Morning friends,

I hope you are registered for our webinar on Thursday on: Do People Use the Bible to keep you Confused, Stuck and Afraid about Your Destructive Relationship? To register click HERE.

Today’s question illustrates the spiritual confusion that can take place.

Question: What biblical grounds are there for divorce in the face of emotional, financial, sometimes physical and spiritual abuse?

Pastors are largely ignorant of the real issues behind domestic abuse and only cite adultery as the grounds. When married to a Christian, they often recommend to just remain separated.

In Canada, if the other party is unwilling to separate out finances in a separation agreement, filing for divorce is the only way to get financial separation. Pastors want to believe they are the authorities on the Scripture but many have little understanding about domestic abuse in a marriage. What biblical grounds could you cite that could be shared with leaders as grounds for divorce in a domestic abuse marriage?

Answer: I get asked this question a lot and I think the Church is slowly beginning to wake up to the reality of abuse and the necessity of thinking through this question a little more thoughtfully.

First, marriage was ordained by God to be a loving partnership. It is to be a picture to show us Christ’s relationship with his church. Marriage is a special and intimate relationship where safety and love are mutually expressed (Ephesians 5:22-32). Proverbs 31:12 says, “Her husband trusts her to do him good, not harm all the days of his life.” This is the picture of God’s view of marriage.

I think for a large part the church has been more focused on protecting the institution of marriage than protecting those who are mistreated within that relationship. And, when an individual in that relationship is repeatedly abusive, destructive, indifferent, and deceitful towards his partner, the church hasn’t really provided adequate answers for the injured spouse other than forgive and try harder to make it work.

Adultery is one place where most church leaders agree that there are Biblical grounds for divorce. However, there isn’t always agreement on what constitutes adultery.

We know that the act of sexual intercourse with a person who is not your spouse qualifies as adultery. But what about other kinds of sexual activity? Is an emotional affair adultery? Or habitually viewing pornography and masturbating? I believe they do qualify and I wrote a newsletter on this topic that you can read here.

However, adultery at its core isn’t about sex. It’s about a deep-rooted selfishness. It’s about wanting what you want and not caring that it will deeply hurt another person who you promised to love and care about. It’s about lying to get what you want or covering up what you did so that you continue to get the perks of married life with no consequences from what you have done. It’s about being controlled by your appetites and your emotions rather than by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:19-22). Adultery breaks the marital covenant of trust and does harm to the spouse, and the Bible says that is grounds to legally end the marriage.

So the next question we must ask is this. Are there other behaviors that also break covenant and harm a spouse that constitute grounds for divorce? Is it only sexual intercourse with another person that qualifies as adultery or did Jesus and God use the term “adultery” as a metaphor for acts of marital unfaithfulness that may be expressed through a variety of different harmful attitudes and behaviors?

The Old Testament law said adulterers should be punished by death, not divorce (Leviticus 20:10). So God must have allowed divorce for lesser “hardness of heart issues”.

God himself used the word “adultery” to describe his divorce with Israel for her unfaithfulness to their covenant but it represented a picture of her repeated idolatry and disregard for God, not a specific sexual act (Jeremiah 3:8).

When Jesus spoke to the religious leaders regarding marriage and divorce he knew that they were trying to trap him into contradicting Moses or endorsing their casual view of marriage and divorce (See Matthew 19). Jesus did neither. He talked about the sanctity of marriage but he also reinforced that divorce was allowed because of the hardness of man’s heart.

To interpret the Bible correctly, we not only have to look at the original languages but also need to look at the culture to which Jesus spoke. In Biblical culture, men had all the rights, women did not. Men could divorce women (for any reason), women could not divorce their husbands.

But there are two different words for the term divorce throughout both the Old and New Testament. Our English bibles translate one word as a certificate of divorce and the other word is translated simply divorce. When you read what the Bible has to say about divorce, notice when it says certificate of divorce or just divorce because they mean different things in that culture.

The certificate of divorce was an official document of divorce where a woman was free to remarry. The other kind of divorce was a letting go of, or setting apart, or a getting rid of kind of divorce. It was abandonment of the marriage but with no legal closure for the woman. This kind of divorce left a woman with few options. She might remarry because she needed financial security, but she was not officially divorced.

It is this last kind of divorce that the Pharisees asked Jesus about and it is this kind of divorce that Jesus was referring to when he said that when you divorce your wife this way if she remarries you make her commit adultery because she is not officially divorced. Jesus wasn’t forbidding all divorce, but this particular kind of divorce.

The passage that is normally used to prove that God hates divorce is Malachi 2:16. Here’s what the verse says in the NIV translation of the Bible. “The man who hates and divorces (notice the word choice – not gives her a certificate of divorce but simply divorces) his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on guard, and do not be unfaithful.”

This kind of divorce, where a man abandons his wife is the kind of divorce God hates, not all divorce. Some divorces are necessary and allowed because of the hardness of one’s heart. Unrepentant sin separates us from God and from other people. Jesus reinforces this idea that unconfessed sin breaks relationships. For example, in Matthew 18 he says that if someone has sinned against us we are to go to him (or her) to begin the healing and reconciliation process. But when the other person refuses to listen and refuses to repent, the relationship changes. Jesus then says, “Treat them as a pagan or tax collector.” In other words, every Jew understood that there is no trust or intimacy or friendship with pagans and tax collectors. You treat them with respect, but you aren’t closely involved with them.

We also see God protecting women in several Old Testament passages when it comes to divorce. Read Exodus 21:11 and Deuteronomy 24:12 for some examples.

I believe that when a spouse is physically or emotionally abused, chronically lied to, treated in treacherous ways, or living with someone who is repeatedly unfaithful, she (or he) has Biblical grounds for divorce. The marriage covenant has been broken. An official divorce just makes that reality public and final. Click To Tweet

Long-term separation puts both spouses in legal nowhere land. They can’t remarry, but they aren’t reconciled. For some people, it might work but most individuals need the protection that the law provides so that one has access to a share of the financial assets that were accumulated in the marriage.

Churches can advise a woman to stay permanently separated and not divorced. Yet are these same churches willing to provide the backup plan to help her pay her bills, her medical insurance, and retirement needs if her husband spends their entire savings on himself while she was following their advice? I don’t think so.

So ultimately you have to take responsibility and stewardship for yourself, which includes your physical, sexual, spiritual, emotional and financial health and well-being. You can’t put your entire well-being in the hands of a counselor, or pastor, or doctor or any other professional or person without also using your own prayerful discernment about what the Bible says and what is the best course of action for you to take.

Thankfully in today’s culture, women do have more legal rights and laws are in place (at least in our country) to protect those rights. One of the purposes of our laws and government is to protect us from those who would harm us unjustly. (Romans 13:1-5).

Friends, how have you wrestled with the Bible and the question of divorce?

172 Comments

  1. Trish on May 16, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Leslie, I’m going to make copies of this topic and place it with my will, for each of my adult children.
    I’m convinced they will NEVER understand why I left and divorced their father.
    Although our relationships have healed over the past 10 years, I won’t have them read this now. I treasure them too much to risk the very real possibility of being shut out of their lives again.
    After years of an abusive marriage (emotional, psychological, financial & spiritual), I had an adulterous affair, for which I accept full responsibility. I knew it was wrong and committed all of the sinful behaviors associated with an affair.
    My family, and church, quoted all of the mentioned scriptures. Everyone turned their backs to me (literally), with the exception of 3 very dear friends. These 3 women are still my closest friends.
    I will not try to justify the affair. I only know that now, looking back, it took something of that magnitude for me to be free. No one could associate the word “abusive” with my ex-husband. He was, and is, far too powerful and respected in the church and business community, as well as our extended family.
    Today, I am at peace. Today, I am without a partner. But, it’s ok with me. I’m not sure I could ever trust a man, or the Church, again.
    I do praise God for your unflinching ministry.
    Thank you for the courage to present ALL sides of scripture.

    • Rose on May 16, 2018 at 8:49 am

      Trish,

      I completely understand and identify with the comment you made about no one associating the word abusive with your husband because he was “far too powerful and respected “.
      Well put.

      I had the exact same scenario. He is a highly decorated detective with NYPD. Very well respected. Nobody believed me when I tried to explain to the several pastors/counselors how abusive this man was at home. They wd not hold this man accountable in any way. I was always the one in the hot seat for speaking up..and he loved it. He sat there so smug, didnt have to say a word. It took all the attention off him and onto me. Each session went the same way. It was humiliating. I wd leave each week feeling even more angry and frustrated.

      Finally, I was told by two pastors to leave because “I was too emotional and out of control”. I was not out of control..I was just standing up for myself because the pastors/counselors had failed to do so…which further validated my husbands position that I was this emotionally unstable woman.

      I dont understand, as the church leaders, the pastors are supposed to be our shepherds. It is very very disappointing and further adds to the abuse.

      • Jolene on May 16, 2018 at 2:10 pm

        Rose,

        I’m so sorry. The (abusive) LEO spouse sure can mess with your head, can’t they? I thought by marrying a man of the law, that I would always be protected. Little did I know, I would be his main victim, and no one would believe ME because of that badge. What a joke. The majority seem to be honorable, but I have known a few through the confiding of fellow spouses, who are dangerously narcissistic and quite open about it. Almost untouchable. They know how to play the system. No physical marks for evidence, but the emotional violence is horrific, and can even be fatal. And if they do physically abuse you, they lie their way out of it to make it your fault, and their buddies cover for them. Need child support? If you report them, they’ll lose their job and you’ll be penniless. And if they work any kind of computer forensics or surveillance, you always wonder just how much you are being watched, but try telling that to a counselor, and you play right into your spouse’s “concerns” about your paranoia and mental instability. Yes, I know that smugness quite well. The posture, the tone of voice, the composure…it’s an act. And you can act too, if you need to. You can survive this.

        I believe you, Rose. Stay strong and stand in truth. The truth will always prevail. It just has to.

        • Autumn on May 16, 2018 at 4:32 pm

          Sometimes these men are literally above the law. They know too many people in high places. They know the criminal mind and sometimes they blur those boundaries at home for a real power trip.

          So glad you ladies are out from under their twisted control. Good work respecting yourself!

        • Rose on May 17, 2018 at 11:36 am

          Jolene,
          Omgosh! I didn’t even want to go there…about the surveillance! That’s a whole other circumstance that NOBODY wd believe. Being the spouse of a law enforcement officer, you totally understand.

          My daughter and I were convinced he had a little bug in the house. He knew things we never told him. He wd often brag about these little devices that he uses at work “that are the size of a quarter and can be easily placed anywhere without detection”. My daughter and I wd whisper or talk outside if it was something we didn’t want him to know. It was terrible..living in such bondage. I remember looking underneath the furniture and tables for any kind of device. Perhaps there was nothing, but the mental games he played by suggesting there was, made me feel suspicious and even paranoid. I couldn’t tell people about my suspicions. I know how that sounds.

          Several times he threatened to have me “locked up” for different reasons. Imagine how scared I felt. I knew this man had the power to do so. He knew how to use the system to work for him. And he knew how to use intimidation to scare me and keep power and control over me.

          Yes, that gold shield holds a great deal of respect and power. The problem is when they bring that home and use that manipulation and intimidation with their wives. They are highly skilled with this. It’s the very essence of their job. That’s how they coerce their perps to confess.

          Thank you Jolene, for validating how I’ve always felt but cd never voice it for fear of sounding paranoid. The fact that another woman has experienced the same thing with a law enforcement spouse reinforces my feelings that IT WASNT ME! These things really do go on at home. It is a hidden mental abuse that is difficult to explain.

          • Free on May 17, 2018 at 3:43 pm

            I also had surveillance cameras planted in my home too. I tried to hire various security agencies to debug my house. I do have a tip, look for thermal light emissions. They are most easy to distinguish in the dark.

            Of course you realize that surveillance is considered stalking, right?



          • Jolene on May 17, 2018 at 8:15 pm

            Oh, Rose. I’m so sorry. I understand all of this. For those who don’t, imagine being treated like a criminal, with every imaginable tactic used against you. Psychological interrogation, manipulation to try to get you to change your version of accounts, the public face/the private face, surveillance, being afraid of being watched everywhere in your own home/community/online, accusations of breaking the law. I was once standing front to front with him during a fairly calm verbal disagreement, about to hug him. I had small earrings in my hand. I put my arms up to offer a hug, and he starts shouting that attempted to “assault” him with a “closed fist”. I’ve never hit anyone in my life, and certainly wouldn’t begin with someone who can easily physically overcome me, and is literally trained to subdue and use lethal force. But he could certainly weave that version of events into an assault report quite easily. And who wouldn’t believe him? He knows most of the judges, and is a model employee. I can’t wait for the day to be free of him, but I wonder if I will ever truly be “free”.

            For anyone reading this, please know that DV and abuse against spouses of law enforcement officers is severely underreported. You can find resources through http://www.policedv.com, through the organization SABLE (Spouse Abuse by Law Enforcement). You are not alone.



          • Jolene on May 17, 2018 at 8:28 pm

            And Rose, I am assuming you are away from him. If your daughter is required to have visitation with him, be sure she doesn’t use his wi-fi or pair her devices with any Bluetooth accessories. Spyware can be installed these ways, and it isn’t enough to just disconnect. They become embedded, and every keystroke can be sent to the installer. Also be very wary of any gifts in the form of electronics. My husband doesn’t buy me gifts for any occasion, but suddenly popped up with a new Bluetooth speaker for me to use to “enjoy music”. That went straight in the trash. He didn’t ask about it again, thank goodness.

            She also shouldn’t leave her devices unattended. It only takes a moment to pop a SIM card in another device and make a copy for backup.

            It’s simple gestures that you end up being overly cautious about. Very crazy-making.



      • Abby on May 19, 2018 at 9:42 am

        Rose, I am so sorry for the grief you have endured at the hands of church leadership. I, too, was labelled too hard to deal with- we feel like we are fighting for our marriages, but also for our very lives!!

        One of the reasons I love Leslie so much is because she is saying what no one else has had the courage to- and that is church leaders don’t KNOW how to handle these situations and compound the issues exponentially. It has been a year since I left my husband and our divorce was final in February. I don’t know that I will ever be able to belong to a church again, but God has not left me.

        I lost a lot and healing is a very slow process because there is such little help out there, but God is with us and working through people and places like this. If God is for you, which He states over and over that he is, does it matter who is against you? Not so much, because in the end, if you listen to your heart, God has put in it what will help you heal.

      • Yumagirl on May 20, 2018 at 1:48 am

        I agree with those who have commented on feeling “under surveillance” while still married to my ex who is a high-ranking police officer. There were several times when he knew where I had been, without my volunteering any info about my whereabouts. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but the feeling that your being watched is creepy. I also suspect that he currently has a surveillance type of app on our daughter’s phone for listening in while she’s with me (50/50 custody), as well as a tracker on my new car. There was evidence of his being in my car after my daughter accidentally took my spare keys back over to his place. After I had my car rekeyed, my tire pressures PSI were increased/decreased by several PSI overnight on 2 different occasions. He plays the Christian and was supposedly even baptized during our divorce process, and all that came to mind was, “I wonder what innocent Christian woman he’s trying to impress?”

        • Free on May 21, 2018 at 8:19 pm

          Manipulation is like oxyyen to him, without it he doesn’t feel alive. Stay strong and smart, he still enjoys messing with you and your daughter. Sometimes your only relief comes when he moves on to his next victim.

    • Aly on May 16, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Trish,

      I’m very sorry for what you went through in your marriage and the additional reinforcing postures that kept things horribly abusive in your marriage. I can understand that was probably the most lonely and betraying place to be experiencing.

      I agree with you in that it’s confusing yet so painful when the pastors, Shepards, people who ‘we think’ will do the right thing .., or at least take to heart a cry for injustice…choose to in even passive ways reinforce abuse and collaborate with it, even if that’s not their full intent. They end up still being part of the bigger epidemic problem.
      Do you wonder if they have any motivation or fear that offers this ‘attack the victim’ or ‘dismiss the victim’ mentality? What’s in it for them the protect the offender so to speak?
      Do you see patterns..,?

      The more (the church & others) are educated & willing to possibly risk conflict with people they don’t particularly want to have conflict with.. the more the church/others can help to accurately assess or at least point people to the right kind of resources.
      But again I go back to what stands in the way of doing what’s right, what God would be honored for, and what we will stand up for? What are we willing to risk for our faith and our beliefs?

      I do wonder about a previous comment you made… about your relationship with your adult children.

      You wrote:
      “I’m convinced they will NEVER understand why I left and divorced their father.
      Although our relationships have healed over the past 10 years, I won’t have them read this now. I treasure them too much to risk the very real possibility of being shut out of their lives again.”

      If the relationship is actually in a healed and healthy relationship place, don’t you think it would benefit them to be further educated about these issues?
      I realize you mention being shut out of their lives, goodness.. so what do you treasure so much that you won’t risk?

      I guess it’s confusing of sorts because I do think it’s important that we be willing to risk things ~ or we could be contributing to the larger problem (one that we have both been victimized by) by not exposing because we don’t want to risk the lose of a relationship.

      I myself have actually been further harmed by that position in my own journey and I found that decision to be one that furthers abuse. It no longer becomes about putting God at the center and the One who matters most, now the relationship or loss of the relationship motivated that person’s choice to reinforce the wrong-doing.

    • kate on May 19, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Trish –

      Is it possible to speak to you offline?

      • Trish on May 20, 2018 at 9:22 am

        Trish to Kate
        Yes I would be willing to speak with you offline. How would we go about doing that?

  2. Aly on May 16, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Leslie,

    What a great post and well written with clarity about many issues that ‘fog’ up the lenses.

    I so appreciate all that you do to ‘speak up’ and educate all those that will listen about the injustices happening and continue to get passed down from generation to generation.

  3. Trish on May 16, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Rose
    I am so sorry for your situation. I know how treacherous the “gaslighting” can be!
    Please believe me, you’re the courageous one, NOT the emotionally unstable one!
    Stay strong and continue to learn and understand what you have been put through. Over time, the fog will lift, and you will see with clarity.

  4. Rebecca on May 16, 2018 at 10:52 am

    With regard to Porn being considered adultery, the Lord showed me Job 31:1-12. It gives a clear picture of what goes on when a man is viewing porn. These verses do not mention committing the physical act of adultery but describe all the steps that occur when one is viewing porn today and Job said it was wicked, a sin that needed to be judged, a fire that leads to destruction and that if he did this his wife should grind another man’s grain (she should no longer be his wife.)

    • Seeing The Light on May 16, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      Rebecca,

      Thank you for sharing those verses from Job. Excellent passage.

  5. Christina on May 16, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    AMEN

    Thank you for writing this very thoughtful and biblical perspective.

  6. Autumn on May 16, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    To answer the question, what I struggled with the most was the vow “in sickness and health.” I would think and still think, oh well, I got sickness. A personality disorder is sickness. Despite treatment my husband never got better. I wasn’t until he began to get physically abusive in his quest for more power over me that it just seemed logical to protect myself.

    I guess the scripture that helped me the most was that Christ came to die for all man’s sin, not me. I didn’t have to offer my body for my husband’s sins. If I got out of the way, Christ could use his strong shoulders to carry that burden.

    Yes, I can twist all kinds of scripture to read all different ways. Yet, it is perfectly reasonable than none of those scriptures about love apply when your spouse is evil, a fool or behaving like the enemy. It is important to apply scriptures to evil fools at all times, even if the fool is your spouse.

  7. Season3 on May 16, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    I definitely struggle with this! I’ve evolved from “divorce isn’t an option,” to filing for legal separation, to beginning to consider divorce. Reading many points of view-all claiming historical, biblical fidelity. I know my heart and my conscience. I’m doing the best I can with the information I have and am trusting Christ to lead me, like He promised to do over and over and over. I know He’s with me, loves me and will accomplish what concerns me. I’m just going to keep walking in the light He gives. And I may just snort and eye roll if anyone has the temerity to say, “Divorce is the easy way out.”

