Morning friends,

Sheesh. Have you ever had your bedroom carpets replaced? Master bathroom ripped out and redone, whole house painted and baseboards removed and redone? Yep, that’s happening at my house and it feels a little overwhelming, actually like a disaster. This is phase two of our 20-year-old Arizona house renovation and I hope I live through it.

Just kidding, but chaos and I don't do so well long term and April and May are busy travel and speaking months for me. So please pray for me that I have a gentle and gracious spirit while living through this mess and that I can find what I need when I need it. I suspect it will take about two months to get it all put back together.

Question: My husband and I have been separated for 2 months now. How can our marital counselor start my husband down a road of true repentance? What are the actionable steps he needs to take?

Answer: This is probably one of the most frequent types of questions that I receive from women desperate to change their husband. “How can I or someone else, get my spouse down the road of repentance?”

Friend, that is not yours or anyone else’s work to do. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict someone and the one who has sinned must take the steps of repentance.

If it were possible for another person to get someone to take the steps of true repentance, we would think Jesus would be our role model. Yet, we see during the Last Supper, Jesus showed his disciples, including Judas, the full extent of his love. He knew Judas was about to betray him, told him he knew he was going to do it, and yet, Judas did not repent. He did not turn away from what he was about to do (John 13).

A Biblical example of someone who did display some of the fruit of true repentance was Zacchaeus (Luke 19). Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector. He loved money and had no problem extorting his fellow Jews for more tax money than was owed to fill up his own coffers. He is described as a very rich, but unpopular man.  

When Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house for lunch that day, something in this man’s heart changed. We hear it when he says, “Lord, I will give half my wealth to the poor and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much.” These action steps indicate that Zacchaeus’ heart had been changed. He no longer loved his money the most anymore. He loved Jesus. We can see what happened by the way he handled his money and his desire to make restitution to those he took advantage of.

True repentance cannot be coerced or taught. If your husband is genuinely repentant, then he already has started down the path and with accountability and help he can make real changes. If he hasn’t repented yet, no one can create the steps that will take him there. Consequences may open his eyes to the results of his sin, but he still must personally change directions (which is the definition of repentance).

So I’m going to answer another question you didn’t ask. What does genuine or true repentance look like if it’s indeed happening? We all know people who say they have repented but there is no fruit or evidence of that reality in their lives.

Paul discusses this process in Ephesians 4 when he describes the changes that genuine repentance brings. He says, “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.” And then he goes into specific situations.

For example, he says, “If you are a thief, quit stealing.” That is the first evidence of a change. The person STOPS doing what he was doing that was damaging to him or to you or to your relationship. He puts it off.

Secondly, Paul tells the thief something else. He goes on and says, “Instead, use your hands for good hard work.” You see a thief’s heart is one that takes what he wants with no regard for the people he harms. Now he is to take responsibility for his own needs by working instead of stealing from others.

Paul doesn't stop there. He adds something else. He says, “Then give generously to others in need.” You see Paul says that transformation doesn’t just occur in outward actions, but in inward motives. The thief was to be transformed inwardly from a taker to a giver.

So if we take this model, of course, we want to see the sinful behavior stopped. We want to see responsibility assumed for one’s self, and we want to see a character transformation and new behaviors begin to develop.  

Now we know this transformation is a process. It doesn’t occur in a moment. But what “evidence” do we see over time that this is happening?  What “fruits”are we looking for? Here are some things I look for without making a specific checklist.  

  1. We see the person desiring to gain greater self-awareness. He begins to take responsibility for himself and asked himself why do I do what I do – without blaming other people or external situations for his own actions or feelings.  As he does this he begins to “put off” or stop himself from reacting or doing what he’s always done in the past. He self-corrects and gains self-control (one of the fruits of the Spirit).

2. We see him now open and willing to receive feedback from others. For example, when you notice he ’s slipping into some old behaviors, you can kindly tell him and he’s grateful, rather than angry or resentful.  It’s still up to him to “put off” those old behaviors, but he’s consistently practicing.

3. We see him willing to be accountable to a small group of trusted men to help him make the changes to his life he desires to make. Major life change never happens without accountability and support. How could Paul encourage the thief? Because he knew him. He understood what was happening in his heart and life and therefore he could speak into it.  

So is your husband actively putting off the old thinking and habits and learning to respond in new ways by putting on new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving?  

Are you observing a consistent change in his character as he now displays more humility instead of pride? Is there gratitude rather than entitlement, diligence rather than laziness, and compassion for others rather than impatience and anger? Is he becoming more God-centered rather than continuing to be self-centered and self-focused?  Is he willing to take responsibility for the pain he’s caused and no longer expects amnesty, but rather he is looking to make amends to those he’s harmed?

There is no exact list but you do want to see this kind of progression both internally and externally so that you are seeing the FRUIT of genuine repentance. Click To Tweet

Friends, when you have seen genuine repentance, what are some of the fruit you have noticed coming forth from a person?  

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132 Comments

  1. Nancy on April 4, 2018 at 7:57 am

    I think it would also be helpful to encourage this writer to actively re-direct the energy that she is putting into focusing on her husband’s responsibilities.

    When we are over-focused on another, we are crossing the line. It’s important to acknowledge that, and then shift our focus back to what we CAN control – ourselves.

    This process of letting go of the outcome, will allow her to leave her marriage (and her husband), at the foot of the cross.

    • Aly on April 4, 2018 at 8:42 am

      Nancy,

      I agree and I can certainly see what can often look like an over -focus on the other person. It’s also important to look at proportional factors….
      And this woman’s history herself (as you were saying).
      Sometimes we get into marriage (with too much of an under- focus and it contributes greatly to an abuse/destructive or dysfunctional dynamic)
      As we know with destructive marriages YES they must be dismantled completely before being rebuilt.(Placing it at the Cross like you said)

      I think that sometimes for wives (I’ll put myself here too) ….that often women are not equipped at what they should be looking for ? Pre-marriage and post separation because it’s natural that they don’t want to be dooped again’.. and again, and again!

      I had to learn how to discern BEHAVIOR over words. And the consistency is critical when someone is learning to grow in character and maturity overall.

      Often women are not taught what Godly marriage resembles and what a servant loving husband’s characteristics ‘are’. Sure we have baselines prior to marriage but the real behavior reveals itself over time in a marriage dynamic.

      I had to also learn what genuine repentance consisted of and really was about~because of my family of origin issues deeply wired in. I was easily mislead thinking that if someone was or said sorry~ then they really believed ‘themselves’ that what they did was wrong and would make a conscious effort to not continue the behavior.
      As some here have experienced, this just isn’t often the scenario. I was very ignorant and naive about these postures and was often given false guilt for seeing the patterns of unhealthy repetitive behavior. (Discernment the Holy Spirit would award me of)

      Let’s say for example, this couple is separated as the question states, (unfortunately there isn’t much info and personally details and the proportion of the offense matters greatly) but that the husband has offended or been a repeat offender,
      Wisdom and equipping of the wife will be key in her deciding what is genuine repentance and genuine character growth that she can consider. So a good portion is her learning more about herself but also being vigilant about her husband’s path ~ especially if she plans to reconcile. This is wise and a healthy form of protection and accountability for even the husband.

      Because it’s a marital situation, if the husband doesn’t honor, regard the wife and her discernment about building trust (alone) often he’s going to struggle being accountable to ‘anyone’, and thus the cycle repeats.

      • Nancy on April 4, 2018 at 9:32 am

        I completely agree, Aly.

        The over-focus that I am referring to is not with regards to looking for repentance in her h’s behaviour.

        The over-focus that I am speaking of pre-ceeds that. It’s her attempt to ‘be her h’s Holy Spirit’.

        Once she releases control to The Lord, then YES she must re-engage in placing her energy in the right places ( in observing his behaviour for genuine repentance).

        I just don’t think that she will be able to ‘find the right balance’ of where to put her energy, if she hasn’t acknowledged this tendency to…over-perform? To…take too much responsibility? I’m not sure exactly what to call the tendency to ‘be someone’s Holy Spirit’. I see this as a fear-based desire to control the outcome ( which is completely natural given any betrayal that would lead to separation – which requires the super-natural intervention of God)

        • Nancy on April 4, 2018 at 9:58 am

          Aly and others here 🙂

          I want to add that my comment isn’t at all to place blame on her. If they are separated then I am assuming that it is for a good reason. I am assuming that this husband is in the wrong and that she should stand firm in her boundaries, exactly because he is in the wrong.

          As we walk in CORE strength, we must always be willing to look at ‘our part of the dance’ ( or to ‘get the log out of our own eye’). This has to take place all along the way. This is not to absolve the other person of their responsibility, but to keep our own heart clean before The Lord. This is how we continually allow The Lord access to our lives, and how we hear His voice more and more clearly. This process will result in strengthening our boundaries and requirements – not the opposite. By recognizing where we have ‘played into’ the destruction, and bringing that to Christ, we are further enabled to walk differently.

          Taking responsibility for our own heart should never absolve the other person of taking responsibility for theirs.

          • Aly on April 4, 2018 at 10:48 am

            Nancy,

            So agree and understand your direction here.
            I have a lot of history here Nancy about the phrase of not being the Holy Spirit so bare with me…
            Your points are clear and valid!

            When you refer to the ‘tendency to be someone else’s (or husband’s) Holy Spirit I can see your point. Just know that.

            I do have a different take on this, which greatly depends upon the details and destructive relationship dynamic, which so often we encounter here on this blog.
            Many times these types of messages can get interpreted with (the lens of someone who has been victimized for a long time) and doesn’t have clarity on this area.

            A lot of Christian authors and culture in the recent and past 25-30 years have taught this:
            ‘Don’t be your husband’s (or anyone else’s Holy Spirit!’

            This to me is simple. Because I can’t ~ I can’t.
            God can use me to be influential or speak truth (from Him) through me but I can’t be theHoly spirit in that place.

            I think what I have heard a million times from women ~ especially women in long term decades of unhealthy marriages is that this frame of reference (don’t be Your h’s Holy Spirit) is that they interpret to be absent from placing healthy boundaries and having a voice in the marriage. Plus, further it can keep them stuck in being more fear based in taking appropriate action for their ‘God given role in the marriage’.
            They tend to be more willing to be passive and often to a destructive individual it sends a message that their behavior is ‘just fine’.
            This grows through time and through progressive sin.

            I think many women have been falsely blamed for being their husbands Holy Spirit… by them giving boundaries to their husband of what they will or will not tolerate. Where they begin, and where they end.
            A marriage is interdependency ‘really’.

            Placing boundaries and requirements is .., not being ones Holy Spirit and I think many people who don’t want to be confronted with their issues often use this as a loop hole to shift the issue. It becomes such a phrase that can confuse a victim in trauma situations.

            I have seen women on multiple occasions do this to other women , in bible study environments and many women don’t realize that the person is probably under great oppression and they need to take action for their own well being. They are simply looking for support and validation moving forward in courage. HIS courage really, and we all need one another for support and healthy reinforced & rewiring postures.

            The abusive person rarely ‘wakes up to their offenses’ all on their own.
            Loving Consequences have a great advantage toward our sinful flesh.



          • Nancy on April 4, 2018 at 2:34 pm

            I hear what you are saying, Aly. Using such phrases can be damaging.

            Leslie says in her response that this is one of her most frequently asked questions from women who are desperate to change their husbands – “consequences may open his eyes to the results of his sin, but he still must personally change direction ( which is the definition of repentance).”

            So…I’m not drawing attention to boundaries and consequences here ( which is her work). I’m drawing attention to the destructive desire to control that which she has no control over (his repentance).

            What would you call that desire?



        • JoAnn on April 4, 2018 at 10:50 am

          Nancy, Aly, and others,
          Often in our fellowship, “the dance” is mentioned. I have been reading a book by Dr. Sue Johnson called “Created for Connection.” It is written for couples, to help them improve the quality of their relationship, and she spends a lot of time to define the various kinds of dance that couples engage in and how to identify each partner’s role in the dance. Then, of course, there is help to change the dance. It is an interesting perspective, and it also focuses on our inherent need for connection via Attachment Theory. I thought that some of you might find it helpful.

          • Aly on April 4, 2018 at 11:13 am

            Thanks JoAnn,

            Yes I’m sure I would love that resource!

            How we live also addresses this same dynamic and it’s very helpful to (both) parties who want to change the interaction.
            Attachment issues have to be addressed first though.., in order to move forward with creating a whole new way of connecting and loving our spouse with the best version of ourselves in a transformative process. 💜



          • Aly on April 4, 2018 at 11:14 am

            Correction on my part:

            ‘How We love’ is the other resource



          • Nancy on April 4, 2018 at 3:14 pm

            Hi JoAnn,

            Aly referred toMilan and Kay yerkovich’s approach in How we Love – it sounds a lot like that.

            They were interviewed on Focus on the Family this past Monday and talked about how attachment theory is simply the identification of predictable patterns of sin. And when two patterns of sin come together ( in marriage), they create otherr (very predictable) patterns of sin.

            Please note: this material is not for abusive marriages.



          • Aly on April 4, 2018 at 7:54 pm

            Nancy,

            Sorry I can’t post directly to your post at 2:34pm today.

            I definitely get what your saying about control and that element of destructive control scenario.

            Maybe I read her question and situation from a different angle or missed the control place all together?

            Yes I agree with you there is those desperate places that can cross over and her question can come across that way~ now that I read it again.

            I do think her question is so important because she has a husband who is maybe willing to tap his feet into counseling …to get perspective, direction & accountability, but maybe he has a long history of not really knowing what true repentance is and looks like?
            I think there are many (especially offenders of sorts) that have a very superficial understanding of relationship issues, repentance, & how to repair.

            I think the cry out (is a desire) and a desire can be in the right context especially if the wife is asking more of a long term ‘safety’ question.
            But certainly I could be wrong here.

            For my situation, it seemed to take a team scenario to get my husband’s attention because his defenses were so tight.
            I do believe that God used all the vessels necessary for His will.

            But I had also left the ‘marriage outcome’ on the alter and surrendered my heart to Gods will even if it wasn’t what I desired most.



          • Nancy on April 4, 2018 at 10:44 pm

            Ahhhh…Aly! .ok. I think I understand where the disconnect is.

            The writer’s words “start him down the road of true repentance.” And “actionable steps” are being interpreted differently…I think… by you and I.

            If I’m reading your responses correctly, you think that The Lord is intervening in his heart and so your focus is on the ‘actionable steps’ ( in that maybe he needs a ‘team approach’ like your h?) is this right?

            My read of her question is that she does not see evidence of repentance and is asking how she can get the counsellor to make him take ‘actionable steps’ in order to change his heart, (which is, of course, impossible).

            ( I suppose I also got this interpretation from the Title of the article- How can my counsellor get my husband to repent)

            I saw Leslie first address her issue: ‘Friend that is not your work, or anyone else’s to do’

            then discuss what ‘signs of repentance’ to look for.

