Hi Friends,

Wow, this has been a crazy week. We had an overwhelming response to our invitation for new CONQUER members. It only shows me that there are so many Christian women who are feeling stuck and afraid in destructive and abusive marriages.  

Second, I’ve been doing Grandma camp for the last two weeks, watching our 3 granddaughters at our cabin in Pinetop, Arizona. We’ve had a great time. Made jewelry bracelets and necklaces today and going horseback riding tomorrow.

Today’s question covers a common problem I get asked frequently

Question: I’ve been married for 25 years to an emotionally and verbally abusive man. I feel angry and bitter toward him for the way he treats me, yet he still expects me to be loving and affectionate with him, especially in bed. I can’t do it. What does God expect me to do? Can I withhold sex as a consequence for his abusive behavior?

Answer: This is an extremely important question that many women face. I’ve written before about being treated as an object instead of a human being. An emotionally destructive marriage is where the personhood, dignity, and personal choice of the spouse is regularly diminished, degraded, disregarded or crushed.  

No one likes feeling like an object, especially if you are in a committed relationship with the person who treats you as such. Husbands sometimes complain to me that they feel that their wives treat them like a paycheck. Wives complain that they don’t feel like a loved person but merely a sexual object or a slave.

Marriage is the most sacred and intimate relationship we have apart from our relationship with God. When one person (or both people) continually disrespect, mistreats or lies to the other, intimacy is broken. It can be rebuilt but not without genuine repentance and a lot of hard work.

From what you say, it sounds as if your husband believes he’s entitled to the benefits of married life, (sexual intimacy, your affection, and love, not to mention normal care), without having to do his part. He doesn’t seem to understand that having a good and loving relationship requires two people who interact with one another with kindness and respect to create a safe relationship. His emotionally abusive behavior is driving you further away from him. Does he just want sex from you? Or true intimacy?

The Bible calls us to love, not hate. That command includes our enemies. But what does Biblical love look like towards your husband in this instance? Biblical love isn’t necessarily feelings of affection or warmth, but actions that are directed toward another person’s long-term best interests.

So ask yourself the question, Is it in my husband’s long term best interests to be sexually available to him so that his sexual needs are met?  If you answer “yes,” understand that meeting his sexual needs is not a solution to your relationship problem it is just a solution to his sexual frustration.

Another way to look at this situation is that it is in your husband’s best interests to let him experience the felt consequences of broken intimacy and tell him that when he treats you disrespectfully, you’re too angry to feel warmth and affection towards him. When he’s not sorry he treats you that way, it makes it impossible for you to feel affectionate toward him. You need to have a calm conversation with him regarding your feelings. Here’s a sample of something you might say.

I know you get very frustrated when I’m not responsive to your sexual needs. You want me to be sexual with you and enjoy our physical relationship. But the way you treat me much of the time makes me feel angry and hurt. When you call me names or degrade me in front of the children, the last thing I feel like doing is being warm and affectionate towards you. If you want genuine intimacy and affection, you will need to work on changing the way you treat me. Wouldn’t you rather have someone who wants to get close and affectionate with you rather than someone who is just doing her duty?

Most men I talk with want closeness with their wives. Try expressing your feeling about being just an object versus a person. This may help him see the impact of his behavior, not only on you but on him. But if your husband won’t hear you and doesn’t care about what your feelings are, then what?  

Hear me. I don’t believe in using sex as a weapon any more than someone should use the silent treatment as a weapon. It isn’t good for the marriage. It is controlling and manipulative.

However, I do think sometimes we have to say, “I can’t talk right now because I’m too angry to do it constructively” or “I can’t talk with you because you won’t hear me or listen to me.” That’s not using talking or not talking as a weapon, but stating a problem either with you or in the relationship.   

In the same way, if someone says, “I can’t have sexual closeness with you right now because I’m too angry to do it lovingly” I think that is stating a truth. Or “Having sex with you feels like I’m just being used as an object but you don’t really care for me when you treat me so disrespectfully other times” helps the one who is doing the hurting to know what needs to change in order to repair the relationship.

Genuine love does not enable, does not appease evil, and does not feed the lie of entitlement. Click To Tweet

Friends, how do you respond to your husband’s entitled thinking when the relationship itself is broken or unsafe?

72 Comments

  1. Heidi on June 5, 2019 at 8:50 am

    This is a timely answer for me, as I just a few days ago told my h, I can’t continue to have sex as he has broken my trust and not tried to rebuild it. I said I don’t feel safe. I also said it is not to punish but it makes me angry and resentful when he “demands his right”. He did not take it very well and he said with hostility I should meet him with love and not disregard him in this way. He obviously doesn’t understand how, what he has done to me, still affects me. And I also have said even if I agree when he asks during the day if we can have sex at night, but he is angry and irritated and hostile the evening I won’t be able to to go through with it. He understands and he doesn’t understand at the same time. He says he wants to work towards me feel safe but he is still feeling entitled to sex. It a constant battle whether to give in so I can have a few days break or stand strong. To stay real and honest or give in and pretend. It may also give him a false sense of; “we’re ok” if I don’t say anything. And at this point he needs to know we are not ok.

    • One step at a time on June 5, 2019 at 5:01 pm

      Heidi and Chris,
      I could have written what you both wrote. I’m in the same boat. I’ve tried doing what Leslie says about how I feel used and like an object when we are intimate or when he wants and begs for intimacy. Leslie says above that it helps the one doing the hurting to know what needs to change in order to repair the relationship. But I haven’t seen him understand how to change for the better. He just heaps on a mix of flattery and wondering why I am acting the way I am and then accuses me of not doing what the Bible says is my role as a wife. He asks daily usually multiple times a day for it and I keep explaining I need a break from not just the act but requests for it.
      When I try to explain he doesn’t get it and he denies that I feel the way I do or that his actions would cause me to feel the way I do.
      In this situation where you have explained how it makes you feel and you just get denials of that feeling and where the person doesn’t really “change” but instead just tries to be more flirtatious and uses flattery more, what do you do?

