Morning friends,

I’m thankful to be writing this blog today. I was hiking on Saturday in a new area with a friend. We made all the mistakes a hiker shouldn’t make. We didn’t check out our trail ahead of time. We didn’t tell anyone what specific trail we were going on. We didn’t bring an extra cell phone charger in case our cell phone ran out of charge while we were hiking. We did bring water and a protein bar, that’s it.  

It was a 6-mile hike on Sophie’s Flat Trail in Wickenburg, AZ and it was beautiful. My friend noticed that her cell phone was not fully charged but that was no problem because mine was. We use an app on our phones to map out our trail and make sure we stay on it.  So about 4 miles in, her phone ran out of charge. NO problem. I’ll use mine. Except my phone had no service. NO SERVICE AT ALL.  I couldn’t even send a text to let my husband know where I was. Then I realized she had a Verizon, I had AT&T.  

Neither one of us had any map or cell phone and we were 4 miles into this hike. What do we do? Well, you turn around and try to retrace your steps back because going forward is like going into the dark blindfolded. You have no idea where you are or where you’re headed. Thus far, we had not seen one other person hiking.

But retracing your steps isn’t simple in the desert wilderness. There aren’t great markers on most mountains and there are various trails that go off in different directions. We’d come to a fork in the trail. Hmm, “Did we go on this one or that one?”

By now it’s about 1:30 in the afternoon and we have about 4 more hours of daylight to find our way out. The temperature is dropping and rain clouds are hovering overhead. On the positive side, we were grateful that the Arizona sun was not beating down on us, but on the scary side, we didn’t want to get rained on since it was getting colder and we had no other clothing to get warm with if we got wet. 

This is a moment in life we all will find ourselves in at one time or another. My friend and I thought we were going for a fun morning hike. Maybe you thought you were marrying a wonderful godly man. Maybe you believed your church would be there for you when you divorced an abusive partner, and they weren’t. Whatever your “moment” is, you feel scared, tired, lost, and don’t exactly know what to do next. But you have to decide and there are two main decisions to make. What path are you going to walk, and how are you going to handle yourself while walking that path.

I told my friend, “I’m angry at myself for not being better prepared. For not telling anyone exactly what trail we would be on.” She said, “I’m angry at myself for not having checked the trail out ahead of time and not making sure my phone was fully charged.” It would have been easy to slide into fear and despair, anger, and blame. We both felt it pressing in on heart and mind as we trekked along. Thankfully, we recognized what was happening and told it to scat. Instead of blaming and complaining, we started singing the Lord’s Prayer off-key.  

I told her, “I think we’re too far from that mountain over there. That’s the one we were walking around. We need to turn around” (again).   

“OK”, she said. Then a bit later she brushed aside some bramble and saw another path that veered off from the path we were on. She said, “Let’s try this one, maybe it will bring us higher where we can see something.”(Like the parking lot where our car was parked).  We trusted ourselves, each other, and God, to lead us to safety. We didn’t know which way, but we knew God knew. Our part was to keep walking, trusting, and staying positive. We couldn’t control the outcome, just how we handled the journey.  

We kept walking and walking and walking and then in the distance we saw angels. They were dressed up in hunting gear, riding two ATV’s, but we were quite sure God sent rescuing angels to help us. They stopped, rolled their eyes a little at our foolishness but offered us a ride to our car. RESCUED AND SAFE.  

Lessons learned: 1. Be more prepared for the unexpected in life.  2. We truly are #stronger together. I would have not handled myself as well if I had to do that whole journey by myself. Having a godly sister along helped me when I was tempted with fear and doubt and having me there helped her stay stronger too.  3. I can trust myself to figure it out and I can trust my friend to figure it out and I can trust God to show up when I most need it. We didn’t know all the “right” decisions, we just made the next “right” choice as best as we could discern. But as in the story of Ruth and Naomi, the background phrase of the entire story is “And as it so happened.”  

Friend, nothing is an accident. As it so happened there were two jeeps intersecting our path after we had been lost for hours. Had we not taken that particular new path we would have missed them. As it so happened, LeAnne saw this new path in the bramble, believed it was the way, and walked it.