            I see the ‘actionable steps’ that you have been speaking of ( getting team together etc…) as ‘actionable steps’ toward reconciliation, (not repentance).

            I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘actionable steps’ anyone can make someone take toward repentance. Consequences can cause pain that The Lord may use, but his repentance is between he and The Lord.

            Does this make sense?



    • Marybeth on April 9, 2018 at 4:06 am

      Thank you Nancy. That was very much what I needed to hear. Letting go of what I have no control over.

  2. Freenow on April 4, 2018 at 10:36 am

    What if my narcissistic husband ( diagnosed) hasn’t apologized to me for porn / sex addiction ? And deceit/ lies about the above for all 22 yrs of marriage
    And emotional abuse , sexual abuse, rage and anger, physical abuse..
    We’ve been separated for 8 mos .
    He’s doing his recovery in private ; not accountable to me in anyway. No transparency
    Seems it’s a check the box
    And he will be able to come home.

    I won’t do marital counseling with him until I see he’s remorseful and willing to accept responsibility for his abusive behaviors and the addiction.
    And an apology
    That may not be repentance?
    But an apology is certainly appropriate?

    • Aly on April 4, 2018 at 6:11 pm

      Freenow,

      In some ways I feel like it’s almost a blessing he hasn’t ‘apologized’. I don’t me this to be harming but more ~ frank
      You have endured and put up with being his garbage dump for 22 years and I’m thankful your separated because it’s showing you a lot about his non- surrendered heart and lack of willingness to be broken and have genuine repentance.

      You married him to be his wife and partner – not his mom or dad.
      He has a lot of work to do, some women feel a pull by an apology and often feel onligated to enter back into relationship.
      Love yourself with The Lords Love and your own, because he may never be able to love or be trusted.
      Are you in your own recovery and counseling? You have been through a lot of trauma and harm. Do you have supportive women too?

    • Debbie on April 4, 2018 at 7:39 pm

      Freenow, sometimes and apology is too easy and not r ally heartfelt. My first husband cheated on me with his best friend from age 5 wife. They were our best friend. He apologized and said he would cut off his right arm to take it back. Well I took him back and he was good for a while. But things too quickly went back to the way they were. With all the things he has done to you. I can’t see that it’s ever wise to take him back apology or not. Especially if he is a diagnosed narcissist. You got out and that had to be so hard. I know breaking. Up my family was hard. But my ex husband has cheat snon every woman he has been with. Protect yourself and just make a new life. I really don’t recommend you take him back.

      • Freenow on April 4, 2018 at 8:01 pm

        The sexual abuse was marital rape twice.
        He’s a Christian by the way.
        My body belongs to him
        He won’t let me talk about this to him or anyone nor the porn addiction and sex addiction Bc I’m bringing up the past and how unforgiving of me?!?!

        And it’s a temporary separation Bc he says he wants to reconcile
        I’m only considering this to not hurt my kids
        And for financial reasons

        I am in the house with the kids he’s providing financially
        Though he’s playing games too .

        I’m safe Bc he’s out of house. I’m not safe Bc I still have to see him Bc of kids
        It’s low contact

        Yes I’m in counseling and I have two close friends who know everything

        I’ve suffered from spiritual abuse from my church and my husband too.

        So no support at church ..
        The best sort of understanding and love and support I have is two dear Christian girlfriends and their husbands and some non Christians.. yes,
        The Non judgmental people

        • Aly on April 4, 2018 at 8:21 pm

          Freenow,

          Oh my!! I’m so so sorry! That’s terrible and I’m thankful you have the safety from him (and your kids too).

          He’s far far out of control! You know that but again I’m so sorry!

          You wrote in another post:
          “We’ve been separated for 8 mos .
          He’s doing his recovery in private ; not accountable to me in anyway. No transparency”

          That above isn’t recovery! No such thing as ‘private recovery’ really!

          So yes, he’s playing a part and acting the role of doing work on himself, but like I said no such thing as private recovery.
          That’s smoke~

          It’s similar to the phrase, ‘private Christian walk’
          When encountered by God of the universe and filled with Jesus’s Love, it becomes a ”PERSONAL Christian walk’ … not something we make effort to hide or act like we are completely privatized or ashamed.

          I’m sorry for so much you have gone through, this isn’t your fault.. but glad your away from him, go live your life to the fullest!
          🙏💜

        • sheep on April 5, 2018 at 12:56 am

          Freenow, I’m speaking from my personal experience as a man that used to be addicted to porn, has truly repented, and done the hard work that lead to recovery and deliverance.
          1. There is no private recovery. Recovery from sexual sin can not take place in private, it just isn’t possible. Now, the second part of that is… If he were truly doing the work of recovery (he isn’t) and were really working with others to make that happen, he can do that and leave you out of it, but only if he doesn’t want to stay married. If he wants to stay married then you must be a part of that recovery to whatever degree YOU decide you need to be involved.
          2. I don’t even know what to say to marital rape. I do have a bit of an idea of what that is like because I am also married to a narcissist, but I’m sure not to the same degree. I’m so sorry.
          3. sorry, but I have to address this one but it has become rather close to my heart. Why do you say he is a Christian? Because he says he is? Because he talks a good talk? We as christians are far to willing to accept at face value the declaration of someone that they are a believer. Scripture clearly tells us that “we shall know them by their fruits” What are the fruits of his relationship with Christ? Are they love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, grace, and mercy? it doesn’t sound like it to me. Does he show sensitivity to the Holy Spirit? It doesn’t sound like it. Is he obedient to Christ?
          Jesus says “22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

          These people were prophesying and casting out demons, yet they were not truly believers. Do not assume your husband is a believer just because he says so or because he is “religious”

          Personally i’m not really sure that a practicing narcissist can be a believer. Is it really possible for them to truly repent and stay a narcissist? I’m not sure on that one, but it is worth considering.

          My best friend calls himself a recovering narcissist. But he was changed when he truly gave himself to Christ. He says that even though that was decades ago, he still has to fight the urge to be in control and to manipulate people to do it. But, with the power of Christ, he does it. Now is is one of the most compassionate caring people I know.

          4. you say “He won’t let me talk about this to him or anyone nor the porn addiction and sex addiction” This is just only his narcissist attempt to keep others from knowing who he really is. How do I know this? Because he is offloading his responsibility and problems onto you and making it your problem by saying you are unforgiving. Are you unforgiving? I have no idea, but that is really irrelevant and it is blame shifting. If he were actually doing the work of recovery and if he actually wanted to have a real marriage then he would be doing whatever is necessary to show that to you. He would want you to talk to whoever you need to so that you can deal with/ heal the mess that he has made inside of you.

          I found in myself that after I truly repented, I really didn’t have a problem telling anyone what I had done. I confessed to a lot of people because I felt that I had wronged them and I wanted to make it right. Repentance and humility go hand in hand.

          5. The church. Unfortunately, I have found that there are many in the church that just don’t get what abuse really is. I’m not sure it is even possible for them to understand it because they just don’t want to see it. Even less understand or care what narcissism is. It just doesn’t feel good to talk about or admit these things. They are hard, and you really have to dig deep and evaluate things to deal with them.
          I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say… “Well, we all know that God is working on he, that he will not give up on her and we can take comfort in that.” That is something that is so easy for people to say and it makes them feel good and for awhile it makes us feel good. Unfortunately, is that REALLY true? (how you see this does depend somewhat on theology) Yes, God doesn’t desire for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. But He obviously does not MAKE that happen for everyone. He desires that your husband and my wife repent, but for the most part, He doesn’t make them. Look in scripture, How many times is there a “road to Damascus” experience, where He saves someone “against” their desire? Not often.

          6. Beware of apologies. An apology may make you feel good, but it is not repentance. And frankly, an apology without repentance is just crazy making. I’ve heard “I’m sorry” a few times, but I have never seen sorrow. And that, really hurts because it is saying to me “I don’t really want you. You really aren’t worth much to me, but I’m going to say these words because I’m expected to. And now that I have said them, you will just go quietly along and keep providing for me.”

          That is probably much too long, sorry.

          • Aly on April 5, 2018 at 6:03 am

            Sheep,
            Well written with clarity on your points!

            Sheep when you point out that repentance and humility go hand in hand, I agree.
            You also mentioned that you didn’t care about your exposure: ‘image or the approval of others’ once having repentence.

            I believe this is a critical sign of the fruit of repentence because it shows that you were willing to risk. You also had your heart ‘right’ with God and when we can receive that love and acceptance from Him, shame has little to no power over ‘others knowing ourselves at that level’.

            We know we are broken in many places, but we are accepted by Him fully to finish a work in us!



          • JoAnn on April 5, 2018 at 8:04 am

            Sheep, I really appreciate your contributions here. You are sharing from your experiences and it is obvious that the Lord has taught you a lot. This is very insightful and helpful. Thank you for sharing.



          • Aly on April 5, 2018 at 8:28 am

            Sheep,

            What you wrote here is a direct link to the epidemic of our churches and the overall maturity of those within the church and places on positions of leadership.

            “5. The church. Unfortunately, I have found that there are many in the church that just don’t get what abuse really is. I’m not sure it is even possible for them to understand it because they just don’t want to see it. Even less understand or care what narcissism is. It just doesn’t feel good to talk about or admit these things. They are hard, and you really have to dig deep and evaluate things to deal with them.”

            By the way, narcissism and narc traits are certainly on a spectrum, narcissism being extreme, and fundamentally it’s an ‘immature’ way of functioning. A core fragmented place of development.

            So yes you are correct when you say the church really isn’t as interested to get equipped about this epidemic and the overall levels of it! There seems to be a great big naivety about this?

            I think this is why Leslie’s ministry is so important and vital to future healthy growing church bodies.
            More people are awaking to what is not familiar or comfortable to them. But more should be done to further break the unhealthy bondage.



          • sheep on April 5, 2018 at 11:24 am

            Aly and JoAnn, Thank you. It is so nice to have ones thoughts validated. Especially by those that also aren’t afraid to lovingly call you out out when you are wrong.

            Sometimes I feel like I have a somewhat unique perspective because of my own repentance story while at the same time, living out the effects of abuse and non-repentance of my wife.

            I know what real repentance looks and feels like, because I have lived it. At the same time, I totally know what the hardened heart of the non repentant looks and feels like because I am on the receiving end of that.

            Regarding point 5. I totally understand why, in large part, the church doesn’t get abuse, adultery, and the issues surrounding it. It is hard to reconcile the horrors of abuse with the sanctity and permanence of marriage. These aren’t easy problems to be solved and most are not equipped to do so.

            I truly believe that most marriages and marriage problems, when dealing with two normal believers, can be solved with the traditional church approach. That both people learn to put the other first, show the love of Christ to each other, and learn to communicate better. The problem comes in where one of those people has no intention of putting the other first, is not going to show Christlike love to the other, and their communication is designed to put the other down and control them.

            The church does not know how to deal with that person because they don’t understand them. They don’t want to confront that person on their sin because that is hard and they will have to stand against that person.

            So, they naturally deal with the victim because that is easier. The victim is most likely someone that is already a giving and understanding person so, they tell them to hold on a little longer, do a little more, pray a little more and don’t give up hope. And because of who we are, we do it. Unfortunately that takes all pressure off of the abuser (not that they care about pressure) and puts all of it on the victim. The whole while talking about how God hates divorce. Yes, I get it. God does hate divorce, I do too. But he does allow it. Adultery is also a pretty big deal to God, so much so that in the old testament they were stoned for it.

            I think that for far too long the church has bought into the thinking that “it takes two people to destroy a marriage” In many cases that is true, But it really only takes one selfish, unrepentant person to destroy a marriage. In those situations, it comes down to being able to place the “blame” for divorce on the one that destroyed the marriage, not on the person that just informed the state of what has already happened by filing for divorce.



          • Maria on April 6, 2018 at 5:24 am

            Sheep,
            You have explained what goes on in the church very well. I had a similar experience.



          • many years on April 14, 2018 at 12:15 am

            Thank you, ‘sheep’ for your comments as I can relate to them well.

            I agree with most of what everyone has said. Especially that we cannot lead our spouses to Christ, only the Holy Spirit can convict, and it is up to the individual to confess and repent.

            I know so much more after reading books, and also God’s Word. One time I did ask my husband ‘Hasn’t my life meant anything to you?’ Meaning, my life as a Christian wife. All he did was give me a blank stare as though he had no clue what I was talking about.

            This was before I even had a clue that he might not even be saved. He could walk the walk, and talk the talk, in front of the congregation, but at home, he was a totally different personality type. It was like I was living with a total stranger at times. .

            I think one very ‘telling’ chapter which a true believer would listen to, is I John chapter 1 about walking in the light: “And this is the message we have heard (he that is of God hears God’s voice, words, scriptures, etc.) from HIM and announce it to you: God is Light and in HIm is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him, and yet, if we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But, if we walk in the Light as He is in the Light, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP one with another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is NOT in us If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him to be a liar, and His Word is not in us’.

            When a person is truly repentant they will have fellowship with God which will be very apparent in their life. They will also have fellowship with fellow believers in Christ. I am not just talking about the social aspect of ‘attending’ church.

            This is one way to distinguish if a person is dwelling in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of Peace. If they do not display this unity, and this peace, and the fellowship which comes supernaturally, and it also comes so naturally to the true Christian to talk about the things of God., then it is up to God to save that individual, if they will truly repent and allow the Holy Spirit to take control of their life, as no amount of trying to ‘make them a better person’ by making them confess and ‘repent’ to a councilor will change them either.

            The ‘apology’, the supposed ‘sorrow’ the ‘being good for a while’ will all tell out, sooner than later if all they are going to be doing is a ‘forced’ apology, or ‘forced’ repentance. Like Leslie pointed out.

            ‘Godly sorrow works repentance, not to be repented of.’ There is no shame but victory in the life of the one who truly repents and desires change in their life.

            Anyway, thank you ‘sheep’ for your comments as I can relate to them very well.

            And JoAnn, and Aly, thank you always, for your wise comments; and, Freenow (I can relate to the sexual abuse) and dear Nancy.

            All of you here; as in I John chapter I, it also says “We write these things so that your joy may be complete, full, over-flowing!’

            This is what we are aiming for here on this site, for us to write about our lives, and to make the right changes; for our joy to be complete in Christ, and to not let someone else define our life in Christ, but to turn it around, and give Jesus the glory for releasing us from the bondage of grief in our lives.
            Prayers to everyone here.



