Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

Good morning my friends,

Coach LeAnne Parsons here! One of the most exciting things I get to do as a follower of Jesus Christ is to partner with the Holy Spirit to accomplish God‘s work here on earth through this ministry as a professional certified coach on the Leslie Vernick Team. I have the privilege and honor to answer this week's question. 

I believe one thing most all of us can agree upon is that change is certain. It is the end of October, and throughout the world most of us are experiencing a change of seasons. The weather is shifting, the temperature changing, and the leaves are turning from shades of green into a glorious palette of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. Many of us have experienced a change in our relationships, jobs, and zip codes. I see changes in my appearance as I grow older and tenderly invite a change of heart as I walk through both good and challenging times. 

I am so grateful that Christ doesn’t change. He is my solid rock. He is unwavering in his devotion, steadfast in his promises, and eternal in His love for me. He will not be moved or manipulated. He is constant, safe, and secure even when it feels like everything around me is in some stage of transition. This truth is so life-giving for me.

Question:

What do I do now that my husband knows I mean business, and I am not going to put up with his emotional abuse? He’s been on his best behavior. I’m thinking the real him will come out because he hasn’t got help and he is a blame shifter.

Answer:

Thank you so much for your question. I appreciate your heart and your desire to shift and change the atmosphere in your home, in your heart, and in your relationship.

The first part of your question invites the discussion “what do I do now?” 

I am assuming that you have had some hard yet honest conversations with your husband that have included how you would like to be treated moving forward. How he chooses to respond/react over time to your newfound strength will say much about the condition of his heart. 

Congratulations that you are no longer willing to receive his emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is harmful and destructive to any relationship, it grieves the very heart of God. 

Before we talk about what you can do, let’s be honest about 3 things you cannot do:

1. You cannot control your husband, his emotions, his actions, his thoughts or his behavior. 

2. You cannot force him to respect your wishes.

3. You cannot change his mind, opinions, or behavior. Only God can do that.

God will not force anyone to change or grow if they do not want to. Your husband will think his thoughts, feel his big emotions and show up with you as he chooses. It’s up to him to choose whether or not he will invite the Holy Spirit to help him. He cannot do it alone. You cannot do it for him.

Perhaps, you are tired, weary, heartbroken, angry, afraid and unsure about what to do next. 

I hear you, you want him to get it. You have experienced the depth of pain and tension that his emotional violence has had on your heart. Most likely his emotional immaturity has impacted your body, your soul, your minds, and your spirit.

In my work with women over the years, I have observed that while many dynamics are present in destructive relationships, a big issue bubbles to the top. A lack of real intimacy. For real intimacy to develop there must be boundaries.

So what CAN you do? 

You CAN be a Catalyst for Change, YOU CAN Seek Clarity. YOU CAN Set Boundaries. YOU CAN Hold them respectfully.

1. YOU CAN get very honest with yourself, God, and at least one other safe human being about the impact that his emotional behavior has had on you. The ripple effect is real. 

When emotions run high, the stories we tell ourselves can become scary, and the words spoken can become destructive, deforming, and violent. With practice, prayer, and a pause, you CAN use your words in empowering ways. So how will you do that?

2. YOU CAN Get very clear, committed and prayerful about how you would like to be treated as you walk into this next chapter in your marriage. Knowing what behavior is okay with you, and what behavior is not okay with you is a gift not all are willing to give and receive. My friend, you are God's precious daughter and worthy to be treated as such. All relationships need boundaries to thrive.

3. YOU CAN discover who is responsible for what. Your boundaries are yours, and yours alone. They may align or clash with those you care most about. That is okay, and will offer you great information about the current depth of relationship you can share.

4. YOU CAN Practice what you want to say and how you want to say it ahead of time. You can use confident body language. Be respectful. Listen and consider the needs of your husband.

YOU CAN say:

“I am not comfortable with this”

“Please don’t do that”

“This is not acceptable”

“This doesn’t work for me”

“I will not stay in a conversation where I am being criticized, dismissed, shamed, blamed or talked down to.”

 “I will not share if I do not feel safe discussing this with you.” 

YOU CAN Hold space for this boundary.

