Morning friends,

I’ve been meditating on the women of Advent this season in the genealogy of Christ and have been so blessed to see how God uses and blesses women who have experienced grave injustices like Tamar and Bathsheba; women who are disenfranchised, stranded and broken by life’s circumstances like Ruth and Naomi and yet, raises them up and chooses them to be in the lineage of Christ (See Matthew 1 for the lineage). I will be devoting my newsletter article next week to Tamar’s story (Genesis 38).

Friend, we have a God who sees. And, like Hagar, another rejected woman discovered, we have a God who sees us personally (Genesis 16:13,14).

If this holiday season is leaving you feeling lost and alone, remember you are not alone or lost. El Roi, the God who sees, sees you. Click To Tweet

This week’s question: I just read your book and have read most of the blog comments. My situation seems different from the rest.

I've been married for twenty-one years. I left him three months ago. I had called Focus on the Family with a question about our daughter, but the counselor asked me a few questions about my marriage, told me about your book, and suggested I needed to leave. I was stunned. But I left the next morning instead of going to work while he was at his job because I feared him.

I was thankful to finally feel released from it, but now he wants to reconcile. When we were together, my husband wouldn't let me use the DVD player or use the lawn mower for fear I break them. I couldn't get in bed at night unless I'd showered. If I didn't shower at night, I couldn’t sleep in bed and sleeping on the couch was also not OK.

My husband is so disconnected that he asked me what church I went to last year after I'd been going there and volunteering weekly for three years. On a different occasion, he also didn't know what my job duties were and asked what I did. I have been at the same job for fifteen years. He wouldn't allow me to turn up the heat in the house if I was so cold I had to wear a winter coat with hat and gloves inside. He didn't ever want to drive our daughter places and she now wants nothing to do with him. I could go on…what am I dealing with?

He's also just generally mean as well, fuming over small things like an issue with a towel rack or a scratch on something. So I did what others have said, leave the house a lot to preserve my sanity, and try to do the right things and be loving as I waited for him to change.

There are a lot more things that I consider strange that went on, but my story seems so dissimilar to others so I'm confused…do you think I did the wrong thing by leaving?

Answer: I’m not so sure your story is all that different from other people’s stories here on this site. You describe your husband as “not letting you” do or decide things that a normal healthy adult would decide such letting you use the DVD player, turning up the heat in your own home, or even sleeping in your own bed unless you first showered. This is not normal. It is controlling and abusive. The details may be different but the elements of controlling and abusive behaviors are the same.  

You also state he’s generally mean, and disengaged from the daily details of your life and your daughter’s life unless it relates to what he wants to control. You asked, “What am I dealing with?” It’s not appropriate for me to “diagnose” what might be going on with his own mental health, obviously something, but I do want to ask you what’s going on with yours that you would allow yourself to treated this way?  

You said that you left because Focus on the Family told you to and you were thankful to be released.  But now you question that decision and are asking me if you “did the right thing by leaving?”

What that says to me is that you have a very hard time thinking for yourself as well as standing up for yourself. It seems that you depend on others: Focus on the Family, what “others have said” and now me and this blog community to affirm that you are indeed in a destructive and abusive marriage.  Sometimes a woman desperately needs that validation because she’s been so brainwashed by the destructive person in her life that she’s lost her ability to think and fight for her own safety and sanity. Or his poor mental health has affected hers as well. So let me be clear. You are right for leaving and you are right for staying away. You’ve given me no indication that he’s done any work or gotten any help to change his ways. Does that help you?  

But the problem for you right now is that you need to get to a healthier place. This isn’t about your marriage right now, it’s about you. It’s about your own ability and your own resolve to make good decisions on your behalf. You said your husband wants to reconcile and your daughter wants nothing to do with him. But what about you? You’re relieved to be away from him, but if you don’t do your own work to get stronger and healthier you may be tempted to “do what he says or wants,” instead of thinking through for yourself what’s best. This element of dependency makes you vulnerable to controlling individuals and even if you don't choose to reconcile with your spouse right now you may gravitate towards someone else to “decide” for you in the future.  

This brings me to a bigger problem in the church at large. Girls have been taught and trained to be dependent and submissive and those traits are seen as godly attributes for women to emulate. Other women who take charge, take initiative, are brave, outspoken or say “No” to others, especially men, are sometimes cast in an unfavorable light. Yet the “model” woman seen in Proverbs 31 is described as having “strength and dignity” as her clothing and that she smiles at the future unafraid. She is a woman who takes initiative, has competence, makes her own decisions about buying a field, makes decisions about people in her community to help, owns her own business and is still considered a loving and loyal wife.  

Right now safety is still an issue for you. Your husband shows no signs of changing his ways and from what you report, shows some indications of mental illness. You are still in a weakened state emotionally and mentally, and you need to do your own work right now to get stronger and healthier. Your husband also has his own work to do and allowing him to return to the home will only start a new cycle of the same old dance and danger for you. Please don’t do it.

Friend, were you raised to be more dependent and unsure of your own thoughts and ideas on things?  When challenged or told you “can’t” by your spouse, even when things were unreasonable, how did you learn to stand up for yourself?

115 Comments

  1. Ann on December 13, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Sounds like he may have early onset dementia (strikes young). Perhaps a form called FTD (frontal temporal-lobe dementia). He should get tested by a neurologist who specializes in the aging brain; this could be an organic disease and disorder. If he can’t help what’s wrong with him he still will need to control his behavior toward his wife or she truly does need to leave. But by educating herself she may be able to learn to stay with him if he respects new boundaries with her. This disease is hard to treat with meds, but they may help a little. Alternatively, he may have a severe form of OCD and/or personality disorder. I’m no doctor and am not pretending to diagnose but have had some experience…

    • Cori on December 13, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      He has narcissistic personality.

    • Mary on December 14, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      Reading your story made a light go off in my brain. You described a man that very closely resembles my husband of 39 years. I’ve often wondered if he had some form of FTD also. He is also a drinker. I spend so much time wondering what on earth is wrong with him and how to cope. Everyone tells me to leave and I don’t know why I stay. I may have lost my self respect.

    • Ann on December 15, 2017 at 11:01 am

      The “Behavioral Variant” form of FTD looks alot like this…forgot to specify in my above comment.

      • DO on December 16, 2017 at 8:26 am

        My husband played years of football in high school and college….I think it made him have a very aggressive personality and concussions may have given him CTE. I hate how we were treated before we left, but at the same time I feel really bad for him….it’s hard…he wants to reconcile but children want nothing to do with that..he showed signs like he was changing but I don’t think he really has changed enough to be able to go back…I won’t go back till I’m sure. I would like to just suggest he remarry…but that doesn’t seem biblical …

  2. Alene on December 13, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I am looking forward to this discussion.
    I have approached my husband about behaviors that have caused problems and he responds by stonewalling or turning the tables or going into self pity (it’s never good enough). In spite of some improvements, the same patterns are still there just in a somewhat milder form.
    I’ve heard it said it isn’t worth staying if you have to give up your self respect.
    My question becomes, what his self respect? how does God see that word or idea? at what point do you know if it is or has been compromised to the point you shouldn’t stay? to the point it is worth breaking up a home?
    Part of where I struggle is that there has been some improvement but no acknowledgement of the past, the impact, or willingness to be available to look at what is still there.

    Some situations seem easier to see than others: It is easy for me to see that this lady made a good and wise decision to leave.

    • shalom on December 13, 2017 at 10:22 am

      I can relate to your comment of “the patterns are still there just in a somewhat milder form” and empathize with your struggle as each situation is unique. It’s hard when he doesn’t acknowledge the past and its impact or see the same issues resurfacing albeit in perhaps a milder form. It took a separation for me to gain strength and better clarity and while for a time I felt divorce was necessary I am now working on reconciling though it is a slow process. When I think about self-respect I think about who I am in Christ and realize my incredible worth and value is in Him. I find that I am not bothered as much by comments that used to really throw me off and felt so demeaning or disrespectful. I try to work through the forgiveness even when he’s not asking for it but I don’t necessarily trust that his comments are going to be ones that build me up or are a good example for the kids. I have honest conversations with my kids. I’m only responsible for myself and my response. I pray about when to say anything and when to let it go. We don’t spend a lot of time together as now he works out of the area so is only with us a limited amount of time. Much of the time we steer clear of conflict and can function as a team doing what each of us does best. He works to provide and I appreciate that very much. I care for and nurture the kids, one with special needs who needs me to be strong and resilient for the long haul. I think when we respect ourselves, we look to God for all we need and try to keep serving Him as our focus. I used to place too much value on having what most would see as a good marriage but now I’ve let that go and am more focused on being the person God wants me to be, utterly dependent on Him and not shaken by mistreatment from others, even a spouse. Finding strength to set boundaries and keeping a good perspective on the situation are areas I continue to work on. I relate to your comment about his self-pity and that’s an area where I usually decide to just not engage or say “that’s how you feel, I didn’t say that.” You’d think he’d realize it’s his own doing but I just don’t have much hope for seeing that change anytime soon.

      • AK on January 6, 2018 at 2:14 am

        I totally understand this. I’ve been drowning in my own mind lately trying to discern things, figuring out what in supposed to do. Things seem better for now, but I know that the minute I push too hard there will be the same backlash, stonewalling, pity, etc that was mentioned. There is peace for now, we can live together and even enjoy time together, but I do not feel close to him. My kids see certain behaviors, and I struggle with what to say. How do I maintain their love and respect while being honest and downplaying their feelings? I know it’s not my responsibility to make him look good, but so much of the time he can be a good dad. There’s just little things that are constantly there and I end up driving myself crazy wondering if he’s just trying to play nice so I don’t do anything extreme (like leave) or if he really is trying to change. A conversation about it is out. Sometimes I wish it was more black and white and not me feeling crazy.