    • Aly on April 5, 2018 at 5:52 am

      Nancy,

      I’m sorry this reply is out of alignment ~ for flow purposes Nancy.
      Thank you for your post and explaination of the original question and are dialog.
      Yes! It makes sense and I can see it certainly from that perspective of ‘wanting more for a person to repent/ change their direction, than the individual person desires for themselves’!
      Which IS out of balance and crosses over many areas of over-functioning… totally see that.
      Similar to a phrase:
      I can desire recovery for my husband, but when ‘my desire is greater than his own desire or willingness’ then it’s dysfunctional and disproportionate.’

      Your correct when you brought up the original larger topic of the question by Leslie ‘How can I get my counselor to get my husband to repent?’

      I see that now and yes it’s is written from that place of thinking any of us have any power in a heart change done by the Holy Spirit~
      We don’t, but we can come alongside others and ‘good’ Christian counselors are gifted & trained for certain orchestrated places.

      Our counselor then and now, had no control over my husband’s heart or willingness to see just how bad our dynamic was. But what our counselor does do is hold the mirror up and offer an invitation to do hard work & accountability. Which is only ONE part of the action steps toward character development.

      Many people claim repentence but fail to do the necessary work required for character growth and repair of the relationships.
      Similar to the alcoholic who quits drinking but never enters a process to identify the deeper things that cause these choices. They truly believe that stopping a behavior ‘is stopping’ the wrong and don’t take the necessary steps to repair the damage done or let alone take the steps to guard the ongoing relapse.

      Leslie pointed out that the question she gets is often that one above. That is so sad for our culture.
      Personally, I heard more of a ‘crying out’ question of what interventions have the greatest chance of true recovery.
      Not in a selfish way for this wife, but in a hopeful place of restoration & treatment.
      I do think many people in our larger church communities are a bit naive and mislead when it comes to these places of recovery work. Many bandaid situations and want a quick turn around from pain.
      Look at Saul – Paul.., that took YEARS for him to be acknowledged as not the same ‘guy’.

      Let’s face it~ often these situations deal in addiction treatment, addicts are great at self deception and self destructive patterns… Denial of the greatest form, nothing beyond Gods capabilities but He doesn’t force a non surrendered heart.

      I think many people (maybe even this wife believes this) that true genuine repentance will lead to true lasting recovery work. I’m not sure this is often the outcome for those with many hardwired addictive qualities that affect them to a great degree in character?

      And for her to desire that for her husband and herself is understandable and not disproportionate.

      One thing I seem to encounter a lot is that we have had a larger church culture preaching and emphasizing the message of ‘believe’ in Jesus and little if none about ‘repentance’ and character maturity as a spiritual process.

      The emphasis is on as long as I say I believe then, I’m a Christian and all is finished. I’m healed and I’m all ok.
      How attractive is this process to an addictive mindset person?, very! It’s quick and seems like it’s little pain to confront and face.

      Sorry to detour a bit…,
      But I wonder if the writer and others here have also had Fear or felt scared that their offender ~ has a great probability to just go through the motions of counseling and or surface work?

      And that IS a scary place to open yourself up to further harm from a repeat offender.

      I’m sorry for the length.

      • Nancy on April 5, 2018 at 6:54 am

        Yes, I hear what you are saying about “I’m Christian and it is all finished.”

        This type of immature thinking leads to false ‘victory talk’ too. Where feelings are short-circuited by denial, minimization, rationalization etc…in the name of ‘victory’ and ‘it is finished’.

        Just take a look at Jesus in the garden of Gesthemane! He sure didn’t short-circuit his feelings! ( face down in the dirt, tears of blood, crying out to God, “my soul is sad to the point of death”).

        It’s why I love the emotionally healthy spirituality course. It deals with this head-on and walks the church through exactly how and why this happens. And it’s labelled as emotionally immature. It asks the participant to look at their own mechanisms and discuss them. Such a breath of fresh air in the church!

        • Aly on April 5, 2018 at 7:19 am

          Nancy,

          So agree! Thankful for the resources like The emotionally healthy spirituality course;)
          I’m pretty sure one of the fundamental understandings is:
          You can’t claim ‘spiritual maturity’ and still remain emotionally immature or underdeveloped?

          But often isn’t this part of the deeper issue and roadblocks amongst many longtime professing ‘believers’? Sad.

          Often churches are set up with longtime ‘Christians mentoring younger (in age) Christians etc and this can cause all sorts of passed on ‘underdeveloped growth’. Passed on misguided understanding about accountability and thus further feeds the abuse process!
          What more would Satan relish in but those being falsely fed and feeding others from that place.

          I believe this is some of the core roots of what was a huge contributing & reinforcing factor to my loss of ext. family system.

          Again, with that course and with others of similar benefit it’s is still an invitation to look and peer closer to ones own truths and mirror of why they do what they do?
          Often, resistant people think that they don’t need such a course of spiritual enrichment in community? They want to do this alone with God, in private so no one knows my brokenness. And this posture reveals the idol doesn’t it. And the thinking progresses the bondage from the individual and that individual influences others to normals their own resistance to recovery and growth.

          The attitude is also..,
          I’m an adult and I am grown, that’s for those other people who are ‘feelers’ or emotional.
          Such a loss.

          Nancy, such a blessing you are to pour back into your church (willing ones) the truth and wisdom you have been fed. 💜

          • Nancy on April 6, 2018 at 7:03 am

            Thank you sister ❤️



  3. Another JoAnn on April 4, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Hello all, Really appreciate you bringing this topic, Leslie, and the helpful insight of the comments. As I am facing this issue in my marriage currently, I want to add for the first seven years of my marriage, I was convinced I needed to change my husband (ha!) to be a more “godly” man. In sheer frustration, and because I’m a slow learner, I came to the end of myself. My breaking point was when I got the big, fat, self-righteous log out of my eye. I saw MY need to repent, ask forgiveness of God & my hubby, and renew my intimate walk with the Holy Spirit. For the first time, I owned that I had made my marriage an IDOL–one that needed to be smashed, not controlled. Reading Gary Thomas’ “Sacred Influence” was an eye-opener for me. My husband still has habits & behaviors that continue to keep our relationship from flourishing, but now I speak from my heart on how it effects me/our relationship, instead of me “telling him” what he needs to do. Instead, I set limits for my self, pray for God to change his heart, and love him the way Jesus desires me to. Thanks again for this encouraging blog & forum!

    • Nancy on April 4, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Hi Another JoAnn,

      Thank you for your frank and transparent comment. I too had made an idol of my marriage ( so did my h – but he only came to realize this after 9 months of separation). My realization of it was similar to yours – coming to the end of myself and falling to my knees before The Lord. This idolization (otherwise known as co-dependency) is destructive and for me added to the feeling of being trapped and powerless. Admiting this and repenting of it brought me into freedom, and empowered me to release my marriage and my h as well as set the boundaries that I needed to bring about the separation.

    • Aly on April 7, 2018 at 9:22 am

      Another JoAnn, Nancy,

      You both have expressed seeing yourselves from a perspective that has given you further freedom to detach from an outcome via a marriage idol.

      Another JoAnn, I have also read that book you mentioned and many others of his series. My husband too has read them. I was first taken back to find Gary Thomas on the (Not recommended reading list at a Cry for Justice) because I do enjoy his books and writing style.

      I investigated more about why he wouldn’t be a good read for those who are in abusive/ destructive marriages. Makes sense when I look at my own marital history, the posture of a servant love and my husband’s entitlement attitude and fear of intimacy issues.

      Another JoAnn, you mentioned that now you speak to your h about how his behaviors & habits keep from flourishing your relations, and instead you express yourself on how it makes ‘you feel’ verses telling him ‘what to do’.
      I think this is A healthy way to engage here, however if you have a spouse who has little to no care ‘how you are affected’.

      I’m not saying that this is his posture, but if you are praying to God to change him, it sounds like you still would like your husband to be a healthier partner to do marriage with?
      Currently, it seems like he’s getting the type of marriage he is willing …..at a level contribute to. Is this the kind of marriage that honors and glorifies God?

      Nancy mentioned (Co-dependency) above and sometimes given the book and writer Gary Thomas~ some wives ‘feel a sense of control’ by their submission and posture to love the way they think will ‘draw their spouse to respond’. Even this posture can become a motivation that tricks us into staying stuck in a pattern.

      Not only does God do a work in our hearts about ‘the marital idol’ but also the growth and courage to implement consequences and invite standards we can hold from a professing believing spouse.
      It’s two sided change of sorts.

      • CK on April 7, 2018 at 12:50 pm

        Aly and all,
        I read the book Sacred Marriage and it kept me stuck and stymied and confused for quite a while. Google Enough is Enough by Gary Thomas. Oh, how I wish his book would be updated with a message that it’s not a good read for those in abusive marriages. Stumbling on Leslie’s books, this blog and A Cry for Justice blog saved my sanity. Sacred Marriage is in the trash.

        • JoAnn on April 7, 2018 at 1:18 pm

          CK, This blog helps us all to gain a more balanced perspective on what a marriage is supposed to be and how to manage when it isn’t. That is why we surely need discernment when we read any kind of “self help” book. I’m glad you got clear on what is helpful and what isn’t, and thanks for sharing what you learned so that others can be warned.

          • Free on April 7, 2018 at 6:07 pm

            Just today I took every angry man and other self help books and donated them to the library. Now that I am free I don’t need them. They were useful tools once that helped me figure out what was wrong with my husband. They were lots of near misses. Marital and relational advice that never pertained to an abusive relationship. Overall they gave lots of suggestions about how I could adapt to his abusive tendencies rather than validate the injustice and offer practical advice for my health and safety. As some wrote earlier,it is so much easier to work with the compliant partner rather than the rigid evil one.

            I must say it was so freeing to rid myself of the nonesense. It just was never my problem. He WAS the problem. I have no use for those silly books any more.



          • JoAnn on April 7, 2018 at 10:56 pm

            Free, I had to chuckle when I read your post. I sometimes wonder if the authors of such “silly books” are abusers themselves, and that is why they say what they do. Or, if the authors have never been abused, they have no idea what the wife of an abuser is dealing with. So, I’m glad that you have found the help you need and are now “Free at last”!



        • Aly on April 8, 2018 at 10:30 am

          Ck,

          Yes! Thanks for posting the ‘enough us enough’ via google. Your correct in that it needs a revision from Gary Thomas himself and I personally like his writing style but I think he has been further educated about the nature of emotional and spiritual abuse. (Post his writings) I don’t think he is someone that has a posture to enable evil, but the very fact he can acknowledge his ‘ignorance’ is important to his character. I tend to think he was possibly not exposed to much of what we here have dealt with.
          Our church as a community needs to continue speaking up and bringing these issues to the front!

          I hope you didn’t think I was recommending his writings~ I wasn’t. I was responding to:
          ‘Another Joann’s comments.

          I think it’s very important when reading these forms of books to be educated on a ‘sensitive conscious situation’…. some of us have had many places in our journey where we ARE the more conscious about our failings and want to take responsibility for our own behaviors in the marriage and in humility offer that to our spouses.
          Only to find that sometimes our spouses are not SAFE to do so with! Where they take further advantage of this willingness on our part. This certainly happened in places of my journey. And I had many ignorant people around me reinforcing this position~ keep loving and wait on the Lord to move your husband… your not his Holy Spirit, get out of the way so God can work. .., etc.

          This can deepen the ‘stuck patterns’ in a marriage for sure and continue with the out-of balance power issues.

          In a healthy (equally yoked marriage, that advice can be helpful because both spouses are surrendered to placing God as the authority and center of the marriage!

          In an abusive/ destructive marriage this is often not the posture.

          • CK on April 8, 2018 at 11:44 am

            Amen to all you said, Aly. Also, I didn’t think you were recommending Sacred Marriage. Regarding some of the Christian marriage authors/experts: I’ve often wondered if their biggest marital spat has been about which way to hang the toilet paper. They probably can’t even imagine what some of us have been through, thus no mention of abuse in their books.



          • Leslie Vernick on April 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm

            I know Gary Thomas and have had numerous talks with him on this issue. He would be the first to admit that his advice in Sacred Marriage and especially his new book, Loving Him Well, would backfire with an abusive spouse. While writing (revising) this last book – it used to be called Sacred Influence – about how wives influence their spouse – he invited me to comb through his manuscript picking out anything that would be harmful for abused women. In the introduction he’s clear that his words would NOT apply to a wife married to an abusive man. So I think we have to also accept that Gary’s ministry is to mainstream marriages, not abusive or destructive ones. However, he does promote EDR and his blog Enough Already helped. I wish he felt led to be a louder stronger voice in churches about this issue as he is a well respected pastor/leader, but I and others in this movement have his ear, he listens, is humble and I think is willing to revise and look at what he writes which is a whole lot better than many other authors or teachers out there.



  4. DG on April 4, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    I’d love to know how to move forward in creating connection when we do see repentance and work towards healthy healing/change. What does it look like to safely re-engage, giving the abuser opportunity to practice what they’ve learned while staying safe? How can they learn empathy, emotional connection, encouragement, etc?

    • Sunshine on April 5, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      DG, with the help of accountability partners. Any first contacts are done with others present who have the freedom to call him out.

      • JoAnn on April 5, 2018 at 7:03 pm

        I agree, Sunshine, and would add that boundaries are very important during this phase, if reconciliation is going to go forward. If he is truly repentant, he will willingly honor the boundaries and do “whatever it takes” to prove to be trustworthy and respectful. The longer you wait, the better, because if he is just putting on a show, he will get tired after a while, so don’t rush into the relationship, and do it with a good marriage counselor. There have been a lot of comments here about how to tell if someone is truly repentant. Study them well. Be cautious. Don’t rush. Time is on your side.

  5. Sandy on April 4, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    I’m with DG. I’d love to know how to move forward in creating connection too. My h started going to a therapist last fall. He has kept his appointments every week. That is a huge step for him. I see some changes but since we haven’t lived together for a 1 1/2 years I don’t know if the changes are real. He hopes we reconcile. I don’t know if or how long it will be before I can trust him again. He is one of the repeat offenders in adultery and has had a life long problem with lying. I’m so glad he is keeping his appointments. I hope he continues with therapy no matter what.

    • Nancy on April 4, 2018 at 11:19 pm

      Hi DG and Sandy,

      I guess I would ask you, ‘how does he take you saying ‘no’ to his requests’ ?

      ‘How does he handle being confronted when he messes up’? Does he take responsibility, apologize and make behavioural changes?

      ‘How does he handle you wanting something different than him?

      Can he handle you having a different opinion? Does he get threatened by this?

      And all of this, not just once or twice. Consistently. Is he really a changed man?

      These things don’t require a ton of risk.

      For what it’s worth, when my h was convicted, I knew it. There was no question. He had been changed. Did I trust him right away? No. But I knew The Lord had done a work in him, without question. So, I gradually began excercising my opinions, confronting his failures etc…. we got into couples therapy quickly after that. Although I was afraid ( which was it’s own battle to overcome) I was not foolish as I had been 5 years earlier, when I went to couples counselling with an unbroken man.

