Morning friends,

I’m heading off to Lynchburg today to present a webinar to people helpers on “Three Common Mistakes that People Helpers Make.” Pray that my words and teaching have an impact on those listening that will equip them to be better people helpers to women in destructive marriages.

Question:  I did a Google search today looking for support for the premise that even in cases of adultery, pastors should still encourage the offended spouse to prefer and seek reconciliation if there is objective evidence of true repentance. This is a personal question. I was dismayed at first to read your blog “What Scripture Supports Separation from a Destructive Spouse?” (Aug 5, 2013). Then I was deeply humbled by it. Then I decided I'd better read the texts you proposed and pray through them and get my heart back to recovery and away from trying to control the future.

My pastor told me last week that he has said for a number of years that, though my spouse has grounds for divorce, he discouraged it while remaining willing to support her if she chose to divorce (that is true) — until recently (my relapse two and a half weeks ago involving dual addictions). That was devastating to hear — yet, I could blame no one but myself.

Could you tell me what similar Scripture supports there are for promoting (actively encouraging) reconciliation, even in the case of adultery (and relapse during addiction recovery) — assuming true fruits of repentance are present?

Answer: Thanks so much for your question. Struggling with addictions is never easy. You did not give me enough of your history to render a complete answer but let me help you look at things from a few different angles.

You asked me if there are Scriptural supports that encourage reconciliation with a person who is truly repentant; even if they have done something – like commit adultery, perhaps multiple times?

I think that phrase “multiple times” probably defines where the problem lies. The fruit of genuine repentance is that you turn away from that sin and don’t repeat it. When you repeat that sin again, after you said you were repentant, trust is broken. Not only trust that you won’t sin against your wife like that again but trust in your claim of being genuinely repentant. The more times this pattern repeats, the less likely it is that your wife will be willing to put her trust out there again even if she forgives you.

In the reconciliation of a broken marriage, we’re not just talking about being neighborly again or having the ability to worship together in the same church. It’s about restoring an intimate partnership that is built on trust.

When trust has been repeatedly broken, the relationship becomes increasingly irreparable.Click To Tweet

Let’s look at the situation for a minute outside of marriage. Let’s say you have been business partners with someone for 15 years and you have a gambling addiction. Your partner discovers you taking money from the business to play online poker. After you’re caught, you repent and go into treatment. You’re sorry and he’s forgiven you. Everything is restored. But then it happens again. And again.

Do you think your business partner will continue to want to be your business partner? No. Why not? Because you have repeatedly broken trust and now trust is not repairable because he no longer trusts your claim of repentance. The permanent brokenness of a relationship is a sad but real consequence of repeatedly sinning against someone.

You said you relapsed but you did not specify what happened. I imagine you have a sexual addiction (you didn’t say for sure) and another addiction – perhaps with alcohol or drugs. These are very besetting sins and I applaud you for trying to get help for them. But these or any other kinds of addictions will rob you of everything good in your life and you must learn to say NO to yourself and your own cravings and feelings if you want to grow, mature, and get healthy.  

But let me ask you a few questions. Were you in personal or group counseling for your additions at the time of your most recent relapse? Did you have close accountability partners who you were honest with when you started to play with fire again? Did you confess to your wife or pastor that you were relapsing or were you caught? All these factors come into play when looking at the patterns of sinful behavior and the “evidence” of genuine repentance.  

Individuals who are truly repentant hate their sin. They are done with it. And when that sin has hurt someone that they love such as their child or wife, they do whatever it takes to not repeat that sin again.

Jesus says it this way regarding repeated sexual sin: “It would be better for you to go through life with one eye than continue to sin in that way” (Matthew 5:29). I don’t think Jesus means you should literally cut your eye out, but Jesus is clear. Eliminating serious sin requires drastic measures. Do whatever it takes to stop it. 

What drastic measures did you have in place to keep yourself from slipping back into your addictions? If your relapse also included a prideful “I don’t need help with this” kind of mindset, then your repentance wasn’t genuine or complete. You may have felt sorry you got caught or that you messed up, but your heart was not humbled, nor were you teachable or willing to submit to accountability and structured help to guard your heart against relapse. Relapsing is a choice, and if you’ve been in any kind of quality treatment, there are opportunities to reach out for help all along the path of sliding into relapsing in order to make a different choice. Did you reach out when you were slipping and sliding into your addictions?  If not, why not?

So to answer your question, I don’t think there is any Scripture that commands your spouse to reconcile with you based on what information you’ve provided.

The Bible calls us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers or peace-fakers. Jeremiah warns against a superficial reconciliation when there is continued rottenness underneath. He says, “Prophets and priests alike all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. Peace, peace when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).  

Paul tells us that God has given believers the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Therefore, let me help you understand what that process looks like in messy and ugly relationship problems.

When someone has seriously sinned against someone and that person wonders whether or not she should reconcile with him, she isn’t merely looking for an apology. She’s looking for a change of heart.   

Below are three evidences or fruits of a changed heart. John the Baptist said it well when he said to the religious leaders, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Luke 3:8). When someone is truly repentant, he or she will:

  1. See:  They will acknowledge and see the hurt they’ve caused the person they have sinned against.   
  2. Take responsibility: He or she will work to change the things they have done that have hurt you and the relationship. They don’t blame someone else for their sinful behaviors or attitudes. They do whatever is necessary, including drastic measures, to not repeat that sin.
  3. Make amends: They will do the hard work to rebuild trust. They don’t expect instant restitution or reconciliation when trust has been repeatedly damaged.

The fact that you’ve asked me for a Bible verse that might compel you wife to reconcile with you shows that you have not understood the process of godly sorrow or repentance well. Your question indicates you are trying to control her heart when you have plenty of work to do on your own.  

A great biblical example of a man who was cautious with reconciliation is Joseph (see Genesis 37-49). He was betrayed by his brothers. They sold him into slavery because of their own jealousy.

When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt seeking food from Pharaoh because of the famine in their own land, Joseph immediately recognized his brothers although they did not recognize Joseph.

We know that Joseph had already forgiven them because he was kind to them and gave them food, but he was also cautious. He did not trust them.

He waited. He watched their actions to see whether their heart’s had changed. It was only after repeated testing and time that Joseph saw their changed hearts and actions. It was only then he trusted enough to begin the process of reconciliation.

Because your hurtful behaviors have been repetitive, there may never be a time where your wife trusts you again with her heart, her body, or her life. But that does not mean that you cannot do the hard work to become a trustworthy man in your other relationships, especially with your children. I hope you do.

Friends, what are some of the things you look for to see if you could fully trust your spouse again?

71 Comments

  1. Leslie C on March 21, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Well said Leslie. I look for a willingness to answer all of my questions about the affairs without him becoming angry towards me or blameshifting. I look for him to openly let me know his whereabouts, and what he is doing throughout the day. Obviously, I don’t believe what he is saying until I can begin to see the fruits of repentance, repetitively, over time.