    • Grace on December 13, 2017 at 10:37 am

      I totally relate to what you say Alene. I spent years in therapy. I originally went because my husband had convinced me that our marital problems were my fault. He was angry at me quite frequently. Sometimes, he would go for days without speaking to me. Then, when he got over it, he would just return to his “other” self, and we would move forward as if nothing had ever happened. I went to therapy to be “fixed.” It was a relief to have an understanding Christian man to model an alternative to what I was living with. It was life giving, to have someone who listened to me. Ultimately, after several years in therapy, the Lord revealed Himself to me in a new way. I saw myself for who I was in Christ, not the loathsome person I had always considered myself. That was when the true healing took place. I now feel mentally healthy, for the first time in my life. My husband has also made changes, but like yours, doesn’t exhibit a true heart change. I recently viewed a series on relationship killers. http://www.grace.church/message-series/303 I had experienced every one regularly in our marriage. The final message addresses what to do if these behaviors continue. He outlined the Matthew 18:15-17 process, but what really struck me was what he considered evidence of heart change. They are 1. Recognition of the sins he has committed, 2. Remorse over his sin,
      3. Repentance, 4. Reparation, 5. Reconciliation,
      6. Restoration. He pointed out that the first four precede numbers 5 and 6. I am still at number 1. My husband has apologized for his behavior, but then told me I am “keeping a long record of wrongs,” when I recently said I am no longer able to have physical relations with him. He minimizes how his behaviors over the years have impacted me. I hope this helps you look objectively at where your husband is. I too am having to decide next steps. I am making every effort to get my husband to receive some help and accountability. The last thing I want to do is blow up my family. I’m praying that you will experience the Lord’s strength and wisdom as you move forward. The best I can offer you is my heartfelt empathy and understanding, but if you’re like me, that’s priceless, because I’m guessing it’s not something you receive from your husband.

      • K on December 13, 2017 at 3:39 pm

        Hi, Grace

        You wrote: “I am making every effort to get my husband to receive some help and accountability. The last thing I want to do is blow up my family.”

        Dear Lady, please keep in mind the truth you learned in counselling! — for your husband to receive help and accountability, HE has to choose to recognize it, and HE has to make the effort to put those things in place. Don’t get pulled in again to the lie that the responsibility is on you to make things happen for him to change. Be very clear on this.

        You also said “The last thing I want to do is blow up my family”. Again, please stand firm in prayerful clarity on this!! What has damaged your marriage, and therefore your family, for years is the abusive /controlling/ destructive/angry way in which your husband chooses to live. Truth-telling to yourself may shift the way your family has functioned in its dysfunction, but it is not YOU “blowing up the family” or making trouble, or whatever the false blame may be. Moving out of the unhealthy toward the healthy is always challenging — it is hard work!! and it disturbs the status quo. But if the status quo is toxic & damaging, it NEEDS to be changed. Please don’t make the mistake of believing that you are responsible for making trouble or blowing things up just because you are making healthy changes. Peace and wisdom to you, Grace. .

        • Grace on December 13, 2017 at 9:55 pm

          Hi K,

          I appreciate your comments. Indeed, I should have stated it differently. I would like to give my husband every opportunity to seek the help he needs, and be accountable for the damage his behaviors have caused. I know he has been abusive to me in his behaviors. I also know I did not deserve it. I do confess to repeatedly checking myself, because I am the ONLY one who has seen these behaviors in my husband. Also, I had some dysfunctional behaviors that contributed to the dynamic, until I finally sought help. With respect to blowing up the family, since I am the only one who has experienced his overtly destructive behavior, this will come out of the blue for my kids. I understand that they have been impacted by the dynamic, even though they haven’t witnessed the behavior. Unfortunately, my children believe thy grew up in a home with two Christian parents who loved each other. I have always said that I believe one of the cruelest things we can do to our children is to tell them we will not divorce, because God hates divorce, and then turn around and divorce. I recognize that my husband needs to be responsible and accountable. I recognize that our family system has been dysfunctional, and that my three sons have no idea what they should and can expect from a wife in a loving relationship. It’s incredibly sad for me, not because I am blaming myself, but because there are now three more people who will have to struggle through dysfunction bred in our household. It doesn’t matter who’s to blame, it’s heartbreaking.

          • CBPP on December 13, 2017 at 10:41 pm

            Grace, even if your sons do not see certain behaviors, I am sure they have been saturated in the ill-spirited way your husband looks at your as the cause, the problem, who needs to be fixed, who is not worthy of respect and kindness. These attitudes come out in innuendo, sarcasm, criticism, jokes, and talk behind your back. Your husband is teaching them daily how to treat women. I had a counselor tell me that the best thing my sons needed was to see a strong woman who would speak out against ill-treatment. I can not imagine out of 3 sons, there is not one who will strongly model his father’s ways and treat you much the same way, especially when they are teenagers or older. You did not say how old your boys are but I hope your boys are still young. Often, we tolerate the same behavoirs from male sons as we have been trained not to respond or feel worthy of proper treatment by our husband. I had to learn to call out my oldest sons disrespectful way of talking to me. As I stood up to him, it helped me stand up to my husband. I also had to do this to shield my youngest son, 13 years younger, from following in the same way.



          • Grace on December 15, 2017 at 5:52 pm

            CBPP,

            I appreciate your comments. You might be surprised at how skilled my spouse is at appearing to be the loving husband (probably why it took me so long to see the truth of our situation). He is quick to tell others what a good wife and mother I am (to say anything else would tarnish his image). He is always putting his arm around me and giving me “smooches.” I don’t know if you are familiar with Borderline Personality Disorder…and while acknowledge that I am not a professional, and not qualified to make a diagnosis, a very high functioning BPD is often able to fool pretty much everyone. My own mother would believe him over me, in a heartbeat. Thankfully, my three sons are actually quite respectful of me. They are 30, 28 and 26, and (while they don’t usually seek me out), they are always willing to join me for lunch or dinner when I ask. My kids may end up angry with me, but it will not be because I didn’t stand up for them. It will more likely be because they will see no reason for me to separate, and their dad will portray himself as the injured party. I have never heard their dad even raise his voice to them. He is totally devoted, has coached them, hunted and fished with them, played with them every night after work, and they all think he walks on water. He has met their every need and most wants (yes, I know that’s not healthy), even when it interfered with a life lesson. Regardless, I know there is no going back, so I will move forward in the kindest and most loving way possible.



          • Connie on December 13, 2017 at 11:51 pm

            Sadly, the children often actually end up angry at the mother for being weak and not standing up for herself and for them.

            Read the book, “The Body Keeps the Score”, he has lots of examples of that. We think that being the martyr makes us the good parent, but it doesn’t always turn out that way.



          • Charli on December 14, 2017 at 8:42 am

            Grace,
            I agree it is heartbreaking!
            I am going through divorce and I regret telling my kids it would never happen. They now understand why it had to happen. God will walk you through this if you stay close to him and let him. Hugs to you! There is light.



        • Charli on December 14, 2017 at 8:36 am

          Well said, K!

    • Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Alene,

      I think it’s more than simply self-respect ( although that is a piece). It’s about what Leslie calls your personhood. I look at it through the lens of ‘guarding my heart’ see prov4:23.

      When I realized that God wanted me to Above all else, guard it, that is what began to change the game. It is the source from where Life springs! If we allow it to be quelched in any way, we are not choosing Life.

      That was my starting point and continues to be my ‘measuring stick’ as to how well I am doing with boundaries.

  3. Charli on December 13, 2017 at 8:45 am

    This situation really resonates with me. I was married to a very controlling man. I Rationalized and put up with it for many years. It became normal to me. He refused to heat our house in the winter. We walked around bundled up with hats on. This continued even after the pipes burst due to freezing. He sealed off the pipes that were affected. I convinced myself that it wasn’t that bad. When his multiple infidelities came to light, it forced me to take a hard look at the situation. I had convinced myself that I couldn’t break up the family. Finally a trusted counsellor convinced me that putting up with the abuse and cheating was not living a good example for my boys. I have been separated and in the process of divorce for almost 2 years. I had to leave him and take on 2 jobs to do this.
    My point is, we rationalize and normalize our situation. We justify our reasons for staying. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what friends and confidents tell us. Until we see it for what it really is, we stay.

    • Sophia on December 13, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      Here’s to ‘seeing it for what it really is’. ❤️ So worth the journey!!!! The truth really does set us free!

      • Charli on December 14, 2017 at 8:33 am

        Thanks Sophia!
        I feel that freedom is just around the corner. God is in the healing business in my life. He had placed many wonderful people in my path to help me along! Leslie’s book was invaluable to this process and I can’t thank her enough!! My hope and prayer is that other women who are suffering will see the light that has been revealed to me!

    • Rebecca on December 13, 2017 at 11:10 pm

      So true!

  4. Liberty on December 13, 2017 at 8:54 am

    I am sad for this woman, especially because she is blind of God’s provisions from evil intentions. I understand the fear associated with the “unknown”, it’s very scary. It’s time to look around pull out a note pad and keep track. How has God made a way for her and her daughter to safety, and hallelujah He’s amazing! Yes He is. God used Leslie through Focus on the family four years ago in my life as well. Unlike this woman I hadn’t even enough courage to call in. This woman will need more courage and faith. This is the beginning of a miraculous life changing journey; or back to a possibly worse life with greater fear and remorse then at this present time.

  5. sheep on December 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

    You both point out what I have finally been figuring out after a lot of years. It is so easy to look at the situation that others are in and instantly know what they should do, or what we would do in their situation. BUT we sit, mired in our own situation that has been going on for so long. We rationalize, excuse, put up with, ask ourselves is it really that bad, blame ourselves, take responsibility for the bad behavior of our spouse. All the while our spouse is encouraging and feeding our belief that we are the problem, we just need to just try a little harder, selflessly love a little more. Because after all, we really aren’t as good, smart, or spiritual as they are, right?

    It’s kind of like the old frog in the hot water parable. We see exactly what others should do because it is like we are being instantly thrown into their boiling water and it salads instantly.

    But in our own situation, the water felt nice in the beginning. The heat was slowly turned up and the warmth felt good for awhile, then it started to hurt a little and we told ourselves that it is OK, this is normal. It got hotter and we developed coping mechanisms until our whole life is a coping mechanism designed to ignore and deny the fact that our spouse keeps turning up the heat. (and if you are married to someone with NPD, your spouse is constantly telling you that it isn’t hot, this is good for you, or that if you feel hot, it is your fault)

    Some people might see that we are being cooked and try to tell us, but we have become experts at denying there is anything wrong so we don’t listen. In the end, something happens and we finally realize that we are sitting in boiling water. We know we need to get out but we are so beaten down, hurt and exhausted that it seems impossible to get out of the water.

    This is where I sit. The water is boiling, my wife is telling me that it really isn’t that bad and I am gathering the last of my energy to try to jump out of the pot, hoping that I don’t land in the flame.

    • Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Hey sheep,

      I am praying for you. Gather people around you – wise people. Rely on God’s strength…He is close to the broken hearted.