I know not every story has angels and good endings. Some stories end with loss and more questions than answers. Yet I believe that it’s more the journey we take and the story we write while we’re on the journey than necessarily the outcome at the end. Click To Tweet

If you’d like to know more about creating your own story even in the midst of difficulties, please sign up for my free webinar “(3) Ways to Move Past Victim Mindset And Into Owner Mindset.” Click here for more information. 

Today’s Question: I’ve been in an abusive marriage with an image manager / covert passive-aggressive. He has moved in with our son” because we are short a car and they ride to work together.” Lately, he has been going to a different church “because they practice social distancing and wearing masks and ours doesn’t.” He has begun doing a lot of things for me such as laundry that he takes home because our dryer is messed up and things around the house when he occasionally comes home.

I’m not sure what these new behaviors are all about. Are they part of the image management? We have not had any hard discussions lately about the ways he hurt me nor has he asked forgiveness or addressed these issues. The nice behaviors are confusing me. What is going on?  

Answer: I don’t know. Neither do you. But here is where it’s tempting to negate the good that is happening, even if it’s not all happening for good reasons. You say he’s big into managing his image. So you wonder, Are his kind behaviors more of the same?  Maybe. Maybe he’s trying to look like the good husband to your son, or to you, or to people he tells how hard he’s trying to help you. Or maybe there is some good in him and he genuinely wants to help you, even if he is hurtful at other times.  

You don’t know, and you say it’s confusing you. I’d like you to dig a little deeper into your own thoughts about his behaviors and why you’re confused. It is outside the realm of possibility for you that he can be both passive/aggressive and kind, snarky, and helpful? 

I believe that’s a lot of human beings. It’s not that we don’t have bad qualities because we do, but a healthy person doesn’t deny them, blame others when they show their ugly face, or refuse to take responsibility for the damage they cause. That’s the concern here. Him not taking ownership of the hurtful things he’s done to you. However, if you don’t make a split here, then the confusion doesn’t have to be there. He isn’t either nice or passive/aggressive, he’s both nice and passive/aggressive. But history has shown that he’s unwilling to own his passive/aggressive side and pretends to himself and to others he’s all nice.  

I’d be cautious about judging what his motives are right now because you don’t know. I’d encourage you to try to be grateful that he is being kind right now rather than snarky even if it is for his own selfish reasons. It’s much easier to live with a person who is superficially kind than covertly passive/aggressive. 

That does not mean you throw caution and past history to the wind and pretend like he has become Mr. Rodgers, all helpful, kind, and compassionate. That would not be wise. The nice part of him doesn’t have to confuse you as long as you realize that very nice people can still be unhealthy and toxic. In fact, encourage his nice side. Enjoy it as long as you can because it won’t last forever. And when his covert passive/aggressive side shows up, here’s what you do so you don’t get confused. You can say something like, “I like your nice side better. This side of your personality is disrespectful, demeaning” or whatever it is that he does that you’re labeling as covert passive/aggression.  

Then stop. Wait. See if that small dose of feedback helps him reorient himself. He may not yet be ready to apologize, but if he stops his behavior that is a good start. It may not be the heart change you want, but nice is easier to live with than passive aggression.

You are not going to change him. But you can work on you so that you create for yourself safety through good self-care including boundaries. You can genuinely encourage positive behavior changes when you see them even if they are superficial because it’s still better for you and for him when he is behaving better. That alone may not lead to a great relationship, but it leads to a safer and more peaceful one.

Friends, how do you stay focused on #your own work, when you clearly see your husband not taking responsibility for the damage he’s cause or the work he needs to do?

46 Comments

  1. Karrie on November 11, 2020 at 8:07 am

    In my experience, this has been the hardest part – especially when he is being nice. I lived a long time trying to figure him out and, as Leslie said, trying to fit him into “good” or “bad” without allowing for the fact he is both. Over the last number of years I have come to recognize that the controlling behaviours and meanness are still there but so is some sort of hero mentality, particularly when there are people around… “can I get you a drink? Oh, here, let me…” I no longer allow myself to worry about what others think. They did not have to live with him. I journal a lot (this ___ behaviour confuses me or he did ___ and it really hurt me). I’m trying to help myself see the whole truth. In my case, I have come to the conclusion that the effects of the abusive behaviours on me have taken too high of toll and I’ve already been a few years working to recover. I’ll be thankful for the nice behaviours without putting any “he’s all better” type stock in them.