      • Moon Beam on June 5, 2019 at 10:38 pm

        It’s all just classic power and control moves. He is using various forms of manipulative tactics until he finds andone that will get him what he wants. He dismisses you, your words and doesn’t value you as an equal. What do you do? Keep your boundaries so you can think straight as you get preparations together to leave. Men and women like this can’t and won’t change. There is no know cure for abusers.

      • Chris on June 6, 2019 at 9:31 am

        I understand what you’re going through One step. You are not alone. It’s so dehumanizing seeing that your feelings don’t matter or even register with the person who is supposed to love you the most. When I try to share my feelings with my husband, he interrupts me and then talks over me about everything I do to hurt him. I’m not allowed to say how I feel, and then he berates me for never “sharing” with him. It’s a crazy-making, no-win situation.

      • Heidi on June 6, 2019 at 2:07 pm

        One step at a time, I hear you. I like what Free said to detangle. Piece by piece. Saying no to sex is one way for me to check if he really is changing. Because if he was changing he would start to understand the damage done by his manipulating and treathening behaviour. I am not sure if I have hope for change. Even if he seems to calm down quicker. I think it was you Chris that said that you are not sure if you want to stay married and maybe the damage is just to big. That is how I feel as well. I am slowly preparing for separation. That is the only direction where I see glimpses of hope. Still keeping the door open in case he changes his way.

      • JoAnn on June 6, 2019 at 5:57 pm

        Heidi, Chris, and One Step, what you are dealing with is hearts of stone: lack of love, trust and respect on the part of your husbands. I don’t know if those things can be learned, but these are definitely character flaws. Sometimes the Lord has been able to arrange something that brings about change, and sometimes you will be the one to motivate the change, or not. Leaving may be the only way to see if he will do what it takes to change his heart….he needs a heart transplant. Their hearts are stony, but the Lord did promise to replace the heart of stone with a heart of flesh, (Ezek. 36:26) but you have to want that and ask Him for it. That means coming to Him in true repentance. When a man sees what he has lost, it could bring him to his knees. That is where you have to be clear before the Lord whether He wants you to make this drastic step, but when He makes you clear, then He will also make a way. Sometimes we just have to get out of he Lord’s way so He can do what He wants to do.

        Ezekiel 36:26…Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes …..
        We take your promise, Lord. As You have spoken, do it!

        • Chip Pate on February 26, 2020 at 11:08 pm

          I believe it is both parties jobs to be loving and compassionate, at the same time the bible is clear, he has the authority over her body like wise she has the authority over him, no for abuse but for use for each other. You were married under a covenant not a piece of paper, with holding is a hardness of the heart and the rejection of sex is the same so they have the right to a divorce if that is the case. It is biblical read Corithians fully. However, it is a mans job to sacrifice like christ and a woman is called to love him ad if he were christ. Go Get Counseling, Pray so you to can come back together as one under God!!!! God is not going to play when the time comes when we feel we can just walk away or not fulfill our duties to each other!!!! You give even if they dont, God will handle the rest. If you believe sacrifice yourself to each other and have full faith. Stop living off emotions or feelings they will lead you wrong but Gods word will not!!! If you didnt want to have sex tou should have not married that is why you got married, if we didnt have sex you couldive with anyone and be a friend, Sex is what sets everything apart from all other relationships, dont use it for kids, kids come n go, the marriage should still stand on the rock, dont guess read the Bible!!

          • Leslie Vernick on February 26, 2020 at 11:37 pm

            Chip, it’s not just about sex. It’s about a lack of care and a lack of relationship. Marriage isn’t just about sex or for sex, it’s for intimacy, companionship and love. When those components are missing, is the sexual component mandatory anyway? And what does that say about who God is? He doesnt’ care if a woman (or man) is being used and abused as long as he or she gets sex?



  2. Free on June 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Having sex with an abusive person is a betrayal to your body, mind and soul. It can confuse your thinking. If you don’t want to have sex with a person, end the marriage. It is a sign that so many things are wrong in the marriage.

    Continuing to submit yourself to physical activity while pretending you are somewhere else has been done to survive abuse. The elephant in the room is that the relationship is abusive. Get the courage and self respect to leave a spouse who doesn’t nurture and love you. The partnership is unequal. You can’t do all the work to fix another person who is abusive. This is a difficult reality to accept and take action upon. We Christians spiritualize circumstances that are obviously wrong and hope beyond reality that they will change.

    Heck, no don’t have sex with an abuser. Also don’t live with them, share your finances with them, share your precious words, thoughts and deeds with them. Please, oh please, don’t try to fix them. (You told them the problem, they can fix their own problem, ASAP. ) Move on, move out, detach and decouple.

    • Sherry Lowery on October 1, 2022 at 1:12 am

      Easier said than done if your were forced to commingle joint business and personal debt and he ran up the credit cards and maxed them out and had a opioid addiction and drinking problem. U would get to leave. If the creditors would have come after me as he was on disability

  3. Chris on June 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    I’m in the exact same situation (married 21 years). My H has pretty much accepted (begrudgingly) that I will not have sex with him right now. But he is very angry that I won’t kiss him either (peck on the lips), and tries to make me. I usually turn my head and present my cheek when he goes in for a kiss, but sometimes he grabs my face and forces a kiss on the lips. Or he will whine or beg. He makes small improvements in his behavior, and says I should reward him for trying, and when I won’t kiss him, it makes him want to give up trying. Part of me wants to give in just to have peace, but that’s part of how we got to where we are now. I really don’t want to kiss him, but should I when he’s acting nice in order to “reward” him? Something about this doesn’t feel right. I still feel manipulated and controlled :(.