  6. Aleea on April 4, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Re: seeing the FRUITS 🍎🍊🍌🍉🍇🍓🍈🍑 of genuine repentance.
    Re: Friends, when you have seen genuine repentance, what are some of the fruit you have noticed coming forth from a person.

    . . .So, just using the New Testament’s meaning (―because in the Old Testament even God repents of all kinds of things), Anyways, repentance. . .
    1. Actually, knowing that change must come. (―Notice how the religious leaders came for John’s baptism because it was the popular thing to do, but in their hearts, they did not want to change, ―the text implies that!
    2. Secondly, the fruit necessary for repentance is the willingness to put away all gods of idolatry & materialism (―money, success, control, etc.)

    . . . .my counselor (―25 years of marriage counseling; Ph.D. in psychology; Masters in Theology, et.al.) was telling me early on in my counseling for childhood abuse that often in marriage counseling, one spouse will come in and really, t-r-u-l-y repent/ be healed. . . .Oh my, she says the other spouse that wanted to see “true repentance” is now running the other way as fast as they can. . . .It could easily be that people don’t know what they really want re: The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life ―Drs. Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson. Most people say they want “X” but really want “Y, Z and W.” ―It is that maddening. Maybe I am unusually slow but I learned a lot from that book. It explains all our little self-deceptions as well as why we deceive ourselves, separating its explanations into politics, popularity, faith . . .yet we largely don’t even realize “Part II Hidden Motives.”

    ―Here is the most amazing thing from neuroscience: the authors show that not only are we strategic in our social behavior but that we also manage to totally fool our conscious selves to better deceive others. ―Unreal. We fool ourselves and then we can really fool others because we believe it. ―Of course, we don’t think we are totally fooled.

    So, we say we want this and that and we really want something else. God have mercy on us, we don’t even know what we really want. What it really casts doubt on especially are our altruistic motives. ―And what allows you to read it is the authors’ shared tone of non-judgement, compassion and humor. No wonder Jesus asks “―Do you really want to heal?” . . .and even if the answer is YES it is probably because you are working some other strategy, especially when you are altruistic. I find their research intellectually honest and seemly humble, ―but who knows. Lots of hidden motives behind our actions. We are often taking on selfish personal agendas without the appearance of doing so (―in the guise of altruism, social good, charity, empathy, caring for people, serving people, genuine repentance, et.al.) . . .And it does require courage to expose their/our own psychologies so clearly as they have in that book. We think we are not but we are powerfully lopsided, with lots of cherry-picking 🍒 and biased/motivated reasoning.

    . . .So, what those researchers find is that people hypocritically feign behavior and words that seem to evidence repentance. All we see are the “outward appearance” not heart which could really be a total mess. Re: The Evidence for Repression: An Examination of Sixty Years of Research and Job, Jonah, and the Unconscious: A Psychological Interpretation.

    . . . .So ―all les fruits de la repentance: Patience; Real Sacrifical Love; Goodness; Faithfulness; Peace; Self-Control; Gentleness; Kindness, et.al. . . . .Anyways, that’s why maybe we can’t trust just any passionate resolution from our spouse? If the repentance was raised in a storm, maybe it will be abandoned in the calm? . . .And maybe it runs the other way too?🌠

  7. Barbara B on April 5, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Some things I notice with genuine repentance: The negative behavior has to stop, but that’s only the first part. The second sign of repentance is the presence of positive traits such as joy and peace. True repentance can’t happen without the Holy Spirit and the presence of the Holy Spirit is marked by “righteousness, joy, and peace” (Romans 14:7). If the negative behavior has stopped, but there is no joy or peace, I would question the sustainability of the repentance.

    • Free on April 5, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      What an excellent point Barbara! Likewise chaotic and impulsive behaviors indicate that they still have too much adrenaline guiding influencing their actions.

    • Nancy on April 6, 2018 at 7:01 am

      This is true, Barbara! I knew ‘the moment’ my husband had changed because there was a palpable difference in him. He came to me to talk and somIt had nothing to do, at that point, with behaviour. ( although I watched that carefully- over time – too).

      A piece of it was attitude: He was humble. But what accompanied that was Peace. He wasn’t trying to convince me of anything. He didn’t need to. He had Peace.

      This is very important.

      • Aly on April 6, 2018 at 9:03 am

        Nancy,

        Agree! Peace is certainly an critical presence about what you witnessed in Him.
        My husband had peace but also a sense of determination & a strong place of restitution for all he had robbed from me, himself too, our children and our years. His restitution was about repair regardless if the marriage could be redeemed or made new.
        This was again a big place of surrender for him that he had Peace and acceptance about.

      • many years on April 19, 2018 at 9:25 pm

        Yes! Nancy! This is exactly what I am waiting for. That perceptible CHANGE in my husband’s heart.. Yes, I am looking for that PEACE in his heart, if and when he accepts Christ as his Savior. This is what I told my brother and sister, that I WILL KNOW, when and if he has accepts Christ, and he will know the difference too! The peace that passes human reasoning and human understanding. The LIFE GIVING WORD OF THE LORD, will be in his heart! That is why my husband cannot understand John 3:16, as it is not yet IN HIS HEART!

        • Nancy on April 23, 2018 at 8:17 pm

          HI many years,

          My h had his change of heart as a result of me separating from him. In my case, being his Ezer involved allowing my h to feel the consequences of his hard heart.

  8. JoAnn on April 6, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Aly, we praise and thank the Lord that he was able to bring your husband to true repentance. And now the healing. Wonderful! You had evidence of genuine repentance, and that is such a blessing. That is what must be there for recovery of the marriage.

    • Aly on April 6, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      JoAnn,
      Yes, indeed we Praise God this!
      Thank you JoAnn for all your continued love and support via this blog;)
      💜

  9. JoAnn on April 6, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Aly, I have learned so much from all of you. You are a bunch of very wise and courageous women, and I praise God for you all. How good it is when we can comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted by God.

    • Nancy on April 10, 2018 at 6:33 am

      Good morning JoAnn,

      I’ve thought of you so often these past couple of weeks. I’m working with a Spiritual Director and she is guiding me in inviting Jesus into old memories to heal them. She’s taught me how to “pray the scriptures” too. I can’t explain all that has happened in the last 4 weeks, but suffice it to say that my walk with The Lord has become very very real.

      The way that this has all come about is surprising. I didn’t know what I was asking for when I began the process of asking for a Spiritual Director ( last summer) …who knew that it would lead to one of the very things that you have spoken about, here! Well…God knew.

      He really does work everything together for our good❤️

      • JoAnn on April 10, 2018 at 9:09 am

        Nancy, that is so encouraging! Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I don’t know if your Spiritual Director has learned from Ed Smith, but it sounds as though perhaps she has. You can go to the web site for Transformation Prayer Ministry to watch an introductory lecture by Smith. He has made his training available for free to anyone who wants to learn how to minister Christ’s healing to others this way. And yes, praying the word is powerful, isn’t it? Paul’s prayers in Ephesians are especially rich and powerful. Life changing.
        It always encourages me to see how the Holy Spirit operates among His people, and so often in the same way from different directions.
        I thank you for your valuable insights and wisdom on this blog. I hope that many of us here will go to the conference in Nebraska in October so that we can meet face to face.
        Grace be with you all.

        • Nancy on April 10, 2018 at 9:28 am

          JoAnn,

          My ‘assignment’ this and last week is Ephesians 3:14-19, but praying this for myself.

          “I pray that out of your glorious riches, that you would strengthen me with power….” The imagery that comes is just lovely.

          My first assignment was Mark 10- Jesus blesses the little children. What a powerful excercise to place myself in that scene and become aware of everything happening around me. Such a surprise that as the disciples were arguing with my mother, all I could feel was her anxiety. Then when Jesus came over to me….wooooosh! Peace.

          She tells me all the time how much he loves to be invited in and interact so personally!

          Thanks for your encouragement. I think The Lord used you to ‘prime’ me for this walk. I might have been quite intimidated otherwise. I thought…’oh…this is what JoAnn has been encouraging us to do!’

          • JoAnn on April 10, 2018 at 10:57 am

            Wonderful! Praise and thank the Lord!



  10. Rose on April 10, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Nancy,
    I haven’t been on this blog in quite a while. So Hello again to my sisters in Christ; especially Ally, who was there to listen and share godly wisdom. I also remember you Nancy, sharing fm your heart as well. Perhaps you may remember me.
    You mentioned your spiritual director prompted you to invite Jesus into your old memories to heal them. I am very intrigued by this teaching. Can you pls explain more. Has doing so taken the Some of the burden off you? (If you had struggled with self blame and feeling responsible for the death of the marriage?) so often the abused person takes on so much of the blame. If only I had said this..or done that. If only I had recognized the abuse and was able to explain it better to the church…maybe then they wd have listened and understood. Rather than Asking me to leave their office..telling me I was out of control. Yes I was angry, I’ve been trying to explain repeatedly that this man is cunning and manipulative. Why won’t anyone believe me? I came to you desperate for help. And you let me down. You blamed me for violating scripture (by not having relations w/my husband) but he was abusive is so many ways..esp sexually. I just wish I was able to articulate better to the counselors and pastors. But I didn’t know then what I know now. Sorry, I really went off topic. Back to my original question..inviting Jesus into our old memories. How does that work and what is the purpose of this exercise? Thank you for helping me to understand.

    • Aly on April 10, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Rose,

      It’s good to hear from you and that you are back on the blog!
      How are you? Are you still with your husband?
      You have been through so much and I would assume maybe JoAnn might agree that you have a lot of trauma (painful trauma) which breaks my heart or you.
      But many here are willing to listen and encourage you with compassion & courage to be safe.

      Often times we think that are particular ‘church body’ will have protection or answers for our situations and many times the churches are not equipped and certainly don’t always chose to listen to victims about such a crisis and abusive situations. It isn’t your Job to convince them that they are acting irresponsible and ignorant to your plea for help and safety.

      It’s natural though for many of us here walking out our journeys to first think:
      ‘The church is where we need to reach out for love and interventions’…. our culture has influenced this thinking and our family homes have reinforced this regardless if it is a Christian family of origin home.
      So this comes natural to many of us and certainly I think it grieves the Lord greatly to see how many churches ‘are ill-equipped’ with these issues to help His own,His daughters,sons .. His sheep!

  11. JoAnn on April 10, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Rose, welcome back! I have continued to pray for you because I remember how hurt you have been and how hard it has been for you.
    I replied to Nancy’s post about her experience, and I hope that she will share with you what her experience has been. Also, you can go to http://www.transformationprayer.org and click on “first Session” to learn more about what it is and how to learn about how to practice it.
    May the Lord grant you His truth and His peace as you go forward in HIm.

    • Nancy on April 10, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      HI Rose,

      My Spiritual Director has not given me any official name ( of how she was trained) for going back and inviting Jesus to heal my memories. So, I’d suggest you check out JoAnn’s link for TPM.

      On another note, Rose – welcome back!

      Also Rose. It seems to me, from all today’s posts that you are not grieving reality. What I mean is that it seems to me that you are continuing to imagine that your ex-h is someone that he has clearly demonstrated, that he is not.

      It seems to me that you are sad about losing a fantasy man.

      If this is accurate then, This is not grieving, this is continuing the fantasy. This is likely where the false guilt comes from.

      It’s confusing; the kind of grief that you are going through, Rose. Because you’re loss ( the divorce) is in reality, a gigantic gain. You have gained a healthier environment, for example ( and that’s just a small example).

      If you focused your grieving on ‘the husband you NEVER had’, I think that will bring you into reality. The sadness here Rose is not n what you’ve lost – it is in that you were never cherished to begin with. The tragedy lies in what you never had.

      You will get angry….and you should. The Lord is angry Rose.

      Maybe you could ask The Lord to help you walk in reality. If you’ve constructed fantasy in order to survive, this may take time. He does love to walk us into reality. He IS reality.

      • Free on April 10, 2018 at 6:09 pm

        Good points Nancy
        I agree.

      • Aly on April 10, 2018 at 6:57 pm

        Nancy, Rose

        Well said~ Nancy;)

        Rose I hope this encourages you to see that you grief is actually inviting you into something real, I won’t say there won’t be pain there will be, but the Lord is with you and we do grieve with others as we walk this journey.

        Your not alone.

  12. Rose on April 10, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Hello Aly,
    I am so happy to hear from you! You brought a smile to my face today! Feel so blessed that you remember me, and all my issues. Thank you for your tender heart of compassion. A lot has happened in a year. I did end up divorcing my husband.

    Aly, remember how much I agonized over how to save my marriage…I met with christian counselors, as well as several pastors. None of them recognized this man was abusive. As i poured out my heart before them, he sat there with such smugness and arrogance..discrediting and countering everything i said. He always won. His calm and collective demeanor won their respect and made me look the unstable, out of control, delusional wife..who just wanted to blame her husband and refuse to look at herself. This was not so…he WAS wrong, he DID mistreat me, he WAS abusive, I WAS trying my best and ALWAYS went before the Lord. Why wont anyone hold him accountable? He is the man. He is responsible to lead, to protect, to take care of his wife and family. I dont understand these pastors/counselors. I finally spoke up when I realized it was abuse (I didnt even know that because thats how it was for 20 yrs of marriage) and when i took it to the church and counselors, they failed me. Had they been tougher on him and actually held him accountable..wd it have made a difference? Cd my marriage possibly have been saved? Why was I always the one in the “hot seat” and being scolded for violation of scripture. Sorry, I got off topic.

    i am very passionate about this because you said “it is not my job to convince them they are acting irresponsibly or ignorant”. Pls share your thoughts on this.. I think to myself..look how they failed me. What about other women coming to them for the same problems? I wd hate to see them misguided as well..and made to feel it is their fault..not recognizing abuse. Telling me I have no biblical grounds for divorce.. “You cant leave” they told me. I have contemplated speaking to several pastors and explaining what I have told you here. I am praying about it to see what God leads me to do.
    Actually, I did call one counselor and told him how I felt. His response was “well if God couldnt convict him, what did you want me to do”. My response was “i wanted you to do your job, as you assured me you wd and hold him responsible for his words and actions. You never did that”. No response…
    I am praying that I can forgive these counselors/pastors for all the damage they caused. I was better off not even going.
    Sorry for the lengthy text.

    • Aly on April 10, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      Rose,
      Actually my phone wanted to spell: Rise!
      Wow ~ boy have you👏🏻💕!

      You have nothing to apologize for Rose and you certainly are not off topic;)!

      Leslie’s ministry is such a huge part of what you are rightfully upset and concerned over (those others that get little if any help and support from their home church).
      She advocates hard for this and some church bodies and teachers and pastors are willing to listen and be taught these terrible injustices!
      But then we also have to know when to dust off our shoes and continue to persevere sharing with those who have ears to hear & eyes to see.

