Good morning friends,
If you missed our webinar on “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” last week don’t worry, it didn’t happen. Technical problems got the best of us but by now you should have gotten a replay of it in video format if you signed up for it. If you didn’t receive something, just let email@example.com know and we can send it to you.
This past week has been crazy busy with trying to get the information on this webinar to all 1200 people who signed up. I’m sorry I’ve been absent on the blog last week but thank you for all your comments and participation.
This week will be sure to stir up questions and comments because it’s another question about boundaries.
This week’s question: Someone wrote: What’s the difference between setting clear boundaries with someone and being manipulative and/or controlling? It looks similar to me and my husband. When I set boundaries with him he says I’m being controlling and when I tell him how I feel, such as “this hurts me” he says I’m being manipulative.
Answer: Your question is timely and important. There could be some truth to your confusion. For example, if you try to set a boundary on your husband’s behavior – such as, “You can’t talk to me that way,” or “You can’t watch R rated movies” or “You have to go to church with me if you want to have sex” you are trying to control him. If he refuses to comply and you follow it up with “This hurts me” (when you won’t do what I want you to do), it can be seen as manipulative. He sees that you are trying to make him feel guilty for exercising his right to choose not to do what you want or deciding how he behaves and the kind of man he wants to be.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If your husband tried to control how often you drove the car or talked with your sister on the telephone, or whether you could work, wouldn’t you see it as controlling? And if you protested and he said “That hurts me (that you won’t let me control you), would you not see that as manipulative?
When we try to control another person and use the phrase, “I'm setting a boundary on you,” we’re not defining it properly. What we are trying to do is control their negative behavior so we don’t get hurt or feel anxious. Boundaries are something we set for ourselves, not for the other person. Let me give an example:
If I told you that you could not smoke cigarettes in my presence, I’m trying to control you. If I say instead, if you choose to smoke around me, I will have to leave, that’s a boundary. I am not controlling you I’m taking care of me. I don’t want to breathe in smoke, it’s not good for my health and if you decide not to honor my needs, I will have to set a boundary that I can’t be around you when you smoke.
It can get confusing if I say, “You can’t smoke in my home.” I may be saying that because I want to protect me and my health, or the air in my home, which is being a good steward and taking responsibility for me. Or, I might say it because I don’t like you smoking and am trying to get you to stop and I’m attempting to take responsibility for you (your smoking habit). Then it is controlling. Sometimes boundary setting does feel fuzzy and isn’t crystal clear to both parties why you are doing what you are doing.
Boundaries are necessary for two primary reasons. The first is to define where your responsibility ends and someone else’s responsibility begins. For example, let’s think of property lines (whether they are formal with a fence or informal). My property line helps me know what grass is my responsibility to mow, what flowers are my responsibility to water, what weeds are my responsibility to pull, what snow is my responsibility so shovel or plow.
That doesn’t mean I might not offer to help my neighbor do these things in his own yard if he is ill, or away from home but they are not my responsibility. The boundary or property line defines or clarifies my yard from his yard and what I am to take care of and what he is to take care of.
In the same way, my physical body, my emotional well-being, my financial life, my thought life, my behavior patterns, and my spiritual life are my God-given responsibilities to steward. Once I become an adult, no one else is responsible for stewarding my life but me.
When I marry someone, that person promises to be responsible to me but not for me. (tweet that)
Do you hear the difference? It is critical.
In the marital vows, my spouse promises to honor and to care about my feelings, my needs, and my overall well-being but he cannot be 100% responsible for it. If I choose to smoke, drink, overeat, take drugs, drive recklessly, my spouse can tell me how my actions impact him and our marriage, but he can’t take responsibility for my actions or choices. Only I can be responsible for me. Being responsible for our selves is one of the hallmarks of a healthy adult.
The second reason we need boundaries is that they help us communicate with people how we want to be treated or what we will accept or won’t accept. Most of the time, in healthy relationships we do not need rigid boundaries. For example, if I tell my kids when my bedroom door is closed, please don’t walk in, I hope they will respect my soft boundary. I’m teaching my children to respect my need for privacy by my closed door and my words. When they refuse, or ignore my soft boundary, then I will have to put a more rigid boundary in place (a lock on my door) or give them a consequence for refusing to respect my boundary.
Here’s another example. I had a client whose mother and father-in-law walked into her house whenever they felt like it. They lived in the same neighborhood and my client rarely kept her doors locked during the day because the kids would be in and out. Her in-laws’ behavior rattled her because she was not use to such familiarity. She tried to let it go but found herself getting more and more resentful. Her husband did not see this as a big deal. He was raised with loose boundaries and his parent’s behavior did not bother him, but it did her. What was she going to do?
First, instead of brooding and filling up with anger and resentment, she needed to communicate to her in-laws how she wanted to be treated. She said to them, “I know you mean well but it frightens me to walk into my kitchen and see you standing there. From now on, please call ahead before you stop over.” (She wasn’t crystal clear with her boundary here. She should have also said and knock on my door when you get here).
They repeatedly ignored her request, so she had to make a more rigid boundary. She started to lock her doors and if she wasn’t ready for a visit with them, she did not answer her door-bell when they dropped by unannounced. Eventually they got the message that she did not want drop in visits and she would not enable their behavior.
She might be accused of being controlling but she was not. Her in-laws were free to do what they pleased, but she was also free to be a good steward of her time and her energy and if she was not prepared to speak with them or have company, she did not have to answer the door.
If they said, “It hurts me that you won’t answer the door” she could be compassionate and say, “I'm sorry that you feel hurt, but sometimes I’m busy and not prepared for company. If you don’t call ahead to check, I can’t always accommodate you. I’ve asked you to please call me before stopping by to make sure it was a good time for a visit.”
She did not take responsibility for their feelings but she recognized she was responsible to care about their feelings. That didn’t mean she caved in and allowed them to continue their inconsiderate behavior towards her; but by practicing CORE strength, she stayed strong and compassionate.
One more thing: Sometimes when a wife starts to get stronger and speaks up for herself or sets some boundaries, her husband feels (or claims) he is the victim. Instead of looking at what his feelings are telling him (he feels threatened and anxious by her newfound independence), his strategy is to blame her or accuse her of being ungodly or controlling, hoping she will feel guilty and stop changing or having her own boundaries. He wants her to return to their familiar marital dance. Don’t do it.
Friends: Have you been accused of being controlling when you tried to set boundaries for yourself? How did you handle it?
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This one can really be a tough one!! It’s true that setting boundaries appropriately is necessary and that if we do it inappropriately that we can quickly become controlling and/or manipulative. I had some serious struggles with it at first because I was accused of those things quite frequently during my growing up years. I was afraid of doing the same thing all over again. As I learned more about boundaries, I discovered that what I was doing as a child was an attempt to set healthy boundaries, I just didn’t know how to communicate them well and so they were often misunderstood. My job as an adult was to learn the appropriate way to communicate healthy boundaries. But then I ran into another problem: my abusive husband has no respect for another person’s boundaries. When I followed through with them and he, for probably the first time in his life, actually had to suffer consequences for his choices, he became very angry with me. He would tell me that I am doing the same thing as people are telling him that he is doing (contolling and manipulating) and that he ‘doesnt understand why it’s ok for me to do it and not him’. At first, I stepped back from my boundaries. Then I began to realize that he was using guilt to control me. After thoroughly evaluating my boundaries and deciding that they were quite appropriate, I reinstated them and stuck to them. He was still angry about it and continued to challenge me about it and question me. The first several times he questioned me, (asking what the difference was) I tried to explain it to him. This only led to going around and around in a big argument that I wanted nothing to do with!! It quickly became apparent that he really did not WANT to see a difference and was only ‘asking’ in order to guilt me again. I told him that I could not converse with him when he only argued with me and that when he really wanted to hear my answers to the questions he asked and was really ready to try to understand my point of view as well that I would be willing to speak with him. Until then, I would not engage in conversation on this topic. He now knows that when I set a boundary, I can’t be manipulated out of it, and sometimes he respects them, but many times he still doesn’t and ends up having to experience the consequences and gets upset with me. For example: if I don’t engage in the conversation he is trying to start, he says “How are we supposed to resolve anything if you won’t talk to me?” In my mind, I know that the REAL question is “How can ANYTHING be resolved if one party is only willing to look at what they want and their agenda is to try to force the other party to give it to them?”……..
Thank you again, Leslie, for your words of wisdom and your encouragement to those of us in these tough situations!! You are so much appreciated!!! May God rain His richest blessings on you!!!!!
It has been several weeks since I paid attention to the blog but seems nothing as changed. I was disappointed with your post but not surprised. If a women places boundaries it is good but if man does the exact same thing it is bad – I hear your double standard loud and clear.
David, truth does not change. You will not see clearly until you change the lens through which you view the world. No further comment.
Survivor , truth does not change. You will not see clearly until you change the lens through which you view the world. No further comment.
David, I hope you realize that the men that are referred to in our teachings are abusive men, not healthy men. There is an imbalance, that is the point. This blog is not about healthy men.
New to this site/blog. I have a daughter going through a divorce so this subject is near and dear. However – I need clarification from some of the comments. What is the so called “lens” that this must be viewed through? This was directed at a person questioning the approved view. Who determines is a man is “abusive” or healthy” Since the term “abusive” is not in scripture, where is the supposed Biblical truth. A man is told to love his wife, as Christ loves His church – that I understand. A wife is told to be submissive to her husband. I do understand that these two work together, and are not dependent on each other. I also understand that we need to put more importance on others than ourselves. Now – where do these “boundaries” come into play. Note – I obviously agree that there need to be boundaries in life, but I see too much of either the wife or husband following the contemporary idea of “me first”, or that “I need to realize my full potential” to be happy.
Vic, welcome! Although the Bible does not mention the word “boundary” it supports the principle of it. Boundary, in my understanding, can be compared to a property line. It demarcates where your property starts and ends and where your neighbor’s property starts and ends. The root of boundaries should be love, not to get our own way. We are all responsible for our thoughts, words, actions, feelings, attitudes. If I tell someone how they are feeling I am not respecting their boundary. When I’m in a conversation with someone and they start yelling, if I push them, I’ve overstepped my boundary. However, if I walk away and tell them I’ll continue the conversation when they stop yelling, that’s ok. When someone is continually selfish, and I don’t speak up or put some consequences in place, I am really hurting them by enabling them. The Bible does say we are to consider others more important than ourselves, but it also says we’re to love them. Enabling them is not loving them. If we use boundaries to put ourselves first, Zillow think we are misusing them.
I got this from the “Crying for Justice” website.
What is Abuse?
The definition of abuse: A pattern of coercive control (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his* target subordinated and under his control. This pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical. Not all these elements need be present, e.g., physical abuse may not be part of it.
The definition of domestic abuser: a family member or dating partner (current or ex) who has a profound mentality of entitlement to the possession of power and control over the one s/he* chooses to mistreat. This mentality of entitlement defines the very essence of the abuser. The abuser believes he is justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control.
* Sometimes the genders are reversed.
It is typical in an abusive relationship that the person being abused is the one that seeks out help because things are unbearable for them. The abuser usually does not think anything is wrong until the abused spouse makes some changes. Therefore, it’s usually the abused with the help of a counselor who comes to the conclusion that they are being abused.
Most of the people who comment here are women. Reread the article and put he where she is and see if it makes more sense to you.
What is your marriage like on a day to day basis? Are u standing for your marriage?
Hopeful, my marriage changes on a daily basis!! Lol!!! It’s quite a roller coaster and very unpredictable. I can think we are FINALLY making progress, and then, out of nowhere, he is doing all the same old stuff again. We have been married for 10 years, and I am not wanting to throw in the towel too soon, but at the same time, I don’t want to be naive if he’s never going to change–his actions are having a very negative impact on the children. I am currently standing for my marriage, but am listening for God’s leading. If He leads me to do something different, I will follow Him. If He does not lead me to leave, I will stay. I have implemented consequences multiple times including some significant ones such as calling 911, separating from him for 6 months, asking him to leave the bedroom when his actions were making intimacy impossible, etc. Then, there have also been less drastic ones like asking him to use his personal spending money to pay $200 and $300 speeding tickets–even though it would take him months to pay them–rather than use money that was budgeted for family expenses (finances are really tight). On a daily basis, I end up having to speak up about treatment that is highly insensitive and inconsiderate although it may not be outright abusive in itself. It is the pattern of selfishness and the refusal to learn to think beyond his own nose that becomes extremely wearying….. And recently, I learned that he has fallen back into porn which he had been telling me he was free from for a year and a half. The lies are the thing that makes rebuilding trust the most difficult!!! I am not sure if any of that actually answers your question or not. Let me know if I need to clarify something…..
Lundy Bancroft does define abusevas selfishness.
Yes it definitely does become abusive when it is such a pattern. Basically, I was saying that it is more the pattern than individual encounters that I call abuse at this point. I have experienced MANY other things from him that each incident in itself would be considered abusive if it only happened one time!!!! Through setting and enforcing boundaries, he learned that he either had to stop those behaviors or lose his family…… This part is a little more tricky as it is not as clear cut…….
Can you invasion yourself with a kind, loving, mature man who listens and honors you? That is the husband you deserve and the Godly father your children need. He has had 10 years to change his ways. Please don’t commit to another 10 years. It sounds like you have been so very well educated on this subject. Is survival enough for you our would you like to thrive?
invision not invasion.
Beth, thank you for your comments. I am not committing to another 10 years at this point. However, neither do I feel God releasing me at this time. So, for now, I stay and wait on Him.
“One more thing: Sometimes when a wife starts to get stronger and speaks up for herself or sets some boundaries, her husband feels (or claims) he is the victim. One of the reasons this happens is that he can no longer control her like he did before and he’s not getting his way. Subtracted a whole sentence here. Instead of looking at what his feelings are telling him (he feels threatened and anxious by her newfound independence), his strategy is to blame her or accuse her of being ungodly or controlling, hoping she will feel guilty and stop changing or having her own boundaries. He wants her to return to their familiar marital dance. Don’t do it.”
I don’t know how, but I missed this the first time I read the article!! This EXACTLY describes what was happening in our ‘relationship’!
I get blamed immediately and my husband calls me “a mean person” and abusive. No one in my life has ever thought I was mean. I am not a mean person at all. I learning to let his comments roll off me. I have even started to stand up for myself and say that’s not true. …and then I have days where I believe all the lies he tells me.
So, Survivor and Hopeful what are you going to do about his manipulation and name calling? He is trying to throw you off his trail and get you back under his rule. What are you going to do about it, now that you know for sure that it is happening? Why do you tolerate that kind of behavior?
I have known it for several years and I don’t tolerate it. I am just always amazed at how similar these guys are!!!
Survivor, I too could relate to those words you quoted. My husband did not like not being able to control me anymore and labeled me as many things- controlling, manipulating, Ungodly, all he wanted was for me to return to the old ways, but I had found a new dance step. Owning myself and choosing wisely what I will accept from my spouse.
Yes, they usually are not very happy when their tricks to get their way no longer get the results they desire!!
The question of boundaries is a tricky one. After I found out that all the “red flags” I’d had throughout my marriage (and before) were true, I tried talking to my husband but clearly we were not on the same page. After an emotional time when I told him his destructive behavior (drugs, cheating, alcohol, misuse of money – and not paying bills, lying constantly and other unacceptable behaviors, I asked him if there was anything about me he would change. His answer was to say he wanted more sex. I looked at him in light of all that had happened and said, that can only happen when I can trust you. For me trust is everything, to discover that trust broken by your husband from day one is devastating.
He promptly moved to the couch and we began living separate lives. I guess he set the boundary. I would love to discuss this all with him to express my point of view about how his lifestyle is totally inappropriate for a married man, but he can’t/won’t see that his choices are wrong.
We are at an impasse, I don’t know how to get past this, we live two separate lives. Is my boundary of not being available sexually right when it’s been in place for over 2 years and nothing ever changes. His lifestyle and deceptions are still the same today as they ever were.
Again, the double standard. I cut my wife off re having sex with me and she got angry but the other way around it is OK. It is common knowledge that women do not like sex so understandable when they wish to stop for any reason but if they ever desire and the husband does not wish then that is not right – unbelievable!!
BTW, according to many Christians sex even in marriage should be for procreation and never to be enjoyed
You have said this before. “It is common knowledge that women do not like sex.” That could not be further from the truth. There are women and men who do not desire sex. You have said previously that you didn’t have sex with your wife because of the Brethren and their rules. Your wife didn’t want to be cut off. Who did you want to please more the Brethren or your wife?
For my first 28 yrs it was pounded into me that Brethren = Christianity . Most on this blog feel I should have been able to overcome, kinda naive thinking. Therefore I chose God over my wife. It was the only issue tho, at the time I had medical issues so that I could not perform fully as a man which made my wife very angry, also contributed to my losing much of my income so she became “unhappy “. The more I read here the more upset I get with my wife as men are visually oriented and women rate a man on size of his bank account, understand that is fact always been that way and always will. My business is going back up and depending on my health will continue to grow, I told my lawyer and advisor that I want to continue giving money/gifs to my wife (they think I’m nuts) but these blogs have persuaded me otherwise
You like to lump all women into ONE category or the other…women hate sex, women measure a man by his bank account, etc. But I would caution you to remember that we are EACH individuals created in the image of GOD, therefore we should not be lumped into whatever category supports your viewpoint.
You don’t know me – so don’t DEFINE me or my motives, and don’t do this to the others on this blog. It is simply WRONG!!!
If you were to spend as much time thinking about the things YOU are responsible for as you seem to spend blaming ALL women for your situation in life, then maybe you would have a better result in life.
Hello Healing. Tks for your post. Unfortunately there as been many, many studies done over decades that support my statements ie re women and second and money… can’t argue with facts. Women say that they are an exception to the rule but, again, can’t argue with the facts. Nothing you or I can do about that
This is to David, I think you misunderstood my post. For the majority of my marriage I was trusting, letting him lead us (even though he isn’t a Christian) and I believed every word he told me. When I found out about the gambling, not paying any bills or bouncing checks so we incurred hundreds of dollars in bank charges because he “couldn’t cope”, the cybersex with an old friend, cheating with other women since before we were married, drug use (the worst kind), and the constant lying what was I supposed to do in your opinion? Do you think it appropriate to jump into bed with him and just play the “perfect” wife? We have children who were in danger of ending up living on the streets because our rent wasn’t paid or having the electricity cut off.
You cannot possibly think this was not a time to create boundaries. I had to take over our messy, hopeless finances and take away his check card which I felt terrible about but there are two other lives at stake in all this and if my husband wants to act like a child, someone (me, a woman) had to step up and take charge. It’s been that way ever since and he hasn’t changed.
Someone else asked where I see myself in 10 years – I hope to be out of here because he doesn’t want to change his behavior, he’s told me this. Unfortunately our money situation is not good and even with 3 jobs I cannot leave – yet!
I have the same confusion about the sexual boundary. I asked my husband to show me affection throughout the week, say good bye, say hello, and if he did, it was easier for me to want to be intimate with him. And guess what….he has not done any..never affection, a very inconsistent good bye, I guess he showed me his boundary like your husband did.
Tina, his behavior was NOT a boundary. His behavior is the way he is abusing you. He is manipulating you in order to control you.
Tina, where do you see this relationship in ten years? Is this what you want for you life? Why continue if he has no interest in changing? Cut your losses and move on. Love yourself better.
I think your boundary is appropriate. If he is not faithful he could give you an STD. He would do the work of regaining your trust if he valued your safety.
That was to Tina
It sounds like the boundary he set says, I don’t want help and I’m not interested in change. It sounds like you recognize your red flags, but haven’t given a further consequence or action needed.
It sounds like he’s only saying I want sex. Are you willing to stay in a dead relationship where there is such little hope for authenticity and love and respect?
My family accused me of being controlling and manipulative when I went no contact with my father. When pressed for “what would he have to do to get back in relationship with you” I recommended he get counseling. Honestly, I recommended it because I love my dad and I want him to be free. He’s so wrapped up in bondage, trying to get others to perform and meet a standard that he himself cannot meet. He’s miserable and making everyone around him miserable too.
At the time I didn’t feel it was controlling to recommended that. It may have muddied the waters though. It’s been about a year now. He’s now using my sister as his narcissistic supply (they are two peas in a pod, if you ask me). It’s easy to see that he hasn’t changed, he’s just switched to a different source.
Thanks for the great information, Leslie!
God makes a better Father than our own Dads every time. It is hard having parents wrapped in bondage. It sounds like you are making the most healthy decisions of the group. Lean on God. He can be all things.
I am accused of being controlling all the time! When I ask for help, I am labeled demanding, or accused of being a “slave driver”. To me it is normal and perfectly okay to ask for help especially in a marriage. Mine marriage is not healthy. I have built resentment and anger towards this childish behavior in my husband and have just learned to do things myself then the cycle of resentment continues. He is lazy and self-centered. I work full time, take care of the 4 children, pay all the bills, do the shopping, do the planning etc. He sees that as being controlling, I see it as being a responsible adult. For example-SOMEONE has to pay the bills! If I get overwhelmed as ask for help then he sends me quotes from the bible about not living with an angry woman. That is not helpful to me, I just want and need help and a break from time to time like any human being.
Jennifer, he is placing you in a no-win situation. If you take responsibility for the things that need to be done, he calls you controlling; if you share the responsibility with him, he calls you a slave driver. He can’t have it both ways. This is what these guys often do to stay in control: they make everything be the other party’s problem and they seldom, if ever, take responsibility for themselves. Leslie is addressing a very important issue with her post on boundaries. If you want to read about it in more depth, I highly recommend the book BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. They also wrote one called BOUNDARIES IN MARRIAGE, which I have not yet read. You are in a tough situation and my heart goes out to you!! Hugs and prayers!!!!
Thank you Survivor!
Some have seen the Boundaries in Marriage book as dangerous for abusive marriages. Here’s a link to a post about it:
It may have some helpful advice but as with any marriage book that has a pretense of being Christian it needs to be approached with discernment. I spent too many years reading stacks of these kinds of books that indicated the authors had no clue what constitutes abuse- it wasn’t addressed. Leslie’s is the first book I read that is a scripturally based book that talks about abuse. I would recommend her book to anyone. I wish more churches would have The Emotionally Destructive Marriage in their resource library because this is a very real issue that needs to be addressed in churches!
Yes, I agree that some of these books can be very dangerous in an abusive marriage. 2 that were given to me were Created to be his Helpmeet and the Power of a Praying Wife. Like I said, I have not read Boundaries in Marriage, so I can’t speak for that one specifically. What was really helpful to me when I read Boundaries, was that it helped me to know what a good boundary was and how to present it so that when my husband started the accusations and the crazy making, I could know for sure that he was the one who was wrong that time and he was no longer able to manipulate me with guilt. Then, I was able to see that my boundaries were not being respected and it gave me the strength to implement the consequences……
Jennifer I know exactly what you mean, I have been there in the past and even now while I’m separated I take care of my children and myself on my own. Please get Leslie’s book on the emotional destructive marriage it has been such a blessing to me, it validates my feelings and the truth to the crazy-making feeling I would get from my husband when he refused to take responsibility for his actions.
Please explain how boundaries are a biblical principle.
Oh Luz. Now your going to see anger!!
Luz, good question and one that is asked a lot. Substitute the word boundary for stewardship and I think you will see more clearly that you and I are called to a steward (be responsible) for our money, our time, our energy, our talents, our health, our emotional life, our spiritual life, etc. Being a good steward also means that I am not going to allow another person to control me, only the love of God and the Spirit of God controls me. Boundaries are put in place so that I don’t give control of my resources (whatever they are) to another person to steward or waste unless I am incapacitated in some way. Perhaps the best verse is Galatians 6:5 “For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” Stewardship is a simple acknowledgement of our human limitations, we cannot do everything everyone else might want us to or demand we do and so when we set boundaries around what I will do or won’t do, what I can do or can’t do, what I’m called to do or not called to do, we are communicating what we believe God has called us to do with our time, talents, money, energy and life. Hope that helps.
I find the context of Galatians 6:5 to be helpful in this situation. I’m not sure I can accept the choice to replace “stewardship” with “boundary” when studying scripture without learning more about which specific references to biblical stewardship are being appealed to in this case. From what I see in the Galatians passage, it would be hard to conclude that Paul’s intention is to tell his original audience that they need to be faithful to guard their own well being against the unwanted expectations of others, or that they need to make sure that their needs and expectations are understood by others. How should we understand this passage in light of Paul’s instructions to the church in Phillipians 2?
1Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5for each one should carry their own load. 6Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Edmund, what if that person refuses to stop sinning? Doesn’t the following apply
Matthew 18:15-18King James Version (KJV)
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Yes…we can never say there are boundary-less limits in how God calls us to treat one another. Plenty of places in Scripture instruct us to avoid certain people. We must be careful here.
Awesome feedback. I look forward to engaging further when my time with all the people I can actually see and touch in front of me allows for it 🙂 Thank you for respectful conversation….