As you step into the doing, the next question is …Who will you BE?

5. You CAN BE Committed to grow, mature and become the woman God created you to be. Your words and actions will define you. They will tell your husband who you are, what you believe, what you want, and what you don’t. This step is so empowering.

6. YOU CAN BE Firm. Press pause, pray and partner up with God. You have declared to your husband, and to us that you are no longer willing to put up with his emotional abuse. Don’t back down.

Good for you! That is a huge step into healthy land.

7. YOU CAN Be Aware. Avoid taking ownership for your husband's life. He will show you who he is as you walk into healthy land. If he does not accept your invitation and honor your boundary, please honor it for yourself. Walk away from the conversation peacefully.

If there is a boundary violation- and emotions start to run high, and his best behavior takes a back seat to blaming, shaming and abusive language toward you, how will you respond? 

You CAN R.E.S.E.T.

R- Respectfully refuse to participate in a destructive conversation

E- Excuse yourself from his presence.

S- Steward your emotional and physical safety and self awareness

E- Engage again when the emotional atmosphere is calm

T- Trust God with the outcome

Committing to a RESET will allow you to take responsibility and ownership for your feelings, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and choices. This is your load to carry, says Galatian 6. You and your well-being are not at the mercy of your spouse’s behavior or problems. 

YOU CAN BE Responsible for what you value. If your husband refuses to seek help, he may never change. Please do not depend on him for your wellbeing.

Finally, YOU CAN be open to the Holy Spirit, surround yourself with life giving girlfriends, and start building into your life with Christ at the center. 

The choice is yours. I believe in You!

My friends, what other thoughts or suggestions might you have for this woman so that her commitment to herself of “no more emotional abuse” holds firm?

45 Comments

  1. Diane Fatkin on October 20, 2022 at 8:44 am

    Leslie , your response to this question as helped
    Me so much, I mean in very big ways. I am understanding, how to move forward, with boundaries. GOD at the center. I want change, to move forward in my life. Thank you, God is helping
    Me thru you, Bless you

    • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 2:29 pm

      Good morning Diane,
      Thank you so much for joining the discussion here today. With God as your center, you will stand strong and step forward. So proud of you for speaking up. It takes courage and strength to change, grow and set boundaries, When you do, you can feel safer knowing your lines have been discovered. Your needs have now been communicated. If someone chooses to violate your boundaries after that, you will grow in your understanding and would be within your rights to create further distance between yourself and that person. It is okay to protect your personal wellbeing.
      ~ Coach LeAnne

    • LeAnne on November 9, 2022 at 9:34 am

      Diane,
      I am so grateful to hear that this post is helpful and encouraging to you. There is comfort in knowing and believing truth. You are not alone my friend. It is an honor to walk with you as you grow stronger each day.

      Warmly,
      Coach LeAnne

  2. Lucy on October 20, 2022 at 8:51 am

    Today I’ve been feeling drained & a bit angry /exhausted
    I’ve had ti walk away from my partner who is behaving verbally abusive though he has had a stroke
    Psychiatrists don’t know what to do
    I want to help him & am hurting that he’s rejecting me when I could be a big help to him
    I feel heartbroken
    This respect response is good
    However I’m not sure how to heal from the emotional pain & finding it hard ti trust for a future that’s uncertain (we had planned to marry soon )

    • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 2:35 pm

      Good Morning Lucy,
      I hear your heart for your partner. I feel your concern for his health and your relationship wellbeing. It is so challenging to walk strong when rejection ,and verbal abuse is standing in your path. Healing from the emotional pain will be your work to do. Which part of the RESEST process I described above will support you the most as you navigate your uncertain future? Please show yourself the same compassion you are showing your partner. You are loved by a mighty Heavenly Father.
      ~ Coach LeAnne

      • Jennifer on November 22, 2022 at 9:18 am

        What if you try to remove yourself from the situation when your husband is being verbally abusive but he does not respect the boundary? He keeps coming after you even when you’ve asked him to stop and he won’t let you leave the house or go into a room by yourself.

