A Counselor Questions My Stand

Morning friends,

I thought I would do something a little different this week. Recently Russ has expressed concerns regarding his wife falsely accusing him of abuse. I also had a counselor write me because he has some concerns that I am not providing enough qualifiers in my on-line material and because of that, my material may be empowering women to falsely accuse their husbands of abuse. I thought it would be helpful to respond publicly and invite you to respond as well.

Remember, we are all working on CORE strength and so let’s work on being constructive and respectful as we respond, even if you disagree. I thought by making this dialogue more public, it would help us understand their concerns, and hopefully, it would help them understand a woman’s concerns when she tries to communicate with her friends or people helper what’s going on at home. 

Counselor’s Questions: I’m working with a woman who has been strongly influenced by your website in negative ways which are in fact complicating the process of finding workable solutions (I was made aware of your resources through her). With that in mind, while I would not want to in any way question your expertise in the area of “abuse,” I wanted to share some of the reservations I’ve been struggling with as I have looked through your materials on emotional abuse. So as not to waste your time, I’ll jump right in with the following questions.

There are some important cautions and disclaimers which I find lacking in your information (or at least they aren’t obvious). 

My first concern, you omit a caution that accusing someone of being “abusive” (in any of the various ways) is a serious matter, on a par with accusing someone of embezzling funds or of sexual harassment or of being an alcoholic or a sex addict. A contemporary translation of the 9th Commandment could read, “Don’t make false accusations against someone close to you.” For a wife to falsely accuse her husband of “being abusive” or “being an abuser” is absolutely devastating. It destroys trust and seriously sets back the process of finding constructive solutions to that couple’s marriage struggles. It seems some warning about jumping to conclusions and accusations without adequate interaction with a counselor, etc. might be in order.  

Answer: I agree with you that making false accusations of abuse is devastating, but so is living with a person who has a pattern of coercive control and abuse. Both destroy trust and break apart marriages.

However, I disagree with you that a person who is or has experienced abuse always needs a counselor to validate or verify her experience. Some victims might appreciate that validation from a counselor because her own perceptions have been discounted or minimized so that she doesn’t trust her own perceptions of what’s true anymore. 

You’re also correct. People lie and I imagine some people – men and women do make false accusations against their spouse at times. However, I do not think it’s wise or healthy to warn a person not to trust her own perceptions or experiences. Quite the contrary. One of the most painful experiences for a victim of interpersonal abuse is to have the people she goes to for help (pastors and counselors) not believe her, invalidate her claims, and/or minimize or dismiss her experience because they don't “see it.”  

As a counselor when a woman (or man) comes to you expressing that she has been a victim of abusive behavior by someone, of course we would want to know specifics in order to make a wise assessment. And in my book, I talk about those specifics and patterns that are present that differentiate a difficult or disappointing marriage from a destructive one. I imagine your client has given you specific behaviors and attitudes that she considers abusive and/or destructive. My guess is that you don’t define those behaviors as abusive or you don’t believe her and that is a different problem.  

You say she has been “strongly influenced by my information in a negative way” but you didn’t detail what that was. Many women do write to tell me that I have put into words what they experienced but couldn’t define. Could it be she’s also putting her foot down and thwarting your “workable solution” because I don’t recommend joint marital counseling when there are chronic patterns of abuse, addictions, and/or adultery. Those issues cause marriage problems for sure, but they are NOT marriage problems themselves. They are individual sin and character issues and that must be admitted to and addressed before any healing of the marriage can take place.  

Also, if there is on-going abuse in that marriage, there is no safety for her to honestly disclose details in front of her husband without being afraid of more abuse later. And some abusive men (and women) are very good charmers and liars. The Bible calls them wolves in sheep’s clothing. As you stated, victims of abuse are not “sinless.” That’s true. So what happens when a woman (who is a victim) poorly expresses her own anger or resentment when she tries to explain what’s happening at home? And what if her husband is calm, cool, and collected because he’s an expert at image management and deception? To the counselor, he looks like the “spiritually mature one” and she looks like an angry, unhappy woman. Be careful. A clever sociopath has duped many a counselor. Sometimes you don't know what you don’t know.  

Question #2: A second needed disclaimer is that (contrary to the impression your materials give), not all abusers are men and not all victims are women. Women are just as sinful, self-centered, deceitful, and controlling as men. And they are just as capable of emotional abuse, and maybe even more capable of verbal abuse. I observe many marriages where the women are vicious and relentless in their harangues of their husbands and children. Enough said…

Answer: I’ve never claimed that men are not victims of abuse. I have written an article that Men Are Victims Too, and you can find it here

I also know first hand that women can be abusive and if you have read anything of my own story, my mother was the abuser and my father was a great man, as is my husband. But God has led me to minister to and help women in destructive marriages. That’s why my information is directed towards her. I don't think women are believed and heard when they talk about being abused and I believe God has called me to advocate for them with churches and counselors such as yourself. I do have another book, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship that speaks to both men and women who have been victims of abusive relationships.

Question #3: Your articles and talks give a distinct impression that if a woman “feels” controlled, fearful, confused, objectified, etc., she IS probably being abused. Our post-modern feeling-obsessed culture notwithstanding, feelings are often not a reliable indicator of reality. If a woman feels her husband is abusive, narcissistic, dishonest, or addicted to porn, but there is no obvious evidence that any of this is true, then what? What if others who know him would disagree with any of these assertions? And she has not given me any credible examples to substantiate her accusations? Yet a counselor with whom she apparently has had several sessions (and who introduced her to your site) continues to reinforce the perception that “if you feel these things, abuse must be happening.” 

Meanwhile, in my experience, there are a number of reasons why despite strong and persistent feelings of being abused, those feelings might be far from reality. In one case, a woman who was sexually abused as a child was projecting her anger and hurt toward her husband, who was a fine and loving husband. She fully believed her husband was abusive, but those beliefs were delusional. Another woman with a strong personality became emotionally abusive toward her husband with the onset of menopause. For her, accusations and perceptions of abuse toward her husband were a smokescreen to avoid dealing with her own destructive behavior. These aren’t isolated cases, and they demonstrate how complex alleged “abuse” situations can be.

Answer:  I agree that these are complex issues and our feelings aren’t always a true indicator of reality, but they are something that we must pay attention to so that we can discover and discern “what’s wrong?” So when a woman/wife regularly feels controlled, objectified, confused, afraid, or demeaned/disrespected in her marriage then it is something she must pay attention to. What IS going on?  Is she paranoid? Crazy? Deceitful? Or is something going on in her relationship that is harmful to her? Those are your options as a counselor to explore with your client who is feeling such feelings.  

Let me ask you something. If a woman was sexually abused as a child, are you saying that it wouldn’t be possible for her to accurately determine that she was also being sexually abused as an adult in her marriage? It would only be projection or delusion? I don't agree. The very fact that she was abused as a child might make her more sensitive to abuse as an adult but it doesn’t make it less abusive. In the same way, a person who had been burned in a fire might be more sensitive to the sunshine, but it doesn’t make sun exposure less dangerous.  

It seems like you have already decided that your client is either lying about what’s happening or delusional and that my information is feeding that pattern. On the other hand, could it possibly be true that something harmful is going on in her marriage – that might not be going on in other relationships? Could it be that finding my information is finally validating it and giving her the courage to speak up and say “no more?” Intimate partner violence is called such because it does NOT happen with other relationships. I’d encourage you to watch a short ten-minute video called Fred and Marie. It is in French with English Subtitles.  Click here to watch the video.

Let me ask you if Marie were to come to counseling to talk about how she “felt” her husband treated her, how would she put Fred’s behaviors into words in a way that would “show” you, her counselor, that she was indeed being abused? As you watch this short ten-minute clip of their relationship, do you think Marie is being abused? Sometimes a woman (or man) can’t put what is happening at home into words that sound clear and compelling. But that does not make it untrue or not happening. 

I’ve taken a stand. I choose to believe what a woman or victim tells me unless I have compelling evidence not to believe her. That's how I want to be as a counselor and coach.  I’d rather be wrong speaking up for the oppressed than be wrong by empowering the oppressor. Click To Tweet

Question #4: I also have to take issue with your description (in your webinar) of Jesus’ primary modeling of headship as that of washing His disciples’ feet. Quite clearly He was teaching them that their apostolic leadership was not to be self-serving, but rather in humility and for the good of those they were leading. But Jesus “the Head” did far more than wash feet. He taught, exhorted, rebuked, counseled, confronted hypocrisy, determined ministry direction, angrily cleared the temple (more than once), and made decisions on behalf of His band of disciples. If Jesus is a model of headship for husbands, they are clearly going to need to be leaders in more dimensions than “washing feet” (i.e. humble service), including the responsibility of being the final “buck-stopper,” in taking responsibility and making decisions. Your statements surrounding that little section (in “5 Red Flags”) emphasized phrases such as “he has no right to….” and “you have the right to…” By not presenting a more balanced picture of headship, and by undue emphasis on “rights” (a Western post-Enlightenment value, not necessarily supported biblically) you can create the misimpression that any husband who takes an active leadership role in his family may be stepping over the line into abusiveness. 

Answer: We can agree to disagree here. I don’t believe Biblical headship means the man has the final say. I’ve been married for 44 years and my husband and I have always worked together to have a mutual say in decision-making. In teaching his disciples about leadership and headship Jesus specifically chose to demonstrate headship using this very example of foot washing. He could have used the cleansing of the temple to talk about leadership and headship but he did not. He also warned his disciples – the future leaders of his Church, that they were not to exercise leadership OVER people like the Gentiles (Mark 10:42). He was clear on this. The Bible is also crystal clear on God’s hatred for oppressors.  

