Morning friends,

So good to be home. I love sleeping on my own pillow and in my own bed. Showering in my own shower. Eating my regular food. Simple pleasures but much appreciated after almost 6 weeks away. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed our sisters sharing their stories on my blog and I hope to do more of these in the future. If any of you are interested in writing something, I’d love to hear from you.

We’ve also had some drama here but I’m grateful for it. Like anything or everything in life, nothing is perfect and we are strengthened by learning how to deal with challenges with truth and grace. I am in personal contact with Aleea and we will move forward in keeping the main purpose of this blog; helping hurting women in destructive marriages find Christ and his TRUTH, found in his Word. That is the only place where a woman will find true safety and sanity. To swirl about in doubt and confusion by listening to the words of fallible human beings leads nowhere, which I think Aleea’s experience bears out. Ultimately after all our study and research, our walk is a walk of faith, not rock solid hard “sight” evidence.

I’m also thrilled that some of you have decided to join me at our 2018 CONQUER Conference. We have close to 700 women registered. I promise you the conference will be AMAZING and you will wish you were there. If you struggle with courage or knowing what to do to grow strong, you will find answers and help at CONQUER 2018. Nichole Nordeman, an award-winning Christian singer is going to be with us all day on Saturday, doing a concert in the morning and leading us in worship in the afternoon. Sheri Keffer from New Life Live will keynote our Friday night session and I will close, teaching you how and why it’s so important that you Be Brave and Grow Strong as women of God and how to do it. There are 20 workshops throughout the day on all kinds of topics pertaining to growing in Christ so I hope to see you there.  For more information CLICK HERE…..

This Week’s Question: I am no longer in an abusive marriage or church system because after setting boundaries regarding pornography and an assault, I had to leave both. 

I am putting my life back together, but find myself particularly and deeply troubled when I hear “Christian” teaching on what a wife is and isn't supposed to do. I tend to not listen to a particular program that comes on the Christian radio station in my area because of what I consider subversive views of a woman's place in marriage and how these ideas I believe to be a core culprit in the corporate gaslighting I experience in my marriage. Unfortunately though,  this evening I wasn't quick to turn it off. 

I am hopeful you can help me detangle what I just reheard (as my husband use to say this) and I am very much struggling with it, even three years later. I heard that on this program a woman say she believes that it is disrespectful for a wife not to laugh at her husband's jokes. 

I am so deeply disturbed by this because I was told that my own personal choices to like or dislike something my husband did or also liked was why he was unhappy with me and ultimately why he ‘strayed' in pornography and that I drove him away by setting healthy boundaries. 

My question may seem silly but: Is it really disrespectful to not laugh at a joke I don't find funny? Or did I really miss something? And is this some kind of corporate abuse? I'm having a hard time understanding how to engage in the larger Christian community because of these kinds of things. I go slow with my story and am cautious about who I let in, but wonder, should I keep away from places that say these things entirely and makes me wonder and more than a little afraid of being taken in by these subversively destructive messages again. Things that ultimately are saying: “in order to be a good wife, I'm not allowed to have my own self”,or some more destructive that say “by not going along with what he says, you are destroying your marriage.” Sometimes I just want to scream back and say, “Can't you see that you are saying he is God and I am his slave!” but really I'm not sure that will be much help. 

Leslie, how can I find help to de-program from these ego-based ideas of a dominance of men over women in the church, or is this what is right? There are so many scriptures that really can confuse me still and have been many times used to ‘keep me in my place.' Is there a God-ordained hierarchy of men over women?

I'm grateful I've found my right place, in my own mind and body, safe and healthy again in my own home. Thank you for your work and efforts. Without your work and books and speaking to put scripture back in its right context I would not have had the great early help I needed to leave a very (now clearly) unhealthy situation. 

Answer: You asked a teensy weensy question, “Is it disrespectful to not laugh at your husband’s jokes?” and opened a huge can of worms, “is there a God-ordained hierarchy of men over women?”

So in my limited space and theological perspective, let me try to answer both.

First, the speaker on the radio program who said it is disrespectful to not laugh at your husband’s jokes, in my opinion, is off base theologically and relationally unsound. It might be disrespectful to snicker, roll your eyes, or show disdain towards your husband’s jokes, especially if you are in public with other people, but if you don’t find his joke funny, why would you pretend you do? That isn’t walking in integrity with your own self nor is it being honest and real with him.   

Let me add a small caveat. If other people generally find your husband’s jokes funny and his jokes aren’t offensive or off-color, I would simply forbear his joke telling with grace and keep quiet. In the same way if you were at a dinner party at someone’s home and you didn’t like the meal, you probably wouldn’t rave how wonderful the meal was (dishonest pretense), but you also probably would eat what you did like or could eat and keep quiet, especially if other people seemed to like it. I don’t think you would say out loud, “I don't like this meal, I don’t find it appealing at all.” In fact, if you did say that, even if you were honest, most people would probably perceive it as out of line or disrespectful to your host. However, if you had a good relationship with this host and they invited you again or knew you well, I suspect you would somehow let them know that you don’t eat ham, or don’t like cheese in your food or some other thing that would help them accommodate you at their next dinner party. Make sense?

Your husband may be more outgoing than you are or likes to tell jokes to keep the conversation light and that’s part of who he is. As his partner, even if you don’t share the same sense of humor, it’s important that you accept him. I wouldn’t pretend I love every joke or find them funny, but I would be careful to be respectful during those times he’s joking.

The only reason I can think of why the woman on the radio would recommend that a wife laughs at her husband’s joke even when she doesn’t think it’s funny is so her spouse’s ego doesn’t get wounded. If that’s the case, it reminds me of another longstanding Christian teaching I’ve heard where a good wife should never criticize, contradict, or correct her husband. Instead, if she sees something wrong, she should just be quiet, trust God, and submit to her husband; even while her husband was driving the entire family straight off a cliff or their family ship was sinking. The reason? Her Biblical role is to “build him up” not “tear him down.”

And there is some truth in that idea. That’s why it gets confusing.

