, loving some someone well entails this: Choosing the highest good for the other person!

      When I love someone (like my husband) from my own fear, insecurity or place of denial.. im really not offering them love.
      Thus, they are getting a counterfeit and I am not representing an authentic Christian love.
      Prayers for your journey

      • Leslie Vernick on January 26, 2017 at 8:32 pm

        I agree. Thank you.

      • Wonuola on January 28, 2017 at 10:16 pm

        Love what you say about the “highest good”. A mother’s love for her child consents to amputation of her child’s gangrenous limb for love of the child else the rotten limb soon results in the child’s whole system shutting down. True love is radical in the best interest of the object of its love..

    • James on January 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Mineral,

      Thank you for being a courageous woman.

      In a world in which far too many people are willing to say “yea…but…” to biblical truth you are willing to put your trust in God and His word. I’m afraid that your example of obedience is likely to generate a fair amount of criticism but I hope you know that there are those, like myself, who applaud you for your strength and courage.

      You are an example of radical obedience for others to follow.

      • Leslie Vernick on January 26, 2017 at 8:30 pm

        James, I think we have to be careful here. You imply that the only women of radical obedience are the ones that think like you do. Sometimes radical obedience might look one way – and other times it might look like another. Please do not judge these women. You are welcome to your thoughts, your input, your comments, but when you start to sound like you are judging, I will jump in here because it’s uncalled for.

        • James on January 27, 2017 at 11:04 am

          Leslie,

          Thank you for your comment.

          I absolutely didn’t mean to imply that only women of radical obedience are the ones who think like I do.

          I saw mineral’s dedication to her vows and thought she needed a word of encouragement. She holds her commitment to biblical truth in high esteem, I think that’s laudable.

          Perhaps you can be more specific about where you think I was judging but I feel like you have put words in my mouth and then rebuked me for them.

          • Mary on February 2, 2017 at 10:09 am

            Her commitment is admirable but misguided. She is suffering all the consequences for her husband’s behavior and he’s not in the least having any discomfort. This is so wrong on every level. Even God doesn’t operate like this. He allows us to make our choices but we still have the consequences on our head. For instance, we may pray for our financial status to change, but if we refuse to change our spending habits or get a better job or whatever the issue may be, God will not automatically dump a load of money in our lap anyway. He will, however, guide us to better spending habits, a budgeting plan, or whatever is needed. The key is RESPONSIBILITY. Mineral is taking ALL responsibility and her husband none. She’s not being a helpmeet, nor is she honoring her husband or her children or herself.



      • Valerie on February 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        Sometimes radical obedience means to be like Naomi and go to the land of the unknown. It might mean being willing to sacrifice your financial stability, your home, your friends, your church and everything that is of earthly value in order to be obedient to God who says that it’s time for the law of sowing and reaping to be implemented for the unrepentant spouse.
        I’m not sure where the idea comes from that it is somehow easier to leave a destructive situation then to stay. The destructive person ensures consequences for leaving as well as staying.
        Scripture says to obey is better than sacrifice. The Old Testament speaks of those who sacrificed their children to the false god Molech. Some might have called them dedicated followers. Jesus calls us to crucify ourselves daily for his sake, not for the sake of someone else. He also tells us that his burden is light. That doesn’t mean it’s easy but he does not call us to deny the person that he made us to be so that we can be the false image someone else wants us to be. That is a life of servitude to man, not God.

    • Content on January 28, 2017 at 10:36 am

      “If you can gain your freedom, do so…”

      This is God’s heart for all who are oppressed.

      We (Americans) are blessed to live in a time and age and culture where slavery is no longer legal and women now have the right to “gain their freedom” from oppressive and abusive marriages.

      The more you get to know the heart of the Father, the more you will see how these two issues are the same and what God’s desire is for His children who are in these situations. It is not to “stay and endure” at all costs (although God does give instruction to those who don’t have the option or cultural right to gain their freedom).

    • alie on February 1, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Proverbs 14:31- Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. Learn to do good, seek Justice and correct oppression.Isaiah 1:17 Psalm 72:4 May he defend the cause of the poor , give deliverance to the children of the needy and crush the oppressor. Psalm 119:134 Redeem me from Mans’s Oppression, that I may keep your precepts.
      an Abusive marriage, is an Oppressive Marriage and counselors and Pastors need to understand how to deal with the Oppressor as Husband and the Oppressed as the Spouse. It is biblical to deal with this in a marriage, because it does not Please God that a woman goes Oppressed for an indefinite amount of time.

      • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        alie,

        Thank you for providing scriptural resources here that speak to the heart of the issue.

        Copying and pasting to a file I have now called “CORE Scriptures”

        Your thoughts shared are so clear and helpful. Thank you.

        • Wonuola on February 13, 2017 at 4:16 pm

          Hi Lori, thank you for your kind words of encouragement posted today.
          My children are aged 15, 13 and 9years.
          I knew I had to be at peace with my final decision and finally knew with the comfort from God’s word that I needed to walk in the liberty Christ secured for me, not being seen to and shackled on the inside! Control and manipulation
          stemming from cultural beliefs have been the whip for years rationalised by there not being any physical abuse. Outbursts of anger were terrifying……with fears of being an inch away from what next? I gave into decisions that resulted in losses being incurred, with rationales that I did not understand/ for peace sake! I realised my life was being spent, every day draws us nearer to the end. My accountability is to my first love, no one else should take that place! Our values became more apparent to be different, achievement and imagined perception of others seemed to overrule suggestion for meaningful living,,.We attend separate churches, as he is focused on the one which upholds religion above the word, emphasizing the letter and not the Spirit of the word. I was given titles”rebellious wife”, “Jezebel spirit”….
          I am now at peace in God’s love regarding that decision. That puzzles many, waiting for the paperwork to be processed. Thankful for the truth shared in this forum.

    • Anna on February 13, 2017 at 5:50 pm

      Mineral
      Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I agree some divorce over spilt milk, I don’t agree a marriage should be kept at all cost. That’s naive thinking. Years ago I was in an abusive relationship – my son’s father physically, mentally and sexually assaulted me, but I was ‘that’ Christian who believed God loves a nuclear family so it was my duty to stay. One day the man looked at our son with ‘that’ look and I knew.. it was only a matter of time before my son was due for his first punch in the head. My son only a year and a half then. So I decided to leave, I didn’t get away with a free pass – we argued and fought, the man stabbed me and had planned to take me to ‘our’ special place by water and watch me bleed out.. BUT GOD had other ideas. 15yrs later I am now a married woman to another man, with 2 girls to him. We’re a Christian family and overall life is very good to us. God delivered me from a very great hell and blessed me with beauty for ashes. God is not warped regarding love. He requires commitment not to be mistaken for oppression.

  4. JoAnn on January 25, 2017 at 10:49 am

    As always, Leslie, your thoughts on this matter are very helpful, and your insight into the various biblical examples is enlightening. For me, I think it all boils down to surrender to God’s will. We only think we know what God’s will is. It was hard for me to believe that God would allow my daughter to become pregnant while in college. It was hard for me to believe that He would allow my son to be murdered. While I don’t have the marital problems that are addressed in this blog, I do have plenty of other life experiences that have tested my faith and my hope in God. He is faithful to always act in our best interest, whether it looks like it or not. Sometimes it is only in retrospect that we can see His wisdom in allowing certain things to happen. Meanwhile, we journey on, trusting in the only One who is trustworthy. To release our children, our spouses, our marriages into His care is the way to find peace. The peace that passes understanding.

  5. Joanie on January 25, 2017 at 11:04 am

    This is me! Your reply spoke to my spirit and reaffirmed I was not to go back to my husband. I was wishing, afraid to go back, afraid to not go back. I was afraid of disappointing God, for not trying harder or being more understanding. I deserted him, his counter claim for divorce. He is being ugly and cruel after 10 months apart. He never once asked why I left or what he might have done to cause me to leave with just my clothes. I answered no to all the questions. I was not hoping. My hope now is in God and my relationship with him first. He is my truth. Thank you so much Leslie, I feel more peace and validation in staying this course. I would of been dead in 2 years.

  6. Ruth on January 25, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Leslie, your article topic choice was timely and excellent.
    You’re right. The original poster doesn’t necessarily need to keep hope alive for her marriage; her hope for a good life is in knowing Jesus.
    God doesn’t promise redeemed marriages for everyone. God doesn’t force salvation on a hard-hearted husband or on our prodigal-children according to our desperate timelines. God honors our freedom to choose Him. God DOES promise that you’ll find Him when you seek Him with all your heart.
    God also promises that you’ll have perfect peace if you keep you heart and mind stayed on Him bc you trust in Him.
    Here’s a good one Ps. 34.18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

    In my spirit, I feel like God wants to wait and do this salvation work when we’ve stopped being so desperate about it. Compassionate, good.🙂
    Desperate,not so good.😳

    The original poster has to get the mindset: “Though None go with me still I with follow. No Turning back. Turning back.”

  7. Connie on January 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    One big big red flag I see in today’s question, is that he seems to be angry that she has not filed for divorce. So why doesn’t he file? Because he wants to blame it on her……again. Poor me, she deserted me. Crocodile tears. Batting his baby blues, “I’m innocent”. Think how he can hold his head up and shame her in the community and family. Just ask how I know……..though my x did file, he still turned it on me like that. “I have no idea why she left me. Probably she just didn’t feel like being married anymore.” And people fall for that!!!! I think divorce is worse than death. Nobody brought me casseroles!! 🙂 Seriously, it never ends, really.

    • Dee on January 25, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      So many abusers play the charming victim rather than own their behaviour. Yes, the lack of casseroles hurts, as the end of the marriage is a type of “death” and you need this kind of care while you grieve. Tragically so many women get abandonment from those they need the most and they get judgement for taking the brave steps they need to take.

      I through myself on to God and realised that even when a destructive spouse physically stays in the home, if they persistently break their vows, and do not show repentence and change; they have abandoned you (EVEN if they physically hang around).

      This is not a marriage it is abandonment.

      It sounds like the original posters husband abandoned her and his vows and wants to blame shift.

      • Wonuola on January 29, 2017 at 4:09 pm

        The divorce always precedes the paper work / filing. The relationship having broken down already results in the paperwork! Many are already divorced practically but paperwork not done.

        • Lori on February 13, 2017 at 11:31 am

          Wonuola,

          Have been going back over some older posts and see this one of yours:

          “The divorce always precedes the paper work / filing. The relationship having broken down already results in the paperwork! Many are already divorced practically but paperwork not done.”

          After responding to your last post about why God hates divorce, I can see this truth you share also.

          Why does God hate divorce? Because divorce happens in the secret places of the heart where pride, haughtiness, selfishness and deceit have been fostered and have effectively murdered the marriage.

          I agree with you.

          Divorce has already taken place in the hearts of many marriages. Most Christians in this condition seem to learn to fake it and hide the fact that a death has occurred, and God hates this deceit behind the legal document of marriage.

          The word says that God hates DIVORCE, not the legal paper that claims marriage.

    • Libl on January 25, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      This seems to be a more and more common tactic among abusing, controlling men. They will not “live contentedly” with their wives (particularly Christian wives who have it pounded into them to not divorce), but refuse to divorce them until they drive her to file and then blame her. Or they hold her hostage as she feels she isn’t allowed to divorce.

      • Aly on January 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm

        So true Libl for many of these patterns.
        What is usually beneath the surface IS an actual divorce..

        Divorce by one spouse in their mind, then divorce in their body and their soul.
        Having a legal marital status doesn’t equal having a God centered marriage that can thrive.

        They want all the biblical arguments against divorce, but they won’t implement the biblical arguments for having a biblical marriage!
        Again… they write their own rules, comforts and Jesus.
        Lord let us stay aligned to your Word!

      • Lori on February 13, 2017 at 11:39 am

        Libl,

        You said:
        “This seems to be a more and more common tactic among abusing, controlling men. They will not “live contentedly” with their wives (particularly Christian wives who have it pounded into them to not divorce), but refuse to divorce them until they drive her to file and then blame her. Or they hold her hostage as she feels she isn’t allowed to divorce.”

        Yes. This is exactly how I would describe my “marriage” of 30 years.

        There is the Godly idea that marriage is for life.
        Then there is the ungodly licensing and liberties mankind takes to bank on that piece of paper and never have to tend to or nurture the marriage or let it change our hearts by rooting out the sinful practices we might be engaged in that kill it.

        I don’t have to listen very hard to hear the key turning on the door of my prison cell called marriage some 30 years ago.

        To have people tell such ones that there is no hope for them to ever be free from such bondage and torment as a destructive marriage is to sentence them to death. If not physical, certainly emotional and perhaps spiritual.

        I have seen this happen in many precious loved ones and friends.

        All in the name of keeping the paperwork in tact. It’s a travesty!

    • Aly on January 26, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      Connie;)
      I am laughing 😂..
      Because it is so predictable in ways right.
      The cluelessness works for a bit… then they try how mentally ill a person is..
      Thankfully we know WHO sees all and eventually they have to give an account regardless if they are saved or unsaved.
      Bless you … id bring you your favorite dish if I could!

  8. JB on January 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Leslie, your post is so timely! I have been struggling with this same question the past couple of weeks, trying to find the balance between living in reality and holding on to hope.

    For the sake of my children, I feel that God has called me to stay in a destructive marriage where I have more influence over them, rather than abandoning their welfare to the vagaries of a court system that would have split custody between me and their father. My choice has strained relationships with friends and family: One group is concerned about my safety and well-being and accuses me for not looking out for myself. Another group berates me for not fully re-engaging with my husband emotionally, physically, or financially. Even our counselor claims that I am setting us up for failure if I do not let my guard down. I would love to let my guard down, but I feel that is an ideal set aside for normal, healthy relationships and to do so in my marriage would be foolish. I have seen no meaningful change or even acknowledgement of the damage my husband has caused, and I have no desire to make myself vulnerable again until I feel it is safe to do so.

    In the meantime, am open to the possibility that my husband may change, but I have come to see that unfulfilled hope only increases the tension in our relationship. Every time I try to make up for his failures with kindness and respect and he still responds in a selfish, immature way, my anger bubbles back to the surface. Why can’t he see that he is biting the hand that feeds him? How can I continue to live right when he treats me so wrong?

    The answer is by re-directing my hope: I hope for a husband who loves and respects me. I hope for a spouse who sets his desires aside to meet the needs of his wife and family. I hope for a partner in life who helps me reach my dreams as much as I help him. Those hopes may be normal and reasonable, but they are not being met by my earthly husband. Will they ever be? Maybe. But I am not going to set my heart on it. Instead, I am going to live in the reality of who my husband is now and set my hopes in my spiritual husband. A husband who will provide a future and a hope for me and my children that is better than what I see now. Who can work all things together for our good, even if they are not good in the moment. Who I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is deeply and passionately in love with me and will never abandon me.

    That is not just a hope, but a promise from my God. I can live with that.

    • T.L. on January 28, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      J.B., I’m really sorry that you are getting criticized for your considered, careful choices instead of supported in them. I think both sides probably think they have your best interest in mind. But each of us must walk out our stories before our “audience of one,” who loves us and gives grace for each day. We answer to Him. I pray that you will be able to walk in dignity and CORE strength as you attempt to live with your unrepentant husband. I pray you can remain as impolite dad possible. May the Lord direct you, strengthen you, and keep you open to His voice every step of your way.

      • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 9:14 pm

        Thanks T.L. for your gracious response. Yes we must all live before an “audience of one” and although we may disagree on what that looks like, let’s please, please, give each other the benefit of the doubt that the goal is to honor and glorify God.

  9. rose on January 25, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    After my emotionally, mentally and sexually abusive husband of 20 years stopped paying the mortgage, we lost our beautiful home. My two teenage children are just devastated, as I am. I I decided thats enough. I moved separately into a new home and he got an apt. I had already filed for divorce a year earlier, but kept stalling it because i was afraid to pursue it. i kept hoping he wd change. Hoping being served with divorce papers wd wake him up. it never happened. He became angry, bitter, nasty and continues to blame me. He takes absolutely no responsibility for his actions. No remorse, no repentenance whatsoever. we began christian marriage counseling six months ago. the sessions are explosive, a screaming match for two hours, with the counselor playing referee. My husband lies, avoids, manipulates, and everyone believes him. Of course, he is highly decorated detective. Calm, cool and collected. I am the emotional, unstable wife, who talks too much. I ended up storming out of the last session because of the bias in that office. This counselor refuses to hold my husband accountable for his words and actions. I called him today and told him I am not going back to counseling. It is fruitless and only making things worse. There is no change at all in this man. The marital relationship is completed broken, it has been for the past five years, including no intimacy. Yet that is all my husband wants is sex. And if he cant get it, he wants some type of affection. I told him I cannot do it. He is a very controlling man. He manipulates and intimidates me. He uses fear to control me. He calls me names and embarrasses me. He disrespects me. He mocks me. I feel so foolish and devalued. And NOBODY believes he really does this things. I am so worn out trying to prove to people that its not my imagination. His words hurt me so deeply. He has no idea and frankly does not care. Its all about him. He is completely indifferent. Having said all that, I must now make a decision, do i want to pursue a legal seperation or divorce? The judge says I cannot stall any longer. I am tormented. I have searched the scriptures for wisdom. I do not want to grieve the holy spirit, or disobey God, or bring terrible consequences on myself if I divorce him. Gods word is clear…the only acceptable justification is infidelity. Now what? Im bound to this marriage until he is unfaithful to me, and in the interim, I continue hoping one day god will convict him and he will repent? He says he wants the seperation, not divorce. Of course, that is his way of still maintaining what little bit of control he has left. The christian pastor/marriage counselor told me directly: “YOU HAVE NO OUT! WITHOUT INFIDELITY, YOU DO NOT HAVE BIBLICAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE AND IF YOU DIVORCE HIM, YOUR LIFE WILL BE HELL. YOU ARE BOUND TO THIS MAN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE”. I had never felt more hopeless in my entire life. But God, you see how he treats me. I am sick emotionally, mentally and physically (with IBS flare ups from so much strife) how could you demand that I must stay? But Jesus says, if you love me, you will obey my commands. that is to stay in the marriage and honor the convenant I made. I have to give this lawyer an answer. Does anyone have any words of advice for me? thank you all so much for listening and allowing me to tell my story. I feel so alone. Like no one understands and I have no one to turn to.

    • Cindy on January 26, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Rose, not all counsellors are the same. Not all pastors make good counsellors. Find someone to help you, because irregardless of what happens to your marriage, you will need help for you. It’s hard to make decisions when you are feeling crazy (even though your not). Pursue a Christian counsellor to help you. Do what it takes ….for your own health.

      • Cindy on January 26, 2017 at 9:07 pm

        Also remember this….”A bruised reed he will not break”. That’s our God and He knows your hearts desire.

        • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 6:36 pm

          Yes on both, Cindy! Rose, you need a counselor who understands the dynamics of abusive and destructive marriages.

          • rose on January 29, 2017 at 12:20 am

            T.L.
            do you or any one of you dear friends know how i can go about finding a counselor who deals with abusive, destructive marriages? I have searched online, but they all say they deal with relationships and divorce, but none of them specify destructive and abusive relationships. There arent many christian counselors who take insurance. Therefore, many of them are out of pocket and quite costly. My only option is probably a secular counselor.



    • Ginger on January 26, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      Rose,
      I’m not sure if anyone responded to you but I believe you and I understand! I do not believe that God insists on his daughters taking that kind of abuse. To say only adultery is a cause for divorce would keep many women in abusive marriages and just can’t be right! You are of worth and a beloved daughter of God.
      See Leslie’s post “Is it Biblical to implement negative consequences” and know you are NOT alone. Also LDS.org has many uplifting articles and messages on marriage, women and family issues. Listening and reading them have given me a better understanding of God’s love for his daughters.

    • Aly on January 26, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      Rose,
      I believe you!
      From your painful story and such loss it seems like you don’t ‘have a covenant marriage.
      Sounds like he might have infidelity issues in other ways?
      Can you Ladies TL, Lori, Connie.. give godly wisdom;)
      Leslie V. ?

    • Robin on January 26, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      Rose, your marriage and situation sounds a lot like mine. Everything you said about your husband – was true of mine. I can share my story as to how I got where I am today, free from abuse. I went to personal counseling with someone who understood abuse well. I counseled with her for 3 years before I made a decision to divorce. I still remember her words, we have to get you out of there so u can begin healing. My husband had his own counselor but only talked about finances. His counselor contacted mine and said why is she still there?? I gave my husband plenty of opportunities to seek for help, over the 30 yrs we were married. I was fortunate to have excellent counseling that saw the trauma I was living in. She explained to me (unlike the church) that my husband had broken the marriage covenant. And I was free to leave. My husband had no acknowledgement of his abuse, nor a desire to turn away. I filed for divorce because I had no signs he would do anything different. I have been divorced now for 16 months and God has restored my life to one of healthyness, and has given me abundant provision for all my needs. I do not agree with your counselor trying to hold you in an Destructive marriage. I am still in counseling and growing and walking into a life that is abuse free.
      God never intended for me to live in the trauma I was. He was pleased to set me free.

      • Ann L on January 27, 2017 at 12:39 am

        Thank you for the encouraging words, Robin. This: “My husband had no acknowledgement of his abuse, nor a desire to turn away” is the rock I hold on to when I start to doubt my decision. I’m still dragging my feet on moving forward with the divorce, and reminding myself that he had left the marriage long before I recognized it.

        It’s weird. I have hope, I guess, or maybe it’s just a wish, and I’m not thrilled about divorce as the outcome. And mixed all in through that is excitement that I don’t have to live with lies anymore. I feel as tumbled as a pair of socks in the middle of the wash cycle.

        On the bright side, the next phases are rinse and spin. I can do this!

      • Lori on January 27, 2017 at 12:47 am

        Robin,

        You wrote: “God never intended for me to live in the trauma I was. He was pleased to set me free.”

        Love this! What a loving God we have.
        Thank you for sharing this and your experience. It is encouraging to see how God has provided for you and how you were set free.

      • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 6:32 pm

        Amen, Robin! God’s heart, I’m sure, would have been for your husband’s repentance and the sanctity and wholeness of the marriage. But his disdain for you, his Maker, and the covenant led to the dissolution of it. The responsibility for that falls upon his head.

      • rose on January 28, 2017 at 12:27 pm

        Robin,
        THank you for sharing your story with me. It is a comfort to know that other women do understand and believe me. Im NOT losing my sanity, Im NOT a “kook”. Its not my mindset or me trying to justify a divorce..all things my husband says to me. No, these things ARE really happening. Its not right that I have to pay sexually when I buy something at the store, or when I need him to do a task around the house, or to be spoken to only when he says I “must be a good wife” and satisfy him sexually. Im forced to do things and say things I dont want to, but then Im told “stop it, youre my wife, dont you want to please your husband?”. but he ignores me and my feelings and what I desperately crave from him (a partner I can talk to and feel safe with, someone I can trust and be vulnerable with, that wont hurt me, someone who loves me for ME, as a person, not what I can give them sexually, a person who values me and respects me and treats me kindness, compassion and shows patience when he doesnt get his way). I am so exhausted of having this same conversation with him over and over for years. Ive also written letters to help him understand my heart. I am ashamed to admit, I have even begged him…pls be nice to me. Im sorry…Im rambling too much. thank you for listening.

      • rose on February 1, 2017 at 10:52 am

        Robin,
        I wish I were as strong as you are. But sadly, the truth is, I have been co-dependent on my husband during our 20 yr marriage. I am so scared to be alone and have to do everything myself. I wonder everyday…how can I make it on my own? The fear paralyzes me and I get such scary panic attacks. This makes me justify staying in my marriage (although seperated for two mths now) this terrible terrible fear of being alone. I do not know how to do many things, like home repairs, and maintaining the car, etc. I have paid a lot of money to have people do this for me, hoping they are not scamming me because they see I dont know any better. My two children are in college and soon they will be on their own. Then I will be left totally alone. This scares me to death. I cant bear the lonliness and the thought of growing old without a companion to walk with. I think, what if I get sick…who will help me? Im sorry Im rambling..Im just so scared and saddened..I cry as I write this….of being left alone. So I minimize the abuse and tell myself, its not that bad. Ive dealt with it for so many years…this helps me to hold on to this empty shell of a marriage I have left. I know this thinking is all wrong. wish i were stronger.

        • Roxanne on February 14, 2017 at 11:53 pm

          Jesus will help you. He will be your companion.

      • rose on February 20, 2017 at 10:34 pm

        Dear Robin,
        How did you find a counselor who deals with abusive relationships? I have looked on the internet. Not one specializes in abuse. I called Patrick Doyle’s counseling and left several messages and emails. No answer. Also focus on the family does not deal with abuse. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much

    • Jennifer on January 27, 2017 at 12:32 am

      Rose, I wish that I could give you a simple answer, but life – and the people in it – are not simple.

      God knows this: why does Proverbs say in one place that we should answer a fool according to his folly, and in another place that we should NOT answer him according to his folly? The answer: because it depends. Yes, God hates divorce. He hates the hurt and destruction it inflicts on individuals, families, and in His church. He also hates the hurt that people cause each other in relationships, including marriages. In God’s perfect plan, wives would respect their husbands and husbands would love their wives as Christ loved the church, and both would submit to each other for their mutual benefit. But we live in a fallen world, and very often our marriages fall short of that ideal I believe that simply saying a wife cannot leave a destructive marriage unless there is infidelity is as dangerous as saying a person cannot go to heaven unless they tithe and go to church regularly: it leaves out the crucial question of the heart.

      Will your husband’s heart change if you separate and wait for him? Will your children be better off knowing you could restore the family someday? Can you be safe and grow in God whether or not he repents? If so, then the answer may be for you to stay together whatever the circumstances that led you to this place. But since only God knows the deep waters of each of your hearts, only He can tell you what to do

      My advice: Get quiet before God and wait for his guidance. Where you have peace, trust that is His will for you. If you don’t have peace with either choice, don’t make one, no matter who is pushing you to make one. God is never late, and He won’t let you down if you submit to Him. But he will not be forced into human timelines either. Trust that He loves you, He loves your husband, and He wants what is best for each of you. You can count on Him

      • JoAnn on January 27, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        Really good advice, Jennifer. I heartily agree.

      • Wonuola on February 13, 2017 at 3:49 am

        Words of wisdom❤️

      • Lori on February 13, 2017 at 11:50 am

        Jennifer, Rose,

        I am so glad Wonuola commented this morning on your post of January 27. I think your post contained the answer for Rose’s and each of our hearts dilemma. I think it is worth copying and reposting here:

        “Rose, I wish that I could give you a simple answer, but life – and the people in it – are not simple.

        God knows this: why does Proverbs say in one place that we should answer a fool according to his folly, and in another place that we should NOT answer him according to his folly? The answer: because it depends. Yes, God hates divorce. He hates the hurt and destruction it inflicts on individuals, families, and in His church. He also hates the hurt that people cause each other in relationships, including marriages. In God’s perfect plan, wives would respect their husbands and husbands would love their wives as Christ loved the church, and both would submit to each other for their mutual benefit. But we live in a fallen world, and very often our marriages fall short of that ideal I believe that simply saying a wife cannot leave a destructive marriage unless there is infidelity is as dangerous as saying a person cannot go to heaven unless they tithe and go to church regularly: it leaves out the crucial question of the heart.

        Will your husband’s heart change if you separate and wait for him? Will your children be better off knowing you could restore the family someday? Can you be safe and grow in God whether or not he repents? If so, then the answer may be for you to stay together whatever the circumstances that led you to this place. But since only God knows the deep waters of each of your hearts, only He can tell you what to do

        My advice: Get quiet before God and wait for his guidance. Where you have peace, trust that is His will for you. If you don’t have peace with either choice, don’t make one, no matter who is pushing you to make one. God is never late, and He won’t let you down if you submit to Him. But he will not be forced into human timelines either. Trust that He loves you, He loves your husband, and He wants what is best for each of you. You can count on Him”

    • Lori on January 27, 2017 at 12:42 am

      Rose,
      You wrote: ” I am so worn out trying to prove to people that its not my imagination.”
      I believe you. Let me say it again. I BELIEVE YOU.
      I used to spend so much energy trying to convince others of the hell I was experiencing in my marriage and home. I think I must have been trying to convince the wrong people. ie. My family of origin, church people who believed : “The christian pastor/marriage counselor told me directly: “YOU HAVE NO OUT! WITHOUT INFIDELITY, YOU DO NOT HAVE BIBLICAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE AND IF YOU DIVORCE HIM, YOUR LIFE WILL BE HELL. YOU ARE BOUND TO THIS MAN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE”.

      I found that when I believed me, I acted on that belief. May I ask you, in your heart, what do you believe about your situation? If you heard this same story from another woman sharing as you have, what would you think about the counsel she received that GOD EXPECTS HER TO STAY?
      It takes a lot of energy to try to convince others of your situation and this effort does make us sick. May I suggest you stop? If you decide to stop, may I suggest that you take whatever energy you have left after stopping and decide what you will do about your situation? I believe your situation is as horrible as you say. I believe you have a choice in whether you continue or discontinue. Women have written here in this blog about how staying in a destructive relationship empowers the abuser. You are not crazy. What I think is crazy is the idea that continuing to put yourself in harms way is what God wants.
      It seems you are under some stress also to provide a quick answer to your attorney? This is a big decision for you. Not sure why your attorney needs to know so quickly, but perhaps it can wait a week, or two? Can you separate for a bit so you can clear your head?
      I am new here so I am admittedly not an expert by any means. Just responding from my heart in the place I am currently.
      Praying for you Rose. Praying the Lord will provide a CLEAR direction for you and for peace. Love to you dear sister.

      • rose on January 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm

        Robin,
        THank you for sharing your story with me. It is a comfort to know that other women do understand and believe me. Im NOT losing my sanity, Im NOT a “kook”. Its not my mindset or me trying to justify a divorce..all things my husband says to me. No, these things ARE really happening. Its not right that I have to pay sexually when I buy something at the store, or when I need him to do a task around the house, or to be spoken to only when he says I “must be a good wife” and satisfy him sexually. Im forced to do things and say things I dont want to, but then Im told “stop it, youre my wife, dont you want to please your husband?”. but he ignores me and my feelings and what I desperately crave from him (a partner I can talk to and feel safe with, someone I can trust and be vulnerable with, that wont hurt me, someone who loves me for ME, as a person, not what I can give them sexually, a person who values me and respects me and treats me kindness, compassion and shows patience when he doesnt get his way). I am so exhausted of having this same conversation with him over and over for years. Ive also written letters to help him understand my heart. I am ashamed to admit, I have even begged him…pls be nice to me. Im sorry…Im rambling too much. thank you for listening.

      • rose on January 28, 2017 at 12:42 pm

        lori,
        thank you so much for your response. Your message really resonated with me. the reason for the pressure from my lawyer is because at our last court date in oct, I appeared before the judge and told her i was ready to move forward with the divorce. then i got really scared. Oh god, i thought, how can i do this on my own? at my age? having never worked during my 20 year marriage? how will I make it financially? I’ll be all alone. My children will be leaving home soon…then what?” and those thoughts caused me to rethink my decision. I called the lawyer and told him i am considering just seperating, rather than divorcing. He told me I had until late january, early february before the judge will finalize the divorce. so if im changing my mind, he needs to let the judge know before she finalizes the divorce. I have been seperated from my husband since dec 1. During this time, he has shown no remorse or repentance. He remains nasty, harsh, bitter, angry and selfish. Still demanding his way. I am the one intiating meeting with him to talk. I continue to try and explain my heart, but he remains hard hearted, uncompassionate and indifferent. My time is up. I must make a decision now. It has been three months since my court date and the judge wants to know either way how i want to proceed.

        • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 9:19 pm

          Rose, be kind towards yourself. It is a tough decision indeed.

    • Sophia on January 27, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Rose…things don’t seem right, because things aren’t right. I have been there where the Christian counselor and other voices are not helping. I am praying for you today. Boundaries and core strengthening will help even in the chaos.

  10. Connie on January 25, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    I wish I could memorize this post of Leslie’s, there is so much good in it.

    • Robin on January 26, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Connie, I have a journal where I write Leslies posts, when there is one I will benefit from in the future.
      It helps me wonderfully to remember some of the truths we discuss on this blog.

      • Robin on January 26, 2017 at 5:57 pm

        Connie I meant to say, WORD BY WORD, I write it all down. Nice to have those Scriptures handy .

  11. T.L. on January 26, 2017 at 9:06 am

    “Friend: What helped you to let go of hope without giving up that God was still good and still at work, even if the outcome didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?”

    I would say that I am still in process here…it took me a long time to get honest and face reality. Now that I finally have, I have begun interventions (boundaries culminating in recent separation and husband entering a 6-month program for destructive men. While I am giving it a chance to “wake him up” and “turn him around,” I am not holding to false hope. I have seen few signs from his behavior, past or present that give me realistic hope. I have little reason to think he will change. These 6 months I will be praying and hoping for true heart change resulting in behavior change (and/or vice-versa.) In the meantime, learning, growing, working on me. Releasing him, and committed to moving forward with the Lord, with or without him. I hope he chooses to step into the light so we can grow together. But if he doesn’t, I will release him completely and move on. Not sure what that looks like; I just know it will be revealed.

    So while I will always hope for a miracle for him, I will not make my decisions for me based on that. I will make them based on moving forward with Christ. The miracle may or may not come. But my obedience in walking loyally to Christ instead of my husband is what I am responsible for; and that is what my focus is.

    • Lori on January 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Oh T.L. Thank you for : “So while I will always hope for a miracle for him, I will not make my decisions for me based on that. I will make them based on moving forward with Christ. The miracle may or may not come. But my obedience in walking loyally to Christ instead of my husband is what I am responsible for; and that is what my focus is.”

      I truly believe we did not marry with the intent of someday having to walk alone except for death parting us from our spouses. The suffering of this reality is enormous and I believe what keeps people in destructive marriages. Perhaps when the pain of the destruction proves to be too much to handle, we choose to remove ourselves a safe distance from the abuse. I applaud your obedience and loyalty to Christ and pray God continues to strengthen you on your way with Him. I pray Gods will be done in your marriage and family and that you experience His peace today.

      • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 6:21 pm

        Thank you Lori. It is so insulting to have a person like James show up on this site and try to make us, the women who have endured habitual abuse at the hands of men who claim the name of Christ, women who have suffered and anguished and “tried to be better wives” for years, keep under the yoke of oppression that enables wickedness to rule in our homes! Why isn’t he showing up here and calling out his brothers for their callous sin? For their self-serving twisting of Scripture? No; we are supposed to tolerate sin in our homes because of the marraige covenant that our husbands have made a mockery of.

        That’s misguided loyalty.

        • James on January 28, 2017 at 1:49 am

          T.L.

          Is there some section of this blog where those brother’s of mine who are twisting scriptures to abuse their wives are posting?

          If you can point one of them out to me, I’d be happy to oblige!

  12. rose on January 26, 2017 at 10:02 am

    TO TL:
    Your response was spot on! great wisdom! I actually printed it out to remind myself over and over. You are absolutely right. During seperation, we must use this time to work on ourselves, spiritually and emotionally. We must stop focusing on what our husbands are not doing, how theyre not changing. We remove ourselves from the unhealthy situation, we work on ourselves, as we watch and observe to see if our husbands truly have a change in heart and a change in habit (as Leslie wd say). Then at some point, we reevaluate the situation.

    • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Dear Rose,

      I have only just now read your desperate plea for help. My heart is both weeping and livid over what is happening to you.

      “He says he wants the separation, not divorce. Of course, that is his way of still maintaining what little bit of control he has left. The christian pastor/marriage counselor told me directly: “YOU HAVE NO OUT! WITHOUT INFIDELITY, YOU DO NOT HAVE BIBLICAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE AND IF YOU DIVORCE HIM, YOUR LIFE WILL BE HELL. YOU ARE BOUND TO THIS MAN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE”. I had never felt more hopeless in my entire life. But God, you see how he treats me. I am sick emotionally, mentally and physically (with IBS flare ups from so much strife) how could you demand that I must stay? But Jesus says, if you love me, you will obey my commands. ”

      Rose, I encourage you to back up for a minute, and look at the big picture: you are a daughter of a great and gracious King, a kind, compassionate and loving Father. A God, who sent his one and only Son to pay all of your debts and to buy your freedom. Jesus came to set the captives free….to give you abundant life.

      “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

      Rose, my dear sister, I encourage you to read chapter 5 of Galatians with an open heart, allowing the Holy Spirit to show you how “the law” is being used to entrap and imprison you. You are not desiring to fulfill the lusts of your flesh, but to walk in the Spirit. You are being manipulated by an ungodly man, (I can’t judge his heart, but his actions are UNGODLY!) This is throwing you into great confusion–those around you too! His claims to Christianity are hollow–the clanging drum and empty cymbal, because his heart is not one sold out to love. This man has been and wants to continue to wield power and control over you: emotionally, verbally, spiritually, financially. That constitutes abuse; a destructive marriage. He is to serve and love; not to abuse and control. Your heart knows this and is screaming, “Something is terribly wrong!!!” Because it is! The Spirit of God within you is grieved! He loves you. He is with you. Hear Him: His heart is with the oppressed and against the oppressor. He is WITH YOU!

      If you re-read the passage in Malachi “God hates divorce” with an open heart to the heart of your compassionate Father you will see that the entire passage is about God’s anger against the power-holding men of the culture who were using and abusing their powerless wives; doing violence to their vows, and breaking trust with them. So really what He hates is abuse of power, which divorce was at that time.

      This same spirit of control, taking advantage of, and abuse, is rampant in the Evangelical church today, and it is time to say NO MORE!! Men are hiding their ungodliness by holding their wives ransom to the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law; which is love! I’m sorry men: you cannot walk in ungodliness, selfishness, pornography, pride, and power in the name of Christ and keep your wives in the hell of your making anymore! Either walk out of the darkness into the light and get serious and deal with your sin, or be exposed for the frauds that you are!

      I encourage you, Rose, to get away from this pastor/counselor who is so mis-led and misleading. He doesn’t know the heart of the Father. He is holding the law over your head–and he doesn’t know the heart of the law-giver.

      Yes, Jesus said “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” His commandments can be summed up: Love the Lord your god with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. ”

      Rose, believe me, I know, it is so hard to see the forest when a big fat tree is blocking our view…

      But you must try to back up; get some objectivity: is it loving someone to enable them, protect them in their sinful lifestyle?

      It is very hard to untangle this, because… are you innocent? No. But your husband is caught in a web of manipulation, power, deceit, and pride. His LIFESTYLE is one of wickedness. He is well-practiced in the devices of the enemy. He is not living according to the law of love. The fruit of the Spirit is not his lifestyle. He lives and maneuvers by the flesh, while claiming Christ. This is confusing you.

      You have likely indulged in “reactive abuse” (research it!) this is the inevitable result of abuse, as the victim struggles to take back some control over their own life.

      I would urge you to get some space. Get some quiet… listen to the voice of your beloved, who says to you:

      ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
      And come along.

      ‘For behold, the winter is past,
      The rain is over and gone.

      Get away alone for a few days. Go to a quiet place in nature, if you can. Is that possible? Your Beloved wants to wrap you in His love, to soothe your hurting heart, to quiet your confused thoughts, and to infuse you with His love, strength, wisdom and grace. He wants to tell you that you are His, and your allegiance belongs ONLY to Him, despite the lies of these men. He will show you, step-by-step, what to do, where to go for godly help and counsel. He will extract you from the web of lies.

      Rose, you’re braver than you believe,
      and stronger than you seem,
      and smarter than you think.

      Fear not, the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go.

      And this is true for every one of you, and me, who have been held under the yoke of oppression. Our God is mighty to save! Go with Him!

    • T.L. on January 29, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Rose,

      Somewhere you asked if I knew where you could find a counselor skilled in dealing with destructive/abusive marriages. Because of the necessary anonymity of this blog, none of us knows where the others live, so it is a hard question to answer.

      But here are some ideas:
      1.Write to Leslie (Pennsylvania), Chris Moles (W. Virginia), Patrick Doyle (Oregon), and Diane Langberg (Pennsylvania) asking if they know anyone in your area. Steven Stosny or Lundy Bancroft might be worth contacting for a referral of a secular therapist.

      2. Another route would be to look for a counselor whose list of what they work with includes abuse, trauma, and or anger issues.

      3. Skype counsel with Leslie or Patrick Doyle

      4. Contact local service organizations that deal with abuse: Women’s shelters, etc. Try this site: http://www.ncadv.org/learn-more/resources

      Maybe Leslie or others have other ideas…praying for light for your path. The Lord will lead and guide you as you step out and begin seeking and knocking on doors for help.

  13. Aly on January 26, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    James,

    I am a voice of radical obedience and my marriage was Saved!
    My husband is blessed by my courage (from the Lord) that I stood up to his manipulation and denial. He’s free from his bondage of control tactics and counterfeit idols.

    All manipulators seek ‘enablers’ to co contribute to the problem!
    And then tell them that they are being an obedient wife or (spouse).

    James when you begin to see that your ‘beliefs’ and behaviors are linked it might be the very thing that shows you His Grace and mighty perfect love for you! 💜

    Prayers for your heart and healing.

    • James on January 26, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Aly,

      If you walked in obedience to Gal 6:1-2 then praise the Lord!

      Its likely true that manipulative people seek those who will enable their manipulations. It isn’t very likely that manipulative people see past their own selfish needs long enough to see when their spouse is being manipulative.

      As to. “James when you begin to see that your ‘beliefs’ and behaviors are linked it might be the very thing that shows you His Grace and mighty perfect love for you! 💜”

      I’m not exactly sure what you are getting at here, perhaps you could clarify..? but I am surely blessed to have experienced His saving grace and His perfect love. We surely have a gracious God.

      Thank you for your prayers, I will pray for your healing and your heart as well.

      • James on January 27, 2017 at 10:52 am

        It isn’t very likely that manipulative people see past their own selfish needs long enough to see when their spouse is being manipulative.

        Was meant to say, “It isn’t very likely that manipulative people see past their own selfish needs long enough to see when their spouse is being obedient.

        Sorry for the confusion.

    • Lori on January 26, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Aly,

      May I offer a word of encouragement to you regarding your dialogue with James?

