How Do I Answer My Pastor When He Uses Romans 12:1-2

Morning friends,

Wohoo, I found a puppy. Actually, someone from this blog told me about her. She was just born this past week and my granddaughters and I have decided on Addison for her name, (Addie) for short.  

She is an Australian Labradoodle and the litter has two girls in it so I’m not sure which one I will pick yet but I’m anxious to meet her.  

I am in San Francisco this week for training. I haven’t been here for a long time but pray that it is fruitful and that I am safe. I feel a little vulnerable in a big city by myself. I thought this week’s question was a fitting follow up to last week’s blog on spiritual abuse.

Today’s Question: My husband and I attended a Baptist church for many years. My husband has a Catholic background. I have a Methodist/Presbyterian background. I followed my husband to this church where he found great contentment. I figured I would love the Lord no matter where I was. Many things took place that was emotionally destructive over the years. We were on our best behavior at church. But at home and in front of our blended family we were not what a Christian marriage should be.

Repentance or remorse just wasn’t a part of the 10 year marriage and like a cancer it grew into it's destructive state. I am now legally separated from my husband. I promised the pastor well over a year ago that I would meet with him after the separation was final. Now that it is final I needed to follow through with my commitment to meet with him.  

When I did the pastor has asked me to read Romans 12:1-2, and he wanted me to think about it and talk to him about it. My first thoughts are:

  1. I feel this church supports oppressive marriages.
  2. I do not trust my husband. I think he would use this scripture to protect his belief that we should not be separated, although this scripture can refer to the renewing of my mind with help understanding why I had been become so bitter and resentful after hearing and reading some of your counsel.
  3. I do hope to live a holy and acceptable life pleasing to God, separating from my husband mentally and emotionally to protect me from his manipulation and control.

Thank you in advance for taking time to comment. Your comments will help me contemplate what I need to discuss with the Pastor.

Answer:Your pastor chose an interesting passage for you to contemplate and if you’re in the kind of church you describe my guess is your pastor wanted you to latch onto Paul’s words in this passage where he said: “Don’t be conformed to this world’s way of thinking.”

It’s just a guess based on my experiences with well-meaning pastors but he probably wanted you to reach a conclusion something like this:

The world tells you that you should protect yourself from your abusive/destructive spouse by separating, but that’s not God’s way. You need to have your thinking transformed in order to think God’s way if you want to live a holy, acceptable, and pleasing to God kind of life. God’s way is to suffer patiently for Jesus by staying in your marriage because that’s what brings him the most glory.  

This is the kind of counsel where well-intended but horribly unequipped pastors and Christian counselors can cause women in abusive/destructive marriages harm and spiritual confusion. You’ve said you want to please God and live a holy life before him and you’ve been aware that your own pain has led to some bitterness and resentment.  

But if your pastor is saying what I think he might be saying, from his point of view there is only one way to do that when you’re in a destructive marriage and that is to stay, no matter what.

That’s not true. When you stand up and say “no” to abuse and sin, and refuse to allow it to reign in your heart or your home you ARE doing God’s will. Placating an abuser, or pretending and lying to cover up sin gives God no glory. It destroys the marital relationship as God intended and it gives the abuser the false idea that his sin is not that bad. If you choose that path, how could your husband possibly see the truth that he needs to repent? We are called to expose the deeds done in darkness, not cover them up or indulge them (Ephesians 5:11).

Scripture supports God’s stance against abuse and the tactics of abusers. He says he hates injustice, oppressors, liars, hypocrites, and those who abuse their power to hurt and take advantage of others. Click Tweet

Here is just a sampling of some verses:

“The Lord examines the righteous but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.”  Psalm 11:5

Then I said,

“Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of Israel.

Should you not embrace justice,
you who hate good and love evil;
who tear the skin from my people
and the flesh from their bones;
who eat my people’s flesh,
strip off their skin
and break their bones in pieces;
who chop them up like meat for the pan,
like flesh for the pot?”

Then they will cry out to the Lord,
but he will not answer them.

At that time he will hide his face from them
because of the evil they have done.

This is what the Lord says:
“As for the prophets
who lead my people astray,
they proclaim ‘peace’ if they have something to eat,
but prepare to wage war against anyone
who refuses to feed them.

Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
and darkness, without divination.

The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them.

The seers will be ashamed
and the diviners disgraced.
Micah 3:1-7

Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.

They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.

When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.

Your hands are full of blood!

Wash and make yourselves clean.

Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
Isaiah 1:14-17

God will hold accountable those who abuse others and misuse their power, so why doesn’t the church? (See Psalm 10, especially verses 13-18)

Therefore, you are not being “conformed” to this world’s way of thinking when you seek to protect yourself and your children from an abuser. You are conforming your thinking to God’s. First by valuing your safety and sanity (which God values), and second, by holding the abuser accountable and calling him to repentance in order for true reconciliation of the relationship to be possible, which is also God’s will when relationships are broken.

You may also want to read my blog Does God Want me to Suffer Silently According to 1 Peter 3 and Lessons from Sarah’s Story.

Friends, what scripture verses have helped you “see” that God cares about you and hates what’s happening to you? Let’s try to gather together as many Bible verses as we can that support God’s view so that confusion is cleared up around some of these false teachings so that spiritual oppression isn’t as easily masked as Biblical truth.

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  1. bill (cycleguy) on January 30, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Leslie: i am a pastor who makes no bones that counseling is not my strong suit. However, after 45+ years as a pastor I have learned a few things along the way. I am not a liberal or a modernist. I believe fully and completely in God’s Word. But I tire of and reject the legalistic pastor who uses the Bible as a club, whether to bring “their people” in line or to bring others to do something so foolish as this pastor is asking this woman to do. How asinine to ask this woman to stay in an abusive marriage! Yeah, let him beat her to a pulp or let him whittle her down to nothing verbally all in the name of “love.” That is a bunch of crock! Can God change things? Absolutely. But not by him abusing her mercilessly. I have much more to say but I should stop. And I’m sorry if I used too strong of language. I apologize if I offended you or any of your readers.

    • Marisa on January 30, 2019 at 11:49 am

      Thanks for your comment~It is so very refreshing to hear this point of view coming from a pastor. I believe that Scripture (some sort of distortion of Scrpture) has been used for far too long to keep women (and men) locked up in physical, mental, and/or emotional destruction in the name of marriage. I will NEVER understand (and I’ve been a Christian for 50 years and love the Lord with all my heart) how marriage means that we must endure anything and everything that comes our way. Who in their right mind would tell a woman to just keep enduring beatings or worse?! Or the slow chipping away of one’s sanity and emotional health? It makes zero sense to me, and I refuse to believe that our Lord would want us to remain in these situations. That’s not marriage the way it was intended. Mothers want to be healthy in order to be present for their children. My heart breaks for those who are mistreated and harmed by marriage, pastors, and fellow Christians.

    • Katherine on January 30, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      You are an awesome pastor!

    • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 11:40 am

      Thanks for your support. I don’t think pastors intentionally do harm, but they are more focused on keeping the marriage together than they are on the safety and sanity of the people in it. When a wife or husband allows their spouse to abuse them, that is dishonoring themselves and allowing their spouse to dishonor them as well as allowing the abuser to dishonor their own selves. God never designed marriage to be a place of oppression and abuse and when we turn a blind eye, we are not representing him well, whether we are the victim, the pastor, or the abuser.

    • Veronica on February 1, 2019 at 10:27 pm

      Seems Ive been blocked

      • JoAnn on February 1, 2019 at 10:52 pm

        Veronica, I don’t think you were blocked. That’s not what is done here. However, we do hope that you are learning some things you have not known before. Please try to keep an open mind.

      • Leslie Vernick on February 2, 2019 at 1:23 am

        Nope you weren’t blocked. I never do that unless you are disrespectful to people in the blog which you are not.

  2. Natalie on January 30, 2019 at 11:22 am

    First, thank you for being honest and humble enough to admit that ministry experience does not always equal counseling knowledge.
    Second, as a former victim of abuse who was then told to “bear my cross” or I was being a poor wife and woman of God… THANK YOU for your empathy and for sharing your stance.

    • bill (cycleguy) on January 30, 2019 at 2:50 pm


      Thanks for your kind words. My wife and I have often talked about my limits as a pastor/counselor and I respect her thoughts. I have learned sometimes I can only take people so far before I have to refer them. But one thing I can do is still love and support them as they struggle.

      • Michele L on January 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm

        I agree…. thank you Bill! We have been in counseling many times with our churches biblical counselor and unfortunately I have often felt that it made the abuse worse, and my husbands stance that if I just did things right he wouldnt be abusively angry. I now have my own wonderful chrisitan counselor who understands abuse…however it was known to the old counselor that things were bad again and the advice I got was ‘well I guess you have to learn to live a persecuted life’….seriously?!?! I am so thankful for Leslie’s site, it has been a huge help. I am thankful for pastors like you.

  3. Jenny on January 30, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    I filed for divorce from my emotionally abusive husband just last week and now all the sudden he is repentant. He finally called a counselor and is reaching out to his step-dad as a mentor. Now that he is making all these steps he wants me to call off the divorce and give him more time. I’ve given him 14 years and two kids. I felt a huge weight lifted off me when I decided I should get a divorce. Then I wrestled with that decision and stopped feeling close to God. Since filing I feel closer to God again. However, he feels God brought us together wants us to stay together and is using that against me daily. I’ve asked him to stop lecturing me about it but he doesn’t trust my feelings of God helping me in this decision. Is it possible that God wants us to get a divorce? How do I get him to stop telling me God is talking to him and telling him we need to be together.

    • bill (cycleguy) on January 30, 2019 at 3:04 pm

      IMHO no one should stay with one who is physically abusive nor should they stay with someone who is emotionally abusive. Constant cutting words, put downs, emotional distance, withholding affection for punishment are all part of that. I know some will disagree, and you are welcome to, but when the Bible says marital unfaithfulness could it be talking about more than just adultery? I believe and have seen God help couples overcome adultery. I’ve seen couples overcome abuse of all kinds. But for a person to stay in a marriage while he is beating the tar out of her or tearing him/her down with high-powered put downs is not “submitting to your wife/husband.” (Eph.5:21-25). That certainly isn’t the way Jesus loved the church. My thoughts to you would be consider a legal separation. Then tell him “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Let him woo you again. Keep in touch with his mentors and find out their perception. I do disagree that you should stay in that marriage nor should you allow him to lay the guilt trip on you. IMHO

      • Veronica on January 31, 2019 at 8:33 am

        Matthew 19:9 “marital unfaithfulness” is the Greek work 4202 which means illicit sexual intercourse.
        Blue letter bible dot org , allows you to look up every word and it’s meaning in the original language. So no I would not add to the meaning of God’s word.
        Matthew used the word abuse Greek 987 in the verse 27:39 which means too speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme
        to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at
        So he could have used the word abuse here but he did not. Because he meant sexual intercourse so that is what he said. If he meant abuse he would have used the word G987 but he did not.

    • Nancy on January 30, 2019 at 4:19 pm


      If he were truly repentant he would put ZERO pressure on you. Zero.

    • Veronica on January 30, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      I bet it did feel good to file for divorce . But then sin is pleasurable for a time, according to scripture Heb 11:25 .
      If u really want to follow scripture find verses that teach us what God says about divorce. It’s allowed if adultery has broken the marriage covenant . But I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that allows us to divorce for just any reason Matthew 19
      How We Love program is a great help for communicating

      • Leslie Vernick on January 31, 2019 at 1:06 am

        Veronica, I think you are a bit naive about the issues around marital abuse. You cannot “fake” a good marriage. If one of the partners is violent or abusive or totally disrespectful, it is pretty hard to maintain trust and a positive relationship with someone long term. That doesn’t mean you get divorced, that means you speak up and talk to your “brother” or “sister” vis Matthew 18. However when you do that and it repeatedly yields no positive changes, then what? Do you suck it up and fake it? IS that truly Biblical? What is the Biblical “right thing” to do when someone repeatedly shows disregard for you as a person of value and worth and intentionally harms you when they have made a covenant with you to honor and protect you? It is impossible to maintain a positive relationship with that person so how would you suggest someone “do” marriage?

        • Veronica on January 31, 2019 at 7:23 am

          You say …
          “Violent , abusive or totally disrespectful.”
          Violent -get to a safe place n get good counsel.
          Abusive (verbally)n disrespectful- well that’s different. In my first comment I reference how that is received differently by each person n their own imprint. I’m a person who likes discussing or even arguing/voicing my opinion. My husband is an avoider when it comes to feelings. As a child he was told they are “bad”. “ if you cry I’ll give you something to cry about “. If he looked sad or distraught he was told to go work it off . So I’m forcing my way of handling problems on him n he’s leaving every conversation to go work more hours. Now we both feel abused . However non of this is grounds to file for divorce . Jenny (blog above) sites no biblical grounds for divorce yet she is being applauded for filing. I’d much rather encourage her to seek to understand her husbands imprint. If my imprint was like my husbands then we would both be happy to not discuss feelings n emotions. N if he was imprinted like me we would have heated discussions n feel better after letting off steam.
          Divorce is sin if we don’t do it based on scripture. Just like sex is sin if it’s not in the context of marriage . I pray Jenny (previous blog) will seek biblical direction before filing for a sinful divorce.
          P.s my husband did not feel he was abusing me by walking away from every conversation he was only doing what he was trained as a child to do . Nor was I trying to abuse my husband by trying to discuss all feelings n emotions. By the way my last resort was to start a discussion while we were driving because he was trapped. Hmm he felt abused. Grounds for divorce? NO . How We Love dot com teaches us how to learn the imprint of each other. I have empathy for the first time as I realize my husband isn’t trying to abuse me. He’s simply acting out of his imprint . Hope that helps you Jenny.

          • Terri on January 31, 2019 at 5:13 pm

            This idea, I feel, about someone’s “imprint” and using that in the equation of an abusive relationship is rather precarious at best and dangerous at worst. (Though I would need to read the actual definition of “imprint” on the site you provided in order for this to be taken with more than a grain of salt). So if a spouse’s “imprint” (his/her personality type, how he/she was raised as a child, etc.) contributes to his/her regularly using name-calling, sarcasm, negative comments/words, etc. indirectly and directly with the other spouse; and, even though the partner routinely asks the spouse to please not do that because it hurts, breaks him/her down, brings depression, etc., how long should that spouse have to be broken down by that? And in addition to that, what if the negatively-speaking spouse gets upset/angry at the receiving spouse because he/she ends up depressed, lashing back, and/or retreating, which drudges up even more verbal (or occasionally physical) abuse from the first spouse? And on top of that (because it is part of his/her “imprint” to blame shift), the receiving spouse often gets blamed for the first spouse’s “imprinted” verbal abuse?! I just think it is a dangerous concept. Surely there are going to be things about one another that spouses should lay down their lives for and accept; but I do think if either spouse ends up feeling consistently beaten down, oppressed, blamed…then “imprint” or not, it should be considered abuse and not given an excuse (particularly if the receiving spouse has let the other spouse know multiple times how much it affects him/her). I won’t speak to the divorce part of this though, because I myself struggle with that question! Thanks!

          • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 1:03 pm

            Imprint? Is that Biblical? I don’t think so. Yes we are influenced and affected by the way we are raised, but if we are imprinted and can’t change that, then all abused children would become abusers or victims of abuse, but that’s not true. It also wouldn’t be true then that God gives us a choice on how we handle what’s happened to us and how we want to grow from it or be imprisoned by it. We all have the opportunity to see the harmful and unintentional/yet damaging things that happened to us as kids and to decide NOT to let it “imprint” us into repeating those same behaviors as adults.

      • N on January 31, 2019 at 7:21 am

        Thanks Veronica. Refreshing to see someone take the Bible and its clear teaching literally on this forum.

        • Veronica on February 1, 2019 at 12:15 pm

          Proverbs 17:14 How can someone argue with you if you are not there. Can’t you just walk away with a promise to discuss at a later time when he is calm. If that should bring on physical violence then. Matt 18:15 expose it, get help and stay away till he repents.
          It seems that God’s word gives the direction for any of us in unrepentant sin. Notice that in Matt 18:15 the sinner is not addressed. Other Christians are address and told how to handle him. I have heard people say I’ll pray for him, period. Well thats a good start but you are CALLED to confront him, expose the sin and follow through with having nothing to do with him till he repents. Notice “bretheren” are addressed. I’d prefer to ask God to call fire down from heaven on him. But God said for me to go. 🙁 That’s scary. But according to God it’s loving him.

          • Moon Beam on February 1, 2019 at 3:03 pm

            Veronica, what material have you read to educate yourself about domestic violence? I think there is opportunity to educate yourself in the mental illnesses and Personality disorders that accompany such actions. That may help reveal the complexity of typical situations.

        • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm

          Hey N. Do you still wear a head covering in church? Just asking if you are taking the Bible literally.

          • Veronica on February 1, 2019 at 4:02 pm

            I do not wear a head covering. I guess we are all just trying to apply biblical truths. That is why I like using Blue Letter so I can read the definition of the word in the original language.
            Example. Hebrew 10:35 says dont throw away your confidence. If you look of the meaning of confidence in the Greek. It means: to speak frankly , without concealment, with out ambiguity or circumlocution, without the use of figures and comparisons, free and fearless.
            So literally I learn from the original language that God wants me to speak to people this way. That it will prove rewarding to me.
            Hope that helps.

          • N on February 2, 2019 at 8:03 am

            Yes. Do you have a reason that verse is not true too? In fact, everyone in Christianity did until a few years ago. I’ll guess you don’t. It’s only in the last generation that we’ve become spiritual enough to know which verses we can discard I guess.

      • Maria on January 31, 2019 at 6:30 pm

        Do you think filling for divorce gives one pleasure?

        • Maria on February 3, 2019 at 2:17 pm


      • Michele L on January 31, 2019 at 7:14 pm

        Jenny didnt say it felt good… she said she felt a “huge weight lifted off me”. Our bodies pay the price of abuse. When I asked my husband to move out while he was supposed to be working on his issues it was the first time in many years that I have had some good sleep. With him in the house my body was always on edge, always under stress, never knowing when he would get angry or what would make him angry, or what I would wake up to… so yes, boundaries…whether it be filing for divorce, getting separated, or etc is a huge relief to the body as well as the mind of an abused person… this is probably the first time in years that Jenny’s body has relaxed and she can think clearly. You have to remember most of those seeking out Leslie’s page have been dealing with abusive relationships for many years, we have done everything we can to make a marriage work, but to no avail because the other half of the marriage just sops up all our efforts and demand more, blame us for their feelings/actions, etc…. I get what you are saying about perception of emotional abuse, but you are talking about a situation in which you are both communicating what the issues are. I can guess some of the reasons my husband acts like he does, and I have empathy for it, but it does not excuse his abusive anger, his reactive abusiveness, his blame shifting or manipulation. If he refuses to look back to figure out why he acts like he does, doesnt work on repairing the damage he has caused and is not repentant, then he is choosing sin. If I separate, or end up filing for divorce after the years and years of searching, praying, counseling, I dont think it would be sinful on my part.