        • Deb on November 25, 2022 at 9:19 am

          I hear you Jennifer. I wish I had an answer, but this is a boundary I have been struggling to enforce for many years. We often are given the advice to walk away from the conversation. I would like to know what abusive and controlling man allows his wife to leave a conversation (and I use that term lightly) unless he is the one telling her to shut up. I suspect your husband is narcissistic as they cannot handle being ignored. I have even told mine it isn’t fair that I don’t have a choice here. He responded with “You do have a choice but…..” and he continued.

          I have come to the conclusion that I can only solve this problem by leaving the marriage which is complicated, expensive, and seems like it will cause me to sacrifice some of the really good parts of my life. I know that there are many other women facing this issue at home, as well. So, if anyone is reading this who has some good advice, we would greatly appreciate it.

          Meanwhile, be sure to take your hurts to our Heavenly Father after he is done. Honest prayer, telling God you don’t understand, that you don’t know how to handle this, and that you know He(God) loves you and this isn’t His plan for you, followed by reading the Bible and/or listening to worship music will help build your spirit back up. When someone speaks death to you, you have to seek to get that life back from the one true source.

    • Camilla Surber on November 22, 2022 at 10:31 am

      I am so sorry you are having to go through this kind of pain. I understand he has suffered a stroke and has now become aggressive in verbal abuse. This thought came to me that he possibly may need to be tested for dementia. One of the first signs of the first stages of dementia is a change in behavior is aggressive speech. They become verbally abusive. So maybe take that into consideration and have him tested for early on set of dementia. Also, another thought I had is he may be trying to run you off so you don’t have to be burdened by his physical condition. Maybe you both can seek out a Godly therapist to get to the root why he is acting out in the flesh and not being lead by the Spirit. I’m praying for you. ❤🕊❤

  3. Angela Sherridan on October 20, 2022 at 9:52 am

    I think this is so useful and the priority disengaging with this toxic cycle and healing and building up your self respect and seek the love from our Father and friends whilst taking more of an Ariel view. It’s hard to do anything when you are in the middle of the sometimes “cyclone” . I hope that by doing all these amazing strategies Lesley is teaching us, with support and prayer from our mentors and our lovely supportive group of ladies. Praying the Holy Spirit guides your steps and protect your heart ❤️ 🙏

    • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      Thank you Angela for sharing your heart and support here. Doing our own individual work is much easier when we have others standing alongside us in spirit and in truth.
      ~ Coach LeAnne

  4. JoAnn on October 20, 2022 at 10:55 am

    The writer was able to convince her husband to make some changes. We don’t know what consequences she proposed if he doesn’t change, but it was enough to cause him to change his behavior at least temporarily. That’s good, and he has made some changes. But what about rewards for positive change? He won’t maintain the change if her heart still holds bitterness and resentment. So she needs to find forgiveness, so that her heart is lighter toward him. She can maintain her boundaries from a position of strength and freedom if she isn’t carrying a burden of resentment and bitterness. This will create a better atmosphere in the home, a bonus we pray that he will want to maintain.

    • Mariel on October 20, 2022 at 11:59 am

      Beautiful!

    • Katie on October 20, 2022 at 3:14 pm

      I think “rewards for a positive change” and the phrase “he won’t maintain the change if her heart still holds bitterness and resentment” are very dangerous phrases. Just as she is not responsible and can not control his heart change, so his behavior and response doesn’t rest on her behavior. That is HIS responsibility between him and God. If he is relying on rewards and her to have a soft heart, he can easily use that as an excuse not to change.

      I will say that I think forgiveness and letting go of bitterness and resentment is a HUGE and GOOD thing to do, but not for her husband. It is for HER own heart before God.

      Her boundaries are there because he has lost the privilege to have a deep relationship with her. That lightness and openness comes after time has passed, and he has proven that the change is real. Forgiveness and boundaries must be there to allow him to mature in repentance and change.

      • Chris Wilke on October 20, 2022 at 10:33 pm

        Yes, I agree! Well said.

        • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 7:00 pm

          Good afternoon Chris,
          Thank you for stopping by and for sharing encouragement!
          ~ Coach LeAnne

      • Claudia on October 21, 2022 at 7:13 am

        I totally agree with your comments.

        • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 7:03 pm

          Good evening Claudia! I am so grateful you have found this post and thread encouraging!
          ~ Coach LeAnne

      • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 6:58 pm

        Greetings Katie!
        Thank you Hope for chiming in and sharing your thoughts. We are never responsible for someone else’s behavior or choices. So. many great wisdom nuggets that you offered into this blog. I appreciate your thoughtful and powerful response.
        ~ Coach LeAnne

      • Meah on October 25, 2022 at 2:21 pm

        My situation …Husband has over past 7 yrs used as a threat (did really see it as that until just resently)….”you can leave if you don’t like it”….”what i make i will put in my account, what you make you put in yours, bills split 50/50″ (knowing he makes more than i, yet i handle all the house chores, 3/4 of cooking, clean clothes, homeschooling children)….to out right…”when the children are grown, i am going and doing, and may not be back for days”… and the last one, “let’s have paper drawn and end this” (but his mindset…he wants a contract to show who handles what, but not done with lawyers, privately, and not a divorce, so i cannot marry another). For years, he pushes and pulls that i feel like i am in continual whiplash in my mind. I told him that a marriage cannot get better when one has one foot in and one foot out the door. Many times i have asked him to go to counseling…he has gone from …i am private…to…that is man’s way of thinking, not God’s thinking… God is my counselor, not man…and concludes
        by telling me that if i go to counseling, “we are thru”. I have only this year come to the knowledge that i believe he is narcissistic. Not the out right blunt evil edge of physo, but where his view of his character to anyone (even our children to a large extent) is paramount to anything… he doesnt care nor is concerned with what affects me or what i think. I have also come to see that i am, was trained up as a co-dependent, for which i am seeking to find help. Having done for others most of my lifetime to find approval and love was ideal for him to have control by words and threats. I am still working to understand my boundaries and stand firm bc i suppressed my gut feelings to keep peace, and to have what i thought was love and approval. Yet with a possible narcissist, who will push at any boundary and even punish me because they dont like not having control, is so heart breaking. His last threat, just bluntly showed he didnt care about our marriage at all, yet 2 days later, with no apology (as he does not believe he has done wrong), asked if i wanted to have sex? (This came after a wkend of him being praised for cooking a breakfast meal…so he was happy, yet ignored and was short with me.) I shook my head no as he had woke me up to ask, he then grab his clothes, dressed, and left with no good-bye (more punishment to me). (He knows i cannot function well and especially sexually when he says these things, but i am the one with the problem…not forgiving, not doing my wifely duties, disobey God.) He asked for sex again…i asked him why he has not considered his words to me about “ending this”. He went said i am always criticizing him (implying now) and then started listed 2 scenarios which were not any criticisms to him, but me giving my opinions to others in a conversations where my opinions did not agree with his opinion. So that was me criticizing him. And they happened over 6months + prior. I said those were my opinions, not direct criticisms to him, and still have nothing to do with your outburst of threatening what is supposed to be a safe place. He gave no indications of remorse. I stated in a questioning manner…Do you do not feel that an apology should be given? He replied, What do you want? I felt at that point, he was not really listening as i believed my question was clear. I just left the room.
        I know our van (which he has been calling recently “your car”, but he uses it too) is coming up for inspection…i have a gut feeling he may use that as a punishment to me…as he has been our mechanic and normally fixed the cars when they had issues and took them for inspection.

        I dont know how to approach this issue…i struggle with sex when he continually threatens our marriage. I cannot engage and truly enjoy it, then feel used when i give in…like i keep beating myself…he doesnt hug or touch me any other time except when he wants sex. Now that i have rejected 2 twice….he doesnt even really acknowledge me except when he needs me to do something. Any advice? Prayers please. I really need Papas wisdom. Sorry so long.

        • Kara on October 31, 2022 at 10:07 am

          My heart is so broken for you! I experience similar things and that is why I am also here. I don’t have action items to suggest, only that you keep close to the Lord for wisdom and love. I actually am in disbelief that I would entertain divorce, but I truly don’t think my husband will ever change and I just can’t live like this for the rest of my life. Peace to you friend!