I love these verses from Matthew 18 on conflict resolution and only wish they would be followed by all Christ followers in all circumstances. These are biblical boundaries in the context of resolving disputes and, unlike the Galatians 5 passage, I believe they were intended to point the original reader/hearer to God’s desing for dealing with conflict.
This is by no means intended as a blanket statement because I can’t possibly understand the entirety of any circumstance accept my own, but its unfortunate that the self-diagnostic tools made available to men and women who desire an abuse diagnosis in order to flee from an unhappy marriage are so easily manipulated to shortcut this conflict resolution process that Christ himself instructed as a direct instruction. The narrative would go like this: I can’t talk to my spouse in private because he is an abuser and he makes me feel ______, I can’t do step two because my spouse will manipulate the 2 or 3 people i take with me (cue the blanket warning about pastors and christian counselors who are misinformed or not qualified to see abuse), and so i will just skip to step 3 on my own and go make the case that my spouse is an abuser without his input and without giving him the opporunity to offer an alternative perspective (slander? gossip? malice?).
I don’t know you, Survivor, and I don’t know your spouse. You have the benefit of the doubt in my mind because that’s the right place to start. I would simply say that your biblical source for taking responsibility for our selves and setting boundaries is more appropriate and true to the biblical intent than the Galatians 5 passage.
There is about 10 posts I’ve seen over email that past couple days that I would love to address and I thought I had some time, but my window just closed. Hopefully I will be back soon as I am finding some emotional encouragement and energy from actually interacting with people on this topic. The communication in my situation was not truthful
Thanks for your input. I too talk about Matthew 18 being a starting place and learning how to speak up, stand up and if needed step back especially in my book The Emotionally Destructive Relationship.
Edmund, I agree that it is inappropriate to make those blanket statements without first going through the steps. I will grant that there are those women out there who might take advantage of these situations and use them for an easy out. I also believe that there is a danger in making a blanket statement that all women who leave because of abuse are making excuses and skipping the steps. Let us remember that when the steps are done according to the Matthew 18 instructions, we will not know everything the woman has done before her situation was made public–that is the very nature of things when they are addressed IN PRIVATE. I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but in my situation and in situations with numerous other women whom I know personally and face to face, it is true that we have followed the Matthew 18 steps many many times over to no avail. This is why the teaching on boundaries and consequences is so necessary: we become so trapped in believing that someone will change if they are just presented with their sin. And, if the person doesn’t change, we assume it is because WE didn’t present it correctly–or we are manipulated into believing that is the reason–and so we try again….and again…..and again…..and again……and again……and again……and again……and AGAIN…….. And it just never ends until we learn to take responsibility for allowing it to happen to us. And when we finally learn to stand up for ourselves, we are accused of being unsubmissive and disrespectful to our husbands. That is the reason that you will hear many women who have finally found their voice be so very emphatic with what we/they are saying: there is a desperate need to be heard and believed, but there is also a very real and very well founded fear of NOT being heard and believed. Some respond to this fear by being silent and some by being more forceful. The goal for all of us is to communicate in truth and in such a way that we CAN be heard. Then, whether or not other people hear us will be their responsibility……..
Thank you for granting me the benefit of the doubt. Again, I can’t speak for all women in these situations, but I can honestly say for myself that I have been accused of slandering my husband and that was a completely false accusation. In reality, he was the one who was slandering me, but since people were believing him(he was the worship leader at the church we were part of for 10 years, and also the Sunday School teacher), they did not consider it slander, but when I spoke up and gave evidence that what he was saying was not true, I was accused of slandering HIM!!! I would just caution us to use care with our accusations of women in these situations. My point is this: there is usually far more than meets the eye and we don’t know everything that she has experienced from him nor do we know what all she has tried in an attempt to save the relationship!
Very well said. Thanks.
Pardon me. I just re read your post and see that you state that it is not intended as a blanket statement…..
When Jesus left the crowds and went alone to pray, I think he was applying the boundary principle.
I have come to the conclusion that it is absolutely impossible to please a women long term , OK while the husband has money but when disappears (ie biz failure) the trouble starts (especially true for Christian wives) , even thinking about trying again is just tiring. The ironic thing is, that depending on the age and health of the spouse (in this case the husband), the money will be made back but the wife will not benefit, altho she will try, she wishes to ‘reconcile ‘ but it would be very wise for the husband to tell her to get lost. If I was not a Christian I would never have gotten married.
David,why does being a Christian mean you have to marry?
Supposedly God is given the males (obviously not females) the desire for physical relations so as most Christians believe (except brethren) that you need to be married to do so but it is NOT worth the hassle
If the reason for getting married is for sexual relations with someone, I’m afraid you are correct. That’s not the reason for marriage or a strong enough reason to hold one together.
David, it breaks my heart to read your view of women. I truly believe that as sinners (all of us), our hearts are always prone to discontent. My spouse has been out of work for a year now and on disability and not even able to take a job. I am having to go back to work after 12 years of staying home with my children. I don’t think either of us wants this but at this season it’s necessary. Both my husband and I grew up in families without healthy boundaries. I have seen my husband set boundaries for me and me for him. I have also seen him step up and set boundaries with his parents who are very destructive people. I personally have realized that I am a better person when I put space between myself and them. Because I can’t trust them due to their behavior and attacks. I believe in marriage that we all have to remain teachable, because God is in the business of changing hearts. But we are each responsible for ourselves. Innately, we are so selfish. And it can be hard to navigate marriage. Boundaries have to go both ways and apply to both people in marriage. You can absolutely set boundaries with your wife! Whoever is telling your bad for it, is manipulating you. But boundaries have to held up with grace. Leslie has never been one-sided. She is a woman and its probably easier to write from a female perspective but her advice and truths can be applied either way. I am so sorry for the pain you have felt and gone through that SEEM to have left you frustrated.
David, there is no reason to please a woman. The better use of our energy is to love and serve the Lord. Give yourself permission to live for God and he will provide for all your needs. It can be dangerous to use women as idols on so many levels.
Yes I agree. It would be safer that way. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that until last few years.
I see here that most commenters are now ignoring David. I see a healthy boundary being set. Here it is in plain English:
This is a blog for hurting men and women who are faithfully working toward healing. When you make antagonistic comments, we will not engage in conversation with you.
“I see here that most commenters are now ignoring David. I see a healthy boundary being set. ”
Is not called being healthy – it is called running away! And not wishing to think/confront the truth. I noticed that anyone, not just me, disagree, they get anger thrown at them
David stop. I thought we agreed that if you disagreed with someone you would not attack. And you seem to think you are the sole one who knows all truth. That is dangerous.
Sorry Leslie. I stand by my last comment as it is the truth
I get attacked all the time
David, you are playing the victim when you are clearly NOT the victim on this blog. That is a very common trait in abusers. That makes it very difficult for me to trust what you say and/or believe what you say about your wife. Based on the way you twist the things said on here, I would feel pretty safe in guessing that your wife does not care to have relationship with you because you have hurt her and are not willing to take responsibility or make changes. I am no dummy and you can say whatever you want, but I have seen/heard enough to know that when guys talk the way you do and when they treat others the way you do that they are not to be trusted.
Can we please set a boundary of blocking David from commenting? He seems bent on creating negativity, no matter the content of the post.
I am separated at this moment from my husband. At this time the only communication we have is in writing form on paper because he is in a rehab center. Before this, when we did talk on the phone or text or email I had to stop the communication because of the name calling and the difficulty of trying to maintain composed without retaliating in anger and if only made him even more angry. At some point my husband accused me of being controlling also and manipulative. In my husband’s case, he knows he’s crossed the line when I state the past and even then I’m blamed at some point for his actions, it’s like he can’t seem to see that it is a behavior and though me may say sorry and want to be together, the pattern had not changed before rehab, even then rehab only addresses part of the problem.
While my children are still young, I want to retrain them not to yell and demand nor put down their sibling or say “you always _____” but to establish boundaries within themselves and respect each others boundaries.
Thank you mom of three….that is what healthy boundaries are and they are Biblical principles plainly spelled out so we can know how to have healthy, loving relationships that bring glory to God.
Are boundaries Biblical? They’re all throughout the pages of Scripture. How to have relationships, even struggles within them, without shredding the dignity of another human being and destroying love & trust.
I heard a counselor liken examples of boundaries in the bible starting with Genesis in which after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God took them out of the garden. He didn’t allow them to stay in the garden, but gave them consequences for not respecting the boundary he had set.
What is stopping you from moving on to divorce?
Probably her commitment to her promise /vows, it is called being honourable – she seems to be doing the right thing by being patient. Being a Christian gets in the way every time!
Two people a promise to live, honor and cherish in all that life brings. That is the basis for the covenant being formed. When the relationship is destroyed, plainly one…or both decided they would no longer keep their promises. What becomes of the covenant formed by two humans, but blessed by God? Can a covenant still be a covenant when the promises are repeatedly broken and no real repentance? I feel the one who chooses to continually break their promise to love, honor & cherish is the true covenant/marriage destroyer. Usually too much of a coward to just file for the divorce they already have in their hearts.
No one makes a covenant of marriage by promising any old thing goes til death. That is not the vow that was made.
Two people make a promise to love, honor and cherish in all that life brings. That is the basis for the covenant being formed. When the relationship is destroyed, plainly one…or both decided they would no longer keep their promises. What becomes of the covenant formed by two humans, but blessed by God? Can a covenant still be a covenant when the promises are repeatedly broken and no real repentance? I feel the one who chooses to continually break their promise to love, honor & cherish is the true covenant/marriage destroyer. Usually too much of a coward to just file for the divorce they already have in their hearts.
No one makes a covenant of marriage by promising any old thing goes til death. That is not the vow that was made.
Sorry for my spell check error…reposted correctly
Remedy, you are so right, thank you. Divorce is such a painful experience. I am still grieving the loss of my sister who passed away at a young age from cancer and to face divorce feels like loss after loss. I cannot fantasize on a marriage that is not real, but face the truth of my reality. I don’t lose hope that maybe one day my husband will come to godly sorrow which leads to life, but for now I have to focus on healing, on my children and let God take control instead of me trying to keep a broken marriage together at all costs even if it requires my safety and sanity.
Beth, I actually did file for divorce and am in the middle of it. I used to think people divorced because they fell out of love, I love my husband. My husband has used suicide as a way to manipulate me before. He would punch holes in the walls, he slammed doors so hard the hinges would break off, that’s not what my children should be seeing. I love my husband, but he is not safe for me or my children to be around when his temper flares. He has told me before that he will change, but I have not seen a change yet. So, in order for my children to be safe and myself, I had to leave.
There was a family recently in which the estranged husband drove the family vehicle into a lake and everyone drowned, “the husband and wife were supposed to just talk things out.” I’ve allowed my husband in the past to convince me that we “were just going to talk” only to end up in an unsafe position fearing for my safety.
I am so thankful that safety is just around the corner. I will pray for your strength during the divorce. You are a wise and brave woman! I know of the reports of the husband who killed his family. There are so many more like that. In my city a woman who plays violin in the symphony was murdered by her controlling abusive husband in the parking garage of a major hotel when she had just finished a concert performance with the symphony. She had told many people about her difficult marriage. They said “communicate more”, “Stay together”, “He might get better’, “All things are possible with God”, “Honor your vows”….Now she is dead.
Probably he was demanding she quit the symphony…. maybe she was getting attention he just couldn’t handle and she refused to give up using the gift of music God gave her. That is how these twisted mindsets often work feeling entitled to total domination over another and the right of punishment for noncompliance. So sad.
Momofthree, I did read the book-The emotionally destructive marriage, even had it on my night stand, in his narcissist thinking I am sure he thought I was reading it for me and not for our marriage. I struggle with depression and take medication, and I know for a fact he struggles as well but refuses to get help. Leslie, can you address putting healthy boundaries around living with others who have a mental illness? There is a fine line between being compassionate, empathic, caring and loving, verses having others blame their behavior on their mental illness. I won’t accept that excuse. Also he won’t take meds because it the bible doesn’t support that apparently.
Yes, I’ll address that more in a future blog. Too much to write quickly and without more thought.
I’m on anti-depressants at the moment. I had a loss in my family, I used to work for a very difficult person and the problems at home, the immense workload of trying to do everything and meet everyone’s needs but my own was overwhelming. When I went to see my family doctor for a well checkup I began crying so much. Truth is I cried almost daily for years, more so after the loss in my family.
My husband is against medication also. I suffered from PPD after the birth of my first born, and so I know my body, I know that even my hormones can create a chemical imbalance add to that all the stress of living under these circumstances. I go to church, I love going to church and I understand that anti-depressants are not widely accepted, but in my mind I think it’s similar to no one talking about domestic abuse in the church or divorce when it deals with abuse and not adultery. The medication is only treating my symptoms, it doesn’t take care of my problem, so I found going to celebrate recovery helpful in that I can have a support group.
I’ll be praying for you.
It would seem that anti depressants are essential for your safety at this time. Your children need you well especially as you try to gain the strength to end your abusive marriage.
I, too, was on anti depressants when I was married (my husband told me I was crazy so often that I believed him). About two years after the divorce (when I had insurance again), I was able to go to the Dr and was taken off them (the Dr chalked it up to the stress from the marriage). We’ve been divorced over five years and I haven’t been on them since (despite the facts that my ex/narcissist has custody of the kids and still treats me terribly).
Daisy…may I ask the ages of your children?
Daisy, do you think that getting counseling for your kids whether required by the court may be an option?
Friends: Have you been accused of being controlling when you tried to set boundaries for yourself? How did you handle it?
As always, thank you for this post. Lots of solid, helpful information. . . -Honestly, I have never been accused of being controlling. Maybe that means I don’t set boundaries or I have a low self-awareness? I just don’t know. Generally, I have a lot of considerate, thoughtful people in my life. I’m always amazed at how considerate most people really are. . . .My counselor seems very concerned about me setting internal boundaries with myself. -Yeah, that’s confusing I know. How do I get away from myself?
-Anyway, I like the idea of seeing it from the other person’s perspective. I always think that has value: re:if someone questioned how often I drive the car or talked with my sister, et. al. . . .The point you make about: “If you choose to smoke around me, I will have to leave, that’s a boundary. I am not controlling you I’m taking care of me.” . . . .Well, I am not around anyone that smokes, . . .but with that kind of boundary. . . for example with the neighbor down the street, I would spend most of my time in the park with the kids.
. . . And yes, if we are attempting to take responsibility for other peoples habits (smoking) then it is controlling. . . Yes, that makes good sense. . . .First, define where your responsibility ends and someone else’s responsibility begins. . . .Second, communicate with people how we want to be treated or what we will accept or won’t accept. . . You know. . . .I do constantly communicate what I like with my family: “I love it when we pray as a family or as a couple; I love it when we read the Bible as a family or together; I love talking about our relationships with each other and the kids. . .and I make it very clear, I say: ‘When we don’t pray, read the Scriptures, talk about our relationships, I feel disconnected and distant.’ And they know, if they will not read, pray, discuss with me, I will do it myself anyway.”. . . -Anyway, I usually get all the prayer, all the Bible reading/ Bible study, all the relationship discussions I need. -Wow, I am really blessed.
I would love to know how to set soft and even rigid boundaries with myself (i.e. new internal dance steps.) I simply can’t get serious existence questions out of my mind: Why would God ___________? . . . If Christ really did ___________ would we not? . . .How can it be that ___________? . . .How do you know ___________? . . .The other stuff: “He wants her to return to their familiar marital dance. Don’t do it.”. . .I simply don’t have those issues. Praise God for that, -that is a huge blessing!
Thank you Leslie, I look forward to hearing more on mental illness in marriage. I know vows say in sickness and health but when is enough enough when one won’t seek help. Would you divorce a diabetic who refuses insulin?
Diabetes is nothing like mental illness. Who ever gave you this comparison is trying very hard to manipulate you. Do you think mentally ill people are capable of making a vow and keeping a covenant marriage? I don’t. It’s unequally yoked. One is really married and one has come 1/2 full, with 1/2 a mind to twist around one’s good mind. It is sad, but it isn’t marriage. It was just a big church party and then a trick, not marriage, as the mentally ill are not capable of such a high level of functioning. Somebody got fooled here. It is ok to release yourself from the deception.
Beth, think you cross the line here re “mentally ill”… that is a matter of perception ie I know people of very high IQ that feel that most people are mentally ill, including me and most likely you
David, I am not mentally ill. There are diagnostic manuals which practitioners use to identify mental illness. i.e.: DSM IV. Yes, Virignia….there is mental illness, it is real.
David, I think you make a valid point about mental illness and IQ. A lot of mentally ill individuals have high IQs. Mental illness can happen due to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain so in that sense it can be likened to a physical illness. But have you noticed because of the way you present your views, you are not being heard?
I love Leslie’s work and do read her blog regularly, but have decided against commenting here in the past.
However, I felt led to comment here. Beth, I do not like having the first thing i write be a criticism of your post, because I have read and appreciated much of what you have written in the past. I do hope you can believe that, because it is true. But to say that a person with a mental illness has half a mind, or cannot commit to wedding vows, or is not really married–all these are deeply prejudiced statements, all very untrue, and extremely hurtful to any person who is already suffering from their illness (or an abusive relationship.)
I have bipolar disorder. I am not the abuser in my relationship. I probably was more vulnerable to the abuse because of my illness, because my judgment was not very good at the time I began the relationship. My husband is in the process of changing and seeking professional help (as well as speaking openly to our pastor) and will now readily admit to his abuse. In the past, however, he used my illness against me, telling me that no one would ever believe a person with a mental illness
I am not a mildly ill person. My diagnosis was bipolar disorder, rapid cycling, severe. I have been relatively stable on medication for many, many years, but when I was young and experienced psychotic episodes, I did not behave in the way that society think that people with bipolar disorder behave. I am not unusual in that, either. I was not promiscuous or use drugs. I was very much out of my mind and even hallucinated, but did not behave in the ways you describe. I did some unwise things, such as give away large sums of money to charity or all of my possessions and sometimes felt God could not love me. But I was extremely committed to my church, to caring for the poor, to sharing God’s love, to my family, to prayer and spending time in God’s word. I am not trying to portray myself as saintly, as I am deeply sinful, only sharing these things to combat the hurtful stereotypes so commonly believed.
I have seen other friends with mental illnesses in this scenario as well, where they are the victim. I also do think that the stigma of mental illness is worse within the church than without, which is tragic. In fact, there is similarity in how the church treats women, abuse, and mental illness.
Again, I do not want to attack you personally, but I feel I must stand up against your statement, for the truth and for any other people with a mental illness who may be reading this. I do not deny that things such as mental illness can impact people’s destructive behavior (and have compassion for that on both sides) but so can many other factors, and yet it would be untrue to say that somebody is not capable to be “really married” because they were abused as a child or experiencing tragic life events or have other disabilities or other circumstances that make life more difficult. I am extremely committed to my husband and my marriage and am definitely capable of being “really married.”
I hope am doing that right thing in writing this. I just feel I have to take a stand against prejudice and for the truth.
Dear Beth and S.~
I know that no harm was intended here–in either posting. With communication and understanding, this will be a learning opportunity for us all, and the hurt feelings will be resolved.
I am really looking forward to Leslie’s upcoming post on mental illness. Let’s all learn together as Leslie leads us and God is with us. susen
S., It sounds like you are doing really well. There are a lot of untrue beliefs about mental illness, probably because of ignorance. Thanks for speaking up. You sound like a really strong woman. Dealing with your illness and abuse must be really difficult.
I will be talking about mental illness in our next blog. Stay tuned.
S – Thanks for posting. I hope you do it more often as your spirit and approach represents a productive example of communicating. Blessings!
Aleea, could you please explain what you mean by internal boundary.
Dr. Meier, my counselor, who has worked with Henry Cloud and John Townsend before and wants to write the Boundaries workbook, says that without internal boundaries (limits we put on our own internal dance) the external boundaries very often fail. She has lots of research on this so I assume she is correct. . . . I am not totally clear because we are only starting to work on that but she has told me I have got to place limits on things like questioning and the amount of time I put into research. I don’t understand that and I think that is intellectually dishonest but I see her point because I am often utterly, utterly confused. I have been reading from the following research texts you see below (-I am reading them in parallel when I travel, which is a lot of the time. -Like today, I have been on a plane for seven hours):
80-100 C.E. Matthew, Luke, John
60-80 C.E. Mark (the first gospel)
50-60 C.E. Letters of Paul (they come before the gospels not after)
30-55 C.E. Vast oral transmission period (nothing in writing)
#1. The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus, Amazon.
#2. Reading the Bible Again For the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously, Amazon.
#3. Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, Amazon.
#4. Jesus: One Hundred Years Before Christ, Amazon.
0-30 C.E. Jesus (crucified in 29 C.E. -nothing in writing)
I don’t know why doing research has to have boundaries but maybe it becomes part of some internal numbing dance. . . But why would we need boundaries around it? If something is true, researching it more will only bring more confidence, I think.
-Anyway, Christ knows I love Him and that I really need Him. He knows I always just want the truth. Other people are going after what they are going after, I just want the truth even if it breaks my heart. . . .My heart just cries out for God and He so seems the only way to anything real and worthwhile. . . . The things I value: A really clean heart, real love, real forgiveness, real compassion, and real tenderness. I simply do not see these happening without Christ.
David,it is not true that woman do not desire intimacy. We are made differently and have more of a need to feel safe and cared for and those needs are as strong as a mans need to feel wanted and desired. For a woman time spent being made to feel cherished equals love just as for a man intimacy is equated with love. When the heart is truly taken care of woman feel safe in the love of their spouse and welcome intimacy. When we don’t feel cherished,respected,loved then a demand for intimacy feels like a betrayal or a violation which (feels like) rejection of the man when in reality it is the woman telling her husband that her heart doesn’t feel safe.
I have been married for 28 years and my husband and I have both done our share of hurting and rejecting each other. marriage is a lot of work and can only truly be an intimate love if the heart of each spouse is cared for by the other. Sometimes part of caring is setting boundaries and sometimes it’s recognizing that we all have a manipulative side that needs to be put in check. David,I will be praying for you that you will find healing and be able to truly love as Jesus loved the church.
That is an absolutely beautiful description of female/ male needs. -If you reach a women’s heart, she will give you her body. It is just that simple and that hard for many men. You are anything but “confused.”
Confused you are so right! Well said.
“feel safe and cared for” … yes, yes and that requires money (wealth not income) … even my pastor as said that. And my advisor and even own mother
This week I set a boundary that if my husband does not want to be husband and wife, then I cannot engage with him sexually. I have made attempts to set this boundary beforr, but give in because I hold on to hope that if I please him sexually then he will stay in the marraige. I have to preserve my dignity. When my husband approaches me physically, which is just once a week, yet has declared that he is filing for a divorce after my son graduates in June 2016, I get very confused and devastated. Another boundary I want to set is to stop doing his paperwork for his business. I can’t take the disdain from him much longer.
So would you call this setting boundaries, punishing him for wanting a divorce/treating me with disdain, or being manipulate?
I would love to know what to say to him again about the physical/Sexual boundary and suggesting he find someone else to help him with his business.
Say the word, “No” to him. Give him the divorce. He wants it. You can always remarry him if he changes. You can’t make a man love you. Once a week he wants to use your body. He is probably fantasizing about someone else when he has sex with you. Straighten out your money before he gets his hands on all of it. You are loving and relational. This man/boy doesn’t know the precious woman he has under his roof. Suggest a replacement at the office. Begin interviewing the new person today, but be sure you have your finances in order. No relationship, no working on the relationship, no sex. Let him show some initiative. You are not being treated with the respect you deserve. So, my boundary suggestion is, hire another secretary/administrator whether he likes it or not. No sex for a man who has no interest in a relationship. See if he will leave and beat him to the punch on the divorce. That way you will protect your interests. If he straightens up you can always remarry him.
At face value, I think you have set a reasonable boundary. Blessings!
It is not true that all women are concerned with the size of a man’s bank account. If that were true, I would never have been married. The bank account was never very large at all. It took 2 people working to make ends meet.
David, in today’s world women can and do make more money than men. Many modern, young women don’t want men unless they enhance their lives. It anything, they often worry that a man may try to take their money. 🙂
I’m not talking about income but wealth. Women want men who have wealth but are stupid and wimps, unfortunately unless inheritance was involved, wealth tends not to be generated by stupid people nor are they wimps. Aside from many having experienced first hand or have seen / recognized several Christian counselors have also said
David: I have a comment awaiting moderation before it is published. In the meantime, I have reviewed recent posts and can’t help but notice that you seem very angry and hurt. I understand those feelings, but I trust you are taking time to evaluate your feelings in light of God’s truth. I honestly believe you have some legitimate concerns to convey, but they will never be heard with your current approach. When the creator of the site asks you to stop and you keep going, it’s impossible to see you as anything but divisive. In God’s Kingdom, everything points towards reconciliation, not separation and division. What is your goal?