  2. Vanessa on March 21, 2018 at 7:55 am

    When I am not pushed to reconcile nor am I told how reconciliation will take place. L

  3. Kay on March 21, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Mine issue is emotional abuse through raging (calling me horrible names, accusations, saying I am crazy, turning my daughter from me).
    I certainly do not have a peaceful marriage and came to know Leslie’s teaching after many years of this.
    I would look for kindness, a willingness to consistently listen to my concerns—support with my children, both emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially that is consistent.
    Ever rage is a setback, for which he never apologizes….

    • Aly on March 21, 2018 at 8:28 am

      Kay,
      Your post sounds terrible. I’m so sorry for what you are the recipient of. Are you getting personal counseling and support care?

      You described what you would look for in genuine repentance…and that your issue is emotional abuse.
      Are you saying that you don’t have a husband who has betrayed you or betrayed in infidelity?

  4. Lynn on March 21, 2018 at 8:38 am

    While my husband and I were separated due to his abuse and pornography addiction, I was looking for true conviction of what he had done through the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart. I so desired him to acknowledge and repent from his acts. I wanted him to be able to share with me his understanding of exactly what he had done to me, to let me know that he needed help and would seek that help, that he would stop making excuses or blaming me for his sin, and that he would do ‘anything’ to regain my trust and to work for reconciliation.

  5. Aly on March 21, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Leslie,

    Such a great example of what trust can look like and certainly the devastating outcome of a repeated offender!
    I won’t relist of the similar examples you gave in your 1,2,3.

    For me, a person can ask all the right questions and even have the right posture of genuine repentance and fail in the willingness to do the necessary things to address addiction and or relapse.
    By willingness, I mean the ‘actions’ that you also outlined so very well.

    I find some of the writers’ question disturbing in that he/she wants a biblical scripture to support ‘what they desire most’, which would be to reconcile. To me, this is the wrong posture and attitude off the bat. The offender is more invested in finding a scripture to help legitimate his/her genuine repentance rather than do the hard work of ‘walking out the fruit of repentance in action’ and here’s where the hard work takes place of restoring trust.

    This writer is a good example for many of us to consider when dealing with these issues on trust. Often an offender breaks trust, (whatever that kind of trust is) based on Serving themselves first. And then they want a quick fix easy step process. Most addicts will tell you if they are honest addicts which is rare, but it’s about cutting corners ~ taking the short cuts and poor decisions that become destructive and repetitive. The sad thing is if they took the honest ‘longer looking ‘ path they might find out in the bigger picture that it’s actually the shortest in reality and they have less manipulations and cover ups to manage.

    And I think in the question this person asked Leslie, the additude is still aligned with the same type of motivations~ quick fix, easy button mentality.
    There is the consistency! Not the kind that repairs broken trust though.

    • Nancy on March 21, 2018 at 9:17 am

      I agree Aly, that there is consistency in this writer’s attitude, but not the kind of consistency that repairs broken trust.

      The writer has not asked what he needs to do. He is asking for scripture that would require something of his wife.

      True repentance never asks anything of the offended party because the truly repentant heart is overwhelmed with the knowledge of what their sin has done to The Lord, and to the other person.

      Words mean very little at this point.

  6. Starlight on March 21, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Looking to make amends is a sign of recognition of wrong or harm done. Sitting at neutral because the sin was found out is not it, digging deeply to give back 4 fold of that which was taken, like Zaccheus the tax collector – willingly, not because it is extracted or demanded, shows true true repentance. Lundy Bancroft writes of a few things in his book about how to tell if your spouse is truly sorry, nice words when they have been caught is not one of them! Stopping his lying and twisting of the truth and transparency without defensiveness of all gadgets and social media is one. The book is
    ‘Should I go or Should I Stay’? By Lundy Bancroft

  7. Julie on March 21, 2018 at 9:52 am

    I heartily commend your answer Leslie and admire you for your determination in taking such a firm stand in this kind of situation. When trust is broken it is very difficult to repair, and if it is broken repeatedly it is nearly impossible. It seems so many want the control over their spouse without a change of heart from themselves, expecting their spouse to make all the efforts (and take all the blame) though it has been largely their own actions which have worn away the trust and destroyed the relationship. Hear hear!

  8. Connie on March 21, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Thank you so much for this week’s blog. It is exactly what I need. My h and I have been separated for over 4 months now, and ‘working on it’. At the start I gave him Lundy’s list of what needed to be done, and asked him to reply to my letters to him. Also, several years ago, the Lord said to me, “No more excuses”. Well there’s no accountability partner, because, “Where would I find one?” There’s no group, for the same reason. I’ve gotten, “I apologize for…..” but not, “I’m sorry…..” (there is a difference between what you do and what you feel) and only for what he decides to remember, not the hurts that I share (like that he drove off for hours with another woman on our wedding day and then took her into our bedroom for an hour with the door closed – he was witnessing to her (?) ). And he doesn’t reply to my letters. The other day I called him on a small thing and he made an excuse, so I called him on that. Three times. Excuse each time. Yes it was small, but doesn’t that indicate the heart? In January we were at a counseling intensive and he ‘had a heart change’ and is quite proud of that, and his regular counselor just raves about it, what a wonderful man he is becoming. I see it in some ways, yet, if he doesn’t pay attention to what my needs are……. I’m seeing that all my life I’ve often been ignored, so I need to speak up more and expect responses, I think.

    • Connie on March 21, 2018 at 10:45 am

      PS: He calls twice a day and wants to talk for hours, yet I’m not sure that isn’t partly a distraction from the real work that needs to be done.

      • Nancy on March 21, 2018 at 5:32 pm

        A suggestion : Tell him you won’t take his calls unless he has an accountability group and a partner, and he takes responsibility for the deeply hurtful things that he has done, even those that he doesn’t remember.

        That’ll cut the phone calls off.

        It is incredibly sad that his counsellor is enabling his bad behaviour! Can you write the counsellor, to let him know that he is, in fact, doing harm to his client?

        • Aly on March 21, 2018 at 5:50 pm

          Nancy, Connie,

          I agree Nancy and… I guess for me the requirements would actually increase even greater based on ALL the time he has spent ‘not doing what has been asked of him’!

          Connie, this whole thing of not remembering ~ really? I think not and I would just tell him it’s to his own deficit that he can’t remember and that brings the added loss.
          You might be surprised at how well his memory will come into focus.
          He seems to be playing games Connie. I think separation was wise on your part and based on your wedding night he shows that he has incredibly poor judgment! As well as he’s not healthy or mature enough to be in a covenant marriage where he can treasure you as a gift to be cared and loved well.
          I’m sorry Connie that he’s so foolish and missing out on you.

        • Connie on March 22, 2018 at 12:52 pm

          I believe you are right. It’s good to have people on here to run things by. I often don’t see how much I am ‘fluffing his pillow’ when I shouldn’t be. (a phrase used by a phone counselor I had from Patrick Doyle’s office) I wish counseling wasn’t so expensive. That churches would be able to do this. How can a person find out if a new counselor even understands this dynamic?

          I find I give in in ‘little’ ways about my requirements (I hope he’s working on it and will figure it out in time), then I find after a while that those were actually much bigger deals than I thought. I don’t want to be the ‘strict parent’, yet it seems that abuse is an addiction and needs to be handled very very firmly. My pastor keeps saying ‘he needs AA type treatment’.