      What courage you had to divorce your husband after many attempts to get his attention for his abusive issues against you!

      Rose, I can relate to the overwhelming disappointment of others who claim to be by our side but then abandon the very thing they say they will do!
      It’s betrayal and a sense of hopelessness that I believe many have experienced from others we have actively ‘asked for help & interventions’ which by the way takes an immense amount of courage and strength to even ask for help ‘as a victim’.

      I understand your unforgiveness compassionately, but I also don’t want it to keep you in a stuck place of the trauma.
      Are you doing any trauma work?
      Are you still involved with that church or church body where you have to be in relationship with them daily or weekly?
      One of Leslie’s main quotes is about unconditional forgiveness not meaning unconditional relationship!

      Would you consider writing a letter to your pastors or church body what your experience was and the evil that you were told to continue in by the church and how that added more false blame and abuse toward you?

      I’m not sure or saying your X husband was a sex addict, but he was in clear violation and betrayal of his marital convent to provide safety, security and sacrificial love for you as his wife. He broke the marital commitment in his treatment toward you and further tried to blame you for his behavior choices.

      The church body and staff cannot ‘reign your husband in’ and get him to be a healthy person but they should have come alongside you and supported you, loved on you and gave you the compassion necessary to help you get away from the damaging / violent situation.
      So yes, they failed big time in not being the hands and feet of Christ in words,action and deeds.
      They didn’t fail in controlling your husband’s choices because they can’t, but they did fail in not being the right advocate for your situation and thus they reinforced the mindset of your husband!

      The reinforcers here are painful especially if we have great hope that we can find interventions and can count on them for their help.

      Rose, you have done your best and you have done extremely well in a terrible scenario! God sees you😍!
      I do think he might be inviting you into further grief and also maybe wants to use your testimony and journey to further His truths for His Kingdom;) as well as be a supporter for those others still making their way through and out given the situation!
      I will write more later~ sorry this is so long.

      • Free on April 10, 2018 at 6:18 pm

        The only thing that crosses my mind is that contacting the original church leaders may just add more pain to the situation. It is likely they will continue to side with the abuser.

        What fools you have in leadership at that church! They don’t deserve a minute of your time. If I was to do anything I would send a poster size picture of your adulterous old flabby X with the 26year old. The more explicit the better, just for laughs. Send them Jeff Crippens book too, “Unholy Charade.” That is the book they really need.

        • Aly on April 10, 2018 at 6:49 pm

          Free,
          certainly a good point! I don’t want to encourage Rose for further harm but I do want to empower her that she can speak up, write up the wrong and injustice that she experienced.
          We don’t do this ~ so they (the church people involved) can validate our pain, sure that might be a nice outcome…. but that what took place was a valid injustice either way!

          Fools do often side with abusers… Rebecca Davis has a great article on this last year that was so true in the church epidemic of these issues where victims are RE-victimized by the church or helpers etc.

          Either way I think it can be a very strengthening exercise to help with some of ‘what was taken from her’ and how she can go and reclaim it.
          Even if it’s for her own voice to hear and her own eyes to see! A narrative that is accurate truthful and healing to her;)
          plus, Rose had a big concern for the additional abused who come to them for help!

          The Unholy Charade is also a good suggestion. 😉

          • Free on April 10, 2018 at 9:27 pm

            Yes Aly, it is important to realize we can stand up to those who mistreat us. Often women in my situation we’re trained to appease and comply.



        • Rose on April 11, 2018 at 11:18 am

          Dear free,
          You know why I want to have a meeting with that church and the pastor and counselor there…for all the poor and abused that come through their doors after me. I don’t want them to suffer the same fate i did. It caused me so much damage…in addition to the abuse at home. The church is to be the shepherd to their flock. A safe haven. A place to go for wise counsel and to uphold god’s word…no matter what. And to have the courage to hold all parties responsible and accountable. Jesus always confronted sin; He never dismissed it is overlooked it. the Bible instructs us to “take it to the church”. They are supposed to help the hurting and stand up for the oppressed. where is their integrity? Before each session, I wd always pray…God, pls give them discernment. Help me to see the truth. Let the Holy Spirit reveal to them what this man is doing. Let them see his character.
          Sadly, i went to four different Christian counselors and three different pastors. Not one saw it. How sad, disappointing and unacceptable this is. I wish Leslie cd speak to every pastor and open their eyes. i know that’s impossible…perhaps if each church cd be supplied with her teachings in this subject…perhaps it wd make a difference. Idk. I am still praying about confronting that church..not in anger, but with a heart for the lost and hurting. So no one has to there feeling stuck in bondage and humiliated.

        • Renee on April 12, 2018 at 9:14 am

          Free, I think as you that making contact, in any form, with the church is NOT a good idea. Rose I have not read every post of yours but with the ones I did, I believe you are not in a good place. I think something has gone wrong in your recovery. Confronting them especially now will only cause you more pain and be a continued hindrance in your recovery.

          This is my opinion only, get pen and paper and write out what you would like to say to those stinky so called church leaders and church folk. I mean don’t hold anything back and let it rip, names included if you must. Then lock it away (lock box/security vault). Or, pull out that phone of yours and let it rip into a recording. Again no censoring – whatever you are feeling. Then find an app, they are available, and transfer that recording into an email account that only you have access.

          Done, you have done your confronting. Now you will probably say this is not the same. But I will say that when you no longer feel what you felt in those writings and recordings (It may take six months, it may take a year, it may take two years) only then would I met with the leaders of the church so that they can see but GOD. Amen!

          • Aly on April 12, 2018 at 11:16 am

            Renee,

            I can see where making contact with the church body that were involved with Rose could not be the wisest choice for her own sanity and health.

            But I also see Rose’s point and her cry for others who will have a similar experience.
            Now I’m not saying that the church will listen and consider their own contributions or passivity of sorts in this scenario I don’t think Rose is looking for that validation for herself but just as anyone who is grieved by (a church body that is not equipped) we as a body of the Holy Spirit do feel the need to speak up and sound an alarm!
            In the hopes that another person walks in for directives maybe they will take a second look and consider Rose’s cry and experience?

            I speak up often in church circles where I hear concerning beliefs about marital dynamics, I share my story and the help we received from the church and the help that they could not really administer other than to get us further help~ which was the best for my husband & I.

            Yes, I get weird looks and sometimes clear rejection but this epidemic is never going to turn at a faster rate if we all are not advocating.



  13. Rose on April 10, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Aly,
    It has been a very difficult road since finally divorcing him. Do you remember all the torment I dealt with? I was still holding on after separating fm him, hoping that wd ease the strife and anger between us..hoping he wd miss me and realize what he lost. I continued to reach out to him and tried to talk. He never changed. His heart was never softened. He was never convicted, therefore unrepentant. He remained prideful, angry and bitter. Yet, I still held on. I did NOT want to divorce him. I wd always pray…God reveal to me what you want me to see.. show me Lord.

    The Lord answered my prayer in a way that cut me to my core, causing my child to feel the pain that he shd never have felt… but now I see why He allowed it to happen that way. If it didnt happen this way, I never wd have believed it.
    Since we were separated, my 20 yr old son wd split time between both homes. He went to his fathers house on a night he was supposed to be staying with me. He had forgotten his gym bag and went there to get it. He walked in on his father having sex with a very young girl. He was devastated. He came back home to me in an absolute rage. He was so out of control, I demanded that he leave the house. We went through a very rough time and didnt speak for awhile Both so hurt and broken…just raw.

    I later learned this girl is 30 years younger than him. He is 56, she is 26. She cd be his daughter. My sons says…mom, she cd be MY girlfriend. My poor kids were just devastated. My daughter refused to take his calls or see him. She wrote him a long text explaining how disappointed she was in him and how he disrespected his wife and children. His response..”well that has your mother’s handwriting all over it. Why dont you talk to me, so you can understand and stop listening to her”.

    I will never know how long she was in the picture. I wish I knew. Then I cd stop blaming myself. I know I was unloving toward him. I was shut down (because of all his abuse) but still…and so maybe I contributed to his adultery…maybe if I did this or behaved like that..so many if only’s.

    I cant seem to stop blaming myself that it turned out this way. It leaves me stuck. Not able to move forward. While he is still with this young girl (a year now..that im aware of). And im the fool that still yearns for him. Still reaches out to him, while he continues to discard me like yesterdays trash.

    I am ashamed and embarassed that i have such little respect for myself, that I wd accept any crumbs he gives me. Even now. Knowing what I know. It makes me so sad.. I cd never compare to this young girl. Her beauty. My wrinkles. Her young toned figure. My untoned body. On my best day, I cd never look as good as her. Im not 26 anymore..
    How do I ever rebuild my confidence and see my worth and value? I have been bathing myself in Gods word and prayer. Trying to see myself the way He sees me. As His child…valued, loved and significant. Not there yet …
    Im sorry again for the lengthy text. Thank you for listening xo

    • Aly on April 10, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Rose,

      Oh my! This is a horrible experience and I’m so sorry for the continued abuse ‘even though you have distanced and divorced from him’ because you have children together there is still a level of proximity that can be hard to navigate and work on as you are healing and recovering.
      More on this later and maybe others will chime in on this?

      You wrote:
      “I cant seem to stop blaming myself that it turned out this way. It leaves me stuck. Not able to move forward. While he is still with this young girl (a year now..that im aware of). And im the fool that still yearns for him. Still reaches out to him, while he continues to discard me like yesterdays trash.”

      Your yearning is about the ‘him’ that you hoped and wished he would be, not the character he actually is.
      This is facing reality and the grief that accompanies it, and I’m so sorry.

      From what you describe, your husband sounds like someone who possibly was and IS into porn?
      Not saying all porn users escalate to the things you were harmed by but just wondering how long he has been using and objectifying women?

      Often you might find that porn began far far before you ever entered relationship with your xhusband.
      This doesn’t mean it isn’t terribly less painful~ it is and it’s still betrayal at its worse in my opinion. But understanding where the addiction began might help with your false blame that you keep cycling through…, as well as the crumbs you speak of.

      You have your own recovery work to do in this area and I do hope you are able to find a trained counselor to help you process this unbelievable grief and betrayal.

      It’s also imp for you to find supportive people who can love you for you and minister to you as a person not as per your body image.
      Even though we get out of toxic situations and throw out the unhealthy things and interactions in our lives we do need to Fill those places up with the healthier loving relationships that are not superficial or one- sided in our journey~ nourishment for our souls and pouring out what the Lord fills into our heart!

      I’m praying for you and cheering you on🎉🏃🏽‍♀️

      • Rose on April 10, 2018 at 2:40 pm

        Aly,
        Once again, your wisdom and insight is so appreciated. Thank you so much for sharing with me. I am just lost right now. So many huge changes. I lost my home, lost my husband, I moved to a new state with my daughter so she cd be close to her college. My poor son stayed with his father. He is in his last year of college and credits didnt transfer. His job is also there and so I understand why he didnt move with me. But being seperated fm my son is killing me. Knowing that he is living in that home where his father is bringing that young girl, parading her in front of him, with no shame or embarassment..allowing his son to see this girl sleeping over. 30 years younger. Ugh. It turns my stomach, the toxic environment this boy lives in. I continue to speak into his life and remind him that this is NOT God’s way. Do not become hardened to your father’s behavior and think its ok.
        I am trying so hard to rebuild my life..that I hate. I often wonder to myself..is this life better than the life I left? Sure doesnt feel that way.
        And so I say to Sheep, really think about what your life will be like without your wife. Not just a month from now, but until you die. Imagine not talking to her, not seeing her, not sharing a home with her anymore, not sharing anymore memories with her. Nothing. How does that make you feel? It is hard to because right now all you feel is..I need to get out. I understand completely.. But now that Im out, I am lost..I have so many regrets. I miss him..imagine, in spite of all he has done. I grieve my marriage because of what will never be. God designed us to grow old with our spouses. One flesh. Never to be torn apart.
        I just ask that Sheep really search his heart and soul and consider how his life will be without her as his wife anymore. Just sharing from my heart. Perhaps Sheep is stronger than I am.
        Thank you again for your patience with my long texts…

        • Aly on April 10, 2018 at 3:20 pm

          Rose,

          I’m not sure you are that familiar with Sheeps situation…. maybe you are but not sure you would want to place ‘second quessing on him ~ or compromising his own dignity of becoming a healthier individual.

          Rose, I’m sorry for your loss and I do think you are in such a painful place, but you were also living is such a horrible situation and modeling that for your children to also witness and show what you were willing to compromise.

          You wrote:”God designed us to grow old with our spouses. One flesh. Never to be torn apart.”

          Rose, this is for covenant marriages above and marriages where the offenders choose to repent and repair their betrayals.

          I’m not understanding ….why you may believe that ‘that purpose and desire’ above is truthful and biblical it isn’t what you had in your marriage. ??

          Rose, you are deserving of that in a marriage! Very much so, but you married a man that didn’t want to treat you as a Godly wife to honor and cherish. Nor did he want to acknowledge his wrongful treatment of you!

          You signed up and committed to the Lord and others to be a lifetime wife and partner to him, but your xhusband didn’t! Clearly he isn’t interested in what are the core components of a healthy safe God glorifying marriage! He showed this every time he walked away from being confronted with the reality of his behavior and foolishness.

          We do teach people how to ‘treat us’… and he didn’t want to treat you with love and dignity! It was about power and abuse.
          He wanted to use and abuse you which is probably what he is continuing to do with this other young woman.

          Users do this… they move on so easily because it was never about being mutual it was about you compromising so you could have any form of a relationship with him/them!

          Your xhusband is very unhealthy and you also have to consider your own thinking patterns here and do your CORE work, it will help you rewire those places (false ideals/ beliefs) that can lead you down another path that could be harmful.

          The Lord calls us to Love Him and others ~ we can’t love others without receiving (truly receiving that kind of love) the Love he has for ourselves or at least love others well.

          Staying with your husband to continue to be abused and used and model that kind of a marriage is destructive and to compromise to what end??

          God Loves you more than that and wants healing for your heart and your broken dreams you had of the marriage. He gets it! Many of us here get this pain!

          A destructive marriage isn’t any substitute for the Love God has for you!

          • Rose on April 10, 2018 at 4:15 pm

            Aly,
            Thank you for your insight. You bring to light many valid points that I need to examine within myself .So thank you for sharing that with me. I know you speak from a place of love, not judgement. My heart and mind humbly receive your words.

