Can Separation Help Reconcile A Marriage? 

Morning friends,

I have a surprise for you. Part of rebuilding a shattered life is restoring a broken sense of self. My good friend Dee Brestin has just written a new book entitled He Calls You Beautiful which is all about hearing the voice of Jesus in the Song of Songs. I will be giving away two free copies in yesterday newsletter. But Dee has graciously given us a little bit of a preview as to what this book is about. She writes:

Up until the early 18th century, the most preached on Old Testament book was The Song of Songs – and the focus was always Christ and His Bride. Today it has become a lost book, looked at often just as a marriage manual. What are we missing? Watch this short video and I suspect you will be eager to know more!

Movie trailer for He Calls You Beautiful

(Dee then tells us what happened when she taught on The Song of Songs in a woman’s prison)

I’d been sensing that I should teach the new believers in a Milwaukee prison from the Song of Songs (also called Song of Solomon). But as I made the long drive, doubts clustered like storm clouds:

What am I thinking, presenting such a challenging book to babes in Christ?

They’ll go back to their cells, pour over this book, and think: “What in the world? What could this intimate love story have to do with Jesus and me?”

I went through security and walked down the cement hall to the chapel. When the women caught sight of me through the plexiglass window, they began jumping and clapping – cheering as I entered the room. How I wished we were allowed to hug! There’s no bond like the bond of Christ – stretching across age, ethnicity, and social class. Their enthusiasm melted my doubt and I plunged ahead with my plan.

I asked them to open their Bibles to a book at the heart of their Bibles, a book they might never have read: the Song of Songs.

It’s called the “Song of Songs,” because like “Lord of lords,” or King of kings,” it means the very best. And what is the best song? It’s always the gospel, the love song of Jesus to His bride. And we, as believers, are His “bride.” He sees us both as individuals, but also as a body. And oh, how He loves you and me!

Love-starved, they were listening intently. So many were victims of abuse and neglect.

The Song is a Cinderella story of a great king who falls in love with a peasant woman. It is an earthly love story, but it is intended to shed light on a much deeper mystery, the love story of Jesus coming to earth to woo, win, and eventually wed His bride. When the king first meets this woman, she is so aware of her unworthiness. She’s been working all day in the vineyard and she asks him not to gaze at her because she feels dark, not meaning anything about her ethnicity, but about feeling sunburnt, sticky, sweaty – anything but beautiful or worthy of a king’s attention.

They nodded. I didn’t have to explain to them what it felt like to feel unworthy.

She says, “Don’t gaze at me…” (Song 1:6but he can’t stop. He tells her how beautiful she is to him, calling her, “O most beautiful of women.” (Song 1:8)

Julia, a slim blond seated near me, gasped and began to tremble visibly. I didn’t want to embarrass her by drawing attention to her, so I kept teaching.

You can see the gospel here – for she feels dark, but he tells her, no, she is beautiful – as pure as a lily. A theme throughout the Song is her beauty – he says: “You are altogether beautiful, my love. There is no flaw in you.” (Song 4:7)

Now Julia was sobbing. A woman passed her a roll of toilet paper, a staple in prison Bible studies. I paused and said, “Julia, do you want to share what’s going on?”

She nodded vigorously. We waited while she composed herself. Finally, she said:

All of my life I wanted someone to tell me they loved me – that I was beautiful. It didn’t happen in childhood, but when I got older, I determined to make men say those words to me – I’d do whatever they wanted – just to hear it. (Tears) That’s how I wound up in here.

The day before I was to be incarcerated, I looked in the mirror and screamed: “I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU.”

I saw women nodding. How they identified! Julia continued.

But in here, Jesus found me. Just this morning I told Him, “Jesus – You are so beautiful.” And then … I thought He said, “Julia – you are beautiful.” I wondered if I’d imagined it. I pleaded: “Say it again!” But there was only silence. Then tonight, you come in here, open your Bible, and … He said it again!

We sat in silence, sensing this holy moment. Finally, I said, “Julia, you’ve just been kissed by the King.” I explained how the Song opens with her pleading to be kissed – and how, according to Rabbinic tradition, “a kiss from the King” is a living Word – like when a verse leaps out at you, giving you exactly what you need, or when circumstances so align that You know God did it. I said, “In fact, we’ve just all been kissed!”

They nodded. The love of God had poured over us all.

Thank you, Dee.  We all need a kiss from the King. I’ve read the book and it is a wonderful story of the love of God to you personally.  

Dee Brestin is a bestselling author and international speaker who
longs to make the Word clear to today's woman.

Today's Question: Can separation help reconcile a marriage? If you are physically separated, how could the marriage be worked on?

For the past year, my husband has just ignored me, stonewalled me, refused to get counseling or fix the marriage.  Basically, he is living like a bachelor, comes and goes as he pleases and acts like he has no wife and kids. I have told him repeatedly that I cannot live this way anymore and that we both need to change and work on those things that keep causing issues in our marriage. 

After refusing to move out for so long, he has now decided to move out. Even with all that he has done (lying, deceit, treating the kids and me very badly, anger issues, control issues, emotional affair issues), I still love him as my husband and wish that we can reconcile and fix everything but the condition is that behaviors must change and he refuses to take accountability for his actions. 

I know that I brought my own baggage too into the marriage but at least I admit them and I am seeing a therapist to fix my own insecurities. Based on our marriage history, he is the type to try and sweep things under the rug until the point that it gets forgotten because everyday life takes over. He is also the type that when he is angry with someone, he can harbor that anger for a very long time and I know that I have hurt him a lot with things I have said and I know that he is very angry with me. 

So if he moves out now, how can there be opportunities to fix the marriage? Can a separation really be a catalyst to repairing a marriage? All the advice I have gotten from Christians and non-Christians is to just let him go and move on with my life and let the kids grow up without such a bad father figure. 

But for me, it doesn't sit well with me to just cut all ties without trying to salvage the marriage. I just feel so crazy sometimes because I don't know what to do.  One minute I think it's okay to let him go and then I feel such heartache and despair the next minute at the thought of him leaving us. Help.

Answer:  You are not alone. There are so many women struggling with the very same feelings and questions that you have expressed.

Your first question was “can separation help reconcile a marriage?” And the answer is that it definitely can sometimes.  Your next question was how? If you are physically apart, how does separation help?

Initiating a physical separation is a tough decision for most women to make. It feels very scary to finally draw a line in the sand and say, “I will not live this way any longer.” Separation is a strong boundary that can function as a splash of cold water that wakes up a destructive individual to the consequences of his sin. But your bigger question is how can you work on the marriage if you are living apart.  

There are lots of ways to do this starting with his ability to accept your “no more” and respecting your boundary of separation without whining and manipulating. He can also show you he’s working on changing his ways by being honest with you, by taking good care of you financially even while separated and showing his children that he’s more patient and loving than in the past.  

I’m sure the two of you have some marriage problems to work on, but his deceit, anger, abuse of your children and emotional affairs are not a statement about the marriage. They are a statement about his character and his own emotional and spiritual maturity. He needs to recognize he has a problem and he needs help before one bit of authentic change will occur.  

A person cannot change something he does not see or will not admit. Marital separation affords the opportunity for your husband to take a good hard look at himself and the reason you left the marriage. No guarantees he will do it, but separation can function like a whiff of strong ammonia – meant to jolt him into consciousness.  

I think it’s great that you want to salvage your marriage. But you cannot do it alone. It takes two to truly reconcile a broken marriage. From what you wrote, your husband has no interest in talking about things or working on himself to change. In fact, from what you wrote, he is the one leaving. Why? Because he wants to do what he wants to do and live how he wants to live with no responsibility and no flack from you. That’s not realistic or healthy. And despite your great grief and ambivalence around letting him go, you cannot hold someone a prisoner who doesn't want to be with you.  

If he was willing to stay with you, it sounds like his terms are that you have to agree to sweep everything under the rug and pretend everything is fine, even as he lies, cheats, and hurts the kids. That’s a pretty high price to pay for you and your children. Do you think that what is best for you? For him? Your marriage? Or for your children? I don’t think it is.

I’m glad you said that you were in individual therapy. It’s time for you to work on you. To get strong and healthy and less dependent on him so that you are not as afraid of losing him.

A healthy relationship is made up of two separate, healthy individuals who are perfectly capable of taking good care of their own selves while they demonstrate genuine love for each other. Click To Tweet

It sounds like you have been overly dependent on him and that has given him a lot of power over you to treat you any way he wants knowing that you’d be too afraid to leave. Now is your time for you all to grow into full adulthood. That means that you are not afraid to be alone or take care of yourself and your children and you are capable of doing so. That doesn’t mean you don’t still want to be married or don’t work towards reconciliation when a relationship has been broken. However, now you are not seeking reconciliation just because you are too afraid or not capable of being alone or taking care of yourself.  

Friend, how did you begin to grow into a more fully functioning adult during the crisis of a destructive marriage or separation?  How has that helped you and how did it impact your marriage?


  1. Kell on January 17, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Not a single Bible verse to support these thoughts (again)? Weird. Could it be that there aren’t any?

    • Leslie Vernick on January 17, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      Kell, you’re right I could have added the verses in, so here’s another blog I did on this topic that may help you. Thanks for your concerns. In the future I’ll be more mindful of this:

      • Kell on January 18, 2018 at 7:20 am

        With the exception of the first verse in that article, you are applying verses that are talking about our general relationships (in the church, among friends, etc.) To the marriage relationship. Surely you can recognize that the marriage relationship is different than others, can’t you? There are a plethora of constructive verses on behaviors in marriage. It would be insane to say one should behave, with their spouse, the most important of all human relationships (I hope you’d agree with that), the same way you would a casual aquaintance at church Sunday morning. Surely. You are misapplying all of those verses. It might be a good idea to study the positive aspects of Scriptural commands about marriage rather than trying to take a bunch of negative verses out of their context to make a point or prove an agenda. Sorry for being blunt.

        • Aly on January 18, 2018 at 10:05 am


          Your last comment actually rings very true for many of us in this situation.

          You wrote:
          “Surely you can recognize that the marriage relationship is different than others, can’t you?”

          Not sure what you believe by ‘different’, but I see it as a much higher significance given The scriptures in the Bible.

          You went on to mention all the marital behaviors highlighted in the Bible and that marriage is certainly not a mere acquaintance dynamic.
          I agree.
          The standard is ‘even higher’ in the covenant marriage which is why the offense causes great damage/harm and need for serious repair.
          Not all offending spouses are interested in repair.

          Some marriages (especially professing Christian ones) are willing to ‘fake repair’ and often this is where I have found many people living in marriages of painful covered hurt and certainly are not living in ‘one flesh’ with God as the center of their lives. They are not living a thriving marriage glorifying God ~ marriage was designed to Glorify Him.

          When you meet some of these fake repaired marriages, often their beliefs on these things are quite ‘defended’. There is also a great lack of understanding on these issues and I believe ‘fear’ and pride carry quite the root.

          I can tell you from my own experience, and from leaning into Gods Love and His word, the marriage relationship is highly valued and the Lord has shown it to be a high calling, some believers struggle in this posture and seeing their marriage as such value because they have yet to see themselves as value first through Gods eyes and His will!

        • Leslie Vernick on January 18, 2018 at 11:04 am

          Actually Kell, I believe that all verses that apply to general relationships also apply to marriage relationships and then the marriage relationship gets some extra wisdom and counsel from God on extra things. For example everyone is to love one another for example, even our enemies, but husbands are called especially to love their wives as Christ loved the church. That is a greater more sacrificial love. I don’t think you can cut out most of what the Bible has to say about relationships and say “this doesn’t apply to marriage.” God calls marriage to higher not lower standard of conduct. The basics of relationships are there, marriage is a higher standard of conduct and love, not less. In other words, the covenant of marriage does not give a person a get out of jail free card for bad behavior or abusive conduct just because they are married, when God clearly opposes that kind of behavior and says it’s sinful and breaks relationships, even marriage relationships. SO many marriages are absolutely broken even though both people live in the same house and are not divorced. Does this honor God? I applaud brave men and women who want their marriage to represent all God created it to be and when it deteriorates to the level of patterns of abuse, infidelity, deceit, something clearly needs to change. Just staying together (in my opinion) pretending all is well when the entire marriage is about to fall off the cliff does not honor God and is not good personal stewardship of one’s self, children, or family.

          • Aly on January 18, 2018 at 11:31 am


            I agree completely. My husband would agree also!

            Your last statement is true and if many choose that path, they are only passing the generational sin & poor coping skills down to their children and their grand children.
            This is what’s terribly wrong with our culture. The ‘pretending’ has infected our churches at a great cost! These types of marriages try to normalize and spiritualize unhealthy unions.

          • Kell on January 18, 2018 at 6:09 pm

            Unfortunately, verses are cherry-picked to further agendas. The Christlike attitude forgives, loves, submits, endures, shows patience, makes effort… This goes for BOTH spouses. It appears that we are only interested in holding our husbands accountable to these standards. And when they fall short (and they will ALL fall short – Rom. 3:23), it appears that the response you advocate is to leave, build walls, erect boundaries, implement consequences, no matter how radical or extreme they may be. In fact, rather end the marriage than display these qualities. Sorry, but that is nowhere close to Christlikeness, and nowhere should those characteristics be displayed more graciously than in marriage.

            If a wife feels she is not treated the way she ought to be, the response should not be an equally ungodly response. That’s very poor Christian counselling.

          • Aly on January 18, 2018 at 6:36 pm


            I strongly disagree with you and your interpretation.
            As for my situation, my husband was grateful for my Christlikeness that the lord equipped me in courage and strength.
            My husband was far from equipped in behaving and loving like a Godly husband. I was and am also accountable to how I am as a spouse to my husband so it’s not only one way as you mention.
            The very fact that I am accountable ‘called me up’ into my own responsibility for a healthy and God glorifying marriage.

            I did not leave, build walls, erect boundaries, I invited him into health and healing with authentic love. I did show Christlikeness love in many ways and one important way was rejoicing in truth!

            You seem upset Kell, am I misinterpreting your tone and your comments here? Have you been in a loving and healthy marriage or was your marriage a casualty?
            What’s your motivation and your own agenda here?

          • Renee on January 18, 2018 at 7:47 pm

            Aly, Nancy, others

            Don’t get upset (well try not)! Not one person but the Lord really, really knows what each person has had to endure in our marriages.

            My husband even with physically separating is not trying to change his behavior. Nothing Godly about calling your wife the B word and telling her you love her but you hate her at the same time.

            So whenever one makes a decision to divorce or stay together, there will always be those who don’t agree with your decision even church folk.

          • Aly on January 18, 2018 at 8:33 pm


            I’m sorry for what you have gone through with your husband. Ugh!!!

            I can personally relate and experienced a similar situation with my husband. It’s heart wrenching to be hated for actually doing ‘the right thing’.

            And you probably already know this but what your husband hates is your ‘unwillingness’ to continue the cycle.
            He hates that you challenge him at a level he doesn’t see a need to correct or grow in.
            He hates that you are willling to choose freedom over his bondage and ‘false’ control.
            He hates that you have different resources that you walk in to chose healthy over the same toxic scenario.

            God gave me some great peace in realizing I might as well be hated for doing the right thing, than being ‘occasionally liked’ while doing the wrong enabling thing.
            That was not the love my spouse needed. That was all about me and my own fears and misunderstandings of who God is and His ways.

          • Renee on January 18, 2018 at 8:47 pm

            Aly, thank you so much. Thank you so much!!! I didn’t return evil for evil and did not react but it sure did Hurt.

            Thanks for a different view.

          • Renee on January 18, 2018 at 7:33 pm

            Hi Kell

            I agree with what you said here [If a wife (husband) feels she (he) is not treated the way she (he) ought to be, the response should not be an equally ungodly response.

            I have tried for years to take that approach in my marriage and it has changed absolutely nothing. So what now?

          • Sunny on January 18, 2018 at 9:33 pm

            Kell- I agree with you. If a wife is not treated fairly or is abused, she should not respond with an equally ungodly response!! As a woman made in the image of God, she should not have the ungodly response of putting herself in a situation that would allow her to be abused again and again. That would indeed be very ungodly! It certainly would not demonstrate honor to God for his creation of her. It would not reflect that she values the Creator of her being, because she does not care for herself. She should also be wise when her children are exposed to repeated patterns of sin. The wife/ mom has been given a responsibilty by God to train, protect, and care for the children given to her on earth. So she must make wise, godly choices regarding their exposure to known sin (movies? violence? abuse? addiction? foul language?). To keep herself (and her children) in an abusive situation would certainly be ungodly, and as you said, she shouldn’t respond with “an equally ungodly response.”

          • Nancy on January 18, 2018 at 6:39 pm

            Hi Kell,

            And Christ disrupted false peace.

            When more submitting and more enduring and more patience do nothing, and the abuse only escalates in the home, the Christlike thing to do is….?

          • Mike A on January 20, 2018 at 9:50 pm

            Hi y’all, I’d like to also add that I agree husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church!! No disputes there at all. Unfortunately, most husbands really don’t know how to do that. But there’s another part of this chapter in Ephesians that isn’t taught or used in context in this type of teaching. We tend to forget that both husbands and wives both need to love as Christ loved. That’s what Christ himself called us to do. If we promote the attitude of being disrespectful and or disobedient to god or one another, then the sacrifice of Christ is in vain and we are then choosing to be bound by the gen 3 curse. I’m sorry for victims of DV/DA, but the truth is, by psychologists own definition, both male and female are in abusive relationships. Labels divide, period. Seeing someone less than what Christ and God does, causes our own hearts to become littered with bitterness. Even the worst offenders are still loved by Jesus and he died for them too. Why must we bind on earth what was set free by Jesus? Doesn’t the word say we are judged by the measure we use?

          • Trish on January 25, 2018 at 4:20 pm

            Oh, the mountain I’ve had to climb to get past the many (I suppose well-meaning) Kells to get to a point of finally understanding my value in God’s eyes. It was just that thinking that caused me to endure so many years of mistreatment – thinking I was being obedient as I deteriorated. It is so very unbiblical. I won’t quote a verse because it’s not a cherry-picked verse here or there. It is the heart of God in the Scriptures as a whole. His #1 priority is saving and building up individual human lives. He died for me and for my husband and each of our children – not for the marriage. If a marriage is causing the destruction of one of the partner’s heart and soul, God’s priority is not on the well-being of the institution or covenant – it’s on the well-being of the man and woman. That is clear when Jesus explains to the Pharisees that he makes a divorce exception for sexual immorality. When one partner has such hardness of heart that they participate in things that are destroying the other, Jesus is clear that she is free to go take care of herself – with His blessing. If Jesus Christ tells me I am free, it is inappropriate for any person to tell me I am not. It has taken me years to close my ears to that condemning and confusing noise and hear the encouraging voice of Christ – who cares so much for each person involved in these heartbreaking situations. He requires me to forgive and pray for everyone involved. If my husband refuses to address destructive behavior, He does not require me to return to that madness.I am His daughter.

          • JoAnn on January 25, 2018 at 10:46 pm

            You said it so well, Trish. Thank you! I don’t know if Kell is still following this, because she hasn’t responded lately. I hope that she is, because she needs to see a new way of thinking about what the Lord’s truth is concerning relationships in marriage, and how very hard so many of the women and men here have fought to try to save their marriages. Sometimes one just has to leave.

        • Leslie Vernick on January 18, 2018 at 11:10 am

          I allowed your comment because I don’t censor one’s but I prefer if you try to stay constructive and not attacking. I don’t find that supported in Gods’ word. One more thing, FYI, I have written this blog for over 10 years and there are no ads to monetize it but I have lots of costs in providing it because I care about hurting women. Yes, I have groups or courses that people have to pay for, but most people who offer services do charge for them. I don’t find that unbiblical.

        • JoAnn on January 18, 2018 at 4:25 pm

          Eve, I find your comment to be mean-spirited and laced with false accusations for which you have no basis in fact. If you don’t like what you are seeing here, then why are you following it?

        • Chuck on January 18, 2018 at 8:42 pm

          Hi Kell may be I can bring in perspective from a guy who was indifferent to his wife’s needs and On occasions verbally abusive.
          I am a christian and have no doubts that I belong to Him, but for some reason I have made my wife’s life difficult for 3 decades.
          I know almost all the verses , positives one, but it didn’t have an impact that it should have. I am not saying that every day was bad, we had good times too, but the underlying current wasn’t loving. There are some guys who ( and wives) who just don’t want to chsnge. In my workplace and life, I know 6 women who have divorced, everyone single one of them fought hard to save their marriage, every one. None of them wanted a
          divorce or left at the first sign of a problem.
          In favt, I was amazed that most of them stayed as long as they did. I agree that we are held to a higher standard, I should treat my wife at least as well as my coworker. I got on this blog to learn from hurting women what they are experiencing to help me understand my wife better and may be to learn what not to say or do from the mistakes of others. I think that most women who are On this blog love God and so want to do the right thing for their marriage. They want to honor their vows, but their husbands keep setting up hurtful roadblocks. My wife has a sister who loves animals to the nth degree but even she says some dogs have to be put down, they are just mean. I think marriages are the same. I will say one more thing, if you leave the whole christian paradigm out of this blog and just dealt with
          human relationships there would still be an expectation that you treat your spouse with love and respect. John Gottman, an expert on marriage who can predict divorce between a couple with like 87% accuracy based on their interactions says the number one thing successful couples do is be kind to another. There is nothing necessarily christisn about that, he is jewish by the way.

          • Kell on January 19, 2018 at 7:11 am


            The answer is the same. The Bible’s instruction is the same. God didn’t say “go to this suggested Plan B if you don’t see my cleat teaching working”. Please don’t throw away Biblical instruction and replace it with this combative teaching. Just because you feel it “hasn’t worked,” doesn’t mean God doesn’t know what He’s doing, and isn’t working. Many people share the testimony that He was working when they were obedient to Him and just didn’t know it until much later. The ONLY path to honoring God is to honor His Word. If you depart from that, it ends in ruin, sin and misery (sadly, many, including many who follow this organization, could testify to that, too). I would encourage you, if you genuinely are seeking to follow the Scriptural pattern, to keep doing it. Following the combattive approach may feel more “productive” (in the flesh), but is certainly not honoring to Christ. And following Christ’s example is the only course if you are seeking genuine restoration and reconciliation (assuming you are Christians and you do want that).

          • Leslie Vernick on January 19, 2018 at 9:09 am

            Kell, you clearly don’t know me or haven’t read an of my books. I am not combative in the least nor do I teach women in destructive marriages to be combative. I do teach them CORE strength, which has all the elements of sound BIblical teaching. I don’t know what you are talking about that many who follow this organization could testify that my teaching ends in ruin. In all my ministry, I have never heard from one women personally who said my information ruined her life or her marriage. On the contrary I have heard from hundreds of women who thanked me because my information literally saved their life and their children’s lives. I think the only one who is being combative here is you and I’m not sure your purpose here, but please be sure to speak TRUTH in love, as what you are saying is not truthful, nor loving.

          • Aly on January 19, 2018 at 10:26 am

            Leslie, Kell,

            Leslie you wrote to Kell;
            ” I don’t know what you are talking about that many who follow this organization could testify that my teaching ends in ruin”

            This is not accurate to say the least about these insights and perspectives. In fact, I would say that there have been many women ‘awakened’ to see that they are ‘surviving’ actually living in ruin!

            Kell, Chuck gave you a very humble response about what he has learned about himself, his posture in a longtime marriage and other women who have tried to work hard on their part to redeem a healthy God glorifying marriage.

            Abuse on many fronts is a complicated thing but one thing about abusers inparticularly have in common is that they don’t want to and battle not to discover their abusive thinking and destructive patterns. This blanket of defensiveness & denial is hard to penetrate!

            When marriages don’t get redeemed, this doesn’t mean that God is not at work. Broken marriages are a result of our broken world & sin and a lot of unrepentance….but God IS still on the thrown. This doesn’t lessen His purposes. He doesn’t force people to repent. Those that are prideful, arrogant and resist growing in Christ & loving others well (while professing to believe in a Savior) have quite a road ahead of them. While we can still pray for them, we are FREE to not contribute to their own ruin and their own selfish ways that are Contrary to the Lords ways.

            Kell, although you may run into many who say they are a Christian or that they believe in Jesus as Savior, they may believe but refuse to commit their growth toward that. Jesus dealt strongly with this contradiction!
            ~They want Jesus their own way, and their behaviors and outward fruit reveal their inward battle!

            My youngest has more wisdom & Godly character than many grown older men I know because he is teachable and trusts the Lord.

            I’m wondering about your belief about consequences and healthy boundaries…
            do you believe that a person can love their spouse into repentance by submitting to their destructive path and follow a spouse not following the Lord?
            Do you believe that the abused & ‘injured spouse’ is committed to staying in the marriage agreement regardless of any or serious boundaries being crossed because it’s the submission of the spouse that will create and be dependent on the outcome or repair of the marriage?

            I will pray for your heart Kell, it seems as though you are very hurt about your own journey? Not saying this is true but we all have a story and many of us can relate to marital pain & brokenness.

          • Renee on January 19, 2018 at 11:06 am

            Hi Kell

            I hear your point of view. I don’t agree with everything you state. I see this becoming a curse running generational deep. Mom said it was ok to be verbally abused, so now daughter says it is ok for her to be verbally abused, and the son says it is ok to verbally abuse his wife. I don’t see how some church folk says that reflect John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: [I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.]

            I listed the entire verse because to be abused is stealing, killing, and destroying the relationship. Where there is no abuse, I believe the latter would take place.

          • Nancy on January 19, 2018 at 7:35 am

            Really Kell? When abuse escalates in the home, you keep doing the same thing?

            That’s placing oneself and children in danger. Not Christlike in the least.

          • Maria on January 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm

            The Bible tells us to love one another (looking out for another’s good). There is a difference between someone making a mistake and unintentionally hurting another and someone intentionally hurting another (bullying behavior). Do we show love to a bully when we put up with their behavior (by enabling)? I don’t think so.

          • Kell on January 20, 2018 at 8:48 am


            It appears I may have hit a nerve. And, yes, I personally know people who’s marriages and families have been shipwrecked by your teaching solely. Of course, if someone is willing to follow you to that point, it’s unlikely that they are going to, then, broadcast the catastrophic end of this line for others to see. They just follow their leader – to the end. When that is what’s happening, it is all the proof anyone would need that this is not the path of Christ.

          • Leslie Vernick on January 20, 2018 at 12:22 pm

            You’re right, you did hit a nerve because I am committed to Christ and his teaching. I am committed to helping women and men who have had poor Biblical teaching understand how not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good. However, your comment helped clarify things for me. You see, when someone is unhappy with someones teaching, they – like you will be very clear. However, I have NEVER heard from a man or woman who I have worked with say my teaching took them off the edge of a cliff and shipwrecked their family or marriage. However, I will admit, I did get a review on amazon from a man who said my book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, ruined his marriage. However, what I think he was really saying is that my book woke his wife up to the abuse she was experiencing in her marriage and she said “no more”. I don’t have the power to ruin a marriage, but when a marriage is ruined it’s ruined by the individuals in the marriage. You would say that a woman (or man) standing up against abuse ruins a marriage. I say the marriage is already heading off the cliff. Standing up against that course of action gives the marriage a chance to right itself, but only when the abuser is willing to take a hard look at him or herself and change. I don’t think I’m going to change your mind, but I will pray for you to see God’s truth in this and I hope you will pray for me.

          • Aly on January 20, 2018 at 6:22 pm

            Those that take Kell’s position, are unfortunately stuck in a place of misguided loyalty. They are ‘loyal’ to the poor biblical teaching and skewed teaching of the scriptures; which is the breeding ground for continual dysfunctional families and marriages.
            There is no Glory of God in those dynamics and relationships.

            As we see in Prophecy, when you do the statistics it’s amazing how doing the math brings things to a truth without question.

            I believe it’s similar in the Biblical Marriage, if those that are indeed following the true scriptures of marriage (husband & wife) you will see the thriving and redeeming taking place. This does take both partners cooperation.
            But often this is not what is taking place. Look around, look at our cultures statistics in and outside the church, why is this? Because many following the skewed and poor teachings out of misguided loyalty to wanting to stay connected to what they believe to be right.

          • Seeing the Light on January 20, 2018 at 10:18 am


            Are you married? Are you a man or a woman? Has your own marriage (if you are or have been married) been affected by Leslie’s teaching? Has someone put boundaries in place in your relationship or relationships?

          • Connie on January 21, 2018 at 12:48 am

            What I would like to ask each man who comes on here complaining that Leslie ruined his marriage……..did your wife by any chance ask you many times over the years to go to counseling or change your attitude or behaviour and you brushed her off? If so, you likely ruined your own marriage. Thinking, “Well I can ignore her because she is a Christian and so she has to stay married to me” is mean and selfish as well as legalistically imprisoning her. Like the kings in the OT, if they didn’t listen to the prophets, they went down hard and it was not the fault of the prophet, no matter how loud the king cried, “There you are, you troubler of Israel!!” (1 Kings 18:17) Leslie is not the troubler of marriages. She is the prophet who exhorts and counsels.