    • Free on May 17, 2018 at 6:45 am

      I wish there were a few more words for divorce in the English language. The D word is so harsh. It seems to carry such a stigma in the Christian community. The Greek’s have more than one word for love, does anyone know if they have more than one word for divorce? We English speakers need more choices in this matter.

      I mean divorce can mean anything from “Oh, I changed my mind, so I left” to “Do you know this man tried to flippin’ kill me and my kids in our sleep so I ran for my life?!” Divorce might be the best word for the first scenario but the second situation needs a new term.

      I would be interested in any suggestions for a more accurate term to be used when asked, “What is your marital status?”

      I have started using the term UNYOKED. It leads to conversations of faith and gives me a chance to share a testimony.

      Unyoked, think about it.

      • sheep on May 17, 2018 at 9:01 am

        Free, How about, She has broken our marriage covenant, and refused to do what is necessary to renew it. So I have filed for divorce to inform the state of what has already happened.

  8. Helen on May 17, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    How long must one try to keep bringing up the problems. I have counseled with him for 2+ years, separated 3 months, moved back in b/c I thought he was on the right path. Went back to doing same stuff but justifies it. I am seeing more clearly now that he wants to ignore me but yet use me sexually and have me around the house taking care of things. Years ago the Lord told me to stay home, not have a job, care for my special needs daughter and focus on the Lord and my h. Now over last few years I have seen more of his abuse and worked on my own healing. I want to do right and it makes my insides just shake to see how he still is after I thought he was changing. He takes a class on codependency but only after I insisted this year he continue to work on himself. He just doesn’t seem like he wants to hear about what bothers me.

    • Free on May 17, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      I think you have your answer, nothing has changed. He is not better. You have permission to disconnect with your destructive partner any time you chose. If he was going to get better you would see change right away. At this point, you can be sure he is not interested in changing.

    • Aly on May 17, 2018 at 9:02 pm

      Helen,

      I agree with much of what Free wrote. As far as getting better you would see change right away, sometimes and sometimes the change doesn’t last because it it’s long term consistent behavior /heart change.
      Your original post brought up a lot of questions for me.
      Such as what does your counselor think after 2 plus years working with you and your h?
      Also, the 3 month separation? Hmm 3 months isn’t really that long to work on these issues, it’s sometimes a quick repair that might not have long term lasting … and I think that’s really hard to take and experience the continued fall out.

      You said, he went back to doing the same stuff?
      What stuff?

      It can feel really awful to be ‘dooped’ or fooled by someone, I’m wondering if you feel this way and it’s hard also not knowing the infractions.

      Ok so why is he taking a class on Co-dependency? Help me understand why this is the route you insisted on…

      From your complaints he sounds much more self centered and lacks emotional maturity. You said he has no interest to hear about your concerns, this is a core respect issue and will create a bigger trust issue overall.

      Again I go back to a healthy marriage where when one partner has a concern or an issue, the other partner has a posture to care for their partners concerns and feelings.

      You are describing a very one-sided marriage. But you also have described short term change ~ so that tells you that ‘he’s capable’ but lacks the consistency.
      And if that’s the case often a professional can assist to give you the best direction because they can assess that more interventions and re-wiring are needed to make lasting changes. Again I don’t know what ‘going back to the same stuff means’ so that is a factor here of missing info.

      • Helen on May 18, 2018 at 5:21 pm

        Aly-thank you for your reply. The counselor says I have never really learned to care for myself in a relationship, I am worn down from caring for my special needs dtr and my h has ‘barbs’ as he called it–aka too sarcastic in my words. We can have conversations and boom out of nowhere he is verbally attacking me. Also, for years… I have tried to engage him into doing social things with me. He doesn’t like to. When I insist and insist he will, but it is quickly ‘forgotten’ about. He just doesn’t want to and so he lets it slide. He is emotionally unavailable and due to my codependency I had not seen that so I kept trying to get from him what he could not give me. I chose the codependency class b/c learning about that so helped me, thought it would help him too. I listened to P. Doyle who said we provide the motivation, not them and realized I made him go to counseling and the class instead of putting boundaries in place. yeah, I know 3 months not long enough for change. Anyone can fake it for a few weeks, < 6-7 weeks in his case. I missed him terrible, did not see the whole truth of how he was using me and came back home. I do feel fooled, his true feelings have come out this week at a couns appt (usually my dtr's appt but he & I talked to the couns for 1 session)–I am in so much pain at actually hearing how he really feels vs just observing his behavior; which is spending most of his time at home on computer, tv–screen addiction. I see manipulative behavior so clearly now, ignoring my needs–so sickening and heartbreaking.

        • many years on May 19, 2018 at 1:23 am

          Helen, I am sorry for your abuse, and you have done what you have been counseled to do. You have done your part for ‘peace’ in you marriage, yet it has done just the opposite. You need to ask your husband what John 3:16 means to him. This will be an eye-opener. He will either say he believes it means that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, and confess and repent of our sins, that is what the verse should mean to him, and I might add, it should be from his heart, and not just his lips. People can quote scripture just like Satan can, and still not be born again. I asked this question three weeks ago of my husband. It took him by surprise, and he said ‘What do you mean?’ As though it were some ‘trick’ question he was being asked to answer. This was a shock to me, as he did not even appear to comprehend what I was asking him. And then he said ‘You can express it better than I can.’ Which is a cop-out, as it puts the ball back in my court. That was the end of the conversation, and he walked out into the garage and began tinkering with one of his cars.

          So, that evening I composed an email to him titling it: You asked: And then I thanked him for saying that I could express John 3:16 better, but then I told him “I cannot express John 3:16 for you, to God. Only YOU can do that for yourself”. My husband never replied.

          So, with that being said, I don’t believe my husband is saved. He can ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’ which is a form of godliness, but the TRUTH is not in his heart. He has not confessed his sins.

          Before I began to get the realization that he may not be saved, I did some confronting when it was obvious, such as when I new he was viewing PORN, and could tell him which site he was viewing weekly, as I could peek through the room he was viewing it on late at night. He totally denied viewing PORN.

          So, now I realize that, since he is most likely not even a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, death, burial, and resurrection, that there is no way he will ever confess and repent, nor will my words mean anything to him because, he does not have the Holy Spirit within his heart in order for him to have any type of a meaningful spiritual conversation with him, because he is still living in his sin.

          I am no grieving over the lost years, the locust have eaten, with not having a spouse I could have a real spiritual conversation with.

          And yes, I have suffered the verbal, emotional, physical/sexual abuse, financial, and mental abuse that can go along with an unsaved, unregenerate spouse.

          Even counseling will progress so far, and then the spouse will go back to their own way of living.

          The core problem is their lack of salvation, and they CANNOT change because of it. They can ‘be on their better behavior’ but it is only superficial, as they don’t even know why they are attempting to act that way.

          God says, a saved spouse can separate from their unsaved spouse. And this is what this site is for, to redeem the abused spouse from further horror.

          I now have a more valid reason to separate. Not that I didn’t before, and yes, the unsaved spouse will think you are abandoning him, but look at the long years your were seriously in the dark about how to leave, according to how the Lord views abuse.

          Actually, the two people who admonished me to ask my husband what John 3:16 meant, said that it would be good for my spouse to realize that he can’t control me anymore. And I also may take away the protection of sanctification the Lord places over the unsaved spouse. It may cause some trepidation in my unsaved husband’s heart. As I certainly have had no influence upon him all these years, and I did ask him that years ago ‘Hasn’t my life meant anything to you?’ And there was no response from him BECAUSE, he had no spiritual understanding as to what I was even talking about, as far as my life being the Proverbs 31 wife. He wouldn’t know the difference between a faithful wife and an unfaithful wife, unless he was looking for something to blame the wife for, in the case of some of the wives here, seeking attention elsewhere in the form of adultery.

          But God is faithful and knows the ways of escape for those in abusive relationships. Whether a wife has been faithful or not, is not the subject here. And it appears, God chose that sin, of adultery, as a way of escape for some of the women who could not be faithful to the abusers they were married to. Not that it was an excuse, but it did get them out of the marriage.. So be it.

          • many years on May 19, 2018 at 1:26 am

            My comment where I say: “I am no” should read “I am now grieving over the loss of years.” etc.



          • Nancy on May 19, 2018 at 8:58 am

            Many years,

            “God chose that sin, of adultery, a way of escape for some women who could not be faithful to the abusers they were married to.” Are you saying that an abused spouse’s only way out is to commit adultery?

            I hope I have misunderstood you, here, because this thinking places abuse upon abuse!

            An abuser – wether physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, financial – has broken the marriage covenant. The paperwork only makes real what has already happened, spiritually.



          • Aly on May 20, 2018 at 3:42 pm

            Many Years,

            I am also very sorry for your loss and the reality of things for you. I am also confused and don’t want to misinterpret what you meant by what routes one has to biblically be released by the marriage.
            Nancy asked you this question and I also am hoping you will reply?
            Thanks!



          • many years on May 22, 2018 at 9:52 pm

            Aly and Nancy.

            No, I am in no way saying or condoning adultery as a way of escape for a wife. The women who DID commit adultery only have a way of escape by default. They condemned themselves, actually, unless their spouse is a forgiving individual.



          • Aly on May 22, 2018 at 9:58 pm

            Many Years,

            Are you saying that a person that commits adultery is condemned?
            I’m confused with your point and I do want to better understand you here.



          • many years on June 8, 2018 at 2:35 am

            Aly,
            Sorry for any confusion I have caused, when either spouse commits adultery it is a sin against the Lord, first and foremost. Which the sin needs to be confessed to the Lord.

            What I meant was, the husband, whose wife commits adultery, the husband can then use that sin against his wife in order to use that sin as a scapegoat to blame his wife for other problems within the marriage, and not be accountable himself.

            He could say ‘Well, you are the one who did not keep the marriage vows.’ Which she IS the one who broke the covenant of the marriage. But…we know why he would blame her.

            THAT is what I meant by she condemns herself within her own marriage. She blew it! So it was her own choice which makes the marriage that more difficult; no matter how much of a jerk her husband is, he will use anything against her, in order for himself not to be accountable for whatever abuse is happening within the marriage.
            And thank you for wanting more clarification. God bless you, Aly!



          • Aly on June 8, 2018 at 9:57 am

            Many years,

            Thanks for answering. I think I understand what you are referring to. I did have to go back and reread some posts.

            Your last mention of the abuser not being accountable is important.
            An abusive mindset has usually a core of not being accountable or responsible for their individual responses or reactivity.
            This is a strong attribute of an abusive person in general, they are not accountable, they are well slippery and the rules do not apply to them the same way the rules apply to another person.

            They often have a tendency to not be trustworthy and have little concern for how their behavior or choices impacts another ‘who they claim to love and care about’.

            First, I just want to say my heart goes out to you and the pain and betrayal you have been up against!
            This is horrible and even more traumatizing when a spouse won’t admit their ‘obvious sin’ as you were writing above about his porn use.
            I’m so sorry!
            This type of betrayal cuts deep to a woman’s heart and it’s not just about having a saved spouse or an unsaved spouse…. it’s about a deeper heart issue and the reality of what your husband is doing, denying and causing further injury.

            I also agree with your other posts that a core issue can be linked to their salvation but I don’t always see it as a salvation issue as much as an addiction or bondage in addiction.

            Many addicts and their partners want to believe that salvation ‘cures’ the addictive behavior. Often because they don’t have the desire to do the deeper work about understanding their issues and why they do what they do as well as have an additude that the Lord is going to ‘grow me and I really don’t have to participate’.

            I’m glad that you feel validated in taking over what is rightly yours and your freedom to separate from an unrepentant spouse for his betrayal.
            Saved or unsaved~ it’s betrayal and without any ‘consequences’ the thought of ‘it’s not that bad’ will get reinforced through ‘playing’ or pretending marriage.
            When this takes place the offending spouses is creating a place for the other spouse to enable and foster more sin to grow in the relationship.

            Many Years, I hope you have a few people close who can walk alongside you and support you in your journey and grief. This isn’t your fault that your husband is choosing counterfeit things and harmful betrayals. And your husband’s issues began along time before you came along.

            Hold your head high, as you have nothing to be embarrassed about and he is the one who is missing out on a treasure of relationship that you offered.

            Hugs and prayers for your heart💜
            God wants to hold you and bring you to His care and love for you.



          • sheep on June 8, 2018 at 10:27 am

            Many Years,

            I am a husband whose wife has committed Adultery (more than once) And I will tell you unequivocally that her adultery is not, and never will be an excuse, reason, or justification for sin in my life. When she sinned, I had a choice and I still do, to become better, or bitter. I choose better.

            When I learned of her adultery, I my legitimate, biblical choices were to divorce her, or to stay in the marriage and work toward reconciliation. I chose to stay and work. Unfortunately, she chose to stay, pretend to work, and to use me and my good will. Now, after a year and a half of this and with much soul searching and learning on my part (about abuse and personality disorders) I realize that that this can’t continue. My kids and I can’t live in her fantasy world of make believe where she can live however she wants and there are no consequences. So I am now choosing to separate and divorce.

            It just isn’t a biblical option for me to stay, but to treat her in a non-biblical way. Someone else’s sins can never be an excuse for my sin. Some people may accept that excuse, but when I stand before God, He is not going to let me excuse my sin by blaming others



          • sheep on June 8, 2018 at 10:31 am

            Many Years,

            I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I totally understand. My repented and dealt with sins have been used against me to justify my wife’s multiple affairs for a long time. Because of the guilt that I felt, I let this happen for a long time. Eventually I had to come to the acceptance that Christ has completely forgiven me, that I have repented and turned from my sins, and I have done everything possible to heal the hurts that I caused. There is nothing more I can do, but I have to be willing to accept His forgiveness and let it go.



          • many years on June 9, 2018 at 9:32 pm

            Thank you so much Aly and Sheep for your input and support in my own marriage situation. It seems I have been taking ‘baby’ steps, yet the Lord is graciously guiding and leading me. I have never had financial records or any of our bills, tax records, documents, etc. and an opportunity presented itself and I took immediate advantage of that situation and printed as much as I could for my own peace of mind. Like I said, these are ‘baby’ steps which God is leading me in order to protect myself should the scenario arise where I am given clear evidence of a separation.

            I agree with you ‘sheep’. You have done all you can to attempt to save your marriage. Yes, and we shall all stand before the Lord and give an account. It is just so sad and frustrating at the same time when the spouse doesn’t want what you want in your marriage. All I wanted was a relationship where I could understand where my husband is coming from, and there are so many areas of his life which are still unknown to me.

            But I do believe God is slowly revealing insights about my husband, so that I will have proof positive of his self-promoting agendas, in the mean time, he is the Narcissist who ‘feeds’ the victim just enough financial security, the dangling carrot, so to speak, and that is what keeps one staying in a lopsided financial and spiritual equation. That is really the crux of the matter.

            My main progression is that of accessing facts which will have helped me to become stronger, and to stand up to the verbal and also financial abuse. I am still in the process of getting copies of crucial documents which any wife should have in her possession and not locked away in a safe by her husband.

            It is an issue of trust, which I believe my husband is lacking, as that trust does not include ‘trusting the Lord’ with all his heart, mind, and soul, and might. I would say my husband is a ‘self-made’ man, and when someone is successful like that, it is difficult for them to see the need of the Lord in their life, which is a snare of Satan. Blinded by the cares of this life, and the love of riches and possessions.

            Maybe if God took away some of my husband’s riches it might change him. Only God knows the heart of any of us.

            And, like you ‘sheep’ I have become ‘better’ and not ‘bitter’. I can’t be bitter, I just feel sorry that my husband can’t see the Light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, as he continues to build his empire with wood, hay, and stubble which will burn up at the end times. My husband is filling the void in his life with the pleasures of sin for a season.
            So, I walk with God, alone in my marriage.
            And, yes, Aly, I do have at least four very close friends who support me and whom I have confided in, and they know my situation, and they will support any decision I make, once the door is open and apparent.

            I too, chose to ‘stay’ and hope for better times. There are circumstances that need to be in place before I could make a choice, as I know the Lord has wisdom and patience beyond anything a human heart can, as far as ‘waiting on the Lord’ and ‘commit thy way unto the Lord and HE shall bring it to pass.’

            And yes, my prayers and choices are part of that ‘bringing it to pass.’

            Thank you for all of your prayers.

            I come to this site to continue to be reminded that God does all things well, when we put our trust in Him and not in man. I am confirmed here, with my own life’s commitment in serving the Lord.



          • Nancy on June 11, 2018 at 9:05 am

            I’m so glad to know, Many years, that you are actively collecting documents!



        • Aly on May 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm

          Helen,

          I’m so very sorry for what’s taking place and the pain you are in. I tried replying to this last post but it might not have posted. Sorry if this is a repeat.

          Thanks for answering those questions because sometimes it’s hard to see what one is going through especially if it’s vaugue and I don’t want to make necessarily make a premature comment.

          I think your comment about your h being emotionally unavailable is key and I can certainly relate to this grief and the horrible pain it brings.
          You seem to have more clarity on your situation, now that he has gone back to his norms and comfort …what do you think you will do next?

          There are different places of being emotionally unavailable and hopefully you can explore more of those with your counselor.

          A person emotionally unavailable and refusing to learn or develop this is not going to be a safe partner that you can feel you have trust with.
          Then there is the case that an emotionally unavailable person is willing to discover their fractured place and wants to do the hard emotional work at getting to the bottom of this injury. This is a long journey, but one that a person must be surrendered to (heart, mind,strength & soul).

          If they battle against … they sabotage themselves and the intimacy and trust that they are invited into to develop. Counseling and deeper work is essential and takes hours/ week to invest.

          • Helen on May 20, 2018 at 7:21 pm

            This is not a repeat and thank you. I am asking myself: now how do I think this is going to play out? We go around the house now avoiding each other as I have set the boundary of not wanting to be in his life now. I have no job now & a special needs dtr. I may try to get one & move out. I may give it 2 months to see if I can really keep this boundary up. This way it gives me some time to get stronger if I do move out. I’m not sure yet and getting my bearings: this was a big blow b/c I really thought back in January that we were onto something good. Double grief!!



          • Aly on May 20, 2018 at 8:07 pm

            Helen,
            I wish I could post directly. This is into response of your post: May 20, 7:21.

            Your certainly are making a lot of sense.
            I’m so sorry for the double grief! This feels overwhelming I imagine.

            Sometimes getting as close as possible with your pain and a safe other ‘counselor’ will help those deep places.
            They need to come out, they need to be validated, they need to be held and understood.
            Take your time here💜.
            The Lord confirms He is close to the broken -hearted and that my sister in Christ is something that brought me to an even deeper place of pain but also a place of being well cared for.

            I’m going to share something that I do wish I had been offered in my journey especially with what I was navigating through.

            Relapse is most likely going to happen in recovery.
            I had thought that once my h had entered a process there would not be any steps backwards. Silly me!
            so to think~ I mean who wants to waist precious time and energy on a crazy train??
            My counselor has been wise to remind me that there often isn’t a lot of logic and healthy reasoning in reactive, defensive, avoidant addiction coupled with low level functioning.

            This is me; “Really 😲?” I don’t get it?
            Honestly, I don’t get it. Why cycle back after such a stretch of progress?

            Sorry to derail here but I do want you to be fully aware that relapse is unfortunately part of the process and it’s valuable on many levels.
            Relapse can help steer and show where someone is and what they fall into. Sometimes what’s at the core root of the why too?

            As in your case, he changed enough to ‘get you back’ and then went back to his old ways. He’s motivated the ‘win you’ but not motivated to keep you?
            This is his work to do!

            Your just as valuable to be motivated as a partner worth having in the midst of the relationship as you were when you separated.

            Can I ask why you would be the one to move out?
            If that were to happen.

            What about offering requirements for him to experience some of the relapse that he actually is the driver on?