  14. Lisa on January 26, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Hope can be a double edged sword. I went through the same thing…hope kept me in a destructive place for years. I wrote about it here: https://searchforthesilverliningblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/hope-the-double-edged-sword/

  15. Aly on January 26, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Of course;)

  16. Lori on January 26, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Aly,
    You have been such a blessing to so many in this community. Your compassion for people and love for our Lord is a powerful combination as you make your self available as a vessel of His love and wisdom to us. James has already stated from the last blog post that, and I quote, (incidentally, you might consider that there is a fair amount of heterodoxy tolerated on this site). Leslie called him out at around 8:30 saying: “You imply that the only women of radical obedience are the ones that think like you do. Sometimes radical obedience might look one way – and other times it might look like another. Please do not judge these women. You are welcome to your thoughts, your input, your comments, but when you start to sound like you are judging, I will jump in here because it’s uncalled for.” I hope James sees the truth in Leslie’s comments. Regardless, your focus and heart for the women here is proving to be invaluable. I hope you remain focused on the work God is calling you to here and not get distracted by the conversations with James. Just saying.

    • JoAnn on January 27, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      You are so right, Lori. We really have no position to judge another person’s actions or decisions, because WE AREN’T THERE! Until you walk a mile in my shoes….and all that. Every situation has its own dynamic, and I love that so many women here share their struggles and how they overcame them. That is such an encouragement. As I said in a previous post, even though my marriage is really good, I have lived through many other traumatic situations, principally with our children. Now, I am a counselor, and this blog has helped me in my work with my clients. Even though I am not trained in marriage counseling, my clients often bring marital issues to me, and I am enlightened by reading the experiences of so many who have suffered through destructive marriages. Thank you all for sharing.

  17. Aly on January 26, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you so much! Your are so right!
    So good to hear and I’m so thankful for your words here. Yes, I saw Leslie’s comment and I was grateful.
    So thankful for you all💜

  18. Lori on January 26, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Aly,

    If it is not distracting, and you are called to engage in dialogue, that is a different story. Since I don’t know which it is for you, it’s just a heads up I guess?

    • Aly on January 26, 2017 at 11:44 pm

      Lori,
      I hope you saw my previous post I’m so thankful for your words here. I agree with you… and so appreciate your wisdom here.
      I only felt called to respond.. since I’m sure women are toggling with difficult decisions as well as questioning their reality. Sometimes it can be more of an ingrained attachment place where… us gals are ‘familiar’ with a male voice or words regardless if they are the best for us and are biblical true healthy interpretated conceptsI know for me, given my wounds I wanted to feel like I had male support for my situation.
      My heart just felt strongly to give another side and hope that a vulnerable woman reading his post wouldn’t be lead to more of the same and or false guilt for doing right actions.
      When someone is under so much grief when they are unclear about the level of destructive behavior it so easy for them to receive those messages of guilt especially when they are getting ready to be brace or gain strength to change what they will and will not tolerate or accept.

      I listened far too long of too many of James’ perspectives in the most critical moments.

      Thanks again for your heart and your story Lori, such a blessing.
      I’m sorry about your brother’s treatment but I have a feeling your well aware of the enmeshed patterns and roles, so it’s not surprising to you but that doesn’t mean it’s not still painful.
      I’m sorry 😢

  19. Lori on January 27, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Aly,
    It makes so much sense what you shared: “My heart just felt strongly to give another side and hope that a vulnerable woman reading his post wouldn’t be lead to more of the same and or false guilt for doing right actions.”

    Think you nailed it here. Sometimes I think I project my experiences, weaknesses etc. onto other people, and perhaps I did that here with you. I know for me, to engage in dialogue with James about his perspective would lead me back to the jungle. Perhaps one day I will be far enough out that I will be able to express my differing views of how scripture applies to the situations many of us women here find our selves in. For now, I hear condemnation and more judgement from his message. I also hear him justifying his position using scripture. I hear bible thumping like a drum in my head. That familiar sound of the jungle. Where is compassion? Where is understanding? Where is effort to assist the wounded? I believe the drum beaters believe they are helping, but I wonder if they see how they may be hurting? Hearing comments from you and Leslie help with clarity. It is like the story of Jesus healing the blind man. At first, he could only see men walking around looking like trees, and Jesus applied more healing. Then he could see clearly. It helps to see the articulation of comments here that say what is in my heart, but I cannot find language for yet.

    Also helpful was your comment: “When someone is under so much grief when they are unclear about the level of destructive behavior it so easy for them to receive those messages of guilt especially when they are getting ready to be brace or gain strength to change what they will and will not tolerate or accept.”

    There it is. It is a message of guilt. Boom!

    Thank you.

    • Aly on January 27, 2017 at 8:48 am

      Lori,
      Thank you so much for your comments and insights especially the warning of the web as we see in Proverbs.
      I so love your heart that is such a symbol of redemption given your journey. Your brave because of WHO you put your trust in, I love that I see that;) So many blessings in women commenting, sharing their strengths and their journey. It’s such a blessing to read so much wisdom amongst pain.
      Affliction that God won’t waste~ His way.. not the way of more comfortable enabling.

      I think we might agree the power of exposing things that can be hard to detect at first glance. As little children, He draws us close ~ do we ever get a close up view!!
      Overwhelming~

      I’m sorry that you had so many people that were..
      ~What I would call ‘poser’ bible thumpers~ Living technically in the jungle or by the gate.
      Let me explain as I address a couple inconsistencies with James comments to Mineral & me yesterday.
      As I dialoged with God about my fears about those in the jungle being tossed around…. I felt a sense of joy and hope. As if the comments of his and minerals were a blessing because the conflicting mindsets they have and what scriptures they are using to defend ~are exposed in writing.

      Which, I think God’s word can give us a treasure of jewels here;)
      So thank you James!

      I’m quite curious why james choose to have me look to ONLY two verses from the Bible to define as biblical obedience.
      Here is the verse: please look it up..
      Galatians 6:1-2
      It’s been a while since I’ve been in Galatians but I’m pretty sure there was a public disput between Paul and Peter! Peter was publicly confronted by Paul for COMPROMISING the faith. This is all in Galatians 2 if you want to look into it. Peter was actually being pulled back to his Jewish social pressures over the truth of the Gospel to be spread.
      There’s a lot here and why this relates to the benefit of actual bible thumpers and those that are well not well defended based on how they make their conclusions..,and I can write later.. might be boring to some, but Peter was getting compromised by Fear!
      I digress.. but always Paul was outraged.
      Ok back to Gal 6:1-2
      (Doing Good to All)

      I find it interesting and revealing that only 2 verses out of 10 are what speak to spiritual obedience as James defends in Gal 6. Not trying to sound harsh here but this is where we can fall in wanting to find scripture that aligns ‘to our lives or current circumstance’ but not wanting scripture to align ‘our lives’
      For me, Minerals’ comments represent that form of spiritual defense that can easily lead to more bondage generationally.

      Back to Galations:
      The verses that follow 2
      speak of ‘personal responsibility’ and carry burdens.
      James IS leaving out a critical aspect of ‘Personal Responsibility’ given our discussion on biblical obedience!! Wait a sec…Seems convenient to me. And when convenience comes into a process.. I must stop and critically ponder that.
      The part for me to take away in Galations and it’s purpose~
      There are several points to reference but I’ll make one.. the danger of misusing the Gospel.. that can create ‘bondage’ rather than the freedom the Gospel brings!

      What James defines as ‘criticism’, I would define as ‘correction’ (gently given). Paul in chapter 6 was addressing ‘brothers’
      Fellow faith in Christ alone ‘believing Christians’.

      Ok back to the pattern which for me has helped.. I hope it adds help to those that desire to seek His Kingdom ultimately.

      There is usually a pattern for me, for those underdeveloped individuals… correction is
      a difficult process for them to cognitively develop, the older one’s thought patterns become (here is just an age thought 35-50yrs) without having early modeling of safe correction makes any correction ‘feel like criticism’.

      This doesn’t mean someone isn’t saved or doesn’t have the Holy Spirit avail to them.
      Do they choose to feed the Spirit thus naturally reaping character and humility?
      Actually that is also pointed out in Galations chapter 6.

      Lori and for anyone else reading I hope you can take away my perspective on identifying these patterns especially when one is trying to discern the truth.
      My story is so similar to many of yours and my heart wants to hold your yours as a fellow sister that prayed to God to show me wisdom to follow.
      I discover so much each day as I’m learning about Him and what’s genuine and not counterfeit.
      Praying for rest for your heart and strength for your body and mind!
      He loves you!

      • Lori on January 27, 2017 at 2:04 pm

        Aly, I did look up Galations 6:1-2 and here is an interesting perspective from the bible scholar Matthew Henry: “The apostle having, in the foregoing chapter, exhorted Christians by love to serve one another (v. 13), and also cautioned us (v. 16) against a temper which, if indulged, would hinder us from showing the mutual love and serviceableness which he had recommended, in the beginning of this chapter he proceeds to give some further directions, which, if duly observed, would both promote the one and prevent the other of these, and render our behaviour both more agreeable to our Christian profession and more useful and comfortable to one another: particularly,

        I. We are here taught to deal tenderly with those who are overtaken in a fault, v. 1. He puts a common case: If a man be overtaken in a fault, that is, be brought to sin by the surprise of temptation. It is one thing to overtake a fault by contrivance and deliberation, and a full resolution in sin, and another thing to be overtaken in a fault. The latter is the case here supposed, and herein the apostle shows that great tenderness should be used.”

        I see the bible scholar clarifying a difference between the type of sin Paul is referring to in Galatians 6:1-2 “The tenderness in bearing one anothers burdens is to be extended to those who have “been brought to sin by the surprise of temptation”. This is the “latter case here supposed, and herein the apostle shows that great tenderness should be used.” The former sin: “to overtake a fault by contrivance and deliberation, and a full resolution in sin” is not what Paul is supposedly referring to here. Paul deals with that type of sin in other places of scripture. Interesting to note the difference as I hear women including myself here dealing with the former type of sin practice our husbands engage in. I believe it is vitally important to rightly divide the word of TRUTH. Expose, expose expose.

        • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 6:10 pm

          Insightful point, Lori! Thank you!

      • Lori on January 27, 2017 at 2:27 pm

        Aly,

        I want to respond to this that you shared: “There are several points to reference but I’ll make one.. the danger of misusing the Gospel.. that can create ‘bondage’ rather than the freedom the Gospel brings! ”

        Again, I quote from the bible scholar Matthew Henry with regard to the FULL counsel of Galatians in 6: 11-14 :
        “In these verses of text, the main design of the epistle, was to fortify the Galatians against the arts of their judaizing teachers, and confirm them in the truth and liberty of the gospel, for which purpose he Gives them the true character of these teachers, and shows them from what motives, and with what views, they acted.

        “I. He gives them the true character of those teachers who were industrious to seduce them, in several particulars.
        As, 1. They were men who desired to make a fair show in the flesh, v. 12. They were very zealous for the externals of religion, forward to observe, and to oblige others to observe, the rites of the ceremonial law, though at the same time they had little or no regard to real piety; for, as the apostle says of them in the following verse, neither do they themselves keep the law. Proud, vain, and carnal hearts desire nothing more than to make a fair show in the flesh, and they can easily be content with so much religion as will help them to keep up such a fair show; but frequently those have least of the substance of religion who are most solicitous to make a show of it.
        2. They were men who were afraid of suffering, for they constrained the Gentile Christians to be circumcised, only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. It was not so much out of a regard to the law as to themselves; they were willing to sleep in a whole skin, and to save their worldly cargo, and cared not though they made shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.
        That which they chiefly aimed at was to please the Jews, and to keep up their reputation among them, and so to prevent the trouble that Paul, and other faithful professors of the doctrine of Christ, lay open to.
        And, 3. Another part of their character was that they were men of a party spirit, and who had no further zeal for the law than as it subserved their carnal and selfish designs; for they desired to have these Christians circumcised, that they might glory in their flesh (v. 13), that they might say they had gained them over to their side, and made proselytes of them, of which they carried the mark in their flesh.

        And thus, while they pretended to promote religion, they were the greatest enemies of it; for nothing has been more destructive to the interest of religion than men-siding and party-making.”

        Today, I am thankful to God for converting Saul to Paul and helping him to become a true Godly man. Thankful that Paul yielded to Gods truth and becoming a champion of exposing. Who better to speak to wrongful oppression by using his religious zeal than Paul? Thankful for Paul and Matthew Henry for their dedication and devotion to rightly dividing the word of truth so we can follow the truth and not the oh so closely duplicated counterfeit.

        I pray we here in the body of Christ Choose wisely which truth we adhere to, as the end of each is a very different one.

        • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 6:09 pm

          So good, Lori. Thank you!

      • James on January 27, 2017 at 2:37 pm

        “I’m quite curious why james choose to have me look to ONLY two verses from the Bible to define as biblical obedience.”
        So why not just ask as to why I only cited two verse instead of assuming a whole host of things, honestly, none of which are accurate.

        Here’s the answer. Those are the two verses that came to mind when you said you saved your marriage because Gal 6:1 talks about restoring someone caught in sin. I said that if that was the case (that you restored your marriage through gently restoring your husband), then praise the Lord.

        You are reading waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy too much into my intentions. And I would just ask that you allow my to speak for my own thoughts. This is now the second time in this thread that my motives have been wrongly assumed and then rebuked based on those false assumptions.

        “It’s been a while since I’ve been in Galatians but I’m pretty sure there was a public disput between Paul and Peter!”
        Yes, Paul dealt with that in chapter 2. You might consider that Paul has long since moved on from that dispute by the time he is giving his instructions in chapter 6.

        “I find it interesting and revealing that only 2 verses out of 10 are what speak to spiritual obedience as James defends in Gal 6.”
        And what, specifically do you think that this “reveals?” What other assumptions are you making about my thoughts and motives?
        Here’s why I cited Gal 6:1-2 instead of the whole chapter (which isn’t 10 verses its 18). I was simply making a quick citation that addressed your claim that you saved your marriage. I replied that if you did so, by gently restoring your husband in a spirit of gentleness (which is the only part of Gal 6 I had in mind when I posted) then “praise the Lord.”

        Why are you taking my attempt to affirm your obedience and twisting it so that you can work me over?

        “James IS leaving out a critical aspect of ‘Personal Responsibility’ given our discussion on biblical obedience!! “

        Maybe. My post to you wasn’t exactly meant to be a comprehensive treatise on the 6th chapter of the book of Galatians, sheesh!

    • Connie on January 27, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      The jungle, yes. And if you’ve been in the jungle long enough, you can predict what is coming so well. His reply to Leslie was exactly what I’d told a friend it would be last night (who me? I don’t get it – poor misunderstood me). And then I went over and read today’s post on A Cry For Justice, and it was so good and relevant!

      This kind of teaching produces so much bondage! Church people too often think that if something is ‘worldly’, then the Christian view should be the opposite. Not so. Counterfeit looks almost exactly the same as the real thing. Some churches ban pianos because they have been used in bars. Granted, their four-part-harmony a cappella singing is very lovely, but as my mom used to say,”Take back what the devil has stolen.” All this to say that many church people think feminism is terrible, but it is just the counterfeit of what God wants to do and is doing. People who have power over others cannot handle it, it always corrupts, even in the church. That is why the American gov’t. developed checks and balances, because those founding dudes knew the danger of power. What opened my eyes was that I one day realized that not only was the h being abusive, but I was becoming abusive to the children because I thought I had absolute power over them and should not have to listen to their hearts. You know – the ‘chain of command’ that we were taught. And I saw that abuse of power everywhere in the church. Abuse from above, and women and children miserable but you didn’t know it because they had been commanded to smile all the time and pretend they were happy. And we were trying to convince ourselves that we were happy, because, after all, the Bible says we would be, right? Or maybe we just weren’t submissive enough. Either way, this teaching gives licence for men to put all evil on women. One ‘christian’ article I read at the time by a woman, claimed that now she was very happy. Then she drew several cartoons of herself with her husband holding a bat over her head. In each cartoon she was bent over a bit more, and at the end she was flat on the floor with that bat on top of her and she said that was full surrender. That may be, but it ain’t love, that’s for certain!!

      The German people had a rule of ‘obey authority without question’. See where that got them? Why do you think the church there didn’t speak up until it was too late? My grandfather did, and was put on house arrest (and nearly prison) for 4 years, his phone was tapped, they sent spies to his house pretending to be church guys…….

  20. Robin on January 27, 2017 at 1:09 am

    Ann, I think an important part of ‘giving up on hope’ is seeing the reality and not what u wish it was. What woman wants to have a divorce?? But one day we must let go of the ‘wishes’ and see reality.
    My husband is abusive, he left the marriage and crushed our Covenant before God, and my part is to see the truth and reality. It rips thru us to have to see the truth. It is very tough to let go of the hope we had, that he would change. But to be healthier, we must march forward .
    We must show our children what a healthy family looks like. I truly was terrified . Today I am radiant and full of Joy, as the Lord continues to heal me.

    • Ann L on January 28, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks for your response, Robin. Every week I move forward. Today I bought a printer so I can manage the paperwork from home instead of lugging it to Staples to copy, scan, etc. Baby steps=Big steps.

  21. Robin on January 27, 2017 at 1:28 am

    Lori, I have received so much comfort thru my divorce, watching God display how much He loves me thru the abundant provision He had ready for me, all I needed to do is walk in my faith and He was ready to supply. Looking back today over the last 2-3 years, warms my heart as I was so fearful how I would make it on my own. God had it covered.

    • Aly on January 27, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Robin,
      Such a blessing to read your journey through and out;)
      You have such a testimony that God will multiply for His glory.
      Abundance in the full!
      Blessings and hugs;)

      • Robin on January 27, 2017 at 3:23 pm

        Aly, I am very blessed as my counselor (who I’ve been with for 4 years) has asked me to work with her. She feels that the things I have walked thru victoriously ( even with a sociopath/narcissist who was trying to destroy me) is something the Lord would be pleased to use for other women walking thru abuse issues. I’m very excited about this opportunity because 20 years ago the Lord told me I would go into ministry with and for women. But of course He had trials and victories and much transformation to do in me first. God rescued me out of a pit- and He will use it for His People. Amen.

        • Robin on January 27, 2017 at 3:25 pm

          My Testimony is what I will be sharing……..

        • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 6:04 pm

          This is exciting to hear, Robin!

        • Ann L on January 28, 2017 at 7:26 pm

          I am amazed that you found a Christian counselor who could provide this. But then, there’s Leslie, and Patrick Doyle, so surely there are others.

          When we went to a Christian counselor about hidden spending seven years ago, the lady’s focus was on saving the marriage by keeping me doubting the reasonableness of leaving it. She never challenged my husband on his refusal to address how he’d spent $12,000, nor on the previous times he’d run up similar debt, nor on how he was going to own the behavior and prevent further repetition.

          At the time I did not understand how to challenge this. Bless her heart, that counselor felt like she’d scored a win for Christianity.

    • Lori on January 28, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Hi Robin,
      Love your encouragement that we don’t have to defend our position. Thank you. I have seen some healthy exchange of differing views here, but sadly the unhealthy reminds me of what I just came out of. I battled so hard to be understood for my position of what I heard the Lord calling me to (or out of). Seems to fall on deaf ears. 🙁 I finally learned to listen only to the Lord and be willing to follow His Holy Spirit as He guided me with scripture after scripture in confirmation that it was He Who was really leading me out. Reminds me of Peter when he asked the Lord to call him to walk on water also. Who are we going to obey? I choose Jesus.

      I wondered if you could share how God has taken care of you financially as you are now on your own? I am sorry if this is a repeat testimony, but I would love to hear it.

      thank you.

  22. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 11:52 am

    James,

    My heart sunk when I read her post. You applauded and gave your version of what ‘you define’ should be commended here.
    I politely disagree with the biblical worldview truth you are relating to especially as it pertains to ‘covenant marriage’ and the scriptures you use to defend your reasoning.
    We have a huge epidemic here with divorces, abusive marriages, mediocre marriages etc and that is just in the Christian community.

    I believe her position and her reasoning are sensitive matter given what she has been taught and shape her belief system.

    Someone is spiritualizing her suffering in her marriage and giving doctrine examples to give her a ‘feel good message’
    Rather than walk her through a journey of faith doing his will.
    It’s very hard when we are fearful or draw to comfort to find reasoning that keeps us bound.. not free.
    Consider Romans 12:1-2

    James, please go study.. evaluate and critically think about what you greatly messaging with your personal agenda wounds here.
    Retreat to your men (Godly brothers) you are in great need of them to help you.
    I pray that you will seek him and find His truths for your heart.
    💜

    • James on January 27, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Aly,

      I’m aware of the epidemic of divorce. I personally attribute this to the fact that very few in our biblically illiterate culture understand marriage to be a covenant between two people and their God.

      You are right that she is absolutely applying what she has learned.

      What she has learned appears to be:

      1. That the covenant of marriage is sacred because it was created by God (Gen 2:24)
      2. That we should honor our marriage vows (James 5:12)
      3. That Jesus’ only explicit cause for divorce is sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9)
      4. That she can live in such a way in the midst of her marriage that God will be glorified even if her husband is yet unrepentant (1 Peter 3:1-2)

      I personally think that these are all biblical assumptions.

      Perhaps you can tell me which one of these assumptions you would like to challenge and your studied, biblical reason to challenge them.

      Her suffering IS SPIRITUAL. Why would we want to rob her of that? We certainly shouldn’t wish it upon her, I think we would all deliver her from suffering if we could. But for some reason that God may never reveal to me, some people are stuck in a marriage with a man or a woman who is disobedient.

      I am more than happy to study whatever biblical passages you suggest. Can you please kindly point me to the passage or passages of scripture that tells us explicitly that if we are married to an unrepentant spouse we at liberty to leave them?

      I will eagerly await those verses.

      I think this is vitally important because I see, post, after post after post, of women encouraging other women to consider separation and divorce.

      I am only a moderately intelligent man so perhaps it is just my own cognitive limitations but I have a really hard time understanding how encouraging one another to separate or divorce does anything to help the divorce crisis in the church.

      As to the men to whom I am accountable, they are all men who pretty well insist that I put the bible first and other’s opinions second. That, in my mind, is the best we can renew our minds (your allusion to Romans 12:1-2). We don’t renew our minds by parroting the cultures stance on marriage (which is that it is disposable when it becomes hard) or by licking our finger and sticking it in the air to see which direction the psychological wind is currently blowing (which tells us that we should never have to suffer for doing good).

      This woman has an honorable commitment to the word of God and she is suffering for doing good.

      My heart aches for this woman and for men and women like her. And to be sure, they ARE suffering, so if they must suffer for doing good should we not stand with them and encourage them rather than cause them cast doubts on their commitment to their marriage?

      • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 5:53 pm

        Dear James,

        From the content and tone of your writing, I believe that you are sincere and well-meaning. I think you really believe that you are promoting the Word and the will of God. I hope that you will hear me…that you will, at least, entertain the possibility that you have in part, misunderstood, misinterpreted and mis-expounded the Word of God.

        In Biblical days, slavery was allowed, was lawful. We find Peter and Paul encouraging slaves (Christian slaves) to obey their masters (Christian or non-Christian!), even harsh masters, in a culture that condoned slavery. They also instructed masters (Christian masters!) to treat their slaves as brothers in Christ; “doing the same” to them: i.e., loving them, serving them, respecting them, even though they had “ownership” of them. They were called to the higher authority than the cultural legal system: God Himself, the righteous judge of all. They were reminded that God Himself was watching and judging, and holding them accountable for their treatment of slaves. Later we find Paul telling slaves that if they can gain their freedom, they should do so, because really, in Christ their is no slave and no free, no male and no female, but we are all one in Christ. (1Cor.7:20-22; Gal. 3:28)

        We also find wives being told to submit to their husbands….and husbands to submit to and love their wives as Christ loved the church. The unspoken assumption in these books is that Peter and Paul are writing to Christians…and mainly to Christian men, as it was a male-dominated culture. And their instructions to men (and women, but the focus was to men as the leaders in the cultural system) was to “prefer one another,” “serve one another,” “love one another,” “be completely humble and gentle,” etc. Nowhere do we see Paul and Peter instructing or condoning male domination or even headship/leadership in the sense of “lording it over” others. Jesus soundly rebuked that attitude, and so did they.

        I wonder, James, if Jesus walked into the home of a man who claimed to be a Christian, but was mistreating, dominating, abusing his wife: do you REALLY think he would counsel the wife to suffer patiently? Or would his attention be on the oppressor? Wouldn’t he more likely rebuke the wicked “Christian” man for being a hypocrite and oppressor and fraud? I don’t wonder at all about this, for I know the heart of my Lord. He hates oppression and lying and hypocrisy. Do you really think Jesus values the institution of marriage over the precious people He loves?

        God is for marriage; yes! But He is for truth, righteousness, and love, over and above the legal institution. He is for marriage as a Holy Covenant of love and honor and respect. He is for a true reflection of Christ and the church, not a facade. He is for Christian men laying their lives down for their wives, truly. He is against domination, abuse, and hypocrisy! And if they are struggling with sin? Sinful attitudes, secret sins, strongholds? He is for rebuking, and then exposure to the light! Men have been misusing Scripture to make their wives afraid to confront and expose hidden, entrenched, strongholds of sin in their husband’s lives. Christ-loving women are being called by their master to stand up, confront sin in their own households…and if confrontation doesn’t bring about repentance, then exposure to a few others is the next step. If that doesn’t bring a spouse to their senses, then exposure to the church is next. And if that doesn’t work, they are to be treated as a pagan or a tax collector. In other words; as an unbeliever; because they are living as one.

        1 Peter 3 should not be misinterpreted, against the heart of Christ and for oppressive men who claim to be Christians but are not walking like one in the sacredness of their homes. 1 Peter 3 calls a woman to walk in purity and reverence before God, with a quiet and gentle (confident) heart, which has potential to win her disobedient husband over to the word. And then we are all told to live in reverence before God, serving and submitting to one another, loving one another, suffering for the sake of good.

        But if a spouse is habitually disobeying this lifestyle, he should not be enabled by his wife, whose first loyalty, and allegiance is to Christ. She should not be afraid to stand up to evil, even when it is found in her own husband, but she should be prepared to suffer for doing good: standing up to sin and saying NO MORE! Not in my house! Not on my watch!

        This is love; for it has the potential to free her husband and bring him to his senses; it protects her and her children from the destructiveness of the husband’s foolishness, and it protects the image of Christ and the church by saying: I will not “show brass for gold! I will not pretend this is a Christian marriage and you are a godly man. If you want to be seen as a godly man, then you will have to become one. If you want our marriage to portray Christ and the church, then you will have to follow in His ways. I am here to walk beside you if you do. But if you don’t; I will follow Christ, not you!”

        Christian men have been using the grace of God as a cover-up for their sin for too long. It is time for repentance to begin in the house of God. Christ is on the move to cleanse his bride.

        • James on January 28, 2017 at 1:45 am

          T.L.
          Thanks for your post directed my way.
          You asked if I was willing to entertain that I am misinterpreting God’s word.
          Absolutely, provided that you can give me a salient biblical argument that appeals to literal, grammatical, historical meaning of the biblical text. Are you willing to consider the same?
          So, let’s look at what appears to be your first argument.
          It is true that in the first century slavery was allowed. It is also true that slaves were admonished to obey their masters and that Christian masters were commanded to treat their own slaves as brothers.
          Everything you say on this is true but I’m yet unsure why you think it is relevant. Slavery was, thankfully, a temporary institution that biblically minded men began to abolish precisely because of passages like Gal 3:28 and 1 Co 7:21. Marriage, however is not a temporary institution, it is an institution that was created by God and remains until His coming. Furthermore, while Paul urges slaves to gain freedom if possible he counsels married couples to stay married in the same chapter (1 Cor 7:10-17).
          We also find Paul’s counsel to wives to submit to their husband’s and for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. As a complementarian, I don’t see any reason to conclude that this was culturally bound and therefore inapplicable in contemporary contexts.
          You do make an excellent point, “Nowhere do we see Paul and Peter instructing or condoning male domination or even headship/leadership in the sense of “lording it over” others. Jesus soundly rebuked that attitude, and so did they.”
          I absolutely agree. Is this your point? If it is then I think we can rejoice that we are in remarkable agreement over this. I do wonder what I have said in this thread, or any thread for that matter, that would lead you to believe that I am in favor of male domination or “lording authority” as headship? I certainly am not.
          I do hope I am not seeing the creation of a straw man argument.
          Next you argue that Jesus is much more concerned with the hypocrisy and oppression of the husband than the longsuffering of the wife. Again, we agree. The bible has some very pointed things to say about those who oppress. Unfortunately, Mineral’s husband didn’t post, she did. She knows he is unrepentant, she knows that he is in the wrong. Were he to have posted I am sure there would be a number of choice words directed his way and my words would be among them, but I tend to subscribe to the rule that one should talk to the person who is listening to you rather than the person who isn’t. I personally thought that Mineral could use some words of affirmation and encouragement. I am still a bit baffled as to how encouraging one woman got misconstrued as judging another and I’m more than a little dumbfounded as to why we shouldn’t encourage a woman to work toward keeping her marriage vows.
          Finally, you articulate an argument I have heard more than once.
          “Do you really think Jesus values the institution of marriage over the precious people He loves?”
          This is the “does God care more about marriage than He does about women?” argument. And it’s a very clever false dilemma. The problem is that God very clearly cares about both. The bible is also clear that God sometimes calls his precious children to endure suffering for the sake of His glory. That’s the point of 1 Peter 4 which you allude to in your post. Just because we may be led to suffer for doing good does not mean God doesn’t care about us. Good gracious! Our own Savior called us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. I suppose some might say, “we don’t need to do that, God cares more about us than He does about our following His Son.” I think we all see why that is an argument from a false dilemma, so who do we keep making the same kind of argument when it comes to glorifying God by honoring our marriage vows?
          Please don’t misunderstand, I am absolutely for husband’s loving their wives as Christ loved the church. I am absolutely for wives gently confronting their husbands (and husband’s gently confronting their wives) when the see their spouse caught in sin, I am absolutely for exposing sinful attitudes, secret sins and strongholds. I am absolutely for a woman asking for help from her church when her own attempts to gently confront her husband fail and I am for the church faithfully disciplining men (and women) who refuse to listen to reason and the word of God. I am all for dragging abusive men before the assembled church and rebuking them sharply if they remain in unrepentant.
          And I’m not just for this in theory, I’ve done that to an elder I used to call my friend when his abusiveness toward his own wife was uncovered.

          Good graciousness I lost an elder, a friend and ALMOST GOT SUED FOR IT! Perhaps you can understand why I find your insinuations that I am “siding with the abusive men” argument a bit off putting.

          I am also for women (and men) who read their bibles and don’t look for loopholes or excuses and take upon themselves the mantle of faithfulness to a spouse who isn’t living right before God and whose strength of character urges them to wait on the Lord because marriage is a sacred covenant (not merely a legal “institution”). And I am for obeying the Lord Jesus when He said, “what God has joined together let no one separate.”
          Finally, lets look briefly at 1 Peter 3:
          You comment.
          “1 Peter 3 should not be misinterpreted, against the heart of Christ and for oppressive men…”
          First Peter 3 should be interpreted contextually. I absolutely reject the idea that we should start out with some idea about what 1 Peter 3 is allowed to mean or not mean based upon some preconceived agenda, even if that agenda is born from a pure heart. Faithful bible study starts with an open bible and an open mind, not a closed bible and an agenda that rules out what a passage might say before we even look at the passage.
          So when you say:
          “She should not be afraid to stand up to evil, even when it is found in her own husband, but she should be prepared to suffer for doing good: standing up to sin and saying NO MORE! Not in my house! Not on my watch!”
          I can’t help but notice that this sounds an awful lot like trying to win an unrepentant husband over with words.
          Yet here is what the text actually says, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, (1Pe 3:1 ESV)
          And Peter isn’t speaking foolishly here because he knows there just aren’t any magical boundary words that will do what you say here…
          “This is love; for it has the potential to free her husband and bring him to his senses;..”
          Respectfully, no it does not.

          God alone, by the power of the Holy Spirit, grants freedom and brings us to our senses. Paul is clear that the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God (see 1 Cor 2:14). Your approach may well get a spouse to behave better but if genuine heart change is the goal I’m afraid we are all going to have to realize that God alone is qualified for that job. That’s why, “I saved my marriage by….” Is a bombastic statement. If God doesn’t save a marriage, that marriage is still in trouble and if we are taking credit for what God has done then we don’t yet know our place before Him.
          That’s the key problem with the Cloud and Townsend, “Boundaries” approach, IMO. It says that “boundaries” have the power to do what God says He alone can do. A wife with boundaries is still insufficient to save her husband.
          That’s why Mineral is SPOT ON.
          And if you think she is wrong, then I would simply ask that you show both her and I, FROM THE BIBLE, where she is wrong.

          • T.L. on January 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

            Hello James,

            First of all, it sounds as though you are describing yourself as a literalist fundamentalist, so we may as well agree to disagree right now. I hold God’s Word in high regard, and believe it has given us everything we need for life and godliness. But I am not a literalist fundamentalist, and I will not enter into a direct debate with you. It would be a waste of time. I will pray for you, however.

            When you first showed up on this particular stream of comments, it was to commend one woman who is trapped into thinking the way you do: that the letter of the law is the main thing, and the spirit of the law is the minor. I pray she gets alone with her god and her Bible and listens to His heart for her.

            I think the scribes and teachers of the law in Jesus day would be firmly on your side, but I don’t think Jesus would.

            You are like a blind guide, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.

            The law of God was given for the protection and shalom of his people. Not to burden them, entrap them, hold them captive. Just ask Jesus.

            You show up in this forum, where hurting, oppressed, drowning women are looking for a lifeline, and you praise and encourage one woman to continue to “suffer well.” Hey, good job drowning lady!

            Please do not insult our collective intelligence by pretending you care about the plight of these women. We see through it. If you did, you would have begun by coming alongside them in their pain and anguish, even if your conclusions differed from theirs. You would have entered into their pain, as Jesus would have, and would have tried to bring comfort to their hurting hearts. You would have voiced your repugnance and outrage that a Christian man (nay, scores and scores of them!) would treat his wife in such a way that a desperate woman would end up here with such a story to tell. You would have told us that you have bothered to come by this particular blog to let us know that you care, and that you are doing all you can to help stop the injustice that causes our Father’s heart pain, that you are doing all you can to fight, expose, renounce, and end this kind of unholy, ungodly, sinful, disgraceful treatment of women in the church. Do you see the numbers, James? Do you hear the outcry at the injustice being done? Where pastors and leaders and men like you, rather than focusing on the sinner, beat the oppressed into submission by holding your interpretation of the law over her head? Can you really not see that you are a part of entrenched sin in the church?

            Please don’t pretend you care about women and that you would happily renounce men who are oppressing their wives if there was a place to do it on this forum. How about you start a blog where you expose this sin in the church and tell wicked, abusive husbands (who are mentally, emotionally and spiritually abusing their wives and holding them hostage to the law: “You can’t leave me. You took a vow. I can do what I want and you have to put up with it”) to join you in repenting of this sin, exposiing it where it exists, and starting a reformation in the church. The church should always be reforming, and here is where it is needed today.

            Then divorce will be a moot point, because not a woman in this forum WANTS a divorce! That is why we are here! That is why we have put up with our husband’s iniquities (hidden, unconfessed sin) for, in many cases, over 30 years. I think it’s time to put the burden on the shoulders where it squarely belongs: the oppressors who have made peace with their sin, not on the oppressed who need relief.

            Jesus’s harshest words were directed at people who think like you do.

            “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”

            You want to keep marriages together James? Then get out there and get to work on the problem. Not the effects of the problem. Go after the perpetrator, not the victims. You will learn Christ in the process.



          • Connie on January 28, 2017 at 1:59 pm

            I am not even sure why we are having this conversation. Apparently, according to James, we vowed at the altar to ‘always live in the same house with each other’. That’s all. Oh, and make sure to have sex (James’ insistence that it was an obligation no matter what, several posts back), even if it feels like rape and prostitution. NO! The vow was to leave and cleave, to love and cherish. If that vow is broken, it’s broken. Walking out the door for the physical and/or spiritual and emotional safety of you and your children is not breaking the vow. If the guy was burning that house down around you, you would run out the door.

            Please read the following, for scripture:
            http://www.bethinking.org/bible/bible-scandals/5-marital-abuse

            I’m sure, though, that James will not read it, because he probably doesn’t like the writer, as he has said with the other several writers we have referred him to.

            I’m thinking that in the Bible times, people lived in much closer community than we do in ‘rugged individualism’ America, and that the Jews and Christians of the time would never have tolerated this stuff…..the guy would have been caught and straightened out or kicked out right from the start………or seen to drop dead (Annanias) . Oh, and Sapphira died too……for submitting to him and not speaking up…..for being afraid of his repercussions if she didn’t obey God rather than man…….oh dear!!



          • James on January 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm

            “I think the scribes and teachers of the law in Jesus day would be firmly on your side, but I don’t think Jesus would.”
            Are you serious?!

            Look, you and I don’t have to agree. But the name calling, the Ad. Hominem attacks, the demonization of me and my opinion, blaming me (as if I am the cause of all the horrible things that women in this world have to endure) is just a sign that you aren’t really all that sure that the bible supports your position and so all you have left is an unbridled attack on me as a person.

            Is the historical fact that the Pharisees actually sided with you on divorce (believing in divorce for any cause) lost on you?

            I am starting to see the pattern. When I ask for biblical substantiation for a point, and none can be found, one of the favorite smokescreen tactics I have seen here has been the lightning fast sprint to claim the moral high ground and start calling those who actually want to see some biblical support, pharisees, or legalists or just plain mean.

            Nice…..

            That sure does shut down a conversation doesn’t it?

            Nevermind the fact that the Pharisees didn’t care to listen to Jesus word’s and I am all but begging you all to actually consider them.

            If you want to claim that Jesus stands with you and against me, THEN WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN TO WHAT JESUS HAS ALREADY SAID?

            I believe in the historical Jesus, the one who said Matthew 18, and Matthew 9:3-6.

            Not an imaginary Jesus who just comes along and affirms you and validates you even if you basically choose to ignore what He says.

            I do think it’s almost priceless that you are calling me a pharisee for urging you to consider God’s word given that Connie “pulled the pharisee” card on you in the last blog conversation.

            “About the Aleea question (sorry, Aleea, I’m going to talk about you a bit), I’d rather an honest seeker than a dishonest Pharisee who thinks they have it all figured out and then uses that knowledge to oppress the already oppressed (and most of us have run into far too many of those).”

            At least Connie gave you the out of saying she wasn’t specifically referring to you.

            Forget that the Pharisees historically agreed with you on the permanence of marriage.

            Forget that the scribes and teachers of the law were making up rules instead of adhering to the word of God.

            Forget the fact that Jesus has already weighed in the topic and he just doesn’t support your position.

            “You are like a blind guide, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.”

            That’s easy to say, but not as easy to prove. And unfortunately your hasty, angry reply has made you a false witness.

            Here are the facts about me.

            1. My wife and I have taken in an abused family and her children when she had to leave her home. The 8 of us, my family and hers, lived in our three bedroom home with one bathroom for 3 months.

            What have YOU done, apart from claim the moral high ground and look down your nose at your’s truly?

            Through the minstry of our church that family is together again.

            2. My wife and I routinely give generously to a fund our church has set aside specifically to help widows, orphans and abused women.

            3. I counsel men, some of which have been abusive, and when I counsel them I do so from the word of God. It’s remarkable to see these men embrace the truth, genuinely repent, humbly ask for forgiveness and see thier families restored.

            4. I continued to press for discipline for a man who was abusive toward his wife despite some pressure to sweep the whole thing under the rug because he was a “big giver.” He was eventually put out of the church and then threatened to sue me personally for defamation of character.

            Your angry diatribe missed its mark.



          • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 8:51 pm

            James, I have worked with church leaders and pastors who have done exactly as you talk about and it has worked out very well. I just got an e-mail from a woman whose husband I had worked with for over 2 years – mandated by his church leadership, whose elder sat in on every counseling session with him. It was beautiful. He’s doing better. I would love it if every church and pastor and leadership worked like the BIble says they should. Sadly most do not. Where does that leave an abused spouse? To fend for herself. To find another church/pastor who will advocate for her, help her, confront her spouse and hopefully put the appropriate pressure to bring him to repentance. That is always the best choice, however there are times when the spouse refuses to repent AND continues the abuse. For those women I believe there are other options. You do not. We can disagree here. But it’s not okay on my blog to say there is only one way – your way, to view the Scriptures.



      • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 8:18 pm

        James, I’d like to refer you to Gary Thomas’s blog, the author of Sacred Marriage. Maybe you’ll be more open-hearted to him, since he is a he.

        http://www.garythomas.com/goddoesntcareaboutshells/
        http://www.garythomas.com/marital-abuse/
        http://www.garythomas.com/enough-enough/

  23. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    T.L, Lori too
    I so agree T.L with your wisdom here! Well written;)
    “So while I will always hope for a miracle for him, I will not make my decisions for me based on that. I will make them based on moving forward with Christ. The miracle may or may not come. But my obedience in walking loyally to Christ instead of my husband is what I am responsible for; and that is what my focus is.”

    This IS what being focused on Him looks like. Many have used your illustration in abusive dynamics to settle in with their circumstances, this still contributing to an abusive environment and mindset for many to be influenced by and imprinted early in children. I was one~ my mom’s belief was avoid feeling bad, sad, or scared… but her misquided belief cost her children the most. Thus continuing the cycle and contributing to the epidemic😩

    You don’t need to add anything to the cross, it was complete!
    Now, for anyone who might misinterpret that statement being justified by Christ does ‘not’ mean He doesn’t call us toward growing and changing.
    He saved us…to change us!
    Praise God for you!
    So thankful for you ladies🌷

  24. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Rose, 🌷
    I’m so sorry for the pain and shock of all of what your experiencing.
    I agree with the other comments that this is seriously wrong.
    Sometimes it’s easy to go along and learn coping skills of how to survive in such a toxic traumatizing place. (Of all places the sacredness and safety of your home)
    You are need of great support and healing.
    Obviously your separated given your situation.
    My heart goes out to you Rose. But know you can ask God to give you wisdom and strength each day!