Ya the creator of the site gets upset when I stated the truth of my situation, I am always to agree with the others
Edmund, I assume you are a male by your name. Thank you very much for suggesting accountability for David’s comments. Often I have found that healing people are merciful and teachable. I have also noticed that healing men yield better to other men and than when corrected. David’s childish reply shows the depths in which he still needs to grow. His posts often expose the characteristics of the entitled man Lundy Bancroft describes in his work. Thanks for contributing. It is good to hear a healthy male voice.
I meant to write…yield better to other man rather than to women. I always like the teaching about a man that yells and yells at his wife and kids, yet is gentle as a lamb with the police officer.
Re Beth. Healthy = agree, childish = disagree!! Also based on her comments Beth promotes/pushes divorce vs separation
David, I do not think people who disagree with me are childish. I think separation is biblical. I know the passages about divorce too. I am not for divorce. i am for living in the fullness of life that God ordained for each of us who are called according to his purposes. Living in an abusive destructive relationship and saying God will change it or it is my lot in life, contradicts what Christ came to die for, our sins. Women are not to be their husband’s cross.
I’m not willing to say that divorce is always wrong. I am willing to say that when two people make a covenant before God, it is always His desire that it be permanent. Sin ruins everything. God knows about sin and has made accomodations for His people throughout history due to the reality of sin. It’s the freedom of His Love that even gives sin room to exist…so all of this can get really deep and philisophical if we trace it back to its roots. Bottom line, God’s character is perfection. Anything that deviates from His picture of perfection “misses the target” and is sinful. Divorce is not God’s ideal. The only definitive statement I am willing to make with regards to divorce and what is allowed and sin is this: under no circumstance would God say it is wrong for any spouse to remain married. There is never a case when God would say it is sinful or against His will for a spouse to choose against divorce. Please don’t misunderstand me….there are times when separation is absolutely necessary. I have a daughter. Trust me, I believe wholeheartedly in separation if it is necessary. But it’s never wrong to choose separation (even if permanent) over divorce.
along these lines, i saw a post somewhere at some point about “legal separation” to protect against financial ruin. to me, the availability of legal separation is ultimately moot. if it’s available and a spouse can protect themselves financially without filing for divorce – great….use the tool available. But if the heart of your conviction is that you believe divorce breaks the covenant and the committment was made “for better or worse, richer or poorer, till death to us part,” then you will keep that promise even if you are permanately separated from your spouse and they are ruining your financial situation because you can’t protect yourself. as the argument would necessitate, if its wrong for one spouse to divorce for abuse then its wrong for the other to divorce because their finances were being abused in a permanent separation scenario.
At the end of the day, the ultimate question is not “what does god allow?” It’s “what does God want me to do as a representative of His Kingdom in this situation?”
You’re right and God brings different convictions to different people about these issues, just as Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 10 and eating meat offered to idols. But it’s not a matter of keeping to the letter of the law or as you say “what does God allow” but “What does God want me to do that will give him the greatest glory?” and sometimes that might be taking a stand and a step of faith to leave an abusive partner.
I am in complete agreement with the dynamic that different Believers have different convictions. I was very impressed with the way DivorceCare handled this specific discussion in Chapter 6 (ironically, last night’s session for my group) where they clearly advocate for the most fundamental interpretation of Scripture while giving grace for differences of opinion at the end. While I don’t agree wholeheartedly with the totality of DivorceCare’s stance, my heart is to approach the topic in the same spirit with which they do. I have appreciated your extensive involvement and contributions to that curriculum, even if we do have differences in our convictions and applications.
I think we would all agree that “debatable topics” in orthodox Christianity carry different levels of weight. I simply can’t put the timeless covenant of marriage as the picture of Christ and His church as intended for all people at all times in the same category as a temporary ritual law intended for Israelites before the time of Christ. I don’t believe Paul ever took the opportunity to include divorce on his list of debatable topics. And I believe we would be hard pressed to find evidence of Jesus, Paul, or any other New Testament representatives of the Kingdom imploring Christians to bring glory to God by “taking a stand for themselves.” There is significant evidence that Jesus, Paul, etc. encourage the opposite approach. The premise that God values people more than marriage is questionable, in my opinion. I don’t believe it’s a question that God would have us ask or that He ever tries to answer. God never has to make that choice and he never requires us to make that choice.
The spectrum of unique people and unique circumstances represented in a forum like this creates an overwhelming challenge. I will never assume that someone who has chosen divorce is wrong. But neither can I ever apologize for advocating for the highest possible view of marriage or the biblical mandate that reconciliation be the ultimate aim of all broken relationships. It is never a sin to remain married, even if circumstances demand that you remain permanently separated due to legitimate abuse.
Edmund, Leslie has said many times that God does not value the institution of marriage more than the individuals in it (similar to Jesus not putting the Sabath over people). If one of the spouses is financially irresponsible if no consequences are put in place (physical separation without the legal system involved), that is not for the irresponsible spouse’s good. By putting consequences in place, the hope is the spouse will wake up and repent.
Two thoughts here:
1. My comment on financial protection was intended for those who hold the most rigid view of divorce. I have seen people who advocate for “separation only, no divorce” get squirmy if being separated means that their financial viability is exposed. If you hold the separation only position, you must be willing to maintain that position even if your estranged spouse is ruining your finances.
2. There is an entire layer to this discussion that hinges on whether God gives a higher priority to the individual or the collection of individuals. It’s a deep topic that can’t be fully addressed here and I don’t claim authority to be able to settle the debate even if we could. As is often the case with God, there is a “both/and” component, not either/or. My conviction is that God very much values us and cares for us as individuals, but His design is for us to willingly give ourselves to the community he has established. He is the very picture of self-giving community in His very nature – Father, Son, HS – and His intent is for each individual to “find” their individual identity by “losing” it in the various communities he has established and ordained – including marriage, family, and the church. It’s ultimately not about me, my rights, my feelings, my needs.
Again, I am not speaking against anyone. I don’t know anyone here and can’t possibly know their individual circumstances. There is no doubt separation is absolutely required by some, and there is no doubt others who are perfectly blameless in their choice to divorce. But there is no question whatsoever about God’s ultimate purpose in the world or in history – it’s redemption and restoration by means of self-giving love. This is the flag we are to carry as Christ-followers. What does God want me to do to show the part of the world in which He has placed me the picture of His redeeming love for people? If the answer leads someone to choose divorce, that is between them and God.
Edmund, it takes 2 people to reconcile.
Yes – if one spouse has chosen to divorce and is unwilling to reconcile, there is nothing the other spouse can do about it. We can only be responsible for ourselves.
I was accused of being controlling and manipulative when I set a boundary recently. As a result of the boundary, my husband is reminded of his sin and the church’s lack of appropriate response. That makes him uncomfortable. When I considered his accusations, I determined that they weren’t based in an understanding of what I need for myself. He was looking at it from the way he interacts with me – and the way he assumes I interact with him.
My boundary is primarily about what I need to be healthy at this point. His feelings about it are important, but he has created a situation where I need this boundary. I say there are consequences to his actions.
Would it help to tell another person about your boundary so they could support you in your decision and help you stay convicted when you may be tempted to waver? Just wondering…..
Excellent suggestion, Beth! I have so often “caved” on my boundaries because I grow weary of the energy required to maintain them with constant pushback and guilt. Having someone support you is key! Many thanks to all of you on this blog for being my support over the last few months!!!!!
Leslie, Thank you for explaining boundaries. I have been in an emotionally destructive marriage for 35 years, I have learned not to trust my own thoughts or feelings and learned to be more concerned about my husbands response to anything I might say or do, that I became unable to be my own person. Over time, I have been learning to listen to myself and trust some of my own thoughts. I am learning to set boundaries, but I know I have manipulated him at times. Usually, I would always choose his thoughts and feelings over mine. It has caused a great deal of resentment on my part and I am trying to take more responsibility for my own thoughts, actions and behaviors without worrying about his approval or acceptance. It’s tricky because, he sees my need for independent thought and action as a reflection on him. That I just don’t care for him anymore if I express myself or say I want responsibility to make my own choices.
Dreamson, I’ve once heard that the definiton of co-dependence is behaving , thinking, reacting, etc. how you think the other person wants you to behave etc. rather than how you want to.
He knows that telling you that your independence makes him think you don’t care for him works to advance his control of you. In 35 years he has probably tried (and succeeded) in various ploys to get you to focus all your energies on him. You are in the autumn of life now. You gave him your spring and summer. Stand firm for what remains of YOUR life. God gave it for you to live. He created you in his glory. Christ was called to die for your husband’s sins, not you. Live, live, live…for our days are few and the way out of bondage is delightful!
Thank you Beth. I am finally at the threshold of getting my degree. So he has sort of supported me to do this, but then he says that I am just going to use it to leave him. He always reminds me that I have more freedom in my life than he does, because he sacrificed his time and energy to provide for the family. I am 55 now and yes I have thought about getting out. I knew he was not a christian when I married him, nothing every changed and although he says he loves me and has mellowed in his animosity towards me of the years, I am so unhappy. Over the years I put my faith to the side because he put me down so much, but because of this I have had some real heartache and recently started working toward strengthening my relationship with God. He does not share my beliefs, he states he is atheist. I would love to have someone to love that I can share my faith with. I just feel that God is directing me for a change and it may not include my husband. To divorce is scary and I am not sure God wants that even though I may be miseriable and very lonely. Anyway, thanks and I will think on your comment.
Here’s a situation. I had a vehicle that was constantly breaking down. When it was going to cost more to fix it than the vehicle was worth, I put my foot down and said we needed a newer vehicle. I drive quite a distance to work every day. My husband agreed that we needed something but it could wait. My option was to drive one vehicle that had a transmission problem or another vehicle that was unreliable. I was angry that he would not get on board with the idea of a newer vehicle. Finally I went car shopping myself and presented him with options. He was angry that I did this without him. when I pushed for a reason for his resistance, he admitted that he was afraid I would get a car with a payment and then quit my job. I found the vehicle I needed that I could afford. I told him I would continue working and paying for it. He then was ok with me getting a newer, more reliable family car. Fast forward two months, he now insists that he drive this new vehicle to church on Sunday’s. He refused to put his name on the title and he does not pay the car payment. I refuse to allow him to drive this vehicle. So am I setting a boundary or being mean?
Sunshine, Great boundary! You go girl!
The only “mean” person in your story was the selfish, inconsiderate person who was unwilling to provide his wife a safe mode of transportation. He didn’t trust God enough to provide and through his controlling actions would benefit him further down the line if he got stuck having to provide. Then, his pride kicked in when he wanted people at church to see the better car and his greed came front and center next to his jealousy, that he wanted to drive the nicer car. So, glad we can read their bad behavior. Education is power!
Proverbs 18:17 Living Bible (TLB)
17 Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.
I guess a good question to ask is “Is there ever a time when it’s OK to abuse (emotionally, physically, etc) someone?”. Our answer to this determines our response.
In other words, I don’t think any of us are really in a position to draw definitive conclusions based on the information available. Individual time with a skilled christian counselor who can understand the entire context is an absolute necessity. Praying you and your husband can be of one mind and one heart!
Edmund, I agree that there are always two sides to a story, but I just want to make a point about abusive situations. In situations like abuse, nothing can justify it. For example, if someone were to murder another person, unless it were in self defense, that person would be held responsible. Just as Leslie has mentioned, we are responsible for our actions. When someone who has been abused is told there are two sides to their situation, it’s like re-living the abuse. Of course, just as the abuser is responsible for his/her behavior, the victim is responsible for how he/she behaves. It has been my experience that abusers provoke and taunt victims, and then blame them when they fall.
Thanks, Maria. I would have offered a different response if Sunshine feared she was married to a murderer and wondered if her boundaries were mean. Since it appeared she and her husband had a disagreement about how to spend money and who has the right to drive a car, I still believe the conflict would be more appropriately mediated by an objective 3rd party with intimate knowledge of both Sunshine and her husband.
Edmund, in a marriage where both parties are doing things to make it better, your advice is good. But many here are in destructive marriages. One party is usually playing games and is usually not for having a better marriage. It’s pointless going to joint counseling when the goals are different.
Edmund, it is possible for men to be horribly abusive and controlling to their wives without ever being physically violent. Without knowing the whole story, I can’t make a hard and fast judgment, but from what Sunshine describes in this one instance, it really sounds like what these guys do and it would be about a pattern of these behaviors, not just one individual incident…….
Countless wives have been murdered by a husband who ‘snapped” and I think there is no certain way to know whether a hot tempered man is capable of that final terrible act after other types of outbursts. The one I am married to has terrifying verbal rages that always feel could turn physical or deadly at any time. Living in terror in your own home is I think one of the most horrid ways to go through life.
Perhaps I should add to my story. In the past, my husband has made money disappear only to have it reappear when he had an idea of how it should be spent. We are talking thousands of dollars. He has disabled my vehicle to show me what it would be like to have no car. He refuses to let me drive his vehicle. His parents have insisted I use their vehicle because they were concerned for my safety. I have been the one working and paying bills. Any work he did, he saved his money and spent it on what he wanted. He said it was to save me from being overwhelmed by bills. At the same time, he was contributing no money to the bill paying. Recently he got a good paying job. He said we need to save up to get him a new vehicle even though mine was the family car and I have been the one working and driving a long distance. We have been to five counsellors in about four years. Two of them quit us and one outright told me to get out. He felt I was in a dangerous situation.
Sunshine, if one of the counsellors sensed danger, you’d be wise to take heed.
Remedy you are right. I was terrorized by my husband by his verbal rages too. I am still afraid that if he gets angry enough at things not going his way in the court process that he could come back and harm the whole family. It is so odd that although he was able to take advantage of everything that was mine for his selfish purposes that he still went into crazy verbal rages as though I wasn’t complying with an agenda of his or something. I think the fact that I am a separate being that he couldn’t control completely made him rage too.
Please be careful and try to get out. Life is better when you are no longer subject to the anger and rages. Now, I when I look back I realize how horrible it was and wonder how I was even able to sleep at night with him in my bed.
A couple thoughts here:
1. I believe that in most cases, “the other side of the story” would not serve to cover up the abuse. in many cases, it would confirm the abuse. Matthew 18:15-17 are Jesus words, not mine. Proverbs 18:17 was written by the wisest man that ever lived, not this middle aged white guy from flyover country USA.
2. I have both abused and been abused in my marriage. According to Jesus, I am a murderer and adulterer…and you are too. In my opinion, this topic is way too complex and difficult to be diagnosing and prescribing actions in mass communication format. It’s subjective in many many cases, just like pain is subjective.
3. Sin sucks. Thank God for redemption, and that none of us are beyond redemption no matter how severely we have abused our Creator.
Look forward to more conversations and thanks in advance for grace given the sever limitations of communicating in this format.
1. I agree that when both spouses have the same goal to restore and heal the marriage that involving a third part helps. But when one of the spouses is controlling and that’s their goal, the abusing spouse usually thinks the marriage is just fine. It’s the abused spouse that feels he/ she is going out of their mind. During counseling, the abusive spouse has no problem lying and using the other spouse’s shortcomings to make him/ her look crazy.
2. I agree that this is not an ideal setup to discuss certain situations. I also agree that we are all sinners. Sin is a big deal to God, it cost Jesus his life. When we sin, if we have the attitude that everyone sins, it’s easy to minimize our sin (I’m not saying that you are, just speaking generally). If there’s someone at school bullying your daughter and you can see it’s really affecting her, the wrong advice to give her would be everyone sins, let’s show the bully some grace. The right thing to do is to hold the bully accountable and protect your daughter. Hopefully the bully will learn from the consequence and change. These are some thoughts that came to mind when I read your post.
I wanted to add that an abuser is a bully
Maria – you seem to be a very fair and honest conversation partner. Thanks.
At the very least, I think it would be helpful to identify the commenters in the forum by basic categories as this would act as a very helpful starting point for those trying to understand the context of the perspective.
Two people who profess to be Christians and desire to have a successful covenant marriage will come from a completely different place than than two non-christian spouses where the very life of one spouse is at risk. Obviously, we have both extremes and everything in between being caught in the net cast by this site.
For the record, my wife and I are professing Christians who desire a successful marriage.
Edmund, if your wife desired a successful marriage, do you know why she changed her mind and decided to end the marriage?
I have my suspicions, but it has not been communicated clearly or biblically. My wife has cherry picked information from various sources, including Mrs. Vernick, and created a justification to end the marriage. Since no-fault divorce is now the law of the land, no accountability is available from the state. And since there is an increasing pattern of Christian counselors who are discrediting pastors and biblical counselors who do not share their interpretations of scripture, the accountability that God designed through the church is being eroded as well.
In my opinion, the Church has drastically decreasing credibility in the critical cultural conversation on homosexual marriage today precisely because we have not set proper boundaries or been good’s stewards with God’s design for heterosexual marriage.
Edmund, Have you been in an abusive relationship? Typical marriage counseling does not mend such situations but rather perpetuate the abuse. There are very few providers who understand domestic violence and fewer still who are Christians. It is a desert wasteland of need. Maybe that is why Leslie’s blog is so helpful.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Beth!! You are spot on. Abusers are highly skilled manipulators and liars. Impossible to reason with such mindsets when trying to deal in truth and light. Even experts can be easily duped.
In this house I was threatened many times for wanting to pursue outside help with a stalemated disagreement…..”it’s no one else’s business what goes on inside this household.” I think that is the tactic called isolation. Then if the wife refuses and goes for outside help bc she knows it is needed, she is accused of being unsubmissive. That would be spiritual abuse. And for the woman who dearly loves the Lord, it can be quite effective in achieving the dominance and control the husband demands.
Truly a no win with a proud and unteachable man.
Yes. According to Mrs. Vernick’s definitions, I was a victim in an abusive marriage. I am also the victim of an abusive “Christian” counselor. However, it’s tragic that situations like mine would be mentioned in the same conversation as “domestic violence.” Despite the good intentions, marketing “abuse” self-diagnosis tools to a mass audience can cause a great deal of harm to true victims of domestic violence.
Aleea, this is a definition I found on a website
The external boundary protects our bodies. This boundary regulates who, when, where, how and what we allow to touch our bodies. Internal boundaries protect our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Is this what your counselor is referring to?
Yes, I believe you are correct. It seems a balance of thought stopping and some selective filtering. She never wants to say “NO” to anything completely but just limit the time spent on it. I don’t fully grasp that yet. To me anything worth doing is worth really engaging.
I should clarify that naming myself “confused” had more to do with David’s comments than my confusion about boundaries in marriage.
Healthy boundaries is something I believe we will each be developing (within or without ourselves) for the remainder of our lives so I love reading the comments by everyone. I am amazed at how God works in and thru His people.
[…] BUT Leslie Vernick just published a helpful article about boundaries this week called, Are You Setting Boundaries or Just Being Manipulative? It’s perfect for what we’re talking about over here. Be sure to check it out. In the […]
Ps 46:10a He said “Be still and know that I Am God.” All of that research could be adding to the confusion. Read His Word and He will make His presence known. Does it really matter what was written first? It is not better to allow the Spirit to teach you?
There is nothing wrong with reading other materials, but it seems that 7 hours on a plane could be a little more relaxed.
That is only my opinion.
Thank you so, so much. I love that Psalm. -I am so glad you came back and are posting again. I wrote a couple of posts to you when you first went on Sabbatical but I thought they might be misunderstood so never posted them.
. . .Anyways, I do practice being still, waiting on and listening for God. . . .Just something, something is not right -but I can’t get behind it or define it. It should be true for everyone independently and not just true for one person (-saying the Spirit told them this or that, for example). That is why the what and when of historicity really matters. The whole of the theology depends on the historicity. Like a story that is not true if the timeline is wrong. (the case for this conclusion: On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt; the University of Sheffield (Sheffield-Phoenix, 2014). And Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus (Prometheus Books, 2012).
Now, is it not better to allow the Spirit to teach you? . . .I think it may be but then is not that conclusion only valid for me?
. . .I envy people who don’t have my ghosts as issues. I am sure my dragons look ridiculous to many as their dragons sometimes look to me. . . .So, what is really important. I mean what matters more than anything. I think it is the truth. I don’t mind lots of mystery but it can’t be just all mystery. Anyways, thank you, I appreciate that and any prayers for clarity!
I have been married for over 15 years. My wife is amazing when things are good. I pay the price, however, when she believes she is entitled to something and I do not deliver. This has been evident since the early months of our marriage.
Several years ago, we mutually agreed to work with a skilled Christian counselor. It was not a quick fix, but the counselor faithfully identified our mutual struggle with fear and sinful demands of the other. We have all the tools needed to take responsibility for ourselves and allow the other spouse freedom to love.
Recently, I chose not to take responsibility for my wife’s feelings and chose not to meet one of her demands (boundary). She contacted our counselor in an attempt to compel my compliance. When the counselor did not provide the feedback she was seeking, she cut him off and refused to work with him again. For several months, I gave her time and space and waited for her to re-engage. Eventually, she responded by “setting a boundary” and informing me that she believed I needed to see a different counselor (of her choosing). She threatened to divorce me if I did not do so. I was unwilling. The pattern of punishing me or threatening to punish me if I did not comply with her demands had to stop.
Six months ago, my wife asked me to be home for dinner at a certain time and described the meal she was preparing for the family. At dinner time, the house was empty and I was served with divorce papers. She had taken the kids and moved in with Dad where she remains to this day with no willingness to even attempt a reconciliation. The divorce will be final in the next few weeks. She filed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences with the court, but cites her self-diagnosis of emotional abuse using “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” as her justification with all of our Christian friends and pastors. I was not aware that she believed she was abused and she never mentioned it to the counselor with whom we were working.
As a result of my attempts to preserve 50% time with my kids instead of complying with her demand that I receive the state-mandated minimum, I have been accused in official documents of being “a dad in name only” and I have been repeatedly misrepresented with regards to my concern for the kids well being. Suspicion has been cast on whether it is appropriate for my daughter to spend time with me alone with a clear attempt to imply sexual impropriety. I have yet to be addressed directly with any specific cause, but my wife and her family continue to make false accusations to others about me. The pattern continues.
Whether I am “abused” or not, I do not know and do not care. I do not believe in divorce, and I believe God is most pleased when we separate from our spouse if circumstances warrant such action. No one is beyond saving or reconciling. All sin is “abuse” of God’s perfect design for our lives. There are women out there being beaten and/or berated by evil men and I don’t want to do anything to take away from resources that might help true victims. But there is no need or cause for the actual destruction of my family in the name of the alleged “emotional destruction” of a discontented and unhappy spouse. Thank God for the hope of perfect restoration and reconciliation when the Kingdom is revealed in its fullness. Until then, I will seek Jesus Christ no matter what my wife (or anyone else) thinks, says, or does. Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him!
What is the goal/purpose of your marriage? Is it to be happy and get what you think you deserve? If you treated Christ like your spouse treated you, what would you want Christ to do?
Edmond… Thank you for sharing your story. Would you care to elaborate on the ‘issue’ you would not comply with and how you both ended up in the stalemate?
In loving healthy relationships, each person is concerned for the highest good….for the other as well as for ourselves. Where love exists, there should be mutual respect and consideration. I’m wondering if her ‘demand’ was something dangerous, unhealthy, or a very bad decision that would have painful consequences all around?
Asking because I wonder why her reaction was so extreme and your refusal to comply.
I have no idea who you are, but I can’t stop singing when I read your screen name:
Bad theology, gifted artist, catchy tune, lighthearted interlude from heavy conversation…
I’ll return and answer your question. I can’t invest any additional time right now and want to be wise with my response.
Well..that did make me smile. Allow me to elaborate the many scenarios in this house.
There may be many accommodations to requests, but now the ‘wife’ might by getting too heady, so the next request that would go beyond the normal day to day stuff now needs to be shut down. No discussion, no reasoning, a refusal of conversation and attacking & shaming and bringing up the past must ensue to shut the wife down because she needs to be reminded who’s in charge…running the show, to use an exact phrase.
Now, as a wife who deeply desires to honor the Lord, I have no issue with a non compliance when there are plain damages to me or the family that are unseen by me. And in a marriage, my expectation is that these problems with compliance would be clearly and lovingly communicated. That is loving and healthy.
What I do take serious issue with is when it is just plainly time for a NO. No real legitimate reasons that can be clearly communicated to a sensible God-loving wife. Just it is now time to show who is boss.
Worse, when the NO had to do with some undealt with dysfunctional ideas or experiences or insecurities the husband has. Rather than dealing as an adult with his issues, make the wife the pay the price to avoid having to face and deal with internal troubles.
I do look forward to hearing your response and perhaps you’ll be able to shine some light in my own understanding. My boundary in this area is that I am not a less than here as a woman, I am not an object or possession, a slave, an employee….but a real live person and I expect to be treated as I would expect he wants to be treated….as a human being created in the image of God and basics of human dignity and kindness. Esp being that a promised vow was made to love, honor, and cherish in all things.