We are to build one another up but only with truth, not with lies or pretenseClick To Tweet

For example, how many parents have falsely tried to build up their children’s confidence or self-esteem with lies? “You can do anything you set your mind to” or “You’re a great singer or artist or athlete.” But sooner or later the child has a hard wake up call with reality (truth) when he gets cut from the team, or she doesn’t get selected for the choir, or he finds out the hard truth that basketball is not his gift or talent, even when he puts his whole mind and body to it. He will never be a pro athlete or she will never get invited to sing on America’s Got Talent.

This idea of building someone up falsely doesn’t line up with teaching that we are to speak the truth in love (not disrespectfully – Ephesians 4:15). Or the words in Proverbs where it says, Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6). This false teaching reminds me of the children’s fable The Emperor’s New Clothes.  

The King wanted a new robe. He invited some new tailors to create one. However, these tailors were deceptive and fooled the King into thinking they were weaving a robe out of magical thread that only smart people could see. The King put his new robe on to be admired by all. His advisors, who he trusted to be most honest with him, pretended that the King looked amazing in his new robe when the truth was, he was completely naked. Everyone was afraid to “wound” the King’s ego because he trusted his tailor’s words. Everyone’s ego was at stake because no one wanted to admit that they couldn’t “see” the fabric. They didn’t want to be labeled stupid. But the truth was there was no fabric. The King had no robe. It took the innocent honesty of a small child who finally broke the group delusion when he cried, “Why is the King naked?” during the Kings parade.

Our ego is not to be protected or built up. God says we’re to lay it down. Our unhealthy ego is the part of our “self” that sets itself as a god and against God.  That ego-self must die if we are to grow into our true self in Christ. (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; Matthew 16: 24,25). Therefore why would a wife be mandated to lie to her husband or pretend so as to not wound her husband’s prideful or fragile ego?  It is often in the wounding of our ego that we become humble (Matthew 5:3).

However, let me add, it is not our place as a wife or parent or friend to purposely wound someone’s ego. That is something only God orchestrates, often through failure, honest feedback from others, and difficult situations where we come to the end of our prideful self and hopefully in that place come to realize that it is not in our own power, strength, self-sufficiency, intelligence, or talents, that we find our life. It is only in and through Christ(Acts 17:25). Much like the man named Saul discovered when he came face to face with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9 and Galatians 2:20). Or Peter when he realized he wasn’t as confident and brave as he thought he was (Luke 22:54-62).

Your next question about hierarchy will be open to more theological and philosophical debate but here are my thoughts on the topic. Some people read the creation story as the man was created first, and the woman second. Therefore there is a God-ordained hierarchy. You and I are not going to change those people’s minds. Patriarchy has been around from the beginning of time. And history and nature show us that power and dominance are hardwired into our biology. Even among animals, we see a hierarchy. For example, we see it practiced when male lions or birds or even insects fight for territory and the right to mate with the best female. Or when you get a new puppy, if you have an alpha dog, you have to establish your right to be the leader or the dog rules the house.

Therefore, I think we must be open to the possibility that God designed a hierarchy structure in his creation, usually making males physically stronger in order to protect the female and their offspring so that the species survives. But when we read the Bible, we also see something else. We see God clearly warning his people both individually and corporately not to misuse their power or even their higher position to serve their own ego, to get their own way, or dominate and oppress others.  

We also see in Scripture a model of marriage with Adam and Eve of a mutual and reciprocal partnership. Eve had the freedom to make choices (even bad choices). She wasn’t dominated or controlled. She had influence over her husband. She invited Adam to eat of the fruit too, even though it was a bad decision. Their bad decision isn’t a reflection that mutuality in marriage is a bad idea nor does it mean that from now Adam should never listen to Eve or a husband should make all the decisions. However, we do see that one of the consequences of their sin is that a power struggle will be present in the marital relationship (Genesis 3:16).  

In the New Testament, we also see Jesus specifically instructing his disciples, the future leaders of his church, not to misunderstand leadership or headship (Matthew 20:25; Luke 22:25; Mark 10:42). In Jewish culture being the “head” was modeled as a hierarchy model of leadership and was practiced as I get to be the boss and tell people what to do. Jesus corrected this wrong thinking when he instructed his disciples not to misuse their power (or authority or ability to dominate) for selfish oregotistical purposes. Instead, they are to use their power and position as the head to serve others.

The apostle Paul also initiated a course correction in the midst of a patriarchal culture when he talked about mutuality in marriage. In 1 Corinthians 7, which is traditionally used to tell a wife that she has no right to sexually refuse her spouse, Paul leveled the power differential between a husband and wife when he inserted the word “likewise” into this text.  This was a radical change of perspective. Now, what applied to wives, also applied to husbands. What benefited husbands, also benefited wives. Paul’s other teaching on husbands sacrificially loving their wives was also rebalancing the power differential practiced in that culture ……reminding everyone that even though culture and biology may be wired towards power and dominance, God’s plan is for mutuality and reciprocity and respect of one another, not dominance over each other (Romans 10:12; Galatians 3:28).  

To summarize, nowhere in Scripture is a woman or wife told to become a faker or pretender so that her husband likes her better or isn’t hurt or disappointed that she doesn’t admire every single thing about him. And I would say the same for husbands.

As believers, we are called to love and accept one another, flaws and all. That doesn’t mean we don't implement boundaries with that acceptance. For example, I can learn to accept someone is a smoker without resentment. That doesn’t mean I have to stay in the same space while he or she smokes. I may have to come to accept someone I live with is chronically deceitful (acceptance doesn't’ mean you like it or approve of it) but healthy people live in truth and reality.  

I do think that God institutes a plan for leadership in families, in churches, and in countries. Whether that leadership is exclusively limited to the male species is open to rigorous debate. Certainly, history has preferred males, but not always. In the Bible, amidst a strong culture of patriarchy, we’ve seen Deborah the judge (Judges 4,5), Miriam, Moses partner and sister in leading the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 15:20), the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, Ana the prophetess (Luke 2:36-38). Esther the Queen of Persia (book of Esther), and Priscilla who co-led and co-taught with her husband Aquila (Acts 18:2,3; Romans 16:3).