    • Autumn on November 11, 2020 at 6:50 pm

      The being nice feeds our denial and encourages us dream our fantasies. Hope-ium begins to creep into our linds. The “nice” is usually just the honeymoon portion of the abuse cycle. If he had changed, there would be tons more than him just bring nice. He would be humble, take full responsibility for his actions and be permanently transformed. Wife or no Wife, manipulation is the name of the game. You deserve better.

    • Free on November 11, 2020 at 6:54 pm

      Karrie, have you researched narcissist personality traits? Sounds like you have a classic Marc on your hands . Denial helped you survive. Education is power. Try Lundy Bancroft’s books.

  2. graceiscome on November 11, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you for this post. And like you, Karrie, but for maybe not as long, I am recuperating from abuse too (physical, verbal, probably mental whether it was consciously or not) – though I have chosen to separate from my husband even though he wants me to move back in with him. I’m still confused, and I don’t trust the good behaviors either…which is probably very hard on him! I think like Leslie stated, he WANTS to be nice, helpful, etc…but it is SO confusing (and not easily trusted) because another side comes out that is so different from the nice. I often feel guilty because as I am reminded, I am still his “wife” — but I’m afraid there is too much hurt and mistrust for there to ever be a reconciliation. Thank you for sharing here! I hope you are able to accept the kindness, but also retain the wisdom to fully know if you are being genuinely looked after. God bless.

    • Free on November 11, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      Why do you care what is hard on him? Right now there is no reason to take any energy or space in your brain to imagine what he feels. His brain works nothing like your brain. Take his actions at face value. They seem like another con. Spend all your energy on you and your needs. Double up on your therapy sessions and read more information about coercive control.

    • Norma on November 12, 2020 at 4:32 am

      Graceiscome, I am in the same position as you. Thank you for sharing your story. God’s blessings to you xox

      • graceiscome on November 24, 2020 at 1:04 pm

        Gosh…thank you to both you, Free, and Norma. I JUST saw these comments! And how timely it is as I have been asked not to come over to (still my) apartment, which also keeps me from seeing a beloved pet I helped to take care of. Yes, Free, I am spending most of my time healing (focusing on why I am how I am, but also on activities/work that I truly enjoy that involves reaching out to others). But as we are still married, this IS on my mind. What do to. And I don’t know how much he is able to focus on his healing. I’ve been praying so much. I do feel responsible…partly. I guess I was holding onto a thread of hope that things would change, but for WHATEVER reason (whether it’s my own inability to trust love, or it’s that he does have other motives conscious or subconscious that really are more self-serving…there just has rarely been a peaceful sense about our relationship!) I can’t seem to trust his nice gestures. And I do think they are often sincere! In fact, sometimes I think God is even “warning” (still small voice) me not to accept as it will get my emotions tangled again. This has been almost a bad movie scene, and I am so ready for it to be over: either us going our separate ways or that miracle occurring where something in me breaks – and IF his overtures of love are actually sincere/real (AND approved by God) – I am able to accept. But even as I type that, I feel I may be going back into the movie scene. This is very sad. I am very sad today. Thank you ALL for your sharing (and thank you again to Karrie for opening up this topic…). Norma, I hope your situation also gets over to the other/better side soon. xoxoxo

        • Frrr on November 24, 2020 at 5:20 pm

          The movie scene is denial. You needed to deny how horrible he was to stay married to him. The reality is your gut.

        • Free on November 24, 2020 at 5:32 pm

          The “movie scene” is denial. You needed denial to survive the abuse. The thinking that he needs you in any way, shape or form to get better is erroneous. He can do his work without you.

          There is a difference between being nice and being kind. Kind is a character quality. It never changes. Kind men aren’t abusive. Men who abuse on the other hand are often nice. Being nice benefits them. Don’t be fooled.