Sorry for any typos…typing a long post in the little box 🙂
Remedy – to answer your original question, there was nothing dangerous or unhealthy about the situation and no decisions of any kind were in play (other than whether I would comply or not). It was simply a case of “if you love me, you will do what I want and if you don’t do what I want, then you don’t love me.” I can assure you that the counselor we had mutually agreed to consult for several years was very knowledgeable of our histories and personalities as well as the entire context of the conflict.
We are each responsible for our own actions, including our choices about what to do with our thoughts and feelings/emotions. There is no denying that emotions are real, but they don’t always point us to truth.
I’m sorry for your frustration in your personal situation. I don’t know enough about you or your husband to comment on your thoughts. All I can do is answer questions that are posed
…..oops. I fat fingered the “enter” button before I was finished.
All I can do is answer the questions posed based on the information provided or ask questions/comment based on truth claims that others make. Have you considered answering the questions I posed at the end of my original comment?
In this house, a lack of love and ability to take even a small part of responsibility for 25 yrs of troubles that has stunned even the pastors we counseled with for extensive hours and months.
Our relationship with Christ is not a one sided dictator/slave arrangement. With Christ, He gives His best and we desire to give Him our best. In marriage, we both commit our best to the other. When we fail, we get back up and continue to give our best….what we promised. With abusers, it is take, take, take. They are rarely thinking about the concerns of the other human being. That is not marriage.
Edmund…I am still left wondering what this thing was that was so important to your wife that she felt it was an act of lovelessness on your part to not offer it to her. Even to the point of ending the marriage. Are there children involved? This is not the normal path of most women to just throw in the towel on a minor infraction or misunderstanding of needs. Is there anything of it you are able to articulate? Perhaps we women here would have something to learn about men….or the women may be able to shed light as a woman. Understand if you can not give full blown details, but you see many here give examples or categories of the grave types of marital conflict that have potential to lead to destruction of relationship.
The point of the original post by Mrs. Vernick was to discuss whether boundaries were legit or manipulative. I outlined my story in that context. My wife did not divorce me over the insignificant demand that served as the catalyst to her decision. she divorced because she was secretly harboring a self-diagnosis of abuse and then chose to manipulate circumstances to confirm it and give herself a “biblical” out. Nothing productive will result from me introducing the specifics of one isolated argument out of context and inviting strangers to weigh in. i don’t believe its wise for anyone here to be doing that. Mrs. Vernick uses Galatians 6:5 as a prooftext for setting boundaries. I think Galatians 6:4 is often being completely ignored as a self imposed boundary that requires us to take responsibility for our own actions only and not compare ourselves to others and their situations.
Actually Edmund I used that verse as one example of the need to take responsibility for ourselves and steward our life, but there are others which I may site on a future blog. People are sinful and self-deceptive and can be manipulative – all of which the Bible says is true. Yet the Bible also describes people who are evil, cruel, deceitful, self-absorbed, lovers of self rather than lovers of God, prideful, abusive, etc. There are abusers in this world and in many marriages and God’s Word does remind us not to repay evil for evil, or be overcome by evil. That’s why I talk about abuse victims needing to center themselves in God and build CORE strength so they don’t become infected by evil’s poison and start become abusive in reaction or retaliation of the abuse down towards them. No one is perfect, that’s for sure. It’s not perfection that anyone is looking for, but we do need self-awareness and accountability for real help and real change to heal any broken marriage.
I should have read all your posts before I commented earlier. Sorry. Have you heard of “Father/Daughter syndrome”? Dr. Paul Hegstrom a pastor, author and research with LIfe Skills international writes of such a phenomena. You might like to read his book, Broken Children, Grown up Pain. Once again, I am sorry for the difficult situation you find yourself in and hope this blog and Leslie’s work can be a help and support to you at this time.
Thank you for the suggestion. I am going to look into this.
Edmund, to answer your question of what we would want Christ to do…. I think maybe a more valid question would be: What DOES He do? What we want and what is best/right for us are not always the same, and I think we can all agree that what God does is always right…… In light of this, I will answer what does He do.
He is always there and ready to receive us when we truly and sincerely come to Him. He does not, however, remain in deep and personal relationship with someone who abuses Him. It is impossible as the ‘relationship’ would be completely one-sided and healthy relationships are a two-way street. Also, he does not force the us to be in relationship with Him. If we choose to walk away, He allows us to do so. Many people mistakenly believe that when a woman leaves her husband, that she is the one walking away from the relationship. In the case of abuse, as Leslie so wisely says, when the man chose to abuse his wife, he already broke the relationship and, in essence–although not physically–walked away. The woman is then not walking away from a relationship, she is walking away from abuse!!!! And she is doing what JESUS does in that she is allowing him to walk away since that is what he is choosing, rather than trying to force relationship where there is none.
I know that there are differing views on divorce. My personal belief is that I will always consider myself to be my husband’s wife, but there could come a time that I cannot live with him as his wife if he continues to be destructive.
To answer your question of what I want from him:
I want a partner in life, a partner in raising our family, someone with whom I can share feelings, responsibilities, joys, and sorrows. I did not commit to raising him as another child and not having a responsible adult by my side……
I know this is rather lengthy. I hope it is still clear and understandable. Please feel free to ask if I need to clarify something.
Well said Survivor!!!
Thank you for the mature conversation. I look forward to conversing further as long as you (and/or anyone else) remains interested. I have found the single dad life to be bittersweet….and this month has been very sweet with the amount of time I have had to spend with my kids.
On a lighter note, your screen name is one that activates my inner jukebox in a significant way. I am somewhat conflicted in your case. Should I fear that you are going to form alliances with all the women on this site and vote me off the island, should I channel my inner Beyonce, or – as my tendency and pedigree would lead me – can I just stick with this whenever I see your name:
you can’t get more classic than the intersection of rocky balboa and a glam hair band from the 80’s….but please let me know the source of inspiration with which you would most like to be associated and I will gladly submit my jukebox to your dance.
Blessings to all.
For those born after 1990 or joining us from outside the context of american pop culture – that post was directed at Survivor. Ask google if you are still confused :), or i’m glad to interact as a human (though some of you may disagree with that claim based on some observations on the site about men) if you are willing to be patient. Toodles!
Edmund…this does make me laugh…but not connected with any song…just the meaning of the word…our remedy is Christ. However, is it Chris Tomlin of Christian music who has the song “The Remedy” which I do like.
Your previous post about it motivated me to look up those actual lyrics and they seem fine theologically.
That said….all here welcome honest and purposeful input. And if we had honest input from a guy, maybe we could all be of more help to one another.
In my home, I am always up for intelligent dialog, but never illogical logic and confusion of reality, rigid rules, cult like religious mentality that does not consider the whole counsel of Scripture, etc etc. I appreciate a sound minded individual male or female who has taken time to understand issues/struggles we all face.
Sorry…maybe not the remedy screen name in this post…but a previous one.
Thanks, Edmund. I do try to keep my communications mature, but as you may have noticed, I am fast losing patience with David and his lack of maturity. I believe there would be a place for him here if he were to demonstrate a true desire to learn, but he appears to feel that unless people agree with him that they are against him……and that all women are men haters. Truthfully, I believe that the women on this blog are abuse haters. I believe that Jesus also hates abuse. I hope that I have not given the impression that I will only agree with women and will vote all men off the island as you say…… My goal is to agree with truth whether it comes from men or women and to call out sin/lies whether they come from men or women. Also, I do really like to hear input from men as i feel that it gives a balanced perspective and it helps me to combat the fear of becoming a man hater……actually, my counselor is a man. It has really helped me to hear some of the things that I felt–but didn’t dare say–said out loud by a man!!! I appreciate your thoughts, and look forward to hearing more!
I am really looking forward to digging into this one a little further. thanks, again, for engaging.
Sounds like we all agree that truth should govern our feelings and actions, and that our feelings and actions should never shape truth!
……and I find the song to be very appropriate and a good fit! Thanks!
Edmund -verbal abuse is the defining of another person’s inner world in a negative way. The abuser tells them what they think, what they are, how they feel. “You don’t feel that way” ” you don’t care” “you’re trying to start a fight”. A controlling person tries to define another’s reality, they pretend they are inside of you and tell you lies about yourself or your motives. It makes the abused person feel confused, sad or worthless. An abuser only discounts his partner’s reality in private but in public may come across as a wonderful person.
I wonder if your wife could provide actual examples that made her decide she was abused. We provide many examples to each other on this blog partly because many abusers discount their partner’s reality and we need to support one another, learn the truth and sometimes seek validation and pray for one another about what is going on – it is part of waking up and hearing the truth – and changing to get healthy and walk in truth.
If you are defining your wife’s experiences, chances are she is her own person with her own perceptions and has discovered that! My husband used to paint the scenario, tell me how I thought, felt and believed and decided the outcome all by himself (how I was going to be decimated in court …) as though I wasn’t even there or part of the experience. Everyone thought he was a wonderful guy, why did I feel so confused and horrible around him?
Praise God, he has given us his spirit, who is called the counsellor to lead us into all truth. Thankfully there are faithful people, like Leslie, called to help women in hopeless situations to have hope again. We don’t know your situation but I am glad your wife found the help here that she felt she needed.
Leonie, thanks for your comments.
Thanks for your perspective. Leoni. The only question you asked was rhetorical and I simply have no way of knowing the entire story about the relationship with you and your husband – so there is not much for me to say.in response. But I do find it helpful to see where people are coming from. Blessings!
I disagree with this definition. There is nothing biblical about it.
Sorry – i disagree with the over-simplified definition of verbal abuse. And I should not have said that “nothing” about it is biblical as that is too general and sweeping. The definition is simply not an accurate reflection of biblical teaching.
Edmund, could you please share what you disagree with?
i’m not going to do justice to my explanation at this point, but here is an attempt at an abbreviated answer. please understand that I am not declaring that I have figured it out. in response to the definition that verbal abuse is “the defining of another person’s inner world in a negative way,” a couple of big concerns for me are these: 1. true biblical conviction exposes and defines my inner world in a negative way. and 2. my “feelings” about what someone else says or does often result in a negative perception of my inner world – and feelings – while real – are not reliable and must be help up to an objective independent standard for verification. and 3.since the heart is desperately wicked above all things and since God clearly designed us to need community and each other, sometimes we need someone to call us out when we truly are lying about our motives or explanations. Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
So i do not dismiss the definition out of hand. I can certainly see how these elements can be overwhelmingly present in a truly abusive situation. but i also think the net being cast is way to wide and way to general. there are others things swimming in these waters besides the abusive sharks. taking the definition at face value, my kids verbally abuse each other on a regular basis.
In my opinion, there are many time when “abuse” is not the problem and there are no “victims.” Rather, you just have two grown up kids trying to figure out how to navigate the sandbox.
The challenge is that, in a place like this, the entire spectrum of people are looking at everything that is conveyed here in black and white, with no tone or physical signals, and interpreting it through their own lenses. The lady that gets beat within an inch of her life is gonna look at everything here much differently than the lady that just wants an excuse to get divorced while still claiming to act biblically.
as i continue to work through my specific situation and take responsibility for my own junk, I hope to become more skilled at interacting in a way takes this dynamic into account.
did i answer the question?
Edmund, while you may be right that there are times that, as you say, “‘abuse’ is not the problem and there are no ‘victims’. Rather, you just have two grown up kids trying to figure out how to navigate the sandbox.”, I would exercise serious caution when applying that theory. There are SOOOO many women who are written off as this being the case when their situation is true abuse. There is so much more than meets the eye in these cases. You will remember my description of my situation with my husband. Believe it or not, my case was deemed to be a ‘sandbox’ situation by the church I was in. Yes, the one or two big incidents that I brought to light were spoken of some, but there was no follow up and the leadership was most concerned about hearing my expression of forgiveness towards him rather than seeking true repentance and change on his part. And, the rest of the dynamic was labeled ‘two-way’ (sandbox) rather than abuse. As you can see, drastic damage can be done by too quickly labeling a situation as ‘sandbox’. Since I was not being believed, I stopped bringing up even the big things that happened. What happened then? Everyone believed that ‘since they weren’t hearing anything, things were better and we were doing fine and the damage was no longer occurring’!!!!
Abuse is about control. It can be done violently, or it can be done silently, manipulatively, and so stealthily that even the victim themself may not recognize it!!!! And the stories that people tell will often sound like “how is that abuse? My spouse does that too!” Let us remember that it is not all about individual events–it is about a pattern. Yes, some of the things that I name as ‘abusive’ in my husband are things that my friends also experience from their loving husbands. Here is the difference: they may experience it 10 times in 5 years while I experience it 250 times in 2 years!!! My counselor gave a good example of this sort of thing: he tells the story of a wife who said “my husband is abusive. He lets cupboard doors hanging open!” If someone said that to you, would you believe that her husband was abusive? Probably not, at face value. But learn to unpack it a little further. Ask questions. What did she mean? What else was going on? Turns out, cupboard doors hanging open was her pet peeve, and her husband knew this. So, whenever he was angry with her, he would go through the entire house intentionally opening every.single.cupboard door. And leaving them open. It was his way of saying “I know how to get under your skin and there is nothing you can do about it.” If she closed them, he just opened them again. THERE is that element of control that is NOT the same as randomly accidentally leaving a cupboard door open that is a minor annoyance.
My point: there was FAR more to the story than was immediately seen on the surface. What is needed is for EVERYONE–family, friends, relatives, co-workers, and (perhaps most importantly) church leaders–to learn to dig deeper and do some true investigation before writing things off as ‘sandbox situations’.
And please hear me: I am NOT saying the sandbox situations do not exist! I believe they do!! I also believe they are a LOT less than what they are declared to be!! There are women who are so stuck and so devastated by the circumstances they have been living under that they have no idea how to describe what is going on. Honestly, I had to relearn what ‘normal’ was!!!! I had become convinced that what I lived with WAS normal!!!! When I heard other women’s stories of how loving their husbands were towards them, I almost couldn’t believe they were telling the truth!! I could not imagine someone actually being that kind to me!! …..and these were the same women who wouldn’t believe that I was being abused…… Let us be careful to be kind! To do everything in our power to help the abused party to feel safe, heard, and believed. Just this week, I asked someone in the leadership if I will be believed if I say that our situation is different than what my husband is saying……..
You can look at the cycle of abuse where there is a pattern – tension, explosion/abusive incident & honymoon ohase & then the tension builds again. The abuser feels fine but the inside of the victim is continually being eroded through the confusion of this cycle constantly repeating it’self. Lundy Bancroft defines abuse as selfishness. In a true abuse situation all or most the benefit of the relationship or family goes to the abuser. He uses the resources of the family for his own benefit, using but not replenishing & not thinking of his kids or wife’s needs but only of himself, how he looks and his own rights.
This is excellent.
This is excellent Survivor.
Yes walking away from abuse. For me, that includes the lies and deception from him to cover it up.
Edmund, if I may offer some thoughts. I hope you don’t think I’m making any accusations. I was just wondering why anyone would accuse another of being emotionally abusive.
1. Maybe she just wants to get out of the marriage for her own reasons and is using this as an excuse.
2. Your post seems to suggest you’ve had problems over a period of time. Maybe, she’s not a totally open communicator. Maybe she had issues with you, offered hints here and there, and pretty much tried to live with the issues. Maybe she feels she has tried to comic ate these issues with you, but you are hot hearing her. After all this time she may be fed up and have thrown in the towel.
3. I remember hearing someone say that counsellors can predict if a marriage will end in divorce even before they marry by observing how a couple fights. Because we are all unique, we have differences. If there’s any put downs or insults or passive aggressive behavior during periods of conflict, over a long period of time, it can really wear a person down.
None of these scenarios may apply to you, but I was just putting myself in your wife’s shoes.
I’ll be back on this. Thanks for engaging!
Maria – again, a very reasonable and fair perspective. Thanks. Bottom line, all sin is abuse. Both of us are “abusers.” Definitely two different communication styles in play. Different definitions of honesty, entitlement, love, etc. It’s not lost on me that several people here likely assume I am the primary “abuser.” What do you think happens when one person in a marriage looks to identify their weaknesses and deal with them and the other avoids their weaknesses, blames the other spouse, harbors secret accusations (opposite of Mt 18), and then runs and cries “abuse?” Does the first person to cry foul get the victim label?
Edmund, I disagree that all sin is abuse. When we’re impatient or irritated about something and behave in unloving ways, we are sinning. The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins, and I think there are certain minor things that I may choose to ignore. However abuse is different. Like I mentioned before, it’s similar to bullying. The way we behave usually reflects our beliefs. If I believe I have the authority to make someone do what I want, or if I believe that I am entitled to be treated a certain way, and I believe I have the authority to enforce it, my behavior will be abusive. The difference between an abuser and a sinner that falls is the abuser does not believe they are wrong, they blame the victim. If we are true Christians, the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, and hopefully we will repent.
Personally, I would not label a person an abuser just because they called “foul” as you put it. I hope you don’t assume that everyone here will make that judgement. It has been my experience that some pastors accuse the victim of “making” the abuser behave the way he or she does. Many counselors do not understand abuse.
I suspect we agree more than we disagree here. I hear you, and agree, that there is a difference between impatience or irritation and more severe forms of verbal outbursts. In that sense, I see a distinction between “abuse” and lesser sins.
At an ideological/theological level, however, Christ was crucified for my impatience and irritation just as much as he died for another man’s domestic violence. The Holiness of God is so pure and “other” that it cannot dwell with even the slightest impurity – like a white lie or an impatient thought – without requiring payment or justice. Jesus bore that abuse so that we wouldn’t have to. True justice is that we all spend eternity separated from our creator/life giving source/head.
As I quickly review, i am reminded that it may i appear that I see myself as a confident authority. I am confident in what I believe based on an intimate personal relationship with Christ and a desire to seek after Him with all my heart, but much of my communication style is simply personality and the matter-of-factness with which I speak to myself whether its good or bad.
Generally speaking, I think we share a similar spirit and a similar perspective on things. I appreciated more about your post than what I am going to say now. Blessings!
Edmund, There’s a difference between sin and repeated sin. If I repent of my sin, I will be forgiven. Doing something sinful intentionally over and over again shows that I’ve not repented. Also, all sin is not equal.
Agree and disagree.
habitual sin is perplexing to me, I admit. I wholeheartedly agree that there are many cases where repeated, intentional sin is a sign that there is no true repentance (or possibly even salvation.) At the same time, addiction is a crazy thing. I am in the camp of personal responsibility…that even an addict can find a place very early in the process, before the “addiction” kicks in, where they can make a choice to avoid the trigger. That said, I believe there are true believers who are fighting addiction with a sincere heart that would still fall in the category of repeated “intentional” sinners. Rather than state that I can explain this dynamic with theological certainty and authority, I have chosen to seek a heart of compassion towards those in this scenario while looking for the evidence of a pure heart.
I believe that all sin warrants equal spiritual consequence….death (separation from our life-giving source). In this sense, all sin is equal. Christ died for my choice to eat an extra piece of cake when I knew I was full (gluttony, serving my appetite over my response-ability to self-govern, have authority, over my own body) with equal consequence to him as what was required to atone for another man’s choice to rape and murder the 10 year old schoolgirl. That makes my stomach turn to even write, but sin is sin is sin. God’s perfection and complete otherness is the point, not the level of deviation from it.
At the same time, all sin does not result in equal earthly/temporary consequence. My gluttonous choice may result in a stomach ache or an extra pound on the scale, while the murder’s choice better result in an indefinite prison term at the very least.
I suspect you agree with this. You make valid observations and its good conversation.
Edmund, I wasn’t thinking of addictions when I wrote that.
I agree with you that all sins, big or small, require Jesus’ death. However, the Bible does not treat all sins equally.
Remember Jesus’ words to Pilate? He said, “The one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin”
Another example is the different types of sacrifices for the different sins of the Jews in the OT.
I think we mostly, if not completely, agree. Part of my lens on the topic is extensive experience with religious superiority. There are Christians who believe they have reached a state of perfect obedience where they rarely if ever sin on purpose.This leads to explanations that minimize their faults as something other than sin or something of lesser offense to God than what others people do. If someone who is fully aware of their sinfulness and admits it regularly is in relationship with someone who runs from or redefines sinfulness and believes they are perfectly obedient – the topic carries some baggage. as usual, I appreciate your honesty and respect in discussion.
Amen!! The former husband started talking about divorce very soon after the I do’s. After 2 decades of hearing the D word and being accused of having other men amongst many other things, I filed for divorce. The xh wouldn’t follow through with his threats, so I did it for him.
I was on antidepressants after my first husband left me with 3 small children about 15 years ago. This time (I separated in May from a physically abusive man.) I found I don’t need them. I had a few spells of fear and anxiety come over me in the past 5 months since I left my abusive 2nd husband – so badly to the point that I thought that aI was going to have to ask the doctor for them again. The oppression lifted and I was fine after – in retrospect they seemed to be spiritual attacks that lifted in response to prayer and keeping my mind focused on God and his word and focused on truth. They corresponded with 2 separate things that my husband had done – once when he entered a not guilty plea in the court on his assault charges (that I didn’t find out about until days later when the court support lady called me – but the night after he entered the plea was really tough) and once when he was planning to come into the home with a police escort (court allowed) and collect belongings (it was really bad for about 3 days prior to his visit – I didn’t know which day he was coming) until he arrived on the door step that afternoon. Our minds are susceptible to the evil they are doing to us and any messages that I get from him I try to counter with truth and have a lot of ladies that I am close to from my church and bible study that are praying for my family as we walk through this. It has made all the difference. During my first separation the antidepressants really helped me but it was really hard to get off them. I realized too there was nothing wrong with me and I just needed them to help me cope and understand and get out of my abusive situation. The things I have discovered recently have really helped me realize the spiritual nature of the battle. Our freedom really is in God, he is my help, my strength, my protector and my fortress – I choose to dwell in his presence as much as possible!
Leonie~ I missed your heartfelt post here because I had to get away from all of the negative posts this week–
Dealing with the really tough times–that’s when Christ is carrying us–and we look back and praise Him for His Lovingcare.
And there are so many of us who lift you up in fervent prayer! susen
Would you care to site your sources for these “facts”? I would certainly be willing to take a look at them.
What? Really? This facts are common knowledge and accepted , study after study as been done over my entire life – they are always coming out and spoken about on the radio, TV, morning shows, also many, many articles in mags/journals… seems like every month there is one, always the same women don’t like sex but men do and men are visual and women look at a man’s bank account or wallet. Very very common
David, I know of 2 physicians married to stay at home dads, so what you’re stating is opinion, not factual. You are entitled to your opinion as we all are, but forcing opinions on others is rather disrespectful. A better way to communicate your point of view would be “in my opinion/experience…. “Etc. When someone disagrees with you, they are not attacking you, just stating their opinion.
Not my opinion, has nothing to do with me in the general media
David, The media is not always reliable when it comes to facts. A lot of times they report on sensational things.
True Maria. If it was a one time thing I would ignore but 45 yrs that I remember and probably longer, the quote is from a study done in Germany, so not just North America
What are the names of the TV shows, magazines, articles exactly and where can I find them for myself? As I would like to read this research for myself. God made women to enjoy sex as much as our husbands within a marriage relationship. Sexual intimacy is my husband’s love language and I know exactly how to provide that for him & enjoy providing that for him even after all the very difficult things we have gone through… Obviously, l am on this blog for a reason. We do a lot of things wrong but that is one thing we have always done right even after 13 years. I know this is how he can communicate when he cannot verbally communicate. I strive to always look my best for him by doing my makeup, hair, dressing well everyday… Looking my best even as a stay home mom all day. Even in casual clothes. Plus, it makes me feel good when I respect & take care of myself. That is something I do for him that speaks his love language. He has never asked me to. I disagree with your assumptions that women do not like sex. I am — we all are — worth far more than just our bodies and have so many God given gifts and talents to offer. What are some things you are doing to selflessly serve your wife instead of complaining about her? How do you value her?
Sex is minor issue in my mind, it is the money issue that for me is huge but even an 81 year old pastor says that woman are focused on money and even my own Mom, so i’m less and less inclined to continue striving to please my wife, we have separated and I have given her money so my conscience is clear
David, the media portrays women as sex objects over and over again. Does that mean they are?
Think that Edmund might understand
David: I appreciate that you took time to read my comments. I don’t agree with your approach, but I do have compassion for what I can discern of your general situation and question whether I should have even made the choice to challenge you in the first place. A hasty review of other blog posts shows that you have been at this quite frequently for quite some time!
Since I don’t know you or your wife, I can’t form any solid opinions about your situation and I simply do not have the time to go through this forum and try to piece together your story. I’d simply encourage you to respect the creator of the site as the one with ultimate authority over how it is used (yes…i believe in mutual submission!). I don’t think Mrs.Vernick is offended by those who disagree. I strongly suspect its the method and manner of disagreement that can cause a problem.
As for your perception that I might be empathetic with your arguments – you may be partially correct. However, I would prefer that you allow me to speak for myself. Thanks!
That is why I said ” think and might”
Edmund, thank you for your comment. To quote Pastor Jimmy Evans, “Truth without mercy is like surgery without anesthesia.”