          • Helen on May 21, 2018 at 12:04 pm

            Aly—replying to 8:07pm. I have said things to him about requirements in the last few months that I have returned home. He takes it like I am talking to him as a child—-I said something that I would need to see changed behavior for at least six months. He got angry, and said why, you’re treating me like a 2 y.o. Did not land well-he does not like the accountability part. He owns the home, owned it before we married for many years. Not sure how to make him leave in a case like this. Also since I came back, I had divided our money evenly, much to his dismay before I left and requested him to resume doing budgets with me and put names on each other’s accounts again which he has refused to do in last 2 months. He said he was going to but things aren’t going well so he didn’t. He wants physical closeness, but I can’t have access to all the family money. Not working for me. Big eye openers for me. I’m really getting this manipulation thing–he keeps me dependent on needing his love, ignores my needs and he gets the power. Well, accept he cannot give me any love and I stop seeking it, I change the rules! He is aware & told counselor: things are not the same. I am gaining strength and insight into the ‘game’ of power he has played on me and my dtr is getting it too. I am going to let some time go by now that the rules are changed and he knows it & see what happens.



          • Aly on May 21, 2018 at 3:06 pm

            Helen,

            This is a reply to a May 21, 12:04pm in case it’s out of sync.

            Wow ~ that’s really hard. But the good news is you sound like you a becoming more and more aware of the truth of the manipulation that he has been using.
            And yes you are right about the power struggle.
            No-one ‘wants’ to be there.

            I wonder if you think it is time to seek some legal counsel in regards to your financial needs/rights and protection of your daughter?

            I have been on a similar receiving end when you speak about the dialog between you both.
            “Why are you talking to me like a child?” Etc..
            As you most likely know all that is, is further deflection tactics.

            I mean really would there even be a conversation about what you both are discussing if your h was behaving like an adult partner?

            So here’s the thing that’s difficult ~ his mindset is very problematic.
            He can’t have it both ways, meaning he can’t have the poor behavior ~ and also the no accountability! It’s doesn’t work that way, well it does if your single or wanting to be single.

            What do you mean by, “your going to let some time go by and see what happens?”



          • Aly on May 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

            Helen,

            You wrote:
            “I said something that I would need to see changed behavior for at least six months. He got angry, and said why, you’re treating me like a 2 y.o. Did not land well-he does not like the accountability part. ”

            So what’s your response when he throws his tantrum?

            When you decide that their are requirements you need for repair of the relationship, you are Actually calling him up to more adult behavior! You are NOT treating him as a 2 yr old but requesting he grow in (I’m assuming) character and maturity out of love and hope for a repaired marriage.

            Given the circumstances, this is what a good helpmeet spouse does.

            The back lash you receive is the ‘little boy’ inside that doesn’t see a lot wrong with his little boy thinking.

            If you were to list out a few requirements here, I would think many would validate you for what your requesting.

            Often the requirements are quite reasonable in these situations but in dealing with a person like your h~ they are far from seeing clearly and maturely.



          • Helen on May 23, 2018 at 10:14 pm

            to May 21 3pm—Aly, I think I said something about explaining why I asked the request in the first place, prob a deflection thing–my mind has gone blank about the things that I said that night. this is reply to what he said “I said something that I would need to see changed behavior for at least six months. He got angry, and said why, you’re treating me like a 2 y.o. Did not land well-he does not like the accountability part. ” Honestly for the last two days I have been trying to accept that this marriage has gone downhill. I really think I may need to leave here but first I need a job. Yes I have thought about legal counsel, but the reality of that I’m not emotionally ready for yet. I think God brought us together, and I know He did, so he could show me the pattern in my life that I have kept doing re marrying unavailable men. Is God going to redeem this marriage? IDK. All is know is there is no way in this moment in time where I can trust him. I just need to go away from him so I can heal.



          • Aly on May 23, 2018 at 10:57 pm

            Helen,

            I wish I could post directly to your reply today. I’ll give it a shot;)

            A job sounds like such a great step toward more freedom and taking personal responsibility of what ‘you can change’.

            I just want to clarify my comment regarding legal counsel.
            That wasn’t to meant getting an attorney or start drawing up divorce. Maybe you knew that.
            Legal counsel can cover some basics of what is your legal rights. Sometimes it helps getting the legal perspective to help empower someone who feels often trapped or stuck in their situations.

            Being in a destructive relationship can do often strange things to clarity on many things. This is not your fault! Not at all but sometimes dealing with such a toxic environment we do get weakened in places we normally would might not.

            I’m sure you know all of this, just hoping to reiterate it and encourage you along with supportive feedback.

            Prayers and hugs your way!



          • Aly on May 23, 2018 at 11:02 pm

            Helen,

            Oops plenty of typos in my last post~
            So sorry!!
            Hope it makes sense;)



  9. Nancy on May 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Sheep,

    This is excellent, The last part could also be, so I filed for divorce in order to continue walking in integrity.

    • Autumn on May 17, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      The thinking is great, but I’m looking for a one word response in lieu of divorce.

      • K (who's posted before, different from K who posted in early April) on May 17, 2018 at 2:58 pm

        How about “freed” or ‘redeemed’?

    • sheep on May 17, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Hi Nancy,
      I took the next step earlier this week. I told her that things have gone on far too long like this and that it is time to separate and most likely divorce. And that I would like for her to honor her word and move out. She asked what I would do if she didn’t. I told her I would file for divorce immediately. She asked if she moved out would I still file. I told her she will have a short amount of time to show repentance and a desire to reconcile. If I don’t see that, I will shortly continue on with divorce.

      Of course there was other conversation involved, but I stood firm. In the end she said she would look for a place to move, but was not yet promising she would move out.

      • Aly on May 17, 2018 at 8:46 pm

        Sheep,

        Glad you stood firm on your plans. Are you still hoping she will have genuine repentence and you won’t have to ultimately divorce?

        Genuine repentence is only a part of the reconciliation. Given her betrayals it’s fractional at this point.

        Also it must be spelled out that the ‘desire to reconcile’ is not actually taking action and doing anything… it’s not enough to desire. In order for her to be a safe and possible marital partner again she must surrender & do the work and have long term consistent change (a min of 2 years?separately most likely)
        With lots of interventions being for accountable behavior and character growth.

        Ok so you ended with the ‘Same old same old’ … she will look for a place to move but will not promise to move out? Confusing.
        Her betrayals and unwillingness to repair the damage has DISQUALIFIED her from having that much ‘freedom to make any further decisions’.

        • sheep on May 17, 2018 at 10:44 pm

          Aly,
          Nope, I don’t have any hope that she will repent and do the necessary work of reconciliation. After 1.5 years, she still hasn’t even recognized that she needs to do something, nor has she even started taking full responsibility.

          I probably used the words “desire to reconcile” because I have realized that she has never actually said that she wants to reconcile. As far as she has gotten is to say “why cant we just be friends that have sex” or “there are lots of people with bad marriages that don’t much like each other that just tough it out for the kids” The sad thing is that there are probably a lot of men out there that would be quite content with a wife that just wanted to “be friends that have sex” It would require no intimacy on their part.

          My thought is more like a month or two of separation, She won’t actually do anything, and then we will proceed with divorce. I don’t believe she will do anything, but I also don’t want to be accused of “not giving God a chance to work” even though I know He has had plenty of time to work and He doesn’t need for me to “give him more time”

          My current goal is just to get her out of the house with as little drama as possible. If I can do that by being patient, ok. If not, I will just file for divorce on my own and I won’t be near as agreeable if I have to do that.

          • Aly on May 18, 2018 at 12:32 am

            Sheep,

            I agree this is sad.
            You wrote:
            “The sad thing is that there are probably a lot of men out there that would be quite content with a wife that just wanted to “be friends that have sex” It would require no intimacy on their part.”

            So has she always been this way Sheep, wanting to have No intimacy but be friends that have sex?



          • sheep on May 18, 2018 at 9:09 am

            Aly,
            There are several parts to that answer. She has only said it that way for the last year and a half (since she was caught in adultery) But, she has only truly enjoyed it for the past 4 years. Before that, sex was kind of “take it or leave it” She has told me that she would have been fine with once a year. (and that attitude was made quite clear).

            All of our marriage, sex was a commodity that she would use to barter with. “If you will go to the store, and fill the car up with gas, maybe we can do something when you get home” Sex was always in the dark, and she would always try to be somewhat covered. I literally went for years without seeing her naked. She also didn’t want to receive pleasure.

            But one of the hardest things was that she wouldn’t talk about any of it. These subjects were forbidden. She would even tell me that she was doing it to make “things” easier for me, and she made it quite clear that I should be thankful for what I got.

            The whole time there was this little voice in my head telling me that something wasn’t right with all of this, but I didn’t have anywhere to go with these thought. Plus I would have never said anything to anyone because I was afraid of her reaction. So eventually I shut off that little voice and told myself that all marriages are like this. It was too painful to think about the alternatives.

            Looking back, I see that she was never capable of intimacy with me (or anyone else). Intimacy requires vulnerability, it requires letting go of control, it requires trust. I now see that she is not capable of those things.

            She would have never said “lets just be friends that have sex” but I realize that in essence, that is actually what we have been. But now, I have awakened to the truth, and will no longer accept the fantasy world that she has created around her and frankly, she doesn’t know what to do with me. The same old manipulations don’t work anymore. She doesn’t want to lose me providing for her, but she also is unable and unwilling to humble herself, repent, and do the hard work of reconciliation.

            so, there is a long answer to a short question.



          • Aly on May 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

            Sheep,
            This is to your post May 18 9:09 am

            You wrote:
            “But one of the hardest things was that she wouldn’t talk about any of it. These subjects were forbidden. She would even tell me that she was doing it to make “things” easier for me, and she made it quite clear that I should be thankful for what I got.”

            Oh my! I’m sorry for that Sheep that’s painful and cruel.

            Thanks for answering, I think that the marriage might never have been capable to be a true marriage in the sense?
            Without trust and vulnerability… what does a marriage have?

            You brought up so many important themes and issues that I’m not saying ‘are the case’ but it makes me very curious to understand her history.
            Not that you haven’t but I have also been deeply rejected on similar levels Sheep like this, and it’s hard to process such disturbing behavior.

            I imagine since you have shared some of your own past and history that you can see ~ your partner (doesn’t have the willingness) to learn the importance aspects to building a marriage. We all have a sexual history of some sort. She sounds very one dimensional and I would guess she has had traumas in her past that she’s living out with you being the front line receipent. Not right!!

            You said she determined what subjects are ‘forbidden’.
            Ok ~ can I say I so relate! This is where the relationship from the get go gets lopsided.

            If she won’t look at the past and develop some intimacy with God and yourself emotionally even ~ she is choosing ‘stuck’! As you know.

            I’m writing you back because I relate to this personality not on a marital level only but on a family system. And it’s excruciating 😩. Your wife reminds me of my siblings and their previous generations of ‘forbidden’ deciders.

            So I want you to know that you have made every attempt to give time, counsel etc in the hopes of repair.

            But often those that are most broken~ won’t accept broken and you can’t plead ‘for repair’ when a person can deal with broken. To them their is no need to repair what they see as just fine or ok!
            This is great denial and they miss out on an integrated life overall.
            None of us live the completed 100% life on this side of heaven but the Lord invites us into integration☺️🌈!

            Our sexual histories are crucial to the health of our marriages.
            My h had a ton of work to do to consider how his history was playing out because he preferred to wall off areas ~ areas of previous Betrayal.
            Betrayal brings a lot of shame and for some individuals it’s almost like they get these HARD shells!!
            It’s almost like it happens during a development stage and something is fractured??

            Sheep it See You Soon nothing about you ~ that you can’t penetrate the hardened shell, even God hasn’t done so yet.

            Honestly, I think sometimes or these types of hurting and hurtful people are greatest gift is to give them their own ways of functioning and do relationship. If that means it’s no relationship, then you have a clear direction of living in reality and offering that as a blessing to your offender.

            It’s hard to divorce or separate something that really never was adjoined;( in the first place.

            Even in our broken world, marriage still gets used to invite us all in to our broken places and healing, sadly we don’t always receive willing partners willing to explore these places intended for our growth and maturity.

            I hope you sleep and rest well that your were a partner willing to do the work and have a posture of growth and healing.
            You will receive the many rewards in this position that will bring life to the full!
            Prayers and strength for you, Sheep!



    • Aly on May 17, 2018 at 9:07 pm

      Nancy Sheep,

      I like that! Also maybe?
      I aligned my life to represent the reality!
      Or, I released her to the reality of her behavior and posture, a posture of single-living!

      • sheep on May 17, 2018 at 11:01 pm

        Nancy, Aly

        The problems with using alternate words for divorce is that words mean things and when we try to dance around the issue, people then have to try to figure out what we mean. I’m kinda to the point of just saying “I’m divorcing her for biblical reasons”

        Depending on who it is, just not really opening it up for discussion. I don’t have the mental energy to try to boil 25 years of abuse and adultery down into a 1/2 hour conversation with someone that quite likely doesn’t even believe in emotional abuse, and if they did, wouldn’t think it is that bad. I don’t have the words, mental energy, or emotional energy to try to convince someone of these things.

        Plus, I have found that when I open up to new people, that haven’t walked this road with me, I find that they think they have the magical advice that will fix the situation and make everything better. Unfortunately, that advice generally has something to do with me being more loving, patient, or forgiving. They weren’t there the last 3.5 years to see the anguish of me loving her like Christ loved the church. Forgiving her, even though there is no repentance, admittance, change, or even a request for forgiveness. They weren’t there to see me patiently enduring the abuse and the ongoing affair that she was practically shoving in my face.

        How does one even begin to communicate these things with someone that WANTS to be able to say that both people are at fault in divorce and marriage problems. Why? Because it is easier than betting to the root of the problem and actually laying blame at the foot of one selfish person.

        Ok, maybe I got a little off topic there, but I had a little run in with that thinking earlier this week.

        • Nancy on May 18, 2018 at 7:29 am

          HI sheep, Aly,

          I can see how exhausting all that wording could be.

          I like how Free simplified it, ” I was married but sadly my spouse broke the covenant”. This is simple and the truth that does not place any responsibility on you. This could be said to strangers even, in an authentic but also ‘conversation ending’ kind of way. Saying these things out loud will be good for you to find out who will walk with you, yes, but more importantly just for you to speak truth without justifying, explaining etc….

          Thank you so much for the update. You have such a kind heart, it will be difficult for you to stand firm in your boundary of ensuring that she leaves. She will likely do everything she can to make you (and everyone else) feel as though you are ‘kicking her out’.

          I’m guessing that you are documenting everything with dates etc…

          sheep, I wonder about giving her more time so that you won’t be accused of ‘giving time for God to work’. Who would accuse you of this? No one in the court system and so .i don’t believe this could affect your legal case at all.

          I just wonder if perhaps there is some ‘fear of man’ in this belief…?

          I am praying that you find the strength of Christ the cornerstone, under your feet, like never before.

          Lord God, you know sheep. You know his heart, his soul. You know his strengths and his fears, Lord. Father I ask that you would enable sheep to stand firm, Lord. That he not be afraid of the arrow that flies by day or by night. That you enable him to take shelter under Your mighty wings. I also ask Lord that on top of this spiritual support that you would send physical support in his role as parent, especially during this difficult time. Would you please send him regular help that is above reproach, for the children so that he can rest, Lord.

          In Jesus mighty name I pray.

          Amen

          Exodus 14:14- The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.

          • sheep on May 18, 2018 at 9:21 am

            Thanks Nancy,

            Yes, I still document, although there isn’t a lot to document anymore. She has gone into full “be nice” mode, And we really don’t spend much time together anymore.

            The “giving God time to work” comment isn’t about court. It is about friends and family that will inevitably be brought into the knowledge of all of this soon. So, it is somewhat about “fear of man” but in a lot of ways, it is about me and my overdeveloped sense of “fair play” That I want to know I have acted properly in all, and that I gave her a “last chance” That being said, I cant imagine giving her more than a month or two before proceeding with divorce. 1. I don’t believe she will change, and 2. I don’t want to give my children false hope that mom and dad are going to get back together. I’m not going to put them through that.



          • Aly on May 18, 2018 at 9:23 am

            Nancy,

            I love this encouragement you offered to Sheep, it’s very tender and yet strong.

            Sheep, Nancy had a lot of good thoughts. The fear of man can creep in even in ways we are not always presently aware.
            Just remember to weigh your ‘accusers’ (that is if you face many) accurately.

            Also, it’s normal to fear losing other relationships.
            Even longtime ones. Often when we make our changes our circle of friends do change and usually their are only a few friends or supportive people ‘who see you’ and what the marriage has deteriorated to.

            God sees your attempts to repair and that’s what you can focus on. He knows the truth and He sees your heart!



          • Nancy on May 18, 2018 at 1:24 pm

            I get that, Sheep. That you want to be able to say at the end of it all, that you behaved to the best of your ability, in a God-honouring way. ( is that what you mean by ‘fair play’?)

            By documenting, I mean when ( back in the fall, I believe) she made her ‘month of May move-out commitment’ to you. And when you have reminded her of this commitment, and the next time you reminded her, and what her responses were. It just strikes me that any interaction around you moving in the direction of reality, will likely get spun, in her mind. So it will be important for you to have records to help you stand in reality. But I’m guessing this is nothing new to you!



        • Rose on May 18, 2018 at 9:39 am

          Dear sheep,
          I am so proud of you for having the courage to take this step with your wife. I totally understand how difficult it was. Your heart was still to save your marriage. But God has been showing you and preparing you for this next phase. He spoke to your heart and let you know..it was time. Time to claim your dignity and self respect. Time to set healthy boundaries. Time to say ENOUGH.
          NO MORE.

          By the way you have gone about this with your wife, you have taken your power back! You have explained your terms to her and she must act…or else she is well aware of the consequences. You are giving her the opportunity to do the right thing. If she chooses not to, you are free and you are clean before the Lord.
          So proud of you ☺️🙌🏼

      • Nancy on May 18, 2018 at 7:43 am

        I like what you said, Aly, about representing reality, and I think that’s the definition of integrity.

        Integrity, as I understand it, is to be integrated. Whole. It is for our inner reality to match our outer reality. The more we walk in integrity, the less divided we will be, and the stronger, too.

        That’s why it is critical to put an end to ‘fantasy type thinking’ and speak truth ( first to ourselves and then to others). When we begin to speak truth in an abusive relationship, the divide ( or lack of integrity that we’ve been living) becomes evident. That’s what causes pain. But we need that pain in order to act in a way that re-integrates ourselves with reality.

        • Aly on May 18, 2018 at 8:46 am

          Nancy,

          Yes! I agree with you and the importance of moving away from dividedness toward wholeness. Having a wholehearted ‘posture’ often brings the beginnings of ‘real’ freedom but also grief.

          I really like how you brought up the pain of speaking the truth. I can really relate to this.

          There is ‘different pains’ and this pain of facing the truth or speaking the truth brings the process, the other pain often keeps things cyclical or can bring worse escalations.

          As you know often in abusive dynamic, the abuser isn’t all that affected or feeling oppressed, they are not the direct recipient of their own overcontrolling or crazy tactics for power etc. This pain gets rightly aligned when we speak the truth and own what is ours and what IS NOT ours.

          Abusers often don’t do well with processing pain and certainly not owning their own part.
          I find it interesting that the words ‘abusers’ has USERS in it. Because they need to use someone else to avoid dealing with themselves.
          Thankfully, God can and does intervene for those who are willing💜

          • Nancy on May 18, 2018 at 1:11 pm

            “They need to use someone else to avoid dealing with themselves”

            This is well said!



  10. Free on May 17, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    I like that, “I was married, but sadly, my spouse broke the covenant.”

  11. Aleea on May 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    “Friends, how have you wrestled with the Bible and the question of divorce?”

