Morning Friends,

We’ve had a great discussion regarding narcissism this week and whether or not it’s possible to stay well. I appreciate all of your contributions and your desire to stay Biblically true and compassionate for the real-life pain that many of you live with day after day as you try to stay sane in a crazy-making environment.

One of the things that I’d like to encourage us in is that we stay away from any kind of accusation or blame. This blog is a short forum to communicate our hearts and lives. We can’t say everything about everything, and being human we won’t say things perfectly (including me). Let’s give one another the benefit of the doubt. Let’s ask good clarifying questions if we don’t understand. Let’s sharpen one another and encourage one another and sometimes even challenge one another.

Let’s stay away from attacking one another or being snarky. That brings God no glory. Even if you feel sure you are right and that someone else is wrong, be gracious. Click To Tweet

Last week I had the awesome privilege of attending a forum on Mental Health at the White House. A number of Christian leaders were invited to attend and I am grateful that I was one of them. We listened and our perspectives were welcomed. Because I was traveling this past week, I invited Rebecca Davis to write a guest post on the topic of “Do Christians have rights?” Several weeks back, counselor Tim asked that question and I think it deserves a thoughtful response. Rebecca has done quite a bit of thinking around this issue so let’s give her a warm welcome.

Untwisting
Rebecca Davis
“Christians should surrender their rights.”

One of the things I write about on my website www.heresthejoy.com is untwisting teachings that have been used to keep Christians in bondage.

Though I've addressed the subject of rights before on my own site and elsewhere, this blog post is a slightly modified outline of a talk I gave earlier this month at a conference put on by Called to Peace Ministries in Raleigh, NC, www.calledtopeace.org, “Developing a Church-wide Response to Domestic Abuse.”

The sessions are available for viewing by contacting Joy Forrest at info@calledtopeace.org. That talk was based in turn on two chapters from my book Untwisting Scriptures: that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind.

The teaching that Christians should surrender their rights, sometimes taught as “Christians have no rights,” is one that can be absolutely devastating in cases of domestic cruelty.
I’ve researched a number of books, blogs, and speakers and have boiled down the “surrender your rights” teaching to this:

Anger is sinful and is caused by insisting on personal “rights.” The solution to anger (which is always sinful) is to surrender or yield our “rights,” which means living as if we have no rights, like Jesus. When we surrender our “rights,” then God will bless us and bring us joy.

Notice that this teaching assumes that anger is always sinful, but the Scriptures show us there's a place for righteous anger. In addition, grief can often look a whole lot like anger too. (These topics have been addressed in the book and in other blog posts).

Also, notice the “scare quotes” that many of the no-rights teachers use, the quotation marks that imply that we have rights only in our imaginations, not in reality.

What does this “no-rights” teaching miss?
There are several things, but I'll mention five here.

1. This teaching typically confuses vertical and horizontal relationships

The no-rights teaching usually says you should “surrender” all your rights to God (in what I call the vertical relationship), but what it ends up looking like is so-called “surrendering your rights” to other people (in what I'm calling the horizontal relationship).

Instead, a better perspective is for us all to remember that God has ultimate authority over everything, but this doesn't mean a Christian should necessarily passively acquiesce to someone else doing whatever they want to do.

Therefore, let’s separate how we relate to God from how we relate to other people when we talk about rights. Also, it’s important to keep this in mind when we think about the word “surrender.” When a defeated army surrenders their weapons, they don't have them anymore—the victorious army now has them. When a person surrenders anything, it is no longer theirs—it now belongs to the other person. Christians who have tried to “surrender their rights” have invariably found that the ones oppressing them violate their rights more and more and more.

2. This teaching misses the definition of “rights.”

The concept of rights comes from the concept of “what is right.” Even the word justice is related because it means “setting things right.”

There are three kinds of rights, and as far as I know only three kinds.

Human rights

An unborn baby has a right to life. This is also true for people after they’re born. It's even true for married women. Human rights are God-given, like facial features, and can be “surrendered” about as easily as you can surrender your facial features.

Human rights are true across time and around the world. The advancement of every civilization has come in large measure because of an advancement in their understanding of human rights.

Here are a few human rights that the majority of citizens in Western countries would agree on:

✓A right to life. This includes a right to safety and security.
✓A right to be treated with the same respect with which other humans are treated. This would include equal and just treatment under the law and a right to protection against unjust attacks on one's honor and reputation.
✓A right to liberty, which would include a right to freedom of thought, including conscience, religion, and opinion.
✓A right to property. This includes a right to be free of invasion of the home and personal effects.

The Bible strongly proclaims human rights. Here are two examples:

Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do good; seek justice [setting things right], correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.”

Some examples in the Scripture of people who believed in human rights were David, when he ran from his authority Saul, who wanted to kill him; Paul, when he escaped over the wall in a basket from the Jewish leaders who wanted to kill him; and Moses' mother, when she hid Moses in the basket on the river from the authority who wanted to kill him. In each case, each person was acknowledging and valuing the right to life as more important than obedience to an authority.

Civil rights

Civil rights are bestowed by a government, ostensibly to reflect human rights. The closer the leaders of a nation are to the ways of God, the more the civil rights of their nation will accurately reflect human rights.

Someone in the Bible who stood on his civil rights was the apostle Paul when the Roman soldier was going to beat him in Acts 22. He told the soldier he was a citizen of Rome and shouldn't be beaten. Clearly, Paul knew he had civil rights and had no problem claiming them.

Spiritual rights

Recently someone told me she had heard another Christian say, “In Christ, we have no rights.” But the opposite is true. In Christ, we have amazing spiritual rights. For example, John 1:12 tells us we have the right to be called the sons and daughters of God. Hebrews 4:16 tells us who are in Christ that we have the right to go to the Father’s throne in prayer.

Notice the following about the three kinds of rights:

Human rights are yours by virtue of being a human. They are God-given to all who live.

Civil rights are yours by virtue of being a citizen of your country. They are bestowed by the government.

Spiritual rights are yours by virtue of being a Christian. They are given to you in Christ.

In the case of the second, civil rights, the government can take them away, or they can be rejected as a package by renouncing citizenship. In the case of the other two, human rights and spiritual rights, it is just as impossible to surrender them as it is to surrender your facial features. They are part of who you are.

So this still leaves us with some questions. Like . . . .
What about Jesus “surrendering His right” not to be treated unjustly?
What about Paul “surrendering his right” to have a wife?
What about all the other “rights” that need to be “surrendered,” like my “right” to a certain parking spot at work?

That's where the no-rights teaching fails in three more ways:

3. This teaching fails to acknowledge that genuine rights can be violated

If someone steals my car, I will acknowledge that God is over all and has known about this since the foundation of the earth and has all things under His control. But that submission to God's wisdom and will doesn’t negate the fact that my human right to my own property has been violated.

Jesus lived a completely sin-free life, obeying all the laws of both God and man, but men beat him and pulled out His beard and put a crown of thorns on His head and nailed Him to a cross. We know that He endured all this to accomplish the prize and joy of our salvation. But this purpose of His doesn't negate the fact that on the horizontal level, He still had a right to be treated like the completely innocent man that He was. On the horizontal, His rights were violated.

When a wife is degraded in the bedroom, used for violent pornographic sex, defiled in her mind and harmed in her body, she might tell herself she needs to yield her rights or she doesn’t have any rights. But this is wrong. Her rights are being violated.

4. This teaching fails to distinguish that we can refrain from making use of our rights

Some examples:

Bob lives in the U.S.A. and has the right to own a gun. He doesn't own one for reasons of his own, maybe because he believes in Christian nonresistance. This refraining from making use of his rights does not mean that he has surrendered those rights. The rights are still his, and he could later change his mind and go buy a gun.

Sue has the right to vote. She decides not to vote in this election for reasons of her own, possibly to make a protest against government corruption. This refraining from making use of her rights does not mean that she has surrendered those rights. The rights are still hers, and she could change her mind at the last minute and go vote.

The apostle Paul had the right to have a wife. He decided not to make use of that right because he lived a dangerous life as he spread the gospel around the world. But the right was still his; till the end of his days he still had the right to marry.

Jesus had the right to call twelve legions of angels in order to avoid having to die. He didn’t make use of that right because He wanted to secure our salvation, but it was His right until the end.

If a marriage covenant has been rendered null and void through violation of the covenant, the offended party has the right to divorce. Even if he or she chooses not to make use of that right, for any of a number of reasons, it should still be clear that in the eyes of God divorce remains the right of the harmed spouse.

5. The no-rights teaching fails to distinguish between rights and desires

When I see no-rights or surrender-your-rights being taught, it has often been small, petty, or even ridiculous issues that have been presented as “rights.” For instance, as I mentioned earlier, they might talk about surrendering your “right” to a certain parking spot at work. Or they might mention your “right” to “do things your way.” But hopefully it's clear from the discussion above that these things aren't even rights at all. They're only desires.

Rather than telling a person to surrender her rights and then leaving the definition of “rights” fuzzy enough to encompass almost anything, let’s help her distinguish what her true rights really are. And then when we're talking about desires, we can encourage each other in our desires becoming more and more aligned with the heart of God. This part really isn't about rights at all.

There's another problem I've seen from the no-rights teaching . . .

Double standards are created. The “no-rights” doctrine applies only to certain rights, not others

In all the many books and websites I read that tell readers to surrender their rights, in the front of every one of those books and at the bottom of every website was the line “All rights reserved.” This is a double standard.

Let's say a woman is in an abusive situation trying to “surrender” her right even to freedom of thought because her husband checks to make sure her opinion matches his, to make sure she's in the will of God. Then she hears her husband talking to someone about how the government is curtailing gun rights. This is a double standard.

The “no-rights” doctrine applies only to certain people, not others

The no-rights teachers might compare the Christian life to traffic, saying that just as in traffic we yield the right of way, so Christians should “yield” our rights in life. But what they're missing is that if every driver were to yield in traffic, no one would ever get anywhere. When one driver is yielding, the other driver is going.

In the Christian world, if everyone is told to yield their rights, then in practicality the ones who will end up “yielding” their rights will be the ones with sensitive hearts who think this practice will help them be the Christian God wants them to be. But in actuality, when they live as if they have no rights, these Christians are allowing heir rights to be violated with impunity.

In every case of domestic cruelty I’ve seen, it’s the one who is being abused who has to give up the rights, while the one who is the abuser retains the rights. Make no mistake about this: When one person is “yielding,” another person is “going.” When one person is “surrendering” rights, another person is taking rights.

So instead . . . how Christians can encourage each other in the Lord?

Help Christians understand the truth about rights

✓Help them understand the meaning of “rights” and help them see what their actual legitimate rights are: human, civil, and spiritual.
✓Show what it means for rights to be violated.
✓Help them make wise decisions about whether or not to make use of their rights.
✓Help them distinguish between rights and desires (and help them in their maturing process of getting to know the Lord through His Word and listening to the Holy Spirit, who will lead their desires to be more and more aligned with the will of God).
✓Assure them that God is still over all and will eventually set all things right, executing ultimate justice.
✓Know that in the meantime, we as His people are not called to look on passively as others suffer, telling them to give up their rights. But we are called to help others, in accord with Psalm 82:3.

“Give justice to the weak and fatherless.

Maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.”

Friend, have you been confused over this issue of “rights” and how have you found Biblical truth and clarity?

156 Comments

  1. Rebecca Davis on November 15, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Thank you for allowing the opportunity to get this important information out, Leslie. It’s an issue I’ve felt passionate about ever since learning that this teaching was used to keep children and young people in “Christian” circles silent and without a voice, even to the extent of allowing themselves to be raped over the course of years, thinking there was no recourse. The extended ramifications of this wrong teaching are enormous.

    • Melanie Moore on November 15, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Rebecca, Thank you so much! This is such a wonderful succinct explanation, I’m keeping it forever! Beautiful. I’m so thankful for your work in this area.

      And yes, I agree– the ramifications of wrong teaching in all areas are horrific. This is no different!

  2. Deb on November 15, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Thank you for this very thought provoking post! It is well thought out but so different than anything I’ve read regarding Christian rights before! My only angst is the remark about the “right to divorce” without acknowledging that God hates divorce (probably because He knows the devastation that follows).

    In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to worry about rights because we’d all be busy loving and serving each other; but for now we need to allow each other the freedom to retain our rights for the protection of all.

    • Maddie on November 15, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      Hi Deb,
      You mention that “God hates divorce.” That phrase usually comes as a result of people quoting from Malachi 2:16 but what is commonly not known is that that verse is often mistranslated. May I suggest you read that verse in the CSB, NIV (2011) and ESV translations where you will see that the verb “hates” is accurately in the third person, not the first person.

      Also you can see a further explanation of how the phrase “God hates divorce” is an unscriptural slogan at this link: https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2013/10/24/god-hates-divorce-not-always/

    • Rebecca Davis on November 17, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you, Deb. In a perfect world . . . we’d all be doing “what is right,” which means we’d all be respecting each other’s rights. In the meantime, we can do our part to love each other with the love of Christ, which means respecting and loving each other with a greater understanding of “what is right.”

      I’ve read some very convincing arguments that the verse in Malachi doesn’t really say “God hates divorce” and that in fact He doesn’t hate it (though it is a tragic result of a broken covenant). You may want to look at some alternative translations here: http://biblehub.com/malachi/2-16.htm

  3. charlene on November 15, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Thank you for this article. This article clearly brings into the light that Christians have rights and the civil rights are pretty easy to distinguish because of laws but I find it quite difficult to navigate and reconcile the human and spiritual rights. The bible says to turn the other cheek, how do I reconcile that verse and others like it when it comes to relationships that are destructive to my well being as a human. How do I mesh my human and spiritual rights when I am trying to “honor my mother and father” who have been abusive, manipulative and destructive to me. As I understand your article, rights are a choice. I have the right humanly speaking to not be in a relationship with a narcissistic mother but spiritually I am called to honor her, turn the other cheek, forgive. Can the human and spiritual rights coexist?

    • Rebecca Davis on November 15, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Hi Charlene~ I’d say that rights aren’t a choice, but are given to us by God like facial features. God has indicated that human rights (such as the right to life) can be forfeited by the violation of the rights of others, but they can’t be chosen. They are ours.

      There is no conflict between human rights and spiritual rights. Sometimes we may choose not to make use of the rights that we actually have. And we can be aware of what it means to violate rights, which sounds like what your mother might be doing.