            The women I know, and the ones who comment here have all bent over backwards doing all they could until it darn near cost them their very lives and often their emotional and physical health and that of their beloved children.

        • Mike A on January 20, 2018 at 9:22 pm

          As a husband who has been abandoned, I can say my wife used Leslie’s teaching as justification for the desertion. I’ve found that causing division by placing labels such as narcissistic or manipulator gives the reader empowerment to demonize the husband and thus has convinced themselves (readers) that the spouse (husband, aka abuser, narcissist, manipulator, psychopath etc) is no longer a human being but an evil person not worthy of basic human treatment. While there are sadly real victims that need a more drastic measure of counsel to counter the abuse, not all relationships fit into the cookie cutter advice that is given by psychologists. I also agree, biblical verses used by this author is used as justification. I believe it to be poison and not the truth of God. My children have been taken from me, it’s been three years and have not seen them. This teaching causes division!!!

          • Leslie Vernick on January 21, 2018 at 12:01 am

            Thanks MIke for your comments. I certainly agree with you that people can misinterpret my teaching. People misinterpret Jesus’ teaching. That doesn’t make it invalid or untrue. However, my CORE strength model for women never demonizes anyone. The E- step of CORE is to have Empathy and compassion for everyone, including a destructive spouse. My R step in CORE is to take responsibility for your own self and be RESPECTFUL to others including your destructive spouse. So whatever your wife did, if she demonized you, it was not in line with my counsel or teaching. There is no cookie cuttter model, but I will have to challenge you in this one thing. If you have not seen your children in three years, there is some evidence that you have been abusive that you have not disclosed in this blog comment. Courts these days bend over backwards to award fathers their parental rights. If those have been denied to you for three whole years, then you have to take some responsibility for that happening. A court doesn’t deny a father visitation of his own children on the “feelings” of a wife but on concrete evidence of abuse of the children. So take a hard look at why you haven’t seen your children. Your wife does not have that kind of power to deny a father’s influence and presence in a child’s life. Only the court does and the court does not yield that power unless there is hard evidence to show that the children are not safe in their father’s care.

          • Mike A on January 21, 2018 at 7:14 am

            Leslie, thanks for your reply. This is what I’m trying to say and why I said cookie cutter. You automatically assumed that some sort of abuse lies with me, thus the reason for me not to see my children. The truth is, my wife is addicted to prescription drugs (ADHD) and chases it with 2-3 shots of tequila and then she brought bottles of beer to bed with her NIGHTLY. After I began to confront her with this, she ran with the kids while I was at work. She also loves attention from other men via email or texts etc. I’ve even seen inappropriate pics others have sent my wife. A normal person would experience feelings of abandonment and or betrayal. A sense of frustration and anger would creep in as well. I know it did with me. Though I got angry or upset, I never called her names or never became physical with her or objects. Because anger is used in many teaching as being abusive, I feel it’s being used as the scapegoat. As far as seeing the kids, I’d rather continue to work through the church and show love and patience with her. I feel the love of Christ defeated death, call me naive, I believe it’ll win in this battle as well.
            I’m saddened by the automatic assumption that the man is the abusive one. Ive read the emotionally destructive marriage and found constant use of “when he does”, or anything of the like. I feel, and have experienced from my wife that, in her mind, the man is no longer taking a human form but rather a demonic image begins to develop in the heart and mind of the alleged victim. Again, there are true victims of abuse of all kinds out there, my heart goes out to all of them, I wish it did not happen. But it does happen, and by industry definition, it happens on both sides of the road and you may or not agree with that? There was a study done on this very thing, (abuse in a relationship)in 2016 I believe. University of Georgia and UCLA teamed up and found through their research, while it’s true abuse of females is higher than males, the results for abused males is within 5% of female victims. Furthermore, the study also revealed that males are unlikely to admit in counseling that they receive abuse or are abused from/by their spouse/partner and the #1 reason listed was because of the fear of being shamed. Unfortunately, shaming is an emotionally destructive tool to say the least. I appreciate your desire to help bring healing to victims, I really do, but I’m not convinced that placing labels or creating the platform where the image of a person is transformed into something that is pure evil is helpful. Remember, satan is still alive and still in the earth roaming and deceiving. He uses things to his advantage that we intend for good. Though I know it’s never your intention to create that platform with your core teaching, there are lots of unintended consequences that come from this. I’ve found in my life that any relationship is only as strong as the foundation and that foundation starts with truth of ourselves. If we cannot be first honest with ourselves about ourselves, our foundations will crumble. Part of being honest and building that foundation of truth and strength is searching our own garbage and searching out how we are negatively effecting those we walk with. Another part of that truth is when we do educate ourselves on topics like this, do we really put that check valve or filter on the info we bring in through our eyes? In other words, can we or do we do an honest assessment of our own heart as we begin to be educated? I’d be willing to bet most don’t and this is why I’m saying that labels divide and are more destructive than helpful.

          • Aly on January 21, 2018 at 9:40 am

            Mike A,

            So there are a few things in your Post that would agree with in regards to foundational honesty etc.
            The things you describe of your wife certainly don’t sound like a safe guarded place for children especially given the things you mention. But the 3 years that you haven’t seen them, seems unreasonable to me. Why haven’t you seen them is a big concern? And what measures are you making to see them?

            You wrote;
            “As far as seeing the kids, I’d rather continue to work through the church and show love and patience with her. I feel the love of Christ defeated death, call me naive, I believe it’ll win in this battle as well.
            I’m saddened by the automatic assumption that the man is the abusive one.”

            Your response and posture towards seeing your children feels very disproportionate given the issues outlined!
            I also don’t know what continue to work through the church, showing love and patience mean? Sometimes as a spouse the last thing our partner needs is more tolerance of dangerous behavior and keeping our children from their dad/mom?.
            (Not saying this is the fact)
            Sometimes as a spouse our partner needs love in action, sometimes tough love that’s bold. Your reasoning about Christ’s victory on the cross and the kingdom victory is being misapplied in this scenario.
            Your not living in that victory in action.
            He equips us for life to the full!
            Surely God gets all the glory but HE invites us to participate in the process.

            In addition, I agree with you that labels are not always helpful. Sometimes they are used to shortcut a scenario and there are many out there that discount any complaint given by a partner especially if a label or description of something triggers a wound of sorts.
            We all have wounds. Words mean a lot of things to many people and in today’s culture the word ‘consequence’ has a negative association with it, when in definition it is both positive and negative.

            ABUSE: this is how I understand it and maybe you will be open to seeing this Mike.
            The word abuse technically is a word that describes a person (mis-using). For ex:
            Such as a person abusing drugs, would be not using them as prescribed etc. with alcohol etc.
            Abuse has many facets to it. One place is Neglect. My husband (now recovering) was not an angry or violent man but a very neglectful & avoidant one. His abuse was emotional and abandoning (to me only never the children) in many ways. To abandon is to abuse his covenant role and responsibility as husband and father.
            He would have never considered himself angry or the way that ‘he defined abuse’ in his head because he was quite misguided by the word and the shaping of his own family system…but he was shocked to see just how much he MisUSed his power in our past marriage and power in other relationships.

            Through lots of help and interventions he saw clearly that his mindset was often more on the side of an abusive one given his defensive coping skills. A mindset that needed the Lord’s healing and rewiring.
            This took lots of prayer but a lot of action and interventions.

            I hope anything here I expressed offers some things to consider as you look at your situation and hope& pray for freedom for you and your family.

        • Nancy on January 21, 2018 at 8:22 am


          Are you saying that you have not seen your kids in 3 years, and you are not fighting to get them out of the custody of a woman who is an addict?

          • Aly on January 21, 2018 at 10:00 am

            Mike A,

            If your wife has left you and taken the children from you, you have rights in our legal system to fight for your children.
            That is in fact if this is your situation as you have laid out.
            How old are your kids?

            Here is what is concerning…
            You wrote on another post,
            “Hi y’all, I’d like to also add that I agree husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church!! No disputes there at all. Unfortunately, most husbands really don’t know how to do that. ”

            Most husband’s don’t really ‘know how’. I agree. This is an epidemic in our culture and our churches.
            But sadly many husband also chose not ‘to learn’ how! This is critical and learning and searching out truth and wisdom is essential I believe to the Christian walk.

            What support an resources are you getting to help navigate your situation? Are you surrounding yourself with wise Godly and educated men to assist in this abandonment of your wife? What legal counsel are you getting?

            Prior to her leaving, did you have healthy bonding and relationship with your children?

            I’m sorry for all my questions but your situation sounds like you are praying for ‘change’ and trusting God will fix (win) the dynamic apart from your interactions or interventions?
            You certainly can correct me here.

          • Mike A on January 21, 2018 at 8:23 pm

            Hi Aly,
            Thanks for your questions. Yes, I’m aware of using the courts to gain access to my children. I have not pursued that as of yet, but will likely do so very soon. I have put pressure on the church to bring the correcting love and sound counsel but they seem lethargic when it comes to these types of matters. I had a great relationship with my children prior to her separating us. My son just turned 3 and my daughter was 8 when the separation occurred. My wife cited emotional abuse because I withdrew emotionally from her. See I grew up in a home where alcohol was a huge problem. I lived in fear most weekends and some weeknights. I saw the abuse and destruction it caused, including breakdown in trust. Having my wife drink regularly (at night and in secret), caused my trust for her to be broken and I began to withdraw. Over time, communication was only a trickle. Inside of me, there was a pain I’ve never experienced before. It’s kinda like I need to cry but I’m gonna fight it and hold it back type of pain. The woman I love so dearly has now become the one I felt I needed to protect myself from, so I built walls and shut down. I tried to explain to her in a few instances where my heart was at and how I felt of things but it was dismissed and thus emphasized the need to protect myself and drove me into thinking what’s the point and began to live in denial. They say denial is also a form of abuse, I say denial is a coping mechanism, a kind of life support. We ended up in counseling, she walked away as soon as my counselor said she was a victim. She picked up emotionally destructive marriage and never looked back. I spent 18 months in counseling learning about me and how to love at a deeper level a woman who sees me as evil. To this day, she counsels other women to leave their husbands at the slightest argument and cites abuse. Though it’s really not a reflection of anyone person but it is a direct reflection of how labels we place on others tend to convince ourselves that a person is or has become what ever post-it we place on them. As a man, and I’m not perfect, I know I’ve made mistakes in my marriage. There are things that should’ve never happened if I knew, but i didn’t. I do know, I have a heart and feelings, and when they are dismissed itll be easy to build walls if I’m not paying attention to it. Satan wants us to live in fear and shame, this separates us from God and each other. Sadly, I think the truth in all of this is that we really don’t know who we are in Christ (identity), male and female and I think that’s why we place such a huge expectation on our spouse to make us “happy” by speaking to our hearts. I believe a lot of this is generational curse at its finest, but the good news is it can be reversed, with the proper help. So much more to share, but I won’t take up anymore of your time.

          • Renee on January 21, 2018 at 9:13 pm

            The woman I love so dearly has now become the one I felt I needed to protect myself from

            Poor kids. A very, very destructive wife according to you and then a husband who felt he only needed to protect himself.

            I’d rather continue to work through the church and show love and patience with her.

            Not buying what you selling! All about your image and laziness. To me it seems you didn’t want to cook, clean, get the kids educated (including homework), shop, carpool, wash, work, etc. All the things a single mom would have to still do when the husband leaves.

            That’s all I have to say.

          • Mike A on January 21, 2018 at 9:27 pm

            Renee, you for forgot to copy and paste where I said my wife left the marriage, or perhaps you only use what you want to bring argument. You also failed to acknowledge the fact we both entered counseling, my went 18 months because I desired to beat my demons. For the record, my wife was a stay at home wife and I worked 60 hr work weeks in the gas and oil field. I would love to be able to spend time with my children. I say you should have a conversation with a person first before assuming something and then only post selected items to benefit your argument. In fairness back to you, I can only assume you’re on here because you are experiencing marital issues? If you came at your husband in the dismissive manner you did with me, I’d bet you caused most of your problems. That’s all I have to say.

          • Renee on January 21, 2018 at 10:09 pm

            Not trying to start an argument Mike but trying very hard to understand why you did not take over with the kids. Thanks for making that clear. No you didn’t have too, but thanks.

            I’m sure I’ve caused my hubby some grief. But, I can assure you it was never intentional hurt. That may have been the case with you. Oh yes, my husband has caused me grief. I don’t know anyone who can go through 20 years or so together without a scratch or cut.

            Your response to me Mike also shows that you were not as patient as you would like us to believe.

            Did it ever come out in counseling why your wife started drinking? Was she lonely? Was she stressed behind having to do most things for the kids? Were you over-whelmed/tired once home from work making you be short with the wife and kids?

          • Mike A on January 21, 2018 at 10:39 pm

            Just saw your last reply. My wife grew up in the military. She came from a broken family. Her time overseas by her confession, was spent in drinking and drugs. So to answer your question, it has been a problem in the past. When we met, she said she was delivered from it, I believed it. As far as being short with them, very rarely did I ever let that effect me. I realize two unhealthy people come together, there is bound to be issues. We were both unhealthy. I just chose to focus on me and the hurt I caused the marriage, she chose to keep me isolated. I can’t force her to do right by me, I can only control my actions.

          • Aly on January 21, 2018 at 9:49 pm

            Mike A,

            Are you still getting counseling? And are you getting professional counsel?
            …sometimes the churches can be more first responders but often many churches are not equipped for these situations. Pastors and lay mentors are sometimes not well equipped either but some churches are getting better training as Leslie V. has been also in a position of bringing this resource about.

            You mentioned a lot of important things about your history (pre marriage) and sometimes what is not resolved in our past will definitely play out in our marriages.
            This part is critical Mike in identifying any places that you have possibly projected disproportionately onto your wife.
            I’m not saying you are, but I’m asking you to consider. And most certainly your wife also has a history she will bring into the marriage ~ we all do.
            Unresolved traumas are important to work through with a trained professional.

            It took a long time for my husband to unravel where his abuse responses and mindset originated from. He projected a lot of his unregulated emotions and fears onto me because I was his safest person in actuality. Kinda ironic.

            Your comment about your wife counselor others to leave their husbands at the slightest argument is interesting.
            Really the slightest argument ~ do you believe this statement?

            Mike I agree with you that you have a heart and feelings but often good professional counseling and many other interventions will address how to develop those feelings and find news ways of expressing them rather than shutting down or moving toward denial.
            I hear that you don’t feel seen or you feel dismissed and it’s important to work through those places accurately.

            One imp. Thing my husband and I could work through was if he was feeling quite emotional I could ask him how much of a % his feelings were about the present and what % could be about the past.
            When he was brutally honest it was almost 100% related to his past and I’m grateful for his courage at looking at it.
            Even though there might of been places in our marriage where he felt triggered or something was familiar he benefited from doing inventory as objective as possible and often that involved our counselor to assist him see who was really the ‘offender’.

            I do care about your situation and your outcome and many things you mention, specifically the happiness we ‘place on our spouse’ concerns me.
            There has been some very poor teaching through church council and many ‘one liners and concepts about marriages that struggle’ that don’t address the deeper idenity and intimacy issues with God and our spouses.

            Hope you will graciously consider some of my thoughts and questions. I’m speaking from a wife position that sought out a lot of help and interventions for my husband and myself so we could be partners running after the same goal~ glorifying God and loving one another as best as we can, and at times it was excruciating to face the muck, our pasts, and deal with the core issues.
            But only with God’s strength, wisdom and courage he equipped us.

          • Mike A on January 21, 2018 at 10:14 pm

            Aly, I did 18 months once a week with professional counsel. Once I started, I began to realize how liberating it was. My wife was diagnosed with BPD (borderline), me… narcissism. They kinda go hand in hand, so I’m told. Doing Inventory is a good and healthy thing. Before my counseling I didn’t even have the basic tools to do so. To answer your question about her counseling… yes I believe that. A woman who knew me because I was friend to her husband, was in her “group” and was counseled by her (my wife) to separate from her husband. As far as the happiness comment… I may not have been clear. I was referencing that we tend to place the burden of our happiness on the shoulders of our spouse. At least this is true for me and my wife. Again, I believe this is an identity issue, not understanding that my identity lies in Christ.

          • Aly on January 21, 2018 at 10:27 pm

            Mike A,

            Why stop professional counseling? 18 months can approximate out to 78 sessions or less give or take holidays etc.

            Narcissistic traits or narcissistic diagnosis requires lots of interventions, although I’m thankful it seems that you see the value of your identity in Christ as foundational.

            The thing with narcissism is that often what is said isn’t congruent in behavior.

            There is help for those that want to become a man that not only chases after Gods heart but also wants to be a servant leader in his family and love his wife like Christ loves the church. Leaving a legacy for his children and his children after.

          • Mike A on January 21, 2018 at 8:42 pm

            Hi Nancy, thanks for asking.
            I am saying the situation is not unnoticed and being documented very well. I write my children regularly and send gifts and such through church friends. My children are healthy and happy that I’m thankful for. I can’t do much about the prescription drug use as it’s been prescribed, and unfortunately the courts in pa don’t much care about drinking mothers. In fact, they are very lenient on mothers and habits like this. As I shared with Aly, I’ve spent some time in counseling. It brought me to a place where I am patient and try to see my wife as god does instead of what she does or is doing. I know, for a season, that thinking bittered my heart and it hurt me!! Anymore questions, feel free to shoot them my way. I’m hear to help and be helped in anyway. That goes for anyone.

          • Renee on January 21, 2018 at 9:49 pm

            I write my children regularly and send gifts through church friends.

            Mike, why are you not able to be around your kids – at all? I may have missed a post since the count jumped. So that is why I ask, why can’t you go to their home (with notice of course) and hand them a gift? Why can’t you send them a gift directly? To their school, home, etc.

            Some time people care more about their image (my hubby is one). So doing it all through your church could (not sure) be about protecting your image or creating one for when you go to the courts.

            Just saying.

          • Mike A on January 21, 2018 at 10:26 pm

            Renee, last time I went to their house, it was to confront a convicted woman beating alcoholic that was spending time there including overnights with her and my children. She had me arrested for criminal trespassing. That is why I don’t go there. I believed in and had hope for restoration, so I chose to exhaust a possibilities by working through the church first. It’s kinda like this, husbands generally get resentful being forced to counseling (generally), since I know I felt that way before, I never wanted to cause my wife to feel anything like that. That’s why Ive chosen to exhaust all possibilities and tear down any and all walls of her heart that I could by not riding up against her. Not sure if this answers any concerns. Not to mention, my choices to do this, it’s whats been suggested by the professional counselor.

          • Renee on January 21, 2018 at 10:40 pm

            Thanks Mike, you have been given a lot to think about.

            I hope you can come to appreciate the blog owner and the posters. The comments can get ruff at times but there are things we can learn if we are willing.

            Blessing to you and your family.

          • JoAnn on January 21, 2018 at 11:19 pm

            Mike, my heart is grieving for you. The fact that your wife used Leslie’s book (her own edited version) to justify leaving you is horrible. That is certainly not what is taught in the book (have you read it?), but what I see from what you have written is that she is using an alcoholic’s mind to use the book to her advantage. I would recommend Al-Anon for relatives of alcoholics or Adult Children of Alcoholics to get some support in dealing with her. There are books for ACoA’s also. I think the other ladies here are encouraging you to be a bit more proactive in fighting for your children. They can end up with the same issues you grew up with, being mothered by an alcoholic. They need you now, more than ever. We are all praying for you.

          • Mike A on January 21, 2018 at 8:45 pm

            Nancy, sorry. The type of stinking thinking hurt me in the season. I wanted to clarify. The counsel got me to think better, lol. Sorry again.

        • T.L. on January 22, 2018 at 4:41 pm


          First off, I want to say that though there are many abusive wives, no doubt, THIS is a blog for abused wives. Therefore I will be speaking in those exclusive terms.

          You sound like a person who is very invested in the unhealthy fundamentalist status quo. I want to assert that there is something terribly wrong in a perspective that, by default, empowers husbands to abuse their wives, and disempowers abused women by teaching them to “be Christ-like” and remain in the abuse…until they die, if need be.

          As Leslie said, all of the Scriptures that apply to general relationships apply to marriage as well, and then there are even higher standards for the sacred covenant of marriage. So when the writers of the New Testament were educating those entering the Christian community, what did they admonish them? “Be completely humble and gentle…love one another….prefer one another over yourselves…” There was no hierarchy in these commands; they apply to everyone: male and female, Jew and Greek, slave and free. But the modern church, with vestiges of worldly power, hierarchy, and patriarchy still in place, has covertly enabled the belief that men are somehow superior to their wives, and no matter how they treat them, they are entitled to the benefits of the marriage covenant. “Oh gosh, wives; nobody’s perfect. Just keep having grace and forgive, like the Bible says.” No. God stands with the oppressed, not the oppressor. And it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. He who breaks every chain is calling oppressors to repentance, and calling the oppressed into the freedom that His blood bought for them. None of the marriages you allude had to end. And it is not the oppressed womens’ fault that they did! The women on this blog are only here because they have been so godly, patient, and long-suffering. They have tried everything humanly possible to help their husbands and make their marriages work. They are the ones who have sought help and tried to improve the marriages while the men just banked on, “I can do whatever I want, and she can’t leave me. She is bound by the covenant.” (Never mind that it is a covenant that they are blatantly, habitually violating on a daily basis. And don’t care.) It is the wives on this blog who have sought help from the church to hold their abusive husbands accountable, and not gotten it. Instead they have been patted on the head by male status-quo leadership, and told the very words that you say, “Stick it out, be ‘Christ-like’, try harder.” That is ungodly advice, and the leaders of Christendom will be held accountable for it. Christ’s only harsh words were to the religious hypocrites, and I recognize, if you don’t, that “Christian” men who abuse their wives and vows are religious hypocrites, indeed. Here is what I want to say to the status-quo power-holders: things in the church are going to get messy. The rate of divorce in the church is going to go up. That is not because of “rebellious wives.” It is because of power-mongering, stubborn, rebellious men who refuse to repent and walk in a Christ-like manner with the wives they claim to love. It isn’t the wives in abusive marriages who have not tried hard enough. It is the stubborn husbands who refuse to repent. Church leaders need to awaken to this problem and start addressing where the real problem lies: with the abuser. They need to be strongly called to repentance. They need to be re-mentored, re-trained, re-educated. They need to be held accountable to Biblical standards of Christlike behavior in all of their relationships, but especially in the home.

          It always puzzles me when someone from your perspective thinks they need to speak out on this blog. Why don’t you start your own blog for proud, entrenched, stubborn, bullying, abusive, unrepentant husbands and begin instructing them in how to love their wives in a Christ-like manner, win their hearts back, and preserve their marriages and families? That would be a huge help to the problem. What you are doing here is not.

          • JoAnn on January 22, 2018 at 7:27 pm

            Malachi speaks boldly against the abusive husband in chapter 2:14-16 …The Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then, to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “AND him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” I added the caps for ‘and’ as emphasis. The word treacherous means “marked by betrayal or fidelity, confidence or trust; perfidious. Not to be relied on; not dependable or trustworthy. dangerous or deceptive. ”
            So, for those who need stronger scriptural mandate against spousal abuse, I think this does it. The Lord clearly equates his hatred of divorce with treachery.
            I appreciate what T.L. said about those who preach submission and put women into a bondage of marriage. They will no doubt have to answer to the Lord about that someday.

          • Ruth on January 23, 2018 at 9:52 pm

            Well said.

  2. Nancy on January 17, 2018 at 7:30 am

    HI Leslie,

    I love your answer to this writer. You hi-light the heart posture that I had to come to before separating: letting him go in order for him to make his own decision. I like the way you say that she can’t force him to stay.

    For me the key to separating was releasing my marriage, and my husband, to The Lord.

    If the writer does not do this work inside her own heart then she will find herself manipulating and controlling him out of fear of losing him. The reality is that she already has lost him. In order for a new marriage to be built, it would take two, and she has zero control over his willingness to enter in to this work.

    This is a hard pill to swallow.

    May The Lord enable this writer to trust in Him in this very difficult process of releasing this marriage to Him.

    • HOPEFUL on January 17, 2018 at 11:50 am

      May I ask what your outcome was Nancy?

      • Nancy on January 17, 2018 at 2:12 pm

        Hi Hopeful,

        The outcome was that I learned that Jesus Christ is my husband, first. Through this process He walked with me, strengthened and healed me ( and continues to heal) in ways that I could not have imagined. He unearthed a massive root of enmeshment and codependency in my heart that only He could get at. He developed in me a trust in Him that would not otherwise have been developed.

        The outcome is that my husband was dethroned in my heart from being saviour, to being a man.

        On my husband’s side of things, he chose to get help, become accountable and commit to growth. He chose to go from being saviour to accepting The Saviour.

        The only sure thing is Christ Himself. If we put our Hope in him, He will lead us in straight paths. He is the SURE THING- regardless of what our partner decides.

        I pray, Hopeful, that your hope is in Him…and not in the outcome ❤️

        • Renee on January 17, 2018 at 3:26 pm

          wonderful and encouraging post Nancy.

        • HOPEFUL on January 17, 2018 at 3:30 pm

          Thank you Nancy. I appreciate your response.

  3. Kathy on January 17, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I find myself in the same situation …. but it has happened enough times that I have worked on myself each hurts …. I don’t want to give up but the silence hurts too… some moments I don’t want to go on but I do…

    It has been awesome for personal growth …and to become stronger to no longer be treated so poorly …. for that is not the way Jesus treats me …

    It is a reflection on his character …. and that is what I find sad …. to the business community he looks awesome but in real life his insecurities are horrific ….I pray for his soul

    • Barbara B on January 17, 2018 at 9:36 am

      I think it’s so true that the very things that create success in business can be devastating in the home. That “Type A” personality (driven, goal-oriented, won’t take no for an answer) wants to take charge at home in the same way as at work. Then he wonders why his wife and kids are emotionally devastated when everyone at work supposedly adores him.

      • Nancy on January 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

        Hi Kathy and Barbara,

        Kathy..I love how you see how preciously Jesus treats you! How lovely.

        Barbara, yes, the ‘good guy’ image really contributes to the crazy making. It’s why this blog is so great – it helps us stay grounded in the reality of the Word.

  4. Renee on January 17, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Thanks so much for this question Leslie. I know someone here asked this very question I believe last week. So many additional blog posts can be made from comments alone. I’ll continue to read now.

    • Leslie Vernick on January 18, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Yes, you’re right Renee. Sometimes i see a question posted in the responses to the previous blog and I don’t have time to give an adequate response so I use it for the next blog question.

  5. Chuck on January 17, 2018 at 11:41 am

    I am presently separated from my wife for the last 7 months. It can help if both parties are wil!ing to the work.
    My frustration right now is that my wife is not doing very much to work on our joint problems like communication. A person can sit at his or her apartment and not accomo!ish much in the way of bringing their marriage back together. I feel she is very comfortable where she is at in her life which would be okay if she didn’t have children and a husband. I On the other hand want to move on with my life of she isn’t interested in working hard at reconcilation. Studies also so the longer your apart, the harder it is to get back together again. So I feel I am coming to point where I may need to end the marriage. I figure I can’t force someone to love me. I just wish she would have the courage as my pastor says to end it if she can’t decide. I don’t t like to be led along while she tries to figure out the best thing for her. I wonder, since she is a christian if she is afraid of the “d” word, divorce. It may seem to the female readers that I am being selfish, but we
    Have children i involved that are struggling.

    • Renee on January 17, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      Chuck: It can help if both parties are willing to do the work.

      That is a BIG key – both individuals have to be willing to work.

      Chuck: My frustration right now is that my wife is not doing very much to work on our joint problems like communication.

      I have been hearing your frustration in your post. However, that frustration can lead you back to anger and becoming forceful with your wife. This in turn will send her running away again. I hope you understand what I am trying to communicate. Do not beg may be another way of putting it or don’t appear desperate.

      Not saying you are these things.

      Chuck: I, on the other hand, want to move on with my life if she isn’t interested in working hard at reconciliation.

      To me that is a powerful statement. I find that people, me included, can waver between the decision of reconciliation and moving on sometimes almost week to week. So have patience (I don’t like that word) with yourself. You all have made it through seven months of being physically separated. So now, it is time to re-evaluate. Ask her calmly, how are you all doing? She may finally admit that she was thinking of more time apart because she does not see enough changes, she may admit she wants divorce or to see others – who knows. You can admit that may not work for you. Either way, use it as a time of honesty and a time to show her that your anger is under control. Don’t explode if you don’t like her answers.