Jesus was the perfect example of Grace and Truth in perfect balance. I suspect we all have tendencies toward one side of the spectrum. I admit that my bent is toward truth and I have been guilty of using a blowtorch in situations when a match would have been sufficient. I don’t agree with the guys approach and won’t engage further unless I am asked a direct question, but I have compassion for the situation recognizing the possibilities at the root of the situation.
Hopeful, I get the same treatment and have too asked for common courtesy conversations such as hello, how are you, how was your day etc. I never get any questions asked about me. It’s all about him and I initiate sex when he whines and complains it’s been too long. I am not nurtured, chersished, respected or loved. I apologize, make amends, offer hugs. I know we are not to repay evil for evil, but my heart has become hardened and sex is just another thing to cross off my list. I would rather go to bed with a good book and escape the reality of this crappy marriage. And honestly David sounds alot like my husband, he HATES women. Any sign of independence from me and I am a “feminist”, he will mock me and say “hear me roar”
I hate women??
You said: “This facts are common knowledge and accepted , study after study as been done over my entire life – they are always coming out and spoken about on the radio, TV, morning shows, also many, many articles in mags/journals… seems like every month there is one, always the same women don’t like sex but men do and men are visual and women look at a man’s bank account or wallet. Very very common.”
I do not know where you are getting this “common knowledge” from, but I have not seen or heard any of what you have said on TV, radio, articles or any other place. If you would please give specific locations where these studies have been done, that would be appreciated. If you have no sources, I have to stay with this is a crock. There are just as many men who want women with a big bank account as women do men. It is a sad thing, but people of both genders are out looking for money and not love.
I do not know what to say as all my life, study after study … some excerpts
“Women may say they are looking for tights abs or a sense of humour in their man, but he had better have a healthy bank balance to go with it.
According to new research published yesterday…. Good looks or a sense of humour are increasingly taking a back seat to money when it comes to the criteria women use to find a partner, according to new research “
David, you have a fundamental flaw when drawing conclusions. Consider this:
All apples are red.
Granny Smith apples are green.
Therefore, all apples are NOT red.
No, all apples are red because I have visited millions of orchards with only red apples.
You said that you do not believe in divorce. Why is that? If you know your Bible, you will find divorce is allowed for adultery (sexual immorality), abuse and desertion.
Hi Brenda, just curious as know where the Bible states that can divorce (if hard of heart) for continued unrepentant adultery and desertion by a unbelieving spouse but cannot see re abuse
Nagging is a form of abuse (emotional) does that mean I could divorce for that?
What is wrong with separating vs divorce?
You pose a very productive question that I’ll answer in two parts. The first is how I would propose we should get to the answer, and the second is the answer itself.
But before I forget, may I hear your opinion on the following question: Under what circumstances is Christ “allowed” to divorce the church, or you?
Back to your question….Do you believe it is more appropriate for me to go to God’s word and “ask” what I am allowed (or have the right) to do, or did God intend to preserve His Word as a description of His rescue plan and a picture of what His Kingdom will look like when He makes all things new? As you might suspect, I believe the latter approach leads to truth and proper application. As a member of God’s family, my prayer should then be for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. In light of this, the primary question becomes “does my Creator want me to divorce my spouse in this situation as part of my call to represent the picture of His Kingdom to the world?” In some cases, the answer could be yes. I am not saying that divorce is always wrong. I would simply propose that divorce (like abuse) was never part of God’s perfect plan. My conviction is that in every situation I could possibly encounter in marriage, separation accomplishes the same function as divorce without breaking the covenant in actuality. If we look to Christ as our example, I believe it’s accurate to say that any Believer who abuses Christ in even the most egregious way would be separated from fellowship with Christ, but Christ would never cut off that relationship completely and violate His promise. He would wait until the very end in hopes of restoration. My question for you (or anyone) here is not whether you agree with my conviction; rather, do you believe there is anything about my conviction that is sinful or violates God’s design for us?
More specifically, Jesus conversation with the religious leaders in Matthew 5 is often cited as justification for divorce. His audience was educated, self-righteous, Jewish men who were trying to trick him into contradictions. Do you believe Jesus intent in answering their riddle was to provide an “out” for 21st century American Christians who had been betrayed in this one specific way (adultery), or is it more likely that Jesus used this specific sin to reveal the utter self-righteousness of the specific group of people who were trying to discredit him? Based on Jesus teaching a few sentences earlier, every person who has ever lived is a murderer and adulterer and, therefore, has broken the covenant promise. According to Jesus, we are ALL abusers…..so we are ALL “allowed” to divorce! WooHoo…..tonight we’re gonna party like its 1999!! (pop music reference from the 80’s for those who might be confused).
So limited space in a very limited forum…impossible to be comprehensive or efficient. But I must say, this will likely come across as a very trite and unsettling perspective to the man or women being beat or berated by their spouse. I’m not advocating for blind loyalty in the name of biblical submission or anything of the sort. Genuine abuse warrants and requires separation. But the question that was posed to me specifically was why I do not believe in divorce. I replied based on my understanding as a result of my walk with the Lord in my specific circumstances.
Thank you, Brenda, for encouraging me to write out my thoughts…..as unrefined as they are on the first try.
Edmund, I believe I understand what you are saying…… I see exception made for divorce in the case of marital unfaithfulness, but I have not seen where exception is made for remarriage. All the texts I have found, speak of them separately. I believe this would indicate not closing the door on the possibility of change and reconciliation. But I am no Bible scholar, and by no means the final authority. That is just my understanding from my reading with the purpose of truly seeking what God has to say to me in His Word……
Edmund, in a lot of places there is no such thing as ‘legal separation’. What if one spouse has a gambling addiction, and may end up leaving the family homeless with their addiction? How will separation help? In abusive situations, the abusive spouse’s goal is usually not to heal the marriage an reconcile. They think that they were wronged and were forced to be abusive. Usually vengeance is their aim. Separating from such a person would be foolish- they could empty the bank a/c’s etc. The legal system needs to be involved in such situations
I won’t die on the hill that divorce is always wrong and I am sympathetic to the scenario you described. The point I am trying to highlight is that choosing not to divorce is never wrong.
In the scenario you describe, do you believe God would consider it wrong or sinful for the remaining spouse to say “i know my finances are at risk and I am going to do everything I can to utilize the legal protections made available to me, but I will not choose divorce no matter what is costs me because I value the covenant more than I value my finances?”
Again, please hear me clearly. I am not saying this is what God demands. There are scenarios where divorce is acceptable. But do you believe there is anything wrong with a spouse who shares the perspective I am putting forth? Does this perspective bring glory to God and reflect the character and actions of Jesus for His church?
I don’t think you can have a one size fits all approach to that. Of course you bring good points and I’m glad you say that it’s not the right decision for everyone. But since God also calls us to be good stewards of ourselves and our children and we say in an environment that is dangerous and unsafe (physically, mentally, sexually, financially) then there might be also other considerations and the need to leave.
One of the ten commandments says “thou shall not bear false witness” right? But when Rahab the prostitute lied to keep the spies safe, God commended her. Sometimes things aren’t so black and white and God values safety. When baby Jesus was threatened by King Herod, God didn’t wake Joseph up and say to him, “Joseph, submit to the authorities no matter what and I will protect you.” He said, FLEE, NOW! Proverbs says, ‘The prudent see danger and take refuge.” Sometimes the refuge we take is with the legal protections that God has set up to protect us from evil doers. Remember Paul said the secular laws were not made for those who abide by them, but to protect us from those to break them.
In agreement on much of this. Thanks for interacting. Didn’t expect to see you as generally active as you are since popping in here a few weeks ago. You are a hard worker.
May I ask you one question (if you see it…), do you feel patronized when someone like me gives you a compliment? I don’t agree with everything you say and recognize, in hindsight, that the skill with which I voice my opinion could still use some refining at times. But I hate flattery with a passion and would not throw out a compliment unless I meant it. THX 🙂
Abuse is discussed throughout the Bible. My favorite is in the OT in Ex 21:7-11. It is speaking of a slave wife. I do not see any difference between a slave wife and an abused wife. I don’t believe God does either.
I would suggest reading Barbara Roberts book, “Not Under Bondage”. She spent 3 years researching this topic and it is a worthwhile read if you are genuinely interested. I believe that Leslie has also given scripture related to this topic.
That verse does not give us permission to divorce, what scripture do you use for that?
All of the things mentioned in the bible as legitimate reasons for divorce are abuse in themselves of the heart and spirit of the spouse as well as the marriage commitment. The bible says that God created Eve out of Adams side (not from under his foot or thumb or out of his backside) and she was created because God saw that he needed a helper. Unfortunately so many men view woman as beneath them. No where in the bible does God advocate men treating woman with harshness or cruelty. Men are told to love their wives sacrificial lay just as Christ loved the church and laid down HIS life for HER. He does not tell woman to do this because when a woman falls in love (as well as when she has children) it is already her nature to nurture and sacrifice for the better good. (Exempting of course woman who have been damaged and neglected and therefor do not have the natural instinct to sacrifice for others.) God is such a loving father that He gave us the perfect example of how marriage and love function best and truly bring joy to each spouse. If only we would follow His example and search His heart to know Him more.
Proverbs suggests that a man would be better off if he spend his time on the roof of a house or in a corner if his wife is a nag or an angry verbally abusive person. I would say minimally separation (setting a boundary) making it clear that that behavior is not ok is advocated by the bible.
Since the bible also says God does not see gender I would assume that healthy boundaries without disrespect is something advocated by the word itself.
Yes, even the most conservative of Christians believe that the Bible says it is OK to separate for emotional abuse but not divorce so was wondering what verse(s) Brenda uses. Furthermore divorce is only allowed because of hardness and unforgiving spirit (forgetting that as Christians were were forgiven)
Thank you for your comments, David. I would agree with you that divorce is an option we want to avoid if at all possible. And perhaps setting limits on how destructive or hurtful behaviors early on would help each spouse learn to be more kind and thoughtful of the other.
You say “even the most conservative of Christians believe that the Bible says it is OK to separate for emotional abuse”… I come from a conservative group, and yet this idea of separating and this idea of emotional abuse is new to me. What are you reading when you say “OK to separate for emotional abuse”? Any author names or radio preachers? How do they define emotional abuse?
If you would be so kind as to share where you are getting this, I would greatly appreciate it. I expect I may have to inform some conservatives of emotional abuse going on in my family, and I do not know how to explain it from the conservative Christian viewpoint. If there are some well-known names talking about it, this may help me.
The very very conservative brethren state I Cor 7:10,11 re separation is Biblical.
My understanding is that in the Greek, that word for separation actually is the same word for ‘divorce’ which makes sense in the text as it reads in almost all English translations, ‘if the wife separates, she is to remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.’ If she is only separated but not divorced, she is still legally married. Why would the text instruct her to remain ‘unmarried’ unless that means what the Greek word means….’but if she does divorce, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.’
Any Greek scholars to articulate this?
I get what you are saying, but a study of the original Greek manuscripts can give clarification…. not the ideas or preferences of people or churches. Just saying that to read the English text…remain unmarried is the word. Unmarried does not mean separation the way we use it. It would mean to us divorced or never married. Do you see what I’m saying? Any Greek students/scholars on the site? Leslie? This is exceedingly important.
God divorced Israel at one point; are you saying God was wrong?
Good answers!! There was no confusion there.
I agree.Yet, I continue to be baffled about the ongoing discussions about marriage as there is no marriage in heaven. Yet, marriage is important to God, yet our very souls matter so much more. Christ died for our sins. He valued OUR lives. He didn’t come to die for the principle of marriage. Marriage is important, but not at the expense of our lives. Jesus loves us more!
Should have edited my post….. Yes, marriage is important to God, yet our very souls matter so much more!
It sounds like you do hate women David, you have a very negative attitude towards us like my husband does. I happen to make more than he does and I think that threatens him.
The facts are not complementary of either gender… States that men look at the outer shell rather than substance and women look/judge based on/at the money, thats all
No hate is involved
Can understand why many women don’t like but I do not like either but nothing we can do
OK. Nothing I can say can change your mind. As I have said prior it certainly seems to me based on the comments that these women hate all men
Might we consider that we refer to misogyny, rather than hate. That is the clinical term for what we are discussing.
Beth, I’ve just recently seen your posts on this blog. I respect your stand against staying in an abusive relationship and I totally agree. Just wondering – have you recently left an abusive marriage?? You speak as one who has opted for a healthier life.
Hi Robin, Yes I live in freedom now and it is delicious, delightful and exhilarating!
David,multiple times you have mentioned human research,magazine articles,and media as your source for what is common knowledge and you seem to be very dependent on that as “your truth”but I’m wondering why as a man who professes to be a follower (or Christian) you even pay attention to what the world states is facts when the word of God is meant to try and test anything that we hear or read. Perhaps limiting or maybe even eliminating secular studies for a time and instead reading the word and praying for those who have hurt you (as Jesus admonished) might be more helpful. The Holy Spirit is a faithful guide if you are truly wanting answers.
Unfortunately stats show that No difference between Christians and the general population
David, although I agree that money is a necessary part of caring for a family it is only a small part of what makes a woman feel safe and cared for. Men are very simple when it comes to their needs but woman are far more complex. All of the money in the world can never make up for a man who dotes on his wife and is there for her emotionally. My husband and I went thru a time in our marriage when he had no work,we lost our home and business. We lived in our RV for more than a year and had to move to another state to find work and leave our teen kids with friends so they could finish high school and graduate with their class. It was one of the most difficult seasons of my life but prayer, a refusal to let bitterness in,reading the word,and not listening to all of the negativity about my husband, and five years later we are in a better place and stronger for it. My husband struggled terribly with his sense of worth and feeling like a failure. While I battled feeling let down but with the Lords help we kept our eyes on battling the forces that worked against our marriage. Like bitterness,and biting words. And reminded ourselves daily of why we loved each other and that belongings and money were Gods not ours and He gives and takes away as he sees fit. Sometimes to show us our own hearts. You and your wife should be on the same team fighting agains the world not each other.
Wow, wish more women were like that incl my wife. When she met me I was flying high but when God away she was not pleased guess she thought the lifestyle would continue
David it is very clear that you judge all women based on your negative experience with ONE woman.
There is a vast difference between the “stats” or reality of the world and the truth of God David. when we listen to the wrong voices no mater how many degrees or titles are behind their names if it doesn’t line up the truth of God then it will take us no where but to frustration and bitterness.
I hope you find the truth and true happiness.
I see the circus is back in town.
Is there a function on the blog where one can find all the comments from a particular person? Or is it necessary to scroll through every post and comment section in order to learn more about a person’s story, assumptions, tendencies, etc?
I was wondering the same thing.
On a Mac, Control+F brings up the search box and scans the web page that is open. Not sure if Windows is the same.
oops, meant Command + F
David, You said:
“According to new research published yesterday…. Good looks or a sense of humor are increasingly taking a back seat to money when it comes to the criteria women use to find a partner.”
Where did you read this dribble? Please give sources when making this type of blanket statement. Good looks shouldn’t even be a key to finding a potential mate. Physical attraction would be nice, but it is no guarantee of a good potential mate and could be lust without love. Money is also not going to make a happy marriage. Two people need to be able to ride out the storms in spite of their financial situation. This is a woman saying this. I don’t believe their are that many shallow women out there. If anything, these days women want their own financial independence and yet don’t want a man who would be a free loader either. Some women would prefer to work while their husband is a stay at home dad. That would not have been something I would want, but there is no one way life style. It is a matter of what a man and woman desire for their life.
I did a poor job on that one. I will get the rest of the scripture later once I get my brain functioning.
I never stopped reading, I didn’t have the urge to write. I’m still not sure I do. Ironically, the gentleman that I spend time with gave me a book last night that is a history of the Bible with a lot of explanation of what their social climate would have looked like, what time of year crops were growing etc. It is a fascinating book. There are also a lot of charts, calendars of events and so on. So far I am on page 50 something.
I don’t think “being still” means a literal sit in the corner and meditate. I think it is more accurate to not be in a hurry to know everything there is to know. Be calm and in right spirit. When we know He is God and all is in His timing, we are more relaxed and less anxious. Everyone has their own purpose and their own thing that God wants to work in their life and through them. We are not all called for the same task. I don’t know what God wants from me later today, much less tomorrow.
I know all too well about those ghosts. I have learned and am still learning to make them get behind me instead of guiding me. I look to God and trusted friends, both in person and online for that. I have many more behind the screen than I do on this side of it.
Have a wonderful day,
. . .Wasn’t that really hard just reading and not commenting? . . .Maybe that is a good discipline, especially for a talker like me. . . .Anyways, I am on another plane so I have lots of time.
. . .So when you mentioned Pluto (-as the subject of one of your walks, back in July), my mind kicked into the Greek, Πλούτων, Pluto. Pluto in Roman, New Testament times was worshiped as a God with animal sacrifices made to Pluto at the Roman Coliseum marble altar arena, complete with burning fires!!! . . .People during those times believed in just anything. . .You CAN NOT believe everything you read (I know you know that). In the ancient world, less than 1% could even read. These were radically rough times and people barely survived (Average lifetime: 42 years). How on earth would these people know what had been dreamed up, fabricated, mistaken? This was not a skeptical era. People believed anything. The entire Roman Empire was crawling with religious charlatans, fools and the loons who followed them (see Acts). In Acts fourteen, they decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes. They also call Barnabas, Jupiter, the most powerful of all the gods. Paul & Barnabas could barely keep themselves from being worshiped! . . .So,
. . .If there’s a single lesson that life teaches me, it is that wishing doesn’t make it so (I know everyone knows that.). . . . .But, everything I see, read, hear about connected with faith ends up classified under the “I know in my heart” category. “I know in my heart” sounds very good but what happens when we analytically consider these knowledge claims with logic and evidence and not just emotionally (-And I love emotion by the way. -I just love me some pure emotion!). . . .I ask so many people: “How do you know any of this is true?” It seems to come down to the fact that in order to believe in God, you have to believe in God (circular). It seems not like an apple that has a core of hard evidence but an onion that when you peel away all the layers. . . . Well, it seems belief is based not on evidence, but on a deep-seated need to have certainty. More than this, I can not get beyond the fact that extraordinary claims do require extraordinary (-blow you away-style) evidence. Belief in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit is not the problem. Belief without evidence, evidence that is independent, evidence that is independently true for all evaluators is the problem.
Given the state of the evidence, I think it very unlikely that God would be offended by those who doubt His existence because unsubstantiated faith is an ironic gift to return to the creator of human intelligence. Faith could easily be intellectual dishonesty and special pleading for a faith tradition (-my larger culture for example). Once you take that first wrong step morally -by believing things without evidence (—and you know you do not have evidence because you call it faith) you can justify anything.
Faith justifies ANY knowledge claim. So faith, honestly applied, justifies all faiths and traditions. You can not get to the truth by faith, only by evidence.
So, I become so, so, so frustrated. What’s the number one principle of good relationships? Good, solid communication, right? It is not carried out on the back of secretive, hinty, mystical, hiddenness involving all kinds of mysterious conclusions. In the end, God forces us to live like He is not even there. He is always just compatible with whatever happens, whatever unfolds. What can we really, I mean really, I mean really, really, really demonstrate?
1. The existence of a soul, any soul?
2. That eternity is even a possibility for a soul?
3. That a heaven or hell exists?
4. That Jesus is still alive and in heaven?
5. That God exists?
Untestable; undetectable; unknowables disable all our reality checks. The stumbling block should be repenting of your sins NOT seeing how little evidence you can believe on.
People say to me: “Believe and you will see.” But that is the circular reasoning of a con artist. “Take it on faith” is the best way to believe wrong things. How is it not a bag of tricks based on circular reasoning?
Well, that is the depressing part, very depressing. If you do not have these issues, at that level, just be grateful you do not have to live with them. If you hear the gospel’s foolishness and want to repent and follow Jesus, it can ONLY be because God himself has done a supernatural work in your heart that has bypassed your logic, bypassed your evidence evaluating capabilities and bypassed your reasonableness. Even the Bible says that the gospel message is, as Corinthians says, total, complete, utter foolishness. God has set it up this way so that He gets all the credit and all the glory for saving and regenerating men and women. How can there be any pride in this type of foolish conversion? BUT, -but it also makes it totally impossible to know if it is really, really, really real when set up this way because it is just compatible with whatever happens naturally.
I know what I want: A secret pocket of pure Love. —A place of being “in God” (if He exists) where I feel loved and protected from anything and everything that has ever harmed me —where I feel as welcomed as I am forgiven. A place from which I can act calmly and confidently. That is what I pray for but even while I pray I think: Untestable; undetectable; unknowables (It is a story, in a book, not even written by the people who witnessed Jesus’ earthly ministry. . .et. al. ). . . .that disables all our reality checks. Faith is not a reliable way to come to any knowledge claims, only evidence is.
To repeat the majority opinion that I discussed at the beginning from the Oxford Annotated Bible (pg. 1744):
“Neither the evangelists nor their first readers engaged in historical analysis. Their aim was to confirm Christian faith (Luke chapter one; John chapter twenty). Scholars generally agree that the Gospels were written forty to sixty years after the death of Jesus. Thus, they thus do not present eyewitness or contemporary accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings.”
What good is it to say that the autographs (i.e., the originals of the New Testament) were inspired? We don’t have the originals! We have only error ridden copies, centuries removed from the originals and different from them in hundreds of thousands of ways.
I just don’t know how to get beyond these types of conclusions.
-But I know what makes me feel good. It sounds like this: God is God, there is no bigger love. It is always His reality that welcomes us back. Trust and obey, there is no other way.
Much love to you Brenda,
Here is a link to the entire article that I was referring to. I believe if you read it as the writer and I do, the Exodus scriptures, although do not specifically say the D word, it is very much implied.
There is nothing wrong with separation vs divorce, but it is a choice. I filed for legal separation initially. Knowing the xh’s spending habits I was not going to be financially responsible for bills that he would incur, which is exactly what happened. As soon as he was alone, he found his ex-wife alone and was spending money on her, the casino (which was an ongoing problem), fixing the house and buying a new car. He did not have the income to support this life style and it didn’t take but a few weeks for him to begin seeing other women. He changed the separation to a divorce. I didn’t do that. He did not change and is still showing up where I live and/or work. It has been 2 and a half years!!!!!!
I lived through many forms of abuse with the xh including having items thrown at me and him hitting his fist as close as he could next to where I stood. My family physician told me, “once is all it takes”. He had patients murdered by husband who were emotionally, financially, spiritually and sexually abused. He did not want me to share the same fate.
You apparently know nothing about what abuse involves and it might be advisable for you to do some listening and perhaps some research on the topic before interjecting your opinions that could be quite harmful to others here.
Again, we are given permission to divorce if adultery or desertion but not abuse
David, just because a person says they are a Christian doesn’t mean they truly are. When a person continues to be abusive , manipulative, and continues to hide their sin, one has to wonder whether they were a Christian in the first place. There are many people who try to control their spouses through financial abuse- they refuse to provide basic things for their family because someone did not give them the recognition they think they deserved. The Bible specifically calls that person “worse than an unbeliever”. Such a person makes it impossible to live with them. I think the Bible allows for divorce in this situation.
Maybe just figured that was common sense and we didn’t need scripture for that one. Yes, we are sheep, but he knew we could figure out to get away from someone who was trying to kill us.
Lol!! The hate Edmund is starting! This funny. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later as as are a man!
Really David? How did you come to that conclusion?
Hopefully my heart and my perspective speak for themselves over time. I’m very sorry that my limited comments on this limited forum have stirred up these concerns for you. I would certainly have a lot of compassion for someone in your circumstances. Blessings!
Another thing, the first thing an abuse victim needs is to be believed, not told that she/he can be believed only after hearing both sides of the story.
Again, perhaps you need to get a full picture of what abuse really is before commenting.
No, NO, NO… both sides of a story need to be heard, that is only right, proper, fair and legal
David, that is not saying that both sides will not be heard. It is about helping the abused party to feel safe enough to speak after all that they have been through. Often victims of abuse are unheard for so long, and everything they say is so twisted and used against them that they become completely afraid to speak their true feelings because that always brings more harm on them. That is why you see women on this blog speaking about their hurts so openly–they finally have a safe place to speak them…..but it will not be so if you continue to attack and re-abuse them every time they speak!!!
I sympathize with the psychological effects of abuse and would do nothing to invalidate the reality of someone’s feelings, but we must submit all our feelings to scripture. Proverbs 18:17 and Matthew 18 are not contingent on circumstances (though there are obvious cases when bruises tell the other side of the story….I’m not advocating for putting your life in danger). Limited answer….but time to make breakfast for kiddos. Have a great day!
Edmund, we have a rule with the kids- if one of them says/does something to the other, and it bothers them, that person needs to stop. Different people react differently to things. If we see that someone is hurt because of what we’ve done/said it’s best to stop.
