Morning friends,

I’ve been reading through the Bible this year and I’m in Exodus. I’m very impressed with how much God was concerned with relationship and community as he instructed Moses to help the people know how to handle disputes among one another.  

He starts in Exodus 20 with the Ten Commandments which are applicable to all relationships, both our relationship with God and with others. Breaking any of those Ten Commandments results is damage in our relationship with God and with others.

But then God instructs Moses in chapters 21,22, and 23 to write a lot about who is responsible for what, and when someone messes up or hurts someone he or she must take responsibility for that. I think God knew our tendency to blame others and skirt our own responsibility to come clean as well as accept the consequences of our sin. God knew that for the community to function, these basics must be maintained. The New Testament contains much of the same. God is always concerned about relationships. Our relationship with him and with one another.  

A few blogs back we had some discussion on whether certain verses applied to marriage. I believe all God’s instructions apply to all people. He also gives leaders, parents, slave owners and spouses certain extra instructions on how to handle the challenges in those particular relationships. In no way does that discount or diminish or exclude his general principles for relationships. That thinking is like taking the Ten Commandments and saying the only one that applies to marriage is the one about adultery. If a husband or wife doesn’t commit adultery but murders or lies to his or her spouse, does that make it okay because that verse doesn’t apply to marriage? Absolutely not.  

This week’s question: My question for you today is this: My husband has controlled many of our finances since we were married in 1998. He has made nearly all the final decisions on major expenditures as well as tithing/giving. I have been contributing income since 2005. For several years, my income tripled his income.

Now, my income is lower than his. He doesn’t control my spending in every area. However, he has made several decisions on his own because he says he is the “leader” and has to have the final say when we don’t agree. He has been deceitful to me regarding several large financial decisions I did not agree on so he went ahead and did these things anyway. I feel he has really never valued my opinions and my beliefs on where and how much we tithe/give.

We have been to counseling three times for this issue as well as many others. I feel robbed, forced, controlled and devalued. I feel that he is tithing on what God purposes in only his own heart. I feel angry and resentful he will not allow me to tithe in a manner of what God purposes in my heart.

There have been times I did not give to people I may have wanted to because wisdom tells me we cannot just both be doing whatever we want with the finances. Over a year ago I asked him again to allow me to have input or make my own decision about giving based on what God was purposing in “my” heart. He threatened me with revenge of a sort and was very loud and angry.

I proposed he allow me to give what God purposes in my heart based off the income I bring in to the family account. He refused. He said he is doing what God has told him he must do and said it was his rightful position as head of the home showing his family how to properly tithe and he was responsible under God for me! I feel I have little freedom to be what God wants me to be.

He judges my salvation when I don’t agree or see a bible verse as he does. I feel resentful that even after a counseling session recently where it became evident he was too controlling on financial decisions, he still did not initiate any changes with me. I feel forced against my will. I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible giving husbands the right to force their wives into anything just because they are the husband.

He says it’s all about oneness. When I tell him ‘not' allowing me to have a say or freedom in this area is not oneness, he says he’s the leader and he has to make the final decision as is God's design for the marriage relationship. I want to tell him one more time I need him to stop giving on my portion of the income and allow me the freedom to hear God’s purpose for my heart in the area of generosity, but I’m afraid he’ll do something spiteful. What advice would you give me or others in this situation?

Thank you!

Answer:  This is a great question but it is nuanced and has many levels to explore. I’m going to touch on a few of them. One is your relationship with your husband. The other is your relationship with God.  

Your husband’s view of Biblical headship or leadership tells him that he’s instructed by God to make the final decision on things when you disagree or have a difference of opinions and a wife is to submit. Many good people both men and women hold these Biblical convictions. On the other hand, other godly people, both men, and women who hold a high view of Scripture would disagree and have a more egalitarian (cooperative and mutual submission) view of decision making within marriage.

However, your husband’s view of headship also seems to include deceiving you by lies of omission when he wants to do something financially that he knows you would disapprove of and threatening you with some kind of revenge if you refuse to comply.  

Deceit and revenge are never biblically endorsed styles of leadership to be used when one doesn’t get compliance from others. In fact, Jesus strictly warned his disciples (the future leaders of his church) about misusing their power saying, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant” (Mark 10:43).  

Jesus is clearly against a bully form of headship, even if one holds a complementarian view of headship. Jason Meyer, the head teaching pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church (John Piper’s former church) teaches a complementarian view headship in marriage. However, he writes these words about hyper headship (I get my way form of headship):

“Hyper-headship is a satanic distortion of male leadership, but it can fly under the radar of discernment because it is disguised as strong male leadership. Make no mistake—it is harsh, oppressive, and controlling. In other words, hyper-headship becomes a breeding ground for domestic abuse.”

Whichever side you fall on, I think both sides would agree, Jesus teaches servant headship and leadership, which doesn’t demand it’s own way  (1 Corinthians 13:5), nor does it use verses out of context to get one’s one way.

So my thought is that your husband has gravitated to a theology that endorses and entitles him to do what he wants to do, while ignoring other strong Biblical instructions about sacrificially loving your wife (Ephesians 5:25), not being harsh with her (Colossians 3:19), and mutual submission (Ephesians 5:21).  

Also, true Biblical submission is not something that can be forced or coerced by another person, including a spouse. The Biblical word for submission indicates it is a voluntary choice. Only the one who chooses to submit can willingly yield his or her own way. When a husband forces compliance, it is not biblical submission. It’s intimidation or force. There is a video on my Emotionally Destructive Relationship homepage video on headship and submission. Click Here to view the video.

But you also mentioned that you know “wisdom tells you that you both cannot be doing whatever you want with the finances.” And you’re so right. At times it sounds like you have chosen to willingly yield or submit to your husband’s decision about tithing for the sake of unity and peace in your home and marriage.

Right now, however, you talk about being angry and full of resentment. Your husband’s style of leadership has caused you great angst because as his partner you feel devalued, unheard, disrespected and controlled, especially around the area of tithing.  

You do clarify that he’s not controlling in every area of your life, but he is especially rigid in tithing. Despite your protests, despite you earning much of the family income, despite three different counselors talking to him, he remains fixed in his ideas.  

And now you want to tell him one more time that you need him to hear you and respect your feelings and stop deciding how to tithe on your portion of your income and allow you the freedom to hear God’s purpose for your heart in the area of generosity. But if you do that, you’re afraid he’ll do something spiteful. And from past history, he might do just that.

Instead of wasting your breath trying one more time to get him to hear, let’s talk about you for a minute. You say you NEED him to change. You NEED him to hear you and to give you the freedom to hear God’s purposes and tithe what you feel lead to do.  

Your husband’s rigidity and restrictions on your tithing have resulted in you filling up with resentment and anger. I understand your frustration at not having a voice in this matter, I truly do. But let me challenge you a bit here.

First, I understand that you want him to change. That’s a no-brainer. But if you NEED him to change so that you aren’t filled up with anger and resentment, you are abdicating responsibility for your own well being and putting your spiritual, mental, and emotional health in his hands. In other words, you’re telling yourself that he has to change in order for you to be at peace. He has to change in order for you to let go of resentment. Or, to honor God with your heart and life.

I’m curious. God says that it’s your heart that he wants, not your sacrifice (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13). Maybe right now you can’t tithe as you want or give your money freely but can you give God your heart, your resentment, and your anger that is threatening your own well-being? If you humbly and cheerfully go to God with your desire to tithe generously, do you think he sees your husband’s control and understands why you haven’t been free to be as generous as you would have liked?

Is God not big enough to provide generously for someone who is in your heart, someone who you might want to give to but are blocked right now? What is your picture of God in all of this? God is certainly displeased with your husband but what about you and how you are handling what your husband is doing wrong?  

I think of it this way. What God wants me to BE is far more important than what I think God wants me to DO. So if I’m “doing God’s will,” for example: writing a book, speaking at a church, giving generously, but my heart is full of bitterness, resentment or angst, am I really pleasing God? Or am I doing something good, but for my own reasons and perhaps my own glory?

If it is your husband’s fault that you are filled with resentment, then in kind, could he not justify that it’s your fault that he’s filled with anger and resentment towards you too? God holds each of us responsible for the things we can change. You do not have the power to change your husband’s heart or convictions, but you certainly have the power (the Holy Spirit power) to change your own thinking and attitude.

That doesn’t mean you should endorse his leadership style. But if you want to stay well in your marriage you have to come to peace and accept that for now, your husband isn’t going to change. You are also going to have to resolve that you are not going to allow his rigidity, deceit, sneakiness, threats derail your relationship with God. Tithing doesn’t bring you closer to God, but confession, repentance and trusting him does.

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness and self-control (Ephesians 5:22,23). Click To Tweet

These emotions are in direct opposite to resentment, anger, anxiety, and frustration. Being at peace with who your husband is and how he thinks and acts doesn’t mean that you like it. Nor does it mean that you don’t have some boundaries in place or you don’t speak up or implement consequences for his deceit, his sneakiness or other clearly unbiblical behaviors. But you are now doing it from a place of love and power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). You’re doing it by faith and in the Holy Spirit’s power, not a place of fear, resentment, and anger. God cares about who you are and who you are becoming far more than how much money you give.

I encourage you to focus on that right now and then from a different mindset and with spiritual clarity, I believe he will show you what to do next.

Friend, when you have been filled up with negative emotions (perhaps with good reason), how have you learned to let them go and get to a peaceful place, even if your circumstances haven’t changed?  

136 Comments

  1. Kay on January 31, 2018 at 8:03 am

    I have to consistently go back to God’s grace and love for me. Seek a relationship with him before anything else. Be filled with His spirit, so I can walk in love, joy and fellowship with Him.
    I am not saying I have totally laid hold of this, but I press on to know omg Him and His love on the midst of being bullied, mislead and in an untrustworthy marriage. What I don’t want is to be hopeless and angry (neither are from God).
    It is at times WORK. But I choose to see that I am
    working out my relationship with God to bring about His fruit in my life, knowing it will impact my relationship with my husband and others.
    Choose to be free. Allow God to set you free. Prayers for you!

  2. JoAnn on January 31, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Excellent response, Leslie. You really addressed the heart of the matter: God cares more for our heart condition than He does about what we do. Good for us to keep in mind.

    • Free on January 31, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      I struggle with the response. It seemed to let the guy off without consequences for his abusive behavior, telling the victim to adapt. To me it read as advice for the victim to reframe her thinking rather than take action against her abuser. Maybe I need to read the post again.

      • Aly on January 31, 2018 at 11:20 pm

        Leslie V.

        I’m wondering too about the question and the response.
        Plenty of things to comb through.

        Your question:
        ” Friend, when you have been filled up with negative emotions (perhaps with good reason), how have you learned to let them go and get to a peaceful place, even if your circumstances haven’t changed? ”

        Negative emotions can sometimes be an important crisis for an individual. Filling up that’s another question. I personally think many who are victims are very good at not filling up negative emotions that begin to become destructive. Often they are desensitize them fairly quickly.

        For myself,
        I write and seek counsel about my feelings to look further at them especially with someone who is objective. Minimizing them or ignoring them have never seemed to serve me well.
        It’s possible to experience negative emotions and still ‘regulate’ a healthy response to difficult circumstances.
        I don’t believe they need to be let go of. They need processed and it’s a lot an opportunity to grow deeper into emotional maturity as it’s about how we work through the negative emotion.

        Also, Im feeling that writer is needing to find validation about the imbalanced marriage she is living in. I’m not convinced it’s about tithing, but about the marital oppression and control with additional more covert abusive tactics that she is confused about.

        To me, a complaint or grievance against tithing would be safe topic that maybe the husband couldn’t spin factually.
        Maybe I’m way off but the climate and health of the marriage is a much bigger problem! The deceit alone would be a pretty good indicator for interventions. Also the comment of fear that a spouse would be spiteful????
        What does that mean? Has he done spiteful things prior? Seriously writer I would want to understand your definition because I’m concerned for your well being and how much your h is controlling you and playing with your head.

        • Nancy on February 1, 2018 at 7:10 am

          Hi Aly,

          I think Leslie’s last paragraph deals with why she asks the writer to ‘get right’ with God first. She does speak about implementing boundaries on his deceit etc…but that this has to be done with the power of the Holy Spirit.

          If any of us were to jump into boundaries and requirements of another on ANY unbiblical behaviour – without first examining our own hearts- then we are coming from a place of personal power instead of Holy Spirit power.

          Functioning in our own strength will lead to manipulative behaviour, over-focus on the other person, continued co-dependence etc….

          None of the ‘techniques’ are any good without The Lord. And humility is key to the heart posture that allows us to HEAR the Holy Spirit’s next step 🙂

          • Aly on February 1, 2018 at 8:46 am

            Nancy,

            Yes! I see really good points that Leslie wrote.
            And of course I agree that we need to get our hearts set with God on many of these emotions and examine our own hearts. Especially if we are in danger of getting hard -hearted.
            The writer didn’t use that word but often resentment can lead there. Although, it doesn’t seem to me that this writer is filled up with resentment either and I think it’s important to clarify.

            I also don’t have any specifics to this situation just more information about the marriage situation. I’m more alarmed that she is in a top down position and she feels devalued.

            My reply was not about setting boundaries or requirements but more about wanting to better understand the situation. To me, there were several confusing things.
            I saw that the writer says,
            “I feel anger and resentment”,

            But in the response, I saw a lot of the word ‘full of resentment’ ‘being filled with anger’ etc.written back from Leslie and there seemed to be an emphasis on the wife’s words here and focus on being filled with this.

            Maybe it could be helpful for many of us to better understand the difference in having angry feelings versus being full with resentment?

            I have had women often describe thinking they are resenting when they are pretty ‘frustrated’ at their attempts to get their husbands to acknowledge the wrong doing.

            I think many people throw the word ‘resentment’ around to describe an emotion like anger, yet I’m wondering if they are meaning something else.

            There were plenty of good points too that a fully agree with from Leslie’s point of unbiblical behaviors.

            How this woman is being treated is a bigger concern to address than the woman’s feelings on tithing. That’s why I’m feeling she has been victimized and is maybe herself confused about her feelings if she is indeed feeling the heavy weight of a marriage out of balance in power and position.



          • Nancy on February 1, 2018 at 1:57 pm

            Hi Aly!

            I think that most of us who have already posted on this question will agree that this a ‘tip of the iceberg issue’ and as you clearly pointed out, you are concerned about her feelings of being devalued, more than the tithing issue. I am too!

            I think though, that it’s a question of ‘how to get to that deeper issue’ because the writer has shared that she and her husband have been to counselling over this issue and the question is very specifically about tithing : ‘I want to tell him one more time….what advice would you give.’

            It seems like this tithing issue is a stumbling block for her.

            As I write this out, I’m thinking that a counsellor can address a client via many different avenues. ( go deep immediately, or focus on the next step),

            Although this writer did not say that she was ‘filled’ with resentment, she did say that she felt ‘Robbed, forced, devalued, controlled’, and a bit later on that she ‘has little freedom of what God wants me to be ‘ and near the end ‘I feel forced against my will’. These are strong statements that speak of quite a bit of resentment ( with reason!).

            I do agree that she is confused and is focused on the wrong thing. I hope that once her stumbling block is removed, she will begin to see the deeper issue.



          • Aly on February 1, 2018 at 2:39 pm

            Nancy,

            Thanks for commenting back~ and yes your right many have picked up on there are bigger things to sort through here.

            I’m concerned for the writer and I do hope she might join the conversation, maybe to bring clarity or work through the confusing places.

            For me, when a person is in a destructive marriage and there are clear power and control issues going on, sometimes a beaten down ‘survior’ will only be able to bring certain (biblically obvious) complaints up against the abusing person that are usually less punishing but might have the greatest chance to be heard.
            I’m far from saying I know … just outloud processing here.

            Also, I have heard certain people claim that if they tithe, they expect to not have marriage or life difficulties so they attribute tithing with smooth paths.
            And not tithing to being punished or receiving consequences. I’m wondering if this writer is somehow focusing on the tithing as something that will help her destructive partner change what she is currently the recipient of?
            Facing the tithing issue might seem safer than the destructive marriage issue as many others have pointed out.
            Like going to the Dr. concerned about a headache not going away, but the person’s arm is severed!
            Not saying this is exactly the case but my heart goes out to her if she is confused by all the devaluing and ‘less than’ treatment.

            My prayer is that the Lord draw near and give her the courage to sort through those feelings and the reality of her marriage and that she may experience just how much He loves and values her! 💟



          • Nancy on February 1, 2018 at 2:20 pm

            Hi again,

            I also think distinguishing between anger and resentment, is a really good point. I spoke to how I see the difference below Seeing the Light’s post.



          • Seeing the Light on February 1, 2018 at 2:25 pm

            Nancy,

            If I am butting in here, please forgive me. If not, I have a question. If so, just ignore this please. (I do appreciate the wisdom you share from your own life experience and growth, and I read your comments with great interest).

            I continue to be concerned about this concept of what is being called resentment.

            Toward the end of your comment you said, “Although this writer did not say that she was ‘filled’ with resentment, she did say that she felt ‘Robbed, forced, devalued, controlled’, and a bit later on that she ‘has little freedom of what God wants me to be ‘ and near the end ‘I feel forced against my will’. These are strong statements that speak of quite a bit of resentment ( with reason!).”