      Chuck: So I feel I am coming to a point where I may need to end the marriage. I figure I can’t force someone to love me. I just wish she would have the courage as my pastor says to end it if she can’t decide.

      Agree with Leslie, you cannot hold someone a prisoner who doesn’t want to be with you. Oh, that is so freeing. This was an idea I was willing to try to force a decision earlier this year but found lawyers in my area were not interested in helping me to save my marriage. However, with using such an idea, you have to be willing to accept the outcome. They may accept your bluff.

      Chuck: It may seem to the female readers that I am being selfish,
      I don’t find you being selfish. I find that you simply want answers. However, you have to be careful in the way you try to get those answers.

      Chuck: Have children that are struggling.

      Why are you saying that the children are struggling? Can you share a bit more about that part? Do you have family that can help care for the children? What part is your wife playing in the care of the children? I don’t understand.

      I am willing to learn if anyone has counters to what I’ve stated.

      • Chuck on January 17, 2018 at 6:01 pm

        Hi Renee, yes anger could be a problem but it is more just mental exhaustion. My mother just got diagnosed with colon cancer and she is a widow 5 hours away, so it just one more thing to add to my plate. I do need need to be kind and I really would not force and she wouldn’t let me into making a decision on saving our marriage.
        I live in a small apartment that s quiet and meets my needs. My wife works very part time so beside spousal support I help her out any way she needs help, because it is the right thing to do. I just have a fear that I could be strung along. The long story is that I am just wearing out emotionally. I know she has her struggles too. As far as the children overall not good, all have been in the court system to various degree and my youngest was in a psych institution last week for anger and depression. So there you are, Renee I am not asking to come back into the house but let’s start working concretely on marriage areas. If she can’t she can’t and that’s okay, just tell me you can’t do it and release me. Does that sound selfish ?
        I dunno.

        • JoAnn on January 17, 2018 at 10:16 pm

          Chuck, I am sorry for all that you are going through, and yes, it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. The best remedy for that is spending time each day in intimate fellowship with the Lord and His word. That’s where the supply comes from, especially when our own resources are at an end. Cast all your cares upon Him, for it matters to Him concerning you. (1 Peter 5:7)

          • Renee on January 17, 2018 at 10:46 pm

            Chuck your other post says you have an adult child, 2 teenage daughters and 1 son 13 teen. Wow is me. Your hands are full indeed.

            See K and Connie’s response to me on post below. There may be some ideas to help with your teens.


            As JoAnn suggest, daily time with the Lord. Very good idea to expand on your self-care. If you have not been doing so, it will be a good idea to start doing something that will take your mind off what is wrong in your world. Walk, run, movie night with teens, etc.

            Matthew 11:28
            Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

    • Aly on January 17, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      I’m really sorry for all the pain and hurt you and your family are going through.
      I can relate to children ‘hurting’, this is heart wrenching.

      I’m wondering about something and I hope it’s ok I ask…?
      How long were you and your wife in your pattern of unhealthy marriage?

      Sometimes it helps to step back and look and the timeline.
      Repair takes a Longggg time and by no means am I saying your on repair but when you look at time spent doing marriage the way you both were.
      For example; if you had been married for 20 years, a 7 month
      Separation isn’t exactly that long in comparison to 20 years of dysfunction ..,but I get the pain of how long that is and that there is no sign of forward movement toward restoration.

      Maybe you have said this on other blog posts, but have you identified ‘your part of marriage conflict’? And does your wife feel confident that you know your part?

      My husband waffled for years dealing with his part of our marriage and I really lost a lot of hope in working on the issues.

      • chuck on January 18, 2018 at 1:30 pm

        Aly, my wife and and I have been married 32 years and a good part of it was unhealthy basically communication issues and selfishness on my part, no infidelity or physical violence on my part. We were
        both good at tearing each other down verbally .I am pretty sure my wife knows that I know what part I have played in my dysfunction. One of the problems is that she doesn’t quite get the dysfunction she brought to our marriage. Leslie says in her book that we lie to ourselves when we say that we didn’t contribute problems to our marriage (my paraphrase). Now with my mother sick and our children still struggling I really don’t know where I am going to find the energy to work on the marriage. To also be honest, the longer I am out of the home and separated the less I feel
        loving towards her. All my children except my oldest dislike their mother intensely. Often I feel more like a referee than a dad when they complain about her. She knows what some of her issues are with the children and she is trying to change but the anger and hurt they have toward her is still present. It is probably a wrong feeling but I wonder if everyone would be better served by us splitting and going our own way. I will be 60 this year and I would like to go into my final years with someone who loves me and wants to be a partner and my wife has told me that she has no romantic feelings toward me at this time. I don’t want her to stay with me out of a sense of duty. I don’t want to be her spiritual project. I am sure that many here would give me reasons for staying but everything is pretty much trashed from my perspective. I am extremely friendly toward her and she toward me, she is still on my bank account etc but nothing more. I feel more like friends then a separated couple. Sure would appreciate any feedback. Thanks

        • Aly on January 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm


          I think you do have a lot on your plate, I’m sorry for your mothers condition also.
          I do think it is wise to get and continue good ‘self care’ for your heart and the ruptured relationship.
          Working on ourselves and more self discovery isn’t selfish but important in all aspects of having healthy relationships.

          I’m wonder about a few of your comments regarding ‘communication issues and selfishness’….
          I will share from my own place and my own part & my husband’s hard work at fighting for a marriage worth having.

          You wrote:
          “my wife and and I have been married 32 years and a good part of it was unhealthy basically communication issues and selfishness on my part, no infidelity or physical violence on my part.”

          ‘My husband and I certainly had communication issues but those were a sign of deeper things. Really it was a core trust issue.
          The selfishness my husband could relate to you with, and I can relate to my part being a wife that ‘tolerated for many years being trained not to expose this selfish core of his’.

          Selfish postures do not make for good friends let alone spouses. I don’t mean this to sound harsh or not gentle. But I do think our culture is not as offended by selfish behavior, it’s becoming a more accepted or minimized offense~ generally speaking.

          My husband would say that just acknowledging his selfishness was ‘a bottom’ but choosing to grow up and mature was a longer process and one he still strives for.
          ‘Self’ for him was a highlight of his immaturity and impatience.
          His unfaithfulness to me for many years was his affair with ‘himself’.
          Our marriage was about his needs and comforts and there wasn’t a ‘we’ approach.

          You also mentioned that the longer you are out of the home, the less you feel Loving toward her. I can get this but I also think it’s important to ask the Lord for clarity on how much your ‘feelings’ decide your attitude or choices?
          The kind of love a marriage needs especially in difficult seasons isn’t one of ‘feelings’.

          You also mention your final years and your desires of wanting to have a wife who loves you and is able to be a partner. I think this is important for you to ponder ~
          Who wouldn’t want this…And does this align with Gods design of marriage?
          I think so.
          So then, ask yourself and others who know you well, are you ‘partner material’?

          It took my husband some time to comes to the reality that he didn’t have some fundamentals in being a healthy partner and given all the years of the selfish behavior that eroded trust in the marriage… he came to a place where he didn’t blame me for my grief and my broken heart.

          He openly can say the person he was then and the kind of marriage he offered wasn’t a marriage at all and he wouldn’t have even signed up to marry himself!!
          Talk about God doing a work on his heart💟!

          I wonder what your wife my day was her part? Or what you would?

          My part clearly in my marriage was tolerating the intolerable. That might sound victim like, but I honestly was trying ever which way to understand why I married a man who claimed to love me but seriously struggled at showing it. He was very convinced our issues were communication, which they were not but it was an easy deflection to not deal with the deeper issues: emotional and spiritual intimacy withGod and each other.

          I compromised many years trying to reason with someone who lacked basic respect for me (something In my own history) as an individual and I was often the person he projected all his unresolved & unregulated pain on.

          God continued to reveal he had not received ‘love’ from our one and only savior. He couldn’t give what he could not yet fully receive first (Gods love for him) and that was a journey he decided to take.

          Receiving that Love and value continued to open doors of maturity and character development. His beliefs about being selfish changed significantly and his behavior aligned with that! Lots of interventions and continued posture toward recovery and growing has been a blessing to his entire family.

          I hope any of that is helpful.
          Sorry for the length

        • Aly on January 18, 2018 at 2:44 pm


          Sorry for all my typos!

        • Renee on January 21, 2018 at 11:23 pm

          Chuck something happened this weekend and I wondered if something similar would work for you and your family. I know you have wanted a definitive answer about where you and your wife stand as far as progress. My husband has wanted such a response in which I desired to give no answer because I know we are not ready to reconcile. So I’ve dodged the question and him for a couple of weeks.

          Anyway our daughter turned 18 yesterday and she wanted dad to be part of our dinner plans. I asked her if she could handle dad leaving after the dinner and if she understood that does not mean we are getting back together. At least for now. Last time we did something together it really set her back. Me as well, but I was able to keep my emotions in check – we are broken and not in a good place to be together right now.

          She agreed. So last night we had dinner as a family and did not discuss the relationship at all and only did things where we all could laugh. This afternoon, we all went bike riding and all went well. We came home and ate lunch. Then we all went for a walk downtown.

          While walking he brought up the question about him coming home or at least us working to reconcile. I still dodged the question but when the time was right (break from our walk and teens elsewhere); I told him that I was happy now and have peace from the hostility. He looked into the sky for a few and then said, he was glad to give that to us but he would not say he is happy.

          A few hours after he left, I texted him that I feel he is still confused on his feelings for me based on some previous text responses. I told him I didn’t think he could be around me daily without becoming annoyed/angry about something. He responded that he know that he has a way to go. He also stated that he don’t understand why things bother him so deeply. He feels like he will forever be working on his anger like he has had to do with his drinking.

          So what I am trying to state is what if you can bring up that question while doing something that will put you both in a relaxed state. Therefore, it will not feel so pressured.

          • Chuck on January 22, 2018 at 1:08 am

            Thanks Renee , I will consider that. My wife got angry over the weekend because I suggested that we both go to See him Play at his basketball game, this is our youngest who just got out of a psych hospital. She says I was using the children to manipulate her, no we haven’t gone to a game to watch him play all season. Ladies, I can’t live like this. All of them except our oldest hate their mom, that’s right not dislike but hate her. She continues to do things that are destructive to those relationships. I feel like my ever word is second guessed.I am not angry but it seems like she just isn’t ready to do anything. My counselor thinks she is “frozen” in mental capacity to move forward which would be okay except for the harm to the childrrn. No improvement in their relationship with her and in some cases worse. I feel the need to be their advocate and get them away from her. I just know what it is.

          • JoAnn on January 22, 2018 at 9:41 am

            Chuck, I’m curious: Was it necessary to ask her to go with you to the basketball game? and then, did you go on your own? I’m sure this is painful for the children, and as others who have been with abusive parents have said, they blame the non-abusive parent for not protecting them. It would seem that perhaps it’s time for you to be more assertive about protecting them. You said they hate her….can you see how damaging this is for them? Rescue them! They need you to do something proactive for them. Look into all your options, especially legal ones. The grace of God will see you through. Praying for you all.

          • Renee on January 22, 2018 at 10:17 am

            JoAnn I don’t think it was necessary that Chuck invited his wife to the game. However, I think he was trying to gauge, without asking directly, the interest of his wife in helping to heal the entire family. I also hope that he was able to go on without her and truly enjoy – that is going to be important.

            This has been an area that I have been working on. It has been so hard to do things without my husband but it has been getting better. Again it is not to hurt my husband, but to help me be able to go on if the marital relationship is not healed.

            I’m sorry Chuck, at this point, I agree with JoAnn. You don’t need any other attempts. You may be able to go no contact since your wife seems to have no interest in the kids. You now have to rescue and protect. Your answer I believe is definitive.

            I know many frown on divorce and you may be one. However, you can set your kids, yourself, and your wife free. Show your kids what you are made of – be strong and wonderful. Never mean to their mother.

            Ok, now we wait to hear from the blog psychologist. Aly, any thoughts? Nancy, any prayer/biblical knowledge to share. Many, many people to learn from on this blog. You just have to find post and read.

            Chuck, I want to cry now but I will give a scripture instead. It comes from Isaiah 40:31
            But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Amen

            Ok, got to run. Take care Chuck and everyone.

          • Aly on January 22, 2018 at 11:05 am

            Renee, Chuck,

            Such a beautiful scripture Renee! Thanks for posting and the truth that surely sets us free✝️

            I’m so sorry for what your experiencing, praying for guidance and strength!
            In moments of my greatest pain, I could feel being held by Him and His love guiding me. I’ll pray for your hearts and you to experience His love in a profound life changing way that can never be forgotten.

          • Aly on January 22, 2018 at 9:32 am


            Wow~ such an experience and I’m thankful to hear your happiness too;)

            You said your husband said this:
            “He also stated that he don’t understand why things bother him so deeply. ”

            That’s such a great place for him to be! Hopefully he will get the help he needs to explore that and get to the root of those places for his own growth and healing.
            Praise God for these steps!

          • Nancy on January 22, 2018 at 10:27 am

            I had similar thoughts, Aly.

            Renee, I’m happy for you and am also praising God!

          • Nancy on January 22, 2018 at 10:29 am

            Hi Chuck,

            I agree with what JoAnn is saying about protecting your children. Continue workin on, and walking in, CORE strength. The Lord will guide you.

          • Chuck on January 22, 2018 at 11:06 am

            Renee andJoAnnthanks for your input, I
            have a family counseling meeting next week, I may ask her to release me from the marriage vows if she can’t or won’t make changes to help our children. Not asking for myself to come home but to work together for the children’s sake so they free don’t feel hopeless. There has to be some healing going on sooner than later.

          • JoAnn on January 22, 2018 at 6:54 pm

            Perhaps a psychologist could have a session with the children and then provide a professional opinion about what would be in the best interest of the children. I would hope that, at the very least, your wife would care enough for the children’s welfare to be willing to act in their best interest. We must pray for that to happen.

  6. Sarah on January 17, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    This is my current situation. After over 19 years living with an emotionally and verbally abusive, narcissistic, and delusional man I took our 3 children and left. It was the hardest and scariest thing I had ever done. Leslie’s book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage was pivotal in my recognizing the condition of my marriage and fighting for a change.
    My husband refused to change and recognize his issues (I have my own as well). I pleaded with him to change and prayed desperately. However my husband also has delusional issues as well. At the advice of a godly counselor and my family I initially left due to fears for our safety. He was not physically violent but very unpredictable. That was 15 months ago. My 3 kids and I moved in with my parents into their 3 bedroom home as a safety measure and that’s where we continue to reside. God blessed me with a good job as a teacher in a nearby school and my kids are doing well. We’ve all been through and are going through counseling.
    As for my husband, this finally prompted him to get a further diagnosis. He was found by 2 psychiatrists and a neuro psychologist to have a delusional disorder for which he refuses to be treated. He insisted marital therapy was what would help. As a last straw I did attend marital therapy with him in hopes that it would Segway him into further treatment. He did start behavioral therapy but was resistant to what he was being told. The delusional disorder had manifested itself more in the last 3 years but the other behaviors had always been prevalent. I wish he had agreed to get help years ago (I had asked him to do that). On the counsel of our therapist and a psychologist we stopped the marital therapy as it wasn’t changing anything. He has been attending a behavioral therapy but there has been no change. He needs but refuses medication. His communication with me and our kids has dwindled. This has been incredibly painful.
    As for me the separation has given me time to see the marriage for what it was- abusive. I’ve also been in a process of healing and getting our 3 kids out of that situation was the right thing to do. We have begun healing as a family but without their dad.
    There is so much more I could write but in answer to the question, separation helped to heal my kids and me but my husband has refused to truly change. He has been greatly humbled but refuses a heart change. Due to the laws in our state I have no protection (legally) during separation. He could cut off all financial help he is giving us, take the kids, and bankrupt me by taking out a loan. I also have come to the realization that he truly does not love me nor value me. For those reasons and more I have filed for divorce this past week. It’s been gut wrenching but I know it’s the right thing to do. I pray it will wake him up to truly help himself but I’ve done all I can. God is our strength and shelter and my relationship with Him is deeper than it’s ever been. He holds us in our brokenness.

    • Aly on January 17, 2018 at 8:16 pm


      I’m so sorry, but thankful for your bravery of true love for your kids, yourself and your husband ‘hopefully’.

      I’ve heard it said that it’s not the diagnosis or the impairment that causes the divorce but the REFUSAL to treat the diagnosis.

      I’m more of a supporter of medication especially when a person is needing a lot of help in those ‘brain’ areas.
      Doing marital counseling can only adjust so much without other interventions, because the person who refuses IS really struggling in the ‘processing’ place, let alone all the other character development that goes along with that.

      I guess I just wanted to write to support you in doing everything you could to bring him toward seeing something he doesn’t want to deal with, and he’s willing to dissolve a marriage by the reluctance of medication.

      My children would be outraged ‘righteously’ at their father.
      Why? Because they willingly take medication for asthma ~ as they need to breathe to live.
      And they are grateful for the medical treatment that gives them such a full life.

      • Sarah on January 17, 2018 at 11:36 pm

        Thank you for your encouraging and supportive words. Ironically my husband takes medication for a blood clotting disorder (he will die if he doesn’t) but he won’t take medication which could help save our marriage. I have struggled with understanding that his mind is lying to him yet it’s still a willful decision on his part. He comes from an emotionally and verbally abusive family, so I “excused” a great deal of that behavior. However as the delusional behavior began I realized how I needed to protect the children. Unfortunately I see how this has already impacted him. One of my teens exhibits some of his behaviors- sabotaging situations. I’m trying to undo a lot of damage and leaning on the Lord for wisdom and strength.
        One thing that has helped me in this journey is the story of the OT Saul. He was set up for success but chose poorly (caring more about how he appeared to others than obedience to God) and he lost everything. I try to pray for my husband and am going through a process of forgiveness towards him and myself, It’s a journey but one where I’m supported and finding freedom. I’m thankful for Leslie’s ministry.

        • Aly on January 18, 2018 at 11:20 am


          So thankful you have God’s love and wisdom to walk and carry you through.
          You’re a survivor and the Lord will heal those places faithfully.
          You are a brave mom and choosing to walk with the Lord. It’s really hard to see our children experiencing such difficulty but they also get an opportunity to watch someone’s faith in action.

          You wrote what I find to be such a common theme or core part regarding losing relationships and destroying trust in ‘sacred relationships’;

          “(caring more about how he appeared to others than obedience to God) and he lost everything”

          Isn’t this clearly idolatry?
          My current situation is similar but with my own parents and ext. family and the devastation of our children.
          My ‘Christ professing/believing’ parents believe that the Lord has already forgiven them of their behavior and intentional disobedience to Him, (I’m not saying He hasn’t) .. but they lack a healthy understanding of a heart posture, they have such a shallow expression of above is scary kinda robotic. It’s almost as if they are heavily guarded from feeling a genuine place of remorse for betraying behavior or any wrong doing.
          They continue to seek a Jesus and a Gospel of comfort rather than THE Gospel of Change.
          They continue to share a Gospel of comfort and ‘staying the same’ to those in their circle of influence. I often find myself wondering about delusional thinking being a ‘willful’ sabotage.

          Would it be possible for you to expand on the delusional behavior?
          Maybe you did and I missed it, I can go back and reread.

          The reason why I bring this up is for many of us who have been hurt by this….It’s traumatic to say the least!
          My husband would say often ‘delusional things’ during conflict ..and after years of interventions it was his tactic to get me to think he was ‘ill’ and incapable of growing or seeing his part of ownership.
          It was part of his control and defensive measures rooted in such shame.

          The God he said he knew and claimed to love, was not the God I knew, loved and was first loved by.
          Clearly we had some great issues to unravel.

          Continued hugs and prayers for your healing!
          Stay safe and sane 💕

          • Sarah on January 18, 2018 at 4:42 pm

            I can definitely relate to you with the heart posture. Clearly a case of idolatry. A counselor said this to me as well- that we both have a very different relationship with our Savior. I had condemned myself for being too judgmental (or was condemned by him) and there was no repentance on his part.
            As for the delusions, looking back it was probably manifesting itself much earlier- false accusations and perceptions, but it has gotten to the point of him thinking he’s being constantly watched, bugged, and that he has a chip
            implanted in his head which keeps him awake at night- to torture him. It would be comical if it wasn’t to the detriment of our family. He’s been told by quite a few experts of his delusions and needing help but he feels they are all “influenced” by the source (government) that is harassing him. He’s been doing DBT counseling but I don’t see a change on his part.

      • Renee on January 18, 2018 at 8:36 pm

        In December, my daughter started seeing a new counselor. The counselor told me after talking with my daughter a few times and me once that my husband may be suffering from schizophrenia. There was another possibility, but I can’t remember the name. However, it was suggested that unless husband wants the help, it is not my place. I have always known there was something mental going on up there as well, but he always refused my suggestion. A stigma maybe they feel. So yes, it hurts to possibly lose a marriage behind something that is treatable.

        • Nancy on January 19, 2018 at 7:29 am

          Oh wow, Renee. Having confirmation that there is likely something diagnosably wrong with your h is huge. It must be both validating for you, but also very sad that he refuses help. Did the therapist tell your daughter this? Does the therapist think that it would do your daughter good to know that he likely has a diagnosable disorder?

          The reason that I ask is because it was very liberating for me to know that my mother had some symptoms of borderline. (she will never be diagnosed and may not even be fully borderline, but having a label took a big weight from my shoulders). Of course I was a grown woman when my therapist suggested this, your daughter is 17, right? It’s why I’d ask the therapist what she thinks is best in revealing his possible condition.

          • Renee on January 19, 2018 at 11:12 am

            Nancy the teen’s next appointment is Wednesday. I will ask her opinion on doing a reveal.

        • Aly on January 24, 2018 at 9:53 am


          You wrote:
          “He’s been told by quite a few experts of his delusions and needing help but he feels they are all “influenced” by the source (government) that is harassing him. He’s been doing DBT counseling but I don’t see a change on his part.”

          I do believe with many professionals opinion that it’s often you won’t see a change with ‘this counseling’ alone when his brain is ‘amped up’ and isn’t calm enough to take in (metabolize) necessary understandings for growth & wisdom.

          Important for many of us to understand & be well educated in the scope of counseling and interventions. I think there is such a large population and generational belief against medical interventions that for some are absolutely necessary. The cultural attitudes ~ are what would benefit greatly from a new perspective sometimes. But it’s this culture that fights perspective because to them it equals ‘secular thinking’.

          John Townsend & Henry Cloud write and speak a lot about this issue. Praise God for their boundaries books.

  7. Lisa on January 17, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    I moved out and we agreed in writing to a six month separation while going to marriage counseling. I was hoping it would show my husband I was serious about boundaries and he would be motivated to change and work with me to save our marriage. Unfortunately the opposite happened. He quit counseling after three months and filed for divorce. Although that is not what I had hoped and prayed for I am thankful that the separation brought out his true colors and ended it instead of me staying and trying to fix it on my own for any number of years with someone who had no intentions of trying to change.

    • Renee on January 17, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Lisa Hugs to you and Amen praise God. I’m not praising God for the ending of your marriage or your grief. Not by a long shot! I just wish that others who have no intention of saving their marriage would take such an approach for everyone’s sanity. Or, or just maybe we are giving too much power to the other person and should end the misery.

      Lisa, were you able to share on the other blog post about how you are rebuilding? I thought that post would have been more active. I think many of us get frozen because of the idea of having to start over/rebuild.

      I was reading this article by Dr. Jeanne King this morning. and it mentioned FOG. FOG is the emotional composite of Fear, Obligation, and Guilt.

  8. Susan Garrett on January 17, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    After 34 years of marriage, I have been separated for 18 months. My story is the same song, just a different verse. My husband is a “good” man, especially in his own eyes. Sometimes I almost wish he had some blatent, obvious addiction. As I have told him often, my issue with him is that he thinks he had no issues. He thinks his parents were perfect and the timbre we did marriage counselling was just “get John time”.

    I am an adult child of alcoholics and have had LOTS of baggage. But Ive been in counseling most of the last 24 years. My husband s attitude has always been for me to fix my issues and all will be well. To say that he lives in denial is a major understatement. On top of that when you add him getting mad at God 8+ years ago and turning his back and the fact that his basic temperament is flagmatic, it has been a nightmare.

    Leslie, the truth in your book that unfaithfulness is not just sexual, but him leaving the marriage without physically leaving was a major validation to what I knew was truth. I have gotten SO much healthier emotionally since moving out. But the healthier I get the more unhealthiness I see in our marriage. Although my husband has made some surface changes, he refuses to deal with anything about himself or about his relationship with God. I truly live day by day.

    • Aly on January 24, 2018 at 9:02 am

      Susan G.

      Wow Susan, your story rings similar to so many who married a man that ‘has no issues’ and they are harden with a shield of that belief. It’s so sad and also so sad to see a spouse turn from God as you described. God’s love is so powerful that shame has nowhere to hide.

      No one wants to separate but often it comes to that for a chance of healing and health for the one partner actually pursuing healthy.
      I’m also sorry for your history of being a child of alcoholic but commend you for your bravery in facing it and working on your own injuries that began prior and as a child certainly not your fault but now your responsibility.

      I’m thankful to hear that you feel so much healthier emotionally and yet that also comes with the grief of seeing things in the marriage that are hard to clarify when we are ‘in it’. Hoping for Gods outcome and healing for your journey. Stay connected and supported ~ Leslie wrote today something really valuable about us all battling to overcome evil with good.

      Praying for your heart.

  9. Aleea on January 17, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    “Friend, how did you begin to grow into a more fully functioning adult during the crisis of a destructive marriage or separation? How has that helped you and how did it impact your marriage?”

    . . . .I don’t have that issue in my marriage, thank God . . .but I sure have it with my mother in setting boundaries and finally going no-contact. I guess I learned that life is really, really hard and totally uncertain. I’d miss her in waves and some nights I felt like I was drowning. . . . .I don’t even know how to describe it —the drowning part. I don’t know if we really heal, we just kind of move on. —And it exists without you knowing it, —even denying it. You don’t even know you’re in it. It takes awhile before you realize it. . . .There comes a point where you no longer care if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel or not. You’re just okay with the tunnel somehow. . . .And even though God is with me, He engages in lots and lots of hiddenness. One thing that helped me was my Compassion Class at church and understanding that so many Christians were going through so many rough times as well —even if they are hiding behind whatever. I think that helped break the false distinction between the idea that there are those who are whole and those who have a lack. For the true distinction is between those who hide their lack under a fiction of wholeness and those who do not. I think if you live life without having felt crushingly depressed, then you probably haven’t been paying much attention, taking opportunities, sharing your faith, etc. . . .But I also feel one of the main reasons that we lose enthusiasm in life is because we become ungrateful, we let what was once a miracle become common to us. We get so accustomed to His goodness it becomes a routine. —Whatever can be shaken, whatever I fear cannot stand, is destined to crash. Lord let that which is destined to become the past slip away. I believe that the real me is that which beckons from the future. If it is a sadder me, maybe it will be a wiser me. —And dawn will follow the darkness sooner or later. Rebirth can never come without death. —When I am thanking God for everything each day: —every meal, every time I wake up, every time some one prays for me, I can’t help but be more thankful for life itself, for the unlikely and miraculous fact that I exist at all. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. . . . .Every single day that dawns is a gift to me and I take it in that way.

  10. Liberty on January 17, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    This weeks post is such a blessing! Dee’s ministry sounds amazing! What God given life, in her testimony. I can just picture Julia sitting by her and bearing witness to the Spirit.
    Then Leslies post how divine. So many of us in separation mode in some way. The big take here for myself is the need to constantly remind myself though I am a victim of marital and childhood abuse (which of childhood abuse of late I’ve had to accept). I am not to live in victimhood. I am fearfully and wonderfully made and beautiful. All of you are beautiful. This woman Dee is a great example of service to other women in their time of need, Leslie too. Let’s stop living as failures. Let’s do right by God and keep our eyes on Jesus Christ. Once we fully understand we can not change another person or what has happened in how they effect our lives we can move forward with God. Prayerfully pulling away from the victim circle and living victoriously in Christ, alone.

    • JoAnn on January 19, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Wonderful insights, Liberty. I hope that you have a good support team to help you on your way.

      • Liberty on January 23, 2018 at 1:02 am

        Joann, Unfortunately no earthly support, seems as though they are all on the legalistic front and every time I reach out I’m slapped back with, “we’ll have you tried prayer?” Mind boggling. Can you forgive, hmmm yes 70 x 70 hundred-million times. The abused are probably over forgiving in my opinion. Will you pray someday I get support please???

        • JoAnn on January 23, 2018 at 1:46 pm

          I surely will. Places to look for support might be: a local psychiatrist (just make a few phone calls and ask about support (groups), Rape crisis shelter or Battered women’s shelter, grief counseling (some hospitals offer this), other churches (you can ask to talk with someone who is in the group to learn how they handle separations). I think that finding the right group means looking “outside the box” of places you have already looked, and asking a lot of questions to learn how different situations are handled. Ask the lord for discernment and guidance in the search. He will provide.