    I’m not saying I’m right, but my thought is you are dealing with layered addiction with your husband. He is enslaved!
    His behaviors seem to be that of a true addict and his shame is ‘vile’ and damaging to your wellbeing.
    I’m generalizing here but know these truths about addiction~ I don’t care what level of it is or what the type is.

    Addicts need special care to deal with what they are so taken over by or stuck in.
    Addicts don’t have reasonable thinking when they are fully entrenched.
    You might see a hint of hope one second and all lost ability the next.

    Addicts are addicted to pushing pain or uncomfort away at any cost. Loosing your family home, I’m so sorry!

    I’m praying for you and hoping you will see any support here and get to some safety with other women and different counsel.
    🙏

  25. JoAnn on January 27, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Dear Rose, My heart aches for you! It sounds to me like your “husband” is sociopathic. People like him have a way of presenting themselves to other people as being kind, rational, etc, but when you get behind closed doors, they will just as likely stab you in the back. They are very manipulative. That was the way with our adopted son, who had attachment disorder. No conscience. Perhaps what you need is coaching with Leslie, or at least to find a local counselor who will guide you properly. Have you read any of Leslie’s books? The one called The Emotionally Destructive Marriage will be very helpful. Frankly, if I were in your shoes, with the kind of “advice” you have been getting through your church, I might start looking for a different one. I believe that the Lord is much more merciful than many believers are. Jesus was not so legalistic. When asked about divorce, Jesus spoke about adultery, but I sometimes wonder if infidelity is more than simply having sex outside of marriage. Your husband has been unfaithful to his marriage vows, too.

  26. Robin on January 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    As Leslie pointed out recently, we have a healthy and valuable community on this blog. I wish for each one of us to keep communicating our stories and our testimonies of Gods Grace. But I must also as has already been said this week- becareful not to get distracted from this healthy community by those who want us to defend our position. One of the first things I learned in my counseling sessions, was I no longer needed to defend myself. Amen.

    • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      So healthy, Robin! I support you in that!

    • Wonuola on January 28, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Too true. Truth prevails!! I have found it interesting to hear things said in my defence when allegations of being an unsupportive wife had been made, just because I decided to no longer go along with control and manipulation. I had considered waiting till my children were grown and left home but decided I owe no one but God an explanation and the toxic environment being detrimental to the children’s well being was motivating enough to draw a line. I am confident in Christ to no longer be subject to oppression and seeming slow death!

      Leslie’s response to consequences has been very empowering for me especially the reference to Proverbs 19:19 and my first love is Christ,, every relationship must draw me closer to Him not farther.

  27. Vanessa on January 27, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I have been pondering this post and comments for a few days and finally have time to organize my thoughts, and you ladies have helped to do that. I’ve actually taken notes of the gems of wisdom here. Thank you, ALL for sharing your wisdom gained through hardship. Know that God is using it for good! =o)

    Piggybacking on the last blog on confusion – I think I was hope shifting thinking an ultimatum would snap h out of his deceptive mindset, help him to take responsibility, and be a humble person. Did it shake him – yes. Shock him – definitely- still doesn’t grasp the damage and wants me to understand he never did it on purpose as if that makes the damage less. I guess that’s the clue that there is deep deception, deeply rooted wrong thinking and attitudes.
    Changed behavior…sort of. He is trying harder than ever to engage, but said he’s so hurt when some little thing he does is HUGE to him but is a crumb to us (me and the 5 children at home).

    My clue that I’m hope shifting is that my stomachaches are back, which I had several yrs ago (5-6) when things started to get real bad, and I had to be real that h did not want to do the work to be the Christian he claimed to be…he just wanted to look the part and have all be perfect allowing me to take all care of the children. Then the anger started. And silent angry (control) is aweful.

    I digress . . . Now 16 days after the ultimatum (repent or move out is what 2 pastors and I said) I still think there’s much resistence. My hope is God can reach is heart, but I have little hope that h will allow God to break him of his pride, etc. and stick with it long term. He is seeing a counselor, as am I and 2 sons as they don’t trust dad to not be angry, but it’s yet to be seen how that progresses.

    He is still calling himself the toxin in our home, so how long do I wait for fruit of true repentance that he claims? In 3mo or 6mo if we still can’t trust him, …is that the point we need therapeutic separation for him to detox so he doesn’t continue to poison us? I’m quite concerned about my 13 and 15yo boys. I want to stop this generational bondage.

    “So while I will always hope for a miracle for him, I will not make my decisions for me based on that. I will make them based on moving forward with Christ. The miracle may or may not come. But my obedience in walking loyally to Christ instead of my husband is what I am responsible for; and that is what my focus is.” This is where I think I am most of the time . . . But how to know what’s loyal to Christ? Would healing apart be the most loving for all of us, or attempting to work together…which he’s rarely done, and as Aly said “correction feels like criticism” to him, and so does a “wrong” look, etc. Feelings like I’m the mother having to help him through every little thing . . . while I’m trying to heal myself and guide my children. Fheww somethings got it give . . . I can not do all this.

    • Lori on January 29, 2017 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Vanessa, (is the Against the grain Vanessa?)
      I am just responding to say my heart goes out to you and your circumstances. Your question: “Would healing apart be the most loving for all of us, or attempting to work together?” Ohhhh, such a tough decision to make and I hear your heart for your sons as well. The decision does very definitely affect your children. I wish I knew what to tell you, but I don’t. I hope someone with more experience can lend a guiding voice?
      I am praying the Lord guide you with clarity and from the surety of His word.
      Something DOES have to give and it sounds like you are not getting the help you need from h.
      Prayers for you.

      • Vanessa on January 30, 2017 at 5:21 pm

        Thanks, Lori. I would have responded earlier, but couldn’t find your post after it came through my email. Yep – Against The Grain I am :/

        Your words are kind and sweet. It is a tough spot. Grey areas always are. He’s changed behavior, going to church again, engaging with me and the children more, no anger, yet . . . is there really humility? Sorry, contrition, responsibility for what he’s done? I don’t see it. Nor do I think that attitudes and beliefs that have cause the bad behavior are gone . . . so, how long can someone “fake it”? I think he did this for YEARS but now that people (pastors) are watching him – although they’re watching for behavior which they told him to change (which CAN be a sign of change…or not).
        SO, right or wrong, since children are usually pretty good judges of character and can smell hypocrisy a mile away . . . I’m using them as ONE of the factors in true change. Are they still afraid of him and all that encompasses – as I think my trust will take longer to rebuild than theirs.
        These are things I will be talking to by counselor about . . . and a plan of action with measurable change, etc.

        So very thankful for all the ladies here – MUCH wisdom to ponder and care to soak in. 😀

  28. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    James,

    Every bit of twisted information above is why you are where you are.

    Your responses reveal you are a repeat offender of truth with motives of self!
    Lori ~ thank you for all of your posted commentary on Gal 6. 😉

    Your words:
    “I think this is vitally important because I see, post, after post after post, of women encouraging other women to consider separation and divorce.”

    That can’t be further from the truth..
    I am married and many things and people God used to save our marriage.. Praise God!

    I have never encouraged any woman to separate and or divorce.
    I have ‘tried to’ encouraged women by sharing my story and experience and I am very pro covenant marriage and I know some of the lengths it takes being married to a ‘convenient spouse mindset’ for many years.

    James, your biblical position on covenant marriage seems ‘quite convenient’ not fooling me.
    Praying for truth for you.

    • Aly on January 27, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Your words: refer to James words only

    • James on January 28, 2017 at 1:55 am

      Aly

      The following is simply an Ad Hominem attack:
      “Your responses reveal you are a repeat offender of truth with motives of self!”
      This is just name calling.

      Demonizing me doesn’t prove whatever point you were hoping to make.

  29. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you so much Lori for your posting and bringing an additional example.
    I will take more time digesting and certainly try to understand that better with accuracy.
    😊

  30. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    T.L.
    So so agree with this!
    Thank you so much for writing and expressing the truth to and picture of what these roles are originally designed for and certainly the example even after our broken world.
    Personally, I’ll reconsider James writings in case I’ve missed something, but I didn’t take away sincereity. I don’t see any compassion and care for any of these painful journeys which tells me he is severly insensitive and not at all about being used by God for the good of both parties to be restored to a healthy marriage.
    I perceive he has a broken heart from a long time ago (possibly his own parents divorce)
    That’s painful if it were the case.
    I’ll pray for him.

  31. Liberty on January 27, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you so much, Leslie for the time and energy you have devoted to this forum. It is much more liberating with the word of God than a many churches I know will offer upholding societal expectations and unscriptural values.
    I feel pain reading postings here as it resonates with me. I dip in and out with having so much to juggle as a result of a controlling relationship.
    I had married within a year of meeting my husband having initially been reluctant with seeing draconian traits. He upheld the word and any disagreement was resolved in the light of the word. Anger was doubtless a problem which became more prominent as financial stresses set in, with worsening emotional abuse which he denied with the explanation of never being physically sbusive. Reference to the word was said to be not wanting to use my brain!

    I concluded not only was my life ticking away with dreams unfulfilled but my children were unhappy describing us being under a dictatorship. I kept thinking of what a friend said in surprise after he had reported me for wanting to desert him, “God has called us to freedom” yet I felt enslaved. I thought each tick of the clock draws me nearer to the end when I would have to give an individual account to God, not as a married woman but account for my God given purpose in life. Who would I say I had allowed to spend my life? I recalled what I often told my husband that God does not control and even though He knows rejecting Christ results in eternal damnation, His nature being Love He does not force and allows us to make a choice. No man should therefore attempt to control, intimidate or manipulate another, especially a wife God commands him to live that his prayers be not hindered.
    I decided to walk in the liberty Christ has secured for me- it had been a challenge with resistance from my husband who resorted to manipulative schemes and refusing counsel from various people he reported to. He has apparently made a choice not to change. I have decided to live a meaningful life and give up anything that gets in the way of my relationship with God, knowing loving anyone more than Christ makes me unworthy of His kingdom, my heart’s desire – righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, God is love, there is no fear in love!

    I have read and re-read Leslie’s response on consequences, it is empowering for me, helped me maintain my stand based on the word whilst choosing not to discuss with anyone anymore till I came to a clear word based conclusion. I am there now, very much at peace and the children happier too. He has agreed to my request of calling it quits and no animosity please. Details are being worked out and I am holding unto God all the way, knowing that He who sees the heart sees my decision is rooted in love for Him.

    It has not been an easy journey and I do not doubt that challenges will come but I am confident that God will prove Hknself strong on my behalf and even this part of my life will bring glory to Him, comforting others with the comfort with which I have been comforted and helping others to be free from this often unseen shacles of control that leave many in a lifetime of unseen pain and deprivation of God given liberty!

  32. Aly on January 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    T.L.
    I agree with your comments and what’s been exposed here.
    I’m pretty sure he counsels couples in the church.
    He defends in a label or more a ‘marital status identity’ caring little for what it is SACREDLY called to represent!
    These marriages that are left unhealed due to poor biblical understanding ..but remain together unhealthily for the sake of the ‘marital status’ that doesn’t not Glorify God and (the unrepentant one or 2 sometimes) are contributing to the apathetic church growth and the communities around making them sicker.?
    Thankfully there are healthy church homes out there with people getting healthy and wanting to grow in relationship with Him and others~ you have to search and find them. 🌈

    • Connie on January 27, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      That type of thinking actually makes an idol of marriage. They are bowing at the feet of an institution, and laying on people’s shoulders a burden that even they are not able or willing to bear. They would remove a woman for physical abuse, but not emotional? Really??? Why should she not ‘suffer for the Lord’ then physically too? Sounds like a double standard to me. And that verse in Malachi, ‘God hates divorce’ is only translated that way in one version, and it is taken way out of context. He hates the cruelty of the men toward their women, causing them to have to divorce.

      That kind of thinking actually causes more divorce, because it enables evil.

      • T.L. on January 27, 2017 at 8:04 pm

        I agree Aly and Connie!

  33. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 9:51 am

    James,

    Let me clear any confusion with my comment:
    I did not save my marriage~ but God in me and God in others made life very uncomfortable for him to continue in his reasoning and especially in his comforts and idolatry;)
    What this means.. is God built the courage and the healthy things in me to be a healthier partner for him. My obedience and my desire to please the Lord and His ways were greater than pleasing an immature undeveloped husband that was following many of the lost men in our culture.
    Because they attend church and or men’s groups doesn’t mean they are exactly following Christ. Some are and I believe many are not and thus we have a big problem in the church.
    Don’t worry it’s getting exposed! Is God exposing.. yes! Is he using people to expose it, yes;)

    My h… He thought he was following Christ by following a lost professing Christian saved man (men). Plenty of atta boys;) and superficial relationships there.

    If a man is not convicted by God as God is his authority, and does not respect the authority in the church leadership for rebuking and or discipline, what’s your next option? I mean really what punishment is the church really able to inforce to make him uncomfortable and come to his senses? If he doesn’t even have respect for the men willing to stand up to his bad behavior, do you think he’s going to go home and respect his wife? His children?

    If it’s all about God doing the change (solely) then why the active discipline option in the church.. why is that even needed?
    I say (solely) not that God doesn’t ‘completely’ do it, but He uses vessels~ His people in relationship with him. Did Joshua conquer Jericho? No! God did! And in doing that he used people.
    Was Joshua obedient to God? Yes!

    Goodness I believe and think waiting on God is ‘pivotal’ and necessary in many areas.., but I also see in biblical truth that after prayer, biblical discernment, biblical teachings, godly counsel of many…
    ACTION in His people to participate in His Glory!

    Some people not all, and. …Not all all circumstances are apples to apples, but they get too scared, confused and frozen on ‘waiting on God’.., when God has already spoken and given direction.

    What’s your purpose here James? Why are you involved at all in these situations?
    Why did Jesus have disciples?

    God doesn’t need any of us for His will to come about! But in His economy and design he uses them for His glory.

  34. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 10:08 am

    James,
    What comes from the mouth reveals the heart.
    And if you think that myself or others don’t see your ‘double standard’ thinking, rethink and take your argument to the Lord.

    God bless you and praying for the ladies that are struggling with such difficult circumstances.

    • James on January 28, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Aly,

      “Because they attend church and or men’s groups doesn’t mean they are exactly following Christ. Some are and I believe many are not and thus we have a big problem in the church.”

      The same is true of women. We cannot assume that all women who come to women’s groups are following Christ. Sin is not a gender specific trait.

      “If a man is not convicted by God as God is his authority, and does not respect the authority in the church leadership for rebuking and or discipline, what’s your next option?”

      That’s really not my call, is it? Neither is it yours. I have a great deal of compassion for women who have faithfully followed the Matthew 18 process to the end only to see their husbands put out of the church rather than repent. Some of those women choose to keep their households together and I don’t’ think they deserve to be treated as if their choice is somehow an egregious sin against all women everywhere, ergo my comments to Mineral. I understand that this choice may not meet the approval of all of the women here but I don’t think they deserve the criticisms they receive. And I know that they feel criticized because more than one woman has expressed that they feel criticized on this blog for their choice.

      I also understand that some situations are just far too toxic to expect a wife and her children to endure and so they separate for the sake of sanity and safety. I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NEVER CRITICISED ANY WOMAN FOR MAKING THIS CHOICE!

      I challenge you or anyone else to show me where I have.

      I think communication would go a whole lot better if people would stop armchair psychoanalyzing me (like you did when you brought up my parents divorce…. WAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY OUT OF LINE).

      Weaponizing a person’s painful past is a very cruel thing to do, Aly.

      I also think that communication would go much smoother is people would stop putting words in my mouth and then condemning me for what I didn’t say, or projecting thoughts on to me that I don’t actually think and then judging me for thinking them.

      Case in point, your whole investigation as to why I only quoted two verses in Galatians. Your prognostications as to why were so off base they weren’t even in the ballpark anymore.

      Next time you want to know why I said something, just ask.

      If only your failed attempts to read my mind and judge my heart were limited to this. You have routinely attempt to diagnose my heart.

      PLEASE STOP!

      You don’t know me, it is presumptive to pretend that you know me well enough to diagnose my thoughts or my heart and it’s just plain rude to tell me what I should do based on your erroneous, unprofessional, fallacious analysis.

      To your point about consequences changing a husband; if the church’s discipline, which is ordained by God in Matthew 18 won’t bring about heart change, then what makes you think the boundaries and consequences of a wife (which aren’t ordained by God) is going to bring about heart change?

      They may get a husband to “fake it” so that he can get what he wants out of the relationship but his heart won’t change because of “boundaries” or “consequences” or any other psychological principle stolen from the non-Christian psychoanalytic community and imported into Christianity with the accompanying bible verses ripped out of context to be used as prooftexts (like Galatians 6:7 which has precisely nothing to do with boundaries and consequences in its original context).

      If what you want is a husband who fakes it, boundaries will work just fine.

      You are 100% accurate in saying that God works through people. He absolutely does. Joshua was a fine example. God worked through Joshua because Joshua was OBEDIENT TO THE WORD OF THE LORD. Joshua didn’t courageously follow his own heart or listen to his own gut or trust his own instincts (honestly, I think these are terrible words of advice as our guts are often wrong, our instincts are tainted by sin and our hearts are deceitfully wicked). Both Joshua and Caleb were commended while the rest of the older generation died in the desert because Joshua and Caleb believed the expressed Word of God while the rest followed their guts, their hearts and their instincts.

      Which is why I routinely ask for substantiating BIBLE VERSES.

      Show me a bible verse that says that a woman is to separate from her unrepentant husband in order to provide enough pain to change his heart and the discussion is over.

      Show me a verse in the bible that says that a wife’s job is to introduce sufficent pain into the relationship to make her husband uncomfortable enough to choose repentance and I’ll issue a complete and total retraction.

      But the problem is that God is not the originator of these ideas. Edward Lee Thorndike popularized that in his “Law of affect.” And B.F. Skinner advanced on it. These are the principles of unregenerate men. I choose the word of God.

      “What’s your purpose here James?”

      To learn and contribute, much like everyone else.

      How many women have you asked this question to?

      “Why are you involved at all in these situations?”

      In this situation, it was to express appreciation and encouragement for Mineral and her devotion to the word of God.

      Why have you intrusively taken it upon yourself to comment on my heart and my past?

      “Why did Jesus have disciples?”

      So that they could be sent out to teach the nations the word of God, not the principles of men.

      • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 9:25 pm

        James, I truly think you mean well but pay attention to how you are triggered by the other women in this blog. It is not a woman’s job to introduce sufficient pain in the marriage to make her husband repent, but it is her job to be his Biblical helpmate. How you define that makes a lot of difference. Is she to speak the truth, not pretend, not placate when he is destructive or deceitful and whatever fallout of that choice is part of her and his “suffering”? Or is she to just prop her husband up, enable him to continue to be self-deceptive, abusive, ungodly and keep the marriage together at all costs and at any price? You and I may disagree on this, but I think she is to stop the pretense. Speak the truth. And allow the natural consequences of his behaviors and actions bring the pain God intended to wake him up to his foolish, destructive ways. And if that does not work, her options are to stay well, OR to leave well. That is her choice and for each woman it may look different.

  35. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 11:23 am

    James,
    What TL proposed about you possible misrepresenting statements or misunderstanding things is quite evident even in these discussions and in writing.
    Given your above comments:
    Who said “I saved my marriage by …” then you went on to declare it a bombastic statement.

    If this was directed at me (Aly) I responded earlier with more clarity because I couldn’t find my post.
    But I did!
    Here it is below: RE read it and see your error and especially your Straw Man arguments and your ‘Red Herrings’ are in nature destructive to your position.

    This was my comment:
    “I am a voice of radical obedience and my marriage was Saved!
    My husband is blessed by my courage (from the Lord) that I stood up to his manipulation and denial. He’s free from his bondage of control tactics and counterfeit idols.

    James, your comments continue to reveal to me an past unhealed heart,
    I’ll pray that you get the proper care for your wounds.
    God bless;)

    • James on January 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      “Who said “I saved my marriage by …” then you went on to declare it a bombastic statement.”

      Aly,
      That wasn’t a comment directed at you. Please stop reading yourself into my comments directed towards others. A woman my wife is counseling said she bought a book on Kindle entitled “how I saved my marriage.” Anyone who claims to have said their marriage is making a bombastic statement, don’t you think?

      To my knowledge, you didn’t say that you saved your marriage, you said that you were a example of radical obedience. I replied with “praise the Lord.”

      Incidentally that was another instance in which you personalized a comment that wasn’t about you, it was said to Mineral.

      Why do keep personalizing comments I make to others?

      “James, your comments continue to reveal to me an past unhealed heart,”

      Your assessments of my heart just aren’t wanted.

      So please, stop minding my business.

  36. Robin on January 28, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Rose, I understand and hear your every word. You are not ranting you are venting the evil you have lived in and we on this site want to hear your story and help u heal. Praying for you!!
    PS don’t beg him anymore!!! It continues the cycle of abuse. Stand up for yourself and envision Jesus standing right with you!!!!!

  37. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    You are not rambling at all! You are speaking truth to your heart and your worth.
    You are a treasure 💖 not an object or role.

  38. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Rose,
    I am so sorry for what you are in right now and what tough decisions you are having to make.
    It’s very hard when all we want is the best for both and we are emotionally intrenched.

    This feels very much like a power issue, maybe the other ladies can comment given their separation that in some cases lead to repentance and in other cases brought divorce as the outcome of one not willing or repentive.

    To me, it seems your h is bonded to his power position. This is not ok, nor biblical.

    I feel his behavior is actually a very clear blessing!
    Here’s why…
    Your words:

    ” I have been seperated from my husband since dec 1. During this time, he has shown no remorse or repentance. He remains nasty, harsh, bitter, angry and selfish. Still demanding his way.”

    This is better than the roller coaster of someone manipulating repentance.
    Trust me!!

    See Patrick D videos online he goes into what
    Forgiveness and repentance are and what they posture!

    If someone is asking for forgiveness, you will see humility (but be careful that can be fake)
    But regardless of the humility you will see
    CONDTRITION
    Meaning .. ‘ I have no rights, I’ve lost my position to have a say so…I’m the one in the wrong because of my behavior/ and or betrayals.’
    Contrition isn’t just an emotional expression it is very much a posture in the broken relationship.

    When husbands like your own are still battling for their old position they are in the way of themselves.
    They are unrepentive and unwilling to seek authentic reconciliation.
    They still are wanting the relationship by their standards.

    I consider these behaviors and postures a blessing…. because it gives clarity of peace when we can be so torn emotionally as what to do next.
    Usually these individuals are very incaple of having a posture of mutuality in ‘any relationship’ and therefore struggle seeing their beliefs and protective behavior.

    I will pray for inner strength and Peace in your heart as you move forward in your journey.💖

    • AgainstTheGrain -Vanessa on January 28, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Aly – Thanks for this post as I really needed it.
      “This is better than the roller coaster of someone manipulating repentance. Trust me!!”

      I’m copying many parts of your posts and making my own file of them as they clearly say what I’m feeling/seeing/experiencing and unable to put into words. My h tows the line…he does what others say he should “do” to repair the relationship…act and do and the repentance/responsibility, etc. will come . . . but I think this is highly unlikely with the deep rooted beliefs he has as you’ve described.
      “When husbands like yours are still battling for their old position they are in the way of themselves.
      They are unrepentant and unwilling to seek authentic reconciliation.
      They still are wanting the relationship by their standards.
      Usually these individuals are very incapable of having a posture of mutuality in ‘any relationship’ and therefore struggle seeing their beliefs and protective behavior.” This is dead on what I see even though he doesn’t “feel” this way in his heart. Even our pastor has told him that he is VERY self deceived.

      So, this leaves me second guessing myself as to how long he gets to “prove” himself since the ultimatum (repent or leave) was over 2 weeks ago. 3mo? 6mo? If we still can’t trust his anger and my children are still afraid, then there’s no healing happening for us and no true repentance and humility on his part.

      I’m curious, Aly, in your situation did you see humility/responsibility/contrition right away, or was it more of a process for your h? Was there a point where you “knew” that you didn’t need to separate? I know there’s no cookie cutter way or timeline . . . I’m just curious. I’m also cautious with our pastors as even though they agreed and laid out the ultimatum . . . I strongly sense through teaching that the marriage institute is nearly an idol, and God hates divorce is taken out of its context a bit.
      ______
      I had posted a few days ago about my hope shifting, etc. but changed my name to just Vanessa…and I guess it’s waiting approval 🙂 and there’s more info in there. I’ll leave this one so it’s posted right away.

      Thanks again Aly.

    • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      I agree. I genuine humble person will exhibit gratitude that they even get a second chance, without demands that it be a certain way or on a timetable.

  39. Connie on January 28, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    I’m just wondering if any of the rest of you have considered whether ‘Mineral’ is really a woman writing, or a man posing and trying to get a rise out of us…….and for other reasons…….?

    • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      We don’t know and let’s not speculate. Mineral is entitled her her point of view.

      • Connie on January 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm

        You’re right, Leslie, and I’m very sorry I did that. I need to be more prayerful when triggered, that’s for sure.

        And she is definitely entitled to her view, where I was for the longest time, too, truly believing it was good and right.

  40. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Connie,
    Such a good question..,
    It’s passed by my mind quickly but when I read her position of how she has convinced herself this is her ‘cross to bare’ so to speak… it is almost identical to what I hear on a consistent basis from women in the church community….and usually those women are teaching the younger women those beliefs and trying to make them feel better about the marital condition rather than trying to help the marriage get healthier and more ‘Christlike’. It’s epidemic in our church communities.

    My own Christian mother tried to indoctrinate me in that way of thinking, and it just brought me to a place of not being the healthiest mom role and especially wife role for my children…they were absorbing the dynamic.
    It was conflicting and duplicit to my Christian beliefs wanting to revear and love the Lord.

    My mother was then deciding that position by rationalizing and justifying unhealthy behavior out of her unhealed places that she was unwilling to face and or expose. She continued to praise Christ for her faith state.. when it was a fear state. She is now reaping the cost of it later in life and the contribution of generational sin and patterns. She still fears man over Him.

    For me, I’m free and having abundance through God’s design in my home. my husband and children are blessed by not giving into someone else’s denial.

  41. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Against the Grain, Vanessa;)

    I so hear your heart it’s such a painful place and emotional roller coaster of grief in a fragmented way, is the best I can describe.
    My hope is to be a blessing of comfort to you in a very stressed environment.

    I’m going to come back to this to reply more but here is some tactical things that helped me see where my cycle was.

    I was tired of being blamed for a dynamic that I was clearly involved in but was the only one willing to peer closer.
    My h can ‘see now’ how destructive his thinking was which contributed to his behavior. He would have divorced himself sooner if that was possible … it was😜 especially as we look at Christ and our calling.
    He developed ‘healthy insight’ overtime. He had insight but only how to control, self protect and manipulate the dynamic of power… this was a coping skill that took time to archeological find!
    How self sabatoging right?
    I mean who reacts in such ways …let’s say like
    (Tephalon) (sp)

    Ok tired is an understatement but I had a part of the cycle and I was a bit determined to get healthier regardless of the marital outcome.

    Have you looked into trama bonding?

    I can give certain things I required from my h to do…to better clarify.
    Requirements were helpful ‘for me’ to assess his ability or non ability. False repentance reveals itself within a timeline or external things. (Counseling was only one pivotal essential part of the team)
    We have had several forms of interventions at the same time ~ think of it as a person with medication for an illness or in the hospital.

    If your pastors are correct and he is in deep denial and deceiving himself..

    Will he consider that is a possibility of where he is?
    Will he even ponder that thought?

    My h needed deep intensive cognitive counseling to get his thought processes.

    I needed lots of objectivity on the situation!!

    My heart goes out to more than I can express because seriously this is such not a peaceful place to be, but God sees you.
    And I hear you;)
    .., more to respond to your questions.

  42. Caroline Abbott on January 28, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Outstanding. You make an excellent point that sometimes the wise thing to do is GIVE UP HOPING. For many, this is too painful a reality just yet. But, hopefully, over time, they can realize that they are hoping for something that is never going to occur, and they can move on. I will share with my readers. Thanks!

  43. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Against the Grain,
    You wrote;
    “So, this leaves me second guessing myself as to how long he gets to “prove” himself since the ultimatum (repent or leave) was over 2 weeks ago. 3mo? 6mo?”

    I’m trying to understand you question,
    Are you saying he has repented in bad behavior,
    He is to xyz interventions to address the behavior and the internal issues associated with ‘his anger’

    If your saying he was given the choice but he hasn’t done anything repented and more interventions then why would he believe you are going to follow through?

  44. Connie on January 28, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Aly, I did NOT pull the Pharisee card on you, please know that, and I have no idea why I’ve been accused of that……..
    and……Leslie and we have given many scriptures to back our stand, but apparently they don’t rate. Also, I learned years ago that if we pull only a verse here and there, we can justify anything, even homosexuality. That’s what the JWs and Mormons do, is use only one verse here and there, and it actually makes sense. We have to see the whole essence and heart of the Bible.

    • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      You are so right Connie and I’ve read and read the Bible and try as best I can to present the heart of God as I know him. Yes we can all take one verse like “Women should wear head coverings” or “Be silent” or “No divorce ever” and make a case about that. But if we read the entire Scripture we begin to see things differently. I am not a theologian, nor have I ever claimed to be. However, I have read good theologians who I respect who agree and disagree with my point of view. That is why no one can claim an edge on true TRUTH. When we get to heaven, I think we will all be surprised at the goodness, grace, and generosity of God. I think we will realize that we have been wrong on a lot of things and majored in the minor themes of what is relatively unimportant.

  45. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Against the Grain,

    Do you have women support also, meaning a few strong friends in person that are there for you during such an emotional journey?
    Your building your strength well by pondering and looking at what see in reality/ behavior besides what you wish for from h.

    Sorry I’ve had to piece out your questions.

    You wrote:
    I’m curious, Aly, in your situation did you see humility/responsibility/contrition right away, or was it more of a process for your h?

    It’s definitely a process, individual and yet together. Critical to have a team.
    You mention your h’s anger as the problem..
    Has he been asked what are you so angry at?
    I don’t agree in His ways but I’m curious? Same as I would be with my children I guess.

    Is his anger more in more of a reactive way? Or is it deeper ~ shame and identity/worth?

    It has been said that usually under anger is hurt? Sadness? Or fear?

    My h was all 3 and unresolved by many things~ he was not an angry person to us but he took his anger inward and then when I would try to connect he would flare all the defense tactics that were harmful to me.

    Humility responsibility and contrition.
    Humility is very difficult for someone who gets in the way of themselves.
    For fakers.. they fake it and then the fruit reveals.
    In time. All words… little action and consistent follow through

    By fruit I mean their reactions and what type of behavior is consistent.

    Was there a point where you “knew” that you didn’t need to separate?

    Yes, pure contrition! But at that point I let our counselor weigh in heavily on this because I was so emotionally beat up and we had so many false starts of the process. The requirements grew substantially and he was taking full responsibility for the manipulation level.
    I mean he’s ‘good’;) but he isn’t God;) that was supposed to be funny.

    I think what was a big turning point for me was the ability to follow through with whatever I had required and the biggest point for him was he has underestimated my strength ~ mainly because he had gotten away with it for so long.. even in a counseling process.
    In hindsight he never got away with it technically in fact it helped identify the core disease so he could get the best treatment!

    I know there’s no cookie cutter way or timeline . . . I’m just curious. I’m also cautious with our pastors as even though they agreed and laid out the ultimatum . . . I strongly sense through teaching that the marriage institute is nearly an idol, and God hates divorce is taken out of its context a bit.

    You are correct their isn’t a cookie cutter design but their are helpful guidelines that can help create safety.

    I’m not for divorce and or separation and or a phony marriage label in Christ either or any of the marriage idols/conforms I’m for individuals receiving Christ perfect love and posturing their life through transformation (by him only)…giving an example to an amazing Lord we have and want to serve;)

    • AgainstTheGrain -Vanessa on January 29, 2017 at 3:38 am

      Aly –
      I so appreciate the road you’ve traveled and that you’re willing to share it with us.
      You asked: “Do you have women support also, meaning a few strong friends in person that are there for you during such an emotional journey?” Thankfully, yes! A few that are supportive, encouraging, and one in particular who has come through the addiction of porn with her h – she is the one really saying we need a plan with measurable goals, and I agree!

      Trauma Bonding? – WOW I just looked that up…pretty closely related for his abuse towards me with misuse of fear and sex (the sex feelings I knew had to be related when 2yrs ago he began getting angry over no sex during my monthly cycle . . .) very interesting. This could also describe him with his dad . . . such over the top respect/loyalty yet disdain because of the abuse.

      H was emotionally, mentally, and passive/aggressive verbally abused by his father, and STILL a victim in his mind (although he doesn’t think so). A child in his father’s house still trying to gain acceptance is what our counseling pastor concluded. Huh, same thing he has been doing. The last few days he’s touted and tried to excuse and blame shift with “none of what I’ve done has been on purpose”. Although I’m not even sure he understands “what” he has done specifically to oppress and abuse us emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Finally after the 3rd time of this comment I pointed out that his dad’s abuse wasn’t intentional either and it doesn’t make his pain any less. I hope that’s the last of that excuse.

      He has had better behavior since the ultimatum – he’s a great one for running away so he’s been engaging with me and children more, trying to be more considerate, little to no anger or extreme irritation. You asked about source of anger – His anger is deep – shame and lack of identity (who he is in Christ) as he still thinks of himself as the disappointment his dad portrayed he is. Hurt, sadness and fear all 3 are his anger. (see below about his dad)

      Honestly this is the part we (me and kids) don’t trust. He’s suppressed his anger before and been “nice” for a season, but when the root of hurt, bitterness, etc. has not been dealt with and healed by the Great Physician…it will return.

      “Will he consider that deep denial and deception is where he is? Will he even ponder the thought?” He is such a follower, lacking in many decision making skills, always second guessing even the smallest of decision…the confusion that comes from his own abuse and victim of his dad. So, when a counselor tells him something he usually just takes it . . . but it usually doesn’t go very deep to the heart of the issue. He’s quite passive/aggressive and does not like hard work. He claims to be a deep thinker, but he’s really a twisted thinker. Ponder it? Yes. Believing he’s self-deceived, believing lies with probably take much of me pointing it out to him. He lives with a mental/emotional filter that takes most things as criticism because his dad’s attitude/tone was always “you’re dumb, stupid, can’t do anything right, give up now you’ll never succeed . . .” So I can say something encouraging from my point of view and his filter twists it to be negative.

      “Humility responsibility and contrition.
      Humility is very difficult for someone who gets in the way of themselves. (He would even say this about himself – is he his own worst enemy?)
      For fakers.. they fake it and then the fruit reveals.”
      I think he can be quite good at faking it . . . and many things, even his Christian life. I know time will tell, but I wonder how much time?

      Would you share with me 2 thinks:
      What do you mean by: I needed lots of objectivity on the situation!!
      Would you share with me what your guidelines, requirements, etc. were along the way to be ensure healing was progressing?

  46. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Connie,
    I could be confused but I didn’t think you did.. that was James comment ~
    He used my name..
    he goes in deflection whirlwinds. He is now trying another tactic to get the spotlight off him because he has been found out. It’s typical.
    But it failed for me.

    Pretty sure you and I have had some similar thinking given these posts. Maybe I missed something you wrote to me?
    Blessings and strength to you;)

  47. James on January 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    He has never stated or freeing gave info info about coming from a divorced home, and somehow the evidence in his words reveal his pain.

    This is a lie. I have disclosed many times that I come from an abusive home where my mother eventually left my father because of his physical abuse of my mother and us kids.

    What is painful is your attempt to weaponize this information as a way to prove your point. I personally find that offensive and abusive.

    I have asked you to please refrain from niggling in my past as if you were some uninvited counselor and you have disrespected that boundary and continue to weaponize my past.

    “He is an abuser of words…” This is a false witness. Having an opinion contrary to yours in not abusive but making false accusations is abusive.

    My words on this thread were meant to encourage a woman, those words have been repeatedly twisted and warped. You are all free to disagree with my perspective if you like. But the false accusations and the personal attacks need to stop.

    “I hope his wife seeks courage to find the evidence of his betrayals.”

    THIS IS SLANDER!

    This is, plain and simple, character assassination, gossip, and slander.

    Shame on you.

    • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      James, you do not need to scold others here. That is not necessary or appropriate. And those who have disparaged you sinfully I will also speak to. But you spend a lot of time here, and I’d love to know your purpose? As a pastor you must have many people who need you and sermons to prepare and a life to live. Yet you are faithful to respond to many of my blogs and many women who comment. So let us know why you are here? I think that is what confuses the women, and frankly me too. It feels to me like you feel it is your role to be the biblical watchdog on my blog and if you feel something is “off” you quickly label it “as unbiblical” or “prove it”.

      I think you’d be much more likely to have a listening ear if you just said, “Hey help me understand why…or I know other people see things differently than I do but have you thought about……” Your dogmatic “my view is right and prove me wrong” does trigger so many here who have lived with a man who did this to them repeatedly, without mercy, without listening, without love. I have ready many of your responses where you were loving and kind so I do not think you are always this way, but there are times that you are. Please receive my feedback in the spirit is intended. You are welcome here, but please don’t come into this blog with the attitude that your view on scripture is the ONLY correct viewpoint.

      • James on January 28, 2017 at 11:08 pm

        Leslie,

        As I said in my email to you via the contact form, I will no longer be posting on your blog. I am sure that this will come as a relief to some and perhaps to yourself. I would like to point out that your blog is simply not friendly to male participation.

        While you have been personally cordial and friendly, there are women on this site whose primary reflex is to attack, blame, shame, and accuse when a man disagrees with them.

        This is not just my own viewpoint, if you like you can go back in the comments and see posters like Henry who claims that a number of women were (his words) “man haters.”

        As to my “dogmatics” I AM a trained theologian. I have two degrees (and M.Div and a TH.M in New Testament Studies) from ATS accredited evangelical seminaries. So while my confidence in my own theology may “trigger” some ladies whose husbands were also dogmatic about what the bible says, the difference is that I actually have undertaken a courses of study that give me a modicum of expertise. That doesn’t meant that I am always right, nor does it mean that I am unwilling to consider other interpretations. Indeed I am, which is why I ask for those who critique my understanding back up their critiques with theologically sound argument. While my credentials do not mean that my conclusions are above questioning it does mean, to be frank, that I don’t accept bad theological arguments just to make people feel better.

        I am not “challenging people to prove me wrong” (as if this is some contest) I am asking for sound theology, and for biblical theological arguments that would provide me with sufficient reason to change my mind, “Your interpretation makes me feel bad” and “this other interpretation makes me feel better” are not sufficient reasons for me to abandon a studied interpretation of the Word of God and they ought not be the reasons why you accept some novel interpretations of God’s Word.

        I don’t agree that biblical passages have a plethora of equally valid interpretations that are all worth hearing as long as they make us feel happy and validated, as if the bible were nothing more than a fortune cookie. The Divine Author has a clear intent for every word He said. What He said may well challenge some (it certainly challenges me), and it most certainly will offend some (Jesus claimed it would; Mt 11:6). But I would rather challenge some and offend others rather than offend God by being careless with His word or disingenuously affirming interpretations that are erroneous.

        I take 2 Tim 2:15 very seriously, and I gently suggest that you should as well.

        While you are quick to rebuke me for coming across as scolding, I feel it is necessary to protect myself from false accusations. These are not innocuously false accusations.

        Aly has insinuated that because I come from a divorce home my wife should seek out evidence of alleged “betrayal.”

        I quote here:

        ““I hope his wife seeks courage to find the evidence of his betrayals.”

        Claiming that I have betrayed my wife is an evil lie that has the potential to damage not only my reputation but to harm my family and do real, permanent damage to me professionally.

        If I were to insinuate that your husband should look into evidence of your “betrayals” (and for the record I am absolutely not suggesting that there is any evidence that you have betrayed your husband in any way, I am only exemplifying), I think you would respond firmly and I am sure that there would be an army of women rushing to defend your reputation.

        I hope it isn’t lost on you that no one came to my defense, pointing out that those assertions violate Deut 19:15 and 1 Tim 5:19. As of yet, not even you have done what is necessary to set the record strait.

        Consequently, I will make the same formal request that I have made via the contact form on your site.

        I request that those comments be removed, and I now ask that the person who posted them retract those statements; admitting that they were statements made without just cause of evidence, and issue a written and public apology. If you continue to allow Aly to post without that apology, I can only assume it is because you refuse to see the gravity and harmfulness of those libelous claims.

        Those statements are not only cruel, they meet the legal definition of libel. Those legally libelous statements are currently on your blog and I am formally requesting that, as the owner of this blog, and therefore the one legally responsible for the content on this blog, that you please see them removed immediately.

        As a pastor, I am quite familiar with unjust criticism. I tolerate it nearly every week. But when a false, public declaration is written about me that has the potential to harm my family and damage me professionally then I am no longer willing to tolerate those unjust statements.

        I will not be engaging in any further dialog on this blog. My only visibility on this blog will be to ensure that the legally libelous statements are removed and the apology I request is made.

        If you would like to reach me directly I can be reached at 5pointpastor at gmail dot come.

        • Leslie Vernick on January 29, 2017 at 12:17 am

          James, I see that you are quick to want validation of libelous attack. I understand. Yet you are unwilling to understand that women who live under this same attack day after day, week after week have a just Biblical cause for setting boundaries or implementing consequences for this same kind of behavior in their marriage seems suspect. Why is it okay for you to set boundaries but not okay for them to set boundaries on this kind of attack? You see the negative effects of it? Yet somehow you think a woman is still suppose to hang in there when you are unwilling to hang in here in this blog because of the stress it creates. How come you can let go – freely – but you condemn a wife for letting go of much of the same?

  48. JoAnn on January 28, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Rose, I appreciate how scary the divorce looks from the side you are on. However, it will be your lawyer’s responsibility to get spousal support for you and the children. Also, I know two women who have been where you are: never worked, children to support, etc, and now, after the divorce, both are employed and free from abusive spouses. They are living healthy, God-honoring lives. Please don’t let fear govern your actions. God is in control and He loves you.. He will provide.