    . . . .I have wrestled massively with the Bible (—and God in prayer) on the question of divorce because, to me, that question . . . .that question represents something far, far deeper: Are these timesless truths; Is God communicating clearly and carefully what He wants from His people, or are the answers opaque, confusing, time dependent and simply historically/ culturally contingent? On the face of it, looking at the extant manuscripts of the Bible, the historical interpretations from scholars skilled in those contexts and languages (many who gave their lives for Christ and who had access to manuscripts no longer extant), I would not come to the above conclusions. . . .And this is so much bigger than divorce and remarriage. Divorce and remarriage is so, so rampant in the churches today, that . . . .well, that aspect is basically over. . . .But gay, transgender, and other issues will eventually be the divorce and remarriage issues, —if they are not already. On divorce and remarriage, I don’t see how anyone could have the ceritude you see in evangelical churches. The texts and contexts are just so complex, and the words highly nuanced and there are textual variants a plenty in the passages [re: The Bible: with critical apparatus (all the textual variants on each word) – Aug 23, 2015 by Eberhard Nestle and also the Spectrum Multiview Book Series from InterVarsity Christian Press: —Divorce and Remarriage: Four Views, —The Historical Jesus: Five Views. —Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views, etc., etc.]

    . . . .Now, that said, if God is a cranky, peevish Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic biblical exegesis professor, we are ALL finished, —every last one of us. Also, and always, what we DO NOT YET know is often –far, far more important that what we know or think we know. So I ask myself: How could Leslie’e conclusion be right? I have prayed so much about that because, again, it goes to God’s ability to communicate clearly. We all know good relationships are not carried out with confusion over expectations, with contradictory passages, etc. . . .Maybe God expects us to amend the Bible as time passes? That just doesn’t make sense to me. . . .How are we supposed to amend something that is supposed to be God-breathed? —And yet, that’s why you see seminaries like Fuller Seminary, et.al. changing its doctrinal statements on Scripture that looked remarkably like what the Westminster Confession of Faith. Changing from “free from all error” to “worthy record,” and go on to never say again that Scripture is “without error” like in the 20th century. It’s hard to renovate the Bible without getting worried, but maybe the way out begins with accepting absolutely everything fact based (empirical evidence about what constitutes human flourishing for example). That means the Bible needs amendments. Could it be that the texts are in need of amendments and more and more amendments as we go through time because what they actually said/say and meant and what the church fathers said they meant for centuries on end no longer serves life. Re: Truth serves Life.

    God asks people, as taught in the Scriptures, to do things they simply can’t live with: (Ephesians 6—salves obey your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ. . . 1st Peter: Likewise, wives, be in all subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; et.al.) And on and on and on . . . .Biblical injunctions that empirically derived knowledge has shown are just wrong (re: abuse). That said, the purpose of life in Christ, it certainly appears, is finding the largest burden that you can possibly bear and bearing it. —We cannot be protected from the things that frighten and hurt us, but if we identify with the part of our being that is responsible for transformation, the Holy Spirit, then we are always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that frighten us. Christ bids us adopt the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accept responsibility. It means generally, willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to make our marriages work and generate a productive and meaningful reality. Could it be that the things that pose the greatest threats to even our survival, like marriage, are the most real things in this world? Re: “And so, I guess my question is —did I sin against God, my marriage, and the church by leaving my spouse?” . . .I think, honestly, only you can really, truly answer that question. That’s a question through the gnashing rocks of Christian Orthodoxy all the way to the VERY furthest shores of your imagination. . . .That is one wild ride. . . .See for example: “Defining the New Testament on Divorce and Remarriage” Yordan Kalev Zhekov (Chapter three: The New Testament Passages p. 84-on and Chapter four: The New Testament Canonical Context p. 188-on. . . .Also, “The Sayings on Marriage and Divorce” —Institute for Textual Scholarship at the Department of Theology, University of Birmingham, UK., technical but pin-point accurate. . . and readable . . .See also: Divorce and Remarriage (In early Christianity): Joseph A. Webb Th.D., Ph.D. & Patricia L. Webb Ph.D. . . .And: “Voices of Early Christianity: Documents from the Origins of Christianity; Backgrounds of Early Christianity”; Margaret A. Schatkin, “’Divorce In Early Christianity”, 2nd ed., edited by Everett Ferguson, pages 340 on (―everything they say went through rigorous *international* peer review).

    . . . It is easy to give an “answer” but when you explore divorce and remarriage in a realistic fashion it is very unsettling. Whole books are devoted to just an analysis of the variation units in the pericopaes on divorce/remarriage in Mark 10,2-12; Matt 5,27-32; 19,3-9; and Luke 16, 18. The number of textual variants “rises dramatically” in sayings passages over against those in narrative passages. Scholars, I think correctly, assert that the reason for this textual complexity in sayings of Jesus “is precisely the importance accorded to them”, and I would add that one aspect of their importance was their relevance and applicability to the everyday, real-life issues in the Christian communities of the first five hundred years of Christianity.

    . . .I think the way to know if something is correct is to try to prove what you like wrong, -not right. . . .If you really like a conclusion, you have got to try even harder to prove it wrong to know it is right. I think that’s how you deal with confirmation bias. . . .Make an iron-man (not a straw-man) out of what you don’t like (make the strongest case you can for what you are hoping is not the case) and then try to deconstruct that case. I know, I know, I hate it too. . . .Who doesn’t like confirmation bias? . . .But how else do we test our assertions?

    . . .Anyways, Jesus is no persons personal property. He belongs to *all* of us who know Him. . . .Reinterpretations of the Bible, generally come via harmonizations of verses. —I stumble on the amendments concept (however achieved) because that is what we see are needed in human documents. I wonder about how it could be “timeless truth” if it is opaque, confusing, time dependent and simply historically/ culturally contingent? . . . .But you know what, I tell God, how I feel: Lord God, I have chosen stupidity over You time and time again. I want You to never stop changing me. I long to love You more and genuinely so enjoy You. I want to help people, not grieve or spar with them. I want to consistently experience joy in my relationship with You but I want to be honest in what I say, —even about You. You know how much I love You. Jesus, I am not strong enough to walk on my own. I can’t do it, and I need You. I need You deeply and desperately. I know You are better than anything else I could have in this life. Please help us all find Your path and Your answers. —God doesn’t call us to be comfortable, at all. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we put ourselves in situations where we will be in BIG trouble if He doesn’t come through.

  12. Helen on May 17, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    There’s also the verse that says a woman must not separate from her h, but if she does she should not marry another man. 1Corin 7:10. How do we reconcile this verse with Leslie’s explanation? Infidelity/adultery is the same as emotional abuse?

    • Aly on May 17, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      Helen,

      Emotional abuse is to misuse the promise of the covenant!
      Also emotional abuse can be abandonment and neglect and this is also a broken covenantal promise of the marriage union!

      Infidelity comes in many forms not just a physical sexual act.
      It’s to betray a convenant promise.

      • Nancy on May 18, 2018 at 7:32 am

        Yup.

      • Helen on May 18, 2018 at 5:34 pm

        I was thinking about that and it makes sense. Israel worshipped other gods, looking to them to provide what only God can, forms of idolatry. 1st commandment. In my case, my h is addicted to screens and is looking to them to fill his time and medicate his pain instead of looking to me to open up to and spend time with. Those things are his idols–not loving me with his whole heart. 7th commandment.

        • Aleea on May 19, 2018 at 5:19 am

          Helen and Aly and Nancy and all,

          Helen,
          You said: “There’s also the verse that says a woman must not separate from her h, but if she does she should not marry another man. 1Corin 7:10. How do we reconcile this verse with Leslie’s explanation? Infidelity/adultery is the same as emotional abuse?” . . .I simply do not know Helen but you are correct that that is even another issue. . . .I’m still back in the gospels struggling with the complexity. Matthew 5:32, 19:9 et.al. within the earliest manuscripts generate such an intricate complexity. Re: Textual Comparison of the Divorce Passages . . . Each Gospel parallel is subject to a very high degree of variation in the second part of each verse concerning what happens to a man who divorces his wife. Although only Matthew, as opposed to the others, has (twice) the exclusion clause why??? Is God really emphasizing something??? (παρεκτὸς λόγου). Jesus’ explanation on divorce appears in total four times and all verses involved are subject to textual variations. Due to the absolutely contentious nature of the topic of divorce and remarriage, it is not surprising that textual corruptions have occurred. You know people just get upset and torture the passages until they “say” what they want them to. So, determining the original wording or concluding if one reading is the consequence of a true harmonization: difficult to assert objectively or categorically. —And that is just the truth as best I know with what I know.

          I believe that the process you use to reach your conclusion is far, far more important than the conclusion. If you love Him and you want His will, I believe He will surely show you what to do and give you wisdom as you seek Him with all your heart, . . .when you follow a process that seeks deep wisdom via the Holy Spirit and are very self-aware of confirmation bias, cherry-picking, text-twisting, context-shifting, human logic (God would never want anyone to put up with this, et.al.). . . . God will lead us. In her own CORE model, Leslie is definitely a “wise other” and has spent her life thinking about this, so everyone should study what she says, but she is only one person and Leslie is not the actual texts themselves. . . . .Never follow one human, one pastor, one scholar. Consult many, read deeply, think for yourself and especially listen to the Holy Spirit. . . . .The fear of the LORD is the beginning of all knowledge, all wisdom. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know so very little. . . .I always pray: Lord God, I *seriously* lack wisdom but You said “. . . .if anyone lacks wisdom, let them ask of You, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given. . . .” Help us all Lord God, please give us wisdom!

          . . .And if you are in a situation where your marriage isn’t of sufficient quality, —I’ve been there too, you might ask yourself: “Am I doing absolutely everything I can to fix it?” All of us should always be asking that. One thing I have learned from reading and reading and reading the Old Testament is that when your life/ realtionships/ marriage are not of suffient quality, start sacrificing stuff to God left, right and center and make it the good stuff. Don’t hold back on God. Sacrifice the stuff that hits you where you live. Sacrifice the stuff that really means something to you, because this humbles us enough to allow us to change. That changes the people around you. The Holy Spirit will show you the stuff, you probably know it already if you are paying attention. That really pleases God. . . . If your treasure is on earth, your heart will be on earth also. Contentment in realtionships is essentially a matter of accepting from God’s hand what He sends because we know that He is good and therefore it is good (. . .At times, I hate when people say that to me too, but it is just true). . . . Also, realize that we are all here together very, very briefly, so let us accept reality fully, take personal responsibility seriously (I know, me too! —Maybe especially me!) and take care of one another while we can. We all know in James it says: “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” . . .many prayers always.

        • Nancy on May 19, 2018 at 2:55 pm

          To your statement Aleea, that, “am I doing absolutely everything I can to fix it?” is the question we should all be asking ourselves.

          this is dangerous language for people in a weakened mindset – especially when it’s correlate with – as you have here- ‘sacrifice’.

          Abused people are confused about what love is.

          An abused person can easily interpret ‘fixing it’ and ‘sacrifice’ with, “I need to fix this relationship by sacrificing more of myself’.

          This type of thinking will lead to further abuse.

          What needs to change, is the thinking pattern of an abused person, and more thinking won’t accomplish that.

        • Aleea on May 20, 2018 at 6:46 am

          Hello Nancy,

          Thank you for writing that. I very much appreciate that. I need to think *way more* about what you said because it hits me as really deep and absolutely true. . . .

          Your statement “An abused person can easily interpret ‘fixing it’ and ‘sacrifice’ with, “I need to fix this relationship by sacrificing more of myself’. This type of thinking will lead to further abuse.”

          That could be spot on and probably totally true in terms of *modern* psychotherapeutic analysis. That is, your statement comes from modern psychology, but not from the words used and understood in their contexts in the Old/New Testaments.

          . . . .But I need to think and pray about that way more. . . .that really makes me think. Thank you.

        • Helen on May 20, 2018 at 7:14 am

          Aleea,

          You know God’s word never contradicts itself, He just can’t do that. Sometimes once we get thru the meanings of the greek/hebrew words we may find out the Truth which when you look at the Bible as a whole, then what God is saying is very simplistic and makes sense. I have found that to be true but takes a lot of study. So in re to 1 Corin 7:10 maybe it simply just means that the ideal is to stay together. God knows we all sin and may have to separate from our spouse. Why would God confuse us? He wouldn’t. His ideas are pure and simple throughout His Word–we have to find our way through the maze of words from a different time and meaning.

        • Aleea on May 22, 2018 at 3:45 am

          Hello Nancy,
          This may be wrong, but it seems to me that to understand the biblical texts, always assuming God’s help via prayer, we have to *very clearly* identify the world behind those texts and the world of those texts. Then, we have to understand the words being used *very carefully* and what they meant in their contexts. —Otherwise, it seems to very rapidly devolve into something like this:

          “. . .God’s revelation can no longer be regarded as an ultimate authority, because psychology and modern brain science shows us conflicting truths about what constitutes human flourishing. Human knowledge must be based on a more sure foundation, and that foundation is presumed to be located in human reason especially human experience. …God speaks commands in the Bible, but psychology, neuroscience and modern disciples must modify these imperatives. The goal is not what God says in the texts but that which human knowledge shows as universal understanding, obtained by objective means that all interested parties can use, thus privileging no one perspective and granting a fundamental epistemological equality to all. …The findings of modern psychology, and the social sciences in general, may be seen as casting grave doubts on this ancient belief that “truth shall set you free.” We have learned from analytic psychology how dependent on the distorting effects of our early experience we all are…” Re: Bringing the Academic Discipline of Psychology to Bear on the Study of the Bible; The Journal of Theological Studies, Volume 63, Issue 1, 1 April 2012, Pages 1–48.

          . . . .So Nancy, I say we understand the historical and contextual roots of the texts in order to understand its context, its meaning in the languages God used (Hebrew, Greek, etc.) and settings. I am saying that “the” meaning of a text was and is its original meaning. Otherwise, we can take those texts just anywhere using logic and modern science and we can reach any conclusions. —And if you think that not the case, perhaps listen to those that justify gay, lesbian, transgender lifestyles form the biblical texts themselves. If we can do it with divorce and remarriage —why are we denying them the same?

          Now, one thing you often seem to refer to that is so, so right it can not be overstated (—I hope I do you no injustice stating it in my own words.) . . . .Our beliefs are our actions. That’s why Christianity is not true unless/ until it is embodied/ acted out. —It’s a way of acting in the world. I can only find out what I actually believe (—rather than what I think I believe) by watching how I act, especially under stress. I simply don’t know what I really believe before that. —And I think that is because we are all too complex (motivations, et.al.) to fully understand ourselves.

        • Aleea on May 22, 2018 at 4:20 am

          Helen, Everyone,
          . . . .part of what is going on is that innumerable Christians will tell you that the purpose of life is to be happy, and those people have, I feel, not dealt deeply and seriously with the Bible’s texts. Happiness is something that’s done in by the first harsh blow that reality deals you. There are many, many circumstances in life where the expectation of happiness as a response will put you in absolutely the wrong psychological state to be prepared for what must be done. —I know you know that. People are built, so to speak, to experience a very wide range of motivational and emotional states, and so there’s a time to be compassionate, and there’s a time to be anxious, and the healthy and well adapted person has a very wide range of finely differentiated responses, which cannot be boiled down to a single dimension, say happiness versus unhappiness. —Life is not that simple, at all.

          Life is complex and really tragic and difficult, and the problem with the Christian portrayal of the ideal state of humanness as happiness is that it makes all of these people feel ashamed of their own suffering. They feel that, if they’re suffering and if they find their life tragic in its essence that that means there’s something wrong with them, and instantly that makes it impossible for them to communicate anything real about their own tragedy.

          Now, let me bracket off psychopaths (DSM-V style) but they seem very rare. . . . .Our marriages are not a state of satisfaction and happiness. If that is all we have, we never become holy because nothing is going to affect us deeply enough so that we become deep in Christ; and life without depth in Christ is -by definition- shallow and meaningless. In order to regard anything as truly important, you also have to regard its loss as truly meaningful. —And that means that to open yourself up to experiences of deep meaning, also simultaneously means that you have to open yourself up to the possibility of seriously deep hurt and sorrow. And you do that anytime, for example, that you make a marriage relationship profound/deep. You put your emotions on the line and that has to be real, or the relationship can’t be real.

          Holiness not happiness justifies itself. That’s the right metaphor for life: not happiness, but depth and differentiated quality and profundity, to match the profundity of the necessity of suffering. See, for example “The Text of the New Testament: . . .” by Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland (Founders Institute for New Testament Textual Research Münster, Germany) —Also, New Testament Exegesis by Gordon D. Fee; Old Testament Exegesis by Douglas Stuart and Exegetical Fallacies by D. A. Carson. . . . people who are always pushing happiness as successful existence, it seems so ill informed against the Bible’s texts that it’s embarrassing that that even happens.

          . . . .But who really knows: “Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.”―Rumi . . . .That’s brilliant and that’s really getting it!!! Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating . . . .But only at first, . . . .obviously, I don’t know why the Lord God did not make all TRUE bibles indestructible, unalterable, and self-translating. Sometimes, I sit there and think: If you can get all these interpretations out of the Bible what is the point of God breathing it? . . . .Maybe it is because God wants us to worship and wholly depend on Him —for everything. Maybe it is to keep us totally humbled so we are not judging and condemning and damning others for different points of view. People always say to me it should be indisputably clear what God wants us to do, and what he doesn’t want us to do.

          RE: “Aleea,
          You know God’s word never contradicts itself, He just can’t do that. Sometimes once we get thru the meanings of the greek/hebrew words we may find out the Truth which when you look at the Bible as a whole, then what God is saying is very simplistic and makes sense. I have found that to be true but takes a lot of study. . . . . .Why would God confuse us? He wouldn’t. His ideas are pure and simple throughout His Word–we have to find our way through the maze of words from a different time and meaning.”

          . . . .Helen, there are an untold amount of words in the Old and New Testaments that no one knows what they mean to this very day. There are 130,000 words in the New Testament, yet the surviving manuscripts (—the handwritten copies) reveal something like 400,000 individual times the wording disagrees between them. See, for example, one among the thousands of books on this: “The New Testament and Its Modern Interpreters” by Eldon J. Epp and George W. McRae . . .It is simply not clear and we have unresolvable disagreements and confusion but I agree with you that God knows what He is doing, —even if God is deliberately sowing that confusion . . . .Helen see, for example, Mark 4:11… And He told them: “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those on the outside, everything is expressed in parables, so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven.’” —Wow, think about that Helen and yet . . .and yet . . .I can’t stop loving Him even if He is doing it on purpose. —God knows why but I certainly do not see why. . . .I know the way I feel, but it is not clear when I start thinking about it, especially when I think deeply about it.

        • Aleea on May 22, 2018 at 4:51 am

          . . . .Oh, and I just wanted to praise God for what happened this past Sunday. . . .I was waiting to start teaching my marriage class (I know, I know . . .just imagine me teaching anyone, anything) . . .this woman came up to me and just sat down next to me (not in my class) and just told me her testimony about how she did not know God and her son had died when he was young and how she had been crying out to God at the time “Why???” and saying things like “You don’t know what this is like, —how will I go on?” Then she said it hit her that God knew exactly what that was like and it so overwhelmed her that it completely, utterly changed her life. She was just transformed. I could tell by the way she talked and see by the shape of her Bible that she read it all the time. . . .I told her I was so very grateful for her sharing that because it was so beautiful and so helpful to me. I just sat there stunned and thinking “Who cares what the Bible says about remarriage and divorce,” here is a woman who has experienced God, directly experienced God. I have experienced God like that too and I know exactly what she is talking about and it is so beyond what the Bible says or does not say about divorce or remarriage or whatever❣✝💖😊🛩🌠🎵🎶

        • Nancy on May 22, 2018 at 9:02 am

          Hello Aleea,

          I’m sorry but I don’t understand the point of what you are saying. Are you responding to my comment to you about how the language that you used is dangerous to a person in an abused mind-set?

