Am I Controlling?

Morning friends,

I’m back home but in a mess. Living in one place for 3 ½ months and then transitioning back home and bringing everything back home creates a lot of work. Our little cabin freezes during the winter (yes there are places in Arizona that freeze), so all liquids need to come back here including cleaning supplies, makeup, etc.  

Our dog Addison had her female surgery last week and is doing just great. She gets her head cone off today and she will be happy to not crash into doorways and walls anymore.

Today’s Question: I am being told by my husband that I am being controlling, taking over the head of the house which leads to witchcraft, Jezebel, and antichrist etc. I’m told I need to release the control back to my husband. Otherwise, I will reap what I sow. 

After money being spent on things that did not need to be spent on and paychecks being spent before I had deposited them in the bank, I started to put my pay from work into a separate account. We have two children who need to be looked after. 

My husband is not working. Currently, he is being required to stay at another address because of destructive behavior. He believes it is my responsibility to fix up the court breach and if I had just done what he had said at the time none of this would have happened.

He apologizes and I always forgive. 

If I don't release the control, the person who he is staying with tells me my husband will probably move away. We have a 10 & 12-year-old and for him to even contemplate leaving I find difficult to understand or is this just further manipulation?

He is due to appear in a few court matters in the next few months.

Have you any advice for my situation?

Answer: First of all it’s interesting that your husband warned you that you are out of line by taking control of your own finances and that if you continue this behavior you will sow what you reap – implying that God will judge you harshly.  

But your husband can sow repeated abuse, financial instability, insecurity, unemployment, and irresponsibility and he’s not supposed to reap what he sows? You’re supposed to take care of that for him? How crazy is that?

You are right to be a good steward of the children’s needs. God calls you to that responsibility as their mother. Your husband has been fiscally irresponsible and is unemployed. You are the one who works and brings in the paycheck. In a normal healthy relationship that wouldn’t matter but your husband has repeatedly demonstrated financial irresponsibility, using your paycheck for his own pleasures instead of the family needs. Therefore, you must take charge of the money. If your husband was drunk or driving in an erratic way straight off a cliff, would you be wrong to try to get control of the car in order to prevent a catastrophic crash? Absolutely not!

Those who teach that a woman should sit silently and trust God while her husband behaves recklessly and dangerously with the family finances or other matters of safety are not biblical. Click To Tweet

If she has no options, that’s one thing, but if she does, that’s another. Remember Abigail? When her husband behaved foolishly and denied David and his men food, Abigail didn’t sit passively and hope that God would somehow protect her. She took action and did the right thing, not only for her household but also for Nabal. (see 1 Samuel 25 for the story)

Second, you can forgive your husband but that doesn’t mean you should trust him right now. He is not trustworthy. His apologies mean nothing. They are empty words to get you to soften up, do what he wants and get him out of trouble. Don’t do it. He is out of the house because a court has determined him destructive. Those are the legal consequence of his behaviors. Now he wants you to fix that for him. That’s not your job to do. What about him learning the lessons from this painful consequence by having to live apart from his family?

Third, he’s indirectly communicated to you that if you don’t fix things with the court and/or let him control the finances again he’ll move away. He is telling you something important. He only cares about himself, not you or your children.  

This may sound harsh but it might be a blessing for you and your children if he did move away. He is foolish, irresponsible, unteachable, and unwilling to learn from his mistakes. He thinks that because he is a man he gets to call all the shots while behaving recklessly and putting his family’s needs second to his own.  

That is not what biblical headship is all about. Biblical headship is about sacrificial servanthood, not getting one’s own way. Do you really want that kind of influence continually around your children?  

Last but not least, you need some godly support for the decisions you are making. It’s not easy to be a single parent and I hear your fear as you face your husband’s threats to move away. I hope you have found a good support system and if not, the ladies on this blog would love to encourage you. 

It would also be wonderful if you could find a good church that understood the terrible predicament your husband’s behaviors have put you in. Of course, you’d love to have your man handle things for you. Of course, you’d love to be married to someone who cherished you and the kids and worked hard to support and provide for his family. Of course, you wish he loved God and loved you more than he loved his own self. But that’s not what you have and if you want to be healthy, you must live in truth and reality. 

It’s easy to slide into wishful thinking, fantasyland and even spiritualize that thinking as loving, but it will be harmful to you to go there. Please make sure you are getting the support you need to stand firm and act courageously even when you feel afraid and wobbly.

Friends, what words of wisdom do you have to share from your experience in having to “take over” when your husband has abdicated his role as provider and protector in the family?


  1. Ivy on September 18, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I have read that in word have true forgiveness her husband must 1st be convicted by God repent and confess to you in to God and then it is up to you to decide to forgive him. Your husband does not sound like a man who has been convicted and his heart nor does he want to change. Instead he is using your children to threaten, manipulate, and control you. That does not sound like a loving or godly man, husband, or father. If he were to stay what kind of example would he set for the kids and what would he be teaching them as far as his lack of morals and values? You are doing the right thing by protecting yourself and your children from his destructive and irresponsible behavior. Do not give in to fear but instead stand strong! God will provide. He will wrap you in courage, thruth, wisdom, and love.

    • JoAnn on September 18, 2019 at 10:04 pm

      Also, please take note that a person like this, when he realizes that you are no longer his slave, will shed crocodile tears, “repent” and plead to get you back with promises of change. Please don’t cave in to this. There are others here who can testify to this danger. Should this happen, be sure that he demonstrates a genuine change which would take a lot of time to prove.

      • Libbie on September 19, 2019 at 8:45 am

        JoAnn, your warning is true….And I thank all you on here that have warned others and given your testimonies. That is the season my husband and I are in right now. He is apologizing and wanting both of us to give the marriage 100% just one more time to see if it can work. We’ve been separated 7 months, and every time he asks me to dinner or to talk, we end up in the exact same place as we’ve always been….arguing, him blame shifting, and then we both withdraw. It’s my fault for not keeping boundaries, and engaging in this….Some days I’m strong, and say no to his requests to spend time together, and other times I feel worn down, and think “What’s the harm?”

        But to hear your warnings that the change is only superficial, helps confirm it when I see small instances of old behavior or “red flags”.

        Your experiences and knowledge are helping others! Thank you all.

        • JoAnn on September 19, 2019 at 11:45 am

          Libbie, I’m really sorry for the way things are going. I know you have hopes for this marriage to be saved, but his behavior is showing you that it’s probably not going to happen. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Both partners have to work to make changes, and he is showing you that he is unable/unwilling to work on that. Please continue to guard your heart…for it is the well-spring of life.

          • Nancy on September 19, 2019 at 3:40 pm

            HI JoAnn, Libby,

            Yes, do guard your heart, as JoAnn suggested. When you think “what’s the harm?” Just think that the harm will be to the very source from where your life flows.

          • JoAnn on September 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm

            Libbie, another thought: if he wants to give it 100%, tell him to take that to a therapist who can help him make the changes he needs to. That is better done separately than together. Ask him what he thinks 100% means. Your definition would be separate therapy for a year at least. One hundred percent means doing “whatever it takes” to have a happy, satisfying relationship.

  2. Barbara B on September 18, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    I think only an ungodly person would see this mom as “taking over the head of the house.” A man who talks like that, and who says ridiculous things like witchcraft, Jezebel spirit, etc. really just needs to be completely ignored because what he is saying is childish nonsense. It sounds as though he is one of those men who deceitfully tries to pose as a husband, but really he is just an imposter trying to take advantage of the marriage covenant to get what he wants.

  3. Anne on September 19, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    It is wise to protect your children. They are innocent and voiceless and without any ability to change their circumstances. There is a book called A Woman’s Place by Bernadine Tillman. She addresses the incorrect doctrine many of us have swallowed about being born female and explains the actual role that God intended for woman to fill.

    • JoAnn on September 20, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      Anne, that sounds like a good book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. William on September 20, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Another clear cut case of abuse of abuse and control. I hope her husband does the work he needs to do to get better. I hope she can maintain strong boundaries.
    I have a question about financial abuse. My wife has multiple credit cards. When a statement arrived last year, I was curious about the current balance. I opened the letter to find over $3,000 had been spent on a recent trip my wife took. I was shocked and unsure of how to ask her about the money she spent. Previous encounters and her responses, either berated and and depressed, or combative and angry, made me apprehensive. I wanted to broach the topic with our marriage counselor to avoid a harmful conflict. She discovered the statement in my paperwork and we discussed it prior to a counseling session. She was angry that it had upset me, and said she would be paying for the bill out of her earnings. She proceeded to point out the purchases I had made in the past (often business related) without including her. There was truth in her words, but we had established a plan to discuss major purchases with each other before spending the money. We have both failed in this area. She said she was going to tell me…..why she waited I am not sure. I think it was shame/guilt and maybe fear. I have to admit I did try to see what it was she had spent the money by going through her receipts. Where did I cross the line into control and financial abuse? I really desire the transparency of, “I spent a lot of money. I had a weak moment.” I also desire to get to the the point of, “I am feeling like buying something. Do I need it? I am not sure if I am feeling clear about this. What do you think?” Of course, I tend to be a little weak, when asked by her for something. She can bend me fairly easily at times. LOL
    I really do not want to financially controlling, but I also want financial boundaries and responsibility. BTW our counselor reminded us that my money was her money, and her money was my money. AKA we were to be united financially. He also reminded us of the plan to communicate before large purchases. He added we need to have grace if either of us stumbled in this area. Sound advice, I think, but I still felt like my wife was feeling manipulated by the plan.