      Trust in the Lord with all your strength and LEAN NOT on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight.

      Hugs to you.

      • sheep on December 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm

        Nancy, Thank you for your words. One of the things in all of this that I appreciate so much is the support and counsel that I have gotten from the many wise and Godly people that I have surrounded myself with.

        I have also learned so much about trusting in God and leaning on Him. My relationship with Him has grown so much even though the circumstances are awful. I can honestly say that through this, my theme song has been “I will praise you in this storm” I could easily have become angry and bitter, but He has led me to say even so, it is well with my soul.

        Obviously God usually doesn’t tell us why things happen in our life. I have pondered more than once, what an honor it would be if someday I found out that, like in the story of Job, God was in the throne room and said “have you considered my servant Sheep?”

        I can’t (and don’t want to) control others. But my response is my responsibility.

    • JoAnn on December 14, 2017 at 11:46 am

      To Sheep,
      You are trying to gather up the energy to do what? So often when we look at the road ahead, it looks too long, too steep to climb. So what you have to do is write out the steps you need to take and start with step one: put your clothes into the car and get out. Number two, go to the bank and set up a bank account for yourself that can’t be accessed by your wife, dividing the balance fairly. Number three, find a place to live, even if it’a a motel for a few days. Once you have taken the first few steps, you will begin to feel freer and more energized, then you can decide what to do next. As the wise man said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Take God along and look to Him for strength and wisdom. He will be with you.

      • sheep on December 14, 2017 at 4:12 pm

        JoAnn. Thanks. I understand what you are saying about steps. Unfortunately the steps look different for me because I am a man. I had already felt this way, but I have been advised by both our councilor and an attorney that I cannot be the one to leave. If I were to leave (by myself) I would be accused of abandoning her with 6 kids. If I were to leave and take the kids with me (because I believe they are being emotionally abused) I would be accused of kidnaping.

        On another level, I can’t just walk out and leave the kids. At this point, I seem to be a buffer between her and them. If I am around, I catch the brunt of her abuse.

        My lawyer has told me that I can’t leave unless it is something that is ordered by the court. When she complains that she thinks we should separate, I quietly tell her that if that is what she wants, she is welcome to leave. But, I don’t see this happening because she cares too much about the image of herself that she has projected for many years.

        I could do some things like you suggest with the bank accounts, but at this point I am not willing to put myself through the abuse I would receive when she found out (even though she long ago opened an account that I have no access to so that she could more easily hide her affair) And there isn’t really enough money to worry about.

        I suppose that “gathering up enough energy” at this point means waiting for the appropriate time, waiting till my ducks are in a row, waiting till the thread I am holding on to breaks, completely letting go of the fantasy that maybe she will change her mind and commit herself to marriage and her vows. It probably means all of the above.

        • JoAnn on December 14, 2017 at 5:41 pm

          Sheep, I do understand and I sympathize completely. Often, when I have been in situations where there looks like no way out, I have prayed for a Precipitating Event, something that forces the outcome that the Lord wants. How sad for yourself and the children that your wife has put you into this boiling pot. I pray that you and the children can get out before everyone gets hurt. May your PE come to you sooner rather than later. Grace be with you.

        • JoAnn on December 14, 2017 at 5:44 pm

          Perhaps you need to institute stronger boundaries for her behavior. Have you read Leslie’s books, or Cloud and Townsend’s book called Boundaries? Very helpful.

          • Sheep on December 14, 2017 at 7:02 pm

            Yes, I have read them. The problem is that she is NPD. She doesn’t respect any boundaries. She just pretends that all is fine and that nothing is wrong. Really the only power I have left is to file for divorce.



          • JoAnn on December 14, 2017 at 11:15 pm

            I am so sorry. I will keep you in my prayers. The Lord is working, and He will lift you up.



        • CBPP on December 14, 2017 at 9:50 pm

          Dear Sheep, I have read all of your writings here and I want to lift you up, with prayer and validation. You seem to have a grasp on your complicated puzzle. It took me 35 yr of marriage to put my puzzle pieces together to see the real picture.

          You said, “I could do some things like you suggest with the bank accounts, but at this point I am not willing to put myself through the abuse I would receive when she found out (even though she long ago opened an account that I have no access to so that she could more easily hide her affair) And there isn’t really enough money to worry about.

          I suppose that “gathering up enough energy” at this point means waiting for the appropriate time, waiting till my ducks are in a row, waiting till the thread I am holding on to breaks…..”

          No matter when and how it happens it will be catastrophic, but preparing for that day will make you stronger. We are taught to have a family plan of escape in the event of a fire and discuss it and practice it before it happens. Even though you mention there is not much money to worry about, there is an empowerment when you take small steps to put your “house in order”, such sorting out insurance (who are the beneficiaries- name your children or it will go to her); opening an account in your own name may draw fire but you will need it on that unknown day that you already have a place to put money, cards, checks, etc. — and let her rage while you calmly stand your ground and ask for her to show all of her statements to her account; make sure you have a way to pay the bills if she should leave in a flurry, as she could draw out all the money our her way out; go to the bank and put a limit on how much can be drawn out in one day from an ATM; create a savings account for the children’s benefit; be prepared with the name of a locksmith to call on short notice to change the locks when she leaves; write a to-do list of what will need to be done if something blows up ( who could take care of the children, who to contact, who are your arm lifters in the battle). You will be amazed at how strengthened you will be to just consider these ideas and take a bit of action toward being prepared.

        • D on December 15, 2017 at 5:36 pm

          If she had an affair that you could point to, would that give you the right to leave and take the kids? I know it probably isn’t that easy…just a thought. We all tend to oversimplify things, but there’s often just no good answer to complicated situations. God sees you and He is with you in the storm.
          I stayed for a long time even though my husband would suggest divorce because he said that he would get joint custody and take our child half the time. I couldn’t handle the thought of that, so we stayed. I saw no way…God had to make a way …and He eventually did.

          • sheep on December 22, 2017 at 9:20 am

            D, I wish. No, It really doesn’t. In my state, Adultery can/will be taken into account in a divorce, but mostly for the property settlement. Most judges will not look at it when it comes to child custody.

            Even the emotionally abuse is a difficult one because it is so hard to prove. I don’t even know if my kids (at this point) would think that they are emotionally abused. They have been so conditioned to think that mom is always right, don’t disagree with mom, that this will probably take a long time and a lot of truth that they will have to learn for themselves. I look at myself and see that it has taken decades of abuse that culminated in some really hideous behavior on her part for me to even recognize what has happened to me. And I still have problems admitting how bad it really is and not trying to justify and excuse her actions.

            You are right, sometimes there aren’t any good options.



          • JoAnn on December 22, 2017 at 2:32 pm

            Sheep, I have found, in some situations, to pray for the Lord to arrange a Situation that will force a resolution. I call it a Precipitating Event. He is really good at doing this, and His arrangements are always for our benefit. So, a Situation that forces a reaction toward a resolution. Meanwhile, work on your own CORE strength, Ask the Lord to reveal what is inside of you that has contributed to this and desperately pray for Him to work in your heart/mind to conform you into His likeness. As you exhibit more Christ-like behavior in your family, your children will benefit and there will be a reaction (+ or -) in your wife. Please remember, as many of us here have said, there is a difference between nice and kind. The Lord was sometimes kind enough to speak the truth, when we would be nice and not say anything. His grace will supply you.



    • Grace on December 15, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Sheep,

      You say you have godly counsel, and have surrounded yourself with wise people. That’s great. I have no pearls of wisdom for you. Although he hasn’t been diagnosed, I believe my husband has either NPD or BPD. It doesn’t matter; they are pretty similar from what I understand. What I am going to do, is to say that I’m so sorry. It is a lonely road you are on. I understand. It’s crazy making when you are told one thing and you know another to be true. I would guess it adds a different dimension, being a man. Cling to the Lord. He is faithful to bring you through this.

  6. Aleea on December 13, 2017 at 11:40 am

    “Friend, were you raised to be more dependent and unsure of your own thoughts and ideas on things?”

    . . .Yes, totally unsure. . . . .I think, maybe . . .maybe the real world (reality) is like that: messy, nasty, contingent a very probabilistic world. A world where everything is a probability distribution of levels of certainty and uncertainty. . . . .That’s why I love my church —it is a vacation for my mind. Last night we were making all these gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child, which is a project of Samaritan’s Purse. I don’t know how many hundreds I assembled and prayed over, our church is doing 5,000 of them. It was so heart warming . . . . .People there project all kinds of confidence and certainty. Everything is so straightforward. It is so clear what you need to do: you repent, you obey, as if repenting and obeying made something objectively, verifiably, demonstrably real and true. . . .But still, it is just so beautiful in simplicity. An alternate reality where you know things to be true, —some how you know, again not objectively, not verifiably, not demonstrably real and true. A world were assertions are true. Not a messy, nasty, contingent, probabilistic world. Not a world where everything is a probability distribution of levels of certainty and uncertainty. That’s the problem I’d love to solve: —How are both true at once?

    “When challenged or told you “can’t” by your spouse, even when things were unreasonable, how did you learn to stand up for yourself?” . . . .I don’t have that problem now, —thank you Lord God. —But I lived with that growing up with my mother. Now, I probably have too much freedom. Please know that, —that can be as bad as too little freedom. I know that may be hard to understand. This is so easy to say but I know how hard it is to live: Thinking for yourself and making your own decisions can be frightening. Letting go of other people’s expectations can leave you feeling empty for a time. —But seeing yourself as an independent adult who can stand up for your own choices frees you to accept yourself as you are. When you understand how much time is wasted trying to make people see you, understand you, respect you, value you, like you or agree with you. . . . .life becomes a pointless negative fight for validation that will drain you of Christ’s purpose for you. You are worth more than the indifference, inattention or crumbs people throw you. Stand up for yourself by not standing yourself up (always the reverse logic that God seems to use: the way to save your life is to lose it completely.) . . . .snuggle into the love of God for strength and refreshment, but then head out to share those gifts with others.🎄✝ރ 💕 😊

  7. Mhmc on December 13, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I can totally relate to what Leslie said about not thinking for yourself. My husband didnt yell, hit, or call me names. He didnt “forbid” me from doing things. But he used very subtle comments to manipulate to the point that i needed others to help me see clearly. I couldnt go see a friend who lived 20 min away becaus he didnt want me putting the miles on the car. I couldnt use the money in our savings because he insisted i always “pay it back”. He wasnt affectionate because he just “wasnt in the mood”. Everything was his- unless it was junk and then he didnt care what happened to it (especially if it was mi e- he would allow the kids to destroy things i had obtained before marriage or bought for myself, but would freak out if the kids “dented” the floor because they dropped a plastic bowl). It was my fault the kids couldnt pick up after themselves (even though he also expected me to continually pick up after him). I was afraid to go places or spend any money because i didnt want to face his disappointment. This caused me to sink deep into depression and see myself as worthless. It has been two years since he left me (as he said he was leaving because of my weight and my inability to keep the house clean) and i am finally at a place where i feel confident in my decisions and choices. It takes a LOT of personal work to get to a place where you dont need the affirmation of others to trust yourself. AND ultimately, its about learning to fully trust God to give you the wisdom, strength, and ability to make the needed decisions to live every day.