        • Nancy on May 22, 2018 at 9:04 am

          I am referring, Aleea, to the comment that you addressed to me ( at 3:45 am)

        • Aleea on May 23, 2018 at 6:34 am

          Hello Nancy,
          I am saying that you may easily, unless you are exceedingly careful, be projecting a 20th-21st century post-modern psychological understanding that you have picked up from your culture, from post-modern psychology, from pop-evangelical psychology. . . .and it appears that Leslie may have too . . . .and you are projecting that back in time onto the very precise words Jesus is using for our responsibility in marriage, in and after divorce, our responsibility in terms of each. . . . .I didn’t always think that way, but I keep digging and digging into what those in history (those who love God and are experts in the Bible’s texts with access to manuscripts no longer extant) said Jesus/Paul was/were saying. . . . .I think we recast those texts at our own peril. Let Jesus and Paul and others say what they say, even if we hate it. It is one thing to say Jesus said this _________ and I am not doing it because we have learned that human flourishing depends on _________ vs. Jesus didn’t really say this _________, He said this _________. . . .We want to know what Jesus said even if we absolutely hate it. The rest may easily be text-twisting, context-shifting, cherry-picking, projecting post-modern psychology back onto Jesus/ Paul. . . .Or, I’m deficient in my understanding (always a serious possibility because I am always, generally impressed with how deeply people here have thought about things, because they love Jesus and want to please Him) and I have not been careful enough myself. . . . .Anyways, I think the strongest part of Leslie’s approach may be what she never explicitly saying: The Bible may need amendments as we learn things. . . .But here is how I got to where I am in my thinking:

          . . .I think the way to know if something is correct is to try to prove what you like wrong, -not right. . . .If you really like a conclusion, you have got to try even harder to prove it wrong to know it is right. I think that’s how you deal with confirmation bias. . . .Make an iron-woman (not a straw-woman) out of what you don’t like (make the strongest case you can for what you are hoping is *not* the case) and then try to deconstruct that case. I know, I know, I hate it too. . . .Who doesn’t like confirmation bias? . . .But how else do we test our assertions? . . .Think about a case in tax court. When we go into tax court, I have to know the defendants case far better than I know what I am presenting. Often, I think, . . . .wow, I could present their case far better than they are presenting it. That is when I know we are ready. Of course, I have experts in the sub-parts of my case that I have to heavily rely on but . . .well, you get the idea. How much time have we spent researching the strongest case *against* what we are presenting? —Otherwise, we generally have an echo chamber complete with bullying, shaming or just flat-out devaluing by completely ignoring. In court, you are going to get both sides and you are going to get unbelievably well researched (using sub-experts in the tax code section language), unbelievably careful and precise, well-researched cases for both. . . .God’s Words deserve we do way more than that.

        • Nancy on May 23, 2018 at 11:21 am

          Aleea,

          My point was that someone with a weakened mindset would likely interpret your comment that way.

          Be careful, Aleea, not to add more guilt and responsibility to those who are already oppressed.

        • Aleea on May 24, 2018 at 6:34 am

          Hello Nancy,

          Re:“My point was that someone with a weakened mindset would likely interpret your comment that way.”

          . . .I want to be gentle with people and certainly they could interpret my comment that way, so I will be more careful but I always must be truthful otherwise I have no hope of God❣ guiding me✝📓†ރ📤 📡😊. . . . ☄So that’s my answer, the rest is something different. . . .

          . . .Nancy, since your mindset is not weakened, maybe think about this with me: We simply can not have meaning in our lives without lots of God-given guilt and responsibility. The guilt helps us repent of our part in all kinds of things so we can be closer and closer to God and taking responsibility is the only way to have meaning in our lives. Often people don’t want responsibility but even if we are only 5% responsible in an issue in our marriages, God wants us all over and fixing our 5%. . . . .

          Nancy, how do we make something beautiful (marriage) into something much more beautiful still (like great marriages). Basically, all I encounter at my huge mega Bible church is people who have been married three and four times. . . .It is just a nightmare of people pushing for their “rights” with very little taking responsibility for what they did to create their present situation and they keep creating these horrible situations again and again and again.

          I want to become someone helpful to others instead of wallowing in my own sadness at my childhood abuse. I know that I can only fix myself and God knows I so want to give other people the love I never had in my life. . . . .Nancy, if we are constantly in a state of satisfaction and happiness, then nothing is going to affect us deeply enough so that we become deep and solid; and life without depth is, by definition in the Bible, shallow and meaningless. In order to regard anything as truly important, we also have to regard its loss as truly meaningful. Often, women I read here or who write to me, don’t seem to regard their marriages like that. Nancy, when we open ourselves up to experiences of deep meaning, we also simultaneously have to open ourselves up to the possibility of seriously deep hurt and sorrow. And we do that anytime, for example, that we make a relationship profound. Nancy, Jesus is saying that life is suffering but the way to transcend that suffering is to take serious responsibility for our own lives, not to run away (I know you know this). . . . .A woman told me just two Sundays ago that she had “married her mother three times”. . . .And you will absolutely keep marrying your mother again and again and again unless/until you become aware of why you did and repent of it. This is also the reason Jesus/Bible tells us not to get remarried/divorced.

          Some people will tell you the purpose of life is to be happy and those people are not understanding at all the words of Christ. There’s no growth in comfort and there’s no comfort in growth. In suffering, we have the opportunity to elevate our being and become Christ-like. . . . Colossians 1:23 on . . .if indeed you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope of the gospel you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, which is the church. I became its servant by the commission God gave me to fully proclaim to you the word of God, . . . .

          . . . Anyways, inadvertently, it seems I have hurt your heart before, and I apologize for that. Nancy, (and I know you know this) I think what Christ is saying, basically all the time, is that happiness is done in by the first harsh blow that reality deals you. . . .Life is suffering. Look to God for joy, not happiness, and joy is found in Godliness. The more Godliness, the more joy is found. Better then happiness is a peace with God. Because when we have peace with God, we no longer have the need to seek after happiness however we are trying to find it: divorce, remarriage, children, stuff, et.al. . . .In order to regard anything as truly important, we also have to regard its loss as truly meaningful (our marriages). . . .Knowing that we are God’s creation, made in His image, capable of showing fellow human beings the very face of God’s love and compassion, and further, knowing that this is what we were specifically made for, puts us in a position to have God’s joy. The happiness offered by the world is inferior to the kind offered to all of us by God.💬✝❣ . . .⌛ ✈⌚

        • Nancy on May 24, 2018 at 7:08 am

          Thanks for the offer, Aleea, to ‘think with you’, but I’ll take a pass.

        • Aleea on May 25, 2018 at 7:43 pm

          . . . .Okay, well thank you for considering it. . . .Blessed is she who expects nothing, for she shall never be disappointed.
          Much love and prayers,
          Aleea†ރ ✝❣😊

  13. Rose on May 18, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Dear Jolene,
    Yes, I finally divorced him after my son walked in on him having sex with his 26 yr old girlfriend..mind you, he is 56.
    That was the final straw.

    Interesting you shd mention tapping into electronic devices. He has been paying my cell phone bill (which is all in the family plan). I often thought..why wd he do that? I went to Verizon and asked if he cd retrieve my messages etc. they said only if he has an iPhone, which he doesn’t. However, I realized he has access to old iPhones fm his perps at work. All he has to do is activate one, and he can have my messages come to his phone. He also can see all the incoming and outgoing phone numbers associated with my phone line on the bill.

    I knew this..but assumed..oh he doesn’t give a hoot about me. He doesn’t care who I’m texting etc. and I was saving the monthly cost of the phone bill.

    But after reading your message, you lit a fire under me…NEVER UNDER ESTIMATE a narcissist. I will never know what he has access to (with me being on his plan).

    And so, it’s time to get my own account and pay my own bill. Of course, I hate that …lol, but It will give me a peace of mind, a sense of privacy and freedom.

    • Jolene on May 18, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      I’m sorry your son had to witness that. Ugh.

      I think you are very wise to get your own phone line, and a line for everyone else in your house as well. You may not have private conversations with your children if he has access to them via their phones. The expense of going on your own will be minuscule compared to your peace of mind.

      It is suspicious that he would do you any favors at his point, unless he is getting something out of it for himself.

      • Autumnrambler22@yahoo.com on May 18, 2018 at 9:53 pm

        Oh, I so agree. He isn’t doing anything unless it benefits him in some way. I am stuck in a phone plan with spying too. It is a family plan under my work discount which. he pays and has the password. I can’t leave the group because it is a huge Verizon discount. So glad I don’t have an iPhone.

    • many years on May 19, 2018 at 1:51 am

      I think the cell phone ‘thing’ is just the tip of the ice berg with the narcissist. My husband texted me the other day, asking me if Verizon had sent me a text with a new password. He asked me to give him that password. And since I am a trusting soul (ha) I gave it to him. So, he texted back and said, Verison was saying they would not accept the password, as it was not appearing to come from my phone (because for years my cell phone number has been the one where the family plan account can be accessed). So, Verison sent my cell phone another password, to make sure it was ME. I obliged my husband and sent him that password. He has been the one to pay the cell phone bills for years. He has his own cell phone from work which his work pays for. You can call me naive if you want to, and I probably am. I have never called Verison, and maybe I should have, as I know that my husband shreds the bills after he pays them, to protect his own back, so I don’t see the numbers he has called. I have never looked at his cell phone as I know I would ‘catch hell’ if I did, and this goes back many years. And I know he has many numbers which are work-related, but many are women’s phone numbers, as he has told me as such, when we are on vacations together, he will say “Oh it’s Betty (fictious name to protect anyone else) from work.” He does the same thing on his computer when he is home, emailing other women.

      So what else should I expect from a man who has ‘walked the walk’ and ‘talked the talk’ of a Christian, and I am now finding out he is probably not saved. (See my blog post below as it explains what I am going through at the moment>)

      But yes, the mind-games the narcissist plays in order to ‘protect’ themselves for you finding out what their real life is all about.

      • many years on May 19, 2018 at 2:03 am

        My husband’s cell phone number did used to be on the Verison family plan. So any old numbers he does not want me to know about are still on a backlog of numbers from the past on his old cell phone number. AND, he still keeps one phone number active, which used to be one of our sons. So, there is a possibility that he may be using that cell phone for ‘secret’ phone calls.

        This is how the narcissist ‘gaslights’ and makes the abused person go crazy with mind-games.. So, for whatever reason, or if my husband was ‘spying’ on me to see what numbers I was calling, he needed the password. I as given no explanation from my husband, but now I am going to ask him why all the fuss.

        Thanks for your post, Rose, as this triggered the recent ‘interest’ my husband had in getting the latest password for ‘my’ Verison account.

        I think they will stop at nothing to cover their tracks. And then they lie about it, so what’s the use?

        • Aurora on May 19, 2018 at 8:44 am

          Verizon has a monthly plan for a flip phone specifically designed for women who need protection. I didn’t have to show any ID or validate my claims. I just said I needed protection and they provided it.

          My account was listed under Jane Doe, cost $33 a month with tax. I still kept my smart phone, but used my flip phone for calls about housing, lawyers, helplines and anything related to travel. Oh, and I always paid my phone bill with cash and did not take a receipt. I used this phone for close to two years as I safely prepared and implemented my escape plan.

          Another tip is to use a landline when possible. I kept our home landline because all local calls were not recorded. This led me to do everything local, my hairdresser, auto repair person, accountant, were all telephone numbers that my abuser could not review when we were separated.

          Another tip is to use a friend’s phone for any call you do not needed traced. If you have access to a landline at work that can be very helpful too.

          On the subject of bugging. I know a woman who regularly had her car checked for tracking devices. When she found the device she left in on briefly and went some really odd places. Then she had a friend remove the device and put in on a long distance truckers vehicle (with their permission of course). This made their abusive spouses’ head spin. HA!

          • Aly on May 20, 2018 at 4:30 pm

            Aurora,

            Wow! This made me laugh! Thanks for sharing and quite frankly I would have done something similar.
            Sometimes these destructive individuals need to taste their own dishing ~
            Maybe they will be impacted maybe they won’t.



        • Jolene on May 20, 2018 at 3:43 pm

          Many Years,

          Verizon has a FamilyLocator feature that can be added to a family account. My husband asked me for the password to my phone one day several years ago. I, of course, gave it to him thinking he needed to make a call. I was just in the next room, noticing that he didn’t make a call. He gave the phone back a few minutes later. Then, I got a message saying “Welcome to FamilyLocator…” He actually needed a code that was sent by text message to connect my phone to the account. He made no mention of this at all, and was obviously trying to do this in secret. I confronted him, and he told me he would cancel the service. For several months after, I would get text messages from FamilyLocator whenever I would leave the house alone. He never canceled. I ended up going on the website myself (in his name, so it took some detective work), and taking my number off. I noticed he had never added his number. The “family” locator was intended to only track ME.

          I believe you need an app these days to add the service, so you probably have nothing to be concerned about as far as the locator feature. But I will say that your husband needed that code for something, and two healthy adults should have full disclosure about a phone bill they share. Hope all is well.

          Aurora, thank you for the tip about the flip phone. That’s great to know. I had purchased one at Walmart some time ago for the same purpose. The landline information is helpful as well. Thank you.

          • Jolene on May 20, 2018 at 3:49 pm

            And Many Years, my husband also has a cell phone provided by work. It receives texts and calls at all hours. Sometimes he answers, sometimes he doesn’t. I wonder how many unfaithful partners have this convenience afforded to them by their employers.



          • Aurora on May 20, 2018 at 7:27 pm

            This discussion about cell phones has been extremely beneficial to me. I would like to see a blog addressed to ways to maintain privacy when your destructive partner violates the most sacred of boundaries and is a stalker.

            I would also like to add that cash is king. Cash is still the best way to keep what you do private from an abusive partner. Cash can be hidden and saved in many places. Sadly, our society seems to want to do away with cash (and checks too), yet we the abused, still need it for autonomy and freedom.

            Back to the landline phone, I also kept a fax machine. Although it is old school, it is still more private that texting, scanning and sending a document or email. As long as you destroy the the fax receipt that is printed, it is still very safe.



  14. FLGirl on May 18, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    What about a spouse with a personality disorder that is destructive to live with? No adultery, just day to day torment with indifference, lack of empathy or aggression. Up and down, I never know what side of the coin I will get. I have seen all facets. Sometimes he is fully repentant, going to counseling, reading the Bible, self-help books and then the bottom drops out and he gets disconnected and self-absorbed like living with a dead man. When I point out my needs or his behavior, he gets aggressive and defensive. I have seen this pattern hundreds of times in our 24 year marriage. Right now we are living in separate rooms and have put the house up for sale. I am praying for guidance day by day. I am not divorcing for financial/insurance reasons and because I know he will blame me to the kids. He already has tried to guilt me calling me a sinner for seeking divorce. So yes, there is emotional and spiritual abuse but also so called repentance. I know this is irreconcilable behavior but if he has a mental disorder do I still have grounds for divorce?

    • Free on May 18, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      It would seem that you should plan for a career and your own insurance even if you don’t think you are ready for that now. Without those things you are handcuffed to a lifetime of mental illness too.

      Many of the destructive marriages described on this site are due in large part to a partner with a mental illness or personality disorder.Yes, leave, you need protection from the destructive environment and so do you children.

      • Aly on May 18, 2018 at 10:45 pm

        Free,

        I agree to a point of what you are saying. I do think that the defining place lies in …..
        does the person with the issue willingly choose to get treatment or deny it all together?
        Often it is the ‘lack of treatment’ that ends the relationship verses the actual diagnosis, disorder, or developmental issue.

        Free, also I believe that it’s quite rampant via this site that many people marry a person that was unfortunately ‘not parented’ and it can look often like a disorder.
        Abuse is quite generational.

        • Free on May 19, 2018 at 2:28 am

          I’ve never heard the phrase “not parented.” The term I am more familiar with “parenting failures.” Everyone has parents, it is just that many of them can be bad parents. Once we are adults I don’t buy any of the “bad patent” excuses. As adults we have choice and with it comes the responsibility to own are own bad behavior and do something snout it.

          • Free on May 19, 2018 at 2:30 am

            Correction.. about it not snout it. Although snout is funny in it’s own way.



          • Aly on May 19, 2018 at 10:18 am

            Free,
            I like your term too! Maybe you misunderstood me but I wasn’t trying to show an excuse but more of factual developmental delays due to lack of parenting.

            And yes you are correct about when we become adults we have a choice to own our bad behavior or continue on, often though those in that state… take interventions to see what is bad and what is good.

            I’m certainly also not saying it’s all a parenting thing but parenting is a big factor and we as Christians are called to a huge privilege of raising our children up unto the Lord, knowing them as best as we can discover them and parenting them from that unique place.

            When you said, “everyone has parents”,
            From my understanding this is not always true, many have physical parents but absent in many other critical ways.

            Many parents I come across are checked out completely and are more concerned about their own day to day lives than the responsibility of parenting.
            A lot goes into this.

            My husband has often thanked me for reminding him that ‘parenting’ isn’t always convenient or simple or ice-cream & lollipops, nor are we parenting forever ~ it’s a season but an important one.

            For us, our goal is to raise Godly spouses and parents that will bring glory. We never want our future children’s spouses to take the responsibility of parenting our own ‘adult children’ because we were not willing to or found it difficult.
            Parenting is critical for a child to be loved and cared for.

            As parents; in the early years we represent whether God is safe and a loving God or not to a Child. It will affect their relationship with the Lord in positive or negative ways and certainly can stunt a lot of growth.



          • Nancy on May 19, 2018 at 12:42 pm

            This is well said, Aly. And that ‘stunted growth’ that you refer to at the very end of your comment can very easily be mis-labeled.



          • Helen on May 24, 2018 at 11:12 am

            However, just b/c we turn 18 does not mean we see the effects of our bad parenting done to us. We tend to repeat the generational curse, experience loss until we just can’t take it anymore; then we turn to get help. Some never get it.



        • Maria on May 19, 2018 at 7:54 am

          Free,
          Another reason for destructive marriages is because of spouses who are selfish and control the other to get their way. They want what they want and will do anything to get it. They love power. These spouses neither have personality disorders nor are they mentally ill. It seems the culture is trending this way. It is evident in corporate America. Some people will do anything for power and control.

          • Aurora on May 19, 2018 at 8:47 am

            Yes, Maria. I think the best label for the people you are describing is EVIL.



        • Nancy on May 19, 2018 at 9:18 am

          Aly, Free,

          This is why I love Leslie’s approach – she does not use labels.

          The steps she suggests taking are dependant on my level of health and willingness to change – not my spouse’s.

          My spouse’s responses to those action steps will reveal his willingness to change. This is where Aly, what you said about the ‘lack of treatment’ that determines the end of the relationship, not the actual diagnosis. Yes! I would put it another way it is the spouses WILLINGNESS to change that is key.

          In the example of this blog post, it is abusive on the part of the wife, not because she has sexual brokenness, not even her level, or degree of brokenness, it is her UNWILLINGNESS to ‘go there’, even verbally, that makes it abusive.

          And so what you said, Free about “as adults we have a choice and with it comes the responsibility to own our own behaviour and do something about it” This is the key. Labelling someone with ‘mental illness’ or ‘personality disorder’ is counter productive to discovering their willingness.

          • Aly on May 19, 2018 at 10:36 am

            Nancy,

            This comment is really good and can be impacting to some.
            You wrote:
            “The steps she suggests taking are dependant on my level of health and willingness to change – not my spouse’s.”

            I agree! Here what I’m wondering??
            What does one hear ‘on this site or reading Leslie’s books when they hear ‘they maybe need to change or shift’?

            I ask because change can mean a lot of things and I can remember hearing the word change ~ like I needed to accommodate more and more and give more and more. Almost like the word ‘change’ put me in a inferior place and often I did that growing up. This type of change only created more of the destructive dynamic in my marriage.

            So I guess I’m wondering what people hear when they hear ‘the level and willingness to change’ and what change are they thinking of?

            When change is dependent on us as individuals it gives back the healthy power we need to become the individuals that can offer the healthiest relationships.

            Obviously, this doesn’t happen over-night.



          • Nancy on May 19, 2018 at 12:39 pm

            I hear what you are saying, Aly.

            Change. What does this mean? Here’s one definition ( I just looked it up)- to make, or become different.

            I suppose in it’s deepest sense, it is about allowing Christ to change ( transform in a deep way) our thinking. Not continuing to think in the same old patterns.