        • Autumn on February 1, 2019 at 3:13 pm

          Michele, you are right about the physical symptoms that affect one living under extreme stress for prolonged periods of time. The over abundance of cortisol produced by the sympathetic nervous system produces fatigue in many organ systems, specifically, the immune system. Hard, evidence based research links multiple diseases to stress such as; s cardiac disease, multiple sclerosis, grave’s disease and sleep disorders, migraines, anorexia/ obesity/ bulemia etc..etc…etc…

          Yes, we can’t fool our bodies. They tell the tale we are trying to suppress.

      • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 12:58 pm

        You are twisting things Veronica. The Bible doesn’t say we can leave a marriage for any reason nor do I. That’s exactly what Jesus was teaching the Pharisees in Matthew, as the custom at that time was that a man could divorce his wife for any reason. I believe Jesus brought it back to the big themes – the covenant breakers of a marriage – one of which is adultery, but I don’t believe that is the only one. We may agree to disagree on that but I don’t support leaving a marriage for any reason either.

        • Veronica on February 1, 2019 at 4:10 pm

          One of which is adultery, agreed. The part that has me concerned is that people are using “emotional abuse” as another reason to divorce. So Leslie would you say that “emotional abuse” is biblical grounds for divorce?

          • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 4:32 pm

            I would say that emotional abuse is degrading to the dignity of a human being and clearly sin. However, just like not all adultery should be grounds for divorce, especially if it has not been a repeated pattern and if it is truly repented of, emotional abusive behavior in and of itself is not necessarily grounds for divorce. Rather the grounds for divorce is the chronic hardness of heart in the emotionally abusive person. You see, after a spouse says OUCH, that hurt me, or this is damaging to me and our relationship and his or spouse doesn’t stop, doesn’t change and that pattern of emotional abuse continues without care or concern of the effects on the other spouse, then it may be grounds for a minimum of a separation, and then if nothing changes, ultimately a divorce. Then what we have here is a whole lot more than emotional abuse, but a pattern in the marriage of not caring, not honoring, not repenting of sin, not listening to his wife’s or her husband’s honest feedback about how their words impact their soul, spirit and body. Proverbs reminds us that it is better to live on the corner of a rooftop than with an angry and contentious woman. So emotional abuse is toxic to the person and/or children living with such a person. It’s like having toxic gas or mold in a house. Is it grounds to leave the house? Not necessarily if you can clean it up and make it liveable and safe for everyone. But if you can’t or the person refuses to stop spewing toxic words all over the house, then it may make the house unliveable. I think safety and sanity are important to God and to healthy relationships. We are also to be good stewards of our own body, soul and spirit and therefore when a woman (or a man) is living with a manipulative, deceitful, cruel, indifferent and unrepentant spouse, I don’t think God is asking them to pretend that the marriage or relationship is fine by continuing to provide all the perks of a loving relationship while dying inside. Hope that clarifies my position for you.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 4:38 pm

            One more thing Veronica. I love the verse in Proverbs where it describes marriage this way: He trusts her to do him good, not harm all the days of his life.” Regarding the Proverbs 31 woman. This is God’s picture for marriage – SAFETY and love. That’s why he doesn’t want us to become intimate with someone before marriage – so that there is emotional, relational, spiritual, physical and sexual SAFETY. Marriage makes a commitment to love, honor, protect, and cherish. When the very basics of SAFETY is not there and broken intentionally through unrepentant abuse and/or adultery, it is impossible for you to be at peace in your own home, thus bringing a cascade of physical problems due to the body’s reaction to a chronic stress. We have a loving God who does not care more about the institution of marriage than the safety and sanity of the people in it.

          • Sheep on February 1, 2019 at 10:39 pm

            Hi Veronica,
            I have personal experience in these things I would like to share with you. I’m currently in the process of divorcing. It isn’t what I wanted and I fought for years trying to save it. I hate the thought of it, I don’t want it, I wish I could avoid it, but I can’t. Oddly enough, I have peace about it and the only place that peace can come from is God.

            My wife has been incredibly emotionally abusive to me most of our married life. She has also had multiple adulterous affairs. Which of those two things do you think hurts more and has done more damage? Yes, the adultery is awful, the flashbacks are horrible, the pain is always there. But I’m not so sure that the pain, mental confusion, and being treated as a worthless person, isn’t worse. I believe that the emotional abuse has made healing our marriage from the adultery impossible. When someone becomes accustomed to being the god of their own lives and those around them, it makes repentance pretty hard. It makes seeing with compassion, those whose lives you have destroyed really difficult.

            You have said that Adultery is a Biblically justified reason to divorce. Great. But there are an awful lot of really good Bible scholars and teachers out there that don’t agree with you. They believe that Divorce is never a Biblical option. I have had quite a number of learned people tell me that I should just read Hosea and follow his example, and that it would all work out. Really? Have you ever tried that one? I did. It really sucked not knowing if my wife had been with another man while I was at work. It really isn’t a good thing to have to worry STD’s in a marriage. Oh yes, some of these same people would also tell me I would be living in sin if I separated from her or if I deprived her of sexual favors (because that might lead to temptation)

            And all of these things are based on a personal interpretation of Scripture. They believe just as strongly in their position as you do in yours.

            You seem to be worried about women coming to you and claiming they are emotionally abused because they want an excuse to get out of their marriage. I might be making a leap in logic here, but I would guess that those women aren’t actually being abused. Why? Because I can’t imagine someone coming to you if they truly are being abused. Please understand that I’m not trying to be mean or insulting here, but you have made it pretty clear that you don’t really believe in emotional abuse and if you did, it wouldn’t be on a par with physical abuse. It seems to me that if you have been teaching them in a Bible study, they have probably figured this out too and they would never risk opening themselves up to you in this area. Once a person starts to realize that they have been abused, we begin to develop a sixth sense for people that we can and can’t open ourselves up to. I know women have a hard enough time with this, but as a man this has been a really tough one for me. I find that many in the church don’t understand or really even believe in emotional abuse. And this seems to be because they don’t want to. It makes them uncomfortable so they choose to believe it isn’t real. Why? because if it isn’t real they don’t have to deal with it. You start to open up to them, to share your heart and struggle with them, but the moment the word “abuse” and especially “emotional abuse” is mentioned, you can actually see them check out. Sure, they might nod their head while you talk, but they stop looking at you, they look uncomfortable and you can see that they either want to get out of the conversation or they are simply listening long enough so they can tell you how you are wrong. So, we stop talking. We learn not to open up, and the cycle continues.

            In one of your posts you mentioned following Matt 18 in regards to physical abuse. Have you ever actually tried following Matt 18 in today’s church? Have you ever seen it practiced? I have been in the church and in church leadership my entire life. I have seen it practiced exactly once and that was when I was in a really conservative (almost legalistic) church. Did the person repent? Nope, but at least it was followed.
            In my own situation I started following Matt 18. (at least in regards to the adultery) I confronted by myself, no repentance. I confronted with 2 witnesses, no repentance. I went to the church leadership. “ummmm we don’t really do that. So that leaves me at a dead end. I’m not faulting the process, Gods word says what to do. But after my experience with church discipline and adultery, I can’t even imagine trying to do Matt 18 in an emotionally abusive situation. Frankly I would have been scared out of my mind to even consider something like that. Scared of my wife first and foremost, but scared of those in the church because I know that “the church” for the most part won’t deal with sin. “The Church” in America doesn’t want to judge and this is especially true in a marriage. This is where the erroneous belief comes from that says “well it takes 2 people to destroy and marriage” This isn’t true and frankly it is a lie from the pit of hell to keep Christians from holding the guilty accountable and calling evil for what it is. The end result is that the evil are not confronted, let alone held accountable or, heaven forbid put out of fellowship. No, that would be far too uncomfortable, unfair, and unkind. Instead, we will just put pressure on the cheated on, the beaten, and abused to continue on in their living hell, with no relief in sight. But we will encourage them by telling them just to stick it out a little longer and God will straighten everything out for them.

            Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m sharing this. I’m not going to change your mind, none of us are. I guess if anything I would ask you to show a little more compassion for those that come to you for counsel. If someone asks your opinion on what you believe the Word says about divorce, fell free to humbly share it. But if someone comes to you with concerns about emotional abuse, please ask them to talk to someone that understands abuse and will listen to their heart.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 2, 2019 at 1:40 am

            Thanks Sheep for sharing so clearly, vulnerably and openly of your hurt with those who do not understand.
            I have just finished reading the book of Job. I think Job’s friends meant well but were so hurtful and God held them accountable. Yet, this time when I read Job I was struck by something I never really read before. At the end where it said that Job prayed for his friends – I realized, Job didn’t hold what they did against them. He knew they were off in their Spiritual interpretations as to why things were going haywire in his life and yet he showed grace. I don’t know if they were ever his friends again, but he didn’t want his experience with them to embitter him. And God restored Job’s fortunes, family and status to him. I think Veronica wants to be true to Scripture, yet she holds a rather literal and legalistic view of some things, while not adhering to the letter of the law (i.e. head coverings) in other places. Why does one get an exception and the other is for all times forever? I don’t know and that is for her to struggle and wrestle through. But thank you for sharing your heart with her and hopefully she will learn things she does not know yet so that she can more effectively help those God puts in her path.

          • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 7:22 am

            I have been involved and I am very very aware of HoW We Love ‘imprints’/ injuries – I really enjoy and have learned so much through the last 10 years of their resources.

            I think you have some areas ‘about imprinting’ and how that ties to abuse, marriage and repair skewed.
            I don’t believe Milan and Kay would feel represented well here given your comments about imprint.
            BTW- i married and avoider and his imprint was damaging to himself, me (his wife) and his children. It became his responsibility to get help with the lack of tools he had to ‘be in a healthier loving relational marriage’.

            We have worked a long time with interventions and How WE love material because ‘rewiring’ often takes a longggg time.
            Or at least longer than we think.

            Let’s remember that imprints are often out of INJURIES.. let’s not normalize them or over empathize our way to enable them.

            Given Milan and Kay’s material they clearly state that all these imprints are on a spectrum and those that are high in an area you can see lots of emotional abuse and especially physical abuse for the controller imprint!

          • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 4:44 am

            Veronica and Leslie,

            I know I’m late to the game here but I have to say something. I would rather my husband have repeated affairs than do the things he has done to me (not saying that is ok or easy by any stretch). No where in the bible does it say you should divorce for physical abuse, yet to what glory does it bring God for a woman to be beaten to death by a scripture twisting sadist! Or sexually abused and told but the bible says your body is mine or women are the weaker vessel!? (BTW.. there are many more verses against oppression than against divorce, please keep this in mind)

            How in the world is mental and emotional abuse by a clinical sociopath and narcissist which leads to severe physical illness due to the body’s (not the brain’s) response to extreme stress and fear over the next verbal onslaught, how is it not physical abuse. I know the book you mention “How We Love”. While of interest, it should be named, “How We Can’t Love” or “How We are Broken”. Imprinting does not justify abuse. My imprinting could have taken me either direction. Like you say you act Veronica, my husband insists on engaging in communication (which is not a subtype so are you a controller or a vasalator?), yet there is no communication. If he says the sky is purple today and I tell him that’s interesting it looks orange to me I am assaulted with how I am disrespectful for not agreeing with him and how I need to submit more and if I spent MORE time with him I would be more ONE with him (mind you he had already isolated me from all of my friends, limited my time with the children and even complained if I spent time with the dog). He would then berate me about how stupid I am to even think differently (certainly one can’t experience the world in a different way than another can they?). He laughs at me, treats me like an idiot, uses me for money and refuses to get a job or really help out around the house, he twists scripture to guilt me out of setting healthy and godly boundaries, he lies regularly to include to the children to influence their beliefs about me, he has physically abused me on several occasions which is how I darn well know to keep my mouth shut and NOT engage in conversation. I won’t even go into the parts that are still causing me severe nightmares though I have separated from him a few weeks ago. I am not truly safe and he will soon start stalking me once served with legal separation which I must pursue to protect my self.

            I think books like How We Love and The 5 Love Languages are great for dysfunctional marriages that need work, but in an abusive marriage they are fuel for further abuse, justification of actions and further minimization and blame shifting of the abusers behavior. I have used every love language and poured out until I felt I was dying, and truthfully I was. I even made sure to have sex daily and I had to instigate! You know what this yielded- worse abuse and treatment- I felt like nothing would work. One day in the car when I was trying to talk to my husband he asked me, well what’s God done for me? and I’m thinking but would never say, Oh, I don’t know, Jesus!? It was at that moment I realized I can never love my husband enough for him if the Trinity can’t love him enough. Even if I did as Romans said (which is totally out of context in meaning here) and kept giving til it killed me- which it almost has twice before- he would still not feel loved. (BTW, God has done a ton for him and our family and is the most amazing God that could ever be and is full of miraculous power that my husband has seen and is hungry for but denies the love).

            And now this new book for us “How We Love”. He is not honest and will only admit to being a vasalator as this allows him to blame him mom for being an abusive psychopath, and me for not providing the idealized relationship. He can, on the side, then admit some of his reactive behavior is based on this and isn’t good, but does not really take ownership as choosing his behavior. He will not even admit the controller part which is far greater the problem. He is terrifying and violent at times and incredibly spiritually abusive and it has nothing to do with being a vasalator! Vasalators don’t ask, “Whose the spiritual head of this household? I’m the spiritual head of this household! This is not a democracy!”

            Big surprise Im firstly a victim, then dead tie of pleaser and avoider. Let me tell you something- when it is impossible to please and everything that is done is not just met by rejection, but by violence, anger, hatred and contempt oozing from every pour- you quickly learn to avoid. I would rather spend exhausting hours at work where I don’t make enough money for him anyway (the man who hasn’t worked in 18 yrs) or I’d even run an isolated trail after dark because it is safer than going home! (I just recently learned why it doesn’t bother me to do this! I also learned why I didn’t call 911 when someone tried to break down the door to my office at 8pm though I frantically looked for my pepper spray- I often live at that level of fear!! If I called 911 every time I felt in danger, but that danger was not immediately imminent (ie man through the door actually attacking me) I would be calling the police weekly at least!)

            My husbands own Christian counselor told me I had to leave my husband if God was to have ANY chance of getting through to my husband. He then asked if I had checked for a tracker on my phone or car! Not my counselor, HIS counselor asked this. Does this sound like a communication problem? Imprinting problem? NO, this is just pure T abuse!

            The problem with not divorcing if he does not change over the next few years are many! One, he gets to make any medical decisions for me or financial decisions if I am incapacitated- even with a power of attorney. Second- all funds will go to him, the squanderer of funds, leaving my kids with what? Certainly most would go to the baby who is his favorite and now his positive narc feed and little would go to the middle who has become his negative narc feed. While it’s all nice to throw around scripture regarding divorce and what God says, that would be fine if it was only a church matter- it is not. There are many, many legal implications involved here! Likely, if I ever divorce, I will not remarry and will focus my life to opening the domestic abuse shelter I dreamt about as a kid (didn’t know that’s what it was to become til now). If you could hear the stories I hear and see the things that I see and know in my line of work you would understand this better. What about women that find out their husbands are sexually molesting their daughters! Do they stay divorced- it wasn’t actual intercourse? Please be very careful with legalism and realize and understand Paul better! Grace is essential, not license, but essential. Try to extend some sort of empathy to those here that really have tried everything to save their marriage. I know I have been obedient to every direction God gave me, and now that he said GO, I have gone and it is actually the hardest direction to be obedient on. Most of these people have walked through hell to try to save their marriages, and a few have been successful, but in the end what fruit are we bearing in our lives and what fruit is that walk bearing. I have seen children walk away from God because of what they have seen at home! I have seen women pushed away from God because in their pain and suffering they were told to just pray more and be more godly and God would honor their suffering! We do all have OUR OWN cross to bear, that does not mean we all have the SAME cross to bear. God may call some to stay and suffer and if he has the end fruit will be good, but if I stay because of fear of man rather than out of obedience, then the fruit will be bad! God has said he prefers obedience over sacrifice. For every scripture another can be quoted. Look at the ultimate heart of God, then decide for yourself, but just as Jesus did, first extend love!! Then truth (real truth, not just 5 words from the bible.)

          • Leslie Vernick on February 11, 2019 at 3:50 pm

            Thanks Jane for sharing so vulnerably.

          • Nancy on February 11, 2019 at 3:41 am

            Thank you, Jane.

      • Ruth on February 1, 2019 at 6:05 pm

        Veronica, you are twisting what Jenny said. She didn’t file for divorce ‘for JUST ANY REASON’. Are you a victim of abuse? BC you sound devoid of any compassion for the suffering a domestic violence victim has endured by the time she brings herself to file for divorce – you mock Jenny by telling her that she enjoys the sin of being the divorce filer.
        How sad!
        Jenny is abused. Her spirit is crushed by her husband. But *Christians* will crucify her for being the one to file for the divorce- even though it was her husband who destroyed the marriage years-ago. So, an abusive marriage for a Christian is equivalent to a life sentence in prison with no parole. ☹️

        • Nancy on February 1, 2019 at 6:58 pm

          I agree Ruth. And Veronica’s comments are indicative of many in the church who have no clue and yet site Bible passages to try to ‘figure it out’.

          Veronica, if you are being called to walk with people who claim emotional abuse then stick around here because you have a lot to learn about the subtleties of power and control. No, emotional abuse is not black and white, but it can be exposed to the light. This takes time and it takes patience. Not a black and white ‘verdict’ the people in your bible study seem to be asking you to pronounce….?

          If you are not called to learn more about this then stear clear of this topic because you will continue to do harm to more women like Jenny. The last thing these people need is more false guilt heaped on them by those who have not walked in their shoes!

          If you decide to take the time to read Leslie’s book you’ll see that there are MANY steps she advises one take LONG before even separating. Again, patience and time are required. Certainly the work that is a good fit if you are someone who wants ‘quick answers’.

          • Nancy on February 1, 2019 at 7:01 pm

            Certainly *not* work that is a good fit if you are someone who wants ‘quick answers’.