          My friend who went through divorce from an abuser, recently wrote and said she believed that God had brought them together to give him a chance to learn with her to walk in God’s way, but that after the initial true repentance, he’d chosen to walk away. The Lord really wants us to walk with Him, but He sure won’t force us to. How sad He is with us.

          • Nancy on March 23, 2018 at 4:54 pm

            Glad that you have a supportive Pastor, Connie.

            It IS good to run things by the people here. It is often in the ‘little things’ that others can see patterns, or attitudes that we ourselves are blind to ( or have normalized).



    • JoAnn on March 21, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Connie, Oh my goodness!!! On your wedding day? How horrible for you! And yet, you went through with the marriage…. Unable to trust him from the get-go. I am glad that you are now separated, but with a history like that, can you ever trust him again? Please work on developing CORE strength, so that you can recover your self and the life that the Lord has for you. You deserve so much better.

      • Connie on March 21, 2018 at 11:33 am

        Oh, but he ‘doesn’t remember’ that, so it doesn’t count, right?

  9. Anewanon on March 21, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    A very good reply to this question. Well done.

    The only hesitation I have, is in the last line …

    > But that does not mean that you cannot do the hard work to become a trustworthy man in your other relationships, especially with your children. I hope you do. <

    Gotta be careful with this. Men who demand restoration on his terms are often emotionally abusive. If they can't exact from their wives what they desire, then the focus often shifts elsewhere.

    Given where his heart is, I would NOT encourage turning his attention towards the kids.. Oftentimes, the resentment shifts from getting her to capitulate, to getting the kids to get her to capitulate. And if THAT doesn't work, then turning the kids against her. This is where the heart of an unrepentant man often goes, which only wounds her further.

    If a man truly LOVES his children, he will FIRST work to REPAIR the relationship with their hurting mother.

    • sheep on March 21, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      Anewanon, Not really correcting what you said, just adding to it. your statement does not only apply to men. There are women that act the exact same way. I would say that anyone that that previously hurts another and they demand restoration on their terms is most likely emotionally abusive.

      • Anewanon on March 21, 2018 at 7:01 pm

        Agreed, regardless of gender ….

        The covert manipulator with no heart change can, and will, “easily” win over the unwary innocent children for nefarious purposes. (Not much hard work required.) I would not push nor encourage the unrepentant, untrustworthy spouse towards them, lest the cycle repeats itself.

        Reparations to the wounded spouse is a harder row to face and plow.

  10. Aleea on March 21, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    re: What Scripture Supports Reconciliation When Someone Is Genuinely Repentant?
    re: Friends, what are some of the things you look for to see if you could fully trust your spouse again?

    [while keeping the Bible and its theology bracketed off] . . . .the issues with husbands that we discuss here: neuropsychological measures outside of the norm: —serial substance abuse, adultery, interpersonally exploitative, psychotic, emotionally unavailable, devoid of empathy, etc. —Why are we even engaging in a step-down, conscious soothing exercise with issues this serious? . . .Do we attribute New Testament-style miracles, where God sets aside the laws which normatively govern the entire universe, to today? Do we actually believe that Jesus is permanently changing people’s brain neurons and synapses, as well as brain chemistry and brain circuit sequencing like when he walked the earth? —Actually, really, measurably changing those? . . .If not, nothing will change longer term. The reaserch shows you can always get temporary “white-knuckle” effects and morphing into new issues (—equally horrible) but not change in any statistically significant way in terms of brain chemistry and brain circuit sequencing. You can build newer brain circuits but under serious pressure, the person goes right back to the older chemistry and brain circuit sequence looping. What are we *really* even expecting? [re: Advances in the Neuroscience by Cynthia M. Kuhn, George F. Koob] . . . Chapter 4 Relapse Prediction: Imaging Studies —p. 137-on Andreas Heinz, Anne Beck, Jan Mir, Sabine M. Griisser, Anthony A. Grace, and Jana Wrase.

    Where is the longevity evidence on “genuine repentance?” —How is it measured? What studies support that this is even possible without massive recidivism? . . .If “genuine repentance” really changed people, why aren’t these claims of “genuine repentance” overwhelming the academic departments of our universities and the reaserch departments of our hospitals? You would think they would be if this approach had demonstrable longevity evidence. Generally, you see improvement and then relapse, improvement and then relapse, improvement and then relapse. . . .I hear crazy things at my church like: “relapse is part of recovery.” —Maybe, but that makes it unfalsifiable and only gives people permission to constantly relapse because they think that when they do, they are on the road to recovery. . . .I travel a lot and talk to lots and lots of people. A women I sat next to recently, she told me her story —and it took over an hour— and I appreciated hearing it but it was one rough story (. . . .She knows with “no doubt” that she gave her heart to the Lord at age 11 but went on to have —two abortions, —three failed marriages, et. al.) . . . . As she is telling me all this, I am thinking. . . .Why, why? do we have such a high rate of recidivism with those who have “given their hearts to the Lord?” How could we ever even tell if they did? This is the same as I see with “genuine Biblical repentance” . . .Again, if “genuine Biblical repentance” really changed people, you would think the academic departments of our universities and the research departments of our hospitals would be totally consumed with “genuine Biblical repentance” because it would have lasting results. —They most certainly are not. . . .The No True Scotswoman fallacy is a logical fallacy that allows people to engage in selective cherry picking: —Oh, these people did not have “genuine Biblical repentance” . . . .they are not True Scotswomen! Moving the goalposts/definitions does not allow us to actually test for any real/lasting effects, —if any exist.

    . . . .Anyways, the objective: Love —Fear wants to destroy its objective, a person seen as obstructing happiness, but love wants even the hating person to be happy, not to be any sort of obstruction—that’s how love can overcome hate (fear). The ego has lifelong conditioning and experiences to draw from in its effort to promote fear as the most important priority (—fear of you-name-it.) When we go through life with a fearful mind-set, we miss out on love and the joy that love brings. 1) Love 2) less fear 3) deeply searching for the truth 4) loving others; et.al. All positive emotions stem from love. If we want to be happy, then we love. Love is so powerful. To love oneself is the foundation of love of other people too. Love is a practice. —Love is truly a thing we practice.

  11. Debra on March 22, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    My husband moved out about two months ago. We have 5 kids and he only sees our younger 3 kids when he feels like it and he has no relationship with the older 2 kids, and we basically had no contact except for anything related to the kids. He was verbally and emotionally abusive towards all of us for a long time and had emotional affairs as well.

    I thought that my life was going to fall apart and I was so worried on the impact this will have on my children. But through therapy and just really relying on God, I have realized that I am stronger than I thought and I have been able to survive. And my kids are coping better than I expected. So basically our lives have been peaceful and we seem to be moving forward. My husband refuses counselling or reconciliation so I turned my focus on just making my life and the kids lives better.