          • JoAnn on January 23, 2018 at 1:48 pm

            Also, if by chance your parents were alcoholics, there are support groups for Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA”s).

  11. Gwen on January 18, 2018 at 3:40 am

    This is interesting. I have been separated from my husband for over 6 months now. He has been going to counselling but the odd thing…his counsellor has never asked me for info. Years ago when I first went to indiviual counselling they sent a form home for my spouse to fill out on a voluntary/private basis. I did not get to read it, but they could. (this i felt helped that counsellor to do their best to fix the marriage while I was being counselled on an indivual basis). I have never even heard from his current counsellor – wondering what he is even “seeking counselling for”? to be right? or if he even has a counsellor? … not sure. I have felt he thinks that if he went, he could just come on back into my life. Now he is confused and seeking inner child work, but, here is my question…..we live apart and when he sees me there is an amiable friendship. our whole marriage issue was about his unwillingness to have sex when I came onto him, no communication, and his “not emotionally being there” ….you would think he would work on that, but he never comes onto me and is very polite……so ODD! in his case, the separation has served to allow him to do things his way, to “fix” what he is “willing” to address – his angry outbursts only, and to still with hold sex, or in this case intimacy and cuddling. ( I believe that i should not be sexual with him for my sake, or i lose my discernment. because sex makes us “goo goo ga ga” over the man we just slept with). but dont you think he would try to kiss me intimately ? he does not know that i would not sleep with him, he just does not try. can he be addicted to porn? he has no interest in living beings/women? or a sign of a strong-willed narcissist? any thoughts?? his dad thinks this is strange behaviour too. He can not understand his son’s actions here…not sure separation has done anything in this case. Hard to motivate change when he is doing as he pleases so to speak. I think that separation should be discussed and expectations or goals set by the couple if it is going to work. That helps both to know what to work on and to be able to meet and measure how they think things are or are not working out. If not possible, then their counsellors should be allowed to reference each other so there is some common ground and ability to see if the relationship is healing or harming the parties involved. 🙂 in my case, the fact that this is not occurring sends red flags to me… so go forward with eyes open as well. :0 )

    • Sunny on January 18, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      I am in the same boat with the sex issue. My H refuses all intimate contact with me. Won’t kiss or hug. Once in a while, I get a pat on the back, as if I’m one of the kids. Actually, he likes to have our youngest cuddle up with him to read a book, etc. I can ask, beg, plead with him for sex. He will respond with something like “Oh yeah. We’ll have to do that sometime.” Really? I’m so tired of being rejected on this most intimate part of my being. It is ironic, that as a survivor of extreme childhood abuse/ incest, that I’m refused sex by my husband. The place where sex is ‘supposed to be good?’ I feel like a piece of trash that he has tossed to the curb. I’m at a total loss as to why he’s acting like this. It’s been going on for 8 years now.

      • Nancy on January 19, 2018 at 8:57 am

        Hello Sunny and Gwen,

        I’m just wondering if you have had a serious conversation with your h’s about this?

        Something like, ” hey, I have something I’d like to discuss with you – it’s important. Can we sit down to talk tomorrow morning?” this lets him know that this is really important and that you are serious about a topic. It also forces you to think through what you’d like to say and not be reactive, but instead proactive.

        Then when you sit down, you speak truth about how it’s difficult for you ( without getting too emotional), but more importantly this is not normal for a marriage. That you are no longer willing to sweep it under the rug.

        His response to this type of loving confrontation will tell you a lot.

        • JoAnn on January 19, 2018 at 10:54 am

          I like your suggestion, Nancy, and I would also propose a couple of ideas about what this could be….It can be a hormone thing, which is easy to be diagnosed and treated. For a man to have no sex drive at all is either hormonal or he is getting his satisfaction somewhere else, like porn or a mistress. In a conversation like what Nancy suggests, some direct questions need to be asked, calmly and directly, without skirting the real issues. Be brave, be bold, and inwardly call on the Lord as you wait for the answers. This would not be a time to react emotionally, but to be as rational and calm as possible, by the Lord’s grace.

          • Gwen on January 21, 2018 at 5:36 am

            Thank you for bringing that up 🙂 it is true. One should have a serious conversation. And I have as a matter of fact we’ve even sought counseling about it. At the time he acknowledged everything. But then he continues to go on without correcting the matter. Kind of like he forgot about it 🙂 I have mentioned it again since. But instead he just continues to do things for me and I feel like I just kind of get that pat on the back as he leaves 🙂 because we are still living apart due to this particular issue. He says I am important to him. But he’s only changing the things he’s comfortable changing. He would really like to make me responsible for fixing this problem as well. And says that if I dressed up in lingerie he for sure would notice that maybe if it was the right time. I kind of feel that if I am truly in his heart, that intimacy would be a natural reaction to having love for somebody. Even a gentle kiss or a hug we communicate that to me. And this I am not seeing. This is why I believe he’s just going to counseling to go to counseling. And I do not have any animosity towards this man. My heart just feels sad that he does not have the capacity to intimately reciprocate in this relationship oh and yes we have been to the doctor and he has done all the medical tests. The doctor can find nothing wrong with his hormones Noir with his mental attitude. The doctor says he is completely healthy..

          • JoAnn on January 21, 2018 at 8:42 pm

            Gwen, how very sad for both of you. I wish I knew of an answer….I am currently counseling a couple. The wife is completely uninterested in sexual intimacy (we used to use the word “frigid.”), and it is killing their marriage. The husband is a hearty and healthy young man, and he loves his wife, but she can’t engage this way with him. I know that there are sex therapists who address this kind of thing, but you really have to want to do that. Is there anyone on this blog who has successfully dealt with this problem?

        • Gwen on January 21, 2018 at 5:30 am

          Thank you for bringing that up 🙂 it is true. One should have a serious conversation. And I have as a matter of fact we’ve even sought counseling about it. At the time he acknowledged everything. But then he continues to go on without correcting the matter. Kind of like he forgot about it 🙂 I have mentioned it again since. But instead he just continues to do things for me and I feel like I just kind of get that pat on the back as he leaves 🙂 because we are still living apart due to this particular issue. He says I am important to him. But he’s only changing the things he’s comfortable changing. He would really like to make me responsible for fixing this problem as well. And says that if I dressed up in lingerie he for sure would notice that maybe if it was the right time. I kind of feel that if I am truly in his heart, that intimacy would be a natural reaction to having love for somebody. Even a gentle kiss or a hug we communicate that to me. And this I am not seeing. This is why I believe he’s just going to counseling to go to counseling. And I do not have any animosity towards this man. My heart just feels sad that he does not have the capacity to intimately reciprocate in this relationship.

          • Aly on January 21, 2018 at 3:33 pm


            I believe you when you say you don’t have animosity towards him. I get that and I think it can be a good place to guard your heart from resentment.

            You wrote;
            “And I do not have any animosity towards this man. My heart just feels sad that he does not have the capacity to intimately reciprocate in this relationship.”

            Sometimes it is that they don’t have the capacity, and sometimes it’s that they CHoose not to learn the capacity.
            Discernment and knowledge can help sort through the muck.
            As a Christian we are called to a high calling of learning and growing into the fullness that Christ has spoken about in redeeming our hearts for His Kingdom and purposes.

            Some are resistant by their own choosing to this teachable posture and in turn the spouse and everyone in the circle of influence are impacted by this.
            The resistence I speak of is,
            Pride, power and control which is heavily linking to the abusive mindset. This is contrary behavior and attitude to the professing Christian believer.

      • Ruth on January 19, 2018 at 10:59 am

        When I read your post I felt SO MUCH rejection and shame. I am so sorry for the past abuse you suffered. Have you gotten or are you currently getting counseling to deal with your family of origin abuse? And of course there’s the current salt on the old wounds of your husband’s rejection. Any counseling you have would have to work with that as well bc he’s keeping the old hurts fresh and raw in your mind.
        Is it possible that he’s freaked out by your tormented sexual past and just too scared to be with you sexually for fear of hurting you more?
        Whatever his reasons for withholding sex and there could be several reasons, they all are very hurtful to you. But one thing I know, God won’t use sex with your H to heal your heart. I realize you see this another terrible rejection but it’s not a reflection of you at all. Neither was that childhood abuse. None of it was!
        Jesus does not cast you aside.
        He wants to gather you up and hold you. You are His lovely, beautiful bride. These abusers make Him angry.
        Sunny, I recommend fellowshipping with Jesus more and finding a group of godly ladies in real life to share your precious heart with and asking your H for the scraps of his attention less. It’s his loss.

    • Ruth on January 19, 2018 at 11:16 am

      My first thought when I hear a husband is not pursuing his wife sexually is that he is either 1) having an affair or 2) using porn.
      This site on Intimacy anorexia might describe your husband. It does a good job of explaining why some people withhold sex.

      • JoAnn on January 19, 2018 at 11:21 am

        I had the same thought, but added that it could be hormonal, which would be easier to accept, but porn and adultery were my first thoughts, too.

        • Sunny on January 19, 2018 at 2:50 pm

          JoAnn, Gwen, Nancy,

          Thanks for your comments and for taking the time to read and respond to my post. A little more information… As was suggested here, I have indeed done the route of loving, unemotional, planned confrontation. I have attempted this by myself on two different times. Both times, he has nodded and agreed verbally that it is an area that he should work on. However, nothing has changed. I tried to pursue this one level further by inviting a very trusted (by both of us) married couple to help have this conversation. The third attempt was the same as the first two. He verbally agreed to everything that was said in our meeting with the other couple. “I should work on that. You’re right. We can try to have sex more..” Etc. As you might have guessed, it’s six months later and nothing has changed- AT ALL. No attempts at intimacy on his part. No pursuit of me. In fact, I can try and entice him into the marriage bed and he turns away totally uninterested. I’m at a loss as to how to change/repair/ heal/ this area of our marriage. I can’t do it alone. He’s very aware of my hurts, needs, and desires to be intimate with him. He just doesn’t seem to care. No adultary that I’m aware of. (and no unaccounted for time, etc.) Porn has been an issue in the past (6-7 years ago.) To my best knowledge, that has stopped also. I’m still here, in this marriage, alone.

          • Connie on January 19, 2018 at 9:11 pm

            Porn doesn’t stop easily. Even if it has, if it is via self-control and not God’s conviction, it is not really valid and he could be doing porn in his head all the time, along with self-gratification (gay light). That can take the intimacy right out of marriage…..besides, it is adultery.

          • Nancy on January 20, 2018 at 1:43 pm

            Hi Sunny,

            This is where walking in CORE strength on a daily basis – particularly speaking truth in love, instead of ‘waiting for him to make a move’ – will be very important.

            I don’t mean forcing physical intimacy. What I mean is that if he has agreed to this, then you take him at his word. When he is uninterested, that’s when it’s time for you to speak truthfully to him. “You said that you wanted to work on this, so let’s do that.” When he is dismissive, then you don’t allow that kind of avoidance because now you have another problem; and that is trust. You cannot trust what he says because he has not done what he said he would do.

            “Twice now we’ve had an intervention where you have agreed to work on this. You have not done what you said you would do, and as a result, my trust in you has been eroded. We now no longer have an intimacy issue, it’s much deeper than that. I no longer trust you.”

            Sunny, marriage is based on trust. That’s foundational. I would stop worrying about the physical side for now and take some time to digest what it means that you can’t trust your life partner. That’s a very sobering thought.

            Have you read Leslie’s book, EDM?

          • Sunny on January 20, 2018 at 4:04 pm

            Yes I’ve read EDM. three times. It has been a life line out of a deep, black pit of abuse for me. Finding my CORE strength. But the thought you posted about not totally trusting your life partner- now that has my gut totally reeling. I guess I’ve known that, but never said it out loud. Yes this is much bigger than intimacy problem. Hard thing is that to those around me, my pastor, church friends, etc , all view H as such a nice guy. “I just KNOW he loves you…” “You just need a date night together.” was recent response when trying to get help from my pastor. And I have three young children in the mix also. I honestly don’t even think that he cares one bit if trust is broken. Sad. But that is my life. 🙁

          • Aly on January 20, 2018 at 4:54 pm


            I’m really sorry for the very well ‘shallow directives’ those around you have suggested. Sometimes it can just feel like more hurt.
            Some people just are not really in tune with the deeper & devasting problems some are having in their marriage.

            I’m really sorry for what you have been surviving with for such a long time.
            I do think trust and intimacy go hand and hand ‘especially in such a sacred and vulnerable place as a marriage’.
            Without trust, TRUE intimacy is either non-existent or at a very basic level of interaction with another person.

            I think it’s a blessing though to clear some of the fog and see the deception as a critical place to address and how that can tie into so many areas of his compartments.

            Sure many might think he’s a nice guy in his operational relationships, and that can hurt because it’s very incongruent from who you interact with.
            Is your husband getting professional help?

          • Gwen on January 21, 2018 at 6:44 am

            I totally hear you 🙂 sounds like you and I have an absolute lot in common. I really feel for my partner except that I can’t do the healing for him. So it looks like without me trying nothing gets done just like you say 🙂 I don’t really know if there is a solution when they are not active in helping this out. The harder that I push towards intimacy the more I feel like I’m the one who’s the anorexic and intimacy. So funny and yet not. We accuse ourselves, but clearly there’s two people in this relationship. It would just be really awesome to have the other party actually communicate and sexually engage. I think it’s really really hard for a woman to come on to a man to begin with, and then when he’s not interested it’s really shameful like you say you feel kind of sleezy even though it’s your husband

          • Nancy on January 21, 2018 at 7:46 am

            Hi Sunny,

            I completely understand being with a h who everyone tells you is SO wonderful, but you know is very broken indeed, but will not seek help, or admit it.

            It’s crazy making.

            I also hear you that you feel he doesn’t care if trust is broken. That IS sad. It’s extremely sad.

            Now. What about you? Do you care if trust is broken? It sure sounds like you do. Sunny, you don’t have to be a victim of his passivity. God has named you your h’s EZER. He will equip you to go to battle for your h, if you allow him to.

            If you decide to do this, it will require you to no longer tolerate his avoidance. It will require you to develop, and to walk in CORE strength. It will require you to hold him accountable for his untrustworthiness. Most of all, it would require you to trust God with the outcome.

            I hear that you have 3 small kids. At first that can make us feel trapped and we can use them as a reason to continue peace-faking. But tolerating this type of abuse is very damaging to children.

            Walking in truth sets us and our children ( and sometimes even our h) free.

            May God bless you.

          • Renee on January 21, 2018 at 11:50 pm

            Just wanted to point out another quick theory. Sure you all are already aware. Medications can also lower ones sex drive and even kill the sex drive. For men, if they keep striking out, they will give up, blame you, or both. For women it can be birth control pills. Antidepressants can cause such problems. High blood pressure medications. Pain medications such as opioids and muscle relaxers.

            Have a blessed night everyone!!!

      • Gwen on January 21, 2018 at 5:38 am


        • Aly on January 21, 2018 at 10:21 am


          I think many have posted some really good things to consider deeper about your situation.
          I’m so sorry for your marital place and the abuse that was & IS happening.

          I’m concerned with some of the comments that you have said that your husband said and it highlights big things!

          Non-treated past porn use is a huge factor here, my hunch is he’s still using even if it’s not the same as before.
          His comments say;
          He’s quite possibly in bondage of Sex addiction and needs specialized help immediately.

          Sex addicts often do become anorexic physically towards their partners and intimacy on all levels is non existent.
          What this means is basic terms, is they have OverConsumed ‘counterfeit sex’ and it has distorted ‘healthy God designed sex in a marriage…let alone his ability to be intimate sexually with a REAL live person.

          Separation won’t treat this appropriately but I am glad you are apart.
          Porn is a syptom of a deeper issues and your husband has a lot of work to do!!
          It’s not your repair work, it’s His.

          You on the other hand can get healing apart from his progress.
          This is betrayal in such a horrible way and the Lord will hold your heart and walk you through healing.
          You are worthy of this healing💜
          God loves you and sees this and protect you from further abuse and betrayal.

          • Nancy on January 21, 2018 at 10:47 am

            I agree with what you wrote Aly. It’s good that you are apart from him, Gwen. May The Lord empower you to trust in Him for your healing and restoration!

          • Gwen on January 24, 2018 at 4:43 am

            I truly appreciate your Insight. And I appreciate your candidness. More and more I’m feeling the same way as I walk forward. Thank you very much and blessings to you 🙂

        • Sunny on January 21, 2018 at 7:23 pm

          Gwen, Thanks for sharing your story here. I really feel like we have a lot in common. I have often wondered if my H even has the capacity to be intimate with anyone. By this, I’m referring to much more than marital sex. He also doesn’t have any guy friends beyond casual acquaintances. He just doesn’t connect with people. H did try a little counseling about two years ago. Had 6 sessions, and the Counselor told him that there was no reason for him to return. He was all “cured.” What? H actually told me that he was ‘one of those guys’ who should’ve stayed single never married. I’m not one to diagnose stuff and apply labels to every type of behavior, but his seems really extreme. Can’t connect with men, no friends, totally preferrs to be a loner, not ieven intested in sex with me. His only way to relate to people is through rage, and this mostly happens to me and kids because get too close. (just by existing!)

          • JoAnn on January 21, 2018 at 10:58 pm

            Sunny, This sounds to me like he has serious attachment issues, being unable to connect with others and the rage is an indication that his soul wants to connect but can’t and that causes the rage to erupt. You can read online about attachment theory to learn more. I’m so sorry for what you are having to go through.

          • Aly on January 22, 2018 at 9:22 am

            JoAnn, Sunny,

            JoAnn, I was wondering about that too~ especially being on the heavy side of avoidance attachment.

            Sunny I’m so sorry, it can feel like such a lonely and scary place to try to cope in. Your not alone and there are a lot of resources out there to help you grasp what’s going wrong and on! This doesn’t always mean the outcome of the marriage is repaired but there is definitely healing and answers that might help encourage you for your heart.

            As JoAnn noted, if you haven’t already looked into Attachment, it might be a good place to start. My husband and I did and still do a lot of attachment bonding and work.
            Also what helped my husband too was looking at his family of origin relationships and that family tree. This highlighted a lot about his other non relationships with his immediate family and he couldn’t just point the finger at something wrong with me.

            Looking closer at that family of origin roots, there was lots of avoidance, shame, hiding, adultery in generations past etc, anxiety and depression and addiction & minor Aspects of aspergers spectrum.
            His family tree is heavy on Avoidance. And avoidance and any spectrum of aspergers can look similar and sometimes they are intertwined. Also feeling controlled by them is another aspect to which is where I think the emotional abuse gets heightened. The abandonment is also another form of control too.

            Sunny, it also helped me to look back at our first years of courtship and marriage. What was consistent and what was off. What compromises did I not see and what was our dynamic like then.
            Its was helpful for me to see what first attracted me to my husband and what our early years were and what changed. I mean sometimes we wake up to a marital chaos situation and it’s been going on so long that it’s hard to ‘get off the dance floor’ and evaluate what are all the factors are.

            The rage you mentioned if you get too close or exist is important. Did you say you have a counselor?

            You haven’t mentioned his age, you don’t need to but sometimes ‘with rage’ there are a few things that could be going on. Any porn use would contribute to this in a big way and especially his lack of interest sexually. See the comment you made about ‘existing’ is interesting because with someone full of toxic shame you existing in a room is a reminder of what they feel ba or possible guilt/shame about. You out of room, helps them avoid those bad feelings and they can live out of sight out of mind in compartments. Like denial.
            A spouse receiving this type of treatment can feel ‘crazy’ inside because it’s so irrational and unregulated by the offending spouse.

            When you can begin to eliminate things it’s helpful to then see what is the battle at hand and what options you have.
            Having lots of support and understanding will encourage your journey too.
            Praying for you and your husband 💟

          • JoAnn on January 22, 2018 at 9:35 am

            Helpful insights, Aly. Your wealth of experience and knowledge is a blessing to us all.

          • Aly on January 22, 2018 at 10:06 am

            So kind and also the likewise to you and your care here💜

            My hope is to bring any blessing I can in sharing for His purpose. Sometimes marriages don’t get restored because it takes two willing partners to do their ‘own work’ and the joint work. Not all situations are the same but many patterns are not all that inventive.
            As you know I’ve encountered many ‘unwilling people in my life’ that refuse to take a closer look at their inconsistencies and harmful behaviors.

            Personally, the one who guts the marriage and robs the marital safety of trust is the one primarily responsible for repair.
            The Lord strengthened me to search a lot of places to find willingness. Boundaries and requirements were key for our situation.

          • CK on January 22, 2018 at 6:59 am

            Sunny, you might also look into Asperger’s syndrome or autism spectrum disorders.

          • Sunny on January 22, 2018 at 12:43 pm

            Can someone tell me more what you mean by “attachment work?” And to answer a question, yes, I do have a therapist. I’m doing extensive work on my own FOA trauma recovery. H does not have therapist, nor does be see any need for one. (After all I’m the one with the problems…)

          • Aly on January 22, 2018 at 1:01 pm


            Yes I can relate to having a spouse really believe that they have no issues~ afterall living isolated (alone in their own thinking and perspective) and disconnected emotionally and spiritually is easy to live as if they are the most reasonable person to be around.

            Glad you gave help and support through counseling I believe it’s an essential of many things that contribute to getting to the root issues of behavioral and power dynamics.

            Ok~ Attachment work or theory;
            You can google lots of info about attachment.
            Maybe JoAnn can speak more clearly on defining it.
            Also and their work is pivotal in my opinion.
            Its around how ‘all’ of us attach or bond in our formative years with our parents and Family of origin.
            My husband was off the charts on avoidant attachment and more narc traits due to the abandonment of his past and the neglect of parenting he received and how he internalized it. He also had some controlling style too and I was more of a pleaser style attachment. Which doesn’t help much😏
            These are not personalities but more injuries.
            Many people go through life thinking they have such and such likes, dislikes etc, tendencies etc and often find that they were poor coping skills of injuries growing up that have now played out in adult years in a bigger sometimes more damaging way.

            ‘How we love’ does intensives and workshops that are also helpful for those that are willing to peer into their behavior and ask for ways to find resolutions rather than more destructive ways of spinning the cycle.
            Go to there website and take a look for yourself, they have instant quizes you can take and lots of examples to explore.

            You can also find out more about the ‘comfort circle’ that they developed as a great way of bringing healing and understanding to a marriage in many struggles.

            If your h is more Aspergers levels~ there is a lot of help out there to if they are willing to learn to grow. But this would require more specific help in this place.

            Hope that helps some~ feel free to keep asking questions, for me, asking and searching did help me understand more of my role and my options.

          • JoAnn on January 22, 2018 at 11:07 pm

            Explaining Attachment Theory (I wrote my master’s thesis on this): The quality of the bond that an infant forms with the primary caregiver (usually the mother) becomes a template for all future relationships. When the mother is adequately attentive to the needs of the baby, responds to the needs and is emotionally present for the child, the child forms a secure attachment to the mother. Mother is a “safe haven” and a “secure base” from which the child can learn and grow. Such a child grows up being able to form loving relationships easily, and develops a healthy sense of self and a good conscience. Without that secure base and safe haven, the sense of self in undermined and the conscience does not develop well, if at all. Children who do not get the opportunity to bond, or if the bond he does have is disrupted during the first few years, then the child can develop what is called Reactive Attachment Disorder. We adopted a child when he was 18 months old, a big disruption of the bond he had with his foster mother. He eventually developed RAD. He was a very difficult child to parent. There are different categories of insecure attachments, but the thing to know is that someone who manifests such difficulties in relationships probably has issues with Attachment.

          • Sunny on January 22, 2018 at 11:38 pm

            Thanks for your great explanation. Very helpful. Now the big question is what to do in marriage with 50yo H who likely has attachment issues. And it comes out as a steady stream of abuse and neglect upon me and the kids…

          • JoAnn on January 23, 2018 at 9:48 am

            Sunny, helping a mature adult who has attachment issues is for a professional who works in that area. Not many do. However, it might help to realize that someone with attachment issues is going to feel threatened when anything touches his core issues of safety and security, which usually manifests as low self esteem (unworthiness). By the time someone is the age of your h, they have developed all kinds of coping mechanisms and defenses that make it hard for them to open up for help. Brick walls around their core. I don’t know if this will help, but maybe understanding more will help you make decisions.

          • Nancy on January 23, 2018 at 9:09 am

            Hi Sunny,

            It sounds to me as though you are already doing many things to ‘change your part of the dance’. If I remember correctly, you are in counselling yourself, you’ve taken in Leslie’s book, and you’re here on this blog sharing and asking questions. If you keep doing these things and lean into The Lord like never before, He will guide you on a daily ( and when needs be, a minute-to-minute!) basis. He is so very faithful!

            It is so important to know about what types of things might cause your husband’s abusive behaviour. So. Important. First of all it’s important to validate your own inner sense, and know that you’re not crazy! It’s also important so that you have a better sense of his brokenness and that as a result you begin relating him as the real person that he is, not the facade that he’s constructed.

            Just be careful not to over-focus on him. The reason I say this is because the only person who can change him, is him. The only person you can change is you. Personally, I have co-dependant tendencies and those tendencies can lead me to try to ‘fix’ him, ( and avoid my own feelings) which is not at all healthy. So, find out what you can about your h’s condition, but be careful not to allow that to replace your own development of CORE strength and asking the Lord how you need to change.

            There’s a lot of grieving in the place where you are right now, too 🙁

            It’s really important to do that grief work. Things will become much clearer, as you do.

            Our Lord is close to the broken-hearted, Sunny. I am praying for you.

      • Aly on January 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm


        The link you posted was very good. I do think that sadly so many Christian marriages are actually living in these places and thinking it’s not that bad or that there is some normalcy to what they are doing day in day out.
        Especially those that get honest about their marriage ~ maybe those that stop long enough to take inventory, I think the numbers might shock some people.
        The ‘family of origin’ issues is critical and I like that they at least highlighted that as also a possible root issue and modeling of intimacy problem.

        This is a treatable ‘cancer’ place for those who get help and want to do the necessary work.
        It’s so sad for those that have actually untreatable real cancer watch these types of choices play out.

  12. Pauline on January 18, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    I separated from my husband for about the 10th time in 16 years of marriage. I moved Dec. 9th and I cut all calling and txt messages because of the manipulations to get me back and I was able to work on my inner struggles and he wasn’t free to see and work on himself and the problems that lead to being separated again. He’s manipulations of words were all with the intent that I was coming back after my years lease and he was good at using the bible to try to convict me. I was through this all thank God. It was heart wrenching for me to cut all communication being the sympathetic compassionate person I am. It is a healing time for me and whether he believes it of not I hope and pray he realizes in time this is exactly what he needed too. Till you get to the root of a problems within yourself can’t work on a marriage.

    • JoAnn on January 19, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Pauline, I am so sorry that it has come to this, but it sounds like you have really tried, and now you are done trying. Good for you! Heart-wrenching, yes, but being away from it all will give you time to heal and gain perspective, and from there you can decide what to do further. The Lord will make His will clear in time. Meanwhile, work on your CORE and get intimate with God. He loves you.

  13. Ruth on January 18, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Leslie, Thank you so much for including that beautiful excerpt about the song of Solomon being taught in the women’s prison. Sometimes we forget how hungry the human heart is for love until we read a passage like that. I love how it shows how only the redeeming love of Jesus was made to heal perfectly wounds of our hearts.
    Last night before I read that excerpt, I read from Luke 7:36-8:3. I was touched at how Jesus elevated the status of the lowly and the nobodies –
    WOMEN, especially the ladies would be be seen as used up, worn out, unwanted.
    Simon the Pharisee invites Jesus into his home for dinner. The Bible only tells us that the woman who slips into the house is known around town as a sinful woman. She knelt at Jesus’ feet, anointing Jesus’ feet with the ointment from a box of alabaster and wiping his feet with her tears and her hair.
    When Simon the Pharisee misread this as: “Jesus must be a false prophet or else he’d stop that SINNER woman from touching him.” Simon was right and wrong. Jesus did know all about her sins, but of course, Jesus knew her heart was broken over her sins. Jesus saw her humility and readiness for salvation. I love how Jesus defends to the Pharisee and then He gives her these words of kindness in 7:50 “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”😊
    That’s the last verse in chapter 7.
    Then in 8:1 it says basically Jesus and the 12 disciples went around preaching the glad tidings of the gospel.
    In verses 2 and 3, Luke says: “And certain women which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary Magdalene out of whom went 7 devils.
    And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward and Susanna and many others, which ministered unto Him of their substance.”