  8. Maria-Elea on December 13, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I get it! I too was confused after my husband left due to an affair with my closest ‘friend’. I remember being shocked when the Christian counselors validated moving forward with divorce proceedings. I was stunned that I wasn’t being encouraged to reconcile. And I needed that validation after having my mind so screwed-up with misconceptions about what it means to be a Christian wife. My ignorance and not knowing how to handle my ex’s repeated transgressions actually put me in the position of being an enabler, which is one of the LAST things I want to be for anyone who is hurting me.
    I’m smart, intelligent, educated and independent, yet none of that makes a difference when your mind and values are filled with misconceptions.
    It takes time to re-learn our worth and value after having our needs dismissed, disregarded, dismissed and disrespected for so long. I had to learn to recognize my worth, safety and sanity as a daughter of Christ above the the institution of marriage.
    This woman will come around if she continues to do the work!

  9. Maria-Elena on December 13, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Rights and Responsibilities in Marriage
    https://lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com/2017/12/12/your-rights-and-responsibilities-in-marriage/

    Many of this woman’s posts are insightful and logical. Although she does not proclaim Christianity, she has gleaned wisdom from her own awful end of a marriage.

  10. Nancy on December 13, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Thank God for Focus on the Family, and Leslie. I too was directed here, through my lovely Focus counsellor. The Lord used both resources to set me on the right path. It took lots of time, prayer, surrender…but The Lord has completely redeemed our marriage.

    So. So. Grateful for both!

  11. Cynthia on December 13, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Yes to everything Leslie said. It is so difficult to stay in a marriage even if they want to reconcile because of: damage done, mental illness, triggers, etc. They could have Asperger’s or be bi-polar or have extreme reactions to things that wouldn’t bother normal people because they have borderline personality disorder. A gal at a church that I used to attend had her husband completely overreact and yell at her for getting conditioner on the shower curtain. It isn’t disrespectful for her to do that. My husband yelled once claiming that there could be E.coli in my near perfect fridge because there were 2 drips of soy sauce in the door. Whether it’s control, or abuse that is on purpose or indirect abuse due to some disorder, Leslie’s right that it is up to us to recognize what is healthy, and get out if the environment is toxic. She said it best when she said we didn’t get married for richer or poorer, for someone hitting us 300 times or sleeping with 47 women. For better or for worse is about unforeseen accidents and things that weren’t horrific choices by our spouses like disease or mishap.

  12. Rebecca on December 13, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Did anyone else think the mention of Focus on the Family was unnecessary? The headline title seems to throw them under the bus. I would preferred to have read a Christian non profit organization gave me advice when I called and asked for it. I love Focus, they take enough heat without throwing them a low blow on this site too.

    • CBPP on December 15, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Rebecca, I agree with you that it left the wrong impression and it did seem to throw Focus on the Family under the bus. Not unless someone reads multiple entries would they see that it was a good thing for her to come to understand her fear should be acted upon and to seek safety.

      • D on December 15, 2017 at 5:23 pm

        I listen to Focus on the Family a lot. I think this woman was just surprised they would suggest separation, given that they focus so much on keeping marriages together and have guests on who survive and thrive after affairs, etc. I think she was just surprised they would suggest leaving. It didn’t seem to me that she was upset with them…just surprised at their suggestion since they never suggest that on their daily broadcasts….and maybe flustered in her new state of separation after so many years together. When I left, it was like a prisoner being set free….happy but not sure where to go or what to do…a caged animal who is so used to the cage that it feels afraid to be out once the door is open…

        • Charli on December 16, 2017 at 7:30 am

          The guests that survive and thrive are those who are repentant and committed to doing whatever it takes to reconcile. Not the ones with unrepentant spouses. It takes 2 to put a marriage back together. Only one to destroy it.

          • D on December 16, 2017 at 8:12 am

            You’re right. They don’t ever have any examples of people that separate or divorce though. So I think that left me with the false impression that I was wrong to do so….that I as a Christian shouldn’t divorce and create a broken home for our child. I’m not saying they did anything malicious. I donate to them monthly so I strongly believe in the ministry. But as a daily listener to their broadcasts, I understand how it would be confusing that they would suggest a person leave. Not that they did anything wrong whatsoever in doing so…I hope that makes sense…



          • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:12 pm

            Focus on the Family was very brave for inviting me on their program to talk about Emotionally destructive marriages. It was one of the most listened to broadcasts of the year. OF course they are pro – family. We all are pro family. Yet not every family will be able to stay together for various reasons. I think Focus on the Family was brave to publicly acknowledge that stance and train their counseling staff to recognize when a marriage is dangerous and to advise women to seek safety over being the sacrificial lamb just to keep things together. I applaud their strong pro-family values and stance, while also acknowledging that not every marriage is god honoring or safe and some need to be dissolved.



          • Renee on December 16, 2017 at 12:18 pm

            It takes 2 to put a marriage back together. Only one to destroy it.

            Totally destroy.



          • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:16 pm

            Again, the couples who make it make a great story and inspire others. People love to hear about good endings after hardship and tragedy. Not so much when there are bad endings. No one likes to hear those stories. Understandably, even when we go to a movie, we don’t like to see story where it ends badly. So Focus on the Family is a ministry that specializes in focusing on the good endings, not the bad ones. THat’s why it’s called FOCUS on the family. Yet, they acknowledge that there are marriages that have bad endings and their counseling staff is trained to listen for those who need to seek safety, but that story will probably never be their focus or a story or a program. That is not their mission statement.



        • Rebecca on December 17, 2017 at 12:52 pm

          I think it was inappropriate of whomever wrote this blog topic to mention the organization. It was almost slanderous in my opinion with the aim of provoking an attention getting title. Think about it Does Leslie even write on this blog much? I think some of this stuff is drummed up by an assistant. Just saying.

          • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:03 pm

            Just for the record Rebecca, I write every blog and every title and I just used the questioners own words. Does mentioning Focus on the Family make it more likely someone might open the blog. Perhaps. That’s what good writing does, it provokes someone’s interest. Slanderous? I don’t think so. I don’t respond regularly to every post but I do read them, obviously, since I am responding to yours. But one of the things we try to do in this blog culture is to practice responding in CORE – which includes asking good questions – “Hey Leslie, do you really write this stuff?” So my assistants do the mechanical things such as posting the blog to this site, but I take full responsibility for the content. The questions are always people who write into my website asking questions.



          • Ruth on December 19, 2017 at 6:06 pm

            Really? If you read, how WARPED this woman says her H was F ocus on the Family should be applauded for telling her to leave. And now that she is having doubts, that is simply bc she has been abused for years NOT bc she received bad Advice.



        • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:18 pm

          She was relieved by Focus on the Families counsel, and immediately took their advice. But now she is questioning whether she did the right thing. Does that ever happen to any of you? You think you have made a good decision and then later reflect and question yourself? That is what this woman was doing in spite of all the evidence that told her that nothing was changing.

      • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

        I highly value Focus on the Family and I’m sorry if my title or the woman’s story left any of you with the impression that I am not a huge fan of FOTF.

        • Grace on December 17, 2017 at 6:12 pm

          I personally thought it was courageous that FOTF would take a stand. Being afraid to intervene can lead to further abuse; even death. I’m grateful that we are able to have the discussion, rather that hearing the traditional “stay at all costs” thinking. I would be MORE likely to turn to FOTF in the future. As for the writer, unfortunately when the immediate pressure is removed, we often fool ourselves into thinking it was not really as bad as it was……

        • Ruth on December 19, 2017 at 6:10 pm

          Yes. The Bible says not to let that which is good to be spoken of as evil.
          1. FOTF gave good advice.
          2. Printing this and answering this article was in GOOD PROFESSIONAL WISDOM on Leslie’s part.
          The only person who’s wavering is the poor separated wife, but she hasn’t been out of the abuse fog long enough to think clearly.

  13. Renee on December 14, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Cynthia mentioned triggers in her comment.

    It reminded me of an article I was reading after my daughter showed me a text my husband sent to her. It basically said I trigger him on a daily basis. That really hurt my heart.

    Of course, that statement triggered me and so I called him and well said a few things and then hung up. I refused any contact for the next few days.

    But after I hung up, it was Lord why did I let that statement trigger me? I know it is because my husband wants me to own his triggers (I hope I’m saying that right.)

    He left me a letter the next day apologizing saying he was just trying to tell our daughter to keep her distance from her brother if she is feeling annoyed.

    Wow, I would have not been annoyed/triggered behind that statement.

    (https://theoverwhelmedbrain.com/triggers/)

    • Rebecca on December 15, 2017 at 6:45 am

      But, Renee he got what he wanted. He proved he could still control you. He got you to call. Meanwhile he selfishly used your daughters a pawn in his sick game.

      • Renee on December 16, 2017 at 12:16 pm

        Hi Rebecca, I understand and maybe so. He may be able to control me still on some levels but Praise God I’m getting stronger. That’s what has started making our journey, omg especially hard.

        So what I tried to express on the very quick call was how dare he tell our daughter that he is justified in the way he chooses to handle his hurt, when he feels I am not valuing his opinion, etc? That’s how you handle conflict.

        Either way, I’m glad (not the correct word, but hope you understand what I’m saying) when I get to hear or see that he still feels justified. If I go no contact, there is no way I can gauge whether or not he is growing.

        It was suggested by counsel to tell him he had six months to get his anger under control before we work to resolve other issues. I can’t do that; I want to deal with it all now. I just can’t see an entire year in the same circle. If we could make a ton of progress this first six months, I may be willing to go another six.