    • Nancy on September 20, 2019 at 4:11 pm

      Look up Dave Ramsey. He’s on podcast and YouTube. He has an app called ‘every dollar’ (it’s free but unfortunately not available in Canada. But still we use the website, it works the same way.)

      It takes about 15 minutes to set up a household budget on it. You do this together in advance of the month beginning (a great time now to prepare for October). You agree in advance of the month starting, where every dollar will go. It’s very easy and straightforward.

      When either of you spends any money, you enter it into the app. Total transparency throughout the month.

      This will avoid the ‘your controlling me’ argument. You’ve agreed in advance. The discussion happens in advance, not at the purchase point, or afterwards.

      • Nancy on September 20, 2019 at 4:15 pm

        Many US churches offer his course called Financial Peace University.

      • William on September 20, 2019 at 7:23 pm

        Thanks for the advice. I have tried to establish a transparent budget with my wife. I like the idea of using another, objective party to work on this area and bring accountability. I have tried some similar things for other dissensions in our marriage. It has not always gone well. My wife suggests I am trying to backdoor more power and control in our relationship. Please don’t feel like I am thwarting every suggestion. I truly do appreciate the suggestions and insight. When/how do I know if I am trying to establish more power over my wife? How do I convince her I truly desire mutual submission? I feel like I am a burden to you ladies……all my questions. I am constantly asking myself if I am being a Godly man, or if I am trying to use things to an unfair advantage.

        • Nancy on September 20, 2019 at 8:53 pm


          You make the budget and then it becomes an agreement between the two of you. If one of you breaks the agreement (by hiding purchases, or spending more than was mutually allocated to any given category) and does not take responsibility, then you have a bigger issue: untrustworthiness.

          This is another level altogether. Separate counselling would be best if there is a lack of trust.

          BTW, you don’t CONVINCE your wife of anything. You SHOW her by your behaviour.

          Are you trustworthy? Do u do what your say you’re going to do? If you don’t, then you have plenty to work on in individual counselling.

          If she isn’t trustworthy, then you need to guard your heart.

          • William on September 20, 2019 at 11:11 pm

            Ouch, Nancy. Good point about demonstrating by example rather than convincing. I don’t want to guard my heart, but she has broken trust… finances and relationships.

          • Aly on September 21, 2019 at 10:06 am

            How has she broken trust in relationships? Can you clarify.

        • Aly on September 21, 2019 at 10:09 am

          I’m curious what your wife might say about you and your overall relationship with money? Have you had a heathy dynamic about money stewardship in your life and during your marriage..? Not sure how long you have been married etc.

          • William on September 21, 2019 at 10:08 pm

            We have been married 16 years. I have always earned enough for us to make it, though at times we were pinched. We own a business and our home. My lack of fear for financial risk in business has tested my wife, but we have never failed to succeed.
            To clarify, she has had two emotional affairs in the last 4 years. She has also struggled with transparency about conversations with men. She just had a third emotional/physical affair. She said they have only kissed. It really hurts, but I don’t want her to feel rejected… she says she has never felt good enough for me.

          • Aly on September 21, 2019 at 10:37 pm

            I’m very sorry for what you have been going through. Betrayal is horrible and I do hope you and your wife have gotten interventions? From what you describe there are serious trusts issues that will effect all aspects of a relationship.
            I asked you a specific question about your relationship with money or how your wife might answer and I’m sure I understand your answer.
            Do you think that you are the one in charge of how money should be spent?
            Do you and your wife have separate accounts? Does your wife earn other income that you are unaware of?
            How did you find Leslie’s website and blog?

          • Nancy on September 23, 2019 at 5:55 pm

            Hi William,

            When you say “my lack of fear for financial risk in business has tested my wife, but we have never failed to succeed”

            I’m wondering if you feel as though you have respected her limits? Would she say that you respect her limits around these decisions?

            If you ‘succeed’ financially at the expense of her feeling insecure, is that success?

            Financial security is very important for many women.

            Is it possible that she needs to know that her security is more important to you?

        • JoAnn on September 21, 2019 at 11:49 pm

          William, Larry Burkett (now deceased, but has written books on financial planning) says that each partner should have a set amount of discretionary money that they can do whatever they want with and not be accountable for. I like this idea very much. You both develop the budget, and that app sounds like a great idea, but still you each get to do what you want with the allotted amount.

          • William on September 22, 2019 at 12:28 am

            I think my wife would say that I earn the money, but that I am not always aware of the expenses and where the money goes. She is right about that. From the start of our marriage I let my wife take care of family bills. I worried only about business expense. As time went on our family expense grew, as did her discretionary spending.
            We had separate accounts, but I closed mine as I saw no reason for it. She has two separate accounts into which she deposited her paychecks. I have also funded her small business sales ventures. She was hesitant to ‘borrow’ the money from the ‘joint’ account, but I assured her it was better than paying interest. We didn’t have a good business plan for repayment and she has never recouped her startup costs. I know the money was never as important to me as her responsibility.
            We never have been successful at establishing a budget. Setting an amount fir his discretionary spending is a great idea.
            To answer about intervention in betrayal. We have had counseling through it all. We had a good initial recovery. However, I often felt like she struggled with the shame of her infidelity, and never really owned it. She only began to divulge to her trusted friends and family after I told her she needed to level with some people after she started her second emotional affair. This was about a year after the first affair. She said she looks like a failure and everyone would say its all her fault. I remind her that it isn’t all her fault, because my struggles with pornography have not helped. I have been transparent about my problem with many friends and family. I have also walked in victory over pornography for many months over the last four years. I was sober for over a year, and have currently been sober for 10 months. I have confessed my failures to my wife. I hate to hurt her, but I know I have to be honest. God help me, I will not hurt her again. I also have some great accountability partners and work with my counselor on my problems.

          • JoAnn on September 22, 2019 at 1:57 pm

            William, From all the things you have told us, I see some things that are of concern: You are now admitting to pronography use. For that I recommend and also an accountability group.
            Another thought: if your wife has had emotional affairs, then I suspect that she is not getting her emotional needs met with you. You need to work on that with your therapist.
            Your wife seems to have some self esteem problems, which she needs to work on with her therapist and in her relationship with the Lord. The financial issues are just an outgrowth of so many deeper issues, trust being one of them. Your wife’s shame would be resolved by a close and intimate relationship with the Lord—He is forgiving when we repent, but sometimes we can’t forgive ourselves. Spiritual counseling will help. Is there an older, wiser woman in your church who could mentor her?
            I sincerely hope and pray that the two of you can work through all of this and develop a loving and satisfying relationship with each other and the Lord.

          • Aly on September 22, 2019 at 3:41 pm

            William, JoAnn,
            JoAnn what you posted is well said. I hope that you will take to heart the important things JoAnn listed.
            William, I’m wondering about your last post and the information you gave. Some of the focus seems to be on ‘money’ verses the more concerning issues that are of the heart and health of your marriage.
            For ex.(separate accounts via your wife) (and he not repaying business start up costs?)
            This is weird. As a married couple who shares finances and responsibilities, my husband would consider a start up business as much as his investment as it is mine since we are married.
            Who is she supposed to pay $ too?
            If I started a business, the money would be from both my husband and myself (as the money is a joint asset)
            Why are you saying your wife borrowed money from you? I can’t borrow money from my husband since it’s jointly ours.
            My point is it would seem beneficial to have your focus be about repairing your marriage, your hearts and overall trust-(serious betrayal areas) versus the focus on the financial issues.
            Maybe this money issue isn’t really what you are trying to address here? As a wife myself, I would struggle with the posture you may have about money and I’m not sure I would feel like a partner with you.

          • Nancy on September 23, 2019 at 2:58 pm

            I agree with JoAnn and Aly here.

            William, your skewed perspective on your household finances (as Aly pointed out, your finances should be viewed as a joint asset- regardless of who makes what amount) is a symptom of a deeper issue.

            “Unto thee all my worldly goods, I do pledge”. From what you have written about money, it seems to me that you have reneged on this marital promise…?