            Going from:

            I must submit more, accommodate more, give up more of my personhood in order to be more Godly

            To:

            I will allow The Lord to guide me in showing me how to no longer give up my personhood, but instead to ‘shore up’ my personhood. This is my new definition of what it is to be Godly.

            And so I agree, the word change can be interpreted through the same old thinking framework as before, OR we ask The Lord to change the very framework of our thinking.



          • Nancy on May 19, 2018 at 12:52 pm

            Incidentally, clinging to Prov 4:23 is what The Lord used to change my old thinking pattern about love. Clinging to that also helped me to begin taking action in loving differently than I had ever done before.

            It took me from:

            Loving others means giving my personhood away

            To

            Loving others begins with self-care, and loving action toward another ( even prayer) comes out of an in-tact heart.



    • Aly on May 18, 2018 at 11:00 pm

      FLGirl,

      Has he been diagnosed? Is medicatiom being used?
      You describe some extreme unknowns and lows!

      I would consider the lows a place of abandonment and neglect to the marriage covenant. To neglect is to abuse and to mishandle what’s been entrusted to you. A sacred covenant in marriage.

      Your specifics on when you point out your needs or his behavior is key to a cycle ~
      Have you offered boundaries and or requirements for living in the same home?

      Thinking out loud here .., if your in counseling ~ something that does help a defensive person:
      ‘What do you hear in your head when I describe what my needs are husband?”
      Often the behavior is reactive because they can’t hold it and have little coping skills. Sometimes they hear ‘failure’ or lack of acceptance too. This to me, makes me think it’s a heart issue over a disorder.
      It’s amazing what the defended insecure brain goes through!
      When they truly receive Christ’s love ~ you see a different posture to deal.

    • Aly on May 19, 2018 at 10:51 am

      FLGirl,

      Just want to go back to your post. When you said that he is calling you a sinner for divorce. That aligns well with his reasoning levels you describe… pretty immature ‘really’.
      I realize you are not divorcing right now for other reasons.

      Since you have been on the crazy train for years of inconsistency, what about exposing this clearly.
      It’s hard to have ‘a marriage’ with someone who is duplicit.

      You said there is emotional and spiritual abuse but also SO called repentence.
      What about exposing this too,
      Your repentence husband isn’t congruent with your behavior and something is quite off with your repentence? It’s confusing and unsafe husband?

      Also FLGirl a lot of what you describe sounds like he’s battling addiction too? Is he in counseling and any treatment for addictions?

      It’s my understanding that often addicts don’t want divorce they want both their worlds, the marriage that offers them something an the freedom to also not act like a marital partner. This isn’t how God has designed marriage or has redeemed marriage, but often individuals like your husband as you describe want to Define their own marriage dynamic accordingly to their level of maturity and flesh.

      • FLGirl on May 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm

        Aly,

        My husband at my insistence has been to counselors (which he often changes) and psychiatrists. He was diagnosed with ADHD and general anxiety or bipolar II. He is on medication. Neither of these conditions makes one mean, defensive, manipulative, controlling, indifferent or apathetic. I truly believe he has a cluster B disorder such as Narcissism and/or Borderline. He can be very needy and clingy to the point of exhaustion and I have managed his emotional, physical and spiritual well being. His arrogance, also is a huge problem. I have felt inferior and less than in so many ways as he needed to be #1 and the center of attention. He is bossy too. So on one end he is passive and needy and the other domineering and scolding like a mean parent. If he is addicted to anything, it is himself and work. He has taken over the counter medications for years that have knocked him out so that he was never present.

        You are correct in that I have been emotionally neglected and abandoned. It has worn a hole in my soul from the chronic loneliness and coldness/lack of empathy. Then I have exposed the inconsistencies and he reacts in anger. He seeks help but just can’t consistently have an emotionally stable, healthy connection and I have indeed concluded that he is unsafe to love.

        • Aly on May 20, 2018 at 5:04 pm

          FLGirl,
          Wow! Ok that’s a lot.
          I’m so so sorry.

          How are you receiving love and what community or support outside of ‘him’ do you have that is consistent and dependable for you?

          You seem to have a pretty good scope of what you describe and that’s a lot of investment and homework to understand your circumstances.
          I can relate to a lot of what you have been victimized by, it’s traumatic!
          The trauma doesn’t care if there is a diagnosis or cluster B personality etc. it’s the outcome of the behavior regardless of the person doing the harm.

          Here are some things that come to mind and things I can relate to in my husband’s own recovery too..
          The person with gen anxiety/ ADHD or bipolar II, should not be in the drivers seat.
          That person doesn’t get to be the only decider to change counselors as you said he does often.
          This can lead to less accountability overall in my opinion and usually sabatoges all of the invested work.

          His diagnosis in my opinion omits him from many critical decisions of his recovery because his recovery is directly related to the well being and safety of you and your family.
          I’m speaking from the point of Him having a diagnosis and needing attentive treatment for the things you experience in your relationship.

          You said he is on medication and often these things are necessary but are you sure he is continuing consistently taking the medication also sometimes the body can build up a level of tolerance to specific medication and that’s why having an ongoing psychiatrist is essential too.

          You said you believe that his diagnosis’s would NOT make him, mean indifferent, defensive etc..
          have you discussed this with your counselor because I would and have experienced it differently.
          Now I agree with you that those behaviors align more with Cluster B and NArc issues and often those fall on a spectrum. A person with gen anxiety/ ADHD bipolar ll can also have in addition to those issues have many traits that look identical to Cluster B.

          I’m only labeling here for simplistic reasons, my heart really doesn’t want to label here.

          At the end of your post you said he seeks help, but he can’t have an emotionally stable healthy connection? Connection with who he seeks helps with?
          I’m confused.
          I would agree with you fully he is unsafe as a marital partner for you right now and maybe ever, but he will probably need strong requirements that take him ‘out’ of the drivers seat in his recovery path.

          You as the receiver ‘wife’ unfortunately have to be very close to the process to inform the counselor and psychiatrist what the ‘real behavior’ that’s happening is.
          That is, if you plan to stay involved in this marriage?

          To love, might mean to put a healthy boundary around yourself and firm requirements (there would be plenty) that you could invite him into and let him ultimately determine the marital outcome.

          You have the necessary willingness and capacity to be a partner but their might be other things necessary for him to face to obtain those partner necessities.

          I’m sorry this was so long, ugh 😔

          • FLGirl on May 20, 2018 at 6:13 pm

            Aly,
            I do not have the support I need right now and recognize how much I need it. I am working on it although it is difficult finding nonjudmental folks at church or family, etc. I have found that most people who have not walked this really don’t get it.

            To clarify, he cannot have a sustainable, consistent emotional connection with me (or anyone). I have been left feeling exhausted and alone. Yes, he has sabotaged progress by changing therapists, accountability partners, etc. He is just so very immature and unstable that I am unable (like a switch has shut off) to give him one more chance and invest in his mental and emotional health.



          • Aly on May 20, 2018 at 8:37 pm

            FLGirl,

            Your right in that its so hard to find the support needed for what you have been through and going through.
            Most times family and people in church are quite unwilling to ‘do messy’ so it’s hard to get the care you will need and certainly deserve for your own well being an healing.

            It’s hard to find those few safe people ~ who can ‘get it’ and you feel secure that they do.
            I’m sorry for this, it shouldn’t be this way.
            This can add to the feelings of abandonment I would think?
            But please know their ignorance or lack of understanding or willingness is about ‘them’ not about you or what you have been SURVIVING with!

            I found that getting the necessary care first for ‘what I needed’ helped me greatly to navigate the waters so to speak.
            Because it’s exhausting trying harder ~ when one ‘is depleted’ themselves. It’s futile really.

            One thought and hopefully you hear this as ‘I do care’:
            Get what you need first and foremost for your self care and then make further decisions necessary to keep that selfcare pouring in.
            The self care is necessary regardless of what the marital outcome is.

            Hugs!
            Stay safe and stay sane💜



    • Helen on May 20, 2018 at 7:19 am

      Sounds like this is what they mean by emotional abuse also being adultery–a breaking of the covenant. We promise to love each other, but at times our actions are not loving our spouse.

      • Aly on May 20, 2018 at 5:14 pm

        Helen,
        I believe there are many forms of breaking covenant.
        When you said ‘at times’ our actions are not loving toward our spouse.
        Of course, we all can be guilty for this. But the big difference is in the ‘at times’ and if it’s a consistent ongoing pattern that never quite gets rooted up!

        It’s usually a cycle, not an occasional ‘human’ failure of not being the kind of spouse we want to be all the time.

        There is usually somewhat of a predictable reactivity pattern by an abusive mindset. Especially an abusive mindset that hasn’t been treated or has no willingness to look at what’s broken.

  15. Helen on May 20, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Question ladies for anyone: when you expose someone’s issues—does that mean just to the person or in front of the person and a witness?

    • Free on May 21, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      I am not sure Helen. I chose to expose issues to the domestic violence shelter worker, a lawyer, the judge and two close friends. Any attempt to speak truth to my abusive spouse was just decades of futility, despite counseling from multiple professionals and clergy. All the attempts never lasted and was not exposed because of his master manipulation skills.

      Today, I still don’t expose. It is a waste of my time. His actions speak for themselves. In addition, so few people “get it.” Most people think we are nuts for staying in such a relationship.

      So, I don’t tell people. I just jumped right into the good life.

    • Free on May 21, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      I am not sure Helen. I chose to expose issues to the domestic violence shelter worker, a lawyer, the judge and two close friends. Any attempt to speak truth to my abusive spouse was just decades of futility, despite counseling from multiple professionals and clergy. All the attempts never lasted and was not exposed because of his master manipulation skills.

      Today, I still don’t expose him. It is a waste of my time. His actions speak for themselves. In addition, so few people “get it.” Most people think we are nuts for staying in such a relationship.

      So, I don’t tell people. I just jumped right into the good life.

    • Nancy on May 22, 2018 at 7:20 am

      HI Helen,

      It will depend on who you are dealing with.

      In my case, persistence was key in exposing my h. This was a daily thing, just between us.

      In his case, he was caught in such a pattern of telling lies that my persistent voice- by saying things like, “I’m confused, you said….but you haven’t done it” or “I’m puzzled because yesterday you said…,and just now I heard you say….”- was enough to expose his inconsistencies. He couldn’t get away with telling himself the lies, anymore.

      It turns out my h was not a true NARC, but the only way I found that out was by walking in CORE strength and watching his responses to my boundaries and requirements.

      • Helen on May 23, 2018 at 10:20 pm

        Free, thanks, that last bit was funny!! Nancy–so is your h better now, are you still together. How did things change?

        • Nancy on May 25, 2018 at 11:13 am

          Hi Helen,

          Here’s the overview of our transformation:

          I reached a Breaking point where The Lord showed me that I had idolized our marriage. He showed me that I alternated between wanting the marriage to save me, and my h to save me. I was heartbroken by this.

          Through my ‘focus on the family’ counsellor, I was introduced to Leslie’s EDM book.

          I did a lot of praying about what the root issues were that I needed my h to take responsibility for, and wrote him a letter (that my counsellor gave me feedback on). I asked two Godly couples to pray for us both and had a couple of ‘real-time’ friends that I could honestly confide in ( and vent to!). This blog was such great support throughout (as well as Patrick Doyle videos)

          After three weeks of waiting for The Lord to show me the timing of the confrontation ( during which time I practiced -out loud – what I would say to my h). We went out to dinner where I said my piece and then gave him the written letter ( that said the same thing).

          I told him I would not discuss our relationship, or be at all physically or emotionally involved with him ( in-house separation). ( there were also requirements for him – all of it done prayerfully according to Leslie’s EDM)

          9 months of living together, raising our kids ( as friends) but no discussion about ‘us’. He often tried to violate that boundary – I’d get up and leave the room. He entered into counselling and and accountability group soon after I confronted him.

          He came to me and admitted that he had idolized the marriage and was willing to join me in allowing our marriage to die. This was sad and sobering, and also so full of hope. Together, we decided to ask other trustworthy couples to pray for our marriage. ( this was key because up until then, very few people knew that we were in trouble. The act of deciding to tell our friends was a breaking of our ‘keeping up appearances’ habit.)

          We started couples counsenelling a year and a half ago, not to re-build, but to allow The Lord to make completely new.

          We have a new marriage. It is not without lots of work and ‘putting off’ of old habits. But God has been so faithful.

          None of this happened by human effort. It is ALL by the Grace of God !

          • Helen on May 26, 2018 at 8:45 pm

            Wow Nancy, this is awesome. Thank you for sharing with me!



  16. Rosanne on May 21, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    I was so glad to see this last week. Thank you Leslie for helping me and helping so many others see the truth…we don’t have to live this way and the church should be protecting not covering up. People are wrestling with us.

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/hidden-epidemic-god-hates/

  17. Matthew on May 23, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I guess the most important question from reading your post is do you view the marriage covenant as a “conditional covenant” or an “unconditional covenant” of agape, self-sacrificing love? Certainly, in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was under a conditional covenant and “IF” they followed certain laws, God would remain with them, but if they did NOT follow those laws, He would forsake them. But did anything change at the cross? Did we not get a “new heart” in the New Covenant and is not our marriage covenant to be a reflection of God’s unconditional covenant with His bride – the church? Or do you also believe that someone can lose their salvation? Just curious. I agree that this is not an easy subject and it is heavily charged emotionally with many nuances. I just believe that the view of the covenant is wrong, in my opinion, based on what I see in the Word. Thx.

    • Free on May 24, 2018 at 3:44 am

      Thank you for writing Mathew. I am sorry, but what exactly is your point? I can’t discern what conclusion you are trying to draw.

    • Aly on May 26, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Matthew,

      You wrote or asked:
      “Did we not get a “new heart” in the New Covenant and is not our marriage covenant to be a reflection of God’s unconditional covenant with His bride – the church?”

      Those ‘with a new heart reap the new covenant that you say is unconditional’. We must receive the new heart;) and what we possess we can offer to our spouse mutually.
      I think this issue and problems lie in the ‘true receiving’ of the new heart.

      Many say they have salvation, which many might, but not all have a posture of working out salvation in a sanctification process of growing into what God is transforming.
      Some people are more interested in living their life the way they want and making sure they have eternal life as a gift from Jesus.

      It’s ‘our response’ to understanding the gift that we have received which usually shows up in our behavior and character.

      Matthew what has accepting Christ’s gift cost you?

      • Aly on May 26, 2018 at 2:46 pm

        Matthew,

        Sometimes in marriages ~ only one party has received the
        ‘New heart’ you speak about.

        This can be a very serious issue to be considered a picture of Christ with an unrepentant spouse continuing in their path.

  18. Jamie on May 23, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    I am a male on this board for the first time; my wife has Leslie’s Book about The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. On April 20th, 2018 my wife read me a letter stating she was no longer going to live in this marriage, she’s done the math and can take care of the boys. She then asked if I was going to make changes. I had no idea I was emotionally or verbally abusive, none, until this date. Her therapist “diagnosed” me with this and then came the letter. I knew my humor was not well tolerated but abusive was something that did not cross my mind of course.

    My wife knew it was not intentional and that she contributed by not speaking up.

    Since April 20th I have been in counseling (licensed, board certified) since May. I have up to 20, one hour sessions if needed that my denomination pays for.

    Question; are you advocating that it is biblical to divorce me if I was not aware of the abusive nature until April 20th at which time I repented, asked for forgiveness and have worked toward reconciliation? On May 17th my wife asked for a four month separation. We have two boys, 12 and 2. I had to speak to my 12 year old and I took FULL responsibility of my actions, even though I’m not aware of them all entirely.

    I’m concerned that my wife is being encouraged to seek divorce and not reconciliation through this book. I know I sound like a mean husband but honest to God I had no idea of the severity until April 20th, owned up to the behavior and have gone to counseling.

    Knowing all of this do you still encourage divorce or is the hope for reconciliation??

    • Free on May 24, 2018 at 3:59 am

      Jamie, wecome to the discussion. Have you read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does he do That?” To my knowledge his wirk, which comes from decades of working with abusive men is the most definitive resource available at this time. I suggest you read it and see if you really fit any of the descriptions.

      Another authority, who is a Christian counselor, is Patrick Doyle. He has various video teachings on u-tube.

      The most common coping mechanisms for abusive men are denial and blame shifting. I don’t know enough about you to know if this is what you are struggling with in your situation.

      You seem to be asking about divorce and you wife’s requests. What do you see as her motivation for her actions?

      • Jamie on May 24, 2018 at 7:48 am

        I will say this; I take full responsibility for my actions. I had no idea that I was being abusive for the entire 17 year marriage until she read me a letter in mid April; she had been going to counseling and her counselor gave her materials on Leslie Vernicks view of abusive relationships. It was at that time she found her voice and began going down this road. A few months ago she had hope that this marriage could grow stronger through this season to now needing a four month separation.

        I don’t know her motives; all I know is that she says she needs to heal and to think over all of this. We have two boys, 12 and 2 and she continues to tell the 12 year old that each day is a day closer to the end of the four months.

        The separation is now a week old so emotions are really, really raw for both of us. I felt “blindsided” by the letter in April and now the separation; leaving me to have my mouth hanging open as to what just happened. I had no idea that she felt abused, none. I knew our marriage was strained due to finances, ministry doors not opening, joy layoffs etc…but no idea she felt abused. I mean we just had a child two years ago, why have a child if you feel this way?

        I am assuming she still wants the marriage to work or she would just be done unless there are other motives to this separation.

        I asked her to forgive me of my sins, I have been in therapy for a month now and will continue to go and work on my issues. Leslie seems to believe or at least state that reconciliation is the goal and IF the spouse who is the abuser is receptive, repentant, etc…then we should seek restoration of the marriage. My concern is that Leslie is giving women an out that I don’t see biblical grounds for; not negating my actions or minimizing my wife’s pain. As my wife said, this was NOT intentional but just behavioral.

        So, not tooting my own horn but I am working on my stuff, admitted my behavior and have willingly moved out to give her the space she needs…

        • Aly on May 24, 2018 at 8:25 am

          Jamie,

          Your story is painful but also hopeful from my perspective, especially if your willingness to address the core issues stays in a motivated and heart changing place!

          There are a few concerns you have said about Leslie’s ministry and books that I will expand on later.

          I think Acknowledging your behavioral abusive ways is an essential part that your wife has gotten your attention on. Recovery begins usually after this point and it’s a longer process than many of us want to face. Ingrained attitudes take time to re-wire.

          It’s hard to comment on much without more details of what you see in your behavior and what you want to change.

          My husband was at one point in time, very ignorant at his abuse posture and tactics to control and manipulate. But this was what he only had in his tool box to cope with all sorts of feelings, insecurities and stress. I certainly love my husband and I married a lot of history with him but it was his part to look at his own ‘junk’ and immaturity really. He was willing to do the hard work necessary, regardless if the marriage would be redeemed. The marriage was not longer the idol. Repairing the damage done and becoming a man after God’s heart was his posture.

          He got help and continues to get help as he needs based on his recovery. He has worked hard at growing emotionally and spiritually. You can’t be spiritually mature and emotionally immature~ something is amiss.

          Our relationships with our spouse is one of the most sacred, precious relationships that we will ever get to have with another human being. God designed marriage to be a mutual loving supportive union for many reasons, but one fundamental reason is to; Glorify God.

          Your wife is your help ‘meet’/ ‘ezer’, I don’t know enough about your situation to comment on separation etc. but for my situation separation was on the table if my husband was going to continue in his behavior.

          To abuse: is to misuse your role or power in a relationship!

          My husband had a deep core issue with respect, authority and really a God issue that he continued to put upon me. The abuse was a symptom really of his intimacy issues with God that he needed to face and align appropriately.

          Leslie’s ministry is for marriages to be redeemed from these types of dynamics but both parties must do their ‘own work’.

          I’m assuming from your wife’s separation request and your behavior issues that ‘trust’ is one of the main reasons the covenant is broken in places? I could be wrong but it’s hard to trust a spouse who has tendencies to tear down another ~ or not be a safe partner.
          Even if it’s unintentionally.