Question #5: I realize your primary ministry is to women and I realize those in abusive situations often need special care and encouragement. I also realize that if one was able to read everything you’ve written, you’ve probably filled in these gaps somewhere. Having said that, a large percentage will not read everything you wrote, and by what you understate or overstate, you run the danger of creating false impressions or over-simplifying what are actually more complicated situations. I would like to recommend your resources to those who truly need them without reservations, and so I hope you might be willing to consider some of the issues I’ve raised. 

Answer:  Again, you’re right. Most people don’t read everything someone has written. They pick and choose what fits them. Someone can also read bits and pieces of the Bible and gain false impressions of its teaching or understate or overstate their case on something as well. That doesn’t mean that every verse on the Internet must have qualifiers around it so that no one misinterprets or misuses it. That would be cumbersome and frankly impossible…and probably people wouldn’t read that much either.  

I hope as you become more familiar with my teaching you can recommend my resources without reservation. I have been on Focus on the Family radio several times and they have gotten a huge positive response from my interviews and their staff does regularly recommend my resources to those who call their help center. I’ve also spent some time at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs training their counseling staff. I hope you will consider reading my books, articles, watching my video content, and wholeheartedly recommend them to others.  

I also have a new website just for pastors, counselors, and advocates at www.leslievernick.com/counselors. I encourage you to spend some time there as you continue to learn and hear God’s heart for the oppressed. You may also want to consider joining EQUIP which is a support group for counselors and church leaders who want to be more effective in helping people in destructive marriages. Click here to learn more. 

Friends, how have you struggled to communicate the reality of your abusive marriage to your pastor or counselor? Have you been believed? What words of wisdom might you share with this counselor?


  1. Casey Austin on June 17, 2020 at 8:03 am

    I was a woman who was not heard or believed by the church. My Christian counselors did not know how to help based on the things I shared.
    I did have one counselor for 2 years that stopped seeing me because she came to the conclusion I needed to leave my husband but I refused because of fear.

    Leslie helped me find a Name for what I had experienced 20+ years. I had been through a complete breakdown trying to understand what to do & why no one would help me. Being a Christ follower, dedicated to the church & working fairly close with church staff, not one person knew what to do, no one would even attempt to reach out to my husband ( they wanted him to ask them for help when he wouldn’t even acknowledge anything other than saying I was against him)

    I understand many, especially pastors are afraid of taking sides & being wrong. This was definitely the case with one of my pastors. But we cannot risk the life or sanity of someone because we are afraid we might be wrong.

    Getting involved & sometimes getting our hands dirty is the ONLY way to learn the truth for ourselves. Now that I’m out of that marriage, my health is good, my relationships are good & I am part of the solution to finding help within the church for these women who have been so beat down they can’t even think straight or make their own decisions.

    Thankful to God for Leslie & her resources. Prayers go out as we continue to push forward through the fear, through the unbelief & misunderstanding to find, embrace, listen & help heal anyone, male or female, whose been in such toxic relationships!

    As a Believer, we have a supernatural ability, if we so choose to seek God fervently! The Holy Spirit will teach us, guide us, provide supernatural wisdom, discernment & insight, IF WE ASK HIM, IF we seek God First & seek intimacy & remain vitally connected to him.

    Will we mess up & give wrong advice or make wrong assumptions, YES at times! But God will empower us and use even our mistakes to help, Save & Heal IF we keep Him first where He belongs & teach others to do the same through our own example, love & obedience to His Word!

    It’s always helpful to get the thoughts of others, so this article was very insightful! But we cannot ever know the whole truth or what goes on behind closed doors. There’s always a he said, she said!
    Only Gods guidance & asking the right questions can bring light to the situation.
    I could have been spared lots of painful years had I heard of Leslie sooner!

  2. Lisa L. Roitsch on June 17, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Leslie – I am a christian counselor who has worked on staff at a church and also have my own private practice. I follow your stuff and have read some of your books. I refer people to you all the time. In my humble opinion, your voice is so needed in this day and time. Thank you for all the myriad of resources, free and otherwise, that you provide to all people. It is priceless!!!! Your response to the counselor that contacted you is precise, wise and biblically sound – right on in every way. My hope is that it will open people’s eyes to the delicacy of this situation. Victims don’t always get it right when they begin to “talk and share” about their situation. But as counselors, we need to objectively listen to both parties, rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us beyond what Western Christianity has taught us and use compassion and long-suffering when working with these type of clients.
    My only question, and I think I know the answer, is this: is the counselor that raised all these concerns of the male gender? If so, it makes sense to me why you were questioned in the first place.

    Keep speaking, keep writing, keep serving women Leslie! We need you. The body of Christ needs your expertise and wisdom….now more than ever!!!!!

    Lisa L. Roitsch
    Houston Tx

    • Leslie Vernick on June 17, 2020 at 5:31 pm

      Yes he was male.

  3. Julianne Richardson on June 17, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Beautifully said, thank you for being a voice for those of us who struggled to put our abuse into words.

  4. Deb on June 17, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Leslie, for 42 years I was in an emotionally destructive marriage in which my husband’s anger was directed at me. He was emotionally unavailable, evasive and deceptive, shifted blame for my “unhappiness” in our relationship to me, and never would address issues in our marriage.

    Eventually he had an affair, confessed it and I forgave him. Then instead of seeking counsel and working on our problems he continued the affair while pretending it was over. Several years later he once again confessed, I forgave him and he refused counsel. Any attempt we made to work on issues was thwarted by his anger.

    I found Leslie’s Conquer Support group online and I finally began to understand what was happening. At first I was unsure about it because as a follower of Christ, I just worked harder to love my husband believing if I loved him enough he would eventually love me in return.

    I found Leslie’s ministry to women to be rooted solidly in Scripture and her CORE teaching gave me a solid base to begin working toward a healthy view of myself and my husband’s chronic patterns of abuse.

    As I grew healthier I began to change my responses and reactions and he became more abusive in response. I finally told him I was finished trying to make our marriage better and was ready to separate myself from him. Only then did he take me seriously…then he wanted to do marriage counseling, but because of Leslie’s warnings that marriage counseling could be detrimental, I refused and stated I would be happy to do marriage counseling after he sought individual counseling.

    I’m blessed to say he counseled and worked on his anger issues and family of origin issues and after nearly a year, we began counseling together (with the same counselor) and after nearly another year, we have made tremendous progress. Praise God! To Him be the glory!

    Without Leslie’s ministry, I’m fairly certain we would be separated or divorced by now. Instead, I am more hopeful for a loving, reciprocal relationship than I’ve ever been.

    I’ve recommended Leslie’s ministry to others without hesitation.

    Thank you for your ministry, Leslie!

    • Aly on June 17, 2020 at 10:16 am

      Praise God for this 👏🏻💜!

  5. Sharon Durgarian on June 17, 2020 at 9:37 am

    This counselor sounds very dangerous. He sounds like my pastors when I was going through extremely difficult times with my now ex-husband. Leslie, don’t change anything because these women need you. They need someone to validate them and help them unscramble their brains from this type of Christian counseling.

  6. Alene on June 17, 2020 at 10:05 am

    I have been very blessed by Leslie’s material. It is what it took for me to come to grips with what was happening in the marriage. The worst thing was not the destructive patterns but my husband’s denial and avoidance.

    The other problem was honestly me – I had to look the problem straight in the face, speak up effectively, get help, and gain strength. I needed validation in order to do so. I was getting the opposite from my husband, he would invalidate and undermine and twist to avoid truth and that put me in a very difficult and destructive position. I had to stop being passive and living in fantasy and false hope that things would change; this included things like just praying and waiting and trying harder and empathizing with him. I learned to have a more active faith and what it looked like to be good not just nice. I had to live in reality.

    I appreciate that Leslie does not actually emphasize the word abuse but rather helps you discover if the relationship is destructive and to what degree. I needed that.
    I appreciate that she helps you find words to approach the other person with specific truth.

    I know the word abuse can put up a barrier.
    For me, I had to look at that word in order to get honest about what had and was happening. It was crucial. For my husband, words like abuse and destructive were a roadblock – I think because they are undefined and broad.
    For him, I appreciate how Leslie encourages us to get stronger and get specific in simple statements. This was part of the change in me that opened the way for change in the relationship. This is where definition and clarity have been coming in for my husband.

    I recently came across a woman sharing how she saw a sin in her own life but when she went to talk to her child about a way she had hurt her, she used a wise approach to speak to the child in terms the child could relate to and understand – in other words she approached her child from the child’s perspective – she spoke with a focus on the other person, not herself. In the woman’s own growth, she focused on herself. There may be an important thought here for us when we try to approach others about their sin – the opposite side of the coin from what the woman in my example was doing. We want to be heard and that takes wisdom.

    I love how Leslie’s CORE strength idea focuses on women growing so they can stand in a healthy place in the relationship and life. I found the “R” of responsibility helped me to keep finding what I could do in the midst. The balance of empathy without enabling was also a key – I needed to stop enabling my husband.

    I myself have added Committed to God’s truth and truth to the C. I found it best not to start with the truth of the situation but the Truth about God. I wanted to stay balanced in my approach.