      Here is a section from the book “Untwisting Scriptures,” about turning the other cheek:

      ***

      In Matthew 5:39, Jesus taught, “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Some have taught that Jesus here is teaching the giving up of rights.

      But Jesus Himself was slapped on His cheek, and the whole scene is played out for us in the gospels. This is the account in John 18:22-23:

      “When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?'”

      Jesus defended Himself—as being right. If we take the “turning the other cheek” exhortation at face value, it seems that He didn’t obey His own orders.

      But the “slapping on the cheek” Jesus referred to in Matthew 5:39 wasn’t a violent punch intended to inflict pain. It was a slap intended to show contempt—in those days, it was a common way of humiliating a person.

      Turning the other cheek would actually show self-respect, as if to silently say, “I will not respond in kind. I will show this man I am a person of dignity, every bit his equal.”

      When Jesus spoke to the officer who struck Him across the face, He spoke in a similar way. Essentially He was saying, “If I deserved this slap, then show Me how I did. If I didn’t deserve it, then you were not right to give it to Me.”

      ***
      Understanding that we have rights certainly won’t be the answer to knowing how to navigate every life situation. But it is a foundational truth that can be helpful in maintaining equilibrium, especially in relationships in which one person regularly violates the rights of another.

      • charlene on November 15, 2017 at 10:25 am

        Rebecca thank you for your response but the choice I am talking about is the choice to assert our human rights not whether I choose them or not. My confusion comes with knowing what are our human and spiritual rights. As I previously stated, legal rights are easy to decipher because they are written and easily stated. Where can I find a list of human and spiritual rights? I know this seems so basic but people who have been very wounded really have no clue as to what rights, human and spiritual, they do have because every piece of them has been violated they know no boundaries.

        • Rebecca Davis on November 15, 2017 at 10:47 am

          This is where I believe good counsel would come in, from a trusted friend, mentor, or counselor. Understanding rights is foundational, then understanding when to stand on them and when (or whether) to allow them to be violated (which would always need a significant and worthy goal on the other side) is a step beyond that.

          In the article above I presented four of the major human rights. For others–though I certainly don’t agree with everything about the United Nations–their declaration on human rights is actually pretty good. It’s here: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

          Our spiritual rights, which are between us and God, consist of everything we have and are in Jesus Christ–it would make a great Bible study sometime. For example, the right to pray. Some governments try to take that away–in the Bible, the prophet Daniel was punished for praying, but he knew it was his right to pray, and so disobeyed the government edict. Praying is always our right because it has to do with our relationship with God through Christ. It’s part of the vertical relationship.

          One way to begin to discern when rights are being violated in horizontal relationships is to ask not just “What is right for me to do in this situation,” but “what is right for the other person to do in this situation.” If the answer for the other person is something along the lines of “Be kind instead of cruel,” and the answer for you has felt like something along the lines of “continue to submit and not have a voice,” then you can be pretty sure your rights are being violated.

          This doesn’t mean a person gaining a new understanding about rights needs to begin responding in anger or hysteria. In fact, the top choice for a description of how to respond would be *dignity.* (“Strength and dignity are her clothing.”) It does mean that boundaries would be appropriate.

          • charlene on November 15, 2017 at 10:54 am

            Rebecca thank you the principles in your response. Asking what is right for the other person really struck an ah ha nerve in me something well worth learning. I will do a bible study on what my spiritual rights in Christ are that is a great idea at a great time of the year. I will thank God for every right in Christ I discover.



      • Megan on November 15, 2017 at 10:53 am

        Charlene, I don’t normally comment much but your situation with your mother struck a cord. My ex-husband’s mother was very abusive and neglectful. I loved her, but she was a terrible mother. I struggled for a long time with how to “honor” her and what that would look like. She would never contact us, she would say she would call, then wouldn’t. There were drugs and alcohol involved. All burden of communication was on us. Ultimately I realized that I was not responsible for bearing the weight of the relationship. However, I could send her a card, a picture of the kids, or call at a holiday. I coudln’t control whether she would pick up the phone, or write back, or show any signs of wanting a relationship. I didn’t have to let her into our lives to cause more damage. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we continue to let someone abuse us. We can forgive and still draw boundaries and remove ourselves from a toxic situation. I could love my mother in law, I could forgive her, but that didn’t mean I had to let her watch my children or set myself up for disappointment again and again. I speak of her in past tense because sadly, last year she was diagnosed with cancer and died a month to the day after her diagnosis. Even though I hadn’t spoken to her in years and had been divorced for some time, i sent her a card and my love and prayers, along with a picture of her grandchildren. My sister in law told me how happy that made her to receive that card and it ended up being the last way I could honor her before she died. I say this just to encourage you that you can find ways to honor your mother without letting her abuse you over and over again.

    • Amy on November 15, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Hi Charlene! I just wanted to respond to your comment because it hit home with me.

      When my abusive ex walked out on me and our two boys in ’09 I found out the youth group leaders at our former church were telling my boys they needed to continue to honor their father, and I admit it made me angry because I didn’t understand that verse and felt it was forcing my boys to continue in a relationship with their abusive father..
      Over the years though I came to understand what it means to honor your father and mother, and it doesn’t have anything to do with staying in a close relationship with them especially if they have been abusive.
      Honoring your father and mother simply means doing the right thing towards them. If they need your help in some way, perhaps have gotten hurt and call on you to help, you help if you can. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to physically be around them, it could mean you call an ambulance or someone else to go help them. You honor them by being there if they call on you, but you see, you don’t have to keep in a relationship with them or even be physically present to help them. Hopefully that makes sense.

      Regarding Matt 5:39, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” — I believe this is another verse which is misunderstood and often used erroneously.
      My pastor actually explained this verse in detail a couple years ago and for once in my life I understood what it meant to turn the other cheek. And it does NOT mean to keep allowing yourself to be beat up, physically or emotionally. It simply means not to retaliate back.

      To be hit on the right cheek means that someone has backhanded* you or insulted you, perhaps goading you on with sarcasm and wanting to get you to fight back. So turning your other cheek does not mean to keep allowing someone to attack you, it means to not get into a fight with them as they want you too.
      *To be slapped on the right cheek would mean being backhanded if that person is right-handed, which a majority of people are. And to backhand someone is an insult, an attempt to get that person to fight back.

      So I believe you can honor your father and mother without being in a relationship with them and if they continue to abuse and control you, you can turn the other cheek by walking away and choosing to go no contact. There is nothing wrong with that and is the natural consequence to them for their actions and behaviors.

      And as far as forgiving, you can forgive them, hand them other to God, but it again does NOT mean you have to be in a relationship with them. Forgiving does not mean reconciling, it means releasing yourself from resentment and bitterness, and allowing God to deal with your offenders.

      I hope this helps some.
      Blessings!
      Amy

      • Connie on November 15, 2017 at 10:41 am

        Jesus said to turn the other cheek or walk an extra mile…….not 10 extra miles. Just the one, then go.

        When our family attended the Gothard seminars, the rights thing was, “You have no rights but to go to hell. Everything else is a privilege.” But yes, the husband/dad sure had a lot of rights in that ‘chain of command’ teaching. Those teachings brought SO much harm, to our family and every other one I knew.

        • Rebecca Davis on November 15, 2017 at 10:55 am

          Connie, yes, there’s quite a bit about Gothardism in “Untwisting Scriptures.” I also wrote a blog post about “The Umbrella of Authority” just the other day.

        • charlene on November 15, 2017 at 11:05 am

          Connie I hear the pain you went through because of erroneous teachings. Please know I am praying for you. I pray that you will find truth, strength and healing in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Do you think you have come to a place of healing or are you still on the journey of picking through all the damage?

        • Remedy on November 15, 2017 at 11:25 am

          Yes….I was actually told by my pastor ‘a wife has no rights except the ones her husband gives her.’ I was so undone by that broadsheet statement that had I no children, suicide may have seemed to be desirable vs living that way inside a marriage.

          • Remedy on November 15, 2017 at 11:26 am

            Broadsweep statement…my apologies



          • Rebecca Davis on November 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

            This is exactly like living under a tyrannical government, like North Korea. The North Korean dictator acknowledges no human rights for the people of his country.

            If that pastor’s wife were consistent then she would think it’s wrong for the government to have a law against a husband murdering his wife, because he may decide she has no right to life.

            I’m so sorry for what you had to go through. I’m glad you chose life instead of suicide, but I can understand why you would look in that direction.



      • charlene on November 15, 2017 at 10:48 am

        Amy thank you so much you put into words what my heart needed to hear. These are the attitudes I have, but could not verbalize.

        • Rebecca Davis on November 15, 2017 at 11:03 am

          Charlene, you said above, “Asking what is right for the other person really struck an ah ha nerve in me, something well worth learning.”

          I know it’s foreign to many people to think what would be right for the other person to do, because of the “don’t judge” teaching we get, and the “you point one finger at someone else, and you get three fingers pointing back at you” teaching, that sort of thing. But it’s actually part of becoming a healthy person to look at what other people are doing in a more objective way. To say, for example, “Would I treat someone else that way? If not, why not? What would happen if I treated _____ [the oppressor] that way?”

          Again, it’s not so we can necessarily stand up and call them out (though God might call us to do that). But simply so we can have a correct perspective on what’s actually happening. That’s all part of the untwisting of our thinking.

          • Nancy on November 15, 2017 at 3:58 pm

            This is helpful too. I often resist thinking about what the other person’s part should be because of the thought that I ‘should be focusing on my own heart’.

            It’s helpful to know that thinking about the other person’s part in a more objective way is part of becoming healthier. ( I suppose in the past, my focus on their behaviour was more about blaming, or trying to control them.)



        • Amy on November 15, 2017 at 11:10 am

          Your welcome, Charlene.
          It’s so hard, isn’t it, when dealing with family members/spouses to know what the right thing to do is, especially when scripture gets so twisted and often taken out of context by other Christians who are trying to ‘help’ us.

          I carried so much guilt for many years over what I thought was the fact that I hadn’t forgiven my ex because other Christians tried to convince me that to forgive was to reconcile, and me choosing to divorce an abusive man meant I couldn’t forgive nor did I trust God enough to stay and watch Him work a miracle in that marriage, even it meant destruction for me and our boys.

          But God continues to show me how He did work in my life and repeatedly opens my eyes to this day about what His Word truly says.

          God bless you.

      • Nancy on November 15, 2017 at 11:45 am

        Hi Amy,

        Thank you for your perspective on honouring parents. I am struggling with this right now. Your explanation keeps things very simple.

        • Amy on November 15, 2017 at 11:52 am

          Hi Nancy,
          It took me a many years to finally understand what it meant to honor one’s parents and how I wish I’d understood it better 9 years ago after my ex walked out and I found out the youth group leaders were encouraging my boys to continue in a relationship with their abusive father because they told them that’s how you honor your parents. 🙁

          Fortunately, over the years since I’ve had a chance to talk about it with my youngest son who is now 22 and yet, my oldest son will not allow me to talk about the past with him.

        • Rebecca Davis on November 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm

          Nancy, I’ve also written about children obeying parents, which may be helpful. It’s here: http://www.heresthejoy.com/2017/10/adult-children-obey-your-parents-part-2-for-adults-raised-in-patriarchy/

          • Maria on November 15, 2017 at 7:38 pm

            Rebecca,
            I have often wondered about the “obey your parent” commandment after observing my husband parent. For him obedience is about them doing things he is too lazy to do. I don’t think That is what God intended.



      • Leslie Vernick on November 15, 2017 at 12:32 pm

        Well said.

      • JoAnn on November 15, 2017 at 8:11 pm

        I agree with everything you said, Amy, and I think it helps to think of it this way: “I treat my parents honorably.” In other words, I behave with honor toward them. Taking the high ground, if you will. Like you said, forgiving doesn’t mean reconciling, but it does mean that I don’t have to hold onto bitterness or hope for revenge against wrongs. Likewise, we can insist on being treated honorably by our children by not allowing them to speak disrespectfully to us. This teaches them what it means to honor their parents and teachers.

        • Amy on November 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm

          Yes, JoAnn, I completely agree.
          I remember trying hard to instill in my boys at an early age to speak kindly and respectfully towards both me and their father, but there were times where it was difficult during the times their father was so mean and rude to them growing up. I felt like he didn’t deserve respect from any of us, so when he walked out I still struggled with what it meant for the boys to honor their father even after he had treated them and me so abusively.
          One thing I noticed in my boys, is that they always felt safest with me in showing their emotions. If they were angry they felt it was safe to show that to me, not in being rude or disrespectful to me personally, but in being able to express their emotions. Whereas they could not do that with their father or he would be angry at them for feeling any such way he deemed wrong.

  4. Remedy on November 15, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Agree Charlene……and marriage gets even fuzzier. There are many places Scripture gives clear instructions on staying away from evil people, guarding our hearts, etc. Because these verses don’t mention marriage along with them, it is easy for church leaders to poo-poo them for a husband or a wife. What seems odd and off with the whole counsel of God is that I can take action to stay away from or avoid any person acting this way as a pattern of life, BUT.. with the spouse that instruction is not applicable. So, many of us, married to such individuals as Scripture describes, we live years and years and the damage bleeds out to the entire family and then into the next generations because no one has the ‘right’ to stand up for what ‘is right’ and do something about it.

    Rebecca……you have raised an incredibly necessary issue as we seek to be salt and light for Christ.

    • Remedy on November 15, 2017 at 10:38 am

      I wanted to add to my above response that the idea of taking up or laying down our rights is certainly in our hands even if we decide laying down our rights hurts us, but benefits someone else. There are times this is the loving Christ like response. But the times we lay down our rights and a cycle of destruction goes on and on very negatively impacting many, then, using our right to stand up for what is right may be the best Christ like response……except somehow in marriage, NO, according to the teaching you are bringing to light.

      Thank you for your insight and study on this, as well as being willing to be a ‘voice. ‘

      • Rebecca Davis on November 15, 2017 at 10:53 am

        And it’s important to remember too, of course, that an oppressed person’s passivity–thinking she doesn’t have any rights or has given up her rights–will eventually serve to increase the oppressor’s sin. In the case of Jesus dying for us, there was a very good reason for that. When martyrs die for the faith rather than reject God, there’s a very good reason.

        But in many cases there is no good reason, no reason at all, really, beyond a mistaken understanding on the part of the oppressed.

        • Nancy on November 15, 2017 at 11:50 am

          Yes, Rebecca 🙂 And participating in increasing an oppressor’s sin is not Loving.