        I’m not sure how helpful/effective his current counselor will be for him. She does not allow you to show letters, text, or listen to recordings. It’s what are you feeling this week? I can see something went on this week, how you feeling? What were you feeling when whatever happened this week? I can see him playing the victim. The couple of times I went along to couples counseling I awaited a challenge on those feelings but it did not come.

        She takes it’s not her place to say who was right or wrong or what was right or wrong.

        I liked the counselor in the beginning, but now not as much. The police officer/counselor was more effective when he came out that day. He allowed my husband to play the recording of us while I was away. Then once I was there, he challenged him on his aggressive approach and his lack of trust right off the bat. He also told us our time together should be up. Three or four years on this type of journey is too long for everyone. I agreed while he tried to lean back to if only she would xyz.

        • Nancy on December 16, 2017 at 1:23 pm

          Renee, I can’t remember, do you have support? Counselling?

          You say, “I want to deal with it all now.” The problem is you have no control over him- over what he wants, or does not want to deal with.

          The decision for him to grow is one that only he can make. If you keep engaging him, you continue enabling his bad behaviour and the cycle continues – living together or not.

          you say that if you go no contact you’ll not know if he’s changed. This is downright untrue. If he changes Renee – you’ll know it. If he repents he will find a way to lovingly, respectfully reach out to you in humility and gentleness ( see Patrick Doyle). Your children would know it. A changed heart is DRASTIC. A changed heart expects NOTHING.

          Is it possible that you are telling yourself this lie because you want some measure of control? I hope this doesn’t come across as harsh Renee.

          I know how hard it is to disengage from ‘the dance’. That’s why I’m asking what your support system is like.

          • Renee on December 16, 2017 at 2:10 pm

            Nancy, I do not have regular counseling (weekly basis). I reached out to a previous counselor last week. He was the one to suggest the six month to deal with his anger. Majority of communication to be handled by snail mail, text, and phone.

            Hubby says he want to deal with our issues and have been accepting most boundaries. He is doing the communication by letter on issues we having in relationship. I plan to have regular counsel help me with this process. We just started.

            You say: If you keep engaging him, you continue enabling his bad behavior and the cycle continues – living together or not.

            Help me understand Nancy, or you saying no contact is the only way to disengage? I could very well do this but we have children. So….I just get upset having been put in this position.

            I was speaking toward what I would have liked to see as far as the counsel. Nancy, i know this can’t be controlled.

            Nope no harsh taken.



          • Renee on December 16, 2017 at 3:03 pm

            He is the one wanting to start talking about the problems we have in the marriage now. I’m the one that said only though letters so that I can get help. The previous counsel agreed on this method.

            Are you speaking of the part about telling him he has six months to get control of his anger is being controlling? If so, I kind of get that. I will ask this of the counsel. But having him think I am willing to wait forever, also seems dishonest.



          • Rebecca on December 16, 2017 at 8:07 pm

            Renee,no contact. Finances only. He is scamming you. He doesn’t want to talk about issues unless they involve you. He has enough to work on without involving you. It’s all a ploy. Stay strong and resist all contact.



          • Nancy on December 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

            Hi Renee,

            Are you part of a bible study? Do you have face to face support from friends?

            If you want to break free from the destruction of the relationship, you have to be willing to let the relationship die. (Engaging with him about your relationship does the opposite).

            This will take a dependence of Christ, like never before.

            This is why I lthink that Bible study would be very helpful.

            I hesitate to get into details because I believe that once you develop a habit of turning to Christ in crisis ( when triggered, for example), He will give you the moment by moment direction that you seek.

            He knows your heart, Renee, He knows what you need. He is faithful and true! He is a God of comfort and of strength. It is Him who is your true husband. Allow Him to take His rightful place in your heart.



          • Nancy on December 17, 2017 at 1:46 pm

            Just to be clear, Renee. With regards to the ‘no contact’ comment that you made, and that I responded to:

            You would not be able to have a true ‘no contact’ scenario because of your kids. But you can drastically reduce contact to only the essentials ( finances, logistics around kids) and these minimal interchanges could be dealt with with the support of your counsellor.



          • Renee on December 17, 2017 at 6:52 pm

            Thanks Nancy for getting back to me. I did not see a way of doing a true “no contact.” I really did not. I’ve been rethinking today how that can be implemented with young children.



        • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:08 pm

          I’m just jumping into this discussion today but I see two issues. One is your desire to hash through everything now. The second is your husbands anger. The problem I see if you don’t let him take FULL responsibility now for dealing with HIS anger at you – or the kids – or anything else, and learn how to handle his own negative feelings better, then joint counseling will always be about him getting angry at something you’ve done or are doing that “upsets” him and an untrained counselor will often see the “logic” in his argument or feel compassion on his “triggers” so then the counseling becomes about you not upsetting him or pushing his buttons rather than him learning to deal with his anger (from whatever cause) in a more appropriate way.

          • Renee on December 17, 2017 at 6:35 pm

            Thanks Leslie, for sharing your wisdom and devoting your time.



  14. Nancy on December 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    With God’s help I’m still learning to stand up for myself. Some people in my life just like to give orders. As the younger of two sisters, I ended up being more dependent on my older sister to know what was right to do. I learned to be passive and have had to learn to be more active in my faith. I am blessed to have a good friend who has helped me to see that I have good ideas too and just because someone else insists he or she is right doesn’t mean they are. The heavy-handed submission teaching I received in a couple of churches I attended taught me to be more of a doormat than a wife. I and my husband were under too much legalism, which is why I like to listen to people who preach grace. I understand that my being more assertive has been an adjustment for my family, but I think that’s a good thing.

    • Maria on December 16, 2017 at 6:49 am

      Nancy,
      I love reading your posts. It’s great to see how you are growing. I also appreciate how real you are. Keep up the good work.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      I think that’s a good thing too. Passivity has often been disguised as godliness but as I read the women in the Bible, few were passive. If we just think of the women listed in the lineage of Christ – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary. In Tuesday’s newsletter I write about Tamar (Genesis 38). She was a victim of injustice. She was marginalized by her father in law Judah and cast aside. She was anything but passive in deciding to seek justice for herself. And Ruth was not passive, she did what she needed to do. Rahab was not passive, she even lied to keep the spies and her own family safe. I’m so glad you are learning to be appropriately assertive.

  15. JoAnn on December 17, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Dear Friends, This morning as I was in my time with the Lord, I came across these verses I want to share with you. Everyone here has been passing through many challenges and sufferings, and the Apostle Paul has something wonderful to say about that in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9: “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of our affliction which befell us in Asia, that we were excessively burdened, beyond our power, so that we despaired even of living. Indeed we ourselves had the response of death in ourselves, that we should not base our confidence on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead…” Then in 1 Corinthians 1:9 he says, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” May we all come to know our Lord in this way, that He is faithful, and that He has the power to raise us up beyond the death in our situations. Praise Him!!

    • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Thanks JoAnn, so true.

  16. Chuck on December 17, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    Renee, maybe I can help you since I am out of the house because of anger and harshness toward my wife. It has been going on for the last several years between us and finally I asked if she wanted me to leave, she said yes and so we are legally separated at this time. My situation may be different from yours, but here may be some helpful advice

    1. My wife said no contact except text or email , phone only in emergencies, which I respected.

    2. As far as the children I could see them anytime as long as I called. (I have a good relationship with them all) No contact could have them having a pastor or family friend take them to see your husband if it is safe for them. Initially I would pull up to the house text them and her and they would come out.

    This went on for several months while my wife gave my pastor a list of her , requests etc that she wanted me to work on for starters. The word was “work on my issues first than we will see about the marriage.” This included meeting with my pastor werkly, going to a trained counselor regularly ( every other week because of costs, work schedule) and getting back on my meds for bipolar.

    We did have family counseling with a licensed non christia n counselor because of issues with children ( long story but one of the children was really and still are struggling)
    but we stayed in track no marriage talk just about kids and finances.

    You have to set boundaries and yes I tried to weasel my way in ( not to get back in the house mind you) for couples but my wife was firm , no. You have to be firm.
    And sadly yes, I tried to use my children initially to do it.He may too.

    My wife gets spousal support and child support which I pay and give her extra. She was fair and as her attorney said ” it is in the best interests of both parties if everyone is financially stable” and we are. She works part time as and she makes it. Going to an attorney really upset me for several reasons I won’t list here but it did send me a message that she was serious about me getting help with my anger issues. You might consider that. Our court documents say legal separation or divorce, the word divorce definitely gets your attention.

    All the above has taken about 6 months total. Hope this advice helps. I did read the Emotionally destructive marriage about a dozen times to see my wife’s perspective and learn. I read this blog and several others to learn things that hopefully make me a better man. My wife has many issues too but those are her issues to deal eith, not mine. I am a believer so my first priority is to change my behavior to please God. If in the mean time I can save my marriage that would be good. If I can’t then I have 4 children to invest in and a life to live.

    • JoAnn on December 18, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Good for you, Chuck, that’s a very honest and sincere account of your struggles, and I appreciate it. Yes, we all bring a lot of baggage into our relationships, and it’s good that you are willing to work on yours. I might say that as a counselor myself, “anger management” is not really very effective in the long run. I hope that with your counselor you are working on the roots of your anger, which generally, but not always, requires looking at who harmed you and forgiving “from the heart.” Go to http://www.HopeForTheHeart.org to read more about forgiveness, what it is and what it isn’t. Forgive me, please, if I’m overstepping here. We hope for God’s healing of both your self and your marriage. Grace be with you, Brother.

    • Renee on December 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Chuck, I hear your comment and suggestions.
      Back to back medical appointments (work) between yesterday and today so I’m late responding.
      I sympathize with your wife because not knowing where the landmines are cause distress and sensing a volcano about to erupt causes distress. And you can’t discuss anything with a person who displays anger because they just don’t want to hear anything you have to say.

      The weekend where my husband was displaying anger about me having lunch with my friend, is when he learned I had retained an attorney. I showed him the receipt and told him I would ask the attorney to remove the hold Monday and proceed since he was so unhappy. Legal separation not available in our state.

      This is what I’ve learned about anger. I can’t remember the source. Anger is a symptom of an underlying condition. The underlying condition can be abusive ways, unmet needs that a person does not know how to express, medical related, etc.

      Again, thanks for your time. I hope you are able to go back home in a totally different frame of mind. Take Care and God Bless!

