Morning friends,

Could you all do me a favor? I want to do a webinar or e-book or similar on The Lies in Christian Marriages That Lead to Crazy Making.

Here are a few examples:

  • The man always has the final say because he’s the head
  • Unconditional love means unconditional relationship
  • Forgiving means forgetting and putting the past behind you
  • Promising “For Better and For Worse” means Jesus wants you to stay in an abusive marriage at all costs or at any price
  • God hates all divorce

I would love to hear from our blog family of the things you’ve heard from your spouse, pastor, and/or church leaders about what God says you should do, think or feel in your destructive marriage that has made you feel confused, scared, and/or a little crazy.

Thank you in advance for this and as soon as I’m ready to teach on it, you will all be one of the first groups to know.

Todays’ Question: What is a Christian woman's response toward a husband who uses porn? Life with him has become awful. He is preoccupied with women everywhere we go. Worshipping the Lord beside him is especially difficult for me as his eyes are feasting on women. I long to be able to truly worship without struggling to lay aside my anger.

Answer: I'm sure many women reading this blog will resonate with your pain and anger. I don’t think you need to lay aside your anger about this to worship God. God is angry too. Your husband’s behaviors are wrong; damaging to him, to you, and to your marriage. Don’t feel guilty about feeling angry. Just be careful on how you express your anger.

Sadly, many men struggle with pornography and sexual addiction these days. Satan has a foothold into men’s hearts and homes and the church have not done a very good job at validating the devastating impact this habit has on one’s mind and body and marriage. Perhaps some church leaders are reluctant to come down hard on this problem. According to surveys conducted by Barna Research, a sizable percentage of pastors also struggle with pornography problems.

Secular research and brain science are starting to speak about the damaging effects of watching pornography. Here are some TED talks that are sobering to watch. If you’re a mom of young boys, please watch the videos and, if you can, ask your husband to watch it too.

https://www.ted.com/talks/zimchallenge

http://sexual-sanity.com/2013/02/ted-talk-highlights-brain-changes-that-stem-from-porn/

Jesus takes pornography very seriously. He says, “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’  But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye – even your good eye- causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand – even your stronger hand – causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:27-30.

Jesus tells men to take this sin of lusting with one’s eyes seriously and to take decisive action to deal with it. Gouging out one’s eye or cutting off one’s hand will not keep someone from lusting, but Jesus is saying, “Do what it takes to deal with this problem NOW.” Sadly, many men don't listen.

Instead, they think they can play with fire and not get burned. But this is mistaken thinking. The book of Proverbs warns serial sexual addicts that they will regret not taking action to deal with this problem. The writer of Proverbs warns, “In the end, you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.” Proverbs 5:11-13.

Paul tells us that there should be no sexual immorality among us and that such sins have no place among God’s people. He goes on to say that we should not be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. And later he tells us to expose the worthless deeds of evil and darkness (See Ephesians 5).

What does this mean for your question, “What is a Christian woman’s response to a husband who uses porn?” My answer is “it depends.” It depends on your husband’s response to his struggle with porn.

Does he hate it? Is he repentant? As Jesus advised, is he doing everything within his power to stop this habit, even when it costs him? For example, is he willing to be without the Internet? Is he willing to put controls on his computer? Is he going for help with his thoughts? Is he honest and open with you about his struggle and is he willing to be held accountable? And, is he grateful for a wife who holds him accountable for his behaviors so that he doesn’t burn himself and his entire family down to the ground with his own foolish fantasies?

If so, then a Christian wife’s response would be to be gracious and forgiving, coupled with an uncompromising stance against allowing such evil in her home and marriage. No woman in her right mind, Christian or otherwise, would allow her husband to bring another woman into their home to have sex.

In the same way, if he is not repentant or desiring to change, no woman should turn the other way or close her eyes to knowing her husband is ogling another woman or watching pornography. It degrades her and demeans him and the other women.

However, your next step, in this case, requires something from you. It requires that you have the courage, strength, and faith in God to stand up for what’s good, true and right in your home, your marriage, and for your husband’s welfare. It requires you to expose what’s going on regardless of the cost and draw a line in the sand that says, “No more. If that’s what you want I can’t stop you, but I won’t live like this.” – Click To Tweet

This is a tough stance for many women to take, but I believe until you do, your husband will continue to behave as if he can have his cake and eat it too. He can enjoy all the perks of home and marriage and still live as if he’s a man who has no responsibilities to you, his family, or God. Don’t let him.

Remember, this is not just his life, it’s also yours. Your strong stand is the only thing, short of losing his job or health that will get his attention and hopefully motivate him to face his issue. If he refuses, then it’s time you quit enabling his habit to destroy you and your children.

Friend, what has been your response when you have discovered that your husband has a habit watching pornography?

220 Comments

  1. Garrett on April 12, 2017 at 7:17 am

    That if the husband follows the Lord completely, that the wife will do the same.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 12, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      This is the lie that drives you crazy? That if you follow the Lord Completely, she will too?

      • Garrett on April 12, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        Yes, for me it set a false incentive and it also set me up for discouragement.

        I thought that if I led by example, my wife would follow the example. I sincerely wanted to be a good leader in the home, but when my wife wouldn’t cooperate and fought against good things, I became discouraged and chalked it up to a failure on my part. I eventually became trapped in the lie that I can do something somehow to change my spouse (add that to the list). I measured my own success as a husband according to how my wife responded to me.

        But it also made the reason for leading wrong – I wasn’t wanting to lead out of a faith response to the Lord, but out of an attitude of control and wanting things to be “good.” I can still remember when I heard it from the pulpit. “Men, if you want your wife to follow you, give her something godly to follow.”

        I also think we get told a lie (or at the least maybe a misunderstood phrase) of “give and take” and that it’s an acceptable normal. But I think it should be “give and receive” is a healthy normal. Taking is something I am more sensitive to and I realize my wife and I allowed each other to take from each other…but we each got bitter about the taking. Taking meant we owed each other, but I never noticed debts getting forgiven.

        • JoAnn on April 22, 2017 at 8:21 am

          Garrett, I do agree that especially as the head of the household, a man should pursue godliness, but then it is the wife’s responsibility to pursue along side of him, and if she doesn’t, that doesn’t mean he has failed. We are each responsible for our own relationships with the Lord. Many of us here are wives who have had to pursue on our own because the husband wouldn’t. So, it wasn’t your fault that she didn’t follow your example. That’s on her.

          • Rachel on April 25, 2017 at 1:25 pm

            The opposite of this is also stated. That if my husband is living in persistent unrepentant sin, he will be “won over without words” if I just act correctly. Or, if he doesn’t want to be the spiritual leader, it’s probably because I’m trying to take over leadership responsibilities and not allowing him to lead. Basically, if there is any issue in my marriage at all, my only appropriate response is to be meek and gentle and silent and assume that my husband will eventually get with the program. Geez…crazy making much???



          • Rachel on April 25, 2017 at 1:26 pm

            And I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m minimizing your position. That’s not my intent at all. The point I’m making is that husbands and wives are both being told that if they just act properly then their spouse will fall in line. That’s ridiculous. How about I’m responsible for me and he’s responsible for him?



  2. Angela on April 12, 2017 at 7:20 am

    What about a husband who goes to support groups, Christian counseling, has internet blockers etc. and yet is still “struggling”? At what point in recovery does a wife determine whether or not he is taking recovery seriously or is just really having a hard time kicking the habit? I also think that a lack of porn shouldn’t be the only goal. If you remove the porn without increasing intimacy that just eliminates a problem, it doesn’t actually move the marriage in a better direction without intentionally building intimacy.

    • Nancy on April 12, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Hi Angela,

      Here’s how I see it. This is an addiction. Like other addictions it needs to be taken ‘one day at a time’. It may never be ‘cured’ and yes, I agree that intimacy needs to increase… intimacy with God. I loved Garett’s response to Connie’s post, below. We all have a ‘God shaped whole’ that we try to fill up with all kinds of things. Addictions are particularly hard to ‘kick’. The only way to replace an addiction is with is the Source of our true thirst. God.

      As far as wether he is taking it seriously. I’d start by watching Patrick .Doyle videos on reconciliation. Then ask myself, “has he re- organized his life to fight this addiction?” “Have I honoured myself in setting the boundaries I need to with regards to this addiction?”

      Addiction is very different than a bad habit. Resources need to be redirected in such a way that it is acknowledged by both of you, as such. If you determine that he isn’t repentant, or taking it seriously then you need to set stronger boundaries that guard your heart.

      • Aly on April 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm

        Well written Nancy!

    • Survivorwife on April 25, 2017 at 6:02 pm

      Exactly. True repentance means you TURN AROUND and go in the opposite direction, you take the narrow path and head towards Christ, becoming more and more like Him daily. Clearly the husband in the question above has not repented.

    • Sheri on April 26, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Has he repented and gone the extra step to cast out the unclean, perverse spirit in Jesus’ Name? Also Dr. Doug Weiss at heart to heart counseling helps those men with healing from sexual addictions. Worth sharing that with your struggling spouse.

  3. Ilene on April 12, 2017 at 7:32 am

    I felt too much shame and fear of not being able to live life alone. So even when I knew he had returned to watching porn and having affairs, I did nothing. At fist he gave up his smart phone so he wouldn’t be able to access the internet, but then he needed it back again for “work”. I asked him to put protective apps on his phone and software on his computer that would report to a friend in his accountability group, but he didn’t need it. He eventually left his accountability group. He said it was because they weren’t really having any accountability and he and his new friend were. I eventually found out that the exact opposite was true. All of this was after going through a process of “healing” over the same issue years before. I am not sure if I can ever know love with a man in my future (we are awaiting a final divorce ruling). This issue is so prevalent and I am so jaded. I just can’t believe men can give it up for good. Maybe short term, but not for good.

    • Brooke on April 12, 2017 at 7:45 am

      I’m so sorry, Ilene. I do believe men can change but it’s very difficult and they have to be willing. I hate that you are going through this.

    • JoAnna on April 15, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      I understand what you are saying about “being ashamed or fearful” of being alone. But we women are already “alone” if there is nobody in the marriage with us… “relating” to us…I recently saw a YouTube video; it was a live seminar for women and relationships. The seminar leader was taking questions from the audience and one elderly woman stood up, grabbed the microphone and blurted out: “I’ve been single all my life! Even when I was married… I was still ‘single.'” The audience, which was mostly women, started to applaud because they automatically knew what she was talking about: as women, we may have a warm body sleeping next to us in our bed, but we are “still alone” or not in a genuine partnership (marriage) if he isn’t emotionally or relationally “there.” Many blessings to you and your future.

  4. Rose IamHis4ever on April 12, 2017 at 7:40 am

    After almost 34 yrs of marriage m, I got the dreaded call from my pastor that my husband called someone I know 5 yrs ago at 3 am and asked them not to tell. I fled the house and left him. I also spoke with the person and I believe them. My husband has been a porn addict for a long time. I left last year for a week and came home and discussed how he needs to get computer protection, counseling, and an accountability partner. He chose to do nothing. I have only communicated by email, because he is threatening to sue our church, I have not communicated why I left. With a heavy heart, I filed for divorce last week, my husband does not have want the divorce and left a message that he wants to talk. I see no signs of remorse yet, but of course my heart and keeps hoping for a miraculous change that only God can do in his life. I have dreams, too, that I would love to see fulfilled in serving God with music. I need direction as to what to talk about with him. I’ve been praying about this for a long time and feel God finally has him on his knees. Ladies, please help me

    • Teresa on April 19, 2017 at 2:22 am

      Rose…if you see no sign of remorse…why talk to him? I’ve learned over the years…watch his actions, that will tell you everything you need to know.
      If God finally has him on his knees…good. So let God deal with him, and you continue with your plans for divorce.
      IF, and that’s a big IF, he truly desires to change, he will do the hard work necessary and you will be able to see it…safely, from a distance.
      I was addicted to Hope-ium for many years…but my husbands constant lies helped me break that addiction. My HOPE now lies with Jesus…I can trust him.
      Praying for you Rose. It’s hard to throw away 34 yrs of marriage…I know this…I’m at 31 yrs right now…and it seems like such a waste…but I’ve accepted that this is for the best. No more Hope-ium.

      • Carter on April 25, 2017 at 8:54 pm

        Well said Theresa. I was addicted to Hope-ium too!! God opened my eyes to the love He has for me. No need for that… He is all I need!!

  5. Colleen on April 12, 2017 at 8:51 am

    I have a Crazy Making thing for you. It is the wife’s submission, obedience and prayer that leads to a husband’s repentance from sinning against her. She should do all this quietly of course. No standing up for herself , reminding him not to behave that way or anything else that could be perceived as her having any power in the relationship.

    • Connie on April 12, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Yes, the other day I was listening to a talk show called ‘Pastor’s Perspective’ and a woman called in about her cruel husband and what to do. The pastors told her to be quiet and win him ‘without a word’. Good thing I was alone in the car, ’cause I don’t usually talk to a radio, especially with those kind of words, ha!

      • Jamie on April 12, 2017 at 6:05 pm

        Yes, submission. We are to pray about his behavior, not confront him about it. We are not the head of the household and therefore would be “out of our place” if we challenged our husband. If we do not submit to our husband, we are rebellious and Good will be angry with us. And divorce is not an option because he isn’t physically abusive.

        • Linda on April 25, 2017 at 10:19 am

          I heard that “submission” means to submit to his “goodness.” God is good.

  6. SaraJane on April 12, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I was shocked and disgusted and hurt the first time I saw his computer screen when he didn’t hide it in time before I walked in. He apologized and I forgave so I believed him and thought it was the end of the matter.

    We went through that cycle for decades. I felt the same every time: shocked, disgusted, hurt. I also became angry at his lies promising to quit but never doing anything about it.

    Then I went through a time of trying to win him back. Making myself more “desirable” in bed. I felt humiliated and demeaned but thought it was my duty to please him. I ended that.

    Over the years I begged and pleaded. I drew firm lines and took a stand. Nothing helped. He lied to me and our counselor that it was over. Our marriage fell apart completely. He lost the trust and respect of our daughters who were aware of his addiction before I was.

    I continue to forgive each time I think of it. He claims he beat his habit all on his own without help or accountability. But I honestly don’t believe it anymore.

  7. SaraJane on April 12, 2017 at 9:21 am

    I also felt like a failure: that I couldn’t hold onto my husband’s attention. Your teaching, Leslie, has helped me get stronger and to see that the problem is his- between him and God. That I am not responsible for the choices my husband makes. Thank you for caring for us!

  8. Remedy on April 12, 2017 at 9:26 am

    One more to add to last week’s list:
    “If he isn’t beating you or cheating on you, there really isn’t anything we (the church) can do to make him behave as a husband.”
    That was a real blow as it seemed to reduce the marital relationship to its lowest standard of what it means to be married. I coined the phrase “beatin’ and cheatin'” to rephrase the things that Jesus won’t accept. All else that goes on behind closed doors, well…hey…you married the guy.
    My issue is where does the Matthew 18 principle come into play if you’re married? Keep speaking, teaching, and shedding light in the dark places Leslie!! So grateful for your work and courageous, yet gentle, voice!!

    • Chaplain's wife on April 25, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Exactly what made me a bit resentful of Jesus’ words because my husband (a pastor, then military chaplain) was gone for long periods of deployment and the house was normal…kind, peaceful, fun with occasional “issues” of discipline to face with the children. Then he would come home & the climate would change to a hostile environment with provoking the kids and me into disagreements, screaming at us in the car & scaring us by driving crazy, blatant hypocrisy acting hateful when we were alone as a family but pretentious & totally acting like we were a happy, loving family in public places. The hardest & most damaging was his rejection of the kids. Our daughter was a tomboy & loved to camp, go fishing, shoot arrows or guns, ride with her dad on his Harley, and asked many questions that made her dad feel insecure & disrespected. She asked me hard questions too but I felt she was bright & I was challenged because I realized how passive I could be & she was asking excellent questions (especially regarding traditions in church). Our son from the beginning adored his sister (best buddies) and she was older & he happily let her take the lead most the time. He was tender hearted & thoughtful. Their dad insisted they would be gay & both would get most upset if he was “riding the case” of his/her sibling. “Pick on me but don’t criticize my brother/sister!” When the sibling would protest the treatment, he would scream that they better respect him, he was their dad & part of the God Squad!” (In ministry) But my husband was adamant about being “above reproach” & often didn’t even leave the ship if prostitutes were on the pier…but then return from sea very angry & demanding in sexual relations because of all he had passed up…so now I needed to PAY! I would look forward to his return, then he’d treat me like that & try to fulfill whatever he thought he had missed and it wasn’t a passionate, mutually enjoyable sex life at all. But “no beating or cheating” so I was supposed to maintain a meek and gentle spirit. I did so for 22 years & nearly caused the ruin of my son & daughter’s lives…confused sexuality, resentful of God & church. They are healing now, but the scars are deep. I now believe that God hates divorce & I agree with Him: I hate it, too. But He also despises unfair & ill treatment of the people affected in the relationship.

      • Carter on April 25, 2017 at 9:01 pm

        I wish there was a way to connect with some of you who share my same story!! God bless you and your children and the healing process- we are there too- God is good and mighty to save!!

        • caroline on April 26, 2017 at 1:33 pm

          Hi Carter
          You said:
          [I wish there was a way to connect with some of you who share my same story!!]

          It is very important to stay connected with others on this tough journey. You are more than welcome to join this small community for recovering wives: http://restoringgodsdaughters.ning.com/hearing-it-from-an-addict/about-this-site=edit

          Everyone on Restoring God’s Daughters is at a different stage of healing and sharing our stories encourages us to grow in Christ.
          Blessings, caroline

          • JoAnn on April 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm

            The same can be said about this blog. So much help here.



  9. Connie on April 12, 2017 at 9:52 am

    First, I think we need to change our vocabulary. He ‘struggles with’ porn, makes it sound like it’s attacking him and he’s trying to fight it off. He’s not. He chooses to sin. Against God and women, his children, the church, and even other men. Sugar-coating sin doesn’t help us. I read one popular book about it (Every Man’s Battle) and I was sick. Trying to be understanding and gentle with sin doesn’t help. That book even tells the men to not tell their wives about it because, “You know, they don’t understand, they might overreact.”!! Puke.

    • Garrett on April 12, 2017 at 10:29 am

      I agree with the vocabulary change suggestion. Clearly, men USE porn. They are deceived that it will meet a real need that they have. They are distracted away from recognizing the real need, and are totally hooked into trying to find a solution. Men will say this is very frustrating to experience. I imagine women are able to empathize with this.

      We know women often USE as well – maybe they use other things, but they use because they also are human. Both men and women have real needs and they look for satisfaction in places where they will not find it.

      However, I think we need to clarify that bringing the topic only down to the sin level is not sufficient. Here’s why: it perpetuates a lie that the secret to helping a man find freedom from doing sinful things, is just to have him stop doing those things. It puts all the focus on the porn, instead of the needs of the man (or woman, depending on what problem we are discussing). We have to help him ask WHY is he doing it.

      We all have real needs, and if those needs are being met by receiving what the Lord is trying to give to us, then we will find satisfaction. But if we attempt to meet them by taking from each other, or using our work or career, or using our children to make ourselves feel better…then we are doing the same thing and are not in any way better than the one using porn. We are being users.

      Instead we can understand that just like it is not appetizing to eat when you are full, men will no longer go to porn when their needs are met. But I don’t mean to suggest wives are the solution – their wives cannot meet the needs I am speaking of. Clearly the unmarried man needs a solution too, right? Only the Lord is able to help a man develop a sense of satisfaction that allows for him to become a giver and not a taker. Women need this same satisfaction, and their husbands cannot provide it. Humanly we are not able to give what only God can give.

      Jesus knew this when he talked with the woman at the well (John 4:13-14). She didn’t need to be told to stop being thirsty, she just needed to be shown where the right well was.

      When wives misunderstand and overreact, maybe they are deceived as well and think they can provide to their husband what he really needs, or that somehow they were not good enough for him.