    • Moon Beam on June 5, 2019 at 2:42 pm

      Chris, love isn’t a reward system. He is so off base! His “good” behavior seems like a manipulative ploy. What a mess you have got yourself into. Seems like you are mothering another child.

      Real change is repentant and sincere. It lasts and doesn’t waiver. Chris, I think you are being scammed.

      • Chris on June 6, 2019 at 9:14 am

        Thanks Moon Beam. This resonates with me.

    • JoAnn on June 5, 2019 at 2:44 pm

      Chris, There’s nothing wrong with some “positive reinforcement” to encourage your h to honor and respect you. A kiss doesn’t cost much, but it can provide some incentive for him to change his behavior. Do you know why he wants to kiss you? Is it a genuine act of love on his part? If so, I would encourage you to allow him to kiss you when he is behaving in a loving and respectful way. Do you feel any love at all in your heart toward him? Why don’t you even want to kiss him if he has been nice? Have you had any counseling at all? Perhaps it would help for you to work out your own feelings toward him. Have you identified for him the changes you need to see in the relationship? From what you wrote, it sounds like you have completely pulled out of this relationship. Is that what you want? Or are you hoping to redeem the marriage? If that’s what you want, then there is work to be done on both sides, and individual counseling would help both of you. (Couples counseling is not recommended when there is abuse.)
      I just ask you these questions to help you clarify for yourself what the real issues are here.

      • Ruth on June 5, 2019 at 7:38 pm

        Honestly Joann, if you look at Chris’ post she says her H is pulling her face towards his. That’s about power. That’s coercion. That’s disrespectful of her body. It’s triggering to anyone who’s been compelled to have sex or else had hell to pay.
        A kiss is given freely not guilted out of someone. ☹️

        • Free on June 5, 2019 at 10:15 pm

          I agree Ruth. Thank you for writing this.

          Patrick Doyle said one of first things he asks women who can’t discern if they are in an abusive marriage is if they ever cry after sex. It is a litmus test for denial when I woman continues to subject her body and denies the pain she holds in her heart and mind. Sometimes it is the only way to break through all the other jargon and spiritual self talk the woman has used to make herself stay in a horrible relationship. The betrayal of her very person hood is devaluing to the point of tears.

        • JoAnn on June 5, 2019 at 11:37 pm

          Ruth, yes, you are right about the power thing. But my questions are about wanting her to be clear what her real feelings are, as it seemed that she was not clear about where to go with this. Why would he demand to kiss her? What is that about? Power, yes, maybe, or is he trying to express affection, hoping that it will lead to more? She doesn’t give us much background to know why she is pulling away. Does she want to save the marriage? Or is she wanting out? I think we could all offer better support if we knew some of these answers. I just had a lot of questions when I read her post.

          • Chris on June 6, 2019 at 9:24 am

            Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies. JoAnn, you ask very good and thought-provoking questions. After 21+ years of verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse, I’m not sure that I want to save the marriage. I think on some level, I still do love him, but at the moment he is repulsive to me. He says he wants to change, and I see him trying, but I wonder if there is just too much damage done. The cycle of abuse continues, which shows me that he has not had a heart change. I feel like I need to get away in order to assess if there is even a chance at reconciliation. I’m trying to build up the courage and resolve to leave, but I’m not there yet. We have 3 children still at home, and limited finances, which also complicates things. Being a part of Leslie’s Conquer program is helping me gain clarity and strength.



          • JoAnn on June 6, 2019 at 6:11 pm

            Chris, I wrote above about these men needing a “heart transplant,” and it would appear that your h is one of them. Behavior change isn’t real change. The real change has to come from the heart, and if he has to try so hard, then as soon as he gets what he wants, the change goes away. This is a fact that everyone needs to realize. A marriage covenant includes: love, trust, respect, and commitment. If those things aren’t there, then it isn’t a marriage. Please read “Redemptive Divorce” by Mark Gaither. It will open your eyes and help you develop a strategy to move forward.
            Getting away and out of the fog will help you get clarity. this summer, while the kids are out of school, can you take them to visit a relative, or a friend and get away for a while? It sounds like you need a break.



          • Chris on June 10, 2019 at 11:02 am

            JoAnn, you are right, I definitely need a break. H and I talked this weekend about him moving out for awhile. I’m not sure that he will follow through though. My children and I am going to my family reunion in July without my H, so that will be a nice break. I’m working up my strength to take my children and leave if H won’t.



          • JoAnn on June 11, 2019 at 5:41 pm

            Chris, can you expect any support from any family members? You said that you had an abusive childhood, but since you will be going to a family reunion, I wonder if there are any in your extended family who might be sympathetic and offer support? I pray that the Lord will make it all clear to you, both what He wants you to do and how He wants you to move forward. Bless you.



    • Sherry Lowery on October 1, 2022 at 1:13 am

      No! He is forcing a kiss on you! Get out!

  4. Trish on June 5, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Leslie, I love the heart and soul you put into your work, and this is such a beautifully written response to the question! I believe it could work for some men who have the capability to feel empathy for their wives. Unfortunately, men with Asperger’s and Narcissm lack empathy, and my opinion is that reponses like this just don’t seem to work with them. Their brains simply don’t register empathy. I believe men with Asperger’s have the capacity to feel love, and will say they love their wives, but love is not empathy. This took me a long time to understand the difference and sort through, but once I did, I left my emotionally abusive husband who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder. He had a high sex drive and definitely made me feel like a sexual object. He was a Christian, and in his Asperger ways would try to use “logic and the Bible” to manipulate me into having sex with him, even when I explained to him with the near-exact words you used, that I could not open myself up to him sexually when he had just spoken so harshly and meanly to me, especially in front of our son. I felt degraded and disregarded on a daily basis. But my faulty thinking for the first 15 years of marriage was that it was “my Christian wifely duty,” and I thought I was being “sacrificial and loving” by giving him sex whenever he wanted. Unfortunately that was a bondage hell, and eroded away at my personhood and very soul, to the point I became a shadow of my former self. I asked myself how a woman with a PhD could feel so stupid and have no self-esteem. But I gained strength by reading your blogs and also by educating myself about Asperger’s, reading Dr. Kathy Marshak’s book entitled “Going over the Edge.” I would highly encourage any woman out there to gather strength through Leslie’s Conquer group, her blogs, and also educating yourself if you feel your husband may have Asperger’s. It will free you from your abusive relationship and help you distinguish when a man can change, and when he can’t. Thanks again Leslie for all of your amazing work. Love to you and yours.