            Are you saying that the remarks that you are quoting here speak of a wrong attitude in the writer? You said that they “speak of quite a bit of resentment (with reason!).” By calling these statement out as exhibiting resentment, are you indicating that they are wrong feelings, or feelings that need to be dealt with as sin?

            What if she had said something like, “I am being robbed, forced, devalued, and controlled” and “I am being forced against my will”? These are simply objective statements of truth according to the description of her situation. (The middle statement is a little more difficult as it is already spoken in the objective sense – not feelings. Suffice it to say that in such a spiritually abusive relationship, she surely comes up against obstacles to being all God created her to be). If she simply states these facts and expresses that she feels the reality of it (and it can’t feel good), is there any sin in it?



          • Nancy on February 1, 2018 at 3:14 pm

            HI Seeing the Light,

            No you’re not butting in at all. I think you raise such an important question. My sentence is contradictory.

            I’ll try to say it another way:

            When I have resentment, then it just means that I have not ‘acted on’ or ‘listened to’ the anger that pre-ceded it, in order to guard my heart. ( anger is meant to propel us to right action)

            So, although we can see why this writer is resentful ( she HAS been treated badly! This IS a fact). It does not mean that being resentful is ok.

            We cannot blame the condition of her heart, on him. Her husband is responsible for his behaviour towards her, but she is responsible for the condition of her heart, before The Lord.

            And so when I said, ‘ with reason’, I meant that I see the reason this has happened. AND I can totally empathize because I have A LOT of stored up anger (resentment) that I am in the process of bringing before The Lord!

            I thank Him for His mercy ❤️



          • Nancy on February 1, 2018 at 3:57 pm

            I’ll join you in prayer, Aly; for the Lord to draw near to this woman ❤️



      • JoAnn on January 31, 2018 at 11:26 pm

        Free, I think it goes back to the fact that we really can’t change another person. We always need to look within ourselves to see where the Lord wants us to change, and when we do, that creates a new dynamic in the relationship that can bring about more reciprocal change. That having been said, I got the feeling that this issue, the tithing, is perhaps the tip of an iceberg of much bigger issues. Perhaps the woman who wrote is so used to the things in her marriage that are problematic that this issue just becomes a symptom of bigger things that she isn’t looking at. Of course, no marriage is perfect, and we all need to learn to live with each other’s imperfections, but usually those aren’t abuses, just human imperfections. I think the bigger cry for her was wanting him to respect her love and dedication to the Lord, but Leslie addressed that, too, and so did you with other options for tithing. There might be deeper issues here, but she will have to ask the Lord to show her what they are.

  3. Tammy on January 31, 2018 at 9:59 am

    While I agree that anger and resentment harm us and is unhealthy, it is also a warning sign that something needs to change. When anyone thinks they are entitled to bully someone else, and disregard their feelings, there may be more issues than the glaring one about tithing. It sounds like he controls the finances in general. Sadly, sometimes stronger boundaries in this area may be needed,like separating the finances. But then if the person is vindictive you can expect a tit-for-tat response. It’s why boundaries are so hard! We have to choose what boundaries are worth fighting for and at what cost.

  4. Carol on January 31, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Since she works, couldn’t she just go ahead and tithe what she feels led to give? I don’t see the problem with that. She isn’t a child that has to obey her husband.

  5. Susan on January 31, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Amen amen this was my life for years and resentment was there for me this is the first time in a Christian has addressed my responsibility for walking out this process. I did for years give my heart to God and volunteer where ever I could to give my time because I had no money. I am a house wife an didn’t have an income but time yes I could give. Situation has changed I manage finances he still does actions and not tell me but there is God there to show me how to clear it up.

  6. Laura on January 31, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Thank you, and Praise God, for your balanced teaching! My husband is so grieved and upset about how destructive some of the church’s teaching on headship and authority can be. I appreciate how you acknowledge differing views of headship (complementarian/egalitarian) yet stick to the godly attitude required, whatever view you agree with. And challenging the writer’s attitude, offering life giving words . . .

  7. Nancy on January 31, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I agree with JoAnn, Leslie. You got straight to the heart of the matter. As you said, once this writer focuses on her own heart, next steps will become clear. We all need to get the log out of our own eye so that we can clearly see the road ahead ( or at least a little bit ahead).

    As to your question: The process of learning to use my voice has had tremendous effects on the condition of my heart. I began practicing using my voice in safe places, with safe people.

    Now, as I am learning to take more responsibility for myself, I am realizing that the other person’s response to my words just don’t have the same amount of power they used to.

    ( of course if I were being constantly worn down by someone who disregarded my words, then that would need to be addressed in order to establish emotional safety)

    Also, before I was able to properly confront my h on his bad attitude and behaviour, I was convicted of idolizing him. This realization brought me to my knees before The Lord and flattened me. It was from that place of humility that I was able to set boundaries and make requirements of him.

    I thank God for His conviction of my own sin. I thank God for teachings like Leslie’s that teach us to take responsibility for our own heart. It’s always the first right step.

  8. Eleanore on January 31, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    The link in the article above for the video about headship and submission is not working, I believe. Is it still available? Thank you.

    *There is a video on my Emotionally Destructive Relationship homepage video on headship and submission. Click Here to view the video.

    • assistant on February 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Hello Eleanore, the link is now working. Sorry for the confusion.

  9. Aleea on January 31, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    re: My Husband Won’t Let Me Tithe And I’m Getting Resentful
    . . . .This is really beautiful put by Leslie: “. . . .God says that it’s your heart that he wants, not your sacrifice (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13). Maybe right now you can’t tithe as you want or give your money freely but can you give God your heart, your resentment, and your anger that is threatening your own well-being? If you humbly and cheerfully go to God with your desire to tithe generously, do you think he sees your husband’s control and understands why you haven’t been free to be as generous as you would have liked?” . . . .I think why that may also be important is that this tithe may just be one of the symptoms, not the problem. Could it be that you are resentful at your husband for various things and this is the manifestation? I think maybe the key is to *deeply* understand. . . .Maybe, if it is safe to do so, just go ahead and tithe or negotiate the highest amount you can (show your husband all the reasons/blessings of doing so from the Word-of-God) and then see if something else comes up that you are still angry with your husband about. You need to truly know yourself . . .that can lead you to your ultimate concerns, not just fixing “the problem.” It could be you need to understand yourself. That understanding changes your mind. . . .But it is very hard because we often do not want to know what we really, deeply, already know because it is just too horrible and painful. . . .

    “Friend, when you have been filled up with negative emotions (perhaps with good reason), how have you learned to let them go and get to a peaceful place, even if your circumstances haven’t changed?” . . . .Symptoms speak for me when I have a truth that I am not speaking and deeply dealing with. I will get a temporary rash, or deep back pain that I hardly ever get, et.al. Once I rule out it is not medical, I let them start speaking to me. That is when I know I need to talk to that inter “symptôme” (from the French word Sinthome, which is spoken “saint homme” — a holy man. A prophet!!!) That’s what symptoms are, just like the prophets from the O.T. . . .When I listen to my symptoms, they can lead me to the truth by shining a light into my darkness. I pray about the symptoms when I have them. —Lord, what is actually the problem here that this symptom is showing and Lord what part of this situation contains an unspeakable truth within me that I don’t even want to speak to You or know that I know. . . . Now, addressing symptoms is easy (—despite its ultimate futility). —But, looking at the unspeakable truth that the symptoms point to, now that’s *really* hard. That’s messy and complex. It’s very painful. So, when I see those “symptômes” I always ask: What are the problems I am grappling with right now? Are they genuine problems or (and/or) could they just be symptoms of a much deeper concern? —The real problem, the ultimate concern. What are the really unspeakable truths that are speaking through these symptoms? For me, I think it is that I just can’t face the fact that God may just be imaginary. It may be something I must grapple with my entire life but I so hate it. Therefore I have “issues” with all kinds of Bible “issues.” . . .So, in the above situation, the getting resentful over just that tithe may be something safe that you can afford to confront. But what you really need to confront (ultimate concern) could burn your house right to the ground, so to speak. But recognizing that it’s there and naming it reduces how much control you let the symptoms have on your life. Following God’s direction, —that’s even harder (re: confronting your husband; for me confronting God). But what’s the alternative — to take the painkillers, in my case to be willfully blind so that I can numb the symptoms until the final day of respite comes? —Or stand up and fight and truly live, even if it brings the whole thing crashing down around me? I think you always have to go for —the ultimate concern, the truth. If we can address our ultimate concerns, we are giving ourselves the hope to really solve all the symptoms down stream. So, I always ask: what’s not really working in my life? Just like you it is probably in no way as simple as just that tithe. So my symptoms are not the problem, they’re pointing to the solution as hard as it may be to really face.

  10. Free on January 31, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    I think it is very important not to dismiss our negative emotions. They are often warning signs of injustice and trouble. Silencing those emtions are how many of us perpetuate our own abuse.

    To the initial title I respond, then tithe something other than money. Your husband so no signs or interest in changing. Since you are not changing either, in that you still live in relationship with this man, you must adapt.

    Creative suggestions, which unfortunately still enable his manipulation, yet let you temporarily endure his nonsense is possible. You can tithe prayer, time, service, praise and worship. In abundance shower your tithe of love, mercy, grace and stewardship. You don’t need money for any of those actions.

    But deep down, you know these are all compromises right? They are great additions to your financial tithe. Tell me why are you with this many again who dismisses you and is financially abusive?

    • Robin on February 1, 2018 at 12:05 am

      I’m really joyful to hear women standing up against the abuse and not minimizing the larger destructive issues in this marriage. I think all of the above responses were right on, seeing the need for some healthy heart work of their own — but not dismissing the abuse. Both need to be examined.

    • Renee on February 2, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      My wish is that more leaders (pastors, church officials, priest, reverends, etc.) would spread the word that you can tithe in more ways then just money. Instead members are being condemned.

      This message has been lost so thanks Free for bringing that message back around.

  11. JoAnn on January 31, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    An insightful and helpful response. Thank you. I also like to pay attention to my body, but it is hard sometimes to get clear answers. I’m working on it!

    • Aleea on February 1, 2018 at 6:37 am

      . . . .Thank you so much for reading it. You know what JoAnn, I was thinking last night as I feel asleep that saying “God” is never really naming God but only naming our understandings of God. To take our ideas of the divine and hold them as if they correspond to the reality of God is to construct a conceptual idol built from the materials of our human minds. . . . .Love . . . .love is the crazy, mad, and I think sometimes ridiculous gesture of saying YES to our marriages and lives, of seeing them as worthy of our embrace and even worthy of our total sacrifice. ―And that is why it seems to me that a faith that can only exist in the light of victory and certainty (―things I really want) is one which really affirms the self (―the ego, ―my ego) while pretending to affirm Christ, for it only follows Jesus in the belief that Jesus has conquered death. Yet a faith that can look at the horror of the cross and still say “yes” is one that says “no” to the self in saying “yes” to Christ. ―I know, . . . .I know that needs work but I am trying to understand it enough to articulate it completely. . . .When confronted with inner conflicts, we are tempted to obscure them by externalizing the antagonisms: —I hate my rotten husband because he does _____, I hate that women (that I don’t even really know anything about) because she ________ . . .i.e. something that is done through the hatred of others and/or the hatred of the self (—turning the scapegoat mechanism inward).

      . . .It seems to me that the more difficult, courageous, and Christ-honoring path involves attempting to actually face and deal with the antagonisms. To look *deeply* inside. I would guess (—but I certainly don’t know) that it is not about tithing, ―tithing is easy to “fix.” This is probably about love. Imagine this: They start praying together each day about tithing. After awhile they start tithing, then the husband falls in love with Chrsit and wants to serve God in a dangerous Muslim country. Now, he goes to his wife and she totally resists. That is why it is important to be dealing with ultimate concerns. . . .What is really going on at the base of all the “issues.” . . . .Surrender the outcomes to God, really hard for things we deeply care about. . . .But placing the beautifully vulnerable parts of ourselves, our raw selves, into His hands . . .I believe moves His heart . . . .but hope also moves our hearts into His hands . . . but we were never, ever in control of anything in the first place, so the only thing to be afraid of is . . . .I just don’t know what we are always afraid of. But, I do know our real beliefs are not to be found at the level of our egos, —no way. The evidence of “forgiveness of sin” is not found in a profession of belief, but in a life freed from self-destructive pursuits, scapegoating others and ourselves, et.al. . . .Oh, and by the way, I’ve been praying every single day for your issues with your body. Life is hard enough when our bodys are healthy.

  12. Aleea on February 1, 2018 at 7:01 am

    P.S. Re: This just hit me so it probably needs more work: Knowing Jesus is about a salvation that takes place *within* our unknowing and dissatisfaction, in my case, breaking my addiction to certainty and satisfaction: A scapegoat (usually the husband but even ourselves) is that which we blame for not being able to get what we most desire. That scapegoat takes on the burden of our failure to get what we cannot reach—the sacred-object. A clear expression of scapegoating occurs when some individual or community is collectively viewed by another to be the obstacle preventing the attainment of their ultimate goals: I can’t tithe because of my husband. Me: I can’t know God deeply because of all the Bible manuscripts textual variants/ interpolations/ redactions/ textual alterations/ textual additions/ textual contradictions, et.al.

  13. Remedy on February 1, 2018 at 11:23 am

    I must agree with the other commenters….this is likely the tip of a much bigger iceberg and the writer has become overwhelmed with complete loss of not only her adulthood, but her very own personhood.

    In this so called marriage I’m in, the belief and action system goes like this…..what’s his is his….what’s mine is his…..what’s ours is his….he owns it all. Of course this was not spelled out before marriage, but was imposed in all sorts of ways following the honeymoon. If I disagreed and would not comply with this mindset, there was explosive rage in ways that many of you understand what I’m talking about. It was a terror based force into compliance because he knew if he expressed his beliefs before marriage, I would have run for the hills.

    I understand where the writer is coming from and feel continuing to feed this monstrous entitlement and purely selfish mindset does not bring glory to God, and worse, gives a terrible example to our children of both genders. The fallout of this belief system going unaddressed will bleed into the next generation and we may reap an unintended harvest.

    May the Lord guide all of us into His truth and courage to stand for it.

  14. Seeing the Light on February 1, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    I agree with much of what Free, Aly, and Remedy have said.

    Further, I think it is obvious that this “marriage” is extremely unhealthy. From the symptoms described in the question, there is strong reason to suspect it is a destructive marriage. To focus primarily on the tithing problem is like treating one symptom of an underlying cancer that is destroying the whole body (though I do realize that her questions primarily focused there).

    I’ve got to admit that I’m having some pretty negative emotions right now toward her husband, and to be honest, I think that is good and normal. What I do with those emotions may be significant, but their presence is reasonable and I am okay with them. I am concerned about too much pressure being placed on dispensing with negative emotions. In the Webster’s dictionary that I have, resentment is defined as “a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.” Okay. Well, God Himself experiences indignation everyday. I get it that when one has been offended and the offense is over and years go by with bitterness and resentment growing, this is unhealthy, but when the offense is ongoing, daily, that normal sense of experiencing the indignation at the offense continues to happen daily. These sins against her are not in the past. They are ever-present, ongoing, and persistent. I do not want to split hairs here, but I also wondered if we have the full text of her question or not because I saw that she said, “I feel angry and resentful he will not allow me to tithe in a manner of what God purposes in my heart” and “I feel resentful that even after a counseling session recently where it became evident he was too controlling on financial decisions, he still did not initiate any changes with me.” Yet in the response to her question, Leslie stated, “Right now, however, you talk about being angry and full of resentment” and “But if you NEED him to change so that you aren’t filled up with anger and resentment, you are abdicating responsibility for your own well being and putting your spiritual, mental, and emotional health in his hands.” I don’t mean to split hairs, but I do believe that there is a world of difference between feeling resentment or resentful at injustice and the like and being “filled” with resentment or “full” of resentment, which makes it sound like that is the majority of what is going on in someone’s heart, or that the heart can’t be healthy if such a feeling occurs in the presence of sin and injustice. I feel indignation almost daily at my husband and his iron-grip on the finances and the resulting abuse in addition to all the rest of his abusiveness, but my heart is not full of it. If I try to suffocate such a reasonable response to his sin, I don’t think I will be healthy.

    I am reluctant to say anything else that is critical of Leslie’s response, but there was another item that concerned me: “Your husband’s style of leadership has caused you great angst because as his partner you feel devalued, unheard, disrespected and controlled, especially around the area of tithing.” and “That doesn’t mean you should endorse his leadership style.” I get very nervous hearing his bullying, forcing, threatening, and controlling, etc. referred to as a “leadership style” or “style of leadership.” I would call it his sin, falsely masquerading as leadership, while daring to use God Himself for his own selfish purposes. It seems that is what may be causing her angst.

    • Nancy on February 1, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Seeing the Light,

      I don’t think it’s about ‘suffocating a reasonable response to sin’. We should never do that. We should listen to that reasonable response to sin, and act.

      Jesus healed a man on the sabbath just after he got angry. Anger is meant to propel us to right action.

      We need to listen to our anger and ACT. Resentment is an accumulation of un-dealt with anger. If we have resentment, then we have not set ( and kept) appropriate boundaries to guard our heart.

      Anger is not a sin ( Jesus felt it!). Resentment is.