      • JoAnn on April 12, 2017 at 3:06 pm

        I agree with you, Garrett, that getting to the real, vital needs is the answer, and that for any of us to try to satisfy those vital needs on our own, whether through porn or overeating, or codependent relationships, is not going to take care of the need (drugs and alcohol also fall into that category). I believe that this is an area where many church leaders fall short in their teaching. We need to be brought into a vital, sweet and intimate relationship with the Living Lord Jesus, which is what those on this blog are always pressing toward. Unfortunately, you don’t hear a lot of this kind of word from many of today’s pulpits, but here, on this blog, it is emphasized over and over. I thank God for that.
        On another note, There is a very helpful book for sex addicts and their spouses called “At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry” by Steve Gallagher. He also runs a residential treatment facility in Kentucky for men who want to kick the habit. It is strong on scripture and developing an intimate relationship with the Lord. This is an addiction that is insidious and damaging to a godly marriage. Not God’s plan.

        • Aly on April 12, 2017 at 6:17 pm

          JoAnn,
          Well said and I so do agree with you and with Garrett.
          Porn use will highlight the deeper issue being that of intimacy. Intimacy with God and others. …those that struggle with intimacy will find many sources to fill.
          But I do believe for any of you out there that recipient of your husband’s use… my heart is heavy for you. This is still a betrayal in the worst of ways, its not nearly the same or even comparable if someone over eats.
          Not saying that I’m weighing sin here.. just don’t want to minimize the impact of what it can do.
          Exposing is the only way to freedom for these heart issues.

      • Ilene on April 12, 2017 at 4:03 pm

        Garrett, Your response smacks of abuse or, at least, that within the church which enables it. The church must be done with men “struggling”, “using” etc,, because needs are not met. The church must be done with equating the issues of working too much or seeking for satisfaction in something like a hobby (rather than God) with the same level of sin and heartbreak that porn brings into a home. And, it must be done with telling women to extend compassion and endure it endlessly for the sake of holding a family together. I think your response is perfect for displaying the types of lies Leslie asked for at the beginning of the blog.
        Leslie, three lies that I believed:
        1. If we just show men how their needs can be met in Christ they will be able to conquer porn. Or if the wife can meet their needs (worse), then they won’t want it. You can lead a horse to water….
        2.All sins are equally bad. Nonsense. Porn falls in the grouping of sins for which Paul said those who practice them have no part in the church. Not all sin is equal and not all sin brings the same earthly destruction to a life or a marriage.
        3. Women must be understanding and not overreact. All men struggle like this. Their struggles are no worse than a woman’s. “Look to the log in your own eye before you go after the speck in his,” I was told. Be more forgiving. Get your need for love met in Christ when your husband doesn’t meet it.
        All of these things simply gloss over the ugly, destructive horror that is porn and sexual addiction and keep wounded women attached for far too long.

        • Nancy on April 12, 2017 at 4:13 pm

          HI Ilene,

          I don’t interpret Garett’s comments to be at all abusive or enabling.

          In fact I thought this commentary was quite wise.

          • Nancy on April 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm

            In fact I thought ‘his’ commentary was quite wise.



          • Ilene on April 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm

            That is your opinion, Nancy. I still stand by what I said. I’ve not only lived it personally for two decades, but have spent most of my adult life in Christian college and professional ministry circles. I do not speak from lack or training knowledge or practice. Years ago I would have preached exactly what Garrett wrote, but time and wisdom have taught me otherwise.



          • Nancy on April 12, 2017 at 5:13 pm

            Hi again Ilene,

            I’ll clarify that in agreeing with his perspective does not mean that I would discourage any consequences that the wife should put in place to guard her heart ( and her home) from abuse.

            Porn is adultery and causes massive damage in a relationship.

            So while I agree with his perspective that only God can fill that “God shaped whole” in our souls, that does not mean that I think the wife should not holding him accountable for his betrayal.

            She SHOULD hold him accountable. For me the “above all else, guard your heart” proverb speaks directly to this.



        • Connie on April 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm

          I agree with you, Ilene. I don’t agree with everything Mark Gungor says, but when it comes to this, he yells, “STOP IT! JUST STOP IT!!” At Elijah House we were told generally not to counsel an alcoholic until they’ve been dry for at least 90 days, otherwise you are not talking to a person, but to the alcohol. After it’s out of their system, then you can deal with other things. Someone that addicted will lie and manipulate and placate and and and…….we all know the drill. I think that showing fruit leading to repentance means making a huge effort to change, then you know they are ready to work on their spirits. And you’re right, Paul says to throw them out of the church, not pussy-foot and stroke. Then you have a game on your hands, and you won’t win.

        • Garrett on April 13, 2017 at 8:05 am

          Hi Ilene,

          When you share that what I wrote smacks of abuse and reminds you of the things you hate that you have been told by people in the church, I totally believe you.

          And that means that I now I understand more clearly what you meant when you said you were jaded in your first post. I believe you are in a very difficult place. I can see you are wrestling with the difference between truth and lies and how does either one of those help the pain you are in. You are angry. But with the frustration, hurt and loss that you have experienced, we can understand why you are angry.

          I do know that many church congregations these days struggle with enabling attenders and members to feel like they are a part of the body of Christ when those members are not in any way submitting to the leadership of Christ who is the head of the Church. It’s inclusion without accountability. Love with no leadership. And it is VERY confusing.

          It happens in my church as well any time someone is not willing to confront sin for what it is, or is too afraid to confront at all about anything. I would encourage you to focus on Jesus – what did he actually say? All true Christians have been given new life which allows them to understand the truth, see their own sinfulness. In my own frustration when sin is not being addressed properly in the church, I remind myself that I am part of the church too. I am responsible to live in a way that honors God.

          He hates sin, but He loves people. No matter what others do, that’s my goal.

          But not everyone who goes to church is a Christian, and not everyone who says they are a Christian is a Christian. That said, we must focus NOT on being a Christian, but focus on Christ – the person. “Being a Christian” is one of those phrases these days that I think holds a meaning of merely “doing what Christians do.” And that’s a problem, because it can bring a person’s focus into comparing themselves with others. One solution to shortcut our frustrations with what we’re told is to learn for ourselves what Jesus actually said. But we will find, I believe, that it is much harder to complain about what Jesus said and still call ourselves a follower.

          And he said to love your enemies.

          One of the neat things about what Leslie helps us do is work out the differences between the lies and truth. We are encouraged to find out for ourselves not only what others have done and get clarity on why it was wrong, but also learn to look at ourselves and what we have done. Getting clarity on ourselves is quite a bit harder, I’d say. In your first post, you mentioned some of those things you saw in your own life, and I appreciated your transparency about how you saw yourself.

          Given what you listed as what you consider lies…I was surprised you think being “more forgiving” is a bad thing, for example. I have been thinking through the way you combined them and think I see in what you wrote what many others are saying as well. That basically, we are told things that lead us to believe that if we do XYZ that our spouses will change. It perpetuates a lie that it is up to us to make the difference in the other person. Which is sad, because those things are designed to bring US freedom. So when we do what is suggested and the change in the other person does not happen, we suddenly face the possibility that we are getting manipulated, and not helped. And we feel like we are not good enough, but we know that we are getting lied to.

          How does this sound…am I close?

      • caroline on April 13, 2017 at 1:44 am

        I agree with a lot of what Garrett says, but I have a serious problem with the idea that some wives “overreact” when they discover the perverse secret double life of a man who claims Christ.

        Short of mass murder/suicide I hardly think there is any reaction too big!! Sexual perversion is a HUGE problem in the life of a Christian. It touches everything.

        My own husband lived as a user of pornography (an addict) since he was a small child. By the grace of God, he was finally able to break his bond with that type of perversion after nearly 30 dark years of slavery.

        We are at 4 years post full-disclosure and he now lives totally open and transparent. There have been no relapses in over 5 years. Yes, he has also had to work through many other issues that were merely masked by his constant use of pornography.

        He is doing really well in his recovery and works daily at rebuilding his character, making amends and restoring my trust.

        It all had absolutely nothing to do with me, but when I married him I was dragged right into the center of an addict’s vortex.

        He despised his habit for decades, but it wasn’t until I seriously “overreacted” that he saw just how evil and destructive his garbage was. Truly his secret addiction was killing us both.

        So lets change that word “overreact” while we’re going after the word “struggle”. Wives under reacting is a MUCH bigger problem.

        Flipping out is actually MY JOB!!

        • Sophia on April 13, 2017 at 8:07 am

          Caroline,
          I so agree! Severe responses in our marriage ultimately helped get my husband’s attention that ‘the house is on fire’. Looking back, quiet acceptance and resignation was no body’s friend.

          • Sophia on April 13, 2017 at 3:17 pm

            The first counselor my husband found(pushed to find in crisis) instantly pulled me and communicated there was no ‘problem’ . But I knew inside myself I and our marriage were being destroyed by something my husband did not even own as a problem. That counselor was OUT. The next and current counselor was able to see and help expose the trouble. He was tough, ‘if you don’t follow my advice find someone you will listen to’. It is now a year in, we are being help each in individual counseling. We do not get to control the consequences of our sin. I was being destroyed. Yes I am learning CORE strength and many other different ways of living now. BUT no apologies for crying out over the sin and brokenness in our relationship.



          • Aly on April 13, 2017 at 3:44 pm

            Sophia,
            Good for you!! Praise God for your continued strength and wisdom in listening to your truths that were veiled! Way to battle;)



        • Aly on April 13, 2017 at 9:16 am

          Caroline,

          I really appreciate what you wrote, I’m also very thrilled for the freedom your husband and the courage that you offered.

          I guess I would see myself as a flipping out person and I set that stage pre~marriage.
          I 100% agree with your comment of the under reacting and the horrible outcomes that can bring about more devaluing and horrible behavior.

          My h didn’t have a porn issue but the pain of his character issues were just has taxing and just as big of problem in my opinion.
          I agree with you on what what your husband’s problem (alone) and I do think that the larger church community needs to be better equipped to educated people about what is going on here.
          What the destructive dangers are especially that can form at a young age.

          It deeply saddens me that mothers, fathers, and other advocates do not get serious about this issue and find it ok to somewhat act like it’s not a big problem.

          The scientific research has almost been out for two decades and few people now are starting to peer more into the reality of this abyss and abuse.

          As far as what Garrett said (the wives overreacting) it might have been on a different post…
          but I have heard this prior and have seen/felt some of the unspoken language in the church~ fearful and avoidant of dealing with the trauma and garbage that our kids will have to battle onward.
          I’ve had it with the church culture and professing Christians ‘being and trying to appease’ both sides of this tragic issue…while not coming to the needs of the one victimized and abused.
          (Usually the wives)
          The church culture knows we have a godly men character issue that is rampant and many people … fear upsetting the apple cart at home and the entire body of Christ reaps in my opinion. I’ve lost family members because I have a educated opinion & reaction to these things and that is not comfortable to them.

          Caroline, praise God that your are able to build trust again and your h has found his recovery path and in no way do I want to minimize the absolute horrible betrayals and pain you have been through. I do hope you will continue to be a strong voice of healing and reality here;) Standing with you!
          God bless you!

          • Remedy on April 13, 2017 at 10:03 am

            I resonate with your observations here Aly and seriously struggle with the concept of just smile, keep joyful, pray and all will somehow be well, without addressing issues as the Bible plainly instructs. Leaves my head spinning….and in the position of a’black sheep’ whether real or perceived.



          • Aly on April 13, 2017 at 11:05 am

            Remedy,
            Thanks for your post;)
            I agree and feel strongly that this is nothing ‘new under the sun’ as we have instructed by God’s Word. I do think we have all participated to the culture to compromise.
            Who do we now aim to please? Who are we called to please? He is our source, our savior, our redeemer!

            I don’t think the battle is perceived..’ the messenger’ will feel and experience the wounds for taking a stand… this is how we have orchestrated the very ‘ill body’ .. it’s time for those that do see clearly to grab their truth and chose to take action in my opinion, the next gen is on the line more than ever before.
            Besides, all of us will have to give an account of our choices and decisions.
            I guess I’d rather be the black sheep and I cure this pain of this world…than the other blended in sheep following the pathway to great destruction.
            Prayers for all of you amazing women for your continued courage of Him!
            He will see us through, we don’t have to doubt that. We have to believe and participate in that ‘action’ of believing.



        • Garrett on April 13, 2017 at 10:04 am

          Hi Caroline,

          I wasn’t meaning that anything that women do when they learn that men have been lying/cheating/using porn is considered an over-reaction. Some women over-react and some women respond. I was just speaking to the situation of the over-reaction.

          I see the difference as this: over-reacting is allowing the shock of something else to take over your ability to otherwise *respond* in a way intentional, thoughtful and appropriate. When I react/over-react, I allow the other person or the issue itself to rule me.

          When I react, I can become part of the problem, can start a new problem, or can prevent resolution of the problem. Responding allows the other person to see that I have a choice, and their actions affect me, but do not take away my own power of personal responsibility (to respond). I can speak to the effect of their actions if I respond, and responding helps me deliver the message in a way that is less likely to become a new focus, which allows me to bring better focus to the topic I am addressing.

          A “strong response”…I do think of it as a look them in the eye and say “No, sorry, I will not tolerate this or say it’s okay. And if you insist on doing this you will not have my support or presence. I will also be making sure I am not doing anything that makes it easier for you to keep doing this.” In all of these things, the focus is on me, and what I will do.

          Over-reacting (at least when I’ve done it) tends to try to manipulate the other person.

          Strong response, on the other hand, gives the other person a choice to make.

          • Lori on April 13, 2017 at 11:02 am

            Garrett,

            I appreciate your clarification between “reacting” and “responding”. It makes so much sense to me and speaks of great self-care which is the best hope for “others” to choose their own “response”.

            Responding vs Reacting seems to have so many more healthy benefits:

            1. Less enmeshment/unhealthy bond of control or manipulation to the “others”
            2. Power remains with self
            3. Allows all involved the freedom/responsibility of self
            4. Maintains dignity, sanity and integrity of “responder”.
            5. Forces the healthy work of boundary making instead of the unhealthy work of attempting to force change in another
            6. Provides best chance at keeping the focus on the “problem” at hand, rather than begin the downward spiral of attempt at control.

            I may have just repeated all that you said in your post, but maybe there are others here who like bullet points (like I do).

            Thanks for sharing



          • Aly on April 13, 2017 at 11:38 am

            Lori, & Garrett,

            I do agree with both of you here when it relates to responding verses reacting. I do want to clarify my position on the over-reacting comment and what gave me reason to respond to Caroline about the strong consequences for dangerous behavior in my opinion.

            Lie #1 told to many husband with sexual integrity issue (across the board) is that if you fully disclose the deeper issue, chances are your ‘wife will over-react’ to the truth of how you think as a man and how you sexualize your masculinity.
            This over-reacting comment or statement that has been subtling given to me is this…
            maybe don’t tell ALL because your wife can’t handle it.

            I feel this message and lie to the partners that are ‘ using’ in many forms
            Continues to ROB, the wife in this case from getting to choose whether she will react or respond!

            I feel this lie told only helps to reinforce the behavior of hiding,robbing and ultimately taking what is not theirs and then additionally taking the reaction of what is also not theirs to control!



          • caroline on April 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

            Garrett,
            if I sneaked up behind you and socked you and the back as hard as I could you would probably have an automatic “response” that someone who had not been socked would want to call an “overreaction”.

            Discovery of sexual betrayal is a trauma, and response to a trauma is by nature a reaction. You don’t see it coming and it gets you in a way you weren’t prepared for, so you act in a way that is in reference to and a result of the original act.

            Hence: a reaction

            Many in the church see a wife’s trauma reaction, AS WELL as any “strong response” she might pursue as being more offensive than the sexual sin being disclosed. They want to judge her as being crazy and unacceptable without seeming uncaring so they call it an “OVERreaction”, implying there is a level of response they would have approved of had she been smart enough to choose it.

            Until recently years, most books on this subject held the betrayed wife to an unbelievable standard of emotional distance and indifferent involvement, like she was the addict’s old high school English teacher and not the victim of his horribly cruel and violent crimes.

            If this kind of judgement is not what you meant by calling what some wives do an “overreaction”, then I apologize for crediting this position to you.



          • Garrett on April 13, 2017 at 4:19 pm

            Thank you, Caroline, for taking the time to respond.

            Today’s topic is a painful one, for sure.

            I once sat down with a pastor to confront a friend’s abusive behavior that became public because he acted abusively in public to his wife. When we met with him about it, I was accused of hitting on his wife and having an affair with her. He then attacked my own marriage saying I was a terrible husband and said he wanted to just say hi in the halls and be friends. (Still trying to make sense of his logic.) The pastor was not able to navigate the discussion (at the time) and just wanted everything to work out and didn’t want to get involved, really.

            So even when a guy like me, who cares, gets involved… there are still no guarantees. The church was more than willing to help the wife but she was not willing to draw lines. It underscored for me the importance of personal responsibility.

            Sure enough, the guy tried shake hands a month later while crossing paths at church. I would not shake his hand. It was the choice I was willing to make. I may get accused of not being loving, but I probably won’t get accused of not being clear. He knows where I stand. He asked for unhealthy friendship and I said no.

            Two years later, the pastor changed and became more heartbroken over various moments where he was not willing to take a stand. He and I have become better friends since. The best relationships have clear boundaries that are respected.



        • ContentinChrist on April 14, 2017 at 10:19 pm

          The Body of Christ is seriously UNDER-REACTING to this sin in the Church, as has been stated by many women on the comments.

          I firmly believe that until the Body of Christ gets really, really serious about pornography, we are going to see more and more destruction in marriages and families.

          This is not a *problem*…..this is beyond serious.

          I also believe that God is raising up women to stand strongly against this sin – women who are willing to put their reputations, their families – everything – on the line….and I believe there will be fruit, but I do think there is a lot of work ahead.

          Also, I believe God gave me these passages last week about the problem of pornography in the Church. Ezra 9 and 10. Our husbands may not have physically taken foreign wives, but, as Jesus said, it is the same thing in the matter of the heart.

          Ezra 9:7 “Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today.”

    • Remedy on April 12, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Wow! I’ve not read that book, so can’t comment intelligently, but I wonder is the author trying to ‘normalize’ this so we just accept is as, well, normal?

      • She on April 12, 2017 at 11:15 am

        Oh my goodness! That book & it’s companion were recommended to me by a Christian leader!! I haven’t gotten it yet, maybe I shouldn’t. I’m only 2 weeks out from his “confessions” on his porn & multiple affairs.

        • ChuckSigler on April 12, 2017 at 4:55 pm

          Good resources that I’ve used when counseling couples or individuals who use (are addicted to) porn are: “Closing the Window” by Tim Chester and “When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography” by Vickie Tiede. Chester’s book can work with men or women; Tiede’s book is for wives whose husband’s use porn. Another good resource is Harvest USA (harvestusa.org). Some titles currently on their website include: “Renewing Your Mind from Pornography” and “Pornified Mind.” Under their Resources, blog topics are sorted into subject ares, like churches, families, wives and others. The books and Harvest USA all have a Christian perspective in addressing the issue.

          There is also a brand new documentary out, “Addicted to Porn.” It has a Facebook page, so you can check out. information on it I haven’t seen it yet, but plan to preview it. What I’ve read so far is promising. Read the description on its Facebook page. It doesn’t come from a religious perspective, but that could be beneficial for some.

    • Nancy on April 12, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Connie,

      I think I understand what you are saying- that men need to take responsibility for their addiction and we should in no way enable them…?
      I agree with that but I also think we need to have compassion for addicts.

      The porn industry is a predator.

      Our fight is not against our husbands, our fight is FOR our husbands, AGAINST sin. (paraphrase of Ephesians 6:12)

    • SaraJane on April 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      My husband’s Christian counselor called himself “a fellow sufferer” with their porn habit. No wonder he was of no help!