            And as I said earlier, If you can’t budget together, this is another symptom of a deeper issue. (Budgeting takes communication, expressing needs and wants, compromise, dreaming together, accountability and follow through. And yes, JoAnn, I agree with what you said about freedom to have discretionary money that each person doesn’t need to be accountable for. This still though, needs to be put on a line in the budget as perhaps ‘William’s discretionary fund’).

            How did you come to find this site? I’m glad you are here by the way, and willing to listen and be transparent about your own struggles.

  5. JoAnn on September 21, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    William, it’s important for you to pray diligently for your wife and your marriage. Give God the job of saving your marriage, and even more, surrender yourself to His will in prayer. Let Him do His work in both you and your wife. Find verses that you can use to pray with. Use this situation to allow the Lord to do a deep work in your soul. He is well able to overcome the problems in your marriage.

    • William on September 22, 2019 at 12:32 am

      I do pray. I like to pray scripture also. I want to pray for God’s will and not mine. Do you have some scripture you could suggest I pray for my wife? I would appreciate your objective insight over my subjective desire. I know it is only God who can truly heal us.

      • JoAnn on September 22, 2019 at 2:02 pm

        Paul’s prayers in Ephesians is a great way to pray for others. We need to pray prayers of faith in the God who is able to do abundantly beyond what we can ask or think, keeping our eyes on Him and what He can do, and not the problems. This will strengthen your faith.

        • William on September 22, 2019 at 10:08 pm

          I am not sure how to extend the proper thread at the proper place. I have two or three things that should be explained better. First I will address the pornography. Pornography has the power to raise the blood pressure of people. When a person admits failing in this area what response should it solicit? Anger, sadness, compassion, shame, forgiveness. I hope it will causes all of these feelings.I feel that when I admitted struggles against pornography it caused a negative tone to develop. I know pornography is sin. What’s more, it is very damaging sin to my wife. My ignorance to the enormous pain it caused my wife is a great regret. I am not trying to hide it or minimize it. I have struggled against this sin for years. I could walk in purity for 10 years and still be susceptible. Is that an excuse for failing? Not at all. I know men who have fallen after years of purity. Does that mean they weren’t trying? I also know confessing a sin does not equate repentance. I have to be diligent to stay pure. I will openly share with anyone who asks what my struggle is and what I am doing to address it. I have done counseling for my problems and I recognize the triggers and when I am the most susceptible. Does this mean I will not fail? Of course not. Does this mean I am in a healthier place than I have ever been in this struggle? I sure hope so.
          My wife struggling with emotional affairs is troublesome. If she is not getting her needs met by me, what is her recourse? Through our counseling I have learned much about her needs. It is frustrating though, as the more I learn, the less we seem to connect. I know she has to learn her identity and worth in Christ. I want to do the work. Question: how does a Godly woman mentor respond to my wife’s emotional affairs? How does a Godly woman mentor respond to my wife’s pain and anger over my porn failings? She has had some Godly friends, but she is not transparent with them. She has not had an older, mature and Godly mentor. I pray for that.
          The financial questions: I know there are many areas of trust that need addressing in my marriage. The financial area was a problem prior to any emotional affair. The example I used was about when my wife wanted to borrow money to start her small business. I said use money from our joint account. I am not understanding how that is borrowing from me. I realize I said I had funded her startup costs. It should be clarified that I said she should use money that I earned, because that is ‘our’ money. Is this borrowing from us? Is this a debt that should be repaid? A debt can also be forgiven. (I never actually considered this as unfair. I truly felt that money she earned was hers and money I earned was ours. I never considered using money from her account for anything. So, I thought, when she repaid the startup costs, it went back to us. Then her business income would be hers.) When the cost of business is not recovered, it is just a lost investment. If my wife had borrowed the money from a lender, and had not recouped the expense, we would have repaid the loan. Was there not some elements of this very thing in the initial blog? The husband was irresponsible with money and was putting the family at risk.
          I agreed my wife should use our money for her business. Is it inaccurate to say it was ‘her’ business? I didn’t do the work or make the sales. What are my responsibilities in her business? Please, be patient with me. I am asking a lot of questions (mostly to myself) as I try to understand all that is right or wrong in our relationship. The title of this blog, “Am I Controlling”, is why I am here. My wife has told me I am controlling and I want to recognize where. If finances are an area I am controlling I want to reboot my thinking. Thanks for you help.

          • Aly on September 23, 2019 at 10:28 am

            I think it’s a good thing that you are seeking perspective on if you are controlling things in a financial way. I do think what your wife ‘experiences’ is key because she is the one who is your partner in these things so her experience matters.
            Have you asked her for examples of how you are controlling in s financial way? Maybe this will help you see from her point of view.

            The betrayal issues in your marriage are serious and I’m sorry if you felt a negative tone. That’s wasn’t my intent but I do feel like you started your posting to focus on your wife’s offenses and her past betrayals without bringing to light your past betrayals upfront. Maybe you did originally and I missed a post?

            Thanks for clarifying the money situation. I guess from my perspective I would be uncomfortable with the posture of my husband referring to ‘money HE earned’. Or even the emphasis of that. Maybe that’s not what you are trying to portray -posts can be hard to convey with out tone etc.
            Personally, I believe my husband and I are stewards of our money because ultimately it isn’t ours, it’s Gods.
            We are responsible to use it as managers.

            Also, regarding your porn recovery work, I would try best to put yourself in your wife’s shoes on this because ‘this is a sacred sexual betrayal’ and you have clarified that you can’t offer complete faithfulness in this area. This would be hard for any wife to face and try to navigate as your sacred spouse.
            You both need special treatment to work toward rebuilding a new relationship.

            This isn’t to not put focus on her affairs or how wrong they are and how they further damage your relationship.

            But I wonder what it would feel like to you if her posture of recovery was to you- ‘I’m hoping that I won’t have another affair, but I can’t guarantee that I won’t fail in that area’.
            How much safety, trust and hope would you have in that?

          • Nancy on September 23, 2019 at 3:33 pm

            “Is this a debt that should be repaid?”. There is no debt one to the other, or her to ‘us’. You are one.
            “I felt that money she earned was hers and money I earned was ours” this is wrong thinking, it’s not equal – You are one.

            When we marry, we choose to be united. There is no longer ‘my money and your money’. It should all go into one big pile on the table.

            It’s all OUR money (and within that, as JoAnn pointed out, each person has their ‘fun money’ to do with as they please).

            Your description of how you are thinking about money is very complicated.

            The number one reason given for divorce in N. America is finances. You say finances were a problem before the affairs.

            Walking through a process of simplifying things might really expose where the power and control issues come into play. Money has a way of magnifying what is going on in our hearts. It’s why we hear story after story of lotto winners going off the rails.

            Again, I’m glad you are here.

  6. William on September 23, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Well said. I will ask for clarity about finances from wife as we move forward. I did not mean to minimize my pornography problem. I may have mentioned it on another blog reply, but I didn’t initially volunteer it in this thread. I answered the question about how my wife had broken trust. I know I have broken trust also.
    Porn is not currently a problem for me, yet the damage does affect the present. I don’t want to make unwise promises. A trite example is, “I am sorry I am late. I promise I won’t be late again.” It would be foolish to say that. My promise for pornography to my wife is this: “I will try, with all my heart, to be faithful to you sexually and mentally. I will not deny pornography is sin and it is my problem to overcome. I will be accountable to Godly men and to you and to whoever else you want. You have the right to look at all of my devices. You have the right to ask me if I have been pure. I will be honest with you. I will not hide from the truth. If I stay submitted to God and to you, I will not fail in this area.” Is that an empty promise? I am not asking for permission to fail. I don’t want to fail. I am very open about pornography with my group of friends. I won’t diminish it, and I will tell them I know it is a struggle. I will tell them it is a terribly damaging sin.
    I have never felt this transparency from my wife concerning her relationships. If my wife made a similar promise to me, I would weep with compassion. If my wife had another affair, and broke my trust again, should I give up? I know I am trying to balance grace with accountability. Do you know many persons who have forgiven their spouses for pornography? Was the forgiveness conditional on the spouse never relapsing? Do you know many persons who have forgiven their spouses for infidelity? Was the forgiveness conditional on the spouse never relapsing? We understand trust is built one day at a time. If I continually fail at day two or six, I obviously have to do something different. If I fail at year 10, I did some really good work, and I need to repeat it. My wife was faithful for 12 years. She had a failure. I forgave her. A year and half later she had another failure. I forgave her again. This year she had another failure. Do I forgive her again? Yes, I do. Do I want her to keep doing the same things that haven’t worked? Absolutely not!! The same goes for my pornography problem. If what I am doing doesn’t work, I need to change.