          It’s the result of not applying the ‘as yourself’ part of Jesus’ greatest commandment of all

          ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbour, as yourself’

  5. Sandra Lee on November 15, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you, Rebecca, for this lesson regarding Christian Rights. It is vitally needed in churches that teach that wives must be submissive to controlling husbands. I was told as a new Christian, early in marriage to one, that I also needed to stay and pray for his salvation.

  6. Aleea on November 15, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    “Friend, have you been confused over this issue of “rights” and how have you found Biblical truth and clarity?”
    Re: “Christians have no rights”

    Yes, I have often been confused over those issues. I think that when people say that Christians should surrender their rights, maybe . . .possibly they are confused by anlinomianism, . . . that we are “merely slaves obliged to Jesus” but we would have rights even as slaves to our Messiah. . . . Also, it looks like if we apply consistent standards of logic, text evidence and reason *consistently and fairly* even lesbian, gay, transgender are not abstractions, but real people struggling to remain faithful too. But, I don’t know, I just don’t know. . . .Christianity eventually changes and gets there by vast text deconstruction and very creative hermeneutics but people don’t have centuries to wait. How many women are there who because of their husbands’ ________ spend their weary lives in the bond of marriage in greater suffering than if they were slaves among the Saracens? In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth century, it was the battle against totalitarianism (―and hundreds of millions died to totalitarianism in Russia, China, ―all across South East Asia). This century, gender equality around the world. . . .What really creates human flourishing? I say always seek justice, but love only mercy. To love justice and love mercy less is but a vast doorway to even more injustice. I’ve often observed that women can be the weakest link in women’s rights. If we can’t deeply think for ourselves, if we’re unwilling to question authorities, then we’re just putty in the hands of those in power. Inherent rights are from God, and the vast tragedies of the world originate in their attempted denial. ―History, it is such a great teacher. Just wait until you see what people one hundred years from now think about what we thought. Today women have the rights and equality our Victorian sisters could only dream of, and with those privileges comes the responsibility of standing up and being counted. . . . .We have a right to have a godly anger to bring about change, godliness and justice in the society, ―absolutely. Always ask yourself: “What will happen if I say nothing?” But we, at the same time, need to bless instead of condemning, we also need to learn to stand for the truth of God (―not always so easy to tell what that is I freely admit) and by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord, we give to Him all the rights to our lives ―but to Him.

  7. Belle on November 15, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    There is a marriage video series by a popular Christian counselor where, at one point he repeatedly says, “You have no rights.” The camera zooms in on him.

    Being in an abusive marriage, I couldn’t handle it. Telling me I had no rights reinforced the messages I heard from the husband:

    “I get my way.”
    “Your thoughts are worthless.”
    “I am never to be corrected by you. You must not feel hurt by anything I say or do.”.
    “You must quietly take the blame for everything I accuse you of even when my accusations are completely false, and are projections.”

    The no rights doctrine teaches the abused that her abuser is right after all. Because after enough time goes by she knows their is no chance he won’t will take it to heart.

    • Belle on November 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      There is no way he will take it to heart.

    • Ruth on November 17, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Belle, I am so sorry for those oppressive statements you heard. Your husband is supposed to love you like the Good Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep; he did not control, coerce, belittle, destroy, or crush their spirits.
      The ONLY thing good about being a survivor of this kind of devastation is knowing depths of the goodness of the love of Jesus. His Love is so totally different than the coercive, tit-for-tat, self-serving ‘love’ this world has to offer. His healing is so freeing – I’m no dancer and I’m 60 pounds overweight but thinking of His love and beauty makes me want spin and dance!
      Jesus said He who has been forgiven much loves much. I think this also applies to a person in my situation who has also has been set free from mental bondage. I think God is still bringing me into more and more clarity. I am studying the word again and for several years, I neglected that.
      The emotional and especially the spiritual abuse in my marriage had oppressed me so much that I was about to crack. Sadly, I was one of those people it took a catastrophe to get 100% broken before God. But I made my mind up that regardless of what happened with my marriage, for the rest of my life, i’ll seek God with all my heart.
      Belle, I pray for your thorough healing and restoration.
      Right now, one attribute of God I am clinging to is His desire to restore which is shown over and over in the word.
      I say to myself:
      “He restoreth my soul…”
      Psalm 23:3.

      • Belle on November 17, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        Ruth, How kind you are. Thank you. I, like you, have grown in my love for God through this. I know God is nothing like he who abused me. Thank you for pointing out how God restores.

    • Rebecca Davis on November 18, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Ruth, this terrible counsel you’re describing and the reinforcement it gave to what you were already being told is an example of the deplorable double standard created with this teaching. I’m so sorry for what you had to go through, and so thankful that you’ve been learning the truth about the love of our gracious God, so different from the oppressors.

  8. Nancy on November 16, 2017 at 6:12 am

    Hi everyone,

    About a year and a half ago, we set a boundary with my MIL. This particular issue had to do to with our eldest. We confronted my MIL and asked her not to involve our daughter in the issue – this was an adult matter.

    6 months ago, My MIL attempted to send our daughter an email about it (through us – our daughter had no email account at that time) and we re-sent my MIL the letter that outlined our limits. My MIL apologized, “oh, I had forgotten that. Thank you for reminding me.” The other night, my MIL calls our eldest and talks to her about it. Our daughter gets off the phone saying, ” wow, that was awkward” and goes on to tell us about the conversation.

    Over this past year and a half, we’ve been slowly taking steps away from her. As she tests and manipulates, we’ve increased our boundaries, having less and less contact.

    After praying about it together, my h decides to write her a simple note saying that he was sad because she had broken his trust.

    The email we got back was shocking. The things that she said cannot be unsaid, and we are just blown away by the violence of her words.

    Amidst the shock and grief of this, God’s grace is just surrounding us.

    We always knew she was capable of this – her own sister has cut her out of her life. But she’d never treated us this way. That’s because we never stood our ground with her. Always peacefaking. I believe that God has been preparing us for this because our marriage would not have survived such an onslaught in the past. Especially from a ‘weak’ highly physically disabled woman. Our guilt would have had us tearing at one another.

    Yesterday we really understood the power that words carry, and that once ‘out there’, they can’t be taken back.

    The saddest part is that we cannot trust her to even speak to the kids. Knowing the vileness of what’s in her heart – there’s just no way. We have no doubt that she’d try to pit them against us and one another. We have to go ‘no contact’. It couldn’t be any clearer.

    The irony is that I’ve been really wrestling with ‘honouring’ my own mother.

    My mother in-law moved into a care facility in July. My h is no longer her ’emergency contact person’. We can rest assured that she is cared for, and work on processing all of this, and forgiving her – from a distance.

    God is so very good.

    • Rebecca Davis on November 16, 2017 at 6:19 am

      Nancy, that sounds like it’s been an extremely difficult journey. I’m so thankful you and your husband have been “together” in this, and that you have the distance from your mother-in-law that all your family so clearly need for your health and growth while you continue to do what is right.

      • Nancy on November 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm

        Thanks for your kind words, Rebecca. The past two years have been very draining, but God has been so faithful.

        • Sophia on November 17, 2017 at 2:01 pm

          Nancy…thank you for sharing. It is so interesting that you did not really experience the abusive behavior until you placed a boundary!!! It is very easy to believe that ‘quiet’ and ‘healthy patterns’ are the same thing. Healthy people, healthy relationships glorify God! God doesn’t call us to a doormat life. Thank you so much for sharing:

  9. Aleea on November 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    . . . .Also, in Luke 18, where Jesus tells us of the widow who suffered great injustice at the hands of her enemies. She brings her case repeatedly to the local civil authority, in her case, an unjust judge who is apathetic to her cause. Finally, because of her persistence, the judge avenges her of her enemies. . . . .Jesus does not lecture the widow for her “bitterness” or “pride” or “lack of forgiveness”; instead He holds her up as an example for us to follow in our personal lives.

    —The Truth is divine. The Truth is the thing that generates order from chaos. Don’t underestimate the power of Truth, there’s nothing more powerful. But in order to speak what you might regard as the Truth you have to let go of the outcomes —not easy —Speaking the Truth puts our lives back in God’s hands, because we are not outcome engineering, peace faking, pretending. . . .If instead, we try to articulate what we believe to be true as carefully and as accurately as possible. . . . accepting the outcomes (—never, ever easy), . . . .The Truth, even if it calls sections of the Bible into question, the Truth as lived and spoken, produces the best possible outcomes long-term. Lord God help us all, especially me, to do it. You have to think, all right, I’m going to say what I think . . . .stupid as I am . . .biased as I am . . . .ignorant as I am. I’m going to state what I think as clearly as I can and I’m going to live with the consequences no matter what they are. That’s an element of faith, the idea is that nothing brings a better world into being than the stated Truth and yes, we will have to pay a price for that but we’re going to pay a price for everything we do and everything we don’t do. We don’t get to choose to not pay a price, we get to choose which poison we’re going to take, —that’s it. So, if we’re going to stand up for something, stand up for the Truth, your truth. It’ll shape you because people will respond, and object, and tell you why you’re wrong or biased and why. —But then, if you listen to them, you’ll be just that less much less like that the next time you say something. If you do that you’ll become so tough and articulate and able to communicate and withstand pressure that you won’t even recognize yourself. It is not safe to speak but the other thing you have to keep in mind is that it’s even less safe not to speak.

    —That widow, what she got by speaking up was nothing in comparison to what she became by doing that re: Luke 18.

  10. Sophia on November 17, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you Aleea! ❤️The truth does set us free and if often looks quite different than some of the lifelong patterns in our minds.

    • Aleea on November 17, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      “The truth . . . . .often looks quite different than some of the lifelong patterns in our minds.”

      ―Absolutely Sophia! ―And as you know, we need the Holy Spirit and we need each other to even know what the Truth is. That “O” from Leslie’s CORE model: ―O, Open to the Holy Spirit and wise others to help us grow. The Holy Spirit has to help us understand the patterns! . . .There are so many patterns, patterns on top of patterns, patterns that affect other patterns. Patterns hidden by patterns. Patterns within patterns. . . . .One thing with any abuse is distinguishing chemical imbalances, brain disorders, and just plain disobedience. ―For me, the rule of thumb is that if someone is able to be verbally or physically abusive, he or she is able to understand that the behavior is totally wrong (disobedience). We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, undermine our complacency and overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior, ―sometimes really radically. I hate that but it is good for me. . . .We form a mental map, and then that shape, shapes us. Those set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. ―God’s Truth looks like it is outside of all patterns❣😊 💕 ✰

  11. Nancy on November 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    What your saying here about speaking Truth and letting go of the outcome, Aleea, reminds me of what Bono says in an interview with Eigene Peterson about the Psalms. He talks about if artists would just write honest songs, the world would get stirred up!

    If you’re interested it’s 20 minutes called the psalms ( on YouTube), where much of the discussion is about how the Psalms show us the importance of being honest before the Lord.

    • Aleea on November 18, 2017 at 3:51 am

      . . . .It’s beautiful Nancy. Thank you so, so much! ―Just beautiful . . . .so much wisdom and love. The conversation, . . . that honesty is so needed. Bono, Peterson and Taylor at Peterson’s Montana home, ―beautiful. I love what Eugene Peterson said, “Praying is not being nice before God but being open before God.” ―Absolutely!!! See Psalm 137:9 “How blessed will be the one who seizes your young children and dashes their heads against the rocks (―pulverizes them against the cliff!).” ―That’s about as honest as it gets.

      “Psalms show us the importance of being honest before the Lord” ―Again, absolutely!!! I took a number of classes at my church on praying through the psalms. They were such a real blessing.

      . . . I was at this Tres Dias (www tresdias org) retreat this past weekend (―no cell phones; no laptops; no tablets; not even watches. . . . .We focused for three straight intense days (Tres Dias) just going deeper and deeper and with Christ. . . .It was so, so beautiful. ―Wow, it blew me away and I am *skeptical* (. . .as you well know). . . . .And Tres Dias is everywhere: Denmark, Peru, Ireland, Canada, Ukraine, et.al. It was so, so beautiful. ―Talk about getting filled to overflowing!!! There is nothing Nancy, Aleea, _____, can do that would possibly cause God to love us less ―or more. Nancy, Aleea, _____, are already *totally* loved and *totally* accepted by Christ.

      . . . .Why are we afraid to tell the truth about our struggles? . . . I don’t know. I just don’t know. I really, seriously, try to especially about my biggest issues: Christian Origins, Christ-of-Faith vs. Jesus-of-History, Integritry in the Textual Transmission, etc. but even I rein it in because I am afraid of what people will think. —And even bigger, Nancy . . . .I just get totally s-i-c-k of all the hard questions at times. I just go to the Lord, put my head in His lap and say: “hold me”. . . . . . . .Don’t ever let my study of Christian Origins fool you, I am hopelessly in love with Jesus Christ and so grateful for all I have. I am so, so fortunate. Moreover, the core of Christianity is unbelievably beautiful even if there are parts that are all laced with misinformation that is spread intentionally or unintentionally. . . . .Christianity is so, so often a psychological defense mechanism against a *REAL* experience of God!

      . . . a *REAL* experience of God from this past weekend at Tres Dias: . . . .Nancy, doesn’t it just take your breath away for a moment to hear God say, “I love you”? To which I, in my sinfulness, respond, “―Why???” . . . .And then to hear Him answer, “Because you’re my child.” To which I ask the obvious question, “Why would I, a hopeless sinner, now be called your cherished child?” Only to hear Him say, “Because I really wanted you, and I came to get you so that you might know me as Father. ―Wow. . . .How is that even possible???

      . . . And what is it about God’s Word that creates such a hunger in me to hear more and more? ―And not just to hear the Word but to just absolutely long for it, study it, memorize it, and follow it? ―What causes followers of Christ around the world to literally risk their lives in order to know it? —And when I read the gospels, I fall in love with Christ, the way one falls asleep. . . . . .slowly, and then all at once. It is like a huge magnet that just reaches to my heart and just pulls me. . . . .There is a much deeper place to go, —beyond belief. Hebrews 6:1a, Romans 1:17, Philippians 1:6. . . .et.al.

      Wow, and it’s not even my pursuit of Christ, but Him *relentlessly* pursuing me ✞♛💟 ツ💜 😊 💕 too much. . . .just overwhelming —There is a Light burning in the darkness, Wisdom cries for all to read Psalm 19:7-11, 33:11, 119:105 . . . .As You, Lord God read the pages of my heart Psalm 37:18 . . . .To You I am an open book and You know every page by heart. ✞◄•• ꧁꧂

  12. Nancy on November 18, 2017 at 7:57 am

    In the whole 20 minute production, that’s my favourite quote, “Prayer is not being nice before God”.