      • Connie on December 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

        Patrick Doyle says that depression covers anger, anger covers hurt, and hurt covers injustice done to you. So you need to deal with the injustice first.

        • Nancy on December 19, 2017 at 4:09 pm

          This is my personal experience too, Connie. As I began bringing my anger to The Lord, (by sometimes just allowing Him to hold me as I climbed into His lap and had a tantrum) He began revealing that all that anger is years of bottled up ‘stuffing’ of injustice done to me.

          He’s gradually, lovingly, bringing me to my knees in His requirement that I forgive those who have done me such harm. This is a process. A process that I would not be able to go through if I did not know His deep, deep love for me.

          Forgiveness is a process. I can’t stress that enough. It’s one that starts with admitting the terrible pain of injustice. We allow ourselves to feel that anger, knowing that anger towards injustice is RIGHT. We allow ourselves to feel it knowing that God is just as angry about what happened. Then and only then we can ask The Lord to enable us to forgive. Then we have to re-forgive when bad feelings come up. This process can take a long time.

          Once I did this for one person, it was extremely freeing. Now, I am beginning to recognize that I need to go through this process with The Lord, where others are concerned.

          For me, my anger was an accumulation of unforgiveness. Getting through that backlog is hard emotional work, but it’s worth every ounce of energy. The Peace on the other side passes all understanding 🙂

          I encourage everyone to take a look at JoAnn’s link at hopefortheheart. It has helped me tremendously.

      • JoAnn on December 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm

        That’s right: anger is like the lid on a box, so we have to look at what’s inside the box: hurt, grief, pain, etc. When we effectively deal with what’s in there, the anger goes away. The Lord is so gracious to heal those hurts.

  17. chuck on December 18, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Thank you JoAnn, your right anger management hasn’t worked for me and I am looking at core issues. I will check out the website your gave me. Your not overstepping your boundaries, I have gotten in a lot of trouble over the years trying to go it alone.

    • JoAnn on December 18, 2017 at 11:40 am

      I’m glad you see that. As members of the Body of Christ, we need each other; He doesn’t want or need “lone Ranger Christians.” That’s why this blog is so helpful. We are all members, “one of another.” (Rom. 12:5)

  18. Aleea on December 18, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Re: beyond the death in our situations

    . . . .Would we say that 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 means that in any totally hopeless situation, “. . .we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength,” so great and so heavy that we know it is beyond anything we could possibly handle (—the verb bareo, to lay a heavy burden upon *but* supercharged with the preposition, kata, plus the noun huperbole: —excessive, extraordinary in character or degree.) . . . .A burden so far beyond the ordinary. . . .excessively, extraordinary beyond measure, yet we rest in God’s provision and care. . . . .When from all appearances, the only verdict at which he or anyone else could arrive at was that he was finished. There was nothing he or anyone else could do. Even facing all that, he rested in God’s provision and care. . . . .For me this would mean, although I can’t see any logical, practical, reasonable way this could be true, I choose to believe it anyway in the face of unbelievable levels (—excessively, extraordinary beyond measure) of evidence to the contrary. It’s a leap off the side of a cliff with only God’s Word to lean on, all the evidence, logic and reason says I will fall straight down and be killed. . . . .I get it and don’t get it —all at once. I see that blind leap of faith in Kierkegaard who was concerned that individuals would spend all their lives trying to define Christianity, define love, define God, define the Trinity, define sin, define whatever and never get to the business of “actually” making a decision, in time, to become a Christian and then acting on the basis of that decision.

    The most common form of despair is not being who we actually are but what others want us to be. We cover over that depression by pursuing something we think will make us whole and by grasping hold of beliefs that give us a sense of mastery, but the problem is symptoms. The brokenness and doubts always come out in other ways —in scapegoating, etc. … it always comes out.

    —The pursuit of something that will make you whole is what makes us dissatisfied and unhappy to begin with. The gospel story is that by giving up the idea that there is anything whole and complete and embracing the utter brokenness of life, we actually find a form of wholeness, a form of satisfaction. —But not a wholeness and satisfaction that lacks unknowing about God and that lacks brokenness —but one that just robs them of their sting.

    Christianity is not one more identity marker. It is the experience of losing your identity and identifying with the one who lost His identity on the cross. In those days, when you were crucified, you were no longer in any political, cultural, or religious system. You were ripped of identity. So, Paul says: “there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for all are made one in Christ.”

    . . . .Surrender the outcome to God, really hard for things we care about. . . .But hope is placing the beautifully vulnerable parts of ourselves, our raw selves, into His hands. I believe hope moves His heart . . . .but hope also moves our hearts into His hands. . . . and we were never in control in the first place anyway, so the only thing to be afraid of is not trusting God.🎄✝ރ 😊

  19. JoAnn on December 18, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    I agree with all you said, Aleea. In my experience, totally surrendering to God in my situations is the point where I am free. Watchman Nee calls it “the breaking of the outer man for the release of the spirit.” There is a book by that name, by the way. The brokenness you wrote about is what frees us to experience the Lord on a deeper level, and the issue of that is peace, freedom, and a human spirit that is wholly connected to God and rests in His perfect will. Our struggles are really just fighting the Lord, no? When we know that He wants something from us and we don’t want to give it. Usually that “something” comes in the form of surrender. In Leviticus, we read about the different sacrifices, each one of which Jesus Christ is the reality. The burnt offering signifies Christ as the One who is absolute for God. Can I be absolute for God? NO!! But the One who is my burnt offering lives in my spirit, so when I can’t submit, there is a life in me that can. Praise Him!!

    • JoAnn on December 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      And I would add that it is after we surrender to His will that we can be clear what our next step is. It’s not that we simply “let go,” or give up, but that in letting go, He reveals to us what the next thing is for us to do. This is not being passive, but it is to be active in response to the Lord’s leading. How can we know what the Lord wants us to do if we are fighting Him? The women Leslie wrote about; they all knew what the next step would be because they were one with the Lord in His will. And even then, He doesn’t always reveal what we should do right away, but in His time and His way, we see what to do and receive the grace to do it. This is what it means to work out our salvation; operating in oneness with the Triune God. What a privilege we have been given!

    • Aleea on December 18, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      JoAnn,

      I love that Watchman Nee’s books, re:“. . . .a drowning woman cannot be saved until she is so utterly exhausted she ceases to make the slightest effort to save herself.” —That makes so, so much sense to me!

      Re: Our struggles are really just fighting the Lord, no? . . . .I guess so. . . . —but I hate admitting that! Yes, I guess they are just fighting the Lord.

      . . . In Islam, the whole key is to just surrender and just submit but that means we have turned our rational reasoning abilities off. That seems very dangerous, like we are asking to be abused. . . . .Blind faith seems a horrible gift to return to the creator of human intelligence. How do such poor specimens of Christianity as I, abandon myself completely to Jesus Christ without being “a fool” about it?

      Re: When we know that He wants something from us and we don’t want to give it. Usually that “something” comes in the form of surrender. . . . . —Surrender . . . .yes it, . . . .it sounds so gentle like maybe you just might try it. As if we could choose. —We don’t choose. We plummet into acceptance, because the floor has collapsed beneath our feet. I am simply not enough in myself, and I realize the surrender is not weakness, it is really the only true measure of strength any of us may have.

      One thing I see from early Christianity. . . . it does not begin with our pursuit of Christ, but with Christ’s pursuit of us. God actually delights in exalting our inability. He intentionally puts His people in situations where they come face to face with their need for Him.

      . . . .JoAnn, when you pray, do you feel the pull like a magnet? . . . . When my heart is broken before the Lord, when it is thankful, meek, humble (Psalm 95:7-8, Hebrews 3:13, —Psalm 51 too!), I feel like I can stand in the desert of the REAL. Holiness is happiness. To me it isn’t cold and deadening —it’s warm and inviting. —It’s irresistible. It is like a magnet that reaches to my heart and just pulls me.

      “He doesn’t always reveal what we should do right away, but in His time and His way, we see what to do and receive the grace to do it. This is what it means to work out our salvation; operating in oneness with the Triune God. What a privilege we have been given!” . . . .Absolutely! . . . .But are we looking to Jesus for advice that seems responsible, prudent, careful and safe according to the standards of the world and culture around us? —Or are we looking to Jesus for total leadership in our lives, like those in the first 500 years of Christianity, —they often gave everything. . . . In Matthew 7, Jesus talks about our dangerous tendency to gravitate toward that which is easy, popular, “smart”, culturally acceptable: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, . . . .” Almost unknowingly, we shrink back from this cost, choosing to redefine Christianity according to preferences, comfort, cultural norms. Slowly, subtly, we take the Jesus of the Bible and twist Him clean into someone whom we can control. We dilute what He says about the cost of following Him, we ignore what He says about our comforts and materialism, and we functionally miss what He says about dying to self. We pick and choose what we like and don’t like from Jesus’ teachings.

      . . . I’m always praying for God to change and show me. Lord, help me, —somehow, help me to be willing to break my heart that I might satisfy Your heart! . . . In fact, I would say that attempting to follow Him without denying myself is the root of all failures, —for sure. 🔝

  20. JoAnn on December 18, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I don’t see surrender as “blind faith” at all, for I know Him and I trust Him. There’s a hymn that says, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day. ” (2 Tim. 1:12)so, the more we get to know Him, the easier it gets for us to trust Him. Look back on so many experiences you have had where He has proved faithful to do what was best for you. Sometimes only in hindsight can we see that, so it’s helpful to recall those experiences where we were afraid, but He came through. I believe that our dear Jesus wants to prove to us just how trustworthy He is. We just need to look behind the curtain of our doubts to see it.

  21. Aleea on December 19, 2017 at 3:11 am

    . . . .So how do I do that? —Will you teach me???

    . . . .I don’t study the Bible because my brain is hungry for knowledge, —even Bible knowledge (—I’m almost all emotion✝❣😊💕). . . .I study the Bible so I can pray better and I pray because my soul is hungry for God. The world seems already crucified to me, —it does not fascinate me, —Christ fascinates me. But I want Christ, not people’s ideas of Christ. re: One Jesus, Many Christs: . . . from the beginning there was not just one true Christianity, but many different Christianities. . . .early Christianity had major doctrinal differences about all aspects of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and divinity. Teach me the authentic character of Christianity because it is inherently pluralistic with so many diverse ideas. How can we be passionately centered in Jesus while not just ignoring facts. . . . .—Who or what takes priority over God in my life? Not much of anything I am aware of,*** —I’ll risk it to know Him, —but Him —not ideas of God. . . . .I keep thinking: God’s way, at God’s time with God’s power, I shall behold God, . . . .God —not ideas of God.