          Stay on your path to get well. I know you love your pet, but it might be worth the sacrifice to forgo the pet and invest in yourself. You can get another sweet pet some other time in your life. There is only one you. Don’t go near your destructive spouse when you are this vulnerable and ripe for his manipulative tactics.

        • Aly on November 24, 2020 at 5:48 pm

          Graceiscome,
          A husband does not behave the way you are describing what’s taking place, even in an impass, argument etc.. a husband will see that you have your place to stay. And you have access to your pet. The husband can find another location to stay as you both navigate your next steps. You are dealing with being married to a boy, not a heathy loving husband who can also make right choices during difficult times.
          Even if he is at the core root of making your relationship difficult/destructive.
          I’m not saying go take back your apartment etc, but I am saying look at his behavior and how he is treating the situation. I think his choices can show you that he isn’t marriage material.
          You don’t deserve to be treated the way he is treating you. Consider that maybe God is showing you his behavior.

          • graceiscome on November 30, 2020 at 12:53 pm

            Thank you guys for your comments. Something I’m learning in and through all of this (and through the reality that I did not receive God’s blessing for this marriage – I “stole” it because I didn’t want to be alone/wanted a life companion I thought) — is that just like being a wife is a role and responsibility, so is being a husband. Some men have been given / want that role and so seek God, wise counsel, etc. in order to learn and “get better at” loving, caring for, and providing for/protecting their wives. Others go into it “blindly” or for wrong motivations, and then do not pursue, care about?, etc. learning how to care for their wives. And in order to not have to think about that reality, they then blame shift, escape, etc. and so the “wife” is essentially left without a “husband”. Yes, you’re living with a man (who often likes to use the term “wife” and “submit” etc. for HIS needs), but not a true husband. And it hurts, causes bitterness, resentment, etc. For me, it caused responses to my “husband” that triggered already-existing issues of rejection, feeling like flaws were being pointed out, etc…when really it was me (wrongly) crying out for him to be a husband to me…which he was never meant to be I don’t believe. I kept holding out for “signs” that that was changing. Like I would stick my head out of my shell of protection and we would begin to have what seemed to be a good conversation…and then all of a sudden I would disagree with something and BOOM the atmosphere would feel threatening or unsafe again because of whatever he would say or do that made me feel unsafe to just be me. Now I realize that SOME of that was my own issues — but like I said, God knew we would be an overall harmful match…and it doesn’t seem at this point that He is allowing that to be different. As friends?…human to human…we are o.k. But as “husband” and “wife”….it’s typically not good. So now I am left wondering what to do next. I don’t want to try to perpetuate something that was never meant to be, or that God will never bless…yet I’m also scared to be alone again…scared of the emotions (not the responsibility, because I’ve basically been carrying the responsibility – with God’s always help – by myself anyway). But God is in control. Thank you, God. And thanks to you folks, who are all courageous, even when it doesn’t feel like it. 🙂



          • graceiscome on November 30, 2020 at 12:58 pm

            And if he really was trying to be a husband, and I was just too selfish or scared or whatever to see/receive it, then that’s my fault…but it was not a healthy-feeling, God-blessed-feeling situation…



          • Free on November 30, 2020 at 7:52 pm

            Grace, Alone is soooo much better than the misery you are living in now! The opportunities are endless once you are free from toxicity.



  3. stefanacf on November 11, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Another wisdom-filled blog, Leslie. Thank you! It’s so true that appreciating and encouraging positive behavior changes is a good rule to follow with our children, spouses, and other relationships as well. Also, waiting to see if small doses of feedback are welcomed (or at least not challenged) is a good way to assess if anything has changed.
    I’m so glad God sent His “angels in ATVs” for you and LeAnne! Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share your story and to remind us that God always shows up when we need Him most!