And, I'm particularly intrigued by a woman in Revelation 2, called Jezebel. She is strongly rebuked by Christ for her wayward and ungodly teaching which was gaining a foothold in the early church. Jezebel was probably not her real name but represented the spirit of the evil OT Queen Jezebel that the prophet Elijah had to stand against. However, if females were not supposed to teach in the early church, what was Jezebel (or whoever she was) doing teaching in the church? It’s interesting to me that Jesus does not rebuke her for teaching, but for being a person who is teaching heresy. If God did not want women to assume leadership or teach at all, then I wonder why wouldn’t Christ didn’t rebuke her for teaching as well as rebuke the church for allowing her as a woman to teach?

So it’s important that you not allow yourself to get gaslighted or afraid when people may hold a different Biblical perspective than you do on things like the woman on the radio. I think all of us will be surprised when we get to Heaven and get a chance to ask God some questions on what we thought was clearly black and white. We all are going to find out that the mystery of God and the ways of God aren’t limited by our finite understanding.

Friends, have you lied and pretended in your marriage and what has it cost you? What has it cost your marriage?

61 Comments

  1. Susan on August 22, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Wow going to save this one and copy scriptures study this is a plate full of information. Amen 🔥

    • Liz on September 11, 2018 at 8:42 am

      Me too! What a blessing this question and answer was! Great stuff.

  2. OKRickety on August 22, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    “Some people read the creation story as the man was created first, and the woman second.”

    Your wording suggests this is questionable. Do you question the accuracy of that reading?

    • Leslie Vernick on August 22, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      No, I don’t question this account of the creation order, but what I meant is that some people read that order to mean that it is God’s will for man to be FIRST or better or higher or the more competent and is to be OVER the woman. That is what Patriarchy expresses doesn’t it?

      • G.G. on August 23, 2018 at 2:42 pm

        But then I consider that God created the monkeys, apes, and the rest of the animals before man. 😀

        • Jane on August 23, 2018 at 5:41 pm

          GG,

          nice. besides the last shall be first and the first shall be last, right?

  3. Connie on August 22, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Then the animals would be in authority over people. Not quite.

    • Seeing The Light on August 23, 2018 at 7:36 am

      Excellent point, Connie! I had not thought of that.

  4. Janice on August 23, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Servant leadership,or servant headship is what the Bible teaches and what Jesus models for us.It is the complete opposite of brutish,macho “I’m the head of the house and it’s my way or the highway” mentality.Male patriarchy is a perversion of Gods good intention of a loving,serving,strong yet tender man who honors his wife and leads his family well.What godly woman would have any difficulty submitting to her husband when he is striving( never perfectly) to fulfill this role in his home? I pray that some day my husband will catch this beautiful vision but in the meantime I stay safely separated and wait on the Lord.

  5. JoAnn on August 23, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Leslie, I like that you made the point: “We all are going to find out that the mystery of God and the ways of God aren’t limited by our finite understanding.” Except for a few very vital matters of the faith (the sacrificial death of Christ and His resurrection, becoming the Life Giving Spirit, etc) there is a lot of room for interpretation, and we can trust God to do anything He wants to to fulfill His plan in creation and in our individual lives. That’s why it doesn’t bother me that He would tell one woman to divorce her husband and another to stay. He is not only the God of the universe, but also our own, personal and intimate God, who always acts in our best interest.

    • Jane on August 23, 2018 at 5:42 pm

      Well said JoAnn

      • Moon Beam on August 23, 2018 at 11:04 pm

        My Pastor’s wife always reminds us that there is much to the spirit world that we can not see. Angels surround us and we often forget that they are hard at work doing the Lord’s bidding.

  6. Jane on August 23, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Leslie,

    Yes, I have to keep a check on my attitude towards my husband. He has asked me why I am so hard on him before. I don’t think I am once I think through it. His joking is usually coarse and inappropriate and he will often joke towards me sexually in front of the kids. Or his jokes or comments are racist or misogynistic, etc. Comments that he considers joking are actually very cutting to the very person he is jesting at and tears them down. He brags of bad behavior that is downright mean and evil. All of these things he seems to want me to cheer on and be his supporter and to never say, no that’s not funny or that is mean (I don’t do this in front of others ,except maybe the kids when he is tearing them down).

    But the eye roll or disgust face in front of others (even when he is being yucky), yup, I probably need to be more self aware of those things, thanks for bringing that one up. Responsible for self, respectful of others- will have to keep working on it.

    • Moon Beam on August 23, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      The words he says are not jokes. Jokes are funny. His comments are verbal masterbation. He uses crude language in blatant disregard to others in order to arouse himself, establish control and enjoy the fantasies in his head. No, they are not jokes at all, but rather sick peeks into his pysche.

    • Sarah on August 24, 2018 at 12:41 am

      Just my two cents: maybe I am misreading your post, but I think that it would be okay to say “no, that is not something that should be joked about” or “no that is not funny” if his jokes are wrong as you describe. I do not think that is disrespectful if you just say it simply in a neutral tone. I totally get that that eye rolling or sarcasm would be wrong, towards anyone, but just saying that what he says is wrong, standing up for goodness–I think that is okay even in front of others.

      I read Leslie’s comments about bearing with your spouses humor even if you do not enjoy it yourself–I think that only applies to humor that is not wrong. As she said about, that would apply if his “jokes aren’t offensive or off-color.” What you describe seems to be going even beyond just offensive and off color and into attacking others.

      I do not usually comment on posts where people do not ask for advice , so I am sorry if this is intrusive. It just makes me sad and angry that your husband uses humor to tear you down (when you are clearly trying SO hard to still treat him with respect) and I do not think you need to bear with that.

      Again, I am sorry if this is unwelcome or if I am misunderstanding what you are saying. And I am impressed that you are so committed to treating your husband with respect! I am sorry for what you are going through. Take care!