    ***maybe too self-sufficient (—but it doesn’t feel that way). Maybe my “abilities” are handicaps, my “talents” my stumbling blocks. . . . but it doesn’t feel that way. I deeply know I don’t know. —Can’t you see, you can’t see? -Yes ☑ —Don’t you know, you don’t know? -Yes ☑ Matthew 15:14, 1 Corinthians 4:3-6, Ephesians 4:18, etc., etc.

    JoAnn . . . .it certainly wasn’t correct doctrine that attracted the masses, since even the earliest apostles couldn’t agree on the most basic tenets of the faith. Dozens of sects arose in different cities, all claiming to be the religion of the risen Christ (—though whether he had risen in spirit or body was even itself a subject of v-e-r-y heated debate —but, btw, the teachings on divorce and remarriage, they were *very* consistent for some reason). . . . .What they could agree on was this experience of Jesus (—And when I read the gospels, I have that experience, I fall in love with Christ ❣💕 over and over. It is like a huge magnet that just reaches to my heart and just pulls me. . . . .just completely overwhelming. . . . I see that experience even into the fourth century.

    —Will you teach me??? I know I don’t know. I know sin is wrong and I avoid it. . . . .but I don’t hate sin like God hates it. I want to hate sin like that.☑❣✝† ✨

  22. JoAnn on December 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Dear, dear Sister….will I teach you? CAN I teach you is more the question. I don’t know that I am able, but I can offer some things, based on what I know of you (which may or may not be accurate). Aleea, you are hungry to know God, yes. A very good starting point. Don’t let go of that. However, you seem to be very confused, based on all the historical things you have studied, which clearly have filled your mind with lots of confusion. Can you (please try) to view the Bible as God’s gift to us in its present form, for us to know Him in this present age? Will you trust that He has sovereignly arranged for the Bible as it is now to be brought to us for us to know Him and His purpose? Honestly, all the really strong christians that I know, and I do know many, plus others, like Billy Graham, that the whole world knows, and Siang-Yan Tan, a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, whom I respect very much, they all will say that you cannot be a strong christian if you don’t believe that the Bible is God’s living word to us. They devour God’s word daily, and though they have studied much, they are strong in the faith and the experience of Christ. All the questions that come up as we read the Bible get answered if you read far enough. Nevertheless, it does help to be able to follow good teachers, because they often see things that we couldn’t see on our own. You like Watchman Nee; I have a full collection of his works, and I have learned much from him. May I recommend The Normal Christian Life as a good place to start. Getting to know your human spirit, the Lord Jesus who dwells in your spirit, is the key to living a normal christian life.
    I recently started reading Josh McDowell’s book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. He points out that the reason we have different slants on details mentioned in the Bible, like the gospels, is that they were written from a person’s point of view. That doesn’t invalidate anything, but consider this: our God is multi-faceted. We need to be able to see Him from many different angles. Matthew shows us Jesus as the King-Savior; Mark shows us the Slave-Savior; Luke shows us the Man-Savior; and John shows us the God-Savior. I could go on, but these are just examples. We also see Him from other’s points of view as we fellowship together in the Body of Christ.
    You want to pray….pray the word. Pray again and again Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3. Pray the Lord’s prayer in John 17. These prayers join us to the Living God and cause us to be one with Him.
    So, I don’t know if any of this helps. I wish we could sit down over a cup of tea and just talk and pray. That would be wonderful. I hope that many of us will attend Leslie’s conference that she is setting up for next year. I surely hope to be there, if the Lord wills. You have such a deep love for the Lord, and a very real touch with Him that ministers to me. We all need each other. Thank you, Aleea and others, for sharing your portion of Christ with me.

  23. Chuck on December 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you Renee for your kind reply, I hope the divorce will help your husband see the consequences of his actions and the hurt you have been through, perhaps he can get radical about changing. Make sure he or she is good, it can make a difference. My wife’s attorney seemed sympathetic to our situation and has been fair to me ( though I know he works for her). I think his wisdom for everyone to be financial stable is wise, divorce can be used to really hurt a person in many different ways so be careful of the the attorney that wants to stick it to your husband. My wife’s wise handling of our separation has promoted some healing between us. I no longer look to her as an adversary as I initially did. In fact she still has acess to my bank account anytime ( I am not advising that with your husband ). I have tried to follow Leslie’s advice to leave with your head held high because you did the right things. You have a difficult road ahead, something that you never wanted but God will guide you through it all. I sincerely hope that your husband can repent and winyour heart back if your open to that.

  24. Aleea on December 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    “Aleea, you are hungry to know God, yes.” —YES!!! —Yes I am but don’t think for a minute you can’t teach me. JoAnn, you know that goes against everything God does in history and in his Word. God is no respecter of persons. God shows no partiality. Wisdom has nothing to do with anything but our hearts.

    “. . . However, you seem to be very confused, based on all the historical things you have studied, which clearly have filled your mind with lots of confusion. Can you (please try) to view the Bible as God’s gift to us in its present form, for us to know Him in this present age?” —Yes. I can with the Lord’s help.

    “Will you trust that He has sovereignly arranged for the Bible as it is now to be brought to us for us to know Him and His purpose?” —Yes I will.

    “All the questions that come up as we read the Bible get answered if you read far enough. Nevertheless, it does help to be able to follow good teachers, because they often see things that we couldn’t see on our own. You like Watchman Nee; I have a full collection of his works, and I have learned much from him. May I recommend The Normal Christian Life as a good place to start. Getting to know your human spirit, the Lord Jesus who dwells in your spirit, is the key to living a normal Christian life.” —I do like Watchman Nee and I will read The Normal Christian Life. I have read parts of it. I trust those who gave their lives for Christ like Nee. He suffered much and many of his friends died for Christ. I trust that, being persecuted and imprisoned for his faith and spending decades of his life in prison. . . . .Watchman Nee, again, I have only read parts of The Normal Christian Life, but people like that are very deep in Christ, and in my opinion, the kind of fellowship Nee had with the Lord in suffering for Him and the kind of faithfulness he expressed to the Lord are rarely found on this earth.

    “. . . .Pray again and again Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3. Pray the Lord’s prayer in John 17. These prayers join us to the Living God and cause us to be one with Him.” —I will. . . .and most certainly that helps.

    “We all need each other.” —I know I do. . . . .I so appreciate that JoAnn. One of the most important things we can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone and to encourage them to go on. —Thank you so much. I’d love to meet everyone here. . . . .If I could stop crying when I met them. . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . .You would not even *believe* how emotional I am. I really have to work so, so hard at being rational, analytical, careful, etc. To know Christ and to have *any part* in His Kingdom (—no matter how small, even just praying for people) is just overwhelming to me. —Actually, Satan is most outrageous against prayer, and those that use it, —I think because he knows it is the true means of taking his prey from him. —That is why I always ask for prayer❣🎄✝ރ✞😊

  25. Judy on December 20, 2017 at 12:51 am

    I have to say in all honesty that many of these comments make me heart sick and angry. After two abusive marriages i see what I wish i’d seen 20 years or more ago. Iv been separated for 6 months now and in early stages of divorce. It took months of separation to begin to see things more clearly. That would not have happened then without a lot of counseling and help from an amazing support group. Like many of you I had successfully over many years been completely brain washed. I had been controlled and traumatized until I did not know who I was. That is Gods truth. Yet during my marriage, before separation, I continued to strain at my own nat. My thoughts aided and abbeded by my husband were…..It’s as much my fault as his……If I had handled this better……. If I had been more respectful…… If i had been less withdrawn and emotional……. Then there was the “I want to be the loving christian example/witness/ careing step mom. Or….People will misunderstand and blame me. I will loose friendships . Rightly so because I am a pure mess. I just can’t seem to get my emotions together . Besides when he is not being rotten behind closed doors he is a precious caring man. He buys me gifts, holds my hand in public and even opens the car door for me. Everyone who knows him says it’s amazing to see how much he loves me.They rarely get a peek behind closed doors when we are alone or I anger him when we are traveling and he yells at me in public saying things like “shut up before you embarrass yourself in front of all of these people”. Yet come the next morning……does he apologize……No. He doesn’t give it a second thought. He smiles, wants a little intimacy and again opens the car door and even says a lengthy thankfulk for my wife prayer over breakfast at the resteraunt. I come away thinking “well he is stressed when he drives and is in unfamiliar places.” I’m called to forgive. Not an ounce of accountability required or a stought “ that was hurtful beyond words. I felt embarrassed and as if were being treated like I was a child. Should this happen again, I will take a taxi to the hotel and take a separate room for the night.
    Years of “if you were not so insecure from. your first marriage you wouldn’t have issues with me looking at other woman”. To be told years later rather glibly that he has had a 50 year sexual addiction. He shrugs at me and says,” but you knew that already”. No big deal.
    Listen, there will never be a perfect 10 wife in life. Yet we continue to ‘take it’ because we could do it better and if and when we do our miracle is just around the corner. Meanwhile our husbands make some superficial behavioral changes till the storm blows over and then it’s back to the same old story chapter 25. No heart change, no broken hearted repentance, no what can I do to come along side you and make you feel safe after all Iv done. No I can see now why you were so emotional, traumatized and felt alone and abandoned all these years . No taking responsibility for his changes and the hard work to help make things heal.
    No….yet what do we do? We do our
    best to pull ourselves together and continue to pickup the pieces his abuse caused ‘in the name of Jesus’ believing tomorrow will be the day we see changes.
    Our men occasionally apologize and tippy toe around for a a bit yet Jesus said if the adulterous woman “ Your sins are forgiven you. Go your way And Sin No More.
    If God can require change heart and life change why can’t we?
    I have a support group facilitate who’s husband really did fall on his knees with broken heated repentance. Five years later he. is still a tender hearted loving daddy and dedication Christian husband. He did his own hard work and made huge changes. He realized that he was going to be held accountable to God one day and that broke his heart. I’m not saying it can’t happen. It can.
    Yet after enough years and going through this twice with two wounded broken men who refused to take responsibility for self, I found a wonderful counselor that I ‘finally’ listened to. After months of separation and no change and continued blame shifting the door closed for me and I filled for divorce. Was it easy? Not on your life. I’m in love with an abusive controller. No amount of love and living right will change a person who after years refuses to be honest with himself, his wife and his God. Everyone has there own story. For me I would rather struggle alone than live alone with a man who cannot love me. Saying I love you is not the same as living out ‘I love you’ with your actions daily. We are not after perfection we are after true heart change and stick to it like an adult without excuse. It’s the same thing we would want to see from ourselves, a dear friend or our own grown children.
    This comment is late in coming as these comments and article happened days and days ago. If no one reads this so let it be. If it allows one woman to rethink her abusive situation and realize the mind control AND Gods heart for her mental safety then then wonderful. God is not after marriage not matter the cost.