  4. Connie on November 11, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    Lately I’ve sort of stepped back, so to speak, and am observing h from a distance. I watch his face and mannerisms from a view of deception detection. I rarely respond much to what he says, as it’s mostly complaining and criticism anyway. I’ve noticed that he is addicted to self pity. He sets me up to fail him so he can complain about me to others, and ruminate for hours while playing on the computer, about his lousy lot in life. It’s his excuse to spend more time with the nice woman whom he hires on the farm. When he is nice, I used to hope it was a sign that things might change, but now I know it’s all a part of the manipulation. It’s all for his benefit. He throws me the odd crumb and expects a parade, then if he doesn’t get it, voila! Fuel for another pity party!! If he gets it, it’s not enough. It’s pretty interesting.

    • Free on November 12, 2020 at 2:54 am

      Excellent approach Connie! Detachment is a very smart coping mechanism in this case. It protects you from the affects of his evil.

      I took the silent observer approach too. It works. I would frame my thoughts as if I was a detective or a journalist assigned to document the behavior of a crazy person. This avoids getting hooked by his nonsense and helps you live as a free person.

      Connie, there is no hope for this guy. A normal person directs their behavior, says they are sorry and says they are sorty. Isn’t there anyway you can get out of his sphere of influence? After so many years he has proven he is a cool.

      • Free on November 12, 2020 at 2:58 am

        * a normal person redirects their behavior, says they are sorry and takes full responsibility for their actions

  5. Carolee on November 11, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    Someone once said that “nice”is not a fruit of the Spirit. I’m always suspicious now when my h is nice because it means that he wants something or is trying to pull the wool over my eyes. I have told him I’m aware of this tactic which will usually make him angry but he keeps doing it anyway. Part of the cycle. The Lord has opened my eyes and given me discernment so much in this area.

    • Autumn on November 12, 2020 at 3:05 am

      Yes, and there is a big difference between being nice and being kind. What really helped me recently was to attend an event with normal, healthy men. It was work related. I watched for three days how regular guys interacted with their spouses, their coworkers and their superiors. It was light years away from any behavior my abuser ever did in his life. He could pull off Mr Wonderful for an event or for a few hours, but three day? No way.

      Surrounding myself with good, normal men reminded me of the depravity of my abuser. There are many good people in this world. I am one of them! I don’t need to emotionally babysit a crazy person. I’m not crazy! Be gone crazy man. Fool another woman. I am having too much fun being normal.

      • Catherine on November 12, 2020 at 12:38 pm

        That’s humorously funny 😄

      • Aly on November 15, 2020 at 12:49 pm

        Autumn,
        You wrote, “I don’t need to emotionally babysit a crazy person”
        Oh my what a description! Made me laugh too. While I can relate to being in a few emotionally babysitting jobs, there are some people who refuse to grow emotionally and be stretched into some healthy adult behaviors and responses.
        I think what gets tricky for many of us, is we take people from their outward adult representation and not realizing many are young, maybe 8 on the inside! Even they are not capable of this level of insight without interventions.

  6. Elaine on November 12, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    It’s been interesting reading these posts and I’m not sure if my problem is similar at all.
    My h of 4 years (2nd marriage) has family members (not children) who don’t respect me as his wife. I feel disengaged in his relationship with them. They only acknowledge him …as he was single 8 years after his divorce and he was totally in their life.
    I have been offended by them but he does not see any of their offenses and calls me one who just “doesn’t like his family. He won’t acknowledge their disrespectful actions that take me out of the “priority” that I think he should show in his life. Our marriage. His sister I believe is jealous of me for taking her place and is manipulated and only communicates with him. I found he has now lied to me and hides his phone texts or deletes his phone calls to her. Or communicates with them from work. When I ask if he’s heard from her he says no. I am so confused how to confront him with this and our relationship is suffering even though they live in other states. I feel betrayed and sad that what God had put together is being torn apart and he blames me. Any input?

    • JoAnn on November 13, 2020 at 11:43 am

      Elaine, how about a change of perspective? Put aside their offenses (the Lord did that for us, didn’t He?) and behave as though you love them. Send cards, make calls, even if they don’t answer: “I’m thinking of you today” stuff. Be as nice to them as you wish they were to you. Include yourself, whether or not you think they want you there. Unless they outright say they don’t want anything to do with you, behave as if they just need to get to know you, and show them your best self. This is the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” way to live. This is the Lord’s way, and it can really change the whole atmosphere. Give this your best effort and then review the situation after six months or a year. When you husband sees you making this kind of effort, he will lean more to your side. Remember, he is not going to like hearing you criticize his family, so don’t bring it up until you have shown him your best effort. Praying for his family will also help a lot, and when we allow the Lord to love others through us, it changes them.