    • Sherry Lowery on October 1, 2022 at 1:19 am

      You should have found this out before u married him big is now mandatory to ask a perspective date if they are in any prescription and what kinds and if mental issues run in their family and what is his credit and insurance score and if the perspective person had any undiagnosed disorders b I did when I started dating again ate age 42. I dud not want to get screwed over again and I did ask these questions as I have a right to protect myself frim future harm

  5. Genny on June 5, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Chris, there are two things that require God’s wisdom. One is setting appropriate godly boundaries and the other is obedience to Christ Jesus. I know what you are feeling. I had to learn how to love when my expectations weren’t being met. That’s how Christ loves me. My boundaries are filtered through love so that I can practice kindness which reflects love. Ask God to reveal your heart to ensure that you are aligned with his heart. My h was a tool to help me mature spiritually and shine love to those who least deserve it… starting with my husband.

    • Free on June 5, 2019 at 10:09 pm

      But Genny, is your husband abusive or difficult? Shining love is not an appropriate boundary for those who need protection from fools and are victims of evil people pretending to be Christian spouses. Spiritualizing abuse helps one live in denial and enables the evil doer freedoms they shouldn’t have.

    • Chris on June 6, 2019 at 10:04 am

      Thank you Genny. I understand what you are saying, but this was the mistake I made throughout my marriage. It’s not just that my expectations were not being met. For 21+ years, my husband has verbally, emotionally, and sexually abused me. He berates me, screams at me, calls me names, mocks me, and makes wild accusations that are not true. I am not allowed to have my own opinion if it is different from his, he tells me what to wear, what to think, and even tells me what to say to people in emails and on the phone. He regularly tells me how I feel and what my intentions are. If I try to tell him how I ACTUALLY feel or what I think, he interrupts me and talks over me to tell me what I think. I was always expected to have sex with him whenever he wanted to, even if I was sick or in pain. If I ever tried to say no to him about anything, an onslaught of verbal and emotional abuse would ensue. I was always told I am a selfish b**ch if I said no. Early in our relationship he isolated me from family and friends, and told me I didn’t know how to love or be in a relationship when I protested. I have lived with a terrorist all these years. He would threaten to commit suicide where our children could find him so they would know it was my fault. He threatened to tell people my deepest secrets in order to humiliate me. I hope this gives you a little taste of what I have lived with. I always thought I was being the good Christian wife by allowing this and forgiving over and over. Thank God I have finally woken up to the truth that I am in an abusive relationship and am learning to set healthy boundaries. You are correct, I am maturing spiritually now and feel God’s unconditional love in this heaviest of cross I am bearing. I feel like this is how God truly wants me to love, by not allowing this behavior any more. And I do know what you mean about examining my heart – I am not reluctant to kiss him because I am trying to punish him, I am truly so damaged and broken that kissing him feels like a further violation. Thank you for your response. I know that you were not suggesting that I enable his abusive behavior, so I apologize if this came off as a rant. I guess I’m just venting. Thank you for listening, and I’m so glad that the Lord has led you to a place of love. That’s where I strive to be <3.

      • JoAnn on June 6, 2019 at 6:19 pm

        Not a rant, Chris. This just helps us to understand the painful life you have had. Please don’t endure it any longer. Would your parents or a relative welcome you to go for a visit? Your loving Heavenly Father never meant for you to have to live with this. Take the gold He has deposited in you and move on. He is with you.

      • Nancy on June 6, 2019 at 8:00 pm

        Chris,

        We are never called to sacrifice our heart, or our personhood. To do so is the opposite of the love that Christ calls us to. We cannot give away what we do not possess ourselves.

        ‘above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your life’ Prov4:23

        It sounds to me, Chris, that your wellspring has run dry.

        Jesus sacrificed himself for your husband. If that’s not enough for him, then he will never be satisfied.

  6. Brenda Davis on June 6, 2019 at 6:59 am

    Genny…seems to me your response coul border on enabling abusive behavior….which is not love…expectations of course can be unreasonable but to be treated lovingly by a spouse is reasonable…a pattern of disrespect and unkindness is a problem that does not warrant ‘Kindness’ but requires bold love

    • Chris on June 6, 2019 at 10:07 am

      I love your term “bold love.” Lord help me to learn to love boldly.

    • Chris on June 6, 2019 at 10:08 am

      Also, I think this type of bold love is maybe what Genny was alluding to.

      • Free on June 6, 2019 at 12:14 pm

        You have loved enohim boldly is timenough.It time you start to love yourself boldly. How are you doing with that? Start with treating yourself well, the rest will follow. Never put more effort into him than he is to you. An unevenly yoked team can not plow.

        • Chris on June 6, 2019 at 12:30 pm

          Thank you Free. I am trying to learn self-love and to treat myself with compassion. I think I am finally mostly over the self-loathing that comes from a lifetime of abuse (I was abused as a child as well), and am learning how to detach from the hurtful words and accusations that come out of my husband’s mouth. It’s a journey for sure. I’m glad that you are free.