      • Robin on August 24, 2018 at 1:34 am

        Sarah, you have the right to speak your thoughts on this blog.
        We are to submit (or participate) in Righteousness, not unrighteousness. When a husband is being a jerk it is RIGHT and TRUTHFUL to share REALITY. No I’m not going to agree with your bad taste of joking. Or what you might call honest joking. Us women need to speak Warrior like for that which is good, and that which is loving our husbands and honoring Gods Word.

      • JoAnn on August 24, 2018 at 10:02 am

        Sarah, we welcome your thoughts and perspective on this blog, and I definitely agree with you. Thanks for posting.

      • Jane on August 24, 2018 at 10:17 am

        Sarah,

        I always welcome feedback. I do try to respect my husband and want to make sure that if I react to his bad jokes or meanness with any kind of correction that I do it in a loving way and in a way that he will receive. This is definitely not in front of others. If he is tearing someone down I will interject to stop him, but if it is racist, dirty or otherwise evil I don’t think I should correct him publicly. Also, I think it’s important that he hears from others that they did not appreciate it. He seems to think I am hard on him, but others say the same things. He believes that I am not loving him where he is if I say anything. It has been a long road and I have to pick and choose any statements very carefully so as to not instigate his anger or emotional punishment.

        I appreciate your insight though into how twisted my submissive thinking might be and how I need to continue looking for truth.

        Just a question to all. I hear the shock in others with the behaviors I have described here and in other posts. Is this not what most of you have also experienced with your abuse. My husband does not call me names, though he puts me down in other ways, and he does not yell though he raises his level and tone. Sometimes I read what others put and think to myself, I would never put up with that! Some input on this mindset or feeling would be helpful as I feel like this level of abuse and control is what is typical in this situation (not that any is ok).

        • caroline on August 25, 2018 at 4:18 am

          Jane,
          you said: “Just a question to all. I hear the shock in others with the behaviors I have described here and in other posts. Is this not what most of you have also experienced with your abuse.”

          We are probably just shocked that you’ve turned a blind eye (or rolling eye) for as long as you have. You say most everybody knows he’s an animal, so you seem to be the last barrier between his undeserved shelter and having to reap what he has sown.

          You are obviously a very smart woman and a very hard worker and he just seems so unfitting as a partner. I know the submission BS can go pretty dang deep, but its so obvious he’s not following Christ, so one does wonder how could you be following hubs like this and still thinking that you are pleasing God or being respectful of his position as husband and “head” of the family as Christ is head of the church.

          It is respectful to offer rebuke and risk correcting someone who is capable of better behavior. When we make excuses for foul behavior and lower our very normal and biblical expectations, we are admitting the unfitness of the situation. We are saying he’s actually unfit to lead.

          The headship of husbands is not really rock star stuff. Its root is in the headship of Christ. So, its more that sacrificial love and provision and protection thing that Jesus explains by saying how he longs to gather them under his wings “as a mother hen gathers her chicks.”

          You wondered if this behavior is typical in these situations. If by “these situations”, you mean the ones that self destruct in terrible ways that scare people, well, yes, I have seen these exact dynamics and worse, and it had to end.

          • caroline on August 25, 2018 at 4:32 am

            Jane I hope the above didn’t come off too harsh.
            It is really astonishing how a person can be worn down by evil persistence. I’ll share a story here:

            Did you ever let hubs kick a 5 year old out of the car in a strange new neighborhood and drive off? Drive 10 miles away to church leaving a small child alone, all because the little boy was “disrespectful” enough to say he hated church and didn’t want to go???
            My sister did.
            She was so brainwashed and afraid of what her husband would do to the other kids she just sat still and did whatever he said. God hated divorce and she was strong and could therefore handle whatever hubs asked of her.

            I never never never thought she’d leave him Jane, but she did.

            It took her 10 more years to get on a plane and fly away, but she finally woke up and got out. He went after that same son again on his 15th birthday, smashed his cake and put him in a choking headlock and threatened to send him away from the family because he was disrespectful.

            Their oldest son was already living with us and I told my sister we’d take the next one too but was she going to let him isolate and banish each child in turn? NOPE. She found some strength, she made a plan and she left (van driven through farm fence from earlier discussion).

            Its been 9 years and sadly her hubs is still a crazyman shouting about disrespect, but a least everybody is safe from him. I have watched God be her husband and its been really amazing and inspiring.

            It was her son who told us about the “Gift of fear” book. He is becoming a police officer.



        • Sarah on August 26, 2018 at 12:09 am

          Hello! I can understand wanting to pick your battles–and wanting him to hear correction from sources other than you.

          As for what is typical–that is hard to say. You know, though, that, for myself, I tolerated a great deal more than I think anyone else should tolerate. I do feel shock and anger and dismay so often when people tell their stories on here–and yet I do not usually feel that for my own, when I would for anyone else. I do not know why that is (perhaps I should think about it more.) But maybe that is part of the same dynamic you experience?

          I reread that somebody you trusted–your therapist?–thought that your husband had the potential to become violent, so I would let that be central in your decision making, anyway.

          • Sarah on August 26, 2018 at 12:18 am

            Never mind, I just read your post at the bottom. I responded before I saw it.

            I will pray for your safety and for a good support network and God’s provision.



        • sheep on August 29, 2018 at 10:06 am

          Hi Jane,
          in answer to your question, “I hear the shock in others with the behaviors I have described here and in other posts. Is this not what most of you have also experienced with your abuse.” I think that at least for me, some of the actual actions and words are the same and some are different. But what is the same for most of us are the attitudes behind the actions and words.

          Pride- I can’t be wrong, so I am right
          Selfishness- I want what I want and I will get it
          Entitlement- I deserve it, the rules don’t apply to me
          Blame- It’s your fault
          Excuses- But you did…… to me!
          Minimizing- Sure I did it, but it wasn’t that bad
          Denial- But I started being nice to you

          Something that I have realized since becoming active on this blog is that it is so much easier to spot emotional (and other) abuse in someone else’s marriage than it is our own. It is also a lot easier to think “If I were them there is no way I would put up with that” All the while putting up with that and maybe worse in our own marriage.