        • Veronica on February 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

          Our oldest Son was on drugs for 10 years. I sifted through scripture and applied every thing I learned. We kicked him out of the house because we had 3 younger kids we were still raising and his dysfunction and disrespect and all that goes along with unrepentant sin had to be dealt with and not enabled. When he moved away we would visit occasionally and he would come home for holidays. His addiction was much easier to take in small bites. I continually prayed for him. I remember pulling my car over many times because my tears blurred my vision. I would tell the Lord how sorry I was that my son was living this way. That I somehow had 4 gifts from the Lord and my job was to raise them to be warriors for the Lord. Some how I felt I failed. I had a running list of scriptures I would pray over my son. Can you imagine how long that list was after 10 years. When Matthew 18: came to life for me and I began to realize that I should be treating our first born son like a gentile or tax collector (have nothing to do with him) (he professed to be a Christian) . I did not divulge this revelation to my husband. lol for fear that he would want to implement this asap . I struggled with the truth of scripture for 6 months. Arguing with God , rereading it over and over looking for new information. Hoping it would not apply to first born sons. But every time I read it it still said “brother”. Well my son was my son but he was also a brother in Christ. So NO ONE is exempt. One day our son called and said he was coming home for the weekend. I told my husband he was heading home and my husband said… He is not welcome in our home, he lives in unrepentant sin, etc etc etc, all from a man who avoids feelings and emotions. Hmmmm well God gave me a chance to implement that truth I had learned but I refused. Soooo now my husband is suddenly vocal. Great!!. Well I told my husband if you feel this way then YOU share your concerns with our son. You deliver the information. So we had a meeting and he delivered all the scriptures need to our son. Did I mention the part where my tears flowed through most of the meeting. The meeting was over and our son was excommunicated. No more visits till he repents. I did speak to him weekly just to check in But again God made it clear that HIS word would not return void . So the conversations much to my disappointment (as a communicator I love going deep) were short and centered on what God was doing in my own studies. I shared nothing about his siblings no fun family stories. 10 years was long and somehow those 6 months felt longer. No feelings beings shared no looking forward to visits etc. Well after 6 months he completely repented , put himself in Word Of Life Bible College for a year and then moved in with us for a few months. He now runs a portion of our business and has a Christian wife and 2 kids and serves in the Church.
          My passion for obedience to the word is because as I study and Apply what I’m learning, literally, God has never let me down.

          • Nancy on February 2, 2019 at 8:50 am

            HI Veronica,

            I’m wondering…what is your purpose in sharing this story with sheep? I’m glad that it worked out for you. For many on this site though, they have not enjoyed a positive outcome.

            God gives everyone a choice, He is a respectful gentleman who does not force repentance on anyone.

            There are many here who after applying Biblical truth, their loved ones chose to remain hard hearted.

            We must have an extra dose of compassion for our brothers and sisters, in these situations.

          • Sheep on February 2, 2019 at 11:04 am

            Thank you for sharing the story of your son. I’m thankful that God used it in bringing him to repentance. It also highlights the fact that the church (in general) has given up its right and duty to call sinners to repentance. Yes, many preach it from the pulpit, but when it comes to getting personally involved in the nitty gritty of peoples lives, there is always an excuse. I think there would be a lot less marriage issues in the church today if the church and the people in it would take the hard steps of calling wayward spouses that have already broken their marriage vows to repentance, rather that pressuring and manipulating the abused and cheated on spouse to hang in there and take one for the Lord. But I get it, it is a whole lot easier to put pressure on the abused to save their marriage at all costs rather than confronting the unrepentant about their sin and the natural consequences of it.

            A book that helped me to put this in perspective is “Redemptive Divorce” written by Chuck Swindol’s son in law. Part of the book goes into a biblical history of marriage and divorce and what they actually were and are now. What is it that marries a couple? Most believers (and the Bible) would say that they say vows to each other and God joins them together. This is the spiritual aspect, and this is what actually marries them. Then there is the public part which is simply letting the community know that they are married. Probably part of the ceremony and the reception. Last, there is the marriage license that is simply telling the government what has already happened. How many times have we heard stories of a young christian couple that gets married and goes on their honeymoon only to return home and find out something was wrong with the marriage license? Do we as a church then tell them they were living in sin because the marriage license wasn’t correct? Of course not, the license is just informing the government of what has already happened, it doesn’t marry them. Just like a death certificate isn’t what makes a person dead, it is simply informing the government of what has already happened.

            So the question becomes what divorces a couple? Is it filing for divorce in the court system and having a judge say you are now divorced? Or is it the severing of the marriage covenant when one (or both) decide that they aren’t going to live by their vows anymore? Once again, the divorce petition is simply informing the government of what has already happened, and just like in the case of death, the government will be involved in how the stuff is divided.

            In my case, i believe my wife divorced me when she willfully entered into a pattern of adultery, was not repentant, and would not work to heal the marriage. These decisions effectively ended our “one flesh” relationship and made it impossible to renew it. Yes, I’m filing the divorce papers with the government, but i’m simply letting them know what has already happened. (I will state for the record that I still live as if I am a married man to avoid the appearance of evil)
            In my case I believe that according to Matt 19, Jesus clearly gives me the option to remarry someday if I choose, because of the adultery.

            If we take the Adultery out of it and we were dealing strictly with continual emotional abuse, no repentance, no change, no actions to correct, this shows an utter disregard for those marriage vows, for me, and ultimately for God that blessed this union. She has then effectively broken and ended the marriage covenant and we aren’t being honest with ourselves to claim otherwise. Once again, it isn’t filing for divorce that broke the marriage covenant, it is the wayward spouse choosing to reject their vows. Personally, if this was my situation, I would choose to remain unmarried because I believe that Matt 19 would prohibit me from remarriage. (at least until the point she finds another partner, because that would be adultery) But I would also be really careful pushing this onto others.
            This all fits with your past relationship with your son. He chose to end his relationship with you by his actions, words, and hardened unrepentant heart. You simply chose to allow the consequences of his actions and choices. You didn’t choose to end the relationship (divorce) he did. And in his case a beautiful thing happened. By the work of the Holy Spirit, and allowing him to experience the natural consequences of his actions, he was brought to repentance and a restoration of the relationship.

          • JoAnn on February 2, 2019 at 11:53 am

            Sheep, what you posted above is so clear and well said. As we have walked with you through your journey here, you have become more and more clear about what the Lord wants from you in your situation, and the way you have expressed that has been so helpful. Thank you for staying with us and offering your valuable perspective as a man who has also suffered abuse.
            I hope that Chuck, who came on earlier, is still with us and is being helped by what you are sharing.

          • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 7:55 am

            Sheep, Veronica,
            The things you both are discussing here are very critical things.
            I hope Veronica that you can see how your choices to follow God’s directives are very similar to Sheep’s choices in how he loved his unrepentant spouse.
            Sheep doesn’t have some additional obligation because his relationship is in a marital covenant especially when he WAS NOT the convenant breaker. Well, I might say there were places where he broke his covenant but he repented, repentance is the real turning point here and sadly many DO NOT repent for their unfaithfulness or choices of harm.
            This is their FREE WILL to choose.

            By the way Veronica, since we both have experienced being married to an avoidant spouse… I hope you might have understanding that my husbands ‘avoidant imprint contributed to his neglect of our marriage and his marital vows’
            Neglect IS abuse because it is misuse of the covenant.

    • Michele L on January 30, 2019 at 11:06 pm

      Jenny, I think if he was truly repentant he would not be pressuring you as he is. He would give you the space you need and trust that God will change your heart if that was God’s will. My husband recently gave me a blanket apology for all the years he has hurt me but when I asked him a simple question to see what he was apologizing about…guess what… he got angry and said ‘why can’t you just accept my apology’! sigh, obviously not repentant.

      • Leslie Vernick on January 31, 2019 at 1:07 am

        Agreed, it seems like he is still trying to control you with less “obvious” ways.

      • Veronica on February 1, 2019 at 5:35 pm


        So you are saying…

        “the grounds for divorce is the chronic hardness of heart in the emotionally abusive person.”

        The difference is. The bible says adultery breaks the marriage covenant. Adultery is definable.
        The problem I’m having is that based on your aforementioned grounds for biblical divorce. Who’s to say I’m abusing my husband or hes abusing me. You could get a lot of different opinions on what abuse is. Like I mentioned before I felt abused by my husband at times and he likewise. I have lots of woman come to me wanting my stamp of approval on what they are calling mental abuse.
        I agree that mental abuse exist in a marriage I’m just not comfortable making the call for someone and saying “his hardness of heart is grounds for you to divorce him” . Just as an abusive husband will answer for his reckless words. I don’t want to be accountable for saying someone has grounds to break a covenant marriage if I don’t see it in scripture. Ezekiel 3:18-21″ If you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning: and YOU HAVE DELIVERED YOURSELF. ” It’s interesting that God says Ezekiel delivered himself. But Ezekiel wasn’t the one in sin. That tells me I have to be sooo careful to speak only what the scriptures say on any given subject because God is holding me accountable.

        • Maria on February 1, 2019 at 7:01 pm

          I think you bring up an excellent point – you are not trained to counsel these women. Qualified counselors spend considerable amount of time eve years to counsel women in these situations and know what to look for. I hope you realize that if you counsel a women to stay when in reality her best option is to leave with her kid, you are responsible in some way for what happens to them. Are you ok if these kids suffer much damage to take responsibility for that?

          • Veronica on February 1, 2019 at 7:19 pm

            That is my point exactly. We all need to be careful how we guide others. Especially if we are telling them its biblical to divorce a spouse. That’s why I use scripture to guide me. I am never afraid to give biblical guidance. The bible is our best counselor always. Friends and family and counselors can mislead us BUT thy word is always a lamp to our path. I do not see emotional abuse in the bible as grounds for divorce so I would not be able to give counsel to someone as Leslie does “the grounds for divorce is the chronic hardness of heart in the emotionally abusive person”.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 2, 2019 at 1:29 am

            Veronica, I appreciate your desire to be careful with Gods words. God allowed divorce because of the hardness of mans heart. I never tell a woman she should get divorced. That is not my decision to make. I just don’t think I can Biblically tell her she can’t? You say emotional abuse is hard to define exactly. You’re right, but I think you can also struggle to define adultery and repentance. Is oral sex adulterous? What about chronic pornography and massage parlors? How about crying tears of sorrow or saying I’m so sorry. Is that repentance? So there is confusion and grey areas around how we define these areas cleanly. But they are important and I don’t think we would all agree on every definition but I’m glad we agree we both want to be Biblical as best we can know today.

          • Maria on February 1, 2019 at 7:58 pm

            We will have to agree to disagree. Hope you continue to delve into this because your answers do not apply to many of our situations.

        • many years on February 8, 2019 at 8:42 pm

          Thank you, Sheep, Ruth, JoAnn, Leslie, and I am praying for Veronica that she will see the cult church she has been entangled with.

          It was the LETTER OF THE LAW which destroyed the Jews. They would not obey God and God divorced them as a nation. And the precepts in God’s Law did not just include ‘adultery’ YET, God DIVORCED them for their disobedience in other areas of their life which were not honoring to the Lord.

          So, as Christians, let’s be careful that the ‘law’ does not allow marriages to be disolved with legalistic jargon. Love is the fulfilling of the Law. Which is, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ.’ We are no longer ‘under the law’ but under Grace.
          God wants TRUTH to be spoken in all facets of our lives in marriage as Christians. Not just snatching one or two verses out of the scriptures to ‘confirm’ a belief, meaning ‘no divorce allowed except for adultery’ but ‘proving all things.’ Coming clean with all things which led to the dissolving of the marriage through lies, through treachery, through deceit, through hate, and every other destructive ploy which destroys marriages.

          I think in the marital realm, ‘The TRUTH shall set you free, and if you be free, you shall be feed indeed.’

          It is the entire relationship of a marriage which is at stake here, not just the marriage bed. To twist the scriptures is to deny that God does all things well. God is a fair and just God, and he gives grace to the humble, and to the pure in heart.
          When the other spouse has abandoned the marriage in the breaking of the vows which includes not just the marriage bed, it also includes, disrespecting the other spouse,, dishonoring, not supporting, JUST AS THE JEWS DISHONORED GOD, then there is no more marriage relationship. It is done, it is finished, it is over. ‘Because of their hardness of heart, God gave them over to a reprobate mind.’
          It is the choice of the spouse who has abandoned the marriage which is the key factor in the breakup of the marriage.

        • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 5:16 am


          While God hates divorce (see leslie’s book for more on this as you do like the actual etymology) He himself divorced isreal for her idolatry. See Isaiah 50:1 and Jeremiah 3. Idolatry is extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone. My husbands idol is himself, his male privilege and control, its his video and phone games and tv sports he watches, it is keeping me as an object not a person, it is having the house and land and guns he wants no matter the cost to the rest of us, its the sanctity of his own opinion, even when it is contrary to the true word of God!

          There is a very important covenant here, and it is not being upheld. I promise to keep my covenant with God and whatever He directs me to do. I caution you that if you misuse the scriptures as the Pharisees and Sadducees and even Satan himself did and cause harm to the victims and/or their children, you will be held accountable, because if I am not obedient to God then I have sinned. “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

          It’s harsh but true. I encourage you to defer to Leslie, or to Chris Moles, or local expert Christian domestic abuse counselors that get the dynamic better. Yes, sometimes it can be tough to tell who is who in abuse, and sometimes there is co-abuse, or reactive abuse, and I promise you, every abuser feels abused because their every need is not being met therefore it’s abuse to them. I must caution you, if you encourage someone to confront their abuser or even set boundaries before they are well informed, well educated, have a strong core, and most importantly a safety plan in place, you are putting them in grave danger. This happened with someone I know who did not understand that you can’t just confront the abuser straight out as soon as you know and she ended up having to run for her life the day she confronted him and now divorce is impossible to avoid and I am just grateful she is safe!

          I am glad that form of church discipline worked for your son. If you read Chris Moles book, the sad reality is that only about 5% of abusers will change, even with these hard consequences. The sadder part to me, Lundy Bankroft gives the same numbers. In other words, the church turning them out has little to do with effecting change of the sinner, but to set the environment for others to come to Christ. If I see abuse as a tolerable thing that I should just take if I am to become a Christian woman, what kind of God am I saying yes to? I think we are to do this, yes in hopes that the sinner will convert, but also to keep our lives as close to God’s Kingdom come as possible so that others will actually want what we have,not look at it and see, but why?

          • Aly on February 10, 2019 at 8:46 am

            This is well written and expressed with the reality of what is essential to the hearts and safety of those in danger at many different areas.

            I’m thankful you are safe and walking your journey out. Prayers and comfort for you to be comforted. I’m so sorry for all you have experienced.

      • Veronica on February 2, 2019 at 9:28 am

        I shared that story because Sheep ask me if I ever tried to apply Matt 18:

        Our Pastor did not agree with us . He said Matt 18 was Church discipline and not to be applied with family members. I went back to the scriptures to see if I could find a way out of doing this to our son. But the scriptures still said….brothers in Christ. Our son is and was a Christian. Furthermore it’s for the body of Christ so none of us are exempt.

        God is not asking me to agree with his word, He’s commanding that I follow it in blind faith.

        Listen if our son OD’ed due to feeling the pain of separation from our family I still would say that God’s word is to be applied. We are obedient for obedient sake. Not to be measured by our presumed results.

        • Veronica on February 2, 2019 at 1:06 pm

          you ask if oral sex is adultery. and if tears are indications of repentance.

          Adultery is illicit sexual intercourse . Penetration.According to the greek and hebrew.

          Repentance …..heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. that’s the Greek definition. Notice it says PAST. I would hope the best believe the best till proven otherwise.

          • JoAnn on February 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm

            Veronica, Leslie’s comment was meant to point out that there are fuzzy boundaries in some issues, not to say that oral sex is adultery. By your literal interpretation, for my h to have oral sex with someone other than me, but not “penetration,” would not be adultery. Really?

          • JoAnn on February 2, 2019 at 2:03 pm

            Veronica, I’m having a hard time understanding your position here. It seems contentious to me.

          • Maria on February 2, 2019 at 3:17 pm

            This is the problem of taking one verse of the Bible singling it out and not checking it against the whole Bible. Jesus talks about thinking something in our heart as sin. Even non Christians will say oral sex is cheating on one’s partner. It look to me Veronica that you are minimizing sin. We as Christians know the price that was paid for our sin.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 2, 2019 at 6:25 pm

            Or perhaps Veronica is simply more literal in her interpretation of what God said. But I remember Jesus rebuking the Pharisee’s for that kind of legalistic interpretation of the Sabbath for example. Remember they wanted to harm him because he did good – he healed someone on the Sabbath, but their legalistic interpretation of the OT law forbid “work” of any kind. Jesus said, “Which one of you if you had a child or even an ox fall into the well, wouldn’t get it out on the Sabbath? Many times he challenged their narrow interpretation of the “law”. Even around the word adultery when he said, “But I say, even if a man looks at a woman with lust, he’s committed adultery in his heart.” So how do you see all these challenges to their legalistic ways of looking at things by Jesus? They got so mad at him they wanted to get rid of him because he was challenging their way of thinking and looking at everything. Perhaps that’s what I’m trying to do when I introduce the topic of divorce for spouses who have been abused. Maybe God hates other things as much if not more than he hates divorce. As in that verse in Malachi where he hates when a man treats his wife treacherously. And I think Sheep said it very well when he said a legal divorce is just declaring what is already true. The covenant has been broken usually repeatedly and the continued rebellion and hard heartedness of the spouse makes reconciliation or rebuilding of broken trust impossible.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 2, 2019 at 6:33 pm

            I think Jesus broadened that definition to include lust.

        • Nancy on February 2, 2019 at 2:21 pm


          I agree that we must be obedient for obedient’s sake. Not to be measured by our presumed results.

          I took your last statement “God has never let me down” to mean that you were ‘measuring’ by the fact that your son had come to repentance. I’m glad to hear that this is not the case.

          Just because we apply the Bible in faith does not mean we will get our desired results.

          Regardless of what a loved one’s response is, Matt 18 is the most loving thing we can do for a hard hearted loved one!

          • Leslie Vernick on February 2, 2019 at 6:32 pm

            Agreed, so how would an abused spouse apply Matthew 18 if his or her spouse continued to be unrepentant? Do they keep pretending the marriage is okay when it is not? Would not that be lying? Does God want someone to lie and pretend in relationship? I don’t think so. So what does he or she do? Are they not “obligated” to provide the benefits of marriage like sexual intimacy but how do you do that when trust has been so violated?

            With your child, you applied Matthew 18 and praise God, eventually he came to his senses much like the prodigal son did. But the elder brother in the same story – we have no evidence that he ever “got it” His heart was cold and bitter and jealous and he didn’t even know it. He “kept all the rules” but hated his brother. And much like Job’s friends thought they knew the “right” answer for Job and why he was suffering, they were all wrong. So I think it’s so important that we’re open to correction, seek God’s word and heart around these issues and walk humbly with our God in mercy, grace and truth. None of us knows for sure that everything we think is absolutely correct about everything and therefore there is wisdom in these kinds of discussions. (Hebrews 3:13).

        • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 8:07 am

          Your comments about your pastors advice … seems selective and possibly idolatry.
          The family or family members does not negate God’s instructions. Jesus clearly laid these Principles out in scripture and His action. Your pastor may have similar views as the Pharisees did when it comes to what they thought they were obligated to and what they thought they were entitled to also based on their family blood lineage.

          Thankfully Veronica the Gospel frees US from this! Especially the idolatry of the family or marriage.

        • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 5:20 am

          Also, how long is a person to stay separated in obedience to this scripture. Forever alone? Forever in limbo? Your son changed in 6mo, which is awesome! But it was also your son. There was still your husband and other children. You did essentially divorce your son! How can you reconcile that with what all you have been saying? And yes, I have seen abused women divorce and eventually remarry the same spouse many years later once true repentance occurred like you reconciling with your son.