          • Sherry on June 9, 2019 at 10:57 am

            Chris, I am so sorry you are going through this abuse. Please continue to detach emotionally as much as you can while waiting for the right time to leave. I too had 3 kids and not very much money so I didn’t leave until my kids were adults. It just wasnt the right time yet but when it was the right time God opened doors for me and now I am free! Almost 2 years now after 32 years of marriage and my life is starting again! Listen to your gut, that’s where God will speak to you and hopefully you won’t have to wait as long as I did.



          • Chris on June 10, 2019 at 11:04 am

            Thank you Sherry. I’m so glad that you are finally free! I pray that God open a door for me – His will be done.



    • Ruth on June 6, 2019 at 9:44 pm

      Chris, I am angered at his terrible abuse of you. No, Genny’s advice wasn’t bold love; she was telling you to put up with more of his crap and voila you’ll be more spiritual for it! 😇 😳
      Umm, Heck NO! Sounds like he was about to kill you! Sorry, I don’t know how to say this in CORE but maybe her husband was only a low level jerk with mildly annoying habits. But Chris your H is TERRIBLE. He is NOT a low level abuser; he is BIG time mean. 😡 I need to stop typing before I say something ugly.
      Hugs to you sweetheart.

      • Chris on June 10, 2019 at 11:10 am

        Thank you Ruth

  7. Barbara B on June 6, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Hold on a minute. Reading Chris’s post about her husband’s behavior raises so many red flags for me. I don’t know about anyone else, but all I need to know is this: “sometimes he grabs my face and forces a kiss on the lips.” Ladies, that is NOT a kiss! That is physical coercion – a physical assault – disguised as a kiss. It scares me for you, Chris, because it seems as though he wants to continue to control and domineer over you but he is doing it in a sneaky way where he can say to outsiders and to himself, “All I did is kiss her.” I think your instincts are telling you this is not a simple kiss. I have to say that in this context, I think it’s time for you to run, not time to examine motives or question whether you have compassion or love. I can see that my perspective is different than some of the other responses you have received, which just goes to show that really you are the only one who can decide, because only you have full knowledge of your situation. Dear sister, I will pray for the wisdom of Christ to shine a light on your path so you can find the peace and safety you deserve.

    Leslie’s question asked what to do when your husband has entitled thinking about sex. I keep thinking about what Leslie, Patrick Doyle, and others say about entitlement. The only way to know if an abuser has truly repented is to see if he/she is willing to voluntarily give away power. So if Scripture and the marriage relationship give the husband some power through the expectation that there will be regular sex, the husband shows his true unrepentant heart condition when he uses that power to demands his rights. Otherwise, he could be Christlike and voluntarily give his power away because he values another person’s well being more than his own rights.

    • Autumn on June 6, 2019 at 9:49 pm

      This was so very well said. Chris do you have an occupation or employment history. It might be time to create a resume, tuck money aside and make copies if important documents. Have a “just in case” emergency set of keys, clothes and a potential escape plan. Your husband hostile actions are indicators for future violence. I would be careful of placing any boundaries upon him without an escape plan. It may take months to figure out a safe place to live and to make the proper legal arrangements. Any man who has gone this far will not get sweeter with boundaries, only meaner.

  8. Janice D on June 6, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I agree with Barbara B,Chris.Any man forcing a kiss on the lips is clearly out of line.Would you ever want to force someone to kiss you? It sounds aggressive and rude with an agenda that has nothing to do with true love. When you read it from an objective point of view it sounds so undesirable.May God grant us all wisdom to discern the truth about our marriages and the courage to confront behaviors such as this.Praying for you,Chris.

  9. JP on June 7, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    I came across this site today. I went to my first Christian therapist this morning, who recommended Leslie’s book. So much of what everyone has commented already is resonating with me. I left my abusive husband July 2018. Sexual and financial abuse were very strong in our marriage, among other types of abuse including occasional physical abuse. Our divorce was final in November 2018, but since then he has brought me back to court and now is appealing the divorce decree. My ex was diagnosed with Asperger’s July 2017. I pinned all of his behavior on this social disability. My family knew I was having problems in my marriage (20 years), but never knew the extent of it. This post might belong in a different titled blog of Leslie’s, but I felt it was appropriate here. It took a coworker, who asked if I was being abused, for me to wake up to the fact that I was being abused. Therapy and a domestic abuse support group helped me understand what was really happening to me.

    I tried to talk to my husband back in 2014 describing how I felt, what Leslie suggests to do above. I spent 2 hours pouring out my heart to him. All he said to me was “I don’t know what to say”. I spent years after that trying to get him to understand. All I got in return was continued abuse, being woken up at 4:30 in the morning with his hand under my clothes or him naked kneeling over me with himself touching my lips and rubbing things on my lips. demanding sex, coming home to find him naked waiting for me after I brought the kids to school, opening the Bible to Cor 7 telling me I am suppose to submit, telling me it’s my fault that he watches pornography, masturbates, and uses toys to relieve his sexual frustration. I could go on.

    In my case talking to him made things worse. I am away from him now, but I have much healing to do and it’s far from over. I would just like to say that each individual person must decide for themselves if communicating their feelings is appropriate in their personal situation.

    • Free on June 9, 2019 at 7:22 pm

      I was traumatized just reading what you wrote JP. What horrors you endured! I am so glad you are divorced and save from your abuser. I didn’t one could protest a divorce with the court. How is that was possible?

      Tell me about some of the pleasures you are enjoying now that you are free. Don’t you find that everything little choice is just so wonderful to experience! Being reliquished from marital slavery is a wonderful gift we give ourselves when we realize our value in Christ.

      • Free on June 9, 2019 at 7:28 pm

        What a grammatical mess! Typing on my phone makes my posts garbled. I can’t read them until after they are posted and auto correct has a mind of its own! Sorry.