          It’s kinda like the frog in the boiling water thing. Over time we became used to the abuse so we tolerated more. The abuse escalated, and we didn’t notice, because to admit it would be horrible and we might have to deal with it, which we tell ourselves will bring about more pain.

          Where if in this scenario we were standing back from the stove a few paces, we could see the horror of the whole thing playing out before us. We would be screaming for the “person in the pot” to jump out.

          It is only as I write this that I think about how many of us have experienced being in the pot and others standing back a few paces, telling us to stay in the pot a little longer? Those that have never felt the pain and confusion of emotional abuse telling us that it really cant be that bad. Those that have never felt the betrayal of adultery, that tell us we should be like Hosea, and just tough it out a little longer to give God time to work? All the while saying nothing to the self-serving Narcissist standing at the stove with their hand on the gas knob that continues to turn up the heat.

      • outofthefog on August 29, 2018 at 4:30 pm

        Interesting about “should I laugh at his jokes?”. I came out of the “FOG” recently and am learning about CORE strengths. I do not laugh at his jokes in public because I do not want to enable him and I want to stay committed to reality. (CORE)

  7. Ruth on August 23, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    To the original writer:
    Leslie’s response was EXCELLENT. I just want to add another voice echoing- you did not drive your exH into pornography by having your own distinct opinions and choices or by setting healthy protective boundaries. He chose pornograohy because of the sin and cruelty of his heart. Remember how the book of James says the lust in our hearts.
    James 1:14
    https://biblehub.com/james/1-14.htm

    The people who subscribe to views that husbands should never be challenged only coddled like spoiled children are not doing these men any favors. This leads to taskmaster mentality in many men. ☹️
    On the other hand, that doesn’t give us as ladies an excuse to become men-bashers.
    Leslie does a great job of explaining how spouses should be MUTUALLY supportive of each other.
    I always got the feeling that when James was posting on here that he had dealt with some really mean, shrew women. You know the pushy, psycho lady who can NEVER be happy. Maybe he even met several classic female abusers and that he felt like that meant there were equally as many abusive wives in marriages as abusive husbands. I remember him saying straight out that men/women were equally co-abusive.
    I seriously doubt that equality especially in the Christian world bc of types of teachings that were referenced in today’s article. There is so much male privilege in the Church. Yes, there are some shrew-like women and I feel sorry for their families. I would assume it’s difficult for those families to get help UNTIL the abuser really wants help. ☹️ Like Bro Sheep, you’d just have to protect your children and yourself as best as you could. 💔
    The radio program the original poster was referencing brought up the subject of pretending. I am a (former) expert on pretending! When Leslie told the fable about the Emperors new Clothes, it reminds me that some ‘Emperors’ are more easily blinded bc they refuse to see anything that will cast them in a negative light. How do you know if you’re one of these who are easily self-deceived? These are individuals with pride issues. My H had extreme pride issues and was totally blind to them. The only issue he would ever take a smidge of responsibility for was his anger. Then after confrontation, boundaries, and counseling and also confessed to being abusive. I was on the verge of Pursuing a divorce. He told me that he didn’t want to be divorced. He begged for another chance. I agreed to give him another chance. My middle child wanted me to divorce him. He was shocked when he found out how the kids really felt about him. Also at the same time I began having migraines for the first time in my life. Now, in our ‘do-over’ my H was hoping our sex life would resume ‘our normal’. Here’s what our normal was- I was on the hook for initiating at bedtime even though my sexual desire was at NEGATIVE 100% (but I was like the Meryl Streep of pretending 😉) I remember when I first read about Leslie’s CORE. I thought “committed to TRUTH?? No PRETENDING?? But pretending is my main survival skill!” If I tell the truth, there’ll be hell to pay!” Here’s another aspect of our unfulfilling sex life. There is little emotional connection prior to the physical connection. Now, prior to me exposing the abuse in our marriage there actually was a *small* bit of emotional connection. My H would talk to me about his *theories*. I was a sounding board. But now he considers me a traitor. I am unsafe. I might not agree with him. I am subversive. For example, I made the terrible mistake of criticizing his father for controlling and disrespecting his mother. Who am I to question my almighty FIL? Gag!

    Now, SINCE our Big do-over 2 years ago, I’ve wondered if he’s recanted his confession in his mind, making me the guilty one again.

    Listen to his new theory.
    I’m surprised he told it to me. So maybe he’s changing on that- My H thinks EVERY evil in the world is the spirit of the antiChrist.
    – If I don’t submit: it’s the spirit of the anti-Christ.
    – If one of his employees doesn’t ‘live right’, it’s the spirit of anti-Christ
    – If our kids are disobedient, it’s the spirit of the anti-Christ
    – If he hears about homosexual agenda in the news, it’s the spirit of the anti-Christ.
    – What Jane said about her husband being sent to their current church so he could give direction and wisdom to that pastor – my husband has said similar things at our previous churches.
    – It’s like in every environment he walks into he sets himself up as THE AUTHORITY and no one can dare question his authority.
    Sorry for any typos. I am a bad typist😝.
    I welcome any insight into my crazy life!

    • Moon Beam on August 23, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Ruth, remember you are NOT crazy. You just have crazy people in your life. Why you keep them in your life is a whole different discussion. Is the mental gymnastics required to deal with crazy people worth it?

      Ha, the anti Christ! The anti Christ has much more important things to do than deal with Christian wives and teenagers. The anti Christ is after entire nations and people groups. Such crazy, crazy stuff your H says. Sorry you have to listen to such nonsense.

    • Nancy on August 24, 2018 at 6:21 am

      Hey Ruth,

      I have one over-all observation:

      The steps that you have taken just don’t align with Leslie ( and other experts on abuse) advice.

      If you want any chance at him changing, then do a ‘do-over’ that follows her steps. Then you’ll know if he is capable of true repentance.