      Proverbs tells us to ‘above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of your life’. Anger is my heart’s best friend! Because it warns me to act so that resentment does not build.

      • Seeing the Light on February 1, 2018 at 2:35 pm

        Nancy,

        Hi! Then would you say that indignation is a sin?

        • JoAnn on February 1, 2018 at 3:16 pm

          Seeing the Light and Nancy,
          I may be wrong, but I think that indignation comes from a place of pride. Not the best place from which to deal with offenses.

        • Nancy on February 1, 2018 at 3:27 pm

          Well…I looked it up, and you know what synonym came up? Resentment!

          I think that sin is anything that blocks our relationship with God…..? Maybe that’s why the Bible warns against ‘holding onto’ anger or ‘sinning in’ your anger. If we hold onto it, it blocks up our heart. If we ‘act rightly’ because of it, then our heart is clear.

          What do you think?

          • Seeing the Light on February 1, 2018 at 4:22 pm

            Well, back in Webster’s dictionary, I find indignation to be defined as, “anger aroused by something unjust, unworthy, or mean.” So it would be not just losing one’s temper because the dinner burned or because someone did something annoying or thoughtless. I am unfamiliar with a definition of indignation that includes pride. I had always thought indignation had a connotation of righteousness to it – possibly because of its being used to describe God, as well as the sense that it is aroused by injustice. It seems resentment gets used to imply something unrighteous or sinful, though I do not believe it must necessarily be so if the inciting event is actually unjust (not just perceived to be so incorrectly). Certainly, if someone falsely accuses me of a crime or a heinous sin out of bad motives, I can say, “I resent that” righteously.

            I continue to be concerned about two things as regards this issue. First is what sounds like a fear of negative emotions or a placing of them all into a category of sinful. When one lives with an abuser day in and day out, as I do, negative emotions will simply be. I am okay with the logic of that. I long for the day I have a home where peace and love reign. That will not happen while I live with my husband. So, until that day, I accept that a certain amount of bad feelings are going to be a part of the norm. I’m always going to “resent” being accused frequently of things I am not guilty of by someone who claims to be a Christian. I will always experience indignation over his use of God’s Word to malign me and our children while lifting himself up. The day I don’t, then I will be worried. (I’m not going to deliberately focus on them or try to make it worse, of course). Now, when it’s all said and done, I will consider it an unhealthy sort of resentment and bitterness if I continue to stir up such feelings after I’ve gotten away from him and the offenses have ceased. I believe the negative emotions can be a gift from God to keep me sane in a way. If I had to keep trying to make them go away, so to speak, I’d be exhausted! I used to try to do something like this in an almost scrupulous way that left me constantly looking for what I had missed because the atmosphere still got to me. But God loves me, and He gets it. So, instead I look up to Him, and admit it’s pretty awful living in this situation and it feels horrible and that I look forward to the day He delivers me.

            The other thing that is concerning to me is an aspect of the approach to the writer of the original question. I know she herself chose the word “resentful,” but I would like to cut her a break that that doesn’t mean she is full of sin regarding this issue. I find Christian culture has so taught us to submit, surrender, don’t have an angry thought – especially against a husband, that for my part, every time I felt something negative about my husband, I condemned myself and found words to describe it that convicted me of sin. It took me almost two decades of losing myself in the fog of covert abuse before God Himself started to remove the scales, and I was in shock! I can’t help but hear this poor woman – so focused on tithing and how she should feel in response to her husband’s treatment of her in this area – and wanting to say, dear lady, hold on to your hat, because that is – as others have said – just the tip of the iceberg. So I can’t imagine there is a whole lot of help for her in trying to get rid of every iota of resentment and anger. It’s like trying to heal a wound that someone else is clawing open and pouring salt in whenever you turn around.



          • JoAnn on February 1, 2018 at 4:37 pm

            A very insightful response, Seeing the Light, and I appreciate your perspective. Also, I accept that I am wrong about assuming that there is a pride component to indignation. I said that without looking it up. I guess that it was an assumption on my part, because of what I perceive from common usage. It’s good that we have dictionaries, no?



          • Aly on February 1, 2018 at 7:52 pm

            Seeing the light,

            Some of what you describe above remind me of a spouse who is dealing with a repeat offender~ let’s say infidelity and repeat betrayal.

            I don’t believe the person who is being betrayed can be in the process of forgiveness while it is continually going on against the other person & not ceasing.
            ~Especially in a marriage because this dynamic is supposed to be the safest and most sacred of human relationship joined together.

            If the offender doesn’t stop, and the Spouse can get away from the person, then the spouse has room and space for forgiveness and healing. (Not reconciliation obviously)

            Going back to the discussion on resentment and being resentful verses being filled with resentment are different.
            I believe the danger in not dealing with our anger or resentment setting in is that it can bring us to a higher risk of hardness of heart.

            With hardness of heart we are unable to discern many truths and further healing and especially receiving restorative Love from God and Community.



          • Seeing the Light on February 1, 2018 at 8:38 pm

            Aly,

            I agree with your comment here. I struggle with the discouragement that a more complete healing for my children and me can only be fully realized once we are free of him. I visit another blog regularly that is supportive of domestic abuse victims and have read many women’s stories. The common theme is that it is very difficult (if not impossible) to achieve a decent measure of peace and healing while the abuse continues. It will be some time before we can be free, and it is difficult to accept that we are simply doing the best we will probably be able to do until then. I think the hardest part for me is the spiritual and religious abuse. I grew up with it and married into it. Because my husband is considered by all in our community, including our Christian community to be wonderful and a saint, any relationships there would have to be a facade. I have pulled back rather than fake it. So my community is primarily online and email with some women I have met online.



          • Nancy on February 2, 2018 at 7:32 am

            Hi Seeing the Light, and Aly,

            What you point out, Aly, about hardness of heart is key. That is exactly the danger of unresolved anger.

            Healing cannot happen while living with ongoing abuse, but an equally big concern is, as Aly pointed out, “‘the inability to discern many truths’.

            God is for the oppressed, Seeing the Light. I am a bit concerned about the resignation to this lifestyle that I ‘hear’ in your post. This is not a judgment at all. Just concern for you and your kids.

            I’m praying for God to part the sea, and for Him to prepare, and enable you to walk to safety.



          • Seeing the Light on February 2, 2018 at 3:41 pm

            Nancy,

            Thank you so much for your concern and your prayers. I understand that you are not making a judgment. I am not thrilled about what you are hearing as resignation either. Yet, what is the alternative? I have been in this closer to three decades than two (I am leaving out specifics for my own safety). I have been through many different stages in coming to understanding what has been the truth behind our marriage. I have sought God from the beginning. I agree with you that He is for the oppressed and I take encouragement from that. That doesn’t change the fact that the oppression continues. When he chooses to lift that oppression is up to Him. I have already been brought to the point that I believe this marriage is completely destructive and I can leave my husband in good conscience. Some of my children are yet minors, however, and I can’t leave if that puts them in a more difficult situation than remaining. At this point, I believe that to be the case, so I stay to protect them. (There are other logistical factors as well that are very significant, but secondary). Recognizing that there are only a few ways that result in freedom for my children and me from my husband, I therefore look to the time that all my children will reach the age of majority as the most likely time I will be free, though I pray and pray that it would be sooner, as age increases and health decreases during the waiting. (I do have health problems from the stress). Is it not best to resign myself to this fact and the lifestyle it brings with it (as described in a previous comment)? There is much grieving along the way as children grow up and leave and I realize that their entire childhoods and their entire time living in a home with me has been and likely will be under oppression. I long hoped that God would deliver before children began to leave home (and go far away specifically to get out of my husband’s reach), but the answer to that was no.

            As you know, the Israelites were oppressed in slavery in Egypt for 400 years. Many of them died in it and never got to walk through the Red Sea. Even those that did waited a long time and cried out a long time never knowing when God would answer. They didn’t know if they would be part of the group delivered or the part that would die in chains. When I gained some strength a while back and was encouraged in my heart and in my relationship with the Lord, I spoke truth to my husband and stood up for the children and myself in small ways. That brought on punishments, including financial abuse. It reminds me of the Israelites being required to make bricks without straw. (I wonder how many died between the time Moses appeared on the scene and the conditions actually got worse and the time they left Egypt. Just a thought.)

            I so appreciate your prayers that God would part the sea and I pray that, too, and I wait to see what His decision will be.



          • Nancy on February 2, 2018 at 8:40 pm

            I feel for you, Seeing the Light, and will continue to pray. I’m assuming from your post that you do not feel safe enough to separate with the hope of him repenting?

            I’m also assuming that your local domestic abuse centre can’t help?

            It’s so difficult for me to accept any woman being so trapped – especially after her eyes have been opened to abuse! But I say this fully recognizing that I have only an iota of the facts.

            God sees the whole picture, Seeing the Light. He knows you; and I am happy to know that you have been leaning into Him since the beginning of it all.



          • Seeing the Light on February 2, 2018 at 9:36 pm

            Thank you, Nancy. There is no point in separating with the hope of him repenting. There is something seriously wrong with him (whether sick or evil or both). He is absolutely bent on the fact that I am the fault of all things. Even when the children used to try to speak with him about issues in their relationships, anything negative about himself was explained away that I caused them to think it. Simple things. Obvious things. Things he had clearly said and done in the hearing and/or viewing of the child or children. If the children tried to speak up and say these things were hurting their relationships with him or were disconcerting in general, he was adamant that that was impossible. It was me. I poisoned them. I was like a cult leader getting them to believe and to do whatever I wanted them to believe and to do. None of the problems could be him.

            He has mocked the very fact that I have wanted to talk about my feelings at all. Like literally mocked and made fun of feelings. When I brought up the lack of warmth and affection over the years, I was angrily informed that it is not my business to tell him what love looks like. He looks at me with bitter contempt. If I make a decent point about an event that has occurred that is any way negative about him but is undeniably true (so that we could make some headway and he would be able to understand how he hurt me or the kids), he gets angry or starts laughing at me, mutters or yells, and leaves the room talking about how messed up I am and how there is just no point talking to me. There’s much, much more. Sometimes, the conversations don’t even follow a rational track.

            We are living separated here in the house. We have separate bedrooms now. It has become obvious that unless I shift my thinking to agree with him that I am to blame for everything and get in line with seeing all things as he does, he would like me to leave. He hasn’t said it straight out, but he has more than once asked why I don’t just divorce. I believe that he knows if I do, it will be his best opportunity to force himself on the children more. I have no guarantees of winning custody. I have read the stories and that which should be a slam dunk in the courts often isn’t. If I leave, I could be opening up a can of worms that leaves my remaining minor children in a very vulnerable position. He has told the children that one day they will see…they will see that he was right and I was the problem all along. This is one of his goals. Right now they do not have much time alone with him at all and they want none. They are quite frankly creeped-out by him. They stand a good chance of losing more than they would gain if I leave.

            Also, based on the financial abuse and his expressions regarding my worth (surprise, it’s pretty low to non-existent) and the fact that he does not see my contribution to our family life as valuable, it is reasonable to conclude he will fight to leave me with as little as possible and the battle in the courts could get lengthy and expensive. My poor health will not hold out, and his resources to fight it out in court would likely outlast mine.

            The local domestic abuse shelter can’t fix this.



          • JoAnn on February 2, 2018 at 11:10 pm

            Your situation is very troubling, Seeing the Light. It’s truly crazy-making, and I am concerned for your health and well-being, as well as that of your children. From what you said, it seems to me that you are making some assumptions that I am not sure are accurate, especially related to what would happen if you divorced. The courts would decide child support for the children that are currently living with you, but if you wait until they are of age, then you wouldn’t get that. The court would also probably interview the children to make a determination about custody. If your h is blaming all his problems on you, then it would make sense that he will be glad to get rid of you and the kids. He might be putting up a show, but he stands to lose more than you do if you go ahead with the divorce. If all that you do to keep the household running were taken away, he loses a lot. The stress that this is causing you is taking a toll, and if you were to become even more incapacitated from this environment, then how can you care for the children? Open this up to the Lord and ask Him to show you which steps He wants you to take. He isn’t going to step in like a knight in shining armor to rescue you, but He will show you what steps to take next, as so many of the women here have testified. You must “step into the water” before the sea will part. Praying for you.



          • Renee on February 3, 2018 at 11:33 am

            I think the kids are eligible (child support) until age 18. You may also be awarded alimony or spousal support. My attorney did tell me they would interview our teens because they were over the ages of 14.

            You know many times we will come up with all kinds of reasons until we are ready to take action. Support is great to have when that time comes.



          • Renee on February 3, 2018 at 11:05 am

            Seeing the Light, what are the ages of your children? Did I miss this somewhere? Are you able to share that info?



          • Seeing the Light on February 2, 2018 at 10:04 pm

            I just wanted to add…I am trapped. I see the abuse. I now what it is, and I am trapped. The thing is – I am not the only one. There are many of us out here.



          • Aly on February 3, 2018 at 12:04 am

            Seeing the Light,

            I’m so very sorry. I’m so sad for your daily surviving. 😥
            My heart is so heavy for this living arrangement and such abuse of your personhood. It’s very wrong as you know.

            How is your husband liking the separate rooms? What’s the response?

            I feel like what you describe is such a mean spirited person at the core, not saying he is.
            I’m concerned for your children and their reality and your future relationship with them.
            Sometimes children grow up with such oppression and will turn on the other parent for not fighting for them. I just want you to be cautious of this as a possibility.
            (I’m not saying you should anything and you know your safety better than I)

            Something about what you describe reminds me of some of my experiences growing up and being invalidated by obvious things. Not always but often and it was done by my siblings the most but it was modeled for them.
            My mother ~ still does the same covering and non action against wrong.
            I believe this environment set me up strongly for an abusive partner. Thank the Lord my husband has been in recovery and I don’t live my old life but it was enough for as long as it lasted.

            I just don’t want your children to turn against you for ‘their interpretation’ of your role in the dynamic. This doesn’t always happen and maybe they see that to advocate for them makes it worse …but it can turn and it can once they are adults. The anger of not being protected can run deep against a mother because often the mother is the primary care giver.

            I’m so sorry. I will pray for you and for the Lord to give you every step you need!



          • Renee on February 3, 2018 at 12:08 pm

            Aly you didn’t ask me so excuse me if I am interfering. I can only speak toward my experience. My husband had no problem sleeping in another room as long as he was receiving all the other benefits. His meals, clothes washed, sexual and emotional needs met, etc. He only became uncomfortable when those benefits started running out.

            Although we initially agreed to different rooms due to his snoring lol. I didn’t want to end up putting a pillow over his head. Then it slowly started becoming due to other issues.

            Is this you experience as well STL?

            I believe the best decision I ever made for my entire family was to start putting light on the situation. In the beginning I wanted to protect my husband and myself from judgment. Part of that was getting me and the kids into counseling, finally coming clean with my parents and siblings, coming clean to my pastor, and involving the law and getting reports on file. My close friends always knew.

            So maybe STL can take one small step and then additional steps will follow as she becomes strong.

            Excuse errors my mind is kind of scattered on what I need to accomplish today.



          • Seeing the Light on February 3, 2018 at 12:43 am

            JoAnn,

            Thank you for your concern and your prayers. I really need them.

            Yes, crazy-making is an excellent way to describe it. It has been a long road and it has had a detrimental effect on my health and indeed the children have suffered under it as well.

            Rest assured that I have done my research. I have seen an excellent divorce attorney on a few occasions to get preliminary information and survey the situation. I have researched as much as I can find regarding my state’s particular laws and court tendencies regarding divorce and child custody. I have read many stories of women who are divorcing abusive and particularly narcissistic and/or sociopathic men (as the two counselors I saw during the last several years have suggested that he may likely be narcissistic and/or sociopathic based on my descriptions of his words and actions). I have connected with women on the phone and email that I met online – women who are going through or have gone through divorce from such men. It is firsthand testimony from the front lines. I also have one friend I have known in person for years who went through divorce from such a man. These women can testify to the intense and lengthy battle that they can make it unless you cave in and give up the fight. Children are commonly used as leverage. Custody is often sought even in cases where there is no interest in relationship with the children just to punish the mother.

            Yes, I am aware of child support. To me that is not the issue. Naturally, if I got the kids, I would get child support. (For that matter, financially, I would be to able stand firm for alimony and settlement of assets far better after the children are too old for him to use as a weapon). I am also aware the kids would be interviewed. That doesn’t mean that he won’t make a case that I am the cause of their alienation from him. Even so, there is no certainty that I will get full custody. There are other issues as well that I learned from my conversations with the attorney – one of them being that where I am and given the judges he knows we have here – I would be put in the position that I would have to encourage the children to have a relationship with their father if I want the judge to see me favorably. I can’t do that to the children. I support their intuition and their choice to keep a safe distance from the crazy-making. So that would be something I simply could not do.

            You said, “If your h is blaming all his problems on you, then it would make sense that he will be glad to get rid of you and the kids.” I want to say, yeah, but he doesn’t make sense, which is true. His actions often do not make rational sense. Oh, the stories I could tell. But he is still holding out hope that he can change the children’s minds – that they would blame me as he does. He wants to be rid of me. He does not want to be rid of the kids. If he were rid of me, his motivation to go even harder after the kids would be increased.