You are gonna have me thinking about this. I think I like your rule and will consider adopting it. I tend to overthink it and try to figure out a way to convey to the kids that they can’t force the other person to stop just because they ask. then i try to convey to the other kid that I would love for them to freely choose to stop when asked but I’m not going to force them. And what gets lost in the good intentions is a consistency. Step 1 is probably your approach, and the nuances can be filled in later as the kids grow in their understanding.
Edmund, the kids don’t enforce it. I, as their mother, make sure they don’t continue hurting their sibling.
Christ being God in the flesh can do whatever he wants. I believe that when he spoke to the Pharisees RE: divorce, he was speaking of a divorce for any reason, hardness of heart. You know: she burned the toast, she’s not so great in bed after the first week of marriage, she doesn’t like my cat, etc. He was not speaking of divorce for cause: abuse, desertion or adultery.
Might I suggest the book written by Barbara Robert, “Not Under Bondage”. She goes into her 3 years of research on this topic and the original Biblical text in great detail.
Brenda, if someone has not experienced abuse or been really close to an abuse victim, understanding what they go through is difficult. It has taken my extended family years to understand. But the ones who truly care have stood by me, asking questions, reading etc. I am still amazed at the games my husband plays. Some of the things he does is so mind boggling, I thinks he knows if someone on the outside heard about it, they’d question my sanity. Edmund, I’m not sure if you’ve been around abuse or know someone who has been abused. If not it would be great to start reading about it. Lundy Bancroft has a good book’in the minds of angry and controlling men’. You’d be surprised at how many people in the church are being abused. When the abuse victim reacts in sin, it takes focus off the abuse, unfortunately. We need more people to understand this issue and be vehicles of healing in the church. I’m glad you’re here.
Actually, Jesus could not do whatever he wanted to do just because he was God. He implicitely states that He is only allowed to do what God tells Him. He is the ultimate example of submission, and the trinity is the ultimate example of community. Authority and submission are nuetral, descriptive words that decribe a job/role in a relationship. The words have no inherent value or worth attached to them – that’s a sin/cultural lense that perverts these God-ordained functions. Everyone is in authority over someone (at the very least, their own mind and feelings) and everyone is into submission to someone at all times.
So to reiterate and reemphasize, Jesus clearly did not do whatever he wanted. And when His feelings and rights were contrary to God’s will and design both for his specific purpose and that of all creation, Jesus submitted His will and His feelings to the Father.
I disagree when you say Jesus was only allowed to do what God tells him. If that’s true, then Jesus did not choose to submit or to obey, he just was a robot. God doesn’t make robots – he gives us a free will. If Jesus was the new Adam, which Paul clearly says he was, then he had to have the freedom to choose. Even in the Garden, in his final hour, he said he didn’t want to go to the cross, but he yielded his will to God’s. That was his choice, no one forced him to do that, including God.
John 5:19: Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do ONLY what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
Mrs.Vernick – I agree with your perspective on the relationship between freedom and love/submission in the life of Christ. I was simply making a reference to Jesus own words about himself in John 5. When our feelings or our perceived rights tell us something, we need to examine God the Father’s perspective on those feelings and rights and determine whether we need to change ourselves, or whether God is calling us to try and force the other person to change by using self-imposed “boundaries.” I completely agree that boundaries are needed and necessary. But we need to be faithful to seek God’s boundaries, not boundaries based on our feelings and perceived rights.
We’re not trying to get the other person to change by using self-imposed boundaries, we are just trying to be a good steward of ourself. If someone is smoking in my presence, I’m not trying to change them by leaving their presence, I am protecting myself. There is a difference. I think it would be poor stewardship of “me” and my body, which is a temple of God, to stay in someone’s presence who refused to be considerate of my feelings about their smoking habit if they would not stop smoking and blowing smoke in my presence. So the only other option I have if I’ve asked and they refused (which is their freedom) is to set a boundary for myself (not them) and say, well then I can’t be in your presence.
I completely agree with this.
So true. There is no marriage in Heaven!! Hallelujah!! Jesus will receive his bride. He will take us as we are married or not. He wants us to thrive not merely survive. If we have to survive marriage, what good is it?
It is ok to abuse a spouse in God’s eyes but not commit adultery or desert them?? That is what you get from the Bible and your knowledge of God? In my eyes and I believe in God’s, that is about the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard.
I do not hate you or Edmund!! I may disagree with both of you that does not add up to hate!! ENOUGH SAID!!
PS I will pray for you.
There are many states in the US where legal sep is not an option.
We hate the abuse caused by men. That is what this blog is about. I am guilty of being abusive myself and repaying evil for evil. I want to be a better person than that. Like I’ve said before, I live with someone who has a mental illness and this is my second marriage. I don’t want another divorce. Also men in suits scare me, I read a previous comment you’ve made. I am much more relaxed around men in blue jeans. I have never hunted for men with money.
David, I have never looked at men for their money. I prefer down to earth men who have a sense of humor and can help around the house. I’ve always made more than my husband both past and present. I want someone who is a good father and husband period.
We have lost our house, in fact my previous husband whom I gave the home to declared banckrupsy and my current husband sold his home short sale and messed up his credit so I MYSELF bought US a home.
. . .oh, and we can’t manipulate people into swallowing our boundaries by sugarcoating them, I guess we just have to get them out there. Boundaries are a good test for the quality of our relationships. I think, obviously, the quality of our relationships determines, in large measure, the quality of our lives. Those people in our lives who can respect our boundaries will respect our wills, our opinions, our separateness. Those who can’t respect our boundaries are telling us that they don’t love our nos. They only love our yeses, our compliance. They are saying: I only like it when you do and say what I want you to do or say. True intimacy is only built around the freedom to disagree. And that means when we get no’s from others we do not withdraw emotionally. That is punishing them into compliance. . . . . For me, it takes effort to say no when my heart and most important maybe, my pride is yearning to say yes. I guess that means lots of practice is needed. . . .Of course, this does not apply everywhere. . . . .Many times boundaries need to be challenged. To move forward in Biblical research, for example, we need people who push boundaries rather than retreat inside them. Looking at my life through the lens of history has made me increasingly grateful to scholars who pushed those boundaries to make the changes from which I have benefited. They didn’t accept that women are not allowed to do this or that (―you name it). Comfort zones, safety, familiarity, boundaries, limits, a God who stays put in a box, that does not move us forward. That doesn’t get us closer to truth.
―Anyway, the really cool thing is that you own your boundaries. If you set limits with someone, and he/she responds maturely and lovingly, you can renegotiate the boundary. In addition, you can completely change the boundary if you are in a safer place.
Aleea, good post!
This is a great share.
I like that boundaries can be renegotiated depending on safety.
I have to admit I tend to push until I can get what I want…an old belief system that I adapted years ago. I was successful in getting my way most of the time in my marriage. This is one of the causes of our breakdown. I didn’t respect my husbands NO’s, which were fair and just. Now he says NO alot and I freak inside.
I am learning to say NO for myself and learning to respect his NO. This has been a bitter pill to swallow.
—We all want to be in control and get our way. Really we are in control of next to nothing in the larger picture. The ability to be emotionally attached to others, without giving up our sense of self and our freedom to be apart seems vital. As does giving your husband the ability to say no without fear of loss of your love. When someone says “no” to me (especially in my family), I try very hard to respect that no without withdrawing emotionally because that seems to me to be trying to control them. I think the more severe the dysfunction you experienced growing up (mine was maxed out), the more difficult boundaries are for you.
“Now he says NO alot and I freak inside.” I do too but I also (at the same time pray) “Lord, here I am, will you please help me not freak out or worry and trust you. Lord help me to set boundaries that will keep me safe, respected, and heard.” I pray that even in the moments when I doubt God, I still pray.
Sure, as you say, it may be a bitter pill to swallow at first but it should lead to way more intimacy. One thing I see everywhere in the Bible is that we are to give to needs and put limits on sin. Boundaries help us do just that. . . .We do not own ourselves—God does. We aren’t called to serve from a place of fear with our primary focus on protecting our boundaries. We are called to fling wide the doors, to invite to the banquet those on the margins, those who will challenge our comfort zones —bigtime and our aversion to getting our minds dirty (—thinking about the really tough issues).
Kim that’s awesome, happy for you. I look forward to you sharing more of your story. I am recently released also – no regrets. I like hearing about others who are walking in victory!!!!!
So Robin, Have you noticed that when some get free they didn’t do enough work on themselves and then repeat their situation? There can be a frightening normalcy to abuse after an extended period of time. Women can feel devalued and damaged. Some have a tendency to want to help other hurting individuals.They identify with the mess and seem stuck or warped by the experience. Before you know it, some women start rescuing someone else, and get themselves into yet another, miserable situation. What do you think?
I am reminded of not one, but two Christian physician friends who when I brought up this topic said, of course there is something wrong with the woman who would stay in such a situation. In their medical practice, both claimed that despite implementing intervention processes repeatedly for women in abusive situations, their patients continued to return to their abusive mates. They reported that the practice perspective from a genera and emergency medicine bent, is that the woman is just as dysfunctional as the perpetrator. Both physicians reported very little success, despite decades of practice, in permanently removing an abused woman from her abuser. The problem, according to their anecdotal comments lies in large part to the women’s unwillingness to flee the situation. Brace yourself for this, AND the greatest at risk women are those who are committed Christians. They often have a twisted view of Christian theology which seems to further entrap them.
“. . . Brace yourself for this, AND the greatest at risk women are those who are committed Christians. They often have a twisted view of Christian theology which seems to further entrap them.”
—If they have a twisted view of Christian theology, could it be (-could it be?) because the church constantly hides the truth about what we really, really know to give the illusion of certainty? In fact, I often wonder if institutional Christianty probably is not even a search for the truth but a search for certainty. Certainty that probably does not exist. I have observed that in preaching, the pastor is effective in proportion to the amount of certainty he can project. —Not the amount of accuracy, that involves telling people all the issues with the Bible’s manuscripts: tracking textual variants/ interpolations/ redactions/ textual alterations/ additions, et.al. That involves telling people what we know from the last 275 years of Biblical research and archeology. When you go that route, you have much less certainty to project. People want certainty not probability statements with huge standard errors: re: Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus (Prometheus Books, 2012) and The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus, Amazon; and Reading the Bible Again For the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously, Amazon; and Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, Amazon; and David Trobisch, The First Edition of the New Testament; and Ferdinand Christian Baur, The Church History of the First Three Centuries, etc. . . . . Not telling people these things is where the outrageous certainty comes from. I also think it is not completely their fault. It has been my experience that people just don’t want to hear it or do the research on Christian origins. They want certainty and easy answers (—I don’t blame them one bit, I like that too! I love set it and forget it but our minds are not built that way, our minds double back and ask questions.)
re: “they didn’t do enough work on themselves and then repeat their situation”
—Exactly, so, I pray and work with my counselor on: —Lord, am I actually drawing this into my life by my own internal dance that I am doing? Lord, am I treating myself in a way consistent with your Love for me? Lord, would I rather give myself empty promises than real love? Lord, do I insist I am not worth loving and project that on others? . . . For me, it is my mother’s abuse that drives my internal abuse -BUT, I AM choosing to perpetuate it in myself. I don’t totally know why because I hate it. I just don’t know why. Maybe it feels safer than going for real love. Maybe I am afraid of real love. —So, unless we come to a new awareness, a new understanding, a metanoia (μετάνοια) as the Bible says (—although the textual variants are many), we repeat the situation. —And that seems the truth, independent even of what the Bible says. —And you know what?. . . . I bet people learn more from how someone sets a boundary, then they even learn from the enforcement of the boundary, and even more from the way the boundary is established. . . . . Anyway, from the first 165 years of Christianity, we have 42 versus on fragments out of 8,000 versus in the New Testament. We do not have full copies of the New Testament until 350 years after Jesus. We can’t analyze documents we do not have. To me, serious misinformation about the Bible’s answers to these issues has led to much wrong teaching about boundaries. . . . .I love to follow people who “know” because I get tricked into thinking that allows me to put those issues to bed, only to have all the issues resurface when I face myself and really start thinking and asking serious questions. I often have the notion to set an internal boundary on the amount of thinking I do but that seems to be, as we say in the law, “-being willfully blind.”
Beth, I’m sure that some women are so dysfunctional that even when they have resources to leave, they stay. Even if they are able to get out, they end up with another abuser. This is what they are comfortable with and they don’t want to make changes. But women stay for many other reasons. Lundy Bancroft in his book explains them. I have talked to people who have said that there must be something wrong with women who stay in an abusuve situation. It’s easier for them not to help victims when they believe this.
Oh, Maria, I agree. I was just wondering what other people thought about the responses I received from healthcare providers.
Beth I so agree. I think it is critical when a woman is rescued from an abusive relationship that she does understand that she was as dysfunctional as the abuser, and knowing this she must take steps to seek a full recovrry. Unfortunately it’s so common for her to repeat this cycle, if she doesn’t understand how unhealthy she was and perhaps is. In my situation I signed up with a therapist 30 months ago and have continued to see her weekly. We have completed my therapy and healing process for my marriage and are now working on my childhood wounds so I can be completely healed and not repeat those cycles. My counselor told me it’s very rare that someone that was in a abusive relationship as long as I was – to get set free. I was married 30 years. I wanted help desperately but no one really had the knowledge or the e peptide until I found the therapist I’m seeing now. I’m my wanting it very badly I did my homework every week and being rescued was more important to me than anything else in my life. I’m afraid if women are repeating cycles their parents started it can be very difficult to come out of these lies and bondages. I am committed to this blog to tell my story over and over hoping just one woman is helped.
And it is very unfortunate for those of us that have a strong faith to wake up one morning and realize how it has kept us in a unheLthy destructive relationship. Yes I agree wholeheArtedly with what your physician friends said.
One big reason, as I have posted, is my children and their adamant stand they do not want to leave their home. I’ve posted on this before and realize I can no longer let that stand between my decision to get out and create healthy or try to stay under the circumstances as separated within the same house. Feels like all are getting more unhealthy.
Remedy, I am just wondering. Who is the parent here? Why does it matter what your children are demanding?
Beth, I think it’s hard to find the right help when you’re trying to get out. I’m so glad to see counsellors like Leslie Vernick go into churches and give much needed information. I was turned for 15 years by Pastors and people in churches who thought I was in the wrong. I have left several churches to find the help I needed. I’m glad to see there is more support like this blog to help women make those necessary steps to leaving an abusive relationship and staying out. But I do understand why so many fail. When I left almost 3 years ago- it is as if God himself set up the perfect circumstances for my escape. I had a beautiful and strong support team standing behind me every step of the way. But for so many- it is so hard and they fight so many battles alone. I think that’s why many return to those destructive relationships.
And Robin… Your children were all older, I think you’ve said? This is a big stumbling block for many of us. Many scary unknowns when non adult children are involved.
Remedy while I understand your hesitation I strongly implore you to not hesitate because of children’s request to stay. You are to protect your family based on what you believe is best. I do know leaving with younger children can be an obstacle. But put your trust in God to guide you and provide for you. If you think my situation was easier than yours- consider that my husband manipulated and deceived 3 of my 4 children against me. The cost has been very high. But I was led out not based on what my children wanted as they definitely did not want me breaking up the home- but based on stopping abuse. It is painful to make such moves knowing our children will rebel, but would you prefer them to stay in an abusive situation where those years teach them unhealthy behaviors?? As you can tell I feel very strong about leaving after God has given you light to see truth and reality.
Remedy why is having younger children a stumbling block??
I see it more of a stumbling block for Mom not to stand against dads abuse- and so the children don’t get to see Mom standing up for their protection from it. What will happen to them as adults? Will they follow that cycle of allowing abuse ??
Every issue has a possible stumbling block- and we must walk in faith that God can and will help us in a way we presently cannot imagine!!!
Remedy, although my words are strong, my heart is compassionate to your place right now. Try to understand most women like me that didn’t leave while children were young would give anything to do it again– and fight for their children’s protection from abuse.
Yes Robin…thank you and I know you are speaking the truth!! The reason we have such dysfunction here is the spouse’s childhood home and total breakdown of parental marriage. Yet all went on pretending all was okay. ALL have suffered as a result of living this way. There is no denying this reality. Maybe my trust is God’s love for me is too small…being my bigger stumbling block.
Remedy let me share a story that taught me much about young children being rescued. My husband had raged in the car at me for asking to go to Walmart in heavy traffic while we were staying in a large city. He wouldn’t pay attention to his GPS because it was his choice to just blame me. My counselor had warned me that ragers are dangerous ‘in cars’ where they hold u hostage. On this day I had asked him to stop several times and he refused. I understood well we were close to violence occurring and after 3 warnings I opened the door and jumped out in very heavy traffic. The next week my counselor asked me to go to support meeting at DV shelter. I believe she wanted me to experience the fact that I was abused. I certainly did as I heard the other women’s stories- but what gripped me and brought me to tears was sitting with these young moms with infants rescuing their children. I thought wow, they are so strong and so decisive in protecting their babies they have left their homes and are in shelter . It totally changed all my excuses.
Robin, what if there’s a joint custody ruling? Wouldn’t it be difficult for the kids to cope when they are left all alone with the abuser?
Would you leave without them to is my question? I have family to stay with and they urge me to get away for my sanity. My children are teenagers and are homeschooled….. always have been.
If they refuse to leave? Teens…I can hardly force them physically… two are taller than me.
Remedy, I want you to know every step I took from intense counseling to finally realizing my marriage was dead – and it was time to file for divorce was extremely hard decisions for me to make. I remember feeling like I didn’t know up from down. It took complete trust in the Lord to guide my every step. I just want to make sure I share with you how difficult the decisions were for me to proceed . I am one of those Moms that family meant everything too – and breaking up my family’s circle was devastating for me. That was 3 years ago. What I can tell you today is, I really didn’t break up my family- as abuse had already broken each of us. My going forward in a desire to get healthy was leading the way for my children also to walk in truth. I didn’t understand all this back 3 years ago. But today I see Gods Plan and He is revealing His Plan to each of us. Some are ready and some are not . These are all very scary tough decisions.
I pray God will reveal His Plan to you. But He usually waits for us to take that first step.
Ladies, I appreciate your questions. It is wise to think these things thru. I do not have the money be of the Lord – but I trust as you seek Him he alone has the perfect plan for you. I just urge you to trust Him and not need perfect answers ahead of time, I have read too many stories on this blog of women who decided to trust God for their difficult circumstance- and He was faithful. But He doesn’t seem to give an answer until one is walking toward Him in faith. I can only give you my personal thoughts as one who finally left the dishonest destructive atmosphere of being engaged in a marriage where there was no marriage. No Truth No Reality.
Yes I would leave my children with their dad if the court ruled it. Because this would be a true reality where they could find out for themselves what their dads true colors were. (Of course this doesn’t include younger children). I would decide to go make a healthy life for myself, so when my children were ready (again we’re talking teens) I would have a safe home for them to come too. I would choose not to live in separate bedrooms and think I am modeling anything healthy to my teens who I know hate the pretense.
The damage done to children who live in a home of lies, pretense, excuses leads them to live in the same someday. All my hard lessons have taught me to not drag my children thru years of abuse- thinking I’m doing the best I can. I know that’s not true. God bless you ladies in your very hard decisions.
Robin…I truly thank you for your sound, insightful wisdom. I truly believe everything you’ve said here about living in the truth. And the church says the exact opposite. You truly have a way of articulating what most of know in our hearts is right. Keep encouraging us with the hard fought wisdom you’ve gained.
It’s a shame, Remedy that churches are not telling us the Truth. Remember to keep your faith in Jesus and not people. What I learned is to listen to church leaders but if what they say is causing you harm or staying oppressed RUN!!!! Jesus came to set us free from all that wants to put chains back on us.
I say run and run fast!! This is not true doctrine of Jesus. If don’t feel peace after listening to church people/ then turn away and ask God to reveal Truth to you. I will never blindly believe another Christian leader- I will line it up against what Jesus says, I hear Him saying your faith has made you well. And I hear Him saying walk in freedom and don’t go back to bondage. Jesus sets us free. He never intended for us to wear chains and bondage again. Have you read, A Cry For Justice by Jeff Crippen?? Excellent read!!!!!!!!
Robin, Your posts are so helpful. I am going through some really tough stuff again and I have hope when I read your posts – I just have to walk it – through it and do the hard stuff – it is hit and miss and sometimes I get knocked down and then I dunk myself in the word to keep my hope and sanity. I love Lamentations 3:34-36 To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth, to deny a man justice in the presence of the Most High, to subvert a man in his lawsuit, the Lord does not approve.
Things were turned on their head again in a meeting I had about protecting my daughter this past week – my ex explodes and exposes our child to his rage and anger in public with witnesses and yet everyone is eager to put her in his care and scold me as though I can stop his rages – I am so frightened for her future and her life but he is so successful at twisting and distracting from the truth. Please pray that I will be able to bring out the truth and be bold and articulate in her defence.
Thank you for the update Leonie. I was thinking about you today as I write on this blog, as one very brave lady that stood up against abuse. I do feel your pain Leonie and I understand how you feel. It’s not fair at all and I promise to pray for you daily, that God would give you the words of Power and Justice and understanding for the judge or whoever is presiding in this case for your daughter. We understand your fear and will hold you and her up. The prayer I often used was – God you can turn the heart of a King it is nothing for you and so we ask you once again Lord Jesus to protect this little one and gird up Leonie for this battle. Amen amen
Have you read Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield? She had a similar situation in court with her kids and she gave a number of helpful strategies for dealing with the unfair and unaware court system.
. . . .Hmmm. . . . So sad, I always tell single people obessed with getting married to get themselves over here and read these posts and really ponder them but I bet they never do. All things being equal, a bad marriage is way more painful than a bad single state. They don’t believe it. And it is hard to get straight signal because of so many married people are acting more concerned about image and looking good than about being honest. . . . I was talking to a girl in my church today who told me “I can’t turn 30 unmarried.” I asked her if she would consider the person she is dating to have the kind of character she would trust as a friend. —No real answer. —And as important as all of that, would she consider this person the kind of guy she would like spending time with if there were NO romance at all, —none. —Because, as many here painfully know that is often what happens. That is the one true measure of a friend, a person with whom you like to spend time, having no regard to how you are spending it. “Hanging out” is fulfilling in and of itself. And that, long-term, requires character, and in the deepest of friendships, shared values as well. You would want your best friends to be honest, faithful, deep, spiritual, responsible, connecting, growing, loving, and the like. Make sure that those qualities are also present in the person you are falling in love with. . . . . To me, the reason singles need to ponder all the issues is because loneliness is stronger than resolve, stronger than willpower, and stronger than discipline and it causes people to make serious mistakes. . . . Can you disagree or have an opinion with them? Or are they an inflexibile “strong man” who will sweep you off your feet only to be blown-away when one day the other side of that passive, compliant woman comes out. —If not clear, both will get what they ask for. In her compliance, she will attract a controller. In his control he will attract an adaptive person who really had a secret side of disagreement and was very indirect. They were co-conspirators. . . . .True intimacy is only built around the freedom to seriously disagree. God’s solution for “I can’t live that way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore. Promote change and redemption. Get the love and support you need from other places to take the kind of stance that redeems relationships, if it can be redeemed. —Anyway, if you do, chances are much better for redemption, as best I can tell.
Aleea, at the root of it all should be honesty. But there are people out there who play the part well and whose true colors only come out years later. These people are in our churches.
I agree Maria. Honesty in relationship is critical. Unfortunately it’s hard to detect in the beginning. It was one of the first things I learned in counseling- how many area’s of my life I thought I was honest – but I was in denial of the real truth. Today I love having honesty in all my relationships.
. . . .I am so, so glad you said that. . . . Oh my, do I ever understand that Maria! It is a major fear I have. I think with a person you met at church you need to have a whole extra, extra level of caution and security. If they are good, they will be very good but if they are bad, and you met them at church, look out, they will be Satan-junior. . . . Christianity attracts LOTS of con-artists, it always has (—see church history). Con- artists don’t want to prove their claims they just want to talk and talk jive. That is the problem with evidence free claims (—faith claims). That talk attracts con-artists because it is their native language. That is what con-artists sell: talk, word-games not evidence. That is also what very much troubles me and keeps me up at night about our faith claims. People can just say anything. Saying things is the easiest standard in the world. Demonstarting evidence is very hard but extremely valuable. . . . The former “pastor” of my church (San Diego Bible Church) Barry Minkow was sentenced for everything imaginable in 2014, stealing church funds, wire fraud, bank fraud and obviously let go for all manner of immorality. Christianity attracts LOTS of con-artists, it always has. I think it is because in Christianity you can make evidence free claims, just like con-artists do. We need a new rigorous standard of evidence for knowledge claims in Christianity.