      • Ruth on August 27, 2018 at 1:43 pm

        Nancy you are correct. I did not stick to my boundaries long enough. I also was not brave enough to be committed to truth about my real feelings about physical intimacy.
        Sex has been a huge anxiety trigger for me.
        One problem I have when I try to share my feelings with my H is if he perceives the conversation as an attack (even if I’m very Nonconfrontational in my tone). he will STOP listening and just began counterattacking and defending himself.
        Nonetheless, we have made progress. We’re in a more peaceful place than we used to be. Most of his abusive and demanding behaviors have stopped or slowed way down. I sense he’s just as prideful, but that he controls himself.
        The one thing I committed to myself is that I was gonna stop the foolishness of coddling him by initiating sex when I never want to have sex anyway. I had told him NUMEROUS times that I thought it was not right that he made this my SOLE RESPONSIBILITY. I told him that he could take over this role.
        Well strangely, he doesn’t mind sending out his signals flirty during tHe daytime but at bedtime, he still seems unfilling to initiate.
        When our finances loosen up *hopefully* after he gets a large project done about the end of the year, I’m hoping we could start counseling again.

        • Nancy on August 28, 2018 at 8:15 am

          Ruth,
          I’m glad that you are not pretending anymore about sex. That must be so much more freeing!

          You say “we have made progress. We’re in a more peaceful place than we used to be. Most of his abusive and demanding behaviours have stopped or slowed way down. I sense he’s just as prideful, but he controls himself.”

          Is this real peace? When behaviours go under-ground, is that authentic change? IS it progress?

          You say “when I share my feelings with my H if he perceives the coversation as an attack ( even if I’m non confrontational in my tone) he will STOP listening and just begin counter attacking and defending himself”

          I totally get this. When I got tired of walking on eggshells, that’s when I set the boundary that I would no longer speak to him about our relationship at all. I had tried to turn myself into a pretzel long enough. Saying things in JUST. the ‘right’ way etc…That’s what separation is….there is no more relationship to talk about ( until HE takes responsibility for HIS heart).

          You end with the hope that you can get back to marriage counselling.

          Why? Marriage counselling is not recommended.

          This is what I mean by not following the recommended steps.

          What do you think stops you from releasing this man, and holding him accountable?

    • Jane on August 24, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Ruth,

      He is calling out his own Jezebel (narcissistic) spirit more than anything.

      Robert Morris has a great teaching on this and recommends getting away from these people, and he spells out exactly the behavior we see in our narc hubbies:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtW074wfF9o

      This hyperreligious greater than thou belief means he is unrepentant and has not chosen to submit to any authority so I would guess your situation has not really changed, as mine has not either.

      The spirit of the anti-Christ is different than the person of the Anti-Christ but either way your husband is misinterpreting this. There may be, what he thinks is, a rebellious spirit which is as the sin of witchcraft and is just a taste of what encompasses the anti-Christ spirit, but the anti-Christ spirit also hates God and loves self! This is a far cry from any perceived wrong you or your children are doing (or actually likely not doing).

      Does your husband really focus on revelation type prophetic studies and the power of God and knowledge of the little things like what a certain number means in Hebrew and how that applies, etc. While these things are awesome because God has imbedded some cool information here and the amazing perfection of his creation of all things is revealed, it brings the student no closer to the understanding of the heart of God and His Kingdom! This knowledge without the other puffs up and creates pride which is the very sin that caused the fall to begin with. Pride and fear, which are closely linked, seem to be the downfall of all men, thank God for His grace and rule over our lives.

      If you have not previously looked into the possibility that your husband has a deep seated personality disorder such as narcissism, I encourage you to do some reading on narcissism. The information on gas-lighting and crazy making will be overwhelming as the truth of what has been happening in your head at the intentional hands of your husband sinks in. But if you want to be able to better evaluate what you should do I encourage you to learn more about this truth and the fact that these individuals are incapable of change without years of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). If he has not been still investing in this with a trained professional I doubt you see anything but bananas that are starting to rot on the apple tree that your husband still is. I recommend reading Chris Moles book The Heart of Domestic Abuse, it may help you when deciding what is possible or real change and what is not.

      Praying for you to stay safe and sane as you seek out God’s will and plan in all of this.

    • caroline on August 25, 2018 at 1:33 am

      Ruth its really easy to find something to blame : the anti-christ, the liberals, the government, the aristocracy, the jews, that woman you gave me…blame is in our DNA as human beings.

      My first and only insight is that your husband’s outlook is really pornographic. The pride, the anger, the blame, the shock that his kids don’t like him, and then that SUPER obvious requirement that you initiate sex with him though he is an angry abusive man. Play acting in the bedroom to save a rotting marriage, this usually means porn is a husband’s first love.

      Sexual perversion is almost a religion. One where you get to be this weird little god and have others worship you and sacrifice their lives for your pleasure. Your own body and its sexual responses become your idol and when others (real people) treat you as an ordinary human, it feels “off” and disrespectful because of course you are god and everyone loves and wants you…gag.

      My husband used to say I was very disrespectful until he began to deal with his hidden porn addiction. Now he admits what he really wanted was probably much closer to WORSHIP, and not respect at all. In reality he was treated much better than he deserved.

      Not sure about this “do over” you were given. Seems like a rip off. Any chance of a refund?

    • sheep on August 29, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Hi Ruth,

      It has been my experience that when people are always blaming demons, Satan, or evil spirits for bad actions and attitudes that it is usually because they are looking for someone else to blame their own sin on. Satan and demons make pretty good scapegoats for those that don’t want to repent.

  8. JoAnn on August 24, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Nancy, I am having trouble understanding your reply to Ruth. Is it that you think she shouldn’t have given him “another chance”? I might agree with that, but it was her choice at the time, and now the question is, where to go from here.

    • Nancy on August 24, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      Hi JoAnn,

      Ruth asked for any insight. My over-all observation was simply that the second chance that she gave her husband was not at all consistent with what Leslie recommends. (it’s not surprising that he has reverted back).