    So I was thrown off completely when my husband called me and was crying (like the hyperventilating type of crying and I have never seen him cry before) and asked me for my forgiveness. In the past, I had always wanted to hear some sort of apology or see some remorse on his part but never in a million years did I expect to see it or hear it. The level of pride in my husband is immense and I had pretty much accepted that he will never acknowledge the wrongs he’s done or say sorry. He had even texted the older 2 kids to see if they wanted to visit him and my daughter replied no and my son didn’t reply at all. He said he realized at that point how much my son and daughter want to have nothing to do with him and he doesn’t want us to hate him. He said that all the things that I have said to him echo in his mind and he feels so alone and empty inside.

    I truly believe that the guilt is weighing down on him and he feels some remorse. What does the offended party do next if the offender is truly sorry? Do I just sit back and see if his actions match his words? Do I still keep him at arm’s length? How do I know if this is really just his way of trying to get my attention or trying to get me to alleviate his guilt? If he is on the road to changing himself, I don’t want to discourage that by ignoring him but at the same time, I don’t want him to think that everything is okay and we will pretend the past never happened.

    • Connie on March 22, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      Debra, You might watch a few of Patrick Doyle’s Youtubes, especially on reconciliation. He says to give it time. He says he’s seen fake repentance with sobbing and snot, but it wasn’t lived out, so give it at least 6 months of proof before reconciling. Lundy Bancroft has 2 articles for the husband to do, as in listing, in detail, what he has done, etc.
      https://xene.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/13-steps-to-an-abusive-mans-process-of-change/

      As I wrote above, mine has been doing some of these things but not all, and I haven’t been holding him to it strongly enough and that has not been good. Patrick makes strong points that it is love for the offender to hold him to the boundaries.

    • K on March 22, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      Hi, Debra

      You are receiving good counsel from Connie, Joanne, and Sheep, etc. Wildly emotional sympathy seeking, such as your husband has sobbed over the phone is a common behaviour when someone who has been destructive/abusive is beginning to realize the mess they made is their own responsibility. In this situation, his ‘remorse’ is because he is no longer comfortable — some of his kids want nothing to do with him, and you are not under his destructiveness as you once were. His regret is that he is uncomfortable, things are no longer working for him the way he feels they should . “I don’t want you to hate me” is all about his needs being met, not about acknowledging, owning and being responsible for his actions/ behaviours/attitudes that were so damaging to you and the kids, that you have finally put distance and boundaries in place. This is classic sympathy seeking for himself, not true repentant change. Do not be fooled or guilted into returning to the old patterns. Please be wise.

    • Barbara B on March 22, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      Hi Debra,

      I agree with what the others have said. I also think that if your husband is truly repentant, it shouldn’t matter how you do or don’t respond to him because he has the Holy Spirit, the holy fire of God, to motivate him. Therefore, I wouldn’t worry too much about discouraging him by ignoring him. You just go right ahead and ignore him if you want to, because it’s the only sure way of finding out how sincere he is. I’m sorry you have to go through all this and I’m praying for you.

      • Nancy on March 23, 2018 at 9:30 am

        Love this, Batbara B, ” …because he has the Holy Spirit, the hoky Fire of God to motivate him….You go right ahead and ignore him if you want to, because it’s the only sure way of finding out how sincere he is.”

        This is so accurate! If indeed, he is repentant, then He is united with Christ. Nothing you do, or don’t do, can affect that!

    • MJ on March 27, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      Debra, good advice here, and I’ll just add a few more things that our husbands typically misconstrue. Forgiveness does not equate to trust. Meaning, while you can, and should forgive him, this is between you and God. You can release your husband to God and let God do the work. It’s not your responsibility to get even, or to seek retribution, etc. That is forgiveness.

      Trust, however, must be earned, restored, and rebuilt, through consistent, time tested, ACTION. Trust is not rebuilt via begging, pleading, crying, displays of guilt and apology. It’s not built through promises and assurances.

      My husband believes that if I forgive him (which I completely have), then that equates to me trusting him. And he believes that if he sees evidence of me not trusting, then that must mean that I’m holding unforgiveness against him. I’ve told him that I’m willing to consider reconciliation ONLY after consistent, long term demonstration of a significant heart change. My boundaries (separation, protection order, low contact) are evidence of my unforgiveness according to him. In reality, my boundaries are a way to safely rebuild trust if he’s willing to participate in this. It begins with the respect and honoring of these boundaries. Until I see that, I am certain there has not yet been a heart change, much less long term demonstration of one.

  12. JoAnn on March 22, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Debra, it is wonderful that he has seen the damage he has done and is remorseful. However, that does not mean that you have to run back into his arms. If, in your heart, you can forgive him, that still does not require reconciliation. He has a lot to prove to you and your children, as he works his way through attitude and behavior changes. Tell him if he is really and truly sorry and wants to undo some of the damage he has done, then he needs to get a counselor and get to work. You, watch and wait. There is still a long way to go before you can trust him again. Grace be with you.

  13. Connie on March 22, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Aleea, there truly are great miracles and people really are transformed in a big way. The reason the world doesn’t make a big deal of it is because they can’t can and market it. I think it’s that simple. People who live in darkness love the darkness and avoid the light. I know a number of people who have changed very drastically and never look back and don’t even want to.

    • Aleea on March 22, 2018 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you so much Connie. I really appreciate the comments and I think I understand what you are saying (—but if I don’t please correct me if you want to —I know everyone is very busy.). . . .The issue for so, so many women is that they waste decades of their lives hoping for that “genuine repentance” story. I too know people who say they have “changed very drastically and never look back and don’t even want to” but it is a statistically insignificant amount compared to all people with issues. More than that, it may be dangerous to tell people to hope in this? I don’t know that it is dangerous but I’m asking you what you think?

      . . .Connie, you are also saying that researchers “love the darkness” and that blinds them to the facts. But I would like you to think about the areas where the Bible makes very few claims (—say chemistry). In those areas, we never, ever have issues with what researchers find. Why is that? Only in areas where the Bible has clear claims and the research clearly disproves them do we have issues. I am never arguing with chemists over discovered chemical compounds. I am never telling chemists they are tools of Satan and blind because the Bible makes no real claims about chemical compounds. —Is that clear? —I’m not very clear in what I say and that is why I am asking?

      I know what I want to be true (re: genuine repentance) and it is probably what you want to be true too. Connie, I desperately want and desperately need it to be true but I don’t think it is actually, demonstrably true in a consistent reliable way. Re:husbands that have genuinely repented (wives too) . . . .All we have are anecdotal, random testimonies that could easily be the results of natural improvements (—a better group of friends, —maturing, —group influences, behaviorial techniques, etc.), and it would be impossible to tell which are “genuine repentance” and which ones are self-improvement and psychological techniques. . . .This evidence, as I understand it, is not reliable. Not in the way we could go to Arizona ✔and confirm that yes, there is a Leslie Vernick✔ and verify that✔. . . .Again, maybe some people just mature or want to change their lives or realize they are blessed with the spouse they have or want to change their social network, etc. “Genuine repentance” gets attributed to God but we see the same “miracles” of “sustainable genuine repentance” in all faiths. How do we account for those?