I think it’s important to remember when stating boundaries, though you are looking for change, that only comes on your end. You can not make someone change and it isn’t your job to do so. That said you will reap rewards when using boundaries appropriately. Amen
If you change, it is changed, period. They can’t interact with the old you if the old you is really not there anymore. If you have really/ truly changed, they have to change. —Now, they may change by leaving but from what most here say that would be okay, even if not the best. God’s solution (—or, to be fair, because this is what church history teaches us, early 21st century Christianity’s current psychological and reinterpreted theological solution) for the problem: “I can’t live this way anymore” is basically, “Good! Don’t live that way anymore.” Promote change and redemption and if it fails get a divorce. Get the love and support you need from other places to take the kind of stance that redeems relationships but you matter more than marriage. I really like that but why did it take 1900 years plus to figure that out in the church?
I’m writing this to the Lord, not anyone here (—because everyone here –mostly- is just wonderful. They didn’t cause the confusion we have on so many issues. They are not God.): “Lord, it always troubles me, maybe it should not but it troubles me to wander from the historical consensus because those scholars had access to quality manuscripts that are lost forever to time. How is it that all of a sudden we (the really smart 21st century folks) really know what these verses and passages REALLY mean and not what 1900 years of faithful Bible teachers/ scholars confirmed? Lord, to me, that is process theology that is floating along with the culture. Lord, is your Word teaching timeless truths or floating along with what will make Christians look acceptable in the culture? Lord, it took us 1900 years to realize divorce for all kinds of things is okay? Lord, it took us 1900 years to realize we should not scare people with the valid threats of hell in your Word? Now hell is out and divorce is okay? Lord why so much silence? Why not enter history now and then and reset things? Lord, I am so sorry, you know I have so tried and so love my understanding of You, but it looks like supervised neglect to me.”
—I will see what the Lord tells me. . . . . .Anyways, I like the 21st century very much but I don’t think people understand what that trajectory really means. Something is really wrong with that hermeneutic. That seems like culture not timeless truth. What else is wrong? Our view on gay marriage or hasn’t it been a long enough time, enough medical and scientific findings, enough pressure from culture, etc. yet? Why do psychology, science and especially archeology*** change Christianity way more than Scriptures change those disciplines? I wonder why that is? ***see: The Bible Unearthed: What Archaeologists Know About Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts Paperback – June 11, 2002 –and– The Bible with Sources Revealed Paperback – August 16, 2005.)
When we are very tired or very preoccupied —what psychologists call ‘resource-depleted’ —we (I know I do) start to economize, to conserve those resources. Higher-order thinking becomes much more expensive. So too is doubt, scepticism, examining evidence. —It is just too expensive. Resource depletion specifically disables cognitive elaboration because it takes less brain power to believe than to doubt. When we are tired or distracted, I know it is true for me, we are gullible. Oh my, can I ever be gullible, you would not believe the things. . . . . Anyways, take me through enough time zones on the travel and I can’t deal with any doubt, skepticism or examining evidence. We are all biased, and biases are quick and effortless, exhaustion tends to make us prefer the information we know and are comfortable with. We are too tired to do the heavier lifting of examining new or contradictory information, so we fall back on our biases the opinions and the people we already trust.
Keep us posted Leonie. Do you have a support team standing with you?? If not please write and share what you need. We are hear to listen and love you they this.
Also remember it’s not your husband you’re battling but the evil one. Try to keep your focus off him and on the truthful words of Jesus. Thank you for including us!!
I, too, am praying for you as once again you are thrust into the scenario of “believe me!”
With God’s help, you’ve come so far. This is the last place of power your ex holds over you. He will hold onto this with self-righteous indignation and every single one of his manipulative, evil tools.
You are in the midst of a righteous fight–for protection of your daughter. Trust in His Strength. Know that you are loved by many. And many prayers and petitions to God are being sent in your family’s behalf.
May God bless you with peace and joy,
Thank you so much Susen, Robin and others, your prayers are appreciated. Yes, of course he is doing this.
You said that you both abused and the abuser. This is the most accurate definition of abuse that I know of.
The definition of abuse: A pattern of coercive control (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his* target subordinated and under his control. This pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical. Not all these elements need be present, e.g., physical abuse may not be part of it.
The definition of domestic abuser: a family member or dating partner (current or ex) who has a profound mentality of entitlement to the possession of power and control over the one s/he* chooses to mistreat. This mentality of entitlement defines the very essence of the abuser. The abuser believes he is justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control.
* Sometimes the genders are reversed.
Are you saying this is the situation?
Brenda – Thanks for your perspective. I see validity in it despite a hesitancy to accept it as a hard and fast definition. I think my concern has as much to do with how the “abuse” is diagnosed and how its defined. Both are important, but both can lead to misunderstanding, misrepresentation, misuse, etc. This is why I will always advocate strongly for the biblical design for problem solving which includes Proverbs 18:17 and the Matthew 18:15 process. God knew what he was doing when he spelled out these principles, and allegations of genuine abuse will usually hold up under the scrutiny provided by scripture.
I appreciate your willingness to acknowledge the gender interchange. By Mrs Vernick’s definition (and by yours), I am an abused spouse. Unfortunately, my willingness to take responsibility for my sinful reactions combined with my wife’s unwillingness to take responsibility for hers puts me in a very bad position from a perception standpoint. I simply have to trust God with the truth. The “evidence” will always be limited to “he-said, she-said” with the parties involved holding starkly different definitions of truthfulness, personal responsibility, entitlement and victim mentality, sin, love, etc.
My wife has chosen to divorce. She has chosen to cherry pick information from various sources, including Mrs Vernick, to make and justify her case while ignoring sources and evidence that would invalidate her claims. She refuses to communicate with me while spreading false claims about me. And there is no willingness to even discuss reconciliation. Despite this, and the unhappiness I lived in regularlry as a result of a self-righteous entitlement mentality, I would choose to remain married over cooperating with the divorce. The “freedom” I now experience is refreshing and I am absolutely tempted to embrace it. It would be easy to dismiss the relationship, move on, and justify the situation by saying it’s all her choice and responsibility. But I would trade all the benefits and “happiness” I am experiencing from not having to answer to my wife for the opportunity to reconcile the marriage and preserve our family.
I think it depends on what the description of preserving the family means. The spouse here had parents who stayed under the same roof connected by a piece of paper. All sorts of dysfunction and brokenness of relationship going on there. That “normal” was learned by the sons who carried it to their marriages. All suffered loss and heartache here.. But the pieces of legal paper remained intact. I dare say much of troubles were rooted in legalistic system of patriarchy found in many churches…..which is oppressive to women.
So….broken homes happen because relationships get broken.
I think it is very hard Brenda, once you’ve been abused to not abuse yourself. It is human nature to want to retailiate. I know I do. I don’t sit ideally by and be a victim. Not that it is healthy but I by no means am able to love my husband the way Jesus can. I know I should have gotten out a long time ago. Unfortunately with two incomes and stacks of bills, sometimes it’s easier to just live in a unhappy marriage verses being a poor, tired, single mother.
Jennifer, after you retaliate and respond with abuse, hopefully, you go before the Lord, and ask him for forgiveness and repent. When a person refuses to acknowledge that he/she is abusive, and keeps doing that, it’s a problem.
Jennifer, It is hard not to abuse. I was abused as a child and I found myself starting to be like my “mother”. But I didn’t want to do that. I saw the damage it caused and although it is in our nature to sin, Christ has more for us and he died for our sin and to set us free from that sinful nature and to make new choices. It may feel easier like pooping in one’s pants feels easier but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy, comfortable or good. God wants you to grow, get healthy and strong.
Thanks so much for sharing, Jennifer, and for your honesty. I agree with Maria and Mrs. Vernick in their encoragement about your relationship with the heavenly Father. The decision to stay or get out is of such a heavy and complicated nature that I would strongly encourage you to seek the help of a godly biblical counselor or pastor that can get to know the intimate details of both you and your husband’s situation. These decisions need to be made with the help of intensive interaction and converation with local, skilled, loving, objective, biblical advisers. I would caution you against making judgements on your marriage based on self-diagnosis, youtube videos, and internet forums. These tools can inform and be helpful aids to the conversation, but I do not believe it is wise to rely on them for such important decisions.
God Bless you, and continue to seek after the Lord and His will for you and your marriage.
Dear Survivor, I encourage you to really consider if it’s in your best interest to take advice from men that visit this blog. They enter it with a sense if humility and then the attack comes. I think we have to be very careful who we listen too and esp if we’re already struggling with be t steps in our life. Someone who I trust and has an active and wise voice on this blog said to me yesterday – a healthy man would not come here. He would see this is a place for wounded women to get the support they need. Please be aware of these men who gave a pretense of wanting to dialog with you. I encourage you to be very careful. I don’t want you to be hurt further.
Thanks Robin. I do not take advice from men who visit this blog. I take advice from my counselor who is very wise to the ways of abusive men. What I was trying to say is that I do not discredit what someone says based solely on the fact that they are a man. If they are sincere, mature, and wise, I welcome the input–and many times this advice is most helpful when it comes from men. It is good for abusive men to hear it from other men so they cannot accuse the one saying it of just hating all men, and it is also good for women to hear these positions reinforced by Godly men. That was my point. I was in no way implying whether or not the men who comment here are sincere/mature/wise/Godly…….
Survivor – as a man in this forum, I appreciate your position. Whether I am sincere/mature/wise/Godly is not for me to claim, but it is definitely my desire. I don’t presume you were referring to me specifically in any way, but there is no point in men like me investing the needed time to contribute to conversations like this without conversation partners like you. Blessings!
Robin – I am not very comfortable with what I see from your approach. I’m not going to invest the time to interact with your comments as my availability is limited to begin with, but I will offer you the invitation to ask me direct questions as a man in this forum. I would be happy to interact with anyone who has a sincere desire to be respectful and genuinely interested in my perspective. Naturally, I intend to offer the same courtesy. Thanks for commenting.
Mrs. Vernick: What is your position on Robin’s claim that healthy men would not interact on your site and should be treated with suspicion?
I was really hoping to find a reply to his question, Mrs. Vernick. At some point, I might have an opportunity to use your forum as the backdrop for my perspective on submission and authority. You are the author and creator of this particular planet in the blogosphere. Therefore, the design for and purpose of this planet are determined by your character as reflected in the instructions you establish for its use. since i recognize that my existence on this planet is contingent upon you, and because I am so grateful that I exist here, my goal is to understand your design for how you would like things to operate here and submit to your plan. whether I like it or agree with it or not, and no matter how it makes me feel, I only want to do what you say I can do as the author of this space. (i hope you see that the serious analogy is sandwiched in lighthearted, shameless, tongue-in-cheek fun).
With that said, is your intent to have a planet where healthy men exist, or is it to have a planet devoid of healthy men? If the former is the case, should we men consider ourselves disqualified (as healthy) by nature of our very presence here?
Please smile, if you’re not already. Blessings!
Edmund…. You’re entire tongue in cheek descriptive piece is how much of the male evangelical world sees women are to function. Not humor and even some sarcasm. Seriously, this is how they see women are to function in church and marriage, if they profess to really belong to Christ. How did it make you feel to write that and how do you think a woman feels when this,defines her entire life, as determined by the ‘planet of males’ in which she finds herself…….often unknowlingly when she first entered?
Remedy: I was describing the attitude I believe I should have towards the Creator/Author of my life and the world that I live in. It’s the attitude I believe we should all have towards God. Not “what are my rights, what do I deserve, what do I get, how am i supposed to be served/loved/treated, etc?” But “what is your design, what is your intent, who are you and what can I know about your character to help me understand what you have created/authored?”
It felt silly and tongue-in-cheek to refer to Mrs. Vernick as the “god” of the leslievernick.com universe, but she is. As the creator, her character and design and intent have precedence in this space. I can come here with my agenda and my rights and do whatever I want because she has created a world that allows me to do so. But if i want to respect and yield and submit myself to her wishes out of appreciation for what she has authored – i will choose to put her design above my rights if the two should ever complete.
I am not the author or creator of marriage. No husband is. Any husband that thinks he is God is wrong. But I also find is very interesting that, often, men are expected to be identical to Christ when it comes to love and self-sacrifice, but they are not allowed to be like Christ when it comes to leadership and authority. Every successful organization that has ever existed in the history of humanity, religious or secular, good or evil, has an authority structure. It’s a neutral description of a natural law, not an assignment of value. To equate authority to higher worth and subordination with lower worth is simply incorrect logic and reason resulting from the curse.
Edmund, You bring up an interesting point: “To equate authority to higher worth and subordination with lower worth”. Leslie, what is your opinion on this?
I’ve lost the question? What was it?
November 4, 2015 at 10:29 am
Mrs. Vernick: What is your position on Robin’s claim that healthy men would not interact on your site and should be treated with suspicion?
Good thinking, Maria.
Leonie when you are in need of a friend- you may contact me.
I wouldn’t normally hand out my email on here- but I think we have shared a pain together over the constant hardness of standing up in very difficult situations. I want to be your friend you can call on when life is spinning out of control. I am so proud of you the warrior spirit you have maintained. March forth- my special friend!!!!!
Thank you so much Robin, I was thinking of asking as I saw a year of blogs or so ago you had given it to someone. You are amazing, I love your perspective. The more I read of your posts the more I realize I need to find a good counsellor just to help me reset after all the abuse too. ‘Talk soon.
That would be me. Robin can give you my email address, too if you wish. I’m hesitant to put it out there for all to see. I’ve been praying for you even though I haven’t been responding much. We’re all in this together, even though we are in different stages.
I think the best thing to do with people who are antagonistic, demeaning or argumentative, like some of the people posting in this thread, is to practice what Leslie told us in her article: set boundaries. I have been tempted to “take their bait” and respond to a few outrageous comments, but really the best thing I can do is practice setting boundaries and think “If you choose to keep posting comments like that, I will choose not to read nor respond.” This is good practice for us! There is clearly no reasoning with them as is evident after seeing a few of their posts.
Blessings to all of you.
Amen sister!!!!! Well said.
Melissa good for you. I think that we can learn and practice how to speak up for ourselves in these situations as well as how to not take bait and try to reason with a person who does not really want to have a conversation with you, but rather has an axe to grind or just wants to be right.
Initially I had hoped that you would block unhelpful comments this week. I couldn’t read them as they made me feel under siege, but I see that there has been purpose in this negative force: the reminder of the futility in trying to reason with someone who needs to be right at all costs. There is so much mutual respect and caring as we find our way that I feel safe on this site. But there is a time for discernment even in this safe place. Thanking God for the grace and understanding you so lovingly share. susen
Thanks Brenda! We have all been through a lot but we are not alone!
Amen, Leonie, Amen!!
Thanks for spelling this out, it does help clear up what verbal abuse is. often times I am left confused and regretting even opening my mouth to ask a question or try to have a conversation. I am left with lecturing, swearing, name calling and God knows how many times I am called UnGodly! My comfort is God knows my heart, he hears my prayers.
“The verbally abusive relationship” by Patricia Evans helps define what is happening – it helped me so much. I wish I read it 15 years ago but didn’t think it applied to what my 1st husband did to me but now I can see that this is the core of most abuse. She isn’t a Christian and I haven’t gone through her later books but I found this book really helped!
Jennifer, there is no real conversation with an abusive person, they just want to dominate, win and be right. Your feelings or perspective is irrelevant to him.
Leslie, the sole reason my mother listens closely to my perspective or feelings is to pounce and feed.
Why share anything with such an abuser!
Thanks for the lessons this week. susen
Thanks Leslie, I will look for it.
Susen, that is so hard. You are precious, I wish that you didn’t have to deal with abuse anymore. My mom doesn’t look to attack me but she has her own ‘track’ and can only see her own stuff and it goes around and around and we only discuss the same things from the same angle every time and rarely does she have the space or time to ask or care what I am going through. Although it doesn’t feel like abuse to me (it’s just the way mom is and I am used to it.) I know most moms are not like that.
Dear Leonie~right back at ya!:)
I’m really not allowing her to abuse me anymore. Leslie’s advice was stellar–and I had almost a year of silence from my mother, which I used to prepare myself–studied the Bible all during that time in search of what “honor thy parents” means. Got the answer down solidly. (It has nothing to do with my mother’s perceptions and everything to do with my godly responses, the purity of my heart, and remaining calmly with God when under attack.)
It’s kind of like she has a terrible, highly contagious disease (not in actuallity), and I mentally don a hazmat suit the very few times I find myself in her presence.
I offer her up to God in my prayers–making no suggestions to Him about what I’d like to see happen–I just offer her up and thank Him for the peace He gives me in hearing my prayer.
I give thanksgiving to God for His Plan.
I rejoice in the many mother-figures God has blessed me with–and in my children and grandchildren!
Here’s a little devotional I’ve benefitted from: Jesus Calling by Nancy Young. It is written as if Jesus is talking directly to the reader. I feel loved every time I open the pages.
God bless you and your family. I pray that you will soon be blessed with peace. From getting to know you through these months, I’m so very sure that there are mountains of good works that you will embrace when this last stumbling block will fall from your path. susen
Jennifer, some that helped me with put-downs, was writing a verse from the Bible on a notecard and meditating on it. For example, if someone insulted me, here’s a verse I’d use from Ps 139:
13For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;…
For each put- down I’d meditate on a truth from the Bible.
Also, I when I realized that I don’t have to listen to everything anyone says, that was huge. If someone is saying something that contradicts the Bible, choose not to let that person speak into your life. Remind yourself that he/she is just babbling and making noise. Just because someone says that grass is purple doesn’t mean we have to believe it. We know the truth and we should choose to believe the truth.
You have very thoughtful counsel, Maria. Keep up the good work.
Thanks Leonie, I have read that book, I’m going to have to start re-reading some of these books and put up better boundaries for myself.
Thank you Maria, I do apologize which is something my husband doesn’t do. I am remorseful for my angry bitter heart, God hears my prayers. Do you know what it is like to live with an abusive person and how hard it is to just take it?
Jennifer- I am so so sorry for the abuse in your home. Have you read any of Leslies books to help with responses that will help you. None of us have done it right at first. Abuse is an awful burden to deal with- educating yourself with some good resources will really help!!!!
Jennifer, that was the point I wanted to make- an abuser is not sorry for what they do, blames circumstances and the people they abuse. As Christians, when we fail, hopefully we realize that and repent.
I know how difficult it is to be around an abusive person. It is very important to realize that when we’re around such people, it’s easy to start picking up some of their traits. And when we do, we will dislike who we are becoming. Remembering that we are all responsible for our actions and aiming to please Christ with the Holy Spirit’s help in all situations helps.
Jennifer, I also wanted to add something that Leslie had posted sometime back when she interviewed an author- when we fail (and we will), we need to extend grace to ourselves and not condemn ourselves. As we keep doing this, we’ll see ourselves responding better more and more.
Great reminder. Her book is Give Yourself A Break by Kim Frederickson
[…] Boundaries vs. Manipulation […]
Yes I try to educate myself, hence being on this blog, I try to be a better person by not responding poorly, or repaying evil for evil. I know no one deserves abuse. I am just admitting honestly that all of my responses have not been great. I don’t want to be any more shamed or called UnGodly than I already am. I know this, I hear it, I live it.
Jennifer- I can truly say I had many inappropriate responses. I cannot say I was in a place to ask forgiveness. I was hurting, and felt the abuse being repeated constantly, and all I wanted was to make distance between me and the abuse.
Jennifer, I’m praying for you.
Jennifer I’m so sorry, I really know and can relate. It’s so tough. How can we help you?? Do you have any support???
Thank you for understanding Robin. I have my 4 children. Two older from my previous marriage, who love and support me and don’t agree with how my current husband treats me. My ex-husband honestly is my best friend. Right now I just want to be heard and not judged, shamed, condemned or name called. reading your post on how can we help made me break down in tears. I just want to be loved and have someone wrap their arms around me and tell me it will be okay.
Jennifer, please accept my arms around you even tho thru a text. I have lived the life of 4 children, 2nd marriage, and terribly frightened. Hopeless, and wanted to give up. I get it, I do!!!! I’m truly so sorry and I stand against anyone judging or condemning as those do not please God and they certainly don’t help you. I read good books- Lundy Bancroft, Leslie Vernick, Patricia Evans. Then I found a great counselor of who I have been with for 32 months now every week. She loved me, stood by me, and told me words that changed my life. I care Jennifer- I know what it feels like to be beaten down.
You are loved Jennifer – and God is crazy about you and wants you to know that he cares about what you’re going through and he has a plan for your life and it’s not to simply stay and continue to be abused. Ask him for direction, for help, for supporters who will help you take small steps towards wholeness and change. Einstein once said insanity is doing the same thing again and again hoping for different results. God is a big God and big enough to handle what you are going through.
Jennifer – is there a place here where you have told your story? I have a lot of compassion for your situation. I can’t comment specifically on what your husband does or doesn’t do, but I am very sympathetic to what you are feeling and would love to hear more.
I tell singles the same thing – but you’re right, some people only learn the hard way.
So right. Today I read in Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians that “The white devil of spiritual sin is far more dangerous than the black devil of carnal sin because the wiser, the better men are without Christ, the more they are likely to ignore the Gospel.” Those who are self-righteous, self-sufficient, self-referenced look good, but it’s whitewash.
I was reading your books on the plane today and I love this (below) and I so wish that I could be a mystic and experience God like that. I really need to meet God like those hermits (below). . . . I really need a revelation to get beyond my Mom’s programmed doubts. . . I need God to find me like that.
Page 182 of the The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: “. . . . Recently while speaking for a women’s group, a widow who knew God well shared her favorite verse with everyone: “Your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heavens Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.” Afterward, a married woman whispered in her ear, “I wish I had your husband.” The good news is, this woman can, and so can we. God invites us all (even you, men) to have a personal and intimate relationship with him, the Creator, the Lord of heaven and earth. He promises us that he loves us more than the best husband or wife or parent or friend could, more than we can imagine. He tells us nothing could ever stop him from loving us, and that he is absolutely for us, not against us. He sees you right where you are, and he knows your pain. . . . “
Page 183 “. . . . The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to ﬁnd God—always meet a lover, . . . . . always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. . . . . “
Page 184 “. . . . The best way I know to practice God’s presence and to quiet my body and mind is to sit still, then silently and slowly begin to mindfully breathe; I simply inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth. After a little while of this rhythmic breathing. I begin to engage my imagination. . . . . . I invited Jesus to make himself more real to me. I imagine him sitting in my big red chair right behind me. I felt my tears well up and I began to talk to him, not with religious words but authentic words, pouring out my heart to him. For a long time I abided in and surrendered to his goodness, his love, and his best for my life. Breathing in his presence, breathing out all my fears, worries, anxieties, anger, and everything else I needed to let go of.”
I absolutely love that . . . . . . Why am I so attracted to this type of verbiage??? It is like the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. I must be losing it —a model of knowing something is true on the basis of a “burning” feeling in your heart? “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” I hear my mother: “Aleea, that is a story. A story in a book not even written by those who experienced it.” But no story pulls on my heart like that. I need serious prayer, I am a mess of indecision.
Amen! (to the Luther hat tip)
I’m sure your info is good too, Aleea, but I’m too tired to read it all tonight!
Leslie & Aleea,
I tell singles the same thing
I have been through the abusive marriage and out for 2.5 years. It isn’t easy being single. It is down right hard. I have no family anywhere near. I am not making many true friends at my church. I have better relationships with some that I have met online than I do in person. I have a better relationship with my boss and clients at work, but it is not a personal type.
I don’t like being single at all, BUT I wouldn’t go back to the abuse for anything. Being awake at 2:00 a.m. and being alone is an awful feeling. If I did not have my Savior close by, I would fall into depression. I truly understand why single people are in a hurry to get married.
—Wow, that is really honest and open. Thank you for saying that. I pray for you everyday, even with all my doubts, I never stop praying for myself and others.
. . . .Well, I can very confidently say I have NO (zero) answers, only questions. . . . .But I know what I want: Page 183 of the The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: “. . . . The people who know God well—the mystics, those who risk everything to ﬁnd God—always meet a lover, . . . . . always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. . . . . “ That is my goal, the Lord God Himself —not joy, —not peace, —not blessings, just God and what we can really know of Him!
So anyone here:
. . . Would you pray for me, if you have time?
. . . . If/ when you have something really faith affirming happen, can you tell me? I don’t want barriers between myself and people here, I will not deconstruct what you say. If you like cherry pie, you like cherry pie.
. . . . . Can you tell me if you have serious doubts about God and if you have doubts that never go away for long. . . What are they? I know I can’t be the only one who seriously wonders. I have never been special in any other way, how could I be special re:doubts.
Last night my counselor sent me an e-mail that said “. . . God is right there with you and He knows every way possible to bring healing to you…” —Lord, here I am, please bring that healing Lord.
My husband expects me to visit his siblings with him very often. He has 9 siblings. .And they would expect us to stay and visit with them for at least half the day. And this can be very often. This is on top of his siblings visiting us. I used to give in to my husband because I found it difficult to tell him I did not like visiting with them so often but 20 years later, I am very resentful of these visits. My life seems to be revolving round my husband’s siblings. If I tell my husband I am having a headache, I would still be expected to visit with them.. I do suffer from chronic migraines and have tried various medications and herbs and my husband is aware of my condition.