      • Jen on October 31, 2022 at 1:30 pm

        Katie, Thank you for your comment. I agree, it isn’t wise to trust when your husband has shown that trust is unsafe. Forgiveness is giving up revenge, not throwing your heart under the bus…again. It isn’t the wife’s responsibility to reward her husband for being less abusive, or to pretend that what appears to be a first step toward change is all that’s required.
        You can only trust your heart to someone you know will hold all of it…your strengths, your weaknesses…in safety and love. No one is perfect, but there has to be an ongoing level of safety before trust is natural and wise. Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs…in order to punish the other person. But the Bible also says not to throw pearls before swine, which I think means that just because someone insists they are trustworthy and love you, when their ongoing behavior says otherwise – to blithely “ forgive and forget” and pretend you are in a balanced relationship is, at least, unwise.
        It seems like so many of us here feel we must override our true feelings, that our relationship is neither balanced nor safe, because we are trying so hard to create harmony in our relationship and be Godly wives. But as Leslie says, sometimes trying harder to be a perfect wife doesn’t improve the marriage. It can sacrifice your heart for his selfishness, and that doesn’t serve anyone well.

      • Camilla Surber on November 22, 2022 at 10:40 am

        I agree plus I believe this is where “you reap what you sow” becomes more meaningful in the marriage relationship.

    • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 2:49 pm

      JoAnn,
      Thank you for sharing! Indeed, speaking life into the changes we see and fell are powerful ways to let another human being know that we see the shifts and behavioral pivots they are making. Bitterness of heart can be a stumbling block during the rebuild stages. Journaling the shifts and pivots both partners making may help to release the bitterness and resentments, before they grow into dark clouds in the atmosphere.
      ~Coach LeAnne

  5. Hope on October 20, 2022 at 11:30 am

    JoAnn, I totally agree with what you’re saying about letting go of bitterness and resentment. But you also ask, “What about rewards for positive change?” (Not just consequences for not changing.) Again, I agree, but I see another sticky little trap here that can trip me up. Am I responsible for rewarding my husband for his positive changes? Should he look to me for his “reward”? Yes, I want to let go of bitterness/resentment, yes I want to be willing to build the relationship. But I don’t want to take on the responsibility of being a good-enough “rewarder”. The trap is: If I reward him well enough (thank him enough, praise him enough, etc) for his changes, he’ll want to “maintain the change”. If I don’t give him enough strokes, then I’m to blame/responsible for him slipping back into destructive behaviors. See what I mean?? That thinking leads me right back down the rabbit hole again…

    • Mariel on October 20, 2022 at 12:01 pm

      Yes, agreed! We are not responsible for our husbands’ holiness, purity, kindness, sexual arousal and sexual release, changes …. The Serenity Prayer is paramount: change the things I can — and that’s ME!

      • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 7:23 pm

        Amen Mariel!
        God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference.
        Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
        Taking, as He did, this sinful world As it is, not as I would have it;
        Trusting that He will make all things right If I surrender to His Will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
        And supremely happy with Him Forever and ever in the next.
        Amen.
        ~ Coach LeAnne

    • Heather on October 20, 2022 at 2:35 pm

      i absolutely agree with you here. i was thinking the same thing. when they are in the process of possibly change, they should be looking to get nothing out of it or they are not sincere in their change. it won’t last if they are expecting something in return besides getting right with the Lord.

      • Maureen on October 27, 2022 at 6:19 pm

        Exactly!

    • Maureen on October 27, 2022 at 6:17 pm

      Tnis is exactly where I’m at, right now, thank you! I don’t know how to navigate this. Letting go of bitterness and resentment is crucial for my own well being, and critical if we are going to rebuild trust and closeness in our relationship, but how do you ‘reward’ an almost ‘too little, too late’ amount of effort *finally* being put into meeting my needs? Isn’t this merely a small step towards how things should have been, all along? I feel as though it just continues to make me emotionally responsible for him if I have to ‘reward’ every little bit of effort he’s putting in, particularly when that is counterbalanced with the Herculean effort I am having to exert to maintain self awareness, awareness of the patterns in the relationship, as well as ‘rise above’ bad behavior to try to calmly effect changes

  6. Eileen Doetker on October 20, 2022 at 1:10 pm

    After numerous conversations with my husband and no consistent change, I just separated from him. I have made it clear my intention is reconciliation if can do his work, so then we can do our work, to become a healthier couple. I can’t do his work for him and it had come to a point where I needed clarity and healing for my body and mind; so the stress could leave my body. The cycle of the honey moon effect was evident and I felt it was time to separate. I will add, I was going to separate about 2 years ago and I agreed to stay so “we could work things out together “. Things only got worse. If/when it’s time to separate, I believe God will bring peace to us. I was at peace with my decision and that was huge for me. God shows me bits of clarity each day and it’s amazing to see.