    Christ came to shake us up. To shake us awake INTO the real world. And you’re right it’s easy to use ‘Christianity’ as a defense mechanism against it. I think this is why I don’t identify as Christian – I associate that with the sanitized, numbed out, ‘Christianese speaking’ zombie like state of mind and heart that is the opposite of what He came to do.

    I identify as a follower of Jesus.

    Christ is the opposite of nice. He’s kind. He’s truth. He’s wisdom. He’s Love.

  13. James on November 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    A very good topic this week.
    As someone who has been trained in nouthetic counseling the notion that Christians are to always lay down their rights is a notion that is very familiar to me. While think that it is true that, as we grow in Christlikeness we are willing to lay down our rights for others (as Christ laid down His own life for us), I also think that there are instances in which we need to assert our rights. I have come to believe that there are some contexts in which laying down our own rights does as much harm to the other as it does to us.
    Some biblical examples have already been given.
    So let me ask a very practical question.
    Can you (Leslie) or any of the other ladies on this site think of some examples where laying down our rights in the context of marriage is the best thing to do and some examples where asserting our rights in the context of marriage is the best way to approach a situation?
    Again, great topic.

    • Rebecca Davis on November 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      James, I’d say that our rights can be laid down about as easily as our facial features can be laid down. There will be times we’ll refrain from making use of them, but they are still ours. The reason I continue to be a bit of a stickler on this point is that I want to reassure readers, especially readers at this site, that their rights are always theirs, just as Jesus’ rights were always His.

      I believe that growing in Christlikeness doesn’t mean we’ll more and more refrain from claiming our rights, because if so, then the most Christlike person would be the one who is refraining from ever claiming their rights. I think we’d agree that Paul was very Christlike, and yet he stood on his rights with that Roman soldier. (However, he never claimed these same rights when it was the Jewish leaders who were going to beat him. The reason for this seems clear: He knew the Jewish leaders wouldn’t care a fig for what his Roman-citizen rights were; unlike the soldier, they were perfectly willing to violate those rights.)

      If Christians think “I want to be Christlike, so I’ll lay down my rights,” then they’ll be continuing in the mindset I was trying to refute when I wrote this post. Instead, we can think of Christlike behavior as “doing the right thing,” always. Sometimes the “right” thing isn’t completely clear, and we may need help determining what it is. But it should *never* be because “laying down my rights is Christlike.” That’s just not true, according to the Scriptures.

      One example of sensibly refraining from standing on a right that is mine would be if a jaywalker walks in front of my car when I’m driving. The right to that space in the road is mine. But I can refrain from claiming the right to that space so no one will get hurt.

      In the case of a woman living with an oppressor who regularly violates her rights, any effort on her part to stand on her rights may be useless or worse, dangerous. This would be an example of a time when she may refrain from claiming her rights, for her own safety and that of her children. But it’s an untenable situation, and if the oppressor will not learn to respect her rights, she needs to get help. Then from a safe place she can lay out boundaries. A statement of wise boundaries is basically a statement of “what is right,” such as, “You can continue to yell unspeakable names at me, but I don’t have to continue to listen to them. I do have a right to be treated with the same respect with which other human beings are to be treated.”

      In Scripture, all the cases of claiming rights or standing on rights, is because someone’s rights are being violated, which boils down to a most basic disrespect. I’m thankful to say that I’m in a mutually respectful marriage–my husband respects me, and I respect him. Neither one of us ever thinks in terms of “laying down rights” for the other, because we respect each other.

      It is possible to have a mutually respectful marriage in which rights aren’t being violated, and then the claiming of rights or standing on rights won’t even need to be an issue.

      Instead of “laying down rights” in a marriage, I believe the emphasis in marriage counseling could be shifted to respecting each other and doing what is right.

      • Connie on November 18, 2017 at 2:52 pm

        Exactly, Rebecca. I shudder at the book, “Love and Respect”. Subtitle, “Giving her the love she wants and him the respect he needs.” Everyone needs respect, first. You can’t love someone you don’t respect. And everyone needs love.

        • Rebecca Davis on November 18, 2017 at 3:18 pm

          Yes, Connie, I agree that it’s a mistake to teach “men need respect” and “women need love.” Both of us need both.

          • James on November 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm

            In all fairness to the Eggerich’s ministry, the “Love and Respect” ministry admits that both men and women need both. In his view, which he bases on Eph 5. Men primarily respond to respect and women primarily respond to love.

            This is, of course, based on a complementarian perspective and I have gleaned that most of the ladies here (including yourself) are pretty avidly egalitarian.

            Peace,

            James



        • Renee on November 20, 2017 at 10:00 pm

          I was listening/watching a video last night with Patrick Doyle (Why are so many marriages not working?). They mentioned the book Love and Respect.

          Love and Respect Book – Not for those in an abusive relationship. There must be mutual good will.

          According to Patrick Doyle, giving an abusive spouse unconditional respect is not a good thing to do.

          I can only speak for myself, but I have allowed (or did I?) way too much dis-respect in my marriage. Doing so allowed the disrespect to become bigger, better, and bolder.

          • Rebecca Davis on November 20, 2017 at 10:23 pm

            Renee, “mutual good will.” Exactly.

            I don’t really believe that book is best even for ordinary marriages. To teach that men primarily need respect and women primarily need love seems quite off balance. Both need both.

            So on reading your comment, the question that comes to me is, “How much disrespect is ok in a marriage?” I believe the answer is none. No disrespect is ok. We might not mention it the first time or the tenth or even the hundredth, but none of it is ever ok. (And the solution to living with someone who is disrespectful isn’t to become disrespectful in retaliation. The solution is to set appropriate boundaries.)



          • Renee on November 21, 2017 at 6:16 pm

            Rebecca, the answer is none! I know that now. Allowing any disrespect (treating me like a child, calling me names, mocking, accusing) allows the disrespect to become bigger, better, and bolder. This year is where it became the boldest of all in our marriage.



          • Connie on November 20, 2017 at 10:30 pm

            And if you’ve read the book, the authour is actually quite rude toward his wife.



          • James on November 21, 2017 at 11:38 pm

            Renee,

            Thanks for your reply.

            We will have to agree to disagree here. You don’t put much stock on the Eggerich’s ministry and I don’t have much confidence in Patrick Doyle.

            That’s ok though. I’ve appreciated reading all of your insights.

            May the Lord give you a blessed thanksgiving.



          • Renee on November 22, 2017 at 9:35 am

            James, may the Lord give you a blessed Thanksgiving. Every single day that we are able to get out of our bed with our health, our strength, and our sanity (whatever portion that may be) is a day of Thanksgiving.

            Psalm 118:8 – It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

            With that verse being listed, I just wanted to say that post was not to say I was putting stock in Patrick Doyle.

            However, I believe there could be something to learn/gleam from others, even if you don’t agree with every single word or phrase. So yes, I did hear some things from Patrick Doyle that could speak truth. I can’t attest to Eggerich’s ministry (haven’t read) although some others offered their opinions.

            I posted because that video mentioned the book after it was brought up.

            That’s all nothing else.



      • James on November 18, 2017 at 4:42 pm

        “The reason I continue to be a bit of a stickler on this point is that I want to reassure readers, especially readers at this site, that their rights are always theirs, just as Jesus’ rights were always His.”

        An interesting perspective. I think that I would agree though perhaps with some minor permutations of my own.

        Whether we use the verbiage of “laying down” rights (which I am pretty sure is an attempt at incorporating biblical language when it refers to laying down one’s life from passages like 1 John 3:16).

        I am also familiar with Paul’s use of rights and refrain from usage of rights and I think you incorporate them well into your thoughts.
        I guess where my thoughts are at this point on this issue is that there are certain legitimate “rights” and legitimate “needs” in marriage that we absolutely should expect our spouse to make a good faith effort to satisfy, meet, respect, etc…

        But those rarely exist purely as theoretical aspects of a relationship. The issue doesn’t really come up until there is some conflict between “rights,” “needs” and “desires.” And putting aspects of marriage into those categories can be pretty messy.

        For example, is going on the vacation of one’s choosing a “right.” Is a vacation a “need” or are both of these “desires.”

        Does a man really “need” respect (to pick up on someone’s post referencing “Love and Respect.”)?
        Do women really have a “right” to be “cherished” and what does that even mean?

        Does “cherish” mean fancy vacations, expensive gifts and a standard of living that keeps up with the Jones? Or is it more basic like caring about one’s day, listening to one’s joys and heartaches and demonstrating genuine concern for the welfare of the other person?

        Does a man have a “right” to be respected if a woman has a “right” to be cherished?
        And what does ‘that’ mean?

        Does respect mean deferring to the husband on every decision or is it merely a concession that the husband gets a say every now and again to the way the marriage goes (I’ve seen both in counseling situations).

        Is sex a “need” a “want” or a “right?”

        Is the answer the same for both the husband and the wife?

        You ask three counselor you probably get four opinions on that one.

        You ask a husband and his wife and you are likely to get different answers.

        If you ask our culture I think you’ll get that sex for a man is a “want” that he should lay down if his wife isn’t interested but that sex is a “need” for his wife and he is guilty of emotional neglect if he avoids it with his wife.

        My point is this. These questions are messy questions that need more specific attention that can be given by reasoning from analogy.

        Meaning, Paul had rights and Jesus had rights and Peter had rights. That is absolutely true, but what does that have to do with a wife who is refusing her husband sex because she feels her spirit has been crushed by his unwillingness to listen to her heartfelt longing to be with her family when they go away on vacation this year?

        Everyone seems to want to reason from analogy on these questions (both the nouthetic folks and the non-nouthetic folks). But there is only so much we can get from reasoning from analogy.

        A funny moment from my own counseling years ago. A husband and wife were talking about wife’s desire to have a greater degree of say in the finances of the household. The wife brought up Deborah and used that as an example of why she should have greater leadership in the family.

        The husband brought up Solomon and said, “And Solomon had many wives.”

        They both laughed.

        I think his point was that reasoning from analogy can only get us so far.

        Thanks for the dialog.

        May the Lord bless you.

        James

        • Rebecca Davis on November 18, 2017 at 8:28 pm

          I agree, according to I John 3:16 that we should lay down our *lives* for each other, in the sense of serving each other out of love even when it’s unrewarding, difficult, unnoticed, challenging, frightening, or even dangerous. I think the distinction I’m trying to make here is that when we do those things (laying down our lives for each other, serving each other), it’s for the furthering of the Kingdom of God. It would never be simply because I think “laying down my rights” (i.e., allowing others to violate my rights) is a higher purpose *in and of itself* or in any way contributes to my godliness.

          I believe every person on this earth, every person ever created by God, both needs and deserves respect as a fellow human being created in the image of God. How this respect plays out in real time can be a point of discussion, but if we go by Jesus’ words, essentially, “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” then I think that puts the respect we all need and deserve in a nutshell.

          This post was about *rights,* which are the same for everyone, rather than about *needs,* which can vary from person to person. From the three kinds of rights I delineated above, you can see that going on a vacation obviously wouldn’t be a right. Whether it’s a need or simply a desire would be, as my old math books used to say, “beyond the scope of this text.” (In one person’s situation it could be simply a desire; in another person’s situation it could be a need, depending on several factors.)

          Some of your questions seemed rhetorical, so I’m not addressing all of them. . . .

          You said, “Paul had rights and Jesus had rights and Peter had rights. That is absolutely true, but what does that have to do with a wife who is refusing her husband sex because she feels her spirit has been crushed by his unwillingness to listen to her heartfelt longing to be with her family when they go away on vacation this year?” This post was written solely to assure readers that they have legitimate rights and to help them understand what they are, so it won’t solve every problem that comes up in counseling. When it comes to a wife withholding sex as a way to either punish or manipulate her husband (not to say that this is for sure what the wife is doing in the situation you describe, but from the way you describe it it sounds like it may be the case), Leslie has a helpful blog post about that here: https://www.leslievernick.com/often-see-suggesting-withholding-sex-consequence-spouse-abusive-behavior-way-perhaps-invite-change/

          Above all, husband, wife, and counselor all need to be submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit, in humble prayer and faith, trusting that as we submit to Him, He will lead us to what is right. One potential error of nouthetic counseling I’ve observed is that sometimes it can neglect to accentuate the importance of the Holy Spirit’s direction in the life of the believer, or even, heaven forbid, replace the Holy Spirit with the Holy Scriptures, so I just wanted to emphasize that.

          Regarding the terms “complementarian” and “egalitarian,” which were invented in the mid 1980s, I speak here only for myself, not for anyone else on this site, especially not for Leslie. I have avoided using either of the terms to describe myself (figuring that pre-1985 words will do for me), since these terms tend to pigeonhole people and I think may not do justice to the range of possibilities when it comes to beliefs about marriage. I have been what would be considered a “traditional” stay-at-home wife and mother for almost 33 years, having homeschooled my four children for 24 years, my husband being the primary income generator. I think the fact that my husband and I have mutual respect simply shows that we have a marriage that is the way God intended marriage to be, no matter what label is given to it, not that we (or I) fit into a particular box of beliefs.

          Thanks for the discussion!

  14. Aleea on November 18, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    “Christ is the opposite of nice.***** He’s kind. ☑ He’s truth. ☑ He’s wisdom. ☑ He’s Love☑. . . . .”

    . . . .Absolutely! Plus . . . .He’s a TOTAL revolutionary☑; He’s completely off-the-charts Radical ☑; He is the total opposite of safe☑. . . . .et.al. In fact, the Kingdom of God was so threatening to the established order that He was executed as a state criminal. The early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a Kingdom of God Radical revolutionary. . . . .It’s hard because most people in the ancient world did not make a sharp distinction between myth and reality. The two were intimately tied together in their spiritual experience. That is to say, they were less interested in what actually happened, than in what it meant. For example, the gospels present Pilate as a righteous yet weak-willed man so overcome with doubt about putting Jesus of Nazareth to death that he does everything in his power to save his life, finally washing his hands of the entire episode when the Jews demand his blood. That is pure fiction. What Pilate was best known for was his extreme depravity, his total disregard for Jewish law and tradition, and his barely concealed aversion to the Jewish nation as a whole. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but the sword.” Matthew 10:34, et.al.