    • William on September 23, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      A side question for you about finances. I like much of your thinking about the money being, ‘ours’, but actually being God’s. Would you entertain this scenario: Say your husband gave up some free time to earn extra money. He used the money to buy or to do something special for you. Whose money did he spend? Would you tell your friends, “My husband bought this thing for me.”? Would you say, “We bought this thing for us.”? Now, you may have had to sacrifice time with him, so he could work extra . Is that how you would say his sacrifice, was your sacrifice? Would it be impolite/improper for your husband to say, “I worked a bit extra so I could buy this for my wife.”? What would be the best way to show mutual respect for each other in this financial situation. I really want to clearly understand mutual respect and responsibility in this area. I realize gifts are a different animal than investments, but the money still spends similarly. Am I wrong to think: A person is responsible for the money he/she earns. That person responsible for the money he/she spends. If a person spends more than the person earns……is God responsible? LOL (a little satire) Now, seriously, help me reason through this in a Godly way.

      • Aly on September 23, 2019 at 4:33 pm

        You wrote:
        “Am I wrong to think: A person is responsible for the money he/she earns. That person responsible for the money he/she spends. ”

        Yes, I believe this is not a healthy posture when it comes to a marital union especially the trust areas that you are facing. A marital union is ‘one’ in finances and responsibilities. Legally this is also true on paper and liability.

        It sounds like you have separate money and responsibilities (or want to?)with your wife in your marriage?

        • William on September 23, 2019 at 6:16 pm

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I will have to think through these things. What about my question who is responsible for spending beyond our means? In the case of the blog question, was the husband to be accountable for his financial choices? The family needed separation from his destructive behaviors, including his financial choices. Did I misunderstand that.

          • Aly on September 23, 2019 at 6:35 pm

            I believe Leslie answered this question pretty clearly.
            Is your wife spending irresponsibly and putting you and your family at risk? Either way given the issues and some (questions and steps you need to address directly with your wife) your focus seems to be on the financial versus the repair of your marriage- which seems disproportionate given the betrayals and disconnection issues. Those I think might take priority especially if you and your wife are not in financial ruin or serious risk.

            Forgiveness is that, Forgiveness. It does not always mean reconciliation or restored trust for a sacred relationship.

        • William on September 23, 2019 at 6:41 pm

          It seems like the united mentality Aly and Nancy desire for their marriage is not what I was achieving in my marriage. I actually did fear that my wife would feel controlled through finances. My father was a controller and so was her’s. I thought if she had her ‘own money’ it give her security and freedom and hopefully reduce my propensity for control. It seems like a bad plan now. Thanks for your patience.
          Would you allow me to complicate the issue further? I have mentioned in another thread that my wife and I are separated. She decided she should move out and thought it best for our four children to stay with me. It was agreed this was to be a sabbatical time for space and healing. She would find a counselor and I would continue with mine. With our marriage counselor we planned a budget for my wife.We took enough money from our joint account and deposited it her account for a four month period. It has been a difficult three months. She has spent all of the initial money and received additional money ($3,000) from her mother. She also has increased credit card debt on her personal cards. We have paid over $3,000 to her credit cards. Much of this this has been discretionary spending. How do I ask for accountability with a heart united for marriage? Is this controlling or unloving? I don’t know if more numbers mean anything. I want to give accurate accounts of what is happening and to best lead and submit in my marriage. I know my wife is hurting (obviously the third affair indicates a brokenness), so what do I do to help her and to protect our finances? On the bright side, my wife has started engaging with a counselor. That has been a huge answer to prayer.

          • Nancy on September 23, 2019 at 7:25 pm

            Hi William,

            As I see it, this detailed financial problem that you outline has nothing to do with money.

            Your wife has not done what she agreed to do. It’s that simple.

            She has broken your trust and unlike forgiveness, trust must be earned.

            If she does not take responsibility (and do what it takes to earn back your trust in this area) for this very clear breach, then you have an even bigger issue: She is unrepentant.

            Why not buy Leslie’s book Emotionally Destructive marriage and read through it?

            When a spouse is unwilling to own their mistakes and take action to make amends, loving them looks very different. At that point it’s no longer about “having a heart United for marriage” because it is not mutual and therefor not a marriage at all.

            At that point it’s about setting limits and making requirements of her, in order to find out if she is willing to do the work to gain back your trust and be reconciled to you.

            Applying that type of love is what this blog is all about.

          • Nancy on September 23, 2019 at 7:31 pm

            Sheep, I’d love to hear your thoughts here.

          • JoAnn on September 23, 2019 at 7:32 pm

            William, Thank you for elaborating further. From what I see here, you are doing your best to provide for a wife who, while separated, is being irresponsible with the finances you have provided and now she is upset that you are “controlling” her. She moved out of the house and left the children with you. But now she wants more money from you so she can soothe herself by buying compulsively. Really?? (And by the way, that is not going to contribute to her “healing.”) If you determined that the amount of money you have given her to live on should be enough, but now she is overspending, then by limiting her, no, that is not controlling. That is a boundary that needs to be in place if she is not going to run you into bankruptcy. Of course she is going to complain about the limits, but such a boundary needs to be in place. If you were divorcing, and this was the legal document, she could not keep asking for more. The court would uphold the agreement. Now she is accumulating more debt, and you are probably going to end up having to take care of that, too. My thought here is that there needs to be more limits.
            So, to address your original question….after reading all that you have told us, in my humble opinion, you are trying to be responsible with the money you have earned (forget about whose it is), but your wife is overspending and being irresponsible with the family finances. So, no, that is not controlling. She is behaving like a spoiled child who is unhappy that she can’t have another piece of candy. As Aly said, all that we have is from God, so we have a responsibility before Him to manage it well.

          • JoAnn on September 23, 2019 at 9:20 pm

            William, it’s good that your wife has her own counselor, but what will the counselor know about what is going on? Can you trust that your wife will be transparent and share her part in this situation? After all that you have shared here, I see her as the one who needs some very serious help. (I’m surprised that your marriage counselor hasn’t seen this.) Think about this: if she were being responsible with the finances, would you feel a need to control? Maybe that answers your question. Do you try to control her behavior in other ways? Do you forbid her to go to certain places, or tell her how to spend her time? Do read Leslie’s book, and go through the check list for yourself to see if you are being abusive in any way. It may be that what your wife experiences as “controlling” is just you trying to keep your family intact.

      • Aly on September 23, 2019 at 4:50 pm

        Not long ago I was out shopping and bought my husband some clothes. He likes when I buy him stuff.
        The money came from our joint checking account.
        However, I still would say, “honey, I found some things for you today!” This is because it was from me doing the buying and the thought.
        Even though most likely the money came from his work earnings which is our funds to manage.

        • JoAnn on September 23, 2019 at 9:08 pm

          Nancy, I’m glad you invited Sheep to chime in here. I’d been thinking the same thing.

          • Aly on September 24, 2019 at 10:09 am

            This is in response to your above post.
            You wrote:
            “Think about this: if she were being responsible with the finances, would you feel a need to control”

            Personally, based on Williams’ posts and information I’m not sure I could say whether or not a spouse was irresponsible or not? I think area can be pretty subjective and carries a lot of variables when it comes to (a separation where there are two livings expenses)

            I also think William does seem to struggle with certain aspects of money (within a marriage) based on some of his posts and the questions he is confused about.

            I think it’s important to remind ourselves of the LONG TERM consequences of (porn betrayal and emotional affairs) that can look and affect marriages differently.

            In general, being that porn & sexual addiction has become such an epidemic (not trying to single this out William) but its wise of us to understand that consequences can be a lifetime, consequences can affect the next generation and those to come, consequences can even be a that of a causality of a marriage or other relationships.

            I don’t believe that many young men and men in past generations have been educated on the long term effects overall and how some aspects can affect women differently.

            Yes, I agree the wife (Williams) needs very good counseling and help in this area, but it could also be that she is seriously struggling with the emotional affects of many aspects of her marriage?
            Betrayals, porn infidelity, porn use associated with money? Having separate money can make a woman feel even more unsure if her husband isn’t being faithful to her.
            Her affairs are wrong and maybe she doesn’t want to see about the repair of her marriage? Subconsciously, maybe she is trying to screw things up to end the marriage with her husband… even though to outsiders it can look like she is irresponsible etc.
            These are hypothesis because we only have heard from William.
            I find it difficult to understand that one of his pressing questions is about if he is being controlling financially, yet hasn’t offered that question for his wife to answer from her experience? This to me makes me wonder.. how much does he really care what his wife thinks about things?
            I say this because a residual of porn use is that a spouse often is treated as a role or object rather than a person worthy to love and value, worthy of opinions and areas of decisions.

  7. Leslie C. on September 23, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    One of the best things that could have happened for my children and I is that my ex moved to another country at the height of his abdication. Transitioning into single motherhood can be a bit of a shock, even when our husbands did next to nothing while they were in the home. To the woman who asked the original question, I pray that you find a great support network, including strong, “awake” male role models for your children. God will provide.