      Does any of that make a bit of sense? . . .Telling researchers that they “love the darkness” and that blinds them to the facts seems like just trying to smear their character and silence them. It is like in the Middle Ages when people called women they hated “witches” and had them burned at the stake. —Are there really witches? . . . I know about those witch hunts from the Middle Ages and in the towns that were mostly Protestant the “witches” were Catholics and in the towns that were mostly Catholic the “witches” were Protestant. Motivated reasoning, we all do it. It is very, very hard —maybe impossible— to be objective and fair. That is why there is international peer review of data to try to get rid of Group Think and Confirmation Biases. —Where is the peer-reviewed research for what we are telling people? Don’t you think that doing research and basing our counseling on imperial evidence is better than calling researchers “People who live in darkness love the darkness and avoid the light.” —Maybe you are correct but *maybe* you are wrong or maybe we are both wrong. . . .Tens of thousands of people died from this and not that long ago: “Real witches dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ordinary jobs. Don’t forget that these witches have magic in their fingers and devilry dancing in there blood.” Re:The Witch Hunter’s Handbook. You can Google “Christians burning witches in Africa” and see this even today. We need to speak out against even Christian claims that have no real, verifable evidence.

      Anyways, thank you Connie. I want you to know that you are good 😊💖and very valuable 💗 —like everyone here. Some of your claims (—which are not you, they are your claims) might be less so. —That goes for me too. —Maybe double for me. I’m sure I have loads of things wrong. That’s why I will never stop reading, researching, thinking, asking questions, learning. . . .The search for truth takes you where the evidence leads you, even if, at first, you don’t want to go there —and who wants to go there? Reality is a very hard road. But, beleieving things without evidence, I think, is how so many who are abused got into their abuse situations. I see no way to avoid issues without using the super-strong, critical reasoning and thinking skills that God gave us. Blind faith, without carefully inspecting the primary source evidence is a horrible gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence. ✨😊. . .Okay, time for salad 🥗and🌮 and☕🍵!!!

  14. sheep on March 22, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Debra,
    I fully believe that can change through the power of God in their life. Every one of us that is a believer should e able to attest to that.

    That being said, He has to prove it, over the long haul. If he is truly changed, he will understand that and will be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

    you said “He said he realized at that point how much my son and daughter want to have nothing to do with him and he doesn’t want us to hate him.” That statement should give you pause, What is his stated motivation? He doesn’t want you to hate him. (obviously I don’t know everything he has said) But if this is his only/biggest motivation, It is all about him. Not you, not the kids, he feels bad because he perceives himself as being hated. This then tugs at your heart strings and gives you a little bit of hope that somethings different.

    I’m not saying that he hasn’t had a “come to Jesus” experience, I’m saying let time and actions and attitude prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

  15. Barbara B on March 22, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I think it’s so important to more or less ignore words, but look for actions. Is he/she measurably different in the treatment of all people, both in public and in private? If he/she is being nice to you and the children, but still treats the grocery clerk like garbage, it’s not repentance. Also, I don’t count crying and sobbing as an action of repentance. It’s too easy for a manipulator to cry for all the wrong reasons. A manipulator needs to learn to have less focus on his/her own emotions and do things such as pay back money owed, completely stop arguing with people, and, in general, just do the right thing from an internal motivation without a lot of “look at me” hoopla.

    • JoAnn on March 22, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      You are absolutely right on that, Barbara.

  16. listening ear on March 22, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Counselor Patrick Doyle has an excellent you tube video that explains how reconciliation works with repentance…..
    please listen and share reviews

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrNVTZdipjE

    • JoAnn on March 22, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      That video on reconciliation is excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Connie on March 22, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Hey, Aleea, you might enjoy listening to Vishal Mangalwadi sometime. Especially his university lecture series called, “Must the Sun Set on the West?” Or read the book. I think the lectures took me at least 7 hours to listen to. I think there are 9 of them, and one is on Science. Let me know what you think.

    • Connie on March 22, 2018 at 11:49 pm

      I also do not hold a ton of value in science. So-called science so often turns out to be wrong. Human error, human prejudices, scientists getting paid to make research come out a certain way………when my oldest was born, medical science had just discovered a formula that was much better than human milk. Actually, the scientists were men who thought their women’s boobs might keep their shape longer if they didn’t nurse their babies. Then there was the science of no-fat diet, which has made people sicker than ever. I could go on and on……just saying.

    • Aleea on March 23, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      Hello Connie,
      Vishal Mangalwadi, ―g-r-e-a-t stuff, ―Absolutely 😊 . . . .I will view/read more of what Vishal has produced/ written but so far, ―yes, absolutely!!!

      “And Christian compassion is another factor that made the West the best civilization in history. Let us examine it next. . . .🗨” ―Absolutely.

      “Moribund cultures are fertile fields for fearful, fatalistic worldviews. . . . .🗨” ―Absolutely.

      “What is liberty without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils . . . it is madness without restraint. . . .🗨” ―Absolutely.

      Connie, what is true is what helps people survive and thrive (―human flourishing) and that is why Christianity is True. ―But it is not literally true re:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. . . .But honestly, what good is what is objectively, demonstrably true if it leads to nihilism and loss of personal responsibility? “Truth” serves Life. . . .I say Christianity is Truer than True because it serves life.

      ―And Christianity is fun.😊✝🛐 It is just absolutely fun.🌠✨💕 I’m sure you know what I mean. When I pray, I feel the pull like a magnet. . . .When my heart is broken before the Lord [I’m bracketing off all the questions right now, just assuming things], when my heart is clean💖✨and thankful (Psalm 95:7-8, Hebrews 3:13, —Psalm 51 too!, etc.), I feel like I can stand up to anything!!! Christianity is Truer than True 💌 because what is true is what serves life and promotes human flourishing.

    • Aleea on March 23, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      “So-called science so often turns out to be wrong.” . . . .that’s true Connie but that is also called learning. Science learns. ―Maybe??? Christianity, ―how does it learn? . . .Only by waiting for science to discover things and then with text-twisting, special pleading; re-interpreting, etc. the final inerrant revelation to fit science??? . . .And yet, we are more than happy to use the results of science each and every day and thus give our assent to science even while denying it.

      “Actually, the scientists were men who thought their women’s boobs might keep their shape longer if they didn’t nurse their babies” . . . .Now, that is just evil because it sends the message of women as objects. . . .But, it probably also had to do even more with the evil profit motives 💰 $ £ of the evil companies who had “discovered a formula that was much better than human milk.” . . .yeah, I bet they had found something better (re: better profit motives 💰 $ £). That’s why we need lawyers, as hard as they are to stomach.

      . . . .I think Christianity (—for all the good) does a really bad job of conflating shame and guilt. It uses Kafkatrapping. It tries to keep us guilty for what we have done individually as humans and shameful for who we are collectively, e.g. descendants of those who nailed Jesus to the cross. In some sense it is not freedom.

      . . . Kafkatrapping is a sophistical form of argument that attempts to overcome an opponent by inducing a sense of guilt, shame, etc. and then using the opponent’s denial of guilt, shame, etc. as further evidence of guilt. [The goal is to induce guilt in the subject via self-doubt. It manipulates the subject into supporting the kafkatrapper. It results in self-censorship, and spreading the guilt and self-doubt to others. It works only because of the subject’s good will.]