    • Survivorwife on April 25, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      You said it Connie! We try paint this terrible SIN as a “struggle” to whitewash it. The Bible clearly says that God will give you a way of escape. The Holy Spirit empowers us to say no to sin and to forgive. He is real and alive. We are on a journey through life but if Jesus is our Savior He is carrying us – no need for any struggling – all we do is trust and obey.

  10. Luz on April 12, 2017 at 11:46 am

    When I write a book it will be titled “Being the other woman in my own marriage”. This title sums up my life. I was always the one waiting for my husband to leave his true love and be committed to me.

    I struggled with a lot of feelings over the past 32 years. At first, I felt like I wasn’t enough, it was my fault, I was alone, too fat, ugly, not loved. He promised to quit, it lasted until each time I caught him again. The church leadership was good at confirming my feelings. After years of roller coaster living and another church, my husband became more “sneaky”, every confrontation only helped to adapt to covert ways of acting out. Finally, his double life was exposed when he lost his job. His sin was finally out in the open , so were his lies. When it was time to have joint counseling, I did what you suggested “put a line in the sand (carpet) and made him choose”. He chose me…well, for about a month or so. When the time came for him to “confess” yet again…I reminded him of the “line” and since he crossed it, then I was DONE! The response “at least he didn’t lie this time”. Wait, what? I must say, I am still disappointed in the church leadership, because although they agreed that I have “Biblical cause” for divorce, their actions say otherwise, as I was denied a position on staff, which I was training for, because of my choice to not return to the marriage.
    This has been a painful road for me, and now I’m dealing with feelings of betrayal from the counselors I trusted. I’m so thankful for God leading me away from my once abusive life.

    This is a huge issue in the church and I just want to encourage anyone who is dealing with issue. Only God can give you clear direction on your life; no one knows you more than Him. Please don’t let the “counsel of others” turn into blind trust. These counselors will not be living with you, paying your bills, holding your hand 24 hrs/day, feeling the agony of reoccurring betrayal. You are the only one who has prayed and invested the time in your relationship. Only God can give you the answers. For me it was to walk away, despite the counsel of others. Trust Him.

    He alone is faithful and is daily carrying me through. I’m so thankful for God giving me the courage to walk away – it’s helped me see how much He cares for me.

    • JoAnn on April 12, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      I have to wonder, when I hear stories like this, if the reason that the church leaders are so soft on husbands who do this that they also are into porn themselves. Statistics show that the “clergy” are not immune to this, and in fact, porn addiction among church leaders is very high.
      God bless you, Luz. May you be strong in the Lord to build a new life for yourself. No one deserves to be treated the way you have.

      • Lori on April 13, 2017 at 11:51 am

        Luz,

        Your story is sickeningly sad. I am sorry for the years of abuse you endured and the added abuse from the church in their empowering of the abuse in response to you.

        It seems the perverted nature of this addiction is not limited only to the participating victim, but extends beyond to society as a whole.

        One such “clear” example is the fairly recent story of the college student raping an unconscious woman (alcohol induced) behind a dumpster and only being imprisoned for his criminal assault of her for 3 months because he is a really good swimmer! Outrage should be our reaction and many more years in prison should be our response. If society can turn a blind eye and slap a hand of such an abuser, we empower him to greater abuse and tell our women to expect more like it.

        As with any addiction, what was enough for today, will not meet the “need” for tomorrow so the dark spiral gets deeper into the perverse. With pornography, violence against women is eventually the darker end. (the porn moves from “soft” to “hard” as it sears the conscious of it’s victims and has the agenda to cause a seeking out of prey)

        The perverted nature of this abuse is that the non-participating victims get abused AND blamed! (as proven over and over again)

        The church, in my opinion, has been no better at righting the wrong, or dealing in necessary severity over this issue, but rather has followed societies standards instead of setting the standard as a light in this very evil world. In my opinion, this makes the body of Christ implicit in the abuse.

        Hopefully, with ministries like Leslie’s here, it may be that the stone has been cast into the pond and have a ripple effect extending outward.

        This is an insidious, prevelant, destructive and EVIL problem in our society that has been “normalized’ with expressions that “boys will be boys and men will be men”. We laugh it off as normal entertainment when it is in fact evil and can now be accessed fully from our fingertips.

        I am grateful you got out Luz, and agree wholeheartedly with you that our Lord knows how to lead His own!

        Press on in Him Precious One.

  11. Heather on April 12, 2017 at 11:49 am

    My husband had a lifelong pornography addiction. For awhile, he allowed 2 male friends and me to be his accountability partners and to filter the internet. That gradually disappeared, and his porn viewing increased. I told him I would not tolerate the behavior, but over the years I denied he was still doing it, pretended it was over. He also lusted, right in front of me, over much younger women.
    When I caught him viewing porn and had a young neighbor girl with me who also witnessed it, it was the catalyst that caused me to divorce him. He was unrepentant. I am free to be who God wants me to be! No more porn in my life! I learned that I had enabled him by pretending he would change, or that I could change him. I did this for 30 years!! Please, sisters, face it head on, have courage, and believe that the Lord wants you to be wholesome, safe, and free of another’s sinful behavior.

    • April on April 22, 2017 at 8:11 am

      “Passivity allows the destructive consequences of sin to devastate the innocent.” Redemptive Divorce by Mark Gaither

      So proud of you for standing strong against unrepentant sin. I wish I had your courage. 😢

  12. Anne on April 12, 2017 at 11:50 am

    In regard to Lies in Christian Marriages, putting verses like
    1 Corinthians 7:4 and Ephesians 5:22 above other verses like Ephesians 5:25 – 33 requiring physical intimacy and submission regardless of the destructiveness/abuse in the marriage. Instead, we could teach How to help create a safe, loving environment that invites submission and intimacy.

  13. Jackie on April 12, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    My husband still struggles, better yet chooses to sin grievously against me. He not only uses porn but is a sex addict. He claims he doesn’t struggle anymore but he hasn’t had accountability or transparency. He refuses to take steps forward to overcome his issues and to work on our marriage. Two years of dragging his feet, three years we’ve been together. And it’s been nothing but a fountain of lies and abuse. Thank you Leslie for the great encouragement and knowledge you share. It has given me great courage to take steps to move towards a life with my daughter that will be narcissist, sex addict free. With God I will be free and healed of this.

    • Alena on April 28, 2017 at 1:51 am

      I separated from my husband 1.5 years ago now. It was meant as a last resort to work on our marriage. Married 6.5 years, separated 1.5 years. My husband is a habitual liar, porn addict, and has had emotional affairs, flirting, sexting, casual dates at bars, etc all behind my back. This was both of our first marriage, both in our late 40’s. I found out about his first casual date just after our 2nd Anniversary. I was devastated! Both my Pastor and Parent told me to stay and work it out, since there was no evidence of SEX involved. So, I did. He promised to not do it again. Three more years of more of the same, every time he was caught, he always said he didn’t want to leave the Marriage. We continued with therapy, every Marriage Series at Church, Celebrate Recovery, Bible Studies, books, etc. My hurt and resentment got worse and he just continued to do more of the same. We appeared OK to everyone on the outside, but inside we we’re dying inside. Yet, we had a great SEX life, no problem there! But, no intimacy and I felt like he was the Taker and I was the Giver. He became very short tempered and tried to blame everything on me. Granted I am not Perfect, no one is, but I stayed in my marriage and really tried my best to make it work. I was doing my best to be patient through this whole mess. When I finally asked him to move out on a temporary basis to give us both the space to really get help to fix our marriage, he took it as a FREE ticket to DATE and SEEK women freely. All, the while, I kept hoping and praying that he would see the Light through Jesus and come back home. He has continued to attend church every Sunday and Bible Study weekly, but has not changed his ways and has only become worse. He continues to live in Sin and we are still married, Divorce papers filed. Through all of this, I have worked on myself and my walk with Jesus. I have educated myself about my husbands problems and what we both did wrong in our marriage. Pride and resentment is a Sin, too. Only Jesus can help any of us. I did learn that Porn, Flirting, Sexting and all the Attention Seeking is an ADDICTION. And, only Jesus can fix it. I just found out that my husband is happily in a relationship for 4 months now. He wants nothing to do with me but to get through the Divorce. He has resented me the moment I asked him to move out and filed Divorce papers. I have forgiven him and still Love and care for him but, I understand that he is still stuck in His Sin and Addiction. BTW, I left my previous church after we separated because after all the times I asked them to intervene and help me hold him accountable, i.e. Matthew 18:15-17, they did not. No one did, but me. I have a new church now, and the Pastor said he would have counseled us completely different. First, the Church would confront him and guide him to repent, then get him into the “Every Man’s Battle Workshop”, assign a daily accountability partner, counseling specific for Porn/Sex Addiction, as it comes from deeper rooted issues and back in Celebrate Recovery. Addiction is the Devil holding onto our loved ones. We all have a Void in our Heart. We can choose Jesus, who is the Only One who can fill our Hearts or we can fill it temporarily with something else, therefore never finding complete happiness. The absence of Jesus can only lead to another idol, being sexual immorality, drugs, money, gambling, food, etc. I feel your pain. I am alone with my daughter, but free of the disrespectful, narcissist husband. If by chance you ever to decide to try again with him, I would suggest “Every Man’s Battle” first, then go from there. God will heal us. And, I do believe that if we put ALL of our Faith in Him, God will Bless us with His Will for our lives, not our Will, but His. And, that will be our Blessing. God Bless you, stay in Gods Word to keep you strong and encouraged. I struggle daily, as I miss my Husband, but I have learned that I must TRUST God First.

      • Emmy on April 28, 2017 at 8:11 pm

        Alena, I really appreciate your response. Blessings to you, dear Sister in Christ. xoxo

      • JoAnn on April 28, 2017 at 11:32 pm

        Alena, I am so sorry for what you have been through! You were right to get out of the relationship, as it wouldn’t get any better. Real repentance requires a change of heart and behavior, and your h didn’t give you that. I pray that you will be able to really leave him at the foot of the cross and go on to find the path the Lord has for you. May the Lord grant you His ass-sufficient grace for the days ahead.

  14. SeekingHimFirst on April 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    My husband blames me for not giving him enough sex , that’s why he uses porn. He is unrepentant, and unwilling to have filters Bc he told me there are ways around it.
    He has always used porn from the start of our marriage
    We are one “one “, he says that makes him ” ill “, so really I’m an object and he told me he lusts me, not love.. lust.

    I can’t connect to him in any form of intimacy . I disconnect and can’t feel love and affection knowing he feels this way.
    I’m stuck and give my body out of duty .
    6 kids and 20 yrs of marriage
    Hurts so much.

    • JoAnn on April 12, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Please don’t stay there. Look to the Lord for a pathway out of that relationship. You surely can’t call it a marriage. There are many suggestions here and on the last blog about how to arrange your life so you can get out. Read Leslie’s books. You will find the help you need.
      May God strengthen you to do what must be done.

      • JoAnn on April 28, 2017 at 11:33 pm

        Alena, I am so sorry for what you have been through! You were right to get out of the relationship, as it wouldn’t get any better. Real repentance requires a change of heart and behavior, and your h didn’t give you that. I pray that you will be able to really leave him at the foot of the cross and go on to find the path the Lord has for you. May the Lord grant you His all-sufficient grace for the days ahead.

    • Luz on April 12, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      4 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

      I asked God to show me HIS will in my life when it came to this issue. He lead me to this passage….

      I Thess 4:3
      It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.[b] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

      I realized that I had to flee sexual immorality and take responsibility for my own body. Each time I was “acted upon” I was a participant. This helped me see things differently. It was not longer about my husband’s issue – it was about me guarding my body and heart.

      • Nancy on April 12, 2017 at 5:52 pm

        This is so clear, Luz!

        Yes, we need to take responsibility for our own hearts and bodies. This disconnect ( not taking responsibility for my own heart) is what is at the root of my codependency. God gave ME my heart. I am now learning to guard it out of LOVE for my self and my God ( instead of guarding it out of anger toward another).

        I am the steward of Nancy’s heart, mind, body 🙂

        What freedom !

    • Aly on April 12, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      Dear SeekingHimFirst,
      I’m so sorry for your pain and hurt.
      Do you believe God is telling you to participate in this arrangement?

      The comments you posted of why your husband does porn is a lie. His other reasons are also lies for why he doesn’t want to deal with his betrayals.

      I’m sure it can be scaring at first to seek help or more information, but soon you will find that information can aid in making clearer choices that actually will align with God’s design and heart of a marriage.

      There are some amazing caring supportive women on this blog especially if you just need a start to begin to seek freedom. God’s truth really are the love and direction we need for our journey;) I’ll pray for your courage to seek Him and The amazing Love He wants you to receive for your heart and for your 6 children to pass on to.
      Hugs💜

  15. Nancy on April 12, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Hi Leslie,

    I want to point out that girls are vulnerable too. Especially those with vivid imaginations who learn in pictures and images. Our daughter, at 10 years old, confessed to viewing porn. What a wake up call.

    We found out that the porn industry is a predator.

    We found out that girls aren’t immune. We found out that a piece of her brain that should have been dormant until later was ‘woken up’ early and those connections will be forever affected.

    If you are a woman who struggles with porn ( or have a teen daughter who does) there is a Christian website called beggars daughter that might help.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 12, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      You are so right. I debated to talk about that part but didn’t want the blog to be too long and the question was about her husband and how she should respond.

      • Robert on April 25, 2017 at 8:54 am

        I almost dated a woman with porn issues forty something. She couldn’t handle it when I tried to treat her decently.

        • JoAnn on April 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm

          Welcome, Robert. I have not seen your name here before. I will say that you were fortunate to find out about that woman’s porn habit early. Some people have such deep seated issues, that no amount of kindness and “treating them well” can change them. Look for someone who is whole and doesn’t need you to “fix” her.

          • Robert on April 25, 2017 at 11:22 pm

            My thought was that I could solve her loneliness issues and it would go away. Guess I was wrong.



          • JoAnn on April 26, 2017 at 3:58 pm

            Robert, to learn more about what you were dealing with, look up “attachment disorder.” Without some serious therapy, she would not have ever been able to connect with you or accept your loving care. Sad, but there it is. As I said before, it’s best to avoid relationships where you feel you want to fix her. It will always be a problem.



  16. Aleea on April 12, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    “Friend, what has been your response when you have discovered that your husband has a habit watching pornography?”

    . . . . Praise God I don’t have that issue, —that I am aware of. . . . One can never fully know what another person is doing, however.

    I think Leslie does an excellent job of answering that question, —very complete, especially with the TED talks showing the secular research and brain science of its damaging effects. . . . Again, —personal responsibility means living with integrity and that means not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, your “C”, even though it will create conflict and tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe. This puts our lives back in God’s hands. As Leslie says in the last blog post: “This is not negotiable. . . . I am responsible before God to steward my life. . .” —Absolutely.

    One possible idea to motivate your husband may be to demonstrate (—with your life) to him that the cleaner he keeps his heart, the more of Christ’s love and joy will flow into it. —The cleaning of our hearts (—making conscious and repenting of) even little patterns of missing the mark —sin, or forfeiture of God’s love because we are missing the mark! —This changes the world and especially our worlds!!! Once you start getting it, generally, you don’t want less of God’s healing love and joy. —It’s too much fun! Christ came to give us life, —real life. . . .If God is the “light of the world” but we are covered in dark, black smudges (—porn, gossip, jealousy, bitterness, name-your-issue) that are in need of light, healing, transformation —then, we —in Christ’s power, taking responsibility to undertake such a cleaning and transformation allow God to shine His Love more brightly into our hearts! It is so, so good for us and it affects everyone in our families and beyond! . . .Invite your husband to not sell himself short. He could have Christ in his life too. All they would have to do is just reach out and Christ would reach in, take their broken heart and make it whole again. . . .I always invite people to just taste and see. . . You may have walked a thousand steps away but it is truly only one step back.

    The big point I see from scripture is that SHAME fuels all kinds of NASTY, rotten addictions: over/ under eating, porn (visual or written), all kinds of drama (-even scriptural drama!), gossiping, alcohol use, drugs, covering hurt with anxiety, et. al.

    Husband/Wife is cut off from the True Source of LOVE.
    —> This “disconnect” creates SHAME.
    —> Shame is what fuels addictions.

    Usually, we cannot make these behaviors go away, no matter how much we “try” —we have to see what the root cause is, and heal that. Once we identify the cause then we can find the true cure! This disconnect from the True Source of Love occurs out of some form of non-repentance/ ignorance/ not-knowing, in fullness. ( i.e.: “Forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing.”) . . . From scripture, we see that the way to get rid of shame is to keep our hearts clean so that we can receive God’s love. —And receive His love which is the best in-love experience —ever. Once God’s love is freely flowing into us, hopefully, we will not need to numb (depress) our hearts with the stuff of nothing, running from the shame. —Truly, addictions are the stuff of nothing. —And cleaning our hearts, as I say, is just wonderful fun. —Absolutely wonderful. God’s love is THE answer but we will not receive that love unless we keep our hearts clean of idols, clean of addictions, clean of the stuff of nothing. You can’t stay present with your spouse if you are always numbing your heart with addictions. (RE: one addiction to the next addiction vs. Becoming someone NEW.) —This, everyone here obviously knows, but I need to be reminded often.

  17. Ann on April 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    The Lie that has permeated my marriage is what goes on in the bedroom is just between myself and my husband even if he wants to fantasize me with other men. His argument – God is fine with whatever goes on if we both agree (which I only agreed because I felt pressured, day in and day out) and he can’t help it that he wants this one thing from me and it’s not hurting anyone.

    We are still married and still struggle with this one aspect of our marriage.

    • Aly on April 12, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Anne,
      Wow… I’m so very sorry..how horrible~ for a sacred place for a marriage to be twisted in such your husband’s belief:
      You wrote:
      “His argument – God is fine with whatever goes on if we both agree (which I only agreed because I felt pressured, day in and day out) and he can’t help it that he wants this one thing from me and it’s not hurting anyone.”

      This is absolutely scary!!
      God is fine with whatever as long it’s agreed upon? This is not true and from your comments and your hurt you are not in agreement with him.

      Are you freightened? Are you getting help to get the resources you will need to get clarity… Leslie’s books are great and many other immediate intensives are avail too.
      Praying for you!

    • JoAnn on April 12, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      Ann, No, I do not think it’s ok. Matthew 5:28 makes it very clear that when a person lusts after another, that is adultery. These are the Lord’s words. Your husband is simply trying to justify his sin, and he is sinning against both you and the Lord. The fact that you are uneasy about it should be enough for you to take some action about this. Do open this to the Lord, and if possible to a trusted Christian leader. May the Lord comfort you and give you the wisdom you need to deal with this.

  18. Nadine on April 12, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I want to thank you for bringing up these issues. It’s my husbands porn addiction that brought me to find your blog. I was told at church to be a good wife. Be the best wife, so that he feels bad for doing winning against you. Well, it seems the problem is, most church leaders are completely unaware that porn can be an addiction. Just like being a good wife wouldn’t cure a heroine addict, it won’t help the porn/sex addict either.

    I do mildly hate myself for not just kicking him out sooner. I demanded a confession, he’s his porn use for 17 years in our marriage and it’s been part of his life for 33 of his 42 years on earth. I hate it. He hadn’t gone for help, he isn’t accountable to anyone, I don’t feel he’s even come clean with how far he has gone… We have no money and 6 small kids so I’m trying position myself to provide for myself first.

    • Aleea on April 14, 2017 at 6:15 am

      Nadine, I’m so praying for you. “… We have no money and 6 small kids so I’m trying position myself to provide for myself first.” Nadine, I don’t even know what to say to that, —that’s as real as it gets. I am praying God does “. . . exceedingly abundantly above all that I am asking & thinking for you, [according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory] Please Lord God, that would so, so increase my weak faith. . . . I love to see God overwhelmingly bless people, it always increases my faith.