    • JoAnn on September 24, 2019 at 7:54 pm

      Well said, Leslie C. A good support network is so important, and I am so glad that you are now able to build a new life for yourself and your children. Yes, God will provide.

  8. William on September 23, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Nancy and Joann,
    I do appreciate your insights. I have to admit the words used to describe my wife and her problems make me cringe. I want to defend her and justify some of her choices. I love her. I want to heal our marriage. I have hurt her badly emotionally. Much of the damage was from early in our marriage. I was ignorant and arrogant. I did not deserve my wife. The last five years have humbled me and I don’t want her to hurt that way again. Nor do I want her to be hurt by others. Understanding one’s problems does cause pain though, and I think that is why she medicating through spending and relationships.
    I understand the trust issues go much deeper than money. My intention on this blog question was to understand how I could be emotionally controlling my wife, especially through finances. I see how my/her perspective was wrong. I want to find solutions to the smaller things as I wait on her to heal. I want to be ready to be better in marriage. I will be getting Leslie’s book.
    BTW I discovered this website through my wife. Leslie was a resource my wife used to justify separation. I wanted to understand Leslie’s perspective and if I could benefit from her teaching. I actually thought I should ask my wife to separate for months before she decided we should. My pastor and our marriage counselor said it was unwise for me to ask and probably unnecessary. They were probably right, as my wife struggles with self-worth and feelings of rejection, If I had asked her to leave it could have destroyed her. I prayed for God to show me what path to take, if we should separate. When He answered, I was broken and depressed. Sometimes God’s answers are not what we want.
    I saw someone ask for Sheep’s insight. Is Sheep a husband, who had a similar story to mine? I would like to know more, but what I really want is testimonies of healed marriages that reconciled. I want to hear how people changed into Christ’s image and saved their marriage.

    • Nancy on September 24, 2019 at 2:18 am

      i understand that you want testimonies of healed marriages. Your marriage is in serious trouble and you want to control the outcome. This is normal, but neither emotionally nor spiritually healthy.

      The hardest first step of this journey, William, is leaving the outcome in The Lord’s hands. This is not some trite saying – it is a critical step in you loving well.

      Your wife has separated from you. You each have individual counsellors. Now is the time for you to work on your own growth and relationship with Christ. It’s an opportunity to fall on your knees and ask ‘what is my part?’ and work on that. If your part has been enabling your wife’s bad behaviour with money, then you have to stop doing that (and stop caving in because of her ‘low self esteem issues, or because she calls reasonable limits ‘controlling’. Godly, kind and firm strength is needed her). Since you had a porn problem, you have to continue dealing with that (as it seems, you are).

      But until you leave the outcome to The Lord, then everything you do will be with the underlying attempt to control the outcome. Your wife can feel that a mile away.

      Personally, it was The Lord who released me from trying to control the outcome. Only then can you ’emotionally detach’ from this marriage and from her, which is another critical step. If I were you, that would be my prayer.

      Lord, enable me to trust you with the outcome. Enable me to release my marriage to the foot of the cross. You know what is best, Lord, for each of us and for our children. I do not. Enable me to accept, Lord, that it may mean the end of my marriage.

      “Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your path straight”

      May God Bless you

      • JoAnn on September 24, 2019 at 3:13 pm

        Well said, Nancy. Good advice for everyone.

    • Nancy on September 24, 2019 at 2:32 am

      Your last sentence reveals some really flawed thinking. We can never be saviour, no matter how Christ-like we become.

  9. Kay on September 24, 2019 at 5:03 am

    I am the only breadwinner in my family. My husband does not work and has not worked for the past 20 years. He says its difficult to get a job and he chose to stay home to look after our son. Some years ago I discovered him having an affair with a young girl half my age and it broke my heart. He gave the reason that I was not beautiful enough, too fat etc, etc.

    I spend a fair amount of my earnings on myself, on clothes, makeup, treatments, etc, and this was even before I knew of the affair. If my husband knew how much he will raise hell so I keep it a secret. He tries to control the finances and has abused his position of trust by using monies earned by me on his girlfriend and other stuff I don’t know about. There is very little balance in the account at the end of each month so he must be using it or keeping it in a nest egg for himself.

    I shared this with my BFF and she said it was wrong of me to spend money on myself without telling my husband. If I told him he will try to stop me from treating myself. Probably so that he can keep aside that money for himself. He won’t even tithe.

    What should I do?


    • Leslie C. on September 24, 2019 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Kay,

      I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to you. I have been there too. During my work with Leslie V., she taught me about setting boundaries. You may need to start there- she has a really good video about it on her facebook channel.

      “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” 2 Thess 3:10.

      Leslie C.

    • JoAnn on September 24, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Kay, I am so sorry, but I have to ask, why are you still with him? You have the means to support yourself, and he has committed adultery. You deserve better than this, and he doesn’t deserve you at all. Please find a counselor for yourself, preferably a christian (go to to find one near you), and begin to build a support system. Read “Redemptive Divorce” by Mark Gaither to learn a strategy for moving forward. I have to disagree with your BFF; while in many cases this would be considered dishonesty, your h has proved himself to be untrustworthy, so giving him this information would be putting yourself in danger. My heart breaks for you.

  10. Janice D on September 24, 2019 at 6:06 am

    I’ve been following this weeks blog with interest as it hit very close to home for me.My husband and I have a very different value attached to financial security.We were both single into our mid 30s with established careers when we married.I tried to honor his need to save and live well below our income.After 27 years of marriage( the last 14 months legally separated) I am now once again living financially independent and in freedom.I see how my husband makes decisions based on short term and tunnel vision values which makes a good thing ( frugalness) into a bad thing( cheapness). His lack of generosity was a source of much difficulty and concern during our marriage.This is a deep heart issue that only God can attend to.I so appreciate Nancy’s wisdom about laying our marriages at the foot of the cross as that is what finally gave me peace.My husband is still trying to “ fix” ( read control) our marriage and has used the same tactics on me that we can apparently only honor God with a “ reconciled” marriage.He thinks we are a bad testimony to our son and daughter- in- law. We are both in individual counseling and I have met with him twice.He has a new vocabulary but a I don’t sense true heart change.He sent me a link to a pastor who stated “ 99 out of 100 marriages should stay together” and “ a bad marriage is better than a good divorce”. How heart breaking to think of being under this kind of “preaching”.I pray daily for my husbands release from bondage and am also praying for guidance in moving forward to finalize the divorce.Some relationships are so badly damaged that trust may never be able to be repaired.

    • Aly on September 24, 2019 at 8:58 am

      Janice D,
      I’m so glad you are experiencing peace and freedom. I’m sad for your husband and his ignorance to follow more ignorant ‘soundbites’ of the topics of Christian marriage. Your reference of the article reminded me of the ‘it takes two to tango’ when couples are having problems.
      And so many marital counselors were educated to assist couples in this manner even couples in crisis.
      You wrote:
      “Some relationships are so badly damaged that trust may never be able to be repaired.”
      How true and how sad. I do know from my own pain of this that there are plenty of people who don’t have a grasp of repair and transformation work even through they are professing Christians.
      Not that you need to respond to your husband, but if he tells you again what a bad testimony you and him are to your adult children, consider correcting him.
      You both would be a far worse testimony if you stayed married and pretended it was a marriage, this would not glorify God!
      Sending prayers to you.

      • William on September 24, 2019 at 12:20 pm

        I really do want to answer your question about how my feels about money and how I handle it. I honestly don’t know. I hope I have a chance to ask and do better. I know more stomach for risk in investment has tested her. I have come to recognize the need for her security and the need to discuss large investment expenditures. I also know that anytime in our marriage that she spends compulsively( ie: She ordered 2 or 3 pairs of leggings which were a good deal for $60-80) she was ashamed and tried to hide the purchase and then would justify it. I thought I was trying to be gentle, when I asked if she needed more leggings. She already had 8 or more pairs. It is a small matter, but the small matters source from the big. I didn’t mean to be controlling over $60-80. I just wanted us to be a good steward of our money. I see how a set amount of discretionary money is very wise and helpful to us.
        I also felt robbed of the opportunity to spend on my wife . How can I buy her something she wants if she buys it for herself? How can I spend on her, if the money is already spent? Maybe this is petulant. I truly want to be able to give her gifts, because she is my bride. Please understand, and I am second guessing sharing this, I love to give my wife gifts. Almost every month, I would give my wife flowers, sometimes more than once. I am not that romantic, but I know she likes gifts and flowers. It was something I knew I could give my wife which would need replaced. Flowers were also something that she didn’t buy herself. I still buy her flowers while we are separated.
        Aly, is any of this an explanation you were looking for?

        • William on September 24, 2019 at 12:33 pm

          Sorry for a couple of typos. I have more stomach for risk than my wife. I am sure you figured out what I was saying.