      So in terms of advice, or where to go from here, I’d say re-read EDM and if she wants to try again, then do it the way the experts recommend (Confront, separate, go to individual counselling ( and require he do the same), hold him accountable, and wait to see if he will repent).

      Anything less than unwavering boundaries and requirements will get manipulated, and the result will be confusion.

      • Ruth on August 27, 2018 at 3:56 pm

        Jane,
        If you found a way to email me. I will buy you a copy of the Lundy Bancroft book Why Does He Do That off eBay. You can have it emailed to one of your adult children’s houses or your place of employment, just give me some address to put in for PayPal so it doesn’t show up at your house and cause a ruckus with your husband.
        They’re sold cheap on eBay thru goodwill.
        Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll post my email

        • Ruth on August 27, 2018 at 3:58 pm

          I meant to say mailed to another address.
          Sorry I’m a very bad typist.

        • K (who's posted before) on August 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

          Public libraries carry Lundy Bancroft’s books!

  9. Jane on August 24, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    has anyone read steve Sampson’s books.

    Confronting Jezebel
    and
    the Ahab Spirit

    I clearly see now that the complimentary spiritual problem that keeps me coming back to the controlling Jezebel is the Ahab spirit. These books look helpful but wanted to see if anyone had invested in them before I spend hard fought for dollars on them.

    • moon beam on August 24, 2018 at 10:39 pm

      Jane, I don’t think the books will be on any help to you. Don’t waste your money on any new books until you have read Lundy Bancroft’s titles.

      • Jen on August 25, 2018 at 3:31 am

        100% agree – you cant beat 30 years of a man’s experience telling you – it’s entitlement, and it’s rare for them to change their mindsets and they will do a lot to pretend. I need someone like Lundy to say it, to wake up.

    • Nancy on August 25, 2018 at 7:18 am

      I agree with moon beam and Jen. Stick with ‘action’ and ‘practical’ books (Lundy, Leslie etc…).

      ( Interestingly I bought confronting Jezebel about 3 or 4 years ago, when I was in a total fog about my relationships.)

      • Robin on August 25, 2018 at 10:59 pm

        I vote for Lundy too.
        He sure woke me up to reality !!!!

  10. caroline on August 25, 2018 at 3:56 am

    Q. Friends, have you lied and pretended in your marriage and what has it cost you? What has it cost your marriage?

    For almost twenty years I told terrible lies, but mostly to me. I have a huge ego myself and really wanted my husband to love and value me, so I tried really hard to make myself essential to him. I trimmed off parts of myself so I would fit into the small box I bought from the world labeled WIFE.

    I read the crummy books too, but I was smart. I knew better. I knew fake admiration and fake desire would eventually be seen through, so instead I told lies to me and made a thousand changes in me so I could always be “honest” with him.

    No matter how warped his posture, I would twist myself to fit next to him.

    I stopped thinking about certain things so I would have no opinion on them, and could therefore just accept his taste and follow his lead. I made my life tiny so he would seem bigger in it. I told myself stories about how much he loved me so I could feel like I was really responding to him during sex. I shared the spiritual insights that God was teaching me and when hubs would agree (passively and politely) I would go away telling myself they had been his insights!!

    I was on constant lookout for things to praise him for, and build him up with (puff him up!!), hoping to make him dependent on me for his self esteem and therefore less likely to leave me. I studied his personality and excused all his crappy character issues because he was phlegmatic, golden retriever, Steady man, “C” type person, and its CRAZY to expect more from him… I could change of course, but not him. I worked hard to make our life look really “nice” on the outside and then gave him credit for it.

    The problem was I really believed my lies. I thought any problem we had was because I wasn’t doing something right.

    In reality I was broken and I had married a very broken young man with a lot of problems. In reality he was a lying passive aggressive porn addict and he needed to be exposed. But God is kind and His timing is perfect, he began to expose my idolatry before he let me see the whole truth of my husband’s secret life.

    My Idolatry was not only of my husband but of who I was when I was with him. The Lord began to show me that my worth comes from HIM, because He made me and He chose me and I am redeemed IN HIM. No other relationship, good OR bad, has the power to define me or change my value.

    One consequence of being a liar for so long is that it was very hard for me to believe my husband really was an emotionally abusive/neglectful sexual betrayer, and because I had snipped off so much of me trying to make me fit a certain mold, I didn’t know who I was either.

    • Nancy on August 25, 2018 at 7:10 am

      Caroline this is so well said!

      Especially this, “my idolatry was not only of my h but of who I was when I was with him.”

      It’s so important to take full responsibility for the idols that kept us a victim.

    • Maria on August 25, 2018 at 7:39 am

      Caroline,

      After living that way for 20 yrs, realizing you were lying to yourself and your husband must have been quite tough. The sad thing is many churches teach that this is the biblical way to treat husbands. One of our pastor’s wives told me that all men have egos and as wives we are to feed them. I tried to, but it was so foreign to me that I was never able to do it. At the time I admired women who could- how humble they were to put their husbands above themselves. You have probably described many women in churches. They appear to have very good marriages and families on the outside. It takes a great deal of insight and strength to realize what you were doing and how it was affecting you.

    • Free on August 25, 2018 at 8:28 am

      I found your submission fascinating as I have never thought or lived as you lived. Again, I find your thinking fascinating. Thanks for giving me a glimpse into your world. What do you think about the Instagram and Facebook trend of braggiing and creating a fake persona for show. Although, probably not motivated in trying to be a good Christian, I see so much fake, overly sappy affectionate language smeared on social media. I wonder why? Maybe it is hurting people trapped in the pretending cycle you describe.

      • Maria on August 26, 2018 at 8:08 am

        Free,

        I think it stems from the need to be accepted. Looking back, I know I didn’t mind appearing a certain way so that people admired or accepted me. Seeing that trait to the extreme in my husband has caused me to look inward and recognize it it myself. Now, I want to be authentic even if it means that I don’t look perfect or even acceptable.

        • Free on August 26, 2018 at 1:56 pm

          Maria,God looks at the heart. He loved you the whole time. Mr Rogers was ahead of his time. He used to say, “I like you just the way you are.”