    This may seem like a random comment to make. It has little connection to the question of martial separation.
    It seems to me that when there’s an awe-inspiring display of God’s ABUNDANT GRACE AND MERCY demonstrated as in the opening story and as in the story of Jesus forgiving the woman who anointed his feet with the alabaster ointment, there is always a legalist who rises up trying to hijack the moment yelling ‘oh no! Love is not the prevailing thing here! it’s RULES, RULES, RULES.” There’s no room for discernment or wisdom – not even common sense. 😳

    Leslie, again thank you for sharing thank beautiful story of redemptive grace.
    I was still feeling that glow of awesomeness from it when I got to the first comment. Then I felt like someone threw a bucket of cold water on me. Yuck. Thank you for fighting the good fight.

  14. Nancy on January 18, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    I can relate to a type of confused grieving you describe about your mother (that’s how I interpreted what you wrote).

    Grieving the ‘loss’ of a something that isn’t a loss is confusing. For me, it amounted to grieving what I never had as well as grieving the illusion that I had spent so many years constructing / maintaining. Because drastically reducing contact ( in my case) was actually a positive thing. And standing firm in the boundary – against guilt- was really hard.

    • Nancy on January 18, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      Did I interpret correctly, when I called your experience a confused kind of grief? maybe that’s just my own experience.

      Is losing something unhealthy, a loss? It’s actually choosing health, right? So then the pain has to do with the lies that I’ve believed/ constructed / clung to.

      I thank God for His Word that shows me what real Love is – it is the antithesis of the co-dependant / enmeshed love that I have known my whole life! ❤️

      And I thank God that Jesus came to disrupt false peace and that He walks very closely with us, as He equips and encourages us to do the same 💕

      • Aleea on January 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm

        “Grieving the ‘loss’ of a something that isn’t a loss is confusing. For me, it amounted to grieving what I never had as well as grieving the illusion that I had spent so many years constructing / maintaining. Because drastically reducing contact ( in my case) was actually a positive thing. And standing firm in the boundary – against guilt- was really hard.”

        . . . .Exactly, —that’s it. Losing / grieving illusions, —but you have to be very careful not to just replace illusions with other illusions. That is much, much easier then it seems. Pretending is what gets us into these messes to begin with. . . .What seems to be is not better than nothing, —than nothing at all —or maybe it is I really don’t know.

        “Did I interpret correctly, when I called your experience a confused kind of grief? maybe that’s just my own experience.” —Yes, I think you did. I think it is confused grief but it is also illusion loss. —Who wants to lose even the illusion of having a real mom?

        “I thank God for His Word that shows me what real Love is – it is the antithesis of the co-dependant / enmeshed love that I have known my whole life!” . . . .But I have been and maybe am codependent on God Himself. —Nancy, I can’t make it across the street without Him. God is always my drug of choice. Re:When God Becomes a Drug: Book 1; Understanding addiction & spiritual abuse. . . .I used to think it was simply “Addiction” of a different kind re:Psalm 112:7 –A singleness of heart, an undistracted mind. —A God fixation! But the Word-of-God became like a meth needle hanging out of my arm. I couldn’t/ sometimes can’t put it down. The issue is that after a while, you have so much of it inside your heart and your head that you collate it and collating it leads to deconstruction. For example: I would be reading and praying . . . .Lord, what is up with the fact that Luke (—who wrote Luke & Acts) has the ascension occur on Easter evening in Luke 24 but forty days later in Acts chapter 1. —Wow, Lord, that shows about as clearly as one could ask that Luke was not even trying to keep the facts straight and didn’t expect us (the readers) to think so. —Lord, anyone who can change the story this much is just not interested in getting the facts straight! . . .And Lord, what day did you die on and what time of day? Did you die on the day before the Passover meal was eaten, as John explicitly says, or did You die after it was eaten, as Mark explicitly says? Did You die at noon, as in John, or at 9 a.m., as in Mark? Lord did you carry your cross the entire way yourself or did Simon of Cyrene carry it? . . .Lord what did they see in the tomb? Did they see a man, did they see two men, or did they see an angel? —As everyone knows, it depends which Gospel you read. What were the women told to tell the disciples? Were the disciples supposed to stay in Jerusalem and see Jesus there or were they to go to Galilee and see Jesus there? Did the women tell anyone or not? —It depends which Gospel you read. Did the disciples never leave Jerusalem or did they immediately leave Jerusalem and go to Galilee? —All of these answers depend on which gospel you read. Collating . . .it leads to deconstruction. . . .Then I started mashing/jamming all the accounts together to get nobody’s account because this mashed together/make-it-all-fit gospel is actually nobody’s gospel. They say very different things and I have never come to peace with it.

        It is really hard not to have illusions. The bright light of total honesty. That light is liberating. Necessary. But totally terrifying. . . .And when it is too much for our eyes to take, we build a new illusion to shield us from its relentless truth. This is why I say that Christianity is a defense mechanism against a real experience of God! . . .In Isaiah 6, Isaiah really experiences God . . . .”Woe to me!” “I am totally ruined! Because I am a one of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts [and I will not be permitted to live].” Remember in Luke 5 when Simon Peter finally, r-e-a-l-l-y saw who Jesus was, Peter fell at Jesus’ knees: “Go away from me, Lord,” he said, “for I am a sinful man.” . . .But those are the kinds of experiences I want to have with God!!! —I want God not ideas about God!

        . . .And I so want my mother back, —it’s my mother. —But not like she is. —But I can’t see the unconscious factors which spin the illusions that veil my world or I would just get rid of them as best I could. —And what is being spun is a cocoon, which in the end can completely envelop me. We want to blame-shift but so much of the whole tragedy originates in ourselves, but I don’t know where or I would not continually feed it and keep it going. Not consciously, of course—for consciously I don’t see those issues💞✞ 😊📤 📡💞📶📥†ރ😊

    • Aly on January 18, 2018 at 6:14 pm


      Thanks for writing that above~ it’s so true for my journey too, I am sad to see that others have had to also experience this pain but I’m thankful that the Lord is holding you in it faithfully 💜!

  15. Karissa on January 18, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    I love that you & Dee are good friends, I should’ve known!
    I followed Dee until her Song posts. I was in such a difficult time of realizing truth in my marriage, I couldn’t fathom such a Bible stdy & unsubscribed! Now here you are, months later, explaining Dee’s book!
    God is good. He’s been w/ me every step of this difficult journey. Perspective has much to do w/ my reaction, resolve & perseverance. I keep seeking Him
    Thank you for helping us along…

  16. Nancy on January 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Aleea and Aly,

    What you said, Aleea “pretending is what gets us into these messes to begin with” . SO. TRUE.

    It’s really easy to slip back into illusion. Actually, that’s why my h and I agreed to keep his mother’s last ( vicious) email. So that when we feel guilty, or start to think that we were perhaps too harsh, we’ll have it to look at. My h has done so a couple of times recently, and it immediately removed his guilt. The reality of it is sobering. ( interesting word – sobering. It suggests an altered state beforehand…!) Being sober is a good thing 🙂

    Many here have suggested writing the facts down during the tough times, and I’m guessing the reasoning is the same- it’s a guard against the fairy tales we are so apt to spin.

    Hugs to you both ❤️

  17. Nancy on January 18, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Oh and Aleea and Aly. Having a mother who refuses to choose health and growth has been so, so painful.

    But in a small but significant way, knowing that you both totally get that…is a comfort to me ❤️

    • Aly on January 18, 2018 at 7:36 pm


      I’m thankful it’s comforting for you. It’s also for me to that you get it too. We are called to comfort by which we have been comforted and I believe the Lord orchestrates this in profound ways.

      You wrote:
      “Having a mother that refuses to choose health and growth is so, so painful”

      It is Nancy. I’m sorry truly. 😥
      I also get that pain of refusal. For my situation, it’s the refusal and also the spiritualized ‘misinterpreted Gospel’ by my mothers’ way of coping with not choosing to acknowledge growth being an important posture in the Christian’s path.
      She thinks it’s optional~
      Failing to see that with that position it will correlate an attitude toward growth and healing in our relationships as well.

      Hugs and His promises!

  18. Hope on January 19, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Leslie, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for your godly, balanced and very practical teaching and counsel. It’s been life-changing for me. I watched both my dear mom and my sister stay in very long marriages that were systematically destructive to them–it was one of the greatest sorrows of my life to witness that. I’ve struggled so much to understand what pleases and honors God in situations like this. I’ve been a Christian since childhood, a leader, a teacher and speaker, but I’ve never seen these difficult questions addressed with as much wisdom, clarity, and biblical solidity as you have. I’ve cried and experienced deep healing as I’ve read some of your blogs or watched your videos. I’m a part of CORE and have loved that support and teaching. Thank you, thank you for being such a courageous and compassionate voice for Jesus! I’ve been praying for you regularly. I just thank God for you and your ministry!

  19. Kate on January 19, 2018 at 2:23 pm


    I just wanted to thank you for the counseling I received from you and the insights from your blog. Ditto what Hope said about your ministry. In addition to reading your blog, I’ve become involved with Celebrate Recovery. My eyes have been opened in the past year or so, and my faith which was growing weary has been renewed. I don’t often respond to the blog, but after reading a posting yesterday I thought I would burst if I didn’t! I find myself thinking that many Christian women have idolized marriage. I know I did for several years. But once I realized that my husband’s disability prevented him from treating/loving me the way the New Testament and many older marriage handbooks describe,I was able to be more gracious to him and pay more attention to my relationship with God. In recent months I have shied away from traditional women’s Bible studies. I was raised in a single parent home and I also raised my children alone. In some Christian circles here in New England we who were raised fatherless are considered quite problematic and the reason for lack of values in society. I see this thinking as a set up for Christian marriage to be idolized. It’s easy to bypass the truth of what is actually going on in a relationship and put the fake version or what we wish it would be up on a pedestal. I so appreciate your value of “being committed to the truth”.

  20. Aleea on January 19, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    “. . . .It’s really easy to slip back into illusion. Actually, that’s why my h and I agreed to keep his mother’s last ( vicious) email. So that when we feel guilty, or start to think that we were perhaps too harsh, we’ll have it to look at. My h has done so a couple of times recently, and it immediately removed his guilt. The reality of it is sobering. ( interesting word – sobering. It suggests an altered state beforehand…!) Being sober is a good thing 🙂”

    I have certified letters (—certified letters the kind you have to sign for) from my mother that act in the same capacity for me. Those letters are really full of vitriol and the threats are especially caustic. I just give things like that to my counselor to read and she briefs me on them.

    . . . .But all that hate from my mother never changes my desire to heal that relationship. I still long for it. —Again, it’s my mother.

    “Oh and Aleea and Aly. Having a mother who refuses to choose health and growth has been so, so painful. But in a small but significant way, knowing that you both totally get that…is a comfort to me ❤️” . . . .And I certainly feel the same way about you sharing your issues Nancy. So helpful.

    . . . .Reality isn’t the way we wish things to be, nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are. Either we acknowledge reality and use it to our benefit (—it seems that is what is taught here no matter what the Bible “says”), or it will automatically work against us. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it just doesn’t go away. . . . .Reality is one hard, harsh road to walk. I think that is how you know you are on it. But maybe God’s path is different. I think one of the brain’s most prominent skills is the ability to ignore anything that becomes too predictable, no matter how important it may be.

    Respect only has meaning as respect for those like my mother with whom I do not agree. . . .Maybe God gives us mothers like this compelling us to transcend them, —somehow. —Prefering instead for us to be compassionate rather than right? —Often, we don’t want to give up our egotism. We want our Christian Faith to endorse our ego, our identity. Maybe that was never God’s plan. Identical beliefs and practices have inspired very diametrically opposite courses of action in Christian history, re: what do we do about our relationships to our mothers. I was thinking today as I waited in the airport, you know what, who cares about world peace. If we cannot accommodate and make peace with our own mothers, without resorting to all manner of programs and devices, how can we hope to heal the terrible problems of our world? Compassion derives from the Greek pathein, . . .it means “to suffer, and undergo *that* experience.” “Compassion” means “to endure with another person,” to enter *generously* into her point of view. Like people do here with me. That is why our hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else. Compassion can be defined, therefore, as our attitudes of principled, consistent altruism🎆✝😊 💛 💚 💙 💜 💔💟🔃✈🌉🌃🌌

  21. Connie on January 19, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    We have been separated about 3 months now. H has been going to a counselor for about 2 months, weekly, but I have not been invited. H calls me every day and sometimes tells me about the session, but it sounds as though the counselor is part of the good-ol’-boys club. He seems to be stroking h’s ego rather than holding him accountable to higher standards. For example, apparently the c was impressed that h was not doing porn anymore (I hope) and said that most guys don’t think it’s an issue. Makes me wonder if the c is doing porn (he’s supposed to be a Christian). I may be going to town with h next week when he has his next session and I’m wondering if I’m in the office anyway if they will invite me in. Or if I should ask to attend. Maybe even alone? If so, I’m here asking advice as to what sort of questions I could ask the c. I’d appreciate any help here, as I get the feeling that h always has to be ‘on top’. He’s been telling me that he’s been educating the c about Patrick Doyle, and other things he’s been reading. I just get a weird feeling about it. I’ve told him that I don’t think it’s going anywhere, and why, but I think he likes it that way, or else doesn’t want to offend the c. And the c seems to be nice to keep h coming back so’s he can get a check.

    There has been some apologizing for past hurts, yet I notice that is has been for a few things of his choosing, but if I bring something up, he blows it off. The big things are still minimized, rationalized, ‘forgotten’, or excused.

    Last week I talked to a co-counselor of Patrick’s on the phone. One of her first questions was, “Who is putting the heat on him?” I said nobody but me, really, and she said, then there’s not much hope. Hard to find someone in a remote place like this. I realize that it’s the Holy Spirit that convicts, but God does use people as well, who hold the Word up to us as a standard.

    • Aly on January 19, 2018 at 9:56 pm


      Not saying for sure~ but I see big red flags!
      For me porn is a serious issue with serious standards of treatment.
      The fact that your not included in the process is problematic given the infractions/ betrayals and as well as your still seeing blow ups.

    • Barbara B on January 20, 2018 at 10:36 am

      You could ask the counselor, what is the diagnosis? What is the treatment plan? What is the timetable for expecting results and what specific results are expected?
      It’s really wonderful that Patrick Doyle’s ministry provides counseling over the phone; I’m glad to hear you have that resource.

      • Connie on January 20, 2018 at 11:13 pm

        Thank you. I want to write some things down.

    • Nancy on January 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Can your h do phone counselling with P. Doyle’s office?

      • Connie on January 20, 2018 at 2:33 pm

        Patrick is booked for a year ahead, and his coworker is a woman. To be honest, he doesn’t respect women all that much. He’s done online counseling with a woman in the past and basically it was a game to him to get attention and derail her. Our pastor is a woman and he doesn’t listen to her very well either.

        Today in prayer it just stood out to me that deception is the basic problem. He makes a game out of deceiving people. I guess I didn’t realize until today how much he does it and how evil that is. (which means that I’ve been deceived too, right?) I think that all the other issues are minor compared to that. More prayer to discern what my part is in that department. How to confront on that, what boundaries, etc.

        As someone above just said, trust is basic, and that was broken long ago. I’ve heard Dr. Phil say to an abusive man, “Unless she knows that you fully understand how much you have hurt her, she will never get past it.” We call that repentance.

        I did a little online search today on ‘spirit of deception’. Interesting.

        • Nancy on January 20, 2018 at 3:21 pm

          My h and I had a cycle where he deceived in order to avoid feeling controlled, and I controlled more because I felt insecure (because of his deception).

          We were just discussing this cycle the other day and how trapped we were in it.

          We were both dancing to the tune of generational sin ( his dad was so deceptive that he carried out a covert affair for 20 years before getting caught by his mother). My mother is borderline and I learned all I knew about loving others mainly from her (anxiety as the driving force to control loved ones).

          I do feel though that trust is the starting place. The turning point for us was when he admitted, in front of our counsellor, that he was not trustworthy. At that point, I began to trust ( if that makes sense).

          It’s great that God revealed to you that deception is the basic problem. That’s a great place to start for you to look at your part, as you said. ( and of course stand firm in the fact that deception is completely unacceptable).

          May God be with you as you continue walking in CORE strength, Connie.

          • Connie on January 20, 2018 at 11:24 pm

            With us the deception started right away…..even before, but I didn’t know it. I tried over the years to be not at all controlling, to carve out my own life and let him live his how ever he wanted, but didn’t really set boundaries or anything. He would say, “Don’t we have a good marriage? We never fight.” I didn’t see the point, I’d just be quiet and let things go because I knew I’d get shut down or shut out so I gave up near the beginning already. Trying to ‘stay well’.

            Generational sin is right. My dad didn’t seem mean, just distant. He was from a strict European family where his sister wouldn’t let him marry the girl he wanted. She told him to marry mom so he did, but never told her he loved her. Mom silently put up with it but I know she was unhappy. My h’s family manipulates him and dangles carrots in front of him that he will probably never get to eat, ignores him, tells him he can’t do anything right, etc. He complains about it but treats me exactly the same, plus takes out his anger toward them on me.

            Confessing sin is always the starting point of trust, that makes perfect sense. Without repentance there is no real change.

          • Nancy on January 22, 2018 at 5:39 pm

            I think, too that because I didn’t really understand boundaries for a long time, I used them incorrectly – hoping that implementing boundaries would change him.

            Because of that, he ( rightly) sensed that I was attempting to control him with the boundaries I was implementing.

            This is the only area that I don’t agree with Patrick Doyle on. He talks in terms of ‘boundering’ an individual. I don’t have the power to ‘bounder’ my husband. The power I have is to guard my own heart.

            It took me a long time to get the difference ( I still struggle with this, actually, I have to be very intentional to speak with “I” and not “you”.)

            Yup…focus on my own heart and growth, and feelings etc…. is a challenge. It’s so much easier to focus on his behaviour and what he can do differently. Not sure if this comes under ‘control issues’ or ‘codependency’ ( or both!) but it’s a challenge none the less.

  22. Aleea on January 20, 2018 at 8:54 am

    re: trauma memories

    . . .and I call truth and reality the desert of the absolute real. —That *holy* desolation where only the Truth survives, —out past all the epistemology of Christian propaganda about what life is like. That place where everything not real is washed away by the solar storm of Truth. —And raw truth, raw truth, unfiltered —oh my, . . . .well, it is not appealing because it is not outcome engineering nor is it trying to “increase faith”. . . . .

    “But as I’ve said again and again, as painful as truth and reality are sometimes, healthy people live in truth and reality and not in fantasy” ―Leslie Vernick

    . . . Unfiltered reality and unfiltered truth leads to total nihilism (—see the history of the U.S.S.R.) This is what happened *all* across Europe as the Catholic church keep pushing on and pursuing truth *at all costs* during the enlightenment. They pushed on finding the truth so hard they may have found it all right. Tell me *honestly* that nothing in “The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined 1835” and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of books of those deeply seeking truth thereafter “just makes no sense” at all. That’s just not true and I think everyone who is honest knows that. . . .But I am saying you either live in some type of fantasy and myth or you totally fall off into total nihilism. You can’t live without a value system. You get to choose your myth but you can’t live without one. Without a value system, we have no (zero) positive emotions.

    . . . .Way more than that, without a value system, we don’t even know which way to walk. —What am I going to do, just decide myself on all manner of life and moral issues? —I don’t know what I am doing. —I have no wisdom to do that. But it really seems to me that whatever is true is just true across every culture. There is not “Christian math” vs. “Hindu math” vs. “Jewish math.” —We just have math. In the same way, whatever is “Christian Truth” is “Hindu Truth” is “Jewish Truth” is “Muslim Truth” —Truth is just Truth. . . . Maybe, imagine a world in which we could have a truly *deeply* honest and open-ended conversation about our place in the universe and about the possibilities of deepening our self-understanding, ethical wisdom, and compassion. . . . .Maybe? . . .no??? —better to let beliefs divide us??? When you have Truth it transcends all boundaries because it is just demonstrably true.

    Wherever I travel, “Christian moderates” invariably give me a “talking to,” which I very much appreciate, and they claim to be more far more “sophisticated” than us Christian fundamentalists. But how does one become one of these “sophisticated” believers? By acknowledging just how dubious many of the claims of the Scriptures are, and thereafter reading them selectively, bowdlerizing them, and allowing the assertions of the Word-of-God about reality to be continually trumped by fresh insights (You mean the world isn’t 6000 years old? —Okay.); (I should take my daughter to a neurologist and not to an exorcist like faithful Christians did in churches all through the middle ages? —Hmmm, seems reasonable…); (I can’t beat my slaves? I can’t even keep slaves, despite what the Bible clearly says —Hmm…). There is a pattern here, and it is undeniable. Christian moderation (—for example, divorce, remarriage, for *all manner and kinds * of things by just torturing and twisting scripture beyond historical recognition is the direct result of taking scripture less and less and less and less seriously.) This is so, so easy to see historically –or- I am *totally* blind (—always a real possibility). I know I am blind about some things, and as people correct me with research, evidence, real reasons, I do belief revision. . . .But, I see the trajectory, and at some point unfiltered reality and unfiltered truth leads to total nihilism. . . .It just seems if we had way more loving freedom of speech in our churches, abuse would not stand a chance. —Not a chance. It is there because we are still pretending on lots, and lots and lots of issues.

    A woman told me yesterday that I have “superlative naïveté.” Maybe, and I need to deeply consider her words. . . .But I think that the greatest potential we have for opening our hearts lies in the opening of our minds. Really opening them. . . .And always, I am grateful in spite of my suffering and I still want my mother back and that relationship totally healed because I really, really loved her and still do and miss her. “Illusions can be pleasant, but the rewards of truth are enormously better.” —Really, see the history of post-Christian Europe. . . .But, maybe the world is not magic —and that may we the most magical thing about it? If the meaning we find in life is not transacendent, does that make it less meaningful? Again, if we cannot speak our brokenness✓. . . . our brokenness will speak for us✘. . .🐾😊. . .🎆◄•• I don’t even know what that is but I’m putting it in.

  23. JoAnn on January 20, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Aaleea, I think it is dangerous to have your mind too “wide open” to Truth. When your mind is “unprotected”, the enemy can put a lot of stuff in there that is not truth, and/or twist the truth. Martin Luther said that when truth gets twisted, it turns away from God. So we need to be very careful. I have seen that in your search for truth, perhaps you are too open to ideas that are not life-giving, as God’s truth is. Please be careful, and ask for a spirit of godly discernment as you consider all these things in your searches. God’s truth gives us a sense of life and peace; twisted truth leaves us feeling confused, uncertain. Please, be careful!

  24. Nancy on January 20, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Hi JoAnn and Aleea,

    What you said JoAnn, ” God’s truth gives us a sense of life and peace, twisted truth leaves us feeling confused”.

    This is so key to abiding in Christ!

    My verse for this year is the second half of Romans 8:6 “… But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” NLT

    Love this ❤️

  25. Aleea on January 21, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Thank you so much JoAnn and Nancy. . . .I love you both!!! I’m praying about being too open . . .but as I do it just feels so totally wrong and is certainly *highly* intellectually dishonest. If I close my mind off and only feed it confirmation biases, I will have fewer doubts but —honestly, does that sound honest in any way?

    Re: your mind [is] too “wide open” to Truth . . . . Jesus knows I love Him with all my heart but I will keep praying about it for sure.

    Re: “twisted truth” = Any facts, data, evidence I don’t like??? . . . .Marty [Martin Luther of Ninety-five Theses Fame 1517] would have burned all us (especially me) at the stake for our positions on divorce, remarriage, sex, He didn’t even think the Song-of-Solomon belonged in the Bible! . . . .Oh, and . . . .well, that could go on for pages and pages. Martin Luther is not Jesus or the Bible. He was not even a church father who lived in the first 300 years of Christianity!

    If we want to use church fathers for that, why do we not listen to the church fathers on divorce, remarriage, —before all the post-modern versions of Christianity, domestic issues were redemptive suffering and marital submission was actually real submission. When I research them, I find horrible things . . . .—In the first 300 years of Christianity, domestic violence was redemptive suffering and marital submission, was complete submission with no qualifications.

    We are picking and choosing because maybe morals come from inside us and we learn over time??? . . .not always from the Word-of-God which has slavery, in it. —I have never come to peace with that. It is either timeless truth or it is not and simply floating along with culture. I mean this is supposed to be God Himself, not people just writing down what they thought with all their errors winding up needing lots of amendments. —But that is what we see. Once you use advanced scripture text deconstruction and hermeneutics to take apart what the church fathers and *more importantly* the actual texts really say (—to get where you want to go with divorce, remarriage,, —you realize that applying that approach fairly deconstructs lots of other “truths” too, sans special pleading. How do you keep the fire of logic, reason (Marty called reason a whore!), evidence, that you use with the divorce/remarriage issues from burning into all other areas?

    —And, yes, maybe . . . .maybe I have the answer I seek but I just can’t accept the answer. I don’t what to know what I already know. That’s always the possibility for so many “mysteries.”

    . . . So, if I don’t believe like you do, will you still be my friends and write me things, pray for me and talk to me? —Did any of you ever read a book I recommended to you, because I have read many a book you recommended to me because I love you and I assume you want my best. —Abuse has not got a chance with enough unfiltered Truth. . . .Some thoughts for you after praying very much about it. . . .

    1) Am I open-endedly seeking the Truth with no particular hoped-for outcome? This is *really* hard to do!!!

    2) Again, am I pushing for a favored result? This is really hard to avoid, sans the influence of the Holy Spirit to bring one around to God’s Truth. . . . .The gentle whisperings of the Παράκλητος-Paraclete. . . .

    3) Am I prepared for ever-revisable, always tentative, only-provisional results, never reaching definitive certainty? That is really, really hard for me to overcome addiction to certainty. I have to ignore my cravings for it and invite the dynamic.

    . . . .Almost anyone can be my friend [some people seem totally insane and I sometimes have to let them go, but that is very rare and I still pray for them] and I always have room for more. “—Is the price of a ticket to heaven intellectual dishonesty?” —Aleea Rodgers . . . Blind belief is an ironic gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence. It takes courage to keep asking deep, hard questions. —Lord give me courage! . . . .And I always keep asking: How could I be wrong? What am I not seeing? ―And I try very, very hard to pay attention because there is always somebody who doesn’t agree with me telling me something I could never, e-v-e-r have figured out on my own. . . .It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. It’s the antithesis of opinionated. . . .Lord Jesus what do You want me to hear that I am just not hearing❣† †ރ ✞✝❣😊 💕↪✈

  26. Nancy on January 21, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Hi Aleea and JoAnn,

    I see this as a boundary / ‘taking responsibility for me’ issue. We are limited creatures and an important piece of our journey is to admit, and learn, what our limits are.

    I cannot be open to putting any and all food in my mouth because I am a steward of my body. I have to practice self-control. God gives me lots of help in this regard – I tell my kids to eat slowly and ‘listen to their bodies’ for when they are finished. ( the ‘full feeling’ is a cue that God has placed inside us to help. Also feeling sick after I’ve eaten too much, or too much of anything unhealthy for me, lets me know I’ve overdone it).

    Similarly, I cannot be open to putting anything into my mind because I am a steward of my mind. I have to practice self-control. God gives me lots of help in this regard too – nightmares after watching a scary movie told me long ago that I shouldn’t be consuming horror flicks.

    God has given me my body and mind and He entrusts their care, to me. No one else is responsible for what I consume. Only me.

    The sense of life and peace ( Romans 8:6) is an excellent cue that God has placed inside of us to help us know the limits of what we can consume.

    • Aly on January 21, 2018 at 3:48 pm


      Such good examples of why we are to pay attention to how we steward & manage our freedoms.

      Not everyone has all the same types of temptations, they come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a blessing to find community where we can be supported and esteemed to grow more and more into Gods design of the Body💕

    • JoAnn on January 21, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      Nancy and Aleea,
      Nancy, I do so much agree with what you just wrote. We are stewards of our mind and body and spirits, and we must be careful what we put into these vessels. Aleea, we don’t need to disengage our minds, but “The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Rom 8:6) When you write about studying the “church fathers” and so many theologians, I get the sense that it confuses you and fills your mind with doubts, which is definitely not “life and peace.” Ultimately, it is not in the law of letters or theological wrangling that we find Truth or peace, but as John says in his first epistle, (2:27) “His anointing teaches you all things.” We have a built-in filter: the anointing from the Holy One. When I saw the last verse in that epistle, I had the thought: has the search for certainty and truth become an idol for Aleea? In John 5:39, the Lord says, “you search the scriptures….but you will not come to Me.” The Lord Himself is Truth, and I know that you love Him with your whole heart. Trust that inner sense that you have when you are in His arms; let that be your guide to Truth.

  27. Nancy on January 22, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Hi JoAnn and Aleea and Aly,

    I was reading Romans 9:1 this morning. Paul says that Truth is confirmed in his conscience through the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit is the ‘built in filter’ -as you say JoAnn- through which we must pass what we consume.

    Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth! John 16:13

    Leslie wrote higher up on this post, that here – on this blog – we are learning to not be overcome with evil, but we are learning to overcome evil with good. And here we are discussing a fantastic example of this: It is boundaries that protect us from not being overcome, and in the Spirit we have the most protective internal boundary of all! ❤️

    • Aly on January 22, 2018 at 10:56 am


      I agree with you in these truths. But often I have been perplexed by those that claim the Holy Spirit, yet the behavior and reasoning skills don’t align.

      Maybe you can speak more into this Nancy, because I see often those in my circles (in past gens with roots of poor biblical teaching) that believe once I believe in Jesus as Savior then I sit and he brings me all I need to be equipped & mature.

      You wrote:
      “Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth! John 16:13”

      This is true, yet many can still choose to twist or abuse this posture to their lens.
      As in the case of my mother, which saddens me the most… she would claim that the Holy Spirit is with her and she has truth. She would take John 16:13 and feel peace to sit passively and comfortably right there~ claiming she has truth.
      Leaving out other scriptures that promote seeking out wisdom based on the healthy Fear of the Lord first as we see throughout Proverbs.
      As in Proverbs 2:4 we see the diligence in action for wisdom and truth.

      The deceptive ways of evil just hurts my heart😔
      So much is lost that seems unnecessary. But I know God someday will give certain answers.

  28. Aleea on January 22, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Re: Aleea, we don’t need to disengage our minds (Well, maybe sometimes we do!)
    Re: Trust that inner sense that you have when you are in His arms; let that be your guide to Truth.

    . . . .I apologize for not getting back sooner but I was seriously praying about all that was said. . . .And thank you so much. . . .That is so, so beautiful. I know what you are saying when it just feels so right and warm and true (Jesus holding me in His arms, I agree with what you are saying. . . .But, I see the issues with what you are saying too and I see them as clear as the Sun in the summer sky.

    . . . .As I have said, sometimes I think, something else, somehow, . . . .something else is going on at the intersection of our interactions with the Holy Spirit and it touches on psychology, theology, neuroscience but I don’t know what it is. I just know how I feel. “Faith” seems the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief in any normative sense, but when one just goes ahead and believes because of the way it makes them feel: i.e. helps them have hope. ―And this is the way God wants it because without faith it is impossible to please God, If you have evidence you don’t need faith. . . .And hope is r-e-a-l-l-y important too. ―I love that feeling, being in love with Jesus. It is the best in love experience EVER! ―For me, the search for truth takes me where the evidence leads me, even if, at first, I didn’t want to go there. . . .Yes, it is very confusing but so is reality. . . .Again, everyone thank you so very much for sharing some of your life with me, that is just so special and beautiful. Again, ―I get it. ―I just don’t *fully* get it 😊 💕✈✝😊 💕 💗☑ —Thank you so much!!!

  29. Nancy on January 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Hi Aly,

    Yes, I hear what you are saying about some mistaking passivity (or peace-faking) for real peace.

    I know exactly what you mean, scratching your head over seeing a serious lack of growth / or a passivity in a Christian. The only thing that comes to mind right now, is forgiveness.

    Forgiveness is a BIG block, I think. We are commanded to forgive, but forgiving involves serious emotional lifting. It requires us to feel our feelings, including anger, yet not get stuck in anger, then submit to God ( often multiple times), then comes the discipline of not rehearsing the hurt. And when the bad feelings come back; do it all again! Come to think of it, before all that, it requires us to ‘go back’ and actually consider negative life events. But as we know, scripture can be used to deny pain, “I am a new creation in Christ, I don’t have to go back’!

    If someone is disconnected from themselves emotionally as well as resistant to changing that, then forgiveness is a VERY TALL ORDER.

    Can a person be spiritually connected to God, but remain stuck in emotionally immaturity? I think so. This is the last thing I want for me and my family, but I think this perpetual state of ‘interrupted, or blocked flow of love’ in Christians absolutely exists.

    It’s the place where we are grateful for being loved by The Father, but refuse to grow into His image – we refuse the responsibility of Loving others well. We just want to be held.

    When I look at ‘growth allergic’ Christians, in this way, then I am a bit better equipped to forgive them ❤️

    Hugs to you, Aly 🙂

    • Aly on January 22, 2018 at 2:13 pm


      Wow ~ thank you for that Post and your words here of understanding.

      I know I have forgiven my mother. She doesn’t see reconciliation so she thinks forgiveness (on my part) is still in the way.
      Plus, her version of the Gospel she wants to pass down to the next generation and her version certainly has come with poor biblical understandings and contexts due to the ‘allergic growth posture’ that you noted… which seriously seems like an epidemic!

      Thank you for your care and such deep understanding on such a painful place of hurt for me.
      Hugs and continued prayers for your family as you persevere 🌈💜

      • JoAnn on January 22, 2018 at 10:50 pm

        Can’t we blame a lot of this lack of spiritual growth on very inadequate teaching in a lot of churches? Many people “pay their dues” on Sunday morning, thinking that is all that is necessary, and frankly, there are many so-called pastors that aren’t even saved themselves! How can such a one lead his flock to grow in the full knowledge of the truth? How sad!
        Without a vision, the people perish….and we do need a vision of God’s purpose for us and His goal that we would be filled in spirit with His Spirit, and built together into a church that testifies of Him. Without that, how can we go on? The trials that we face daily are opportunities for us to open to Him, be filled with Him, and be transformed into His likeness. But if you don’t see that, you just get hardened. We have talked so much here about loving the Lord, leaning into Him, trusting Him, knowing Him, etc., but without this kind of support and teaching, many christians perish. I grieve for those who don’t have the way to know Him.

  30. Renee on January 22, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    Chuck, I had save your post to comment later but it is just gone somewhere lol.

    I just wanted to be clear that I am not saying to divorce or that you bring this up in family counseling. I think you need time to explore your options (legally) as mentioned and to know for sure what YOU desire. I think you’ve pursued your wife (according to your post) enough to step back (you’ve let her know of your desire.) Think about going no contact for a while unless due to an emergency. Or limited contact. You can come up with a time frame if you are willing to try. In the mean time do all you can for and with the teens and don’t forget your self-care.

    We are not currently doing family counseling. So maybe you can ask the counselor to discontinue and only provide individual therapy to you and to the kids. Or ask for a referral. My teens each see the counselor on an individual basis. Thank goodness right now the kids have their own coverage because under a parent plan they would only cover family. You may be able to contact your family counselor ahead of time to gauge the feel about change to individual.

    And Chuck honestly some time we don’t intend things as they come out. So make sure about this statement because she make take you up on your offer (I may ask her to release me from the marriage vows if she can’t or won’t make changes to help our children.) I’m saying this because a past counselor told me I had to make a decision that day to work on our marriage and was pressuring me (key word pressure). So you better believe I told the counselor and my husband we could file divorce today. I explained that if he had four plus years to mess it up, I should have at least that amount of time to decide if I was willing to take yet another chance.

    So if you do not want to make such a decision, can’t you just try to enjoy life to the fullest with you and your kids. If you made it to that ballgame, I hope you took lots of pictures. Who is to say that your wife will not come around. Or if she happens to make contact because you have not for a while, you can ask her if she would like to see pictures of something you did with the kids. And in that picture you all are all smiles or you may have something quirky to share about something they did. Like my son running around the house with a cork gun sealing off every crack he saw.

    So it is no talk about problems with the kids and no talk about the relationship. You will hear that mentioned on here a lot as well.

    Well got to run again. Busy day on the home front and a busy work day tomorrow on the road. Excuse me if I went to babbling and made tons of errors.

    • Chuck on January 22, 2018 at 10:06 pm

      No babbling there just lots of wisdom thanks so much, have some praying to do

      • Aly on January 23, 2018 at 9:08 am


        I’ve been trying to follow along and praying about responding.
        I hope it’s ok to speak in here because something just doesn’t seem all that clear and I hope you might consider.

        You also have a lot on your plate, so sometimes this type of pain, grief and uncertainty can cause us to feel deciding things offer any sense of control.
        Not saying you are doing thing but maybe consider.

        Your children’s care is essential so please know that is a part I believe becomes priority and getting that care can take place even with future marital unknowns currently.

        I’m wondering about your wife too in your situation and some of the previous things you have wrote about.
        Could she be in a deep depression? I realize it’s been 7 months but from what you describe you both have had a marital dynamic for 32 years and that is significant to look at the ratio of things. Please pay attention to this ratio and longtime of hurt and insecure trust.

        Women in general have long memories, I wondering if she is feeling any ‘comfort away’ from you and if she is dethawing from the patterns of your marriage? When trust is broken, it takes a long time to work through that pain and sometimes people get stuck in the loss of the reality.

        You wrote Chuck;
        “may be I can bring in perspective from a guy who was indifferent to his wife’s needs and On occasions verbally abusive.
        I am a christian and have no doubts that I belong to Him, but for some reason I have made my wife’s life difficult for 3 decades.”

        This is important to step back and process, my husband had to really slow down long enough to grasp the magnitude of years of pain and battle and the effect it personally had on me. Sure he wanted to move on quickly but his love and patience for me and my healing was critical. He told me he would wait for my heart and work on himself regardless of where I was.
        He did this because he knew it was ‘his repair work’ and he also knew I asked, begged pleaded on many occasions to get help for our situation and he was indifferent to the health of the marriage.

        I’m not saying your wife doesn’t have any repair work herself toward you but that may come in time. I’ve asked previously for what you might say is your wife’s part but it’s unclear so it’s really hard to speak into any of that.

        You wrote;
        ” I know almost all the verses , positives one, but it didn’t have an impact that it should have. I am not saying that every day was bad, we had good times too, but the underlying current wasn’t loving. There are some guys who ( and wives) who just don’t want to change.”

        The underlying current wasnt loving~ this is where I can see a woman’s and man’s heart fall into a deep place of despair (without even knowing it)
        That’s why I asked about her and depression. Not saying this is the case.

        Praying for you and for Gods will for your hearts.

        • chuck on January 23, 2018 at 11:19 am

          Thank you Aly for your heartfelt response, you all have been great in helping me see perspectives from many different angles. I obviously don’t think like a woman and especially a women that has been hurt in a marriage. Thank you so much for the time you all taken to help me. I can tell that a lot of the responses have been carefully thought out and prayer over.

  31. Nancy on January 22, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I agree, Aly, that it seems like an epidemic.

    Pete Scazarro ( author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality) calls this ‘tip of the iceberg spirituality’ and believes the Church is in crisis because of it.

    Check out this 4 minute video where he explains his reasoning and solution.

    • Aly on January 22, 2018 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks for sending it, but unfortunately I can’t see it~
      If you give me the details or direct web link maybe I can find it another way online.

      Thanks again hoping I can see it;)

  32. Nancy on January 22, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    Ok. Just google ‘The EHS course: a radical way of doing church’. It’s a black and white cartoon video 🙂

  33. Debra on January 23, 2018 at 10:33 am

    I wanted to say that I am the person that actually asked the question that Leslie answered in this blog post. First, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Leslie for answering my question. While I was reading her answer, I just kept nodding in agreement and her words gave me even more clarity and courage that the path I have chosen is in my best interest and the best interest of my children.

    Second, I wanted to comment on what Kell said. I have been down that road where I tried to respond to my husband’s actions with a Christ-like attitude. I have been down that road where the burden of guilt weighed so heavily on my shoulders and heart when I tried to establish boundaries or even considered separation. I have even broken down because of that guilt and practically begged my husband to not break apart our family. I have offered for us to go through counselling, I have admitted my mistakes made against him and told him of my willingness to work on the negative behavior that contributed to the breakdown of our marriage. I have been down that road where I tried to submit more as a wife, I have been down that road where I tried to be more understanding that he was only mirroring what he saw from how his own father was as a husband/father and how he had this expectation that I should be like his mother, who is passive and prayed for 60 years that her husband would become a more loving father/husband. I have been down that road that Kell is saying that I should be on if I want reconciliation. Believe me, my first priority has always been reconciliation and even though we are physically separated, my first choice is still reconciliation.

    BUT in light of all my efforts, this was his response to me: stonewalling, verbal abuse (in front of my children even), constant emotional abuse, manipulation tactics, financial abuse (he refuses to offer any financial support), mind games, blaming me for everything that has gone wrong in the marriage, projecting his own insecurities and fears on to me, TELLING my oldest child that if he had not been born, then he wouldn’t have stayed with me and would be happy. In spite of all these hurtful words and actions, I still ran back to him to try and do what I can to fix the marriage because at that time, I felt compelled to not give up and I thought that if I was patient, kept speaking and acting in a Christ-like manner, he would realize what he is doing. I have even tried to tell him that we are not each other’s enemy and that Satan is the true enemy and pitting us against each other. Do you know what his reply was? He said, “No… You ARE my enemy. It has nothing to do with Satan. You are the cause of all my unhappiness. If I had not met you or if I had left you a long time ago, I would have a happy life.” He even told me that God can see and knows all my actions/intent, etc (so he’s implying that I am trying to manipulate him to do things my way and God can see that). I replied to him that yes, God sees everything and knows everyone’s heart. I have no fear that He knows my intentions and heart because I know that I have been trying to honor God. Can you say the same for yourself? Can you say that you are not afraid that God can see your own intentions and heart? And can you say that God is proud of your actions and the way you have handled being a husband/father? So I think I can pretty much say that I have been down the road of whatever action Kell believes that a wife is supposed to take.

    I have struggled with a part of me saying that I do not believe that God would want me to be a part of a marriage where I was not loved and being honored as a wife and a part of me saying that I vowed to love, honor and cherish through good and bad times and it would be wrong for me to break this vow. Up until about two weeks ago, I still had these struggles. Then I read the comments that readers had to my original question and I met with a new therapist. After that, it was like everything clicked and I just had clarity for the first time. And peace too. For the first time, I had peace and I felt like I had a clear path. I guess one of the things that contributed to everything clicking was when the therapist told me that in a marriage where one person is more dominant and controlling than the other, the children will grow up and mirror either the dominant parent or the passive parent in their own relationships. And what she said is so true. In my husband’s family, my husband and two of his siblings mirror their own dad (controlling, temper tantrums, expectation that everyone allow them to do whatever they want) and the rest of the siblings mirror their mom (don’t want or like confrontation or conflict, would rather keep the status quo to not make the more dominant people angry). In my own family, my dad was very dominant and my mom was passive until she got tired of waiting for my dad to change and left him. My sister is very dominant like my dad and I have mirrored my mom.

    I have five children – four boys and one girl. It would break my heart if I ever saw or knew that any of my children ended up mirroring me or my husband. Just like we want our children to have a better life than we have had with good jobs, etc, don’t we want our children to be in good relationships and be able to function properly in those relationships? And I do not want my children to treat their kids the way their own dad treated them. It dawned on me that I have the power to break this cycle. As much as I love my husband and still want to save our marriage, I have realized that what the kids and I are going through is not normal and our marriage does not even remotely mirror God’s design and intention of how a marriage should be.

    So I have to choose – do I stay and keep putting up with all this even though my husband is adamant that he has done nothing wrong and doesn’t need to change or repent or anything? Or do I do what is needed to become a stronger person, heal what is broken inside of me and be a good role model for my children and break this deadly cycle of dysfunction?

    Since my husband left two weeks ago, we have had no contact. He hasn’t even seen the kids, spoken to them, nothing. The old me would have reached out to him and probably begged him to not treat the kids this way but if he doesn’t want to talk to or see his own kids, that is his choice and I will not mother him anymore. He will reap what he has sown.

    I was so scared that the kids would be so negatively affected but so far, they seem okay. I have had a chance to just think more clearly, there is no more conflict in the house, no stress. It is like a dark cloud has been lifted from the house. We have laughter in the house often now instead of all of us walking on eggshells hoping we won’t make him mad. Words cannot describe the peace and calmness we feel in the house now and it is by God’s grace that all this is possible. I have learned that I am so much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for and I have surrendered this situation to God. I tried to fix it but I can’t. God knows that I did my part so now I leave it in His hands. God sees the bigger picture and I put all my trust in Him now. I am prepared for whatever may happen and I am THANKFUL that God has used this situation to open my eyes.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I felt compelled to reply to Kell and to anyone else who thinks that the ONLY solution is to just submit more, respond more with a Christ-like attitude and stay no matter what in a situation that is causing so much pain and heartache and enabling a spouse to continue to sin. I’m just paraphrasing this but doesn’t the Bible say that if someone sins, we are to confront them and if they do not stop, then to keep them at arm’s length? We can still love them but if we continue to keep company with them, we may start to become like them. That happened to me too. I started to project my own anger against my children because I was constantly bombarded by my husband’s anger. Of course, I take accountability for my own actions and I’m not saying that he made me do that, but when you are constantly up against someone else’s wrath and anger, you’re going to project against someone else and unfortunately, I did it to my children who are innocent in all this.

    Each situation is different because each spouse is different. You cannot live in limbo forever or endure pain and heartache forever either. At some point, you have to choose to make it stop. Your spouse who is doing all the destructive things won’t stop if they can continue to get away with it. It will take courage, strength, perseverance and determination on your part to make that decision to make it stop.

    My heart truly breaks to know that so many women are going through this kind of pain. I asked my therapist if my situation with my husband was unique and she said that she has seen a lot of husbands who are like my husband. It is a sad, sad thought. My prayer is that anyone going through this will have that moment of clarity and realization and have the courage to do what they need to do.

    • Sunny on January 23, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Debra- wow. You are a very brave and courageous woman. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My one encouragement to you now is regarding the “Christ like attitude” that you seem to think you have abandoned. On the contrary!!!!! I think you are finally (maybe for the first time?) walking in a true “Christ like attitude.” It seems there is a false understanding out there among many women that believes having the attitude of Christ means to submit, be passive, silently endure sin, allow abuse, respond to evil with a smile and a quiet manner. Biblically, this is NOT a “Christ like attitude” at all. Christ was indeed very loving. Sometimes Christ’s love was shown by weeping and tears, (death of Lazarus) other times it looked like strong confrontation and standing up for vulnerable people. (Pharisees and money changers in the temple) So I would invite you, Kell, and others on this blog to really consider your definition of “Christ like attitude.” Perhaps a more helpful perspective would be to ask the question “What does LOVE look like in this scenario?” “How can I love like Christ would love?” Would Christ like love be to boldly confront, or to let this offense pass quietly? To address this issue now or at another time? To speak or to keep silent? Ecclastics tells us that there is a time for EVERYTHING. Biblical “Christ like attitude” seeks wisdom in how to best demonstrate real love to a particular person/ situation. So, although you may FEEL as if you’ve abandoned “Christ like attitude,” perhaps you are actually discovering it for the first time. Well done!!

      • JoAnn on January 23, 2018 at 1:14 pm

        So well put, Sunny. Thanks!

    • Aly on January 23, 2018 at 11:28 am


      So well articulated. I’m so sorry for your pain but so grateful you have found your courage to do some really hard things but definitely in the best interest for you and your children and actually your husband too ~ but he doesn’t have that insight to seek to see that.

      You are SO on point with everything you wrote about mirroring and the family of origin dysfunctional cycle. Even though all families are dysfunctional since the fall a good therapist will tell you that the difference is ‘what we choose to grow into and out of’ as we lean and follow Christ.

      Your husband’s response to your courage is quite a preview and I hope brings more peace to your heart about keeping someone like that at arms length.

      Your honesty about mirroring the abuser or projecting any anger on the innocent is very healing to my own heart. I wish many in our church communities could see how enabling their husbands for so long has skewed their beliefs and their actions
      Your a good mom to see this and turn from it offering your children ‘real relationship and room for repair’ with them. My mom still chooses to do what you describe and sadly she doesn’t see what kind of a person she has developed into.

      The Lord will heal and restore your heart, He will be faithful to replace and triple fold what was taken and stolen.
      It will take time but He keeps His promises.

    • JoAnn on January 23, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      Oh, Debra, I commend you for having the courage to do what the Lord has shown you that you must do. It might be that the verse you are looking for is Proverbs 22:5, and there are others, but I just read that one this morning.
      Now, as you work to put your life back together, and that of your children, be mindful of what they have picked up from past experiences in your family, and give them room to express what they have seen and believe as a result. Now is the time for genuine honesty and repentance to them, to allow them to know that what they have witnessed was not how God would want them to live their lives. Maybe even get some counseling for them. It will take some time to “undo” the patterns that they have witnessed, but because they are young, it will be possible, with God’s guidance and wisdom. Much grace to you.

    • Ruth on January 24, 2018 at 11:21 am

      Thank you for your courage.

      There are seasons in God. Just like when God told Moses, I have heard the cries of my people in Egypt. The suffering of God’s children had reached a level that stirred God’s heart.
      I believe we are in a season where God’s heart is stirred to deliver people from abuse and oppression. The scales are falling off the eyes of the victims; we see: “this way of living does not glorify God”. You see it even in the non-church world.

      I am sorry for the hurtful things your husband has said to you and your children. I hope the damage to your children can be undone.
      Your post here rings with so much GRACE and CLARITY. You would be blessed and edified to read at website

    • Free on February 6, 2018 at 2:33 am

      Debra, excellent work! Isn’t abuse free living so much better? Don’t you feel the Lord right beside you? Praise God for your escape! So few women have the courage to leave their abuser. Now you can focus on life for the first time. Resist all thoughts of your abuser, use your energy to love yourself and your children. I can’t wait to hear your testimony a year from now. I am so happy for your children. Good job!

  34. MJ on January 23, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Debra, part of what you wrote spoke to me so deeply: “I have had a chance to just think more clearly, there is no more conflict in the house, no stress. It is like a dark cloud has been lifted from the house. We have laughter in the house often now instead of all of us walking on eggshells hoping we won’t make him mad. Words cannot describe the peace and calmness we feel in the house now and it is by God’s grace that all this is possible.”

    Ladies, I am currently on the cliff of moving forward with a separation. I’ve been married for 4 years and we have children together. However, I know that the constant roller coaster of hating me one moment and obsession over me the next, the paranoid accusations, uncontrolled anger and language and selfishness are not something I can continue to live in much longer. He says he will change and things get better for a week or two, but then we’re back to the same thing. He refuses to get counseling or seek any sort of help. He refuses there’s a problem at all. God has asked me to give him every opportunity to choose life, and I have. But I’m sensing that window of opportunity is closing and I need to separate for the health of my kids and myself.

    We’ve discussed separation before and he’s told me that he’s unwilling to do that and would pursue divorce. His exact words were, “I won’t put the kids through that and then just get back together again”. His only option to me is to continue to ride the roller coaster with him while he “works on it”. Which for the last two years has not resulted in any consistent change.

    This is what I want – to live in peace, safety, and wholeness, separate from him while he addresses his anxiety, fear, anger, control, trauma, etc. Once I see consistent demonstration of a renewed heart I would like to reconcile our marriage. How do I present this to someone who refuses there are no issues, or if there are, they’re simply communication issues or that we’re both prideful and stubborn?

    • Nancy on January 23, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      I hear the exhaustion in your post, and my heart is heavy for you, MJ.

      Have you read Leslie’s book, EDM? In it she walks us through step by step, how to present it ( with variations depending on safety issues etc…)

      I followed her advice and went out to dinner with my husband, and delivered a well rehearsed speech.

      It sounds as though you are clear on what you need to do. I am praying for you.

    • Debra on January 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      Hi MJ,

      What I did is spell out to him that my first choice is reconciliation. But it comes with a condition – that we both get individual counselling and marital counselling together and that we do not come back to the marriage as the same people we have been for the past 20 years of our marriage. What is the point of reconciliation if we both stay the same way? We will just keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.

      If he chooses no reconciliation, then I said that I will take whatever steps I need to take to protect my best interests and those of our children.

      I gave him to the end of this month to decide. In the mean time, we will have no contact unless it’s an emergency or about the kids.

      Based on my situation and how I know my husband, that is the course of action I chose to take. I don’t believe he will choose reconciliation. He is too proud, stubborn and to say that he wants to reconcile would be to admit that he did something wrong. My sister said that maybe once he hits rock bottom, he will change his mind. I told her that we have had many “rock bottoms” and he never changed. The ignoring me and the kids for all of 2017 was rock bottom. Him moving out and being on his own now is rock bottom. Once I file for a legal separation, that will be rock bottom. He has shown me through his actions what is really in his heart. It really is a person’s actions that show their true colors and heart.

      Deep down, I don’t think my husband wants a separation or divorce. But I think his need for things to go his way, his need to be able to do whatever he wants and his selfishness and pride are more important to him than salvaging our marriage and family. My husband even said to me at one point that we don’t need a legal separation to tell us that the marriage is over. That is a cop-out answer and it just further shows he wants his cake and to eat it too. If you’re going to live like a bachelor and pretend that you have no wife and kids, then why stay married to me? All I know is that if I don’t DO something, this will go on and on forever and keep me and the kids in limbo. I just have faith that this is the road that God has opened up for me and that’s why I do not worry or stress out or feel anxious or confused anymore.

      My heart goes out to you and I can totally relate to your situation. I pray that God will make it clear to you how He wants you to handle your situation and that He will give you the strength to carry it out…

    • Free on February 6, 2018 at 2:39 am

      Words won’t work, actions will. Take action and discuss it later. There is no reasoning with a fool.

  35. MJ on January 23, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    Yes, I’ve read it several times and it has been a lifeline in the storm I found myself in. In August of ’17, I wrote out a letter and presented it to him. Since then I’ve seen change that is centered in self effort, and never lasting more than a week or two. Once, I’ve seen what I thought was the beginning of a true God focused heart change lasting about 2 weeks, but then back to the same behavior again. We’ve have multiple conversations since then when I have re-enforced what I need, he’s promised to change, promise to provide a plan for change, and has apologized and asked for another chance. And I’ve told him I will give him that chance he’s asking for. Yet, change doesn’t happen. He doesn’t make a plan. He continues to control, demand, rage, punish and live selfishly.

    In the letter, I presented it as a choice. I was asking him to choose to live in a connected, honoring, loving relationship with me and our children. I gave specific examples of this. If he chose not to do that, then I told him I would need to choose to live separately from him for my health and emotional safety. Most of his actions (except for the few days of peace intermittently) tell me he has made the choice not to live in peace. His promises and confessions say the opposite.

    How do you know what he has chosen? I see no indication of a true long term heart change. Yet, the boat rocks back and forth so quickly from “we just don’t see eye to eye anymore and should give up on this” to “I love you and want to make this work” that I can’t see what the truth is with enough certainty to know what his true choice is.

    • Connie on January 23, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      You might want to check out Patrick Doyle’s talk on reconciliation:

      It occurred to me today, that when the Bible says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, I think that one of the most important things about Christ to me is that He ‘gets’ all my pain. I think that is the one main theme in these posts, that our h’s don’t ‘get’ how much they have hurt us, and until they do, they will not change.

      • JoAnn on January 23, 2018 at 5:51 pm

        Not only do they not “get” the pain they have caused, in many cases they have no compassion for the wife they have hurt. I wish I could understand why that is…..

        • Connie on January 23, 2018 at 5:53 pm

          That’s what I meant by ‘get’. Empathize, etc. 🙂
          It’s because they have hardened their hearts. On purpose.

          • Connie on January 23, 2018 at 6:00 pm

            You’ll notice in the Bible, e.g. Pharaoh, if we want to harden our hearts, God actually helps us. “He gave them the desires of their hearts and sent leanness to their souls.” Psalm 106:15 It’s scary, really.

            And Debra, I just want to say that ‘rock bottom’ will not come until you let go. So far he still has a lot of your attention and you are doing all the ‘work’. It’s enabling.

        • Free on February 6, 2018 at 2:42 am

          Some are incapable of empathy. It is part of the profile of an abuser. It is one of the reasons they can be an abuser. It doesn’t bother them. No talking will change that. It is their psychological disability.

    • JoAnn on January 23, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      MJ, …Then I think you need to ask him directly what he has chosen, because you are unable to tell. His so-called changes need to last longer than a week or two; they must last for a lifetime, and so far you are not seeing that. Then you outline what you believe are the steps he needs to take if he wants to live in a peaceful, loving relationship, like seeing a counselor, being on medication, spiritual mentoring, etc….whatever you see the need is. This is not the time to assume anything; you are going to have to be very direct. No more boat rocking. No more equivocating. He either wants a real marriage or he doesn’t. Don’t let him off the hook.

      • Aly on January 23, 2018 at 8:26 pm


        You are getting some great directives here and I really agree with JoAnn.

        Also, im so sorry for what circumstance this is right now and what the turmoil you have been through. Im also so thankful that you are being such an amazing advocate for your children and yourself for the matter!

        Seeing the patterns early on like this is a blessing because the longer it goes on it usually progresses and sometime wives can get more trapped and traumatized.
        You are intervening and actually doing the most loving thing for your husband, that he himself isn’t doing for himself.