            Also…”The stress that this is causing you is taking a toll, and if you were to become even more incapacitated from this environment, then how can you care for the children?” Indeed. I reckon, however, that based on the health problems I now have, I stand a greater chance of becoming incapacitated during the battle due to the stress involved, as well as the stress of waiting for the judgment of one individual to determine which of us is telling the truth in order to determine the future of my children. My husband is a consummate actor, while I am blunt and straightforward. He is also extremely adept at evoking sympathy; I am not. I’m not sure who they will believe. The stress of gambling my children’s future could break what health I have left.

            “Open this up to the Lord and ask Him to show you which steps He wants you to take.” I have done this for a long time. I continue to do this. There is no indication from Him to move forward in such a manner. To step into the water without His command and in the presence of what could very well be His leading to continue where I am is not something I believe I ought to do.

            I understand that it is very frustrating for others to see that for some of us the answer is simply that we must continue to suffer, that we are indeed trapped. That does not mean we are not crying out to the LORD and asking for deliverance and for His guidance as to the next step and hoping and waiting. There are just so many of us out here.



          • JoAnn on February 3, 2018 at 9:10 am

            Thank you for taking the time to respond. It helps us to know how to pray. Second Corinthians 1:8-11 and 4:7-13 may encourage you. What you have is certainly an extreme situation, but our God is a God of hope, and I pray that your time in His word will be an encouragement and a rich supply as you endure this situation. Speak truth to your children, and infuse them with God’s word, so that they will grow up knowing Him and His truth. That will save them.



          • Aly on February 3, 2018 at 9:33 am

            JoAnn, & seeing the Light,

            I agree with you JoAnn and this is so important for their hearts. I might also suggest getting them exposed and invested in other family relationships that are safe and healthier so that the children are not caught in confusing Christianity or mixed emotional developmental messages.

            Maybe you are already doing this and they are able to spend time in loving environments where there is healthier role modeling of ‘family’ and what healthier Love feels like and looks like.



          • Renee on February 3, 2018 at 12:17 pm

            Hugs to you STL, you sound very aware of your situation! However, can you increase self-care for yourself and your children? Are the kids and yourself still under counseling? Are you on any type of meds for anxiety and/or depression? Are you able to get outside of those four walls every single day? If you do not work, can you volunteer at the kid’s school or elsewhere?

            So while you can’t leave (for your reasons) can you find ways to get you and your kids away from your husband that would be therapeutic?

            Things that would not involve him if it is safe to do so!

            Overcome with grief here ahh.



          • Seeing the Light on February 3, 2018 at 3:21 pm

            Aly,

            Thank you so much for your kindness and concern.

            My husband has not liked the separate rooms. I know he does not like the absence of sex. He did have and I assume still does have desire for it, but it was never something affectionate. It was mechanical and heartless. When I stopped that, it was for my own well-being. It would destroy me to go back to it now. That said, when he has talked about the separate rooms, he talks about unity. Unity was always a buzzword with him. We need unity in front of the children. (Naturally, before some of the fog cleared and I was still trying so hard to make the marriage work and the children were little, I totally understood the need for mom and dad to have a unified approach to parenting and discipline and so on). At this point, however, the destructive nature of the relationship is out in the open. His covert abuse has turned to overt. The children had grown to the point that they were putting words to the covert abuse before I was (I kid you not)! Now in his mind I was supposed to share a bedroom with him again, even if we slept in separate beds, as a statement of unity to the children. It didn’t make sense in the presence of the various kinds of abusive behavior that were being committed in front of the children. They already knew about the division. If I had started sharing a bedroom with him, the children would have been very confused about me and honestly, disgusted with me for not maintaining a stand against what he had been doing. Any talk of the bedroom situation has died down more recently. As to the day to day, it doesn’t come up much, until a situation requires a conversation, which generally devolves into accusations and insults toward me and then he might mention it in the list. I think he is starting to see his room as a refuge of sorts. I don’t really know. (I apologize for the awkwardness of verb tenses as I give different descriptions of the conditions here over time, but I am trying to avoid giving specifics that would be too revealing of my identity. I believe he has monitored websites I visit and may be able to put together who I am online).

            I, too, am very concerned that one or more of the children will blame me and cut off contact when grown. It is quite frankly a big fear of mine. As I said in another comment before, I tend to be blunt. My children and I have very pointed conversations. Some things he pulled a few years ago put us in a situation where the kids and I simply had to start having some very real conversations about how we were going to live. I have allowed them to be as blunt with me as they need to be. They are hurting, wounded, and angry. I don’t blame them. Not one of them wants anything to do with him when they are grown and I believe if they have to get restraining orders eventually, they will do so. My relationship with each of them has its issues. I have been relieved to see that one who is now an adult and left in the last year (and went very far to get away from him) is still communicating with me. It has been healthy communication so far. I have one minor child that I am most concerned about blaming me and cutting off contact. We do talk about it some, but I can’t push too deep or anger is the result. We have had discussions about divorce and what that looks like if I don’t win. Mostly, I find that there is a desire to think once I file, that he is then out of their lives. I have to explain that I can’t guarantee that – and that they might end up with him in their lives with a greater degree of power and control than he has now. I find that there has been some understanding as I share some of the factors I have discovered in my research. I am the adult here. I have the fully developed frontal lobe that has the capacity to fully think through the consequences of considered actions. They don’t. They want relief. (So do I). If I divorce and everything gets worse – which it absolutely could and has for others before me – my children could just as easily blame me down the road for divorcing as much as not divorcing.



          • Seeing the Light on February 3, 2018 at 3:28 pm

            Aly,

            In reply to another comment you made about healthier family relationships – there are none. We both came from families of origin that were extremely dysfunctional. There is no one on his side that could provide healthy relationship. There is only one sibling of mine that could be healthy to some degree (though that person struggles with depression), but that sibling lives many hours from us and we are only together for visits 2-3 times a year. Healthy extended family relationships do not exist for us.



          • Aly on February 3, 2018 at 3:42 pm

            Seeing the Light,

            I meant church community families or other families that offer healthy love and involvement. Coaches etc.
            Not blood related exactly.



          • Renee on February 3, 2018 at 5:40 pm

            Aly I see we were posting that information at the same time. That is how I was told to expand our family. Some things we just put on hold until pushed. I have talked of doing this for year but being on the quiet side, I’ve always found it hard to step outside of my comfort zone.

            Just thinking of it causes me anxiety (a bunch of strangers). But I’m trying lol.



          • Renee on February 3, 2018 at 5:37 pm

            It was recommended to me by my kid’s counselor recently (just for anyone interested) to try and get the kids involved in youth groups especially Church youth groups. Any outside of the home activities that will take their mind off what is going on at home.



          • Seeing the Light on February 3, 2018 at 4:43 pm

            Renee,

            I am going to try to respond to all of your comments in this one comment…

            I have not previously mentioned the ages of my children. I am trying to keep things vague so as not to be identifiable. I guess I could just say that my remaining minor children will be considered adults in less than five years – how’s that? They are old enough that they would be allowed to express their desires to the judge. The judge does not have to do whatever they want, however. Their maturity level, as perceived by the judge, will be more of a factor than their raw ages.

            As to my experience with my husband’s reaction to separate bedrooms, I explained it another comment just before writing this one. I will say it was different than yours because separated bedrooms and severed sexual relations occurred at the same time.

            As to self-care, I know I need to take care of myself better. I’m not good at that. It is likely that I have C-PTSD and it is difficult to focus on such things. I have lived many years in hyper-vigilance and survival mode such that the wiring in my brain and nervous system tend to focus on daily survival. Even trying to step out of that brings on uncomfortable bodily symptoms as well as generalized anxiety – like I can’t convince my brain or my body that it’s safer to be good to myself than not. It’s so very hard to explain.

            I am still seeing a counselor. The children never have. They strongly do not want to. I am good with that. All counselors are not created equal and in my own case, I have kissed a lot of frogs, if you know what I mean, before settling on the right fit. I would not want to put the children through that. It could be so confusing and they do not want someone pushing in where they do not want to open up.

            I do not take any meds for anxiety or depression. I don’t want them. For starters, my health condition is such that I am more hypersensitive to substances than most people. I’m a pretty good bet for sides effects that would do more harm than good. The husband would just use that against me somehow anyway. And I don’t really want meds. I know why I’m anxious. I know why I’m sad when I’m sad (I am not clinically depressed – just discouraged and grieving sometimes, for good reasons).

            No, I do not get out of the house every day. There are simply not that many places to go, and my energy level is low. I do not volunteer though that is my heart’s desire. I’m not sure where to plug in though I am determined to do so after flu season is over. Influenza has the potential to knock me flat so I try to be careful. The kids would prefer that my husband and I not be out at school more than necessary. He refuses to honor that and it offends the children, so I try extra hard to respect their wishes, unless one of them is performing or receiving an honor. I understand why – they want to keep their home life out of their school life since home life is messy. I think I remember kind of feeling the same way. I don’t take it personally, though I desire to be involved, so it is a sacrifice. Energy is always an issue anyway as far as being able to have others count on me. I can do things that don’t require long-term planning and relying on me to be able to be out and about.

            I really do appreciate you entering into this and trying to help through your questions and comments, so please do not take offense. It’s just that you said in an earlier comment, “You know many times we will come up with all kinds of reasons until we are ready to take action.” To me this makes it sound like – I should leave, I should divorce, God wants me to, and I am manufacturing reasons not to because I am not ready. I am not coming up with reasons not to do something that I clearly should do. I have no indication that I should do it. My goal has been to do my due diligence in researching, getting a lay of the land, so to speak, and assessing the situation. The reasons not to do it simply exist. They are real. They are significant. I have no indication from God to proceed. I must therefore make a reasoned decision with the mind he gave me and the factors in play. I find no fault or weakness in that. If He wants to communicate something to me, He can. If He wants to clear a path, He can. What I can’t do is make presumptions that will get my children and me in a more difficult situation than we are already in. If I misunderstood you or if I am being too easily triggered, please forgive me. I do get triggered where blame is concerned, and I mean no offense.

            You mentioned that I sound very aware of my situation. I have to say that it took a long time – a lot of years, a lot of praying, a lot of reading, communicating, and studying, and a long time in very dark darkness to get here. And – there are still new things I am discovering about it.

            Thank you for the hugs and for trying.



          • Renee on February 3, 2018 at 5:56 pm

            Absolutely not STL. Who am I to tell you to divorce or leave! I have been told this so many times and that includes now by the kids new counselor. What I was trying to say was that until we (myself included) are ready, we will not take action. I was told long ago and by many to leave, divorce, etc. It was only until last year that I was ready to rock the boat. I was ready to accept that we both could fall over and never resurface. When my kids were babies, absolutely not as long as there was no physical abuse.



          • Seeing the Light on February 3, 2018 at 4:58 pm

            Aly,

            You said, “I meant church community families or other families that offer healthy love and involvement. Coaches etc.
            Not blood related exactly.”

            I’m sorry about that. I misunderstood. That’s a tough one. I think the closest we have come to anything like this is the time spent at friends’ houses when the parents were around. I can think of a few friends of my older children whose parents are in good marriages and are living healthy family lives. The cool thing is that it’s my kids who are clued in and can tell which families are healthy and which are not (at least to some extent). I really can’t think of any other situations that would be open to pursue. Some of my kids have respect for coaches, but they don’t see family life happening. (The truth is I know the history behind the family of one of those coaches, and it’s not so good. My child doesn’t know the history, but I’ve left that alone as I am hoping that it is truly in the past and the child isn’t around the family anyway).



          • Seeing the Light on February 3, 2018 at 6:27 pm

            Renee,

            Thank you for clarifying this. Like I said I am easily triggered. For me it is less about when I am ready and more about those reasons that just exist in and of themselves.



        • Seeing the Light on February 1, 2018 at 4:52 pm

          Thanks, JoAnn

          Actually, the pride thing could also come from the usage of the word when describing the Pharisees’ reactions. Naturally, we would assume theirs is a self-righteous indignation as opposed to God’s truly righteous indignation. Just guessing. (I love words, and I had a teacher that made us go the the dictionary all the time – you didn’t dare ask her what something meant or you looked it up and told the whole class 🙂 )

          • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2018 at 5:17 pm

            Hey all, I love this dialogue and how you all bring out lots of nuances to her feelings and question. She did say her husband wasn’t controlling with her money just the tithing. However, I did endorse and validate her reason for her anger and distress. God clearly tells us that anger isn’t sinful, but it can move in that direction when we don’t deal with it. So how does she deal with it in a godly way? Sure, confront her husband once again which goes nowhere. Or just decide to do what she wants to do with tithing, and perhaps experience other ramifications – which she will then be able to tell more where her spouse is at, but I”m not sure that will take away her resentment. Or first get back to God and find her strength from him and direction and wisdom about what to do both with her feelings and her tithe. I never can say everything I want to say about everything I think because you would then get bogged down in 3,000 word blog which is way too long. So I hit one area and invite you all to think through things and dialogue on other areas. Good for you. You are growing in wisdom and discernment and strength. Iron sharpens iron and I’m so thankful for you all. This is a great community.



          • Seeing the Light on February 1, 2018 at 6:45 pm

            Thank you, Leslie, for providing a community where such conversations are possible. Some of us, like me, are in situations where it would be too risky to set up our own blog. Without blogs such as yours as a way to connect the isolation would be insupportable. I appreciate it so much.



          • Maria on February 3, 2018 at 6:59 am

            Seeing the Light,

            I am in a similar situation as you. Divorcing my husband would make things easier for me, but would hurt the kids. I too have talked to a lawyer who told me if I pursued divorce, the kids would live with him 50% of the time. He is very charming and would be able to fool the court system. For the most part, he has focused on work and ignored us. This has been a blessing. When he wants sth, he treats the kids very well, and this is very confusing to them.

            You mentioned that you have health problems. It is important to take care of yourself. I know that in order to take care of my kids, I have always prioritized this.

            You mentioned that he is also financially abusive. Are you able to work?



          • Seeing the Light on February 3, 2018 at 2:39 pm

            Maria,

            I am so sorry for what you are going through. It sure does sound similar.

            One of the saving graces here is that mine has focused much on work, too, increasingly so. He spends a lot of time at church, too. Frankly, the amount of time he is gone is very suspicious, but I am grateful for it. When he is here, however, he does still try to go after the child he considers weakest and most malleable.

            You said, “When he wants sth, he treats the kids very well, and this is very confusing to them.” What did you mean by “sth”? Was this a typo or an abbreviation I am unfamiliar with (there are so many now)?

            I struggle with taking care of myself. For years I felt guilty even being kind to myself – a lot of self-condemnation and the like. I’m also likely dealing with C-PTSD or something similar; my counselor and I have discussed it. My childhood home was extremely dysfunctional and left me prone to guilt. I believe this made it very easy for him to place me in the scapegoat role. I received blame easily for a very long time. For nearly two decades I believed that I was the problem – the only problem – the bad wife. In this position, caring for oneself feels wrong. Taking care of oneself feels like a waste of energy and effort and a guilty thing. Now, however, I want to try and feel guilty for not taking care of myself (it’s flipped), but there’s still a mental wall and a lot of failure.

            Financial abuse is a big part of the picture. He kicked this into gear a few years ago. I am on an allowance now and it’s not enough. I had some money (not a lot) in my name and not his – I can’t say more about the source as it could be identifying – but I have to use a lot of it now to make up the difference in things he will not pay for. I am concerned that his goal is to deplete that money. Without it, I would have nothing and no freedom at all. So, I have been trying to figure out how I could earn some before it runs out. I could not work a job outside the home as health-wise (a diagnosable illness I do not want to identify as it is uncommon) I have good days and bad days and so on that are unpredictable. I do have a skill and education in an area that would work to do some work at home, but getting started and finding the work would be very difficult. I have been looking online regularly since the beginning of the year for anything that might get it jump-started but I have not found anything yet. I am also very concerned that if I do start earning money and it has to go on our tax return, he will know and will cut back on what I am provided for food in proportion to what I earn and so I will be no further ahead, but have more energy depleted.



          • JoAnn on February 3, 2018 at 5:09 pm

            STL, I am wondering if there is a way to hide the account that you have so that you can tell your husband that you need more money in your allowance. If you can show him receipts for food and children’s needs, would he be willing to increase your allowance? Find a way to put that money you have saved somewhere else, so that you can honestly say that the account is empty (or nearly so)? This would be a bit of a “white lie,” and others here may chastise me for it, but I think sometimes we have to do whatever it takes to get what we need. I think all of us here are brainstorming, trying to find ways to help. Please forgive if this is not helpful.



          • Seeing the Light on February 3, 2018 at 5:48 pm

            JoAnn,

            Because of the source, he already knew about the funds. Besides that, before he began the financial abuse, when we were already separated in the home, I was already using the funds for family expenses that there was no room in our budget to cover – large family expenses – because I never dreamed he could go this far and still believe he was a Christian. It just never occurred to me that he was that far gone. I did not see financial abuse coming. So I had already depleted much of it for the family.

            That said, it doesn’t matter to him that I need more money. I have told him time and time again that I need more, that he is not adequately providing for the children. He doesn’t care. A major category was food, which he cut down so low that I had no choice but to supplement it. He knew that. When I pushed back, he wanted to go over the receipts so he could show me that I was overspending and wanted me to buy the cheapest, least quality food I could find just to prove I could fit our groceries into the amount he determined. I could tell that if I continued to push, I ran the risk of getting less.