My husband does not understand that I am an introvert and need to spend some time on my own. My husband loves being with his family and I do not begrudge him for this. But I do wish he will visit them on his own and not expect me to tag along each time he visits. Is it reasonable to set a boundary that I do not have to visit each time. I am not sure what the Bible says on this point. Other than this I have no issues with his family.
Christine, Here is what the Bible says to husbands: 1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
and Mark 10:42-45 “And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Christine, Do you think he ‘leaved and cleaved’ to you or are you just an extension of what he wants to do? As a person who loves alone time, I can empathize with the demands of forced socialization. Some people are energized by the exchange and some get exhausted by the exchange. It would seem that a middle ground could be found in a loving, mature relationship. I fear you are sharing with us that your husband is selfish in this regard. Why do you think that he doesn’t respect your personhood and God given personality? Does he often disrespect you and your needs?
I have not run into a verse in the Bible that says, “thou shalt not forsake the assembling of yourself with your h’s siblings each time he wants to go”. It isn’t there and if you are having a migraine, your h should be more considerate of your feelings. Tell him that you don’t mind him going, but this time I need to sit this one out. I know when I get a migraine, I’d just as soon be left alone. That is not much to ask.
I do wonder if your h doesn’t understand this about you after 20 years how well he knows you at all.
I don’t think that my husband disrespects me but he just loves being with his family and wants to include me. He cannot see that I might not be enjoying these visits. He does not like to go alone either. If I did not go for two visits in a row, his family would be asking if there is anything wrong.
Alone time, space and privacy is not understood by his family since theirs is a big family. Like his sister stayed with us for a week once during holidays and she would start to clean the house and cook without being asked. She did it to help out I’m sure. Similarly she would also expect help if I went over to her home.
I grew up in a small family and i am a reserved person. I want to do other stuff besides always being with my husband’s family. I don’t even visit my side of the family that often. I’m not sure how to convey my feelings to my husband in a nice way.
I think you should reread your original post of October 27, 2015 at 4:02 am. You said you resented having these visits so often with his siblings and would like to do other things.
You also said: My life seems to be revolving round my husband’s siblings. If I tell my husband I am having a headache, I would still be expected to visit with them.. I do suffer from chronic migraines and have tried various medications and herbs and my husband is aware of my condition.
It didn’t sound to me that he understands your needs at all. It sounds more like you are covering for his behavior and selfishness. Does it really matter if his siblings ask if something is wrong if you don’t attend 2 visits in a row? Let them ask. He can say that Christine has a migraine and needed to rest. Perhaps you should suggest that you take turns choosing activities.
Your needs count. Your husband and his siblings need to respect that.
Christine, all marriages require adjustments, change and sacrifice. Perhaps God is trying to help you grow a bit out of your shell to learn to be more inclusive with other people and accepting of their good intentions. But I also think they learn to understand that people are different than they are and have different needs and desires. So perhaps an honest conversation with them – “I”m more of an introvert and need some down time, alone time. You may not understand or even need that but I do. When I get together for extended periods of time, I need to get away for a little bit of time. Please don’t take it personally or that I don’t like you, I just need to recharge my battery.” or something like that.
Thank you all for the advice. I am thinking things through. Appreciate your prayers.
Praying for you and everyone who joins in here, even those who read and choose not to write. I pray that God is the most important in your life and that abuse and the insanity leave your life quickly. Even so Lord, come quickly.
Thank you so much. I so appreciate your prayers.
Dr. Meier says I need to choose to open the door invite in all my pain and all my hurt and give it a hug so I can begin to heal. . . . . But I have books of theology, archeology, cosmology, blah, blah, blah-ology blocking the door from opening (—jammed under the door). So I stay immobilized. I don’t know how to slay my dragons, they look too large. I see other people’s dragons and I think “are you kidding me,” I could just cut those dragons to shreds instantly. I am sure that is how they see my issues. It is so easy to be caviler with other’s issues. . . . . I don’t know, maybe I don’t even need any answers because really there are none. I just want real love, Holy Spirit-style, real love.
Tell me the heaviest thing in your life you are carrying right now? My mother’s programming. I can’t deprogram myself. I don’t want to manipulate rescue or sympathy. Maybe I don’t even want the truth. Maybe it is more accurate to say I just want God’s love without swallowing intellectual dishonesty.
Any suggestions on how to effectively communicate with a spouse that blames, criticizes, stone walls, etc. counseling backfired because he wants out of the marriage and I continue to pray for restoration.
I have a major boundary …no sexual intimacy….that I am night by
Night sticking to. At night is the only time he touches me. Last night I said that since you are planning to divorce me, I cannot be sexual with you. This was at 1 am.
I am considering a note to follow up, since face to face conversation blows up.
As Leslie wrote in a earlier post, there is no communicating. It is very sad that your husband does not know how to be a good and loving man and has no interest in changing. I would be arrangements for separation. Ouch, it hurts to think like that but we can’t change anyone but ourselves. You asked how to talk to someone who is abuse. The answer is, you can’t.
You can still continue to pray for restoration while separated. Does he have a girlfriend?
I don’t think he has a girlfriend.i don’t see any visible signs. He loves attention from women. Always has. I have suspicions of an emotional affair that happened over a year ago. I also got myself involved in a situation over facebook about the same time, so I am not going to point any fingers. What he is doing to me is what he did to his first wife.
I still have hope for restoration in our marriage. However, I have to restore myself. I am going to wait it out until January. This is a big year for my son who is a senior in high school. I can already see how much of my thoughts are on my marriage and not my son. My healing and my two sons need to be my priority. God can deal with my husband.
Edmund, You said: For the record, my wife and I are professing Christians who desire a successful marriage.
In another post above you said that you were served with divorce papers and it would be final within a couple of weeks. Your wife may desire a successful marriage, but apparently she must have found that she was wasting her time. She followed through with her boundary. It was not a threat, it was her expressing the need that she had for herself: A new counselor or a divorce. It seems she did not feel she was in a healthy marriage.
Matthew 18 is usually not used for abuse situations. The abused individual is rarely heard and abusers are frequently quite able to be the pillar of the community in public and the complete opposite behind closed doors.
Thank you so much Robin, Leslia, Maria for the prayers, for this site, for understanding for anyone else I forgot to mention or who has read my posts and not responded or who has responded.
I am in the same boat, except there are no hugs, no touching, no kind words, nothing, yet this failed marriage is somehow all my fault. I initiate all of the above and it is never good enough. I don’t think my marriage is fixable and like Leslie says it is insanity, going around and around and nothing changes. I don’t want another divorce as I’ve seen what is does to the kids. for now I am staying but living with the abuse and loveless marriage is taking it’s toll on me.
Jennifer and Hope- I’m not saying leave your relationship, but when I was where I hear you ladies are- I read Necessary Enfings by Henry Cloud. I wanted my marriage to work, I wanted to hang in there.?But the pretense of a marriage that really was not a marriage was destroying me. Henry Cloud said look at his past history and you’ll see a glimpse of what his future will be unless there is a radical desire and effort for change. I knew it was time to change my boundary. Either he desires to work on us/ or I would be the one to go towards change. He chose not too. I chose growth, change, and a beautiful life. Divorce is not anymore painful for children than the parents living a lie in front of them pretending they have a healthy relationship.
I agree – I discovered things about my husband that were not compatible with marriage. I don’t even know why he wanted to be married. He had been unfaithful with sex workers during our entire courtship but I did not discover this addiction until we had been married for over a year. When I looked at the pattern of lying and infidelity, coupled with the”propaganda” he was feeding me (according to Lundy – the mind twisting that abusers do so they get to take advantage of you and justify doing evil against you) I realized that I didn’t really have a marriage. He wanted to use my resources, have a housekeeper and baby sitter and access to my funds but there was no way he would ever behave like a husband and only be exploitive.
Been there! I’m so sorry.
I don’t plan on living this way for the rest of my life 🙂
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What are you doing to change the future?
One thing I would like to point out about the Matthew 18 process. I do not believe that anyone who would abuse their spouse or anyone else as in a routine basis is indeed a Christian the Matthew 18 process would not apply.
This is not only my opinion, but many who write on the subject of Biblical divorce/separation.
I don’t plan on living this way for the rest of my life 🙂
So, so glad to hear it. : )
Brenda, praying for you.
The only one who can truly slay our dragons is the Triune God. No amount of ology’s will do it. I think your Dr. might be on to something. It was when I realized that I had so many cracks in my heart and prayed every day for God to fill those cracks with his Spirit that things began to change. I still have cracks and will always be a broken piece of clay, but I’m not as broken.
Do you read CS Lewis? I’m going to start reading more. He went out of his way to prove that God did not exist. The more he did that the more he proved that he did indeed exist. I find that fascinating.
“The only one who can truly slay our dragons is the Triune God.”
That was my understanding too but I was told in counseling that God will not just “do it all.” I have to join my will with God’s will even though it is like 99.999999% the Holy Spirit and 0.0000001% Aleea. I don’t understand that because I thought I was dead, —like totally dead in sins and trespasses. —Anyway, God knows I am willing and I pray to Him to make me even more willing but Dr. Meier says it works just like love and can’t be forced. She keeps saying I can’t get better by force/ trying. I have to surrender. God knows I am waving the white flag. —God knows that.
—And yes, I know many of CS Lewis arguments. He was a very good man and primarily wrote his work in the 30s; 40s; 50s. Archeology, evolutionary biology, cosmology, manuscript finds, blah, blah, blah-ology exploded from the 60s forward. I very much like CS Lewis but he didn’t interact with modern evidence. That does not mean he is wrong. He can’t help when he lived and I love his book, The Problem of Pain: “For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.” Nobody wants to be Judas, not even Judas. See 2nd century The Gospel of Judas re:papyrus document that surfaced during the 1970s, near Beni Masar, Egypt. —And let me say something every thinking person here already knows: I know next to nothing compared to what is available to know, if God doesn’t help me I am a blind mole. There are no great women or men of God. . . just weak, broken, doubting women and often worse men of a totally great and absolutely merciful, awesome God.
Thanks Susen, that is so amazing – how to deal with any abuser really and keep our heart & attitude in the right place. Your mom seems very punishment based but you’ve learned how to deal with it peacefully.
I just received that book for my birthday a few weeks ago and am really enjoying it too!
Leonie what book am I missing out on.
Robin- the book is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Oh- got that one. Read it every morning. I like it very much!!!
So very excited to know that several of us are reading the same page daily (of Jesus Calling) !
That makes the readings even more special to me.
Funny “coincidence”: I gave my best friend a copy and that very same day, she had an amazon delivery-she’d ordered the book for me . . . and we had never discussed the book!
Amen!! You said that so well. God doesn’t make robots Jesus submitted to the Father’s will from His free will to do so. He chose perfect submission that none of us can do. He was the only one that could. It diminishes Jesus ability to be perfect if we say, “He had to”.
Thank you for your response, when I couldn’t do so lovingly.
I really like your last example, where an abusive husband says his wife’s saying ‘no’ “hurts” him. When really, she is learning to take care of herself. This happens all the time, he suddenly becomes the “victim.” As you aptly said, she should NOT change her behavior, but continue on her strong path.
What you said makes sense to me Edmund, it’s about trusting God more than anything.
I am truly thankful that you are not a counselor, Christian or otherwise. It is obvious that you know nothing about being abused. Whether or not you are an abuser remains to be seen. If I had to judge on what you have written here, I would say you are bordering on abusing the women here. You show know empathy with their plight and don’t try to understand what is going on in their lives. Verbal, spiritual, sexual, physical and emotional abuse are real and are not a occasional occurrence. They are on going. Sometimes an all day, every day event that can bring a once strong women to her knees wondering if she is any longer sane.
Have you tried to comment at A Cry for Justice blog? Have you read any of the posts there? Have you read the books that are recommended, both Christian and secular? I would recommend that you educate yourself before speaking. Leslie and others could give you a huge education on what the Bible says about abuse and your obvious lack of knowledge in the Word and who Jesus is.
Would anyone else like to offer an opinion about whether I am an abusive voice on this site? I just made it to the bottom of the page to see this comment for the first time Since Brenda is not replying directly to my comments, I don’t know specifically what comment concerns her – but the accusation is general.
Mrs. Vernick: Have I been abusive in the way I have interacted with the other contributors on this site?
Edmund, I don’t think you have been abusive on this blog. You have shared your opinions in a very respectful manner. This blog, I think, is a place where we can discuss our opinions openly in a respectful way.
Brenda, Could you please give some specific examples on how Edmund has been abusive here?
This is an example of how the tools can be misused, as well as an example of how men can be labeled as “abusive” with no justification or accountability.
I will never forget the day I realized my wife was accusing me of abuse and I started researching her information. The very things an innocent spouse would do to try and exonerate themselves or promote biblical conversation were the same behaviors these sites would use to actually “confirm” the abuse!
Thanks to those who gave me the benefit of the doubt. I’d love to see Mrs. Vernick’s thought on the exchange.
As for you, Brenda, I think I have every right to set up a “boundary” with you. But I would rather continue to interact with you in hopes of winning a friend, even if you choose to respond to me in a similar way down the road. I hope you are enjoying your time in Florida.
Blessings, All. Good night!
Edmund, Could you please give some specific examples of your wife’s accusations of abuse, if you don’t mind?
I honestly don’t know the specifics. Her tendency was to avoid communicating her concerns with me in a healthy, biblical format. She would generally wait until I attempted to communicate my concerns to her in a healthy, biblical format and then the complaints/accusations/conclusions she had secretly harbored against me would be thrown back in defensiveness as the rebuttal to my concerns.
My wife is extremely strong and independent. She is extremely proud of her strength and independence and her ability to stand up for herself. It wasn’t until she wanted out of the marriage that she started becoming selectively fragile and directing our disagreements towards “abuse” symptoms.
OK – so talking it out just prompted something that I suspect she has told others (though she has never told me). One symptom of abuse is being “controlling” and one manifestation is the refusal to allow your spouse to seek medical attention.
So my wife incurs a minor injury while playing a game and I am there to see it. It is clear that something is not right, but it’s also clear that its not an emergency and that it would be wise to give it a little time before we participating in the joys of the health care system. Within 30 minutes of the injury, she was asking me to commit to going to the doctor. My position was that we needed to wait a day or two and see how things settled out. Her position was that she needed to go right away. I told her I disagreed with her position but that I wasn’t going to prevent her from going to the doctor. She argued that I was only agreeing to send her to the doctor to avoid the confrontation, not because I was truly willing. In essence, she was arguing that I was withholding medical treatment for her in my heart and the fact that I did not agree we should immediately engage the health care system for a minor injury was evidence of my controlling nature.
At the time of that confrontation, I did not know she was accusing me of emotional abuse. After she filed for divorce, I learned that this particular conversation happened immediately following her first session with a new counselor where she “asked” the counselor if she was abused and proceeded to list symptoms that she had learned from Mrs. Vernick’s book (and possibly others). She terminated the relationship with the existing counselor she had engaged just a few weeks earlier, the one that knew us both well and held us both accountable, then intentionally went to a source that endorsed Mrs Vernick’s definition of abuse and tailored her representation of me to those symptoms. She would never give me specifics. She just said “I called XYZ, explained to them the symptoms of our marriage, and asked them if i was being emotionally abused. They said that I was”
Interestingly, I called the same organization to follow up and was told that my wife was misrepresenting their position. They put it in writing and invited her to contact them. She refused..
Edmund, Have you considered the possibility that your wife truly believes she’s been abused (as oppose to using abuse as an excuse to get out of the marriage)? You had mentioned she is now living with her dad. Maybe having a conversation with him may help you understand why she believes she was being abused. You mentioned that your wife has read Leslie’s books. It would be interesting to find out why she feels she was in a destructive marriage and not a difficult marriage. Since you mentioned that you want to try and save your marriage, it may be beneficial to put yourself in her shoes and try and see things from her perspective. These are just suggestions with no judgment intended.
I don’t perceive or receive any judgment from your comments, Maria. The format is obviously too limited to draw concrete conclusions with certainty, but the strong appearance that you are a person who takes responsibility for themselves, speaks with respect and truthfulness, doesn’t flatter or pander nor over-attack or criticize, has an informed opinion tied to scripture with a heart to know God, etc…creates so much room for honest speak with no offensiveness or defensiveness. I say that to make a point to anyone that is reading….so much of interpersonal conflict and miscommunication is the result of pride and self-deception.It never ceases to amaze me how much grace is available when honest people contribute sincere questions, answers, and opinions to a discussion with humility and respect.
I understand your questions and suggestions about my perspective towards my wife. I can honestly say I have done these things and so much more. In hindsight, I suppose I compromised on my intent not to get into too much specific detail. It’s not that i have anything to hide, but it’s simply impossible to provide all the context in blog posts. My goal is to make statements that represent the truth in light of my knowledge of the entire context, but it’s really not a good place to isolate one incident in a vacuum and have it analyzed by strangers.
The first time I started reviewing Mrs. Vernick’s info for myself – I had two strong thoughts. First – there is no question we had a difficult marriage. No question we contributed equally to the tension and no question it was nothing more than difficult. Second – I was taken back by how easy it would be for almost everyone I know and observe in interpersonal relationship to be guilty of something on the checklist.
There is no question my wife “feels” she is abused. Feelings are real. But feelings are unreliable and we have the power and authority and Response-Ability to take those subjective, fickle feelings to various sources of concrete, objective facts for evaluation. We also have the response-ability to make choices about those feelings in light of our convictions about God, how He has treated us, and how we want to treat others.
You don’t know me, and all anyone here can do is draw fragile conclusions about the contributors based on limited information. But I don’t state my claims lightly or without extensive evaluation. I’m not inerrant, but my discernment has proven pretty reliable over the years. It’s nice to be able to participate in a forum where I can discuss these things in anonymity (for me and my wife). It’s also intriguing to have discussions based purely on what someone says and not their age, education, race, gender (well, sometimes) etc. Astute contributors here can deduce that I’m at least in my 30’s, but have no idea how much older, what I do, the level of my education, my income, etc. It’s such an intriguing tool.
Thanks for the conversation.
Brenda – I have 1% battery left an no cord. I owe you an apology. I’ll explain later. Blessings!
Brenda – about my comment that I could set a boundary with you but choose not to do so….
I can say with in honestly that my overwhelming intent with that statement was pure and true. My feelings tell me one thing, but my will gives me power and options to do another….not in the name of self-interest but in pursuit of unity of mind, heart, and purpose in the body of christ.
However, i knew within a few minutes of posting and going to bed that night that there was at least a small measure of spite and vindication in that comment….spiritual pride….like I was going to show you I was the bigger person. That is just wrong, and I’m sorry.
Satan can’t create anything. All he can do is take what God created and pervert it, misuse it, distort it, co-opt it for evil, etc. To take a spiritual principle and characteristic of God and use it for selfish or prideful purposes in even the smallest degree misses the target of God’s perfect character. The degree of the sin is not the point. The perfection and holiness of God’s character is the point.
I trust you are well. Blessings.
I don’t feel Edmund has been abusive. In fact I wish more men were on this site to offer feedback.
I think that it is important that we do not judge the motives of people posting on this blog. It makes for a very unpleasant and negative atmosphere when we do. When people are honest about their shortcomings, we should applaud them for that, not attack them. It is possible to disagree with someone in a respectful way. Only God knows the “entire picture” of what each one of us is going through. It is not our job to convict anyone of wrong, let’s leave that to the Holy Spirit.
Each of us have experienced different levels of abuse. We should be careful not to assume that another person’s situation is at the same level as ours.
I read several of your posts this morning. My response was to all in a general sort of way. Even the snake spoke kindly to Eve. It didn’t make his message any less harmful.
I am on my way to FL for 2 weeks. May all of you be blessed and see Christ for who he truly is: a caring, gentle God who treated women with the utmost care.
Edmund, my story is huge-unfortunately my current marriage started as an affair. So in my mind this has never been a “real” marriage, not in my heart anyway. I became pregnant while separated from my first husband, and moved back in with him as I was seeing signs of control and anger in my now husband. My first husband forgave me and was going to raise the baby as his own. My husband now bought a home near us and wanted to be a part of his child’s life, realizing it was not fair to my first husband to raise another man’s child, I choose to move in with the father of the child. I was unhappy and angry with myself. My husband then became a Christian and all was forgiven in his mind, meanwhile damage was done to my first two children, there was still hurt and healing that needed to take place. We started going to church and I felt pressured into marrying him since we were living in sin. As a Christian he became judgemental, shaming, condeming and a very angry person. He started lashing out and yelling my children and how UnGodly they were. I hated myself for bringing this man into my chidren’s lives. We had another baby. I was mistreated the whole pregnancy. I think he loved his new found authority he found in being a Christian, he used his new found power to try and dominate and control the household as man of the house, the authority figure etc. We have tried counseling-both Christian and secular counselors, have talked to pastors. He has walked out of therapy sessions if he doesn’t like being called out on his behavior. The church doesn’t seem to want to deal with him. I think he has a mental illness and refuses medication. Meanwhile it has been 7 long years we are married and again, in my heart this is not even a real marriage and I made a huge mistake years ago. The problem is the two children I have with him, who love him, and me not wanting to put my kids through another divorced family. Thanks for letting me share.
My heart goes out to you Jennifer. May the Lord guide you in how to handle your situation.
Jennifer, While information on this blog maybe helpful, it’s important that you find a good counsellor and focus on getting healthy. The wonderful thing about having a relationship with Christ is He forgives us of our past. He also wants you to forgive yourself. Sometimes in life when we go through tough situations, we cannot handle it ourselves, we need help. An emotionally healthy person knows when to get/ask for help.
Jennifer: Thanks so much for sharing. I affirm Maria’s comment about a wise counselor that can really dig into the specifics of your situation and work with you. There are a lot of layers to your story.
If I could pick one thought or idea that I would feel compelled to share after reading your testimony – it would simply be the idea of HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT. I don’t know the specific answers for you or your circumstances, but I sense a humble and open spirit and a tender heart. If this is true, then God will faithfully walk you through the situation. It sounds like platitudes, but there is nothing cliche about CLINGING to a settled hope that God can and will redeem your situation in one form or another if you continue to seek Him with all of your heart and rest in His love for you, your kids, your husband, and your ex. Praying for wisdom and peace for you tonight.
I agree Maria, for some this may be the only safe place to “talk”
Thank you Maria, I feel I have been there done that with the counseling. At this point I am going to continue on my anti-depressants and remain in my bible study with a great group of women. I agree, I need to focus my energy on my relationship with God. I feel he has and will use my situation (as well as me living with the consequences of my choices) for good, if anything let me be a warning that the grass is NEVER greener!
Jennifer, Here’s a link to Lysa Terkeurst’s (Proverbs 31 Ministries) story. I think it will be encouraging to you
That is interesting Edmund, my husband describes me that way too as being independence, a feminist, not taking direction, I am a woman hear me roar that type of thing. I don’t see myself that way. In fact he seems to go out of his way to find news stories degrading women’s rights. I never even bring up women’s issues, so the issue is his, not mine. Anyway the medical issue reminds me of our marriage, he will complian of aches and pains and google them convinced he needs to see the doctor, when he asks my opinion I ask him if it’s really necessary since to me it seems he enjoys laying around and he certainly can stomp around literally when he is angry. I don’t say these things verbally just what I observe. He gets made if I don’t agree and will accuse me too of preventing him from seeking medical care. He is expert at twisting my words. He will go and they find nothing wrong with him, but he still needs to take it easy and rest. Meanwhile I feel like I am running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off and he tells me, well that’s life. Anyway, I do believe I am abused and my family believes I am and everyone I talk to thinks so too. They all think I am insane for staying in this crazy making marriage.
Thank you Edmund
I rattling pleased to find this web site on bing, just what I was looking for 😀 also saved to my bookmarks.
Thank you for this article. I have your book and go back to it time and time again for solid, Biblical advice.
My question: How do you set boundaries with a spouse who refuses to give physical affection or intimacy?
I have been married 6 years and separated on and off the last 3 years. We are currently living together for two months and it’s to the point he won’t even stroke my hair in bed when I’m sick (and I ask nicely). His answer to all of this is he won’t do it because he feels forced. I am well aware of boundaries and respectful behavior and he is not being forced in any way. I believe he may think that being asked to do something he doesn’t want to do (i.e. Any physical contact) is me forcing him. And I’m nice, gentle and respectful in how I ask.
I can see some parts when it came across as controlling. But it appears that my ex needed to have a very firm and consequentially boundary on place to get his attention. Simple words in a conversation talking about my feeling and want I would prefer meant absolutely nothing! There were mostly greed with anger, denial, blame or telling me that I am just down right crazy.
Currently being accused of cheating which isn’t even close to who I am. I’ve been living in my COre and unfazed by his insecurities and am not trying to shoulder them or smooth them over for him. As I reject his accusations and share what I won’t tolerate any longer, he is such the victim and is convinced and trying to convince other people that I am cheating on him. It’s exhausting. He simply doesn’t trust the Lord (and has baggage from his first marriage)