      KAFKATRAP: Any scientists who insist on applying rational skepticism in evaluating assertions of Christianity demonstrate that scientists are evil. The act of demanding evidence that can be consequentially checked, put through peer-review and falsified proves scientists are evil.

      Faith can be the perfect system for protecting lies and abuse. “Faith” makes claims unfalsifiable. To even doubt is sin??? Christianity teaches people to pretend to know things they really, demonstrably do not know. . . . Now, n-o-w, Christians are no worse than anyone else, they are just people.

      We also do Kafkatrapping here with husbands and men using a common variant on the same theme. These men may not have done, felt or thought anything wrong . . . .but they are still guilty because of their identification with a group such as “male.” The accusation makes them responsible for the actions of strangers whose behavior they cannot control. The aim …is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt …a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the pastor, elder, counselor, female, church member to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator’s personal, or religious goals. To be redeemed, you must cease to disagree with your accusers and condemn your entire identity group. —Kafkatrapping.

      —Now, like you, I am just saying too and all that could be wrong.

      . . .And again and anyways, thank you Connie. —Again, I want you to know that you are good 😊💖and very valuable💗, some of your claims (—which are not you, they are just your claims and thoughts) might not be. —And that goes for me too. —Maybe double for me. Again, I’m sure I have *lots* of things wrong too⍟ ❥ ツ Getting stuff really wrong is how we learn.📚 📖

  18. Anewanon on March 22, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    > But, believing things without evidence, I think, is how so many who are abused got into their abuse situations.

    SO what do we do with Heb 11:1? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

    No one wants to be abused. I surely didn’t. But I can say that from that suffering I feel that today I DO have eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that receives more than I did before. Per Romans 5:4, suffering has produced MUCH change in me.

    I certainly don’t wish suffering upon anyone, but God knows what each of us needs to be drawn to Him and perfected in Him! I am in a much better position to minister to others also suffering. For what its worth. God never owed me an easy life. I can’t allow my God-given intelligence think that it can out smart God. God’s weakness is greater than our strength. His foolishness is wiser than my wisdom, and His plans for me are better than any I could devise without him.

    • JoAnn on March 22, 2018 at 11:26 pm

      Well said, Anewanon, thank you.

    • Aleea on March 23, 2018 at 7:36 pm

      Hello Anewanon,

      Anyone’s foolishness is probably wiser than Aleea’s thoughts but let me try to explain. . . .Anewanon I’ve thought about, studied, prayed over endlessly this for a long, long, long time. . . .

      —Anewanon, I want you to know that you and everyone here are good 😊💖and very, v-e-r-y valuable💗, and precious and important. Some of your claims (—which are not you, they are just your claims and thoughts) might not be. —And that goes for me too. —I’m sure I have *lots* [tons] of things wrong. . . .

      Hebrews 11:

      Πίστις faith [is] ὑπόστασις [the] evidence. . .

      How can Faith really be evidence??? I would have my head handed to me if I tried to use “faith” as evidence.

      Faith as evidence is what con-artists use. Primary source evidence is evidence. Faith is not evidence.

      • Is faith a reliable way to come to knowledge claims? Would evidence-based decision making be more reliable?
      • Any claim can be proven by faith, a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, . . .so maybe nothing can be proven by faith?
      • Faith can prove anything, so faith can prove nothing?
      • Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Maybe??? Our evidence has to scale with our claims???
      • Faith is belief without evidence –or- pretending to know things we don’t know. . . .I do it too!!!

      — Again and always, I want you to know that you and everyone here are good 😊💖and very, v-e-r-y valuable💗, and precious and important . . .but some of your claims (—which are not you, they are just your claims and thoughts) might not be. —And that holds for me too. —I’m sure I have *lots* tons of things wrong. . . .Maybe I’m the one pushing on the door that says pull but I bet I don’t have everything dead wrong.

      Evil is the force that believes its knowledge is complete. . . .The most important things you and I may need to know we may not even know yet. It may be very important not to confuse our beliefs with knowledge. Reliance on faith as your source of knowledge enables you to be duped/abused by anyone you deem “believable.”

      . . .Maybe just think about it somemore, sometime [. . . .Πίστις faith [is] ὑπόστασις [the] evidence. . .]

      1. How did you (originally) conclude faith was evidence?
      2. What are the top three things that make you confident that your faith is evidence?
      3. What role does faith have in your knowing what is true?
      4. How confident would you be in the belief without faith?
      5. What gives you the most confidence that your belief is true?

      If we sat down over a coffee ☕ and an ice cream 🍦 we both would feel differently about it 🍬❣😊 💕

      . . .and I’ll try using some humor: Before you criticize, condemn, and complain about a woman, walk a mile in her shoes. That way, when you do criticize, condemn, and complain about her, you’ll be a mile away and have her shoes❣😊

    • Anewanon on March 23, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      Aleea,

      I was quoting scripture and I think you dissected that scriptural quote which was God’s word, not mine. So I really don’t have anything left to argue, do I?

      I am so confused. And yes we are all valuable.

      At any rate …

      > Before you criticize, condemn, and complain about a woman, walk a mile in her shoes. That way, when you do criticize, condemn, and complain about her, you’ll be a mile away and have her shoes

      Oh I have walked in some very treacherous shoes. Faith that once kept me hanging on by a thread has since bloomed into fear and awe of all that is under Christ’s control. Absolutely everything …he will work everything out for the GOOD of those who love Him!

      Hallelujah!

  19. Ben on March 22, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    I see things with new eyes today, after reading this blog and the comments.

  20. JoAnn on March 23, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Me too, Ben. That’s why I am here. I appreciate the courage of these sisters and brothers in the Lord who are struggling in abusive marriages and learning to lean on the Lord for help and direction. I also appreciate their openness and honesty in sharing their experiences. I have learned to love each one as I pray for them.

  21. K on March 23, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Hi, Everyone

    Leslie posted the following question as the beginning of this week’s conversation: “Friends, what are some of the things you look for to see if you could fully trust your spouse again?”

    Some amazing and encouraging responses have been posted!

    Here is another helpful resource for each woman, or man, reaching for healing from the destructiveness of an abusive partner: http://www.lundybancroft.com/articles/checklist-for-assessing-change-in-men-who-abuse-women

    • Sarah on March 24, 2018 at 12:29 am

      Thank you, that is a helpful list.

  22. Renee on March 23, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Connie: [Actually, the scientists were men who thought their women’s boobs might keep their shape longer if they didn’t nurse their babies.]

    True or not true. That is the question.

    Lol Connie, you put a great big old smile on my face. I’ll have to go over this new post later this weekend.

  23. Maria on March 24, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Debra,
    You mentioned that your husband’s called you and expressed remorse and this is something he has never done. I hope he is being genuine and truly wants to make things right. You and your kids have been through a lot and have worked hard to survive. I can relate to what you are going through. I am in an emotionally destructive marriage and have had to emotionally detach from him to survive. Lately, due to certain circumstances, he is behaving better. I remember Nancy posting many times that we are to guard our hearts and that has really helped me. Interacting with toxic people takes a toll on us. Even if they are truly changing, they may not be healthy enough to pursue a relationship with. And if they are truly repentant, they will continue to work on themselves and understand the reason for boundaries.