    • Nancy on September 24, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      HI Janice D.,

      I’m so glad that you have His Peace. Thanks for sharing here. It shed light for me.

  11. Janice D. on September 24, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Thanks,Aly..appreciate your wisdom.So many professing believers are as Leslie
    states more committed to the institution of marriage than the people in the marriage.I believe I am helping my son and daughter-in-law by being transparent about my journey.They are also discovering the challenges of dealing with my husband without me at his side smoothing things out.I have come to understand that my prayers for my husbands healing are more sincere now that the outcome doesn’t necessarily involve me.It is freeing to trust God and have a thankful heart for His provision to me of a safe,nurturing apartment of my own.” The joy of the Lord is my strength” is a beautiful truth and isn’t dependent on our circumstance in life.This is not what I would ever had wanted for myself or my husband,yet it is where I am finding contentment. This blog has been truly a blessing to me.

    • Aly on September 24, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      Janice D,
      I have also felt similar things in my grief and loss when it relates to the joy of the Lord being strength.
      Nothing you ever want or desire to have community ‘in’ but yet the grief or ‘circumstances’ as you might say, …seem to create the need for community.
      It’s essential it seems in staying in the journey and recovery overall.

  12. William on September 24, 2019 at 11:56 am

    You all are so prolific with your thoughts and encouragement. I really do appreciate.
    Aly, thanks for defending my wife. It is hard to know what is being fairly represented. I know my wife has felt controlled. I know I do tend to control,especially after her infidelity. It has been an extreme test on my will. My wife states that I am very articulate and convincing, a tell tale-trait of a manipulator. My counselor said that I am very good at dialogue and a superior debater. I am not trying to toot my own horn. I don’t want to unfairly represent my wife or to win an argument. I don’t want to win period. I want to stop doing damage to my relationship and to be a Godly man and husband. I have had to learn how to lead corporately. BTW once I was accused of being manipulative and controlling I started second guessing everything I said or did. It is hard thing to swallow. That is one reason I ask so many questions of myself and in this blog……what is Godly leadership/accountability and what is ungodly control?
    Aly, you have so much truth in this about pornography. I don’t think every woman responds as my wife has, but you may have a similar understanding as her. I did not understand the damage pornography did to my wife. I am willing to share more details of my struggle (it started 26 years ago, well before my wife) and my path to recovery. If anyone wants more clarity just ask. When I confessed to my wife that I struggled with porn 12 years ago, she said she would forgive me. She hid the pain and the damage. I knew it was sin and I knew it hurt her, but she is gifted at masking pain. She has explained she was trying to be a ‘good Christian’. She was to forgive and forget. I don’t think her nor I fully understood the concept of forgiveness. Of course, the subsequent failures I had with pornography did more damage. I was ignorant of the deep hurt it did to my wife until last year, as she began to pour out the her heart, full of anger and bitterness. It broke my heart. My sin did this. I thought the porn was my struggle and the full realization of how it devastated my wife…….it was sobering. Now, if I ever have the opportunity to be real with people about my struggle or their struggle with porn I am emphatic that they understand the damage, betrayal, and long term consequences of this sin.
    My wife’s betrayals have been kept fairly undisclosed. Bseides our counselor, only our best friends and family know of her first two affairs. My mother and father do not know of any of her affairs, nor does her father. She has told only one friend and her sister and mother about her third affair. She has not told her counselor. I have only shared with my best friends (four) and my counselor. I have not shared with anyone in my family. My counselor advised me to tell our pastor, which I did. He, also is a close friend. (Notice the trend here. I am convincing. Well respected in the church. Friends with the pastor. Open about my failures. All signs I am a masterful manipulator. How do I know if the is true of me???? Such questions constantly bog me down.)
    My counselor is troubled that my wife has not shared with her counselor yet. JoAnn, you asked what my wife is telling her counselor…..I am not sure, but I know that the shame of infidelity is so great to her, she has hesitated to be transparent even with her counselor. One reason I have entered this blog is because I needed to vent and to be honest with things that have been troubling me and our marriage. I have a good body of Godly men to share with, but how objective are friends? You ladies do not know me or my wife so I feel I can be honest about her shame without hurting her. I can be honest about my feelings without any affection from you. You can be objective, and for that I am grateful.
    Can you tell me how I can fight for my marriage without being controlling? Can I encourage her to be faithful to her vows? Can I ask her if she is seeing anyone? Can I encourage others to engage with her, to hear her story and to walk with her through her pain? I don’t want her to hurt and be alone.
    I share the sentiment that most marriages can be saved. It is extremely hard, but divorce isn’t easy either. The statement: ‘I want to hear how people changed into Christ’s image and saved their marriage’, is not meant to suggest, I or she ‘saves’ the marriage, but that God, through His work in us saves the marriage. Is this flawed thinking? Is the following idea errant: ‘If two people submit to God and let God’s will be done no relationship is reconcilable’.? I just want to sure, as far as it up to me I have done my part. I am trying to leave my marriage at the foot of the cross, but I want to do my part. I want to do that for my wife’s sake, for my kid’s sake and for God’s sake. I can’t save my marriage…..only God can…….but I do have to participate, right? That is why I ask so many questions and have probably worn out you dear people. Stay well or leave well is a frightening statement right now.

    • Nancy on September 24, 2019 at 1:23 pm


      “can you tell me how to fight for my marriage without being controlling?”

      You cannot do both. Fighting for your marriage IS controlling. My post from 2am clearly addresses this (and Janice D’s follow up post articulates beautifully how trying to ‘fix’ is controlling).

      “Can I encourage her to be faithful to her vows” this is trespassing. That’s between her and God.

      William. You may not be controlling with the finances (there’s a lot of confusion in your posts) but you are most definitely NOT leaving your marriage at the foot of the cross. That IS controlling.

      You say you want to do your part. Your part is to respect your wife’s limits. That’s your part. Let her go.

      And yes…I’m worn out. Your panicked attempts to ‘fix’ are exhausting.

      There’s a ton of wisdom in the replies you’ve had so far. It’s your choice wether you will receive it, OR you can run around asking more and more people questions….it’s up to you.

    • JoAnn on September 24, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      William, just to be clear….in your last post, I think you meant to use the word “irreconcilable”? That “If two people submit to God and let God’s will be done, no relationship is irreconcilable,” That means that when we are willing to submit to God, and let His will be done, He is well able to create with them a loving and satisfying marriage. But of course, there is a big IF in that statement, and most of us have a hard time living in that realm of oneness with God and submitting to His will. The problems come when we don’t, because our issues and our heart-hurts get in the way. That is why we need help from others, sometimes professionals, who can help us get past those issues. You seem to be an insightful person, willing to examine yourself and learn, not afraid to admit to your issues. Keep working with your therapist and reading some of the materials that are recommended here. It is going to take time to get to the other side of this. It is clear that you love your wife, and your love and prayers will go a long way here. But the outcome could be limited by her capacity to do the work she needs to do and to forgive both herself and you. That’s where your prayers for her will be important. Pray, too, for her therapist, that she would have insight and wisdom to know how to help your wife.

      • William on September 24, 2019 at 1:55 pm

        You are right about the typo. And yes the IF is big. I will continue to pray and seek God’s will. I know that I have failed to trust Him in the past. Thanks again for all you have shared.
        All of you who are responding to me, I truly appreciate the time and effort. I am sorting through the responses and trying to answer questions. If I have left anything unanswered, let me know. I don’t want to exhaust anyone, so, please tell me if you think I am overdoing it.

      • Nancy on September 24, 2019 at 1:59 pm

        HI JoAnn,
        I’m concerned how this statement might be interpreted.

        “It is clear you love your wife and your love and prayers will go a long way here.” I further this comment by defining what ‘loving her’ looks like. Loving his wife means respecting any limits his wife sets.

        William may well see ‘loving’ her as continuing to send flowers while separated. This would not be loving at all because it does not respect her need for space.

        • William on September 24, 2019 at 2:39 pm

          You worry about the interpretations I may make. What assumptions are you making? That if my wife asks me not to send flowers, I will not respect her limits. I understand you are tired of my questions. Please, clarify where you see “Your panicked attempts to ‘fix’ are exhausting.” I am trying to recognize the work I can do on me, gain insight where I am controlling and prevent harmful behavior. I am trying to recognize where I can help my wife. Your advice is clear. Leave it to God. Work on myself. If I incorrectly interpret some of your advice, I could quit trying to engage and maybe even quit loving my wife. I don’t think that is what you meant. In the midst of your strong words I am trying to glean wisdom. Does telling my wife I love her disrespect her limits as well? Does wearing my wedding ring disrespect her limits? I have asked her to tell me her limits. I will respect her requests.
          I feel like our relationship in this comment section has deteriorated. I am sorry for that. You have many good things to share.