            I admit, my mind does not always think clearly, as I try to make sense of all thats happened. I think my mercy motivated personality causes me to look at myself first (what do I do, or didnt do, how did i contribute to this. or even cause this to happen) rather than consider he was at fault and maybe it wasnt something I did or didnt do. I want to take too much responsibility, I think, and its keeping me stuck..overwhelmed with regrets and false blame. I did seek counseling. What really has helped me a great deal was a support group at a local church called Divorce Care. You probably have heard of it. It is biblically based. A safe environment to talk and be vulnerable without feeling ashamed. Everyone there understands and is also hurting. There is hw each night in the workbook. Thats really where the work is done. We are called to examine ourselves through the scriptures. This is my second time taking the course. It has been a tremendous help. I still have so much to learn. Thank you for lovingly showing me the way.
            You are correct, I was not aware of the history of Sheeps marriage. Of course, I wd never want to encourage anyone to second guess themselves, or to stay and sacrifice their dignity and self respect. I was just asking him to consider everything..the good and the not so good consequences of divorce. We know the other side comes with consequences..even if we left an unhealthy marriage. But it sounds as if Sheep is at peace with his decision. I am sorry (to Sheep) if I came off as trying to persuade him otherwise. That is not my place. I guess I was asking him what I wish others had asked me to consider before leaving. I realize I made not worded it properly. I apologize.



          • sheep on April 10, 2018 at 4:29 pm

            Rose, No apology needed. I totally understand and I didn’t take it wrong.



        • sheep on April 10, 2018 at 4:26 pm

          Rose, Just saw this one. I think we were writing at the same time. Let me start by saying that you are right, God did design us to be one flesh with our spouse for life. God designs all things perfectly but we as imperfect, sinful people screw that up. That being said, You are no longer one flesh with your husband. He has joined you and he with at least one other woman, if not more. This is a big deal. God does not take adultery lightly. In the old testament, the penalty for adultery was death. The end of the one flesh union. He ended that union, not you.

          Sorry if I sound blunt here, but I think I can because I’m in the same boat 🙂 But, if he truly is NPD, when you continuing to ask yourself these questions and wish for what is not going to happen, you only feed that narcissism. You said “I often wonder to myself..is this life better than the life I left?” I have to ask, have you really left that life? I know that you guys aren’t physically together but it kinda sounds like mentally and emotionally you really want validation from him, and I dare say he knows it.

          I’m sitting here crying as I write this because it hits so close to home, but…Dear one, you don’t need him to validate you. You don’t need him to live a complete life. You don’t need to grow old with someone that constantly abuses you. You have no reason to compete with the young girl. A real husband will love you and you will be the most beautiful woman in the world to him.
          Dear one, You are not a prostitute, you can not be bought by anyone, because you were already bought with a price,. The precious blood of Jesus.

          You may have lost your home, but you didn’t “lose” your husband. You were released from the man that abused you, made you do things against your conscience, and then tried to pay you for it. You were released from the probability of getting a sexually transmitted disease. I say to you, don’t rebuild your life! Build a new life, and that starts with clearing away the rubble that it your emotional dependence and yearning for him. You can’t build a new anything when you are including all the rottenness of the previous structure.

          Now, as for me, I have spent a very long time trying very hard to save “my marriage” I have done’ my best to love her as Christ loved the church, expecting nothing in return. I have had to really dig deep into the real meanings of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. I Have finally figured out that I am not loving her by allowing things to continue on this way. I am also not loving my kids to let them think that her behavior is in any way correct. I do love her, and as much as it is possible at the moment, I forgive her. But reconciliation is dependent on her and she will not do the hard work that might make that happen.

          I have said for so long that I do not want to divorce her, and I really didn’t. In a perfect world (or at least close to perfect 🙂 I still don’t want to divorce her. But we have gotten to the point that saying that is more in theory than anything else. I might not want a divorce, but I want to continue to live like this even less. I really don’t want to talk to her anymore, I don’t want to see her anymore and I can’t really imagine having to spend the rest of my life with her anymore. Because I know what that would have to look like. I would have to curl up in a corner trying to stay out of the way so I don’t get kicked. I can’t be anyone. I have to be what she wants, when she wants, I have to think the same thing she does. I won’t be allowed to enjoy something. I will have to speak when spoken to. And all the while I will have the knowledge that she is only sticking around because she is using me. That she is afraid to provide for herself, so she will use me until the kids are out of the house and then she will be gone. Also knowing that she could be having another affair at any time. (she will not say that she won’t do it again).

          So… I will probably have some regrets after divorce, I’m guessing that is natural for someone that has been abused for so long. But I also think i have done a lot of my grieving already.

        • Free on April 10, 2018 at 5:43 pm

          Rose, are you seeing a counselor? Also, is there a reason your son does not live on campus?

        • Free on April 10, 2018 at 6:04 pm

          Do you miss him Rose or the fantasy of your relationship? Do you miss the marriage you wanted but never really had? Do you miss the secure social standing of being married in Christian society? That would seem normal. But to miss abuse does not seem normal, that is extremely concerning.

  14. sheep on April 10, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    HI Rose,

    You and I sound a lot alike, except that it is my wife in the place of your husband. I also have agonized forever over how to save my 25 year marriage and have stuck it out “for the kids”

    While I have heard a lot of “stick it out” “give God a chance to work” and “love her unconditionally” And I can see how people in the church never want to “give up on marriage”. I have been blessed with a godly best friend that has helped me to see the abuse from my wife. A marriage counselor that has seen and identified the abuse and problems in our marriage and laid them squarely at the feet of my wife. Her Godly family that have recognized that the problem is her and they have confronted her with this over and over. And My own Godly family that recognize the problem and don’t blame me. And a pastor that has told me that it is time to divorce her.

    I tell you this because you asked “Had they been tougher on him and actually held him accountable..wd it have made a difference? Cd my marriage possibly have been saved?” I guess that is impossible to answer, but I have now had it proven over and over that God is the only one that changes hearts. Yes, it is possible that he could have had a wake up call if those people would have held him accountable and supported you. But, if you didn’t see any acceptance of blame, remorse, accountability, or change through the divorce process, I’m guessing that he wouldn’t have paid any attention to those people either.

    I am constantly amazed by my wife’s ability to live in her own fantasy land, pretending that she is in control and that everything is fine. I will most likely be proceeding with divorcing her in the next few weeks and when it happens I know she will say something to the effect of not understanding why when we are getting along so well (not)

    • Rose on April 10, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      Dear Sheep,
      I encourage you to read my response to Aly. I deeply apoligize if I sounded as if I were trying to encourage you to stay in an unhealthy marriage. I did not know your history with your wife. My questions came from a place of me examining myself, afterward. I didnt think what my life wd be like without him. What my post divorce life wd look like. I just knew I felt like I was dying a slow death with him. My spirit was deflated every day. I remember feeling like I wanted to die because I was trapped in such bondage. I was getting physically and emotionally sick dealing with him and the stress/strife he caused in the home. Never knowing when he was going to start with me. ugh.

      And while I am now living freely away from him, I am mourning the loss of the marriage and finding myself a bit lost. I was with him for 30 years of my life. I became codependent on him; which I am trying to work on. I didnt work during the marriage, so I struggled with…ok, what am I doing to do now to support myself..at my age? I recently took a 4 wk computer course and a resume/job search course to gain skills in order to make myself “marketable”. I use that term very loosely..lol Im trying to learn how to transition back into the workforce.
      Off topic…

      You sound as if you are in a good place mentally You are clearly thinking with a much healthier perspective than I am. And so, again, I am sorry if my words sounded like I was questioning your decision to leave. Perhaps I was a bit naive, thinking once I got out of that abusive marriage, things will be better. Not considering all the effects from the abuse and realizing that I need to grow up and learn how to take care of myself and learn to live without him. This brings to light that i still have a lot of work to do. But you are in a much different place than I am. I should not have commented on your situation without understanding more. Pls forgive me for not using better judgement.
      I admire your self respect, your dignity and your confidence. You know your self worth and you value yourself as a person. You are saying..ENOUGH. You cannot treat me like this anymore. These is of a healthy mindset..secure in Christ.

      • sheep on April 10, 2018 at 5:54 pm

        Rose, Don’t give it a second thought, I don’t believe you meant to show anything other than concern for me. I totally understand.

        And your last paragraph about where I am mentally… I have come a long way, but I have a long way to go. We are still in the same house and I still just keep my mouth shut most of the time. It’s more self preservation at this point and I just want to keep things as peaceful as possible for now. JoAnn, Nancy, and Aly might disagree with you about how strong I am 🙂

        So, please don’t trouble yourself, there is nothing to forgive.

        • Aly on April 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm

          Sheep,

          I thinkbyour responses have been great and very encouraging;)

          When you say I might disagree with you about ‘keeping things at a peaceful place’ right now,

          I don’t disagree with your steps and how you are navigating ~ not at all.
          What I might consider as a different thought is the ‘word ‘peaceful’ here.
          I might use the word …roommate version, co – parenting like, civil, calm and operational, functional at a level that doesn’t escalate etc.. but not peaceful.
          Trust me I do believe you will be blessed in the thick of it at times and at other times where you experience ‘that overwhelming peace’ while being free from that environment you are remaining in until…
          You probable have already had some of this taste of ‘peacefulness’ in your grief Process and that is from the Lord💜

        • Renee on April 11, 2018 at 10:44 pm

          Responding to Aly April 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm and Sheep April 10, 2018 at 5:54 pm

          This is a quote I heard one day watching TBN, “Peace at any cost is no peace at all.”

      • JoAnn on April 10, 2018 at 6:22 pm

        The thing is, Rose, that now that you are away from him, you can begin to heal. Yes, that is hard, but staying with him, he would have continued to mistreat you, and there would be no freedom, no healing, no way to recover. That is why, by being free, you can now begin to make a NEW life for yourself.(I like that Sheep said that).
        Maybe you could think of it this way: when you have surgery to remove a tumor, during the recovery period every little movement hurts, a cough, a sneeze, no matter what IT HURTS. That’s the stage you are in now. You have had serious surgery, and now you are in the healing stage and IT HURTS. But while you are grieving the loss of what you hoped to have but never did, by doing the work to heal your soul, you will grow stronger, and your relationship with the Lord will become so real and sweet and vital. As you read the stories of others here, and in the archives, there are some women who are rejoicing that they are no longer in an abusive relationship and are free to become the woman that God created her to become. I believe that the day will come when that will be your story, too.

        • Nancy on April 11, 2018 at 6:49 am

          Great analogy, JoAnn. So true.

  15. Rose on April 10, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Hello Sheep,
    Love your name! i have been reading so much material on the mind and behavior of sheep. How it corollates with Jesus. How meek they are; How they are led by their shepherd/caretaker, how they trust their caretaker to provide for them. Sorry..off topic again.
    Thank you for sharing your journey with me. It has resonated so deeply in my heart. I have reread your response several times, and will continue to do so because it is that important. You addressed my KEY issue. If only he was held accountable…what wd have happened? You brought out many valid points..and youre probably right. People with narcissist behaviors, typically do not change and often get more angry when someone attempts to tell me they are wrong. Then watch out. The consequences get uglier and more harsh for speaking up.
    He walked out of two sessions when he didnt like what the person was saying to him; didnt like the way the conversation was going, and also what I was saying. But I was sharing my heart. How is that wrong? He just got up and left..walked home. Then when I got home our wedding picture was taken down and put in the closet because he “didnt want to be reminded of it”. Ugh. I remember how hurt I was. So hurt.

    Thank you Sheep, for reminding me of this incident. When someone did try to intervene…so often I forget the bad. Idk why that is. The longer I am away from him, I tend “forget” how despicable he behaved. Threatening to “lock me up” several times (he is a detective and he wd threaten me with that power. Calling me names and making fun of me. Taking the paycheck out of joint acct, so I wd have to ask for money, like a child. It was so degrading. Treating me like a whore by demanding sexual favors if I spend money on myself..or even if I just wanted something done in the house (curtain rods hung). I was told..you know how to ask me. That barter system went on for 20 years. I wd have to go into the bathroom and perform sex acts. I will never forget one time I asked for $20 for my daughter’s school function. I had to go into the bathroom and later I saw he left the $20 on the table afterward. I felt like a whore. Why did I put up with that for so long? I never knew that other married people didnt do this. I didnt know it wasnt normal until I confided in a friend. sorry…off topic again….

    I have read so much material on narcisstic personality disorder..in an attempt to understand..why do they act like that?? This is not normal behavior! How cd one have absolutely no compassion or empathy for their spouse (whom they say they love). This is mind baffling. All the gas lighting and manipulation..all the sneakiness and pretending not to understand or “not recall” certain conversations or things that happened. Making me think its me..maybe im losing my mind. He told me I had a paranoia personality disorder..”that he’s not really doing those things..its all in my mind. I need to change my mindset.” All this crazy making..and for what?
    Isnt the goal to save the marriage? Or is to..to be right?

    • Free on April 10, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      Rose, the sense of loss will pass. For every minute you think about the past, spend two minutes the thinking about the future, YOUR future. Choice is a new concept for you, embrace it. I read recently that trauma survivors need to have fun. Fun, they believe spurs trauma survivors to hope. Rose, what do you think is fun? List ten things and do one tommorow. Leave your creepy X in the past. It is time to seize your life and value yourself.

      • sheep on April 10, 2018 at 5:57 pm

        Free, I think you are probably right about that. I used to be an incredibly fun loving person but I feel like all the fun has been sucked out of me. It is one of the things I am looking forward to… Just doing something for the fun of it.

        • Free on April 10, 2018 at 6:25 pm

          Sheep, I am over the hurdle that many are still wrestling with on this site. Life is so much fun without abuse. The best is yet to come!

          • Nancy on April 11, 2018 at 6:52 am

            The Lord is speaking to me about Joy. Since going no contact with my MIL and minimal contact with my mother, there is space for JOY.

            The lightheartedness and joy I am experiencing is very new for me and for the first time in my life, doesn’t feel fake or forced 🙂



    • JoAnn on April 10, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      Rose, even though others who you went to for help did not hold him accountable, be assured that God, the righteous judge WILL hold him accountable. That is why it is so important that you release your xh; release him into the hands of the Lord Who he has betrayed by mistreating you so badly. Please believe us here, that anything you could have done, would not have changed him. He shows all the signs of not being able to acknowledge his guilt and be accountable. I think it was Aly who said that you are pining for the marriage that you wanted, but in reality it was a fantasy. You hoped and hoped for a long time, but without any satisfaction. Now, let go of the dream, let go of you ex, put it all on the cross and look away to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of your faith.

      • Free on April 10, 2018 at 6:23 pm

        Well said. I think Nancy identified the fantasy thinking too.

      • JoAnn on April 11, 2018 at 8:01 am

        Nancy, it makes me happy to read what you said about joy. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Wonderful!!

        • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 10:04 am

          😍🎉👏🏻
          Celebrate! Yes something to celebrate;)

      • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 10:00 am

        JoAnn, Rose,

        JoAnn I so agree here with your words and your encouragement to Rose to rightfully align the truth of the behavior here.