    • Autumn on February 1, 2019 at 8:43 am

      I guess I don’t understand why you are talking to your destructive spouse. It is time to communicate via email only so all conversations can be documented and reviewed. The divorce is necessary for your protection. His behavior remains manipulative.

    • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 11:44 am

      Jenny, you said he was emotionally abusive and is now repentant. But he is now bordering on spiritual abuse when he knows what God wants and you do not. That he pressures you or bullies you to do what he wants in any way is oppressive and still smacks of the same pattern of abuse, just a different tactic and different words. Don’t be fooled. Repentance means he works on himself and doesn’t pressure you. He may ask you to consider holding off on your divorce until you can see the evidence of genuine change, but to demand it or pressure you into it is still not respecting you.

  4. Veronica on January 30, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    “At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done” Please reread the EVIL they had done.
    This woman who wrote in does not say any physical abuse took place. If we are following scripture . I’d stick to scripture that supports our situation. I’ve seen too many spouses leave a marriage claiming “emotional abuse “. A spouse that becomes silent n retreats from any discussion, could seem like a perfect mate for an ‘avoider, type person. Yet to someone who wants to argue it out because that makes them feel better to have been heard. Then that ‘avoider’ type person would seem torcherous to them. Learn each others love language first. Then learn their imprints and understand their responses. How We Love can help us to accept others and even empathize with their imprint which has caused their reactions.
    I was never afraid to submit to my husband. He had rules I completely disagreed with. However our 4 grown children (2 girls 2 boys)learned submission by my example . They all SUBMIT to scripture.
    I pray we are enlightened by the Word.

    • Nancy on January 30, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      Hello Veronica,

      Here’s some food for thought: we are never called to submit to sin. If we submit to our h’s ‘rules’ in an area where he is unsubmitted to the Lord then we are not being a good helpmeet. In fact, in that case we are enabling sin.

      As long as our h is submitted to God, then yes, we are to submit. Our first allegiance is ALWAYS to Christ. Our husbands are first our ‘brothers in Christ’ and as such we must be looking out for their well being and challenging them where their pride has gotten the better of them.

      This takes reliance on the Holy Spirit within.

      • Veronica on January 30, 2019 at 9:27 pm

        I disagreed with lots of his rules but non were sinful .
        My main concern with Leslie’s response is that we are too quick to say “emotional abuse” n leave the marriage . Using the aforementioned scriptures is way out of context in promoting separation. The woman who wrote in originally never even says what kind of abuse.
        Just concerned that we enable people to exit a marriage without biblical grounds.

        • Leslie Vernick on January 31, 2019 at 1:02 am

          I never endorse ending a marriage without a lot of previous work being done to save the marriage if possible. Emotional abuse is just as devastating as physical abuse. The Bible is clear that “reckless words pierce like a sword” and “life and death is in the power of the tongue” and that by our words we can “both praise God and curse one another” which should not be. But I think this woman was clear that she tried previous approaches and there was no repentance.

          • Veronica on January 31, 2019 at 8:55 am

            Repentance from what? She says she felt emotional abuse. And she said he wanted to REPENT after she filed for divorce. So he did want to repent. I sited before that I’m a person who wants to discuss the issue and my husband isn’t . He felt abused. So for me to “repent” in his eyes would be to stop discussing things. He called it arguing. And in my eyes for him to “repent” he would have to start discussing things. Stop avoiding my feelings. But neither is grounds for repentance. Neither is sinful. Just different ways of handling issues. I used to think he was abusing me my avoiding. Once I learned his upbringing and his imprint I began to have empathy for him. I no longer have bitterness toward him for his treatment of me. I speak the truth in love, have boundaries (not to control) with things I’m uncomfortable doing or not doing. Thankfully I realize he is not being sinful in avoiding feelings. If I see SINFUL behavior then I address that. Whether he listens or not. Ezekiel 1 & 2
            I teach a Biblical Based communication class called How We Love

          • Nancy on January 31, 2019 at 1:02 pm


            The How we Love material (which is excellent) is intended for a couple who want to better their understanding of one another. It is intended for two people who are humble and willing to work toward wholeness.

            It is not intended to excuse or to blame bad behaviour on family of origin.

            If, for example, a husband is confronted with their avoidant behaviour and is not willing to do the emotional work required to change then yes, this is sin. A husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loves the church.

            This is the Biblically high standard of intimacy that we should be holding our spouses accountable to.

            We should not be lowering the Biblical standard because we happen to suddenly understand ‘why’ they are neglectful. Understanding the ‘why’ of the family of origin can give us empathy but should never tempt us to excuse destructive patterns of behaviour in our spouse.

            We are called to honour God in our relationships, especially our marriages. This is a high calling.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 1:06 pm

            Agreed. Understanding the “why” does help us have compassion but is it loving to say, “Ok you were crippled as a kid, so now it’s okay that I push your wheelchair your entire life, when you have the opportunity to learn to walk and you refuse”

          • Connie on February 1, 2019 at 1:27 pm

            I was told, “There’s always a reason, but never an excuse.”

        • sheep on January 31, 2019 at 1:08 am


          I don’t believe I have ever heard Leslie say that someone should quickly claim “emotional abuse” and then leave the marriage. In fact, Leslie is incredibly Pro-Marriage. But Leslie does not burry her head in the sand to the destructive nature of some people and she doesn’t pretend that the way to deal with sinful, destructive people is to leave them alone and give them what they want.
          In some ways I might agree that there are probably some proper out there that have never really experienced emotional abuse but claim it as an excuse to divorce. In the same way there are those out there that will claim physical, verbal, or sexual abuse as an excuse to divorce even though they haven’t actually experienced it either. I supposed there are those out there that falsely claim their spouse has committed adultery to justify divorce. But those are not the people that Leslie is talking to. She is talking to people that have experienced those things because we need help. We need someone that will listen to us and help us sort out the craziness that has been allowed to flourish in our minds, lives, and marriages BECAUSE many in the church have made a god out of marriage and have told us to “suffer for Jesus” or “just love her as Christ loved the church” or even that we should be like Hosea. They don’t have the first clue what emotional abuse is, what it feels like, or how to counsel those that have been subjected to it. I would ask you why you singled out physical abuse? Is this because you believe physical abuse is somehow worse than any other type? I get it if you do because I used to believe the same thing. I thought that those that claimed emotional abuse just needed to “suck it up” and get over it. That is until I realized that I had been and was subjected to vast amounts of emotional abuse all throughout my marriage. One of the ways I had learned to cope with it was to deny all of my feelings about anything. Not having feelings is one of the coping mechanisms I had developed to keep myself from feeling so hurt, rejected, and utterly worthless my entire married life. But learning these things was probably the most difficult journey of my entire life. In fact I fought it so hard that I remember once telling my marriage counselor that it just couldn’t be that bad because it wasn’t like I was being hit all the time. She just looked at me and asked me if I would rather be hit with a ball bat every day, or continue to experience the emotional abuse every day. With no hesitation I answered I would rather be hit with a bat daily than this. That was when it really began to dawn on me how truly EVIL emotional abuse is. But now I am learning to keep my mouth shut about it, because Christians just don’t want to hear about it. They are clueless to it’s destructiveness, or they just don’t believe in it, or they assume it is being made up or imagined so that someone can excuse divorce. People (most people) understand the destructive power of Adultery, physical abuse, and even sexual abuse in a marriage. But mention emotional abuse and their eyes glaze over and they just assume it is being made up or it just can’t be all that bad.
          And just so you know, a spouse that is being or has been emotionally abused, has most likely read, studied, and applied the “love languages”. They have probably read about and applied the “don’t confront them and love them till they come back” book. They have also probably read and applied “love or respect”. And if one of those things worked and their abusive spouse all of a sudden had a “come to Jesus” moment and got it, I say wonderful. But that isn’t going to be the norm. Sin has to be confronted. That is biblical. One of the traits of biblical love is that it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. There can’t be real love without truth. Tolerating emotional abuse is not only rejoicing at wrongdoing, but it is rewarding it. It is giving the abuser exactly what they want. They want the marriage to stay exactly how it is, with them in perfect control and able to manipulate their spouse and kids into doing what they want when they want and how they want. It lets them avoid the truth. That truth is ugly, but it is also a beautiful thing, because in the end the truth is what might set them free.

          • Nancy on January 31, 2019 at 1:12 pm


            “Sin has to be confronted. That is Biblical.”


          • Jame on February 10, 2019 at 5:31 am


            You are such a blessing to have on here. You speak to my soul the words I need at the time needed. Crazy awesome how God does it!

          • Sheep on February 10, 2019 at 9:49 pm

            Hi Jame,

            Thank you for your kind words. That is a real encouragement to me.

        • Maria on January 31, 2019 at 6:12 pm


          What if your husband were physically abusive? What would you do?

          • Veronica on January 31, 2019 at 11:56 pm

            Good question. Thankfully I’ve never been in that position. I can tell you it would only happen once. I would call authorities and tell the kids, our families and friends. Basically expose the sin. If he repents/admits wrong and it never happens again. Then I would forgive. Sounds easy but I’m sure it would be difficult.
            If he doesn’t admit that it was wrong or threatens to do it again. then I would separate from him . Then I would implement Matthew 18 and hopefully after he’s been confronted by several of us he repents. However if he insists that he can continue to physically abuse me then I would tell the kids and families that he is unrepentant and we should treat him as “a gentile or tax collector” . No one should associate with him. God requires this in hopes of repentance. Soooo until he repents he should be family and friendless. Of course good luck getting everyone to agree to do this but it is biblical.

          • Maria on February 1, 2019 at 6:33 am

            I think this you would agree that this would apply to other kinds of sins like verbal abuse. But what if your husband is really manipulative and behaves like he has repented when you meet with church leadership? He hits you, but never leaves a mark. Then he lies to the church leadership and says you are making it up. You will probably look like the crazy one to them, all emotional while he is calm and collected. It’s your word against his.

            When I met my husband, he was very charming, claimed be a Christian. My family met him and were impressed. I was not looking to get married, I was very secure in who I was. We had kids, and he was slowly but consistently putting me down. I became a different person believing that it was my fault. I reached out to my pastor, he told me get The Power of a Praying Wife and start praying for him. He said he didn’t feel comfortable taking to my husband. Then I reached out to another church. We started counseling. For a month he was a changed man. Then he started using what I had shared in counseling to mock me and make fun of him. He even lied. I was emotional and a wreck while he looked like the sane one. I stopped the counseling and began seeing a counselor myself. I still thought I was the reason for his outbursts and rage fits. I worked on my reactions with my counselor and wanted them to be pleasing to Christ. I really thought that once I did this, he his rages would stop. But they didn’t. They got worse. My counselor told me he is probably a narcissist. I had never heard the term. I started reading about it and things made sense. I have 3 kids. In my state if we divorce he will get 50% custody and he would use the kids. They will not do well spending so much time with him. So I have decided to stay. Leslie has helped me to stay well. In my case my husband travels a lot and spends a lot of time by himself. A lot of women don’t have this luxury and may need to divorce. My state doesn’t have legal separation. There is a very high chance that if you ever talked to my husband, you would be very impressed. He knows the Bible, goes to church, is highly educated, appears very caring and I discovered late into the marriage, a very good liar. He taught was a Bible study leader for a few years. There are sheep in wolves clothing in the church. The Bible warns us of them, but it is difficult to accept that.

          • Maria on February 1, 2019 at 6:51 am


            One thing I’d like to add is he did not behave badly all the time. After his rage fits, he would behave so well and the cycle would continue. This is what made things very confusing for me. Later I learned about the domestic abuse cycle and learned this was what was happening.
            If you would like to learn more about this I would encourge you to listen to Chris Moles podcasts. He has an abuser program for men. He talks about the danger of looking at each event by itself. Many times it seems like simple things, lack of communication. Instead if you look at all the incidents together, you will see a pattern of control. And that’s when it’s abuse. It’s not about the occasional losing ones temper here and there. With abuse it’s about power and control.

          • Michele L on February 2, 2019 at 5:54 pm

            Veronica, Why would you not counseling yourself to ‘turn the other cheek’ if your husband hit you? The Word clearly states that, yet you say if he hit you would call the cops, tell everyone in the church and implement Matt 18…. so how do you determine that hitting you would be sin? FWIW, pastors/biblical counselors have used the ‘turn the other cheek’passage from Matt 5 to keep abused women married and home with their husbands because they feel they are interpreting that verse correctly. I hear much of what you are saying but I feel you lack mercy in your delivery. I am glad you have no understanding of the life many of us live, you are truly blessed, but sadly you are missing some important understandings to speak into many of our situations.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 2, 2019 at 6:17 pm

            Agreed. Veronica help me to understand why it would be “sin” to divorce for emotional abuse, but not sin to divorce for physical abuse? Abuse is abuse whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, sexual or financial. One may be a little murkier to define but even physical abuse can be. Is pushing abuse? What about restraining? The law considers it abuse, but would you? Does someone have to have their physical life threatened such as choking or shooting or stabbing to constitute abuse or have a “biblical” reason to seek safety? So if physical abuse is grounds for separation or divorce if he pushed her against the wall, is that more sinful then repeatedly degrading her personhood and treating her as if she were an object rather than person?

            I’m truly confused by how you have divided this up in your thinking. I appreciate deeply that you want to remain true to God’s word and I value your dialogue here which causes us all to reflect on who God is and what he says, but help me understand your thinking here.

            Does God hate divorce more than he hates when a husband or wife treats one another like they are garbage?

        • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 12:56 pm

          I hope no one is quick to leave a marriage unless their life is threatened. However, the Bible is clear that reckless words pierce like a sword and life and death is in the power of the tongue. Emotional abuse is real and it’s effects long lasting. People leave a relationship with Biblical grounds when that relationship is abusive and oppressive. Marriage is designed to be a loving safe relationship. When it consistently deteriorates from that, it cannot be maintained, even if two people still live together.

          • Veronica on February 3, 2019 at 5:01 pm

            Michele L
            Good point you make about turning the other cheek. I did a study on that : Its called Lex talionis
   (Commentary) As Craig Blomberg explains, “Striking a person on the right cheek suggests a backhanded slap from a typically right-handed aggressor and was a characteristic Jewish form of insult. Jesus tells us not to trade such insults even if it means receiving more. In no sense does v. 39 require Christians to subject themselves or others to physical danger or abuse, nor does it bear directly on the pacifism-just war debate.”

            It so important that we study the word of God and not just take one verse here and there as you all have made very clear that you are students of the word.
            It’s too long for me to write all that he says about that passage but you can read it if you like .

        • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 8:14 am

          You have some imprinting that is pretty narrow when it comes to what is abuse and what is not abusive.
          Your husbands ‘avoidant imprint’ depending on how he handles relating to others can be abusive emotionally through.. abandonment and neglect.
          Please RERead Milan and Kays resources, I think you could be self protecting yourself from reality.
          Btw, I didn’t separate from my h nor divorce but my husband chose to get help and get into RECOVERY for his avoidant issues that were in conflict with his marital vows.

    • Heather on January 30, 2019 at 5:59 pm

      I’d say that people who put the words emotional abuse in “quotations” like the comment above probably don’t really know what it is, because they’ve been spared from enduring it. Those of us who have lived it know the reality and terror of it, and wouldn’t try to explain It away. We also know that only those who’ve lived through it can understand the complex nuances of living in a constant state of survival and near insanity from the willful mind games and daily rageful flare ups. Nonetheless, blessings on you Veronica.

      • Veronica on February 1, 2019 at 10:03 am

        So sorry for what you go through with your husband. It’s nice that you seek Godly counsel and I’m thankful he travels a bit which gives you a refreshment time. My husband never physically abused me. I think that they are less out of control then they claim when abuse is happening. For instance they know they can get away with hitting or pushing etc. However they have enough control to not, cut your arm off. That would gross them out and of course bring lots of negative attention on them. Knowing this tells me they have limits and those limits are based on what they presume others responses will be, others including me. Well my husband knew if he ever hit me even once I would be gone and I would expose the sin to everyone we know. I guess I would respond as if he did cut my arm off.
        Exposing the sin is biblical. I did a study on warning others about a brothers sin. I wanted to be sure it wasn’t considered gossip.
        You would be in good company, namely , Jesus and Peter, in warning others.
        I guess domestic abuse cycles would end if there is no one to abuse, not control to gain if you live alone. Or if he did not get the response he was looking for. Other bloggers here might be right i dont have experience personally in this area. However i have helped lots of women in our community who have experienced this type of behavior.

        • Maria on February 1, 2019 at 8:57 pm

          Veronica, you mentioned you would treat your husband like an unbelievable if he didn’t repent after hitting you. Could you give me some practical examples of that?

    • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 11:48 am

      Veronica, people have misused the Word of God throughout history to do all kinds of wrong and evil things. Slavery was a practice many people practiced not too long ago in our American history. Christians held slaves and treated them worse than animals yet they justified that as Biblical. You’re so right that someone who wants to use the Scripture to do something they want to do, can probably find something in there to justify it. Just like male abusers use the concept of headship and submission in order to get their way and silence their wife. However when you read the Bible as a whole and know the heart of God, you know that slavery is wrong as is abuse and that God hates when the strong oppress and misuse the weak in any way. When it’s done in a marriage it’s especially grievous because marriage is to be a picture of God and the church and God does NOT oppress his church, he loves her.

  5. Bek on January 31, 2019 at 1:36 am

    While I agree with Leslie that many ill equipped church leaders have misled those suffering in a destructive marriage to stay and bear it, is it possible that maybe, just maybe this one could have been referring to asking you to renew your mind and don’t be confirmed in an effort to challenge you to check yourself because you are the one in the room (not because you are responsible) and because none of us is completely innocent? Isn’t it true that God begs us to humble ourselves before him AND others so that HE may restore us and lift us up? I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t separate and it doesn’t sound like he is either unless there was more to the conversation that you didn’t share. It sounds like he just wants you to seek the Lord’s will. As I am working on me and asking God to show me my sin and His glory while in a destructive marriage, I am finding what’s going on in me that led me to get involved with a destructive person in the first place and finding the strength to blossom in spite of my spouse’s choices. It’s a good verse to consider no matter who we are or the status of our marriage.

  6. Free on January 31, 2019 at 2:26 am

    Veronica, Can you tell us about your husband’s rules? Who makes rules in life? Parents, Bosses, Authorities, Judges……not Spouses.

    Veronica it is probably time for a reality check. You have been submitting to an abusive spouse and have rationalized your feelings and actions using avoidance and denial as coping mechanisms. You have been brainwashed into a twisted spiritual fog.

    Spouses don’t get to make rules for others to follow; dentention center officers do that to convicts. You my friend, are living in marital prison.