      . . .Anyways, what can we even say when counselors repeatedly tell us that the vast majority of people live one life for public (in church) and another in private. . . . .Oh, and research shows failure rates close to, if not 100% (A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells Us About Sexual Relationships by Ogi Ogas, Sai Gaddam). Psychoanalytically that may actually mean the behavior is normative and that is very, very frustrating because if the failure rate is pushing 100% it means our paradigm, our models of the world are suspect (re: men, for sure —plus scores of “strong” Christian women who indulge in “mommy porn,” viewing it as nothing more than a guilty little pleasure.) . . .You can see in their research that Ogas and Gaddam show that the main difference between internet technology bringing all kinds of porn and slavery is that slaves were fully aware that they were not free.

    • caroline on April 25, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      To Nadine: “…be the best wife so that he feels bad…”
      Boy I tried to live that one too!
      Its B.S. It didn’t make him feel bad, it made him feel good! Like he must be the best husband EVER and really deserved all the nice/good/kind things I did for him.

      You know what finally made him feel bad? ME GOING CRAZY. Hearing himself called vile names (true names), feeling me shake with sobbing through the night, watching me gasp for breath during a panic attack, this made it obvious that he was

      Nadine, I know you are scared to support your kids by yourself now, but please remember God has been providing for you all along!

      Even if your husband worked a job and earned the paycheck it was always God who allowed him the ability to do so. God is richer than we can imagine and can provide for you us in ways we’ve not even thought of.

      8 years ago my sister fled her own abusive and unfaithful husband with seven children in tow. I watched amazed as God has took care of her family above and beyond. Her example encouraged me to go to the edge of defeat in my own marriage

      Psalm 37:25, I have been young, and now am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.

      • Aly on April 25, 2017 at 1:45 pm

        Caroline;)
        Thank you for writing this out!
        I so was also in your place~ and yes many women in the church still give this advice constantly to younger women just beginning to notice that they may have an ‘abusive mindset husband’.

        This advice and lie has been so epidemic to both wives and husbands.

        You wrote;
        “Boy I tried to live that one too!
        Its B.S. It didn’t make him feel bad, it made him feel good! Like he must be the best husband EVER and really deserved all the nice/good/kind things I did for him.”

        Same here.. went through that valley. It’s so tightens the belief in their warped pathways.

        You wrote:
        “You know what finally made him feel bad? ME GOING CRAZY. Hearing himself called vile names (true names), feeling me shake with sobbing through the night, watching me gasp for breath during a panic attack, this made it obvious that he was”

        So so true.. I had the same panic places gasping for air, he would find me in a ball of intense pain in my stomach.

        The trauma of a spouse asleep by choice is overwhelming!
        My picture for my h once was our house is on fire and I call the fire dept and you show up with the fire truck ~ by yourself in your gear and you stand there looking at the flames, then you sit down on the front yard to plan out your activities for the weekend .., while I’m screaming with all my Might “our children are trapped in their rooms and there IS time to get them out to save them from the fire!!”
        No response and no action.
        Who ignores such a cry for help?

        I do think he trauma especially the mental trauma of the presence of someone expected to take action and yet their response is continue on what they are doing is tragic and very mentally confusing when a person such as in my story of the fire fighter who shows up and does nothing. The trauma of someone present but asleep and not really there is so damaging over time.

        Caroline I’m thankful that your h eventually awoke and allowed himself to feel bad and pain.
        Hugs to you fellow sister;)

        • caroline on April 25, 2017 at 4:12 pm

          I agree Aly.
          Interpersonal relational trauma is very real and sadly its mostly ignored when discussing sexual betrayal through pornography. Even among people-helpers who agree porn is wrong, the impact on the wife is often downplayed.

          Here’s my favorite acronym: Post Infidelity Stress Disorder, or P.I.S.D.

          How often have we had to hear “…what’s the big deal…everybody does it…its JUST porn…join in you’ll enjoy it too…porn can make your marriage more exciting…”

          Garbage.

          As acceptance of perversion grows among men and women we’re likely to hear more of the same. But acceptance will never make it right. It will never stop the damage it does to real people.

          You might like this guest post my husband wrote during our first year post disclosure: http://emmascrivener.net/2013/11/addicted-to-porn-guest-post/.

  19. Connie on April 12, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Mark Gungor says that he’s never considered porn because if his wife caught him she’d say, “You’d better get a good look at that thing because it’s the last time you’ll see it!” Proverbs says that punishment has to be swift. I just read George Simon’s book, “Character Disturbance” and he says the same thing, consequences have to be dealt out immediately, like within one minute if possible. I think most of us have doddled around far too long for our h’s to take us seriously anymore.

    • Nancy on April 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Hi again Connie 🙂

      I “doodled around” for 20 years, it’s true. But when God convicted me of the sin of enabling my h in his covert abuse of me, there was no more “doodling around”.

      The change in me was real, and so were the consequences.

      Be careful not to fall into perfectionisric thinking- that if only I’d acted immediately…if only I’d known earlier…if only….

      If God has convicted you, it’s happening in His time. He will see you through.

      • Aly on April 12, 2017 at 7:46 pm

        Nancy, Connie;)
        So so agree!
        We do teach people what we will and will not tolerate in plenty of forms.

        The freedom in acting in our convictions is so empowering, regardless of the outcome that we cannot control.

        • Nancy on April 14, 2017 at 8:34 am

          There IS such freedom in acting in our convictions. Thanks for pointing this out 🙂

  20. Marianna on April 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Understanding the dysfunction of relationships (including marriage), and talking about it, means we are being judgmental, not empathetic, not Christian-like, not accepting, etc.

    • JoAnn on April 12, 2017 at 10:50 pm

      I’m sorry, Marianna, I really don’t get your point…..

      • JoAnn on April 12, 2017 at 10:52 pm

        Is this one of the lies that Leslie asked for?

      • Marianna on April 13, 2017 at 12:56 am

        Yes, it is attached to the wrong discussion.

    • HisEzer on April 12, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      I think I understand what she is saying… That having understanding of dysfunction/destructive behaviors and seeking to raise awareness about it in the church is often perceived by leaders and members as focusing on negatives rather than positives (and in their eyes, that is considered unChristian)…

  21. Aly on April 12, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Leslie,
    You have my support and prayers for your ministry taking on this issue!

    You wrote: (sorry have to cut some out here)
    “….If so, then a Christian wife’s response would be to be gracious and forgiving, coupled with an uncompromising stance against allowing such evil in her home and marriage. No woman in her right mind, Christian or otherwise, would allow her husband to bring another woman into their home to have sex.”

    It’s the ‘uncompromising stand’ that needs to take root in our hearts and to all our fellow sisters in Christ here.

    Too many women are living day in and day out knowing what is going on and are not being equipped with how to take action and bring this to light. You are right in saying that No woman would be in her right mind to allow another woman in her home of such reason but you might be surprised at the statistics and the high levels of shame to accompany.

    Since my children have been little it has been my responsibility to protect their sexuality and I have built as many hedges as possible around them. The thief comes to destroy and we must be vigilant!

    Thank you Leslie for being an active promoter of exposing the darker places that so few want to challenge!
    Prayers for the upcoming seminars too!

  22. Mama on April 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Regarding the first question of Crazy-Making in “Christian” marriages – misused scripture

    “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” I John 4:18 NASB
    • Lie One from abuser – If you loved me perfectly/better/the way I want, you would not be afraid of me
    • Lie Two from abuser – Because I am your husband, you are never to be afraid of me. You are the problem if you are afraid.

    I Cor 1: 5b “love….is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.” NASB “love…keeps no record of wrongs” NKJV
    • Lie from abuser – we cannot discuss things from the past that I do not want discussed. If you loved me, you would forgive and not remember them – keep no record.

    Genesis 1:24a “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife;”
    • Lie from abuser – as your husband you are to be loyal only to me and to break relationships with your siblings, parents, and other family

    Using God’s very words to abuse is terrible.

    • Connie on April 12, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      I got the ‘keep no record of wrongs’ as well. As far as I know, only one translation says that, the rest say, ‘doesn’t hold a grudge’. If it’s wrong to keep a record of wrongs, then God messed up big time in writing the Bible. Take all the records of wrongs out of it and it would be really thin.

  23. Maria on April 12, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Leslie, I’m not sure if all of these apply, but the following statements/behaviors confused me.

    1. You must be doing something wrong for your husband to illtreat you.
    2. Marriage is 50/50. You are 50% responsible
    3. Win him over by your conduct, not you words
    4. It’s not like you are perfect, you sin too.
    5. Men need respect, women need love.
    6. A lot of church Bible studies about marriage revolve around stroking mens’ egos in the name of respect. I have not seen a passage in the Bible that supports this.
    7. To submit means to obey.
    8. God is pleased with you because you are suffering for Him.
    9. After you share your story, they tell you they will pray for you, and you never really hear from them again.
    10. I wonder why God wants you to go through this suffering. He must want you to learn something.
    11. Telling you that your suffering is not as bad compared to …

    • Connie on April 12, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      Just today I got, “God has a plan.” Really?

      • Aly on April 12, 2017 at 8:47 pm

        Connie,
        What do you mean?
        This was said from your h or from someone in the church?

        • Connie on April 12, 2017 at 9:14 pm

          From someone in the church when I shared some aspects of being abused.

    • Remedy on April 12, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      Maria….#8 drilled in again and again with me.

      • Maria on April 13, 2017 at 5:59 pm

        Remedy, Yes this is a common one pastors’ tell women in hopes of preventing divorce. It was only after I read Leslie’s articles/blog about this that I understood that scripture was being twisted and misinterpreted- it’s so destructive.

  24. Karrie on April 12, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    My husband’s porn addiction began at the age of 8. That was 41 years ago. I didn’t know about it when we got married. I had not been intimate with anyone else but right from the beginning, something didn’t seem right. I knew the term “make love” but love really didn’t seem to be part of our intimate equation. I felt like an object. I felt defective. It was several years later that his addiction came to light. It has never been a matter of confession. Only being caught. He promised several times to stop. That lasted until the next time. He would start and stop counselling either with pastors or professional counsellors. We’d either “not have the money” to continue or he “didn’t need it anymore”.

    I have spent much time trying to figure out our dynamics. I have lived a life of co-dependency. I’ve tried everything to be the weight he wanted, have the hair color/length he wanted, even try the things in the books he’d bring home. There is no satisfying a sex addict and the rejection and shame can destroy you if you don’t find help. I think my husband hoped I would be his “savior” when we married – finally he’d be free of his secret addiction. I can never be another’s savior and it’s foolishness that I ever tried. Our marriage has also included many kinds of abuse. I think part of his anger has been that I wasn’t enough to set him free. No excuse for abuse, just an observation of our dynamic.

    We are separated 4 years and I have waited 4 years to see true repentance. Though my pastor knew of his addiction years before our marriage fell apart, no one ever asked me how I was coping. The destruction of our marriage was my fault in the eyes of my church and many rejected me BUT GOD never did! He has been faithful every step of the way.

    I don’t think my husband will ever truly change at this point. I don’t know how I could ever trust him. There’s been too many lies. I have a friend whose husband is also addicted to porn. He agreed to have the internet removed from their home, no longer use a smart phone/have no data, have an accountability partner that really held him accountable and reported back to his wife. That’s part of repentance in my understanding. Mine has multiple computers – everywhere, a tablet, every gadget going and upgrades to faster internet speeds with every opportunity. I wish he could see how he broke my heart and my trust.

    I would recommend the study “Partners” for the wives of sex addicts. It was one of the many useful tools out there as we follow the Lord to healing.

    • Karrie on April 13, 2017 at 8:03 am

      Lies…

      that my duty was to be submissive no matter what (unless immoral or illegal) and that in true submission my husband would never know I disagreed. I was literally taught to practice “whatever you think is best, dear.” So there was no hint of tone in my voice…

      I too was taught “NO record of wrongs.” What was yesterday must be forgiven yesterday and forgotten today…

      There was to be no withholding in the bedroom. That was my duty no matter the treatment or I was pushing him to porn or other women. So when you don’t withhold and he still chooses to use, it wreaks havoc with “I am not enough. Something must be wrong with me.”

      My pastor’s wife said that her dad used to threaten to cut her mom into pieces and mail her to their children but “she stayed. Godly.” I don’t even aspire to that as godly. Perhaps she felt that the fact it never happened was the result of God’s protection BECAUSE she stayed. I don’t know but I see that as foolishness and I left after being threatened again. I paid a very high price and was ostracized.

      • Connie on April 13, 2017 at 11:21 am

        Now that is frightening!! And sick!! Imagine what that teaches the daughters, AND the sons!!!!!

    • Robert on April 25, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Ask the second guys accountability partner to look for a hidden tablet that is used in open wifi portals

  25. Maria on April 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Lies from my husband:
    1. I am to trust him even though he has not kept his word on many occasions.
    2. He was only reacting to me so he isn’t responsible.

  26. KM on April 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    My husband had an affair we “rebuilt ” trust and then 7 years he had another one. Both were sexual and emotional. It was so devastating going thru it again. Trying to reconcile the 2nd time (we have 4 kids) and my pastor only seeing “tears” no actions he said if he were “sick” drawing a parallel to physical sickness would I stay with him. Talk about pressure! BTW, he went on to have a 3rd affair 2 years after the second. I am now co-parenting mourning not having my kids all the time. It’s painful. Meanwhile my husband “talks” about reconciliation but won’t even come clean about his purity the last 3 years of being separated unless I “committ” to the marriage. It’s back on me again.

    • Nancy on April 13, 2017 at 6:04 am

      Hi KM,

      Have you watched Patrick Doyle videos? He is SO consistent about articulating that the word of God ALWAYS puts the owness on the offender.

      If you haven’t, watch the one on reconciliation. Your h seems like a master blame shifter. My prayers are with you!

      • ContentinChrist on April 14, 2017 at 10:32 pm

        Stay strong, KM. Prayers for you tonight. So sorry for such pain and broken trust.

    • Robert on April 25, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Classic Adamic response. The women you gave me…though you certainly brought sins to the marriage.his adultery is his sin.

  27. Rosanne on April 12, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    It’s so interesting to read what people have been told from their spouses, particularly those with uncontrolled porn use. They all say the same thing. I have heard every one of the lies and excuses listed. The same verses have been twisted. That really convinces me the commonality is not that we are inadequate wives but that they are pursuing the same sin.

    I wonder too where the biblical backup for the concept that I could somehow stop someone from sinning by being “_____________” (fill in the blank) came from. I was told by a Christian counselor that based on the Romans 14 passage on eating/drinking I was could stop my spouse’s porn use by being available to him. (The good news on that one is that the Holy Spirit IS a faithful counselor and had reminded me of another woman I had met that said their sex life was amazing and it still was their story). I don’t think I can behave perfectly enough to stop my spouse’s sin. Pretty sure that’s why Jesus had to come.

    There must be some connection between porn use and verbal abuse. I don’t think I’ve heard a story of a husband’s porn use where there wasn’t verbal abuse as well. I’ve looked to see if there were studies done but have yet to find one.

    For me, I had to finally say things had to change or I couldn’t stay anymore. The combination of verbal abuse and porn use was unacceptable. It took me years to be brave enough and for God to lead me to Leslie’s materials and to a church that teaches that abuse/addiction break the covenant of marriage. I’m sad/glad to say that I am flourishing in all manners living apart from this.

    This issue really compounds itself within marriage because of the deceit involved. First there’s covering up computer history, then the blaming when caught, then the becoming more clever each time he’s been caught so the next time he isn’t caught. So much lying. I remember the day he looked me in the eye and told me he hadn’t done what I knew he had done. From there, he started to tell me what I saw wasn’t what I saw. I think my deepest fear during those days was that I’d go to a counselor or pastor and find out I really was the one who was crazy. Now on the other side, I can see the deceit is a pattern for his life, not just in this area. If he’s caught doing anything, no consequence changes his behavior. Tragic. For all of us.

    • Lori on April 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      Roseanne,

      Your story nails it. It really does. So many sentences I found myself nodding “yes” to.

      I think for expediency I might choose this line you wrote that really hit home the hardest for me:

      “I think my deepest fear during those days was that I’d go to a counselor or pastor and find out I really was the one who was crazy.”

      I did live out that nightmare Roseanne. 🙁

      This FEAR is so VERY powerful in it’s intended effect of keeping the victim from “telling” what they are enduring in the privacy of their “marriage” and “home”.

      Combined with the toxic and confusing effect of the abusers practice of “exchanging the truth for a lie” and “calling evil good, and good evil” this behavior serves to create a powerful assault against the targeted victim. Kind of like being hit by a tidal wave from behind; one does not know up from down or even if we could find the sandy bottom and attempt a foothold there, the sand is shifting mightily out to sea!

      It causes me to think that there are many who do not survive.

      I agree with your thought that: “There must be some connection between porn use and verbal abuse.” I would probably want to extend the connection between verbal abuse and any other form of abuse as well. Words are so very powerful.

      Thankful and “sad” with you (I get why it’s both) that you are living apart from it now.

  28. HisEzer on April 12, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Very glad to hear you are going to do this webinar/e-book and am looking forward to your presentation.

    Here are just a few personal examples of lies/misguidance/confusion encountered by church leaders when trying to seek their help for my broken marriage:

    1) I was told that providing documented evidence/examples of husband’s destructiveness was a violation of 1 Cor. 13’s “love keeps no record of wrongs.”

    2) I was told my husband had perogative to withhold financial information from me if he so desired (preventing my access to bank statements, credit card account statements, purchases on Amazon.com, etc.)… that I am supposed to accept his word without question even when something appears to be amiss.

    3) I was told my husband had prerogative to pursue selfish interests or habits harmful to our marriage and family if he so desired and that I just had to lovingly accept them. (Now, I was not literally and directly told these words, but because of the purposed sidetracking and neglectful silence to address this concern when it was pursued, this was the resulting clear insinuation).

    4) Even though husband had never repented or taken ownership of any of his destructiveness (ongoing deceit, negligence in parenting, cold-indifference, emotional abuse, porn, etc), I was told my struggle to trust him was an indication of unforgiveness.

    5) I, too, was told forgiveness and reconciliation are the same… and when I respectfully disagreed and provided a Biblically solid article by an articulate pastor laying out the clear differences between the two – specifying how they are NOT the same, I was responded to with rebuke, and, though it was never directly stated, the lie which came through in their spirit and responses was the belief that asking questions and not displaying automatic acceptance of their teachings/instruction is equal to disrespect and resistance to spiritual authority…

    6) I was told (again, not stated directly, but by their repeated choices/actions) that a husband’s word and perspective is to be automatically favored and believed over a wife’s.

    There are other disturbing examples which could be shared, but this is enough for now, and I’ll conclude with one of the more alarming statements which was spoken by husband during one of his angry outbursts:
    He said, “You have to accept me for who I am and what my interests are, or we can’t have a relationship!”
    (Actually, this is truth to a degree,… but it becomes destructive when hypocritically applied and motivated by a spirit of entitlement where the wife’s interests and values are repeatedly left unheard and dishonored).

    • Brooke on April 12, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      “I was told that providing documented evidence/examples of husband’s destructiveness was a violation of 1 Cor. 13’s “love keeps no record of wrongs.” SPOT ON!! Same here. Leslie, this is one I hear from my abusive H (who is also a pastor). I have also heard this from a fellow pastor’s wife when trying to seek help. Please address this one and tell us how to respond to this. For so, so many years I thought I was a horrible unforgiving spouse even though the behavior never changed. The H does apologize often but then he does the same abusive actions the following day. I’m so sick of it.

      • Lori on April 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        Brooke,

        I am hopeful for Leslie’s new teaching that it will bring much needed light to the darkness of the lies we have been told. It is wonderful to me to hope that the light will shine from within the true body of Christ where it only is possible to shine from. Especially given that the darkness has been perpetuated by the “church” and empowered in it’s profusion outward. This is a spiritual battle between darkness and light and must be fought from a spiritual perspective/trench; from the strong foundation of the truth of God’s word! (sword of the Spirit)

        I was told that to bring up past abuses endured from my h was to not be trusting God for healing, and I was wrong to “carry around past grievances”. Nevermind my husbands thought processes/behaviors were unchanged.

        Somehow, I was supposed to sweep it all under the carpet and not be tripped up by it. (Smiling all the while would be helpful too!)