        Given the behaviors that you describe, the bar for recovery should be sky high especially since he continues to prove that he is incapable of growing and learning without necessary structure and requirements.
        The list JoAnn gave is a start.

        I wonder about the pattern of 2 week change to back to his ways cycle and what counseling and any intensives might reveal? The consistent ‘inconsistencies’ ring true to an addict of some form.
        Have you investigated other issues that could be driving the behavior.. ‘porn’ etc?
        I’m assuming you have but I find his resistance to counseling a sure thing about fear of exposure. Especially if he’s a good manipulating person.

        His threat to move through with the divorce if you require separation is ‘telling’ …
        he telling you that if you put conditions and boundaries with consequences on him then he will divorce because he won’t have a marriage with accountability. Not that ‘that’s much of a marriage anyway, but some people survive for years and then mirror those on down to the next gen to face & solve.

        You sound so clear as well as keeping a place for honest reconciliation open ~ which I think is gracious given the treatment of you as his wife.

        You are seeking wisdom and healing and you are doing the right thing.
        Hope you have others near for support of what your going through.
        Hugs and thankful for your fight for freedom!

      • Debra on January 23, 2018 at 8:28 pm

        Hi Connie, I never thought of it that way, that he hasn’t hit rock bottom yet. It is true now that I think about it and you’re right, he is still getting some of my attention. I pity him because he is so broken inside, hard hearted and truly lost. I know people have the ability to change but I have to be realistic and I’m not expecting it to happen. What is sad is that he’s had so many opportunities to open his eyes but has refused to. It is such a shame that it had to come to this point.

        • Aly on January 23, 2018 at 8:46 pm


          I resently read that the greater the transgression or offense the less likely a genuine repentance will come from a person who lacks self value and worth.
          They are blanketed in self protective denial and where they live, ‘looking like survival’ to them but distorted because of the shame they are bonded to.

          • Debra on January 23, 2018 at 9:35 pm

            Hi Aly,

            I have to believe that one small tiny part of him knows and acknowledges the truth. But I realize that it’s not enough to convince him to do something about it and it’s so much easier for him to just deny and blame others. It doesn’t help too that his family keeps being his safety net and enables him.

            I spoke to his mom the other day and she asked me to just be patient and to continue to pray that God will change him and to not separate or divorce him. I know that she has gone through what I have gone through and I told her that I understand that she stayed because she believed it was the best decision for her and her children. Maybe she didn’t have any choice either living in a country that doesn’t allow divorce and she’s from an older generation too. I told her that I do not judge her for her decision because she did what she thought was best. But I have to do what’s best for me and my children. She couldn’t understand how I could “just walk away” and I told her that I didn’t choose for it to be this way. I gave him opportunities to fix things, to reconcile, etc and he rejected them. So when his family feeds him the idea that I am a bad wife for separating from him, it just feeds into his idea that the wife should just shut up and put up with whatever the husband does. They don’t understand that everyone has a breaking point and I have reached mine.

          • Aly on January 23, 2018 at 9:51 pm

            You are not the one ‘who walked away’ as your mother in law stated.
            That’s twisted and yes I agree it reinforces his bondage of being such the victim.
            He has been the victimizer and true offender. I’m not trying to vilify him but seriously… his mother is also probably wearing coke goggles and can’t see objectively her son because she might be unhealthy enmeshed to him. Not saying this is fact just a bit annoyed at her ridiculous comment.

            She can’t understand why you have boundaries to your self dignity and honor? Maybe she can’t understand why you won’t tolerate what she chose based on her own circumstances to tolerate and how that has bleed into your own marriage.

            I say these things because I have had plenty of conversations with my mother in law who chose to ignore the signs and the devaluing of women as wife.

            I pray your mother in law will see truth that the real person who walked away from the covenant marriage was your husband (her son) and most likely it played out due to some of his modeling and character shaping.
            Something she sure doesn’t want to take any responsibility for contributing to.

        • Free on February 6, 2018 at 2:45 am

          The pity is how they hook you back into their agenda. The agenda is that the world should focus on he, himself and him. The vulnerable, poor me part of the cycle is calculated too. Don’t be fooled. He can change and help himself if he wants to. He is not to be pitied, he likes the attention he gets and uses it.

      • MJ on January 25, 2018 at 3:01 pm

        Ladies, thank you so much for all of your input… some replies to your questions, I’ll try to to miss anything, and then a few questions of my own.

        Aly, Ruth, concerning the pattern, we are for sure dealing with GAD, and other anxieties that spice things up (read: there is an unlimited supply of everyday circumstances to inflame fear, anger, suspicion, outbursts) I think there is also a possibility of a trauma disorder as well as possible borderline or NPD. Since he won’t see a counselor, there’s no resolution there. His Dr has prescribed medication for GAD which he refuses to take. I’ve investigated and porn is not an issue as far as I’m aware.

        As for the counseling, the reason he won’t go is because there has been physical abuse of me. He believes that if a counselor found out about that, that somehow he would be in jeopardy of loosing his kids (in particular the child he shares joint custody with his ex-wife). BTW, I’m advocating individual counseling, not marital.

        I’m moving forward with getting my ducks in a row for separation as there have been several situations this week that have shown me that we still have an un-convicted heart attitude. The latest incident got rather scary – he kept me from leaving for a couple of hours as he lectured, berated, and accused me. Which leads me to my question. What experience have you all had with going as far as to file a police report and possible restraining order? Did this help or hurt in your experience? He blocked me from leaving the house in front of the kids, kept me from shutting the door of my car and sat in the back seat multiple times to keep me from driving away. I was trapped and seconds from dialing the police. Please pray for wisdom and discernment for me as I am meeting with a lawyer today concerning this matter and separation.

        • Aly on January 25, 2018 at 11:19 pm


          You wrote this:
          “As for the counseling, the reason he won’t go is because there has been physical abuse of me. He believes that if a counselor found out about that, that somehow he would be in jeopardy of loosing his kids (in particular the child he shares joint custody with his ex-wife). BTW, I’m advocating individual counseling, not marital.”

          Should he be in jeopardy of loosing his kids due to the physical abuse against you? I would think this would be logical yes.
          You are past the word advocating him but only requirements listed, and the list is getting longer.
          He needs serious interventions as you know but this is out of your league because lacks basics of boundaries and respect with you.

        • Free on February 6, 2018 at 2:49 am

          Protection orders are essential. You need one. He will only get worse.

    • Nancy on January 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      Hi MJ,

      Did you make requirements of him in your letter? Like individual counselling, an accountability group, that he take responsibility when he hurts you, etc…

      It is OBVIOUS when a spouse repents and ‘sees’ what they have been doing. Take a look at the video link Connie posted. There is a brokeness and humility that emerges and an attitude of meekness that was never there before. You will know it!

      But by the sounds of it you are still emotionally involved, and he is using that. That’s why separation provides such clarity. He works on himself and you work on you. By the way, Leslie and other experts on abuse do not advise couples counselling in destructive marriages.

      If he wants the marriage to work, he’ll take the time to focus on himself to clear out the baggage he brought with him.

      • Aly on January 23, 2018 at 8:53 pm

        MJ and Nancy,

        Could not agree more Nancy with this posture.

        The only thing i would add is that you ask for access to his counseling if he happens to go that direction.

        I say this because often the abuser, addict has quite a skewed version of their transgressions and sometimes it’s helpful for the 3rd party to get another view point specifically from the one who he/she has hurt and damaged the most.

        Transparency is key down the road so better to develop a plan and pathway now.
        Not saying couples counseling, but you should have access based on the dynamic.

        • Nancy on January 23, 2018 at 9:20 pm

          I agree with you Aly.

          Having access to his counsellor may seem extreme, but as you rightly pointed out, the bar should be sky high.

          • Aly on January 23, 2018 at 9:30 pm


            Thanks Nancy 🤗
            For some it may seem extreme, but abuse, deception and betrayal are extreme and define the bar.
            Given a marital union transparency is necessary for trust and for healing.

      • Nancy on January 23, 2018 at 8:56 pm

        Also MJ, I want to add one more thing.

        The most critical part of this whole process – in my opinion – is releasing your husband to God. If you don’t do that, then he will have the ability to manipulate you still. And you may also find yourself manipulating, too.

        • MJ on January 25, 2018 at 3:14 pm

          I missed this thread and replied to the previous one. You can see my reply further up there. And thank you for the additional input.

          Nancy I made requirements on behavior – language, how he expresses his anger, how he interacts with and shows value to me (all of which are a little “soft” to measure). I didn’t require counseling etc, because I want him to be responsible for formulating his own recovery plan and owning the follow through (although he’s well aware of my recommendations of counseling, spiritual accountability, etc).

          Nancy, the emotional involvement you speak to: Yes, I’m very emotionally involved, for various reasons, some are obvious (marital bond, faith in the power of God to accomplish the impossible), some perhaps not so obvious (trauma bonding – there is a lot of I hate you I adore you in this relationship). I would say though that I am mostly NOT emotionally entangled as we would say it. While his words and actions do pull strongly on me, I don’t believe they have the power to pull me away from God’s direction to me or the path that I believe I’m going to need to walk.

          • Nancy on January 25, 2018 at 8:14 pm

            Hi MJ,

            I am most deffinately praying for wisdom and discernment for you.

            You sound pretty clear on what you need to do. Your husband stopping you from leaving is indeed scary. I can’t speak into the question you had about a restraining order, at all, but am happy for you that you saw a lawyer today. How did that go?

            His behaviour is speaking loud and clear about his heart posture. I do want to speak to what you said about the power of God to accomplish the impossible. God can accomplish the impossible but it will involved cooperation from your h and I believe when a wife has tried all she can to ask for change but the husband continues in the same hard hearted way, HIS best chance is separation.

            Of course for safety and sanity, it is HER best chance too. But when we allow the consequences of his behaviour to fall squarely on his shoulders, it is HIS best chance to fall to his knees and be restored to wholeness.

            Wether he cooperates with God will be entirely up to him. But you can then rest assured that you have done what is best for everyone involved ( yourself, the children AND him). He won’t see it this way at first but only time will tell if The Lord gets a hold of him.

          • Aly on January 25, 2018 at 9:07 pm

            MJ and Nancy,

            Nancy, I agree with so much of what you said.
            Praying for you also MJ, you will need to be wise on your separation plan and safety… your husband sounds very unstable (he needs a lot of help) and when a victim finally makes a move it’s hard to know what safety measures are and will be needed immediately.
            I’m just asking that you get some additional safe people around you. ( maybe you have done this)
            I knew of a woman who had three small children and when she finally decided to make her move she had a safe advocate at her church get her a ‘new cell number’ (this way she could stay in contact with her support network and no one else would be in danger) the phone was private and unable to be located and she stayed in an unknown safe place for several weeks until the proper documents could get in place.

            The interesting thing was that the children were quite happy with this and seemed excited about the adventure ~ no issues of ‘where’s dad’ etc.
            Almost as if the children knew it was a safe thing to do.

            She eventually got her own place and settled in to her new journey of freedom and healing.

          • MJ on February 1, 2018 at 11:24 pm

            Thank you so very much for your prayers. Things have moved forward at light speed, but God has been in every moment, speaking very clearly, pulling in safe people around me to protect me and my kids, providing for my every need. I prayed about filing a restraining order and his spirit very clearly said, he needs to understand the gravity of his actions. What he is doing is not just a rough marriage, it’s a crime.

            I mentioned I was going to see a lawyer last week. Her immediate counsel was to file a domestic violence protection order. In our state, you outline the most recent incident along with subsequent incidences of DV and request a 14 day protection order. There is a move out and custody arrangement as part of that. Long story short, the judge agreed with me that a protection order was necessary and also gave me full custody for 14 days. During the few days it took to get the order granted, I hid out with friends at a safe house. We were loved on and have begun our journey towards healing. It was astounding to me the change I saw in my kids by simply removing them from the oppressive environment for a few days.

            H was removed from the home early this week and I have now moved back in with the children.My pastor and so many friends and family are supporting me through this time. I have never felt less alone. The fog has lifted and I can see what an unhealthy environment I’ve been living in every day. I feel that I can finally breathe and the wash of anxiety that I would have every morning wondering what kind of drama and chaos would hit next is gone.

            My plan is to file separation to give him an opportunity to seek serious mental, emotional and spiritual help. In all my discussions with my pastor, family, etc I have stressed that my hope is for healing for my husband and dependent upon that, reconciliation for us.

            The ball is now in his court. I can only pray that he chooses life.

          • JoAnn on February 2, 2018 at 8:48 am

            MJ, We all thank and praise the Lord for how He has moved in your life to save you and your children from such a terrible situation. May the Lord grant much healing in the days and months ahead.

          • Aly on February 2, 2018 at 10:27 am

            Praise God for this place! I know it’s a journey but so glad you are already seeing His places of recovery for you and your children in a safe place.
            Stay connected💜✝️🌈

  36. Ruth on January 24, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Could your husband be bipolar? His mood swings you’re describing sound like something medication *might* help.
    You don’t even have to a psychiatrist to be prescribed an antidepressant. I take a low dose of Celexa for anxiety/depression and my family doctor wrote out the Rx for me. I notice zero side effects and it’s been very helpful.
    If your husband is too proud of the idea of going to a mental health doctor, then he could just talk to his general practitioner about his rages and moods swings.

  37. Lynn on January 24, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    I am confused about what Kell is saying…Kell- do you suggest that a woman stay in a marriage that is not Christ-like and continue to be abused/have her children abused and possibly be harmed/killed? (watch the news-it happens ALL the time) You speak from a place that sounds like you have no experience with what you are talking about. Women (like myself) come to this blog and read Leslie’s books because they are trying to be Christ-like and make decisions based on what God would want for them and their families.
    I have been separated from my husband now for quite some time. He has taken a weapon out in front of me, threatened me, emotionally abused me and our children, cheated on me, controlled me….And it has not been until just recently that I have started to see true, lasting change in him. He has admitted his faults, is part of a DV group/class, meets with a therapist, and has been respecting my boundaries. His actions and words are mirroring those of a loving father and husband. He has stopped drinking, stopped using profanity, reads his Bible, prays, and has positive Christian men in his life. If we would not have separated I don’t believe we would be getting to a place where we can finally begin to work through our problems where I feel safe again. This separation has also given me time get stronger, to grow in my faith and look at areas in my life that I need to improve so I can be a better wife and mother.
    I still don’t know if my marriage will fully heal and be saved but I do know that God never intended for marriage to be a place a where we feel unloved, frightened, physically sick, emotionally drained and unsafe. I thank God for women like Leslie and all the supportive women on here because they have helped me tremendously in my journey-encouraging me to grow stronger in my faith, not telling me to turn away from God and only do what I want to do. But rather what I feel God wants me to do and is leading me towards. Which I believe is a place of love, healing, grace and forgiveness but it has to be SAFE first and sometimes separation is the only way to about it.

    • MJ on January 25, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Thank you so much for your testimony! Your story sounds like one where most people would have no hope. But you were brave to follow God’s direction for your life and look what he is doing! It seems that he’s accomplishing the impossible! We all need to hear stories like these to give us the hope and faith that God will do it again in our own situations. Praying for continued wisdom, peace and joy for you.

      A reminder that he did it once and he is faithful to do it again!

  38. Lynn on January 26, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Have any of you separated and reconciled? I shared my journey above but it is not perfect and I still feel worried things will go back to the way they were…
    Also I am now struggling with the aftermath of how my family and friends feel about him. My family and close friends are not supportive of us staying married and continuing to work on the marriage even though things are starting to improve. They tell me he will go back to his old ways and I will be right back to where I started. I know they are concerned and worried for me and my children. These are people that have been there and supported me along the way and I don’t want to shut them out and isolate myself either because I know that is not healthy. I also don’t want the opinions of others to sway what I really want for my marriage either. Any advice is much appreciated.

    • Aly on January 26, 2018 at 4:59 pm


      I apologize if this is a repeat question.
      Can you list all the help and interventions your husband is getting?
      Can you list your help also?
      I will try also to back through the threads when I can, I feel like I have missed serval as some of them don’t always post or are linked up with another.

      • Aly on January 26, 2018 at 5:01 pm


        Oops I found it~ sorry!

        How long have you been separated?

    • JoAnn on January 26, 2018 at 5:08 pm

      Lynn, have you read the whole way through this thread on the blog? I think your questions have been already addressed by others. the thing is, when you want to save the marriage “at all cost,” you get impatient and others have shared that they got back together too soon and then things went back to the way they were in the beginning. The best way, from what I have seen here, is for each of you do individual counseling, for a long time, (developing CORE and resolving personal issues), then couples counseling before moving back together, IF that looks like a good idea. If you BOTH want to save the marriage, and you BOTH are willing to do the work to make that happen, you won’t be in such a hurry to move back in together. Don’t let other’s opinions rule your decision, but exercise great caution. It is going to take a long time and lots of experiences for the abuser to prove that he has changed. Time is on your side. I always say that God has all the time He needs, and the devil is always in a hurry. Patience and longsuffering are the keys here.

    • Aly on January 26, 2018 at 7:08 pm


      Your other Post where you listed what your husband did is alarming even though he’s taking steps into recovery this is a fragile place of reconciliation.
      Because often men of his behavior find it much more motivating in ‘acting and do the necessary things for change’ when the consequences have impacted him and you are apart from him, but he could lack the same level of motivation and self control to continue his recent change once reengaged in the relationship.

      The things you listed I would say are abusive but not sure that is even a harsh enough word for what you have been victimized by.
      The patterns and cycles within the marriage can be hard to break for both parties based on the trauma and dynamics.

      I think your family and supporters are concerned with your well being and the potential for full recovery given all the horrendous destructive behavior against you.

      The recovery plan he is currently working is important for him to do regardless if the marriage is restored. He needs to learn how to be safe as a parent to have access to his children.

      You wrote:
      “They tell me he will go back to his old ways and I will be right back to where I started.”

      Do they have a history of watching this play out again and again?

      You wrote:
      “I know they are concerned and worried for me and my children. These are people that have been there and supported me along the way and I don’t want to shut them out and isolate myself either because I know that is not healthy. I also don’t want the opinions of others to sway what I really want for my marriage either. ”

      Your marriage is important but not near as important as your well being for yourself and your children.
      Sometimes the opinions of others is wisdom and objectively that is necessary. In abusive relationships it can be very hard to see the dynamic and the type of relationship you are in ‘when your in it’.

      This is why I asked what work you have been involved in because this will be key in dealing with what is the safest way to consider reconciliation with such a repeat offender.
      Repeat offender is key here too. Often women going through such traumas can find ways of being dessensitized even as the partner gets help and shows signs of recovery.

      An important question to consider if your wanting to get back together is;
      Can you afford a relapse of him in your home and around your children?

      Many times counselors will work with individuals on a structured long term plan to reunite and it’s very important that you have the professional opinion weighing heavily since they can see objectively.

      I pray for your healing and your children’s.✝️💜

      Im thankful you separated and that brought some light toward your husband to make changes of what he consumes, but ultimately he has to want to value this change for the Lord and for himself apart from you in order to offer any of the fruit to you as genuine and true heart change. This can take a long time especially given ‘the level’ of where his behavior began at.

      Hugs to you Lynn, and bravery for your continued journey.

      • Lynn on January 28, 2018 at 12:46 pm

        Hello Aly,
        Thank you for responding back to me. To answer your questions truthfully -Sadly yes my family and friends have watched this cycle play out again and again to the point I think they know the pattern better than me. And no my children cannot afford a relapse. Our daughter witnessed the gun event 3 years ago and it traumatized her to the point she developed problems with depression and self harm. This was the only incident a weapon was involved but prior to this after she and our boys have witnessed terrible fights before and even after the gun event. One being where he threatened to kill me if I called the police (he was threatening suicide again) and the last one being where he threatened me saying he wanted to blow his brains out in the garage in front of me. Honestly this last fight my kids didn’t even seem bothered – they were in their bedrooms and I told him to leave and he wouldn’t. Then I told the kids to grab their things and that we were going to grandma and grandpas. He then told them no you aren’t going anywhere-what was almost more alarming is they just seemed irritated they had to get up and had just grown so used to our fights it was like they had desensitized themselves. I called the police that night and the officers did nothing for me. Told me it was my fault for letting him move back in and that he didn’t have a gun to harm himself so it was ok. My husband also told them that I was saying horrible things to him that I provoked him into saying and feeling those things.
        Maybe your right when you mention wives desensitize the abuse as well. I think in some ways I believe I caused these fights to happen and that is something I am working on.
        During our separation we have both been unfaithful. I am so ashamed of myself for my actions…I worry that my unfaithfulness has given him ammunition against me. The last major fight where I called the police he was screaming at me about my unfaithfulness and then told me he had slept with 2 of my friends and that sex with me was never good and went on saying things that haunt me still today. He told me what I did made him no longer want to live and that’s why he told me he wanted to blow his brains out in front of me. He later told me he had lied about sleeping with 2 of my friends to hurt me. He was unfaithful with a woman from his work though and then again after we separated this last time in the fall he said he was trying to get over me and that what he did was no different than what I had done.
        I have so much guilt and shame over what I did that I worry that is part of why I want to reconcile. I have been working with an abuse counselor for over a year. She has told me I have ptsd, depression but that I have grown so much during this separation and that she doesn’t believe I can go back to how I was- pretending, accepting things but that I have to continue to work on boundaries and my low self esteem, learn to love myself. She has asked me what plan I have, goals and to make sure that I Am setting boundaries with my husband while going to counseling with him. She also recommended the counselor we just recently started to see. She has never told me which path to take but she has stressed safety over and over again and talked to me about my husbands need to control every situation.
        He has changed so much but honestly it has not been that long. My very dear friend just be careful…he does this and then his craziness comes back. We have officially been separated since last September and this whole time he has been trying to convince me to work on our marriage minus his episode where he slept with someone-blaming it on drunkenness and his need to “get over me”. Since then he has stopped drinking. And I do believe he is trying or I would not be going to counseling but I still have fears…in fact the other night I had my first nightmare in a long time. In my dream we were fighting and then he was chasing me around the yard. In my dream I felt terror like I have when he has tried and threatened to kill himself and me. The dream felt so real and I woke up feeling sick and doubting my decision to go to counseling.
        I believe in forgiveness and grace. That is what is so hard for me. I struggle because I so badly want my marriage to be a loving, healthy place for myself and my children. There has been so much sin and selfishness on both our parts. We are separated and I filed for divorce last March-it’s been almost a year of going back and forth. I still love him despite all that has been said and done. I feel Ike we have tried counseling before and it didn’t work but maybe this time because we have been working individually it will. I never cancelled the divorce proceedings and we are set for trial in June. I told him we can work on our marriage but I wasn’t cancelling the divorce yet because I am afraid if I do all the cards are off the table. Right now the law is involved and it is a way of keeping me and my children safe. He is working on himself and has been more involved in our children’s lives than ever before, he has been kind and listening to me and my worries, my day to day life. We still struggle with his to displine our children and I sometimes feel like he treats me like I’m a pushover with them and judges me though. But it is better than before.
        Thank you Aly for asking me these questions….they really have made me think long and hard about what I am doing. Your question about my children has been playing in my head over and over again….I have so much guilt over what my children have witnessed. My daughter lashed out at me yesterday even saying I have terrible taste in men-meaning her dad because I was upset about a boy that she liked-she’s 16. This boy has caused some major issues for her and she was comparing her choice to mine-NOT ok. My middle son asked me if Dad moves back in wont you guys just start fighting again-it happens everytime. They are much more in tune than what I have given them credit for. I told my husband we needed to slow things down because we will end up right back to where we were. His response concerned me-he said we don’t have much time….I told him we do and are going to take this slow and see where it goes.
        Sorry for being so long.
        Thank you again for your prayers, compassion and support. ❤️

        • Aly on January 28, 2018 at 1:30 pm


          I’ll be able to respond more in depth later.
          Your counselor is right in that you have grow so much given the horrible experiences you have had and your own choices.

          I mentioned ‘relapse’ and being able to afford it from your husband.
          The time alone is premature in my opinion.
          Also I believe you have been given a gift already by what you were concerned about and I consider it relapse on his part.

          You wrote:
          “I told my husband we needed to slow things down because we will end up right back to where we were. His response concerned me-he said we don’t have much time….I told him we do and are going to take this slow and see where it goes

          His response is his relapse process beginning based on his mindset.
          His mindset is what must be rehired and that takes a lot of time and serious interventions.

          Given the chaos of what you both have already involved your children in, I don’t think getting back together would sit well with many counsel you have involved for wisdom.

          I think it’s great that you are seeing positive behavior and healing by individual therapy but you might also want to ask your counselor about;
          Trauma Bonding
          Chaotic attachments etc.

          My heart goes out to you and I hope that you can trust those in your life who have seen objectively and love and care for you.
          Your children’s well being comes as the priority.
          Your well being also and your husband’s and sometimes that means living separately while a person gets the help & interventions needed.
          Those interventions could be a long time over all.

          I was willing to divorce or separate with my husband so that we could raise our children apart from his chaos & episodes (you would think he was a saint in comparison) and then after decide if he could be healthy as a partner once the children would be out of harms way and poor reinforced modeling. Children don’t want to be in the crossfire nor should they.

        • Nancy on January 29, 2018 at 9:26 am

          Hi Lynn,

          I agree so much with what Aly has said. I just want to say that you have all the time in the world. From where I sit, You absolutely DO need to slow things down- you are wise.

          The presence and direction of The Holy Spirit is marked by His Peace. Patience, too. It seems to me ( from what I have read above ) that you have developed a familiarity / comfort with chaos and even destruction. It will take lots of time to tease apart these feelings (comfort / familiarity) from His Peace.

          Healing is a SLOW process. We’re not talking months, Lynn, with this level of chaos it’ll likely take years. If pressure is being applied (wether from someone else, or from your own mind) you can be sure that that is not coming from The Lord.

          • Aly on January 29, 2018 at 10:31 am

            Nancy, Lynn

            Your response is really well written! I also agree with the process being so very slow ~ but my nature of wanting pain (even if its purposeful pain for all parties involved) to subside is so tempting … even speaking from my own separation with ext. family currently.

            What you wrote here is really valuable especially for discernment:
            “I believe in forgiveness and grace.”

            I do too, Define for yourself what is this in terms of where you are In the marriage and define reconciliation.
            Because reconciliation is two people involved.

            You wrote:
            “That is what is so hard for me. I struggle because I so badly want my marriage to be a loving, healthy place for myself and my children.”

            Oh boy! Who can’t relate to this desire~ and Lynn this is a healthy desire to have but also something ‘so strong’ that could lure you into more of a temping place to compromise areas of the marriage.
            Your word, ‘so badly’ is key here to explore more with your counselor.

            For me, I came to a place that I ‘so badly’ wanted my husband to meet and experience the authentic Jesus rather than the Jesus he claimed to know… I wanted My husband to have Jesus as True Savior more than our marriage to have reconciliation.

            I knew I could trust God with a divorce if it were to go that direction. It wasn’t what was my desire but I was willing to accept it if it was the outcome.

            You wrote:
            “There has been so much sin and selfishness on both our parts. ”

            Ok I understand this but I also think it’s important not to use a ‘leveling place’ or let him convince you that you both are at the same offense…..that makes both of you accountable for the behaviors. That makes him less accountable and less able to change his mindset.

            You might be a more vulnerable spouse to take responsibility of something that is disportionate to the scenario. This might be where your work on you is pivotal to your well being.
            When responsibility is disproportionate it means that the relationship is unbalanced emotionally.

            Each of you are responsible for your own response. He seems to blame you for his destructive choices and the escalation of those actions. This is dangerous thinking on his part, and quite 2 yr old outrageous tantrums~ that are vitally damaging to you and your children in the crossfire.

            Often in abusive marriages the repeat offender is very good at convincing the other party that they are responsible for their bad behavior and that since both of them have sinned then all is a wash.
            (This is a very distorted point of view from a person who can’t hold ‘feeling bad’ about their own actions)
            This is not healthy posture at all! It’s manipulation at its best and your husband clearly is destructive in his ‘thinking process’ and in how he defines repair.

            Pray for emotional and spiritual health and healing even over a fragile place of marital reconciliation. His heart is in desperate need for Jesus! He’s in a hurry because he wants you to be that person to fill a place that ‘only’ Jesus can and it sometimes takes a lot of emotion energy and work to take that journey.

            You wrote:
            “I still love him despite all that has been said and done.”

            What does love look like than at this place to you Lynn? I believe that you do still love him and can look past all the chaos ~ but is this ‘safe love’.
            Healthy God honoring Love doesn’t bring this kind of hurt or unsafety.

            “I feel Ike we have tried counseling before and it didn’t work but maybe this time because we have been working individually it will.”
            You wrote above.

            Define work and working? When you explain this outloud you may see things a different way. Give your desire and outcome to the Lord fully. Trust in His ways fully.