    I have a friend who refused to look at herself in her marriage. This is not what Leslie teaches. The “R” of responsibility causes us to look at ourselves. The idea of CORE strength causes us to evaluate our stand and approach and to keep checking ourselves. CORE strength fosters humility.

    I myself am leery of the word headship and to be honest, have to wonder why the questioner pointed towards it in the way he did. I want to believe he is giving a simple caution about balance. Leslie’s ‘one example’ so to speak of foot washing is indicative of God’s heart, that was the example Jesus gave and He took that even further on the cross, laying down his life to wash us of sin. God’s sacrificial servanthood defines Him. Headship was excruciatingly misused in my marriage. The questioner leaned into a patriarchal, unilateral approach. In a loving mutual marriage relationship with dialogue and respect where both are seeking the Lord, a weird twisted use of headship and lording it over the other is simply never needed.

    If someone is not looking at their responsibility or using CORE strength, that is a personal problem. If someone is not using wisdom to handle truth, that is a personal problem. If a counsellor is giving unbalanced advice, that is that counsellor’s problem.

    • Alene on June 17, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      as I used my voice and strength and clarity and spoke up and used boundaries…and as my husband began to see and finally there was a breakthrough of the denial…he DOES use the word abuse now.

  7. Christine Welsh on June 17, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Sadly, I think this counselor is part of the problem. My husband questioned most things about me, my thoughts, my feelings, my actions. After years of counseling with no progress, I finally counseled with a male counselor who told me the truth….my marriage was all based on my husband’s reality, not mine. That was 32 years into the marriage. I had one phone conversation with Leslie, after reading all of her books. Someone FINALLY validated my feelings!

    Also truly it doesn’t matter what others see in your spouse….if he is a narcissist and emotionally abusive as mine was, he presents a different ‘self’ to others!

    I finally was able to tell my husband the truth: I loved him, I wanted a healthy marriage, I would work on it BUT there was not room for three people in our marriage, which he told me was fine as long as he wasn’t having sex with these ‘friends’. His response was, “You are not going to tell me who I can see”.

    My response, finally a healthy one after years of counseling, “Correct. I cannot. I can only tell you that isn’t going to work for me”.

    I left him and divorced him after a 35 year marriage. I needed to be an example to my children as well to stand for what is right. It isn’t always easy but I can think my own thoughts now and feel my own feelings. I don’t have to be what he says.

    God loves me. God loves him too. And the Lord has so much more for us when we value OURSELVES as He created us to be….not a shadow of someone else, and part of that is listening to our feelings when we are being manipulated.

  8. Janice D on June 17, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Leslie does indeed have quite a challenge in educating the majority of “ biblical” counselors and pastors about this very important topic.The condescension in the assumption that only “ trained” helpers can correctly identify intimate partner abuse is dangerous and harmful to those of us who have lived with mistreatment for decades.Sadly this mans patriarchal prejudices are clouding his judgement and I pray that he humbles himself to hear the truths presented here.Until that happens he is unfit to counsel in this area,in my opinion.

  9. Barbara B on June 17, 2020 at 10:30 am

    This counselor seems to be a reasonable person. At least he was polite in expressing his difference of opinion. I hope he can stretch his thinking to understand that just like everyone and just like some of the “negative” examples he gives of biased women, he also has biases that affect his judgment. Everybody does. If he thinks women claiming abuse need to check their “emotional” biases, and Lesiie needs to check hers, then the same is true for him.

    For example:
    If a counselor believes that when a husband overrules his wife or shows anger and dominant strength, and the counselor makes the assumption that the husband is merely being a good godly leader, then that counselor is already biased against the wife’s objections to the husband’s use of strength that could very well be harming her. In my experience, the wife won’t be heard unless the husband hits her. Everyone has a standard (a bias) by which they measure abuse. Churches that teach that the husband makes the final decision also tend to have a very low definition of abuse – “Has he ever hit you?” I would encourage this counselor to examine his own biases to see if he might need to realign his standards to a more biblical awareness of ways in which strength can be misused; ways that are just as wrong as hitting according to the Bible but not according to the world (because the world approves of power dynamics).

    This counselor is correct when saying that false accusation is abhorrent to God. I wonder if this counselor could stretch his thinking to consider this: When a women says she is abused, and in reality she is being abused, but he doesn’t believe her and says that she is merely being too emotional, then has the counselor falsely accused his client? I think so. Therefore I would say to this counselor, be very careful when you discount or disbelieve your clients. Be very slow to cast your vote in a he said-she said situation.

    To answer Leslie’s question, in my experience most women don’t even try going to pastor or counselor. We know they’re not going to believe us unless we can show them a black eye and they might not even believe us then.

    • Lori on June 17, 2020 at 3:44 pm

      “Has he ever hit you?”
      (I felt I needed to respond to this for my own sanity and possibly someone else’s.)
      “Yes. Verbally. Visually with his glares and body language as he sticks out his chest, clenches his fists, snarls and lengthens to his full height to tower over me. Audibly with his tone of voice which is filled with such disgust and hate. Repeatedly, every time I dare to think for myself, dare to enjoy my own interests, make my own choices or plans, choose not to respond or react, trust and believe I’m following God’s purpose for my life and being who God created me to be.”
      If the Bible says the tongue is like a sword, then the words that are spoken are sharp enough to slice us, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We are not one dimensional beings who exist only physically.
      Same as a punch will hurt us physically, a verbal jab aimed at our intelligence or heart and lies aimed to twist the truth of God will hurt us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. How much harder these wounds are to heal when they are picked at constantly for long periods of time and are not treated at the source.
      We are not speaking out for our words to be measured. We are speaking out in truth, to find support, understanding and change and to show others they are not wrong and are not alone.

      • Barbara B on June 17, 2020 at 7:54 pm

        Jiminy Christmas that sounds scary! I would be petrified. What a bully. To think that churches and counselors (some) tolerate this, saying women are too emotional, is just maddening. Yes, Jesus got angry and physical with the robbers in His Father’s house (they were MEN) but He never bullied women and children. If Christian men acted this way in public to other men everyone would applaud when the other men pushed back physically and put the bully in his place. But women and children are supposed to sit there quietly and take it? Good grief.

        Lori, are you safe? I want to hide you far away from this man.

        • Lori on June 17, 2020 at 10:14 pm

          Barbara B. Thank you for your concern. I feel I am safe. I am relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance in that aspect. I speak to my husband in truth and reality for my sanity and so our children hear, not to change him anymore. I am guarding my heart against wishful thinking and waiting for God’s guidance. So far I believe He is telling me I am where I am supposed to be, fighting the battle He has chosen for me at the present. My husband has withdrawn from me for the most part. I no longer worry about why he does or says things. We are no longer in marital counseling as he let it lapse though I am continuing my own counseling. I hope this eases your concern and I apologize. I was trying to put into words what so many women must be feeling when they hear those words “Has he ever hit you?” I know I felt it when I hit rock bottom because I was asking myself that same question when I started to give credence to what I was learning through Leslie’s books and website. I listed everything I could think of at the time from almost 30 years of what I had personally experienced in my previous post. I am still getting stronger mentally and emotionally by strengthening my relationship with God which is helping me physically and surrounding my with a loving support group. My health was being affected by all the stress of how I’m being treated. I am coming to accept who he really is and that he does not want to change. I read this blog often and feel so frustrated when I see the stories of women who have turned to those who have chosen paths to help others only to be turned away or told they don’t know what they are talking about. Why do we have such a hard time listening, understanding and reaching out to those who are crying for help? I have not written here before but today I felt my story might be seen by someone who God knew needed it.

          • Lori on June 18, 2020 at 6:48 am

            I also hope I did not make you feel that my first comment was in any way directed at you. My experience with my counselor was a roller coaster. At first she was telling me to set an example for my husband and not lose hope which I understood wasn’t my responsibility. Thank God she realized her mistake and apologized. Now that I’m speaking out more, it feels like she is learning a lot from me about my situation.

          • Barbara B on June 18, 2020 at 12:53 pm

            Hi Lori, your answer was spot on and wonderful, so helpful! I wish you would write here more. You have good insights and clarity. There is no need at all to apologize, I’m just happy you are safe and thriving in your experience of finding your value with our precious Father who is perfect and unfailing in His love and care. I understood your post exactly as you meant, as a message to the community not directed to me personally. I just wanted to check and make sure you are safe. Peace be with you! I’m so glad we connected here on this blog.

      • Lily on June 19, 2020 at 10:37 am

        Lori, thank you for writing this response. It is so extremely difficult to put into words the effects of harsh words and actions. I am at the stage in my marriage where the most hurtful actions are the ones that are difficult to describe and label, but leave me feeling small and powerless; his control over our money and allocating me so little because I make so much less than he does, yet I purchase food and necessities for us and our 3 girls while he spends ridiculous amounts on alcohol and whatever else he wants, the contempt in his voice while he tells me to “shut up” when I defend our daughters’ positions during discussions/arguments, the loud yelling that threatens our feelings of safety, the strange accusations of my “infidelity” and his “proof of my infidelity” while he has many “platonic friendships” with women from his workplaces, the hiding of my things, especially things that he has purchased for me throughout our 23 year marriage, then sitting back and waiting for me to realize I can’t find them (I haven’t said anything to him about my missing cross necklace and pearl earrings that I KNOW that I hid in one of my desk drawers). The thing is…he is a GREAT guy to EVERYONE! And he truly is..that is who I fell in love with. BUT our immediate family knows the truth…the truth that no one else will ever see…the least being a counselor. He has perfected his outward face of being calm and reasonable…all the while nudging me under the table to keep my mouth shut if I speak up about anything that isn’t “perfect” with our family. I mean, after all, he IS the head of the family! (I say with sarcasm). So if this isn’t “abuse” what do I call it? Being mean? Insensitive? Harsh? Controlling? Demeaning? Belittling? Bullying? Destructive? Dismissive? I think “abuse” and him being an “abuser” encompasses his behaviors.
        Thank you, Leslie, for supporting us!!