    • JoAnn on December 20, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      Thank you, Judy, for sharing. I can feel your pain as it is expressed in your story, and I pray that the Lord will heal your broken heart. Lean into Him, for He alone can heal the broken heart.

    • Sunshine on December 22, 2017 at 5:04 am

      Judy, this one of the best posts I have ever read
      Yes, we are being brain washed. I believe many posts reflect reflect varying degrees of that condition
      Few people ever break free even with counseling. They/we live a life permeated with evil by living with a person who is faking their role as a spouse. Rather their actions are rooted in self gratification.

      • Roxanne on December 22, 2017 at 5:09 am

        The motivation for the disturbed spouse is self gratification, fueled by delusion and pure evil. In so many cases, there is no “living well.” We have to be sure we are not deluding ourselves. Get out! Run sister, run. The son of the father of lies is in your bedroom!

      • Nancy on December 23, 2017 at 10:13 am

        There’s a disorder called ‘follie a deux’ ( French for shared madness). It’s where two people share psychotic symptoms; such as delusion.

        Regardless of how we define it, the only escape is by the power of the Holy Spirit.

        • Roxanne on December 23, 2017 at 12:06 pm

          Yup, and jail time for the abuser.

        • Roxanne on December 23, 2017 at 12:12 pm

          There are lots of escapes. God gave us brains. Saying that one us waiting for the holy To move often keeps rational people trapped. Sometimes there will not be any healing. God does not answer a prayer for healing and we have to flee our abusive partners. Rather than say the holy Spirit will move, sometimes the only relief is when the abuser dies. Most cases are not the rare disorder you mention, but rather a carefully orchestrated form of religious abuse used to keep the victim in the fox’s lair.

          • Nancy on December 23, 2017 at 9:23 pm

            I agree that passivity is not an answer. Surrendering to The Spirit is not passive at all. It’s actively cooperating with The Lord to guide and direct toward safety, sanity and freedom. It’s taking an active role in the process of becoming a ‘defender of my value’.



          • JoAnn on December 23, 2017 at 9:32 pm

            Well put, Nancy, as always.



      • Judy on December 23, 2017 at 11:03 am

        Faking being a souse. I love this. Do true

        • Sunshine on December 23, 2017 at 12:19 pm

          Then we fake back making a twisted, sick mockery of marriage. The manipulations we live is not marriage. It is sex slavery, religious abuse and lies. Now, who of us has the courage to leave rather than just create religious fantasy of scripture to make reason lives seem bearable? I too have been deceived and found so many ways to rationalize and spiritualize my situation. Once I stripped away the fantasy, the ugly truth was undeniable.

          • Leslie Vernick on December 23, 2017 at 12:30 pm

            Thanks Sunshine. I am very concerned with a woman’s safety and she NEEDS to be concerned with the safety of her children. Here is today’s headlines on Fox news. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/23/christian-volunteer-charged-with-killing-wife-and-daughters-7-and-8.html
            This in no way glorifies God.



          • Sunshine on December 23, 2017 at 1:21 pm

            Thanks Leslie. I know you advocate for safety. This blog is a great help to many of us.



          • Judy on December 23, 2017 at 5:30 pm

            Yes I agree. Yet it is difficult to truly ‘see’ the whole truth and make appropriate choices. Leslie is so balanced and helpful for those who will listen. It take courage and surrender to Holy Spirit.
            Prayers for all of us to see truth and walk in it.



  26. Lois on December 20, 2017 at 6:37 am

    My husband suddenly after 15 years of good marriage became violently angry with me. If his face was angry after coming home from work, my three kids would run and hide under their beds and I would have to stand in the middle of the living room and look down. He would circle me, round and round, and curse and swear at me for 30-40 minutes. I looked at his face once and it was in a rage, red face, veins showing. After he was spent, he would go into the den, turn on the set. My kids would come out from under their beds and we would all pretend that nothing happened. I thought I had to put up with it, so said my pastor. But began suffering mentally and had to leave per my counselor. My pastor kicked me out of the church and my husband divorced my for desertion. This all happened 25 years ago. Thanks for letting me tell you.

    • JoAnn on December 20, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      And how do you feel now, after having left? I surely hope that you have grown and developed CORE strength and are now enjoying your life. We’d like to hear more about your experience. So sad that the church failed you. Not your fault.

      • Lois on December 20, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        Thank you, JoAnn – I just wish I had continued counseling. After it was “over”, I thought , “well, I’m all better now” which was far from the truth. But now, 25 yrs later, I am happily married and my kids have adopted Wally as their sudo dad. But sometimes I think I should go to a qualified counselor to discuss all this yet.

    • Judy on December 20, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      Louis,
      I am aghast and heart broken over this. I pray you have found peace and a good balanced church that supports and protects. I pray to that you have healed and are able to be your own individual adult self, while seeking Gods balance for you.
      Thank You for sharing. Unfortunately it has been lived out in many of our lives. I’m so sorry you had to go through that season.
      Love and peace to you
      WRm Hugs

      • Lois on December 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm

        This all happened 25 years ago. But I still see it. And he acted as if he didn’t know he did those episodes. That is why I think this article about brain activity had something to do with it. He actually developed dementia shortly after and he died 10 years ago. I am now remarried to a wonderful man who loves me. Thank you for replying to me.

  27. Nancy on December 20, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Hi Aleea,

    “God is no respecter of persons.”

    I have to comment on this because I don’t believe this is at all true. And The Lord’s respect for me is so central to my choice to follow Him.

    The very reason that I fell in love with Him is because of His complete respect for me. He never forced. Wooed….yes. But never crossed the line into disrespect.

    I believe that hell is the proof of God’s respect for humanity. He allows us choose Him, or not.

    Merry, merry Christmas, Aleea!

    • Nancy on December 20, 2017 at 9:28 am

      I often refer to Him as ‘the perfect gentleman’

    • Aleea on December 20, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Hello Nancy,

      Re: “God is no respecter of persons.”

      Nancy, I am sorry for the confusion, I meant in the sense that He will use anyone, the lowliest person (Joseph, the prisoner; Rahab, the prostitute; Jephthah the son of a prostitute, et.al.) to do the work in His Kingdom. The word I am referring to is οὐκ (not) προσωπολήμπτης (One who shows partiality). . . .

      I understand that Jesus has complete respect for us and I understand that you were loved and wooed into the Kingdom and that’s how you became His daughter.

      . . . Nancy, do you honestly think that you can resist the love of God, if He really wants you? God’s love is absolutely irresistible. —He is God!!! —He knows you better than you know yourself. . . .I think cause-effect Calvinism vs. influence-and-response Arminianism are distinctions without a difference when God is involved.

      . . . . God’s Love. . . .Again, God’s love is like when you sit in front of a fire in the dead of winter —you are just there in front of the fire. You don’t have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you, you certainly don’t want to sit outside in the freezing cold with the wind howling once you feel God’s fire.

      We love on people and share the gospel with people, God’s got the rest covered. . . . .I don’t really know how it works. I thought I did at one point (Calvinism vs. Arminianism [your position] vs. you-name-it.) . . . .All I know is that I want Him.
      . . . and Merry Christmas to you too Nancy. —I so appreciate you!!!🎄✝ރ 💒✝😊 🌉

    • Nancy on December 20, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Aleea,

      Thanks so much for clarifying! I agree.

      I’m not sure that I have a ‘position’ . Both predestination and the personal choice to believe are truths in the Bible. There is mystery there.

      All I know is that I did make a clear choice to follow Him, after far too many years of rejecting Him. I look back at my life and see the years and years where He patiently waited, acted on my behalf, but also let me experience the consequences of my choices. I thank God for pursuing me, and for choosing me as one of His own ❤️

      If He hadn’t, I’d not be having this conversation with you 🙂

    • Aleea on December 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      “All I know is that I did make a clear choice to follow Him, . . . .”

      That’s so, so beautiful Nancy. . . .All I had and have to offer Him was & is my brokenness and strife, so I wrapped it all in the rags of life and laid it at the cross. —What else can any of us do?

      “I thank God for pursuing me, and for choosing me as one of His own.” —That’s so, so beautiful and so encouraging. I need to pray more and more asking God to ensure that Christ’s story *totally* overtakes my abuse story. . . .This is about Him💕†ރ ✞

      I so pray for you . . . .and I always tell God: There’s so much I may never be as long as I may live, but Lord I am available (Matthew 9:37-38, Romans 12:1, etc.) and I know how bad that could get because not even dying a martyr’s death is classified as extraordinary obedience when you are following a Savior who died on a cross.

      . . . .One thing I have been really realizing recently is the way to conquer sin is not by working hard to change, but by trusting Jesus to change my desires. Praying often for Him to change my desires. —And I know there is indescribable joy to be found, deep satisfaction to be had, and eternal purpose to be fulfilled in dying to myself and living for Him —because I actually experience that sometimes.🎈🎉 🌅 🎼 🎹💫👏🙏

Leave a Comment





Read More

Topic: The Gift of Prayer

Happy Cyber Monday Friends, I hope you’re not getting too stressed out already. The saddest thing about this wonderful season is that most of us don’t really enjoy it. We’re so busy trying to make it perfect for everyone else, that we are stressed out and crabby. Please don’t do that to yourself. You know…

Read More...

Help! I’ve Grown Dependent on My Christian Counselor

Morning friends, Thanks friends for understanding my change in blog posting dates. After prayer it occurred to me that my stress levels could be lowered considerably by changing my blog post date from Monday to Wednesday. Weekends are usually never a time for rest due to speaking or writing. Now that the blog isn’t going…

Read More...

You Matter To God

Dear Friends, Woohoo, the book is done! Well not exactly done, I still have to get all my end notes and appendices in order but its as done as its going to be today. I worked so hard all weekend I think I’m going to have curvature of my spine from hunching over my computer…

Read More...

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?