          • Nancy on September 24, 2019 at 8:15 pm


            I have re-read your comments through this post. How many posts and questions did you ask (and a couple of us responded) about finances, money, being united etc… before you told us that you were currently separated- and that you were here because your wife cited Leslie’s material as reason for her to separate,

            A lot.

            You have painted yourself as a ‘transparent guy’ sharing about your porn struggle, all while leaving the most relevant part out of your story – Your wife separated from you using Leslie’s material.

            In fact, your earlier posts read as though you are currently together.

        • JoAnn on September 24, 2019 at 3:42 pm

          Nancy, William, Leslie just posted a commentary called “What is Biblical love?” Worth reading, for William. Sometimes love must be tough, so it doesn’t become an excuse to allow another person to sin against us. That is what Nancy was referring to. What we need most of all is God’s agape love in our hearts. We need to pray for that, so that He can replace our natural love with His divine love.

          I referred to William’s wife’s limitations as being her ability to forgive both her husband and herself. These are matters that are at the core of her issues, especially her “poor self-esteem.” Some people just grow up believing that they are unacceptable, unworthy, unlovable, etc. I would hope that her therapist can help her with that, but even better is for the wife to have a genuine and intimate encounter with Jesus. I have seen that experience bring about amazing changes in people, myself included.

          So yes, William, pull back. Quit trying to fix or save your marriage. Instead, work out your own salvation…drawing close to the Lord, dealing with Him about your heart, your need to be in control, and other matters that He brings to your attention. Spend lots of time in the word of God. Ask Him to speak to you in your reading. The Lord doesn’t compete with us for control. If you have your hands on something, in this case you marriage, then He is not going to play “tug-of-war” with you. Let Him do what He does best: change the hearts of men. And ask Him how to love your wife. He might surprise you.

          • William on September 24, 2019 at 3:48 pm

            Good thoughts.

          • William on September 24, 2019 at 8:46 pm

            Lesile’s commentary “What is Biblical Love?” was a tough read.
            “When we commit to love someone, we don’t promise to look out for what’s easiest for him or her or even necessarily for what he or she wants us to do. Instead we look for what God says is best for him or her. In loving that way, the person may even become angry with us because sometimes that kind of love does not feel good.

            But that’s what God’s love looks like toward us. He always acts in our best interests, even though sometimes what’s best doesn’t feel comfortable or pleasant in the moment.”

            This kind of love doesn’t feel good to me for sure. I think it is true. I thought I was praying right. I know how I need to pray differently.

        • William on September 24, 2019 at 9:27 pm

          What difference does it make if my wife cited Lesilie’s material to justify separation? I think Lesilie has good material. My wife did not read the book EDM, She garnered resources from the internet to support her decision. It was not solely Lesilie’s work. Is citeing Lesilie’s work the blank check? Her decision to separate blind sided everyone, our counselor included.
          Does everyone who comments here have to establish credibility? If so, how can I do that? Do you do that for yourself with newcomers?
          I never intended to mislead. I started asking a question about how to work on me and understanding control in finances. I am trying to be prepared to do each and every step the right way if I have the opportunity. The work on me does not hinge on the current status of my relationship.(You have reminded me to work on me). Should I start each and every question with. ‘I have struggled with porn. My wife and I are separated and she used Lesilie Vernick as a resource (which is a stretch). Please give me wisdom in these areas…..’ I can do that if it would reduce confusion. Do I included the emotional affairs also in my intro. I don’t understand your dissatisfaction with me. I am wading through the deepest water of my life and because I ask more questions you offer, ‘OR you can run around asking more and more people questions….it’s up to you.’ I have tried to answer each question, which went down many rabbit trails. You can read into my intentions however you want, but I do not feel like you want to believe good of me. Thanks for your wise words and no thanks to your words of doubt.

          • Nancy on September 25, 2019 at 6:50 am

            There would have been a big difference in my responses to you had you stated that you were separated, and that your wife had initiated it.

          • William on September 25, 2019 at 9:35 am

            Hmm, Thanks for explaining that, but I don’t understand how your good advice at the outset of the thread would have changed. Your advice was sound. I was unhappy with my marriage. Three years of broken promises and neglect had made the need of a reset clear. I think separation was necessary if we were not able to do the work together. I want to do the work apart than I can. I hope she will too. Please do not share with me anymore. Your perception has damaged my desire to communicate with you.

    • Aly on September 25, 2019 at 11:44 am

      Sorry, this may post out of sequence. I think it could be beneficial for you to go back to the thread and see the order/dialog of things. You may see things from a different angle.

      You wrote:
      “It is hard to know what is being fairly represented. I know my wife has felt controlled. I know I do tend to control,especially after her infidelity. It has been an extreme test on my will. My wife states that I am very articulate and convincing, a tell tale-trait of a manipulator. My counselor said that I am very good at dialogue and a superior debater.”

      Your wife has been someone up close for over 16 years experiencing you in a relationship, I think it’s important to weigh those experiences as a husband. Consider this more of an objective approach if you can. This can be hard when you are in so much pain and facing trust issues.

      For years, I gently expressed to my husband that sometimes he was not applying certain things in proportion to what I felt reasonable. Many things seemed misguided and I guess a bit immature overall. Getting a bigger picture of things felt impossible in our early years.
      He was very Corporate, Black & White, wanted things pretty linear and defined. He struggled with patience, severe avoidance and some control (that was very well concealed). Today, he would describe his emotional IQ at a -# prior to interventions and the relationship he has with God.
      Our marriage was in crisis (well unless we were on vacation somewhere)
      He often projected his anger and unresolved shame onto me and especially his unresolved pain from his family of origin and other grief. There were many ‘shirts’ he tried to make me wear that we not mine to wear!

      I’m telling you these things because I am challenging you to think more broadly about some of your beginning questions and your search for clarity….ex. ‘overspending $ or not being responsible financially’ with also the understanding of being irresponsible with one’s heart and sacred place as it pertains to a covenant marriage.

      You do tend to focus on the tangible financial spending your wife has been responsible for. And your opinion of her choices and it being an overspending issue -in your opinion.

      Consider for a moment, your irresponsible behavior toward her through many years in the marriage. Even think of it as a bank account. (Deposits and withdrawals)
      Would you say that you were often overdrawn on not meeting her needs emotionally or protecting her heart? Would you say that you ‘overspent’ in an intangible way when it comes to your choices with porn use?

      Regardless if we are talking about actual (money) or something else unseen or intangible (trust) (connection), many individuals can be bankrupt in many ways and can be the offenders in many areas of a marriage.
      My overall point for you is to try to take a much broader look at (the forest) even though the (trees) are significant… but both your wife and you have areas of where you struggle individually and how that sets off other symptoms.
      Both of you have offenses that can be weighted similarly.
      This isn’t to cancel them out or not address them, but I’m wondering if you see her offenses as greater than your own? If you have a posture about this?
      Even though in your opinion she is overspending (which that very much may be the case) but maybe you can see your own overspending/debt (emotionally in the marriage)?
      Just something to explore as you navigate these places while you are in a separation.
      Also, your counselor and hers should be collaborating especially if it’s a structured separation.
      In a structured separation there is usually a lot more boundaries, requirements and guidelines via a timeline.

      • William on October 2, 2019 at 9:04 am

        Thanks. I am trying to see the forest. I wrote the things you mentioned at the start of the response because I want to share how I am being perceived by my wife. I want to understand from a group of (like minded?) women if the shoe fits. I think it does. I will be working on the things I can do for me.
        An update on the situation. My wife was with the other man again Sunday night. She admitted to continuing to see him after saying she would stop. She admitted to kissing him. She told me she wants divorce.

  13. William on September 24, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks, for your insight and patience. I am taking things to heart. I have been reviewing the other posts. It is good stuff.

  14. JoAnn on September 24, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    William, you asked about Sheep. Yes, he’s a brother who has been through a similar experience, and he has come away with a lot of insight and wisdom. He said he usually checks in on Wednesdays, so maybe we will hear from him tomorrow.

  15. Barbara B on September 25, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    In response to William’s comment on September 25 asking Nancy not to share with him anymore:

    William, if you react to your wife the way you reacted to Nancy, I can see why she feels the need to separate from you. You originally asked the question whether we agree with your wife that you are controlling. My answer to that question, based on your actions here on this blog, is yes.

    Nancy, you can say anything you want to say. If William doesn’t like it he doesn’t have to read it! He doesn’t get to make rules about whether or not you can speak in an open forum. Good grief.

    Blog community, what do you think? I think it’s time to stop answering Williams’s questions. The possibility of trolling seems to be more and more obvious. Since his wife separated from him based on Leslie’s materials, I wonder if perhaps he is here to gather information rather than to truly learn? Of course I don’t know one way or another. However, I observe that he has used quite a bit of our time and energy only to 1) keep asking more questions, and 2) react inappropriately and in a controlling manner.