    One would think that Jesus’s admonishment not to teach others to break the Law of Moses would have had some impact on Paul. . . . .But Paul seems totally unconcerned with anything “Jesus-in-the-flesh” may or may not have said. The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. Jesus is the same. If the gospel isn’t good news for everybody, then it isn’t good news for anybody. And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. As the book of James says, “God shows no favoritism.” So we don’t either. . . .

    “. . . .I don’t identify as Christian – I [don’t] associate that with the sanitized, numbed out, ‘Christianese speaking’ zombie like state of mind and heart that is the opposite of what He came to do. I identify as a follower of Jesus.”

    . . . .The danger is that in reaction to abuses and distortions of Christianity, we see so many just reject it completely. ―And in the process miss out on the good of it, the worth of it, the truth of it. As we experience His love, there is a temptation at times to become hostile to our earlier understandings, for me, feeling embarrassed that I was so “simple” or “naive,” or “brainwashed” or whatever terms arise when I haven’t come to terms with my own story. These past understandings aren’t to be denied or dismissed ―they’re to be embraced. Those experiences belong. Love demands that they belong. That’s where we were at that point in our life and God met us there. Those moments were necessary for us to arrive here, at this place at this time, as we are. Love frees us to embrace all of our history, the history in which all things are being made new in Christ, even ‘Christianese speaking’ zombies. So whether we are reading the Bible for the first time or standing in a field in Israel next to a historian, an archaeologist and a N.T. scholar, the Bible meets us where we are. That is what Truth does.

    . . . .What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer? What if the air conditioning/ heat is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for His people to come together? When there’s something in the Bible that churches don’t like, they call it legalism. The early church (―the first four hundred years) was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. ―Today, prosperity, personality and popularity, et.al. . . . .And I agree, Christianity today is so subnormal that if any Christian began to act like a normal New Testament Christian (―the first four hundred years), she would be considered abnormal. . . ✽✾✿❁❃❋❀❣♡😊 💕

  15. Content on November 20, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Nancy and Aly –

    This question isn’t really related to the blog topic, but it has been nagging at me to talk to you both a little more about your situations.

    It’s probable that you’ve addressed this with me in the past and probably others, so forgive me if that’s the case! I’ve been in a fog of grief the last year (have been separated for a little over a year now) and there were many times that I would read on here but didn’t have the mental strength to even post a comment or to ask a question to dive deeper.

    I’m curious about how both of your husbands came to a place of knowing that they had changes to make and how they expressed a willingness to do so and what that looked like. Are your husbands believers?

    So basically my situation is this….About 2 and 1/2 years ago, God spoke to my spirit very clearly saying that I would have to be removed from my husband’s life for him to come to God. (I became a born again believer about 10 years into our marriage). I heard it very clearly and it stopped me because I had no idea what that could be. But over the months that followed, I remembered what God had said because he started opening my eyes to my husband’s covert emotional abuse, gaslighting, etc that had been there from the beginning of our 25 year marriage. It was like I was blind and now I could see, but not in a good way. :/ I see that as all God – His timing in opening my eyes, His promise ahead of time to show me that there is a purpose in all of this and it’s for my husband’s salvation.

    I also heard what I felt were God’s questions to me during that time – “Are you willing to lose your intact family and marriage for his salvation?” and the question that has caused a lot of angst for me over the last year….”Are you willing for him to be with another wife who is getting the benefits of him as a new creation?”

    These were all things I wrestled with as I walked through the last couple of years. As God revealed the reality of what my husband was doing and as he proved to be hard-hearted to me with continued gaslighting, shifting blame, etc. and refusal to go to counseling or see his part, it became an easy (well, as easy as it could be, I guess) decision to separate. At that time, I was so angry with him that I would have divorced him immediately if it weren’t for our children. I felt that God wanted me to wait a year so, though, for the sake of our children and also, it seemed like a wise thing to do to let a year play out and see what came.

    So, here I am a little over a year later. In the last couple of months, God has done a huge work in me with regard to my anger toward him and just seeing him in a different light. I believe with all of my heart that my husband was deeply hurt when he was younger and put walls up and has since become a modern-day Tin Man (his friends actually nicknamed him this when he was young – before he met me). As I suspected, my husband has not pursued me in the way that I needed/wanted. He would try to guilt me for breaking up our family and tell me things like he still woke up with sadness when I wasn’t by his side, but all of those statements usually had manipulative behavior in them.

    I recently felt led to tell him that I loved him. I prayed about this and felt God’s confirmation for me to do so. Around this time, we also had to attend a wedding in the family and I was amazed at how at peace I felt around him and that God had taken a lot of my anger away. It was truly a supernatural thing and I knew God had done it, there was no way I could get to that place on my own. I knew being around him that I had done the right thing in separating from him as I am healing and growing in so many ways (so thankful for this!) He told me that I have been, am now and will always be the love of his life.

    There was definite emotional abuse and fear held over me by him, but I can also see how I played a part in all of this mess, too. I was also completely messed up in my mind of what submission and respect should look like and played the perfect doormat wife. I think in some way, it was a lot of pressure on him as well. Oh, thank you, Lord, for setting me and continuing to set me free from those lies!

    O.K., so now here I am and I have no idea what my next step is except that I have decided to at least wait until after the holidays are over to file for divorce (if that’s what God wants me to do). In the meantime, I have for a while had a sense that God is giving me the option of fighting for my marriage by faith. While God asked me if I was willing to see him with another wife, I almost feel like He’s said….I can say no to that one. 😉 But, I am also very aware that I could be trying to grasp on to any little bit of false hope for our marriage and family to survive. And, then, on the other hand, it seems like the last week especially God is sending me messages of hope and faith in this regard – to believe Him for the impossible. Also, I have felt like I need to start speaking the truth that my husband is God’s son directly to him….and God has confirmed that for me in a few ways, too. I have started thanking God for his salvation rather than praying about it, because God has already said it’s going to happen. (the question is…..when? It could be 20 years from now).

    All tangled up in these thoughts and possible scenarios playing out in my head are the options that I feel I have at this time:

    Do I verbalize my commitment to my husband to stay and fight for our marriage no matter what (but then, I feel like a doormat….again; however, I can see the value of a man knowing that someone is loving them like no one has ever loved them — unconditionally – and that Christ can be shown through me that way). With this scenario, I think – What does it gain me to divorce right now because I have no desire to remarry at this time, divorce is not going to automatically stop the pain of this season of my life and I am healing and detaching emotionally more from my husband as the months unfold and fully expect that God will continue to do that for me.

    Or, do I invite him (again – but this time coming from a wife who is seeing him through more compassionate eyes, who is much stronger emotionally, not co-dependent and whose righteous anger has settled down) into change with a list of things I absolutely must have to remain in the marriage and see if a year has softened his heart any?

    Or, do I let him fully go since I have verbalized these things already and he has not really pursued me (also heard God very, very clearly say that to me one morning early on in our separation –) and just know and trust that whatever comes, it will be ok and it will be God’s perfect plan.

    Wow, I know that’s a lot and I by no means expect anyone to answer those questions for me. They are mine to wrestle with and only God can lead me specifically. But, I would love to hear thoughts and maybe some outside perspective to shine light on things I might be missing.

    He has continued to pay bills, our finances are not separated and has learned to communicate a little more maturely over the last year as I refused to engage in conversation with him once he became manipulative and argumentative. He broke some boundaries early on of not coming into the house without asking me first, but I stood strong on those and also asked God to defend me in that issue, which I totally believe God did in a very specific way. Since that time, I believe he has respected that boundary. He has also shown me more respect as I’ve asked for various things that he probably would have been very angry about before. He offers help on various things, car,
    etc. (although I’ve not taken most of it as I felt it was important for me to really have that time of separation from him). Saying that to say that it has been important for me to see that I do not think he is a vindictive, cruel person as I believe I would have seen evidence of that by now.

    Anyway, Nancy and Aly, you have both commented at different times along the lines of realizing that someone could have narcissistic tendencies on a spectrum and that not all are so cruel or vindictive. There are things about my husband that speak of a tender part of him that is waiting to be unlocked by God….things like his favorite movies and tv shows that used to appeal to him. I think of these things as hopeful signs.

    So sorry for the length of this comment. I would also love to communicate via email with either of you if you are willing.

    Thank you both for your ongoing counsel and help to others on this board!!

    • Ruth on November 21, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      Content,
      I hope you don’t mind me chiming in. I won’t speak to the part about the husband bc my situation has not been time-tested, so we shall see how it works out. My H is on his longest stretch of good behavior, but based on his history he could flip back into anger, abusiveness, and denial when the stresses of life pile on.
      I know in reading your posts that you have a tender heart. I see your compassion in your concern for your husband’s salvation despite the hurt he’s caused you. I respect how you have prayerfully sought the Lord’s guidance in your painful situation. You’ve also proved to have the spiritual tenacity to keep knocking and seeking til God did a marvelous work of forgiveness in your heart.
      Your questions were to Aly and Nancy as to how you might know if your husband might be potentially ready for the work of reconciliation or when/if you should forge ahead with a divorce and how you should stand in the gap for his salvation.
      Wow, Content, I know the feeling of angst of ‘which way do I go Lord?’
      I feel like the Lord wants you to take this time of separation even this holiday season and really celebrate Him. Unfortunately, the holidays are usually just about family and hub-bub, and for most of us, me included, practically squeezes our time and resources for Jesus to ZERO.
      I’m not saying that I get the sense you’re neglecting your time with Jesus, but that He wants to give you a special visitation, like Paul said, ‘that you might know Him in the Power in His resurrection…’ Its just that sometime even our mental time is eaten up with ‘shoulda or shoulda I not?’ God wants us not to agonize over decisions; He wants us to walk in peace.
      I want to recommend a book I just finished reading. I haven’t read very many of her books bc honestly, I think they all kinda sound the same, but Joyce Meyer’s “How to Hear From God” is very good. It is full of scriptures. I think anyone on this blog would benefit from reading it. The Lord used this book to challenge me and give me insight.
      Content, just be careful. That old expression ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ can translate: ‘you haven’t been around the man close enough for awhile to remember what a selfish, inconsiderate person he was’.
      Also, being with him at a wedding could have stirred emotions in you that you *might* misconstrue as a message from God to fight for your marriage.
      I know it’s not for me to say; it could just be my natural instinct to want to protect a sweet sister who might be moving towards danger, but re-read your Post as though it wasn’t yours, like it was a stranger’s Post. What would be your inclination to advise that woman?

      • Content on November 21, 2017 at 4:55 pm

        Ruth, thank you for chiming in! I appreciate it. Thank you for the kind things you said about what you have seen in my comments. Very encouraging.

        I agree with you regarding focusing my heart on just intimacy with God and setting my heart to worship Him during this season. That was a word from God and something that I’ve been kind of mulling over the last couple of days. One of my prayers for a while is that God will show me how to be still and quiet before Him for a prolonged, focused period and to really enjoy being in His presence. I don’t seem to be able to do this on my own (although I did do this very naturally in the early days of my salvation). I read the Word, I definitely pray all throughout the day, I know that God is leading me and guiding me and working in and through me. I don’t question or doubt His love for me at all. I just can’t figure out that intimacy portion and am praying that He unlocks whatever is holding me back from that. Whether it’s just laziness or a lack of discipline or something else or a combination of several things, I need His Spirit to show me and reveal to me. I’ll look into the book you recommended…

        As far as being at peace in this process of waiting to hear from God, I really am at this time. A week or two ago, I wasn’t – it felt like agony to feel like I should be making a decision and yet not know what decision to make. But, God has really given me a peace and has very definitively given me encouragement the last couple of days that I am to stand still and wait on Him. Along with all of these things, I find that I am able to more and more hand over to God my will and know that His will is best. I can see how much peace I have and the work He has done in just one year and I know that if this marriage is truly over, I *will* be ok. I will be more than ok. I will thrive. God promised me several months ago that He was taking me to wide, open spaces and in that promise, I see an abundant, joyful life – much fuller than anything I have experienced so far.

        Regarding being around my husband at the wedding – actually, it felt great to be around him and know that I was right where I was supposed to be, as far as the stance I had taken in our marriage. The day of the wedding, I felt a lot of anxiety about having to be around him and his family….but by the time I walked in the door, God supernaturally gave me incredible peace and joy and I was able to relate to my husband with no real hurt or defensiveness or walls up. Driving home, I knew God had met me in an amazing way that night and He had confirmed that I had done the right thing to separate. It was wonderful to be there and not worry or care about which beautiful woman my husband might find to stare at the entire time (after which times, if I was quiet, I would get chastised for being quiet but if I admitted my hurt respectfully about what I saw, I was met with incredulous denial and verbal abuse). LOL What a blessing, don’t miss those times a bit! There are still unhealthy bonds that need to be severed in my mind and triggers for me that I need to be healed from, but I trust that God is going to continue that work.

        Rest assured, I have *no* desire or pull to try to make things happen in my marriage because I am remembering only the good times.

        I merely want and need God’s guidance for each step. I want an undeniable peace if He is moving me to file for divorce and if He is asking me to believe Him for a miracle in our marriage (and it would only be by a miracle that we would ever be reconciled), I don’t want to be fearful of taking the steps in faith that He asks me to do.

        Ruth, thank you for reading through my long comments and replying to me! Thank you for all you said.

        • Ruth on November 21, 2017 at 7:02 pm

          Content, I’m going to reply to you at the bottom of the thread bc I have a difficult time reading when the columns get narrow

    • Nancy on November 21, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Content, thank you so much for sharing your story, your struggles and your heart.

      I don’t have much time right now, and will tell the pieces of my story that you have asked about, a bit later on.

      in the meantime my first thought / question is a very practical one:

      Has your husband sought out individual counselling (have you made that a requirement?).

      His willingness to do the work is a key that only he holds.

      I share Ruth’s great respect for your reliance on The Lord. It is obvious that He has done a work in your heart!

      • Nancy on November 21, 2017 at 9:49 pm

        Hi Content,

        So to answer your question, my husband accepted Christ about a year before I confronted him ( out to dinner with a well-rehearsed speech, followed by a written letter that said the exact same thing).

        For me that letter and speech came straight from The Lord. It was loving and firm. I can read it today and am amazed how The Lord met me in that process.

        It really shook him up. But I remember even on the drive home (after he REALLY paid attention to my words at dinner) he tried manipulating me. He immediately went into counselling ( although not the counsellor I wanted). It took another 5 months or so before he gathered an accountability group ( these two things were requirements). But even though he got scared into these actions, I could see there was no real surrender of our marriage ( to God).