            When I tell him that I don’t have a limitless supply of funds, he doesn’t care. I believe he is waiting until it is exhausted so that then I literally have to come to him for every penny to increase the control.

            Thank you so much for trying. I really wish there was something that would help.



          • JoAnn on February 3, 2018 at 8:32 pm

            Seeing the Light, I am aching for you. This is a very evil man, who will not provide for his family, even though he claims to be a christian. You have obviously searched for answers, and I appreciate that you feel trapped in this situation. As the apostle Paul said, even when it seems like there is no way out, the Lord always does provide a way out eventually, and we all must join you in praying for that. Pray over those verses in 1 Corinthians that I mentioned in an earlier post. I hope you will find some comfort there. You are not alone.



          • Maria on February 4, 2018 at 9:16 am

            Seeing the Light,

            (Sth-something)

            I am glad you are seeing a counselor. When I found the right counselor, like you, my situation became a lot clearer. I realized my husband would use whatever he could to try and control me. I sent my resume out, and although I had taken quite a long break from my career, God opened doors and I was able to find a job. I have always loved going to the gym (for exercise and social interactions) and He used the people I met there to hook me up with the right people. It is important not to isolate yourself. The more isolated you are, the more control he has. I was in a few women’s Bible studies and found a few friends there. Unfortunately, the majority of people do not want to get involved. I have also found that sometimes women who are not believers are more sympathetic and helpful. Keep taking care of yourself. Make that a priority. Your kids are learning from you. If they see you neglect yourself and give too much, they may do that too.

            You mentioned you have a source of money you can tap into right now. When that is depleted, he will be even more controlling. It’s important to come up with a plan.

            Is your husband doing anything against the law-physical abuse etc. if he is, please get law enforcement involved. It is important to practice CORE when interacting with him.

            In my situation, early on I realized I was responsible for my reactions/responses to him. As the kids have gotten older, they have seen that. I have learned that it is important to look out for the kid’s good, and not parent them so that they like me and will not cut me off. My husband has taken advantage of that, but the kids eventually see through it.

            This is a journey. Don’t lose hope. If you would like to email me, email Aleea (click on the picture next to her name) and ask her to send you mine.



          • Seeing the Light on February 4, 2018 at 5:54 pm

            Maria,

            Thank you for your latest comments.

            I did want to ask if your husband has been financially abusive. It is a major feature of mine. He actually keeps yelling at me to get a job. I am disabled. I could probably work some, if I could get a situation that would work at home and where I could work on good days and not on bad days, but there is no way my health would support committing to any kind of regular work hours where I need to be upright and working. I need frequent rest in order to breathe. When I tell my husband that I can’t just “get a job” due to my disability, he repeatedly denies my health issues. They are diagnosed. They are real. He says there is nothing physically wrong with me. It’s a lie. Oh, how I wish it were true. Certainly stress makes it worse, but what malady doesn’t worsen under stress? Anyway…any work I could get here at home would be limited hours due to my health, and I fully believe based on his current financial abuse tactics that he would cut what he gives me now. All I will end up doing is increasing stress, decreasing energy, decreasing health, and he will be the one that comes out ahead financially. I will be working to fill his pockets. (He makes plenty of money by the way – a very good income).



      • JoAnn on February 1, 2018 at 3:14 pm

        Nancy, when you said that anger is your heart’s best friend, I think that you can act on the anger, from a place of righteousness, only after you have recognized what the anger is about and opened that to the Lord. “Lord, once again, I feel angry that he devalued me again. Remove this anger from my heart so that I can (take appropriate action.)” Acting out of a place of anger without first opening to the Lord, will cause us to sin against the other person. I think that was also a point Leslie was trying to make. First deal with your own pain and hurt, and then the Lord can lead you to appropriate action.

        • Nancy on February 1, 2018 at 3:30 pm

          Good point, JoAnn. Anger is an indicator that I must go to The Lord. So the ‘right action’ certainly involves connection with God and MAY also involve ‘acting rightly’ toward another person. Does that sound right?

          • JoAnn on February 1, 2018 at 3:44 pm

            Nancy, Yes, I think that the signal we get from anger should be to go to the Lord, then, if the Lord directs, there may be some action to take. Sometimes not, but at least the anger won’t eat you up, and build to resentment. Also, in reference to resentment and indignation being synonyms, I do think that indignation carries a sense of coming from a place of pride. The pharisees were full of indignation at Jesus’ words. Nevertheless, there are a few places in John 11 where the Lord was indignant, but righteously so. So, I guess the meaning must be contextual. Where he says not to let the sun go down “on your indignation,” that would indicate that we must not carry around resentment. So it seems that those three words are used almost interchangeably. Anyway, it’s all negative, and we must guard our hearts from any kind of evil.



        • Free on February 4, 2018 at 6:16 am

          I hear you with a concern for using a lie to get the respect and dignity she deserves. Of course we would never want to do that, but when dealing with evil, you have to speak their native tongue. Be smart as a fox, yet know they are out of your league and can’t beat them at their game. We can never think the same evil way destructive people think. Again, we can’t beat them at their own game. They want to win at any and all costs. Strategic behavior is essential when dealing with narcissists in particular.

  15. Sarah on February 1, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    Like some of the others, I struggled with this response. I loved many things in it. And I agree that we need to get our heart right with God first and not *need* our spouse to change. I also know that Leslie can only give a brief response. But reading it, I felt if I had written the question, I myself would not have felt heard.

    I did not get the feeling that her husband was only controlling regarding tithing. He seems to be controlling with her money generally. She said that he “has controlled many of our finances since we were married” and that he “has made nearly all the final decisions on major expenditures *as well* as tithing/giving.” (emphasis mine.) She also said that he made several large financial decisions on his own and did not specify or imply whether they were tithing related or not. Her only concessions was that “he doesn’t control my spending in every area,” which is something, but to me, in light of her other comments, might just mean he does not make her account for every grocery item or cup of coffee (as some spouses do.)

    I also agree with Aly (if I understood her correctly) that often people use the word “resentment” to just mean “angry.” Especially if you have not learned that there is healthy anger or you come from a background where you think that you should not be angry at all. Not sure if that is true in this case, but I had that same thought even before I read Aly’s comments.

    I don’t like writing anything critical of Leslie, not because I agree with everything Leslie says (that would be weird and unhealthy) but because I do owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.

    Thank you to Leslie for all you do.

    • Sarah on February 1, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      to clarify, I meant that it would be weird and unhealthy to agree with everything any author or person says, not Leslie specifically.

      • Amanda on February 4, 2018 at 6:09 am

        We don’t hear much from Leslie anymore. She must be busy.

  16. Renee on February 2, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    I recently discovered an author called La*ur*a Do*yl*e. In her teachings she states to relinquish control of finances to your husband. Out of curiosity, I joined the face* group and read her book reviews. Some ladies in the group complained about bills running behind, mail pilling up, etc. Speaking up about this would mean the wife was being disrespectful and controlling. One week was too long in this group.

    A show was speaking on this issue today. The host stated how in his marriage they were advised to have four bank accounts. The 1’st account received all money/income. The 2’nd was a savings account requiring two signatures for withdrawals (agreed on amount and comes from 1’st account), the 3’rd account was for the wife and the 4’th for the husband. The 3’rd and 4’th account you could do as you please without the other party questioning. Most people agreed the concept could work.

    But then another question followed. The question was, should the 3’rd and 4’th account receive the same amount of free to spend money? In other words, what if the wife earned more than the husband or vice versa. Would it be fair they received the same amount of personal spending money? Some said yes if the relationship is good and others said no even if the relationship is good.

    Just thought I would share and now I have to find time to read the article and comments in their entirety.

  17. Aleea on February 3, 2018 at 5:25 am

    . . .Nancy, I saw your message (January 31, 2018 at 7:14 am). . . .I wanted to really think and pray about it before I responded. I would just say: Please always do what the Holy Spirit directs you to do. . . .Have you ever tried to change even small things about yourself? —It’s really, really, really deeply hard isn’t it? . . .I also think that pure evil is the force that believes its knowledge and understanding is anywhere near complete. I have no idea how little I know and neither do you. —People don’t want to know the complexities of what they facing because they don’t want the chaos. They want to be “happy” (—I want the Truth, no matter if it makes me happy or not!) —Being happy really involves not thinking too deeply (—and huge research shows that to be true) but a very dark side exists for those who take that route (re:being willfully blind and encouraging others to be blind too). . . .What we Christians want to believe is that, under God, things really are just “black and white” (―meaning that there is a totally clear set of facts that 100% happened) and *not* that everything is a huge probability distribution with lots of even critical “facts” having less than a 100% chance of having occurred. . . .I want 100% level of certainty. That’s why I am a fundamentalist but in reality, no one has that level of certainty. That’s just the “I’m right and you’re wrong” approach, most “facts” about God and Jesus fall along vast and nuanced conditional probability distributions. See for example: Cognitive Dissonance in the Prophetic Traditions of the Old Testament; and Prophecy and History in Luke-Acts. . . .They come to many of the same conclusions I do but I *never* even knew who they were until I *independently* came to my own conclusions with *primary* source evidence.

    . . . .Nancy, one time I went to this “Perspectives on Tithing” seminar. It was just chaos Nancy. Chaos. Ken Hemphill and Bobby Eklund did what they thought were the foundations of tithing and giving only to have the response by the next presenter deconstruct everything they said. —It was completely dismantled. . . . .Only to have the next presenter fully deconstruct all the pervious views . . .Then the final presenter came in and took all the previous views, the whole thing apart, nothing was left/really certain re:—Tithing in the New Covenant. It was just chaos because they were actually, really, seriously and carefully dealing with the primary sources, contexts and languages.

    . . .Nancy, what is more practical than the truth?

  18. Aleea on February 3, 2018 at 5:35 am

    —Nancy, the privilege of a lifetime is being who *you* are in Christ, but that applies to me too!!! I would very much like you to interact with me but . . .but maybe that is not God’s will for you and all I can do is trust God is doing what is best for me too, while not being willfully blind to evidence, logic and reason. —I love you and pray for you and I hope you, me. . . .But one of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want us to be, rather than being what we feel Christ would have us be. I know I can’t be brave if I only have wonderful things happen to me. Courage is not having the strength to go on: it is just going on, especially when you don’t have the strength (—letting Christ just carry me many times). It takes strength and courage to admit the truth (—reality is one hard, harsh road) and it takes courage to be open to being *seriously* wrong even about foundational things. . . .—Reality seems worth paying the price for but I could be wrong, maybe reality (truth unfiltered) is just too harsh and unlivable . . .but staying silent seems just wrong.

  19. Nancy on February 3, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Hi Aleea,

    I’m sorry but I don’t understand what you are trying to say in your first post to me.

    In your second, I THINK what you are saying is that you have assumed that I am asking you to be something that you are not.

    Aleea, you interact here how you like. My invitation to stay practical was just that, an invitation. Your response to me was confusing ( saying yes to the invitation, but then continuing in the same way), and that was disconcerting.

    Today you SEEM to be saying the opposite – arguing that trying to find truth is practical ( again, I’m not exactly sure, though).

    I’m here on this blog to talk about the application of Christ’s love in day-to-day situations.

    And yes, I love you, and yes, I pray for you.

    • Aleea on February 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      “I’m sorry but I don’t understand what you are trying to say in your first post to me.”

      Nancy, I was just responding to this (below) that you wrote on “How Do I Know If I’m Being Sexually Abused In My Marriage”
      Nancy says
      January 31, 2018 at 7:14 am
      You say that you will ‘absolutely join me’ but then continue in the same non-practical dialogue, Aleea.
      You have said one thing, and proceeded to do another. This is disconcerting.
      No, I don’t ‘have to help you stay focused’. You are responsible for yourself and for what you write.
      Reply

      That is what that is. . . .But no wonder you don’t understand my post. Look at the above post, it is missing four paragraphs that must that been truncated when it posted. I tried to re-post them but they will not post.

      . . .Nancy, I don’t need to understand you to love you and pray for you and always work for your best!!!

    • Amanda on February 4, 2018 at 5:58 am

      Aleea has written about her ongoing therapy. I think the ramblings reflect her mental health struggles as well as her other intellectual strengths.

    • Nancy on February 4, 2018 at 7:53 am

      I’m sorry Aleea, that I was harsh in my Jan. 31 response to you. I could have been MUCH more gentle with you, in my tone. Will you forgive me for this?

      You are right that we don’t need to understand one another, to love and pray for one another.

      I do, however, need to understand a point in order to have a conversation.

      My prayer for myself this year is for Life and Peace. Engaging with you in your confusion around the foundational truths of our faith, brings me further from Life and Peace.

      I ask that you please respect that, in your posts to me.

    • Aleea on February 4, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      Oh Nancy,

      I always forgive you Nancy. I feel bad even saying I forgive you. I love you. . . .It is I that need the most forgiveness. . .
      Nancy, my real terror and fear is that I am not confused. . . .[I’m not going to repeat in my post to you why.] . . .I respect that you don’t want to hear that and so I will not. . . .I’m hopelessly in love with Jesus Christ and I am never going to get over Him. That is why Christ alone is our anchor. . . . So my re||engage marriage classes are over as of last week and I am set to teach “The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy & Kathy Keller, the book and workbook,” —starting next Sunday for the next six months at my church. Tim and Kathy’s main point is that marriage requires constant selfless giving of yourselves to your spouse. Of course—we all agree with that but somehow this book goes so far overboard emphasizing sacrifice that it forgets that Jesus actually said in Matthew 9:13, “Go and learn what this means—I desire mercy, NOT SACRIFICE.” While Jesus does call us to turn away from the pleasures of the world, take up our cross and follow Him—there’s a huge difference between laying down our lives for Christ and suffering to meet the endless demands of a narcissist spouse. I always go over Leslie’s material in the course too and I am always in trouble for it.

      That’s what the The Meaning of Marriage book doesn’t understand. While selflessly giving yourself to your spouse is the basic ingredient of marriage—it can’t solve every marriage problem. Yet the book uses sacrifice to solve every marriage problem instead of teaching how to set boundaries to protect people (Nancy, like you are doing with me). Then it goes further and says some things that leave you wondering where they are coming from. Anyways, I use what I consider the best from lots of sources.

      . . . .Anyways, I apologize again Nancy. If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. How can I possibly serve other people if I seriously regard their sinfulness as worse than my own? . . .Nancy, I have enough sin-potential to level TEN city blocks in every direction (—And if God let off His restraining hand, you’d see it immediately.) That’s how we know the Bible is true. It’s got a totally realistic position on what people are really, really like: redeemed but still in need of constant repentance. †ރ✝❣😊💕
      ↪✈❄

    • Nancy on February 4, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      It’s very encouraging that you bring Leslie’s material into the marriage course that you teach, Aleea. That’s a brave thing to do.

      What a gift to those who attend.

    • Aleea on February 5, 2018 at 6:58 am

      I use those materials but they always create havoc. . . .remember: fundamentalists.

      “I wish we could be more authentic with one another in the body of Christ. Perhaps we’d all feel closer and more connected if we stopped pretending we’re more together than we really are.” -Leslie Vernick

      . . . .That is such an awesome, refreshing comment (—if we stopped pretending, we’d all feel closer) —Sure we’d be closer, everybody would be totally broken, totally undone and totally *uncertain* before God and *all* the churches power bases would shift because not pretending dismantles everything. . . .everything goes. . . .not pretending may even dismantle [edited because you asked me to do that for you].

      . . . .Is it possible we could destroy the scapegoat mechanism: The scapegoat mechanism: What Leslie Vernick says promotes divorces; What The Jesus Seminar says [edited because you asked me to do that for you]; et.al. . . . .and create a community where there is no outsider, because we are all outsiders and die outside the city gates with Christ, with no identity just like when He died?

      The problem is that we tend to spend a great deal of energy in attempting to avoid the Truth. Christianity in all its versions is so, so often a psychological defense mechanism against a *REAL* experience of God!

      The reason Leslie’s materials create havoc is because they point out areas where what the Bible “says” -sans horrible text twisting- is just completely wrong based on practical experience. Just wrong: think slavery, et.al. Four weeks ago, at the *new* Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. [edited because you asked me to do that for you] . . . .so that is the truth. But the truth is an absolute wildfire.

      . . .Still, I just love Leslie’s quote. . . .But Leslie wants that done in her little area while holding all other areas constant. But not pretending applies to all of it and that is a wildfire with huge forty foot flames that burn off *all* the deadwood. I have lots and lots of deadwood, we all have lots of deadwood. Leslie is inside churches that are 60-90 percent deadwood and she is bringing in gasoline and matches. . . . Leslie = The Jesus Seminar in her small little area. . . .There are “Leslies” in e-v-e-r-y other area too!!!

    • Nancy on February 5, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Aly, Today’s focus on F podcast is about being lonely in marriage. The guest says about 85% of men are IA or intimacy avoidant. That the church often preaches ‘just keep loving him and your needs will be met’ and it’s simply not true. And this podcast is not even about abusive marriages, it’s about a ‘slow leak’ type of effect that leads to divorce, where women give and give and give but do not confront to say in a very direct and serious way “my needs are not being met”. ( I’m not placing the blame on women here….but in this slow leak type of non-abusive marriage, her part is not speaking up. His is not taking responsibility for his own growth).