    I don’t plan to communicate with him at all from here on out.

    • Libbie on September 25, 2019 at 5:19 pm

      Maybe I’m a pushover, but I think everyone is being a little harsh with William. He may not have disclosed everything at once. But it seems like he is genuinely wanting advice and worries about his control issues and manipulations. I agree with Aly for him to look at the overall picture and try to gain some insight into his wife’s hurt and pain. However, I am not sure if it is inappropriate or controlling for him to encourage her to be faithful to her vows. It may be annoying and not helpful, if he comes across as self-righteous. But they are still married….does he not have the right to know if she is betraying him with infidelity.

      I will say, I have had an emotional affair (years ago), after years of being in a marriage with a man who was controlling, angry, and full of emotional abuse. He was an alcoholic, who tuned out his family every night at 7:00 to drink and relax. And when things didn’t go as scheduled or as he had planned, he would explode on me. Well, I sought connection, validation, and acceptance outside the marriage. Looking back, I can see the reasons that I did it; however, it doesn’t excuse it. It was my sin. It was a terrible way of handling things. Maybe I was trying to jeopardize things, and ready for my marriage to be over. Maybe I was outwardly searching for my “knight in shining armor” to save me from the mess I was in.

      We have now been separated for about 7 months, and I am still manipulated and intimidated by my husband. He can still “work” me, and get compassion from me. My perspective may be wrong in this though, because it hits close to home I guess…

      Just my thoughts.

      • Leslie Vernick on September 26, 2019 at 12:04 am

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are important too here.

      • Barbara B on September 26, 2019 at 3:17 pm

        Hi Libbie, you make some very good points. Everything is mostly a lot more complicated than things seem on the surface.

        When I said inappropriate and controlling, I meant the way William treated Nancy here on this blog. And that’s just my opinion; I could be wrong.

        Thanks for giving your viewpoint. Peace be with you as you fight your battles against your husband’s manipulation and intimidation. I’m praying for you today.


        • Libbie on September 26, 2019 at 3:26 pm

          Thank you, Barbara. Knowing that godly women are praying for me gives me such a sense of peace in the midst of this storm. I agree with you about how William tried to silence Nancy….and that was wrong, and I hope she doesn’t listen to him!

          Thank you again for your prayers. I realize that I am new to this forum, and know by the comments from you ladies, that I am not where you ladies are….as far as strength. You ladies are what I strive to become! Thank you for being an example and guide!

          • Nancy on September 27, 2019 at 10:20 am

            Thanks ladies, for the reminder that this is an open forum 🙂

      • William on October 2, 2019 at 11:05 am

        I am sorry for the abuse you have suffered.I wouldn’t want my daughters or my sisters in the marriage you have described. I don’t want my wife in that marriage. Thank you for being honest about your sin. God’s forgiveness is so good. I know I need it. I need it everyday.
        As you have followed this thread, you are aware of my situation. It has some resemblance to yours. Has your husband done any work to change? If he continues to manipulate I am guessing not. Can you share how he manipulates? How he ‘works’ you? I understand if you chose not to share. I have been accused of trolling and of narcissism. I definitely feel the need to tread carefully.

        • Libbie on October 2, 2019 at 1:55 pm

          William….I don’t mind at all to comment on how he manipulates me or the situation. Some of these examples may seem small or insignificant, but you have to look at it from the perspective of how things have accumulated overtime.
          My husband claims that he has forgiven me for the past emotional affair that I have, but every time we focus on what work he needs to do for the future of our marriage, he twists it and turns it back on me…..either saying “Well, do you not think you have anything to work on for this marriage?” OR he will excuse his behavior, saying that I have caused it by my past actions…Such as going through my phone, questioning where I am constantly, for example, why did I stay and watch my son’s baseball practice (Is there a dad there that I like?)… It is like he gives forgiveness and then pulls it away. I understand that he may still be insecure, and that trust should be rebuilt. But the way he handles it is very condescending.
          He says how much he misses me, and wants to spend time together now that I’ve moved out….and how he feels abandoned by me. Yet, when we do spend time together, it’s never enough and he gets angry and he wants to argue.
          He feels like he is the victim. He minimizes his role and casually apologizes for his temper and outbursts, where he has broken things, smashed walls, and yelled at me and the kids to “get out of his house”. And dismisses it because it was over him not trusting me.
          He makes small, snide comments because I don’t discipline the kids as harshly as he would. So now, when he comes over to my house, he will comment, and ask if our toddler “acts like that all the time”.
          He claims that all he wants to do is help with the kids, and serve me the way God intended. But if I ask him if he can pick up our kids, or help out, he always has an excuse of why he can’t.
          People that are around us at the kids’ events, point out to me how he uses body language to intimidate me….standing over me, pulling me away from others to talk, etc.
          He gets angry anytime I spend time with my family, and gets drunk and sends mean messages.
          There are many more small, subtle examples…..Just last week, he defriended me on Facebook and blocked me, and then asked me to go eat lunch with him 2 days later. I don’t post on Facebook and certainly wasn’t messaging or bugging him, so why do that? To me, it is a childish game.
          I’m not sure if any of these make sense….. You may just have to see it to believe it. I hope this helps.

          • Karin on October 2, 2019 at 4:29 pm

            Libbie, it seems that none of these things your husband does are “small and subtle examples” as you describe them late in your post. Every single thing you’ve given as an example here is HUGE, OBVIOUS, and DISTINCTLY INTENDED to either intimidate you, to harass you, to blame you, or to make you responsible for his poor choices, behaviours and assumptions. Just because you have separated from him does not mean he is not being abusive anymore. He may simply have to think of new ways to exercise the manipulation and demands. May you be wise and strong in discerning exactly what is healthy for you, Libbie, and leaving alone the toxic things that are not. Your husband shows no interest in actually learning to be emotionally healthy. None. Zero. Do not get pulled back into that!!!! Trust the Lord and His Word, keep reading Leslie’s teaching, look to this place of prayerful conversation as you step carefully forward.

          • William on October 2, 2019 at 4:54 pm

            These are loud and clear to me. I pray you can stay strong. I was actually expecting something more subtle. I hope he will get help and be accountable.

          • Libbie on October 2, 2019 at 5:00 pm

            Wow. Your two comments surprised me. After I had typed some of that out, I thought….Are they going to think I’m overreacting? Maybe this is common. But your answers give me pause, and I realize that this IS wrong. Thank you for your insight and prayers. Same to you as well.

          • Nancy on October 6, 2019 at 7:05 pm


            I pray that The Lord releases you from the emotional bondage he seems to have over you. I also pray for your physical safety (and that of your children) when that happens because he will feel that he no longer has control of you.

    • Free on September 25, 2019 at 7:35 pm

      Barbara, I agree with you. Too many red flags. Topic always returns back to him. I see Narcissim.

    • Nancy on September 25, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      Thank you Barbara B.

      • William on October 2, 2019 at 9:22 am

        Nancy, Barbara, Libbie
        I truly do appreciate this forum. Nancy, does not have to listen to me. She has wisdom. She is quick to defend a woman who leaves based on Lesilie’s work. None of that is wrong. Wounds from a friend are faithful. I am trying to decide what things are wounds and what are not. I do desire transparency and to learn. Extra grace is required in such a forum as the details and situation are often much more complicated than any of us can understand.
        I must ask. Many comments in this thread have been about me seeking counsel and struggling with the advice I have been given. I defended myself or explained the work I thought I was doing or asking about the things I could do. I answered questions and volunteered information. I don’t want to be a narcissist. I don’t want to misuse this forum. If I am please correct me.

  16. Esther on October 1, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Hi. So I am in a place where my husband left because he was selfish and realized he shouldn’t have left and was apologetic and he is like molasses when making decisions and getting help. I am left to just wait and trust in God If I don’t encourage him. Is that what it’s suppose to be for the rest of our marriage?

    • Autumn on October 3, 2019 at 4:53 am

      No Esther. You have your own mind and can make your own decisions. His “molasses” is controlling and inconsiderate . Think for yourself and take action. You can’t keep your life on hold. You are not his child, but his wife. Move forward and embrace life. Maybe he will join you and maybe he will just wallow in his own thoughts, either way, you can choose life and to be healthy.

      • karin on October 3, 2019 at 3:35 pm

        Well spoken, Autumn. Esther, you might have noticed that in her teaching Leslie often refers to Abigail’s story (1 Samuel 25). I would encourage you to read the account of this woman of faith, who sought and followed the Lord’s leading, in spite of the foolish and arrogant behaviour of her husband. Similarly, your own namesake, Esther, was married to a foolish, selfish and unwise king. Her whole story is one of faithfulness to the Lord’s leading, instead of being stuck in her husband’s foolishness. I think you will find parallels, and encouragement for your own situation as you dig into the stories of these two ladies. Be blessed, Esther!

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