        I think it is always easier/simpler to find and place blame than to lean into the Lord for spiritual discernment and leading so as to find the true source of evil present. Perhaps the body of Christ is also lacking in training?

        Also, I do believe our culture has permeated the church rather than the opposite and we blame the victim all to readily. After all, it is scary and difficult to stand up to the bully and who wants to do that on another’s behalf?

        Jesus!

    • JoAnn on April 13, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Oh, My! Dear HisEzer, I hope that you are no longer under that “authority”!! That sounds like a spiritual prison to me. Not safe. May the Lord guide you into “All freedom.” (Gal 5:1,13)

      • HisEzer on April 13, 2017 at 11:32 am

        Yes, I departed. Respectfully and sorrowfully. With an email expressing my unresolved confusions. And thwir response? Under the guize of practicing “proper transfer of spiritual authority” they made an appointment with my new pastors to “brief” them… And based on the repeated confusions experienced in that church, too, it has become clear that that session was likely a mission designed to protect themselves and to try to paint me as a trouble-maker.

        Disturbing does not even begin to describe what has been experienced.
        Had it not been for the Lord and the help of Leslie’s sound counsel, I don’t know where I would be today..

        • Connie on April 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

          HisEzer, this is interesting. I have known of a number of men who were abusive and/or got into sexual sin with young girls in the church (youth pastors and 14-year-old girls, etc.) where the church made the wife give a public apology for not giving him enough sex and then sent him on to another church, promising to ‘forgive and forget’, not telling the next church what he had done. And yet, your church informed your next church that you are a trouble-maker? That’s all just so twisted.

          In our local Baptist church, the youth leader’s wife seduced the pastor’s 16-year-old son. This was about 6 years ago. Nothing was done, the pastor left and they are still mad at him because ‘he promised to never leave’. The church has since closed and I’m not surprised.

        • JoAnn on April 13, 2017 at 7:41 pm

          Wow. So very unrighteous. May the Lord lead you into a Godly, God-expressing church fellowship where the Word of God is faithfully preached and the fellowship is sweet and uplifting.

  29. Jenn on April 13, 2017 at 12:18 am

    My husband had told me years ago that bc I had gained weight he was no longer attracted to me and that I needed to listen to his concern bc it was creating problems for him regarding intimacy. I admit I was very, very hurt. He continued to withdraw from intimacy and chose porn to satisfy his needs. He justified it by saying I hadn’t done anything about my weight issue so he had to turn to something, and at least it wasn’t outside the home with another woman. Forget about Matthew 5:28. A few summers ago I was on his cell phone and opener the browser and a porn site came up. I told him that was not appropriate at all and we have 4 boys in our house that could have seen that on his phone. His answer was that he would change his phone password. I know I held on to the pain of his rejection of me. I clung to that pain. He on the other hand has continued to justify his porn habit due to the fact that I didn’t lose weight and dies not view it as an act of adultery. Or not “as bad” as actual physical adultery. Levels of sin? He has now moved out of the house and in with a lady he recently met. I have leaned into God’s unfailing, unconditional, unstoppable love for me regardless of what I look like.

    • Nancy on April 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      Oh Jenn,

      After reading the horror you have lived with, I was so glad to know that you are leaning into God’s unfailing, unconditional, unstoppable love for you ❤️

      You are beautiful, Jenn. Beautiful.

      • Jenn on April 14, 2017 at 1:22 am

        I’ve really struggled. My husband was speaking truth in the fact that I had gained weight. I admit that. But I was so hurt by his rejection that I think I subconsciously continued to gain weight. I didn’t expect the person I married to not accept me for the person I was rather than what I looked like. I felt it was still a choice he could make, to have an intimate relationship with me bc of the person I am. I was an at home mom with 4 boys born in 4 years. When he came home from work, id use that time to go grocery shopping, not going to workout. God gave me one body and I didn’t honor Him by keeping it healthy. And I stress ate. But my husband didn’t support any of my suggestions regarding health club or programs like weight watchers. He said, I’ll weigh you every week. Really? I continued to try to initiate intimacy even tho I knew how he felt bc I hoped that would st least keep us connected on some level. Its biblical as well. But I was turned down time and time again. He said he needed to be able to get an erection to have physical intimacy and since he wasn’t attracted to me, it wasn’t possible. I pointed out that his porn use was a likely a big factor bc of its brain altering effects not just how I looked. I sent him articles on the effects of viewing porn. Maybe the articles would help him. So I struggle with how much was his fault and how much was my fault. He told me I didn’t care enough about our relationship to take care of my weight issue when it became a problem for him. So I struggle with how much was my fault. He obviously didn’t care enough about our relationship to give up porn. It was a power struggle to see who was going to change first I guess. So toxic. So that is when I decided to lean into Gods love and being perfect in His eyes.

        • Nancy on April 14, 2017 at 6:57 am

          Jenn, There is no sin in gaining weight. Porn is adultery. He has managed to convince you that you are responsible for his actions. You are not.

          I hope you continue to build CORE ( have u watched Leslie’s YouTube video on CORE strength?), read the Bible, get yourself into supportive group ( bible study, maybe). Stay on this blog. Leaning into His perfect love for you is so healthy, Jenn! Good for you. Plus it’s the best thing you could do for your precious boys 🙂

          There is a whole new life waiting for you and as sad as your husband leaving is- and needs to be grieved- you are free to live each day without his toxic presence! You are free from the constant lies.

          Do you know Jenn, the word ‘comforter’ in Greek ( for Holy Spirit) means ‘one who walks alongside and provides STRENGTH’. Strength, Jenn. Think of that. He will provide you the strength you need each moment to walk into the new life He has for you.

          May He envelope you in His love and care. May He continue to speak Truth to you about your True value. You are the precious daughter of the most high king, Jenn 🌷

          • Jenn on April 14, 2017 at 9:02 am

            Thank you Nancy. I appreciate your words of encouragement and taking the time to share them.

            I see your point, gaining weight is not sin. I guess I allowed myself to focus on not being submissive to my husband’s concern. He could have handled it so much more lovingly and supportively than he did. Maybe then my reaction would have been much different.

            Thank you again



          • JoAnn on April 14, 2017 at 9:44 am

            Jenn, I think the weight issue was just his excuse for beginning and continuing to use porn. If his “love” for you was that conditional, it wasn’t love at all, it was lust. Real, godly love endures beyond the physical. May the Lord give you His peace and empower you to take His way. He is truly a wonderful Comforter.



          • Nancy on April 14, 2017 at 10:01 am

            That’s an excellent point JoAnn. Godly love endures beyond the physical 🙂



          • ContentinChrist on April 14, 2017 at 10:35 pm

            And I seriously doubt it was the “beginning” of the porn issue, too.



        • caroline on April 14, 2017 at 6:42 pm

          Dear Jenn

          Your husband used the weight issue to keep you silently rotting in hopeless and shame. As well as to blame shift his own sins of adultery and perversion. I hope you know this now.

          I know so many BEAUTIFUL wives who were told by their porndog husbands that they were too fat, too thin, too flat chested, too large breasted. Their butts were too small, too big. They were too white/black/Latino/Asian, much too grey/brunette/blond/redheaded. Too tall, too short, too old, too familiar…
          .
          WHATEVER!!!

          First off there is nothing unpleasant about making love to a fat wife. I am quite a fatty myself at this point in my life, and we have great sex now that my husband does not watch pornography or masturbate.

          Seriously, I look just like a little pig now, yet we have a wonderful time together because our sex now comes out of OUR intimacy as a couple. Sex is not something we do because he was aroused by some random body engaged in a horrible defiling act.

          For many years I too lived always blaming myself for his lack of interest, but it was of course because of his hidden self-sex life that didn’t include me. Today, he does not have sex with my body in spite of my appearance , but actually loves the way I look. Even more so than when we were younger and I was a lot smaller.

          The bible tells a man to love his wife’s body and be satisfied with her ALWAYS. “Intoxicated” actually. You’ll be searching A LONG TIME to find a scripture that tells a wife to leave her little kids and go to the gym so her husband can feel good about his particular type of perversion.

          And what if they got involved with gay porn, child porn, or animals? Would we wonder if we should have been two people or grown extra legs and a fluffy tail?

          This wife-just-not-sexy-enough-for-man’s-needs is probably one of the most painful lies that comes from dealing with a husbands pornography. It tries to rob our very humanity.

          • ContentinChrist on April 14, 2017 at 10:37 pm

            “The bible tells a man to love his wife’s body and be satisfied with her ALWAYS. “Intoxicated” actually. You’ll be searching A LONG TIME to find a scripture that tells a wife to leave her little kids and go to the gym so her husband can feel good about his particular type of perversion.”

            Amen, girl.



          • Jenn on April 16, 2017 at 1:19 am

            Caroline, so what changed in your marriage? Did your husband just say one day he was going to stop watching porn and stop masturbating? I didnt know how to get him to stop and love me for who I am. I don’t have any control over this.

            And JoAnn, yes to me it seems our marriage was very conditional, a contract in which I wasn’t meeting the expected obligation. Not a covenant as it should have been.



    • caroline on April 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Jenn!
      I had to reply to your question back here at your original post:

      {…Caroline, so what changed in your marriage? Did your husband just say one day he was going to stop watching porn and stop masturbating? I didnt know how to get him to stop and love me for who I am. I don’t have any control over this…}

      Jenn,
      His change was actually a long time coming. Too long really. We have lost a lot.

      They say an addict only changes when a future WITH his drug is more painful than a future WITHOUT it. I know that God promises to chastise those he loves, and he will often use wives to speak His truth to wayward men.

      They still have to choose though, because they are human beings with a will. I did not bring about my husband’s change as I also had no control.

      The only thing I did was follow God. First, I was slowly being shown that my unhealthy attachment to my husband was actually idolatry. I repented of that, and begin to pray that he be broken, knowing full well that it might spell the end of our marriage. That was all before I understood he was still using pornography on the sly.

      Basically his life started to crumble. He got sick, he had accident, he changed jobs, then he lost his job, and yes, he did actually quit “porn” on his own. Things got a little better, but his mind/heart was still FULL of a lifetime of perversion and lies. Because he’d kept the whole thing a secret from me, there was little I could do to help him.

      Well, it just kept coming up. His stories didn’t fit with reality. His partial confessions didn’t make sense. I followed my intuition and kept badgering and asking for the whole truth. One day it all came to a head and in hearing it all, I had a melt down of epic proportions.

      Still recovering from that…

      He wanted to stay free of the porn, so he did whatever it took to stay accountable, create boundaries for himself, follow his addiction back to it’s roots, as well as rebuild what we’d lost because of his infidelity. And its taken A LOT of work on his part to rebuild.

      For him, he would probably say that a man reaps what he sows and that God simply went after him, relentlessly pulling back every bush he tried to hide behind. In choosing God over porn, his attitude towards everything began to change, including towards me.

      What could I have done that MIGHT have helped earlier on? i could have panted after God alone and refused to participate in a lot of the same marriage lies posted all over this thread. But of course even that would only have helped ME, I could not make him choose anything.

      Thanks for asking. I’d love to hear your story too. If you are interested, you can click my name to find a free support website for betrayed wives to share their stories in community. Sharing with other wives has been an amazing part of my own healing.

      • JoAnn on April 17, 2017 at 8:03 pm

        Caroline, I am very impressed and thankful to the Lord for the way that He led both of you into a better, cleaner relationship. Your story is so very helpful and encouraging. Much grace to you, Dear Sister!

        • caroline on April 25, 2017 at 2:34 pm

          Thank you JoAnn.
          We all need to hear the Real stories of the long hard road. We must all stay active in communities where sharing reality is encouraged.

          I love Leslie’s site for all the cross talk and feedback.

          Recovery is a lifetime thing, not a weekend seminar thing!

          xoxo
          caroline

  30. So sad on April 13, 2017 at 12:51 am

    I think the roots of any addiction are usually rooted in issues such as unmet needs, neglect, unresolved grief and trauma from childhood that need addressing in therapy. but I used that to make excuses for my husband for so many years – because he’d had a really difficult childhood which meant I somehow excused his issues and abusive and addictive behaviour (mainly to alcohol). Now I see that nothing excuses abusive behaviour towards others. I also think that verbal abuse is connected to any addiction if someone is determined to continue/unrepentant because they will do whatever it takes to safeguard their relationship with that addiction over anything and any one else. So they will deflect, blame shift, ‘gas light’ (trying to change our perception of reality) in order to not get called out and not to change.

    I guess that is why Leslie’s CORE strengths the ‘E’ about having empathy and compassion even whilst keeping our boundaries and stewarding ourselves (often away from the relationship) is useful. Not just to be honourable but also I do recognise that in order for my husband to be free he would need to do some difficult and challenging work and face his internal brokenness and hurt and shame which is a tough thing to do. I can have empathy for that but I will remove myself from it until (or if at all) there is any genuine repentance or commitment to do this.

    • JoAnn on April 13, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Very well said, Dear sister. Your view is so clear and right.

  31. So sad on April 13, 2017 at 12:53 am

    HisEzer and others the comments from church leaders and pastors is outrageous and shocking. What an unbelievable burden to place on someone on top of the abusive situation.

  32. Many years on April 13, 2017 at 2:10 am

    I have confronted my husband about his porn ‘usage’ and he has denied it three times in the past 15 years. I just recently confronted him about some major concerns I had, about our marriage, and actually prayed with him before he left for work this past week; only to have him make up excuses to me later that evening after he had time to ‘think’ about everything I confronted him with in an email (he shuts me down when I talk to him, and I don’t get far in a conversation with him, hence the email). So, that evening he asked me ‘I was trying to figure out what triggered you to do this?’ (Meaning, what triggered me to write him an email) And his demeanor that evening was totally different from that morning. With him saying ‘The Lord has forgiven me’ talking about himself. There was NO accountability at all. He just wanted ME to forget about the years of his verbal, emotional, financial, mental, and spiritual abuse. He didn’t even say ‘I am sorry if you feel this way.’ Nothing at all. Yes, I have done my ‘homework’ and know that God wants us to rebuke the ‘hidden things of darkness’ even in our own husband’s life. This is not an easy thing to do! Especially when you know your husband is a covert narcissist. They can never be ‘wrong’ and therefore, will weasel their way out of any type of accountability, they will lie through their teeth, even when you have proof. They do not care about your feelings, and if they say they are sorry, it is because they are ‘sorry’ they were ‘found out’. I think the actual bottom line for any type of addiction (including PORN) in ANY Christian’s life, is the fact that ANYTHING which takes the place of GOD in one’s life, is idolatry. And the Lord commands us to ‘have no other God’s before him’. And I know we are under grace, but we don’t throw out the parts of the law which keep people accountable to the Holy Spirit , otherwise sin will continue to run rampant in the life of believers. And that brings up another thought. The fact that if there is no fruit in the life of the husband, no real commitment, no real heart-felt repentance toward the wife, no remorse after the confrontation, which comes with subtle ‘excuses’ about the husband’s own walk with the Lord; if he is a successful man, charming, able to make friends, especially with other women, by the way, with not much regard to how his ‘friendships’ affect the wife, then there is definitely a void in the husband’s spiritual perceptions. And the possibility of this is the fact that, the husband may be ‘religious’ and knows how to say the right things, and do the right things ‘in front of others’ yet he is a totally different man when behind the locked doors of his own home. Which locked doors include no, real, personal relationship with Jesus, and hence, he cannot have a real relationship with his wife who is the believer, in that regard either. There is no fellowship between light and darkness. We can have our lights shining brightly, yet if the room is dark, where the other person lives in their soul, put it this way, if they are not willing to let your light, your candle which shines the light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to shine in their hearts, their candle cannot be lit, if they refuse to let the Holy Spirit shine the light upon what Jesus has died for, and that is their sinful nature which can only be saved through believing on the faith of the Son of God, who loved us, and who gave his life for us. If that life is not in the other person, no amount of pleading will ever change their heart to stop what they are doing, because they can’t comprehend what you are even attempting to confront them with. So, with that said, at this point in time, it is up to the Holy Spirit to continue to win my husband, as I have watered, but I can’t plant if the ground is not fertile. It is really scary, and sad because, just because you are told in church that you shouldn’t marry ‘outside of the church’ yet sometimes there are wolves in sheep’s clothing INSIDE THE CHURCH, where the innocent ones are blinded by pastors who even tell those wives ‘you MAY win your husband’ IF you do thus and so, and you will go through your marriage in a daze of disbelief that you were so stupid to marry someone who turns out not even to be a believer. Right now, I have two choices: I can separate from the unbeliever, or I can stay. At this point, my husband knows what I believe, yet he cannot even begin to understand the depths of his own depravity as an unbeliever. He knows the perfect prayer at the dinner table, he goes to church, etc. All the ‘right things’ on the surface. And you would think, that, IF he were a believer, and IF he had wanted to ‘please his wife’ that he would have done the same thing I had done for him that morning when I instigated that we ‘pray together’ and yet he would not even sit down with me at the table that very evening, but stood beside our couch, and tried to ‘figure out’ WHY I had written him an email. He just couldn’t ‘get it’ nor did he desire to ask the Lord to help our marriage. No, it was still all about HIM, trying to figure it all out with his analytical mind, which doesn’t even ‘get’ the things that are of God. And the reason I had written him was the prompting of the Holy Spirit, as I have been asking the Lord to reveal to me who my husband IS. And now, I am beginning to see clearly, that there is the very strong possibility, that he is not even saved. Only God can see hearts, yet we are told ‘by their fruit you shall know them’. And I definitely believe I was shown, through my husband’s transparency of who he IS, by the way he responded to my confrontation. There was no talk about God at all, except for him saying ‘I know that God has forgiven me.’ ANYONE CAN SAY THAT IN A CONFESSIONAL BEFORE A PRIEST! That was the end of the subject for him. For myself, I know who I am in the Lord, and forgive me if this is so long, but maybe it will give other women a glimpse of what not to expect, don’t get your hopes up, yet, know that the Lord sees all things and he will guide you. I did tell my husband that I loved him, and forgave him. I had confronted him on one particular thing, and he said ‘You don’t believe me’. He said he had never been unfaithful to me. Boy Howdy! Whatever. Yeah, talk about PORN and the lust of the flesh, and how ‘dirty’ it makes the wife feel because her husband ‘has never been unfaithful to her’. Nope, God doesn’t see it that way at all. But PLEASE, LADIES! IF you are in a violent situation, go with what Leslie prescribes and other women who have also been on this blog too. God bless every one here, and thank you, HisEzer as you nailed it with the personal lies, misconceptions, and confusion which used to be so prevalent in the church. I too went for years, with ‘do the submissive thing’. Only God can change hearts. We may wish for someone to change, but when they chose not to listen to what they deem as ‘hot air’ coming from their crazy wife, and they end up deceiving themselves with their subtle lies, It has to be a JOINT ENDEAVOR with BOTH partners wanting to honestly face who they are. And the unsaved partner can’t even begin to understand that spiritual concept. They may be ‘one flesh’ but they can never be of ‘one spirit’ if one of the partners is not born again.

    • Nancy on April 13, 2017 at 6:19 am

      Hi Many years,
      My heart goes out to you. Living a double life is so painful! I pray that The Lord makes His presence known to you each day as He walks you into all Truth. I pray that He give you a spirit lead friend in the church who SEES the Truth and will walk with you, listen to you and speak truth to you. I pray for His care for you and protection over your mind and heart as you take steps toward freedom in Him.

      I pray all this in the precious name of Jesus.
      Amen.

      • Many years on April 14, 2017 at 12:26 am

        I love my sisters in Christ who leave their comments, as it is so uplifting to know that I am not alone in what I have endured in my marriage.

        It is abominable that the ‘churches’ have caused women/wives so much suffering, due to the ‘authority’ mindset ‘supposedly’ claimed by men who were just like the Jewish leaders of old, who found excuses to demean their wives in order to justify their own ungoldy and pious lifestyles, which was only a ‘form’ of godliness. Well, Jesus knew the hearts of those men and rebuked them. Of course, they didn’t really believe in Jesus in the first place, so it went right over their heads and their hearts.