      • Aly on February 5, 2018 at 11:26 am

        Nancy,

        So true and so tragic~ I’m thankful to hear that Focus on the F is head on giving the percentages out there because after all the ‘family’, & ext, family & Church body and overall health of the church is what ultimately suffers in this Intimacy avoidance spouse or unresolved marriage!
        They settle with (the slow leak as you said). Continuing to apply a bandaid to a severed arm.

        Yes, the numbers are higher in males but I also see a lot of females struggle too. This is where I see power misused all the time.

        I think the abuse is ‘covert’ and more under the rug ~ hard for spouses with convienent busy schedules to STOP and really stop long enough to look at reality and their part too.

        Ok Nancy, you made a good comment on ‘her part not speaking up’
        Why do you think ‘she’s not willing to expose? Or even maybe unwilling to get educated as to why isn’t she speaking up and is it fear or something else taking place?

    • Nancy on February 5, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Such a good question, Aly! I’ve been thinking about this for myself. Here are the reasons, I didn’t speak up:

      1) Expressing my needs was never encouraged in my FOO ( It just wasn’t ok). So I brought that with me into my marriage, and continued in that way.

      2) When I did try to express my needs, I was manipulative (for example, I might have asked my H to listen to the podcast that I heard today, instead of doing the work to own my need and speak up for myself, face to face)

      3) Cinderella syndrome : if he really loved me he’d know what I needed. ( instead of taking responsibility for communicating my needs). I learned from the EHS course that the only fair expectation is the one that both parties have agreed to.

      4) fear- if I speak my needs and he doesn’t meet them, then what?

      Recognizing and speaking my needs has been hard work this past year.

      What do you think some reasons for this could be?

      • JoAnn on February 5, 2018 at 12:17 pm

        Nancy, you wrote about expressing you (our) needs, and how hard that can be. As I considered that, I reflected on what it means to “deny the self and take up the cross.” I think that the concept of taking the cross is often used to refer to hiding or suppressing our needs, which isn’t what that is referring to at all. Of course, discerning the difference between wants and needs is crucial here. The self has lots of wants as well as needs, and needs are much more basic than wants. I might want a pretty bedroom, but my basic need is a safe and reasonably comfortable place to sleep. I might want a luxury car, but what I need is one that is functional and safe. I think that the place to insert the cross is between the two–wants and needs. Often the Lord asks us to deny the self when He is asking us to do something that is against our human nature; for example, when you have been taught to not state your needs to the extent that you can’t even recognize what they are, and the Lord is requiring you to speak up about what you need, that is an application of the cross. I also think that as we mature in the divine life, the Lord may be more specific with us about denying the self. Certainly the apostle Paul was an example of that. Thank God for the indwelling Spirit of Christ, that is in us for both the willing and the doing of His good will.

      • Aly on February 5, 2018 at 12:32 pm

        Nancy,

        Thanks for such honesty with your experience and how you have discovered your own tendencies but those no longer have the same power as they once did. Praise God!!

        Getting to identify these deeper things ‘about ourselves’ are crucial I believe in our intimacy with Christ and especially in a healthy marriage.

        Your reasons listed, I think Are so common.
        The FOO I think is one of the biggest ones to pass through because it shapes so much of those internal ‘self talk’ messages.
        So many believe that it’s not honorable to evaluate the family system~ Almost like they are being disloyal in doing so…

        by the way all family systems are dysfunctional. There is a strong kick back to peering in at the FOO, I believe because the most dysfunctional are the most fragile and insecure.

        1)
        One reason I think ??? many women in the scenario ‘do not speak up’ is because of expressing a need can feel ‘needy to some, sometimes weak or lacking’ and they don’t want to get that vulnerably naked emotionally with their partner,’ or anyone else for that matter because they don’t have the tools to do so’,
        so they will eat the crumbs and tell themselves it’s ok and healthy abundant where it is.
        (There are plenty other reasons ~ but sometimes A woman for example has been so shut down emotionally that she herself believes in thinking that not risking is being healthy and strong)

        What they don’t know is that speaking up is not at all weak or lacking~ it’s courageous and brings a lot of clarity to what condition the marriage really is in?
        Unsafe? Or safe and growing?

        Often I see many who don’t want to know what true condition it is. It’s easier to pretend… but if you talk with those that have failed marriages for (many reasons I won’t list) they will tell you they saw the little signs and or leaks as you have pointed to.

        2)
        Having ‘legitimate needs’ in a marriage is healthy and I think many in the dysfunctional FOO’s and dys. churches have tried to dismiss and ignore these truths.

        For me, speaking up shined truth to ‘the non marriage I had’ and speaking up shined the reality of how I’ll prepared I was for battle, I needed a lot of equipment for my Mt. Everest trek.

    • Nancy on February 5, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      JoAnn. You bring up a great point about wants verses needs. In the physical realm these are relatively easy for me to distinguish – I’d say that I’m relatively healthy in this regard. I can distinguish, as well as speak these.

      Emotional needs is another ballgame entirely! Because for so long, my h was my saviour, I have looked to him to know and meet my emotional needs ( without even communicating them). This – coupled with the baggage that he brought into the marriage – led to escalating emotional destruction.

      I hear what you are saying about making that distinction, and that place being where the cross is applied.

      This work, for me, really is impossible without Him. When I try to get to the bottom of whatever feelings (often anger) outside of the power of the Holy Spirit, I end up projecting, blaming and disconnecting. ( as you said, he is ‘often asking us to do something outside our human nature’ and so it is impossible to get to the bottom of those feelings inside our human nature!)

      it’s been a big learning curve to take responsibility for my feelings. It involves first sitting with them in the presence of the Holy Spirit, then asking for direction. Grief is the place He often directs me these days. Then I’m humbled, and that’s when I can see what I truly ‘need’. And often, this ends up having nothing to do with my h.

      • Aly on February 5, 2018 at 1:11 pm

        Nancy,

        This is honest and so freeing! Goodness I just love how much you are willing to take responsibility of your feelings and your projections, without shame!
        Goodbye any protection that keeps us in bondage but hello freedom that flourishes🤗
        Beautiful , unashamed and redeeming!!

        Can I ask and you might have already expressed in other posts but did you find a lot of vascillating attributes as you looked deeper into those attachments?
        You don’t have to answer but your examples seem to bring that up for me and my h.
        Even though he was off the charts on avoidance, vascillation was big as he began developing more & more of his feelings and wanted me to read his mind. The expectations were a way for him to control the dynamic and yes thus resulting in more avoiding of intimacy ~ circling back.

        I’m the recovering ‘pleaser’ and I’m finding that those that did love my old self pleasing & accommodating places (selfishly so and not wanting to tip the apple cart selfishly so) are rejecting my changes and limits.
        Yikes 😲

      • JoAnn on February 5, 2018 at 1:18 pm

        Nancy, I like what you said here: “it’s been a big learning curve to take responsibility for my feelings. It involves first sitting with them in the presence of the Holy Spirit, then asking for direction. Grief is the place He often directs me these days. Then I’m humbled, and that’s when I can see what I truly ‘need’. And often, this ends up having nothing to do with my h.” If I remember correctly, you have some knowledge of Attachment Theory, so would you say that the primary emotional needs we have are for safety and security? Both of these, when given by loving parents, equate to love in our experience, in a human way. When I counsel with people for whom this sense of love is lacking, I try to help them to get in touch in a deep way to our God who is Love. So often, people who have not experienced genuine love have built defenses against it, (more AT) so getting those barriers opened up is the real challenge. We are afraid to be vulnerable enough to open ourselves to the Lord’s unconditional love, but once His love floods in, it is so sweet and delicious! This is probably difficult to do alone, so counseling can be helpful, provided the counselor understands this. This is the “breaking” part that Aleea often refers to. The walls around our hearts come down, and the Lord floods in. How wonderful!

        • Aly on February 5, 2018 at 5:27 pm

          JoAnn,

          So true and so well articulated!
          💜🌈

    • Nancy on February 5, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Aly and JoAnn,

      The Holy Spirit is at work here, for sure. I’ve been thinking a lot about attachment lately (I have ‘How we Love’ but was not fully ready for it when I purchased it). I’ve been eyeballing it on my shelf, wondering if it’s time to pull back out. And yes, Aly, I identified strongly with vacillator. What you express about avoidance, control and circling back is accurate.

      I am struggling a lot with intimacy. A. Lot. Now that safety, trust and respect have been established in our relationship, we have been working on individuality and intimacy. Individuality was a tough go for me (enmeshment). There is still healing needed, but I feel that we have a new template for individuality too. Intimacy though, is next, and I am terrified.

      Thank you Joann for explaining why this is so darn scary for me.

      I have been asking God to help me with intimacy. The defenses against it seem innumerable. Or, at least as you put it, Aly : circular.

      I have experienced the ‘flooding in of God’s love’, but those defenses creep back in again. My sense is that grieving is key to keeping those defenses down, but then another part of me wonders if my depressiveness will take over, if I really ‘go there’.

      • JoAnn on February 5, 2018 at 2:19 pm

        Nancy, regarding intimacy, I am going to offer something that I think might help. This is related to Transformational Prayer Ministry. If you can try to go back in your memory to the experience that made you afraid of intimacy, the earliest one you can remember….Trust the Lord to take you there….and as you revisit, briefly, that memory, identify what you began to believe about yourself when that happened. In other words, what limiting lie got planted into your mind back then? Then, as you allow yourself to FEEL what it was like to believe that (this accesses the place in your mind where that memory/lie is stored), then ask the Lord to speak His truth into that memory. This experience can be truly transformational, and I’ve seen the Lord heal many souls via this experience. It often requires the help of a practitioner in TPM, but some people have been able to do this for themselves. You can try it. At the very least, you might be able to recognize what the lie is and pray about that. You can go to the Transformational Prayer Ministry web site to try to find a practitioner in your area. I believe that the Lord would like to free you from this paralysis. He is all about speaking His truth into our inward parts. I’ll pray for Him to meet you there.

      • JoAnn on February 5, 2018 at 2:26 pm

        Another book that you might find helpful is by dr. Sue Johnson called “Created for Connection.” I got this at the AACC conference a few months ago. I Haven’t had time to read it yet, but it looks promising. the sub title is: The “Hold Me Tight” Guide for Christian Couples.

      • Aly on February 5, 2018 at 5:53 pm

        Nancy,

        What you wrote about where your at at times is so part of the process.
        I know by how I have also experienced ‘you’ here that you have experienced~Gods love flooding~ 💜~As the Holy Spirit continues to guide and direct your journey.
        I love this about you!!!

        There will be those defenses that creep back in, it’s what you chose to do with them once you can recognize them as they are. This requires great
        Love and honesty with yourself as you seek deep introspective places and what you may ‘fear’ most.
        What JoAnn described in the other post, I want to encourage in that process with a counselor alongside you as you are so right about ‘grieving’ being a big part of it. You deserve that grief place because your worth experiencing more and more of Gods love and security for you!

        I hope to encourage you about those defenses that they will act as ‘an invitation’ for more self discovery and healing for your heart.
        One thing that has always seemed to be helpful for my h and I was to ask each other if we were struggling (from how we love material)
        How much of what I’m feeling right now about something I’ve also experienced in my past?
        Usually a percentage is given to help indicate what is ‘present’ to what is ‘past’, and sometimes this helps open up the places of grief that are not easily accessible ‘consciously’.

        The more you build the momentum of working through those defenses the more confident and safe you will feel to face what may seem scary but in actuality can be ‘your friend’ of sorts finding compassion and understanding toward yourself in the process.

        Sending my continued hugs and prayers warrior sister!!

    • Aleea on February 6, 2018 at 5:52 am

      . . .Sorry Aly, nothing I tried to post would post. . . . .Nothing. Sometimes I write what I think is something useful, something I have prayed about a lot and asked the Lord’s permission to post and I go to post it and nothing, everything just locks up again and again. It happens lots and I think . . . .ha, ha, ha, ha. . . . —just ha, ha, ha, ha!!! Because honestly, what else can you think after awhile . . .ha, ha, ha, ha.

      Aly, can you tell more about this that you said. . . .“those pushing vulnerability and ‘close’ intimacy away. Coming close to God often requires vulnerable willingness and many as said above that are pretenders want nothing to do with that! They want their defense mech box and their mask and they want everyone else to have one, if you don’t have one, then you will be ‘yet still pushed away’ even through phony expressions because little has been developed through an identity and true understanding of Him = Love!” —Can you really unpack that?† ✞ރ✝❣😊

      . . . . I think that the most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are in Christ. Not trading in reality [. . . .Oh, Aly, what is the hardest tea to swallow: reality!!! . . .ha, ha, ha, ha!!! I know that is bad . . .ha, ha, ha, ha!!! ] for a Christian role. They trade who they really are for an act. They give up the ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a “Christian” mask. . . .Now, the most incredible thing is to wear *no mask* at all. . . .just pass through pure signal. . . People will not even believe it so they will project onto you a mask. It is like they are trying to hand you a mask. The mask = pretending to know things we really do not know. Here is what we all pretend to know, pretend too.

      . . .Aleea, here is your mask that we want you to wear. You are in Christ a woman of strength and dignity. . . .No I am not. I am nothing more than a fearful, intimidated, empty tent lost somewhere in the desert of the real asking Jesus to help me. Sometimes I feel Him (—but who knows, this could simply be a language game that people play in groups; because without the group, people come to very different conclusions) and sometimes I feel absolutely nothing.

      . . .But they will not allow me to say that because that deconstructs what they claim are the answers. I can’t have meaning in my life without pretending to know things I really don’t know, in the normative sense of knowing re: I know I have a kitten named Henry. I call out “Henry” and he comes and gets in my lap and cuddles and purrrs. I know Henry is real and I could get that knowing through international peer-review.

      Pretending to know things no person really knows:
      You don’t have to be brave or a saint, or even very smart all you have to be able to say is: “You know what, we just don’t know.” We just don’t know that or that or even that without pretending we know. . . .Because we just don’t know. —Admitting what we really do and do not know. . . .At churches I’m in, men love power and they will even lie/ die to keep it. . . .The truth will set you free but first it will break your heart. . . . Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it just doesn’t go away, it is independent of what I believe.† ✞ރ✝❣😊

    • Nancy on February 6, 2018 at 7:23 am

      Thank you both for your encouragement, prayers and advice. I will take it all to heart.

      I have to admit that, sensing that I am about to head into deep waters, again, I am feeling discouraged. Last spring I was asked to take on a position at the church and after praying about it, The Lord gave me the answer no, because I was entering into a time of healing and needed to be focused on that. He was right ( of course!), this journey ( of couples counselling) has taken a lot of energy. And I have recently felt that things are so much lighter. Realizing now, that I need to face deep seated defenses against love is disheartening.

      Sanctification lasts a lifetime, but I sure hope that healing from my childhood wounds won’t take a lifetime.

      • Aly on February 6, 2018 at 9:07 am

        Nancy,

        I can understand why the feelings can feel a bit daunting. I will pray that you will continue your journey trusting in Him and His purposes.
        You wrote:
        “He was right ( of course!), this journey ( of couples counselling) has taken a lot of energy. And I have recently felt that things are so much lighter. ”
        Praise God for this! And yes it’s a lot, a lot of work/energy … I’m thankful that your husband participated with you to discover that there is sometimes places that need ‘repair’ apart from our full awareness and overall understanding.

        The fact that you are willing to face or consider as you said, ‘deep seated defenses against love’ is NOt a defense at all .. right there is courage to look at what is taking place, that is such a blessing and a faithful step forward rather than a greater risk of ‘unresolved grief and pain’.

        I don’t want you to be robbed or your family to be robbed of the love and repair available to you.

        You also said it’s disheartening, which I get. But I believe the treasures are indeed there for our hearts as the Lord guides us toward truths and wisdom.
        Also, I might consider looking at the defenses not necessarily about ‘love in general’ but about not being hurt or vulnerable to be misused or disappointed.

        Emotional is tied to our spiritual health as you know and it can be work and energy, and I think often we have been taught ‘kind of a blanket belief’ in Christian culture that spiritual growth ‘just appears’ or happens apart from our energy or investment.
        But often that isn’t the case when you meet those that have taken a path committed to truth and growth.

        I hope this doesn’t upset you but we have had some ‘mom issues’ in common.
        One thing I see so redeeming in your journey is that you broke that chain and you are not ‘your mothers’ daughter’ so to speak (me either). Yes, you can love her, respect her as your mom but you don’t have to follow that path and pass that baton, ‘that unfinished stuff’.

        Sure your children will have their own work with the Lord but often we can assist as mothers as doing our best at facing and modeling growth and courage.
        Love and prayers for your heart! ✝️

    • Nancy on February 7, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Not at all upsetting that you bring up my mother, Aly. The Lord has worked a healing miracle in our current (very limited) relationship.

      One of the YouTube videos I watched yesterday talked about how vacillators need to resist the temptation to use others as a ‘lightning rod’ for there anger (build up of anxiety). Oh boy, that describes my tendencies well (although much reduced since in counselling).

      I am ready to continue down this road of healing that He has put before me. I appreciate your perspective of ‘healing and repair that is available to me’.

      Our God is so good to give us this forum ( thank you, Leslie, for your obedience!).