      • NJ on November 23, 2020 at 7:18 pm

        SOUNDS GREAT. I TRIED AND IT DID NOT WORK SO I QUIT TO FOCUS ON MYSELF AND KIDS. I WOULD LOVE TO LOVE THEM BUT ITS TOXIC AND ABUSIVE SO I HAVE TO PROTECT MYSELF

    • Nancy on November 13, 2020 at 4:37 pm

      Hi Elaine and Joanne,

      While I don’t think that what Joanne is suggesting can hurt the situation, I do think that there is a piece of what you are saying that needs acknowledging.

      ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife’. This process involves emotional work. The work of letting go and reprioritizing one’s new family.

      Elaine, my husband’s failure to do this work – and my failure to respond in truth to his failure to do so- kept us stuck for over 20 years. So, if you can do what Joanne is suggesting, then great but don’t fail to respond in truth to his failure to adopt that biblical reality. Operating outside of reality hurts and the last thing you want to do is pretend that it doesn’t.

      Trust your feelings that tell you that something is off. If he is lying to you, that is not ok- regardless of the reasons he gives you for it. Regardless of what your response to his sister is.

      Deception is simply unacceptable because it breaks trust. He has broken your trust and needs to earn that back. Don’t ignore your gut that is telling you that he is untrustworthy with regards to his family.

      • Elaine on November 13, 2020 at 5:51 pm

        Thank You both Nancy and JoAnn, Both of your responses helped me. While I will try harder to hide my opinion of them, and just let it go…. I do agree that I too have to be truthful and be able to share my thoughts and emotions to my husband.

        I have some discernment that I think is important for him to see. I don’t feel its just “criticism, and you don’t like my family” as he calls it, … as they are perfect Christians in his eyes, calling out some of their “un Christlike behavior to him bothers him .

        You are right Nancy, Men need to leave not just their mom but also an overbearing sister and family in order to be joined with his wife as one….I think especially as we are in our late 50’s, 2nd marriages and not adult children its harder for them and myself, a grown woman.

        The lying is wrong and hurt me deeply, no matter what his reason was, and it was an easy way out for him for the moment…to keep peace he said, but I told him that it brought a lot of distrust and pain to my heart. His response was “sorry and don’t act like I’m going to lie about other things”.
        I had been betrayed by my first husband and I never want to go through that again. Even if its not “adultery” with another woman. I feel anyone that takes priority and my place in his life is a betrayal.
        Lastly, I must admit I am not fond of her and her personality is very overbearing and controlling, and un-genuine towards me, fake, but I will attempt to do better. Thank you for the words of wisdom.

        • Nancy on November 13, 2020 at 6:20 pm

          Elaine,

          ‘Sorry and don’t think that…..’ isn’t an apology at all 🙁

          I was justvreading The Law of Responsibility in Boundaries.

          ‘People who set limits exhibit self-control and show responsibility for themselves. They act responsible to their partner by confronting him or her. Setting limits is an act of love in marriage; by binding and limiting evil, they protect the good. Taking responsibility for someone’s anger, pouting, and disappointments destroys love in a marriage. Instead of taking responsibility for people we love, or rescuing them, we need to show responsibility to them by confronting evil when we see it. This is truly loving our partner in marriage. The most responsible behaviour is usually the most difficult’

          Praying for you Elaine!