    • Veronica on January 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

      my husband had family rules that all the kids followed. eat what mom prepares for dinner. no bikinis while u live here. if the kids disobey us then he preferred manual labor over being sent to their rooms etc. nothing sinful. At times I felt his manual labor went too far. Raking leaves in the dark cause your hour wasnt up yet and the sun went down. etc. But the kids knew if dad made a rule I’d follow through with it. They couldn’t manipulate me. At first I felt abused because he didn’t listen to how I felt about kids raking in the dark. Or whatever the subject was a the time. I could and sometimes just said if you want that rule followed then you enforce it because I disagree with it, If it was way to far, Which was very rare.
      I liked having a strong husband because when he wasn’t present I had authority and the kids knew not to disobey or disrespect me because dad and I were a team. All four of our grown kids submit to God’s word, 2 married Christians and they all serve in their perspective churches. I hope that clears up your question.

      • Maria on January 31, 2019 at 6:04 pm


        Glad to hear that your kids have done well. But that type of treat could have really scarred a kid with a more tender heart.
        I’m also glad you don’t think you were not in an emotionally abusive marriage. Since that’s the case what brings you here?

        • Veronica on January 31, 2019 at 6:47 pm

          I have taught women’s bible study for many years. Over the last few years I’ve noticed that the word “emotional abuse” has been used to claim grounds for divorce . That less and less scripture is used to guide each other. N more n more “I feel” statements are used to justify doing whatever they want. It seems freeing at first but if u don’t have biblical grounds ….I’ve seen it turn out badly for everyone involved . Sadly.

          • JoAnn on January 31, 2019 at 8:10 pm

            Veronica, In Leslie’s book, she defines destructive marriages versus disappointing marriages. In your class, you are probably dealing with mostly disappointing or dysfunctional marriages, and with those, learning to know each other and to communicate more effectively will surely help to bring more satisfaction into the relationship. However, from what you have shared here, it seems clear that you really cannot relate to what an emotionally abusive relationship is. You haven’t experienced it in the way the women and men here have. When you say that you “feel abused” by the way your husband avoids talking about feelings, I’m sorry, but that isn’t abuse. It hurts, no doubt, but it isn’t even close to what some of those here have endured for decades before finally getting away. I would call on you to try to express some empathy for those here who have suffered unspeakable abuse in ways that are not only physical but also emotional and sexual. the oppression that they have endured is beyond anything that can be understood by someone who hasn’t been there herself. Check out Romans 1:26-30, to see what God thinks about those who abuse. If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you will read real horror stories that would cause you to wonder, “how did she stay there for so many years?” Keep on reading, with an open mind to what you probably cannot begin to relate to. It’s an eye-opener.

          • Maria on January 31, 2019 at 8:49 pm


            I live in a no-fault state. If I woke up in the morning and didn’t feel like being married I could file for divorce. I really don’t need a reason. I really don’t see the reason why anyone would need to claim they are being emotionally abused to get a divorce.

            Like JoAnn has mentioned, Leslie differentials between difficult marriages and destructive ones. She talks about how some may have married a C- partner as opposed to an A+ one. You learn to live with some of the faults and accept the partner and continue with the marriage.

            However in a destructive marriage, things are different. Th3 destructive spouse is usually a sheep in wolves clothing, very charming on the outside but a terror in the home. This person does not want to change, but is only interested in their image. I hope you are open to finding out more about this. You are in a great position to encourage women in difficult marriages to work things out and be of support to women who are in destructive marriages.

          • Maria on January 31, 2019 at 10:08 pm

            Veronica, One other thing, Leslie talks about basing our actions not on feelings or our thoughts but on our big circle- whom we want to be- loving kind gracious courageous etc

          • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 8:38 am

            I have facilitated in many women’s bible studies through the years.
            Are you teaching women or are you facilitating- there is a difference?

            Also, I have also been misguided by many well teachers/facilitators about these domestic issues and was additionally harmed by taking or leaning towards their advice from their lens or imprint.

            Following God and His ways causes many to be uncomfortable and it seemed to them that I was not doing what I was supposed to do because they wanted comfort and the family intact at any cost.

        • Free on January 31, 2019 at 7:42 pm

          I am always concerned when parents make proclaimtions about their adult children. May I suggest they are invited to this blog to speak for themselves? Their impute and impressions would be helpful. A parent’s claim that their children are this or that is just the parent’s opinion and perception at this point.

      • Free on January 31, 2019 at 7:28 pm

        I was not referring to parenting rules. What rules did he make you follow?

        • Autumn on January 31, 2019 at 7:49 pm

          Also Veronica, people in abusive relationships often have their choice taken away. One partner makes up rules which are often cruel and illlogical. They control when one sleeps,eats or speaks. They control how one dresses, how and when money is available and how and when one may leave the house. What do you say to those realities?

        • Veronica on February 1, 2019 at 12:16 am


          Make me follow? I don’t think someone can Make me follow anything that I don’t agree to.
          I certainly wouldn’t want to see my daughters abused by their husbands and likewise I wouldn’t want my sons to think its ok to abuse their wives.
          If I let their father abuse me then I’m guessing they would feel justified in do the same.

          • Veronica on February 1, 2019 at 12:26 am


            My reference to our 4 grown children was just to give reference to leading by example. We had our issues with kids over the years but they all graduated Christian college and have good jobs.They all go to church and serve in different capacities, they all have done missionary work as far as India.
            Again we had issues over the years and I’m sure we imprinted them in some bad ways and they too will have to work out their own problems as we all do.

  7. Maria on January 31, 2019 at 7:28 am

    What if someone in the workplace were experiencing this kind of abuse and went to this pastor? Would he give him/her the same advice? What if his boss were treating him this way, would he endure it, not conform to this world’s way of thinking and be a living sacrifice?

    • N on January 31, 2019 at 8:36 am

      Surely you aren’t suggesting a workplace relationship has the same terms and conditions as a marriage, are you? Perhaps a higher view of the marriage relationship is needed here… it is not the same (especially not in the Bible) as a relationship with a co-worker, and shouldn’t be treated the same. That is really a very misguided comparison.

      • Nancy on January 31, 2019 at 4:25 pm


        Maria has an excellent point.

        And I with you that a higher view of marriage IS needed.

        It would be ridiculous for a pastor to advise allowing oneself to be treated this way by a co-worker, and yet regularly this advise is given in marriage.

        Our spouse is first our brother-in-Christ. We must hold our marriages to a higher standard and require our brothers to live up to their covenant vows.

        There is no place for abuse in a Christian marriage. None.

        • Maria on January 31, 2019 at 5:57 pm

          Totally agree Nancy. And the Romans passage is not specifically for marriage. The was the pastor is applying it should be to all situations.

        • N on February 1, 2019 at 7:33 am

          Yes. And if you are certain you want to hone in on keeping “covenant vows,” then you must be willing to admit that both the husband AND wife made covenant vows. Or do you only hold the husband to that standard and not the wife? And you also must be willing to admit that both the husband AND wife have not kept those vows perfectly. No one does. I’m glad you chose to use that phrase as it makes it MUCH more important than a co-worker relationship and much more perilous to walk away from it. Then it is an absolute necessity to work on the marriage rather than walk away.

          If you were genuine about covenant vows being important, that is.

          • Nancy on February 1, 2019 at 9:09 am

            HI N,

            No one here is talking about perfection.

            We are talking about a heart posture. An abusive spouse is all about keeping a position of power and control over their partner. This attitude makes a mockery of the high standard of intimacy that God calls for in marriage.

            Of course no one keeps their vows perfectly. The difference when talking about a disappointing marriage verses a destructive one is that in a disappointing marriage both partners are open to correction and guidance ( both are humble). Whereas a destructive spouse’s motivation is to keep control over the other person. Moreover, they will use their partner’s humbled heart exactly the way you just did, “no one is perfect. You also make mistakes”. This only keeps the victim in confusion.

            This is a very different type of ‘marriage’ dynamic that requires experts like Leslie to shed light on.

            Please stick around here and you’ll begin to see the vast difference between a marriage between two humble people: imperfect yet loving; and an abusive marriage: one person consistently oppressing the other.

            Abuse lies in the pattern, not in any number of ‘imperfect’ interactions.

          • GraceisCome on February 1, 2019 at 12:40 pm

            Thank you N what you said about “covenant vows” — they have to go both ways, and sometimes we can forget about that as we are reminded that we need to keep our covenant vows at almost all cost. But that needs to be told to both spouses.

          • Connie on February 1, 2019 at 1:38 pm

            So if one partner breaks the covenant vow, the other is still bound? I thought that once something is broken, it’s broken. It can be mended, but only by the one who broke it, because that is in their hand. I think where a lot of us fall short is that we who did not break the vow are trying to fix it, while the other partner keeps breaking it off again and again, all the while laughing at us for trying so hard to do something impossible.

          • Connie on February 1, 2019 at 1:50 pm

            I often picture my situation like he is a fisherman, casting out bait to reel me in. If I bite, he cuts the line and baits another. Again and again. When Israel did that to God, he divorced them. He called it adultery, which is simply that they were following their own will, not His. They didn’t love Him first. They neglected to care for the oppressed, His precious ones, rather they oppressed them further. It’s not necessarily sex, and it takes two to tango. If one partner isn’t dancing and won’t learn how, then you do not have a dance, even if one is doing well at it.

          • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 8:58 am

            Nancy and N,
            Nancy this is a great response to N! I fully agree with you and the sad part is So many people are ‘wired’ in wrong about the issues of abuse in marriage.

            Romans 12: 1-2 is a Scripture that my h and I had leaned and taught our children to study/ memorize and think deeply about the passage as well as the context.

            N, your response about looking at both spouses when one spouse is offending is in alignment with those who are ignorant about abusive dynamic or someone who themselves have skewed mindsets that lean toward power and control and not free agency in a relationship.

            It takes two to work on an imperfect marriage in a broken world, but often there is an imbalance of who is working?

            Given the biblical structure of scriptures the Husband is held at a greater sacrifice for his wife and a greater accountability as the head of the two flesh.
            This sacrifice is not about tolerating abuse/idolatry/infidelity etc.

            Sadly, N… some of your responses reflect that of popular Christian teachers where there examples are often soundbites of interpretation.
            If you have it wired in that it is only abuse if it’s Actually Physical, then you are thinking more black and white with the worlds viewpoint, than with the biblical points about how we treat the most important sacred relationship apart from our own with Christ.

      • Maria on January 31, 2019 at 4:34 pm

        The Romans passage does not call out a specific type of relationship so it should be applied to all situations.

        • N on February 1, 2019 at 11:00 am


          I have stuck around here enough to know the vast double standard applied. Husbands are bound by their covenant and are always “abusers” then they fall short. But wives should not be expected to honor their marriage covenant if they don’t feel their husbands measure up. There are, of course, extreme and obvious cases of abuse. But, in the absence of that, no one (husbands NOR wives) have the right to throw in the towel on their marriage. It’s a covenant, as you have said. Perhaps a bit of Bible study will help in understanding what a “covenant” is, and just how permanent it is. It is taken so lightly when it serves a purpose or bias. Sorry if it irritates you that I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of the position. You just can’t have it both ways. I have seen more than enough on this forum to know the bias of the regular contributors.

          • Nancy on February 1, 2019 at 1:51 pm

            HI N,

            Although this forum is mostly women, there are some men who contribute regularly.

            I invite you to read ‘sheep’s’ comment above. His comments are always well articulated and heartfelt.

          • Sheep on February 1, 2019 at 9:29 pm

            Hi N,

            I have been around here for awhile and speaking as one of the few men that is actually willing to come forward and say that I have been emotionally abused, I have not felt that double standard here. (although I have in the church) The people here have been understanding and supportive and they understand what I have gone through and I really appreciate it.

            Some people seem to be concerned that Leslie and the people on this blog are somehow encouraging abuse victims to divorce their spouse, and that just isn’t the case. The people here speak truth and reality into the lives of those that are abuse victims. They aren’t just saying “hey, you are abused, you should just divorce the jerk” They are listening to people’s heart as they are learning to open up about what has happened to them and in many cases this is the first time they have had the courage to do so. For others it is the first time they have opened up to someone that cares enough about them to really listen to them, hear their struggle and not just give them the pat Christian answers of “just submit more” “just love more” “be a martyr for Jesus in your marriage” and “then God will miraculously work it all out if you just do all these things and pray more” ” OH YES, and by the way, If the other person continues in their abuse, there is nothing you can do about it because you made a covenant with your spouse. It really doesn’t matter that your spouse has broken that covenant because I am going to do everything I can do to pressure you into keeping that broken covenant anyway”
            For the most part, the people here are helping others to think. Part of that process is looking truthfully about the relationship and where it is. And then what, if anything, can be done to fix it. I will tell you one thing, It will not be fixed by ignoring it and pretending that it isn’t happening or that it just isn’t “that” bad. And frankly, that is what the church does the vast majority of the time.
            I came here long before I decided that divorce was the only option I had left. Nobody here convinced me to divorce, the people here didn’t influence me to divorce. They did help me see my situation in a realistic way, they helped me to stop living in a fantasy world that I had constructed just to make life with my wife tolerable.

            The decision to take the step of divorce is really not one that you can force someone into. Yes, you may be able to influence someone a little bit in that, but probably a lot less than you think. It is intensely personal and you just are not going to do it until you are convinced that it is the only option left. Some people that are criticizing on this post seem to believe that abuse victims are just looking for an excuse to divorce. There might be a few that are, but from what I have seen, it is the victims of abuse that have practically killed themselves to try to love their spouses selflessly, have sacrificed themselves for their spouse, have poured out their broken heart to God over and over to heal their marriage, and have held out an unjustified hope that their marriage would be saved, seemingly forever. And what is their spouse doing during this time? Taking. They are taking everything they can get, draining the life blood from this person that they PROMISED before God that they would love, honor, and cherish. And they are doing it without a second thought. In the unlikely event that someone recognizes what is going on and actually confronts them, what is their response? Deny, Excuse, Shift-blame, or ignore. Although sometimes they might “repent” if they feel like the heat is getting turned up on them. But the proof is in the actions and this “repentance” too many times is just another tactic to keep the heat off of them and the actions don’t follow for long.

          • JoAnn on February 1, 2019 at 10:30 pm

            Sheep, thank you! I think you said it all very well. This is a loving and supportive community, and I really appreciate the honesty and care that is expressed by all the members.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 2, 2019 at 1:31 am

            JoAnn, Thank you for saying that. I have worked very hard to make this a community where we might agree to disagree on some things, but we do so out of love and truth and grace. We are honest with where we are at, we are honest with how we think and feel, and we are honest with how we interpret God’s word. We may not always agree on those things but we want to sharpen and encourage and love one another, not cast stones.

          • N on February 2, 2019 at 8:12 am

            Connie, that is a shocking misunderstanding of covenants. Perhaps a real study of the Bible is necessary. You are clearly looking for a way out. If you make a covenant it is to be kept. Not broken the first time you feel the other party may not have held up their end. Certainly not the way Jesus actes. That’s the kind of attitude kids have when they’re fighting. But surely an adult should have a greater degree of maturity and unserstanding. Keep your covenant vows.

          • Connie on February 2, 2019 at 11:39 am

            Which vows am I not keeping?

          • N on February 3, 2019 at 7:39 am

            I’m not sure which vows you are not keeping. But there are some (unless you are claiming sinless perfection…). I won’t ask if you’re divorced. But regardless, I don’t think it would be hard, with some honest self reflection, to see some areas of fault. Same with everyone who is willing to be honest with themselves and with the Lord. And maybe there is an opportunity to make those things right.

          • Connie on February 3, 2019 at 10:40 am

            Ok, I must remember to tell that to the next small child I see being bullied by a bigger kid in school. “Figure out where you are at fault and go apologize to the bully and make it all right.” That should work .

          • N on February 4, 2019 at 7:25 am

            Connie, resorting to sarcasm is an indication that there is no real argument remaining. So maybe it is time for real self reflection now.

          • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 9:11 am

            This comment is in response to you saying that Connie has a misunderstanding of covenant.

            I’m curious what your beliefs are about Jesus coming to offer himself as a sacrifice of sins to be reconciled to the Lord as a Covenant promise?

          • Connie on February 4, 2019 at 12:18 pm

            Actually, I think sarcasm is a fun and quick way to sometimes expose a foolish argument. In my early days as a mother, I was a bully to my children, we went to churches and large gatherings (anyone remember Bill Gothard?) where bullying of wives and children was encouraged, and read books in line with that. Then I wondered why our family was such a mess and so unhappy. I have always appreciated humour and wish someone had hit me with a good dose of light-hearted sarcasm to help wake me up much sooner. I finally found the books “Shepherding Your Child’s Heart” and “Romancing a Child’s Heart” and came to so repent of my ways. Then came other books like Leslie’s about marriage and I realized that both the wrong view of ‘headship’ as well as the wrong view of ‘submission’ were means of trying in our own fearful way to control our own lives and those of others.
            I have learned so much from Aly here, for example. How sad to live in dysfunction and fear when it is possible through hard work and interventions to hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard and be real lights in a dark dark world. This is what people are looking for – freedom to be ourselves, to love without fear. Our church has recently been studying the Isaiah passages that Jesus read in the synagogue, about binding the broken-hearted, etc. That is His plan.
            Aly, thank you so so very much for taking so much time to share your experiences with God’s leading in your life. It brings tears to my eyes when I think how thankful you, your husband, and your family must be that you did not cave to fear but stood up for truth and righteousness.
            Each time I cried out to God in my distress, He gave me another step toward freedom. I would be so sad if I came to the end of life without having done that. So glad more and more people are speaking out.

          • Aly on February 5, 2019 at 7:41 am

            Thank you for your encouragement and understandings of such complicating areas.
            I have learned SO much from you also!
            Thank you for also posting great resources you share with us in your journey.

            And yes standing up for truth and righteousness does cost us in ways we don’t always prepare for nor would imagine.

            Losing my ext. family because I won’t align with how they believe relationships should be is ridiculous frankly.
            They believe in ‘fake it’ and have shallow relationships even with family because it’s all about the image of a family intact rather than what’s really happening in our hearts.

            Christ really explains this separation of those who Know Him, and those who think they known Him but he never knew them…(even as HE continues to keep an open invite to an intimate relationship with him)
            Those are some pretty honest truths in scripture and for those that have not just a private relationship with Him but a very intimate and personal relationship with Him.

            To me the peace faking or people pleasing motives are out of fear and insecurity.

            If someone who professes to know Christ offers you a phony relationship that is one-sided based on their definition of relationship- realize they have actually offered you A NON-relationship. This goes completely against what Jesus invited many into.

            If someone decides to stay involved and contribute to a Non Relationship or a destructive one for that matter, they are allowing something very damaging to be in their journey. They are not loving the other person well by going along with the person skewed version of relationship. They are compromising what they SAY the believe about Christ and in actions showing a hypocrisy probably motivated out of many ‘unresolved issues they have with God himself’.

            Connie, are you still separated andvis your husband getting some intense interventions? If I remember correctly.

          • N on February 6, 2019 at 12:56 pm

            Connie, putting Leslie’s books in the same breath as Gothard is probably more accurate than you intended…

          • Leslie Vernick on February 6, 2019 at 6:11 pm

            Excuse me N, but please explain what you mean by this> Gothard is no one I would want to be associated with in any way.