  24. Barbara B on March 27, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    I was reading in Proverbs this morning and came across this passage:

    Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot. People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you. They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils. While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.

    Proverbs 26:23-26, NLT

  25. Debra on March 28, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Thanks for all the advice – it helps a lot to be able to just get advice and perspective from others…

    In the entire year before he moved out, he would basically ignore me and the kids and only choose to interact with us when he felt like it. So maybe during those times he wanted to spend time with me and the kids as a family, there was guilt driving him to do it or maybe loneliness. So I guess that is where I am conflicted. If he is really sorry and wants to re-establish any relationship with me and/or the kids, I don’t want to block that or discourage that but at the same time, I don’t want him to think that I am allowing him to have that “I can have my cake and eat it too” mentality (only reach out to me and the kids when he feels like it or for his own benefit).

    I guess time will tell what his true motives are and sometimes I’m just confused what my reactions/responses should be.

    • Aly on March 28, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Debra,

      I’m sorry for the place where you say you are conflicted. Goodness, I would be too and maybe others here also can relate to those places.

      You wrote some important thoughts:
      “I guess time will tell what his true motives are and sometimes I’m just confused what my reactions/responses should be.”

      Yes, time is valuable in measuring consistency but often it’s not a place of honest behavior or deciding motives. What time will often do is reveal the patterns so I think if I understand you correctly that is what you were referring to.

      For many of us here and I would think maybe you fall into this bracket: Time doesn’t heal based on further space or time away etc. it’s what we choose to DO or actively participate in our recovery that adds to our healing journey.

      I agree with you it’s hard to know what your response should be but as you walk out your own recovery and growth process it will become more clear as you interact with your h.

      You wrote:
      “So I guess that is where I am conflicted. If he is really sorry and wants to re-establish any relationship with me and/or the kids, I don’t want to block that or discourage that but at the same time, I don’t want him to think that I am allowing him to have that “I can have my cake and eat it too” mentality (only reach out to me and the kids when he feels like it or for his own benefit).”

      So true Debra!!
      If he really wants to repair a rupture~ what is he actively doing to repair his offenses?
      Anyone can ‘feel sorry’ but BEING sorry in action is the best possible chance of repair for the offender and the offended.

      Are you unclear about what the actions from his part would look like?
      It’s tricky sometimes especially when you say you don’t want to be the one discouraging any movement… I get that!
      But healthy boundaries on your part are not going to discourage his authentic heart change. In Fact, they help create a realistic environment of the situation of the marital separation and can assist in keeping you safe emotionally from further harm, plus they can still be an ‘invitation ‘ for a healthy mutual relationship if your husband chooses to do his work.
      When you start to feel like your posture is discouraging or making things difficult for the offender, then you need to really ask the Lord and close wise others to help you discern.
      Often victims will ‘take TOO much responsibility’ for the destructive dynamic and the repair. This can be the area where you are called to grow further in your journey of healing.

      Often offenders and serious offenders are good at ‘pity parties’ and feeling bad, but they also choose to get stuck there feeling more sorry for themselves than the people they have caused the most injury to. This is upside down and is really ‘telling’.
      This is not a healthy heart change moving toward repair.

      Just feeling bad won’t get them moving toward healing and transforming health.
      It’s a start, sure but it’s what one DOES with the ‘feeling bad’ place that seems to really determine the trajectory!

      My h and I teach our children that it’s so important to say ‘you’re sorry’ but it’s even healthier to be sorry and take action to repair.
      Anyone can ‘say sorry’ or feel bad, but it’s those that do something with those places that make the biggest difference in relationships.
      Jesus did for us!
      His action on the cross was His love in action!

    • Free on March 29, 2018 at 6:30 am

      When you are confused it indicates the level of abuse you have suffered. In a normal relationship you wouldn’t be confused, right? The twists and turns of his odd behavior is just that, odd. Stick with your gut, his actions are at still self motivated. A transformed man is just that, transformed. He and your children deserve nothing but the best from him. Don’t settle for his leftovers.

  26. JoAnn on March 28, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    I agree with you, Aly, and I want to add a word about apologies. A woman named Harriet Lerner wrote a book called “Why Won’t You Apologize: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts.” There she talks about the conditions that make a good apologize, and one aspect of a good apology is to specify what you are sorry for the you are responsible for. To be effective, this must not be followed by “if’s”, “ands” or “buts.” I other words, no qualifiers that diminish or excuse the impact of the offense. So often, people try to excuse themselves, by saying things like, “I’m sorry if you were hurt by what I said,” which is really no apology at all. As those who are offended by the abuse, we hope to get a sincere apology, one that is given without “buts” or excuses. And, I believe, we have a right to reject any apology that does not come through sincerely and is then followed by genuine heart change, issuing in a change of behavior.

    • Aly on March 28, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      JoAnn,

      Yes so true! I so agree here also with the patterns.
      Like you said, an apology is specific and the person takes responsibility for their actions or words etc.
      As we can see the patterns with destructive and yes difficult marriage partners or relationships in general, is that these individuals DO NOT take responsibility ~ this being the common thing!
      Is their sense of self/ ego so fractured???
      Or are they just continuing to do in adulthood what was modeled or taught to them? Like it is their norm.

      Another book is: Why won’t you apologize.

      In the past, my h would say..
      Ok~ “So you need me to apologize?”
      I would say; “yes, I do…but I also need you to change the behavior, and if you can’t identify the wrong doing, then why would I trust that you can change the behavior?”

      I know… my standards are high;)

  27. JoAnn on March 28, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    Aly, high standards are what is needed if the marriage is going to move out of the gutter and onto the high places. Hang in there, Sister!!!

  28. Aly on March 28, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    JoAnn,

    I was kinda trying to be funny~
    I should have said ‘healthy normal standards’.
    They are considered high to the person who doesn’t like to be accountable or responsible.

    Thanks JoAnn;) for all your encouragement, thankful I’m not in the same situation as I once was in my marriage.
    Healthy standards are indeed a critical aspect for recovery.

  29. many years on April 3, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Yes, and amen to all of the comments! I just recently found a site which fits how an unrepentant man/woman believer or non-believer’s characteristics fit the mold to a ‘T’. And how to discern the person/persons you are living with, or are separated from and how they will continue to live in their unrepentant state of being and the lack of a heart’s response/non-repentance toward the abused individual(s).
    The site is: https//sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/47247-the-saul-controlling-spirit/
    I hope this helps all who are commenting which coincides with what Leslie has also brought to light.

  30. many years on April 3, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Sorry! Please try this link without the extra / at the end.
    https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/47247-the-saul-controlling-spirit

    I do have the verse on a plaque in my house which says: ‘Be not deceived. Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap’. Galatians 6:7 God forgives, but he also requires repentance.

  31. Renee on April 3, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    It has been busy, busy, busy for us. However, I wanted to step in and ask for guidance. DH helped with a repeat home issue (sigh). As he wrapped up to leave, he stated he was thinking about coming home. I listened. Then he stated maybe he could stay over one day out of each week to see how things go between us. I responded things have to be different and that a day ago he was asking for items from the home. Two I agreed to him having and one I did not.