    • Heather on October 20, 2022 at 2:44 pm

      right there with you. I spoke truth to my husband for two years and he checked little boxes here and there to get by i thought. but, really he basically disregarded anything i said and then i felt completely discarded even though he was still in the house. He was made to leave and has been gone now since july 3. we cannot do their work for them and we cannot work on us until they work on themselves. I have been working on myself setting boundaries and fully relying on the Lord’s direction. HE WILL GIVE YOU PEACE IF YOU TRUST HIM! He has given me peace through so many parts of this journey even though it’s hard to accept what is really happening. My intention is reconciliation as well, but not if it means i will be right back where i was. we have to use God’s direction, give it time, and have discernment to know if any change is real or not. It is a complete heart change and if he allows God to do the work in him then it will show without question. The devil brings confusion, but God does not.

      • Heather on October 20, 2022 at 2:48 pm

        correction: we cannot do their work for them and we cannot work on “our relationships with them” until they work on themselves.

      • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 7:20 pm

        Hello Heather!
        Our Lord is so faithful. It is quite a journey isn’t it! So grateful to hear that you are experiencing more peace today than you were in past seasons. Peace, and wholeness… It is a journey worth taking.
        ~ Coach LeAnne

        Sharing another favorite teaching of Leslies below: I couldn’t put any better words to it than she did!

        “When a person or spouse respectfully speaks up against injustice and oppression in a marriage (or anywhere else for that matter), God is with them. When a spouse speaks up against the abuse and injustice in her marriage, Christians need to come alongside her, hear her, and provide church support and help. In practicing Matthew 18, she is seeking true reconciliation and is attempting biblical peacemaking. The church must not pressure her to reconcile without any evidence of repentance or to be a peacekeeper at any price”. Leslie Vernick

    • Heather A on October 20, 2022 at 7:01 pm

      Eileen, I too recently separated from my husband and it’s been good. Hard but good. I’m seeing a lot and I have peace about it. He does not. 🤷‍♀️

      I realized recently that my husband has never respected my boundaries, and he manipulates his way around them. Now that I can see that I feel empowered. It was the grace of God that showed me this.

      • Eileen Doetker on October 20, 2022 at 11:24 pm

        Amen 🙏

      • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 7:29 pm

        Heather A,
        You can do hard things. Your awareness is growing. We are here to support you as you walk into greater strength, and say no more to manipulation. God speed girl! By the grace of God we walk in dignity. Our Lord is so faithful.
        ~ Coach LeAnne

    • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 7:26 pm

      Greetings Eileen,
      I hear you and I see that you are doing your own work and living in truth. Leslie put out a blog awhile ago in which she shared these truths. I trust many of us will be encouraged and challenged by these two truths about marriage.
      ~Coach LeAnne

      1. God designed marriage to be a loving and respectful partnership, not a slave/master dictatorship where one person dominates and controls the other. When one spouse seeks to gain power and control over the other and bullies or intimidates using words, finances, physical force, or the Scriptures, he or she is not only sinning against their spouse but also against God’s plan for marriage.

      2. Every healthy adult relationship requires three essential ingredients to thrive. They are mutuality, reciprocity, and freedom. Mutuality means that each person brings into the relationship honesty, compassion, and respect. Reciprocity involves a give and take, where both people in the relationship share power and both people in the relationship share responsibility. Lastly, a healthy marriage needs freedom to express one’s thoughts, feelings and needs without fear as well as freedom to respectfully challenge someone’s behavior or ideas. When any of these three ingredients are missing we may be in a relationship with someone, but it is often difficult, unhealthy, and sometimes destructive.