          • Sheep on February 6, 2019 at 5:58 pm


            Seriously? I hope that your comment to Connie is some sort of mis-guided joke, delivered before you actually thought about what you are saying.

            “Connie, putting Leslie’s books in the same breath as Gothard is probably more accurate than you intended…”

            This comment is insulting, demeaning, and slanderous. Bill Gothard and his teaching could not be on a more opposite end of the spectrum from Leslie. Frankly they shouldn’t even belong in the same conversation.

            Bill Gothard spent his career and “ministry” coming up with, and teaching mountains of rules for everyone to follow so that their families might turn out “good” He took advantage of well meaning families that simply wanted to follow someone’s system of raising a family so that theirs wouldn’t follow the world. But what they really got was a system of Pharisaical legalism that left the family in chains. There probably aren’t many christian leaders out there that have contributed to the abuse of women and children than Bill Gothard.

          • Connie on February 6, 2019 at 6:43 pm

            Oh my word, I hope nobody else thinks I’m comparing Bill Gothard and Leslie in the same light. I reread my comment and I suppose if you want it to say that you could see it that way. Anyway, I’m here to say NO, Leslie’s books are not in any way like Bill’s stuff. Leslie’s books helped get me out of that mindset and helped me to learn to live in strength, expose sin, and stand for truth. Thank you, Leslie.

          • Leslie Vernick on February 7, 2019 at 12:53 am

            Thanks Connie.

          • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 6:43 am


            I personally know someone that was sexually abused by Gothard and I am appalled and completely disgusted that you would equate in any way a woman that stands against oppression and abuse of men, women, or children, and who stands for love and truth of God with someone such as him. Please keep your comments to something beneficial to the growth and learning and working out of faith of everyone here.

    • Autumn on January 31, 2019 at 7:51 pm

      Also Veronica, people in abusive relationships often have their choice taken away. One partner makes up rules which are often cruel and illlogical. They control when one sleeps,eats or speaks. They control how one dresses, how and when money is available and how and when one may leave the house. What do you say to those realities?

    • Moon Beam on January 31, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      I keep thinking about a whole race of people who were denegrated and told to sit in the back of the bus and that certain water fountains we’re not for them. Why would it be ok for a destructive spouse to treat one like that?
      Would we say, honor your spouse? Heck it isn’t adultery, I’ll just sit in the back honey, while you pick whatever seat you like!

      • Maria on February 1, 2019 at 9:47 pm

        The Bible talks a lot about the fool. It also talks about the wicked in the psalms, the ungodly, the arrogant, wolves in sheep’s clothing etc. It seems that some people want to exclude people that are married from what the Bible says about these people.

        • Remedy on February 6, 2019 at 12:39 pm

          Amen to this Maria. The Bible also instructs us to avoid certain people…..outright says this. Somehow, that side is never discussed. And it not framed around whether you are married to this person or not. It describes their behavioral bent….and we are instructed to avoid them. Wisdom and counsel must be utilized in taking these words from Scripture seriously as we do all the other parts.

  8. Gw on January 31, 2019 at 10:01 am

    It’s sad to me that this scripture was used in such a twisted way. These two verses were my life-line as I spent years in counseling undoing the effects of emotional abuse on my life. God helped me renew my mind by taking the lies I believed about myself and replacing them with the truth of how he sees me. In view of Gods mercy- this phrase was life giving to me as I wrestled with behaviors I had adopted in my pain that were unhealthy. Holy and pleasing to God- I had felt like junk. To think I could be pleasing to God was a breath of fresh air. To know I was desired by Him not for what I would do but for who I was became life changing. Another verse that I clung to was Zephaniah 3:17- He actually rejoiced over me with singing? Wow.
    I’m not “over” the effects of spiritual abuse in my past (left the oppressive church 3 years ago), but I’m on the road of healing. The more honest I have been with God- the more I feel his comfort and compassion. It’s a hard road but so worth it.

  9. Charlotte on January 31, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    I have been reading this blog for about 5 years now and have never posted but I have to say this. I have been married for 39 yrs. The first 5 years my husband physically abused me on a regular basis. After counseling I was able to go on with the marriage and was happy with my marriage since the abuse stopped. During our 30th yr of marriage, he received a TBI from a work related injury. That is when he started mentally and emotionally abusing me with some physical abuse. The name calling, the taunting me, the threats to kill me and kill himself,ect,ect. After the trial he miraculously stopped doing these things except the twisting the things I say. I will tell you that has been about 5 years ago and I cannot get passed this. I am nothing like i was. I was happy, loving, enjoyed being around people. Not now. I think about leaving every day but cannot make myself let go of the verse about adultry. That is how my church preaches as well. So for me…emotional abuse has took its toll on me way more than physical abuse

    • Free on January 31, 2019 at 7:38 pm

      I say ask for new messages from God. Get alone with him and ask for guidance. The scriptures are alive and true. Yet God still speaks in the form of his spirit all the time. Ask that part of the Trinity for help and he will give you the strength and judgement you need.

    • Michele L on January 31, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      I am so sorry Charlotte! I know how absolutely draining this is for you. I am so glad you found Leslie’s site as it has given me strength and helped keep me sane on days I just feel crazy. I have also listened to some Patrick Doyle to help keep my mind straight. As Leslie says, God cares about your sanity and your safety…emotionally, physically, spiritually. Try to find a good counselor that can help you process all that is happening and can help you implement good strong boundaries (I am still working on these myself), but the more you can implement them the more strength you will feel.. it might get worse for a bit (my husband gets angrier when I am calmer but I feel stronger each time he gets angrier because I know the boundaries are making an impact). Prayers and Hugs to you!

    • Leslie Vernick on February 1, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks for speaking up Charlotte. Emotional abuse is very damaging.

  10. Remedy on January 31, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you Nancy!! Totally agree and feel this is how Scripture advises us to treat our spouses…..a much HIGHER level of everything because of its sacred and intimate nature. Both spouses have a high calling before God if they profess to desire His will and bring Him glory.

    • Nancy on January 31, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      Agreed, Remedy. It baffles me how some can quote individual passages about marriage and end up DEvaluing the overall high and intimate calling of the marriage covenant. This approach ends up ‘lowering the bar’ for each individual’s responsibility, connection and intimacy in the marriage.

      The exact opposite of the intent of a God honouring marriage.

  11. Lisa on January 31, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Jesus Christ is my Savior since the age of 4. HE and HE ALONE rescued me from an abusive marriage that would have ended in my physical death or permanent impairment. I NEVER thought divorce was an option and believed I was “suffering” for the Kingdom by loving this man into the Kingdom. I believed God’s love could change him along with my undying love and devotion. After all, I made a VOW before God so I could never break it.
    But God, with His perfect love, rescued me through a series of events that saved my life. My 2nd husband was a fool and I loved him anyways. But, the most loving thing I’ve ever done for him was to physically separate from him, and after 2 years of counseling (separate and together), the abuse escalated to levels that were not compatible with life. There are consequences for our actions. I filed for divorce even though it sickened me to my core. Today, I am thankful for the legal protection it affords me and my children with my late husband.
    Unless you have walked in someone’s shoes, do not judge. And you cannot reason with a fool. That is between that person and the Lord.
    What I know for sure is Jesus Loves me and He loves you. He set me free and I am grateful.

    • Moon Beam on February 2, 2019 at 3:26 am

      Thank you for writing Lisa. I have felt the same love and commitment to honor God in a destructive marriage. I endured abuse for many, many years with the firm belief that I married for life. Which I still feel I have although physically separated from a dangerous man who is my husband. The legal system has given me my first protection in decades. My abusive partner has not changed in the three years of separation despite thousands of dollars in counseling.

      This year I will file for divorce. I need to do it before my protection order expires so I get a few more months of sending him straight to jail if her pursues me.

      I never thought I would say such things. I prayed, stayed, fasted, hoped and endured, yet eventually my husband tried to kill me. I fled with only the clothes on my back and drove to the hospital emergency room. There they treated my wounds, did an MRI to check for head and neck trauma and brought a social worker to see me.

      There was no shelter bed available, so I slept in my car for months. Showered at work, ate food from the break room or went to a store that had samples. I told a few people and one gave me a few weeks shelter and helped me get to a domestic violence shelter for legal assistance.

      Ok, I could go on and on here. So, somebody tell me now, knowing just a part of my story, why oh, why would I return to such a situation? It just isn’t marriage! My spouse is acting just like Satan.

      • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 6:54 am

        moon beam,

        I wondered why your responses to me were so intense when I first started posting. Now I get it. Thank-you for being so brave in your sharing. Yes you are right about the level of danger I was living in and still need to be aware of. I was and am being obedient to God, both while I was staying and now that I have separated. I have not yet taken out a DVPO. I pray I don’t have to but… our only spoken interaction since leaving was in front of the pastor. My husband told me he has a peace about this and that is why he hasn’t tried to find me.

        For those of you unfamiliar with abuse, that is called a veiled threat. What he communicated was that as soon as he looses his peace (because I am gone to long, I withhold too much of the finances, etc.) he will find me. And the frightening part is, he will. In the next couple of weeks he will be contacted by my lawyer to be notified of a legal separation agreement- I am certain he will lose his peace then.

        I am proud of you for being strong moon beam. Stay safe and keep encouraging others, I know you are trying to keep people safe.

  12. GraceisCome on February 1, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    A word which comes to mind in so many of these situations, whether they involve physical or emotional (or any other type of) abuse is the word: SAFE. One should feel safe with the one to whom he/she has given him/herself over (in terms of becoming one with that person, being asked to lay down one’s life for that person…). If one does not feel SAFE – in whatever form or fashion – and whether it comes through direct circumstances or just a gut feeling…then one should definitely question why and not ignore it!!! Apart from fueling our need for food/drink/health (physiological), the next greatest need we have is to feel safe (I know Maslow’s hierarchy may not be directly in the Bible, but indirectly it is — Psalm 91 is one of many amazing examples!). So if this is being violated – or even SEEMS to be being threatened – especially in the context of the very relationship in which both parties should feel safe, protected, provided for, loved… then there is DEFINITELY a problem that should not be swept under the carpet, rationalized, justified, counseled away, or just let go for the sake of anything. There is definitely something wrong. God bless.

  13. J on February 1, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Veronica – i just wanted to respond about divorce, living with an emotionally abusive husband. I’ve been married 25 years and would laugh if someone told me that I’d be considering divorce. We are separated right now so I can heal, see if reconciliation is possible and if he’s truly repentant. You may not “see” my wounds but physically my body has – with PTSD, Anorexia, facial nerve pain. It’s not simple to just walk away from discussions, arguments etc. when you are dealing with master manipulators. I thought I was the problem for years and scripture being used. I’d be convicted, feel guilty, confused. The greatest pain I have now is to admit my husband is that person – controlling,manipulation and never has truly loved just what he was entitled to have from me. It hurts deep in my soul and to have consider divorce excruciating but living with him is a death sentence. I would recommend reading Gary Thomas blog from 2016 Enough is Enough.

    • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 6:58 am


      I am so sorry and understand. I hope you have an excellent counselor and support system in place and now that you are separated perhaps you can eat some again. I know it has helped my to get back to a low but finally normal body weight again because my stomach doesn’t hurt every time I try to eat or drink!

      Keep searching God’s clear direction and follow His word. Know that He loves you over all! And He is with you.

  14. GraceisCome on February 1, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Reading all of these comments about divorce, I just wanted to share my thoughts as well. I so respect anyone who wants to stay true to the letter of God’s Word: but as many are replying here, God’s Word says many things that can relate to this. Yes, God hates divorce. But He also hates when someone, for example, calls another “You fool” (Matthew 5:22), warning that that person will be “subject to the fire of hell” (but a spouse should not divorce – or “put away” – their spouse for consistent, unrepented of, verbal abuse?). We have also read some of the Scriptures where God condemns violence, hates contentiousness, and declares that a husband should love his wife and not be harsh with her (and also of course that a wife should submit to her husband: but perhaps the husband that is loving her and not being harsh with her – particularly if it is murdering her soul — and even her body in some tragic instances). Colossians 3:19. Also that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25). We’ve read about not betraying the covenant vows, but that this applies to both parties. And I’m sure there has been more. Does God hate (and even prohibit divorce in many instances)? Yes. Does He hate physical, verbal, emotional, sexual abuse. I’m certain He does. Does the latter (the abuses) give Biblical grounds for divorce? After all of that I’m not even going to try to answer that here. Only God knows that for 100% certain. But I would certainly attribute to our Loving God the desire for someone to be safe and unharmed (body and/or soul)…and if a spouse is violating that for another spouse (I’ll pose this as a question): would God want them to remain together to continue giving/receiving that harm? O.k., so to satisfy the no-divorce requirement – then hey, let the two go their separate ways and just never divorce (or remarry). Maybe that is the answer? But whatever God’s answer is to the divorce question, I’m sure He does NOT want someone to remain in a situation in which he/she is being battered in ANY way. He never, ever intended for that to be part of a marriage (or of any relationship for that matter). God bless.

    • Free on February 2, 2019 at 2:48 am

      Sometimes I think that it is so obvious to flee from danger that God didn’t think we were so dumb that he would have to give us instructions on that one. We see many people fleeing danger in the Bible. It is just common sense and self preservation. Whether it is a spouse, a king, a giant, an army or a lion that is pursing you with evil intent……run away and do it quickly!! Pretty obvious if you ask me. Digging for one or two verses to the contrary is something misguided spiritual leaders magnified into conservative doctrine far beyond it’s correct context.

    • Veronica on February 2, 2019 at 4:44 pm


      God hates divorce. God would not sin. God wrote the 1st certificate of divorce Jeremiah 3:8. He likens the churches relationship to him as a marriage. He called Israel harlot/adulterer . So if someone is a harlot/adulterer then that is what breaks the marriage covenant. The certificate of divorce is just Gods requirement for finality. So if a spouse is an adulterer the innocent party can file for divorce. No sin in that or God would not have done it.

      1 cor 7 if a Believer is married to a non believer and he/she wants to depart. I can see how this would be allowed.
      I tend to believe that if we believers implemented all our biblical rights, had strong boundaries, required accountability, exposed their sin, etc. Then the unbelieving spouse would not want to stay with us.

      I’m still struggling with the emotional abuse grounds though. I just don’t see it in scripture.

      and lastly I’d like to say God sent his only son to die a brutal death, he has ordered soldiers to slaughter villages of men women, children and animals. He drowned everyone but noah and on and on. So I think it’s a far stretch to say well the same God just doesn’t want me unhappy and feeling abused emotionally so even though he didn’t write it in his bible I THINK he just doesn’t want any abuse to come to me. That might sound tough and again I referring to emotional abuse not physical abuse. I have to say the emotional abuse I felt from my controlling, avoider, emotionless , workaholic, husband. Was the very tools God used to grow me up spiritually. If I married a push over, well lets just I would have pushed him over. I hate to admit that.

      • Jojo on February 2, 2019 at 6:08 pm

        In an earlier post today, you made it clear that adultery was ONLY sexual intercourse, penetration. Yet God referred to the Israelites as adulterers. Clearly He has a broader definition of adultery than just penetration, as do most of us here. God didn’t divorce them because of the act of sexual intercourse.

        • Veronica on February 2, 2019 at 8:10 pm

          He calls them adulters . He had other words He could have used IF He meant something else. Something broader . My take away is having other loves other than the One u r married to is adultery. With us n God it’s not physical but with each other it is. Sorry it was confusing to u. It was enlightening to me. God filing the first divorce showing it’s not sin , using a great example .

          • Maria on February 2, 2019 at 9:17 pm

            I am confused with your reasoning. For physical abuse you advise Mathew 18, if the husband doesn’t repent, you expose him and treat him as an unbeliever. With emotional abuse, are you saying the spouse should just endure it? Why not apply Matthew 18?

          • Ruth on February 4, 2019 at 9:50 am

            Jojo was not confused. She was trying to get to see a outside the little box you put God in.

      • Nancy on February 2, 2019 at 10:25 pm


        The Bible gives us a very clear picture of what marriage is supposed to look like:

        Christ and His church.

        There should be nothing AT ALL unsafe in marriage.

        I hope that you choose to go to battle for your addicted husband the way that you did for your son.

        • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 9:30 am

          Veronica, Nancy.
          Very much agree Nancy with your comment and Veronica as the helpmeet you are actually obligated biblically to hold this standard so that your addict h (avoider) controlling imprinted spouse can be given choices of transformation.
          Otherwise you may be enabling your spouse to remain ‘ not the best version God would spur us all into growth and change’
          Becoming a Believer – changes and transforms the WAY we think! But many don’t see that their imprints ABOUT GOD and HisCharacter are not always accurate.
          Time for more time exploring your beliefs about God and His ways Veronica not the worldly churchy ways that many have muddled through the years.

        • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 7:10 am

          Everyone keeps assuming that veronicas husband is an abuser because he is avoidant. No one has asked how veronica “communicates” so that “she can get it off her chest and so that she can feel better”. I see either a vasalator avoider or controller avoider relationship here and please note she has not once offered up her imprinted type except to say she likes to “talk” about her emotions.

          Having been on the receiving end of “talking” which is just beradement and fishing for more to degrade me about I understand becoming avoidant. I invite veronica to explain more about her subtype and what she considers communication before trying to jump to the conclusion that her husbands avoidance is neglect when to me it sounds like gray rocking in self protection. I could be wrong but again I won’t jump to assume the abuser here. I don’t know that any abuse at all is going on actually, vs an unbalanced marriage as she is saying, but I know how my husband would color what he has learned from the book and I see something very different going on here and understand the defensive position and legalistic abusive scriptural take I am hearing because it is all to familiar.

          I would just really like to hear more about what you learned about yourself from this book veronica, it may be very enlightening to everyone.

          • Aly on February 10, 2019 at 8:53 am

            I think a while back, Veronica said she identifies with the vascillator imprint most.

            Either way, I see your point and I think the more alarming issue I have seen is the minimizing of covert abuse or the ability to define what is emotionally abusive.

      • Elle on February 6, 2019 at 6:13 pm

        Yes, God hates divorce. He condemns the person who CAUSED it, not who filed because he looks at the heart. Do you realize what happens to the kids when you stay with an abusive spouse? They are living with a huge, satanic influence in their lives. The sins of their fathers deeply influence them and can lead them away from salvation. You keep minimizing non-physical abuse. Here’s some examples: spouse refuses to give child their prescription meds but instead takes it himself, causing harm to child; spouse spends recklessly and wife must work 60 hours a week or family will suffer. The spouse refuses to change. As a mom, you are causing harm to your kids to stay. Make sure you look at scripture as a whole. Also, many women won’t tell you ALL that is happening due to gossip, etc.

  15. Moon Beam on February 2, 2019 at 3:08 am

    Thanks for your entry, Sheep. I agree with everything you wrote

    It is three in the morning and I just woke up from a terrifying nightmare. A PTSD flashback of my husband sexually assaulting me and beating me. In my dream I fight him off, in real life I was the submissive wife who took the abuse and endured the torture.