        During this time, we were friends. For us, discussing kids ( even discipline issues) logistics, and fun outings, were safe topics. I’ve never stopped liking my H, we’ve always been friends. At the same time though, there was tension when he would try to cross lines (discuss our relationship, for example) and I’d just walk out of the room. We’d both go to The Lord and start over again the next day. My h would also share, occasionally, some discoveries he had about himself in counselling. I wouldn’t share anything personal on my end, during this time. The girls and I gave him an amazing trip to do the fourth musketeer ( you can YouTube it). We flew him out west and he spent a long week end in the Rockies hiking and seeking The Lord with many other men – he came back changed. (but it would still be another two months before he surrendered our marriage to God),

        9 months in, at Christmas last year, our mothers both went out of town ( this had NEVER happened before) and that gave us a clarity. Over those months my h kept asking me to go to marriage counselling but I wouldn’t, so he’d go alone. It turns out his counsellor ( who I didn’t like) had been telling him that if I wasn’t willing to go, he should divorce me.

        Anyways, at Christmas, my h told me that he realized that he had put our marriage on a pedestal. I’ll never forget that conversation. I knew that something had changed. He was ready to trust God with the outcome. So I agreed to go to marriage counselling but not with his counsellor. God brought the right counsellor ( we both spoke to, on the phone separately, before meeting in person) and we are now 11 months into the exhausting work of allowing God to show us how to surrender to God and how to love one another ( by the way, the reason I went was also because my h admitted that he wasn’t trustworthy – to me and the counsellor).

        We have drastically reduced contact with my mother and permanently cut off his. These were major issues leaking toxicity into our marriage.

        Content. During our separation I saw a lot of movement and willingness in my H to try ( he also did a lot of testing of boundaries, too).

        The only thing that I can think to say is this – I know you’ll take this to The Lord:

        If you haven’t written down your criteria and identified exactly what you need from him to consider trying again, why wouldn’t you do that? If you separated in anger, why not write a loving, firm and super precise letter to him, in response to his “I’ll always love you” statement? If you end up divorcing, you could one day show your kids the letter that gave their Dad every opportunity to earn your trust back…. Plus you’ll always have it to, to remind yourself that you acted in love. I have written 3 such letters in the past 2 years. Each in love, each laying boundaries and requirements for trust. And the Peace that I have in re-reading them- that I KNOW that I poured my heart out, and held nothing back- is very comforting (regardless of the outcome with each relationship), because those letters remind me that I did right by each of those 3 relationships.

        Content, you are doing so well. The Lord is with you in this journey and when He brings you to mind, I will pray for you!

        • Content on November 22, 2017 at 7:57 pm

          Nancy, thank you so much for typing all of that out (and for wading through my long comment)!

          I appreciate knowing more of your story. I don’t have a lot of time to respond right now, but just wanted to at least reply and acknowledge your response.

          Happy Thanksgiving to you — and everyone here!

          • Renee on November 26, 2017 at 7:54 pm

            I’m open to anyone answering.

            Who were your husband’s accountability partners?

            Who were your wife’s accountability partners? For example; DG and Sunshine I believe said they used domestic abuse centers.



        • Content on November 25, 2017 at 1:49 pm

          Nancy, thanks again for your long response.

          I guess I would know if I was seeing a lot of movement and willingness from my husband. If I have to wonder, I think that’s my answer. :/ I see him being his usual “nice” self — but still unwilling to face or admit what his lying and hiding has done to our marriage and to my ability to trust him. He has dialed back his manipulative language but that is probably mostly because I refuse to dance that dance any longer with him (I don’t say anything to him, but just stop texting, etc. if he starts going there).

          My husband is a very proud man and he has consistently rejected Christ as there have been people who have reached out to him over the years. Looking back, I can see that he has most likely been addicted to alcohol from the very beginning of our relationship, too. In my spirit, I believe he is also a sex addict as he could never tell me how many sex partners he had before we married. I asked him multiple times and he would never even try to guess. I was ***A HUGE*** fool at 19 years old and felt so lucky to have a man adore me the way he did. I was warned by people in my church not to marry him, but I wasn’t born again either at that point and I wanted what I wanted. After 25 years of watching him ogle other beautiful women and then lie to me about doing so with no care in the world for my feelings, I have a feeling there are a lot of secrets out there. Maybe I will never know for sure, but deep down in my spirit, that is what I sense. (One of the lies that he actually admitted to after we separated was that he had slept with two other women in the work place where we met…..add to those two women myself and another woman who called me on the phone before I married him to say that she had slept with him also…..so that’s four of us in a period of just a year or two — THAT I KNOW ABOUT. He always has wonderful excuses for lying – mostly it’s all about protecting himself; of course, he doesn’t see it that way. He thinks his excuses are valid and make total sense and I should just accept them.)

          The long and short of it is this….God clearly told me to “Let that man go” about a year ago. If God wants to step in and do something miraculous at some point, then He will. But, I think I’m putting too much pressure on myself to try to create a miracle in our marriage by “waiting” for him and showing him “unconditional love”. It’s time to let a man go who has consistently refused to see the damage he’s doing and continues to gaslight me when I bring up valid concerns.

          I don’t even know how to do the letter thing at this point…..what’s the point? Really, what is it? I just don’t know. One of my conditions would be that he has to take a lie detector test. I could never trust him until he starts opening up and confessing. And I don’t really want a man who has to take a lie detector test to tell me the truth. I would just be sitting in the pain longer with a man who’s not really willing.

          Nancy, thanks for listening. I hope you understand that any strong emotion in my comment here is not directed at you but is just my frustration at the craziness of this situation.

          And, I am very happy for you that your husband has been saved and that God is working so beautifully in your marriage. It is amazing to hear your story and see how God works. Even in my marriage, I know that I can see God’s hand and even though the outcome is looking very different, I know that God is going to bring beauty out of this. If nothing else, it is a blessing for me to just be separated and not ridiculously concerned about what this man is doing or lying about anymore….it is a blessing to not be bound in the destructiveness of this pseudo-marriage.

          • Nancy on November 26, 2017 at 2:41 pm

            I praise God that you can see His hand in your journey, Content. That kind of evidence is so generous of Him.

            Don’t worry about the ‘strong emotion’….it didn’t come across as at all harsh. You sound as though you know that the letter is not an option for you. Clarity is a good thing.

            Two weeks ago, The Lord gave my h and I such clarity in our relationship with my MIL : It’s time to go ‘no contact’ and stop waiting to see if she’ll choose to respect us – she won’t. This has brought us a whole lot of grief, but the biggest comfort of all is seeing The Lord’s hand in it.

            Here’s what our counsellor said to us: “it’ll be good for her that you’ve chosen to stop enabling her. It’s too late for your relationship with her, but maybe some other relationship of hers will benefit.”

            That was such a relief because I realized I was still stuck in the old pattern of anticipating that we’d have to try to discern if whatever apology she came up with, would be genuine. Trying to discern real repentance from an expert manipulator is exhausting, and we’re done spending ANY MORE energy on her. She’s already sucked way too much out of us.

            I can relate – ‘it is a blessing to not be bound in the destructiveness of this pseudo-relationship.’



          • JoAnn on November 26, 2017 at 6:28 pm

            Dear Content, I commend you for your courage to respond to the Lord’s command: “let that man go!” When the Lord speaks something, then He provides the grace to follow through. Everyone here must follow the Lord’s direction, then He will lead the way.



  16. Renee on November 20, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Content, we both seem to have concerns weighing on us right now. Last night was overwhelming.

    While you are waiting to hear from Aly and Nancy, I wanted to share with you because I posted a similar question to Aly on November 11, 2017.

    My question was: I know Nancy was/is doing an in-house separation. My question, how were you able to get your husband to (can’t think of exact phrase) engage in this journey? Did you have to separate? Live outside of the home or did it just happen?

    Your question was: I’m curious about how both of your husband’s came to a place of knowing that they had changes to make and how they expressed a willingness to do so and what that looked like. Are your husband’s believers?

    Here was Aly’s response to at least this part of your question. I hope this was ok to do Aly and Leslie.

    [I’ll try to answer simply, but it’s been a long road. I didn’t ‘get’ him to engage etc. The catalyst I believe that came to a head was ‘my change’, my place of willing to to decide what I would tolerate or not if we were going to continue to try to work through our issues under the same house. This was one catalyst that God did a work in me in drawing a line and giving me the strength to keep it.]

    [So to answer; No inhouse separation, no separation came about. But it was on the table and we needed the professional to assist us in deciding what was the best avenue to take. This area was very civil in my opinion. I was more than willing to have ‘my husband’ out of the home if he was showing that the current counseling was not effective and him living in the home was adding to any discomfort of our situation.]

    [My situation was that I stayed home and as the primary caregiver it was necessary our children stay in their own rooms. Why should they have to leave their home when their father was ‘the offender’ not being reasonable nor adding to creating a peaceful healing environment for us all. (This was my argument and what I brought into our counseling)]

    [For example; The person who thinks throwing ‘sand’ in a sandbox at another person is acceptable w/o consequences ‘needs to know’ that those are crossing boundaries and they are not welcome in the sandbox if they can’t respect the sandbox parameters. Why should the one following the parameters be the one thrown out?]

    [Now this is not for physical violence or many other situations (all corners of abuse) where a spouse should flee for safety and clarity.]

    [I found your post where I could reply. I think from what you have previously posted you are indeed in a very destructive dynamic with your husband based on the examples you have given. I think having your own individual counseling is SO vital as you navigate through. And that counselor being able to separate seeing the different parts as well as any dynamic that is co ~created. This isn’t the same thing as ‘equally responsible’.]

    I also read on an older post how Aly was able to call in to the counselor concerns she was having with her husband. They were using the same counselor.

    This did not work for me because as soon as my husband started seeing the counselor, she started telling me to trust the process. Then couple’s counseling went downhill.

    I hope that helps you for the time being. I have to read the rest of your post.

    • Content on November 20, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Thank you, Renee. I appreciate you doing that. I did read Aly’s response several days ago. I guess I am hoping for even more details about how he was invited to change and convinced of his role and need for change.

      Renee, I’m sorry for the situation you are in. I’ve read some of your story. It is so hard and yet I can start, a year later, that God is so faithful and while this isn’t the road I’d have chosen, He is healing me and I have a lot of joy even in the midst of the pain. Praying for you right now, sister. Keep holding onto Him, He will guide you each step.

  17. Chuck on November 20, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Hi, I was hoping to get some help and advice here, my wife and I are separated (6 months now) and one area of issue with me is that she is disrespectful to me and talks down to me often. This is done in front of our children which is hurtful to their relationship with me. I have done this in the past to their mother so this has been a problem for both of us. Since we are trying to move toward reconciliation and I have spoken to her about this with no real change, what should I do? To me this a major stumbling block for my desire to reconcile, it causes me to have angry feelings toward her which I have to fight. Do I have a right to be treated respectfully? I have been nothing but respectful to her since our separation and I think she would concur with my statement.

    • Rebecca Davis on November 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      So sorry to hear about this, Chuck. Everyone has an equal right to be treated with respect equal to everyone else. Some people expect “respect” to look like treating them in a “higher” way, especially if they have a certain position, but Jesus said, “It shall not be so among you.” Your wife needs to be willing to speak to you with the same respect with which she expects to be spoken to. In other words, not treating you like a child and not calling you degrading names or making insinuations about your intelligence, etc. Does she see her disrespect as a problem, and is she willing to work on it?

    • Renee on November 21, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Chuck – what do you mean by, “she talks down to me often?”

      Chuck you stated: Since we are trying to move toward reconciliation and I have spoken to her about this with no real change, what should I do?

      Do you think it is time to reconcile if you are having the same problems?

      Chuck you stated: Do I have a right to be treated respectfully?

      We all deserve respect. Every woman, every man, every girl, and every boy.

      Chuck you stated: I have been nothing but respectful to her since our separation and I think she would concur with my statement.

      Was that you just typing and feeling? Or, are you really saying that it took you all separating before you started treating her with respect?

    • Connie on November 22, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Chuck, there is so little we know from your post. Mostly, have you been convicted by the Holy Spirit and consequently repented to God and to her? And I mean, naming the wrongs you have done, admitting that you don’t deserve another chance, and showing her a true change of attitude, not just talk? Almost no woman will resist that.

    • Lilah on November 27, 2017 at 12:49 am

      Would you give us some examples of her disrespectful behavior?

  18. Chuck on November 21, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    She knows that it is hurtful but she gets angry often and I guess it is an old pattern that emerges. I don’t t feel we can reconcile till she can overcome this behavior. ( working on my behavior too) At some point if the behavior doesn’t change then I may have to step away from reconciliation ( hate the divorce word) and get On with my life.

    • Rebecca Davis on November 21, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      I believe mutual respect is one of the most key ingredients to a strong and good and happy marriage. It is mutual respect that will allow us to actually listen to each other and be willing to change in ways that we need to change, and be willing to seek the power of the Holy Spirit for the needed change in the deepest places of our hearts. That’s so important. I pray that God will provide you both with a way forward as you seek Him in your marriage.

    • James on November 21, 2017 at 11:23 pm

      Chuck,

      Sounds like you are both at least somewhat open to reconciliation. This is a good thing. Don’t discount the way God has worked in your own life and the life of your wife to bring you to this place.

      Good for you both.

      Only you can make the decision if moving forward for the reconciliation of your marriage is worth the work that you will both have to put into it going forward. I’m sure you’ve already considered the impact of the decision on your kids and your conscience as well as all the work you’ve already put into saving your marriage.

      So if you make the decision to continue to move forward, here is something you might consider when the time is right to talk to your wife about respectful communication.

      1. It is absolutely true that you are entitled to be treated with respect. It is also true (from your post) that both of you have failed at that in the past. You’re not the first couple whose failed at that, by the way, and I am sure you won’t be the last. Jesus told us to “get the log out of our own eye” so that we can see clearly enough to point out the speck in our brother or sister’s eye. Perhaps the way forward would be for you to be the one to make the mature step and go first to apologize for the way you have spoken to her in a disrespectful way in the past.
      2. Then, I think its appropriate for you to make a respectful request of her to stop treating you disrespectfully. Peacemaker Ministries is an organization that has developed an acronym for how to have some of those conversations so they don’t go off the rails. The acronym is PAUSE

      Prepare in advance. Don’t wing it, don’t just go into the conversation expecting that freely expressing what’s on your heart will go well. It rarely does. Be honest, be heartfelt and genuine but know what you want to say and what isn’t wise to say before you are in the same room together.