  49. JoAnn on January 28, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Am I the only one here who is tired of all the hostile back and forth over doctrinal issues, and even name-calling? I thought the purpose of this blog was to help and support one another, not to debate scriptural interpretations, and especially not to criticize each other. There has been some pretty ugly stuff going on, and it confuses those who are already confused and hurt and having a hard time deciding what to do. I appreciate those who are willing to share their experience and then encourage one another to go to the Lord and follow the inner peace. That’s all any of us can do.

    • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 8:35 pm

      No JoAnn, you are not the only one tired of it and I just want to remind you all that if we want to be Christ-like, we will treat each other honorably and with respect, even if we strongly disagree with one another. I am asking each of you, male and female to respond in CORE strength, with humility and respect for one another even if you do not agree with one another’s interpretation of Scripture or point of view. This is an essential character quality we must all work on if we want to reflect Christ – unity and the preservation of Unity through our love for one another – even those we disagree with. I don’t agree with everything people on this blog think, nor do you have to, but we can express our differences and our own interpretation of Scripture or our own point of view WITHOUT name calling, attacking, or disparaging one another. Please practice this on this blog.

      My blog is uniquely different from others on this subject because I do not shut down opposing points of view. One of the reasons I do not do that is I believe we all need to know how to handle opposing points of view with dignity and strength, as well as humility and love. And, that is why I believe we have this amazing community here, which I will protect.

      • T.L. on January 29, 2017 at 5:56 am

        Leslie (and other dear sister’s)

        Thank you, Leslie, for your wise guidance, insight, and correction. I took some time to back away, because I was being triggered by similar tactics that my theologically trained, ministry professional, self-promoting/self-protecting spouse falls into. I’ve had to fight hard to overcome passivity, and sometimes the pendulum swings to far in the opposite direction. Still working in the balance.

        I’m sorry if I caused any of you sisters frustration or confusion by being sucked in to debates. This isn’t a place for theological debate. It’s a place for helping one another step into the light, and find our way to healing and deliverance from oppression and abuse. That happens when we face the truth about what is happening in our homes, refuse to pretend anymore, and decide to live in honesty before God. That will look different for each of us, and I respect each individual journey out of the darkness and into the light.

        Thank you all for sharing your stories, and reaching out to one another.

        Leslie, you are a gem of a mentor. We are all learning so much from you. A good thing that has come out of this disturbance to the healing community this is, is your example of how to confront and deal with such a disturbance in a godly way. Thank you.

        • Lori on January 29, 2017 at 6:15 pm

          TL,

          Wow, what to say? The first thing that comes to mind is responding to your posts to James. I felt like I was watching some kind of Jedi warrior jousting for her life and the lives of other women here. Your insight into scripture was so deep and I can now understand your comment: “I took some time to back away, because I was being triggered by similar tactics that my theologically trained, ministry professional, self-promoting/self-protecting spouse falls into. I’ve had to fight hard to overcome passivity, and sometimes the pendulum swings to far in the opposite direction. Still working in the balance.”
          It is easy for me to understand how you gained so much knowledge of scripture. Indeed, how necessary it has been for you given the personality and theologically trained h you live with. I am sorry for the reasons it has become necessary for you, but the fruit of your intense study of scripture is, I hope, worth the difficult reasons you had to come by it.

          So much of what you shared really resonated with me and I found myself touched by your sound and passionate expulsion.

          I have to admit though, because much of what you said resonated with me and moved me to feeling validated and even empowered by your words, I am confused as to what you are apologizing for?
          I am not sure what was wrong with your post. Sincerely, I wish I had said what you said in many places.
          Would you mind clarifying for me what you thought you did wrong?

          • T.L. on January 29, 2017 at 7:56 pm

            Hi Lori,

            Thank you for your words. I can’t say I didn’t smile when I read, “I felt like I was watching some kind of Jedi warrior jousting for her life and the lives of other women here.” Thanks for that. 🙂

            I’m going to digress a bit from your question, and tell you a little more background: I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. I usually describe it as “nominally Catholic.” My parents were nice people. But my Dad was a closet addictive personality. My mom, very well-intentioned, and dealing with much more limited options in those days, chose to protect us kids by “acting normal,” and hiding her pain and troubles from us. We thought we had a really happy family. When addictions aren’t dealt with, they only get worse, of course, and when we got older, it could no longer be hidden. But we learned our lessons: avoid confrontation at any cost. Be nice. Carry on. Don’t make waves. Mind your own business.

            When I married my husband, I quickly saw that he lived by a very different set of rules: push, argue, bully if necessary, to get what you want. And may the best/stronger/tougher person win. And that was always him. I was crushed in my marriage; my heart, my voice, my personhood. I remember early on telling my husband, “You should have been a lawyer! Even when I know I am right, you convince me I am wrong!” It was so painful and so confusing. Why was it more important to him to be right than to love and protect and nurture the heart of his wife and children?

            Meanwhile, my soul was being nurtured by Him who loved me well. Sometimes I didn’t even know ibut it was happening as I prayed my anguished prayers and searched His Word for comfort. I felt like a failure most of the time, because I couldn’t measure up to my husband’s expectations…I wasn’t lovable to him. I was faulty, I was defective. But Christ revealed His deep, sustaining love for me, bit by bit, and then a dramatic revelation in my 40’s when I knew how loved I was, and knew I could never doubt his love again. His love helped me to grow strong in my eternal identity as his bride, His beloved. And His Word was the food that strengthened my soul.

            Another revolution of sorts happened a few years ago when I was in utter misery over this dilemma of submitting to one’s husband, of “keeping one’s vows,” in an abusive marriage when one’s heart is screaming, “Something’s terribly wrong! This isn’t Christian marriage! One of us doesn’t seem to believe in a Christian lifestyle of walking in love, preferring one another, being completely humble and gentle, doing unto others…etc.” That’s when, in desperation, I went to a silent retreat for a week and sewed my tears in prayer, asked my questions of my Beloved, and began hearing His heart. One thing I remember clearly hearing from Him at that time as I walked in the hills: “I am with YOU. I stand with the oppressed.” He also led me to look at my own heart, taking “A fearless moral inventory” and confess to Him my patterns of sin. Passivity was number one. I asked forgiveness, and for the strength and grace to change. I wrote 40 pages in my journal, and a 10 or 12 page letter to my husband, confessing what God had shown me about myself and telling him that God had changed me–and he needed to know, because it would affect him. Then I told him all the things I would do from that day on, and all the things that I would not do. That I would submit to God, and not to him, until and unless he was safe to submit to. One aspect of his spiritual abuse was this: God has made me a generous, hospitable, merciful person. It’s part of my gifting and what gives me joy. My husband struggles with frugality to an unhealthy degree. I would tell him what I wanted to do: invite someone for a meal, bless someone with a gift, whatever. And 9 times out of ten, he would say no, he wasn’t comfortable with that, or we can’t afford it, or whatever. So, what God had put in my heart to do; that which was good and generous and godly, was suddenly sin: shut down because of his pathological need to control and save. And now, my God-led desire had become sin if I did it. Because I would be disobeying my husband, and I was commanded to submit to him. So twited and sad.

            Later, I could see, that without realizing it, when I went through the process of the “moral inventory” and confessing my sins and sinful patterns, I had removed the log from my own eye. Suddenly things became so clear! I could finally understand what was wrong–what was going on in his inner motives. How he was being controlled by the enemy and in turn trying to control others. Suddenly I could see through him, and I couldn’t be manipulated anymore.

            I feel sorry for the fellow who was harassing us on this blog. He is stuck in legalism and is satisfied with knowing about God instead of knowing his heart. I was also angry at him for disturbing and harassing us and trying to shove the law down our throats instead of walking in the grace and truth of Christ. It is a spirit of pharisee-ism that, when challenged, resorts to tooting one’s own horn, citing one’s qualifications, and demanding respect instead of winning it. I know these tactics, and I find them reprehensible.

            Lori, what I felt the need to apologize for was this: a few women communicated frustration that debate was happening on this blog instead of sharing of stories, insight, giving encouragement and comfort. My (and other’s) refuting of him, rather than silencing him, gave him more of a platform. I certainly don’t want to do that.

            So my apology was to the women who were annoyed, frustrated, or confused by the exchange. It’s not the purpose of the blog, and I want to honor the purpose of it, and honor Leslie.

            Thanks for your kind words!



      • Anna on February 14, 2017 at 1:46 am

        A non-believer can scan these posts and see there is no difference between us and the world. The griping, the passive aggressive comments, the snide personal attacks. I was hoping to find a site that would help eliminate noise in my life rather than add to it – this is not the place for me to be. James has his opinion like everyone else, if nobody likes it then don’t feed his response. I don’t agree with some of what he says, I think it’s more how he chooses his wording – that’s okay. It’s one’s choice to take offense. I’m not offended. What’s offensive is these threads become more a debate than aide, debate seldom looks for a solution and seldom goes anywhere. I’m looking elsewhere, somewhere.. with less noise.

    • Connie on January 28, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      Joann, you’re right, and I’m sorry I participated. I was hoping for a better outcome, but I should have known better.

      • Lori on January 29, 2017 at 9:50 pm

        TL
        Thank you for sharing so much more of your story. Thank you for also sharing why you apologized: “My (and other’s) refuting of him, rather than silencing him, gave him more of a platform. I certainly don’t want to do that.”
        I do see the line more clearly now. It was confusing to me because as I said, I appreciated and agreed with so much of what you said.
        I am sad to say though, that I agree with you that it did seem to give him more platform.
        Thank you for apologizing.
        I think I remember Leslie’s words to me on the previous blog (that helped me so much) being something to the effect that the difference between someone who can be helped and someone who won’t be helped is in the ability to be honest in our admission of our failings. Didn’t see that in the fellow we refer to hear, but did see it in other women who accepted the correction.
        I want very much to walk in the balance also and not harm with words, yet use them to validate myself, others and even be silent when necessary.
        Learning by example here.
        Thank you.

        • Mary on February 2, 2017 at 10:49 am

          TL thank you for sharing! A lot of insights. I can’t understand why that poster is on here. He says he has compassion for women in abusive situations but no compassion comes forth. Only that the scriptures say no divorce or separation, and then to inform us of how he helps those in these situations.

  50. Robin on January 28, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Ann, that’s awesome, I’m so happy for u. It’s so important that each of us ask the Lord to guide us, as He will give each one a specific plan for our rescue, if that’s what we need. I’ll be eager to see your next steps.

  51. Robin on January 28, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Lori I am an open book. And love to share my story. As far as making money God just opened the windows of Heaven for me, after my husband was removed from the home. I was a part time piano teacher — and he filled my schedule to full time and with professional people who could afford my prices.
    Also financially it truly was a miracle how everything came together for me. In my state there is a 50/50 law protecting the spouse after 20 years of marriage. So court ordered me to have half his retirement income which was quite generous. I also received 75 percent of retirement savings; partly because he had invested into Texas oil fields and some of it was his inheritance. So I settled on having our house (paid in full) retirement benefits listed above and let him have his investments and inheritance. But really DO TRUST GOD TO MOVE FOR YOU. It’s my biggest recommendation. God so wants us out of destructive relationships and as we stand up to sin and refuse to accept it in our homes– I’ve seen God provide like I never imagined possible. Separations can be risky tho, because u don’t get maintenance from your spouse; like u do in a divorce proceeding.
    In re: to your comment about distractions on this blog- I saw him for what he was the first time I heard him. When someone tries to prove their point by Scripture and cause u to feel like u need to defend yourself, I usually sense it’s a ‘wolf in sheeps clothing’. They mis-use Scripture over and over, and I refuse to defend myself. I agree with you, God is the One and Only we look to. And He IS OUR DEFENDER.

    • Wonuola on January 28, 2017 at 10:33 pm

      Thisnks Robin. This is so reassuring. My confidence in coming to a decision after years of a controlling relationship, is that in honouring God He will show himself strong on my behalf.

      I have just been confronted if that is really what I want, and told to think carefully as I would regret it and God hates divorce etc It has taken years to get to this point and I would rather have a dinner of herbs with peace and love than an ungodly environment with threatening talk and feeling enslaved. Your post is encouraging.

      • Robin on January 28, 2017 at 11:05 pm

        Wonuola, I think daily about the tranquility in my home now. It’s almost more than I can take in. All this peacefulness and calm, I feel like I’m in a bubble . There is not one area of my life that is full of chaos. The Lord has walked me thru every area giving me what I needed at that moment, and I find myself feeling absolutely Radiant!!!! I’ll pray for you!

  52. Robin on January 28, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Lori, I have never gone without one thing since I filed for divorce. My husband controlled and dominated all the money and refused to support me. God has shown me over and over, I’ll never have to live oppressed again. God just used His people to help as needed. It’s all about how much He tenderly cares for us.

    • Wonuola on January 28, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks. Trusting God’s faithfulness as I step out ….
      Trusting Him fully for my children too, with confidence they will fulfill God’s plan for them and give Him glory🙏🏾!

      • Content on January 29, 2017 at 8:06 pm

        Believing with you, sweet sister!!! God is with you

  53. Robin on January 28, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Ann, my counselor is truly a wise counselor who devotes her whole life to abuse survivors and helping them get healthy. I’ve been too many counselors myself, and never have had the experience I do now. I would say check them out by asking a few questions related to how she thinks about abuse. Mine is also grounded in Sociopathy and many addictions that Narcissists usually have. But it took me 30 years to find her!!!!!

  54. Robin on January 28, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Have you considered Ann, doing personal counseling rather then couples counseling?? When I went to counseling WITH my husband I was worse off after the session, then before. I would never do that again. I really believe the way God used to bring me to good health was being in one on one therapy weekly for 3 years. That intensity of counseling gave me the opportunity to work thru 32 years of abuse. It’s the best choice I ever made. I was concerned I couldn’t afford it – but God made a way………..

    • Ann L on January 29, 2017 at 12:09 am

      Hi Robin — I’m out. No more couples counseling. I am now doing personal counseling for chronic PTSD and it’s really helpful. It’s quite expensive but well worth it. I figure once I get through this I may do a little bit of regular counseling for grounding

      • Robin on January 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

        Ann, can u share how you found your counselor? There are some on here looking for wise counselors and don’t know how to go about finding one on abuse, anger, addictions, etc……..

        • Ann L on January 29, 2017 at 9:23 pm

          I visited the EAP counselor at work. I was a mess and was barely hanging on, and told her about how I had finally realized that the PTSD in my history was what was causing all the ruckus in my internal life. She agreed and told me how to search for an EMDR practioner, and to interview them. I sorted through them — the lists for the local area aren’t well maintained, so I called a lot of people no longer practicing. Weeded out the super expensive ones and collected references. In the end, I booked an appt with the first one I could afford. She was recommended by her practice and although not yet certified, is monitored.

          We haven’t even done the EMDR yet, but just being able to discuss it with someone who’s not trying to fix me in six sessions or less, and who understands that I’m not in this for a long-term relationship, has been wonderful.

          Not sure what difference it makes, but this group does not file insurance, so I pay out of pocket. I don’t even care what my insurance provider will reimburse (which has lousy mental health coverage) because this is what I need, now, to get better.

          http://www.emdr.com/ and
          http://www.emdria.org/

          It was able to manage the symptoms until I left the marriage. Then, with that out of the way, my brain said ok, MY TURN. And in my new-found ability to honor my needs, I said ok (plus the memories were very insistent).

        • Ann L on January 30, 2017 at 6:51 am

          I visited the EAP counselor at work. I was a mess and was barely hanging on, and told her about how I had finally realized that the PTSD in my history was what was causing all the ruckus in my internal life. She agreed and told me how to search for an EMDR practioner, and to interview them. I sorted through them — the lists for the local area aren’t well maintained, so I called a lot of people no longer practicing. Weeded out the super expensive ones and collected references. In the end, I booked an appt with the first one I could afford. She was recommended by her practice and although not yet certified, is monitored.

          We haven’t even done the EMDR yet, but just being able to discuss it with someone who’s not trying to fix me in six sessions or less, and who understands that I’m not in this for a long-term relationship, has been wonderful.

          Not sure what difference it makes, but this group does not file insurance, so I pay out of pocket. I don’t even care what my insurance provider will reimburse (which has lousy mental health coverage) because this is what I need, now, to get better.

          http://www.emdr.com/ and
          http://www.emdria.org/

          It was able to manage the symptoms until I left the marriage. Then, with that out of the way, my brain said ok, MY TURN. And in my new-found ability to honor my needs, I said ok (plus the memories were very insistent).

  55. Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Aly, let’s be careful not to assume or judge James motives although we can describe his behaviors. I agree that he does come across at times as the “expert” in Biblical knowledge, challenging everyone to prove him wrong. The point of this blog is not to prove one point of view over another, but to validate the experience of abuse and God’s heart for the oppressed and his care for those in bondage to the oppressor. But when we disagree, let’s try to be as respectful as possible.

  56. Aly on January 28, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Leslie,
    Thank you for your comments, they are kind and respected.
    Lori, warned me… but hopefully you know my heart for the women in tough places…struggling knowing they are worthy of peace and blessing.
    Goodness the posts of their experiences and current situation!
    I’m sorry to all of you for my words.
    I’m living with such abundance by trusting in God, & His people who understand the abusive cycles.
    Thank you Leslie for all you do here and for helping us who are in need True peace of God’s will.

    • Leslie Vernick on January 28, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      ALY, I Know your heart is for women in destructive marriages. You are a wise woman who wants to share what you have learned. But we want to respond to other’s like James to disagrees with our approach to destructive marriages, with strength and dignity, so that we can hopefully help him see that there is another perspective in this.

      • Lori on January 29, 2017 at 5:38 pm

        Leslie,

        I appreciate your example here of how we can respond to people who have differing views than our own. In the recent exchanges with James on this site, I have come to learn a few things about myself.

        1. I bear deep deep grief and shame for participating in what I now know as “reactive abuse” (thank you for giving this behavior a name so I can identify it in my behavior if I am involved with this sin again. I beg God to restrain me from this and to give me strength to die to this practice. It harmed me, my h and children not to mention the witness of Christ as I espoused Him as my Lord).

        I grieve the years of my life wasted believing my freedom would arrive the moment another would see it my way, or would validate the abuse was my own errant thinking. My freedom came the day I validated it myself. Enough was enough regardless of whether anyone believed it to be so or not. Regardless of the opinion of many that I am at fault for breaking my marriage vows by separating from h abuse. MY opinion of what my experience was needed to be enough. And thankfully, it was.

        2. I find myself not strong enough at this time to debate or even share my differing views with one as determined as James appeared to be in disputing the legitimacy of my biblical decision. I hope to get stronger in my CORE (looking forward to introducing myself to this concept).

        3. Most grievous to me was the incredibly dark and sinful place I allowed myself to walk in because I knew no other way. I am saying here: there HAS TO BE another way to walk in freedom than to engage in tearing down another so I can walk freely. When I do this, I become the very one I desperately wanted freedom FROM. I am weaping as I write for the pain I have caused others by tearing with my words and legitimizing it with scripture. No wonder the cycle continued within my marriage given the fuel I provided for it to burn! My heart is broken with remorse and sorrow and I have apologized to my h for this more than once since our separation. H has seen my tears and brokenness over this.

        4. I desperately want not to have to apologize for wounding another in this way again so I am extremely careful to stay away from the edge so to speak. I especially do not want to have to apologize to one whom continues to take NO responsibility whatsoever for his abuse or acknowledge the complaints against him and consider the possible validity in them (James? husband, others).

        I understand the temptation to straighten out another to disprove their view (I may be the worst offender here) I just don’t know yet how to do it in a Godly way with one who is pushing my buttons, so I stay away from it. Part of my boundaries in my separation from my husband is that I will not be engaging in any sort of emotional discussions with him. For practical reasons, (financial, house and car repairs etc.) we converse. The best way I know how not to engage emotionally right now is using email or texting as it affords me space to back away, pray, and attempt to respond in a manner that pleases the Lord and protects both h and myself.

        H has REALLY challenged this boundary almost at every turn. Mostly as it relates to our nearly all grown children. He wants my “help” relating to them as they have nothing to do with him.

        I have been way too long practicing the former sinful way.

        Your examples showed me that when you spoke, you did so in a respectful manner to all, and you did not shy away in fear to point out the places you saw needed exposing in another. I don’t know if that worked for you because this is YOUR blog or not, but I was wondering if this is how you practice your discourses in your personal life also? If so, how does that usually go for you?

        I hope to learn more from you and the women on this blog.

        • Leslie on January 30, 2017 at 7:08 pm

          I love your heart here Lori and your humility. And God will bless you by increasing you in wisdom as you learn and lean on him. Sorry, but I’ve been locked out of my blog for a few days so I’m responding here.

          • Lori on January 30, 2017 at 11:35 pm

            Leslie,
            Thank you for responding and encouraging here. I have another thing I would like to share and that is I am not sure I want reconciliation with my h. I, frankly, am not sure I am marriage material as I feel my heart has hardened toward being with him again. So many years of neglect, abuse, manipulation, deceit, betrayal, etc. etc. All I seem to sincerely hope for is that God can somehow save him sincerely (I think he uses religion as a cover-up) and forgive me for my reactive abuse in the past 8 years or so. I grieve the testimony I was not to him, but don’t really want another chance with him. Still tearful and tender here as I come face to face with the sadness of the situation. I am not sure it is okay to feel this way. Certainly would appreciate feedback if you have time.



        • Nancy on January 30, 2017 at 9:53 pm

          Dear Lori,

          Your clarity here, about yourself, is just lovely. It’s inspiring. I think I’ve spent so much energy in the past number of months trying to tell if my h’s behaviour is real repentance, that I am out of practice looking in the mirror. Or maybe that’s just an excuse. I simply don’t like getting the log out of my own eye, I’m much more comfortable with blame.

          I, like you could not engage in the debate because I was being triggered so intensely. BUT thanks to your insights I have come to see that this is simply a result of needing to develop more CORE strength.

          About two years ago I heard a podcast that cut me to the core. I saw so much of myself in the woman interviewed and how she described how she undermined her husband, contributing to a low view of himself. I don’t know if that would be considered reactive abuse or not, but it’s certainly destructive. I need to go back and listen to that again.

          Thanks Lori, for your brave self examination. It has shone a light into some dark places that, with The Lord, I can now begin to explore.

          • Lori on January 31, 2017 at 12:02 am

            Nancy,
            The idea that my sharing is somehow “lovely” is perplexing to me as I guess I only see the ashes of my past sins and transgresses. I think TL said she believed God would create beauty from the ashes in my life and I desperately need Him to do that. I weap so for my part of the cycle of abuse and I want so not to ever be a participant in that way again. I feel a bit “frozen” in emotional intimacy with others whom I feel have behaved in abusive ways to me and I really don’t know how to handle it, so I am cutoff for now to hopefully heal and create some safe distance to clear my heart and head. This has been a very safe place to do this for me, (until this blog with all the intensity of the debates. It really triggered me and I still feel “buzzy” inside from reading the interactions.) The idea that I debated with my h for years in this manner and it only spiraled downward ( I began in healthy and considerate requests for change, but over the years of no change and blameshifting that he practiced like a Jedi, I got worse in my reactions and desperate to make sense to him. I needed the pain to stop!) I think I finally separated so I COULD stop dancing the evil dance with h. Communication with h is so very emotionally charged, it is like I see h as a live power line down in the middle of the road. Don’t want to go near it. The most nominal of interactions are ones he can somehow turn into an emotional need. He has played such a victim while not seeing his abuse and neglect. When the safety of our children became an issue, I began to say “no” to him and stand up to him. That was the point he wanted to go to counseling because in his words, “you can’t be pleased”. 5 counselors later, and h not sticking with any of them, the past 9 years have been an increasingly hostile effort on my part for h abuse to stop. It just enforced h victimhood when I would raise my voice to be heard. (as if volume would effect hearing). I fought desperately to try to show him his religion only served to prove him worthy and was a cover up for the real relationship of the heart I needed him to have with God in order to have it with our family. Truly, h never thought h sinned and was appalled that I would point it out. Nearly every broken place in our marriage of the decades cannot be reconciled because h doesn’t believe it is broken. The few places h may agree h sinned, I am supposed to just get over it without repair or an understanding that healing may be necessary. A quick recognition, only after I point it out and conversation over.
            Rambling here, but I wanted to thank you for saying that my sharing helped you somehow. It just seems so dark I could not imagine any good coming from it. I had such desires to be a godly wife to my h and feel I have failed miserably in sharing Christs love to him. I hope and pray God can minister to him where I have sinned. I just don’t seem to be the one who is able to right now. Tears flowing again. I think I have cried more tears posting in this blog space than I have in my life. All the pain I have felt has expressed itself in self loathing, depression and anger. Rarely tears. Maybe I am thawing?



          • Nancy on January 31, 2017 at 1:34 pm

            Lori, your tender heart brings tears to me eyes. I completely understand the grief you are facing of letting go of trying to save him, and your marriage. At least that’s the grief I am seeing in your writing.

            I’m also seeing repentance over your part. You see it clearly, but don’t forget that your responses were in reaction to abuse. That’s not a blameshift, that was the reality of the situation. As you say, you needed it to stop. Be gentle with yourself Dear Lori. Say to yourself what you would tell a beloved daughter or sister that had lived what you did. You would have enormous compassion for her, wouldn’t you?

            I agree you can’t be the one to minister to your husband. You are wise to SERIOUSLY limit interaction. Your tender heart needs to heal and the only way that I know of to protect the tenderness of a heart is to erect boundaries around it that prevent damage. If you don’t, your heart will have no choice but to protect itself by becoming hard. And your insight in not wanting to go back down that road is what keeps those boundaries in place (I’m guessing here.)

            But as you keep those boundaries, guilt will rear it’s head because this is a new practice. Guilt is like a monster to me that gets SUPER big when we begin saying no, or increase boundaries, or stand firm each time they’re challenged. The guilt will subside,though. Cling to Christ, and He will begin to dis-entwine the over-responsibility that you carry with regards to your husband, and your marriage.

            Prov 4:23 says above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of your life.

            This proverb made me realize that boundaries are an option, it is a command from our Lord.

            And the flip side is to allow ourselves to be cared for by The Lord and His children. So our heart gets filled with Love. We can guard our heart from leaking love but we also need to allow Love into our hearts.

            For me, when Jesus told his disciples in John 6:28 ” The work of God is this : to believe in the one He sent.” What is it to believe, Lori? Is it not to open our hands and our hearts and accept what He has done for us? He took the wrath of The Lord for us. How astounding is that?!? Right?!! But accepting this Love is no small ‘task’ for someone who has been mistreated for so long. Accepting that Love comes in the form of reading the amazing encouragement of sisters like T.L. and Aly. It means being tender towards yourself too, dear Lori. It’s no small thing to accept Love after being mistreated. I hope you hear the Spirit of what I’m saying here. It takes time and yes, yes, a safe place and safe people. I am speaking as much to myself here as I am to you. Small steps. Teeny ones, even.

            Isn’t it wonderful to have a safe place where we have anonymity and the distance we need to heal, and encouragement to take those teeny steps? I hope you hear encouragement Lori because you really have helped me to look at myself. The Lord has used your words to gently nudge me along 🙂



          • Nancy on January 31, 2017 at 1:36 pm

            This proverb (4:23) made me realize that boundaries are NOT an option. It is a command from our Lord.



  57. Wonuola on January 29, 2017 at 4:42 am

    Your response fills my eyes with tears.Kindness from someone I don’t know but who identifies with me! Counting on your prayers with love and appreciation.

    Thank you xxx

  58. Aly on January 29, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Against the Grain,

    I will do my best to answer based on my past process and my continued journey. Personally, based on your writing you have done already a great job at getting some objectivity, getting support of people who can relate to what your dealing with. Even though not all our husbands have all the same external behaviors (meaning cookie cutter ways of dealing with compartments) or other symptoms… the internal ones deal great with self worth. (Am i significant?)

    My response is long, I apologize.. this is difficult for me to write out. It could be a snoozer 🙃 Based on length, I’m sorry for that.

    Plus I included much of your previous post within mine which adds the length because I wanted to not forget your highlights.

    The ‘objectivity’ was necessary for me because I needed the strength for the journey. My broken places collided with how I wanted to be treated, but how I was willing to be mistreated with no consequences.
    Back to objectivity~
    Being a mother has been a gift to me to learn some of this. To be a source of comfort, nurture and strength to them as they learned emotional places of development and still are;) this does not get hard-wired or downloaded at birth.

    Objectivity for me helped me see what was the battle and what was I willing to journey through or not.
    My battle with my h was ‘his mindset in general & toward me’
    Yes this is a spiritual battle indeed because my h had little tools to protect his heart and his thinking.

    My objectivity helped me not fall down the hole (most times/remember it’s a process especially when your dealing with these ingrained patterns and mindsets in husband’s and people you love) and helped me stop all of the spinning plates he was most experienced at distracting me with. The more distractions, the ‘less accountability’ for the reasoning excuses and or blameshifting. Oh have I mentioned the guilting and shaming when one holds one accountable or even gets close to uncovering the ‘hiding self’. Again this can get back to power issues.

    Be kind to your process to! Your heart needs tender care all along the way.

    You expressed some of your h past and I’m sorry for what he has experienced and how that has stunted and tangled certain growth behaviors.
    Does he agree it has effected him negatively?

    Or does he think the past is just the past and get over it?
    When someone is repeating behaviors or offenses even if they are not identical but similar in attitude, it is not the past it is the Present!

    It’s painful to be on the receiving end of this (you), but we can take rest knowing God is in process regardless of the outcome.
    You wrote:
    (“A child in his father’s house still trying to gain acceptance is what our counseling pastor concluded.”
    ” Huh, same thing he has been doing. The last few days he’s touted and tried to excuse and blame shift with “none of what I’ve done has been on purpose”. Although I’m not even sure he understands “what” he has done specifically to oppress and abuse us emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.”)
    This is my opinion…
    A person who struggles with their inner worth, identity in Christ, significance etc…
    Will struggle seeing and most vitally taking personal responsibility for bad behavior or just plain adolescent thinking.(such as your comment above about his belief of this…because it was not on purpose it is irrelevant?)
    So somehow in ‘his mind’ in order for something to have weight… it needs to be on purpose?
    Again him having to think into that would take energy and discipline he probably doesn’t have yet because he’s too busy dealing with how much energy it takes self protecting.

    One thing that seems to be the biggest contributor especially to this destructive mindset is this:
    What’s ok for me, to think behave and feel, is not ok for you!
    My needs trump your needs! My hurts trump your hurts etc
    Again this takes us back to an unequally balanced relationship, this can happen in any type of relationship not just in marriage.. which ultimately highlights a serious problem if there is only enough room for one experience in the relationship and or discussion then it’s not a healthy relationship! It’s not mutual even in value.

    (For me analysis of these beliefs helped me ‘objectively’ stay the course) and most certainly not get sucked into the distorted thinking that is self destructive ultimately.
    God helped me get objective about the behaviors so I could get healthier to see my h better through a different lense. No this isn’t the compassionate pity one.
    This is the lense that ‘held 2 places’, one of sensitivity for his addictive undeveloped thought pattern and one of great love that desires the highest good for the other. Those higher ‘goods’ did involve loving boundaries;) and expectations for their to be a hope in a relationship.

    One example of a ‘repetitive’ defense is this:
    …Especially in their irrational emotional wounded places it can look different (you can feel crazy) but objectively it can help you step back to the manipulation tactic.
    They will lash out (anger) and accuse you of something they the offenders are guilty of!
    They will even do this in the moment if their offense. They don’t chose to see or evaluate their skewed perceptions and or double standard thinking root!

    Facts to stay sane are very important here:

    You wrote:
    “Finally after the 3rd time of this comment I pointed out that his dad’s abuse wasn’t intentional either and it doesn’t make his pain any less. I hope that’s the last of that excuse.”

    I would be curious to know what his response was to this?
    Is it reasonable to hope that that’s the last of his excuse when it has served him so well in not taking responsibility?
    I’m mean is it hardwired for him to feel immediate comfort at avoiding ‘feeling bad’?
    Or is it realistic to think he might need a few times cognitively to see his error in dismissing someone else’s pain or how he has effected you all?

    You wrote:
    “He has had better behavior since the ultimatum – he’s a great one for running away so he’s been engaging with me and children more, trying to be more considerate, little to no anger or extreme irritation.”
    His is where counseling and interventions are CRITICAL, many of his emotions can go under-ground ‘ especially if he’s trying hard to be on good behavior’
    Maybe you already posted but he needs a place with a few Godly men and accountability for his fears. Hopefully spiritually/clinically lead.

    “You asked about source of anger – His anger is deep – shame and lack of identity (who he is in Christ) as he still thinks of himself as the disappointment his dad portrayed he is. Hurt, sadness and fear all 3 are his anger. (see below about his dad)”

    This is painful, his dad left some open wounds and he found some protective wounds that actually keeps his Heavenly Father further!
    Is he wanting to walk through the grief& discovery process of how this has impacted his manhood?
    For me.. i got objective as best as I could..here… because the ‘little person inside my h’ was robbing and controlling our situation. The little person needed to be dealt with in our situation. The little person formed many beliefs that were ultimately self destructive and sabatoging to growth to my h and to those around him.
    Talk about selfish? Ok I had to step back and see who was emotionally and mentally controlling this dynamic, ‘the little h inside’
    The little person in Him was never seen, therefore I was ‘not’ seen ultimately.
    If your not seen it’s hard to show behaviors of respect and value to others.
    If your not seen, it’s hard to feel seen especially by God. If your not seen… it’s hard to ultimately trust. Trust God, trust others.

    This may seem too deep or too psychological and analytical… my apologies however I believe
    ‘Psychology is the study of the soul’
    I know who I belong to!
    I know who sees me, it’s Him, always been;) He’s been faithful, caring and loving. I can trust Him.

    You wrote:
    “He lives with a mental/emotional filter that takes most things as criticism because his dad’s attitude/tone was always “you’re dumb, stupid, can’t do anything right, give up now you’ll never succeed . . .” So I can say something encouraging from my point of view and his filter twists it to be negative.”

    I think you are seeing a pattern here of deep shame.
    Try: when I say this… h, what do you hear me saying in your own words?
    This helped my h tremendously evaluate and discern a word of authentic encouragement verses twist it to shape his core beliefs or image of his self.
    This is where the Bible is daily essential for our nutrition of our souls~ as well as cognitive therapies to assist in deconstructing the untruths that have been rooted.
    I’m a visual person so I thought of it as many protective bombs inside the head and they needed to be dismantled carefully;)

    “Would you share with me 2 thinks:
    What do you mean by: I needed lots of objectivity on the situation!!”
    Hopefully I gave you some ideas on my route of getting more objective at the same time willing to work toward a goal.

    I will answer in another post the guidelines etc you asked about.. I’m not even sure this one will post😬

    • T.L. on January 29, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Rose,

      Somewhere you asked if I knew where you could find a counselor skilled in dealing with destructive/abusive marriages. Because of the necessary anonymity of this blog, none of us knows where the others live, so it is a hard question to answer.

      But here are some ideas:
      1.Write to Leslie (Pennsylvania), Chris Moles (W. Virginia), Patrick Doyle (Oregon), and Diane Langberg (Pennsylvania) asking if they know anyone in your area. Steven Stosny or Lundy Bancroft might be worth contacting for a referral of a secular therapist.

      2. Another route would be to look for a counselor whose list of what they work with includes abuse, trauma, and or anger issues.

      3. Skype counsel with Leslie or Patrick Doyle

      4. Contact local service organizations that deal with abuse: Women’s shelters, etc. Try this site: http://www.ncadv.org/learn-more/resources

      Maybe Leslie or others have other ideas…praying for light for your path. The Lord will lead and guide you as you step out and begin seeking and knocking on doors for help.

      • Roxanne on February 14, 2017 at 11:49 pm

        I can not recommend any associates of Diane Langberg. We had a counselor from her group who was clearly not experienced in abuse. He promised to protect me and nearly caused my death. He had no experience with destructive relationships and was learning from my husband and I. The counselor sided with my abuser and mocked me, saying I needed to be more affectionate. When we met in private to discuss the abuse, he said I just needed to purge myself of the past. Diane may be wonderful, but it was impossible to get an appointment with her.

    • T.L. on January 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Aly,

      Once again, thank you for writing all this out. I’m sure it will be helpful to Against the Grain. It was very helpful to me! So many similar self-protective and avoidant techniques in my marriage.

    • Connie on January 29, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Aly, your posts are so interesting. And so convicting. I realize that I’m living in a sort of denial. My 1st marriage was so bad…..25 years……then I was single for 8 years and
      then got SO tired of the whole community believing the lies and vilifying me that I sought to leave the area. Marriage to another looked like a good option and I thought it might show the children left at home that a marriage could be good. Not so. I got sucked into another abusive relationship. I don’t know how I didn’t see it coming. However, this time I read the books and set boundaries and dragged him to counselors and eventually he learned to put on a much better act. Outwardly. He went underground, so I just decided that ‘staying well’ meant to detach emotionally, and live a separate life in the same house. Better than it was, right? But he claims to be a Christian! And I know he plays mind games all the time. And heaven forbid I have ideas and hopes and wishes of my own and share them. We talk about politics and church issues and what friends are doing, but that is all. I don’t dare talk about us, or he goes silent. Or counters with,”How can I make changes if you never tell me what the problem is?” and then walks away, doesn’t talk to me for a week or so, then pretends nothing was said and all is well. He like to say, “We have a good marriage. We never fight.” Like I would dare!! Hey, I got punished for 8 years for hanging his shirts the wrong way and I didn’t even know it!!! He never said. He calls me ‘Sweetie’ (which I don’t like, but what would he know?) and says he likes me.

      Before I married him, his dad’s will said he wouldn’t inherit the farm because he wasn’t married and didn’t have kids. After I married him, his sister took the dad to the lawyer and made him change the will. But we aren’t allowed to know what’s in it except that she keeps telling him that if I was gone, he’d get it. Once he even said he was hoping I’d leave ’cause all he’s ever wanted was the farm (though I doubt she’s telling the truth). He’s still waiting for his dad to one day say, “Well done, son.” but I doubt that will ever happen. He misses his little house pets that have died more than he would miss me. When we separated for a few weeks, he said he was happy and didn’t miss me.

      Well, I just yesterday got the book, “How We Love” in the mail, and I’m afraid to read it, because then maybe I have to do something, right? And I’m so tired. So tired. 25 years on the first rodeo, and already 11 on this one……..can’t I just keep living in la-la land, be happy alone together, and hope for……what? Anyway, that’s where I’m at. Guess I don’t want to start over, I don’t want to be a two-time loser, I don’t want my children to think worse of me than they already do, I don’t want to be dependent on them, and I don’t really want to go on this way. Or maybe I do. Can’t afford counseling. The farm isn’t big and makes very little money, but when he gets opportunity to get a better job he gets all depressed and doesn’t take it. He prides himself on living on next to nothing. Makes the finances so complicated that I don’t even really know what’s what. Over a year ago the pastor talked him into giving me a set amount each month so I didn’t have to beg for and account for every single penny, and ever since then we haven’t gone out together or done anything fun or interesting together besides the already planned camping trips. I guess I tell myself that’s how many couples over history have lived, it’s not the worst thing, oh well.

      Any thoughts, anyone?

      • Nancy on January 29, 2017 at 6:40 pm

        Oh Connie. Thank you so much for being vulnerable here. I admire your willingness to be convicted and to look in the mirror – a gift from God!

        I don’t have any particular insight but I can offer you prayer.

        Dear Lord, I lift up my sister Connie to you and ask that she experience your felt presence. That you would wrap her in a tangible blanket of love and care and that you would enable her to accept your love. Father God you ARE love. You love perfectly. Allow her to come to KNOW you as Abba Father, but also as Ishi husband. Wash her anew, Lord. Fill her with your Spirit and enable her to come to a deep awareness of your love for her.

        In Jesus precious name, I pray.
        Amen.

      • Ruth on February 2, 2017 at 11:19 am

        Connie,
        I don’t have any directive words of wisdom from the Lord; just my heart.
        I’m sorry your first H was abusive to you. What a dirt-bag. I’m sorry you felt pressure to re-marry – that’s ridiculous. Your current H and his family sound wack-a-doodle-doo🙄. Having to constantly process ‘the crazy’ must be draining.
        But one thing that lurched up in my heart as I read your posts today is this- Connie is so wise. Connie is so discerning. I was I could take her away from those crazy people who don’t appreciate her. I’m 44, close to the same age as the son who she was grieving over. I’d love to have her as a mother!❤️
        I would love for my 3 kids to have her as a grandmother. My knuckle head H could certainly benefit from her wisdom LOL.

        You’re so smart; you should write a book (I’d buy it). You’re so perceptive you could be a counselor.

        What I’m saying Connie is – not just your wisdom is a Jewel, YOU ARE A JEWEL!

        Aside:
        Your insight on the comment you made on Jan 29 about throwing all our energy into pursuing the people who don’t love us while overlooking the people who do care for us as a trick of the enemy was a Sad Gem of Insight. But So True. We always want what we can’t have and we don’t appreciate what’s right under our noses.

        Another Aside:
        When Robin mentioned having a journal where she keeps her favorite quotes from Leslie, I do the same thing. But in my journal, I keep quotes from Various ladies who share on this blog. I have many quotes from you Connie.😉
        You too Robin❤️

  59. Aly on January 29, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    T.L.
    Thank you for your response. I have received your writings to bring clarity over and over. I appreciate your comments and your positions on many areas that seem to weigh into our topics and discussions.

    My purpose to write:
    I’m just wanting to share my journey of where I’ve been and how ‘God’ has worked in my life so far.
    I’m grateful for the gracious corrections I’ve received and I will work on how I can grow in those areas. I’m here to continue to learn about my journey and seek to understand my pain so I can better myself and my family.
    If God can use me, I want to be used.

    I have been misunderstood through most of my journey and that has lead me down ‘some painful seriously unnessary routes’ which had only reinforced the abusive mindset of my spouse.

    T.L. My heart is for the hearts of these precious individuals and of course yourself;) and the possible reconciliation of your marriage T.L. You are worthy of that covenant! 💜~ as you know and you probably can feel it everyday that God is keeping that covenant with you regardless of the outcome. My prayers are for you both and God’s will to bless you.