        • Aly on November 15, 2020 at 1:01 pm

          Elaine,
          Consider this area of your marriage revealed a blessing to be discovered and addressed!
          Your husband should be responsible and accountable for breaking trust about lying to you over something (I would think would be free for him to do-talk with his extended family)
          It’s not your job to fix his dysfunctional family of origin issues but usually it’s a place where we as wives REVEAL this issues that they try to shove under the rug.
          This must get addressed, most likely professionally with your husband because he could be pretty clueless that this is a loyalty issue and a ‘forsaking all others’ area that could threaten your commitment of your marriage.
          It is common that husbands who have not been mentored or modeled by other men in their life on how to ‘husband’ tend to behave like hiding boys and continue that pattern in a marriage that is supposed to be the most sacred relationship one can commit to!

      • JoAnn on November 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm

        Nancy, of course you are right; I didn’t address that aspect in my response, but it is an important one. His primary responsibility must be to his wife, but it will be hard to get him to see that. Having some sessions with a marriage counselor might be a good idea to help them sort this out. Trust is important, and he must earn it. He really didn’t take ownership of his behavior with that shabby “apology.”

        • Nancy on November 17, 2020 at 5:06 pm

          Yes I agree Joanne that some kind of counselling might be in order, because as you say, it will be hard to get him to see that. And As Aly said ‘he could be pretty clueless that this is a loyalty issue and a ‘foresaking all others’ issue.’

          This is serious because it’s a failure to live up to the Biblical standard that God sets before his children. When I finally confronted my husband about it, I had to own the fact that I was ‘changing the rules’ of our marriage. I had allowed this for so long but I would no longer tolerate him ‘juggling’ me and his mother. He had a choice to make.

    • Moon Beam on November 13, 2020 at 8:12 pm

      I don’t think God puts together second marriages unless you are both widows and widowers. If your husband has a former wife to speak to, maybe you can ask her how she was treated. Maybe you will find out a few important things about why she left. I don’t see the bible condoning second or third marriages. Could the hardship you both face be probably complicated by disobeying God by marrying again?

      • Nancy on November 14, 2020 at 7:33 am

        You know Moon Beam, too many of us have had the Bible used against us in our abusive marriages. I certainly don’t appreciate this type of ‘innocent question’ being asked on a blog that is supposed to be a safe place. This is no place for insidious comments / questions like this.

        • Janice D on November 14, 2020 at 3:26 pm

          Let’s leave room for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide his precious daughters as we respectfully listen and learn from each other. We are all on our individual faith journeys and at different stages along the way.I don’t doubt that we all desire to please our Heavenly Father and hold a very high view of the Bible.This blog site allows for a multitude of opinions as we strive to encourage each other to seek clarity and truth for ourselves.I agree with Nancy,so many of us have endured harmful “ biblical” counseling and indoctrination and the last thing we need is to feel preached at here.Lets trust God’s love and care for us as we navigate our difficult decisions which require much wisdom.

          • Moon Beam on November 14, 2020 at 5:55 pm

            Oh, Gee. Super surprised by your replies. Guess we are on different wave lengths. Maybe we can have a blog discussion about the concept of remarriage without the death of a former spouse sometime in the future.



      • Lori on November 15, 2020 at 9:05 pm

        Moonbeam,

        I think this is a complex question which I need to study, pray and reflect on more. May I ask which verses you feel the Holy Spirit has guided you to in making your decision?

        Thank you.

        • Moon Beam on November 15, 2020 at 10:22 pm

          The mandate of commiting adultery through remarriage was taught and preached fervently in my denomination. The responses here are the first I have heard of anyone challenging it.

          • Moon Beam on November 15, 2020 at 10:28 pm

            Mark 10: 11-12, Jesus teaching

            For me, this mandate is logical and the most safe for all involved. One partner for life protects everyone from STD’s.

            I see that the bible allows for divorce, just not remarriage. As you say, some people find this complex. I don’t.