        Rose, JoAnn is correct in that release him to the Lord! Because when we don’t we ‘carry or wear’ SHAME that is not our own!
        TheLord doesn’t want that for you, He wants you to walk tall and head up because it’s not ‘your shame’ but your xhusband’s to deal with.
        You have nothing to be embarrassed about or feel ashamed of!
        The offender and abuser is the one shamed and should take responsibility. But often they won’t and don’t because they are very disturbed characters and giving their own shame back to them to deal with is the greatest place of true grace you can offer ~ wearing it for them only will reinforce their mindsets!

        Your xhusband and probably (places in your family of origin history) have been contributors of chaos and misplaced blame that the Lord does not want for you!

        Think of the Israelites out of Egypt, they were scared and missed certain aspects of their ‘normal’ but it was bondage… and now they were set Free!
        Yes their journey was turned upside down but freedom was worth that as well as it being God’s will.

        Hold you head high Rose, and know that the Lord sees you and He and others do not want you to carry Shame that doesn’t belong to you!
        Much love and prayers💜

    • Renee on April 10, 2018 at 10:39 pm

      Rose I don’t know your story and you do not know mine. I am grieved after reading just a couple of your post. It will take me some time to read the remainder.

      For the time being, have you seen this resource or something similar? I have it bookmarked for a future read.

      https://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Pain-Renew-Spirit-Relationship/dp/1532819684

  16. sheep on April 10, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Rose, Good grief. Awful. I am so sorry, oddly enough I totally understand.

    Sheep comes from Leslie’s analogy in an article she wrote about sheep and wolves. How sheep don’t hurt each other but wolves dressed like sheep, kill the sheep. How well meaning people look at a troubled couple and say “it’s just two sheep fighting” Unfortunately sometimes it is a sheep and a wolf dressed as a sheep, it’s jaws firmly around the sheeps throat. The sheep is crying out for someone, anyone to help.

    Oddly enough, I understand the prostitute part too, even though I’m a man. Throughout our whole marriage I never actually felt wanted. Sex was often given as a reward, “if you go to the store for me, maybe I’ll do something with you when you get back” And almost always I was told or made to feel like “you should just be happy with what you get, I’m doing this because it is what I’m supposed to do” Let me state as well that I am absolutely NOT the kind of guy that is just interested in my own pleasure. In fact, I am as far from that as is possible.

    But, Like you, I spent 23 years thinking and believing that this was just normal married behavior. I just figured that It was normal for a man to want to be with his wife and that she didn’t want to be with him.

    It wasn’t until after learning of her affair in the beginning of our marriage and catching her during a year long affair in 2016 that I began to wake up. And that only came about because she wouldn’t do anything to take responsibility for her affair, She did nothing to try to heal the marriage. This was all so confusing for me.

    Finally after some marriage counseling the possibility of abuse began to dawn on me and I found tEDM and it was like a light bulb came on as I identified with everything in the book. The abuse was later confirmed to me by our counselor who also told me she is most likely NPD.

    But, like you I still find myself at times asking if is really that bad, maybe it is just me. But I KNOW that it is that bad and it isn’t just me. After a couple of practical things are dealt with, I will be filing for divorce. We are still in the same house (she is pretending nothing is wrong) and I am curious to see how I start thinking once I am not living with the crazy-making.

    • Free on April 10, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      Some people have difficulty thriving after they leave their abusers. That is why counseling is important. It reveals just how damaged the victim has become or how damaged they were in the first place to bond with an abuser. Some people heal quickly, in fact most rebound and flourish. However those who continue to pine for the abuser and “magical think” need professional help. PTSD is likely in these circumstances.

      • Kay on April 10, 2018 at 10:51 pm

        Something my counselor told me as she has extensive knowledge about NPD and such. She explained 2 levels of “reality” so to speak……the first category includes regular thinking people, people with depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and even bipolar. These alll have the ability to live and think in our reality. Those mental illnesses can be treated medically to get thinking into reality as we now it. The second category includes people that are biologically unable (yes unable) to think in our reality in SOME areas. This includes sociopaths, NPD, autism, asperger, intellectual disability. With these people there is a biological difference in their brain that renders them unable to be regular in whatever area they are deficient in. NPD people lack the ability to empathize. It is just not there. They can fake it if they find it helpful, but feel it, no . All that to say their reality is so skewed that they BELIEVE their lives, deception, and take on the situation. They believe it as real. Thinking about this explains so many things about my life and marriage. I am 6 months separated, peace reigns.

        • Free on April 11, 2018 at 5:30 am

          Kay, I have learned similar truths. The phrase I was told is that they “believe their own rhetoric.” It was also helpful to compare his words and his actions. His talk was smooth and the actions smoother, yet neither agreed with each other.

    • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Sheep,

      Your post is important in how you might start thinking after your not in the daily environment of ‘her coping style’.
      So even if she is NPD or traited and maybe let’s say she’s not NPD, but an addict….
      The NArc abuse symptoms are Still the same symptoms to recover from being in that type of a relationship and betrayal.
      So someone doesn’t have to be declared NPD or given a clinical diagnosis to still do damage to another person.

      What often is the case is that you have two camps;
      Those that marry to ‘give’, and those that marry ‘to get’..,
      Givers and Takers.

      Takers seem to lack the necessary consciousness and posture of what’s unhealthy about them being takers.
      Thus, you see an attitude of what’s the problem..? Everything is going along just fine..,

      • sheep on April 11, 2018 at 11:13 am

        Aly,
        From all I have read and been told by our counselor, she is NPD. I don’t look at that as an excuse for bad behavior, just a way to make some sense out of her senseless behavior.

        You are right about givers and takers. I knew that one long before I realized what abuse was. I have always been a very giving person and she has always been a taker or user. I just looked at that as being normal. I wanted to make her happy. (that is what a “good” husband does right?) I always wondered why there wasn’t any mutuality, although I wouldn’t have known the term. I guess I figured that if I gave enough, she would follow my example and start giving as well.

        • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 11:55 am

          Sheep,
          Also the research is out there and you probably already know this but to suffer and be the recipient from NArc abuse syndrome, the person doesn’t have to be true NPD, they can be traited and the abuse symptoms are the same affect on the victim.

          I’m using the labels to shortcut not listing out all the behaviors. But the real identifier is the behaviors and it’s really irrelevant whether or not a person is NPD its enough that their behavior is damaging to another person!

  17. Beth on April 10, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    I’ve been separated for almost 2 weeks now, living with my 4 young boys in a hotel room because my husband refuses to leave the house. I left for safety concerns with the kids, and sanity for me. All the questionares reveal I’m in a highly destructive marriage, but it doesn’t look that way to a lot of people and so it (and my husband) make me feel crazy because I struggle to articulate the abuse towards me. I’m still willing to pursue reconciliation, but after 4 years of me doing all the work, I’m not willing to continue unless fruits of repentance are obvious. I’m struggling with how to differentiate between manipulatuve behavior changes and saying the right words when my gut tells me he’s just really, really good at playing this game. I know I can’t expect him to be perfect, but he’ll say something that gives me hope and the. In the next breath just dashes all hope with something mean again. I think the biggest indicator is response to being made aware of sin. So when. I try to lovingly point it out, and he gets defensive and upset and never apologizes, what am I supposed to believe? I’m really jaded and distrustful of him (for legit reasons) and so I am doubting my judgement and think maybe I’m being unreasonable. Any thoughts?

    • Aly on April 10, 2018 at 11:47 pm

      Beth,

      Believe his behavior and response toward you!
      Also, you mention that you are the only one working on the relationship ~ do the inventory and keep a journal. Often these scenarios are a cycle, a cycle of abuse and with certain individuals it will be that the one who wants a mutual respectful loving relationship WILL be doing all the work! This isn’t normal or healthy by the way.

      The other spouse chooses what they are comfortable in a relationship and will fight to no end to keep their unhealthy position and power. Abuse escalates and it can be really hard to see the pattern.
      The victim continues to work harder and continue to reasons with an unreasonable ‘unaccountable’ person.
      Have you seen an abusive wheel or abuse cycle?

    • Free on April 11, 2018 at 5:25 am

      Beth, I will pray for you and your precious boys. There is no possible way that your husband can heal or change any time soon. The first indication on his unrepentant heart is that he did not leave the house. Until he does that, you have no real evidence if him caring about anyone but himself.

      You are very courageous and wise to protect yourself and sons. Can you secure more permanent housing? Have you reviewed your legal options? Found a couple of people who believe you and can help you stay safe ?

      • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 9:13 am

        Free, Beth,

        What Free pointed out about your husband in the house Beth and you and your children in a hotel is ‘rightfully clear’ and unacceptable behavior from a husband. It actually is a clear message of what he thinks is normal and his entitlement is off the charts.
        Believe the behavior as a clear offense even if your mind wants to somehow rationalize him staying in the house. He is far from any true repentence let alone mutual relationship if he’s going act as if nothing is wrong with him staying in the house.
        You will know there is a possible softer heart if he offers to find a temporary living place and gets the interventions he needs to get healthier.
        But even then that might be a momentary change.

        ~It wouldn’t surprise me if you told me he plays video games in his favorite spot in the house to escape from reality.

        • sheep on April 11, 2018 at 10:39 am

          Aly, Maybe video games, but he is probably watching porn from his favorite spot in the house.

          • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 11:46 am

            Sheep,

            Maybe. Certainly his behavior and response to a wife fleeing with 4 young boys reveals the deeper issues for sure!
            Painful but nothing changes what can’t be acknowledged.
            Sheep, I hope you stay around here.. as a strong recovery brother than many need alongside 😉 for support, reality and prayer.



    • Nancy on April 11, 2018 at 6:59 am

      Hi Beth,

      I agree with both Aly and Free. You are courageous. Look up, on YouTube, Patrick Doyle video on Repentance.

      If The Lord gets a hold of your h’s heart, it will be obvious. He would ask nothing of you and he would have Peace.

      Even then, you would wait many months ( after seeing consistent change and Peace in him) to ensure that he is working whatever program is appropriate for him to take responsibility for his heart and behaviour.

    • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 9:34 am

      Beth,

      Do you have support where you can articulate your distrust that you say you have for him?
      You said you have legit reasons.
      I say this because it’s really important to have someone believe and listen to you as you mentioned you are doubting your judgement and that you may be the unreasonable one… which concerns me and this does highlight a sign of abuse.
      Legit reasons ‘don’t equal’ doubt or unreasonableness.
      But someone who is being manipulated will often struggle in identifying what the covert abuse is and how the abuser is using harmful tactics.
      Does this make sense.

      Even if you have no-one currently to share with, you can post here and many can come along side you to help with the confusion and help encourage you in your strength and reality.
      At first it might not make sense, but after I while you might see that your mind isn’t as foggy.

      You said you left for safety concerns for the kids, which is what healthy moms do to protect them. That takes a lot of bravery and strength! Can you express the danger?
      Also was there ‘a catalyst’ that moved you to a hotel?

      I’m sorry for all the questions but sometimes it does help to rightly ‘narrate’ what took place so that you don’t have a tendency to get back into second guessing or thinking that you were unreasonable.

      • Beth on April 11, 2018 at 11:02 am

        Thank you so much for your encouragement and support, ladies!! I failed to mention a few things. 🙂

        This has been going on/getting worse while I’ve tried for the past 4 years to get help, work on me, make things better. Church was only so helpful. I’m exhausted. I JUST read The emotionally destructive marriage last week, AFTER leaving. I had been watching Leslie’s video’s online, and reading all her online resources for a few weeks prior to leaving.

        1. Abuse towards the kids…leaving welts/bruises after spanking, (and justifying it saying “he needed it, and welts go away,” shoving kids, pushing kids, knocking them down/picking up throwing them down, pinning their face into a pillow by the back of the neck, picking them up and putting them into the car kicking and screaming because they did not want to leave me. He will admit he has been too rough, but usually has a reason, excuse, or says I’m blowing it out of proportion or “not remembering things accurately.” The school has filed a CPS report based on statements from the kids, but I’ve been told it is not likely to be investigated, just filed.

        2. Abuse towards me. Emotional and verbal. Indifference, bullying, badgering, trying to cut off my friendships. One time he tried to force himself on me for sex and I pushed him off and left to go sleep on the couch. He followed me saying how much he loved me, etc. He will say things like “you should have sex with me because you’re my wife, because the Bible says don’t deprive each other except by mutual agreement, men need sex, you don’t have to love me to have sex with me, you’re sinning by withholding sex from me,” etc. He has lied (or withheld info) about finances, business decisions, debt and lied about telling my friends to cut off their relationship with me because I was sinning, even though I had the screen shots to prove it. I think he has a drinking problem that he refuses to acknowledge, and I suspect a porn addiction as well (which he will likely try to blame on me because I didn’t meet his sexual needs.) He is very passive aggressive and most of his anger revolves around a perceived loss of power/control or his “authority” being undermined or questioned.

        3. The catalyst was my counselor telling me she might need to file a CPS report as well as one of my pastors telling me in exasperation “just file” after working with us/mostly my husband for about 7 months intensely. The final straw was all my kids complaining of stomach aches constantly, not eating well, and my 7 year old pulling out his hair in patches, hitting himself in the face and saying “I’m a horrible kid.”

        4. I had tried some smaller scale confrontation and boundary setting while still at home and it usually just escalated resulting in physical aggression towards the kids. I didn’t feel comfortable confronting him on a larger scale given his previous response, so I just left and then confronted him. He responded with a lot of the right words and admitting some wrongdoing, but an equal amount of (mostly false) accusations towards me, twisting truth, making me feel crazy, etc.

        5. I am beginning to explore legal options and working on a more permanent housing solution. We have great church friends and my in-laws who are helping with the kids while I work (I’m a nurse) and we are going to professional counseling (not through the church anymore) to help m decide if the marriage is salvageable. I don’t know why I feel like I need “permission” from someone besides myself in order to leave. These counselors will not encourage me to stay in marriage at all costs, but I just want to know for myself that I’ve done all I could do and can leave with a clear conscience. I’ve portrayed a happy home for so long, many people may not believe me and I am scared I might be wrong and making a grave, sinful mistake. (That’s what my husband wants to believe!)

        Sorry for the book…I appreciate feedback from you all!

        • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 12:09 pm

          Beth,

          You leaving a dangerous and abusive situation for yourself and especially your children is the right and ONLY thing you can do!

          You are their advocate for safety and in no way should he have any access to these children or you.
          He has a serious problem that most likely has a slim chance to redeem.
          I’m not saying God doesn’t do miracles… but you need to study the statistics and the long term mindsets of why it’s just too risky to have a disproportionate amount of hope!

          It really is sad, but your husband is not a safe husband OR safe father!
          I’m sorry for all the pain and confusion but I think you wrote out the important things about his actions that should show you the reality of why you have to protect your children.