    Just to clarify incase I’m being misunderstood for any readers:
    I’m am FOR healthy biblical God glorifying marriages. I think you all are too;) and nobody wants to lose a marriage….or live in one that is compromising God’s truths.
    But what I began asking myself is what I have ‘a marriage’? One that God is pleased with?
    My h during past yrs/times would have said- absolutely we have a marriage and it’s great and he was quite comfortable.
    But NOW, he loves and honors what his marriages means. He’s blown away! I’m mean he sees how he was ‘so protected’ from being loved well! He knows I have always been there for his highest good, even if that meant more and more boundaries.
    And unfortunately it did but I believe pain has purpose.
    Some though will not come around especially if it means the relationship will have equal weight but with one headship.
    An unhealthy headship I believe can be dangerous to follow or to reinforce. It’s dangerous for the one who is paving the path. I did that! I did that thinking somehow this is what I’m told to do but we were so broken!
    He continued to loose more and more respect for me the more he got away with no accountability for his behaviors.

    Of course we still are broken in process… but healing in redemptive ways.

    I can speak into what it’s like to try to live within a destructive one~
    First, it believe it isn’t really ‘a marriage under covenant that gives a Godly glorify example….

    and usually one partner is trying harder than the other until they just cease to exist.

    My h would list the ways he saw marriage once and what he sees now to almost being married to ‘an unbeliever’
    Problem was he was a professing Christian.

    My h defined covenant marriage very different than I did. And he came from very little example of love, honor and indeed cherish;)

    I mean are we not called to give an example to our children of what christ’s love looks like? Of course mine will be broken but doesn’t He call us to a high love toward Him, ourselves and others?

    We were robbing them of a treasure that God set up as a privilege for us to give them even in a broken world.
    So for me, I was willing to give boundaries for those questions to be explored in depth by my h and myself.

    I guess my main position is that many in our Christian culture are EQUATING the argument to be ‘staying married or not staying married’ and I don’t think that’s the issue at all…. maybe many of us here can relate?

    I guess I would think it would be about
    ‘Staying Married biblically’ verses moving into the design and cultivation of ‘Being Married biblically’ and that takes Christ’s in us.
    I see a difference and live a difference now in process of course!

    Not sure if that makes sense but it’s like the difference between saying ‘sorry’ and ‘being sorry’
    Usually the ‘being part requires the humility to want to act’ or change’ or grow etc.

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.”
    Matt 5:8-9

    Praying for all on this journey💕

    • T.L. on January 29, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      Dear Aly,

      I had to take some time off of contributing and even reading for a day or 2 because I was being triggered and tripped up, and wanted to settle my heart. I realize I may have missed some comments or questions directed to me by my sisters here, so I am sorry if I didn’t see something from you or someone else.

      I don’t think there is a woman contributing to or reading these blog comments that does not know that your heart is FOR Christian marriage.

      A truly Christian marriage presupposes that one is truly a Christian–one whose life has been surrendered to Christ and who is actively in the process of looking to him and being transformed by the knowledge of Him.

      “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

      It is so confusing to live in a marriage with a spouse who claims Christ, but seems to be avoiding the entire process of transformation with the excuse that “God’s grace covers everything, it’s under the blood” or “I’m praying about it” or just seemingly “using God to hide from God” by pouring oneself into ministry or some other work instead of into one’s relationship with God first, and then others, too. Meanwhile, the sincere spouse is trying to have true fellowship in Christ with her spouse, but he is not interested in that. Then the cycle of confrontation, denial, deflection, anger, etc., that confused so many of us for so many years ensues, and we are left so frustrated, confused, and just so sad!

      I think then, the kind of marriage I just described is Christian in name only. I really appreciated someone else’s comment (Connie’s, or Content’s, maybe?) who said that in the early church, insincere “posers” would not have survived the piercing scrutiny of the Holy Spirit, as we saw in the case of Ananias and Sapphira. A marriage with a spouse who was not walking in love and authenticity and humility in their primary relationship would have had no place to hide then. They would have been exposed and allowed a chance to repent, and then ultimately put out of the church. This kind of discipline rarely happens in the church today, and when it does, the person can just go down the street to another church that will ask no questions. Connie made the point about Sapphira, too, who was given the chance to testify against her husband; to expose his duplicity and hypocrisy. Instead, she went along with it, “submitting to his leadership,” if you will, and she died with him. Horribly drastic example, but the application for us, I believe is that we are wise and faithful and godly when we stand against hypocrisy in our mates.

      In your case, Aly, your husband’s heart softened and he was able to repent and repent and repent, as his inner motives and attitudes became clear to him. And your marriage gives us hope.

      But we will not have false hope. As we refuse to pretend, confront, hold accountable, expose to others, and make boundaries, if our husbands harden their hearts, we cannot remain by their sides as they continue to choose to live in entrenched sin.

      Everything you said makes very good sense, and again, I relate so well to your experiences. So good to hear a little bit about how your husband is viewing things now; his “before” and “after” views. If you get time, maybe you could elaborate just a bit on that: how he feels about things, things he says, how he was able to humble himself, and fruit he sees in his heart and life now, and maybe how God is using Him.

      We KNOW how God is using you! To bless us and help us out of confusion.

      Much love and gratitude to you, Aly.

      • Aly on February 2, 2017 at 11:34 am

        Hi T.L

        I wanted to respond to your questions above and wanted to note how you are such a source of strength and clarity here while going through your own process.
        It’s such a grief place but more than that it can be so much freedom than ever before.🙏

        When I read other posts you commented on getting help via adult children of alcoholism (pretty sure that was you) I’m sorry if I’m wrong.
        Anyway, I can so relate getting in that ‘corner of recovery’ as I was raised in a home where both parents were children of adult alcoholics.

        I’m planning to list the behaviors of my h in another post in case this one is too long, plus I need to copy and past your question 🤗

  60. Nancy on January 29, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Aly,

    Whenever you are ready to explain your counselling strategy, I’m ready to hear it. I’ll only check back in here, after tomorrow (Monday) afternoon.

    Did you have the same counsellor for individual as well as your couple? What was your rational for whatever strategy you chose.

    Tomorrow we go to our first couples session. I am ready to follow The Lord’s leading.

    This morning we had a good conversation about the mask my h wears, and how much energy he puts into keeping it on ( most of this was me listening). I was able (in Christ) to respond by reassuring him that I love the guy under the mask (despite being really scared of what I would find- I’ve seen enough to know that yes, that’s the guy I love). I was able to articulate that I am FOR the guy underneath the mask and I am committed to the vows I took to him. Everything though, EVERYTHING that feeds the putting on, or care taking of that mask (including my own destructive attitudes) I am AGAINST.

    The marriage we have known has been put on the altar.

    I would appreciate prayer for tomorrow. That I would go in trusting The Lord in each interaction, in each moment of that session, and of course, for the outcome.

    A dear sister warned me on Friday : now that my h has begun to respond to The Lord, satan will increase his attack on us. He wants this marriage. I was sobered by that statement.

    I have 3 priorities:

    1) To nurture and protect my relationship with Christ
    2) To nurture and protect what is God Glorifying in my marriage
    3) To nurture and protect what is God Glorifying in our little family

    Any activity that does not support these will fall by the way-side.

    I think I might create a decision grid out of this!

    • T.L. on January 29, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      Nancy, I will be joining Aly and others here in praying for your session tomorrow. It is so great to read of your clear vision and thinking as you (and your husband!) take your next step toward freedom in Christ. ~T.L.

  61. Aly on January 29, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Oh Connie!!
    Can I just give you a big HUG??
    Being a child of God means you ‘are precious’ in SO many ways!
    He delights in us, Delights in us!! 💖

    I can hear your heart and boy do I understand much of what you are experiencing and fearing!
    Your fear is validated and it’s not shameful to be fearful and honest with ourselves about what we are experiencing.Yes, given our emotions (maybe you are just starting to feel them in different ways) it can be painful and scary journey but it can be very healing (by God) when we see our hurt beneath our coping.
    He does bind up our wounded hearts and set us free💕

    I’m praying for you;)

  62. Aly on January 29, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    I just got this post … so I’m very sorry for my delay.
    You wrote:
    “Did you have the same counsellor for individual as well as your couple?”
    We had the same for both and I had another individually;) I figured given the mountain up and out I needed all the help I could get 😉

    You wrote:
    “What was your rational for whatever strategy you chose.”
    My rational was this, given all the past attempts at us both getting healthier..,I was in a realistic place of the possibility of another long road given how long the dance had been going on together let alone individually.

    You wrote:
    “Tomorrow we go to our first couples session. I am ready to follow The Lord’s leading.”
    I will pray for your heart and your discernment. I’ll pray for peace in your heart even though I’m sure your tired.

    We were thankful we had a counselor (the joint one 😉) who understood attachment, could work with (couples in patterns together and individually)
    but mostly for me it was does this person’s wisdom align with the highest calling of God’s word.
    This may take another visit to explore? Maybe not, try to be realistic with the circumstances and know there are many wonderful counselors out there if this one doesn’t seem to be the place.

    You wrote:
    “This morning we had a good conversation about the mask my h wears, and how much energy he puts into keeping it on ( most of this was me listening). I was able (in Christ) to respond by reassuring him that I love the guy under the mask (despite being really scared of what I would find- I’ve seen enough to know that yes, that’s the guy I love). I was able to articulate that I am FOR the guy underneath the mask and I am committed to the vows I took to him. Everything though, EVERYTHING that feeds the putting on, or care taking of that mask (including my own destructive attitudes) I am AGAINST.”

    Well said and given with love and clarity Nancy;)

    You wrote:
    “A dear sister warned me on Friday : now that my h has begun to respond to The Lord, satan will increase his attack on us. He wants this marriage. I was sobered by that statement.”

    I agree with the warning and any fear will can rob us of our courage ..
    .but look at what your aligning your heart to… God! We are praying for you too~ my h as well!
    So my thoughts.. ‘get behind me satan’ you have Know idea Who your messing with and WHo is my Mighty Counselor and Redeemer really is!

    Regardless of the outcome.. I was ready to receive what the Lord was going to offer.

    You wrote;
    “I have 3 priorities:

    1) To nurture and protect my relationship with Christ
    2) To nurture and protect what is God Glorifying in my marriage
    3) To nurture and protect what is God Glorifying in our little family

    Any activity that does not support these will fall by the way-side”

    Beautiful!!!🙏

    I will pray that you can find the strength you need for this. Be patient with yourself.
    What I find just overwhelming in God’s character is that He is the perfect combination of Pursuing and patience!
    Sending prayers & hugs your way💜

  63. Robin on January 29, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Vanessa, in my situation a separation was necessary for healing to be given an opportunity. There was too much abuse and pain for way too long- to do it together. So I would say it definitely depends on how much pain there has been- and do you feel safe?? I think one of the benefits of a separation is giving yourself some room to breathe. If like me you are in constant abuse and stress- getting away, gives you opportunity to know what you really think and gives some time to just – focus on your needs. But I also believe some couples havnt been in severe abuse and pain, and maybe they could do it together.

    • Vanessa on January 30, 2017 at 1:32 am

      Robin – I wouldn’t call it constant, but it’s sure lurking there under the surface. There’s still the not trusting who’s coming in the door from work. He’s putting on a happy face and behavior right now . . . but I don’t trust it nor do my sons yet. At any given time he will still revert back to “running away” (to the basement to his computer, or just go to bed and sleep).

      Sometimes I wonder how I can heal and help my boys heal, when I feel like h wants the most “mothering” from me – yet he’s an adult and our boys are not. I guess wondering how much of HIS “recovery” is my responsibility. It’s the emotional entanglement that still leaves me wondering if a therapeutic separation may be wise.

      The thing is waiting for Mr. Nice Guy to wear off (and I’m sure it will) feels like it’s him that’s in control of the entire process and what I feel may be necessary isn’t much of a consideration. This is where my counselor will come in handy – and I’m hoping bring some clarity to what MY responsibility is.

  64. Aly on January 29, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Robin and Vanessa;)

    I can so relate with your comments Robin! I hope it’s ok I can comment in here..,.?

    I think the space is helpful given the severity of the harm. Vanessa you mentioned the gun issue which I’m stilll confused on …a way back via posts ~ has that all been secured? By you? By others?
    Are you afraid for any of his irrational emotions.?

    Harm can be open and out there and harm can be more evasive and underground.

    What was helpful for me was to see what i held boundaries on or not?
    This is so difficult when I was emotionally worn down!

    Did I have enough space to evaluate… am I following through and am I being clear with what the boundaries are?

    When dealing with a manipulative coping person.. I’m assuming here he is,.,,they have a keen awareness of weakness.. go figure?
    This is where I had to get objective because the person manipulating is coming from such a broken state ..,they are pretty sold out on their position..

    My weakness.. follow through and being loving but assertive! I’m working on it;)
    God helped me develop a voice to ask for what my needs were.
    They were never going to be his (husband) needs.

    Vanessa, I mean this with softness but I’m trying to speak clarity… especially since we’ve been talking requirements …
    Ask your husband if he believes his anger is a problem? If he says yes..,
    He needs to come up with a full comprehensive plan as to how he is going to deal and heal? And RESTORE what the anger has stolen.

    Once that is drawn up, evaluate it based on your needs.., it might not be enough! So make adjustments for what your needs and safety are, he must agree to follow through and there needs to be a list of accountability people that will be called if he is not following through.

    Ok back to the original question.., if he says NO it’s not that bad or it’s not on purpose etc.. then you know ‘you’ need to draw up the recovery requirements to get safe.
    He needs to decide if he is willing to do the work to earn trust and safety back based on your needs!
    It may seem selfish to have these areas about your needs but actually they are usually the highest GOOD for all involved.

    Please let me know if this is confusing… or if you are not clear.
    Praying for you to see your needs and find your voice;)

    • Vanessa on January 30, 2017 at 1:20 am

      Aly –
      Thanks for all your wonderful, thorough thoughts. I think I need to chew on them for a few days . . .

      The gun – Thankfully, at the ultimatum it is gone – secured with a friend only to be given back to h when I say he can have it back. He has veiled suicide threats with me, but at the ultimatum he said he’s not ever done that only thought about the subject of suicide from a Christian perspective. I called him out on it, repeating what he’s said. He claimed he doesn’t remember ever saying . . . the pastor got in his face knowing it was convenient “forgetting.” So safety that way is not an issue. It’s just the emotional silent junk and total inconsistency with his behavior. Still cautious of the anger blow – or rather silent anger tension.

      You said: “Harm can be open and out there and harm can be more evasive and underground.”
      To me, this is where he is. The last few days he’s been calm, no anger (claims it’s gone!), etc. But when you haven’t dealt with the issue that CAUSED the anger, it’s still festering waiting to blow…and we are all very cautious. I’m sure if I were to ask if he feels his anger is a problem he would say no – because he’s masking it (suppressing it) right now. BUT neither 6mo ago did he feel his silent anger was an issue because he “didn’t hit or yell or break anything”. I did nip that lie and asked him to think about what his dad’s silent anger did to him. Even then he put on nice face for a while knowing I was right – but there was never an apology. Until the emotional root is gone through counseling, etc. I know it’s still there, lurking in the darkness. SO – the self deception is to put on a happy face and appearance and think that makes everything ok.

      Him coming up with a plan?? That almost makes me laugh as he hates when anyone asks his plans about anything…because he always has IDEAS but doesn’t plan to accomplish them (the immature teenage mindset – I can think it and life will bring it my way with ease). So, indeed I will need to set the

      Your statement: Blame shifting – then you know ‘you’ need to draw up the recovery requirements to get safe. He needs to decide if he is willing to do the work to earn trust and safety back based on your needs!

      I think this is where my counselor will come in handy! I have no idea at this point what it is I do need, but I have a strong feeling he won’t be willing to do the work . . . but he will say his is!! So then I’m back in the same boat. My example for that is he gives lip service to following a budget – but balks at most of it and is unwilling to work together. SO if he won’t do that – I’m thinking he won’t do the HARD work of changing the wrong beliefs which he doesn’t see as wrong, or working to correct attitudes . . . although he’ll say he is!!

      Your thoughts are actually very clear – and help my muddled thinking (although it’s getting clearer) – Answer to Prayer!!

  65. Robin on January 30, 2017 at 12:16 am

    There have been so many good comments on this post this week,
    HOW DO I KEEP HOPE ALIVE?
    It’s one my favorite topics, because it was so difficult for me to give up hope in my marriage. Everything in me, wanted it to work and change and thrive. It took me two intense years of weekly therapy to get me ready to be in a frame of mind, I was ready to hear the Truth. Dr Henry Cloud really helped to change my thinking. I was stuck in what I learned at Church and even in Gods Word. Dr Cloud said do you have a true hope, or is it just a wish. He helped me to understand I was like a rat in one of those wheels going round and round and round. I was the only one in my relationship trying to make it work. There were no changes. Only me – wishing for a change. Today I know a true real hope can only be found in Christ. And when we understand that, our wishes aren’t needed anymore and our life does change, because we have found a true Hope finally. Then the Lord steps in and walks with us and we can’t figure out how our life has become one of ease. It’s because the Lord is at the helm. Not an abusive husband. I’m so grateful God rescued me and brought me to know where True hope is found.

    • T.L. on January 30, 2017 at 7:22 am

      Robin, I always find your comments/story/insights to be soooo helpful. Thank you!

  66. Ann L on January 30, 2017 at 6:52 am

    My comments are awaiting moderation. That’s hilarious.

  67. T.L. on January 30, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Ann L and others,

    Usually when that happens (“Your comments are awaiting moderation”) it’s because your name and email don’t match…maybe you put in a wrong letter, or changed your screen name?

  68. Aly on January 30, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Vanessa,

    I hope your feeling support and prayers around you;)

    The one thing I know and still know is that in ‘such a process’ the Lord anchored my heart 💕.
    I had women in my close circle where I could process and rest. Many dynamics are not all that inventive but most have Different angles of what determines a path ~given Robins story she found hope in seeing what path was hers.
    She has her blessing and outcome from Him;)

    I am not for false hope or false journeys in anyway. I’m praying for true peace and perseverance for God’s will.

    This might help.. just a suggestion…
    take time to write down character behaviors that you would define as a ‘loving God fearing husband and father.’ Also do it for your role too.
    Maybe your h would be willing to do the same for you.

    My heart goes out to all the things that are so weighing… and goodness messy to trench through.
    I hope my heart is able to express the love I have for my husband! He has amazing qualities that I fell in love~ so I hope my raw writings don’t exhibit a disrespect or any aspect of a hardened heart. The Lord helped me keep an area of not of my own ability (at all).
    I felt divorced by him in many regards but it was hard for me to have clarity of this. Plus I couldn’t see trying to love him at an adult level (I had to grow here too) he was not responsive to.

    The more I tried to love him out of what I thought then was love~ the more he took. The more he took the more he felt entitled and on and on it goes.

    Below is for later…
    NO Need to read this right away Vanessa but maybe it will come in handy later because my h and I were ‘just ourselves’ talking about thoughts on responsibility!

    Requirements i have or need to feel safe Dont mean responsibility ‘of me’!

    Responsibility is still a choice of follow through.
    It’s a requirements for safety that we drive on the right side of the road ~ but it’s not my responsibility to drive everyone’s car to ensure that happens ( that would be impossible, but you get the humor😉)

    Our situation isn’t the totally common..,
    The danger for my h and I path regarding responsibility and self evaluation was ‘he liked’ being his own boss and being self sufficient.
    He had wounds that created the me, myself and I plan. His lifestyle was safely developed around this belief. I can only rely on myself, my own thoughts. Deep avoidant coping skills not the best for self eval.
    This doesn’t even work well when your not married.
    But it works well with denial, I mean who doesn’t want at times to think they are in their own world and their behavior shouldn’t effect another~ but That’s not reality.
    So our danger issue is him getting back to the comforts of deceiving himself which is always lurking with addiction of this kind.
    He is the one responsible with his thought process..
    and his thought process was very broken. This took time to develop and several interventions/ resources to help him learn perspective.

    These are my thoughts on responsibility issues:
    You ‘are not’ responsible for his recovery follow through.
    But his recovery effects you and the health of the family home regardless ~
    And you are responsible as mom over the family home environment
    and thats this issue of timeline process etc.

    So what would seem ideal (and I agree healthy too) both adults have their own independent recovery, it’s not always what we have to work with immediately. This was my h and i’s situation after plenty of his somewhat failed counseling seasons with his level of self protection. I mentioned in other posts our counselor worked with us individually too and continues to based on our needs.

    I’m writing my experience knowing that we all have different situations to weigh out.

    You are probably the healthier of the two to assess the emotional &safety issue in the home to determine what is tolerated or not.
    Our counselor helped us a lot with facing the reality of which one of us could better help the other on emotional territory here given the nature of the pattern or cycle.
    This helped me not second guess as much and gave me clarity if any behaviors walked in.
    And yes their were plenty of times he challenge them😜

    Your H:
    Just my thoughts given what you have offered not saying they are facts:
    (what helped my heart was stepping back and seeing my husband’s behavior was not ‘him’ meaning we are loved for who we Are and not what our behavior is.)
    This doesn’t negate behavior… or not require behaviors to be in relationship with someone. This was a tough reality to see because I wanted it to just be different and not so exhausting! I mean seriously I had some serious yardwork to accomplish! 😉

    As you know Your husband clearly has poor coping skills that are severly underdeveloped (you didn’t cause this)~ one of them a level of denial which is why his taking his ‘own jugdement to reason his behavior’ are well… I think you see the pattern.
    He seems to be dealing with great shame maybe more that you realize. Most husbands deep down are ‘quite fragile’ in ways.
    Children:
    My h was never harsh to our children. Maybe unresponsible in ‘passive ways’ but our children were very much ‘in adoration’ with him.
    This was ‘my part recovery’ work here! Someone who is such a great dad with his children, he was in many ways…..but treats his wife with such disrespect is technically Not really acting like a great father overall! Boom~ I was settling with something, not good for me.
    Now he sees and has worked to change and restore that big umbrella problem;) praise God!
    Yes still is process as I continue to mention but at least the priorities are in a healthier place.

    My h was a runner;) escaper he lacked the very basic empathy skills and emotional development. (See Attachment injuries/How we Love book)
    (minus the level of outward anger) he was very scared at times but the manipulation tactics seemed to work well with my wounded places.

    …Because he didn’t have healthy options developed in him.. again getting in the way of himself..

    Sure there was anger… but where was it lurking? ‘His anger was in more of inward reasoning skills which can be hard to uncover’
    Let’s face it a toddler tantrum that’s not dealt with at 2-3yrs, looks different at 7yrs, looks different at 14 and on and on.
    But at least an outward toddler tantrum is evident and we can all agree ‘it happened’ so to speak.

    Because of my husbands ‘father wound’
    Just 1 requirement (of the Many other requirements)for my h was weekly mens group in recovery as an essential part of treatment ~
    Because he needed to be with other ‘healthier men’ that were growing but also so he could see other men’s responses to stress etc.
    ~ If I didn’t experience fruit w/ consistency, then clear your schedule.. for 2 men’s groups/week.

    I’m sorry this is so long and extensive but I hope it offers where God continued to help me evaluate the patterns, boundaries and path.
    Boundaries were difficult for me to be assertive but through plenty of counseling and many resources I knew I was not imagining what I was dealing with.

    He will see you through regardless of the outcome;)

  69. Cynthia on January 30, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I’m confused and struggking to understand something about Leslie’s comment about hope. Her comment: “there is no evidence in scripture that God changes people without their consent and cooperation. Therefore to hope that He will, is not living wisely.” I’ve been praying for my angry, addicted, abusive husband’s salvation for 28 years and how can I stop? It would be like saying, “well Larry must not be one of God’s elect so I’m just going to stop praying for his salvation.” How can I know that for sure? Isn’t this exactly what God did to Saul/Paul on the road to Damascas? Could someone please help me understand this?

    • Robin on January 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      Cynthia, praying for your husband is something we never stop doing.
      But perhaps we don’t keep a hope alive– that he will change– as we observe his past behaviors. I think this blog on hope is about not putting your hope on, if I keep doing what I’ve been doing, someday he’ll change. Probly not. Dr Henry Cloud in his book Necessary Changes says putting your hope in something that has not changed over time (20-30 yrs) is a false hope. The only exception being sometimes a spouse might get new information and make a radical change and transform. But he says this is very rare. But we never stop praying for them. It sounds like you have been able ‘to stay well’ and his lack of change isn’t causing great pain for you. I think Leslies words were for those who can’t stay well, and are still hoping he will change.
      In those situations, then the spouse will need to consider if she needs to change, instead of continuing in a hope that is not giving her what she needs.

    • T.L. on January 30, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Cynthia,

      Leslie may see your comment and answer herself. I’m happy to give my bit of insight in the hope it may help you.

      There are lots and lots of people in the Bible who repented of their sins. Every single follower of Christ at that time, and in our times, and throughout history has had a heart change. Someone else can correct me if I am wrong, but I can’t think of an instance where there is a Biblical example of a specific link between someone praying for another to repent, and that person coming to Christ. We do see the church as a whole, and groups of people praying to God to work His salvation generally, and we see scores of people coming to Christ–5,000 in one day, on one occasion. The link we DO see, is people being preached to, presented with the Gospel, and the power that is in the Gospel itself is the seed that is planted and springs to life, changing the heart.

      This is precisely what happened to Paul. In the narration, we see Paul’s misguided zeal. And then we see the risen Christ Himself confronting Paul. And then we see Paul’s quick heart change, repentance, and obedience.

      Same with the 5,000. Same with the disciples. Same with Zacheus, etc, etc. Confronted with Christ, either directly or through preaching, repentance and faith occur.

      When a person claims to be a follower of Christ, but their behavior does not match up, we are to begin a confrontation process like the one Jesus describes in Matthew 18. If repentance does not happen when we confront, we are told to get others involved. If they still do not repent (sometimes they “fake it”–and go back to past patterns; that’s not repentance) we are to expose them to the church: tell exactly what is going on to your church. If they still don’t repent, we are to treat them as a common sinner, and not a brother in Christ. There are differing opinions on how to walk that out. But I believe boundaries must go into effect in the hopes of bringing that person to their senses: they have begin to face the truth about themselves.

      It’s fine to keep praying for his salvation, but when he is continually confronted and there is no heart change, it is foolish to live your life as if a change is likely. It is unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely based on the evidence. So you stop pretending and wishing your life away, you turn such a one over to God to deal with, and you start taking steps toward getting healthy yourself.

      I hope that helps a bit. I will pray for you tonight.

      • T.L. on January 30, 2017 at 2:15 pm

        Cynthia, one last little thing: I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t pray for your husband. I don’t plan to ever stop praying for mine. But we are told to be sober-minded, wise as serpents, innocent as doves, to test the spirits, etc. And scores of verses in the Proverbs about wisdom regarding fools. Most of us have had a horrifically hard time being able to admit we are married to a proverbial fool: one who doesn’t listen to reproof, who scoffs at God’s wisdom, who mistreats others, etc. So we can keep praying for the rest of our lives, but today we need to deal with what is; the reality of now. We’re learned to follow God’s ways and leave our husbands in his hands. Our deepest desire is that God uses circumstances and consequences to change their hearts.

  70. JoAnn on January 30, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Cynthia, surely we can believe that “Our Savior God desires all men to be saved and to come to the full knowledge of Christ.” Because of this, you continue to pray for his salvation, but that may not happen as soon as you’d like. After 28 years, he clearly isn’t open just yet, but even if he does get saved, that doesn’t guarantee that his behavior will change immediately. That may take a long time. In the meantime, you need to learn some of the lessons that are being shared here, about setting boundaries and protecting your heart. There is lots of wisdom being shared here. May the Lord grant you His peace and His wisdom to go forward.

  71. Aly on January 30, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    T.L.

    I really appreciate what you wrote here, I believe it to be such proverb based wisdom.
    I have seen many times women in this situation (and it’s Very tough oh my heart breaks)
    StAY thinking that they are putting the husband in God’s hands…. and in some cases they are.
    But I’m some cases they are not allowing consequences to come into play for God to work with in such places
    For my situation;
    My presence alone was standing in the way … because it was making some kind of ‘normal’ for him.

    We didn’t end up separating but my h had to have lots of interventions.
    🙏💗

  72. Connie on January 30, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    If prayer changes people’s hearts, then surely Judas and everyone else around Jesus would have changed, but they didn’t. Even the lepers had only a 10% conversion, after being healed directly by Jesus and everything. God says He will give us the desires of our hearts and sometimes send leanness into our souls, if that’s what we really want (Psalm 106:15). Like Pharaoh, or the Israelites in the wilderness. So I think that sometimes it is a waste of time (even counter-productive) to pray like that. Even Paul said it is sometimes better to just hand a person over to satan for the destruction of their flesh, so that they pay attention and start thinking about their spirits. Could it be that all our prayers sometimes hinders repentance, because they know you are praying and so they count on you to carry their burdens? A type of enabling…again? Let go, let go, let go. What is God saying to you? Is He calling you to pray for h, and if so, how? Or is it the false stories we’ve heard from the pulpit or the movies? One person who heard such a sermon asked the pastor who this woman was who prayed for her husband for years until he repented, and the pastor said he’s never actually seen it, he just made up the story.

  73. Leslie on January 30, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks all for jumping in and answering Cynthia’s question. Prayer is crucial. Pray for your husband. God will speak to him. He will woo him. He will cause life circumstances to shake him awake. However, your husband will ONLY change if he chooses to repent and acknowledge his sin. So your prayers are essential because God answers prayers. But he never goes against a person’s free choice and if they refuse him, if they want to go their own way, he lets them.

  74. Nancy on January 30, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Hello Aly and T.L.,

    Thank you so much for praying for me and my h.

    Yes my heart IS aligned with the Mightiest Counsellor, Redeemer! Thank you Aly, for that reminder.

    Today went well. I felt safe. He asked very good questions and made a lot of sense. We will go back again.

    Already he led my h to some underlying thoughts that drive his lying/ manipulation

    “She’ll never be satisfied with what I do”
    “Things need to be fair”
    “Why can’t she just accept me for who I am?”
    “Things are good enough between us”

    He also talked about how yes, when we have The Lord, we have a whole realm of power that a secular situation doesn’t have, but wether we allow The Lord to work in our interactions will be entirely up to us.

    So… We’ll see what next week brings. The counsellor says he’ll lay out a strategy next week and that if we decided to come back, there will be homework. I liked that.

    For now I have Peace and there is Peace between us.

    • T.L. on January 31, 2017 at 8:08 am

      Hi Nancy,

      It sounds like you may have found a good, wise counselor! I am so glad you felt safe and that your counselor knows how to uncover attitudes of the heart/inner motives. So far, so good! Yay! Keep us posted!

      • Nancy on January 31, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        Thank you for the encouragement, T.L. 🙂

  75. Aleea on January 30, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    “Friend: What helped you to let go of hope without giving up that God was still good and still at work, even if the outcome didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?”

    “. . . without giving up that God was still good and still at work. . .” —I don’t know how we even operate if we don’t believe that God is good and wants good for us. There could be a total evil god who is trying to maximize pain in the world, most of human history has been just horrific but it would probably be more likely that there is no god than that there is an evil god. . . . .Anyways, waiting exposes our idols and throws a wrench into our coping mechanisms. It brings us to the end of what we can control and forces us to cry out to God. We trust He is good, that gives us hope. —What else can anyone do?

    . . .With serious neuro-psychological issues and various mental disorders, etc. there seems no hope. —Why? Until doctors can find a way to change brain structure and brain chemistry, I think it is very important to realize that God very, very, very rarely sets aside the laws that normally govern the universe. He set those laws up and they operate very consistently, in fact, we never see them violated. All that means is if I want a Ph.D., I have to work for it and if I want law degrees, I have to work for them. I can’t just pray and they appear. If I want to heal from my horrific past, I have to work with counselors and doctors and really engage the task and it may not even be possible.

    Can the brain’s pathways be rewritten and the missing brain circuits and certain brain chemicals and structures for empathy, etc. re-grown? —I don’t see how or know if it is even possible. —Has God ever healed an amputee? . . . Because it seems the equivalent. —Amputees get no miracles outside of first century Palestine, no matter how much people pray for them. What explains the evidence better, that is always the question.

    To be a strong and empathetic person always requires us to trust that God will reach the people’s hearts we tried to reach, but just couldn’t. The only thing that will heal our wounds is believing that God loves us enough to bring someone else into our lives to respect us and love us in the way we deserve. Whatever the future brings, you can’t fall deeper than in God’s hands. It’s all God, —everything is God. . . .“For in Him we live and move and have our being!” (Acts Seventeen). . . . I always think about it as me, a sunken ship, inside an ocean and that ocean is God.

  76. Aly on January 30, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Praise God for this!
    Wow;) sounds like what you describe is similar to my journey as well.

    And home work yes! So essential, we always did our homework (even if we didn’t feel like it) it was really helpful during a process.
    We still do our homework!
    Again thank you all for your faithful prayers🙏🌈

    • Nancy on January 31, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks Aly 🙂

  77. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Lori, I’m not Leslie but I can relate to your feelings. Sometimes there is too much abuse, too much damage and too little effort on his part. Leslie told me once, sometimes it’s just too late ……. for reconciliation.
    I divorced, not because it’s what I wanted. But because it was time to create a new future, and move on.
    I still feel sad on some days, but I’m having more joyful days again.

  78. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Robin,
    Thank you for posting even though your not Leslie. 🙂 I am blessed to have come to know some precious sisters here. I am sorry you had to experience this loss personally. Have you struggled with guilt at all? The feeling that your part may have caused it to be beyond repair?

    • Robin on January 31, 2017 at 12:29 am

      I am aware of things I could have done differently, but as my counselor had shared with me repeatedly, I was not able. My husbands abuse was severe. Nothing could have stopped him.
      So no I don’t have guilt, because I know I did all I was able, under the circumstances. I would encourage you to not have guilt hanging over your head. Now is your time to heal and take care of you. I have found the Lord is very faithful to point out any places my heart needs some work. I’m sorry to hear your story- it’s always sad to know someone else experienced all this trauma.

  79. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 12:38 am

    Robin,
    I have moments when I feel relaxed in a way I have never experienced in my life. I have come to discover that the only real relief I experienced was when I was asleep. My body, soul and heart just seem to be on such guard all the time. The past year of separation have seemed like only a week or month in terms of its ability to effect health. I have literally felt like my spine has been rigged in being ready for defense from what will come next. I have the most difficult time relaxing for a period of time. I have to say I think the more I can consciously relax, the more life is flowing through me and the more healing is happening in my poor body. I think I suffer much from PTSD, yup….tears again….. 🙁 How does one ever get over or through this? Does the body and mind ever recalibrate?

    • Robin on January 31, 2017 at 12:47 am

      I’ve been divorced 16 months and I’m just now starting to feel alive again. I also suffer PTSD and have several triggers, esp seeing him in town. So I stay home a lot.
      I love this quote– Take all the time you need to heal emotionally. Moving on– doesn’t take a day.
      It takes a lot of little steps to be able to break free …. of your broken self………

      • Robin on January 31, 2017 at 12:50 am

        The day I separated I felt free. It helped me so much to be able to think clearly and know what I wanted and needed. There were many hard days/ it takes time to begin to feel and breathe again. Be very patient with yourself!!!

  80. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 12:50 am

    I wonder if time alone is what heals? It has certainly helped a great deal. Especially in that I am able to stay away from triggers with him. However, I wonder if there is more?

  81. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 12:51 am

    How long were you separated before you filed for divorce?

  82. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 12:54 am

    I had lost all self-identity. Time alone was really needed to – find who I was again. It was actually like a treasure hunt. Who is Robin. ?
    What does she like or dislike? What does she need?

  83. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:00 am

    For the last ten years of our 32 years of marriage– we separated in the home we both lived in. It was an awful ten years.
    I filed for divorce WHEN I COULD NOT TAKE ANOTHER DAY OF PRETENSE.
    He went out of town for a month to see our son, and I filed for divorce, moved in with best friends for two weeks as I feared his response. He was ordered to leave the home and I moved back in.
    I divorced quickly once I started the process as my lawyer saw my husband was hiding money and had plenty. He was afraid if I stayed separated I would get no financial support. It was hard to do as it came on so fast- but it really paid off in the end.

  84. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:02 am

    How would staying separated cause you not to get $?

  85. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:04 am

    My story is bizarre. My husband controlled everything in the marriage and he thought he’d kick me to the curb and give me nothing. The day I filed for divorce my life began to change . He no longer had the control- and justice would be served. My counselor says I have a powerful testimony because in the end I was victorious-/ and all his rights were ripped out of his hands.

  86. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:10 am

    I live in state of Washington and the law here says when you separate, each is responsible for their own bills and finances. When you divorce, after 20 plus years being together it is a 50/50 state. No questions asked- you each get half.
    So when my husband retired I got half his pension and half his retirement savings.

  87. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Glad to hear it worked out so well for you. I am currently separated (not legally) from him for a year. After seeing a lawyer to discuss whether or not to file for legal separation or divorce, she advised to save my money on a legal separation if I think divorce is where I am headed. Also, a confusing thing at times to me, is he is currently still providing fully for myself and the children without being asked. His paycheck continues to come in and I am paying all the bills. He is very frugal personally, so it is a comfortable living for now. Lawyer says strategically to wait it out until our last underage daughter is a bit older. She is 15 and is the most important reason I am not filing as I don’t want her to have to spend every other weekend alone with him. (the other kids wouldn’t choose to be with him at all) Also, honestly, if I filed legally, I would likely not have as much money available to me. I was just wondering if somehow being separated not legally is putting me in danger financially? Do you happen to know?

    • Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:18 am

      Do you think he will continue to keep paying w/o court order?
      I don’t think you have an issue with not being legally separated That is your option. The only thing I would be concerned about is what happens if he says, you need to come home or I won’t pay? Who do you have to protect you then??
      I googled all this to find out about legal separation. It might be different in your state.

  88. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:21 am

    I understand you wanting to wait till your daughter is older. I was fortunate in that all my children were young adults by the time I filed. But I hear so many women tolerating g a destructive marriage until kids are grown. I do understand……..

  89. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:22 am

    It sounds like you have things handled for now. Now, the waiting game????

  90. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:25 am

    I am actually in our home. I asked him to leave. I guess I figured if he stopped providing access to finances, I would retain my lawyer and get started on proceedings. It would be a certain sign of a hardened heart. I think he is very concerned about how he is seen by his church and others and wants everyone to know that it is not he who is the problem. He is proving it by his self sacrificing of finances. He has made no effort at all to suggest how he might work at restoring the marriage. Instead he wants to focus on getting me to help him with his relationship with the kids. I don’t know what might happen financially in the future, but I want to be smart and also trust in my Lord as my husband. He took pretty good care of you didn’t He? 🙂

  91. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:33 am

    Yes. Getting out of the destructive marriage has been a huge blessing to my children as they see their mother becoming strong enough to stand up to the abuse/neglect. It has given them an example, and clarity to point out what was the truth of the “marriage”. It was not really a marriage, but a sentence. Actually, I knew my husband had never really cleaved to me, and indeed divorced me in his heart when I saw him for who he was and called it out in truth. That was a LONG time ago. Just got back from the beach today and my daughters (homeschool) said what a great time they had and were having in life. They said they were living the dream. That alone is worth all the trouble and pain. To see them have joy and hope AND clarity. Kids know when things are wrong and its not good for them if we insist they are wrong in their observations. I simply validated the divorced behavior my husband was walking in. It is not good for my daughters to grow up thinking they should expect to be treated as I was. In that light, finances are really secondary. I trust I will be provided for. Thank you Robin for this interchange. Living just below you. 🙂 The great Pacific Northwest!

  92. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Yes He certainly did. I had a terrific group of supporters and prayer warriors surrounding me. Have you considered starting to save some money just incase you need it??
    I say that, but all I had to my name the day I filed was $200.00. The lawyer I believe was being used by God. He had real empathy for me and really took charge to get me a new life.

  93. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:42 am

    You are so right. Children first, finances next.
    As I read your words, everyone of them could be mine. We have lived and survived and will thrive – very similar paths!!!!

  94. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:47 am

    Yes to saving $. I think h is relieved to not have any other cares besides working 8-5 job. I manage the home, yard care, (1 acre) ,education of our children and finances. I am able to set aside a little bit of money each month. It’s not much but it adds up. His retirement is not worth much and I think he will plan to continue working for quite some time. I expect in the next couple of years that I may either look to get some formal education to gain employment or just look for full time work somewhere with good benefits. I am 57 but have been very active most of my life and am in good health other than chronic stress. I have a confidence that comes from God that He has this next step in my life covered and I feel there is a blessing around the next corner. It’s just a sense, but I believe He has given it to me.

  95. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:51 am

    I love your Godly Confidence. I will agree in prayer with you, for what God has for you right around the corner.

    I also homeschooled my two youngest while all this chaos was stirring even stronger. I don’t know how I survived those years!!!!

  96. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:56 am

    I have dialed back my expectations of curriculum achievement and simply work with math and writing. They love reading so that is not a problem. The rest of their learning is really interest driven and we follow what they want to learn more about. I am enjoying being truly present with them and thank God for this time I get to be with them.
    Seems our commonalities continue Robin. It is a blessing getting to know you a bit better. Hope others are okay with all this chit chat. I have enjoyed it very much.

  97. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:58 am

    This is what this blog is for/ to connect and encourage and share our stories. I’ve enjoyed hearing your story and knowing you deeper!

  98. Janet on January 31, 2017 at 8:19 am

    i love, love, love this analgoy Leslie. thank you for it!

    I don’t know anywhere in Scripture where God forces someone to repent. That is always a person’s choice. Even when God orchestrates painful circumstances like he did for Israel in the Old Testament or Pharaoh when he wanted him to let the Jews leave Egypt, their change was not permanent. It only lasted long enough until the painful consequences subsided.

  99. Janet on January 31, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Friend: What helped you to let go of hope without giving up that God was still good and still at work, even if the outcome didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?