      • Aly on February 8, 2018 at 10:14 pm

        Nancy,

        You’re such a blessing here! Wow!!
        Goodness the fact that you can admit those tendencies and answer honestly about your anxieties is Huge and most of what I believe can propel healing and freedom forward!

        The Lord is really moving so much. Praise God for his Love and His promises;)
        And yes, I agree with you thank you Leslie for such a forum for us ladies to be able to come together💜

    • Nancy on February 10, 2018 at 8:29 am

      Aly and JoAnn,

      Such a rough night last night. My h came in upset about work and I asked him if he’d like me to use a ‘how we love’ tool to ask him questions and listen to his experience. ( He’s expressed interest in the material but admits that the size of the book intimidates him). He said, yes.

      So I took him through the questions ( awareness worksheet). When we got to childhood experiences he got agitated and started shutting down. I recognized this as painful but asked that he trust in the process. At the end he said he felt worse and could not understand how his bad work day had anything to do with his childhood. And also that he didn’t know what he was saying yes to.

      That was fair. I was hurt but decided to take my pain to The Lord.

      What followed is what REALLY hurt. He came in and said that he had a bad day and that all he needed was space.

      I was very firm and said, “no. I asked you if you wanted to participate in this excercise, and I explained it to the best of my ability. The fact that it was not what you expected is simply the result of a miscommunication and nothing more. I did the best that I could to help you after a bad day. Ok, it was too deep for you because you were not expecting that. You did agree to it, though”

      What hurt so badly was that he came in in a bad mood and I reached out to help, and ended up getting blamed for not doing it right. That’s the scapegoating that I’ve had my whole life from childhood.

      I think the lie underneath is – Nancy is not capable of helping others. Nancy is not capable of ‘giving’ intimacy.

      I’m not concerned about our relationship because I recognize that this event was full of triggers from our married, as well as individual pasts.

      I’m trying to find a childhood memory but can’t. The pattern though, was that my mother was depressive/ furious ( covertly) but somehow she would always manage to make me the ‘broken one’. I don’t know how she did that. I think she’d just wait for me to get upset about something ( or find a way to make me upset) and then she could, with great concern say, ” Nancy, what is wrong?” That way the focus was off of her, and she could be the long one.

      I can think of a recent event, but nothing from early on.

      Any ideas for trying to get at memories I’d appreciate.

      • Renee on February 10, 2018 at 9:16 am

        [My non-legal disclaimer]. I am not speaking directly to Nancy but did read her post. I think it would welcome more to the blog if others can see that we are also learning how to handle things differently. Other approaches for what may not be or have not worked. Not saying that is not taking place already but I guess because of the nature of the blog, sometimes it is hard to see.

        Anyway, I am trying to learn another approach and that is just to say, “How can I help?” I too am a want to help fix it kind of girl. When my husband hurt, I want to go all out and find out why? Where it is coming from? How deep it is running? And then fix it or help him figure out how to fix it! Well he at times would get upset and at other time just harbor resentment because I was not letting him be a man and figure things out for himself.

        Then, I find myself hurt and upset because you did not allow me to do what makes me feel nurturing (be a wife/my notion of what being a wife means). I took it as far as my husband did not love me because he rejected my help. Maybe I’m not capable of helping him. I can’t do anything right. (It gets kind of bad at time my thinking). And now everyone has hit a button and everyone is triggered.

        But now I want to try another approach and just ask, “How can I help?” He just may want me to listen or he just may want me to give him space. If he want space, maybe I can say let me know when you are ready to talk or when you need me.

        Would this work, in the relationship I have? I have no idea but the premise of Leslie and many others is to clean up your side of the street. Not saying that I have been doing anything wrong or anyone else just saying I am willing to try different approaches in this relationship or the next.

        I associate this post as something God want me to learn. I had an email yesterday about the approach I am speaking of and then this morning read Nancy’s post.

        Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
        To every thing there is a season,
        and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
        A time to be born, a time to die;
        a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
        A time to kill, and a time to heal;
        a time to break down, and a time to build up;
        A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
        a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
        A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
        a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
        A time to get, and a time to lose;
        a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
        A time to rend, and a time to sew;
        a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
        A time to love, and a time to hate;
        A time of war, and a time of peace.

        Now if the good Lord can just help me to know when it is that time for each of those things.

        Hugs to you Nancy

        • Aly on February 10, 2018 at 10:09 am

          Renee,

          I like your Post and the Verse;)
          So true ~ and certainly such great wisdom too!

          Discerning is key and relational dynamics are complicated but not all that inventive.

          You wrote;
          “He just may want me to listen or he just may want me to give him space. If he want space, maybe I can say let me know when you are ready to talk or when you need me.”

          This is good and valuable~
          Lots of healthy emotional processors can use above and not abuse ‘space’.

          My h would abuse ‘space’ at any corner~ the key word is would.
          I chose to continue to show him this pattern and he knew it was damaging me and more imp. himself and his growth.
          We all have choices~

          I don’t know if Nancy’s husband has similar tendencies but often moody men think~ ‘getting space and not thinking or entertaining whatever they are truly upset about is the best for them.
          Well, it’s a great escape and then those unprocessed feelings spill over and over.

          My h chose to ‘work’ to not have any available time to meet with those feelings and unprocessed pain.

          Space is great ~ but what you do in your space has Great Value!
          Exercise and actually processing can go along way at times;)

          For my recovering h, too much. Unhealthy SPACE was his kryptonite. The more space he was given, the worse he got at times at dealing and really confronting his fears.

          And yes, in his journey he often thought that space helped him,
          (He now would tell you how addictive that thinking is and how his self talk was destroying him from the inside out~ meaning his thoughts were not guiding him to wisdom and health and ultimately intimacy with God)

          So guess what … as he dove into his work ‘junk’ he saw that he was taught ‘space’ from his FOO and that was the solution to most anything uncomfortable. Examples:
          Someone looks sad~ give them space.
          Someone seems angry ~ give them space.
          Someone seems hurried and stressed ~ give them space
          And on and one it went … space but never resolution, never connection.

          It’s what one does with the space is key and do they go to the Holy Spirit? Do they go to their scriptures? Do they seek a trusting friend?

          • Renee on February 10, 2018 at 10:54 am

            I agree Aly and thanks for additional dialogue.

            I still have concerns when is it (a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; and a time to keep silence and a time to speak). I mean what do you do when someone refuses your help with something you know they are struggling with? How do you push through without causing everyone pain or is that just part of the process? I get upset about not being allowed in (even with my kids). So how do you know what is enough space and what is too much space (days I gather is too much)? I don’t know. At times my husband would allow me in and then at other times he would push me away (even with kids). That causes me grief and confusion.

            So I guess in a way I’m being selfish (maybe) for wanting him (even kids) to welcome me in at all times? Am I being selfish for wanting him to be open with me about what is ailing him at all times? And then with that, how do you keep his issues from becoming your issues? Is there such a thing as caring too much?



          • Aly on February 10, 2018 at 11:07 am

            Renee,

            Maybe I’m confused but are you and your husband separated?
            You are individual counseling too right?



          • Renee on February 10, 2018 at 11:50 am

            Yes Aly we have been physically separated since Nov. 2017. But we do interact occasionally and at times have some contact through phone or text. However, some post on here, at times, have me think, what can I do differently now so that I will not have my same old patterns regardless of the outcome of the marriage.

            At times hubby mentions he wants to reconcile. At times he mentions he hopes to be able to come home one day. I am asking the Lord to keep us away from each other (in same home especially) unless 2 Corinthians 5:17 takes place.

            As to counseling, books and this blog is all I have now. My insurance no longer covers counseling. The money I could put toward counseling, I am setting aside to cover the cost of divorce (if need be), future housing, and to cover our living expenses now. So as much as I would love to pay for counseling, I have to use funds to keep this roof over our head.

            Our kids counseling does counsel with me briefly as I bring them in but she can’t do much with me because she says it would be a conflict of interest.



          • Aly on February 10, 2018 at 2:06 pm

            Renee,

            This makes sense and I’m sorry for the circumstances but it seems you are getting resources for your kids and that’s such a great thing. Sounds like you are also thinking future focus options.

            Since you said that your husband mentions reconciling~
            One thought ..Would he be willing to pay for your individual therapy?

            I think counseling is only one part of recovery, having supportive friends that can ‘ ‘really get it’ as you do life ‘real time’ is also so invaluable.



          • Renee on February 10, 2018 at 9:51 pm

            Yes, I believe he would. That’s how we did so previously (under his insurance). We were seeing the same counselor. Individual session and then as a couple – back and forth. However, I felt the counselor wanted to tiptoe around. So I quit. He went back a few more times and then quit. He said the counselor was upsetting him because all she would ask at every session was what happened this week and then how does that make you feel? I behaved in such and such manner – then how does that make you feel.

            I know he was not lying about that one because it was what I was experiencing. We are in a rural town so we have gone through quite a few counselors.

            I do have many supportive friends and family. You all are part of that now, like it or not (ha, ha)



          • Renee on February 10, 2018 at 11:56 am

            So Aly this is not a current issue. Nancy post just reminded me of a past issue.



      • Aly on February 10, 2018 at 9:44 am

        Nancy,

        You bring up some really great points and I’m glad that you have it written down so that your counselor can assist you both. As much as this may seem right now a disappointment or a struggle I see it as such an opportunity to bring more awareness to your dynamic.

        I’m giving my best example as my husband and have been through some similar trenches.
        First, I think you were loving an available and brought a healthy option for your husband to;
        ‘Feel and deal’!

        Do you know how many don’t want to actually ‘feel, deal and own their own discomfort emotionally?

        He had a bad day a work~ what does he want to do with those emotions or insecurities swimming around and how best is he going to get to the core Fears or truths to what’s going on?
        You brought a door for him to walk through and sift through the feelings and get honest about what ‘made it a bad day’.

        Boy! can I relate to the crazy making of the person who is the one ‘uncomfortable’ trying anything and everything to take the focus off them. My husband’s core tool of the past ~ if he could somehow make my offering help or trying to assist the issue then he slithered away ‘not doing his emotional work’!

        It’s his to deal with and His to find a healthy way of getting to the root, otherwise it just gets built up and leaks out in another more destructive way~ unknown to the person who is using unhealthy skills to not be vulnerable and ‘honest’ about their grief or fear.

        One thing, I’m not sure if you did this, but it was helpful to my husband to lay his head in my lap and we would go through the process. He could feel safe, and feel like I was not an opponent with him. If your h has a lot of unresolved emotions and some emotional immaturity ~ he’s going to struggle getting used to ‘new tools’ in his bucket.

        Also, we would often work this exercise everyday or every other day when we could connect. Prayer first about the exercise & 10-15 mins of time to process a bit. This brought about learning the tools and it was easier when my husband wasn’t ‘feeling hurt or fearful by an external~ work’ etc.
        A battle when he wanted to run from his ‘junk’!!

        Couple things to discuss with counselor maybe individually~
        Husband’s comments of the book? Being intimidating…
        This can be a soft but defensive mechanism to eliminate solutions to emotionally needs. Don’t entertain his thoughts much on this, it’s a tactic to push away solutions.

        Also you wrote;
        “What hurt so badly was that he came in in a bad mood and I reached out to help, and ended up getting blamed for not doing it right. That’s the scapegoating that I’ve had my whole life from childhood.”

        Yep!! This is i can So relate, it’s exhausting and harming to the person offering care. Like getting your hand slapped over and over. I’m So sorry Nancy,
        It’s imp you have support for these places and get comfort outside of your husband’s behavior choices. You are not wrong, not incapable.
        Your husband missed out on bringing you something that could be freeing, connecting & healing… this has nothing to do with you in that place.
        I’m also glad you brought your heart & hurt to the Lord, and explained here too because we also need Community💟

        Does your husband relate more like the vacillator or avoider?
        Also, looking at other factors of FOO and anything co-contributing (like GAD- general anxiety disorder).

        When he is in a good place ~ is he more open to explore and discover his feelings and hurts? Or does he get uncomfortable right away and look stressed..
        All these things are important to see how is he responding to ’emotional work and processing’.

        Sorry that’s long, and I hope anything helps even if it’s knowing ‘I know what it feels like to be the receiver of someone else ‘unresolved pain’ and it hurts!
        Pray to the Lord to help you, equip you & with all your dignity …Give them back their Poo ~
        While gently offering to hold their hand through it if they are willing to be safe;)

      • Aly on February 10, 2018 at 10:48 am

        Nancy,

        Just want to offer any hugs and verbal validation here;

        “I’m trying to find a childhood memory but can’t. The pattern though, was that my mother was depressive/ furious ( covertly) but somehow she would always manage to make me the ‘broken one’. ”

        The pattern to me and my healing process became more the point than a memory.

        The grief I had to face was that although what often my mother, father or siblings did to ‘avoid themselves’ was painful it was doubly loaded for me in my marriage. …
        Based on the sacredness and intimacy of marriage, when my h came to understand how much more painful and destructive those patterns were he could eventually learn empathy for me as a child and me as his wife~ undeservingly receiving ‘crazy’ and power taking tactics from a person who is and was Safe.

        You wrote;
        “I don’t know how she did that. I think she’d just wait for me to get upset about something ( or find a way to make me upset) and then she could, with great concern say, ” Nancy, what is wrong?” That way the focus was off of her, and she could be the long one.”

        Yes!! Exactly, this is the crazy projecting that those individuals do. And for them they think it works.
        Nancy, your mom was wrong and needed and needs a lot of guidance. Not saying she will get it. You have forgiven her for her choices and how she dealt with pain, shame, etc.
        But now, you have different tools and a support to handle those hurtful experiences so they don’t have to continue in your marriage.

        Nancy, I think you have mentioned your mom being bi-polar? Not sure and untreated bi-polar is a roller coaster depending on the severity.
        Her level of functioning has nothing to do with you and your significance as you know~ just saying it here again!
        You know your value and your worth of the Mighty One who saves and reflects His glory💕

      • Aly on February 10, 2018 at 11:02 am

        Nancy,

        Forgot to mention in my previous post, sorry 😲
        You wrote;
        ” I think she’d just wait for me to get upset about something ( or find a way to make me upset) and then she could, with great concern say, ” Nancy, what is wrong?” That way the focus was off of her, and she could be the long one.”

        Yes, Nancy this is true of your experience ~ been there 😩 Crazy I and wip lash like.

        Ok~ the negative feelings that your mom won’t own or have the courage to sort through ‘bottle up’ and then blow (sometimes even covertly)

        What I have come to understand about this; is that this is an effective way for a person to sabatoge ‘intimacy and honest connection’
        If the focus is on you and your emotional place, they don’t have to feel the pain but they also miss out on the true healing. Meaning they don’t feel safe sorting through negative feelings. And they are usually resistant to processing them without a lot of intervention and possibly meds that can assist in any developmental delay they are suffering from.

        Don’t hold it for them~ leave it for them to deal with themselves and keep your door open for truth and honesty. 🌸

        Hugs and continued prayers ✝️
        Your not alone!

      • JoAnn on February 10, 2018 at 11:42 pm

        Nancy, sometimes you just feel bad. Not everything has its roots in a childhood experience, though many triggers do. But the thing is, in this situation you were trying to help and your help wasn’t welcome. That can feel like rejection. If there is a “root” that comes from your past, then simply give yourself permission to remember, and then ask the Lord to let it come up to the surface at the right time. You don’t necessarily have to remember; just deal with the feeling in that moment, forgive your h for making you feel that way, and move on. I also like what Renee said: “How can I help?” That’s a good way to begin. Let him tell you what he needs. You guys are still learning how to help each other, and this is another learning opportunity, not a step backwards.

    • Nancy on February 10, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Renee and Aly,

      Thanks for responding. Your concern, Renee, about how to push through without causing pain for everyone, is exactly the trigger point that my h and I spent time discussing this morning.

      It turns out that what my h needed last night was reassurance eg.) “I know you’ll figure this out, you are great at your job ..etc…” He needed to have his strengths affirmed. He needed to know that I believe in him. There should be a place for this type of affirmation in our relationship, for sure. ( I have to admit that I am not very good at this because it touches a deep place of fear in me).

      There should also be a place for him to explore his weaknesses with me, and this, is definitely riddled with triggers. I like your suggestion, Aly, of him putting his head in my lap. That brings him lots of reassurance all by itself.

      As to your question about his attachment style, Aly. He is a pleaser. He has done a lot of individuating in the past year ( as have I) and is much less dependant on me, in order to feel okay. As a result, He is beginning to feel his own feelings more, but it is still incredibly scary for him, and he has many defenses against ‘going there’.

      In the past I have been quite controlling / manipulative in my own ways and this, coupled with his FOO issues, makes him super sensitive to any direction I might give. So me asking all those questions ( from the How we Love material) was very triggering for him.

      I have been praying about ‘intimacy’ in our marriage. We wrote a marriage statement a while back and the middle section says, ” our marriage is a place where growth in individuality and intimacy is nurtured”. I’ve been asking God what this ‘intimacy being nurtured’ looks like.

      This argument last night really hi-lighted our sticking points against intimacy. It’ll be a great example to bring to our counsellor this week.

      Thank you for your insight and support, ladies.

      It was quite an excercise for me to use that How we Love worksheet to explore my own feelings of being scapegoated after our argument. Although I would love for my h to join me in the ‘How we Love’ material, I have to give that desire to God and just focus on myself in it.