        • Lori on June 20, 2020 at 9:30 am

          Lily. You are most welcome. I am sorry that you can relate to my situation though. I would not want that for anyone. I believe I understand how you feel. If I put this into words whether out loud or on a page, then it’s real. Now what do I do? The power and control you feel you do not have is yours to give or take whenever you choose. God has given this to all of us and we need to be good stewards with it according to His will. I forget this a lot! God’s grace helped me to put it into perspective by showing me that I CHOSE this man to be my husband. He wasn’t able to force himself into my life or marry me against my will. I CHOSE him so I was and still am just as big of a piece of the puzzle which started our lives together. Remembering this helped me understand three things: that he has either changed over the years or he did not present his true self to me when we were dating and I still have power and control over MY life even though I decided to make him a part of it. We still have choices, everyday. This applies to him as well and right now he is choosing to abuse the power of his role as father and husband which YOU CHOSE to give him. Last, God is the only one who truly knows your husband’s heart although I believe you have an intimate understanding as well. God describes this type of behavior in Proverbs as a heart issue. His pride is blinding him and hardening his heart against God’s truth, you and your children. I do not agree with everything on the following website but I feel God lead me here to find some of His wisdom. biblicalperspectivesonnarcissism.com
          It argues that the things we’re dealing with may not be a personality disorder but a heart issue. The “Biblical Progression of Fools” really opened my eyes. In closing, I’d like to say all this is my interpretation, with the Holy Spirit’s help, of all the research I’ve found to date and a majority of these ideas and information are not my own. God bless and keep you.

          • Lily on June 21, 2020 at 10:50 pm

            Lori, thank you again for responding, for your insight and also for suggesting the website. I will definitely check it out! Learning about NPD has helped me tremendously, but something has been missing in all the material that I have seen thus far, so maybe this website will shed additional light for me. God bless and keep you as well!!

        • Aly on June 28, 2020 at 10:06 pm

          Lily, Lori,
          Just want to post what a great dialog this is! To both of you I am so sorry for what you are going through.
          Lily, from even the little that you posted, your husband is in many betrayals/violations of his vows as your Sacred Partner/ husband.
          Also it’s important for us all to know that a person doesn’t have to have a personality disorder or NPD diagnosis to create Abuse & narcissistic abuse syndrome in those he/she harms.
          The link Lori posted sounds interesting since it’s does seem to be more common to have a heart issue than be in a category of npd.
          Lily, I think something I would challenge your counselor on is this: if your husband is a professing believer, you as his intimate Helpmeet.. sees, experiences, that his behavior does not align with someone who Loves the Lord and wants to treat his wife as the Lord would delight in.
          So yes, could be a foolish heart issue or a deeper disorder that needs more interventions. But either way he is not honoring his vows.

          • Lily on June 29, 2020 at 10:11 am

            Aly, thank you…I agree!

    • Lynn on June 17, 2020 at 9:34 pm

      Very well said!

  10. Lynn McIntosh on June 17, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Leslie, don’t give that critic too much of your mind… and you are awesome because of your heart and mind together, appears helping others in so many great ways.
    He went to a lot of trouble though writing that. ha. My father used to say to me “of you’re sure that’s God’s hand on your back, JUST GO! Don’t change a thing, Leslie. I wish I could afford to keep going. Thank you for still keeping me in the loop.

  11. Ann on June 17, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Leslie, you are speaking truth from God’s word. Whether this gentleman agrees or not, the truth still stands. Everything you teach is confirmed by other Godly counselors who have years of experience in addressing these issues, such as Patrick Doyle of Veritas Counseling. Blessings to you.

  12. Ivy on June 17, 2020 at 11:19 am

    I was the woman who sought help from counselors such as this one. In the end they only perpetuated the covert emotional abuse. I was dying inside and becoming physically ill from the stress. Leslie helped save my life and she is probably saving the life of this wife too!

  13. Michele l on June 17, 2020 at 11:23 am

    We had a.biblical counselor who has many oppressive ideas of what headship is too. Constantly asking me to submit more…mind you h has always said I never had an issue with submission…to love him more when he was sinning against me, overlook the rage and name calling. I finally got him to read Brad Hambricks self-centered spouse booklet. He seemed to now understand the dynamic of our marriage but yet I was still the one he asked to change. I wasn’t sure what was happening in my marriage, spent years trying to change, trying to figure out what was so wrong with me that h would treat me this way. No one understood because h is “such a wonderful guy”, he never showed his rage to anyone, not even the counselor. So conversations revolved around me. Literally told that if h said he would fix the roof and then didn’t I was not to being it up and trust that if the roof fell and hurt me because I was in the house, that God will use that to convict h. I believe the Bible calls that foolish… The foolish man sees danger and keeps going. God gave me a brain, wisdom, and lots of ability to get things done, just because h is threatened by my gifts doesn’t mean I am to become less than God made me. Sadly, the counselor wouldn’t acknowledge that h was emotionally, verbally, sexually abusive. When I expressed something sexual that I could have called the police about the counselor told me that men need sex more and proceeded to tell me how I should respond…even if there were valid reasons for me not to have sex at that moment. This was especially hard since I was sexually abused as a child as well. My h should have been more sensitive in that area but instead he abused me more and the counselor reinforced his entitlement to do so. It is so hard for people outside the situation to see the truth when we are so emotional and reactive because of the years of abuse that they can’t see. I am so thankful for Leslie’s ministry that has validated the truth of my situation and calls me to grow and learn to be responsible for myself and my reactions. H has not changed one bit but I have. However that would never have happened if I was not able to see the truth of my situation, which thanks to Leslie and some other fabulous women God put in my life I have been able to realize the truth and begin to grow. Most people outside my home do not see the truth of what is happening and often give harmful advice. Even my own mom…that is until she moved in with us a couple years ago and started to see for herself. She apologized at one point because she didn’t understand before she could see it for herself.

    • Aly on June 17, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      Wow Michele!
      I’m so sorry for your dynamics!! …And especially not being believed- that adds to the layered trauma. My mom also did not see or understand my situation. Those that don’t want to see it or at least consider your experience often do give *More* harmful advice!
      Your example about the roof is important, if the roof fell on your children and you, you as an advocate and caregiver to your children are responsible for their safety. You would be seen as abusive – because of the neglect. (Your spouse too)
      Neglect is also a form of abuse.
      Are you currently separating? Is your husband getting professional help?

      • Michele l on June 18, 2020 at 8:19 pm

        We are in home separated. He has refused to get help. I started EMDR at the start of the year and I asked the Lord to protect me and give me the strength to get thru that before making the next move. Which he has. Things are quiet…of course I don’t engage much with h, he makes passive aggressive comments all the time about that to our son who lives at home but I ignore it. I have protective boundaries in place too. I am almost ready to leave should I need to.

        • Aly on June 20, 2020 at 2:55 pm

          So glad for you that you are taking the steps to heal and give yourself what’s needed for your journey.
          I’m sad your husband is not, but not surprising given his overall behavior. I would guess he’s well surrounded by people reinforcing his mindset and growing the entitlement beast- like you mentioned earlier. Have you considered joining one of Leslies groups or classes so you have other to walk along side for more support?
          Obviously, you don’t have to answer that – just putting it out there.

          • Michele l on June 20, 2020 at 10:17 pm

            I am in one of her groups 😁

  14. Gladis on June 17, 2020 at 11:27 am

    My experience with Leslie Vernick material was it helped sort and validate what I was experiencing.
    My church leaders saw the truth of my abuse and other women in the church and helped us see the truth. I was more willing to defend and make excuses for husbands abuse that accuse him. I was also willing to take much of the blame. When I said I can’t do this. My pastor said “do you can’t try harder be better act nicer submit more?”
    Correct Husb has sucked the life out of me I was in survival mode spiritually physically and emotionally. Pastor understood how I was trauma bonded. He saw it as husbands faulty character.
    Leslies teaching emulated what I had been told. She always taught to look at myself , I’d my behavior right before God. So therefore if I was to falsely accuse Husb. It wasn’t from her teaching, this client doesn’t want to admit she is being abused she just wants it to stop.
    As I became more healthy and less reactive to him the marriage crumbled further as I wasn’t holding him and taking responsibility for him.
    BTW all Leslies teaching is based on research of abusers and victims. It’s also based on Gods word.
    I cannot thank God enough for her obeying Gods calling to teach and serve women of abuse.
    Leslie is a hero of the Christian Faith.

  15. Wendy Oliver on June 17, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Leslie, you so respectively expressed your heart, your God given wisdom and your CALLING her in this post!!
    I found your information/book and heard you on FOTF in 2013!! Wow, I was sooo validated and EMPOWERED by a “Christian women counselors“ VOICE on abuse! I had just walked through 3 years of a very difficult Divorce/Criminal Trial from my “Christian husband” who I was married to for 20 years.
    I HAD NO support from my church… because my “mess I was walking out of” was COVERED in spiritual abuse. My now exhusband is serving 8- Lifetime sentence in a CO prison because he hid behind “Christian/spiritual projection” as he is a Narcissist and had been ABUSIVE towards me in later years of our marriage and was “ grooming our children sexually”. The REAL TRUTH came out in the courtroom and my healing process IS VERY FRUITFUL everyday I walk FORWARD… from the abuse .. my children walk FORWARD to
    the FREEDOM we have. God has used you and your TRUTH in my healing process and the MANY women I advocate/coach in abusive scenarios!! Your work/book/podcasts are the single mist resource I refer women to!
    Keep up your CALLING!