          Being unintentional doesn’t omit responsibility, and you seem to be taking ‘some’ of the steps forward to reconciliation.
          Reconciliation takes time and a lot of discovery about the individuals and the marital dynamic.

          As far as the topic and focus on biblical grounds for divorce, I’m not sure your there yet? It’s seem misapplied to the issue with the condition of your marriage.

          Counseling is essential but so will be other Godly mature mentors for you to be lead with.

          How might you define being a Godly man and father and what are the behaviors that align with that?

        • Aly on May 24, 2018 at 8:45 am

          Jamie,

          You wrote:
          “IF the spouse who is the abuser is receptive, repentant, etc…then we should seek restoration of the marriage.”

          Yes this I believe to be true, but often it’s not a quick fix because of the pain or fear of separation.

          You wrote:
          “My concern is that Leslie is giving women an out that I don’t see biblical grounds for; not negating my actions or minimizing my wife’s pain. As my wife said, this was NOT intentional but just behavioral.”

          What do you mean by an out?

          Also given your predictament, your concern seems to be focusing on the wrong thing at hand. Focus on your issues, your wife’s heart~ who needs healing and your intentional steps in growing into a safe partner.

          Repentence isn’t just a one stop thing, it’s also acknowledging that behavior has done further damage. Trust isn’t given in these places it is earned.

          There are core reasons why ‘you do what you do’ or why you have responded the way you have.
          Same with your wife especially if she has been fearful to challenge you in your marriage on how your behavior impacts her and how she experiences you.

          One question about you: Do you look at other ‘men’ worldly and even Godly professing around you to decide your standard of behavior?
          Or do you look to God to help develop you into His standard of what a Godly husband and father live out?

          When you marry, God has entrusted you to care for your wife’s heart. It’s very difficult to care in this role if you are unavailable. Unavailability can come in any forms and usually there are deeper reasons for that.

          • Jamie on May 24, 2018 at 9:00 am

            I’m going to reply to both of your posts in this one as best as I can.

            I have to admit that I am not full there yet as I am still defensive to some degree; fully repentant, yes. Broken, yes. But, I still feel defensive to some degree because I never knew of any abuse until April 20th when the letter was read; then I was asked if I would make changes and I have been but now she wants separation for four months. So, I guess I feel frustrated that as I am making steps forward the marriage seems to be going backward and that’s not in my control.

            She is in control right now and calling the shots. The letter and perhaps separation are all counseling strategies. I willingly left home to give her the space she needs. I did that because I love her even though it’s very painful to not be home.

            Your husband and I seem to have similar issues.

            My father told me that my mom said the same thing about him as my wife said about me. The letter was read to me by my wife on April 20th; on April 23rd my dad revealed this to me. I see those both as being divine moments where God is bringing things to the surface to deal with. So, I see all of that as hope.

            I have a sarcastic sense of humor that has been addressed but never to this level. Guys don’t always hear what their wives say but I of course do now. I have also been controlling and manipulative. Those two behaviors are ones I don’t know that I am doing so therapy will have to do it’s work on me.

            I do agree that my focus has to be on ME (unselfishly) and not the marriage. The marriage is my idol right now and I know you can understand that.

            Right now; the consensus for me and the advice given is to stop obsessing, manipulating, etc…and just focus on the Lord and let him take care of the rest.

            I don’t know if you believe in God moments but I had one on Sunday; I stepped into my car and the KLOVE radio station was on; the speaker said, “there is hope, stop trying too hard, God’s got this.” I wept. I didn’t seek a sign but I believe God spoke.



          • Aly on May 24, 2018 at 9:14 am

            Jamie,

            I appreciate your response and the things you can look at. Control looks to be a part of the root of this. Maybe you are willing to work deeper on that in counseling?

            As a wife who has been down a similar path, I will share with you something important.

            These patterns and family of origin cycles are not all that inventive.

            Your words about God taking over is not the kind of God issue I’m talking about.
            Be careful to not be a ‘less responsive’ person and put it upon God.
            God needs you to work ‘WITH HIm’ to grow your character.

            What do you think your sarcasm is about?

            My husband had that too, but he did the work to really find the answer for why he often felt ‘safe’ doing that.
            There is a lot of immaturity in sarcasm and it basically ‘avoids’ real relationship.

            Men (sometimes women too) in our world are usually pretty well skilled at this as if it’s their mother-tongue. Banter is the level of connection and it destroys real relationship from forming.



        • Aly on May 24, 2018 at 9:00 am

          Jamie,
          I just want you to know that your willingness to admit the issues and take full responsibility is key!

          You wrote:
          “I will say this; I take full responsibility for my actions. I had no idea that I was being abusive for the entire 17 year marriage until she read me a letter in mid April; ”

          I want you to know that often those that abuse~ have no idea they abuse because it’s a mindset, a normal way of functioning in relationship.
          This is common and also of some hope, but only what you do in your ‘time’ will show the fruits of your repentence.

          An abusive mindset is usually quite groved in to a way of looking at things.
          Often in these types of marriages the abusive person mindset is the superior role and thinks superiorly ‘naturally’!

          This isn’t just a male vs female thing. There are critical areas that define this one-sided relationship. There are also patterns in there too!

          • Jamie on May 24, 2018 at 9:23 am

            In my first counseling session two weeks ago we dug deep into my childhood. It was uncovered that I have abandonment issues; my dad was “unavailable” because he worked so much and he was never a spiritual mentor to me. I viewed God this way. My mom died. I had broken hearts, etc…

            My therapist took me through a powerful exercise that broke something in me; three times he asked me to close my eyes and tell him how I see God. The first time I saw him as I saw my earthly father; closed arms and unavailable. The second time he asked me to tell him how I see him and he is supposed to be seen; I stood between two versions of God; the unavailable one and the available one. Finally, he asked me to view God how is to be seen and to tell him what I need. Well, I saw myself in his lap and I began to bawl; I felt the pain that my wife endured and I begged God to forgive me (again) and I cried out for help in our marriage to be restored.

            So, I will dig deeper into the control issues next week.



          • Aly on May 24, 2018 at 10:06 am

            Jamie,

            I’m really sorry for your loss and those early experiences.

            Your counselor is taking you on a life changing journey and based on your participation you will reap those benefits in your spiritual journey.

            You said some others things about your wife now having all the control,

            I hope you hear this with a sensitive heart.
            My husband has to often write down these thoughts and really analyze them. This helped him tremendously.
            To me, your wife does not have all the control (and no healthy marriage would desire that).
            What she does have is healthy proportional control, she has what she needs to feel safe and do her own work.

            So please be careful what thoughts you allow yourself to believe.
            This really helped my husband because he often wanted to make me ‘his enemy’ when in reality I was his best friend fighting for his heart while at the same time needing to protect my own.

            A healthier thought might be,
            “My wife now has the control necessary for us to have a healthier dynamic.”
            Or, ” My wife has taken back her amount of healthy control in the marriage.”

            A mutual healthy loving marriage has a balance of mutual control and power.

            ‘It feels’ like she has the control right now because for many years it has been lopsided I would imagine.
            But it’s important to analyze and ponder these deeper things, mutual control is a good place.
            Looking at only one person having control will inevitably lead to a dysfunctional relationship.

            I wonder if you have been wired to see it only one way and not a mutual way?
            There can be two with equal control and equal importance.

            Note:
            *The control issue can get complicated is you have any addictions playing a correlating role.

            Hopefully you will also be able to do your homework here with a professional and they will help you.

            I would recommend taking a lot of notes in your process.
            This greatly helped my husband see and process information he would have preferred to bypass.



        • Free on May 24, 2018 at 1:29 pm

          Jamie, What is your stuff? What have you identified as your abusive behaviors?

    • Terry on May 24, 2018 at 4:35 am

      Jamie, it seems you were taken completely by surprise by your wife’s request. Can you describe for us some of your behaviors which you see as problematic? You can’t take full responsibility for something you can not define.

      Also, could you tell us more about your situation?

      Reviewing a standard power and control wheel may help you discern if her claims are accurate or inaccurate.

      • Terry on May 24, 2018 at 4:38 am

        http://www.duluthmodel.org

        Site for power and control wheel

      • Jamie on May 25, 2018 at 9:34 am

        Terry and Free,

        Responding to you both in this one here…

        My behaviors…

        I have a sarcastic, dry sense of humor. I can tend to poke fun out of “love” and not out of malicious intent.

        Example; my wife has been trying to lose weight for a long time. One time she asked my son to get something out of the fridge and he said, “but mom you said you were not eating after dinner and trying to lose weight.” She said that was not a nice comment. My wife believes that I am a bad example for my sons; 12 and 2. I saw nothing wrong with my son making that comment which I thought was considerate. So, IF that comment was NOT then I have much work to do; I do even if that comment WAS nice.

        I love my wife but I have not been at being there for her emotionally or verbally affirming. I know I sound like a monster and I feel like one but I’m still trying to understand my abusive behavior. So, while I am aware of my humor I am not fully aware of all of the comments that I have made. So, I am relying upon the Lord to work this out in me and also in therapy. I don’t know if that answers your questions?

        I have come home a lot over the years unhappy with my place in life, I’ve had unrealistic expectations of my wife and in life in general. I have taken her for granted. I have not valued, loved or respected her as the wife that she is to me.

        Yes, I was taken by surprise by her feeling abused for the duration of the marriage. I was aware of my humor, yes, but never to the extent of it being abuse. Yes, I was somewhat taken by surprise by the separation request. I say somewhat because for two months I could tell she did not want to be around me since we were still living together.

        I have watched her move backwards as I have moved forward. She went from hopeful to hopeless so I don’t know what that is all about. I believe she has outside voices giving her advice that is not biblical.

        As she is seeking God during this season of needing space I have to trust him to speak to her as well. I believe this marriage is God’s will; I do not see any grounds for divorce. I recognize and am still recognizing my behavior, have repented, am still searching, asking God to search my heart, going to counseling and giving her the space she has requested. I’m not tooting my own horn but I’ve made the proper, biblical steps towards reconciliation, so far.

        • Seeing The Light on May 25, 2018 at 12:10 pm

          Jamie, sheep, and others,

          “My behaviors…

          I have a sarcastic, dry sense of humor. I can tend to poke fun out of “love” and not out of malicious intent.

          Example; my wife has been trying to lose weight for a long time. One time she asked my son to get something out of the fridge and he said, “but mom you said you were not eating after dinner and trying to lose weight.” She said that was not a nice comment. My wife believes that I am a bad example for my sons; 12 and 2. I saw nothing wrong with my son making that comment which I thought was considerate. So, IF that comment was NOT then I have much work to do; I do even if that comment WAS nice.”

          This is not a very helpful example. A comment like that from your son to his mother could be taken in different ways depending on the tone of their relationship, that day, and the particular tone in which he delivered it. (I have three kids, all older than 12 and can tell you that a direct quote of these words spoken by him is leaving much out of the context). More to the point, why are you not giving an example of something YOU have said? Not something ambiguous – something clearly sarcastic and hurtful – not the weakest example that comes to mind, rather the strongest. You say you are recognizing YOUR hurtful actions. I get that you connected this to how she says that you are a bad example for your sons, but how about something without another party involved – just you and her.

          “I have a sarcastic, dry sense of humor. I can tend to poke fun out of ‘love’ and not out of malicious intent.” and “I was aware of my humor, yes, but never to the extent of it being abuse.” I think you need to quit relying on one of her major issues as being your “sense of humor”. Are you aware that often sarcastic humor is actually hostility in disguise and can be related to bullying? What if you thought about the words that came out of your mouth directed at her? Were you insulting, degrading, hurting and calling it humor so you could get away with it? (Sarcastic humor is not lost on me, by the way. The best example I can think of is the television show, “House M.D.” I have seen some of those and find the biting sarcasm very funny, but it’s FICTION. I do not want that in my relationships. A real relationship could never survive with that kind of dialogue. Interestingly enough, even on the show, the other characters are often pointing out that he is using it to avoid real relationship and keep people at a distance. Like I said, it’s fiction, but the writers of the show get it and art often imitates life). Sarcasm in intimate relationship – especially husband and wife – is toxic. What does it even mean to poke fun out of “love”? (I’m glad you put the “love” in quotes). There has been plenty of humor in our home, including from me, and it’s not that hard to tell when humor goes too far – a facial expression changes, countenance falls, posture shifts, the hurt party gets more quiet – and an immediate apology and seeking of forgiveness is required. If the person is too hurt, the offender might need to be patient and stew in his or her own well-deserved juices until the hurt party is ready to receive the apology. Your wife is right, by the way, about your sons picking it up. They will have a tendency to imitate this characteristic of yours.

          Yesterday I read sheep’s comment of May 24, 2018 at 12:35 pm. I wanted to put a comment with a big AMEN! and a few words in addition. I held off because your response to him seemed humble and like a light had gone on when you heard him. I did not want to put any more pressure on you. sheep, your comment was so wise and well-put. Jamie, you would do well to go back and read it again, perhaps more than once until you really truly understand.

          “I have watched her move backwards as I have moved forward. She went from hopeful to hopeless so I don’t know what that is all about.” I get it. I can see why she is moving from hopeful to hopeless. She may have thought you were going to truly understand, but she is now probably sensing your rush to get this thing fixed. You’ve checked off the things on the list. You’re “doing the work” and expecting to fast forward to the reconciliation that won’t come until the work is a lot closer to done. This is going to be a long process. You will need to prepare yourself to suffer the pain that comes with conviction of sin, to feel the brokenness, to empathize with her until you understand, and to be willing to wait for as long as this takes. Her response makes a good deal of sense without it needing to have anything to do with outside voices giving her unbiblical advice.

          You need to stop focusing on reconciliation with your wife. I cautiously and carefully say, I believe you need to be reconciled to God. Please hear the next thing I am about to say, knowing I do not say it carelessly and that I can’t know, but it’s what I sense: if you were being abusive to her for 17 years and were too blind to even notice, your relationship with God can’t have been all that healthy. You will need a definitive change of mind to stop, turn, quit telling her or anyone else you know what God’s will is, when you are in dire need of being able to hear Him at all.

          “I recognize and am still recognizing my behavior, have repented, am still searching, asking God to search my heart, going to counseling and giving her the space she has requested. I’m not tooting my own horn but I’ve made the proper, biblical steps towards reconciliation, so far.” You sound like someone who is checking off a to-do list of how to get this marriage reconciled as fast as possible. Are you SURE you’re not tooting your own horn? I don’t mean that to be unkind, but people usually say that right before they do it. You admit in your comments that you still really don’t fully get what you’ve done wrong. You’re being told what you’ve done, you’re verbalizing some ownership with confusion, and then expecting reconciliation. You haven’t entered into the consequences of your sins on another person and the destruction wrought. It sounds today like you did not hear sheep yesterday.

          You have a long road ahead of you IF there is even going to be a possibility of reconciliation.

          I mean no harm and am not trying to be rude in any way, by the way. I just believe in being frank and as clear as possible.

          • Jamie on May 25, 2018 at 2:00 pm

            Jamie, sheep, and others,

            “My behaviors…

            I have a sarcastic, dry sense of humor. I can tend to poke fun out of “love” and not out of malicious intent.

            Example; my wife has been trying to lose weight for a long time. One time she asked my son to get something out of the fridge and he said, “but mom you said you were not eating after dinner and trying to lose weight.” She said that was not a nice comment. My wife believes that I am a bad example for my sons; 12 and 2. I saw nothing wrong with my son making that comment which I thought was considerate. So, IF that comment was NOT then I have much work to do; I do even if that comment WAS nice.”

            This is not a very helpful example. A comment like that from your son to his mother could be taken in different ways depending on the tone of their relationship, that day, and the particular tone in which he delivered it. (I have three kids, all older than 12 and can tell you that a direct quote of these words spoken by him is leaving much out of the context). More to the point, why are you not giving an example of something YOU have said? Not something ambiguous – something clearly sarcastic and hurtful – not the weakest example that comes to mind, rather the strongest. You say you are recognizing YOUR hurtful actions. I get that you connected this to how she says that you are a bad example for your sons, but how about something without another party involved – just you and her.

            **I have made similar comments over the years. I thought I was being helpful but evidently I wasn’t. I don’t mean that in a smart tone either.

            My examples? Part of the issue is that my wife is a stuffer and therefore I am not aware of when I do/say these things unless they are brought to my attention. However, as I stated, yes, I have made similar comments and in a smart tone.

            I have also commented on her clothes; she wears a lot of black and gray. She looks great in color and I mention that to her and I would comment on her “oh those gray pants again”, or “hey it’s Johnny Cash.” Never said in a mean tone but rather in a “soft” what I consider joking tone. I know, now, it’s not funny at all to her.

            I have commented on her cooking; one time she made brownies that were very hard and I joked that we could break windows with them. Again, said in a soft tone but it wasn’t funny.

            When we would have conversations I would talk over her and get frustrated if she interrupted my “speech.” She would often tell me that it was a conversation and not a speech.

            I always questioned her when she did the money; she does a great job with it but I would comment on her purchase at Chick Fila, “do we have money for that?”, “Geez another Diet Coke from McDonalds?”

            I would question her with the kids, the boys need to wear this or the boys would need to wear that…

            Whenever we went to her home for Christmas or any other visit it was always about MY comfort and she could not really enjoy the visit because she was worried about pleasing me.

            I have been writing these things down over the past few weeks…

            “I have a sarcastic, dry sense of humor. I can tend to poke fun out of ‘love’ and not out of malicious intent.” and “I was aware of my humor, yes, but never to the extent of it being abuse.” I think you need to quit relying on one of her major issues as being your “sense of humor”. Are you aware that often sarcastic humor is actually hostility in disguise and can be related to bullying? What if you thought about the words that came out of your mouth directed at her? Were you insulting, degrading, hurting and calling it humor so you could get away with it? (Sarcastic humor is not lost on me, by the way. The best example I can think of is the television show, “House M.D.” I have seen some of those and find the biting sarcasm very funny, but it’s FICTION. I do not want that in my relationships. A real relationship could never survive with that kind of dialogue. Interestingly enough, even on the show, the other characters are often pointing out that he is using it to avoid real relationship and keep people at a distance. Like I said, it’s fiction, but the writers of the show get it and art often imitates life). Sarcasm in intimate relationship – especially husband and wife – is toxic. What does it even mean to poke fun out of “love”? (I’m glad you put the “love” in quotes). There has been plenty of humor in our home, including from me, and it’s not that hard to tell when humor goes too far – a facial expression changes, countenance falls, posture shifts, the hurt party gets more quiet – and an immediate apology and seeking of forgiveness is required. If the person is too hurt, the offender might need to be patient and stew in his or her own well-deserved juices until the hurt party is ready to receive the apology. Your wife is right, by the way, about your sons picking it up. They will have a tendency to imitate this characteristic of yours.

            **I don’t disagree with anything you said here. “get over it” and “you can’t take a joke” were often quotes of mine. A few days after my wife read the ultimatum on April 20th and I said I was willing to make changes I went to see my dad. He said, “son your mom said the same thing about me.” Well, there is the generational sin right there. I don’t blame him but what I uncovered in my first therapy session was eye opening to me. My dad never repented; in fact he said he became a “bear.” I have repented but I realize I’m not fully broken.

            Yesterday I read sheep’s comment of May 24, 2018 at 12:35 pm. I wanted to put a comment with a big AMEN! and a few words in addition. I held off because your response to him seemed humble and like a light had gone on when you heard him. I did not want to put any more pressure on you. sheep, your comment was so wise and well-put. Jamie, you would do well to go back and read it again, perhaps more than once until you really truly understand.

            **Sheeps comments were spot on; I printed them off and I have just printed off yours as well; they are BOTH helpful to me, honestly.