      Affirm relationships. As much as possible, affirm whatever progress you have made together in reconciliation and acknowledge her successes and her own progress and growth.

      Understand interests. The more you can help her to see that treating you disrespectfully is against her own best interest the better. If she is a believer, then offering to discuss passages in the bible relevant to treating one another with respect can be very helpful. Don’t accuse, or condemn or judge. Another good acronym I’ve heard is EAT. Empathize, Affirm and Truth. First start your sentence with something like, “I can understand why you might be frustrated right now, and I want to affirm your willingness to work with me toward reconciliation but the truth is that when we speak disrespectfully to one another it undermines our progress, hurts our kids and destroys our Christian testimony.

      Search for creative solutions. There are a host of creative ways that people can call “time outs” when the conversation makes a disrespectful turn for the worse. You are right that you and your wife are stuck in old patterns and those patterns are best replaced with new, healthy patterns.
      When the disrespectful communication happens because of a deadlock concerning plans, resources, decisions, etc… Brainstorming together to find a mutually agreeable solution is a great way to begin making traction working together rather than pushing and pulling one another apart.

      Evaluate options fairly and objectively. This will come into play when what you are arguing about is a decision, a question of resources, plans or whatnot. If you get to this step you’ll find that you aren’t likely disrespecting one another in a deadlock anymore and have started valuing one another enough not to let disagreements start to pull you apart. When you can evaluate options together objectively you have started to work as a team. That’s powerful.

      Hope this helps.

      The joy of the Lord be with you.

      James

      • Renee on November 22, 2017 at 10:02 am

        Wonderful, wonderful post James. I will be printing this out today and leaving it with my husband while I go to work. Of course, I’ll keep a copy so that I can examine myself.

        James, if you have time to come back at any point I would appreciate (not required) your thoughts on Patrick Doyle’s (since you don’t have much confidence in Patrick Doyle) approach to reconciliation. I believe Leslie takes this approach as well.

        [[Counselor Patrick Doyle of Veritas Counseling discusses four things that are required before reconciliation can be considered: conviction, repentance, confession, and forgiveness. And each of these four things is to be done by the offender.]]

        • Nancy on November 22, 2017 at 12:41 pm

          Hi Renee,

          Do you think you’ve placed your marriage at the foot of the cross? You don’t have to answer me this.

          The reason I say this is that if you assume the role of being your h’s ‘convictor’, you will continue to allow him to control you. ( see P. Doyle video on reconciliation).

          Setting boundaries and leaving his conviction to the Holy Spirit will set you free.

          • Renee on November 23, 2017 at 10:31 pm

            Thanks Nancy for pointing this out. I really don’t desire that role.

            Luke 23:34
            Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

            In this case, I’m speaking of myself.



        • James on November 26, 2017 at 10:02 pm

          “Counselor Patrick Doyle of Veritas Counseling discusses four things that are required before reconciliation can be considered: conviction, repentance, confession, and forgiveness. And each of these four things is to be done by the offender.”

          Sure, I’ll comment.

          I don’t see any problem with these on their face. I might wonder why forgiveness is required of the offender (seems like this makes more sense for the one offended) but all of these are pretty well solid concepts.

          My argument with Patrick Doyle is that he pretty clearly advocates the “men are initiator, women are responder” philosophy I’ve heard come from Ken Nair, Joel and Kathy Davisson and others of the same ilk.

          The problem with this approach (theological problems aside) is that they assume (falsely in my view) that if a man is treating his wife well, he is guaranteed to have a fantastic marriage because a man was built to be the initiator and the woman is built to be a responder and she always (ultimately) responds favorably if a husband is a man of good character.
          Consequently, the problems in the marriage are always placed at the foot of the man.

          This sets up a pretty clear double standard in which all the blame for an unhealthy relationship is placed at the man’s feet simply because he is a man. Her responses and her behavior are ultimately attributable to the character of the husband. The wife isn’t ultimately culpable for her own stuff; she’s just “responding” to the lack of character in her husband.

          So a man calls in to Doyle’s show and says, my marriage is in shambles what should I do? Patrick Doyle is likely to say, “look at yourself, confess your sins, and pray for conviction from the Holy Spirit.” A woman calls in and says the same thing. You are likely to hear, “pray for your husband to fall under conviction from the Holy Spirit.”

          Why not give her the same advice? Because she’s the “responder” and when the character of her husband improves she is designed by God to respond favorably. Therefore, in any given marriage conflict you don’t need to know the specifics, all you need to know is that he’s a man and she’s a woman. He’s supposed to be the initiator and she’s supposed to the be the responder so he’s responsible for the trouble, whatever it may be. If he were a better man, their marriage would be fantastic.

          Simply put. I don’t buy it. It’s way too simplistic and it ultimately sets up a moving goal post for every husband because he can start to get all sorts of things straightened out in his own life but if his wife is still not “responding” then this must be proof that there is still something else in his life that is broken, or his changes aren’t authentic (he’s faking it) or he’s not being patient enough, or some other reason to lay full culpability for the relationship at the feet of the husband because he’s the initiator and she’s the responder.

          I hope that clarifies my lack of confidence in Patrick Doyle’s approach.

          I hope you had a restful thanksgiving.

          James

          • Connie on November 26, 2017 at 11:51 pm

            “We love Him because He first loved us.”

            I think you are reading more into it than there is. I’ve listened to a lot of PD’s talks and don’t hear what you said. It seems, though, that many men want to be the head but not take the lead.



          • Renee on November 27, 2017 at 9:08 pm

            Amen and Amen.



          • Connie on November 27, 2017 at 5:43 pm

            We take for granted that the guy initiates in things like dating and proposal. If he can initiate in the good stuff, what a privilege it should be to initiate in the God stuff!

            Patrick makes it clear that you need to put the relationship on the altar, that you won’t always get the results you want, but do the right thing anyway.



          • James on November 28, 2017 at 5:47 pm

            Connie,

            I think it is probably the most clear from broadcasts like the following.

            http://www.veritascounseling.com/listen/
            “men covering wives”

            May the Lord bless you this day.

            James



          • Connie on November 28, 2017 at 8:57 pm

            Thank you for that link, James. Have you tried it?



          • James on November 28, 2017 at 9:32 pm

            Connie,

            I’m not sure what you are asking. I posted the link after listening to the message. Are you asking me if I have listened to the radio broadcast?

            If so, then yes.

            If not, then forgive me for misunderstanding and would you please clarify?



          • Connie on November 28, 2017 at 10:15 pm

            Have you tried taking the lead in your family in the area of humility……that’s all he’s saying.



          • James on November 29, 2017 at 10:47 am

            “Have you tried taking the lead in your family in the area of humility…”

            Yes.

            “…that’s all he’s saying.”

            I think he’s saying more than that, but thanks for the dialog.

            Lord bless you.

            James



          • Connie on November 29, 2017 at 1:07 pm

            Actually, I should not have asked that question of you, and I’m sorry. About having humbled yourself. I believe that only another person can answer that for you. Otherwise I am tempting you toward ‘humble pride’. I can tell whether my husband has humbled himself but he often cannot. Same the other way. I would want to ask my children or friend if they felt I’d humbled myself, and if they said no, I would want to go back to the Lord about it.



  19. Renee on November 21, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Content

    You said: the question that has caused a lot of angst for me over the last year….”Are you willing for him to be with another wife who is getting the benefits of him as a new creation?”

    I think the better question is: Is your husband willing for you to be with another husband who will get the benefits of you as a new creation? You are the prize!!!

    I guess another question is what are you seeing in his behavior, words, actions, etc. to know that he is becoming a new creature?

    You said: I recently felt led to tell him that I loved him. I prayed about this and felt God’s confirmation for me to do so. He told me that I have been, am now and will always be the love of his life.

    What has happened between the both of you since the exchange of words? As Nancy said, has he finally started counseling?

    If my husband were to say to me, “you will always be the love of my life” instead of, “you ARE the love of my life” it would pause me. Knowing me (me), I would wonder if the end was near through death or divorce.

    You said: I have for a while had a sense that God is giving me the option of fighting for my marriage by faith.

    Ok. Honest moment. I am not as far along in my faith walk as others. However, I just don’t see how one person can fix a marriage. I know some gurus say it is possible, but I find that thought so exhausting. What if it is not His will?

    You said: Do I verbalize my commitment to my husband to stay and fight for our marriage no matter what (but then, I feel like a doormat….again; however, I can see the value of a man knowing that someone is loving them like no one has ever loved them — unconditionally – and that Christ can be shown through me that way).

    Well, I don’t know. Can you trust him with what you want to verbalize? If not, can it just go in a journal for now with a date and time? That’s what the book I’m reading right now suggests. It states to only share if it is safe.

    You said: Or, do I let him fully go since I have verbalized these things already and he has not really pursued me (also heard God very, very clearly say that to me one morning early on in our separation –) and just know and trust that whatever comes, it will be ok and it will be God’s perfect plan.

    Many on the blog have stated, “only you can make that decision when it is time to let go.” I know for me it would be so much easier to have someone else make the decision. Like the diet guru that comes into the home and says don’t eat this and throws it away because they know you are dieting and wanting to lose weight.

    If you are not ready to divorce, then who says you have to be in a hurry. However, I would not devote all of my time, energy, and thoughts to your husband.

    Don’t forget about you this time (smile).

    Enjoyed your response Ruth. Its just that sometime even our mental time is eaten up with ‘shoulda or shoulda I not?’ God wants us not to agonize over decisions; He wants us to walk in peace.

    • Content on November 23, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      Renee,

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      I will respond to you better in the next couple of days. In the meantime, you’ve given me some things to think about. Some of your questions are questions I struggle with as well (i.e. what if it’s not God’s will for our marriage to be restored? “)

      I also like your advice that I don’t need to be in a hurry to divorce if I’m not ready. And not to devote all of my time, energy and thoughts to my husband (promise I’m not, but I do know I get off balance at times and need to readjust my eyes back on Christ!)

    • Content on November 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Renee, I just wrote a long response to Nancy and so now my brain is too overloaded to reply to your questions….but as I read your questions again, what stands out to me is this thought:

      Deep down, I guess there is a sense I have that if I just make every move right in this separation, etc. that there will be a possibility that God can do a miracle. And if I don’t, then I am not believing God for a miracle and therefore, I am sure to not get one.

      Yep, that’s definitely what it comes down to for me.

      • Nancy on November 26, 2017 at 2:50 pm

        This is great insight into your own process, Content!

        Our counsellor tells a story of how he had an encounter with God where God told him that he was a control freak. Our counsellor said, “no, I’m not” and The Lord told him “yes you are, you think you can control how I feel about you, by what you do or don’t do”

      • Renee on November 26, 2017 at 4:08 pm

        I didn’t need a reply Content.

        • Content on November 27, 2017 at 7:17 pm

          Thanks, Renee. 🙂

  20. Ruth on November 21, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    To Content and Anyone who’s interested in a great FREE Music App for your iPhone,

    I thought of this in reference to Content’s statement that she’d like to grow in intimacy with the Lord. Here’s a Music App that I love.
    It’s for iPhone. It’s called Musi and it’s free!
    I’m too cheap to subscribe to Apple Music. I had been looking up songs on YouTube and playing them dealing with ads and closing them everytime I had to send a text or check my email. etc.
    My 13 yr old daughter showed me this app. You can make multiple playlists from any songs that have ever been uploaded to YouTube. The ads are just banners and they do this extra screen that will pop up, but you can close it out- just a minor annoyance, IMO.
    My playlist of praise and worship music blesses me so much. I listen to it while I wash dishes, while I drive (kids listen too 😉), and it really helps me stay in the presence of the Lord throughout the day. I turn it on when I’m having my ‘intenional’ prayer time. It helps me to not be so matter-of-fact about prayer. It reminds me to worship and love Him.

    I usually walk when I pray. It helps keep me focused and from getting sleepy. prayer is an all around energizing event for me – spiritually, emotionally, and physically – I am simply can’t do it sitting still (the majority of the time). So, my worship music works together with my walking.
    I made other playlists that I occasionally play like retro Christmas, highlights from Les Mis, Big Band & Swing.

    Check out Musi. You will love it.

    (I promise not to be the dingbat who takes our thread on wild goose chase. This is a one time detour. LOL.)

    • Content on November 23, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      I will look into this, Ruth! Thank you for taking us on the detour. 🙂

      I’m one of those who hears from God and am realigned to Him through music.

      And it’s interesting, I was reading an excerpt from a book on Amazon and the author was talking about how prayer and intimacy with God looks different for every Christian. I know this and yet still, I can get into this old mindset that intimacy has to follow a particular form or it doesn’t count (that old legalistic mindset creeps back in). I was reminded through that excerpt and now your comment that I am unique and God is pleased to relate to me in my uniqueness. It’s a personal relationship, after all.

      Going to check it out as soon as I get off of this website!

    • Nancy on November 24, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Thanks Ruth 🙂

      I’ll be checking Musi out, too!

    • Content on November 24, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Apparently it’s not available in the US? Booooo!!!!! (Or maybe I’m missing something). 😀

      • Nancy on November 24, 2017 at 3:47 pm

        It’s not available in Canada either at the moment, or Honduras ( I was sent to that store…?, or Norway, I was sent there too…?)

        Maybe it’ll be available at a later date.

    • Ruth on November 27, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      https://feelthemusi.com/playlist/ycmpo4

      Here’s one of my playlists from Musi

      I’ll see what happens if I paste a link to it. I’m no techie so this will probably flop, but it’s worth a shot

      • Ruth on November 27, 2017 at 6:40 pm

        Here’s a link from a Musi web page that will link you to Musi in the App Store.

        https://feelthemusi.com/

  21. Renee on November 26, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    This weekend has been tuff. Started Friday night. My friend girl (come into town every year) said she wanted us to get together. Hubby saw me ironing and said he wanted to take me out. I told him let me check-in with my friend. I told him we could go. He goes, he don’t play second place and withdrew the offer. He went into a semi-rant, refused to eat dinner with us, then the usual silent treatment.

    He told me to leave his room so I didn’t even get to tell him that my friend invited us to the event they were going to but I declined because we would not have the proper attire. So, to keep from sulking myself, I gathered the teens and went riding over town viewing Christmas lights.