        And I find this very interesting that many of Jesus’ most close friends were the females of the communities. Because Jesus saw their sorrow, he showed them the heart of what a true husband would show as far as the honor and respect, love and admiration due her. Jesus wept because of the injustices which should never have been in the first place.

        You are so precious! Nancy! I have read many of your comments. And I have felt the prayers from this site. And I thank you from the bottom of my soul for the truth that you speak.

        I do have two, very close friends whom I share very private things with. They know my circumstances, and the crazy-making of those of us who go through so much of it, when living with husbands whose lives don’t quite fit what the Holy Spirit teaches the deepest parts of our hearts, where our lives will show to others who we really are in Jesus.

        Just as Satan is cunning, and subtle, and deceitful, so are these men in church leadership (not all of them) when the Spirit of discernment comes so profoundly into my heart that ‘something just isn’t right in our marriage’, yet, even that statement to my husband years ago, didn’t phase him because of the very fact that he didn’t even know how to ‘go there’ in his own heart, and it took me years to figure that out.

        I believe that my recent confrontation with my husband with the email I sent him, opened up the fact that he does not know how to respond in the Spirit of enlightenment, nor can he. And God is my witness, as I did ask the Lord to reveal my husband’s intent and heart to me.

        I have been praying for this for a very long time. And last week, I was moved to write that email, and I almost didn’t ‘send’ it to him, but I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me as I hit the ‘send’ icon. And it was actually a relief, as I knew that what I had to say was true. Yet he ended up denying so much of it, and excused himself with his ‘God has forgiven me’ meaning himself.

        And I believe the Lord has confirmed to me, with the outcome, or ‘lack thereof’ by my husband’s subtle shift, as to ‘how’ he interpreted the email to fit his own ‘white’ lies and basically my husband passed it off as prattle from a religious nut case. Those are not his words, but the intent came across as though what I had to say, didn’t amount to much.

        Part of the email included two, very, recent incidents where he had verbally threatened me.Yet, for him to tell me that ‘threatening’ me is not the same as the ‘action’ itself, not in those exact words, but that was the gist of his discernment to protect himself. He wasn’t about ready to apologize that he had ‘threatened’ me, as he felt, because he didn’t follow through with the actual threat itself, there was no necessary accountability on his part for threatening me.
        This is their subtle shift, and distortion of the truth when the wife is attempting to fit the puzzle pieces together of the marriage. As all we want is some fairness.

        • Nancy on April 14, 2017 at 7:16 am

          Many years,

          That email sounds like a very important step. Documents ( email, letters) have been an essential element for me, too, as I communicated and set boundaries with both my husband and my mother. Having things written down stops the shifting and re-writing of history that takes place. Somehow these have provided a solid place for my mind to rest amidst the FOG ( fear, obligation, guilt).

          I just love the way The Lord has answered your prayer to really see your husband’s heart. And yes…,as you wrote to Aly, it’s not just a marriage at stake, but a soul.

          Have you read Leslie’s book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage? I followed the steps in her book in confronting my husband. What a blessing she has been in my life! This blog too. Your husband is blessed to have such a spiritual warrior for a wife.

          May The Lord continue to guide you on this incredible journey 💕

          • Nancy on April 14, 2017 at 7:30 am

            I want to add here, that as you confront your h further, things will become clearer with each confrontation. Wether he changes or not will be between he and The Lord. Don’t fall into the trap ( as I have SO often done) of being his convictor. Only the Holy Spirit convicts.

            It may take a separation in order for that conviction to take place. It also may never happen. So yes….fight for his heart, but you can only do that when your own is properly guarded.

            As you take each step you may have to back further and further away in order to keep your heart entirely for The Lord.



          • Aly on April 14, 2017 at 11:57 am

            Hi Nancy, & Many Years,

            I read the last couple exchanges and maybe I’m missing something or thoroughly confused. Maybe you could clarify more about what you both mean by it’s not just a marriage at stake, but a soul?

            As you are a bit familiar with my journey Nancy, I want to be sure to clarify myself ‘the message’ that was given to me by my own (enabling mother).
            She said the exact same things about my role in the marriage ( because it was the same message she told herself over and over in order to not deal with the reality of the marriage dynamic) and it created more abuse and co-dependency to continue. (Generationally too)

            Had it just been my h and I ….maybe my choices and boundaries would have looked different but having young children I had to weigh the cost of their impact.. if it was about ‘another’s soul’ and I had to dive into the message of how far will I compromise my own faith for another who is (asleep)? The more I studied, the more I searched it out, the more He gave me and he wasn’t silent.., he was clear all along.

            I realize that I’m in a different place in ways as it pertains to the healing and health our ‘ our now marriage’ which I can actually call it a marriage now, Praise God!

            My h to this day reminds me…had God not changed my mindset and gotten to the root of those false beliefs to enforce healthy boundaries… he doesn’t believe (given his Narc pers. that he was quite comfortable & loyal to)…that their would have been a wake up moment to address his toxic attitude and belief structure as a ‘professing Christian.’
            Thankfully God gave me the conviction of what was driving my enabling behavior and the courage to deal with what was required in me to change.

            I love my h dearly and much of my early years of love were not really love at all.

            I say these things out of great concern because none of you out there are remotely designed to carry the burden of another’s soul! We do our part as called but He will do His if itsGods will.

            To me it seems that ‘Many Years’ husband’s attitude is that of a huge male epidemic in our culture and especially in our church culture!
            Meaning: men professing Christianity and doing the motions but not really acting in a surrendered process of reverence.

            My heart is heavy for the ingrained patterns that have been handed down and I do believe that God’s word can equip us to battle!

            I do believe that His truths will guide us and protect us and the outcome of the marriage is not up to us, but we need to be honest with ourselves and sometimes just even giving the presence to our h’s can stubble them into prolonging continued behavior that can become even more destructive… it can go under ground and it can be subtle.
            We are called to be wise like serpents and innocent like doves for a reason.
            Hugs and prayers for your journey!



          • Nancy on April 14, 2017 at 3:23 pm

            Hi Aly,

            I’m happy to clarify what I meant when I agreed with many years in her statement about it not just being her marriage at stake, but a soul.

            Many years had said this, “I had to allow The Lord to guide my heart on this set of different circumstances for my marriage [ this difference -as I understand her comments – being her recognition that he is an unbeliever]. Thus things are on the back burner so to speak in my ‘no hurry’ to get the heck out of here. That is now not my intent. There is a soul at stake here, not just a marriage.”

            I hope it’s ok, Many Years, to reference you here. But it’s necessary for clear communication 🙂

            My interpretation is that her desire is to ‘go to battle’ for her h’s soul. That involves taking steps in Truth not knowing the outcome of the marriage, right? If we place a relationship at the foot of the cross, we are releasing the outcome to The Lord. My interpretation is that leaving him without going through steps of confrontation would not be going to battle for him.

            So…when I agreed with the statement about a soul at stake, I did not mean ‘don’t confront’. In fact, I believe fighting for another’s soul has to involve confrontation and boundaries. With each confrontation, his heart posture will become more and more obvious and give opportunity for conviction. Our job is to always adjust to their reactions in order to guard our own heart, so we can stay true and alive in Christ. That doesn’t mean forebearing for someone else to continue in sin ( that’s not forbearance). No sweeping under the rug, no allowing the other to continue in darkness.

            From other conversations I’m pretty sure we are on the same page, Aly. If there’s something in my thinking that needs challenging though, please challenge me!



          • Aly on April 14, 2017 at 5:29 pm

            Hi Nancy,

            Thank you SO much for taking the time to clarify. That does help especially this;
            “That doesn’t mean forebearing for someone else to continue in sin ( that’s not forbearance). No sweeping under the rug, no allowing the other to continue in darkness.”

            Sometimes we would benefit having a few eyes of our reasoning to challenge these areas that can be subtle.. I think this is where support comes in and I’ve found that others can offer wisdom of my past tendency to not address something … regardless of its size but for my own protection.

            For me, I know I don’t have the ability to decide on another’s salvation whether they are an unbeliever or a believer.

            If they claim to profess belief as a Christian and define having salvation, then my posture and my boundaries are going to be in line with that regardless of how painful or what extent those boundaries prove to be necessary for my overall health.

            I do think this area is difficult to navigate because there are many who have been taught twisted theology about saving their h’s souls… only then to the ongoing years later, finding out that the husband has continued to reinforce the ‘thinking pathways’ and mindsets that needed uprooted from the beginning!

            I do think you and I have seen similar pages in regards to these issues and I so do agree with the confrontations and boundaries playing out once a spouse feels they have been revealed truth.

            I have seen many women overtime find it hard to follow through with boundaries or even identify them and easily are lead to the spiritualizing of ‘softening the lines in the sand’ or finding creative ways to justify their enable patterns…,
            Praying & hoping that the spouse will see the sacrifice, only to see that the spouse seems to continue to ‘take’.

            I do believe it doesn’t take long to see if a spouse ‘respects’ a loving confrontation and boundary…
            sometimes it’s just to comfortable to say they are an ‘unbeliever’ at heart.
            Sometimes that gives us a sense of peace or understanding afterall we don’t understand why their behavior doesn’t align with their claimed belief.

            Sometimes we are dealing with ‘addicts’ and addicts can resemble and react very much like unbelievers. Low level Narc traits too.

            Even after my h’s belief and baptism, his attitude/behaviors remained.. boundaries afforded him the opportunity to do the intensive character work necessary to actually have a marriage.

            It is my experience and observations that it’s healthy to treat them by what they Profess they are,if they profess to be a believer.., praise God.. and praise God for His ways and His higher standards!

            Love to you Nancy;)
            It’s so good to read your strengths and your truths for your heart💕
            Thank you for battling along!



        • Aly on April 14, 2017 at 12:07 pm

          Many Years,

          You wrote:
          “As all we want is some fairness”

          I believe you that many ‘healthy people’ understand the beauty and reasonableness in ‘fairness’ …
          but others that think very differently than you or I… don’t necessarily want fairness… they are quite content to take.

          Your h does not seem to have the posture you have in the dynamic of your marriage.

          I do understand that you believe this is probably due to him being an unbeliever truly..

          But have you engaged with other unbelievers that do have a posture of ‘fairness and mutual respect’
          I have personally.
          Just something to consider maybe?

    • Aly on April 13, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Dear Many Years,
      This is very sad and very alarming reading your post. I’m very sorry for what you have it seems to have tolerated ‘many years’ I don’t believe that you need to continue to.

      My heart goes out to you and all of the deception you are having to be involved in.

      I’m struggling with understanding your reasoning with the position you are taking and I would say that the ‘unbeliever’ possibility is also becoming another long drawn out excuse and lie to other women that are needing comfort and serious advocacy.

      My heart is heavy for you and breaks for you in this place, but you are a wise woman with plenty of biblical knowledge, you are worth so much more than participating with your husband’s response.
      Trust me, he knows full well what he is orchestrating and has little remorse for it.
      I’m praying for your strength, that you will see the only safe choice for you, your h and the rest of the ‘professing Christian men and women,… is: ‘game over’.
      Dear h, no longer… game over!

      • Many years on April 14, 2017 at 1:01 am

        Thank you Aly, for your deep, heart-felt alarm for me, as I do know what you are talking about. It is the ‘waiting’ game which is the most difficult, the listening for that ‘still small voice’ as there are other scenarios in my life that I need to have in place, and leaving is not always for everyone. I think the blog site ‘Revive Our Hearts’ has also helped me, to be calm in the midst of the storm.

        Because it has taken me so very long to confirm that my husband may not even be a believer, has changed so much of my stance and attitude toward him.

        I had to allow the Lord to guide my heart on this different set of circumstances for my marriage. Thus, things are on the back-burner, so-to-speak, in my ‘no hurry’ to get the heck out of here. That is now, not my intent. There is a soul at stake here, not just my marriage.

        I have become more emboldened in my discussions with my husbaand, and since I detect the lack of spiritual discernment on his part for our marriage, i know more than just my husband’s spiritual cluelessness is not just the dilemma, it is the fact that Satan is very interested in keeping my husband from a true walk with Jesus.

        So, I am going to be under attack more than ever from Satan, the oppressor, as my husband won’t know what an attack from Satan will look like, as he is not ‘interested’ nor will he be able to discern a spiritual attack as he does show a ‘form’ of godliness, yet, there is no concept of the oneness of the Spirit that a husband and wife can have in the Lord. This is why communication with a possible unbeliever goes no where.

        And yes it is deception, as I believe my husband has allowed himself to become ‘self-deceived’ to the extent that he ‘thinks’ that using deception to fool others, which the Spirit has already discerned who my husband is, so my husband really cannot fool me, as I know what is the intent in the natural heart of man. I have the upper hand, in an odd, and supernatural exception.

        As God is on my side, and yet God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the saving knowledge of Christ’s finished work on the cross to the saving of their souls.

        And so, I wait. ‘I waited patiently for the Lord’. ‘If God be for me, who can be against me?’ ‘In due time, Christ died for the ungodly’ which includes all of us. At this point, I am under no obligation to stay with my unsaved husband.

        Biblically, I can leave and separate. It may come to that at some point. God will make the way, and I don’t want to bungle it up with being fretful. ‘Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.’ I don’t want it to be an evil, or questionable act on my part unless I am totally certain it is from God who will make my way of escape.

        Just like I had to wait for God to answer my earnest prayer about revealing who my husband truly is, as far as his spiritual life, which seems to be quite barren and lacks the necessary ingredients for a true believer in Jesus.

        Thank you again, and may God watch over your decisions too, as I know we will all give an account to the Lord for our guidance from him. The article ‘Meek or Weak’ on Revive our Hearts blog, this past week, was very poignant to how I make my decisions. It was really good! It shed new light on a subject of who the men and women in God’s Word who were considered to be meek, yet their power was of resisting to be anxious, and more of waiting on the Lord. It was powerful!

  33. Kelly on April 13, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Like, “What do you do to provoke him?”,
    “Take away his excuses for abusing you”,
    “Sarah followed Abraham, therefore you should likewise follow your husband”,
    “God hates divorce”, “you made a vow before God”, “look what Jesus went through”, “God honors suffering & sticking it out”,
    –here’s some of the ‘counsel’ I’ve gotten in my 27 year abusive marriage, which was ended this year.

  34. Barbara on April 13, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Hi Leslie,

    Here are some lies I’ve heard:

    ROLES
    The husband and wife have roles to play in the marriage (lie).
    The husband’s role is to lead; this means he will make the final decision (lie).
    The wife’s role is to yield to the husband’s leadership (lie).
    If the husband is doing something wrong, the wife has to remain in her submissive role and win him without a word (lie).
    These lies are crazy-making, because at the same time they are telling you about roles which are obviously unequal and skewed toward the man, they tell you that the husband and wife are equal. This man-made concept of roles, which is added to Scripture, is an excuse for men to actually disobey God by being authoritarian, while at the same time giving lip service to the biblical truth, which is equality. This way of handling scripture is a textbook example of false teachers, who take a grain of truth and twist it, mixing in the world’s philosophy in a subtle way so the deception is hard to catch. Isn’t it interesting that Paul speaks of false teachers worming their way into homes and capturing weak-willed (vulnerable) women.

    NEEDS
    Men need sex (lie).
    Women need the love of their husbands (lie).
    Men need the respect of their wives (lie).
    Your spouse completes you (lie).
    These lies are confusing and crazymaking because on the one hand they teach that Christ is sufficient for all our needs; on the other hand, when they preach about marriage, they give doomsday scenarios of what will happen if you don’t meet your husband’s needs. As a young wife, I heard so many frightening threats at women’s conferences about how my husband would naturally leave me and find another woman if I didn’t dress right and please him in bed. The lie and false doctrine here is that I have the power to control my husband’s sin and righteousness, when not even God, who has the power, does that. He gives men free choice and holds them responsible for their choices.

    WORD OF FAITH
    If you say anything negative about your husband, you are making a mold for him to fill (lie).
    Your forgiveness empowers him and allows him to change (lie).
    Sorry if I’m stepping on some toes here because I know the word of faith movement is very popular. The downside of this type of teaching is that you are criticized and treated very poorly if you tell the truth.

    Peace and strength be with you,

    Barbara

    • Aly on April 13, 2017 at 11:23 am

      Barbara,
      Thanks for posting the truth here;) I have heard many similar things … sometimes a bit more subtle but still just as dangerous.

      You wrote:
      “He gives men free choice and holds them responsible for their choices.”

      I so agree with this! And I also agree that a loving healthy partner thing to do is to allow (The Natural Consequences) to take their course.

      ~Maybe that means the h has to incur painful outcomes of not having such the comforts of a wife ‘somewhat in his life?’ Or at least the image to the outside that our lives are (ok) when in reality there is too much hiding…

      Maybe that means he/she must separate and lose the marital benefits unless he/she can own his behavior and get serious help. By help I mean years of help.., not the 3 times counseling approach or even a six month endeavor, I mean (UNTIL)!! Doesn’t Paul preach this process for us all anyways as Christians.

      It could be intensive measures for life in this world depending how unwilling the spouse is at learning and growing in character.
      This is the process and beauty in transformation by the Word of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

      Again, let’s not add to the ease of the addict.
      Let’s remember addicts in general will do anything to escape feeling bad, and not being required to is similar to me wanting to drive on any side of the street, sorry but I don’t have that choice without grave consequences right?

    • Robert on April 25, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Barbara, if women don’t need the love of their husbands, then why did God require husbands to love their wives? Barbara, you are a wounded wolf because you say several things unapologetically that are contrary to scripture.

      • Garrett on April 26, 2017 at 7:49 am

        Hi Robert,

        Your question “if women don’t need the love of their husbands, then why did God require husbands to love their wives?” might misunderstand how Barbara is presenting what a need is, and who needs it.

        In a marriage with unhealthy relationships, we know it’s common for spouses to have poor boundaries, and use each other instead of serve each other. In healthy marriages, each spouse is whole and healthy, and they are able to share. In unhealthy marriages, the needs of one spouse are often leveraged in a controlling way against the freedom of the other spouse.

        Both the wife and the husband need numerous things from each other in order to have a healthy marriage, but the offsetting dynamic is that each is allowed to offer these things freely. The reason, I suspect, why Barbara is saying it’s a lie, is not because she doesn’t understand a healthy marriage, but because she is pointing out that often a wife is told that if she does not “provide her husband what he needs” then she is to blame for his sinful behavior. That’s the lie.

        God tells husbands to love their wives, so that is what men need to do – they need to obey. God never suggests that women will respond properly, or that the man will be able to love her so well that she needs nothing else. He doesn’t call husbands to be God, but godly. As a man, I can also testify that I have not responded to God’s love in a way that highlights how sacrificial he was for me.

        Husbands lead in their families, and servant leaders are to lead by example, and with love. Telling a wife what to do while framing it with regards to what a husband needs… is still telling her what to do.

  35. Lori on April 13, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Leslie,

    Regarding lies:

    The word of God was used by Satan to deceive the very author of the Word of God. The audacity of Satan to try to use the same method of deceit that he used successfully in the Garden to deceive Eve, to deceive the ONE Who IS Truth!

    Here’s where Satan shows his hand = he used his best and most hopeful tool to trip his greatest foe. That tool was the WORD of God!

    So, it makes perfect sense to me that he continues (effectively at times) to pervert ever so slightly the Word of God and whisper it into mankinds ears. When it enters the ear and drains to the heart, he has won. Subtle perversions of Gods’ truth have been successfully seeded in the hearts of His creation and bear the natural fruit.

    With that in mind, satan has successfully twisted scripture to continue to build his kingdom of thievery, murder and destruction.

    Here is one such scripture recently slightly twisted to lie me back into submission to a destructive marriage.

    1 Peter 3 :”Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”

    Truth, but when ever so slightly twisted with the slightest of hand, turns quickly into the “lie”.

    It says for wives to submit to a h that does not “believe the word”, It does NOT say, a wife must submit to a h that is destructive to her. BIG difference.