  7. Lois G on November 16, 2020 at 7:49 am

    Thank you Leslie for giving us some good direction into how to handle our difficult relationships with our husbands. I think we all are at different stages in our struggle to be who God intends us to be. What is freeing is your encouragement to consider that the example above with our dear sister is to decide to enjoy the “superficially kindness”. I never considered this. I have been so busy protecting my heart and ready for any covert action towards me. This has been helpful to me, but exhausting too. I am not allowing my h to do as much damage as before… seeking wisdom in boundaries and getting stronger with speaking truth to myself and to my h – with gentleness and hopefully humbleness… all the same knowing he will not accept any responsibility for hurting me emotionally. But I am taking the responsibility for letting him know(sometimes imperfectly in my weakness or just acknowledging it and letting it go… moving on and staying at a distance). We were outside as he was going to show me how to use the lawn edger. He was busy studying for Sunday School preparations. As he was demonstrating this, I said how nice of a job he was doing… sincerely… He said, “How come I was being so nice?” I pondered… and said, “Oh?” I kind of learn not to give too much of an answer (some protection). Well, little does he know, I am reading your book – “How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong” There is so much there that is reminding me of my responsibility to act like our Lord… not in allowing abuse at all, but just to be more like the Lord for my good. I do not want to live always with a wounded heart nor “righteous bitterness”(my own made up word)… I want to enjoy the fullness of Christ despite who my husband chooses to be. I think it is possible if we get to a point of “empathy” (while still guarding our hearts in wisdom and having boundaries) that we may be able to enjoy that little bit of superficial kindness from our husbands without finding fault or getting offended (a tall order for me… a struggle for me… may feel a little fearful or confusing…but want to grow stronger). But how wonderful for them to sense us acting with a little bit of kindness despite themselves… Is this what it means to “love our enemies?” Oh, my there is for sure room for rebuttal here… I am not talking about trust in any way, but to be free of a spirit of anger, frustration, confusion, fear, and instead to have a little thankfulness, acknowledgement of a good, or wisdom spoken.

    • Nancy on November 16, 2020 at 9:10 am

      Thank you so much Lois, for your post.

      Your term ‘righteous bitterness’ speaks to me very clearly. So much of that has crept into my relationship with my husband, despite the fact that he is doing the heavy lifting of changing.

      ´guarding one’s heart’ does not mean being defensive (easier said than done), it is relying on the Holy Spirit in each moment of difficulty.

      Galatians 5:13-
      You my brothers and sisters were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love……so I say walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

    • Free on November 16, 2020 at 11:28 am

      I just keep thinking,why not listen to your own instinct that is crying out for justice. Why don’t you deserve more happiness? Why must you endure the mistreatment because you married a bad man? Help me here. I just don’t get why we accept all these strategies to cope with an emotionally injurious, unsafe person when we could be free. Is it about not valuing ourselves?

      • Barbara B on November 17, 2020 at 10:53 am

        Hi Free,

        The way I see it, there is a choice to stay or leave. Either way, we must value ourselves. Some will value themselves and stay, while others will value themselves and leave. The stayers need a certain dialogue of self talk and the leavers need a different dialogue.

        1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We could paraphrase, so whether you stay or leave, do it for the glory of God. And that is the way to have true freedom.

        • Nancy on November 17, 2020 at 1:05 pm

          Wow Barbara.

          Amen

        • Free on November 17, 2020 at 5:37 pm

          Thanks for your response. It was a great way to frame the situational choices of women like us.

          However, I believe that unless the “stayers” are working towards an exit plan, helping them navigate life around or inspite of their abuser, is enabling insanity. I know there are many reasons to stay. I was paralyzed by some of those reasons too. Yet, in the end, we are only fooling ourselves by remaining in such a twisted, psychologically complex and physically unhealthy manner regardless of the catchy acronym we use to direct our behavior.

          • Aly on November 18, 2020 at 7:14 am

            Free,
            Did you divorce? Leave? Or did he leave? For some reason I thought you were still living (staying) in the same home with your abusive spouse? Please correct me if I have that wrong.



  8. NJ on November 23, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Its very hard to do, I still fall back & forth, trying to detach and walk ion CORE buts not easy. My mind kept arguing with him especially when he wants me to accept and validate his abuse and lies

    • Aly on December 2, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      NJ,
      I can relate. I think what helped me most, was the reminder that I was being pulled back into reasoning with a ‘toddler’ mentality! Many Toddlers don’t reason and don’t like the word No.
      take a deep breath, smile, and pray to God to give you the strength to walk away.. disengage, show you are not participating in words or space with someone that is not rational!

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