            Based on your husband’s destructive ways~ he seems to be deeply attached ‘to you’ in a very unhealthy way, meaning he has lots and lots of work to figure out why he’s so destructive and abusive to those closest. His anger and unresolved anger is profound! All of his reactions toward you are NOT about you. But they came wayyyy before you came into the picture.

            I’m sure there a many other factors going on also, but ….
            This isn’t the kind of loyalty and love you want or that is something healthy.

            Stay your course and stay keeping strong boundaries and requirements.
            I wouldn’t throw the divorce papers away but extend them if possible.
            Your husband may struggle believing that you are capable of following through with your position ~ especially if there is a history of you bending or giving in for certain reasons or situations.
            He also will be blessed by ‘time’ and years as Nancy noted given the extent of the abuse as he watches ‘your change’ and consistency!

            Stay safe and sane💕✝️
            You are loved and worthy beyond measure!

          • Lynn on January 30, 2018 at 11:42 am

            Aly, Nancy and JoAnn,
            Thank you for responding back to me. There is so much wisdom and understanding in your responses. It helps me realize that I still have so far to go in my faith, and my own personal growth with Christ and learning who I am and really how I define what love is. I have never really seen healthy, loving relationships. My parents fought all the time when I grew up.
            I feel like so many road blocks keep coming up that I get exhausted from this up hill battle though. I get overwhelmed with raising my children-they are 16, 13 and 10 and finances scares me. I am not sure how much longer my husband and I can sustain living in two households. We are accruing a mountain of debt along the way and we have children starting college soon…I feel the weight of anxiety and pressure creeping up on me constantly. Fear of financially sinking but also fear of just giving in a letting him move back home because financially we can’t do it. I know that I need to have faith and believe that God will see me and my children through this. But I am not going to lie and say I am not afraid because I am.
            You women on here are really the only Christian support I have. I have friends and family that help and support me but I have heard the saying- “I am going to give you tough love” so many times now that my heart can’t take hearing that I am being selfish, that I need to not be wimp, and be strong, to find my own self again, and hear all the terrible things they say about my husband even, how much they dislike him and how my marriage has ruined my life and hurt my children and effected all of them as well. While there is truth in their words- I have felt so judged through this entire process and it’s hard to reach out when the people close hurt you too. Even though I know they mean it from a good place.
            Again thank you for all your help. I will hold your words close to me as I go through this.

          • Seeing the Light on January 30, 2018 at 12:23 pm


            I read through most of the conversation on this post regarding your situation. I am not here to judge you at all. I just felt moved within to speak up that from all I have read I believe there are serious red flags about the reality of any kind of change in your husband that would make him safe to be around or to allow back into your home. I can’t imagine the mental anguish you go through trying to make decisions. I am in a bad situation, but not as bad as yours and decisions are extremely difficult. I just wanted to say that if he were safe, I believe you would be saying very different things and nothing I have heard is inconsistent with this being just part of the cycle. (My own husband reads his Bible a lot, goes to church, and prays, prays, prays and he is NOT safe emotionally, spiritually, verbally, financially, etc – though he has not yet gotten physical). Please listen to the intuition of your children. I am amazed how often they have it spot on! If the finances do not support two households, I would seriously consider proceeding with the divorce over reconciling. Finances are a big part of the issue in my abuse relationship so I can really feel for you. Remember, no judgment or pressure here – just a lot of concern.

          • Nancy on January 30, 2018 at 3:00 pm

            Hi Lynn,

            Such wisdom and kindness from Seeing the light 🙂

            I thought the same thing about proceeding with divorce. If he ends up responding to The Lord down the road, you can always re-marry. For now, there is no evidence of a change of heart.

            May The Lord bless you with an astonishing security, in Him.

          • JoAnn on January 30, 2018 at 4:47 pm

            Lynn, keep in mind that in a divorce, the terms that get worked out will provide for you and the children, probably better than they are now. You will have to share credit card debt, but the husband will have to provide child support, and you might need to get a job. But over all, everyone should be safe and the Lord will see to it that you are taken care of. This is a time to really lean on Him, knowing that He loves you and your children, and will always act in your best interest.

          • Aly on January 30, 2018 at 5:27 pm

            Nancy, Lynn, Seeing the Light,

            I also thought Seeing the light’s Post was so good and loving.

            Lynn, I’m sorry if you are feeling in any way judged by my posts, or through other places of support.
            For me, I want you to feel seen and heard as well as know that there a very caring and many women who can relate to some of the experiences you have survived through.
            If you are ‘hearing judgement’ I’m asking you to take this directly to the Lord with an open heart and understanding.
            Sometimes ‘feeling judged’ can be an old coping skill that rationalizes our choices or postures.
            I’m only saying this because this is something that theLord continued to do a work on my husband’s heart and that was a coping skill that kept him stuck.
            Not saying this is the same thing but given the extent of your husband’s abuse and dangerous behavior this could be a negotiation you are having with yourself as you grieve.

            I also agree with what Nancy said;
            Ok, so what would it look like if you stay separated or decide financially you have to divorce but that after the divorce, you still have a now (x)husband working toward recovery and true healing~ regardless if there is still marriage.
            Wouldn’t that say a lot about his commitment to change? Until…changing and working restitution apart from having the marriage.
            Ofcourse you both would still be separated for a long time probably years but could it give the best chance for ‘real healing and health’ someday?

            Here is a thought that was very helpful for me, maybe it could be beneficial to you also.
            I want to mention your value at being the best version of you;) and how much God loves and cares for your heart and your safety.
            Does being in this marriage with a destructive history create any threat to you being less than the best growing version of you as yourself, mom, friend, sister, daughter? This is not an easy question but I do hope it helps you see that you are worth and your kids are worth the best version of you!
            I don’t think this is anything that someone would regret or have second thoughts on a marriage not working out given the extent of the broken covenant & nor does the failure fall upon you.
            Prayers and hugs to you 💜

          • Lynn on February 5, 2018 at 5:20 pm

            Thank you ladies again from the bottom of my heart!
            Today has been a rough day. I woke up irritable and my kids were too, and then spent the day driving them to and from school and the orthodontist and then my oldest to work! I’m sure you know how it goes. I was crabby because I had to take a vacation day from work and it’s snowy out so all the driving made it worse. I ended up venting to my husband about how overwhelmed and crabby I am, also my irritation about our 16 year old daughter and issues we are having. Anyway it ended badly with me pulling away and in tears and him feeling like I’m attacking him and “bashing him” as he calls it. When really what it is that I’m tired, irritated and had a bad day. I also feel alone and overwhelmed most of the time! Sometimes I need him to just listen and pick up the pieces to help without me explaining exactly what to do-is that wrong and selfish of me? There are so many things wrong with this relationship. He says he wants to help, but his work schedule is chaotic so he really can’t….and then he says he wants to be a team but I won’t let us. We both work full time and he’s in the military so drills on the weekends sometimes. He just drilled this past weekend and so I did everything by myself with the kids again this weekend. It’s just constant running and chaos! It’s exhausting. I’m whining I know!
            After reading through all your posts I question myself even more. This new counselor we are trying uses Gottman training. Rather than turning away we turn towards to each other. Build our foundation of our home back up by building trust, commitment, ect. I expressed my concerns and my families concern. She said it’s about learning how to trust your own instincts and not worrying about what others think. And I then I said they are concerned about safety and she said he is in DV classes, seeking help and that we will enforce boundaries. And that we can stop at any time.
            I was just thinking today that I can’t even cry to him and be upset about having a bad without it turning into an accusation of him not knowing what I want, and me “playing games” and “bashing him”.
            I wasn’t playing games. We are separated and then he was asking how tonight would be and we have it set that he has the boys mon and tue nights. But then he was irritated that I didn’t want him to stay. I told him it would be best if he didn’t. That we are still not completely together. I just feel lost still and it’s times like these that I need boundaries in place but I’m stuck between feeling guilty about my own selfish feelings and then also the boys don’t like staying with him because they don’t like his house.
            It’s all just such a mess. When I get like this I just want to run away. 🙁 my faith is not as strong as your ladies. I’m not going to lie. I have a long ways to go with God. I have much to work on and am realizing that I have lost faith along this journey.
            I’m trying so hard to make things right but I feel like I just make them worse. And today I thought what do you do when nothing in your life feels right anymore? Im tired of being lost and in turmoil.

          • JoAnn on February 5, 2018 at 6:23 pm

            Lynn, I am so sorry that it’s been such a rough day. We all have them, and years ago, when the kids were still young, I had to tell my husband, “Just hold me and listen. You don’t have to fix this. I just need to vent.” Can you, or have you, spoken to him like this? Men usually feel like they have to fix things, and when they can’t, they feel helpless, and then things go downhill from there. Helpless is the last thing a man wants to feel, and so they start deflecting. You are doing well to maintain your boundaries, and I’m glad that you have a good counselor. I’ve been reading about Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and it seems like that approach could be helpful here. I don’t know anything about Gottman, except that I have heard the name.
            You mentioned that your relationship with God is not what you’d like it to be. Start with honesty. Just talk to Him and tell Him how you feel. Vent to Him. He already knows what’s going on, and He loves you so much, but in His way, He doesn’t usually just step in and do something miraculous. He prompts us to take a step, and He carefully guides the direction. He likes to work with us, and needs our cooperation to move ahead. So, I would also recommend that you just start to read your Bible in the New Testament. Get to know Him. You will be surprised how good it feels just to read your Bible and hold it in your hands. If you don’t have one, go to and order a free NT. It has really good study notes to help you understand what you are reading.
            Stay tuned in here. We care and we are praying for you. Many here were where you are, and there is a lot of good help.

          • Renee on February 5, 2018 at 7:04 pm

            I understand completely.

    • Free on February 6, 2018 at 2:58 am

      Reconciled a number of times. His behavioral changes never lasted. Even with on going counseling he eventually admitted I can’t keep doing this. It was a mask. He couldn’t stop the way he thought.

      Your friends and family are right. It is too soon. You will know when friends and family are on board too.

      There is no more incentive for him to grow any further once he gets you back. A few changes aren’t good enough. He won’t last.

  39. Renee on January 27, 2018 at 11:01 am

    We had been separated within the home since July of last year. Physically separated (most beneficial) toward end of Nov.

    But I need suggestions right now.

    Most of you know that toward the end of last year my teens and I spent the night at a hotel due to an event going on with my husband. I saw my hubby for a brief few minutes yesterday as well as for a brief few minutes the day before because he said he was not feeling well. Then out of the blue, yesterday night, comes a text with him saying that a relative called him last night. He said the relative saw us at the hotel. This relative did and we all (teens and myself) talked a while. He then went on to say that the relative said I changed clothes and left to go somewhere without the kids.

    I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but last knowledge is that I am a grown woman. Now, I did not respond to that text. Dead air from me. The relative is not being honest (not sure why) and there is no truth to what was said. So this morning, I checked the teen’s phones to find that husband questioned them about that night in different ways as to trip them up.

    So I am asking all of you, how do I respond or do I follow through as I’m doing now and don’t. The response I had setup was [It was good seeing you with a big smile yesterday behind your accomplishments. Sorry to hear your night was ruff.] However, I do not wish him to respond with disrespect. There is a strong possibility that it will go that way if I respond.

    Thanks in advance for your guidance.

    • Free on February 6, 2018 at 3:07 am

      No response. You are being played. He is trying to hook you back into his nightmare. No smiley face, nothing. He conned you into seeing him with his illness plea. He was dangerous and creepy with your teen. Yuck.

  40. Nancy on January 27, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Hi Renee,

    My first response is to be very transparent first, with your teens, by telling them -very briefly but to the point – what has said to your h by your relative. Then, that is completely untrue. That you have no idea why this relative would lie.

    Then you write, or say to your h’s face ( whatever the Holy Spirit tells you) the same thing. It’s a lie and you have no idea why this relative would lie. But that you will not be discussing this again, since it is pure deception.

    Yes, you are a grown woman but you were still married, and if this were true then this relative would be doing the right thing. Since this is a BOLDFACE LIE , this relative is purposely trying to cause massive destruction. So…I think the best course of action is to deal with this openly and transparently. I would also consider confronting this relative. This relative knows they are spreading lies, you don’t need to convince them of that – they know it.

    You just need to walk in truth with your head high. Knowing that you did nothing wrong.

    • JoAnn on January 27, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      I am wondering if Renee’s husband is lying about what the relative said? Would he make up a story like that just to cause trouble?

      • Connie on January 27, 2018 at 12:19 pm

        That’s what I was thinking. Maybe Renee should first ask the relative if they even said that, then go from there.

        • Free on January 29, 2018 at 6:04 am

          Or something similar was said, yet his mind twisted He may honestly believe his own rhetoric.

    • Aly on January 27, 2018 at 12:10 pm


      I think your direction here is good. I was wondering and had several questions for the ‘husband’ probably not helpful to Renee.

      I guess my first thought would be; to come to the relative and face that accusation head on with the husband present or group form text etc.
      My other communications would be to create and enforce a boundary to my husband about addressing these adult issues to me first and not to children.
      This is where dysfunction breeds!! Husband ~ don’t use your children for information, go direct to the source. Handle these adult matters within the boundary.
      The relative should have also come to you about their accusation and what they were concerned about.

      • Free on February 6, 2018 at 3:10 am

        Why engage with these people? Those who twist the truth will just get more ammunition for their folly. They are not worth your time. This separation is to focus on you and your growth. Don’t waste your energy on his latest mind game. A healing man acts differently. You are being lured bad with new tricks. Be careful.

  41. Renee on January 27, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Nancy

    I did provide the transparency to our teens (showed them the text) but had no idea he had questioned them. Our son responded not true what his relative said. Our daughter didn’t respond. He texted her again basically saying she lied to him when he questioned her before. I had no idea he had questioned them until now.

    Nancy, I like your response [It’s a lie and you have no idea why this relative would lie. But that you will not be discussing this again, since it is pure deception.]

    Well, what I mean about being a grown woman is that if there was a need, I was free to leave the hotel with or without our children. But I never did. This has been a problem in our marriage. Anything done without our kids or husband, is a big problem.

    The kids and I did everything in that hotel together. We did not room set except for that night. Come morning we enjoyed the gym, the pool area, the dining area, the waiting area. It was a really beautiful hotel. We even sent him pictures throughout the day saying we wished he was with us although I was not happy about what took place the day before. At checkout time we came home.

    I have no way to do a face to face with his relative because they live out of town but were in town that particular day. However, I phoned the relative and the person swears I was seen downstairs by myself in a totally different outfit. They were not sure, but thought I left out the hotel as well. I explained that was untrue/not true and more damage was caused.

    The relative went on to state they told him he would be ok if we divorced. I stated we would all be ok and that’s a choice we would have to make. After a few more exchanges, we bid each other goodbye.

    Again, I really could not get upset because I have been accused so much in this marriage until it has become a norm. Although, I pray it to stop. At least he is not here with me and so I did not have to deal with an interrogation in person as it usually took place in the past.

    • Connie on January 27, 2018 at 2:08 pm

      Renee, I know it’s hard, but you seem to be still very enmeshed with him. You are trying to reason with him, defend yourself, and teach him, in other words, still trying to fix him, I think. As long as these guys get your attention, they are happy. They want you totally consumed with them. They want to live in your head and then scramble your brains. Please don’t let him do that.

      Detach your emotions. Appeal to him as ‘you are above this’ but don’t interrupt God’s discipline. As it says in Proverbs 19:19, then you just have to do it again and again. We need to develop and attitude of, “You know, this is between you and God. If you want to destroy yourself, I won’t stop you, but the children and I are not going down with you.”

      • Renee on January 27, 2018 at 3:18 pm

        Connie maybe so although I am trying not to be enmeshed. I guess I’ll need to look into this more.

        Thank you all so much for helping me with my response. It is done (something pulled from each of you).

        • Aly on January 27, 2018 at 3:44 pm


          I just want to point out that I think you are doing such a great job at navigating through such a difficult time~ while also being an advocate for your children and trying your best to not allow them to be taken under.

          My heart really goes out to you~ I think and feel as I try to put myself in your shoes, I do also know the pain of being falsely accused.
          You are have been a ‘long time’ recipient of accusations by accusers that really are ‘out of line’ with their assumptions of sorts.
          This is where I want to stand along side you where you can speak truth in love, even if it’s for your own heart and ears to hear.

        • Free on February 6, 2018 at 3:12 am

          How frequently are you speaking to a counselor. You need the support.

  42. Monica on January 27, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    How did I begin to grow during a separation? I began seeing a therapist which led to a deepening awareness of my frozen feelings (which are now painfully thawing out) and the significance of some memories that were/are traumatic for me. A difficult journey for sure but is leading gradually to becoming a more functional individual. thanks for this blog!

    • JoAnn on January 29, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      Monica, I am grateful for your courage to move on. Heart Surgery is always painful, but in the end, the healing brings such freedom. Hang in there….The Lord’s grace will see you through.

  43. Debra on January 28, 2018 at 6:01 am

    So the peace and quiet for me didn’t last. My husband came by our house while I was at work to grab some of his things. It had been a week since he left and last saw the kids too. I don’t know what happened but then he started calling my work saying that he wants me to text him to confirm that I will “let him live his life and not bother him anymore”. He knows that I don’t like it when he tries to cause drama at my work (not the first time he’s done this) and so he used it as leverage to force me to speak with him. I told him that I initiated the “no contact” rule and I have abided it by it so how can that be interpreted as I am “still trying to have him in my life and I won’t let him go to live his life freely”? I told him that he is the one harassing me and this is exactly why I asked for no contact.

    My two older kids said that he didn’t even spend time with the younger 3 and only stayed for an hour. How can a parent go for 7 days without even calling their kids to see how they are and when the opportunity comes, only spend one hour with them? And it wasn’t even one hour spent with them but packing up his things. I don’t understand that as a parent.

    I’m trying to understand how/why he could ignore his kids. Fine he is mad at me, but that is against me. Now even more with a physical separation, wouldn’t a parent miss their children and want to see them or even talk to them on the phone? Isn’t this his chance to show them that he can be a good father?

    I just want to understand what is driving all these crazy behaviors. He ignored us for weeks, ignores the kids, then starts trouble with me and now he is quiet again. I have no doubt that we will have another episode of drama. Is this part of how he is still trying to exert control?

    He is the one that decided he didn’t want the marriage and he wanted to be “free” and now that I have given that to him, he is still acting like this. He got what he wanted so why can’t he just stop? It doesn’t make sense to me. I can see why he would do this when we were together. But we are no longer together.

    I’m wondering if anyone can give some insight into why he is behaving like this…

    • Aly on January 28, 2018 at 8:00 am


      Oh I’m am so sorry for this and for your children’s experience.
      I don’t have an explanation of his behavior but I do have some thoughts about his past (things you have said he has done) that might answer those questions.
      You have mentioned he has been unfaithful in the past and my first thought is he has found another interest of relationship.
      Most men would highly agree with this given his choices. So maybe talk with some trusted well educated men in your circle.

      The very fact that he wants his own life apart from a marriage is evidence that he rationalizing his thinking and his quilt.

      For him, I’m sure there is some different regret inside now that you have released him and you are no longer begging him to stay even after all of his history and horrible choices in behavior and no repair.

      See the tolerance you used to give and the begging you would offer soothed and temporary distracted his guilt.
      Not saying I’m right, but just thinking a bit about the cycle you used to have and what might have worked for him.

      I think he found value in all that you were willing to accommodate with him. This brought ‘not healthy’ but value to someone who obviously doesn’t have it on their own.
      For someone who is as disturbed as he is right now, the very fact that you would be upset at his treatment of the kids would tell him you ‘still’ care about him~ even if its negative unhealthy attention. I know it’s messed up. But he is far from any husband behavior and let alone ‘father’ behavior.
      See it’s not a good and healthy father to treat a wife the way he has. Healthy father’s don’t do those things. Part of being a healthy father is how he treats the mother of his children. It isn’t necessarily ‘separate’ if that makes sense.

      Often us wives who have been dealing with a spouse ‘with unacceptable behaviors’ meaning things across the board here, not just betrayal and infidelity… but often we can see the good in how a husband will tend to the children and be a good father.
      Sometimes for us mom’s, it at least makes us feel grateful. But in reality they are not being good fathers if they can’t offer a healthy husband also loving their wives well~This adds security to the children! When this isn’t happening there is
      a disconnect.

      You are doing the right thing by having boundaries and no contact. You might have to increase the boundaries as to when he can come to the house etc. especially if he has access to add hurt to your children.

      I’m so sorry for this pain! Your husband needs a lot of help and you need a lot of support and love!

      • Renee on January 28, 2018 at 8:53 pm

        Aly, I use to hear women all the time (on a TV divorce show lol) say, “oh he is such a great father” but just not a great husband. But if you really think on it, most kids do not like seeing mom hurt (crying, being battered and bruised emotional, physically, or both). Some kids will even try to take up for mom. So when mom is being hurt, so are the kids. It messes with them emotionally. So the question, is he really such a great father?

    • Renee on January 28, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Debra, how much quality time did your husband spend with the children when he was at home? I’m not talking about discipline. If the children are not jumping at the bits to see dad then more than likely the quality care was provided by you. Therefore husband will have no problem doing what he is doing now. Just a thought not saying it is the reality of your family.

      • Debra on January 29, 2018 at 10:18 am

        Hi Aly and Renee,

        I read your responses and it started to make me think. Prior to all of this, I would say that I believe he loves the kids but only interacts with them when he feels like it. He was never involved in the day to day of raising the kids and interacting with them and the kids are much closer to me than to him. When I mentioned that to him during a previous fight, that the kids don’t feel any connection to him and are closer to me, his reply was that kids are always closer to their mom than their dad. I told him that if the dad chooses to be so disconnected with his kids, then of course the kids will not feel any closeness to him. I also pointed out examples of men we know who are close to their children. I told him that if he knows and has complained that his dad was never a good dad to him, why is he repeating the cycle with our own children?

        As a parent, I cannot imagine going even for 24 hours without speaking to my kids. I guess that’s why I don’t understand how he can go for days without seeing them or even just calling to talk to them. Is he trying to punish me through the kids? If he is punishing the kids, then what for? They never did anything.

        Every so often, I will ask my younger three boys if they are okay, if they need to talk about their feelings because dad moved out or if there is anything bothering them. My 8 year old asked me “what is a parent’s job?”. I said they are supposed to make you feel safe, loved and teach you to grow up as a good Christian. I said that God gave each parent the child as a special gift and parents have a special job from God. So when you have your own children, your job will be to show your children that you love them very much. He then replied, “oh I thought Dad ignoring us is normal”. I said some parents find it hard to do the special job that God gave them. I asked them if they missed their dad and wanted me to call him so they could speak to him and they all said, “no it’s okay. we don’t need to talk to him.”

        Maybe it is a blessing that my husband didn’t establish a connection with our children. Probably because he interacted with them at arm’s length, it’s not such a big shock to their minds that he’s gone. It’s funny – here I am worrying so much that their little hearts are going to be so broken and wondering why my husband doesn’t make an effort to be a parent but here they are laughing and playing and don’t seem to be bothered that dad is not living at home and that they haven’t seen him in awhile.

        I saw a comment above from Nancy saying “The presence and direction of The Holy Spirit is marked by His Peace. Patience, too.”. While I haven’t said anything to my husband about why he isn’t trying to see the kids (the old me would’ve done that), it made me realize that I need to stop focusing on what my husband does or doesn’t do if they are negative and it’s only been two weeks since he left! It feels like a lifetime but if he hasn’t changed anything in 20 years, it certainly won’t happen in two weeks! I guess it just bothered me that he would ignore the kids but that is his choice and now that I see that the kids seem to be okay, I don’t really have to worry about that anymore. And it bothers me when he creates these crazy drama filled situations but I just have to remember to stop feeding the fire.

        • Aly on January 29, 2018 at 11:10 am


          You wrote:
          “It’s funny – here I am worrying so much that their little hearts are going to be so broken and wondering why my husband doesn’t make an effort to be a parent but here they are laughing and playing and don’t seem to be bothered that dad is not living at home and that they haven’t seen him in awhile.”

          Given the circumstances of your marriage and your husband leaving~ worrying about or being concerned about their hearts is a Good thing’ and what good mom’s do to help protect and teach their children how to ‘feel and deal’.
          This is part of the grief process. But also imp for their own well being. You as primary parent also supply the main nurturing so the impact might not feel as bad to them as you might have considered or been worried about ~ I think it’s healthy to investigate and be aware of as your probed more.

          I’m thankful they are enjoying thehome and the peace of it~ it’s probably more in proportion to what they have ‘actually experienced’ in relationship with their dad, so less confusion about him not being engaged with them… even if he was physically present.
          This in studies have been found to be even more traumatic to a child than to grow up in a home where the absent is obvious.

          Neglect and abandonment are painful places, hopefully they can speak further with you and a family counselor to be proactive about not having any ‘suppressed feelings’

          I say this since you also mentioned your husband ‘family of origin ‘father cycle’ of neglect.
          Suppressed feelings can do a havoc on healthy emotional maturity and usually they leak out in addiction and others harming destructive behaviors.

          Here’s a verse that might be encouraged to you and your children;💕
          Isaiah 41:9-10
          “I took you from the ends of the earth,
          from its farthest corners I called you.
          I said, ‘You are my servant’;
          I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
          10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
          do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
          I will strengthen you and help you;
          I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

          • Renee on January 29, 2018 at 4:44 pm

            Aly, the teen’s new counselor is God sent. For the next month the teens will focus on developing coping skills. Recognize when something is going on within. Identify the feeling (sadness, anger, hurt, happiness, etc.) Process it and then express. They are learning about anger. They role play. So while they do individual therapy they’re also doing group to strengthen the relationship between the two. I am so happy with her work.

            Dislike saying it, but when it comes to counsel it really is best to keeping trying.

          • Aly on January 29, 2018 at 5:02 pm

            Such a praise to God for this news~ so thankful you shared here and glad that your kids are willing and getting this kind of healing ~ your family is so worth it💕

    • JoAnn on January 29, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      I am wondering if ignoring the children is a way for him to try to hurt you? Just a thought…..

      • Debra on January 30, 2018 at 10:08 am

        Hi JoAnn,

        My sister said the same thing and it doesn’t make sense to me. Could you further explain your thoughts on why he would do that? Do you mean he is trying to get a reaction from me? Wouldn’t it matter even just a tiny bit to him that the kids are feeling the consequences of his actions and they are innocent in all this?

        So before he moved out, he was already ignoring the kids but maybe he thought that it’s okay because at least he’s physically in the same house with them. Now that he is not in the house, I assumed that he would choose to spend more time with the kids because he won’t get to see them every day like before and that he will miss them and he would try to keep in contact with them to make it easier for them to cope with the fact that he’s gone.

        Could it be that he is trying to prove to me that he has no problem being on his own and doesn’t need his family? So like he’s trying to teach me a lesson and if the kids are in the cross-fire, that’s okay with him?

        • JoAnn on January 30, 2018 at 4:31 pm

          Debra, of course there is no way to really know what he is thinking, so we are just speculating at this point, and if you are not having any contact, then you can’t really ask him, can you? So there could be any number of reasons why he isn’t paying any attention to the kids, and you have already made a few suggestions, and so have I. If it is because he wants to hurt you, it would be because he knows how important the children’s welfare is to you, and he might think that by ignoring them, he is hurting you. That is an option. However, since he basically ignored them when he was living in the same house with them, and since his absence doesn’t seem to be hurting them all that much, then it is more likely that he simply doesn’t care much about any of you. His indifference hurts, I’m sure, but it means that he probably won’t give you much trouble over custody issues when/if you end up divorcing. As someone else cautioned you, I would also, to pay close attention to how the children process all this. There can be some deep down hurt that they are not expressing yet, but will come out eventually. Grace be with you.

        • Free on January 30, 2018 at 8:29 pm

          I would say who cares what he thinks. Everytime his actions occupy a part of your brain he wins! Enough about him, what do YOU want? Take the direction you desire. You are the healthy person and parent.

        • Free on February 6, 2018 at 3:18 am

          No, he is just plain old selfish.

    • Free on February 6, 2018 at 3:16 am

      I think it is a waste of time and energy trying to figure out what or why he does anything. It is time to build up you and your life. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out crazy. He loves the attention and the real estate he takes up in your brain. Fill your brain with your thoughts, desires and actions first. It’s your brain not his. Kick him out of your head.

      • Aly on February 7, 2018 at 10:08 am


        I agree with your posture here above and can relate to .. not figuring out crazy.
        I do want to point out for some survivors it’s ‘essential’ for them to put the pieces together about the manipulations, abuse, power plays etc. Because it can help them navigate through and certainly help assist them to not be ill equipped for more versions of ‘a disburbed person’.

        It takes a lot of time and work to look at what was destructive and discover themselves again.

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