    Saturday morning, I got up and washed my hair in case I got offers. Hubby immediately starts disrespecting, threats, etc. I got a bit huffy back but fell back. Even after I stopped, he continued. I reminded him of whom again and the restaurant. I told him if he’s so unhappy he needs to agree to divorce. He says if I divorce, he has an ace in the hole so both our lives will be destroyed.

    Come noon he was still ranting. So I instructed the teens to use headphones or whatever to endure my couple hours of absence (if need be). Praying he would stop once I left. But as I was getting in the car, he was still saying accusing and disrespectful things. Needless to say my daughter texted me the entire time about the loud tantrum that was still going. She says he accused her of helping me makeup and dress up to go out with my boyfriend. Saying out loud that he was coming to get me.

    I finally got their food order and called daughter and told her I was on my way. She said an officer was at our home. I asked why? She said dad said he was going to beat me to the punch this time. The officer explained he heard the argument between us that husband recorded. He then said if any other officer came out, our daughter would have been gone to jail for destruction of property (pulled decorations off tree and wall).

    He explained our daughter said she was just tired of the tantrum and threw one of her own. I packed some things and got us a hotel room for the night since they did not want to go to my parents. We got back today. The three of us (myself, son, and daughter) got in and cleaned up what was messed up while he did nothing.

    While in the shower, I get this text. [If I can find somewhere to go I can’t say I’m not gonna want to come home. I’m too old to start all over buying a home. I don’t have money to start over. Can we agree on a time and put it in writing. I am working on something but don’t know if it’ll come through.]

    I don’t trust to write anything to him at this point because he can’t be trusted and I’m still FURIOUS. But if you were to respond, how would you respond? He told the officer he loves me but that text says to me no love but I don’t want to lose my home.

    No remorse yet again. No I don’t want to lose you.

    • Free on November 27, 2017 at 12:38 am

      What a terrifying way to live. When you leave your children home with the known abuser you run the risk of legally losing custody of them. It would be called abandonment. Next time you leave, take them with you. Your poor daughter. Rescue her from this nightmare. There doesn’t seem to be any hope with this man. What will it take for you to accept this? What you described is multi-layered abuse. Please flee this war zone. This situation is just to serious to do anything less than eradicate you and your children from it.

      • Content on November 27, 2017 at 7:37 pm

        Renee,

        I agree with Free’s advice to take the children with you when your husband is like that.

        1). They need to know their mom is for them and will protect them.

        2). For the same reasons Free mentioned — you could be accused of abandoning them by your husband.

        The very respected pastor that I spoke with (oh, how I love that man who spoke truth to me and who God used to help set me free!) advised me of both of these points very adamently several times when he spoke with me as we got closer to separation. My husband didn’t ever even have an overt anger problem but he got angry enough for a few nights that I was scared to come home and called the abuse hotline. So, I can’t imagine a husband who has an overt anger problem finally realizing the news that his wife has had enough and is actually going to proceed with separation. Yikes. Anyway, this pastor has counseled A LOT of people over the years and said he had seen enough in his experience to know to give this advice.

        Please let your children know you love them and are for them. They are not old enough to take a stand against their very angry father right now. They need you to be strong for them. So, if you leave (and you should at the *very* instance it starts turning ugly…..don’t even give it five minutes anymore, just 1 to 2 minutes of his anger) tell your kids calmly to come with you and get out of there.

        You need to be doing some forward thinking about clothes and bags etc and you need to do it carefully so he doesn’t know. You need to sit down with your kids at a time when your husband isn’t around and let them know that if things start escalating again, that you need them to know that you will just calmly say to them “Let’s go” and they should come quickly and readily, that it’s not the time to discuss it then. Speak honestly but stay away from disrespectful talk of your husband so they will see the integrity in your life.

        But, really, Renee…..I honestly hope you separate soon. You are in a dangerous position, sister. I know you don’t want divorce. Of course, you want a healthy relationship. But, your husband’s actions are clearly showing you he is not capable of that at this time in his life.

        The reality is this….you are so “in this” that you don’t even see how unhealthy this is – this incident that last happened. This is a really clear sign that it’s time to take a courageous step.

        Praying for you

        • Renee on November 27, 2017 at 9:56 pm

          Honestly Content I thought once I left he would calm and do his normal sulking and silent treatment. Normally that would happen but not this time. Sharing his thoughts out loud – that’s what he calls it.

          I already know that husband plans to fight dirty especially if I file for divorce. He has made that known. That’s why every 30 minutes or so it seems he would replay {recorded} our fight we had that morning.

    • Autumn on November 27, 2017 at 12:44 am

      Oh, my! What a nightmare! You live with a crazy person. Sadly, it seems your daughter is crying out for justice. She must feel so trapped. The girl friends you mentioned, could they help? Safe people need to know the truth so they can help you leave.

    • Nancy on November 27, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Renee,

      It’s terrifying to think that your daughter might have been charged. How horrible for she and for your son.

      You ask how to respond? Not in words. No. More. Words.

      Take all that fury that you have and direct every last once of it into developing, and executing, an exit strategy. And fast. This seems to be escalating.

      Please make safety and sanity your priority.

      • Renee on November 27, 2017 at 4:33 pm

        I contacted our local domestic care center this morning as I was leaving for work. They do not have funds at this time to help me get into another home. They currently do not have a counselor on staff. They do have a room in the shelter, in which I would have to qualify. The officer is not in and will not be back until Wednesday. I contacted another attorney today to see if they could help me get exclusive use of the home. The attorney will see me Thursday.

        I did find a one-bedroom/small home for $550 a month. I really did want something that compare to what we have now so they could have their own beds. I did not respond to his text yesterday. However, I asked this morning if he was leaving because the in-house is not working. He says he is still waiting.

        The thing about it all is he doesn’t hear me when I say I don’t want to divorce. I want a healthy relationship. And because he is not able to hear me, he is making it worse.

        • Lilah on November 27, 2017 at 6:00 pm

          Good work so far. Stay strong. It is probably time to give up the fantasy of a good relationship. Don’t think divorce, think safety.

          • Renee on November 27, 2017 at 9:06 pm

            Lilah, I grieved the fantasy of having a good relationship earlier this year. I’m not so much as thinking along the lines of divorce, but having mental safety. If I can’t find a place for us, I still want him out of here if all else fail.

            It’s a matter of finding the right help.

            He tried to explain why he called the police. Saying daughter became uncontrollable and he needed someone to talk to her. Why the hockey sticks did you not call for yourself? That was my response. You have an excuse for everything. Why was she agitated? You were uncontrollable with lip service all morning through noon, but had the nerves to call on our daughter because she was having a similar episode.



          • lilah on November 27, 2017 at 9:22 pm

            Renee, don’t let him get in your head. I am sorry to here you let him speak to you about his behavior with your daughter. Any word he gets into your brain is designed to manipulate. You must cut him off to a bare minimum communication and ONLY that which benefits you.

            Help is hard to find. I will pray for you on this matter. Is there a domestic violence service in a neighboring city with better resources. Don’t forget you have the national hotline to use too.



          • Renee on November 28, 2017 at 8:41 am

            One thing about hubby is what comes up, comes out. No amount of hanging up, closing doors, waving the white flag, or leaving work. You can hang up, but he’ll just text or come out of his room and finish. You can close your door and he’ll still text or shout it out. You can wave the white flag, but the bell does not get heard. You can leave but he’ll follow and continue until you drive out the gate.

            Thank you God I’m/kids are not insane. Or, are we?



          • lilah on November 27, 2017 at 9:26 pm

            Renee, don’t let him get in your head. I am sorry to hear you let him speak to you about his behavior with your daughter. Any word he gets into your brain is designed to manipulate. Think of it as poison. You must cut him off to a bare minimum of communication and ONLY that which benefits you. I suggest email only.

            Yes, help is hard to find. I will pray for you on this matter. Is there a domestic violence service in a neighboring city with better resources? Don’t forget you have the national hotline to use too. Keep the energy of this event alive. Do not down play the serious nature of this behavior over time.



        • JoAnn on November 27, 2017 at 6:04 pm

          Renee, maybe he does hear you and he is making it worse because he doesn’t want to do the work of making the marriage better; he wants aa divorce. Right now, he is getting the benefits of your housekeeping, but not taking care of you or the kids. This situation sounds dangerous for you and the children, as others here have warned. Do you really love him so much, and if so, why?Do work on your CORE. That’s where you will get clear.

          • Connie on November 27, 2017 at 6:12 pm

            Very often a husband will make life miserable for his wife but not initiate divorce because then he can say ‘she left me and I have no idea why.’



          • Renee on November 27, 2017 at 8:28 pm

            I really do believe this with all my heart.



          • JoAnn on November 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm

            Sadly true. Anything to put the blame somewhere else.



          • Roxanne on November 27, 2017 at 8:38 pm

            I understand this man had two previous wives correct? Let’s just call him a marriage failure and move on. Yes, it is sad, but what is happening to your children is far sadder.

            You can do this, keep in counseling and pray without ceasing for direction and wisdom. Take a rain check on worrying or thinking about him. You already spent enough time on that.



    • James on November 28, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Renee,

      I am so sorry for your situation right now. I am praying for you and I hope that you get things worked out in whatever way the Lord leads you.

      Remember that your safety and the safety of your children is important. Things like destruction of property are not trivial matters.

      Be safe.

      Grace be to you.

      James

  22. Maria on November 27, 2017 at 4:19 am

    Renee,
    How old is your daughter?

  23. Renee on November 27, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Our daughter is 17/son 14. Both will be a year older shortly.

    I wanted to reach out to the officer again and will check with the shelter to see if they can help me.

    • Maria on November 27, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Renee,

      One thing I would encourage you to do is strenghthen your CORE. Personalities like your h know what buttons to push to get a reaction out of someone. Having a strong CORE will help you not o get sucked into his schemes.

  24. lilah on November 27, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Renee, what do you believe with all your heart?

    • Renee on November 27, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      Lilah: what do I believe with all my heart?

      As Connie says [Very often a husband will make life miserable for his wife but not initiate divorce because then he can say ‘she left me and I have no idea why.]

      or

      As JoAnn says [maybe he does hear you and he is making it worse because he doesn’t want to do the work of making the marriage better; he wants aa divorce.]

      • Lilah on November 28, 2017 at 2:59 am

        Oh, I see. These things may be true, yet it is time to stop thinking about him. Focus on what you need and want without him in your life. It is transformational thinking, that may seem unnatural at first, but it is time to stop trying to figure him out. No more trying to reason with him or subjecting so much of your brain capacity to his coercive control. He is not well, but you can be.

        • Renee on November 28, 2017 at 8:52 am

          So true Lilah

          My husband has always been a hard man. I’ve always told him just that. But this has become impossible and he is not well. I don’t know if it is medically related, medical related or plain old age related.

          But it’s up to him to figure it out because he has worn my beehives out.

          • Lilah on November 28, 2017 at 10:46 am

            I think my comments may have been a bit too direct, Renee. I just wanted to say I am on your team and I get it.



  25. Roxanne on November 27, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    I hope he leaves, Renee, yet $550 one bedroom in safety is better than a castle of fear and terror. I like other women on this site have lived in hotels, my car or even a tent for awhile just to get away from my abuser. Every night of safety was worth being cold, broke or uncomfortable. Yet, you have to get your heart and head straight to want to leave. Please consider as many online resources as you can to stay strong while you build your facilitation team.

    Here is a thought from Lundy Bancroft. He says the root of abuse is ownership, the trunk is entitlement and the branches are control.

  26. Renee on November 28, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Thanks everyone for your input. I’ll be making more calls today.

  27. Nancy on November 28, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Keep up the great work, Renee.

    We are praying for you.

  28. Renee on December 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Hi. Just wanted to stop in and say everyone is OK. Husband moved out Tuesday. We are transferring utilities next week. He does not want to pay full mortgage but will pay half. I’ll do whatever for peace of mind. We have agreed to a six-month separation. Of course, it should be longer and actually we should be done as a couple. I had come to an agreement in my mind that we only had one more year and that started for me in July of this year. So will see how it goes from here.

    Thanks everyone so much for you help and support. Don’t be through with me yet. I need you all to help me be strong.

    • JoAnn on December 2, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Good news, Renee!! Praise the Lord! What you never thought could happen, the Lord has done. Praise Him!! We all will continue to pray for you and your children as you walk this journey. You can trust Him; He will lead the way and supply you with what you need.

    • Nancy on December 2, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Renee! God is so very good!

      And yes, we will keep praying for you and your kids.

    • autumn on December 4, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      Great work!! Stay strong. This is really great news. Now, change the locks on the door too.

  29. Renee on December 4, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Hi, I stumbled upon this article yesterday and wanted to hear your thoughts about the approach mentioned. I’m going to work the step.

    https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2015/01/healing-from-abuse-decide-what-you-want/

    Have any of you done this?

    • autumn on December 4, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      Renee, this is a waste of your time. I think the article might be something you want but the guy you are married to couldn’t care and isn’t interested in your thoughts or opinions. Why do you keep thinking about him? Ignore him and work on you. Changing the way you say something doesn’t matter a hoot to a person who has no intention of listening, respecting or validating you. The exercises in this article in my opinion are a pointless in your situation. Applying them my placate your emotions but you need action girlfriend. Get out of Dodge and build a wall to keep this man away from your children.

  30. Renee on December 5, 2017 at 12:01 am

    You are right Autumn. But this one is not about hubby but about me. I share your passion (smiley face).

    • autumn on December 5, 2017 at 12:41 am

      I wonder if I read the wrong article.

  31. autumn on December 5, 2017 at 12:42 am

    I wonder if I read the wrong article.

  32. Renee on December 5, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Autumn, I started having the same thought – maybe I read the wrong article. This is the part I was speaking of.

    Copyright belongs to healthyplace.com

    [Here is a sample list of my desires based on what my abuser did but reworded with becoming healthy in mind.]

    [“I do not want my partner to ignore my needs.” changes to “My partner attends to my needs respectfully when I express them.”]
    [“I do not want my partner to verbally abuse my children.” changes to “My partner exhibits only love and caring toward my children.”]

    [Spend a few minutes now compiling your list of what you want in a love relationship.]

    Anyway, it is off to work for me on my birthday. Made the big 45 ha ha.

    Have a blessed day Autumn!!!

    Hugs to all of you.

    • Lilah on December 5, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      Happy Birthday! Looks like better years are ahead!

      • Renee on December 7, 2017 at 9:29 pm

        I pray so Lilah. Hope it will be for you as well!

  33. Aleea on December 9, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    . . .abnormal -vs- postmodern Christianity

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