  16. PC on June 17, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Leslie, your ministry has been a God-send for our family. Your responses to this critic were spot on and I admire your dedication to stand up for the oppressed backing everything you say with God’s word. I pray that every abused woman may be lead to a counselor such as you who is well versed in the subject of abuse. God, please help the ones who end up with counselors who don’t get it/understand, and please lead these women to someone who can share your Godly truth and advice with them of how to live in the freedom you desperately want for us, the freedom for which you died.

  17. brave rabbit on June 17, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    When I finally found the courage to come forward to speak with a pastor about the troubles in my marriage and my experiences of abuse, he replied I was being too sensitive and my husband is allowed to lead. I was shocked by his dismissal. The church offered a marriage matters course and suggested we attend. My husband refused to go. He didn’t see anything wrong. I attended. I realized how jacked up and dysfunctional we are.

    After going through major depression, I sought help. I had someone validate my feelings. I was not being over sensitive! I was emotionally beaten down. I read a lot of books trying to understand what I was going through. The light was on, the covert abuse, gaslighting, put downs disguised as jokes, financial abuse, sexual abuse . . . The list goes on.

    It took that one person to validate me decades later to educate myself and begin a healing process.

    Churches are not equipped to help people in need when it comes to marriage. They try to save it all costs. The price to pay is too high!

    I’ve read June Hunt, Lundy Bancroft, and Leslie Vernick’s books as well as watched Patrick Doyle’s videos.

    I like that Leslie uses the bible, God’s Word, to use biblical reference to live by and for relationships. Women have been discounted and oppressed for centuries. Finally there is someone who can help put into words for us what we are experiencing and help us understand we’re not crazy. And getting validation that what we are experiencing is real.

    I’ve seen Leslie and other authors acknowledge that abuse is not unique to marriage, it can be in the work place, woman against man and same sex relationships. And people will lie and manipulate to twist things their way. Those are the exceptions rather than the rule.

    I could go on and on. I’m glad Leslie followed her calling and provides this platform for us!

    I know I have a voice and I’m learning to use it.

    • April on June 17, 2020 at 9:04 pm

      Very well said. 💜

  18. Matt on June 17, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    This, and the comments, are really going to take a number of reads to fully digest. If my wife says something came across abusive and hurt her…it did. I can’t keep denying what my wife feels or blaming it on her or telling her how her feelings are wrong. Maybe to some people I would be a good husband (I put the toilet seat down) but if my wife doesn’t think I’m great—I’m not. Perhaps my level of abuse is at a low level but my wife’s tolerance level is also very low. It’s still abuse. I sense a lot of defensiveness in Russ and the counselor’s comments. I’m done being defensive. They should too. My first counselor thought I was great. Our marriage counselor too until my eyes we’re open through Leslie’s book and I started accepting responsibility and admitting my part. I remember a couple weeks ago when I first started sharing this with our counselor he was blown away. I may have never hit my wife, isolated her, withheld money, made threats, or called names but I’ve been angry, selfish, self-centered, and controlling (I thought I was being loving and trying to look out for her best interests), I’ve told her her feelings were wrong, that she was looking at things wrong, her thinking was wrong, I’ve been dismissive, judgmental, critical, undermining (siding with kids b/c I thought she was being too hard or I disagreed with her), and generally hurtful. I’ve blamed her for our marriage issues and I think for a year our counselor was believing it too, probably still would. I’m still coming to grips wit it and it amazes me how blind I was.

    • Aly on June 17, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Christ has given you a gift of seeing truth About your situation – where ever it took you. This is a blessing where we see the Holy Spirit at work, of course your first step was to be open and willing to allow truth to shine through and begin a great work in you and your character.
      Destructive people and people pleasers across the spectrum will remain unhealthy if they are unwilling to face some very uncomfortable things. These people are not truth seekers or truth tellers.
      They remain to be part of the problem (that is Epidemic by the way) then to be a change for the solution.

    • Alene on June 17, 2020 at 5:44 pm

      Thank you for sharing.
      Thank you for your clarity and responsibility and that you took the time to share.

    • Joyce on June 29, 2020 at 11:07 am

      Wow! That’s so cool that you’ve taken responsibility for your part. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Humbled yourself. I’m going to pray my husband does the same. Not a bad guy just doesn’t realize how certain behaviors hurt. Thank you for your bravery in sharing!

  19. Connie on June 17, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    The first clue I see is when the counselor says, “To accuse someone of abuse is absolutely devastating.” In the book, ‘Safe People’, the main thing is that a safe person is open to feedback on his/her life. If someone is ‘absolutely devastated’, that’s a sign that it’s all about them, I think. If my child tells me I’m abusive, I would want to listen and pray and examine myself, and seek wise counsel from someone. I believe that I would ask forgiveness even if I wasn’t sure it was correct – unless their attitude was rotten. So often an abuser’s first reaction is, “How could you be so mean as to say that about me!”, trying to immediately make the victim feel like the abuser.

    I think that one main issue here is that we’ve picked up unbiblical beliefs. ‘Everyone is born good and is taught evil. Everyone wants to do good, just doesn’t always get the opportunity.’ Not so. We are born evil and need to be taught AND intentionally choose good. Also, ‘If you treat someone nice, they will be nice.” No, they will take advantage of you unless they have intentionally chosen to do right. We believe that we can help another choose good, and they will be SO grateful. Um, nope. Human nature tells them, ‘Great! I have a sucker here, let’s take her for all she’s worth and destroy her as well because I’m jealous.’ It’s a game, and addiction, they get a rush out of bullying. Like all addictions, they need to be left on their own to hit rock bottom before they ‘might’ change. Unfortunately, most people don’t get that and so they are able to always find another sucker and another, leaving an awful wake. God gave us free agency and we need to do that for each other. Dragging the guy to counselor after counselor, book after book, hours of pleading and discussions….all just feeds the beast. We are more controlling that we think we are.

    I’m taking the Give Her Wings course. This week we listened to Andrew Bauman. He was an abuser. He says that most men are violent toward women, and the church is the worst. Men have to face their brokenness and violence before anything can change, and that takes humility. We don’t normally encourage humility in men. He also says that we women need to completely let go of helping and learn our own worth, and take back our power and voice. I’m pretty sure that’s just another translation of building CORE strength.

    For the record, yes, women can be abusers. Two of my sons have experienced that, and one has been the abuser himself. That’s the fallout from growing up in this sort of a home, they often become either an abuser or an enabler because that’s all they’ve seen. I’m a slow learner, but hopefully getting there.

    Thank you, Leslie, for being there for us. I pray that more Andrew Baumans rise up as well.

    • Ruth on June 19, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      Connie, So much in your comment I agree with. I honestly believe my abusive ex has a mental illness, but he is NOT out of control. He chooses evil.

      For years I was the submissive wife, or what I was taught it meant to be submissive, and it just fed the monster. His sense of entitlement just grew until he became abusive and had no sense that there was anything wrong or unChristian about it.

  20. Wendy R on June 17, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    From my own experience, our marriage counselor through a domestic violence center has repeatedly stated that my accusations of abuse did not fit the criteria because I didn’t have visible marks or bruises! My husband has been verbally, mentally & emotionally abusive and even though I don’t have outward marks on my body I’ve been destroyed internally by his actions and words! It’s been a long road of recovery and two separations before his abuse was recognized and it was because I changed the wording to emotionally destructive, thanks to your books! I sense he is now working on the “right” things in his individual counseling sessions and is starting to slowly change his redactions to things he doesn’t like. I pray one day we will be able to be back under one roof but only if the abuse has stopped! There’s such a huge misconception about what abuse is, even in the domestic violence centers offering help to victims! I pray this can change and more people affected by abuse will be helped with the right tools!

  21. Sherry on June 17, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    Leslie, your response was consistent with all the wisdom that God has given you and continues to give you in His calling on your life. You have helped me and continue to help me as I watch your videos and read your articles. You have been a blessing to me since 2011 when I first saw your blog. I made some difficult decisions three years ago concerning my marriage and I am now healing and at peace about it. God bless you and your ministry!

  22. Ruth Abby on June 17, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Dear Leslie, I love and appreciate you and your ministry even more after reading this… thank you so much for answering the call of God on your life by standing up courageously for the oppressed to encourage, edify and equip them to live their lives that will glorify the LORD in the truest sense—loving others in truth as they would love themselves, filled with joy and hope in freedom and victory in Christ! Much blessings!

  23. Janice on June 17, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Your answers are spot on. I read a lot of your books and listened to a lot of your talks and I can say it’s helped clarify a lot of questions I had. I have learned how to become strong and speak up. I know who I am in Christ and follow him. I’ve referred a lot of women to your webSite And books. You are a gem. Thank you for all that you do

  24. Lynn on June 17, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Leslie. Also, I’m thankful that this counselor expressed his concerns and asked hard questions. I’m hopeful that his doing so means he is open to gaining insight to more effectively help his clients.