      • JP on June 9, 2019 at 10:44 pm

        Hi Free. Yes, a person can appeal a divorce just like they can appeal anything from a criminal case to an insurance claim. There are many rules and high fees, so it’s not always a good thing to do, but in my case my ex wants it all. He will pay any amount to keep me from having a penny. I didn’t contribute much to our marriage financially, but my ex told me that my contribution to our retirement was by having sex. You can image how that makes a person feel 🙁

        Right now I am reading a Christian devotional book focused on how God sees me. All I see is failure in myself, not just in marriage, but a host of other things as well. I feel like I need constant reminders of how God sees his children.

        Here’s a question; can an abuser be a Christian if they don’t believe they are abusive? My ex is messaging me demanding to prove my abuse because he likes to compare himself to worse offenders and doesn’t think the things he’s done and said are hurtful to the kids and me. *Note my new therapist told me to block his messages and have a family member start screening them, so I only see the messages that need a reply (regarding kids). I was getting emotionally pulled down the rabbit hole each time he would text me. My responses are direct and short to him, but still draining on me.

        I enjoy going for walks by myself, but I stopped walking when I saw my ex driving on the street where I live. I drove past him at the corner and the look he gave me made my heart drop. I don’t want to feel that way anymore. I keep busy with the kids too, but that can be draining in a different way.

        I find it very difficult to make decisions and have to ask others for their opinion first too often than I’d like. One thing though I do find very liberating is now I don’t have to explain my purchases! I have brought my car into the same mechanic now a couple of times without reprimand because I didn’t fully reasearch the cost of repairs. The mechanic is close enough that I can walk and I now get a VIP discount! Not much fun, but it still feels good 😁

        • Robin on June 10, 2019 at 12:40 am

          JP I’m sorry to hear of your very hard place right now. I think you’re headed in the right direction, it will take time for things to get easier. Is he taking u back to court saying he is ill, and u can’t have any of your joint money? I’ve never heard of that either. But it’s just a control issue- they don’t like it when you get away. I’m glad to hear you’re not taking his messages . You asked a question about an abuser being a Christian or not. Try to remember you don’t need to respond to that. That’s up to him to figure out. But because u asked I’ll say the experts say it’s highly doubtful. Scripture says bad fruit comes from bad trees and good fruit comes from abundant flourishing trees. It doesn’t sound like his fruit is of the Spirit……..

  10. Robin on June 10, 2019 at 12:21 am

    I came across a wonderful short message by Pastor Jeff Crippen on why light (the believer) and darkness (the abuser) cannot co exist. It’s on FB on a site called- GIVE HER WINGS. I’d recommend the message and the site as they give daily articles of encouragement and information to help victims of abuse. I have found them to be so helpful!!!!!

    • Free on June 10, 2019 at 5:36 am

      JP, I agree with Robin. Recovery takes time and you are headed in the right direction. Have you watched or listened to some of Patrick Doyle’s videos on u tube? Just Google his name and start listening. Christine De Cannoville gives a free u tube lecture on recovering from abuse that you might find helpful.

      I feel for you and identify with what you are experiencing. In needed regular counseling and lots of ongoing encouragement to learn to make decisions. My natural instincts had been suppressed a in to survive. Once released, I had to find my own thoughts and feelings. That took time, but it turned out I was more capable of functioning and thriving. You will too.

      I think you need a restraining order against you X. Him following you in the car in stalking Stalking is punishable by law and consider an abuse tactic. Oh, and I see evil, not Christianity. He knows the the talk but only uses it to build his sense of entitlement and superiority to others.

      JP, I can’t wait to read how you thrive and grow. Ignore his poison for what it is, power and control tactics. You have the holy Spirit in you , lean on it. Try to be good to yourself. Silence the incriminating self talk in your head and pick one fun thing a day. It can be something little like a bubble bath, buy yourself flowers, sing a song you like or whistle while you work. Every little bit you do to value yourself is merited and deserved, it just seems odd at first.

      Be encouraged life without abuse is fantastic! You were made for such a life!

      • Ruth on June 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm

        JP, how old are your children?

        • JP on June 12, 2019 at 12:55 pm

          They are 19 and 15. Why do you ask?

          • Ruth on June 17, 2019 at 7:06 pm

            Sorry I took so long to reply. I was wondered how long you would be entangled with this abusive man due to co-parenting.



  11. Ann on June 10, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Sex? I reached a point where I don’t care anymore. He, like some mentioned above, insists on showing affection, but I cannot stomach a kiss on the lips. It makes me feel nauseous. I only allow it on my cheek. As for sex, he repeatedly disrespects me in so many ways due to his entitlement way of thinking that I finally refused to share a bed with him. He keeps trying, convinced he is Mr. Charming but I feel nothing anymore. How many times do you take being told you are “too much work ” sexually or “traumatizing” to be seen in lingerie? For many years I believed it was “my duty” to him to keep the marriage alive but I died inside. I cried after sex. I felt used. The words “prostitute” and “rape” were all I could use to explain what I felt. I quit. After quite some time, I tried again in case I was being too hard on him again but his behaviour repeated, I froze up. I have come to the understanding that God created women as responders in many ways. If I freeze up with him, feel nauseous when he tries to be intimate, it is not God’s plan. I no longer feel guilt or obligation. We have talked repeatedly, he says he changes but as Patrick Doyle says so well, restitution is necessary as proof and he simply won’t. I have stood up to sexual abuse, financial abuse, verbal abuse and am standing up to emotional abuse. The last is the hardest and is now what freezes me up. It is a lonely marriage on my end but I can’t afford to leave so I am learning to “stay well”, as Leslie teaches. My physical health had deteriorated alarmingly until I quit sexually and semi detached emotionally . Now, praise God, the last test I had in May showed a huge healing has happened in my physical body by respecting myself and protecting myself from him sexually and emotionally. We pay a price when we allow ourselves to be used as a rag!! Despite all, I know God is good!