    I believe there are many such “scriptures” that our enemy twists for his perverted goals of destruction. Perhaps he knows the word of God better than we do? I shudder to think.

  36. Belle on April 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Teaching that haunted me: Philippians 4:8 (Thinking on what is good, lovely…) applied to women to think and focus on the good things in their husbands and to not think on the bad. So, you feel blamed for feeling bad about about abuse. If only you had focused on the good things and ignored the bad.

    • ContentinChrist on April 14, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Oooh, that’s a good one, Belle. So true.

  37. Sophia on April 13, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    A friend recently gifted me a cd by Ellie Holcomb, Red Sea Road. Every song ministered to my weary heart. It has the theme of fighting for truth. So so good! I would give one to every woman I know.

    • ContentinChrist on April 14, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Yes! I commented about her album a couple of weeks ago. It is beautiful and would minister to all of us who are walking this road right now.

  38. Jacki on April 14, 2017 at 5:15 am

    Leslie-First, thank you for your insight on this painful & pervasive issue in today’s relationships. Besides being challenged w/this in my own marriage, I work in an anti-human trafficking ministry. It starts with the objectification of another human being & porn use…the removal of their humanness…the loss of compassion & humanity, destroying relationships & spirits. My response has been to love the Lord God w/all my heart & then my neighbor (husband) as I love myself. This doesn’t mean I tolerate active addiction of any kind. What this means is I have firm & clear communication on my boundaries. I care for my heart & spirit. I work my recovery furiously through that narrow gate…UGH! Thank you God for the narrow gate even though it’s hard! I pray for God’s will in my husband’s life & my ability to accept it. I pray for the same for myself & I keep the focus on me, taking really good care of myself. May God’s grace & mercy be with you all.

  39. Aly on April 14, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Aleea,

    “the main difference between internet technology bringing all kinds of porn and slavery is that slaves were fully aware that they were not free.”

    Such a great comment and I so would have to agree here!

    I also can see a comparison between healthy and destructive marriages… many are not aware that they are not free, and that somehow it’s their job to endure…to bring about the salvation to their spouse even though that pure work was only and could only have been done by Christ.
    Just as the porn user rationalizes and justifies their sin as to not feel bad for it as to normalize it too… many will spiritualize their slavery.
    These continued messages (coping skills ~not good ones) need to get untwisted for the future daughter’s & sons of the King!
    Praying for clarity and healing!

    • Nancy on April 14, 2017 at 8:30 am

      So agree with you Aly! An Ezer fights for her husband by getting out of the way, in order to allow The Lord to work directly with her husband, NOT by attempting to be the saviour.

      • Aly on April 14, 2017 at 9:43 am

        Nancy;)
        Thanks for your comment.. I do think you can see the rut and the false teaching that leads many wives to thinking ‘that they are getting out of the way’ when in reality the h is NOT experiencing the natural consequences necessary for God to do a big work.
        I’ve experienced this personally and as with marriage and many other precious relationships… they must be put on the alter~ this doesn’t mean the this is a quick fix but I do believe this is a opening door~a pathway to the freedom that we seek in participating in a healthy mutual marriage that can only Glorify God!
        Again it’s all about His purpose and Glory;)

        God bless you Nancy! Have a blessed Easter celebration;)

      • Nancy on April 14, 2017 at 10:12 am

        I hear that so clearly, Aly – they ( precious relationships) must be put on the altar. This is going to ‘look’ different for each relationship. What that ‘looks’ like only God knows.

        I am heading off to a Good Friday service where we will each be placing a stone inside a tomb. I’ll be praying to ask God to reveal very specifically to me, what my stone represents.

        And a Blessed Easter to you too, my sister 💕

    • Aleea on April 14, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      “… many will spiritualize their slavery.”

      Hello Aly,
      . . . Absolutely true Aly and wonderfully said. . . .But we must never, any of us (especially me), underestimate our own motivated reasoning. All reasoning is motivated and lots of the reasons are down DEEP in the unconscious (depth psychology) —many of these beliefs truly are defense mechanisms against a real experience of Christ. Our relationships with Christ are actually profound and dynamic relationships with the psychological self too! . . .All Aly and Aleea and everyone else here can ever fall back on is that Christ knows we love Him and that we really need Him. I know I really need Him! He also knows I always just want the truth (—the truth) even if it makes a much sadder me, even if it totally breaks my heart. . . . .When pastors refer to the biblical approach to womanhood, they are often using the Bible as a weapon disguised as an adjective: Ephesians six; First Peter, et.al. These are setting people up for abuse by encouraging them to swallow a whole raft of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors by a act of “simple faith.” Re:I believe the Bible and am under the authority of my pastor. . . . .Well, that short-circuits the entire process of researching the issues with primary source evidence, critical thinking and coming to one’s own conclusions. I really believe we would not see people “spiritualizing their slavery” if they used more logic, reason, primary source evidenced-based thinking. . . .Transference of fear and self-loathing to an authoritarian vessel is catharsis, plain and simple (—A woman thinks she is serving Christ by not researching, praying over, questioning what her pastor tells her). Often pastors absorb their parishioners dread with their narratives. They are effective in proportion to the amount of *certainty* they can project. But the certainty they are projecting is unsupportable once we study the primary source evidence. Linguistic anthropologists know this form of language virus (—projecting certainty and “I Know” verbiage rewrites pathways in the brain and dulls hearer’s critical thinking skills because everyone wants to belong and not be ostracized or shunned, even “Theocratic Shunning.”) . . .BUT, no one who is familiar with the primary source evidence is “allegorizing or spiritualizing the slavery” because they know clearly that it is in fact the real slavery, mind slavery. Mental Slavery remains the biggest form of oppression even in our day. Christ wills our liberation, our exodus from Egypt. Jesus wants us to be FREE but He will not do our thinking or our homework for us.

    • Aleea on April 14, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      . . . oh and maybe also see: “The Couples Psychotherapy Treatment Planner, with DSM-5 Updates” by K. Daniel O’Leary, Richard E. Heyman, Arthur E. Jongsma, Jr. (chapters: Porn and Fantasy Obsession in the Internet Age and How to Cope Together or Apart.) Everyone knows that the internet is changing our lives, mostly because someone in the media has uttered that exact phrase every single day since 2000. However, it certainly appears that the main thing the Internet has accomplished is the normalization of pornography. And we not wrong if we react instinctively –often jealously– against porn, because as that research shows, pornography is actually, neurologically, a woman’s destructive rival for her man’s sexual capabilities. But, but the research also clearly shows that both pornography and religion can deeply distort a person’s perspectives on women. Re: Dr. Ferdinand Christian Baur, The Church History of the First Three Centuries and Dr. Martin Werner, The Formation of Christian Teachings (. . . shows the development of Christian doctrine on women). . . Dr. Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (. . . unbelievably detailed and endlessly fascinating!) So again, both pornography and religion can deeply distort a person’s perspectives on women.

    • Aleea on April 15, 2017 at 6:05 am

      —And on “The Lies in Christian Marriages That Lead to Crazy Making” it takes according to that research cited above (Sexual Addiction takes 5-7 yrs of active recovery and accountability to “thaw out” and to start realizing the harm they have caused.) —And you can see in those studies how bad it is going to end as people say things like: “I committed to God that I would wait as long as it took if there was no physical infidelity. I felt that God was asking me to surrender, and stop relying on a “back-up plan” [vs. building a backup plan like Leslie always talks about] “. . .God wanted me to trust Him to protect me.” It is clear in so many cases going through counseling is even more tumultuous and “crazy making.”

      I think lots of these attitudes are the direct result of scriptures and everybody knows which scriptures they are because they are constantly deconstructing and de-weaponizing those scriptures (—Oh, they really don’t mean what they meant for thousands of years, —they really mean this. . . .that always makes me so deeply wonder.) Have the teachings of the Bible advanced or retarded the emancipation of women? People already know the answer to that, they (—just like me) can’t accept what they already know because it knocks over too many dominoes. Women everywhere ought to demand that the Canon law, the Mosaic code, the Scriptures, prayer—books and liturgies be purged of all devicive distinctions of sex, of all false teaching as to Woman’s origin, character, purpose and destiny. It is clear that the Bible needs serious explanation and comment on so many statements therein which degrade woman. I believe Christ taught the equality of the sexes (—but sometimes I wonder because —Why?, —Oh Why not have a few females be part of the tweleve disciples —That would have really been a statement!), and Paul said: “In Christ there is neither male nor female as we are all one in Christ Jesus.” —Now, that is a totally beautiful statement but those statements are few and far between. Re: “Women in Scripture: edited by Ross Kraemer, Carol L. Meyers, Toni Craven, et.al.” They make such good points and maybe the best proof that the scriptures are almost always patriarchal is that they consistently oversimplify feelings. The word “sin” is derived from the root “es-,” meaning “to be.” When I discovered this etymology, I intuitively understood that for a person trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, “to be” in the fullest sense is “to sin.”

      There is no prize to be “won.” No princess needs rescuing from dragons, we can all only and always kill our own monsters. —We have to slay them ourselves. The power of patriarchy has been to make maleness feared and to make men feel that it is better to be feared that to be loved, —that’s just totally wrong. . . . Here is the question beyond all that noise: Am I living in a way which is deeply satisfying to me, and which truly expresses me? I think our task is not even to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within ourselves that we have built against it. . . . Honestly, out beyond ALL ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. Christ always meets me there!!! Where my soul lies down in that grass and the world is too full to even talk about. Where I sell my cleverness and buy total bewilderment. Things I have learned along the way that are really important to me:

      1. Really, deeply tell the truth, even about God, Jesus, Scriptures, etc.
      2. Do not do things that you hate, even if others are doing them.
      3. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
      4. Remember that what you do not yet know is probably FAR more important than what you already know (Learning, yes!!!).

      The reality of loving Jesus is loving Him like he’s a Superhero who actually saved us from stuff rather than a Santa Claus who merely gives us some stuff. We cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are. Then change seems to come about almost unnoticed. —And it could be that no one heals without gullible caring, in which we are accepted as who we say we are, not with a lurking, constant suspicion in the therapist’s mind that the person may, in fact, be otherwise. —And that attitude is not stupidity on the therapist’s part (—see the research); it is the kind of attitude that is most likely to lead to trust. . . Trust = healing. The rest are massive, never-ending wars over what scriptures “really say” and shattered homes, broken children, wasted lives. —I see it Lord, just give me the strength to keeping crossing the thresholds.

    • Aleea on April 15, 2017 at 6:22 am

      . . . And I want to say a very special and heartfelt thank you to whomever(s) has fixed the site software and the posting functions on the blog. —In the past weeks (—I’ve lost track of how many), —WOW, they are working g-r-e-a-t!!! Yes, the center of responsibility lies within ourselves but it sure is a thing of beauty when the site software works this well. I have deeply appreciated that and to me, it is the equivalent of sensitive, empathic, concentrated listening. —Thank you!!!

  40. Melissa on April 14, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    A couple lies that I have heard over and over again in the church that drive me crazy are:

    -“Even if you are only responsible 10%, everyone still has something to own that lead to the breakup of their marriage.”

    We are all sinners, true, but we do not all contribute to the breakup and destruction of a marriage. For many, this can be heaping blame and burdens where they should not be placed. I can honestly say that I do not have regrets concerning my behaviour in my marriage because I was allowing God to change me and offer unconditional love to my husband. God also to taught me to confront my husband when I could and keep very short accounts at every turn with my own conduct. I am a sinner to be sure, but my marriage was destroyed by my husband’s destructive choices, lies, and hard heart.

    Another lie in the church is that a child/teenager should always be encouraged to pursue relationship with both parents.

    I have seen this hurt some youth very badly who desperately needed some distance from a parent to heal, to forgive, and to be affirmed. Again, it is heaping unnecessary burdens on a family that is already vulnerable.

    • Connie on April 15, 2017 at 9:59 am

      Oh yes, the bit about children needing a good relationship with both parents. I moved away to be farther from h, partly because I was tired of the lies my family and friends believed, partly because I was tired of the continued abuse/blackmail of the x, and partly because he hardly saw the children and I thought it would be good for them to be with him for longer times, like a week or month or two in summer. What a mistake!!!!!

      At my recent counseling, it was talked about, how to heal the hearts of your children. One thing is to apologize for past wrongs. I asked what do you do when the children want you to apologize for what you did NOT do. The couple who was counseling said that the children of an abusive father often blame the mother. In their ‘magical thinking’, she could have done something, and they know that if they blame mom, she will continue to love them, but if they are honest and blame dad, he will turn on them and then they only have one parent left, and that is very distressing to them. It’s a crazy world, I know. I am slowly starting to expose the truth, 20 years after leaving him, and the children are so far mostly not wanting to hear about it, not believing. He’s that good.

  41. Ann L on April 14, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Friend, what has been your response when you have discovered that your husband has a habit watching pornography?

    Shock. Anger. Disbelief. Unwillingness to give up on my vision for my future with him we call that “selfishness.” Denial. Blindness. Intense anger. Willingness to accept his lies. More disbelief. Inability to recognize patterns of behavior. Then, when faced with irrefutable evidence, months searching furiously for more irrefutable evidence.

    Our divorce is moving along while we cooperate on filing our last joint taxes, get the house ready to sell, clean up the leftovers of 30 years. And yet, sometimes I still think “maybe I was unfair. Maybe he denies a problem because there really isn’t one there.” Jeeesh.

    • ContentinChrist on April 14, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      My uncle, an former alcoholic who has been set free by Christ, told me once that all addicts are liars. He would know. A former addict speaking from what he knows.

  42. ContentinChrist on April 14, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    I think someone brought this up already above, but the twisting of the scripture of “look for the log in your own eye before trying to remove the speck in your brother’s”. I hear that taught as this idea that as long as you have sin in your life, you have no right to address someone else’s sin. In which case, no one would ever address anyone else’s sin.

    I think this is one of those scriptures Satan definitely uses to keep us in fear and keep us silent.

  43. Maria on April 15, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Melissa,

    Another lie in the church is that a child/teenager should always be encouraged to pursue relationship with both parents.

    I totally agree. As loving parents, we tell our children that they should pick their friends wisely. It seems like the narcissistic parent’s character is worse than any of their friends. Unfortunately, the only thing the church says is to obey and honor our parents. As women, it is very hard to get help from the church. A lot of times, it is detrimental going to the church for advice. For kids, it seems like there is little to no help.

  44. Garrett on April 15, 2017 at 11:38 am

    These posts are painful to read, and helpful to read. As a man, it causes me sadness and concern.

    I have been considering the pattern many are sharing regarding how to be a good Christian wife but yet handle the relational aspect with appropriate action. Obviously, as a man, I cannot speak to being a wife. But many husbands are a spouse to a non-believing wife, and similar situations can occur. It’s been helpful to me to read about it, because there is a pattern of confusion that I have experienced in my own life as a Christian. I wanted to post my thoughts to see if there might be something to this.

    Maybe there is confusion between two separate issues:
    Issue 1 is the issue of “Good character vs. Poor character”
    Issue 2 is the issue of “Christian values vs. Non-Christian values”

    Issue 1
    There are many men in my town who are not Christians, but they have good character. They keep their word. They love people, not things. They also don’t treat people like things. They are considerate. They have good character. They respect boundaries. (To readers who are Christians, we will acknowledge that none of these things gain a person favor with God, but we should also be comfortable to highlight they do happen.)

    In marriages with partners that have good character, I think we would find differences of views. But the man of good character will value and acknowledge the difference of views his wife has. A man of poor character will not care about his wife’s views at all.

    A common example (again, these men are not Christians) of good character kicking in: they will have crazy bachelor parties because “it’s their last time to have fun before getting hitched.” They get married, and choose to be faithful to their wives. They view marriage as a new chapter, and leave the old life behind. Granted, the lifestyle before marriage may not align with Christian values – but that’s a different issue. If men in this group later act faithfully to their wife in marriage – it’s a matter of their good character. From a values standpoint, maybe we could make the case they value marriage…but that they are doing what they said they would is good character. Keeping a promise is not inherently a Christian thing to do. But it is definitely part of good character.

    Issue 2
    Many who post here are Christians, or go to church, or have a Christian background. But some do not want any longer to go to church because the experience with church leadership has been so horrendous. That is the worst! The church should not be like this.

    Christians value the things of God (or are supposed to), and non-Christians may also agree with some of those things, but the difference between the two is a matter of values, and not character. What is the highest priority? Where does a person’s value come from? Where can I find significance, and how should I spend my time in my life? All are matters of value.

    We know it is possible for a spouse who is not a Christian to be married to a spouse who is. If the non-Christian has good character, they may not hold to the same Values as the Christian spouse. However, they will acknowledge the difference and respect the Christian spouse because of their good character. Still, there are differences of values. The unbelieving husband may never go to church, may never want to pray, etc. But they are loving and respect their wife. They are a servant to their family and have good character, but they are spiritually lost.

    However, as this blog topic has shown, there are MANY men who claim to have Christian values, but display horrendous character. Somehow these men have decided that claiming the name of Christ is a great way to be free to do whatever they want. That is called “license” – not freedom. Freedom always recognizes boundaries, or else you can’t tell what you are free from.

    I think doing what you say you will do is a character issue – not a Christian issue. What would make it a Christian issue is WHAT you say you will do, as opposed to whether you will do it or not.

    Men with poor character who claim to be Christians will expect their wives to keep “their end of the deal” while they do not keep theirs. Men with good character will try and possibly massively fail in their trying, but you will NOT see them passively expecting the wife to resolve all problems.

    A man with poor character will not openly admit to what he’s been hiding. A man with good character will be honest and open. He may be doing something wrong, but he would admit it and not blame his wife. He may not have the same values as the wife…maybe her values changed since they first got married. But, if he has good character, he will listen and consider how his choices affect her.

    I’m still working through a lot of these issues personally, but allowing consequences often felt like being unloving when I could not see the issue as a matter of poor character.

    If I am constantly brought back to the spiritual side of things (and I cannot know the heart of another person so in a way it’s kind of distraction), it tends to dilute the conversation to a level that I cannot do anything about – after all, I’m not God and cannot change anyone else. But if instead I look at it as a matter of character – I CAN do something about it because I’m a person, and my character matters as does the other person’s. I’m not trying to be God in this moment, I’m trying to RELATE. Relating means paying attention to the actions of the other person, not ignoring them.

    Spouses are on the front line to the development of character in their spouse of poor character. If it’s a character issue, it’s not a spiritual issue, and it’s not a rebellion issue on the wife’s part. It’s a kindness issue that helps immaturity to grow up. Allowing consequences just means letting the person experience the outcomes of their decisions. Character affects relationships. Good character supports good relationships. Bad character breaks it all down.

    But I think I myself confused these two issues of character and values, and found I couldn’t do anything healthy without feeling like I was sinning and being unloving. That’s a rotten place to get stuck in.

    I think about how many times out of my own commitment to the Lord did I address all issues in another person from a spiritual lens when I could have addressed it as a matter of character…and allowed consequences.

    • JoAnn on April 16, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      That’s a good perspective, Garrett, and I would like to add a few points. Character is important, not just in the human life, but especially in the Christian life. As believers, we have the life of Christ, as the Spirit, living in our human spirit, and God’s goal for us is to be filled in spirit with His Spirit to the extent that we live out an expression of Him. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ.” If our character is upright and good, that is easier for the Spirit to accomplish in us because there is not so much bad character for Him to “undo”, if you will. A person who has good character will often not respond to the gospel because they don’t see themselves as “bad enough” to need redemption. However, even with good character, they still need the life of God.
      My second point is that this character issue is why we want to be careful to train our children to have good character: not to lie, to be honest, etc., and to adopt Christian values, even before they get saved. This way they can grow up to learn to know the Lord and to be useful in His hands.

      • Aly on April 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm

        JoAnn, & Garrett

        Thank you for what you post, it certainly is how i seem to understand it.
        Garrett, thank you also for your post as well as the detail you put into it. I have read it a few times and feel that I can agree with many of your points.
        As a Christian, I feel like we are all leaning toward growing in character regardless of where we are.. but it’s the posture that seems to make the most difference in ways.