    • Ruth on August 27, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      Caroline,
      Your post should be a blog in response to the Pearl crapola.

      The most poignant line to me was:
      I stopped thinking about certain things so I would have no opinion on them, and could therefore just accept his taste and follow his lead.

      So true. Only listening to their news channels, their music, etc. ☹️

      • caroline on August 27, 2018 at 3:20 pm

        Yes Ruth. And you know my husband is embarrassed to think I had to work so hard to like him. Its no compliment, and it makes any current solidarity somewhat suspect.

        I didn’t read the Pearls marriage stuff until I was on the other side. I had been given the “Train Up..” book years before and I got to that part about them switching the 4 month old baby for climbing the stairs. I thought these people are psycho criminals and threw the book away.

        Later I found out some people had actually gone to prison for beating their adopted child to death by following the Pearls “child training” advice. I saw a photo of the couple in the courtroom, sitting side by side in their matching orange prison garb: mindless submission at work

  11. Nancy on August 25, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Friends, have you lied and pretended in your marriage and what has it cost you? What has it cost your marriage?

    The biggest lie that I told myself was that I was ‘less than’ my husband. I was not as hard working, not as generous, not as even -tempered, not as self-sacrificing.

    I constantly compared myself to him.

    My husband has a very kind heart. So do I. But after 20 years of using him and our marriage as my source, the well ran dry and I found myself dying of thirst.

    I would imagine that a lack of water causes all kinds of screwed perceptions. And so, over the years as I tried desperately to extract whatever fuel I could from him, I became more and more focused on him. Critical, controlling…both of these with a ‘sweet’ demeanour, of course. I was so darn nice.

    I bought marriage books and listened to podcasts, in an attempt to get ‘us’ to change, to be healed.

    My lack of responsibility for myself was astounding. If I kept focused on him, then I wouldn’t have to take responsibility for me. He was responsible for rescuing me, he was responsible for changing. If ONLY he would just DO THAT!

    Then The Lord intervened. He took my h off the pedestal of my heart and gave me the song ‘no longer slaves’. I belong to Jesus. I am a child of God. At this point, I had been a Christian for 3 years and had been in ani Net se Bible Study since I was saved. Now, I GOT IT. My value is based in Him. Not my deeds, not my personality, not my husband, or my marriage. In Jesus.

    Now, I could go to war for my husband.

  12. Jane on August 25, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Found something last night, don’t think I’m safe to post anymore.

    Thanks for all. Be back if I can.

    • Moon Beam on August 25, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      Jane, use a different name and a different computer. Right now, I think you need this support.

    • Ruth on August 27, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      Jane,
      We will be praying God’s protection and favor for YOU.

    • Ruth on August 27, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Jane
      We will be praying God’s protection over you!

      • Ruth on August 27, 2018 at 4:04 pm

        Jane,
        If you get a chance to read again, I posted to you, but I accidentally put my post under a spot where Nancy had written. I do my ‘interneting on my iphone so sometimes it’s hard to see what you’re doing on this little screen LOL. Anyway, reading the Lundy Bandcroft book Why Does He Do That? would be very good for you. Please read my post to you about getting you the book 😊

  13. redeemed on August 27, 2018 at 12:11 am

    Women who earn 65% or more of their households’
    income are more likely to be psychologically
    abused than women who learn less than
    65% of their households’ income.

    Psychological abuse is a stronger predictor of PTSD than physical abuse among women.

    WHY IT MATTERS:
    Psychological abuse increases the trauma of physical
    and sexual abuse, and a number of studies have
    demonstrated that psychological abuse independently
    causes long-term damage to a victim’s mental health.
    Victims of psychological abuse often experience
    depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal
    ideation, low self-esteem, and difficulty trusting others.
    Subtle psychological abuse is more harmful than either
    overt psychological abuse or direct aggression.

    If you need help:
    Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
    Or, online go to DomesticShelters.org

    https://www.speakcdn.com/assets/2497/domestic_violence_and_psychological_abuse_ncadv.pdf

  14. confused on August 27, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    I am still struggling in the fog of confusion regarding the lies. I am planning to visit family this coming Friday- tuesday. I need to get out of the fog to hear God’s voice, and seek counsel. Please pray for courage for me to follow through with going as I don’t have my husband’s blessing. I’m not sure he believes I will really go. I fear the consequences, as he threatens with comments like “you’re burning bridges”. But I know I need to leave the results in God’s hands. Please pray that God will clearly stop me if I shouldn’t go. Thank you all for sharing and for your prayers!

    • T.L. on August 30, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      Dear Confused,

      Praying for you, that you will take the bold, brave step to go with your trust firmly in your Heavenly Husband, who will stand with you and protect you. Please do not give in to the lies and fear that your husband, in league with satan, is trying to control you with. Let the “bridges burn;” they won’t burn you. GOD has not given you a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind. Take his hand, and go. He is with you. He leads us out of the fog of the lies of our abusers, so we can listen to His still small voice of truth.

  15. Agape Moms on August 29, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    This hit home for us- submission and a wife’s duties in an abusive marriage are so often misunderstood. Oftentimes, people believe that submission equates to compliance, which tends to perpetuate a husband’s sin. In contrast, a truly loving and submissive wife does not want her husband or her family to be destroyed by the sins of abuse and recognizes her role in graciously addressing the situation for the betterment of herself, her children, and her husband. We have shared your thoughts, Leslie, on our blog and have offered additional solutions for women who want to display godly submission in the face of abuse at https://www.agapemoms.com/blog/2018/7/14/biblical-submission-christian-wife-can-address-husbands-sin-abuse Thank you for your amazing work in this area!

  16. DD on August 29, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Interesting question. I never laugh at my husband’s jokes in public. He seems to be trying to get supply/attention. In the past, I laughed, but since I came out of the “FOG”, I know better now. To remain true to myself, I will not encourage attention seeking behavior. CORE: committed to reality and do not enable others.

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