            “I have watched her move backwards as I have moved forward. She went from hopeful to hopeless so I don’t know what that is all about.” I get it. I can see why she is moving from hopeful to hopeless. She may have thought you were going to truly understand, but she is now probably sensing your rush to get this thing fixed. You’ve checked off the things on the list. You’re “doing the work” and expecting to fast forward to the reconciliation that won’t come until the work is a lot closer to done. This is going to be a long process. You will need to prepare yourself to suffer the pain that comes with conviction of sin, to feel the brokenness, to empathize with her until you understand, and to be willing to wait for as long as this takes. Her response makes a good deal of sense without it needing to have anything to do with outside voices giving her unbiblical advice.

            You need to stop focusing on reconciliation with your wife. I cautiously and carefully say, I believe you need to be reconciled to God. Please hear the next thing I am about to say, knowing I do not say it carelessly and that I can’t know, but it’s what I sense: if you were being abusive to her for 17 years and were too blind to even notice, your relationship with God can’t have been all that healthy. You will need a definitive change of mind to stop, turn, quit telling her or anyone else you know what God’s will is, when you are in dire need of being able to hear Him at all.

            **THIS is the consensus among my friends and therapist as well. In fact as I prayed this morning I realized that my idol is the marriage and not God. Truly. This past week and past two months have been hell but nothing compared to her 17 years (I’m still working to understand).

            One of the things therapy brought out in me is that my relationship with God was like my relationship with my dad. My dad was never available and therefore I saw God as unavailable. No excuse but you are correct in that I have not loved God the way that I should. I have not seen him the way that I should. Therefore, my flesh aside in all of this that still needs to be broken, I have not loved my wife as I should have. I know that may make me sound horrible or like a monster but it is what it is. My flesh has not comprehended this yet to be honest. What? I’m a monster? I’m an abuser? I’m processing…

            “I recognize and am still recognizing my behavior, have repented, am still searching, asking God to search my heart, going to counseling and giving her the space she has requested. I’m not tooting my own horn but I’ve made the proper, biblical steps towards reconciliation, so far.” You sound like someone who is checking off a to-do list of how to get this marriage reconciled as fast as possible. Are you SURE you’re not tooting your own horn? I don’t mean that to be unkind, but people usually say that right before they do it. You admit in your comments that you still really don’t fully get what you’ve done wrong. You’re being told what you’ve done, you’re verbalizing some ownership with confusion, and then expecting reconciliation. You haven’t entered into the consequences of your sins on another person and the destruction wrought. It sounds today like you did not hear sheep yesterday.

            **Honestly, you are correct. “Look at what I’ve done so far!!” She doesn’t believe me, I know. I did hear Sheep yesterday but I forgot it today.

            Okay, I am repentant, remorseful, cracked but not fully broken. Those things I am. However, I really need prayer around truly being broken over this. I’m scared, worried, etc…and it’s dominating any peace that I need.

            Somehow I have to come to the point of being content with whatever happens; obviously I am praying and believing for restoration.



          • Seeing The Light on May 25, 2018 at 2:02 pm

            Jamie,

            Just an additional clarification…I was trying to be careful in the paragraph where I mention your relationship with God and am not sure I did it well enough. I wanted to make sure to say I was not speaking to your salvation. I don’t know your story or how you came to faith in Christ. I am not trying to judge that at all. I was speaking about your fellowship with Him and walking with Him. That is what I meant about reconciling with Him. I was referring to the marital abuse damaging and/or being a symptom of not only an unhealthy relationship with your wife, but also with God.



          • Jamie on May 25, 2018 at 2:06 pm

            Jamie,

            Just an additional clarification…I was trying to be careful in the paragraph where I mention your relationship with God and am not sure I did it well enough. I wanted to make sure to say I was not speaking to your salvation. I don’t know your story or how you came to faith in Christ. I am not trying to judge that at all. I was speaking about your fellowship with Him and walking with Him. That is what I meant about reconciling with Him. I was referring to the marital abuse damaging and/or being a symptom of not only an unhealthy relationship with your wife, but also with God.

            I came to faith in Christ at an early age. I didn’t take it as you judging my salvation; I took it how you meant it and you are correct



          • Nancy on May 25, 2018 at 2:29 pm

            Hi Jamie,

            I have been following along here. You’ve had some WISE words spoken to you by sheep and seeing the light.

            This is the most ‘real’ thing that I’ve seen you write.

            “I really need prayer around truly being broken over this. I’m scared…. ” but the next part is a bit concerning “it’s dominating any peace that I need”.

            Peace does not come by pushing emotions down. You will need to allow these uncomfortable emotions to surface, and to walk through them.

            Have you heard of a ‘feelings word list’? This tool can help you identify what is going on inside. When you are thinking sarcastically, for example, you might pause and go to a feelings words list and choose a couple of vulnerable feelings that you are avoiding (with sarcasm).

            One definition of emotional health is to be able to know what is going on inside. This takes a lot of work. Sarcasm may be a really good place for you to begin investigating what you are avoiding.

            This IS a scary journey, Jamie. but God is faithful!

            That’s why you need Godly men who can show you how to be strong in The Lord. This is the opposite of avoidance.



          • Nancy on May 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm

            Oh, and, Jamie, printing out the wise counsel is a great idea ( as well as your own responses to it) because it will allow you to see just how entrenched your unhealthy thinking patterns are.

            It will help you, with the help of your support team, to ‘put off’ those destructive patterns.

            By being true to her own integrity, your wife has given you an incredible gift, Jamie. Regardless of the outcome for the marriage, she has invited you into a deep, and rich relationship with God. What you do with that invitation is up to you. And as deep as you decide to go with Him, He will not fail you.



          • Aly on May 25, 2018 at 3:23 pm

            STL, Jamie,
            Nancy, Sheep and others,

            Such impacting dialog going here!
            STL you wrote:
            ” I was referring to the marital abuse damaging and/or being a symptom of not only an unhealthy relationship with your wife, but also with God”

            So foundational! I really thing you said this well.

            Jamie, I won’t comment on the other things that I think others have already brought up, but I’m curious…
            “what are your day to day comments or exchanges to your wife that lean on the positive or encouraging connecting side?”

            Also, I’m not trying to get too personal here.. I mean this sensitively (I do) I am wondering how have you dealt or handled pornography?



          • Aly on May 25, 2018 at 3:42 pm

            Jamie,

            Also what Nancy brought to you is so important and in my opinion a treasure.
            Take some time to really understand this.

            Just because emotions ‘are raw’ the response doesn’t have to be that your over-thinking or over analyzing them (yes sometimes we do) but give yourself the space to seek out the necessary truth you need.

            Sometimes when we are so programmed to ‘under think’ or under process we find other ways to run from that vulnerability.
            Missing the blessing. Missing the growth.
            We are called to be integrated beings and emotional development ties to our spiritual journey.



  19. Aurora on May 24, 2018 at 4:12 am

    Sometimes I think we are looking for a needle in a haystack. For me there just isn’t enough in the Bible about marriage and divorce.when I get to heaven I want to ask God why he is so silent on the pliight of abused women. Yes, of course we can all dig up answers but over and over, believe me, I searched, there is no loop hole to get out of an abusive marriage.

    That sad fact is what has keep me living years in a relationship which has been nothing short of hell on Earth. I can only conclude that got gave us brains and of course we are not supposed to be scared for our very life and breath due to our spouses domination, control, selfishness and cruelty. I don’t think we need to look for validation for any action when we flea from threats, destruction, sexual Assault and financial ruin. I think God made us smarter than that. We all know we need to get out of Dodge, marriage or no marriage.

    • Aurora on May 24, 2018 at 4:20 am

      Corrections: “the sad fact is that is what kept me”

      ‘God gave me” Not “got”

      Flee not “flea”

      I hope you got my point. Other than adultery I don’t see any biblicsl grounds for divorce. It just isn’t there. Having said that, and this is painful, we can’t throw our pearls before swine like a fool.

  20. Jamie on May 24, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Aly,

    It would not allow me to reply directly to your comment for some reason.

    No, I have never had the Bible thumping mentality about who is in charge. I honestly just was “myself” and did not know the depth of her pain until mid April. Call me stupid but she stuffed all of that for a long time.

    She has the “control” because I have no say in how all of this goes; she set the limits on home visits; the time of the separation; don’t text her unless it is about financial issues. All of our finances are still in the same name; nothing has been split up.

    Do wives in this situation heal enough to stay in the marriage? I’m sure she is considering all options right now but if she is seeking the Lord’s will then it is to remain married and to reconcile.

    • Aly on May 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Jamie,

      Not sure where your ‘bible thumping comment’ comes into our dialog. That’s confusing.

      I would not call you stupid either, nor should you call yourself that. Maybe you might describe yourself and how you engaged in the marriage differently. Take time to really look at it and be honest with your investment.

      I am cherished by my husband and he really enjoyes the new marriage we get to have! (I also respect and love him) and he has done a lot of work to rid himself of those early modeled behaviors he watched Day in day out in his life. It was impacting and influencing more than he was aware of.

      Your wife is taking responsibility for ‘stuffing’ if that’s what in deed took place?
      Since you mentioned deeper abandonment issues maybe you were more disconnected than you can understand right now. Maybe there were times she attempted to share her experiences and you defended yourself in a many ways that are just ‘yourself’ ways.
      I don’t know, but I do think finding out more about those patterns are important to uncover.
      In our past relationship My husband preferred me to do all the work of the relationship so he could be checked out emotionally and ignore his feelings.

      Jamie, I want you to consider your posture about you saying ‘she has all the control’.
      When you say that to yourself ask yourself what could her motivation make be for deciding when the home visits are, etc.
      If that’s the only way you see it, you could be up for a long long road of battles.

      Your behavior and how you respond to her limits ‘is telling’ and will be a huge factor about your comment on, ‘how all this goes’.

      Do you think you could be an impatient person in general?

      I would suggest to be more concerned on repair of what has been broken and your own deeper work than the ‘outcome of the marriage’.

      You asked a great question,
      “Do wives in this situation heal enough to stay in the marriage?”

      I can speak from my journey. I could have never of healed enough to ‘stay in the marriage’ my husband and I had co-created. That means the marriage needed to be really dismantled and rebuilt.

      My husband’s ability to grow, mature and be consistent to his vows and care for me were very dependent upon if I wanted to try to do relationship with him.
      His avoidant and rejection/abandonment issues had to be healed for him to be available to have ‘an adult relationship’ let alone a marriage.

      We enjoy a blessed marriage today;) one that is healthier and he can truly be present with what’s important in life ‘truly’ about our lives. His self centered issues are the furthest thing from his nature, he has really done a lot of work to transform his thinking and worth issues.
      (Years of intensive care for his heart was needed along looking at other things that contribute to a mindset or attitude).

      Your last comment about the Lord’s will is important to digest.
      I believe the Lords will is to have marriages and certainly reconciling marriages that will Glorify Him.
      It is not His will for marriages to be one-sided and destructive, yet many people have these kind of marriages and ‘call them Christian marriages’. They are not. But they are everywhere and often we don’t see just how much people are missing out on each other.

      • Helen on May 26, 2018 at 6:39 pm

        Aly,
        I’m just wondering how many years were involved in the changing of your marriage and did you have to separate from him?

        • Aly on May 26, 2018 at 7:27 pm

          Helen, my heart answer on this would be ‘and feel’ from the beginning year of marriage ~
          but interventions where more exposure was beginning .. I would say 8-10 years.
          6 plus years of professional interventions
          For myself and also for him then more marital counseling
          ~ we still do marital counseling and keep our therapist on as we ‘grieve’ and especially navigate parenting too.
          Does that answer?
          I don’t want to sound daunting ..

          As far as separating no we did not but that was certainly a breaking point for him in therapy when it became a pattern of him not implementing ‘what he says he will do’.
          He did a lot of individual counseling and had to have a lot of other mature men to walk him into manhood.
          I had every phone number and I called when relapse behavior began.

          The relapse is the Minset;
          Disrespect, denial, dismissal, deflecting.
          All of these would sometimes creep in and sometimes ignite and this was abusive to my heart and my sanity.

          The more he looked at his own brokenness and why he acted the way he did~ he could see why he was such an impossible person to be in a partnership of such intimacy and safety! He didn’t even like that person very much but part of his work was discovering who that person was and what was that all about.

          Core issues, NArc traits, abandonment-attachment, core fear, rejection and the main one~he didn’t have his identity firming in Christ!

          Sorry long road, long answer

          • Aly on May 26, 2018 at 7:32 pm

            Helen,
            Oops correction;

            Firmly in Christ!



          • Aly on May 26, 2018 at 7:48 pm

            Helen,

            Just want to clarify that the interventions, counseling, workshops, men’s groups etc. were comprehensive and almost became a full time job or sorts for him, recovery is tough if it’s too little of treatment.
            I was also involved and informed, there was NO private recovery plan (he tried that) it failed.
            The accountability is key to someone needing to mature in a lot of areas.
            I was integrated in this because I was the MAiN receipent of his destructive behavior. The destructive behavior was his unresolved issues that he really preferred others deal with and him avoid.

            I will say Christ was always there and we certainly give this heart change to His will, but it didn’t come without my husband’s participation.
            God was always knocking on His heart.

            Separation became a real possibility when I got to my end and saw just how more and more of the good things in my parenting he was undermining.

            He really is the cycle breaker in his family of origin and he owes that to Gods word and Receiving the Love of Christ in an authentic way💜



          • Helen on May 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm

            Aly thank you for replying–I can certainly tell that you have walked a long walk and are truly knowledgeable in abuse recovery. I take all of your comments to me to heart~~think about them thru the day and they help in my healing. You don’t have to do this but what you give away to others allows you to keep what you have. God bless you Aly 🙂



        • Aly on May 27, 2018 at 9:22 am

          Helen,

          This is to reply to your 8:58pm post
          May, 26.

          Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I share what things have also been offered to me, my husband and our situation.
          We had many seasons early on where there was not adequate help at treating the core issues. I think if more people will open up and not keep things hidden, more and more people might be motivated to do their part in creating healthier thriving families.

          When someone is in such a toxic dynamic, and being ’emotionally worn down’ it’s hard not to always ‘look’ at yourself to adjust or change feeling like you have ‘any control’ of the outcome. Eventually, I became pretty non-existent in the marriage as my husband continued to over power and take power as I was trying to hold my own healthy amount of it in my role.

          I found out that for me, I needed change desperately, but what direction of change was key to me gaining the wisdom I did not have about my situation.

          The Lord was faithful always in giving me strength and courage to ‘Act’ on what was necessary, I was not always faithful in this process. I had a lot of work myself to do to understand my own behavior & tendencies. (Still working because recovery is lifelong)

          I think emotional abuse of this kind is complicated when your in it because you get so accustomed to the survival strategies that it becomes ‘your normal’. You get used to being treated a certain way not always realizing how your being disregarded or ‘used’ so to speak.

          A pivotal place in our journey was when I was given the validation that I was not ‘sabotaging’ this marriage but that my husband was trying to build a very dysfunctional marriage around his broken places that he was very resistant to face.
          But his emotional irregularity and behaviors often leaked out in ‘telling’ ways.

          It was not a marriage in reality.
          It was at that point that I could give God the (outcome of the marriage)
          and do everything I needed to becoming the kind of woman God was calling me to be.

          Tolerating bad behavior in many different circumstances just ‘feed the beast’ and I had draw strong boundaries and set requirements.

          Anyway Helen I’m glad you found this blog and Leslie’s ministry, my heart it be a vessel of any kind by God, to be part of His plan and Kingdom;)

          I love the encouragement of this blog and also all the things can get exposed here (about abuse) in a gentle but hopefully life changing way!
          🙏🌈

          God secures what is rightfully ours, and gives us the courage and strength to claim it!

    • Free on May 24, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      I read reactivity and denial. I don’t hear the voice of a humble repentant man. Give yourself at least 18 months of counseling before you begin to talk about your wife’s actions. Now is the time to focus on you. Can you try to answer us without mentioning your wife? What have you done? What are your thoughts?

  21. sheep on May 24, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Jamie,
    “but if she is seeking the Lord’s will then it is to remain married and to reconcile.” Please be careful thinking and saying that you know the Lords will for her in this. IF you are truly repentant and broken and willing to do whatever it takes to reconcile, that may well be the case. But by you stating this to us or to your wife, you continue the abuse. Why? Because you are stealing worth from your wife. You are taking away her free will and her choice to make this decision as God leads her.

    This is a very typical abusive speech pattern, though many wouldn’t recognize it as such unless they had been through it. When you make the pronouncement “but if she is seeking the Lord’s will then it is to remain married and to reconcile.” you are in essence telling us and her that you know God’s will in this, and if she doesn’t agree, then she is outside the will of God. I guarantee you that this attitude will not help your marriage, and I also guarantee that even if you don’t say it, she will spot this attitude a mile away. Making that statement is really just another way to manipulate her into doing what you want, which is to reconcile the marriage.

    Whether or not it is God’s will for you to reconcile, she is still an adult and has the right to come to that decision on her own. Right or wrong, she is the one that will eventually answer to God for that decision. Just like you are the one that will answer to Him for the decisions you have made.

    You also said ” I felt the pain that my wife endured and I begged God to forgive me (again) and I cried out for help in our marriage to be restored.”

    You are really early in all of this and I guarantee that if you were living all those years in ignorance to the pain you were causing her, then so far, you have only gotten a taste of the pain you have really caused her. I am quite sure that she has only shared the tip of the iceberg and that you don’t really understand what emotional abuse feels like. Because it is really really hard for those of us who have been abused to describe the pain of that abuse to others, let alone to the abuser.

    Yes, you should be crying out to God to truly restore your marriage. But is that your first prayer? Before that you should be crying out to God for true brokenness in yourself, That he would show you the true depth of your sin against your wife, and against Him. No blaming others, no justifications, no excuses.

    I think there is hope for you and your marriage if you are truly repentant and on the road to learning about and feeling the depth of pain you have caused your wife. And you are willing to take responsibility for whatever it is inside of you that not only made you abusive, but kept you in blissful ignorance of the pain you were causing your wife.

    Please know I’m not trying to be a jerk, I have just become somewhat of an expert at spotting manipulation.

    BTW, I’m a guy.

    • Aly on May 24, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Sheep, Jamie

      You did such a great job articulating here!
      I’m so encouraged that more and more men are willing to speak up and with other men about these dynamics and the behaviors that often destroy marriages.
      Other men were critical at exposing my husband’s coping patterns.

      Jamie, do you have other healthy men who are in recovery or mentoring you?

      Mentoring is in addition to counseling. Much of recovery is comprehensive especially with abusive mindsets.

    • Jamie on May 24, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      Sheep, you are correct.

      My emotions are raw and I am waaaaay overthinking all of this day and night. Sigh, this was a good post to me and I have much to work on. Thank you!

  22. Helen on May 26, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Hello, for the men here: I have not read all the posts, just the ones at the end here. I will say that my h seems to be confused between forgiveness and trust/reconciliation. This is probably a common misconception. He thinks if I forgive him which a Christian is to do, then things will go back the way they were and he will not have to suffer the consequences of what he has done, I will not bring things up and there will be no accountability. Please know that this really applies to men and women—sin is something we all can do. It’s a hard place to see our sins shown to us by God b/c he breaks our pride and brings us low til we have nowhere to go but look up to Him and see what we have done.

    • Jeffrey on September 7, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      What about men that have been verbally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically abused? Your article speaks about women what about men? It is estimated that 40% of physical abuse is woman on man, with most going unreported. And when a man reports the abuse, the police don’t believe humans arrest him rather than the abuser. Where do we go?

      • Leslie Vernick on September 7, 2021 at 3:18 pm

        I agree Jeffrey that men can be abused and women can be abusers. My mother was one. But my ministry is to Christian women who are being abused and therefore i write in those terms.

  23. So on September 25, 2020 at 3:14 am

    You imply, without being explicit, in your urguement that it is the woman that needs to be protected from emotional and physical abuse. Unfortunately, this is how most professionals (counselors, pastors, judges etc.) are trained to think. The woman is often seen as the victim. As a man who has been abused, physically and emotionally by a spouse for many years, I find this very disheartening. It is very difficult for men in abusive relationships to get meaningful help anywhere, because the assumption is always that the woman is the victim and man is the abuser.

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