    • Chris on June 10, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      Ann, I’m so sorry for your experience, but I’m glad that you are on the road to healing. You shouldn’t have to “take” hearing those things even a single time sister! I relate to much of what you say here. I cried after sex, or just went numb, for years. It’s no way to live sweetie. (((hugs)))

      • Ann on June 10, 2019 at 6:18 pm

        Thank you, Chris! I appreciate it.

        • Richele on June 19, 2019 at 10:00 pm

          Hang in there- I’ve experienced very similar issues as you. Praying we will find peace.

    • ADELLE HERRINGTON on October 7, 2020 at 5:03 pm

      God allowed me to abstain from intimacy, due to my husband’s continuous verbal abuse. I had my boundaries and my body since I also am not able to leave due to a child still in High School. I am also staying well. We go to a small church and my current Pastor told me I could not do that except for the reason of fasting. I also was intimate two times to show him the Godly Marriage and benefits that he could have, and what he would be missing out on. He continue to be verbally abusive towards me.

  12. JP on June 10, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you Robin and Free with your encouraging responses and resources. I will definitely check these out.

    To answer your question Robin, about protesting the divorce, I’ll try to explain briefly what happened and is continuing to happen in my case. I filed for divorce. Because of the attorney my ex hired to represent him, my attorney suggested we go by the book. We asked for a Formal Discovery, where my ex needed to disclose every piece of property (house, cars, etc.) and financial accounts held in joint with me, or that he held for other’s (our kids accounts), and accounts that were solely in his name and explanations if other accounts were closed and such. He had 30 days to get the information to my attorney, but missed the deadline. This coupled with his unfettered access to all of our marital money and a text from him telling me that he was asking his relatives how he could make things more miserable for me led me to file for a Temporary Motion asking him to pay temporary child support and alimony to be able to support myself and our two kids while going through the divorce.

    At the Temporary Motion we (him and I) decided on issues regarding what to do with our home, custody of our minor child and some other issues like retirement and health insurance. Both of us signed these Stipulations/agreements before standing in front of the trial court (lower court) judge. We also stipulated during the hearing that instead of a trial we would submit unresolved issues by formal written submissions for the judge to decide. I was awarded half of the proceeds from our home and an equalizer payment for half of our marital property. That payment to me was to come out of his half of our home when it was sold. There is a lot more I could go into about how we got him to sign the closing papers, but I’m going to stop here.

    My written submissions were very detailed and thorough, 27 plus pages in my affidavit alone. We had to subpoena his financial institutions to give the correct balances as my ex took screen shots of amounts without dates and what I knew were incorrect totals because I spent a year collecting information before I left. Instead of taking furniture and replaceable items when I left, I took all of our documents. My ducks were in a row.

    My ex inevitably was very upset by the outcome of the order for judgement, so he filed for a Motion to Modify the decree, asking the same judge who gave the order, to reopen it or to at least amend the findings due to his changed unemployment status. The judge denied both of my ex’s requests.

    30 days after the final judgement is ordered a person can file for an appeal to a higher court, the Court of Appeals. That is where it is now. Before a divorce case can be heard by the three judges on the appeals panel we have to mediate. Mediation will happen 70 days from today. In abuse cases, which I did not mention in our proceedings (although, I did mention abuse in the best interest of the child factors), mediation is required. I will go through mediation because I want to see if I can settle with him, give him money and be done. An appeal can take another year or more to be resolved.

    One of three things can happen if mediation fails. The decree will be affirmed, changed by the appeals panel, or remanded back to the lower court for issues to be reconsidered, most likely to the very judge that my ex is appealing against. An appeal is specifically a protest against the lower court judge’s decisions.

    Sorry, that wasn’t as brief as I thought it would be. I just wanted to share my experience because I had so many questions in the beginning and anything I read was helpful understanding what could happen in the court process. I learned a lot in my support group too.

    I will ask my attorney about getting a restraining order to see if it would have an impact on mediation.

    I pretended for so long that everything was ok. I still only share parts with certain people, but I’m content that the healing process will take time and I look forward to the day that I actually feel free! I just learned how to give my anxious heart to God, you just have to ask Him to take it away and be willing to let it go.

    • Free on June 10, 2019 at 5:34 pm

      JP, I found myself thinking of you frequently today and remembering to pray each time. Thank you for explaining the workings of the court. Let us know what the lawyer says about a restraining order. I know it helped me feel much safer. It also made me live in the truth. I didn’t have a marital issue. I had a partner exhibiting criminal behavior. Just like your husband, the behavior he exhibited is punishable under the law. That was hard for me to wrap my head around when my husband was leading yet another trip to Israel, sits on a board at a men’s anger recovery center and doesn’t miss a live Christian music event. So…it takes time…it did for me anyway..to fully grasp the extent and depth of the manipulation, entitlement and deception

      . I am glad you have experienced survivors to talk to about this subject. The a average person has no idea, nor should they, about of depths of evil many if us have endured in the attempt to keep peace and stay married to a fool.

    • JoAnn on June 11, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      JP, I’m so glad you found us here! Welcome. I am so sorry for what you have been through, and though it will take time, things will get better. Meanwhile, I will repeat a recommendation I made earlier. In addition to Patrick Doyle and others that have been recommended, Ramona Probasco’s book “Healing Well and Living Free from an Abusive Relationship” is a wonderful help.
      Also, I would caution you not to give much, if anything, away with this challenge. He owes you, big time. You stayed home to take care of him and the children, and all those years you were his housekeeper and the mother of his children. Also, don’t be afraid to spell out the abuse. The court needs to know about it, especially for the children’s sake.
      Be well.

      • JP on June 12, 2019 at 10:22 am

        Thank you JoAnn for another great resource! I have been keeping busy with all of the new resources everyone has suggested along with reading Leslie’s book. I am very thankful to have found this online community!