    This is a a tough subject and I feel that it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Abuse (of any kind) is serious. Accusing someone of abuse is serious. Coming from a counseling background I appreciate the seriousness of the subject. Also, being a victim of spousal abuse gives me another perspective.

    I didn’t recognize what was happening in my marriage and family as abuse at first. I just knew something was horribly wrong and I couldn’t put it into words. It was only after seeking counseling that I began to recognize the abuse in my life. My counselor showed me a copy of the cycle/wheel of abuse and asked me to go through each section. She asked me if I had any examples of what was happening that would fit in these categories. I had multiple examples for EVERY area. I have a degree in counseling. I didn’t see it. I was a shell of myself. I didn’t see it. My husband had even hit me (after about 25 years together). I still didn’t see it. It was only after my counselor recommended Leslie’s resources (and I began to do a lot of hard work with the Lord) did I begin to acknowledge the truth.

    I have chosen to call it destructive behavior (as Leslie does) instead of abuse. I called it this when I confronted my husband and I still call it this when I discuss his behaviors with others. Maybe it makes it a little more palatable for some (me included), and that is ok, but the truth is- abuse is abuse.

    Recently, the Lord lead me to tell my Pastor what has been going on. This was after 2 years of counseling. I was scared. Scared to become emotionally vulnerable with my male Pastor. I don’t even trust my own husband at this point. I was scared that he would tell me to “submit” or “be a better wife” or something to that effect. I’m so grateful that I had the courage to share. He heard me, validated me, confirmed everything my counselor had said and committed to pray for me and my family. I have been very fortunate to have the support of a good Christian counselor (and one for my children) and my Pastor. It saddens me to hear that not everyone has this experience – especially for such an emotionally sensitive need as spousal abuse.

    What I can say to encourage anyone that has had a negative experience is- I know that I know that I know what my husband has done, and chooses to continue to do (destructive behaviors), are wrong. NO ONE can tell me differently. God loves my husband, but hates his sin. He desires for him to change and is willing to give him every opportunity, but one thing God doesn’t do is take away a person’s free will. I know in my heart how that abuse makes me feel even if NO ONE else sees it. God sees it. Even if NO ONE else believes me, God does. If God is speaking to you, don’t dismiss it because someone else doesn’t hear you. Go to someone else! You will feel God’s peace and feel safe and loved when you open up to the right person. Ask God! If you wonder if what you are living in is destructive ask Him to show you- He will! Even before I knew what to ask for I cried out to God. I sank to the floor in a defeated, crying heap and God’s love met me right there. Just me and Him.

    And for that counselor or Pastor that questions the motives or accusations of abuse in a marital relationship, I challenge you to ask God for discernment and wisdom. I challenge you to pray that the truth will come to light. I challenge you to refer the individual/couple to another professional that may have more experience in this area or if you feel you can’t be objective. As long as you are seeking God’s best and His voice on the subject, you can’t go wrong. He will answer you too.

    I personally want to thank you Leslie for hearing, supporting, teaching and challenging those of us that have experienced destructive relationships. I cannot adequately put into words how grateful I am or how much my life has changed because of your heart for the hurting.

  25. Kay on June 17, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    Thank you, Leslie. As a survivor of an emotionally/spiritually/sexually/financially abusive marriage to a covert narcissist, I identify with much of what you said. I also thank you for taking a stand and representing those of us who have had our voices stolen.

    I have come to understand deeply that if a person has not experienced sustained abuse in their lifetime, they can not fully understand a victim’s position. Russ, it may be through no fault of your own that you come to the conclusions you have. If that is truly the case, humbly realize you are not equipped to understand or help a victim without immersing yourself in content like Leslie’s.

    A covert narcissist will slowly isolate their victim until the victim has little or no outside support, all the while conditioning their victim to believe they are crazy, worthless, no good. When the victim can no longer ignore the small, unsettled voice within them that whispers “something might not right”, it can take years (speaking from experience) to find the words to describe what is happening. If victim says to the counselor, “there is emotional abuse happening in my marriage”, it is best to take Leslie’s approach and believe her. Denying the victim, telling her she’s wrong, not believing her, telling her to “just get over it” is as abusive and damaging as what she is experiencing at home; more-so if the counselor responds to the victim with the abuser in the room. Doing so confirms to the abuser that he is right for abusing the victim and should continue to do what he’s doing.

    Over 8 years of counseling, 2 marriage counselors told me I was in the wrong, that my abuser’s treatment of me was my fault, and that I should “just get over it”. They had not educated themselves on abuse that does not leave bruises, and therefore caused more damage than good. Pause and reflect humbly on this statement: I, along with many other victims, have thought (even prayed to God) that our abusers would “just hit me so someone would believe me.”

    Again, if you’ve never experienced anything like that within your own life, and have not fully immersed yourself in content like Leslie’s, you have probably already caused harm to the victims who have come forward to you.

    • Bay on June 19, 2020 at 4:22 am

      What you experienced reminds me of my work as a sexual assault nurse examiner and the multiple forensic cases I have participated in over the years. I have conducted both the meticulous physical exam, as well as the lengthy collection of testimonies of sexual assault victims. I have also conducted the same respectful and thorough exams and interviews on suspects as well. In my experience, 100 percent of suspects I treated, stated that they were falsely accused. Those same men were convicted of crimes such as rape, sexual assault of a minor, human trafficking, battery, murder and the felony of strangulation.

      I believe the incidents of women falsely accusing an intimate partner of abuse, be it physical, sexual or psychological, are equally as rare.

  26. Kristin on June 18, 2020 at 12:48 am

    Dear Leslie, I wholeheartedly believe in your ministry and am grateful for your listening to the Lord and helping those in abusive relationships. Your transparency in posting this counselor’s questions/criticism shows your humility, and your responses are solid, respectful and ring true. It seems this counselor does need your resources for counselors as he appears to have a different view on marriage than the mutuality, reciprocity, and freedom you teach. Someone who has suffered emotional abuse is quite likely to recognize the truths you state and feel like someone understands, that someone sees them, and that they are not as “crazy” as they have been made to feel. Your faith and commitment to the truth of scripture give me the confidence to recommend your materials to others, as I just did a few days ago, and my friend immediately doesn’t “feel so alone and crazy”. You are doing work that can only benefit those who want to grow and improve as human beings and in relationship with others. Thank you for all you do!

  27. Veronica on June 18, 2020 at 2:55 am

    I strogly agree with Leslie. As l was a Pastor’s wife and had no one to turn to. The verdict was in his favor and I was the guilty party for not being more understanding. He had always projected himself as a well educated and respectful gentleman, caring and kind to others. He even complemented me in front of church members. So our marriage seemed perfect. That was very far from the truth. But I had to keep quiet for that is what a “Godly wife should do,” right? No. As I did that for many years and I guess my behavior only encouraged him to keep up his behavior and it kept getting worse. I finally realized it wasn’t going to get any better and as I put things into perspective and set down boundaries everything came crashing down. He spoke very badly of me to my family members and the church was on his side. I had to seek help else where because the people who confessed to have love for me all turned their backs on me. I was left alone and I had to flee because I felt Iike I was loosing my mind. Counseling as a couple was not an option because he would cry and ask me to do the talking and explaining. Then on our way home he’d be a totally different person that sometimes it was even frightening. Yes, a counselor can make up his/her mind about what’s going on in that marriage by observing a persons behavior. But in reality they can do more damage to it by jumping to conclusions without really limiting to both sides. Thank you Leslie for being a beacon of light in the mist of all that darkness that surrounded me. You are one of the few people who understand and helped realize I wasn’t crazy.

    • ruth8318 on June 18, 2020 at 3:41 pm

      I am so sorry. Sadly, I have heard so many ladies in ministry suffer in abuse feeling like they are all alone. It’s such a tragedy.

  28. Aly on June 18, 2020 at 8:56 am

    I’m still digesting this post and trying to best discern some things before I comment regarding this counselors position.
    First, is this a licensed counselor and does he specialize in an specific area in this field?
    I think emotional abuse overall is a big struggle to identify and validate in ‘Word’ defining terms for many of us. A perpetrator often has a Origin way of thinking that will often limit their view of this, and a victim often has an equally hard time identifying it based on all the complex areas going on in a relationship.
    As much as we bring up Patrick Doyle here and pass on resources, I would love to see some additional counselors weigh in here!
    It would be great if the writer of these questions would also add their definition of emotional abuse and destructive behaviors.

    • Barbara B on June 18, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      Aly, I’m curious about the counselor as well. We have seen the same type of criticism before from a Nouthetic counselor so I wonder if the background and counseling model is similar. I wrote a paper in school about the different counseling models, pros and cons. I think Nouthetic is good for some things but they are not the most highly trained in looking deeper than the surface or considering the impact of possible mental illness or neurodivergence, since they sometimes don’t put much weight on research. In general, I wouldn’t think it would be their area of strength to deal with covert abuse, but I could be wrong.

  29. Susan on June 18, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Yes there is a struggle
    Some abuse is subtle and it grows quietly because at first it’s not recognized and it may have some fact to it – an example as in my case I was always being told that since I didn’t contribute financially (I was a stay home mom at this point in my life – although I had worked before ) I had no say in money decisions – I was given a tight budget and if something came up like when I hosted a junior league dinner – I went over my allowance and used a credit card. That card was then cancelled by my husband as a lesson to me “to budget properly”. Yet the budget given to me was too small to put aside money for any extras. However we would go out to dinner with his friends and my husband would generously pick up the tab and the praise!