    The missing home came the day after I told him not to ask or take anything else from the home unless we were going to end or do it all at once and not in pieces. Since I did not give a yes or no response, I sent a text the next day that I have to think because I’m not sure about the overnight stay or how best to test the waters. I said we were all in a good place especially DD finally and we did not need a setback. I mentioned not saying anything to the teens but found out it was too late.

    So we talked how we needed to think what is best for everyone and then here it come him bringing up yet again something that happened back when we first started dating. Something I had no control over. I told him no more talking to me about that issue he could have communicated with me about rather than taking off. I told him from this day forward to ask Jesus for help with that issue from years/years ago. I then told him he was not ready.

    Days later, we were texting about helping one of the teens with another accomplishment. I did not agree with a small portion of the transaction that is still in progress and was stating my concern. DH told me no and how he set things in motion is how it will happen. He then starts saying how he was tired of going back and forth. I was trying to start an argument when he’s not doing anything to me. I was taking things out on him, etc.

    This has always been a frustration in our marriage. It’s like I don’t have a voice. It’s like we can’t meet in the middle. It is so frustrating not being able to state my feelings/concerns and then have DH take such stances.

    Guidance please. I’m so conflicted inside. Part of me wants to never look back and then a part of me still love this man.

    • Aly on April 3, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      Renee,

      Maybe you have already stated this, but what type and amount/level of recovery work has your h been actively doing during the separation?

  32. Renee on April 4, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Hi Aly, thanks for responding. My husband has not done any recovery work. No counselor, no books, and no accountability partner. Sad to say, but I don’t know of any such progress. I have been doing books and brief counsel with my teen’s counselor. I have accountability partners (this blog, our church where he refuses to show his face, my family, and a couple of long-term friends).

    I really don’t like, “seeing how things go between us” approach. It all feels like a ready to run approach to me. A not all in to learn whatever we both need to learn. I told him again about seeing a counselor because of things that I’m still seeing.

    Aly, I feel much better not having him and all his frustrations here 24-7. Yes, at times I feel a bit lonely but the teens are doing so much better in general, toward each other, and of course with me. I feel better and really don’t want to lose it all in a moment of weakness.

    • Aly on April 4, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Renee,

      It seems like you have your answer ~No
      I say this because the behavior will repeat itself without interventions for your husband’s part.
      He has a lot of work to do apart from your work, apart from the marital work.
      If he can’t do it apart from you and the family … chances are you will dealing with ALL the same behavior and relapse. Probably worse!

      Better to stay on your path and journey even if your not walking it out together. You can invite him into healthier living and recovery but he has to chose if he wants to do the work?
      Addicts all want quick fixes! Even our culture naturally wants quick turnarounds.

      Sometimes the best love and compassion we can give is at a distance.

  33. JoAnn on April 4, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Renee, You said, “I feel much better not having him and all his frustrations here 24-7. Yes, at times I feel a bit lonely but the teens are doing so much better in general, toward each other, and of course with me. I feel better and really don’t want to lose it all in a moment of weakness..” Maybe you need to tell him that. You made a decision, you are happy with it, and you don’t want to lose what you have gained. Why ever would you go back to what you had before? If not for yourself, then for your kid’s sake, move on from where you are right now, not back.

    • Aly on April 4, 2018 at 11:06 am

      JoAnn, Renee…

      So agree here JoAnn. Renee sometimes in the grief process Loneliness is a place ~
      And sometimes we can see that we would be safer to experience loneliness at times than being in a destructive web with your husband 24-7.

      There’s a quote that says;
      The loneliness place in the world is to be surrounded by all the wrong people.
      Something like that.

      The truth may be that you were also Alone in the marriage but it was masked by chaos and trust issues.

  34. JoAnn on April 4, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Well said, Aly. I agree.

  35. Renee on April 5, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks Aly and JoAnn for your encouragement and support.

    I find it interesting how a person can rewrite history so that it seems as they left because you were the big problem. I hear this so much in our exchange. No responsibility. Regardless it comes back to the scripture 2 Corinthians 5:17 – the old things have passed away; behold, the new had come into being.

    • Aly on April 6, 2018 at 8:55 am

      Renee,

      So if you were to try to stand in to your h’s perspective ‘it would be true that you are the big problem’… let me explain.
      To him and his way of dealing with life (not dealing or denial or blame, accusations, not taking responsibility etc)
      You are his problem because you chose to not enable those places above for him or make it easy for him to manage and control.

      You are not ‘THE’ problem Renee, you just challenge and defend a healthy place for what’s best for you and the kids as their adult advocating for them.

      You mentioned a scripture and I find so interesting that many repeat offenders especially those that ‘don’t want to take responsibility for their behaviors’ have like a handful of scriptures that are twisted to validate for them ~ this is again a serious error and abuse on their part and common to their patterns!

      Renee, your not alone with this kind of crazy making but separation can be a safe place for you and your self care!
      Plus, it can be a great place for your husband to decide ‘how motivated’ he really is to look at ‘his issues’.
      Personally… he’s not that motivated apart from the family and that makes me sad.

      So the next time you interact with him (not in person) and he tells you that ‘you are the problem’ …
      Agree with him🤗 And say yes! I am the your problem because I don’t enable this behavior and unhealthy dance anymore.
      I can remember telling my ‘very blameshifting husband many yrs ago that very thing’ it stopped the battle. And it had placed the truth back on the table for him to chose to look at or deny.

      • JoAnn on April 6, 2018 at 10:21 am

        Aly, you said, “Agree with him🤗 And say yes! I am your problem because I don’t enable this behavior and unhealthy dance anymore.” That’s perfect! Your explanation of the dynamic is right on. And it puts the truth back on the table for him to look at or deny. Yes!

        • Nancy on April 7, 2018 at 11:45 am

          Hi Renee, Aly, JoAnn,

          I agree with everything that has been said here, by Aly and JoAnn, Renee.

          It’s amazing that you are doing all the things you need to do in order to change and improve your well-being. He is clearly doing nothing in that regard. His energy is being spend trying to drag you back into the old dance.

          Keep on, keeping on, sister! Your doing a very good thing for your children !

Leave a Comment





Read More

I’m having sinful fantasies when lovmaking with my husband. How do I stop?

Hello friends, I want to let you know of a free seminar I’m doing in the Allentown, PA area at Calvary Temple church on Saturday morning, October 16th. Doors open at 8am and I will be speaking from 9-12 (with breaks) on the very important topic The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It! Stopping It! Surviving…

Read More...

He Says He’s Repentant, But We’ve Been Here Before

Morning friends, Thanks for your prayers. I appreciate them. Our new carpeting gets installed this week and then our two bedrooms can start to be put back together. Bathrooms will still be torn up for another month or so but if at least some of the house gets put back together, I can function better….

Read More...

Consequences or Punishment?

Good Monday Morning friends, I’m so excited. We have over 500 people registered for the free webinar on Wednesday night, February 1 at 9PM ET answering the question, Does God Want me to Be Happy? It’s not too late to join us, and we’d love to have you attend. Click here for more information or…

Read More...

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?