        My divorce was not a difficult case to sort out legally. We didn’t have complicated finances or custody issues. One of our two kids is an adult and the other a teenager, neither of which want to see their dad and don’t have to per the decree. Both my ex and I were awarded half of our marital finances, but I was not financially equal in the marriage per my ex, so he wants his money.

        I will only settle with my ex if I determine it’s worth it to be done, for both my sake and also my kids. I have faith that I will have wise counsel, both spiritually and legally going forward.

  13. Robin on June 10, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    JP we certainly have to fight hard, to get away from our destructive relationship. I’m so sorry for all this. What I found out many times thru my own divorce process is the abuser does a lot of manipulating and threatening. I eventually learned very little ever really happened and quit listening or letting his words bring any fear or stress for me. I often wish now that I had the boldness and strength to stand up to him, that I have now. I look back and see how he used his abusive tactics to keep me in trauma — and I wish it wasn’t so. I loved what Free said about doing something nice for yourself everyday.
    Lundy Bancroft wrote a whole chapter in his book- SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO, on learning how to make ourselves the priority and begin a new life. He gives many suggestions on how to make our own growth our focus and quit listening to the abusers words.
    Glad you’re on this blog, keep writing and get the nurturing and support you need!!!!

  14. JP on June 11, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Thank you for thinking of me during the day yesterday Free, I felt it! I was so happy to have found this blog. I won’t go into detail, but the few people who know my ex have told me to get a restraining order, including the police, who told me that they can’t really do much for me unless I get one. I’ve been reluctant because my ex will only retaliate and create more drama. I’m sorry about your situation and I understand living with the jekyll and hyde type.

    C.S. Lewis quote I will never forget. “Of all the bad men, religious bad men are the worst.”

    Robin, Amen! We do have to fight hard and it’s exhausting. I hope you had support going though your divorce like I do now. I interviewed 6 different attorney’s until I found the one I have now. She’s been amazing. Blocking my ex’s messages was easy. The hard part is getting him out of my own head. I often replay the things he’s said or done to me over and over, but with wisdom and practicing self care, his voice will be silenced. I’m glad to hear you have the strength to stand up to your abuser. I still need other’s help, but hope to get to where you are now.

    I wish I had found this blog earlier. Instead I focused on Asperger’s never finding the support I needed because the key was the abuse, not the diagnosis. I’m hear now and that’s what matters, surrounded by other women experiencing similar situations looking for hope and healing!

    Like you said Ann, God is good!

    • Robin on June 11, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      JP- want a good laugh how manipulative they can be? When I got an order of protection, he went to court and asked the judge for an order against me. So we had a 50-50 order. It was pretty ridiculous, but such a pic of his true character. REVENGE!!!

      • JP on June 11, 2019 at 1:56 pm

        Incredibly ridiculous. You got what you wanted though!

        I explained early in the court paperwork how vengeful my ex can be. He is certainly living up to it. It’s very sad the state of the heart of some who can’t/won’t see it.

        • Robin on June 11, 2019 at 4:23 pm

          JP both my lawyer and judge both said they’d never seen such a determined spouse to win— and who was willing to do it at any cost. My story is very special to me because without Gods intervention, I would have been kicked to the curb. And God made sure I was well provided for.
          Now he tells everyone I stole from him, which is not true. The court and the govt decided that I would receive 50 percent of everything.

          • JP on June 11, 2019 at 6:16 pm

            I’m sorry you had to go through that Robin. To be told that your case was the worst by those who see many many difficult cases must have been very validating for you. Do you have to have contact with your ex now that you’re divorced?

            My ex is particularly upset because he spent around 20k in 3 months time thinking he could hide marital money from me. He withdrew money at the casino (he gambled only twice in our twenty year marriage), spent about 3k on a huge exercise jungle gym that the Realtors took photos of for when the house was put on the market, and could not account for a 17k withdrawal from one of his bank accounts. He did not disclose one of his retirement accounts or his savings bonds. The court held this against him and still awarded me half of what he spent. This is the main reason he is appealing. He yelled at our realtor protesting I didn’t even deserve half of our house.

            I’m ready to be done, but I’ve put so much effert into leaving that I won’t give in just to make the pain of it all just go away. I pray for discernment at the mediation and an open heart to settle if it’s reasonable. If my ex feels like he needs to win, so be it.



        • Free on June 11, 2019 at 7:31 pm

          JP, he is going to be mean with or without a restraining order. The difference is you will have the law in your side with a restraining order. You need the protection to grow and feel safer.

          I didn’t know how tense and scared I was until I got the restraining order. It didn’t protect me from everything. I still have to do my part and call 911. Yet, I added specifics to my such as no calls or text. Email only. Email that could be read by our counselor or my lawyer at anytime.

          • JP on June 12, 2019 at 10:30 am

            Free, thanks for your insight into adding specifics into the order. I will think about that for me as well.



  15. Robin on June 11, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    JP, I had my husband removed from our home by police, while I was in hiding at a friends. So u can imagine, he has no desire to see me ever. Our children are all adults so there’s no tension there. He is gone out of my life forever. I do have compassion for him; as he is so lost. He thinks he’s a Christian and I won’t judge but people would describe him as aloof, angry, bitter, cold, and never affectionate. Not to mention very rigid and shows no emotion or love, just his best shot at appearances.

    • JP on June 12, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Ooof! I’m glad to hear you don’t have anything tying you two together any longer.

      • Kay on June 16, 2019 at 10:44 pm

        JP, my very wise counselor told me that with a narc you never get half of the assets, because they love their money, hide assets, lie etc, so “get out”, “get enough” and “get on with life”.

        • JP on June 17, 2019 at 8:20 am

          Hi Kay, to add to what you said, they will never stop either. Family advice is not to give my ex an inch and say that I agree with the lower court’s decision. Mediation is a month from now. Thanks for your advice. I will pray for discernment.

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