    Also little things like after we were at an outing – in the car ride home – I would get a lecture on how I could have presented myself better – like once I didn’t see toothpicks on a table next to a cheese plate/ or I mentioned the kids too many times/ or I spent too much time talking with one person/ and my opinion on a certain subject was wrong – so I should be quiet on some subjects or I wore the wrong outfit or I didn’t need dessert – “you would be so much hotter if you lost 20 pounds”. It was true I was about 20 lbs over my ideal weight – I didn’t use the toothpick – I did enjoyed talking to that one person and spent most of the party with her and I wasn’t strong on currents events so maybe my opinion was wrong – and I had overdressed at that particular event — was he being helpful or Condescending –
    lines were blurry.

    And it seemed like I was just being petty if I complained about this treatment.
    Until …a graduation party – I was seated on a barstool talking to a few people and he came up from behind me and actually lifted up my shirt to shown everyone my bare belly and made rude comments about my weight. I was so Humiliated – but before I could comprehend how to even handle my embarrassment and shame – or even pull my shirt from his hands —others jumped to my defense and for the first time humiliation became his too. The validation of others gave me strength to stop questioning myself and see reality. This is not how a husband shows love to his wife.

    • Aly on June 18, 2020 at 8:02 pm

      My mouth is still open after reading your post!
      One word.. PORN?

  30. Chris on June 18, 2020 at 10:25 am

    FoF resources caused tremendous damage to me and continued abuse…the counselor had no clue or was unwilling to see my individual worth vs saving the marriage

    • JoAnn on June 19, 2020 at 6:04 pm

      Chris, I’m sorry to hear that. I know that Leslie has been on their program and even trained their counselors. Did this happen a long time ago?
      There is so much more need for adequate training and information.

  31. JoAnn on June 18, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Behaviors that to many people would seem ok, or not abusive, can also be very hurtful to someone who has a wounded heart, from historic abuse or trauma. Sometimes these are referred to as “triggers,” and if the spouse does not honor the pain that is associated with these triggers, and continues to poke them, then that is abusive, because it disregards the pain that the behavior is causing. A loving, considerate spouse would try to change those painful behaviors, even if he/she doesn’t think that those behaviors are bad or that no harm was intended. The real issue is whether the victim is experiencing pain from the abuser. So, on the one hand, as a counselor myself, I would work separately with the couple, first to help the victim get relief from the painful memories (triggers) and to strengthen her CORE, and also with the abuser to develop empathy with the spouse and change the behaviors.
    I am encouraged by Matt’s response here, because he is a man who is willing to do the work to change, both for his own benefit and that of his family. When a man hardens his heart to the pain he is causing in his marriage, there isn’t much hope for recovery. And that’s sad. Very sad.

    • Matt on June 18, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      I’ve had a hard heart for a number of years. My wife has developed a hard heart In response to it, understandably. God is meltIng both of our hard hearts. We have both developed a lot of self defensive coping strategies and lines of thinking. We have fallen into a negative cycle where we each walk on egg shells thinking the other is thinking the worse or attacking.

      We had a good marriage counseling session today. Its still hard for me to not want to offer an excuse or defend, deny, or deflect. It’s hard for me to accept responsibility and not try to shift the blame or to at least share the blame.

      The comments and hurts that I read in Leslie’s blog helps me see what I’ve been missing. It’s crazy that it takes seeing and hearing the pain of others to see the pain I’ve caused. I wasn’t able to hear it from my wife but hearing it from all these other women who have gone through it is helping me develop and empathy I didn’t have.

      • Aly on June 18, 2020 at 3:01 pm

        I think it is such a blessing that you are open to this blog and are taking focus to hear other people’s experiences. This is powerful for many men in recovery if they are willing to do the repair work needed.
        One thing that you might consider- every time you deflect, dismiss or make some excuse etc. it double harms the process on rebuilding.
        Focus on you and what is 100 percent your part and
        Your wife will have different things that she will need to take 100 percent responsibility for.
        Consider yourself in relapse when you go back to those negative coping skills.

  32. Karen on June 18, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    I am so thankful for the gift that God has given you and for your ministry to be a voice for those of us that don’t know how to express our very painful situations.
    I have always found you to be well balanced, truthful and clear just as you are in your response to this counselor.
    Thank you for fighting! I cannot find the words to express my appreciation for all you have done for me personally. I was in a deep mess and was able to pull myself out with help from all of your resources.

  33. Aly on June 18, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Barbara B,
    It’s this sentence from the writer “ I’m working with a woman who has been strongly influenced by your website in negative ways which are in fact complicating the process of finding workable solutions (I was made aware of your resources through her).”
    And this sentence,” It destroys trust and seriously sets back the process of finding constructive solutions to that couple’s marriage struggles. ”
    There is no mention of his evaluation on whether there is an abusive pattern going on in the marriage. There is no mention of collaboration with other colleagues on the serious issues that the wife has brought forth.
    Abusive mindsets tend to like a 50/50 responsibly and often use language that speaks of ‘solutions’ for the marriage issues, rather than ‘this is how you are going to begin to rebuild what has been destroyed’.
    The writer defines them as struggles which could feel to the woman that the counselor is minimizing what’s going on. If abuse is taking place, the word struggle would be far from my vocabulary.

    • Barbara B on June 18, 2020 at 8:48 pm

      Oh yes, the good old 50/50 myth! I forgot about that one. If the wife is taking Leslie’s position that abuse is 100% the abuser’s fault, and the counselor wants everything to be 50/50, I can see how he could feel very frustrated and use that kind of language to describe the situation. The wife would be considered very uncooperative, especially since the counselor includes things such as “angrily clearing the temple more than once” as a proper leadership option for the husband. Since she’s scared of her husband of course she’s not going to feel safe or cooperate with that kind of blanket approval of physical displays of anger around the house.

      The cherry-picking of Bible verses is interesting, as this counselor cites Jesus’ activities but does not quote verses in the epistles that clearly lay out specific guidelines for husbands. Jesus angrily wielded a whip, yes, but the epistles clearly forbid husbands from carrying on like that in their homes with their wives and children. Not to mention that the anger and the whip Jesus used was to correct men for their abuse of power.

  34. Kay on June 18, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    Thank you, Leslie. As a survivor of an emotionally/spiritually/sexually/financially abusive marriage to a covert narcissist, I identify with much of what you said. I also thank you for taking a stand and representing those of us who have had our voices stolen.

    I have come to understand deeply that if a person has not experienced sustained abuse in their lifetime, they can not fully understand a victim’s position. Russ, it may be through no fault of your own that you come to the conclusions you have. If that is truly the case, humbly realize you are not equipped to understand or help a victim without immersing yourself in content like Leslie’s.

    A covert narcissist will slowly isolate their victim until the victim has little or no outside support, all the while conditioning their victim to believe they are crazy, worthless, no good. When the victim can no longer ignore the small, unsettled voice within them that whispers “something might not right”, it can take years (speaking from experience) to find the words to describe what is happening. If victim says to the counselor, “there is emotional abuse happening in my marriage”, it is best to take Leslie’s approach and believe her. Denying the victim, telling her she’s wrong, not believing her, telling her to “just get over it” is as abusive and damaging as what she is experiencing at home; more-so if the counselor responds to the victim with the abuser in the room. Doing so confirms to the abuser that he is right for abusing the victim and should continue to do what he’s doing.

    Over 8 years of counseling, 2 marriage counselors told me I was in the wrong, that my abuser’s treatment of me was my fault, and that I should “just get over it”. They had not educated themselves on abuse that does not leave bruises, and therefore caused more damage than good. Pause and reflect humbly on this statement: I, along with many other victims, have thought (even prayed to God) that our abusers would “just hit me so someone would believe me.”

  35. Patty on June 18, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    Leslie asks: “What words of wisdom might you share with this counselor?” My thought is “What is the point of counseling? To judge, and take sides?” It seems that this is what the counselor mistakenly feels he needs to do, as do so many pastors and Christians. I believe deep prayer for the words to say, is what the counselor needs to engage in, rather than judgment. Deep prayer will bring to mind the correct verses to help. Over time, the truth usually comes out. Be Christ-like in dealing with both the husband and the wife. Pray for truth. God gives us wisdom if we ask for it. God’s will is solely to bring people him, not to make sure no marriage fails. The marriage itself is not the goal, the people are.

  36. Debby Seguin on June 18, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    I laughed when got to the part about “maybe she has childhood issues” or “menopause issues.” They always revert to these 2. Mine did. If she was looking at your information, it wasn’t idle curiosity! She was there BECAUSE she is being mistreated and is confused about it and die by know what to do. This “counselor” is not experienced in trauma and abuse. He TEALLY wants to find a “solution” and the victim is no longer willing to “get with the program.” This counselor used EVERY EXCUSE for not just taking her seriously.