    The only REAL hope that I have, the only sure thing in my life is that one day I will be in eternity with the king. The rest is merely my hearts desire this side of eternity. Sometimes i experience my desires and sometimes i don’t. this side of eternity is the enemies domain so anything that is painful and hurtful comes from the enemy and is never created by god. God cannot create evil only the devil can. so i face the truth of where the pain comes, experience those painful feelings and move forward onto the only sure thing…. Eternity, where none of this painful stuff will ever exist. the time this side of eternity is short which gives me hope that one day the painful things will come to an end. The joyful times come from my hope in eternity. the happy times are a treat from god and the painful times comes from the enemy that were either put onto me by someone else s sin or from my own sinful choices. My king never hurts me and that is the only thing that keeps me going this side of eternity. My only true hope is eternity with the King. that is the only thing that keeps me going in hard times is that i know one day the pain will really end.

    • Janet on January 31, 2017 at 10:41 am

      it is extremely painful to be disappointed from false hope. It is less painful for me to accept the painful circumstances than to suffer the pain of disappointment from false hope. As leslie said that doesn’t mean that i don’t trust god. it means i live in reality which can be painful very often.

      • Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:08 pm

        Janet,
        You wrote: “It is less painful for me to accept the painful circumstances than to suffer the pain of disappointment from false hope.”

        Indeed! How true it is that hope deferred makes the heart sick. Give me reality any day over the false hope.

  100. T.L. on January 31, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Lori,

    I guess I can’t speak for everyone, but I loved “peeking in” on the dialogue between you and Robin. It sounds like you have much in common and she is a little further down what looks like a dark road ahead…but she can turn around and tell you, “No, don’t be afraid! There is light this way, keep walking forward.” That’s invaluable!

    I wanted to encourage you in a few ways regarding your previous couple of entries to Leslie.

    You said:

    “1. I bear deep deep grief and shame for participating in what I now know as “reactive abuse” … I beg God to restrain me from this and to give me strength to die to this practice…(etc.)” Your point #3. was similar.

    Lori, you have finally wisely removed yourself from the situation that was provoking you to stumble and sin. You feel remorse and have repented. Please do not allow the enemy to load you down with guilt. Please be gentle and kind with yourself; as gentle and kind as you would be to someone else that lived through such abuse. You wouldn’t beat them up for their reactive abuse. You would say, “Yes; that was wrong. Understandable, but wrong. Now let’s focus on healing your heart. That’ll take some doing.”

    I know for myself, I had to at one point make the boundary of not discussing any issues at all with my husband without a third party (counselor) present. I could not trust him, and I was so reactive I could not trust myself. I feel myself getting stronger in this area because the emotional and physical distance is allowing me room to heal.

    You said:

    I grieve the years of my life wasted…My freedom came the day I validated it myself… MY opinion of what my experience was needed to be enough. And thankfully, it was.

    Yes, yes! So happy you know this!

    You said:

    “I hope to get stronger in my CORE (looking forward to introducing myself to this concept).”

    Leslie has a video you can find on youtube called Building Your CORE strength that is helpful. You could also consider joining one of her online CORE groups.

    You said:

    “…I especially do not want to have to apologize to one whom continues to take NO responsibility whatsoever for his abuse or acknowledge the complaints against him and consider the possible validity in them (James? husband, others).”

    I think it’s so healthy to recognize the people in our lives that do not take any responsibility at all when they have caused offense and make a boundary to protect ourselves.

    I hope to learn more from you and the women on this blog.

    You said:

    “I, frankly, am not sure I am marriage material as I feel my heart has hardened toward being with him again. So many years of neglect, abuse, manipulation, deceit, betrayal, etc. etc. All I seem to sincerely hope for is that God can somehow save him sincerely (I think he uses religion as a cover-up) and forgive me for my reactive abuse in the past 8 years or so. I grieve the testimony I was not to him, but don’t really want another chance with him. Still tearful and tender here as I come face to face with the sadness of the situation. I am not sure it is okay to feel this way. Certainly would appreciate feedback if you have time.”

    Lori, you don’t need to hope that God can forgive you: you need to believe He has based on the evidence: your confession, remorse and repentance, and His word to you in 1John 1:9. You are clean and free.

    And regarding where you are at in your feelings about marriage: it’s completely understandable! God could do a miracle of changing your husband’s heart, and then changing yours, at any time. Even after a divorce. But today, based on the all evidence you have, change is very, very unlikely. Voices like Robin’s can help you know how to walk forward and give you hope on the journey.

    You are free from condemnation, guilt, and accusation. You are surrounded by love and covered in grace. xo

    • Lori on January 31, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      TL,
      Words fail me to say how thankful I am for your investment of time and care in your reply to me. It is so very difficult to let go of the burden of the knowledge of my part of the destruction. I wonder how Paul felt after being such a zealous destroyer of the people Christ died to save. I see how he allowed his grief to be the agent of receiving Christs pardon for him and how deeply he experienced the pardon of his sin from His Lord. How he was catalyzed by his experience of forgiveness and new found wholeness to preach to so many about Christs grace.
      Thank you for the exhortation to walk in belief that I have been forgiven and that forgiveness is imputed due to repentance and godly sorrow and of course Christs positional authority to impute it.
      As Aly said, I think my heart and head will need to hear this over and over. I receive this by faith. I agree with you now that I am clean and free from condemnation, guilt and accusation.
      This is a familiar place to me as He is bringing to my rememberance the many times He has done this for me in the past where I thought my sins might be too damaging to His Kingdom or to others.
      The best thing about heaven to me will be that I won’t be sinning against my Savior or others ever again…more tears….

      You said: “Regarding where you are at in your feelings about marriage: it’s completely understandable! God could do a miracle of changing your husband’s heart, and then changing yours, at any time. Even after a divorce. But today, based on the all evidence you have, change is very, very unlikely. Voices like Robin’s can help you know how to walk forward and give you hope on the journey.”
      Grateful for this also. It brings more clarity, peace and even hope.

  101. JoAnn on January 31, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Lori, I understand your struggle, and though I haven’t seen a reply from Leslie yet, to me, it seems that you are nowhere near ready for a reconciliation. You appear to still have a lot of healing to do. That will take time, and you can’t rush it. Put that item (reconciliation) on the shelf for now and don’t let it be a part of your goals. When/if the Lord wants you to reconcile, you will feel peaceful about it and you will feel ready. And h will, too. Right now, you are not. Relax, trust Him, and move forward.

    • Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      JoAnn,
      Invaluable insight. Thank you! You ladies have no idea how much you are helping me. I am copying and pasting into a file from various posts to collect your wisdom so I will have on hand for my reference.
      Feeling more and more at peace with the process. Perhaps even a faint knowledge of ground underneath my feet.
      Thank you!

  102. JoAnn on January 31, 2017 at 10:03 am

    T.L. really hit the nail on the head: your sin is forgiven, and all the shame and condemnation are straight out of the enemy’s mouth. Reject those thoughts! Let the past be done, and move on. There is so much help here, and T.L. and Robin have said it so well. Bless you, Sisters.

  103. Aly on January 31, 2017 at 10:35 am

    T.L and Lori;)

    Not sure this will post…

    T.L. Wrote:
    “You are free from condemnation, guilt, and accusation. You are surrounded by love and covered in grace. xo”

    I so agree and it’s very reasonable why your heart and head my need to hear this over and over, and that’s ok
    You are so worthy of that healing! 💖

    • Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      Aly,
      Thank you for your continued love and care for myself and the women here. Your voice adds hope to my healing. I hope one day I can be of support to women who have walked this journey.

      • Robin on January 31, 2017 at 1:23 pm

        Lori, as I was out for my morning ride where the Lord speaks so clearly– He reminded me of something to share as it clearly reveals how Jesus cares for us, when we stop cooperating with abuse.
        Ten years ago about– I left to go to work one day in a town 40 miles away, and I couldn’t bear to go home to that rage and control and ended up staying with a close friend. This, became my first separation without planning it ahead. It just happened. To make a long story short, thru one of my students, the Lord put me in a cottage/condo I so regret I never took pictures. It was a one room studio with sliding doors into bedroom and bath. It was filled with beauty and decor like I had never had in my own home. When the landlord found out I was in an abusive relationship and knew I had nothing– they completely furnished it with everything right down to putting scissors and pencils in the drawer. The Lord even provided a piano from someone I went to church with which was so amazing. I want you to understand God did this for me// in my desperate need to get away for rest. Beautiful lace curtains and large windows to overlook water and beautiful gardens- and a front porch covered with outdoor furniture and landlord brought me fresh veggies from garden all the time. I will never get over how far the Lord went to give me more then I needed. It was so over the top. The only reason I left was my daughter announced she was getting married so I went home to participate and be there for her. All this to say, God see’s us and knows our need. And is just wIting for us, to look to Him……….

        • Lori on January 31, 2017 at 1:43 pm

          Robin…dear Robin,
          “I want you to understand God did this for me// in my desperate need to get away for rest.”

          YES! desperate need for rest. More and more rest. So very weary from the battle to survive this.

          A place AWAY sounds so wonderful. I am currently living in this home that he and his mother chose for us to live ( I spoke reservation and it was rejected flat out by his mother and himself. I still remember exactly where we were standing when they formed their bond against my voice) She assured me that her son could fix anything that might be in need of repair and praised me for not being like other new brides who wanted a nice new home.
          I get the feeling that this home is not the one I want to remain in for much longer, however, my children know it as “home”.
          I have no idea why I shared that story as it doesn’t seem to pertain at all to how the Lord so BEAUTIFULLY created a safe place for you. I love your description and feel as though the gift was something I received when you received it. I mean, it feels like your cottage gift was somehow given to me also. Does that make sense? I rejoice with you that you have such a sure experience of His great provision (lavish at that).
          What to Him is a drop in the bucket, to us is lavish!
          I imagine it is healing to you to recall the studio. Perhaps a picture of it isn’t so necessary after all if you can recall it’s details so vividly. I would have loved to hear you play the piano in that place! All for your Lord.
          Thank you for sharing Robin.

          • Robin on January 31, 2017 at 2:22 pm

            Everyone’s story is an individual gift from the Lord. But when I filed I was heavily advised to stay in my home. I do even when I was quite fearful he might show up with rage and threats. I tell u this because the Lord gave me a safe home that was paid in full. My husband told the kids for years with his fist shaking– he would never leave his house. We believed hi
            . My counselor says she’s never heard such a good story as mine. As the night before he was ordered to leave our home he stood in my eldest daughters house and said I will not leave my home. She knew God already worked it out, that he would be leaving in less then 24 hrs. My point is even if it’s not your favorite place to be- consider if it becomes all yours- you would be able to sell it and take the money to buy your new home. Just a thought
            I really thought I would sell after divorce. But the Lord has led me into making my home ‘MINE NOW’ I’ve worked hard to achieve this and the Lord has always brought people to help me.



  104. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Aleea,

    Thank you for this: “I always think about it as me, a sunken ship, inside an ocean and that ocean is God.”

    I mean THANK YOU.

  105. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you Robin.

  106. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Nancy,
    You also said: “And the flip side is to allow ourselves to be cared for by The Lord and His children. So our heart gets filled with Love. We can guard our heart from leaking love but we also need to allow Love into our hearts.”

    And…”But accepting this Love is no small ‘task’ for someone who has been mistreated for so long. Accepting that Love comes in the form of reading the amazing encouragement of sisters like T.L. and Aly. It means being tender towards yourself too, dear Lori. It’s no small thing to accept Love after being mistreated.”

    Once again, on spot!

    It is no small thing, but the largest thing I have allowed to date to happen for my good.
    I cannot explain why it is nearly impossible to receive…but thank you for bringing this difficulty to light.

    Perhaps it is because I have isolated myself due to shame/lack of trust (of anyone really…).

    I find It helps to not have to be face to face with people here as I don’t think I can handle such raw exposure….awww geez, here come the tears again….I knew it, if I started crying, I might not stop….

    The love here is so supportive, and at times so very intimate I feel I shrink back from it. It is foreign to me to be tended to in this manner.

    Example:
    Aly said: “It is good for your heart to be held, to be of focus.”

    It took my breath away really, to hear that and to be seen in such an intimate manner. No wonder the tears have begun to flow. I am not only being seen, I am being touched and tended to in the most wounded places of my soul. The gentleness, and power of properly applied scripture and love is overwhelming really. It is hard to stay in its care and accept it into the places it needs to saturate.
    They don’t feel like teeny steps at all to me. Quite the opposite. Yet I am grateful beyond words for the women here who love the Lord and serve Him from their places of woundedness and healing.

    Nancy, you are one such sister to me.
    Blessings of His peace and prayers for Gods guidance and presence in your walk with your h.

    • Nancy on January 31, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you, Lori 🙂

    • T.L. on January 31, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Lori,

      A couple things come to mind as I read your latest posts. Well, first: when we are so deeply wounded and raw…it is hard to believe that there will be anything but that ever, because it has been so long and runs so deep. We actually get comfortable with our pain, in a way…and we feel so unworthy of being treated well. It was the same for me. As I opened up about my story to safe people, I had dear sisters and a counselor telling me how loved I was, accepted I was, worthy of being loved and treated well I was…and I remember it actually felt shocking at first. Our shame is so deep. It takes a long time to know that what we are all telling you is true: you are worthy of so much more than you have experienced.

      Sometimes when we have a really hard time accepting a truth of God, like forgiveness, I think it can be really worthwhile to have kind of a formal time with God over it. For instance: agree to meet God alone at a set aside time and place, to listen to him and receive His forgiveness. Go out in nature, into beauty, if you can. Or just alone in a quiet room. Consciously affirm why you are there…quiet your heart, and listen to the still small voice of your Beloved tell you what He has already done on your behalf. Picture yourself giving him the box or burden of all the sins that have been “haunting you.” And picture Him taking it from you, relieving you of it—because He already has.

      Also, there was a time in my life that I became aware, over and over again, of shame I was carrying because of sins I had committed after coming to Christ. The Lord showed my error in my thinking: deep down, I believed this: when I came to Christ, He cleansed me of my sins. He washed me. I was clean. And then I began to walk the new path of life with Him. But whenever I stumbled and fell, I thought He was soooo disappointed in me, as if he was saying, “Hey! C’mon! I washed you, stay clean! You are so disappointing to me!” He did his part, and I should be doing mine. But then he showed me this: “I died for you 2,000 years ago. I died for all your sins, before you turned to me, asked forgiveness, or even were born. Past, present, and future sins are all paid for–it is finished. Nothing you could ever do will make me love you more; and nothing you could ever do will make me love you less. I am not disappointed in you. I love you and am pleased with you, because I make you white as snow, and because I look on the heart.”

      What is being represented to you in these “love letters to you” on this blog is the heart of Christ for you. You are so loved.

      I hope this might help these truths sink in a little further, my dear sister. xo

  107. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Lori, I forget do u have an individual counselor?? Reading your last post to Nancy I so relate to how you feel. I remember when my counselor started using intimate kind words and how I refused them for the longest time. She knew I needed them so she kept saying them. I stil remember the day I stood up and said, okay I accept them. What a day of recognizing my woundedness………..

  108. JoAnn on January 31, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Lori, indeed, your body and mind do heal, and there are some things you can do to help. I get regular massages, because that helps my body to go into a deep relaxation, and to learn to trust touch, healthy touch. Daniel Amen, in his book about changing the mind (I can’t recall the exact title right now) talks about healing the limbic brain with listening to pleasant music. This happens while getting a massage, but you can also listen to comforting music any time you want to: driving the car, taking a walk, doing the laundry. It all helps. The very best thing, however, is to spend time in the Word of God, and to find some good verses that touch you and pray over them. The Word heals us, refreshes us and changes us.

  109. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Robin,
    I do not have an individual counselor. My husband and I went together to 4 different counselors and the 5th counselor we went to was supposed to be for both of us but ended up being myself alone. Didn’t end well.
    I sent an email to Patrick Doyle requesting a local recommendation in case he knows of one and it would be affordable. I think I might welcome that, just don’t have a lot of faith in them.

    • T.L. on January 31, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      Lori,

      I tried emailing Patrick Doyle twice to ask same and also about Skype counseling. Apparently he doesn’t return emails. You may want to call his office to ask for a recommendation.

    • Robin on January 31, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Lori, I’ve been there, I went thru 20 counselors before I found the right one. I’ll ask my counselor tomorrow if she has any advice when looking for a counselor.

  110. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    TL.
    Thank you for your words and heart here. Hidden among some very helpful thoughts, You said:” It takes a long time to know that what we are all telling you is true: you are worthy of so much more than you have experienced.”

    Okay, I believe you here. I will need to be patient then.

  111. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    JoAnn,
    Nice to hear some practical ideas to help the healing move further along. Hope to try some of them. Especially the Word of God. Massage sounds….fabulous…

  112. Robin on January 31, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Lori, when the abuse got out of control and it was making me constantly sick– I started the habit of getting in my car and going for long drives all alone. I would listen to Worship Music and let it pour over all my wounds, and slowly that time with the Lord started to heal me. It became such a special time for me I still take long drives 3-4 days a week, sit on a man top- turn cell phone off, and ask the Lord for healing. It’s been such a good habit, I can’t let go of it. Some of the best Worship and healing I ve received came in my car.

    • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Robin,
      ” I still take long drives 3-4 days a week, sit on a man top- turn cell phone off, and ask the Lord for healing. ”

      Awesome. Love that you let Him love you like this.

  113. Aly on January 31, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Lori;)
    You’re so sweet! Your heart is so kind and I think myself and others here want you to know but to ‘feel loved’ and valued because God is at work in all of lives, daily!
    You are being an amazing supportive sister in Christ by even your courage to share this journey. I feel privileged that I get to read your journey and we get to interact personally at some level. I’ve never been on a blog. You ladies are amazing🤗

    This journey is painful at times and scary (that’s why we desperately need him and others) but it’s God’s redeeming love story that gets revealed and glorified~ regardless of where we are in the process.

    My heart goes out to you as how hard it is to be vulnerable right now and be able to receive love, but you are receiving and you are blessing us!
    Crying can be such a blessing too, sometimes those tears are buried inside and it’s so good to release the toxins, He invented tear ducts on purpose😍. Let them flow;) it can feel scary to cry out that pain but your not alone and we are here to encourage you!

    Here is a quote I find inspiring:
    “Sometimes when your in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried, but you have actually been planted.”
    (The unbounded Spirit)

    You can probably tell I’m a bit protective and justice ‘shaped’ … im working on it, 😠it’s very hard for me to watch fellow sisters find support, healing and compassion & the enemy to try to rob any of the ‘good things’ that God has for your heart and healing. 💜
    I’m sorry for the added harm and triggering.
    God is redeeming what was rightly yours for your mind and your heart!

  114. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Aly,
    I never thought of crying as releasing toxins…but i think you might be right in that. Helps not to feel so fearful of it. Thank you.
    As far as the added harm and triggering, all things work together for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
    It was stressful to be sure but it gave me insight into how my children might have experienced my justice based responses to their fathers dogmatic, never wrong and victim based beliefs.

    I get how easy it is to engage, and I am thinking there are times it is necessary. I learned a lot through the discourse, but it was painful to see how it provided platform for him. No matter how much women tried, he would not see ANYTHING worth considering as perhaps wounding in his behavior, only how he was being wounded.
    DejaVu……and hopeless to reconcile with such a one. More wounding all around.

    Leslie has said somewhere about how the one who is able to admit their failing is the one who can be helped. I am happy and encouraged to see this is you.
    I hope you feel forgiven and know that to be true.

    Thank you for your care.

  115. Aly on January 31, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Lori;)

    ~The tears, they are good;) lots of evidence where they find the toxins in the tears. ~

    You wrote:
    “No matter how much women tried, he would not see ANYTHING worth considering as perhaps wounding in his behavior, only how he was being wounded.”

    Some might think it was a platform I guess I was hoping for an example since it was in writing.
    We have probably had many of those with our h’s but never in documentations. Which would make sense why we would be subject to more of the same.

    It’s extremely hard for me to tolerate let alone watch or myself be used to be victimized by one who is clearly in their writing ‘betraying their own points of belief’

    Betrayal~comes in many forms and think that needs to be clarified for healing.

    I learned a lot and thank you for care and grace towards me😊

  116. Lori on January 31, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Aly,

    Such good points you offer and there was much good in the exchange. Like, having it in writing. In fact, seeing it in writing is a powerful media. My husband recently wanted me to proof read a letter he was planning to send to our daughters (18 and 15). He even said he thought God wanted him to ask me to proofread them. I graciously refused. Let them see his own words to them. Let him be responsible for his own manipulations, blaming and guilting. It was amazing to hear their responses to his writings and how freely they could share their opinions of appal, outrage, disbelief and insights into how he was trying to blame them and make them responsible for the lack of relationship. I intentionally sat back to just listen to them respond to each other. I thought of how our dialogue here in this forum was helping me to be validated in my observations. I so love how you ladies chime in and bring even further clarity to my sight. I loved seeing my daughters validate eachother and have the freedom to be authentic in their responses to each of their letters.
    I asked questions, validated and encouraged their support of each other. I am learning. They seem fairly healthy and detached. They certainly didn’t take the bait that somehow they were at fault. This is where they were most appalled.

    “Betrayal~comes in many forms and think that needs to be clarified for healing.”
    Yes, Aly. I so agree and saw you work for that clarity in your exchanges with the other blogger. I also believe I witnessed my daughters give each other that gift as they offered their support to the one they loved.

    At one point in the letter my h said: “If you can’t trust your father, who can you trust?”. They both laughed at the same time and said…I can trust my sisters, brother, mother.

    I learned a lot from the posts and am learning a lot from you ladies about grace. It is powerful!

    • T.L. on February 1, 2017 at 6:52 am

      Lori, you are so wise! I love the way you handled your husband’s letter to your daughters, allowing him to sit in his own “mess” and solve it (or not!) for himself. I love that you trusted your daughters to evaluate it for themselves, their insight and wisdom, and your validation. Sounds so wise and healthy!

      • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 12:42 pm

        TL Thank you for the affirmation. It breaks my heart to see the chasm between my children and their father. I used to try to build a bridge, or get him to work on building a bridge to me and his children. No more. I just weep for the distance. All these years he had to build a relationship. I know now how I was enabling him not to work on it by my ongoing pleas to him to do something. I was just seen as the problem and he wanted me to be quiet all the more. My daughter (18) said she thought it seemed like he was writing the letter because he felt obliged or something. Like he was doing it to show someone else that he was trying. She didn’t trust his motive was sincere. I didn’t trust it either. He continued to lay the responsibility on his daughters to reach out and trust him with their feelings. He is virtually a stranger to them and the chasm is deep and wide. Somehow it is their job to leap it? I think it is his job/privilege to build the bridge. I don’t think he started by telling them they need to leap. It is freeing to let them have their own honest responses and simply validate where I recognize healthy thinking is. Any more input from me might be me overlaying my disappointments onto their realities. That would be too much for me if I was a child.
        Thanks TL for the affirmation.

      • Ruth on February 2, 2017 at 11:49 am

        I agree!!
        Good job Momma!
        Sounds like those daughters are smart like their Mom! ☺️

  117. Ginger on February 1, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Julie commented about “LDS is Mormon, not Biblical Christian resource.” Just to clarify, I’m LDS which is what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is called, or Mormon. I’m a Christian, as are those of my faith. I believe and read the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon, which is another testimont of Jesus Christ. These scriptures can be found on LDS.org but if you’d like to use Mormon.org it is a good resource for those not familiar with my church. It’s such a blessing for all of us to have good Christian resources that can uplift us as daughters of God! I know my belief in Jesus Christ has been my strength through my trials and as I go forward in faith in a new chapter of my life. It has been helpful to have support of other women going through similar challenges as myself. I love this scripture passage in Isaiah 41:10-13, which is a reminder to me right now that I will be strengthened by the Lord in my trials. Thank you Leslie and everyone for helping us all with your positive comments!

  118. rose on February 1, 2017 at 9:57 am

    lori,
    I am curious..you mention that you are 57 yrs old. I am 50. I struggle with this everyday because I think to myself…what can I do at this older age to financially support myself? Do I go back to school to become certified in something? At my age? Or do I take a full time job, probably at minimum wage, to gain health benefits? Ive never worked during my 20 year marriage, so I am not exactly marketable. Any advice?
    Its scary going out into the workplace at this age without skills. That is why I am still contemplating staying seperated as opposed to divorce. i wd keep my medical benefits with seperation. But my share of his pension wd not be 100% protected, as it wd be with a divorce decree. So the question becomes, do I secure my future by divorcing him to secure the pension, or stay seperated for a year and see how things go…hoping God will bring him to repentenance. We have been seperated for two months now, and he is still hard hearted and prideful and still blame shifting and justifying. Perhaps he needs more time without me to realize what hes lost. Idk, he may come to take responsbility. Its tough to know…do I wait it out for a year and see? Why cant I bring myself to divorce this man, who continues not to show me any signs of effort on his part.

  119. Robin on February 1, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Rose my friend, your thinking isn’t all wrong , we have to start where we are today. Have you considered taking baby steps, and find one thing you can do on your own?
    I really truly was exactly where you are now. I depended on my husband for everuthing, and had no self identity of my own. But I started at the beginning, doing one small thing. When I was successful and felt good about it- I tried one more thing. You can do this . Be kind to yourself. Be loving to yourself. Accept where you are and reach out on this blog– and these sisters that are holding each other up/ will grab your hand and support you. You are lovely just where you are and Jesus has a plan to help you. That’s a promise!!!!!!

    • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      Robin,
      Again, thank you for this. I remember when I was very newly separated thinking much the same thoughts as Rose. I, too, was very dependent on my husband for nearly everything maintenance wise in the house and on the property.
      Baby steps, and the Lord seemed to know what I could handle. Each time a repair was needed, I asked the Lord (my new husband) to guide me or show me what needed to be done. Sometimes I called a repair man, sometimes He showed me how to fix it myself. Since I am only separated and not divorced, I feel a responsibility to my husband in providing him information on home repair and include him in on the decision of how to secure repair. If I end up divorced, I will no longer need to involve him in these decisions. For now, I am slowly gaining confidence back in my intelligence, problem solving skills and am given the opportunity to involve my daughters in the process and challenges of home upkeep. They are gaining confidence in their abilities as well.
      Baby steps = Big steps.

  120. Aly on February 1, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Alie,
    So agree with your comment;) that’s for posting
    It’s is not honorable to the wife or husband (sacred marriage union) for a wife to honor a dishonorable man’s behavior.

  121. Lori on February 1, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Rose,

    First I want to say how precious you are to the Heavenly Father.
    Second I want to say how precious you are to this community.
    Third I want to say, I think you and I will do well to strengthen ourselves in that knowledge.

    I don’t know what your profession or experience of faith is.
    My confidence comes from my faith in God and the truth and sureness of His word.

    Psalm 10:18 has encouraged me to believe: As a good God. He is the helper of the fatherless (v. 14), of those who have no one else to help them and have many to injure them. He has appointed kings to defend the poor and fatherless (Ps. 82:3), and therefore much more will He do so Himself; for He has taken it among the titles of His honour to be a Father to the fatherless (Ps. 68:5), a Helper of the helpless.

    With that solid ground to stand on, the practical is bound to work out. That is not to say I don’t shake in my boots when I think of the future dear Rose. It means that my view of the future has changed. Instead of picturing myself alone, impoverished, unusefull or friendless, I picture my Lord with me every step of the way. I picture Him in the imaginary setting the enemy wants to terrify me with. This is where my hope, strength and courage come from. The knowledge that He will never leave me or forsake me and He has a plan for my life.

    Onto the practical questions you asked: ” Ive never worked during my 20 year marriage, so I am not exactly marketable.”

    Oh, I disagree Rose.

    What character traits do you have? Are you punctual? Trustworthy? Diligent? Loyal? Hard working? Learn quickly? Bi-Lingual? Intelligent? Have a good memory? Organized?

    Just because we may not have worked to gain a specific skill set does not mean we cannot learn them. Just because we have not yet gained a career does not mean we are not “marketable”.

    Square your shoulders dear sister, lift your chin a bit in your value. Just from your entries here on this blog, I see you are compassionate and gracious. That alone is employable in the right setting. Now lets add intelligent and responsible as you are clearly those also. I would hire you. Also, sometimes our age can be an asset because we come from a generation that knows the values I listed above are important work ethics. We do not have the same sense of “entitlement” that seems to be more prevelant in the younger generation.

    Health Insurance can be gained in various ways:
    1. Full time employment with those benefits. I don’t know where you live, but we have Costco Stores here and I have heard they treat employees very well.
    2. If you choose to become a full time college student, it may cause you to qualify for free health care and government assistance with power bill, food etc. because of having a low or no income.

    You asked: “So the question becomes, do I secure my future by divorcing him to secure the pension, or stay separated for a year and see how things go…hoping God will bring him to repentenance.”

    I would see these as 2 separate questions:

    1. Do I stay separated for a year and see how things go hoping God will bring him to repentance?

    This question is a personal one and this is a good place to ask for help in answering. I, personally don’t know. I am in the middle of asking this and seeking answers also. (1 year and 1 month separated myself)

    2. Which option brings me financial security or helps me become more financially independent. Separation or divorce?
    This question may best be answered by an attorney in your state. Perhaps there is one whom will see you for a free consultation. I have heard of women getting college education partially or full paid for after having been married as long as you have and facing the real situation of needing or wanting to gain skills for employment.

    Finally, I want to end by repeating that you are not alone Rose, and you never will be. Even if no people are with me, when I turn to Him, He has a way of making His presence felt in my most lonely moments.

    As afraid as you feel about the future, perhaps it is the very thing He is calling us to and it requires we step in faith in His plan for our lives.

    Numbers 6:25 “The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’…

    • T.L. on February 1, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Lori, I repeat:
      Your life is beauty from ashes. Wisdom, compassion, strength and grace. So beautiful. 2Cor.4:7-10.

      • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 9:22 pm

        TL
        Thank you. LOVED the scripture.

  122. Robin on February 1, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Lori it was to escape the stress in my home- but it became such a quiet time that filled me up, I couldn’t stop……. icontinually am amazed at how the Lord leads us in all our needs.

    • Robin on February 1, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Rose and Lori- Lundy Bancroft has written a book, and in a chapter he talks about what a spouse can do while their waiting to be if the destructive spouse is going towards repentance and truth. It truly became a 2nd Bible for me because I didn’t know how to do anything on my own. He speaks of ways we can invest the time we use to use on our spouse for more productive things in building ourselves up. I’m not home right now- but I’ll send more info on it tonight. That chapter really empowered me TO STEP OUT.
      But I agree with Lori, as the need arises, God leads us to solutions and people that can help us!!!!

  123. Lori on February 1, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Robin, I get you. I too have had this practice during my childhood as a result of the stress in my childhood home. I had a bike I rode to the only place I could get away to that was close enough to home that my parents would allow me to venture. Seldom did they even know I was gone. It was a cemetary that happened to have a beautiful canal. I would write and draw and cry. One day I rode my bike deeper into the roads traveling the cemetary and I saw a large statue in the distance, so I rode to it. It was Jesus. Someone had done and amazing job sculpting Him, because He was very life like to me. I would climb up to where He was on His platform above the tombstones and I would hug Him and hold His hand. Tears are now flowing again. I never shared this story before, because it seems so strange and perhaps morbid. But He was my only comfort. Tears and more tears. It is, I am sure, what kept me safe and sane.

  124. Lori on February 1, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Robin,
    I am sorry “home” was a place you needed to escape from. I am thankful you are now at “home” in your “home”.

  125. Robin on February 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Beautiful Lori.
    My counselor tells me let the tears roll- they are cleansing you……

    • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Robin,

      Thank you for blessing me so by calling me beautiful.

  126. Robin on February 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Lori, I often laugh to myself. I know I don’t need to leave my home anymore to run from stress. I tell myself out loud// silly you live alone.
    But my legs and feet move out the door to the car without my permission. It’s so ingrained in me if I don’t do it, I feel cheated of that special time.

  127. Lori on February 1, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    This is for sure off topic, but I received an email from my h today that has me on edge and I hoped it was okay to share it here to gain some feedback from those who may be willing?

    He said: “Lori, I woke up a little after 3:00 am this morning and it was as if I heard you calling for help. Is there anything that you need that I can help with? If so, please let me know! I love you and pray God’s richest blessings and grace be upon you and work through you. May you experience His powerful love for you this day! Blessings to you!”

    I am off balance and on guard with this. I feel unclear about it’s purpose even though at face value the purpose appears Godly and for my good. I don’t trust it or know what to do with it. I feel very conflicted by it. What is this?

    • JoAnn on February 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      It sure sounds good, and I understand your confusion, so if that were addressed to me, I would simply take it at face value, maybe reply “Thanks for your concern and prayers, but I am fine. ” It kinda sounds like he is trying to pull you back. Just remind yourself why you are separated. Sleep well, Dear Sister!

      • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 3:25 pm

        JoAnn, Thanks for your objective opinion here. I think that is a great response. Gonna go with it as it feels odd to me.

    • Ruth on February 2, 2017 at 11:57 am

      Sounds like Bait.
      He’s fishing for some attention. I’d try not to get drawn in.

      • Ruth on February 2, 2017 at 12:14 pm

        I also just realized there’s a similarity between your H did and something my H has done. When I’m ‘ out of line’ and H can tell his standard arguments and bullying aren’t crushing me into submission, there have been a several times where I gotten a warning ‘from God’ afterwards.
        H TRULY believes his own propaganda machine. Then I’m left to discern what’s real and what’s not. The worst part is if the kids were involved 😔 Lori, I believe your H was trying to spook you so you’d fearfully come to him for protection. No, no. From what I’ve read – he’s the one you need protection FROM!! That’s a trick from the devil.

  128. JoAnn on February 1, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    To Lori: go for it! Massage is great for not only relaxing but it helps the body and the soul to heal. Grace be with you.

    • Ruth on February 2, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺

  129. JoAnn on February 1, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Robin, have you tried going to the web site for The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC.org)? There is a directory there where you can look for a counselor in your area.

    • JoAnn on February 1, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      Sorry, Sisters, the web site is aacc.net.

      • Robin on February 1, 2017 at 7:07 pm

        Yes I have a great counselor. It was for one of the ladies on here. Hopefully she’ll see this!!

  130. Aly on February 1, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Lori,
    I’m so sorry… so rattling and to me it’s not off topic.

    Hmm I reread it a few times.. is that how he normally speaks?
    Sounds a bit ‘overspiritualized’ maybe that’s my gut talking.. I could be wrong…

    I guess if you decided to reply.. what do you think you would say?

    💜

  131. Lori on February 1, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Aly,
    I really hesitated to share that email here as I thought it was off topic. I so appreciate having a place to run these things by when they come my way. Totally out of the blue. He has been silent to me regarding “us” for nearly a year.

    You asked: “is that how he normally speaks?”
    Great question. Thank you for asking.
    That is how he normally speaks when he either wants me or the kids to supply something for him or wants to be seen as credible and spiritual.
    Your question helped me answer why I am feeling uncomfortable.
    Thank you.

    • Connie on February 1, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      If you don’t need help, then likely it was not a message from God, right?

      On another site, they had red flags from letters and one was always ending with a “God bless” message. They think you can’t refute that or you’d be refuting God Himself (or should I say god himself as in the h). People do that truthfully, but if it comes from a manipulator, it’s like patting your head. (notice the guys that come on here usually do that)

      Or, if you think he’d even listen, you could say,”I’ve told you hundreds of times that I need your help and how, you don’t have to ask again. Just do it.”

  132. JoAnn on February 1, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Connie, your response has me chuckling. I love it.

  133. Aly on February 1, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Lori,

    I’m glad you posted;) thanks for sharing… hope my questions are ok🤗

    I deal with similar things from family..on going..
    It’s hard because it pulls at the heart grief sometimes.

    Usually,
    (for me)especially if there’s a pattern…
    it’s their attempt to ‘feel good’ or need to feel like the (good person)
    Sometimes I don’t even respond. Because it can feel so manipulative ~
    And in some of my circumstances it has been for a nugget of connection.
    This is just part of my journey.. so not saying it’s the same for you.

    Stay sane and safe precious ladies💗

    • Aly on February 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      PS:
      Just to clarify the nugget of connection is again what ‘they need’ it’s rarely about the other person that they have mistreated or chosen to break trust with.

  134. Lori on February 1, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Connie, JoAnn and Aly,

    I am so glad I posted now also. I really thought it was too bothersome, but it did rattle me and your feedback has had an invaluable stabilizing effect on me.

    Connie: “If you don’t need help, then likely it was not a message from God, right?” That was so simply true it had me chuckling also.

    JoAnn: ” I love to laugh also…humor is healing.

    Aly: 1. “their attempt to ‘feel good’ or need to feel like the (good person) HUGE way in which he operates. Thanks for that. He is fairly masterful at fooling a lot of people, himself included. He had me fooled for many years.

    2. “in some of my circumstances it has been for a nugget of connection.”

    These are very insightful ideas. Could be #2, or a combination or even something not spoken of here yet, but

    I am going with #1 in this case. It is just too overspiritualized, you are right. It is very familiar again to me. Perhaps the time away from him has found me forgetting how he operates…I so don’t want to have to understand how a manipulative mind works.

  135. Lori on February 1, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Aly,
    “Just to clarify the nugget of connection is again what ‘they need’ it’s rarely about the other person that they have mistreated or chosen to break trust with.”

    Thanks for that. Spot on.

  136. JoAnn on February 1, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    How nice of him to remind you from time to time of his manipulative ways 😉

    • T.L. on February 1, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      JoAnn, so appreciate the humor. We have to laugh sometimes–it keeps us from losing our minds! 🙂

      Lori, I get this similar tactic–it’s sad because they really believe their own “goodness.” But if you wait long enough, they will want something and not get it, and the nasty brat comes back. -_-

      • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 7:16 pm

        TL,

        “it’s sad because they really believe their own “goodness.” But if you wait long enough, they will want something and not get it, and the nasty brat comes back”

        No kidding. 🙁

    • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      Oh JoAnn,

      THANK YOU for saying that!!!! I laughed out loud and am still chuckling. This will be etched in my mind for some time I am sure. Like a wild card, I will remember it when I need a good laugh and a good bit of wisdom!

      I have a dry and sarcastic sense of humor also, so it did reach my funny bone.

  137. Aly on February 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Yes;) so agree laughing is so important… not to avoid but to see the reality in it.

    Have any of you seen Kristin Kutznic
    YouTube
    How to raise a brat! 😉
    There’s also some great ones..
    4 ways to deal with a bully.

    I laughed pretty hard😂

  138. Robin on February 1, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Lori, when I separated I made a no contact rule-/ till I was ready. I knew he would manipulate me and sure enough he tried everytime.
    For women who have children the dad needs to talk about- it’s simple to say I can accept your emails about our children but I must insist during the separation that this is my time for complete rest.

    • Lori on February 1, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Robin,

      I am pondering your sentence: ” I can accept your emails about our children but I must insist during the separation that this is my time for complete rest.”

      Thank you.

  139. Robin on February 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Lori, you are so welcome. You blessed me today too. Anyone that really knows me knows I am an advocate for saving children out of a destructive environment. Too many parents do not see the critical choice there is/ to protect our children from abuse. Your words this morning made me smile for hours. You are a healthy Mom😜

  140. rose on February 1, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Lori,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. I cant believe I mattered that much. I am so deeply touched at how much love and support is shown here on this site. The fact that you ladies understand exactly how I feel brings me such comfort and peace. Thank you….
    Lori, I want to ask you about something..you mentioned that you have been seperated for a year and one month. Can you please share.. what have you learned over this past year? Have you seen any changes at all in your husband? What is your relationship like now? Is reconciliation a possibility at this point, or do you plan to continue seperation? I ask because it seems to me, these men have two choices…they can either come to realize what they have lost, put aside their pride, humble themselves, repent and as Leslie would say “have a change of heart and a change of habit” OR… they can become angry, bitter and resentful; remain hard hearted and continue blame shifting, excusing, justifying, etc. with no remorse and no responsibility. Which of the two have you seen with your husband?

    • Lori on February 2, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      Rose, dear dear Rose,
      You said: “I cant believe I mattered that much. I am so deeply touched at how much love and support is shown here on this site. The fact that you ladies understand exactly how I feel brings me such comfort and peace. Thank you….”

      This is how I also feel about this group. What a blessing of love, wisdom, availability and healing they have been to me. I cannot believe what a treasure trove of beautiful, Godly women are here to support and help heal. I am blessed beyond words.

      You asked me: “Can you please share.. what have you learned over this past year?”

      I will try dear Rose.
      I have learned this past year:
      1. It is good to take care of myself and to validate my own voice inside regardless of what anyone else thinks.
      2. God is for me and He is for my husband. Separation was something I believe (in my situation) most pleased God during this season. He wanted the destruction to stop.
      3. I don’t have to know all the “why’s” about everything ( I am very motivated to gain knowledge and understanding ).
      4. God is guiding me in HIS way.
      5. My way of staying and seeking change (I tried EVERYTHING) was only enabling the destruction.
      6. God can take the ashes of my life (caused by my sin and others sin against me) and make something beautiful from it.
      7. God is perfect in His faithfulness to me. I have peace in His provision. (Not at first, but for now I do)

      And: “Have you seen any changes at all in your husband?”

      No. I have seen him start going to church every Sunday and he participates in 2 men’s bible study/prayer groups. However, his interactions (he writes letters and emails, phone calls etc. to the kids and me) are unchanged. If anything, he appears more angry about his victimization and is desperately trying to get me to teach the kids it is important to relate to their father. He continues to not take a single bit of responsibility for any damage done and indeed appears very lost as to being able to identify what he has broken. It is everyone else’s job to find their way back to him. 🙁

      And: “What is your relationship like now?”

      For me, it is better as I am no longer responding to him in the sin of reactive abuse. It is a new term for me and I understand more about this destructive practice I was involved with. With very little contact to him (necessities of house maintenance at times or financial decisions), I am not sucked into his practice of devaluing me in the many ways he has learned to. I am not strong enough yet to be that close to the edge of his destructive vortex. I fall in nearly every time. It has been a deep grieving process as I have let go of the idea that we might ever be able to reconcile, and as I am accepting that excruciating possibility, I have come to realize it wasn’t a marriage covenant after all. He broke it in so many ways and seems to have no idea at all (how convenient for him) what he has done. Our relationship is currently a business one.