          • Nancy on April 11, 2018 at 12:57 pm

            Beth, I agree with everything that Aly said here, especially, “you wrote out the important things about his actions that should show you the reality of why you have to protect your children.”

            A record like this is critical for moments when your h is attempting to ‘make you feel crazy’.

            You might want to keep a journal of events. To clarify for yourself in those moments when ( false!) guilt creeps in.



          • Aly on April 11, 2018 at 1:20 pm

            Nancy, Beth,

            Yes Nancy agree! Critical so so critical in fact I would be wise to paste your writings Beth into your phone for quick retreival.

            Also, I’m not sure what legal advice you have received but it’s important that you do everything necessary to show that you are a ‘fit parent’ and advocate.. failure to not get possibly even a protection order could work against you.
            Are you working with any other professionals to walk you through?

            I understand it’s dicey but how you respond to the severity of the situation is important as you walk this out.
            I don’t say anything this to scare you but to help equip you for your trek.
            🙏💜



          • JoAnn on April 11, 2018 at 2:59 pm

            Beth, I agree with Aly and Nancy, and I would add that you surely must file a report with CPS. This will assure that once you are divorced, he will not have unsupervised access to the kids. You have done a brave thing in leaving, and it’s vitally important that you make sure the kids know that they are safe now and don’t have to be abused by him any longer. So many of the women here have reported the damage their kids suffered because they thought they had to hold the family together at the cost of their children’s safety and well being. To a person, they regret not leaving sooner. So, you have done the right thing, and we all encourage you to move forward with the separation and making a new life for yourself and your children. Our precious Lord will lead the way and open doors for you that you never thought possible.



        • Free on April 11, 2018 at 3:32 pm

          Please report your husband to child protective services immediately.

          • Kay on April 11, 2018 at 10:45 pm

            Absolutely file your own report Beth. It is so important the kids get interviewed soon so facts can be recorded and your husband doesn’t have a chance to intercede in some way and make them fearful of telling the truth. The protective services can put together the school story, your story and your counselors story. I would remind her that she is a mandated reporter and must report if she has suspicion.



    • Renee on April 12, 2018 at 8:46 am

      Beth, please move on options already mentioned. Legal separation, separate maintenance, cps. On the first two options, ask your lawyer to ask for exclusive use of your home in court.

      No way should you be at a hotel with four children. If your children were already having problems in school, I can only see that increasing trying to live in a hotel.

      Call your local courts and local police department and ask for help getting you and your children back into your home and your husband out of the home. Contact the welfare department which will house protective services.

      I agree with others, you don’t want your children to end up in the system because you failed to protect. If both parents fail to protect, they can be taken away. And how sad that would be for your family.

      I would call every attorney in the local area – I would go this route asap. I know you worry about reporting to cps. You never know if someone will give you a financial break or assistance with shelter.

      • Free on April 12, 2018 at 10:12 am

        It would be wise to schedule an appointment with the kids pediatrician and tell them your concerns.

  18. JoAnn on April 10, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Thanks, Kay, that was helpful insight. I’m glad that you are enjoying peace. Stay close to the Lord; He will lead you on.

  19. Renee on April 10, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    I know this website is for serious issues and discussions. But laughter is great medication. My kids and I laughed ourselves silly Sunday night. I hope someone here can laugh.

    #1: This is me some days but thank God not the majority of days.

    #2: This was me when in the relationship on a 24-7 day basis. Me calling hubby to let him know about my extra stop before getting home. Hubby nagging and fussing. Then me getting frustrated wanting to beat the heck (excuse me), throw away, stomp my cell phone for even attempting to be a respectful wife. I have to laugh now about changing my phone number so my husband could not call me when we were still in the same home.

    #4: This is me praying my new knowledge of a healthy relationship pays off so this will not happen.

    # 5, 6, 8: working on it

    #9: Was doing but now that DD is working I have to rework my schedule so I don’t miss.

    #10: Working at it faithfully. When I can’t find the words (some call it can’t pray), more books (recent purchases) 365 days of prayer, pocket prayers, and now Nancy listed one straight from the Bible.

    Good night everyone. Another long, busy day and week so far. Again, I hope someone can laugh!

  20. Renee on April 12, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Response to Aly’s post April 12, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Where you are in your healing Aly and where Rose is in her healing is different. Very different. I will leave it on that note.

  21. many years on April 14, 2018 at 12:34 am

    I knew I had seen your lovely name on here Aleea! Thank you for this beautiful and timely comment.

    Yes, the ‘forced’ apology, or if a spouse ‘is found out’ and humiliated in front of a councilor; and the ‘forced’ confession does not make a change in that person either. It has to be genuine and from the heart, and like the verse says “having this SEAL, the Lord knows those who are his.’ after the repentance, and the Holy Spirit can move into that person’s soul and spirit. That is the DIFFERENCE and is what makes all the difference in the universe! And makes all the difference to God too! “We have fellowship with HIM because we love the brethren.”

    • Aleea on April 14, 2018 at 6:40 am

      —Absolutely, many years and that is wonderfully said by you❣

      re: “. . . .the Lord knows those who are his.’ after the repentance, and the Holy Spirit can move into that person’s soul and spirit. That is the DIFFERENCE and is what makes all the difference in the universe! And makes all the difference to God too! “We have fellowship with HIM because we love the brethren.”

      I think you are totally correct. The Holy Spirit-filled life is not like this special, *deluxe* edition of Christianity. It is the plan of God for His people. . . .And He will do it even when we can’t because we can’t. . . .When we keep our hearts as clean as possible, God’s love can flow unrestricted into them❣

      . . .I have such a hard time with that in my marriage re||engage classes I teach at church. People want to separate into armed camps: women against men; men against women. But it seems one of the most important things we can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone and encourage them (―Lord Jesus help me❣).

      . . .Women are just extraordinary creatures, ―but so are men. The most incredible thing is when you have a break through with a couple and relationships heal. The years go by and they heal even more and more each year. It a-l-w-a-y-s amazes me. I think, Wow, what happened Lord??? . . .Look at what You did despite all my ridiculously biased “teaching” and probably even worse “facilitating” and my “words of wisdom.” ―It’s an absolute miracle. ―How is that even possible???

      . . .If we want to cultivate the Holy Spirit’s friendship, we all, especially me, have to get ahold of our thoughts and not allow our minds to be a wilderness in which every kind of metaphysical, fundamental question & concept like being, existence and reality just roams freely. . . .And any ontological bird flies anywhere it wants. I know for me, when I become fearful and afraid, I get the “de-‘s” . . .I de-historicize; de-mythologize; text de-construct; . . . .because I am trying to de-weaponize things that make me afraid and very fearful.⏏

      Holy Spirit fill me and just take me away. . . .The oasis waits for those who roam (John 4:10,13-14, John 7:38). Once there, it will seem so hard to think there was a time that you used to call this wasteland (any abusive relationship) home. Jesus invites us to drink the living water until we are satisfied. You don’t have to get by on the scraps people throw you. The Lord can provide you with three meals a day plus snacks (-I’m, obviously, talking about the love/ affection/ respect we all need.) . . .Whosoever will won’t ever be denied. (I’m also saying you need to show up for and parent yourself.) A seriously clean heart, with no idols❣ . . .a deep, abiding, real relationship with the Lord God, true holiness and . . . and I don’t even know, . . .I am just rabbling (I need coffee ☕), but you know what I mean because you said it re:“the Holy Spirit can move into that person’s soul and spirit.” ✨💕🌠

  22. many years on April 16, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Amen! Aleea! I love what you have said. All glory to our Lord.

    My lovely sister, and my lovely brother, both who are believers in Jesus precious blood, know that I have been having years of difficulties with my husband and his apparent ‘faith’. So they both suggested asking my husband what John 3:16 means to him.
    The opportunity presented itself in a conversation I just recently had with him, which involved having ‘fellowship’ with other Christians and also the immediate fellowship we have with God, the Father, Jesus the mediator, and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

    So, I asked my husband the QUESTION, and he said ‘What do you mean?’ There was a blank look on his face. Then he said ‘You are the one who expresses it better than I could.’

    He totally missed the QUESTION! It’s not about doing it ‘better’, it is the HEART’S EXPRESSION, which should be there, It’s not about being a ‘performance based’ reply, it has to do with the HEART and a person LOVE for the Lord and having ‘fellowship one with another’.

    My handicap son who can’t even read, but he was overhearing the QUESTION and couldn’t read John 3:16 if his life depended upon it, put his hand over his heart and said ‘God is in my heart’;. My son KNEW the true, heart-felt ANSWER!

    My husband heard our son’s response to the QUESTION. and made NO COMMENT! It is because my son DOES HAVE the Holy Spirit indwelling in him and it was very evident that he did.

    Yet, my husband did not answer the QUESTION with his own thoughts, with his own heart on the most simple of verses of salvation in scripture.

    He answered my question, with a QUESTION of his own lack of spiritual comprehension! A saved person would not have said ‘What do you mean?’ He had no clue! Answering a question when being questioned, evades the original QUESTION. He could not answer, because, the Holy Spirit is not in his heart. He is a ‘religious’ man, yet does not even know how to respond to God’s living Word.

    I have been on a journey of discovering how to figure out the dilemma of my husband and why he acts or says the things he does. He can be very nice, do nice things, maintain the household, yet, the absence of the Holy Spirit is very evident in his life. As, all these years I have been married to him, it has been like pulling hens teeth to talk about God, the scriptures, our walk as Christians in Christ. It has just not been there in the depth of my husband’s soul.
    So, he answered, or attempted to answer, in human words, with human reasoning, not even being able to relate to the QUESTION.

    I have been the ‘good’ helpmeet to him over the years, but now I can move on with a bit of sadness in my heart, as my journey in the Lord will be a singular, spiritual one, as I will not have that connection to my husband, because he cannot comprehend the wisdom, the guidance, the FELLOWSHIP, we have as Christians’ one with another, and the certainty we have of eternal life through accepting, confessing, and repentance, in becoming a blood-bought child of God. And it DOES take childlike faith, which my handicap son so readily ‘gets’ and is lodged in his sweet heart.

    As it does make a difference when a person’s spouse does not have the same commitment, the same love of the ‘brethren’ that one has in the Lord. It is just not there, because they have not yet BELIEVED.
    So my husband and I live in two different ‘worlds’. He lives in the physical world, and most of the time I am living in the spiritual, supernatural realm of God.

    If we live in the Spirit we shall walk in the Spirit. And no,the realm of new age, metaphysical stuff just doesn’t ‘have it’. There is no substance to the world’s supposed ‘answer’ on their own terms to ‘find God’ or to ‘be a good person’. As all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and God planned it that way so we would seek the Lord and He shall be found.

    So, with positive affirmation that my husband, even though he is religious, he says all the ‘right’ prayers, helps his family, yet the underlying element of the salvation of his soul is not apparent, as he cannot have true fellowship, as is found in I John chapter one the first few verses says is all quite plainly.

    Anyway, it is not up to us to know a person’s heart, yet when the evidence is there, then the prayers for ones spouse take a different turn than if the spouse is, instead, a born-again believe, yet instead they plainly declare that there is no apparent spiritual insight in their heart.

    My handicap son said it so plainly, and my husband could not. My husband walked into the garage after that brief conversation, didn’t even acknowledge that our son ‘knew the truth in his own little heart’. My husband could not even relate to the ‘faith of a child’. Because salvation does take simple faith.

    And so, my journey goes forward, as I now know for a certainty NOT to expect my husband to even comprehend when I am relating the things of the Spirit to him, attempting to have true fellowship in Christ, that instant connection to another believer, is just not there with my husband.

    And it was because we were both brought up in a cult-based so-called group of Christians, who were deceived into thinking that if a person was ‘brought up’ in that particular group that one should ‘marry’ within the group, not really making sure the spouse was saved, as a result of cult indoctrination of scriptures, memorizing verses so a person would know how to ‘say the right words’ even being deceived themselves, thinking that being in a Christian group is ‘fellowship’.

    Nope it’s not. It has to be IN THE HEART! Not just learned as a Sunday school lesson, or congregational scripture quoting, and memorizing of scriptures.

    Just expressing my thoughts here so that others may find some relief as you may have been living with a stranger all these years, and not even know it until years down the road.

    This does change how I will be viewing my marriage, and I am not bound but could be free to leave, as the scriptures teach. Yet, the quandary is more perplexing, as this takes on a different aspect to why my husband has been who he is all these years. Vacant and without Christ DOES have a lot to do with how a person perceives life, and how they perceive their own spouse, and how they respond to life in general.

    My spiritual head is the Lord and in God’s Word I will continue to find the ANSWERS.
    I am praying for all who are here, as I know all about the abuse, and can relate, and a soul is at stake here for salvation, in my own marriage. Yet, all I can do is pray, as only the Holy Spirit can change the hearts of people.

    At this time, I don’t know what God’s plans are for me, as this is another milestone for me to know that I am on my own in the Lord, as I will not get the spiritual support I thought I should have been getting all along from my husband,but it is just NOT THERE! If he is not saved, it is impossible for him to comprehend that.

    I am relating what very recently happened yesterday evening in our home. So this is a fresh experience, yet, I believe the Holy Spirit is moving even though it took years for me to find out. Who would have guessed it? But I have been praying to this end, and I was made aware.

    Sometimes it does take years for things to come to fruition. And we don’t always know the ‘whys’ due to having to unlearn concepts we were wrongly taught.

    • Nancy on April 19, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      And so, many years,

      Does this new found knowledge change how you will apply being his Ezer ( helpmeet)?

    • many years on April 19, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Ah, Nancy! I need to go back and do some more deep Spirit thinking, now that the tables have ‘turned’ so to speak, concerning the knowledge as to my place, as my unbelieving spouse, and my continuing position as ‘helpmeet’ is concerned.

      Thank you for putting the ‘thought’ into my heart. I have done spiritual pondering about Abigail and Nabal for quite some time, which led me on a journey of spiritual perception concerning my husband; and also getting council from two very trusted people in my life, who are quite familiar with my marriage.

      I kept coming back to Abigal’s testimony as a wife to an unbeliever, even before I had some definite ‘proof’. I now, need to go back to my pages and pages of the documentation of that story, which I have been doing research for over two years. I cannot save my husband, yet my position as my husband’s helpmeet, will still be that of being led of the Holy Spirit, whatever direction this new revelation will take its course and destination.

      I kept hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice saying: “Wait on the Lord”, and lean not unto your own understanding. Trust in the Lord and HE shall being it to pass.

      I do feel that God has been directing my steps, and God is merciful, not willing that any should perish. If we seek that which the Holy Spirit prompts us to seek, God will unveil his purposes in our lives in due time.

      Just as “In due time, Christ died for the ungodly”, which means all of us were in that category at some point in our lives.

      Yes, please pray for me, while this spiritual drama unfolds.

      God has not left us comfortless.

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