  37. Kelly on June 19, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    This seems unfortunately typical to me. Abuse is SUCH a sensitive and complicated topic that many people try to simplify it for manageability, but this can water it down to the point of being meaningless – which always benefits the oppressor. Leslie, your materials are Biblical and, I believe, outright anointed. God has used your ministry in the lives of SO many women like myself who have been absolutely “nowhere” in mainstream counseling and pastoral care. There are certainly going to be a few people here and there who use your material (or ANY material) to justify and support their own sin. This has nothing whatsoever to do with you. Please keep up the good fight of teaching us how to navigate our abusive relationships and helping us walk in strength and dignity for God’s glory. “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

  38. Autumn on June 19, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    I would recommend that the counselor become better educated on the complex subject of abuse. Read Evan Stark’s work on coercive control and learn how the UK considers coercive control punishable as domestic violence. Read Don Hennessey’s books on the victims of intimate partner violence and watch his you tube videos. Read Sam Vaknin’s book about malignant self love, he too has many disturbing videos you need to watch. Go to Natalie Hoffman’s website, Flying Free to hear the voices of women who have been emotionally abused and persecuted in variety of ways, including by the church. Visit a domestic violence shelter. Wade Mullen has an excellent presentation on his graduate work on the patterns of abusive men and the evil, pathological patterns they exhibit. Read F. Scott Peck’s, “People of the Lie.” Read Lundy Bancrofts books, especially, “Why does He do That?.”

    Be an educated provider, do not ask any victim to explain or defend her claim. You, be the knowledgeable party. You pick up the cues. You identify the problem and protect the victim. Give consequences, set boundaries, call out the abuser and help your client! If you do nothing else, never, ever counsel a couple together if one of them claims they are being abused. Don’t ask yourself how you can change the victim or why she says in her situation. Take all your energy and direct it to figuring out why the abuser abuses and how to stop his behavior. Out smart him and confront his manipulative, smooth talking deflections and blame shifting behaviors. Counselor, if you are dealing with an abuser, they are taking you for a ride. Don’t be a fool and worse yet, don’t collaborate with an abuser out of your pride or ignorance. If you don’t know what you are doing, refer your patient to a more skilled provider.

  39. Cyndy on June 20, 2020 at 1:36 am

    Fear is a subtle reality for a lot of people.  I’ve learned to recognize it in my life and I see it prevalent in many churches. I grew up in a good home, good people around me in good churches. But I realized in my previous marriage that fear was dead weight, sucking the life out of me. It kept me worried about a lot of the things this counselor is concerned with. It kept me from living in the freedom Jesus paid for. My ex husband was worried about keeping in good graces of his church leaders, saving face, doing what was right in their eyes, even if it meant following their direction instead of seeking to reconcile with, listen to, and sacrificially love his wife. I truly believe he didn’t mean to be abusive, but he was afraid more of disobeying them than losing me. I saw it in his eyes. I realize what I’m saying is very subjective. But Jesus didn’t worry about what people around him thought or how they took what He said. He only said what He heard His Father saying and did what He saw His Father doing. This did not often set well with the religious leaders because they were afraid he would mess things up for them. My point is very personal…please as a wise counselor, who I’m assuming has a personal relationship with Jesus, allow the Holy Spirit to look deep into your heart and mind and challenge what He sees there. That can be scary but He can be trusted. My life is proof of that! God bless you!

  40. Melanie on June 20, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Awareness comes first. Some women or men are very very slow to accept the reality of abuse–because they cannot clearly define it to recognize it. Leslie gives support for that.
    Unfortunately we are building a society of dependence upon experts–not experts who teach us HOW to be free. It seems to me that Leslie addresses a lot of things the supposed-abused have to work on to “become better persons.” These CORE concepts are concepts for everyone–learning how to speak up with respect, learning how to agree or disagree, without becoming dishonoring to yourself or the other. These are solid concepts.
    I have to admit I don’t go to counselors–I tried that. What they advised was not “true to myself.” I know of others who have gone, & perceive that the counselor believes the “charmer”. I have one friend who has seen a half dozen counselors–not has turned just to prayer …
    I agree there are very abusive women. My husband says men fear angry, out-bursting, manipulative women–certainly we all need to be humble & show self-awareness.
    I have read several of Leslie’s books. They are the ones I give my children. They are the ones I loan to friends. Do your work, and realize what is NOT your work. Pretty simple…

    • Sunny on June 24, 2020 at 3:38 pm


      Thanks for your careful and Biblical reply to the counselor who wrote this question.

      To the writer: Please consider your own biases, and your intentions in this situation. I have been in a relationship with an emotional abuser for several years now, and have gone to two different pastors at two different churches for help. Both of these men were extremely dismissive with me. One of them asked, “Why are you so afraid? Are you even a Christian? The Bible says that if you believe you shouldn’t have fear.” The second Pastor said, “Well, I can tell that your H really loves you. He is definately not an abuser, I just don’t see it at all. Just try this marriage conference and that will help everything.” I wanted to ask this Pastor if he’d ever been MARRIED to my H and lived in the same house as my H.

      Spousal abusers are in control of their actions. They know when to treat people at work or church or counseling office with perfect courtsey and kindness. They also know that they can likely treat their wife horribly, and no one would ever believe that he could do that. He is a master of image management, and capable of totally destroying his wifes credibility if she dares to speak the truth.

      • Aly on June 24, 2020 at 9:17 pm

        I think you were brave to go to two different pastors! I’m sorry for their ignorant dismissive Response! I think our mind wants to believe that there is ‘safety‘ in going to the church (a pastor) for help, yet often we see a similar outcome in these situations.
        You probably are aware that Leslie has a website and material to help educate church pastors and lay people about abuse.
        For now, it would be best that you see an individual professional counselor -well educated in these dynamics – that can assist you in navigating your journey.
        Speak the truth and believe that you are and will be believed. Your spouse may think he can out-clever you, but often spouse abusers underestimate their victims. Get equipped, plan and have a support system in place. You will find freedom if you haven’t already.

  41. Cindy Gurney on June 22, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    To the counselor,
    I’m glad you understand abuse and intimate relationships are complex. I am not sure they can be simplified, measured and tested in social sciences satisfactorily. But as each part of the body honors God’s principles and shares their giftedness with each other, I trust that every person could potentially be encouraged and edified sufficiently to experience hope, wisdom and intimacy in relationships. Unfortunately, in a sinful world, we only do this well when we are fully dependent on the Holy Spirit, and unfortunately, many people have other agenda’s guiding their way. May you be blessed with wisdom and revelation from the Holy Spirit for taking courage to confront Leslie and start a process of understanding.

    I propose you reconsider your bias. Your experience with these individuals and with others create preferences and assumptions and you need to be self-aware to determine which bias have evidence and which don’t. What evidences do you have that this woman is dishonest, for example?

    I propose you reconsider your expectations of how female victims should speak when sharing their abuse testimonies. For me, I think people in our church family do not easily accept my confrontation of my h’s abuse for a variety of reasons. Many either never heard me complain about it much before or they’ve known me to be confused, frustrated, exasperated, and hotly angry about it only in a vague and or partial way. When I say it I still feel intense about it. When I speak up, I try to make it simple and clear which may seem harsh. When I share about it, I am not sharing at length my own sin at the time so maybe I don’t come across humble. I also have truth in my heart that what my h has done is wrong that I am firm about this which may make me see less open to understanding or influence. I also slip in to judging him and feeling ‘incredible/appalled/upset’ for his being stubborn and not resolving his wickedness. Furthermore, as I tried to deal with the abuse, my mental health and physical health has been dinged so i am not always clear and comprehending the listener’s point of view. I also feel super fragile that I have become so isolated, that I am so awfully betrayed, and that the church culture is so busy that even people who care, rarely take action to care. Finally, there is a history of people having disbelieving, dismissive, hurtful responses which make me alert to that happening again and needing to guard my heart which may make me come across as not having a soft heart.

    I propose you reconsider popular culture and popular church culture that doesn’t like to talk about sin, wickedness or foolishness and about judging morality and confronting it. What does God think about porn and what do you think about it? Are you angry about the injustice and wickedness of porn? What actions does your fellowship do about it? What your intentions to do about it?

    I am not sure why you are stuck in your counselling of this couple. Is it because this man has no compassion about his wife’s suspicions and concerns? Is it because he is not gentle about her hurt and pain? Is it because he is not eager to servant serve her to reassure her and just wants to direct things instead? What have you done to guide this man to understand his wife so that his prayers won’t be hindered? What have you done to guide this man to demonstrate his integrity and faithfulness and rebuild her trust? What have you done to help this man improve loving his wife as his own body? How are you and this man submitting to this woman out of reverence for Christ? I am not sure what your goals are for this couple, but are your marriage goals really including this wife’s goals?

    So, this note involves emotional intensity, boldness, simplicity, direct questions… does that put you off? This note questions if this man is maybe not responding like a loving and respectful man. Many wicked image-protectors are able to be calm, confident, and convincing.

    I hope you find my sharing beneficial,in addition to the other input you’ve received.

    • Lily on June 22, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      Cindy, I sure hope he reads this! You wrote so clearly! I often don’t have the words to express…thank you!!

Leave a Comment

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?

Read More

I’m Sinking. How Do I Get Stronger?

Morning friend, I am exhausted but loved taking our three granddaughters for five days to San Diego for vacation. We went to Legoland and the beach and took long walks with the dog. (If you want to see a crazy video of me on a ride with my granddaughter, click here). We talked and colored…


Topic: My sister borrowed money and hasn’t paid it back. Help!

Good morning friends, I’m heading out to Dallas, Texas on Thursday to speak at the ABC Biblical Counseling Conference. I’d appreciate your prayers as I speak on Friday afternoon. Do you ever get so busy that God gets pushed to the side? I do, and I hate it. I would love nothing more than to…


My Husband’s Wonderful And Toxic. What Do I Do?

Morning friends, Our nation is in turmoil. We are grieving, scared, and not sure what the outcome will be. Some of that will depend on our next steps forward. I wrote this essay in response to the George Floyd murder and invite you to read it. Click here to view the post.  Question: I’m married…