      And: “Is reconciliation a possibility at this point, or do you plan to continue seperation?”

      Both. I see it as a possibility even if I were to divorce him. However, to be reconciled in a marital way, both of us have much work to do and I can only focus on the work God has called me to right now. I know it is impossible if I don’t do that work, so that is what I will worry about for now. If he doesn’t change, from where I am sitting right now, to me it doesn’t seem reconciliation is possible. I can’t see that far down the road yet, so there must be a reason I can only see the few feet ahead of me that I am afforded to see at this time.

      And: “Which of the two have you seen with your husband?”

      I have seen him, as the man you describe In your very accurate words, “they can become angry, bitter and resentful; remain hard hearted and continue blame shifting, excusing, justifying, etc. with no remorse and no responsibility.”

      Just an added note ( I know this is long Rose), just because my husband may not appear to be changing (going to church seems to make him very happy to appear “good”, without the effect of true heart change), does not mean he won’t or that your husband won’t, but given the lack of ongoing behavior change proven over time and the lack of him appearing grateful to have a chance to repair the brokenness, I am not going to be holding my breath.

      I think we will know it if and when our husbands are worthy of the marriage covenant GOD called them to respect.

      Rose, I weap for your descriptions of your h sexual abuse and torture of your personhood. The physical pain you endured during these time and the unspeakable things that happened behind the closed doors of your marital bed. These are places of such deep betrayal and trauma. Please take this time to find necessary healing for yourself. That he continues to expect crumbs of bread (kisses and hugs from you) for his appetite just tells me he is not sorry, but feels entitled to your “services.” You are right to say no to this.

      I am weaping here as I know what this feels like to be treated as a whore. I am weaping because our minds were so manipulated and abused before we would ever participate in this type of submission and humiliation.

      It is wrong on every level and I want to say something to you from your story that I have been thinking about all day .

      Rose, somewhere inside of you, you found the strength to separate yourself from his behavior. You got out! BRAVO!

      Still tears are flowing that you have survived and you are demanding not to be treated as a whore. The amount of strength you have inside is maybe not known to you yet, but may I ask you a question now?

      Where did that strength come from?

      Many here including myself are holding you up in prayer. I have more questions than answers right now, but I trust you and I are on the right path.
      My love to you and more importantly, I pray you experience Gods great love and peace to you precious sister.

      • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 4:43 am

        Lori and Rose,

        My messages are so often “out of time rhythm” of the flow of things, because I am not in the U.S.

        But I wanted to say to you Lori, that reading all that you wrote above (11:56 pm) to Rose was just beautiful. So encouraging and beautiful to see your strength and insight and wisdom and compassion. You have a beautiful heart, Lori.

        Rose, I hope Lori’s email encouraged you as it did me. I hope your beautiful heart is gaining strength, courage, and hope in God alone.

        What your husband has done to you is not your fault. And God hates it. He hates when husbands do violence to their marriage covenant, to their wives. They dishonor their wives and they blaspheme his holy name. Your husband has disqualified himself from the privilege of being married to God’s precious daughter. Whether he can or will choose to become qualified is up to him, not you. May you be given great confidence to move forward with your one precious and sacred life before God.

  141. Robin on February 2, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Rose have you read Lundy Bancroft books?? They were so helpful for me. The one that got me in the counselors office was- Do I stay or Go?? As soon as I find my copy, I’ll send u a few quotes that empowered me to start making baby steps. He is a secular author who has worked with men therapy groups, and I really appreciated hearing from a man with that kind of experience with destructive men.

    • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 12:06 am

      Robin,

      Thank you for the Bancroft reference. I read a few of his quotes and plan to purchase his books.

  142. rose on February 2, 2017 at 12:21 am

    T.L. Robin, Lori,
    Ladies, may I ask you something…how long do we wait to see if our spouses will turn the corner and finally show some sign of a changed heart? At what point do we say to ourselves….ENOUGH..NO MORE and file those papers that will end our marriage? What does it take to get to that point? What has to happen? And how do we not question our decision by always asking ourselves…would he have changed if I’d just hung in there a little longer? What should I have done differently? Did I try hard enough? How do we get to that place of peace with our decision…knowing this is not God’s plan for marriage. Especially without infidelity, how can one rationalize divorcing their spouse? This battlefield of the mind consumes me everyday. I want to be clean before the Lord.

    • T.L. on February 2, 2017 at 6:40 am

      Dear Rose,

      I am just recently (a few months) separated from my husband, though we were “in-house separated” before that, as Robin called it. I have been married over 30 years, so you can see, it took a very long time for me. I think it’s true that we begin to change when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the fear of changing. I finally arrived at that point. I began to ask questions: why am I allowing this to happen to myself? Does God support abuse and oppression? What is it about me that allows this to go on?

      I started reading about co-dependency, and about being the adult child of an alcoholic. I reached out to a counselor, and her support helped very much.

      Your fear of being alone sounds like satan’s biggest weapon against you. An effective means of fighting fear is to meet it head on. First, ask yourself: what is it I am afraid of? What is the worst that can happen? —and whatever it is, Jesus will never leave you, and so you have everything and are safe. And then defy the fear and step right into it; i.e. purposefully rebuke it, and make a plan to go spend a week alone on a retreat somewhere and prove to yourself and hell that you can do this; you will survive.

      If that is too scary right now, then you need support. Lots and lots of support. Great to start here, but you need to find a counselor and friends near you who can support you and encourage you in your growth.Some things are confusing right now. Bad theology has confused you and kept you trapped. Just admit you don’t understand everything and don’t try right now. Things will become clearer little by little as you reach out and step out.

      Please, Rose, avail yourself of resources online and in your community, many of which are free. Your focus needs to be firmly on you and your growth right now; getting stronger and healthier. Set your husband and marriage to the side. Your marriage will never be healthy unless it has 2 healthy people in it. Start with yourself. That’s all you have control over. Baby steps, one foot in front of the other. God’s grace and love and strength will come underneath to support you.

      Online, on youtube, listen to Leslie’s videos; she has so many helpful ones. Also Patrick Doyle and Lundy Bancroft. Many of your questions you asked will be answered by these destructive relationship experts. It’s not your fault, Rose. Your husband’s choices to be mean and abusive and unrepentant are not your fault. You have no idea yet how much that is true. But keep learning. Things will become clearer.

      You don’t need to worry right now about divorce and rationalizing it. You just work on getting strong and healthy.

      Embracing you tightly in my heart, and walking alongside in prayer. You are stronger than you think…

      • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 12:31 am

        TL
        I didn’t even know where to start trying to answer Rose’s very legitimate need for answers. Thank you for sharing your insights. Another copy/paste for me.

        Especially “It’s not your fault, Rose. Your husband’s choices to be mean and abusive and unrepentant are not your fault. You have no idea yet how much that is true. But keep learning. Things will become clearer.”

  143. rose on February 2, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Robin,
    No, Im not familiar with this author. But I will google him and look into his books. I would love to hear some helpful quotes from the book. I look forward to it. thank you so much

  144. Robin on February 2, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Rose, I think this is individual, and God might lead each of us differently. But there were definite steps we can take. Number one I realized it was I who needed to change. I can control me- so I set off to learn how to confront Bibically and quit tolerating disrespectful behaviors. I asked him to find a counselor, which he went a few times and stopped. I talked to him and set boundaries which only caused him to rage and control more. I separated once for a year and it embittered him. The 2nd separation was in/house where we had separate bedrms and separate lives. That was a complete waste of time and caused him more bitterness. By this time he had lost more or all control of me. He committed road rage scaring me to death in downtown Seattle traffic. That was the last straw for me, and I joined the local women’s shelter. He just grew and grew in rage and control and bitterness. I think when I had done the things Leslie suggests in her books, to no response or change of mind from him, I knew it was time to quit hoping in something that wasn’t going to happen. When I filed for divorce, I did so feeling strong and knowing removing myself from participating with his constant chaos, was reasonable and if he ever had a change of behavior a 2nd marriage would be possible. I did not start the divorce. He did when he broke the marriage covenant and did not honor his wife. I am sorry, very sorry he did not have a change of heart. My life today is a life of freedom and a life of choice. I am surrounded by people who love and support my choices.

  145. Robin on February 2, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Rose, I’ll look for it tomorrow. Another thing I’d suggest, is can u do something for you out of the ordinary? Something independent from your husband, something to love yourself.

  146. Rose on February 2, 2017 at 1:46 am

    Robin,
    I don’t know really how to love myself. I am such a mess. I am so insecure and have low self esteem..that’s why I always care way too much if people don’t seem to like me. I’m too sensitive, always getting my feelings hurt. I’m codependent on my husband and my teenage children. I cling to my 17 yr old daughter so tightly. Soon she will be driving and then I will lose more of her..I cringe to think about it. I don’t know how I willl ever learn to let go of her; then I will be alone. This aloneness causes me such terrible anxiety and panic attacks. That’s my worst fear…To be alone. That’s why I have a tendency to let so much go (things I know are so wrong and unhealthy in this abusive marriage) because the alternative is to be alone if I choose not to accept it any longer. I wish I could stop my fears from overwhelming me, to the point I can’t eat or sleep. Just feel hopeless and severely depressed because I don’t see a way out for me. I think I’m too scared to divorce him. I’m scared of living the rest of my life alone, I’m scared of financially supporting myself, I’m scared I might make the wrong choice. I really don’t have a support system and no family (no parents or siblings) It’s just me. Sorry..I went way off topic from the question you asked me.

  147. Aly on February 2, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Rose,

    I’m so sorry for what your going through and all the very wise comments you have received are SO true given the factets of these relationships. Such precious women who know so much and can relate to what your going through and yes Right WHere you are!
    It’s so good your here and brave to share your journey, so much care and love and certainly help in getting stronger and making healthier decisions for you and your children. You are so not alone. And being scared is very normal and it says your ‘not desensitized’ and who wouldn’t scared be given the situation either to have hope or not. I think we can all relate to being in places of such fear. The ladies that posted about focusing on you is so true and will be good for your heart and you begin to listen to your needs again.

    Just so I’m not speaking to a different Rose,
    Did you post several days ago about your husband not paying the mortgage and you losing your home and your teenagers are devasted. You are currently separated…
    That you served him divorce papers … hoping he would wake up
    But he has gotten more bitter angry and not repentive in many ways?

  148. JoAnn on February 2, 2017 at 11:33 am

    T.L., Amen and amen! Well said. Let’s all pray for Rose to find the Lord in the midst of all this pain and fear. And to find herself in the process.
    Bless you, Dear Rose.

  149. Aly on February 2, 2017 at 11:44 am

    T.L.
    I so agree with your words of Love to Rose.
    You wrote to Rose:
    “Bad theology has confused you and kept you trapped. Just admit you don’t understand everything and don’t try right now. Things will become clearer little by little as you reach out and step out.”

    Makes me think of this song ~
    This song so encouraged me along my journey and reinforced my heart and identity in Him💖
    I hope it blesses each of one you ( if you don’t already know it.. you probably do)

    The song is
    OCEANS, by Hillsong United
    Here is it copied and pasted.. I hope I did it correctly.
    If not you can look it up on google.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1RQciil7B0&sns=em

    Prayers and healing for you all calling upon His name!

  150. Aly on February 2, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Hi T.L.
    I wanted to respond to your question given and the state of your separation.
    You’ve mentioned your familiar with Patrick Doyle, in order to keep this short, rather than some of my longggg responses I thought I would post a video of his which gives so much of what ‘internally’ my h was so so bonded to!
    The video is on YouTube
    Titled: The cause of Self Doubt Patrick Doyle -the dove.us.

    I’ve mentioned before he was able to only go so far in what I call ‘false starts’
    Given the car we were in so to speak.
    Another way would be a ‘shell of recovery’
    Which for me was deception hiding deception… based on his work addiction and self protecting and perfectionism.
    P. Doyle explains the level of shame a person can have and how destructive that person will go to stay there..
    Change or not change.

    The behaviors he has today is he has the ability to self reflect~
    Look back at behaviors and see wow.. I can’t believe I was that warped and that controlling!!
    Untimately for him his fear was fueling his control. As yes lots of it has to do with this.

    He certainly had God in a box because of his irrational fears making such false assumptions that it was difficult for him to see his significant to God.
    When you’ve shared more details of the environment of your marriage with him, my heart just breaks that you were not seen, valued and controlled even down to the frugality of you not being able to give freely.
    ! But also my heart rejoices that you have found truth and freedom where you are finding your way~ regardless if your h decides too look at his behavior or not.

    I am a pretty sensitive person and I have a lot of compassion to offer but my h underestimated the strength that God was placing in me.

    My husband today ~ even though he still walks an ‘intensive program’ as he has the contrite heart that never wants to become that h to me and be so destructive (even if it’s not so visible)
    When an h can admit abusive patterns ~ that’s usually ‘a start’ of the journey and especially see the collateral damage that is done and begin to walk a process of restitution without any demands or expectations .. then they are at a start in my opinion.
    A shame identity for my h was certainly at the root of this, and it’s certainly something he knows how easy he can fall into a mindset of ‘self’

    I have heard and watch many other precious women personally walk a similar road that you have been exposed to.
    Those marriages have deteriorated and the h continued to get sicker and more and more demanding ~ on every aspect. Women who are much much later in life having no identity or place to be valued and cherished in the one place that God desires them to feel safe and protected by their h! This isn’t to replace God, but to align with God.
    It took a lot of healthy growing men and men mentors counselors etc to help my h grow out of those childlike deep rooted behaviors.

    It took me standing my ground~ regardless of ‘the outcome’ and knowing my value and worth!
    Goodness sorry this is long hopefully I answered your questions .,, you might have to ask me again😊

    T.L God is for you and I know you are clear on that! Sometimes in this process it’s nice to hear the reminder…Thanks for all of your heart you graciously share with us;)

    • Aly on February 2, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      PS: just to clarify my comment … not any of you here..
      “I have heard and watch many other precious women personally walk a similar road that you have been exposed to”

      The level of control and sickness grew to a h not letting a wife leave the house (but only on 1 day of the week) everything had to fit in that one day because that was what ‘he thought’ to be reasonable!!
      That’s control. He wanted all birds killed with one stone I guess.

      So if gals were meeting on a different day her only reason was I can’t leave my house on that day… etc. and she actually thought that was normal and submissive.
      Hope that makes sense.

    • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 4:48 am

      Thank you, Aly, this was helpful. Yes, I think my husband underestimated my strength, too. He did his best to smash, squelch, extinguish it. And I am finding that, in the end, it only made me stronger. I think that is true for every woman here. We are finding our voice in a new and powerful way, because of the injustice we have endured.

  151. Rose on February 2, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Aly,
    Thank you for your very kind and understanding response. It is so comforting to know that someone DOES understand the fear and the pain of a destructive, abusive marriage. And yes, I am the same rose who wrote in earlier about losing my home because he didn’t pay the mortgage for over a year. As a result, the children and I were forced to leave and I’m now renting. I cry everyday. Even though we are separated since I started renting on dec 1st (I told him he is not moving into this new place with me..although he tried) and the marriage is emotionally dead, with no hope of husband coming to repentenance…I guess I’m grieving the loss of the marriage, as destructive as it was. I pray everyday for god to speak to his heart and awaken him. In the interim, i don’t know how to behave anymore. I am always the one initiating phone calls, texts and asking to meet for coffee and talk. And when I speak to him, I share my heart with him and explain what changes he needs to make so we can possibly begin moving forward with new healthier habits, as opposed to the old destructive habits that must stop. I am willing to do my part. But I still get the blame shifting, justifying, excusing and rationalizing his behavior and why I don’t see change. It’s me, he says. I don’t let love In and I have a wall up. This is so untrue and unfair. The only “love” this man is looking for is sexual. I told him he has abused me in a sexual way..by forcing me to pay with sexual favors for buying myself something at the store or needing him to do work around the house..if I didn’t pay sexually how he wanted, when he wanted and where he wanted..i was told I have to pay..im his wife. During each sexual act, he used me with no regard for how I felt. It was rough and It hurt me. He wd tell me I’m too sensitive. Even when I said no, I don’t want to do that particular thing..I was forced to. When he was done…it was over. I was left feeling used and violated…like a whore. I’m sorry to use that word, but it best describes how I felt. So often I cried during the act. He knew it was not pleasurable for me. He scolded me, telling me it was my fault I don’t enjoy it..I don’t get into it”. I can’t even go into more detail because it is so embarrassing, humiliating and degrading. I am so ashamed that I allowed him to treat me this way for 20 years. I was stripped of my dignity and respect for myself. I guess it’s my own fault. I allowed it for too long…I thought I was being a submissive wife by having to please my husband, even though I was Dying inside. I’m sorry for rambling. I just can’t give anything physical to him at this time (not even kissing or hugging) as he demands. he has made it clear, i need to compromise and give at least that. After all, I’m still not getting sex, he says. Why can’t he value me as a person and show me respect and give me time to heal? I want to feel valuable and special, even if I’m not affectionate with him. Show me I am more than a warm body. He feels he is more than compromising by putting sex “on hold” for now. I’m sorry. I don’t know why I am tellling you all of this. I guess he’s making me feel it’s still my fault. Cd he be right?

    • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Rose,

      You said: ” I am always the one initiating phone calls, texts and asking to meet for coffee and talk. And when I speak to him, I share my heart with him and explain what changes he needs to make so we can possibly begin moving forward with new healthier habits, as opposed to the old destructive habits that must stop. I am willing to do my part.”

      And: “I guess I’m grieving the loss of the marriage, as destructive as it was.”

      Yes. Grief. Good Grief has (as I am told) stages we go through. I am not a trained counselor in any way, so I tell you this for your consideration. As an observation, it seems like this behavior of yours of (always being the one to reach out to him and giving him more of your energy in defining what he needs to do to repair) may fit in the “bargaining” stage of grief where we will do anything not to have to throw the first shovel of dirt over the casket of our loved one. (in this case, your marriage)

      May I suggest that perhaps your husband has already gotten a back hoe and covered it and tamped it down quite securely?

      I am saying this to myself also Rose, and I feel my efforts to try to “unbury” or “resurrect” a marriage is not only exhausting in every way, but an impossible task.

      When I got tired enough of my efforts to effect change in the marriage (dead marriage), I stopped. When I stopped, I wept. When I wept, I wept some more (still move in and out of this place). When I wept more, I slept by the grave site for as long as I needed. (10 months?) When I felt hungry to live, I stood. I feel I must at times look like I was covered in the grave and barely escaped. (like a zombie of sorts).

      Apparently you and I have survived and now is time for us to find water and sustenance for our souls.

      Dear Dear Rose,
      We cannot resurrect that which is dead. Only God can do this, and He is willing.

      May I encourage you to put the shovel down of trying to help your husband fix a marriage he seems to have no intention of fixing. He appears to me to be a grave robber, coming only to your meetings with him for the jewels of your hugs and kisses.

      Putting the shovel down of being the one to initiate contact. It is dead Rose. No amount of bargaining or efforting on your part will change it.

      It is so very difficult to say these things to you as it feels I am adding salt to your wounds. I am sorry if this is so Rose. I am sorry if it is not time to say these things.

      You are greatly loved by your dear sisters here in this place and more importantly by God Himself. You do not grieve alone, but with all of us here as we weap with you and for the loss of your marriage. God weaps with you and is holding you now even though you may not feel or believe it. He promises to care for and to supply for the widows and orphans. I am such a widow.

      The acceptance stage of grief is new to me and as I allow the reality of the truth of my dead marriage to exist, it hurts, but in a different way. Not near as painful, desperately confusing, or exhausting to me as the bargaining stage. This is why I am nudging you away from bargaining and into acceptance.

      I don’t know if you are ready for this stage yet or if you still have a few more ideas to try in the bargaining.

      Just saying, you get to decide how long you bargain for it.

      You also said: “I was stripped of my dignity and respect for myself. I guess it’s my own fault. I allowed it for too long…”
      I don’t believe it was your fault. He is responsible for this stripping he did of you.
      I see such beauty and strength in you now that you will not allowed yourself to be treated in this way. Somewhere inside you are affirming who you KNOW yourself NOT to be (a whore), and I trust you and God can do the work of affirming who you ARE in Christ. I think you have made your own great start by saying “no” to this stripping of your dignity and “yes” to your worth as a woman of God. I rejoice with you in this show of resurrection strength.

      Praying God continue to comfort you where you are grieving, guide you where you feel lost, assure you that you are not alone and love you where you are broken.

      • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 1:54 pm

        Lori, this is beautiful and brilliant. You are a remarkably wise woman. 💗

        • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 4:42 pm

          TL,

          Must be the Lord then doing His thing of creating beauty from my ashes? Thank you for telling me that this is what He would do and is doing. I am so very grateful for any good that might come of all the brokenness.

          Much love to you dear sister.

      • Rose on February 12, 2017 at 9:02 am

        Dearest Lori,
        I have spent my morning reading over your past messages to me. I am in such a deep dark place of absolute despair. Everything you wrote in your messages is true. I know this. You are a wise woman dear Lori. You have learned so much from your experiences with your husband and have come so far. Thank you for sharing your heart and your wisdom with me. I find it very difficult to read your words. The words sting so deeply. I cry so much. I think…no, lord don’t let that be me or my marriage. It can’t be dead.. But Lori, i am not seeing any effort. I can’t remember if I shared with you that I went to his apt “to talk”. I needed to see where this man was spiritually. It was apparent fm his comments that he has absolutely no relationship with God. It was all a farce…professing to be a believer. I explained that God must be at the center of this marriage in order for us to have any chance of healing and restoration. It was clear he was not really believing any of this…as his face showed his disinterest and well as his comment..ok I think we are done here. I sent him many scripture verses, as well as links to Christian preachers he cd listen to on his phone, offered to give him a bible etc. he said thank you for the encouragement. That’s it.
        Here’s what I notice is happening:
        1. It is easier for h to make an effort with the kids because he doesn’t ask anything of them. He just wants their time. All he has to do is just be nice to them, show them he is interested in them, cook their favorite meals, etc and they will respond favorably. After all..what child doesn’t want a father in their life?
        2. H is making this effort with the kids on a consistent basis. Great for the kids..they will take any crumbs of attention they can get from him because they are so starved for it. They’ve been deprived of it for years, so naturally this feels good to them. Dad is finally showing me something…paying attention to me, therefore I will continue is seeing him because I like this new father now
        3. H is not making same effort to win his wife’s heart, as he is making to win his children’s heart. Why? Because it requires much more work than it does with the children. He actually has to make changes and behave differently. Wife is holding him accountable. Children are not. They’ll take what they can get. No questions asked. Not so with wife. She has made it clear what she needs from h. H is used to giving what HE wants to give..not what the wife wants him to give. He didn’t like this. These changes are not what he wants. He wants to behave the same way, yet see wife move closer toward him. It’s all her. She’s “got the wall up. She won’t let love in”.
        4. H is rejecting Christ. And wife is still trying to minister to him, because she knows that Christ is the only way to a godly marriage. So she’s tries and tries to make h understand this. Problem is…h is not looking for a godly marriage. That is not important to him. But it is crucial to the wife. Now we have a major problem. Two different goals. Where does that leave them?
        5. Wife’s deepest desire is to be in relationship with a godly man..that will eventually produce a godly husband and a godly father. This is gods plan. But h is does not appear to be interested in this plan. So what does the wife do now?
        She must decide if she wants to stay married under these circumstances..to an ungodly man, giving up her hopes and dreams of a godly marriage that wd have produced a beautiful relationship between husband and wife. without god, this beautiful union cannot exist. It wd be like the rest of the secular world…
        I feel as though my strong desire to have God the center of my marriage is costing me my marriage. If I am willing to compromise on that, and take this man for what he is..I can remain married. but because of my “higher standards” of wanting more..that goal of a godly marriage, I may be sacrificing my entire marriage. I will never have that godly marriage, so do I remain married to him and accept what he is willing to give, or leave because I wanted more?? This wanting more is going to lead to me being alone. Do you understand?

  152. Aly on February 2, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Rose,
    You are such a precious person and your husband needs help that you can’t specifically give him.
    You are not WRONG!
    Let’s just make that evident given the clarity of what you have been under.

    First, bravery in setting up boundaries for your own place and for him to stay out as you assess your circumstances.
    You are doing a healthy thing for yourself and your children at this time;) it’s so hard when their is so much grief.

    His behaviors seem to reveal sexual addiction.
    You may consider getting into a spouses of sex addicts group so you can find the physical presence you will also need in this journey of growing stronger!

    You are not rambling or anything.. by kind and patient with yourself you have been silenced by your husband over and over.

    From my experience, my thought would be to not in anyway be the one to reach out to him!
    No initation from you at all might help you get off the cycle so you can put some clarity into the situation.

    Your heart is so worth hearing and loving, the messages that your husband has sent to you are not true of YOU.
    But I know this is a process and you need to be loved, nurtured and cared for.
    It sounds like from what you have shared that you have been traumatized by your h and he thinks he is still due some level of affections? No im sorry…
    That must be earned from my opinion.
    I sense he knows where you are weak and he knows how to use shame against you.
    This is not your shame to hold its his.

    He is using his wife as an object and that is not ok anywhere in God’s design. And it seems that he has no repentance for this awareness even.
    Maybe you can look more into trama bonding …
    Did you say you got a counselor too? I’m sorry if that’s a repeat.

    Safety for your heart and healing are critical right now and I hope the other gals can reply.
    God loves you even if you can’t feel it or even if you don’t believe right now, but He will light a pathway.

    I’m praying for your heart and please continue to write your prayers and your experiences as much as you feel, you are not a burden to any of us.
    💜💜💜

    • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 12:36 am

      Aly,

      Thank you for your care, love and wisdom I receive even when you are speaking with Rose.

      Your support is Invaluable support and so very generous.

  153. Robin on February 2, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Rose, the title of the book by Lundy Bancroft is SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO. The Chapter 12 is titled – Why Your Growth May Bring More Answers Than His.
    He teaches in this chapter, Making Yourself Your Own Priority.
    Clarifying your needs opens up possibilities for you to seek what you deserve. As you begin to move the focus of your life toward your own goals and ambitions, your perspective on your partner and on your relationship will shift in important ways. The new rules that arise out of your loving attention to yourself are likely to undermine the selfish, disrespectful, or even violent rules he is used to. SOMETIMES YOU DO NOT NEED TO MAKE A DECISION, because YOU BECOME THE ANSWER.
    When you look at what it takes to press and support your partner through his changes (while he fights you all the way) and then contrast that with what it takes to work on your own changes, you can see that working on yourself will reap benefits you can rely on and build upon. You can be confident that the growth you bring about in yourself will last– so you know it’s worth the effort. Knowing what you actually need and have needed all along can be more important to strengthening yourself than knowing why your partner has not given you what you deserve.

    • Robin on February 2, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Rose, I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’ll send words a little at a time. This chapter helped me to understand I have value, and I deserve to be treated kindly. I really didn’t know that after 30 years of abusive relationship.

    • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 12:38 am

      Robin,

      Solid help here. “SOMETIMES YOU DO NOT NEED TO MAKE A DECISION, because YOU BECOME THE ANSWER.”

      This is something I can believe.

      Thank you for your investment here. So appreciated!

    • Lori on February 5, 2017 at 12:11 am

      Robin,

      I reread your entry here and it is amazing!!!!:

      “Rose, the title of the book by Lundy Bancroft is SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO. The Chapter 12 is titled – Why Your Growth May Bring More Answers Than His.

      He teaches in this chapter, Making Yourself Your Own Priority.

      Clarifying your needs opens up possibilities for you to seek what you deserve. As you begin to move the focus of your life toward your own goals and ambitions, your perspective on your partner and on your relationship will shift in important ways. The new rules that arise out of your loving attention to yourself are likely to undermine the selfish, disrespectful, or even violent rules he is used to. SOMETIMES YOU DO NOT NEED TO MAKE A DECISION, because YOU BECOME THE ANSWER.
      When you look at what it takes to press and support your partner through his changes (while he fights you all the way) and then contrast that with what it takes to work on your own changes, you can see that working on yourself will reap benefits you can rely on and build upon.

      You can be confident that the growth you bring about in yourself will last– so you know it’s worth the effort. Knowing what you actually need and have needed all along can be more important to strengthening yourself than knowing why your partner has not given you what you deserve.

      THANK YOU AGAIN.

  154. Robin on February 2, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I want to share a little of my story after the divorce, that perhaps answers some of the questions that I’ve seen lately. I am not friends with my ex-husband, YET. But more importantly, I do not hate him or feel anger towards him. I feel empathy for his lost ness. I have never ruled out remarriage to him, if he went towards men’s therapy group. But that doesn’t mean I want to remarry him. 30 years is a lot of time in abuse, wounding, trauma, and ugly memories. But I leave this all in Gods Hands. God had a plan to rescue me out of a destructive marriage, and to heal my wounds. I put my trust in Him for all the next steps. This is why I never had a problem with filing for divorce. The marriage covenant was destroyed by abuse. If God wants to raise this couple back up to be together again, only He can do it. I do t have to worry will he, can he, or do I have too. My hope is in Jesus- I heard He does miracles, He certainly performed one for me. Guard your heart above all else. Thank you Jesus.

    • T.L. on February 2, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      Dear Rose,

      We are all feeling such love for you and holding you and your needs up to our Father in heaven, who hears the cries of the oppressed.

      I love what Robin told you in her 2:34 entry. Powerful truth; all of it! This statement is so true, though we have all been “programmed” in a different direction by legalistic theology:

      “This is why I never had a problem with filing for divorce. The marriage covenant was destroyed by abuse.”

      Praying for the love, mercy, truth, grace, and unconditional love of our God to be poured out on you, and for Him to guide you to loving, supportive people.

      Big, bolstering hugs.

    • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 12:40 am

      Robin,

      You said: “I am not friends with my ex-husband, YET. But more importantly, I do not hate him or feel anger towards him. I feel empathy for his lost ness.”

      I am beginning to feel this exact same way. I wonder if this is detachment?

  155. Robin on February 3, 2017 at 1:15 am

    Lori, yes I do think it’s detachment. Living separate from him, causes me to not have anger or hatred. I’ve been set free from abuse. Because he isn’t working on his own healing journey, I doubt we’ll befriends anytime soon, but I leave the door open for God to move………..

    Lori another excellent book I recommend by Lundy Bancroft – is Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That? Small little points given in a short reading for each day. I love this book/ it’s a good reminder of all the things I’ve learned and still get triggered and need to be reminded.

  156. Robin on February 3, 2017 at 1:20 am

    Lori- this book helped me so much before I was ready to separate. This chapter helped me focus on what I could do- instead of waiting for him to do something. I believe this chapter got me moving in walking into my future. I started attending a church an hour away and a counselor 90 minutes away- this chapter showed me how to take control of my life, and grab whatever I needed. Distance away from him was key- and having a no contact rule helped me so much to build my life.

  157. Aly on February 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

    T.L.
    I love your strength and I believe I know where that is coming from;)
    I love your heart here and your wisdom. You are spiritually ‘integrated’ in many ways and it blesses many who read your posts.
    I’m thankful as I read your posts you can see objectively while being intimate with grief and how so many of us here have been impacted, shaped, and some given over…the theme seems to be more male but I’m not trying to gender define…by this ‘continuation’ of the generational origins of sin.
    I’m praying today for God’s will for you and we can clearly see the freedom of His love for you and through you!🌷
    I will pray also God’s will for your husband regardless the outcome.

    • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you, Aly.

      I had a bit of a tough experience yesterday…disappointing, but good. It was a situation I was in, with my husband present, that was a chance to see how much/if there was change in him yet. I watched him handle the situation in this way: holding up his “masks,” clinging to his “role,” maintaining the projected impression that he was in control. I saw him choose pride over humility. And I saw that he still considers himself The Important Person in whatever setting. He had an opportunity to defer to me, to allow me to speak, and he chose to dominate the conversation. (With some friends present.) I am committed to truth and not pretending, so I suddenly stood up as he was speaking, looked at our friends and said, “I’m sorry, but I need to leave now.

      I just received it as my Father showing me where my h. heart is. I appreciate the revelation. It’s information I need to make good choices for me. But my spirit still felt grieved. Just thought I’d share about that.

      I appreciate this sisterhood so much.❤️

      • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 4:27 pm

        TL
        “I just received it as my Father showing me where my h. heart is. I appreciate the revelation. It’s information I need to make good choices for me. But my spirit still felt grieved.”

        I bet you did feel grieved. I feel grieved for you also.
        Glad you can see through the mask and denial of your person. Glad you have the strength to stand up and walk away.

        May I ask (and you certainly don’t have to share more than you want to) what situation you found yourself in where you were physically present with him? Do I remember you saying you are separated from him?

        Just trying to understand.

        • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 5:01 pm

          Yes, Lori, I can explain a little more. We have been separated for about 3 months, but I don’t have a “no contact” boundary. However, our communication is limited to practical necessities.

          We had some fairly close friends come back to our city a couple days ago from being out of the country who did not know we are living separately. They invited us for coffee. My husband assumed I would not agree to go together. I surprised him by saying that I would meet him there, and explained that I was going because they are close friends that I can be honest and real with.

          When they started asking questions, I saw he was not prepared to do the same. He answered their questions in a self-protective way, not once deferring to me. I challenged him on something; he stuck to his guns. And he kept dominating the conversation. Not really in an ugly way, just in an assuming way that his ideas and opinions are the ones that mattered. This showed me that there has been no measurable progress in humility, love, or repentance.

          It may have been a mistake to say yes, but I did think it would be an opportunity to see “where he was at.”

          • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 5:16 pm

            TL
            Wow, I don’t think I would have had the courage to attend such a meeting, but perhaps it shows how strong you are?

            “And he kept dominating the conversation. Not really in an ugly way, just in an assuming way that his ideas and opinions are the ones that mattered. This showed me that there has been no measurable progress in humility, love, or repentance.”

            Has he ever dominated the conversation or shown other behaviors in an ugly way in public?



          • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 5:21 pm

            Lori,

            Good question/point. Not really. Only at home. It’s subtle in public.



          • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 5:39 pm

            Also, Lori, I was happy to see the strength the Lord has been slowly “kneading” into my soul. It was good too, to see my weakness too: my spirit was so disturbed afterward, and it took me longer than I would have preferred to let it go.

            It’s interesting how often during this process it feels like the Holy Spirit is saying, “Watch. Observe. Learn. I’m revealing hearts.”

            Can you all relate, too?



          • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm

            TL
            Your answer to my question: “Has he ever dominated the conversation or shown other behaviors in an ugly way in public?”

            was: “Not really. Only at home. It’s subtle in public.”

            I was curious, because that was one of those “crazy making” ways he behaved. He was amazing in public. Very kind, considerate, helpful and seemingly devoted to God. That is what attracted me to h in the first place.
            It was when I heard my children say his behavior at home and in public were vastly different that I began to have my experience validated.
            My children have eyes to see and ears to hear.
            They are such a blessing to me.
            I am sorry it effected you for so long afterward TL. Praying the Lord will continue to minister to you in that place and produce more beauty from ashes dear sister.



  158. JoAnn on February 3, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Dear, dear Lori, I am so touched by your message to Rose. It is so clear that the wisdom you have gained through your trials is worth tons of gold!! What God has done in you, the wisdom He has imparted into you, and your ability and willingness to share are all worth so much. You are ministering to all of us out of your own subjective, personal experience of Christ, as in 2 Cor. 1:3-5. That is what makes this blog so helpful. May the Lord take you on in His life toward the goal He has for you.

    • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      JoAnn,
      I wish we could meet in person over coffee. I have a feeling we could laugh pretty hard as I saw a glimpse of your dry humor (which I share).
      My heart is so very tender and vulnerable right now and I see now that it is in the position of our own weakness that Christ ministers to us ( I love my new found sisters here on this blog) and through us. (How is this possible?)
      I always wanted to serve Him, but it was from a position of strength not brokenness.
      This is indeed an unfamiliar place to me, and I appreciate your encouragement that God is at work in me and through me.
      From the viewpoint of the ash heap, I know Whom my Redeemer is and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.

      Thank you my dear sister JoAnn. Your words have lifted my heart today, that somehow out of all the brokenness I see and feel around me, God can do something with it. Amazing Grace.

      • JoAnn on February 3, 2017 at 1:25 pm

        Lori, I believe that it is really only from a position of brokenness that we can ever minister to others. Watchman Nee says that it is when our “outer man” is broken that the “inner man”, that is the Christ in us, can be released. That’s when the “treasure in earthen vessels” can be seen and appreciated. I often tell the people that I counsel, who have been seriously abused, that someday the Lord will turn their experience into gold. There’s a verse in the OT that talks about the “hidden treasures of darkness.” I looked it up, and here it is. Isaiah 45:3: “And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, which call you by your name, am the God of Israel.” Precious words.

        • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 4:32 pm

          JoAnn,

          “Isaiah 45:3: “And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, which call you by your name, am the God of Israel.” Precious words”

          Whoa! Seriously! What an encouraging passage and promise as the waters I find myself in are so so deep. Hidden riches of secret places! Hallelujia!

  159. Connie on February 3, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    This is to Ruth. I’m not finding your comments to me from 2 days ago, so I’ll just respond here and hope you find it. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m somewhat on the shy side, but I finally signed up for the second stage of a counseling course, the first of which I took about 15 years or so ago, from Elijah House ministries. I wasn’t really sure about it, especially the sharing and practicing parts, and their paperwork said to make sure your ‘home group’ surrounds you in prayer now and during the course (Feb. 13 – Feb. 24). We farm near a very small community, and our church is, like 5 members who don’t often show up, so I don’t have much of a ‘support group’. So I thought I’d put it up here and ask my sisters to do this for me. Thanks in advance. I so appreciate this group.

    • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Connie,

      I marked it on my calendar.

      Blessings.

    • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Connie. I’ll be praying too. We are so happy to support you in this way! Can you let us know when the course starts? And how long it lasts, approximately. And keep us posted!

      Go Connie! 👏🏽

    • Aly on February 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Connie;)
      I will be praying for you!

      (Did I catch that 5 members that don’t often show up, boy can I relate to some of that) Even if you are the only one who shows up, God will have something there to comfort & strengthen you with💖 in His own way and His special presence.
      Praying for your heart!

    • Ruth on February 6, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Yes Connie!
      I would love to pray for you. It took awhile for me to see this post. Whole parts of Leslie’s blogs weren’t loading for me for a few days. My smartphone also gave me trouble for a few days and by the time I caught up this article had became a GIANT.
      I will write on my calendar to pray for you on those days.

  160. JoAnn on February 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    T.L., I love what you said here: Your husband has disqualified himself from the privilege of being married to God’s precious daughter. Whether he can or will choose to become qualified is up to him, not you. I sure wish that all Christian pastors/counselors could see it that way. There would be so much less confusion.

    • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Me too, JoAnne. The church needs a revolution/reformation in this area!

  161. JoAnn on February 3, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Dear Lori, It is so true that each of us is in the process of being transformed into His image, and the mutuality that we enjoy here is so encouraging. I can see from your posts that you have come a long way, but also that you are still working your way through. Good for you!! Even putting your struggles into writing has its benefits. I have really enjoyed the encouragement of the others, too. Everyone is on a different step along the way, and it is encouraging to know that someone else has “been there, done that.”
    I really like the “burial” metaphor that you used. True in every aspect.
    Hugs to all of you!!!

  162. Aly on February 3, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    T.L.
    I’m sorry for that experience but love your actions!
    God is continuing to strengthen you while you are walking in truth 💜
    I am so thankful to have a safe place of such amazing women like you and many others who are facing the pain of these broken covenant marriages and at the same time Being held by God!

  163. JoAnn on February 3, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    T.L., It’s amazing how much clearer our vision can be once we have distanced ourselves from the abuse. I’m proud of you for seeing that and making the choice to walk away. Hear me clapping???

    • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks so much, JoAnne and Aly. I am so blessed and strengthened by your support. 🙂

    • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      JoAnn,

      Oh, thank you for this: “It’s amazing how much clearer our vision can be once we have distanced ourselves from the abuse.”

      Yes yes yes.

      • Robin on February 3, 2017 at 5:48 pm

        Lori and Joann, I so agree!! Distancing is for OUR GOOD. To give us clarity!!!!!

        • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 5:52 pm

          Robin and JoAnn,

          It is because of you and the precious women on this blog that I think I am beginning to see better the things I need to see that set me free.

          THANK YOU!

  164. JoAnn on February 3, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    And you saw. Praise the Lord!

  165. Sharon on February 3, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    For me, I knew exactly when to give up hope. The sacrifice to me, was staying with him when things were hopeless because i needed something from him like money and roof over my head. I played the game and suffered until I could get my affairs together and leave.

    The reality check from others, counselors, police, friends and pastors who pointed out to me that my husband was an abuser in every aspect in his life. He had decades of treatment and had become “pathological.” I heard affirmation from God, when my abuser/husband chose to be abusive to me immediately following a worship service. Physical violence and threats of it where my final affirmation and I realized that all the years of counseling had not bore any fruit.

    Yet, with reference to Lundy Bancroft who teaches us how an abuser thinks and operates and Patrick Doyle who is a Christian who speaks the truth, I got my respect back. I am my own best friend now and live every day with confidence in my decision, I have not wavered once. No more, wishing, hoping and praying. Sometimes God doesn’t heal.

    It is not that I don’t think God is capable of healing. The message in my life is loud and clear. My abuser is not being healed any time soon. He reminds delusional and denial. Not my problem. Not my problem. Not my problem.

  166. Aly on February 3, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    T.L.
    Such bravery in going! And on top of that the behavior of holding your dignity and value to be consistent with truth.
    Even if he chooses to stay in denial via pride.. you honored yourself and all of the work that you have been embracing about yourself…and you received that jewel of clarity! 🏃🏽‍♀️
    This is me running out there with you🤗
    Ok walking fast I’m not the best runner….

    I will continue to pray for him to surrender to a process but I believe it’s a blessing to know or have an idea of what recovery will look like;) and that yours isn’t dependent on it.
    Here’s me hugging you!