        I would agree with many of you here that this specific article is going to hit some of the most tender places of our hearts and it should in my opinion.
        Even the title of the article I have wrestled with because I feel there has been and will continue to be so much minimization of the ‘Porn Issue’
        For instance, a person doesn’t need porn to be a ‘habit’ in order for it to be addressed. Even ‘once’ to me, is a form of betrayal… especially if it has been well informed of the dangers and especially the costs.

        The reason why I think the term ‘habit’ cautions me is that I see many discounting casual use as if.. ‘well he/she doesn’t have a habit’ like he/she can’t help themselves etc’.
        To me it can get very murky here and there is really not a good reason for it to because given the evidence it’s as dangerous as an addictive drug.
        Why do we wait until something becomes a habit or an addiction to begin to address it?

        God’s Word continues to guide us through timeless truths for our protection, that isn’t to say that we won’t take a wrong turn and we won’t choose wrong.. we indeed will in many areas.
        But what is our posture on this? What is our passion against this?

        I have no question that the Lord is deeply grieved over any of his daughter’s being objectified and any of His daughter’s being the recipient of ‘horrendous abuse’ because of this horrible counterfeit.

        Some of the stories on here of the ladies…. and what they have been through just crush my heart. I’m thankful that some are in freedom (Praise God).. and can see the truth of what ‘blameshifting games’ were going on… but many more are still suffering silently and the betraying spouses are continuing on as business as usual.

      • Garrett on April 16, 2017 at 8:31 pm

        Well said.

        Good character and Christian values do not contradict each other.

        But bad character and Christian values are a massive contradiction.

  45. Joy on April 15, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Lies from my pastor and elders:

    There is either “no abuse or it’s mutual abuse” (because my h is a master at manipulating and making himself look good). I am made to look like the crazy abusive one.

    It’s a sin to withhold sex from your h.

    You are both mutually to blame for the state of your marriage.

    It is a sin to divorce your h.

    I have the sin of control – because I am setting boundaries!

    You are under church “care/discipline” so you cannot withdraw your membership.

    • Nancy on April 17, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      I hadn’t thought of that one Joy, but it was so true for me too.

      Setting boundaries meant that I was being controlling with my husband, and setting boundaries with my mother was considered abusive.

      It is still very difficult to come out from under this particular lie:

      Taking care of me means that I take from my loved ones.

      • JoAnn on April 17, 2017 at 8:33 pm

        “Taking care of me means that I take from my loved ones” ??? Wow! Whatever happened to “put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting those around you”? No way can we take care of others without taking care of ourselves. Too many of us have tried to live like that and were left totally bankrupt and dead (spiritually and emotionally).
        Nancy, just see how energized you will feel after a day off with a massage or a day out with friends. Time spent in the Word and in conversation with God is “me time” that counts double!

        • Nancy on April 18, 2017 at 7:44 am

          Hi JoAnn,

          I “know” in my head the benefits of guarding my heart and looking after me. The Lord has been encouraging me to cooperate with Him, for years, in this way (and He has brought me far).

          So, with all due respect it’ll take more ( and already has taken much more) than a massage and a day out with friends to uproot it. It is a deeply engrained lie that has been reinforced since I was very, very young.

          It may seem obvious to you but this is the lie that has held me captive to guilt, my whole life.

          I have confidence in my Lord. In Him, I will overcome. He is mighty to save.

    • Ruth on April 19, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Joy, please leave that toxic ‘church’. They are re-abusing you. There are probably having churches that we will support you❤️.

      • Ruth on April 19, 2017 at 9:01 am

        Oops- Voice dictation error. It was supposed to say: “there are Bible believing Churches that will support you.

  46. JoAnna on April 15, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Porn is a complex issue. I understand the great gift that is human sexuality, but I also believe that anyone who watches porn is complicit in “Re-Abusing” the women who act in porn. The truth is, no little girl ever grew up saying: “I want to be a porn actress when I grow up!” The sad truth is that women in porn are exploited, even though they are paid money and do it “willingly.” Did Jesus embrace Mary Magdeleine who was a prostitute? Jesus didn’t “see” a prostitute; he saw a desperate woman forced to sell her body to survive; he saw a Child of God. The men who “used” Mary Magdeleine only “saw” their own needs. Many women, in porn have had previous sexual abuse and or incestuous abuse issues; they turn to porn because they believe that their only “worth” in society is their body. So anyone who watches porn is complicit in “re-abusing” an already abused woman, regardless of the fact that she is given money or “chooses” to act in porn…

  47. Pauline K. Ceprish on April 18, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Hi! In my first marriage my husband got into Pron. My oldest daughter and her boyfriend found magazine in his work bench draw and she told me. I waited till after Christmas and then told him he needed to get them and destroy them. It did destroy our relationship. That’s how I handled it and I trust he is rid of watching such.

  48. Shea on April 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Hi!
    I am not in an emotionally abusive marriage, but I do have a very good friend who most likely is. I found out about Leslie Vernick through trying to find resources to support my friend.

    Here is some of what I’ve heard from our small group trying to help this friend of mine. I freely admit that it made me a little crazy and pretty angry on behalf of my friend:

    “You’re really frustrated, and I get that, but it’s probably not as bad as you think it is.”

    “If you stay, you will be an amazing, Godly example to your son of what a marriage should look like.” This one especially got my blood boiling.

    When I tried to explain the live well vs. stay well concept and even said that the bible says that Jesus doesn’t want us to be in pain or to hurt and that he wants to protect us, I got this as a response:
    “Where does it say that in the bible?” I got really flustered and couldn’t respond.

    • Nancy on April 19, 2017 at 7:18 am

      Hey Shea,

      The biggest thing I’ve learned is that it is not loving to allow someone to continue in sin.

      Forbearance is for someone else’s good. If it’s giving license to sin, then it’s not forbearance – it is sin.

      The most loving thing we can do for anyone ( including our spouses) is to confront them in sin.

      Evil grows. Standing by and watching it happen is participating in it. We submit to The Lord, not to sin.

      Way to fight for your friend!

      • Shea on April 19, 2017 at 9:31 am

        Thank you for your support. It’s been really hard to support her, especially when I feel like it’s a me vs. the them situation. I have been waking up feeling convicted and furious the past two days. Furious that people who are supposed to support and love her can’t see or refuse to see this as emotional abuse. “All marriages are hard”, they say. Not like this! I am so upset and angry right now, I could scream. Please pray for me. Please pray for her.

        • Aly on April 19, 2017 at 3:17 pm

          Shea!

          I want you to know that I am praying for you and your friend!
          Wow;) what a friend you are! I cannot express how thankful I am that you are seeing what is going on and you yourself don’t have to be in a destructive marriage to see wrong from right etc.

          Your emotions are such a healthy resistance to what goes on all the time in some of these church cultures. Ok maybe most?

          I can say I have been in your friends position and I have been in yours and she is going to need support through it. You are such a blessing to her even though you might get kick back from others that want to minimize what is taking place and the traumas that are happening right in front of them;)
          It does anger me too.., because it can feel like they also are far off ‘sleeping’ while one of their own are suffering terribly .. and not ‘long suffering’ for God’s plan but just suffering.

          Too many people in the church leadership and support places are not equipped with the knowledge and depth ~ I know I’m preaching to the choir here but this is becoming such a bigger epidemic than I think we can measure.. ‘the ones who stand by and are silent.’

          I am an advocate for healthy marriages~ I do think too many people (like the ones who are not being supportive to your friend) are too ignorant.
          Because your friend has marital problems it’s doesn’t mean she’s headed to divorce, or that there are only 2 options..
          This is one of the biggest lies of them all and puts a very narrowed thinking process.
          There are many of options to uncover to help make wise decisions for someone’s situation.

          I believe you are acting like a true friend and I’m thankful for you that you are not being ‘peer pressured’ by others to think and rationalize like them!
          Praise God for you💜
          Sending my gratitude and my prayers for both of your hearts!

          • Shea on April 19, 2017 at 3:30 pm

            Aly,

            Thank you…you have no idea how much your prayers mean to me. I hope and pray it all works out for the best for my friend. It’s been hard though. The anger is becoming distracting 🙁

            Blessings to you.



          • Aly on April 19, 2017 at 4:34 pm

            Shea,

            I’m sorry about the anger element and yes it can be distracting.
            I do believe healthy protest can be such an ‘agent for change’ though.
            Will keep you prayers.



      • Aly on April 19, 2017 at 9:38 am

        Nancy,

        You wrote:
        “Evil grows. Standing by and watching it happen is participating in it. We submit to The Lord, not to sin.”

        So so true. One point in my journey i can see my participation ~ where I was continued to be told how I needed to ‘stand by’ and be the ‘suffering one’.
        My mother would tell me often that I needed to remember I was not my husband’s Holy Spirit, so it was not my job to convict him.
        This is true. But it also has its twisted enabling reasonings. And many of times I felt enormous false guilt for struggling in my ‘then’ destructive marriage.

        But what was my job was confronting him~ especially if I was to be in the standing along position and watch my husband self destruct.
        It was a great relief to know that the Lord knew I confronted.
        After all, He is who I answer ultimately to for my choices. I want Him to be pleased with me more than my mom or my husband.

        • Nancy on April 19, 2017 at 10:47 am

          Hi Aly,

          That really IS confusing! Because she is absolutely right in that we are not anyone’s Holy Spirit.

          And that is why setting boundaries HAS to be about guarding our own heart as opposed to trying to change someone else. If our motives are controlling, then we are trying to be the Holy Spirit. If our motives are loving ( advocating for ourselves and our husbands) then we are doing just the opposite – getting out of the way, of the Holy Spirit.

          • Aly on April 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

            Hi Nancy,

            Yes I think it is only confusing when we are not clear on what is going on.. and the abusive cycle is repeating itself.

            I do believe the message and meaning my mom would use.. ‘saying we are not our spouses Holy Spirit’ has been more used to defect from actually doing or confronting anything wrong.

            It’s a good denial place to be in and I do believe it can prolong destructive marriages to take root.

            I agree with you in that we do need the Lord to quite us in our motives.

            Being controlling would never be my posture but I have found that with abusive mindsets.., boundaries will almost always feel controlling to them.
            Plus in regards to changing anyone.. I can not change anyone (of course not) but that doesn’t discount the measure that someone in the marriage needs changing!;)

            I do tend to think that we live in a culture of people offended ‘by needing to change’ ~ when the entire message from God is about transformation.

            I do pray for wives out there that are hearing this message about them not being their husband’s Holy Spirit…
            And how they might interpret that to mean.

            I’m so happy Nancy that you are on your journey with your h and yes it’s a lot of work but is sounds like you both are rolling up your sleeves;)
            Praise God!
            Hugs and blessings to you!



          • Nancy on April 19, 2017 at 7:06 pm

            Hi Aly,

            You said, ” I have found with abusive mindsets that boundaries will always feel controlling to them”

            This is so true. That’s a big part of the hurdle I have to get over in setting boundaries. To set them regardless of what I am told (overtly or covertly) my motive is.

            I had to confront my h today on his lack of follow through on somethings he said he would do. I realized that I had been ‘stuffing’ my feelings for over a week. Maybe in the hopes he’d step up and do what he said, or because I was minimizing the effect of it on me. My day was a total wash because the enemy got all ‘up in my head’. Anyways, I confronted him, told him the ball was back in his court with regards to coming up with a plan about this thing he didn’t do. I told him I didn’t want a response- I wouldn’t trust what he’d say anyways. He took it fine. No argument, his back didn’t go up. He was respectful and went off to his men’s group.

            I’m feeling discouraged – Time to lean into Christ.

            I also think I need to confront our counsellor on something he said that isn’t sitting well.

            Rambling here….thanks for listening



          • Aly on April 20, 2017 at 9:15 am

            Dear Nancy,

            I hope I can encourage you, I don’t ever feel like you are rambling.. you are being real and going through some very difficult things.

            I’m in prayer for you and the process! I do see you taking such action steps to confront and deal.
            I know the Lord is with you and He will equip you every step toward claiming what He has secured for you.

            im sending my hugs and most definitely my validation.
            I can relate to a lot of what you describe and it is an emotional place internally especially if your h (does a small relapse of any kind) it can effect the whole process on a different level.

            His response was at least positive in my opinion and hopefully he shows up to those accountability (men) and shares what ‘got dropped’ so they can reinforce how to learn from his choices and how they impact you and the rebuilding process.

            Thanks for sharing and again your ‘not’ rambling.



          • Nancy on April 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm

            It is hard when he relapses. I should expect it, and intellectually, I do, but it is very hard to trust in the process, and The Lord, when he does. I fall backwards in my thinking and get caught by the enemy – like happened yesterday.

            I thank God that His mercies are new every morning !



          • Nancy on April 21, 2017 at 8:34 am

            Aly,

            A number of weeks ago I sent a message to the email you had posted for a more in depth conversation. Should I try again? I never got a response. Was that the administrator’s address?



          • Aly on April 21, 2017 at 9:11 am

            Nancy,

            Really..? I never got it.
            Try again if you can.
            Thanks



  49. ContentinChrist on April 18, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    A truth twisted in these situations:

    “Love always trusts”

  50. Garrett on April 18, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21, ESV)

    Chapter 2 is a great chapter for encouragement. It precedes the chapter often quoted regarding wives “likewise” being submissive.

    I’ve been studying lately and realized the word used for “for” in the Greek is “hyper” and carries with it an idea that when Jesus “suffered for you” it was for your betterment, and to bring you to a higher place… Not lower.

    Good reminder that suffering while loving would NOT include doing things that leave a spouse in a worse place. Submission like Jesus may include suffering, but it also includes taking action that provides what our spouse REALLY needs.

    To many who posted who are afraid to confront or afraid to be alone… Be encouraged. Jesus is able to see your suffering. He truly understands how it is to give up what you have so that the ones you care for will be saved from their chains of bondage.

    It is definitely not a small sacrifice for the spouse who cares to exercise tough love. The love that can leave the other in a better place: where they must face their problem and take responsibility.

    Jesus did that for us, and we have his example.

  51. Connie on April 18, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Another lie: “There are two sides to every story.” That is true, but not always the way people think. In abuse, the two sides are the right side and the wrong side.

    • Jake on April 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      There can be two ditches though. You can both be wrong guilty in different ways. If you are one of those women who reads those trashy romance novels with sex scenes, you are indulging in feminine porn. Before I was saved, when I was a kid, i used to peruse those books as a form of porn. Im old! No, I dont look at it anymore.

  52. Teresa on April 19, 2017 at 2:28 am

    Another lie…”Sometimes Christ calls us to suffer.” BLEH!!!

    • Garrett on April 19, 2017 at 6:59 am

      https://leslievernick.com/suffering/

      The truth is not all kinds of suffering, but yes, some kinds.

    • Shea on April 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

      I’ve heard this one. Yes, sometimes we suffer. But there’s a line.

  53. Aleea on April 22, 2017 at 8:45 am

    . . . Well, it has been massively depressing reading while praying for everyone here on this topic. . . . but that’s The Truth for you: Reality, —reality is one hard, hard road. . . . .Tremendous insights and raw truth here even if massively depressing. I think you can easily tell the truth because it is so rarely going to be positive. . . .This is a spiritual battle and no one will succeed without the Holy Spirit. There is NO route out of this maze on our own because our fears and our emeny are living things. They are alive and the maze is constantly restrategizing against us. The maze shifts as I move through it just swallowing me up. I can walk hand-and-hand with Jesus in the freedom of really surrendering to real Love, real Life (Christ) —and it is almost impossible to consistently do (—I’m being honest!), maybe actually impossible (i.e. our models of reality may be inadequate) —And it sure looks like the foolish path so, so many times. . . .so many times it makes me wonder (—I’m being honest!) —Or, I can stay on those shadowy Elm streets where I let my insecurities cut me to gummy ribbons. There’s a deeper place to go (re: Hebrews, Romans, Philippians) but it is straight up and the slope is a sheer rock wall. . . .At the same time, no one will “white knuckle” themselves to any lasting change. It has to come from a totally new understanding/ realization. We succeed to the extent our life models map well to primary source evidence-based reality. Reality is not the way I wish things would be, hope things would be, pray for things to be, have been lead to believe that they are. . . .et.al.

  54. Aleea on April 22, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Above, it should say “led to believe” (not “lead,” —yes illiteracy. I have that issue too!)

  55. Laura Di on April 25, 2017 at 7:36 am

    I response to your future webinar or e-book or similar on The Lies in Christian Marriages That Lead to Crazy Making:

    I was encouraged to do outside volunteer work but once I did become involved was told, “ Charity begins at home”, even when I worked a balance between my the volunteering and my other responsibilities. Crazy Making!

  56. Cheryl on April 25, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Here is the very short version of the things I feel I did right to deal with my husband’s porn addiction. I did many things wrong, but these are the things I have peace about: Insisted that we close our business since he was using the freedom of self employment to watch porn and not be accountable. (This cost me terribly but I had to stop enabling him and now almost 2 years later I am starting to see it payoff.) I told church leaders. They did not do church discipline with him like I wanted, but at least they knew and they counseled him. We both went to counseling outside the church separately and together. We do not travel separately, and he travels for his job at work. I’ve gotten over the odd feeling of being the only wife who travels with her husband. This also means I don’t visit family or friends alone since he has confessed those are the toughest times for him to struggle with temptation when he is alone at the house or alone traveling. We don’t have Internet or cable at our house. I have a smart phone, he does not. And most importantly, I have a flip book full of flashcard scriptures on how to gentlely confront sin since my weakness is harshness of tone. I try to read these verses daily on the treadmill. Obviously my husband is on board with all of these things because I cannot control him, nor do I want to. But let me say that some of these things took years for him and me both to see that he (we) needed. Our life is much better with these changes. I regret none of them. I pray regularly for God to help me bear bravely and calmly ill treatment. The brave part is facing it and implementing boundaries. The calm part is being gentle about the process and not letting my anger rage in my flesh. Oh and I try to pray and read my bible daily and seek the Lords guidance, wisdom and strength. I hope something here helps you. You are in a tough situation but the Lord will never leave you or forsake you.

  57. leah on April 25, 2017 at 11:06 am

    How about this for a lie that leads to crazy making…being told by your pastor husband that you are “just jealous” when I had concerns about SOME women being too friendly(?) and warned him to no avail. It got to the point where my concerns were so invalidated that I began to think I was crazy. Well, he continued to “minister” to one of them (behind my back under cover of lies and deceit) and ended up being unfaithful to me. So apparently my suspicions were correct, and I was NOT just jealous.

    • Aly on April 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Leah,
      I’m so sorry! How horrible and quite possibly preventable had your husband had any regard and action for your discernment. I would feel layered betrayal. I recently found out about a pastor that was in an affair for 15 plus years and the church & the wife was covering for it even though they knew it was going on.
      I’m glad your exposing and being Brave. God will restore your heart regardless of the marriage outcome.

      For others out there that are dealing with those discerning places.. i highly recommend the book;
      Close Calls by Dave Carder.. it’s an old one but every married or single person would benefit.
      Again Leah I’m so very sorry and I hope you are getting the care and support for your heart.
      💜 Much love to you;)

  58. LS on April 26, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    That I will only have the Lord’s Protection if I stay under my husband’s authority … and that my husband needs to lead his home and I need to let him lead.

  59. Jen on April 27, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    In the context of a conversation where I was being told that I was ruining my family by not letting my abusive husband back into the home, I was told “You just need to show a little more mercy”, that I was too sensitive and that I didn’t really understand what abuse really is, that wives should submit to their husbands and that I shouldn’t deny my husband (even though he repeatedly abused me sexually). Really?!

  60. Carter on April 30, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Amen! I left the denomination I was a part of (and pastor’s wife in) because, after bringing him before church several times, he is still in the pulpit!!! God is a God of justice, but it has severely damaged my 3 children spiritually. Praise God who is above man- he is restoring what the locust have eaten (Joel 2:25) and healing our hearts despite the evil that continues to flourish. God give me strength to surrender to your plans!

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