      • Eileen Doetker on October 22, 2022 at 9:34 am

        Thank you LeAnne. Before I separated from my husband, he Acknowledged that he had not been “all in” during the entire relationship. I already felt this the entire relationship., but wasn’t strong enough to leave it. My husband has been emotionally unavailable pretty much the whole time. We’ve been together for almost 10 years, married for almost 7. Reading your post to me reminds me of the fact that I never felt I had a say in where we lived. When we started dating, he lived in his house that he had since he got married to his first wife, The same house his kids grew up in. It has always bothered me that we did not have a place of our own. I think that is so important! I am trying to reflect and heal over everything, letting go of resentment, but in order to ever restore the relationship, I do need him to own things that he did in the past, hurting me emotionally very badly. I don’t think he even understands what owning something means. I felt like a toy in a box that he would bring out on the weekends or if we went on a weekend trip, to have fun with. During the week I was put back on the shelf in a box, and he was unavailable. When I was at my lowest, I believe God used my relationship To reveal my codependency and get a hold of me. I am very thankful for this. I have tried to make an unhealthy situation, healthy. When I prayed for God to change me, he did. He has. I have a support system and am thankful.

  7. Dawn on October 20, 2022 at 2:04 pm

    God is his creator, and is loved by Him. He does not want to see his abuse towards you and hates sin, but He does love him. I have found if you can look at your abuser as one loved by God, the Holy Spirit aids you in looking at him with His perspective. There is love you can show him that is safe and still remain firm in not allowing certain behaviors towards you. Ask God for this love. We all need and seek love and we know God’s love is perfect towards us even when we fall short and sin. God give you wisdom in this journey to a healthy happy marriage.

  8. Heather on October 20, 2022 at 2:45 pm

    I needed to hear this today. Thank you, Leslie!

    • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 7:13 pm

      Heather, I am so grateful to hear that you found encouragement here today! Being reminded of truth is so helpful when the lies are influencing our thoughts , our actions, and our emotions. Blessings to you dear one.

      ~ Coach LeAnne

  9. Roberta on October 20, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    Hope, your concern about giving rewards reminds me that Leslie says to not give your husband a list because then he can check the boxes and not have a heart change. I think your concern is valid.

    Roberta

    • Eileen on October 21, 2022 at 2:45 pm

      Yes! They manipulate. I started with a list with him when I told him I was separating. No more lists! Thank you so much. Yes it’s a heart change I need to see and a desire that he wants to change for himself, not just to get me back. God’s plan is the perfect plan and I trust Him! He brings me peace and love and courage.

    • LeAnne Parsons on October 21, 2022 at 7:10 pm

      For sure Roberta! It’s all about the heart. I am posting one of my favorite Leslie quotes below:

      ” If the abuser refuses to listen, refuses to repent or change, the blessings of a close marriage are impossible. Unconditional love does not equal unconditional relationship. God loves humankind unconditionally but does not offer unconditional relationship to everyone. Our sin separates us from God and repeated unacknowledged and unrepentant sin also separates us from one another. Marital intimacy, trust, fellowship, and warmth cannot exist where there is fear, threats, intimidation, bullying and disrespect of one’s thoughts, feelings, body, or personhood. A marriage with no boundaries or conditions It is not psychologically healthy, nor is it spiritually sound.” Leslie Vernick

      ~ Coach LeAnne

  10. Michelle M. LaRock on October 25, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    I am SSSOOO RIDICOULOUSLY thankful for this blog question! You have answered what has been dragging me down for over 6 weeks now! I’m in that EXACT boat and i just can’t keep dwelling in his “crazy-land” anymore. I want to honor God with my life, but every time i try to help my alcoholic husband, it turns out badly for me. With him hiding things from me and just switching one addiction for another, and spending all kinds of important money on them! And of course it’s not his fault , its mine in his eyes. Because he keeps shutting down and not actually hearing what I’m saying and then making up other things in their place. (typical gas-lighting, I know)….. So I told him this afternoon that I’ve told you my boundaries, and you keep threatening me with divorce, so if you want to have the marriage anulled, go ahead. As we just got married last June, and in Vermont state, they will allow that if it’s within 6 months.

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