    • T.L. on February 3, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you so much, Aly! 💗

    • Lori on February 3, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      Aly,

      You consistently offer so much warmth and support! I especially love this that you said: “it’s a blessing to know or have an idea of what recovery will look like;) and that yours isn’t dependent on it.”

      Sounds so simplistically true, but it is amazingly freeing when these words mean what they say in our lives.

      thank you

      • Aly on February 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        Lori, T.L , Vanessa too,

        I’m wanting to write this morning to be able to share some of what that ‘authentic place or turning point of my h’ looked like in my journey so far.
        I’m hesitant because I don’t want to express an arrival attitude in any way but share what I needed desperately ..given recovery boundaries.
        And thus realities of what those boundaries produce. He struggled at first with my boundaries as did I~ he preferred the weaker ones, but I emotionally paid the price. The weaker ones had to go away.

        We probably have similar infractions that we can relate to that can be general, then there are different levels.. and different requirements so I’m not trying to lump everything across the board here.

        When my h eventually decided (given healthy boundaries) to deal with his own deep shame (pre meeting me) and his lack of identity not being anchored in Christ truly he could look at what the collateral damage was.

        His posture was this, and I would have accepted nothing Less…,
        Given the place where the Lord had brought me.

        His posture was one of A THEIF, he could identify what he robbed from me, he could own full responsibility for taking parts of my self worth and dignity even while I was struggling to hold on to them as I should have.

        I guess this was some more detail of my story of what recovery (the very beginning of recovery) looked like for me via my h
        He knew he needed God and knew he needed to be rebuilt and regardless of my decisions he was going to seek that out for his heart even though he was going to repay full restitution and abundance to what he stolen regardless if their wasn’t a marriage anymore.

        I hope this adds any help especially if any of you are experiencing those boundary dynamics.

        Much love and support for you all!

  167. JoAnn on February 3, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    AMEN!! I love you all!!

  168. Aly on February 3, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Lori,
    Your so kind so thank you.. I really hope to be a healthy encourager~
    Your story is SO powerful and indeed I love that your walking your children into wisdom and truth as they learn to evaluate words with action….plus, giving them a brave mom ‘who knows’ and is still discovering her precious jewels she possesses;) 💖💖💖

    A lot of my destructive tolerance was rooted in my sibling relationships ~ and all along He was faithful to bring me new sisters in Christ who didn’t need superiority to function🤗 mutually!

    My prayers continue for us ‘all here’ as we find our ‘pieces of armor’ designed by Him, necessary for the journey.
    💜

  169. Lori on February 3, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Aly,
    Your words continue to touch place in my soul that I have not let into the light yet. I suspect this may even happen when you don’t know it.

    Specifically this time: “A lot of my destructive tolerance was rooted in my sibling relationships ~ and all along He was faithful to bring me new sisters in Christ who didn’t need superiority to function🤗 mutually!”

    Oh my, tender spot for sure. Not sure I am ready to share on this yet, would you mind going first please?

    • Aly on February 3, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      Oh my I’m sorry if I touched on something…
      I’m more than happy to share;)
      I’ll have to return to this later … though.
      On a funny note… I come from an earthly dysfunctional family system… we all get rolls yadda yadda..
      I’m the one (pretty much the only one) that believes in professional Christian counseling and plenty of other interventions.., go figure?
      How messed up am I to think our family system can’t figure this out (on our own)? And how dare I try to jump from a sinking boat!
      I’m trying to be funny somewhat funny here …
      I did jump.. in slow motion;) it’s painful.

      I’ll return later to give some words to what I experienced and how that set me up well into a role of superior/inferior marriage and actually some friendships..
      past friendships now.. blessings from above

      I don’t blame them at all.. so I hope it doesn’t come across that way, I think the biggest thing for me is seeing they don’t want a relationship unless it’s like the old one where they cope best! And certainly where I’m not able to exist being an person pursuing authenticicity in all areas of life.

    • Aly on February 4, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Lori,

      Good morning;)
      I’m back to go first… about this ‘dysfunctional tolerance’ I grew to repeat in patterns.

      I wrote:
      “A lot of my destructive tolerance was rooted in my sibling relationships”

      For my situation I had to trace back my history back to some false beliefs that were formed. I had parents that brought some comfort and connection (even though they had serious undealt with issues) but I had siblings that connection was well quite dysfunctional, given the state of the family system I can’t expect anything different. I was a child so these relationship patterns formed early on.

      I was not believed to have a voice or vote.
      I was told by my siblings in order ‘to be with them’ it always cost me..
      I started out as a toddler thinking the relationship was dependent on all of my investment!
      They might have been siblings, but they were not good friend material … if you know what I mean.

      The beliefs and I guess ‘set up’ was this:
      They are superior and I was inferior regarding anything.
      For them to be wrong about any mistreatment was WAR.
      In the dysfunctional system I was always willing to take responsibility for others because they wouldn’t.
      This created that top down attitude and expectation. I mean why take responsibility when someone else is willing .. even if I wasn’t willing at first.. they knew how to manipulate me ( I had know idea at the time it was manipulation) because I was told (by mom) we always have to look at the good in the person and forgive regardless if that person is not willing to acknowledge wrong doing. Very little consequences in our family home given for unacceptable treatment between siblings..
      I am guilty myself.. so I’m not saying I didn’t have my own place to wrongful actions toward them.., but somehow it seemed my parents were more comfortable following through with me and not so much with them. Somehow the standards for them were not the same for me.
      This is still the same today. So I know I’m not in a childhood perception area.

      Their relationship availability in childhood and beyond was consistently (inconsistent) … because of the age differences ..,
      Their opinion was more important and valueable. Which then later on transfered to their time and ultimately their beliefs.

      I really don’t blame them for past behaviors….they themselves were kids.. that were in NEED of some serious ‘ parenting’ and mentoring for how they were dealing with their own identity issues.
      Unfortunately even though these children grow up in form they don’t always grow up in maturity and perspectives. These can get so hardwired with entitlement that the relationship dynamic is so sick because they have no coping skills to have anything mutual, all they know is needing to be ‘on their terms’ in order to be in relationship with them.
      By the way.. they are all professing Christians.
      I had good things I wanted to offer to the relationship and sought to have individual healthy relationships but some people just don’t have the inner places built (such as basic respect for other) and that reveals a lot if there is even a relationship available?
      The more I worked on myself and my recovery and especially toward a healthier marriage.. the more animosity and resentment came from my family of origin.., somehow change was not welcomed and it was seen to be more of a threat than of freedom!

      (I hope that answers some of what I feel ‘set me up’ for a marriage that was imbalanced and what I contributed & tolerated the treatment, the attitude toward me… to keep it that way for a long time. )

      ~Feel free to ask me more specific questions im not very good at articulating something that was so hard to unveil and untangle.

      • Lori on February 4, 2017 at 11:17 pm

        Aly,

        Thank you for going 1st 🙂

        “A lot of my destructive tolerance was rooted in my sibling relationships.”

        Such a powerful unveiling. I have been thinking about this all day.

        “I had good things I wanted to offer to the relationship and sought to have individual healthy relationships but some people just don’t have the inner places built (such as basic respect for other) and that reveals a lot if there is even a relationship available?”

        I am sorry for the pain you must feel that your desire to be close to your siblings has not yet been realized.
        I am happy you see that it may not even be possible (as you said so perfectly) due to: “some people just don’t have the inner places built (such as basic respect for other)”

        “The more I worked on myself and my recovery and especially toward a healthier marriage.. the more animosity and resentment came from my family of origin.., somehow change was not welcomed and it was seen to be more of a threat than of freedom!”

        Yes to all of your sharing. I understand. I wish we could sit together and talk about these dynamics that shaped us from our very early beginnings. It is so painful to watch them carried out in our lives so many years later.

        The idea that our tolerance to destructive behavior began so long ago and with the people we should have experienced the opposite with is a very sad dynamic and one that seems so very hard to change.

        Your families resistance and resentment of your change must have cause you considerable heartache and stress?
        It is a wonder we are able to build those inner places with so much pressure from within and without to stay in the familiar system.

        The reference to leaping (in slow motion) from the sinking ship reminds me of my own experience of getting out of my families alcoholism.

        I am having coffee with my younger sister in the morning and I weap each time I come home from seeing her as she is marinated in alcohol, yet functions highly in her work with at risk kids in a school. She is ever reaching to help others, but has not helped herself.
        She is the sister of mine that has helped me to see my h narcissism and neglect. She helped me to get my feet on solid enough ground to stay the course in the early going, but I am concerned enough about her state of mind to be cautious about the kind of counsel she may give that I see her very infrequently.

        Perhaps I will have the courage to share about my relationship with my brother at another time. This is a tough one for me to talk about. Haven’t been able to yet.

        Powerful imprints in our early years for sure Aly.

  170. rose on February 3, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    To my dear sister in christ Lori,
    As I write this, tears are flowing down my cheeks because you had enough courage and care enough to tell me the truth. While I admit, your response was very very tough to digest, I know in my heart, you speak truth.. not to hurt me, but to free me of this tormented prison I live in. You are showing compassion for my suffering and you understand why I try so hard. I printed out your response because I need to read that over and over and over again, until it sinks in. I am doing exactly as you say, bargaining. I never knew it had a name. The analogy of the burial and the shovel was spot on. Its as if the veil has been lifted and I see so clearly now, what I had been so blind to all these years. I knew something was wrong, but I didnt realize how oppressed I was. I didnt realize how it was affecting my self worth. I am thrilled when someone talks to me…I feel valuable. Im still having a hard time believing so many wonderful ladies here on this site care enough about me to bother responding to me. I didnt expect to hear back from anyone. I was just so desperate one night as I sat home crying and thinking dark thoughts, that I wrote in. The only one who wd really care if I wasnt here, wd be my daughter and my little dog. Thats it. But soon my daughter will be leaving for college and then I’ll have to face my demons. I pray for god to give me strength. Im very scared. Thank you for your words of truth Lori.

  171. Lori on February 3, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Precious and dear Rose,

    I am grateful to see you have responded and that you have received help from my sharing. You are in such a vulnerable place right now.

    You said: “I am thrilled when someone talks to me…I feel valuable.”

    I think you and I need to grow in this understanding and belief that we are of infinite value, we just haven’t been in the right relationships yet to learn this. Apparently we have learned a much different and destructive message about our value. We can learn a new language Rose. We can learn to let ourselves receive the value others want to impart to us here.

    Sometimes it felt like I was crazy while the rest of the entire world saw things from the same lens. Seemed the same message of devaluing was at every turn for me and sounds like was for you also. It is not okay with me anymore to allow people to devalue me in a destructive way. Sounds like you may be feeling the same way.

    We have gone so long not being seen or heard Rose,( let alone believed,) that it is indeed exhilarating (and a bit overwhelming) to be held and to be of focus. I learned that from our dear sister Aly. She held me in her focus and promised me I mattered. She convinced me it was true. And now I have more dear friends here doing the same.
    Tears are now flowing again as I think of their names and how they have convinced me they are on my side and for me and love me enough to tell me the truth. Love me enough to take time to respond to questions and post their wisdom which helps anchor my weary soul.
    Never have I felt so much love from so many sisters.
    I can’t tell you how much this group of women mean to me. I hope it will help you to know how much you are being held in this group and how much you are loved and prayed for here.

    And you said: “But soon my daughter will be leaving for college and then I’ll have to face my demons.”

    The timing of your daughter going to college I believe is Gods timing Rose. Think of it! He will have you all to Himself! I think this is a good thing as you learn to lean into Him. Oh, dear Rose, precious precious Rose, He has the best yet to come for you. He does! Lift your face and look Him in the eyes and see how He loves you. He knows you are afraid. He also knows you are strong and honest. Will you let Him have this time with you. Will you let Him have all of you?

    As to “facing your demons”, they are not YOURS and you will not be facing them alone. You have a small army of women with you and Jehovah God your provider as well. He has plans for them also dear Rose. 🙂

    I pray you feel the love of all here and how we are rooting for you.

  172. rose on February 3, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    hello my new dear friends,
    I want to thank you with all my heart for all the love, care, concern and support you have shown me. I feel so unworthy of your time. Your heartfelt responses have touched me so deeply and I look forward to your words of wisdom. Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy life to respond to me and share from your heart. I cry as I write this because I am feeling so responsible for ruining my marriage by being so tough on him to change. Maybe I pushed him away by being so stubborn and insistent that I wanted to see change within him..now he doesnt even call. I called him last Sunday morning “to talk”, which ended badly. I have not reached out to him in any way all week. This has been very difficult for me. And sadly…I havent heard from him..Perhaps Lori was right. I need to stop trying to initiate with him. I need to get into my thick head that I cannot make him see the light. Maybe you can tell me what you think of my idea..I am in the process of writing a letter to my husband and in this letter I am addressing all of the abuse (sexual, emotional and mental) what he did exactly and how it made me feel. I have taken notes from Patrick Doyles videos and Leslies book and incorporated them into my letter, along with scripture. I am very careful not to blame, but to bring what is still in the darkness..into the light. At the end of the letter, I am asking that he consider getting help. (I cannot imagine the anger he will feel after reading that. Him..getting help? Its me who needs the help, so he says) and I am letting him know that I am emailing of copy of the letter to our counselor/pastor (we were were seeing for marriage counseling) so he can be aware of exactly how I was treated in the marriage. My husband is beginning a discipleship group with this counselor and three other men. Perhaps the counselor can see my husbands destructive behaviors and his need for help. Im not sure what I hope to accomplish with this letter. Perhaps for me to finally have a voice to tell my side, what it felt like for me. With a letter, I cant be stifled anymore, like i have been. No one to cut me off, or make fun of me as I tell my story, or make faces as I speak, like im a fool or Ive lost my mind. Maybe my words might finally resonate with either my husband and/or the counselor. Maybe not. Maybe Im still trying too hard to hold onto that shovel that Lori spoke about. Any thoughts Ladies? Am I making a mistake by sending that letter to my husband and counselor?

    • T.L. on February 4, 2017 at 8:50 am

      Our Dear Sister Rose,

      Goodness, we are so, so happy you are here with us! You are so dear and tender-hearted, and very precious. We are so honored that our loving Shepherd led you here; that we are counted worthy to love you and support you and encourage you as you learn how strong you are, how intelligent you are, how worthy you are.

      You have been lied to and stolen from for a very long time; by the enemy of your soul, by your husband, and apparently by most people in your life. It is going to be such a joy for all of us! We get the privilege of accompanying you on your journey to walk away from the lies, discarding them like an ugly, heavy coat while stepping into the truth of learning who you actually are.

      I just had an analogy pop into my head: it’s as if the only mirror in your house/life has been a very distorted one: the reflection showing back to you has been horrid and wrong. But we het to mirror truth back to you! We get to hold up reality and let it seep in and change your view of yourself–the true picture of who you are in and because of Christ.

      Thank you for trusting us and allowing us to do for you what has been done for us.

      Regarding your letter idea, I am in agreement with what others have said so well already. i like JoAnn’s idea so much of going ahead and writing it FOR YOURSELF. Not for him. And then wait on it. We will all bathe it in prayer with you.

      I agree with the consensus that it is highly likely that the letter will not accomplish the change you hope for/wish for in your husband. He has a stubborn heart of unbelief, in spite of his pretense of being a Christian. If you end up giving it to him, I hope that you might be able to do it with this attitude, “Thank you, Father, that you helped me to get all of this truth about what happened to me and my feelings spoken ‘aloud’ onto this paper. Now use it to accomplish your will: I ask you to use it to change my h.’s heart. But if he refuses to let that happen, use it to reveal what is in his heart to help me make wise choices for my life.” And then let your hope be in God alone, and step back and let Him reveal the truth about your husband’s heart and choices.

      We love you, Rose. We are all praying for you and rooting for you. You are brave and smart and loving.

  173. rose on February 3, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Lori,
    What a blessing your words are to me. thank you so much for your loving response. You are so kind and compassionate. I am just so overwhelmed that you care for me. Im sorry Im such a burden with my neediness. Its something I am trying to work on. I hate this about myself. I hate my neediness and insecurity. I hate the panic attacks that come over me when Im alone, I hate the anxiety I feel everyday. I hate this new life that I have. At 50 years old, I am single again, starting over. A time when we should be reconnecting with and enjoying our husbands, as our children get older and eventually move on. Going on dates again, having dinner, going to the movies, little weekend getaways…thats how its supposed to be, isnt it? Not like this. Alone at this stage in our lives. I feel ashamed going to social events or church because people see me without my husband. I am embarrased that my marriage failed. Im sorry. I am rambling again.

  174. JoAnn on February 3, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Rose, I surely sympathize with what you are going through. Writing a letter can be very helpful, to you, especially. After writing it, I would suggest waiting a few days, praying over it, re-reading it, and then, before the Lord, you can decide whether or not to send it. The benefit of writing it is mainly to you. You get it all out on paper, then you don’t have to carry it around with you. I think Lori would probably agree with me that it won’t have much affect on him.
    Rose, many of us here have talked about how we pray and have experienced the Lord speaking to us and enlightening us. I don’t recall hearing much from you about your relationship with the Lord. Have you laid all this before Him? Surrendering your while situation to Him, and allowing the Lord to deal with your h and the rest of your family….it is so very freeing. What do you need to hold onto? When we really let go of our loved ones, hand them over to the Lord, such a peace comes in. I have had to offer each of my three children on the altar to the Lord. It was a struggle each time, but the peace that passes understanding was there waiting for me. So very sweet.
    One more thought….what is it that you are afraid of? Sometimes if we look into that fear, really look into it, (what’s the worst that can happen?) we realize that the thing we are afraid of is really only a “paper tiger.” You are stronger than you think you are. And it is in our weakness that grace comes and strengthens us.

    • Lori on February 4, 2017 at 12:39 am

      Rose and JoAnn,

      My h had a counselor when we were first separated who asked if I would be willing to write a letter (much like you describe yours to be Rose) to my husband and for the counselor to see. The counselor asked me to share “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly”. Once I started, I couldn’t hardly stop. There was much more to say (after nearly 30 years of marriage), but I hit some of the most painful places of betrayal. I wept as I wrote of the pain I endured. I raged in the letter also.

      After submitting this letter to both my h and the counselor via an email document, my husbands counselor asked if I would set up a session with him to visit about the letter, so he could figure out where to start individual counseling with my h. So I scheduled an hour phone session with h counselor.
      When the counselor called, he asked me to tell him about the letter. I asked him if he had read it. He said “no, he had been busy and meant to, but hadn’t had a chance to.” I told him my conversation was over with him and he had better not charge myself or my h for an hour session. If he couldn’t bother to read my heart wrenching letter that HE assigned me to write prior to a session with him, I wasn’t going to be devalued anymore by him either.”

      The counselor had actually responded to my letter by email prior to the phone conversation by saying something like. “Thank you for your letter, I am sure it was very painful and difficult for you to put down your experience in words. It will be very helpful for your h to hear.”

      This was the only reason I even agreed to visit with him on the phone because it appeared as though he had read it and was compassionate as to its content. Not so.

      My h also received the letter and I never heard from him at all about it’s content. Nothing.

      I share this story with you to say that I DO agree with JoAnn when she says: ” I think Lori would probably agree with me that it won’t have much affect on him.”

      Also, I think JoAnn’s suggestion: “After writing it, I would suggest waiting a few days, praying over it, re-reading it, and then, before the Lord, you can decide whether or not to send it. The benefit of writing it is mainly to you. You get it all out on paper, then you don’t have to carry it around with you.” is a great suggestion.

      Rose, consider whether you think this may be an attempt to try one last time to make sense to him and others, thus relieving yourself by being able to say you have done everything you can to help save the marriage.
      If so, may I say to you your h bears the responsibility for the broken vows and therefore he bears the responsibility for learning how to repair it. The more you work at it, the less he needs to learn to work at it.

      It hurt to share my letter and have it be devalued again by a counselor and my h.

      What would your purpose for sharing it be Rose?

      • Lori on February 4, 2017 at 12:53 am

        Rose, I just realized you said you weren’t altogether sure about your purpose for sending the letter.
        Even if the counselor reads it and believes you, unless your h heart is willing to work on his destructive behavior, God himself will not force him to.

        As to not being interrupted or cut off in mid sentence or eye-rolled at, I think writing a letter would be a kindness you do for your own soul. Complete your sentences, share in rawness, don’t stop writing your letter. You are worth the pen, the ink, the time, the emotional energy it takes to do this.
        Maybe this is one of the ways you can love yourself.

      • T.L. on February 4, 2017 at 9:51 am

        Lori,

        It is really quite shocking that the counselor did this! It seems quite negligent and unprofessional as well as uncaring. I’m so sorry that this happened to you, but also I love hearing how you handled it!

        • Lori on February 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm

          TL,
          “It is really quite shocking that the counselor did this! It seems quite negligent and unprofessional as well as uncaring.”

          I thought so too. He also had talked my h into considering an intensive individual weekend that would cost a little over $4,000. I think perhaps I didn’t trust his motives after that.

          I think it was Robin who said she had seen around 20 counselors before she found the one she needed. I don’t have much energy to be looking/trying that hard for that kind of support yet.

          Do you have an individual counselor?
          I would appreciate your thoughts here.

          • T.L. on February 4, 2017 at 8:34 pm

            Hi Lori,

            Yes, $4,000 for an intensive weekend is outrageous. Many charge around that price for a full week of intensive counseling!

            I had a much easier time than Robin finding support. My first counselor (about 3 years ago, for about a year) was a ministry/missions colleague. It was complimentary, so low-risk financially. I was not quite ready for full disclosure (still trying to protect my husband’s reputation) but she was able to quickly see that he had power and control issues and I was weak and enabling. She helped validate things I thought were wrong, but was afraid to do anything about because of bad theology. (wives submit to your husbands…won without a word, etc.) She helped me to grow stronger and suggested I read and learn about co-dependency. Around then i took “a fearless moral inventory” on myself which was scary, but very freeing.

            Then we had an opportunity to counsel with a husband/wife team for awhile (till husband got too uncomfortable with the level of honesty I was walking in–I’d reached the “No more pretending stage!) I kept counseling with them. They figured things out very quickly, and were validating, understanding and supportive. And I’ve also had 4 counseling appointments with another counselor when I was in my home state over the summer. He is a professional counselor as a side job to his associate pastor position at a church. He’s been very helpful.

            So my experience with Christian counselors has been really good; batting 3 for 3!

            Not many pastors understand the dynamics of destructive marriages, so I would be very hesitant and cautious with that. They also have a conflict of interest: they don’t want your marriage to end, so they might encourage you to stick it out in a marriage that is destructive. And I wouldn’t even consider counseling at a church that could be described as “fundamentalistic, or legalistic.” If you usually leave church feeling guilty or like you “are not doing enough for the Lord” I’d say it’s unsafe.

            Praying for the Lord to lead each of you to good, supportive counseling in His perfect timing for you. In the meantime, we can support and encourage each other.

            Much love.



  175. Lori on February 3, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Dear Rose,

    Here I am on a Friday night not doing anything with my h. There are many like me I am sure, whatever their reasons might be. Thing is, I am not being devalued. It is worth it to me.

    You said: “A time when we should be reconnecting with and enjoying our husbands, as our children get older and eventually move on. Going on dates again, having dinner, going to the movies, little weekend getaways…thats how its supposed to be, isnt it? Not like this. Alone at this stage in our lives. I feel ashamed going to social events or church because people see me without my husband”

    Same. I have not gone to church yet because of my separation. I am starting to see I may be harming myself because of my shame.

    Yes, the grief and shame are real and we suffer for the rebellion our husbands have walked in by trashing their promise to love and to cherish. To value and nurture.

    Yes, people will judge us and see us as the reason we are separated from our h, but that is because they have not taken the time to understand what brought us to this suffering. Likely, many will not take the time. It is much easier to glance our way and decide to believe the pre-packaged easy answer as to why we are where we are. SHE left HIM. If he wasn’t having an affair, SHE is being disobedient to Gods word.

    I do understand how hard it is to be blamed after having endured the pain and trauma of our husbands hatred of us for desiring our most basic needs be seen or met by them. How dare us expect them to keep their promise to us.

    Yes. I feel ashamed and embarrassed at this failed marriage, but I am learning how it is not my fault. So the shame and embarrassment are not mine to own. Maybe these are just words in my head for now, but in time, I think I can learn to believe them. Do you think you can?

    Our husbands buried our marriages Rose. Mine did from the start. The wedding was a farse. The wedding bed was worse than a farse.

    I understand how hard it is to have invested so very much of our lives with the hope and belief that it would pay off in the golden years. The dreams we had are shattered.

    This is why it hurts so much to accept the reality of the truth that we cannot embrace a future with our h in this way.

    Your words are powerful Rose. If I break them down this way:
    I HATE:
    my neediness: (what you see as “neediness”, I see as the legitimate need to be seen, and loved. If you were starving, I think you would be extremely needy for food. You have been deprived of the basic need to be valued and loved. No one here hates this about you, and I encourage you to get whatever you need from this group and God.)

    insecurity: (It will likely take time to grow into becoming more secure in your value as a person after so much neglect/abuse.)

    panic attacks that come over me when Im alone: (I am sorry you suffer so. Bathing you in prayer on this point. I am guessing there will be help in this community for direction in healing for this.)

    the anxiety I feel everyday. (I had it too when I first separated and made little to no contact with h. I didn’t think I would survive being separate. I still feel this but not as intensely. I think I can say it gets better.)

    I hate this new life that I have. ( I am sorry Rose, I am sorry there is such little left for you to feel hopeful in, but I think it was Robin who said she began to see her single life as a treasure hunt. What does Rose like? What is Rose good at? Perhaps you could see it as something that is being remade by the Lord? Trust Him that it IS GOOD)

    You have taken on so very much lately and I would encourage you to breathe, and only think of the next step. Hang in here with us ladies. There is so much help here.

    You are valued and cherished and the Lord has much good in mind for you and your future.

    • T.L. on February 4, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Oh Lori. Again, what a lovely thing it is to watch the beauty arising from the ashes of your life. Your wise insight and loving questions and counsel are a gift to us all.

      To all of my sisters here: I am amazed at the goodness of God in all of your (our!) lives. Look at Romans 8:28 coming to pass in the rubble of our lives and marriages! Look at the diamonds God has been creating in the pressure of our bad marriages!

      I keep thinking of this passage:

      But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.

      But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

      Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2Cor:7-18

      None of us knows what lies before us. We only know that it will be good…(Because Jer.29:11, Romans 8:28) Our Father wastes nothing, least of all the pain and suffering of His Beloveds. And so we trust, we rise, we stand, we follow.

      I am filled with so much love for you all! I am filled with so much gratitude to our Father!

      • Lori on February 4, 2017 at 10:48 pm

        TL,

        Thank you for sharing more of your history with regard to your counseling experiences. I am so glad for you that you had 3/3 good experiences. So happy the Lord led you and strengthened you in using His people to help.

        “Praying for the Lord to lead each of you to good, supportive counseling in His perfect timing for you. In the meantime, we can support and encourage each other.”

        Thank you for your prayers regarding this. I am not very trusting (as you can probably tell) of the experience and am not pressing hard into it yet.
        Good to know we can share our stories and what helped us here. It is so very helpful.

        • T.L. on February 5, 2017 at 1:37 pm

          Lori,

          Yes, this community is amazing! Please pardon me if I came across as pushy about counseling. I think since I “have found my voice” I let it be too loud sometimes, and not gentle enough.

          We are all on our own journey’s with the Lord, and He is a good and gentle Shepherd. He’ll lead you to the right pastures in the right timing. xo

          • Lori on February 5, 2017 at 6:19 pm

            TL,

            “Please pardon me if I came across as pushy about counseling.”

            Not at all TL. I received it as you wanting the best for me and your experience with counseling as being so very helpful to you. (the best for me too?)

            Not feeling led that way yet, although I am open to it’s possibility. For now, He is my Wonderful, Counselor.

            It’s all good sister.



    • Rose on February 4, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Dear Lori,
      Thank you so much for responding to me. I am so deeply deeply grateful that you take the time to write to me. I actually feel like someone whose feelings matter. You care enough to respond. I know I always this to you…it’s because I feel such love and support from you and it is helping me more than I can express in words. I have read your response so many times. You mention you are home on a fri night..not doing anything with yr h. Thing is- you don’t feel devalued. Right there is a difference between us. See…I do feel devalued by the fact that my h is not reaching out to me in any way. THAT makes me feel devalued. Apparently, I don’t mean very much to him, nor does he miss me. It makes me feel that obviously I am not worth the effort it wd take to try and make the changes i have asked. We put our time and effort into someone that means something to us…right? I am seeing how lopsided it has been..with me always making the attempts. Now that I have stopped, I am noticing..I am standing by myself. Where is my h? Why is he not coming along me, with the same effort? You also write, that is why it hurts so much to accept the reality that we cannot embrace a future w/ our h in this way. Yes Lori..your words stung as they resonated in my heart that my h, a man I have been with since i was 22 yrs old, married to for 20 years and share two children with…will not be a part of my future. Here come the tears again. I always thought somehow, someway, we’ll get through it. But reality is showing me something different and it hurts so deeply. As much as this man hurts me, I cannot envision my future without him. What is wrong with me? I guess I have a long way to go with detaching from him. My entire life was intertwined with his and now I’m on my own. I didn’t want it to be like this Lori. Sometimes I wish I wd just have kept quiet and continued suffering silently. I don’t know which pain is worse.

      • Lori on February 4, 2017 at 1:04 pm

        Rose,
        Maybe a reason you and I are connecting so easily is that you and I are very closely in step with regard to where we are at in our journey. If we are measuring by time, I am not that far ahead of you.

        You made an honest and important distinction between us: “you mention you are home on a fri night..not doing anything with yr h. Thing is- you don’t feel devalued. Right there is a difference between us. See…I do feel devalued by the fact that my h is not reaching out to me in any way. THAT makes me feel devalued.”
        Yes. It had that same effect on me at the beginning, but I don’t have those FEELINGS now”. Feelings change and mine have. Perhaps, if you choose to continue in this separation, yours will too.

        You also said: (and my heart breaks over this for you) “Apparently, I don’t mean very much to him, nor does he miss me.”
        True. It is very apparent to me that this IS true.
        His loss Rose. And a very great loss it is in my opinion. You have such a beautiful and caring heart and you are very intelligent.

        And here you said: “It makes me feel that obviously I am not worth the effort it wd take to try and make the changes i have asked.”

        Yes. I believe you are right. You are not worth the effort it would take for HIM to keep you.

        This is his problem with valuing. Not yours.

        That does not mean you are not worth the effort to a person who sees and appreciates your value to make efforts to keep you. And what about you and I Rose? Are we ourselves worth the effort of nurturing, protecting, valuing? Does our value alone come from our h?

        If it does, we are both in SERIOUS trouble I think.

        Rose, your h appears to want a whore for a companion, (not very valuing of anyone is it?) Pity his next companion if you decide it is not you. Pretty sure he will find someone to take your place. (he has needs you know…hugs and kisses are expected!)

        Oh Rose, these are hard truths and I hate being the one to affirm them in your life, but it was a gift to me to be validated in the reality of a h who shares similarities with yours.

        We are promised that we can know the truth, and it will set us free. It has for me. It is understandable that we would want NOT to know it, but don’t our hearts, minds and bodies tell us differently?

        ” I am seeing how lopsided it has been..with me always making the attempts.”

        Yes! YOU ARE SEEING. Praise the Lord.

        “Now that I have stopped, I am noticing..I am standing by myself. Where is my h? Why is he not coming along me, with the same effort?”

        Rose, perhaps because he buried your marriage with a backhoe long ago precious sister and he never intended to grab a shovel and help in healing or restoring. (I feel I am being brutal in honesty here)

        Maybe a nicer way to say it is that he doesn’t value it like you or God do. I am so so sorry Rose.

        “As much as this man hurts me, I cannot envision my future without him.”

        Okay. Can you envision TODAY without him? Not even tomorrow, but just today? Today, Rose. Ask the Lord to hold your hand securely TODAY. Tomorrow is too big to imagine even. Can we set the “future” aside (or in Gods hands) with regard to your h? Can we simply trust that for today, I will be provided for by my Savior Who is the defender and protector of the oppressed? Will we let Him be enough for us today? Will we let Him tend to our injuries and insecurities as only He can do. Will we lean on HIS valuing of us THIS DAY?

        And: “Sometimes I wish I wd just have kept quiet and continued suffering silently.

        Oh Rose, I understand and this is why we stayed so long in the suffering, but may I say that this place of suffering has no bottom to it and the suffering in this scenario gets worse and worse dear Rose. I have many times wanted to end my suffering by ending my life in this scenario. If it weren’t for my children, I feel fairly certain I may have. You and I were not meant to suffer like this Rose. No.

        “I don’t know which pain is worse.”

        I remember that feeling not too long ago. (6 months?) And I can tell you that the pain in this scenario is what I would call a “hopeful pain”.

        Someone here said that we can get comfortable with our pain in suffering, but it will require us to endure a bit more pain each day if we stay with your first scenario with no hope of it ever going away.

        Rose, we have endured pain all of our lives. Surely we can endure this unfamiliar pain of healing. And certainly we can endure it better because we are not alone and are not isolated. We have the comfort of eachother and prayers of our dear sisters who have gone ahead and they are telling us we are on the Way! We have found the way to healing Rose!

        Keep asking questions, keep sharing your heartache and fears, and your part (as it is revealed to you) in the madness of the destructive marriage.

        Rose, today is all we have and you have what you need to live this day. We are here for you.

        Precious sister, hang in there with us.

  176. Nancy on February 4, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Good morning Aly,

    I received How we Love in the mail on Monday and it is fantastic. I had listened to the podcast on Focus several times but the book is so much better ( the workbook especially). But I’m bowled over that I’m a vacillator. You know, I really can’t stand vacillators, and now I know why.

    This had humbled me. It is painful. They said that of all the types it is hardest to get vacillators to see their part….ouch. So much of it makes sense as to why I behave that way and what prevents me from looking inwards. Another thing that really stung is that a vacillator looks to others to take their pain away. You know, before coming to Christ I was in therapy for years. It struck me that maybe that was me paying money to get someone to take my pain away. I’m not even sure that I was there to look in the mirror.

    Ladies, please pray for me that I would take responsibility for my part. I think that’s one of the things at the core of my vacillating heart. I take responsibility…no, more accurately, I try to fix things that are not mine ( my h’s wounding) and don’t have the tools to take responsibility for myself and my own feelings, attitudes and behaviour.

    That’s probably why “above all else, guard your heart” has been the most important verse to me. It’s about taking responsibility for myself.

    I’m sad. I’ve lost a lot of friends because of this way of relating 🙁

    • T.L. on February 4, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Dear Nancy,

      I just prayed for you and will continue to. Your honesty is admirable, and I thank you for sharing with us.

      This was very interesting and insightful:

      “Another thing that really stung is that a vacillator looks to others to take their pain away. You know, before coming to Christ I was in therapy for years. It struck me that maybe that was me paying money to get someone to take my pain away.”

      Bringing things out of the shadows and into the light is scary, but it’s always good, because it’s the way to freedom.

      One thing I have prayed for is that the Lord will bring you new (or renewed!) friendships to replace the ones you have lost.

      Thanks again.

      • Nancy on February 4, 2017 at 12:24 pm

        Thank you, T.L. especially for your prayers for renewed and new friendships. I am surrounded by Godly women on a regular basis (I am blessed) but need courage to accept their love.

    • Aly on February 4, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Oh Nancy!
      I wish I could hug you right now;)
      Sometimes we can be a in a few attachment areas. Working with a counselor can help a lot with these cycles.
      The ‘how we love attachment’ material is great to find where we can relate to our behaviors and responses in relationships.
      I hope this helps, but please keep in mind that they are not trying to give people (us) personalities or labels… it’s more about personality injuries than ‘personality’ itself.
      And those injuries happen early on given our environment and early bonding. No choice of our own really then… but now we can have more choices:)

      I think I might have mentioned but my h was clearly strong avoidant injuries given his family home with some areas of control injuries too.

      Those that see themselves as vacillators are the hardest on themselves internally…(per Kay and Milan /writers)
      I’m praying for your heart today💗 I love your heart and your willingness! I love how you pray for us and give such care to what others are also facing.
      Be kind and gracious to your heart and seeing that some things given a broken world with broken people (myself here included) get established within us… they can set a course..,
      but The Lord brings us out and can help us find healthy connection toward Him but also with a (willing spouse) I highlight willingness, and especially with all our relationships and critically our children;)
      Sending hugs to you!

      • Nancy on February 4, 2017 at 12:33 pm

        Thank you Aly, for the reminder that this is not who I am. It’s not – it’s a deeply engrained pattern that the Lord can uproot.

        Who I am, is a daughter of the most High King. Thank You, Lord.

        I am hard on myself for sure. I have only done about half the chapter on vacillators so hadn’t gotten to that part yet.

        Willingness is key, isn’t it. I thank God that He has continued to pursue me, and shown me this so gently and in His time 🙂

        And I thank God for this space and each of you ladies 🙂

    • Lori on February 4, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Nancy,

      To your comment: “Ladies, please pray for me that I would take responsibility for my part. I think that’s one of the things at the core of my vacillating heart. I take responsibility…no, more accurately, I try to fix things that are not mine ( my h’s wounding) and don’t have the tools to take responsibility for myself and my own feelings, attitudes and behaviour.”

      Same. Thanks for sharing this so openly. I see my behavior in this also. I bought the book also and have held it at a bit of a distance out of fear, but you have encouraged me to bring it closer.

  177. Rose on February 4, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Dear Nancy,
    Can you explain more about a vacillator and where you found the podcast? I wd be interested in listening to it for myself. Your words resonated with me and caused me to think…what am I not seeing that I could have contributed to failure of my marriage. yes..my husband was a real piece of work, and he needs help in many areas. But I realize I also need help…and perhaps the way I responded to him was wrong. Perhaps it was reactive abuse or perhaps I am a vacillator. And so I would like to listen to the podcast and see what I learn about myself. Thank you Nancy for your humility and honesty in looking at yourself. It is not easy to see our own faults. It takes a spiritually mature person to allow the Lord to speak to them in this way. Praying for you.

    • Nancy on February 4, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Rose,

      It was a podcast from Focus on the a Family ( best of 2016 series aired at Christmas time). Milan and Kay Yerkovich are a couple that teach on attachment (or as they call it, Love style). Their book is called How we Love but you can also find some material on YouTube ( interviews etc…).

      I don’t know where you are in your story, I haven’t been keeping up here, so I invite others to speak into this. Small steps are really important especially at the beginning of your healing journey. The Lord will guide you. Don’t ‘force’ anything. Be gentle with yourself ( I’m speaking to myself here too!).

      For me, for example, when I began praying regularly with a friend on the phone, for my husband ( and she for hers), it was because I was recommended “power of a praying wife” from three people over a two week period. I said, “ok, Lord! I hear that you want me to pray for him!”, then I learned that the E of Leslie’s Core was empathy without enabling ( with an associated verse about praying for an enemy) and that was confirmation.

      I’m guessing the Lord speaks to us all differently. So I’m not telling you how He might confirm steps to you, just giving you an example. Another thing I “look for” in taking steps is His Peace. Sometimes it’s just a stillness.

      Just don’t push yourself is all I’m saying 🙂

      God bless you Rose.

      • Lori on February 4, 2017 at 1:24 pm

        Nancy,

        What do the other letters in CORE stand for?

        • Nancy on February 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm

          Hi Lori,

          C- committed to truth & reality ( Psalm 51:6 )
          O- Open to the Holy Spirit ( Psalm 27:11)
          R- Respect and Responsibility ( Proverbs 4:23 -24)
          E- Empathy and compassion without enabling ( Luke 6:27)

          If you YouTube Leslie Vernick CORE a short video will come up. I’ve watched it soooo many times 🙂

          Thanks for the encouragement above, Lori. So glad we can walk together in this way.

  178. Ginger on February 4, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Dear Rose,
    I feel a need to chime in on a few things as I’ve been reading your comments and some of the others. I know the feelings you are going through as I have felt the pain of realizing my husband wasn’t willing to look inward and make the changes necessary to save our marriage. Finally, I realized that I had to focus on saving myself and my children. I have three still at home and have been told many times by them to please get divorced as they can’t stand his behavior and constant need for control, mean spiritedness and lack of overall care and consideration. It’s been toxic even after I learned to start setting boundaries. Having a tyrant in the home with all the power is a terrible thing!
    A couple of years ago, I felt inspired to return and finish my college degree. It had been over twenty years since I’d been a student but I went back! It was the beginning of my return to a healthy self worth and confidence. Of course, he preferred me to stay home and not be on campus but I felt that I would do better in a classroom setting and not just sitting at a computer. It was the best choice I made during that time of difficulty for me! I have learned so much about myself as I’ve studied and increased in knowledge. At my university there are religion courses too and those have been enlightening and uplifting.
    I can’t believe that after all this time I will actually be graduating soon! I don’t know if going back to school or even taking a few classes is something you’ve looked into but I would highly recommend it!
    Don’t feel that you have to be alone. You have many options to choose from, whether it’s education, part or full time work, serving in your community and church or just reaching out to your neighbors. There are opportunities out there (others who feel alone too) and you may need to get some help to find them!
    I think one of the other ladies pointed out that it can be a time to find out what you do best and what you enjoy! It’s also a time where you will especially turn to your God. Ask Him what it is you need to focus on or spend your time on and he will guide you. It can take time and some searching but you’ll get there. I hope and pray you will find the strength and support you need. It’s there and you are worthy of the blessings waiting for you!

    • JoAnn on February 4, 2017 at 11:46 am

      Ginger, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You will graduate soon, and that is a big accomplishment. I did exactly the same thing: quit college when I got pregnant with our first child, then 25 years and three kids all grown up, I went back to finish my degree and also go to graduate school. I really didn’t think I had it in my, but the Lord was clear that I should do this, and He showed me that I could do more than I ever thought.
      Rose, start small: go to your local community college and pick one class that you’d like to do. There are so many options. Another thing could be volunteering for Meals on Wheels. There are a lot of lonely folks out there who would welcome you for a chat. One step at a time…..

      • T.L. on February 4, 2017 at 5:28 pm

        Ginger and JoAnn,

        I agree with Lori; so inspiring! You have me thinking…

        Thank you and congratulations!