      The Lord could have another avenue for us to ‘grow in intimacy’

      • Aly on February 10, 2018 at 5:47 pm

        Nancy,

        Sounds like you made some progress;)!
        Reassurance was also one of my words too! But my h (past) had no idea how to communicate reassurance to me because he didn’t ever want me to be upset or have any feelings.

        You wrote;
        ” So me asking all those questions ( from the How we Love material) was very triggering for him.”

        The word itself ‘triggering’ doesn’t have to be negative or something to necessarily avoid.
        If you bring above to your counselor, they can really help navigate.
        To me, if he’s having that strong of a reaction to those questions that would cause my curiosity?
        Also, many of the questions can be reworded or downsized overall meaning lessen the amount and see how he does.

        My husband was also very uncomfortable during lots of the process but as he did more discovery and saw the benefit of understanding himself and his ‘own’ feelings he was less likely to avoid and or put them on me. He developed a new language and could also not be fearful of speaking about feelings ~
        It definitely takes time and work for sure but as does anything when learning something new.

        Especially for our children when they are upset or not sure ~ the feeling words list is key and even though they first ‘push against the work at looking at the list’
        After they look~ they get a sense of relief and then feel better knowing what they are feeling and that they can describe it. Then we are able to help dialog more and comfort them the best way we can, rather than them find other distractions to self soothe.
        Plus, it’s a good opportunity to take our disappointments or hurts to the Lord with them and encourage them in knowing that they are ‘so WORTHY& valueable because of who they are not what they have done or received pain elsewhere!

  20. Aly on February 3, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Aleea,

    I’m interjecting here because I completely would feel that it’s important to ‘in love and truth’ offer space and compassion for another person given this dialog.
    You wrote;~ to Nancy
    “I have no idea how little I know and neither do you.”

    This isn’t true, there are certain truths that are foundational and may if they seem small is not the question but their value is in the significance & quality not in size (large or small).
    When you choose to sit in those places of measure while claiming to have the Holy Spirit within you devalue and create conflicting beliefs about important places of critical truths for healing.

    You wrote;
    ” —People don’t want to know the complexities of what they facing because they don’t want the chaos. They want to be “happy” (—I want the Truth, no matter if it makes me happy or not!)”

    While some of this above might be true in places and some might category this denial….I don’t think it’s about ‘true happiness’ more than staying close to something familiar that might seem safe, but it’s just the known version of what they are comfortable with.

    Many of us here might define happy very very differently and I believe true happiness is more of a by product (not a motive) of living out our purpose not of ourselves or for ourselves but for His Glory.
    Having inner peace brings freedoms to continue to grow and become all that He created for us.

    There will be abusive people out there that continue to harm out of a defect of value and worth.
    Let’s together encourage one another to protect our hearts from further suffering that gives opportunity to Steal or Rob our known worth (even if it’s a small amount of knowledge it’s the essential parts that are critical)

    Hugs and continued prayers for healing wounds for us all.💕

    • Aleea on February 3, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      Aly,

      “I have no idea how little I know and. . . . .” Yes, that was *not* good on my part. I should not have said that.

      I apologize Nancy, I should have just limited it to just me.

      I (Aleea) know very little.

      “Let’s together encourage one another to protect our hearts from further suffering that gives opportunity to Steal or Rob our known worth (even if it’s a small amount of knowledge it’s the essential parts that are critical)” . . .Yes! Absolutely. I realize how gently you have been with me at times and I so, so appreciate that. The evidence of “forgiveness of sin” is not found in a profession of belief, but in a life freed from self-destructive pursuits, scapegoating, et.al.

      . . . .So, maybe Christianity is not about accepting twenty impossible propositions before breakfast, but about doing things that change us. . . . If you believe, you behave, you will be transformed. Christianity is not true because it conforms to metaphysical, scientific or historical reality but because it is life enhancing, it tells you how human nature functions, but I will not discover these truths unless I apply these things to my life and put them into practice. . . .The truth is in the acting it out (I learned that last year from Nancy). . .Believing something to be true has nothing to do with whether it is true. . . It’s mystery. It is about the way things never were, but always are! “. . . people never think their way into new ways of acting, they always act their way into new ways of thinking.” I learned that from Leslie’s books.

      “Hugs and continued prayers for healing wounds for us all.” Thank you so, so much Aly.

  21. Renee on February 3, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Aleea, I love your post. Especially this part (Or stand up and fight and truly live, even if it brings the whole thing crashing down around me?)

    I’m not sure what you meant here {For me, I think it is that I just can’t face the fact that God may just be imaginary}.

    • Aleea on February 3, 2018 at 5:37 pm

      Thank you Renee.

      Re: “Or stand up and fight and truly live, even if it brings the whole thing crashing down around me?” . . . .Tell the truth and try your best to fear no man. Truth will triumph. It always does. Telling the truth brings the best possible world and relationships into existance.

      Re: “I’m not sure what you meant here {For me, I think it is that I just can’t face the fact that God may just be imaginary”
      . . .Renee, I am saying that I walk into the mystery of God. I can not define that mystery no matter how hard I try. The other night I was thinking about God (as always) as I feel asleep. I was thinking about how saying “God” is never really naming God but only naming our understanding of God. My understanding of God could easily be an imaginary God. To take our ideas of the divine and hold them as if they correspond to the reality of God is to construct a conceptual idol built from the materials of our human minds. . . .an imaginary God. —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 want God, not other people’s ideas about God. . . .And Renee we have to walk our way into the mystery of God by serving others. When any human group decides that they can define God, the outcome is always predictable. History is so clear: the “true faith,” once defined, must then be defended against all new discoveries, and it must also then be forced upon all people—“for their own good, lest their souls be in jeopardy.” . . . .Beliefs are secondary, not primary. Christianity is a “way” to be followed more than it is about a set of beliefs to be believed. Practice is more important than “correct” beliefs. Beliefs are not irrelevant; they do matter. But they are not the object of faith. Christ in God is the “object” of commitment.

  22. Renee on February 3, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Aleea we may be talking about two different things. I for one had a day last week where uncertainty had me very overwhelmed. And no matter what I tried at home, the feeling would not shake. It was only after I got away for a few hours did the feeling pass.

    But yes, we want 100% certainty that our relationship can be healed. 100% certainty that we will be able to retire. 100% certainty that we can handle the day to day and unexpected. 100% certainty that if we were to divorce or separate from our spouse that we would be ok.

    Maybe that is where that old saying came from, “the heart wants what it wants.” But then where does that leave God in our plans?

    • Aleea on February 4, 2018 at 1:07 am

      Hello Renee,

      Re: “Maybe that is where that old saying came from, the heart wants what it wants.”

      Re: 100% certainty that our relationship can be healed. . . .
      100% certainty that we will be able to retire. . . .
      100% certainty that we can handle the day to day and unexpected. . . .
      100% certainty that if we were to divorce or separate from our spouse that we would be ok. . . .

      Re: “But then where does that leave God in our plans?”

      . . .Well, I’ve always thought that the “C” (committement to honesty, internal and external —no more pretending even though it might create huge conflict or tension) was/is the answer. This honesty and telling the real truth puts our lives directly back into God’s hands. We no longer dwell on the outcomes (—no outcome engineering) or whom we are going to blame (—God; —the Bible; my mother; for most here: husbands). Those things waste time and build roadblocks to healing but I do it too.

      “But then where does that leave God in our plans?” . . . .The earth is just full of the glory of God. You have felt “it”—right??? “it”—all Christianity and all salvation—is about transformation, liberation, reconnection, seeing anew, acceptance of our deepest longings. “it”—is “the” path of transformation. . . . . The risen Jesus journeys with me, journeys with Renee, with us all, whether we know it or not (and sometimes whether I perceive it or not) . . . .But oh my, oh my, there are moments in which we (I) do come face-to-face with Him and I recognize Him.

      A broken person understands she needs rescue, and she depends on God to resurrect and deliver her. . . .And she also understands that even if God chooses not to deliver her, His ways are higher and more amazing then what we can fathom. We grow when life steals our control. We grow in darkness. The more we love, the more it hurts, and the more we have to let go. He created us for adventure, not ease. ―Dare to be brave, and trust. . . . .It is so, so hard I know. We will not understand the pathways God lays out before us because He is God. We may not even like walking the journey. But even in failure, I think we can trust that He’ll do more than we expect. . . . .I get so mad at Jesus at times. He almost impossible to understand but I still say: . . .Jesus carry me!!!

    • Amanda on February 4, 2018 at 5:59 am

      Around and around we go down the rabbit hole. Can we get back on topic?

  23. Barbara B on February 3, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    i agree with the comments about looking for deeper causes of the angry feelings, causes that quite possibly go beyond the tithing dispute. Sometimes I need to dig deep like that and in my experience it can take a long time. I think Leslie’s question is a good way to brainstorm about what to do to stay as healthy as possible from day to day while searching for long term solutions. I have a list of things that have helped me:
    -prayer, worship, Bible study
    -supportive friends
    -vigorous exercise, which for me is the best way to channel the angry energy out of my body
    -journal without self-editing; honestly express the raw emotions
    By no means do I think these are solutions to a problem like an abusive or controlling spouse. These activities help me by releasing the angry energy so I can more easily access my place of peace in the midst of the storm.

    • JoAnn on February 3, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      Barbara, that’s a good list of healthy activities for all of us. I commend you for finding out what helps and being diligent to do it. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Amanda on February 4, 2018 at 6:07 am

      I agree these are great ideas. I have used them myself to great affect while in my difficult to destructive marriage. The beauty of being free from my abusive spouse is that I still continue the activities for my own pleasure. The whole purpose has changed and I feel much healthier. Nothing beats escaping from the claws of living with an evil person.

  24. Aleea on February 4, 2018 at 1:29 am

    💜 ❤ 💛 💚 💙 💔†ރ📤 📡 μετά☄νοια📶📥†ރ😊. . . . 🌠✈❣☕🍵 🍜🍎✈💺🚉. . . . .💌

  25. Aleea on February 4, 2018 at 2:04 am

    . . .Oh and I was just praying for everyone that posts here and it so, so hit me: it’s an act of our will to choose to see people and ourselves simply as *wildly* loved by God, to assume their/our beauty before guessing their/our depravity. Control . . .c-o-n-t-r-o-l is the inner disease when we need stability and order to function. But, we are [in control] when we are [totally out of control] (—that is we give the control to God). —Lord help me too📶📴

  26. Aly on February 5, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Aleea,

    You wrote:
    “The problem is that we tend to spend a great deal of energy in attempting to avoid the Truth. Christianity in all its versions is so, so often a psychological defense mechanism against a *REAL* experience of God!”

    It’s isn’t Christianity in ALL its versions that are the defense mechanisms, it’s those that use and abuse it that way!
    Remember it’s really either the ‘open rejectors’ of Christ and the ‘pretenders’ of Christ who both don’t have nor experience Christ and His ways.

    Sometimes it sounds as if you come across pointing to Christianity as the problem when it’s really those pushing vulnerability and ‘close’ intimacy away. Coming close to God often requires vulnerable willingness and many as said above that are pretenders want nothing to do with that! They want their defense mech box and their mask and they want everyone else to have one, if you don’t have one, then you will be ‘yet still pushed away’ even through phony expressions because little has been developed through an identity and true understanding of Him = Love!

    In the bigger picture~ all the avoidance is Avoiding Love from Him, not trusting that He can love the way He promises, and pushing away to reject Him first, before He can reject those avoidant.
    This is a sad reality for many, but The Lord will open eyes and ears for those who are His and soften a heart in such a way that it will begin to absorb the Love and care He brings flooding in!!

    The Scriptures affirm these truths~ His Word is a word of Rescue and Love and Promises💜

  27. Aly on February 5, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Aleea,

    I’m also thankful to hear you bring materials in to assist in the class and you haven’t been extracted?

    You wrote:
    “I use those materials but they always create havoc. . . .remember: fundamentalists”

    Ok~ hmm ‘creates havoc’ that always grabs my wondering…
    What stirs a group to create havoc?
    Change~ Being a threat? power dynamics?

    I have facilitated a few marriage classes & books in church so I can relate too certain places of the material that can get rougher to sort through.

    For a majority of marriage classes and books written for marriage enrichment, those materials are NOT about marriages that are anywhere difficult or destructive, they are for two good willed people who are genuinely wanting more tools and wisdom (to actually apply) in loving their partner and especially they tend to have healthy marriage with two mutual people who respect one another at the Core!!

    One thing I find helpful, is taking a private pole about how many marriage enrichment classes or books has a couple embarked on and any progress toward drawing closer emotionally and spiritually etc.

    The Pole gives people a chance to be honest and look at how many attempts (or none) to better their situation with such material and what outcomes they experience.
    How resistence a partner is toward these classes can sometimes identify the pretender in the room (not exposing here or saying that resistence = pretender)
    But I do think resistence does highlight bigger junk!!

    I think it’s a great blessing that you bring Leslie material in as a resources or at least to help expose it, because my personal experiences through the years is that more often than not many people ARE suffering in very unbalanced and unhealthy marriages based on the core person they are married to. But often many are not as intune with unhealthy experiences they are experiencing or bringing into their marriage.
    I myself brought a lot of unhealthy tolerance!

    The numbers and divisions of many families are more evidence of untreated Core Identity & Worth issues (regardless if the profess belief in Christ)
    We can profess belief in Him all the days, but if we can’t apply Him or what we are learning from a teachable posture from within what are we really offering to our marriages and relationships?

    By apply; I’m not only referring to the gentle Love and care but also the more difficult authentic ways of Loving someone ~ having healthy boundaries against unhealthy behaviors even at the expense of rejection or loss of relationship.

  28. Aleea on February 6, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Renee (this never posted further up the thread),
    . . .Absolutely, a place (church, small group, whatever) where people come and instead of all this triumphalism (―excessive exultation over spiritual success!, ―victory!!! and “conquering” things) we really relate in total brokenness and acceptance. ―No more masks to hide behind. To me, Christianity’s radical insight is that we do not see Christ as simply another identity to place alongside our others: wife, lawyer, et.al. Instead, Jesus cuts across all these concretely existing identities [Jew/Gentile, slave/free, male/female, etc.] those who identify with Christ are no longer held captive by categories [as much as is possible they are outside of of them as total outsiders]. . . .Because we are all outsiders and die outside the city gates with Christ, with no identity just like when He died. Unless I don’t understand it, 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 crucifixied, you were no longer in any political, cultural, or religious system. You were ripped of identity.

    . . . In that way, Jesus’ passion teaches us that the scapegoat mechanism is not to be utilized by those in the church to build the church or to build any community. Rather than finding unity in the sacrificing or exclusion of a chosen victim (―lesbians, ―agnostics, ―narcissists, ―atheists, ―“various evil birds”, et.al.) the church, as a community of those who identify with Christ’s loss of identity on the cross, gathers around a table where we break bread and remember our crucified Messiah. We are called not to play the game of identity. And the problem is that the fundamental structure of scapegoating is not broken in the acceptance of the latest “other.” If the underlying scapegoat mechanism is not decommissioned, then new “others” will always arise to protect the group from its own internal conflicts.

    . . .Now, I understand we have to bracket off neuropsychological measures outside of the norm: —totally psychotic, devoid of empathy, etc. but I really wonder what the real percentage is (really) for those issues? . . .Anyway, the point is to help break the false distinction between the idea that there are those who are whole and those who have a lack. For the true distinction is between those who hide their lack under a fiction of wholeness (―re: They say they have the peace that passes ALL understanding, etc.) and those who are able to fully embrace it: “I don’t have the peace that passes ALL understanding.”

    . . .To me, what is post-modern Christianity indicates a failure of the very fabric of the structure of churches. Could it be, the solution comes from requiring we really acknowledge and actually, really embrace utter brokenness? . . . Brokenness not competence, brokenness not triumphalism, brokenness not certainty, brokenness not pretending to know things we really don’t know in any normative sense? . . .From reading post after post for years, it seems most marriage relationships exist like that for decades, never bringing up the unpleasant truths for fear of a total, complete crisis. Not realizing that the crisis is already there, lurking in the midst, ―ditto post-modern Christianity and its foundations.

    But, Renee, it is very hard to know because it is so easy to be biased by things. I am a fundamentalist and that makes me biased no matter how fair and balanced I try to be. Anyone who tells you that she is objective and devoid of presuppositions is astonishingly naive. The only way I know of to try to counteract that is to deeply consider opinions and ideas I don’t like. The more I don’t like them (example: Our Christian beliefs have not provided us what they seemed to promise), the more I don’t like the idea, the more I research and pray about them. I assume that what I do not yet know is more important than what I think I already know. When we smuggle our conclusions into our Bible readings by beginning with them in as an initial premise, we are very likely to beg the hard questions and end up with conclusions that match our presuppositions rather than reflect the truth of the matter.

    The thing that often hangs me is approaching the truth affirmed by Christianity as some abstract, objective assertion to be tested. That may simply demonstrate that I am approaching this as a problem to be pondered, dissected, and solved, rather than a mystery to inhabit and be transformed by. But, still, the fragile flame of faith is fanned into life so simply: I just sit still read Bible passages, embrace the silence, and ask Christ to help me. It is really hard because at church, people want organic unity, tribal harmony, and collective identity, not deep questions and serious searching.

  29. MF on February 13, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Prozac (and growing in core strength)

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