    This blog seems like a place to find a group of people who understand that kind or sorrow, terror and hardship.

    • Maria on February 2, 2019 at 9:31 am

      Dear Moon Beam, i’m So sorry. Praying for you.

    • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 9:32 am

      Oh this is terrible I’m so sorry! May the Lord cover you and protect your heart💜

    • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 9:33 am

      I’m so sorry! That’s terrible and I pray for comfort and that the Lord protect your heart.💜

      • Moon Beam on February 4, 2019 at 4:27 pm

        Just another day in the life of abused, dismissed, objectified Christian wife who honored her vows and was used and exploited.

        I thought a little reality check was needed. Fleeing evil is common sense. God gave us brains. It is ok to use them. It is also ok to use the protection of the laws of the land to put some guidelines on predators posing as spouses.

        • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 5:30 pm

          I’m really thankful you are free!
          You went through so very much and I think you have a lot of clarity in these circumstances.
          Many of us here also have not had your circumstances but we’re receipients of ‘COVERT abuse’ it’s important that people who doubt or are have wired in skewed beliefs about emotional abuse get educated on this.

          When abuse is covert things are not always so clear of fleeing or getting help etc.
          Victim survivors are often so worn down just trying to remain functional.
          Even for many who get more education of exposure to understanding the specifics (the patterns really) would not say quickly ‘abuse’ or emotional abuse is happening to them… it takes them a long time to be honest with themselves sometimes where they can admit they ARE being covertly emotionally abused.
          It’s really in the patterns and cycle that abuse continues and often escalates with other stress factors and not enough interventions in the dynamic.

    • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 7:15 am

      wow I get it and I am so sorry. I was hoping those kind of night terrors ended the further away you got from all of this. How long have you been separated?

      You know what really sucks?! How the abuse can still screw with you. The rest of your day gets messed up because of the terror, disgust, embarrassed, dirty feel you are left with for the rest of the day. Even with major prayer warriors fighting with me it’s a struggle. I pray you have those warriors in your life too.

  16. JoAnn on February 2, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Moon Beam, Thank the Lord that in your dream you were able to fight him off! Dreams are the mind’s way of resolving unresolved issues. Now is time to celebrate your freedom from such abuse. I hope that you find the healing that you need.

    To others here, a thought crossed my mind when I read what was said above about God hating divorce: perhaps the reason He hates it is because of what causes it: hardness of heart and unrepentant sin. My nephew’s wife divorced him just because she wouldn’t work to restore their relationship after my nephew got the right medication for a condition that he had that put their marriage through a really hard time. She was “tired” and she wouldn’t forgive. Her heart was, you could say, hardened. to me, that’s the kind of divorce the Lord hates. God also hates an evil heart that will harm others. That’s where abuse comes in, and adultery, and evil speaking, etc. I truly believe that He would not require any of His beloved children to continue to suffer under such evil. Yes, martyrs have suffered and died for their faith, but that is a whole other category, and I don’t think it applies here when speaking of marriage.

    • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 9:46 am

      I agree with many of your points about the harden heart.
      I’m sorry about your nephews marriage ending. Would you consider another point of view regarding his wife’s position and your comment on ‘unforgiveness’.
      I don’t have much detail about your nephews behavior or what he needed meds for.. could be he has some emotional dis regulation???
      If he was an offender often sometimes the other spouse is beaten down by a huge about of small cuts and the safety (emotional) is death by a million cuts.
      Some marriages end in a casualty because of another’s spouses emotional health that went too long not getting appropriate interventions.
      This isn’t about forgiveness but trust in my opinion.
      This is just a different perspective not saying that it is this way.
      When dealing with my very stubborn h in the past … he rarely was willing to do what needed to be done until things were in the 9th inning.
      This is common for controlling and avoidant behaviors when it comes to how their behavior costs them.
      When my husband believedme that I was done working on a broken marriage that was out of balance, all of a sudden he grew great insight and motivation to deal with his own side of the street.
      Situations that require medical neurological interventions are not what Destroy a marriage but the lack of getting proper treatment and the lack of the person taking personal responsibility of their own issues and choices to problem solve.

      • JoAnn on February 4, 2019 at 12:02 pm

        Sly, yes, I agree with what you said. In my nephew ‘s situation, he had been very depressed, and while I don’t know what went on, I do know that he got medicine and counseling and is now doing very well. She saw the change, but she just wanted out. She is a nominal Christian, so she didn’t really have the grace or determination to build a new relationship with him. In today’s world, divorce is so easy and available. Vows are not “sacred” in the minds of many people, and promises are easily broken. Sad.

        • JoAnn on February 4, 2019 at 5:05 pm

          Aly, I’m sorry I misspelled your name. My arthritic finger hit the wrong key and I didn’t catch it before hitting send.

          • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 5:32 pm

            No worries! I’ve done it often;)

  17. JoAnn on February 2, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    N, I hope that you will read Sheep’s explanation of divorce, because it seems to be a very clear definition: in so many cases, the “divorce” is already an accomplished fact, long before one party files the papers. I think it’s important to put this issue into a proper perspective. God hates divorce, yes, but I think it’s more because of what causes it: unrepentant sin, hardness of heart, and evil intent. We know from scripture that these are also listed as things the Lord hates.

  18. Ruth on February 3, 2019 at 2:14 am

    I am responding to you in general and specifically your post on 9:55am Jan 31 referencing “How We Love”.
    You wrote: “I sited before that I’m a person who wants to discuss the issue and my husband isn’t . He felt abused. So for me to “repent” in his eyes would be to stop discussing things. He called it arguing.”
    Veronica, I would say this is NOT ABUSE. In this case, your H was being easily offended. He has some issue on his part that he needs to deal with like unforgiveness, emotional immaturity, emotional unavailability, etc. You were ‘interfering’ with his withdrawal not abusing. Now, if God is dealing with him to up his game on his communication with you and he is intentionally saying NO! I’M Putting in earplugs and sailing to Joppa – well, then yes, repentance is in order. 😉
    Now, when the ladies confide in you that they *feel* emotionally abused, do you ask them what’s going on at home? Compassionately ask for examples (hopefully without sounding like you’re skeptical😐). If the wife is truly abused and she discerns you have a judgy attitude about her situation from the first sentence that she shares, then she’all shut down and tell you nothing more. But if she senses that you believe her, then she will tell you more and more if you ask.

    Veronica, there very well may be many young women saying they feel abused over behaviors like:
    “my husband forgot my birthday”
    “he leaves his socks on the floor all the time”
    “He watches too much TV”
    “He won’t rise up and be the spiritual leader of our home”
    “He spends too much time with his buddies”
    “He is not romantic or fun anymore”

    These are disappointing and hurtful, but I wouldn’t classify them as abuse.

    Here are some distinctions for me between a disappointing marriage and an abusive, destructive marriage. One biggie is FEAR. You might be sad in a disappointing marriage but in an abusive marriage FEAR is pervasive.
    I have been afraid of my H raging at me at night.

    I have been afraid of what he would do if I initiate a divorce. He’s already promised to make sure I come out “without a penny”.

    I have been afraid of him raging at my children. 😔

    These rages included a raised voice, profanity, insults, and threats. Many times the “Bible” was brought into it. I was called Jezebel. I was told that I was practicing rebellion like the sin of witchcraft. I was going to Hell; he bound judgment on me and more. All the while, I say very little. There’s no use trying to reason with him; he feels no conviction for his behavior.

    I started having chronic migraines from the stress of being nervous wreck around him, constantly having to keep the kids quiet so he won’t yell at them, having to juggle the bills (I HATED asking for grocery money bc he made me feel bad very time) and then the worst stress of all: sex. My anxiety during sex was bad bc I knew he didn’t love me but that was the price I paid to keep him from blowing up.
    Right now, we are doing an in-house separation and my migraines have dropped in frequency by 50%🙂 I’ve also noticed that since we’re no longer sexually involved (or sleeping in the same bed), i’m not as easily startled. My fight or flight response used to be easily triggered but now my whole system is more relaxed!
    Veronica, do you notice the ladies who confide in you that they’re abused are kinda jumpy or antsy? You will have to be perceptive to notice this. I was literally like an animal who’d been physically beaten, only my H has never hit me. It was the fear of his presence that made my stomach drop. When I’d hear his truck in the driveway in the evening and I’d say “Dad’s Home” to the kids, there was always a fear and wondering about what kind of mood he’d be in.
    The announcement “dad’s home” also meant:
    Kids straighten up!
    Absolutely NOBODY CRYING EVEN IF YOU’RE HURT – BC he would immediately get mad.

    I’m not saying I did the right thing, look at my great example. Sadly no.

    I read the “How We Love” book. It’s great! A couple of years ago during a small period of mental clarity for my H, I convinced him to read that book with me. While we read it, he had some good insights, but after a while he got offended over something and he quit reading with me. But I know why he didn’t want to think about the insights from the book; it’s bc he would have to accept the reality that his parents, especially his dad had a few big flaws in their parenting. My H likes to keep his dad on a pedestal in his mind.
    H also has all or nothing, Black/White thinking, very rigid; too bad, he can’t see both the weaknesses and strengths of his family of origin. Jesus wants us to walk in the light. Living in denial is akin to walking in darkness. But he’s not gonna listen to me, I’m Jezebel after all. 🙄

    Here’s another issue that is not a one size fits all solution. Matthew 18. In my case, my H claims to be a Christian. But he doesn’t go to church anymore so what good would it do for him to get kicked out of a church he doesn’t go to anymore?

    • Veronica on February 3, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Your making my point exactly. My husband felt abused and you are saying NO it was not abused, just “easily offended”.
      You see my point my husband would have come to you explaining how he felt abuse and you would turn him away.

      Years ago when we only had 2 kids my husband would say clean this yard up. so me and the kids would do just that. He would come home and say it wasn’t good enough . Or he would just raise the bar by adding more to the original command.
      I would say I had something to discuss with him and he would give a window of time….thursday 6-6:30 a.m. so i would set up in the living room and discuss my concerns what every they where,( this happened a few times) . He would say are you done talking when the 1/2 hr was up and I’d say yes , he would not respond and simply leave for work. (control by silence)
      He had expendable money and I was on a budget. (control by finances)

      Ok so i call all that emotional abuse you may say I just felt easily offended.

      For me the greater lesson wasn’t how to get my husband to conform to what I believe was emotionally safe and loving. The bigger picture was that God knew one day I would want to have a great crown to lay before His feet. And that I would be clothed in the righteous deed of the saints. (Rev 19:7-8. What better way to conform me than to drive me to the cross and His word . Which hardship and pain does.
      I learned little by little with each offence I felt and every trial I face just exactly what God is teaching me. Obedience, blind faith. Just like all of you.

      • JoAnn on February 3, 2019 at 11:47 pm

        Veronica, now that you have elaborated on your marriage relationship, I can see why you feel abused. Perhaps you are, but when you first began to write here, it seemed like you downplayed what was happening. For sure, your husband is very controlling, and he is not offering you much in the relationship. What you have is, at the very least, a very disappointing relationship, and the fact that he doesn’t want to change or even talk about how to improve your marriage, is painful for you, I’m sure. I do agree with Ruth, that the main hallmark of an abusive relationship is fear. However, with a man who has no heart to change, who is unloving, this is a very difficult relationship. You have a heart to gain the Lord in this situation, and I commend you for that. We are called in all situations to “gain more of Him.” (Phil. 3:8) As you strive to live a godly life and practice godly living even with a difficult man, the Lord will bless. Continue to seek His will in your marriage, and encourage others to do so also. He manifests His will in different ways to different people, so this is not a “one size fits all” situation. Grace be with you.

        • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 7:30 am


          So well said. With this elaboration things are a bit more clear but still hazy to me. I totally agree that Pauls teaching needs to come in here. This is a case where the bible actually speaks truth on both sides and it is a matter of obedience, faith and seeking God’s direction.

          I have a friend who has survived a very abusive marriage and the chains of hatred have finally fallen off her husband and things are changing after 20 years of marriage, prayer and hard core fasting because God told her to. Yet the same woman hears God telling me I must separate. She is also thinking I will need to divorce. This shocked me but in the depths of my heart I realize it may be true while I still hold out for hope.

          What Leslie teaches is if you stay, stay well and if you leave, leave well. Either way staying strong, healthy, without bitterness or resentment, etc. She is teaching godly principles and truth and letting the individual pray and have free will to seek God’s truth. This is what God did for us too because he loves us so much.

      • Maria on February 4, 2019 at 3:04 am


        I feel sorry for you and your children. I was blessed to have a wonderful father. Doesn’t sound like you and your kids have much of a relationship with your husband. Have you ever wondered if your son turned to drugs because of the pain he was experiencing? And sounds like you never challenged your husband to grow as a person.

      • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 9:58 am

        You are not describing a marriage that would Glorify God and be a safe, nurturing, connecting place of a home.
        Did your husband repent and transform since he claims to be a believer?

  19. Maria on February 3, 2019 at 11:39 am


    My husband’s family of origin sounds very much like your family. I hope this is not what is happening in yours. His mother submitted in ALL things. She was too scared to speak up so there was no conflict. She would hide grocery money to buy the kids treats. My husband and his siblings really ‘respect’ her. They talk to her gently but their relationship is not deep. To people on the outside, her kids have done well. They are highly educated volunteer in the church do all the religious things. Not one of them drink, smoke or have tried drugs. But on the inside there is so much dysfunction that no one talks about. They pretend it doesn’t exist. Their relationships are not deep enough to talk about these things. They are very cordial towards each other. I have described some of my husband’s private behavior. My sister in law has submitted to her husband. She has no time to take care of herself and has many health issues. But to everyone on the outside all is well.

    • Nancy on February 4, 2019 at 5:23 pm


      This is so sad. It all ‘looks good’ from the outside, but a person’s heart suffers greatly due to a lack of emotional connection and such superficial ‘obedience’ ( peace ‘faking’). At the root is, as you say, fear. This is not how our Lord intended relationship to be!

      I grew up in a similar household. No one spoke about the deep seated pain of disconnection. My sibs grew up to be very ‘successful’ but there is little connection there. It is only by God’s grace that He has shown us ( my h and I) that ‘peacemaking’ is hard work that involves confrontation and holding one another accountable to a higher level of intimacy.

  20. Ruth on February 4, 2019 at 1:48 am

    If I understand you correctly, you think God wanted you suffer in your marriage so that you would learn “obedience and blind faith” and bc you stuck it out in this marriage, that frankly sounds really bad, you’ll have a great crown?
    Veronica, I think you’ll have a crown more bc of the position of your heart than bc you’ve been strong enough to tough it out with your H. You seem devoted to honoring the truth of God’s Word even though you were harsh to Jenny when she said she had filed for divorce. I think you love God and not just in a legalistic way even if we don’t agree on God’s gracious provision for the victims of verbal and emotional abuse – which is a REAL thing – whether you believe it or not.
    >Here’s what I found on ‘Got Questions’ about Receiving Crowns: (direct quote)
    2 Timothy 4:8) “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” We inherit this crown through the righteousness of is an everlasting crown, promised to all who love the Lord and eagerly wait for His return. Through our enduring the discouragements, persecutions, sufferings, or even death, we know assuredly our reward is with Christ in eternity (Philippians 3:20). This crown is not for those who depend upon their own sense of righteousness or of their own works. Such an attitude breeds only arrogance and pride, not a longing, a fervent desire to be with the Lord.
    > Revelation 2:10) “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” This crown is for all believers, but is especially dear to those who endure sufferings, who bravely confront persecution for Jesus, even to the point of death. > end quote
    Veronica, that does not sound like stuffing down hurt upon hurt upon hurt from a cruel husband. At least the way I see it? The crowns where it speaks of suffering and persecution is related to suffering for preaching the gospel in hostile territories – not living quietly with a jerk.

    Here’s another point where I disagree with you: If your H came to me saying he felt abused by you when you explained your feelings, then No, I would not simply shut him down with a blanket statement: “you’re not being abused. Suck it up.” I would explain the difference between the motivation of abusers vs a spouse who wants to share their feelings.
    Abusers want to crush.
    Abusers lack empathy.
    They want to humiliate.
    They unleash all their anger on you, their safe target. Because they have to put on a show for their pastor and for their boss and for the neighbor. Heck, my abuser has shown more kindness to complete strangers he will never see again.
    The victim is left feeling hopeless.
    Veronica, you are no abuser and you know that. Your H probably just didn’t like listening to any negative feedback. If I understand you correctly- a difficult childhood gave him a fragile ego, poor empathy skills, and weak ability and/or desire to be vulnerable and intimate. So then, you and your children had to walk on eggshells and keep jumping over higher and higher bars? 😥
    Veronica, it is wonderful to walk in forgiveness and without bitterness. However something is OFF here. The way you describe the harshness of your H’s demands over the yardwork is like someone who knows down DEEP that the they were wounded but they made a decision to rationalize and minimize their hurt whether the other person ‘meant to’ hurt them or not. It’s like the ‘victory’ talk I hear sometimes at churches where you’ve gotta fake it til you make it. 🤪
    To determine whether your H was or is currently abusive, you would have to see a big picture not just a couple of isolated quotes from your worst fights ever. These ladies who are confiding in you that they’re being abused – if one of them told you about an incident like the one where you poured your heart out to your husband and he hopped up went to work without saying a word, then I’d say, RED FLAG! That shows extreme indifference to a spouse. If it’s an out of the ordinary behavior for the husband in question, like he just got fired from his job, he couldn’t sleep all night, etc., then maybe such callous behavior is an anomaly but if he is a self-absorbed jerk regularly, then YES! that’s abusive. It’s destructive to Your personhood. Abuse is on a continuum. The worst thing about abuse on the milder end of the continuum is getting people to call it FOR WHAT IT IS! If it’s severe, the victim is told to flee. But if the abuse is mild, EVERYONE wants to justify it-
    1. The abuser- quote from my H: “I don’t abuse you; you provoke me!”
    2. The victim- it’s not really that bad; after all God is teaching me to be patient and holy by staying married to this abuser.
    3. From church leadership- women! Don’t give up on your wayward Husbands no matter how bad and unruly he may get! Just keep praying for him! Be submissive and show him with your quiet witness the love of Christ. You may be the only chance he has to get saved!! [whoa! That’s a lot of pressure 😐]

    Veronica you seem to love God and really want to please Him. Everyone would agree that hardships in life (marital, health, financial) will drive a believer to seek God – that does not put God’s stamp of approval on suffering in an abusive marriage! If you found out a father was emotionally and verbally abusing his Christian child in the house next door to you, would you say “this will make them stronger!!” or would you call Child Protective Services?
    What I’m saying is, just bc YOU came through your trial stronger does not mean you should be so quick to doubt the stories these young women who are confiding in you. And don’t tell them how difficult your marriage has been like that’s supposed to inspire them to endure. They need to be pointed to someone who’s educated about or LIVED THROUGH emotional abuse for advice. If what they’re experiencing is not truly abusive, then traditional marriage counseling or personal counseling would probably be helpful. They will be grateful to you for pointing them in the right direction. 🙂
    Veronica, about 4 years ago the abuse in my marriage began to escalate. I also had more and more difficulty in rationalizing my H’s behaviors and words. I had told no one about the hell I lived in bc I believed it was my job as a Godly wife to honor my H by not saying anything negative about him. God knew I REALLY needed help and I had NOWHERE to get it and no money to pay a counselor and I was too hard-headed to reach out due to my ‘honor your H’ mindset. So, God in His wonderful graciousness allowed me to hear part of a Focus on the Family Program on Christian radio with the lady who sounded like SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT MY LIFE. Nobody had ever understood MY STUFF before!
    Who was this woman??
    It was Leslie Vernick! That day I googled her and found this blog. Listening to the wise counsel from Leslie and from so many of the other regular folks on this blog have helped me tremendously. They don’t push people to divorce. They don’t PUSH victims to do anything. When you have been manipulated and scared to make a decision or make a mistake bc what “He” would think, then you have to re-learn to think for yourself like a normal, healthy adult again – as lead by the Holy Ghost, of course. 😉
    You should read “Not Under Bondage” by Barbara Roberts.
    Sorry if there’s several typos. I am a bad writer and even worse typist. 😝

    • Natalie on February 7, 2019 at 12:23 am

      Oh! I was driving when that focus on the Family podcast came on. I pulled into a park and listened to Leslie. That podcast started me down the road that saved my life 5 years later when I finally escaped 24 years of horror and abuse. I was listening with you.

    • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 7:42 am


      If Ruth is on the right track, I want to let you in on something God has been working in me. My husband had grafted into my vine, not Jesus, and was sucking the life out of me and I was trying to desperately save him, heal him, make him whole. But I can’t. I am NOT his savior. I am responsible for my behavior and my obedience to the word and to love him the best way I know how and in line with scripture and in whatever way God tells me.

      At church on Wed the song that goes… His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.. was part of worship time. I was immediately pulled mentally out of worship to realize, I had run out on my husband (which is not true though I did leave) and I certainly haven’t given up, but that was irrelevant. After wallowing in self loathing for a couple of verses God kind of kicked my back side and said, you are NOT his Savior! My love will never give up and you are making room for that.

      As long as I stayed my h would never graft into the vine of Christ. Now it’s between him and God on that end and right now it’s between me and God and my needed healing on this end.

      I hope this helps. I have asked some hard questions above and am still curious to find what you did learn about yourself in the book.

      • Nancy on February 11, 2019 at 4:04 am


        The image of your husband ‘grafting into you’ spoke volumes to me. How you tried to heal, make him whole etc…. and realizing that you are not his saviour.

        So well said.

        I think it’s also possible to be ‘grafted into’ the concept of marriage. As in, ‘I am looking to The Marriage to meet my needs’. This is where The Marriage has become something that is supposed to ‘feed me’ as opposed to me ‘feeding into the marriage’ by me loving my spouse.

  21. Veronica on February 4, 2019 at 7:39 am

    JoAnn, Maria and Ruth,

    Where is the coffee? Wish we could sit,pray and chat.
    First I’m thankful you all have this place to talk things out. However I hope you all have close friends to do life with daily. It’s very difficult to speak into someones life blog by blog.

    Yes I felt abused and my husband did at times also. And yes we BOTH were. We both felt like we were walking on egg shells. I’ll go out on a limb and say every married couple feels that at times, for weeks and maybe even years.
    I guess Sarah felt used and abused when Abraham said…say your my sister. Not a good snap shot of a healthy relationship.

    I’m very close with all my kids. I know because they call me and we discuss their lives. My daughter and daughter in law wanted me in the room for the birth of my grand kids. Tears and laughter shared with each and every one of them. We are in a constant family group text. Where they share life experiences so each can comment. Boy are the comments funny for me to get to see. (2 live a few hours away and 2 live very close)

    In our sons testimony (which he has been asked to give at local Christian schools) he says I tried to please dad but it was impossible. (my husband has heard his testimony) In his testimony he also says other things that he felt pushed him to drugs. However, again he can’t blame his bad REactions on anything except himself. His lack of dependence on the Lord. Or else it’s like saying he was put in a situation and drugs was the only way out. God says he always provided a way of escape 1 Cor 10:13. So in his testimony he says as he shifted his focus to pleasing God then God provided a way of escape.

    Our kids and Dad. Dad is fun, adventurous,smart,full of energy, regular church goer. When I say regular I mean twice a week consistently. So their relationship with him is based on all of the above. I do not see any of them going to dad with life concerns or issues or biblical questions. Financial questions , yes. Personal issues , No.

    What I’m seeing to you girls is we agree on depending on the Lord, we all have seen God provide in different ways. We don’t see God as the problem. We see others at times as the problem and we see our on sinful responses AT TIMES as the problem. (I’m not saying we are the problem) (I’m simply saying I’ve seen humility in these blogs of each taking responsibility) .
    The big difference I see is that in the bible I see Marriage defined differently then any other relationship. I see it as a Covenant an example of Christ and the Church. He died for us WHILE we were yet sinners. I also see God saying this can be broken if one spouse has an adulterous relationship with someone other than his/her spouse . (I’ve already defined adultery from the greek and hebrew) I’ve also said if someone if physically abused, leave for safety, (separation not divorce) . (My mother in law always said separate for safety and if this person doesn’t repent then they have a bad heart. Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves) meaning stay separated and if this person is that selfish he/she will sin in other ways looking for self gratification , ie: adultery. lol yes sometimes the 4 of us invite older, tougher woman to coffee, they tell it old school style. I’d say it like this, follow the bible and it will squeeze out what is already in them or us for that matter. So When lifes pressures (husband or other stuff) come our way we go to the word and continually let that circumstance grow us. I’ve become more dependent on God through lifes ups and downs. As you all have.

    When our son felt like his only way of escape from HIS feelings of not being able to please dad was to do drugs. Was he right? He FELT there was no other way. My point is we cant be led by our feelings we have to be lead by the Word. This is where we differ and we will now need some cake with our coffee. I believe the word says, stay. Stay and stop looking for a way of escaping your husband and start refocusing on My word. I have a way of escape and it will not differ from My Word that says marriage covenant is only broken with adultery or desertion. If your husband says say your my sister one week. Then get together with the 4 and talk, cry, pray whatever it takes. But don’t try and make My Word conform to your way of thinking. Continue to sift through the word and let it change your mind.

    I’m pray we will all continue to sift. I mean that literally I have been praying for you girls.

    • Veronica on February 4, 2019 at 8:23 am

      oops somehow I erased a sentence from the first paragraph.

      I was saying that I have 4 very close girlfriends that we do life together. Nothing is off limits here.

      • Maria on February 4, 2019 at 9:25 am

        Thanks for your prayers. I do have a few close friends and family who are walking through this with me. The reality is that many scatter when we try to be real. Many of us here have not based our decisions on feelings. We have thought through things and sought counsel. The decisions we have taken we’re not taken lightly, and are not because we want an excuse not to be married. It is because it is not possible to live with certain people. They have no problem with the way they behave. They just don’t want to be exposed. I wish you could walk with someone on a daily basis going through what we are going through. You would have a better understanding. We also have a responsibility to our kids. If we were to apply Matt 18 to our situations, our husbands would’ve have to be treated as unbelievers. I hope you are willing to support the women and the children you advise to stay.

        • Veronica on February 4, 2019 at 10:15 am

          I have and still do walk with women who are emotionally abused. Some have stayed some have left. Some have left and returned. We got it all here.

          He learned obedience through the things He suffered. (Heb 5:8) Please keep that in mind.

          Seeking counsel is great. There is safety in a multitude of counselors.
          (Prov 15:22,Prov 11:14)Safety in the hebrew means: DELIVERANCE (usually by God through human agency)

          (Hosea 4:6) God said we are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

          Remember that our Pastor disagreed with us cutting fellowship with our prodigal son. Our pastor is only a man. We get good counsel from a multitude and then we sifted through the word and then we apply IT.

          And lastly you said our husbands just dont want to be exposed. Tooooo Bad. If you have to implement Matt 18 and can find other belivers who agree that your husband is in sin vs “just disappointing” then I would say DO IT. Do it because it’s loving and respectful.

          Uhhhh Maria, Where is that coffee?

          • Maria on February 4, 2019 at 12:27 pm

            I believe I am applying the Bible in my situation. I think there is a fundamental difference between the way you interpret the Bible and the way I do. I believe that many of the passages in the Bible that have generalizations apply to all situations. You seem to exclude marriage. If marriage were to be specifically excluded, then the Bible would say so. I am still confused on why you don’t cover your head. I’m sure the Greek word does not exempt you from that. By the way, I do know some women who cover their hair and would say you are not following the Bible.

            My husband is difinitely sinning. But he may charm his way and lie and church leadership would think it’s in my head. He would not submit to Matt 18. And I don’t know a single church that would implement it. That all aside, I think it would be very unwise to do it. He would take it out on my kids.

            Our church is reaching out to a tribe in Africa. Many of the men have many wives and have come to Christ. Does the Bible address that?

          • Maria on February 4, 2019 at 12:30 pm

            Another thing, marriage is sacred in the eyes of God. It needs to be held to a higher standard. Who are we fooling by minimizing sin, just to stay married? Legally, I am married to my husband, but we have been divorced for a very long time.

    • Veronica on February 4, 2019 at 9:23 am

      Hebrews 5:8
      was at the end too and I guess I erased it.

      can you tell this is the first time I have ever blogged.

    • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 10:28 am

      I feel very sad for your husband, your children, and yourself that your husband is not connected emotionally personally to his own children.
      This often is because his own relationship with how he sees God and others is damaged.
      I don’t have time this am to provide you with the scriptures that show God’s emotional character and nature but our Lord is very connecting and safe emotionally.
      I fear you have accepted your husbands ‘injuriEs of imprint’ to self soothe with what could really be going on here.
      I’m glad that you have added desertion to your biblical divorce perspectives.

      See my husband (through interventions) saw that his unfaithfulness was the affair he was having with himself, his feelings,his needs, his comforts, his norms and values etc.
      He broke our covenant by all of the above given the role and covenant he made with God.
      By the way, we are in a repaired marriage and a lifetime of transformation, praiseGod for the true Truths about scripture!

      You might want to further look into Co-dependency and some of the traits that come with that posture. There is a reason why you would allow such low standards of treatment for your children and for them to witness the treatment of you in your marriage.

      • Veronica on February 4, 2019 at 11:08 am

        I’m thankful you are in a repaired marriage.

        I like to stick to God’s definitions of words that he authored. He defines affair/adultery not me.

        I’ll shorten your description of affair to mean “selfish” . You can correct me if I’m wrong.

        I cant imagine you or me saying to our son in laws…Oh you feel she has had an affair of “selfishness” so yes I applaud you for divorcing her and splitting time with her and the kids.

        It seems to me that God said adultery because that’s what He meant.

        After work I’ll look for your scriptures about Gods emotional character and nature.

        • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 11:17 am

          Please keep in mind that the discussion is not only about Divorce but also about separation and restoring healthy relationships that can bring Glory to God.
          You keep bringing divorce into as a black and white process and that is not what many of us here are describing.

          I have more to comment later on the selfishness as an affair with your example or definition.

          Any affair is a deeper heart aligning issue.
          Adultery is a betrayal on many levels.

        • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 11:25 am

          Also if you want to use the affair definition of ‘selfishness’ then please include the following..
          Abandoning, neglect, dismissing another, no regard for the experience of the other, no care for other – the one who you/he/she vowed to care for in a sacred way.

          The posture above is not in alignment with the sacredness of Marriage as God defines.

          • Nancy on February 4, 2019 at 12:08 pm

            I completely agree, Aly. That posture is not in alignment with the sacredness of Marriage as God defines.

            As I stated earlier, knowing the ‘why’ is never an excuse for allowing sinful behaviour to continue.

            Once we realize the high view our Lord has of marriage, and how much He loves both individuals inside it – that’s when things begin to change. We begin to see that tolerating a pattern of emotional distance is not at all loving. Nor is it a reflection of God.

        • Nancy on February 4, 2019 at 11:28 am


          Aly is not divorced. Not sure why you keep bringing things back to divorce…?

      • JoAnn on February 4, 2019 at 1:33 pm

        Veronica and Aly, When Aly’s husband “realized” that he “saw that his unfaithfulness was the affair he was having with himself, his feelings,his needs, his comforts, his norms and values etc.
        He broke our covenant by all of the above given the role and covenant he made with God.” That was the Lord activating His word in her husband’s heart. Veronica, you seem to be determined to take the word of God (logos) very literally, but God likes to activate His word in us, (rhema) to speak to us directly. When we go to the Word of God, we must approach it as His way of not only speaking to us, but also feeding us. (Jer 15:16) That is when His word literally speaks to us and becomes rhema. We don’t need to think about definitions or context; the Lord quickens His word in us and we are convicted (in her husband’s case), inspired, and nourished. Of course, when this happens, there is a clear sense of enlivening. Ahaa! If that doesn’t happen, then we may be taking the word in a wrong way, so this is very much in the spiritual realm. I have experienced this many times: when I go to the Word in need, and a phrase or sentence will “pop” off the page at me, it becomes the Lord’s speaking to me, rhema, and I get the help.

        • Nancy on February 4, 2019 at 4:06 pm

          JoAnn, this is so KEY!

          That’s why Hebrews 4:12 is so precious to me- His word IS indeed alive and active. It is not simply a bunch of instructions, or stories even.

          It is astounding when this happens. Humbling and astounding 🙂

          • JoAnn on February 4, 2019 at 5:00 pm

            Nancy, Yes! when the Lord speaks to us in this way, it changes us.

        • Ruth on February 5, 2019 at 8:21 am

          Very well explained! 🙂

    • Elle on February 6, 2019 at 6:34 pm

      Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Did you notice that only those who are repentant have a relationship with Christ? The rest He does not know or have a relationship with!

  22. Janice D on February 4, 2019 at 7:49 am

    It is telling to me when someone on this blog site is truly searching for wisdom and when they just want to argue their positions.Like many others here,I believe in marriage as God ordained it and struggled for a long time before I separated last summer.I read Leslie’s book and didn’t respond here for quite a while.I was strengthened and encouraged by the gracious way that hurting sisters( and some brothers) were treated.We don’t all agree and are all on our own journey.The Holy Spirit is evident here and I trust the wisdom I have found here.I was raised on the verse “God hates divorce” by a mother who stayed in a severely destructive marriage.I don’t think the purpose of this site is to change anyone’s mind,but to show caring concern for each other.Veronica and N,you are new here and I believe if you humble yourselves a bit God may have something to teach you.

    • JoAnn on February 4, 2019 at 12:44 pm

      Janice D, you shared a good perspective. In Matthew 5:3, the Lord says “ blessed are the poor in spirit (humble, willing to learn)… when someone comes here to just promote his or her own view, it violates the purpose of the blog. I have learned so much from everyone here. I am a counselor, and though I’m not trained for marriage counseling, the Lord has brought couples to me anyway, so I realized I needed to learn. I have read Leslie’s books and I read and participate in this blog. I am so grateful for those who have been willing to share their stories and learn from one another, and they do it in a loving and caring way.

      • Veronica on February 4, 2019 at 5:21 pm

        This is my first time I ever blogged. I must have misunderstood.
        I thought this was a place where we discuss our issues/problems and then share how to apply biblical ways of handling lifes issues. (Acts 17:1-3)

        I feel passionate about God’s word and the careful application of it. Hence the references to deep understanding of the original language 🙂

        If we all agreed on the definition of emotional abuse then I guess this would be a great place for me.

        You have all be emotionally abused by your spouses and feel a kindred spirit here so to speak. I never in any setting want to promote “my own view” that is exactly the opposite of me. I want to know the truth, promote that and change my way of thinking (Acts 17:11). At my bible study table we have 2 things. A sand sifter with that Acts verse on it and a card board stand up that says.
        I THINK on one side and I FEEL on the other. We all know that we never say those two sayings during bible study. It doesn’t matter what WE think or feel. We sift (hence the sifter) through the word and we change our minds to line up with the word. After bible study you can say I think, I feel, all day long .
        So I misunderstood this blog page. I took it as a bible study. Hence my original statement quoting scripture about sin being pleasurable for a time. I’m sorry if I hurt Jenny’s feelings. Please forgive me. So since this is sharing time for you all, a time of, I think , I feel. Which is great and soooo needed. I guess you will do better without my input.
        What a blessing to have this space.

        • Maria on February 4, 2019 at 8:17 pm


          I would encourage you to stick around and interact with us and listen to get an idea of what we are going through. You have some preconceived ideas of our motives. This may help you to empathize with the women who are in destructive marriages in your church. I know you are passionate about the Bible. A word of encouragement from the Bible goes a long way. Sharing about how you have responded to trials is a very effective teaching tool. I hope you will reconsider and stay and chat with us. We can learn from each other. I do appreciate your prayers.

          • JoAnn on February 4, 2019 at 9:23 pm

            Veronica, I agree with Maria; please stay. There is much to learn….have you learned anything from what has been shared here? I certainly have. At the beginning of this thread, Leslie said this: “Friends, what scripture verses have helped you “see” that God cares about you and hates what’s happening to you? Let’s try to gather together as many Bible verses as we can that support God’s view so that confusion is cleared up around some of these false teachings so that spiritual oppression isn’t as easily masked as Biblical truth.” You did share scripture, even though not many others have. Nevertheless, the folks here are sharing from their experience and with their heart. That’s really where the Lord meets us….in the trenches of our daily lives.

          • Autumn on February 5, 2019 at 7:57 am

            I hope Veronica stays too. The more she shares the more she reveals the abusive environment she is living in. Her denial and rationalization is firmly in place but the scales seem to be lifting. When the realization hits she will need the support. The glass castle she built will crumble. No judgement here. We get it, even if she doesn’t just yet. Welcome Veronica and all others still in denial.

          • Aly on February 5, 2019 at 10:00 am

            I ca certainly understand your perspective and the common patterns that comes out of these dynamics.

            I would like to also add to your invitation that we all have a higher calling as ambassadors for Christ.
            This being that those that are either in denial or in denial and co-contributing to helping enabling or destructive marriages to be minimized or normalized will be held accountable some day!
            They will have to answer for their unwillingness to be further informed of truths about these things.

            As a facilitator in bible studies for years, I take this very seriously especially as a representative of Christ’s body. Not all facilitators or teacher do.
            But clearly we are held responsible for contributing even in an ‘indirect way’ to destructive marriages if we give advice that further victimizes a spouse!
            Or if we offer biblical examples to someone suffering for their free agency and are told they need to tolerate more of the issues and the unhealthy behaviors because we need to win them to Christ. Sometimes winning them to Christ can look far different than what we might first be more comfortable doing.
            Anyone who is in Veronica’s role of facilitating…I would strongly encourage the posture of further education and being challenged by many preconceived beliefs that come out of ignorance and a resistance to seeing the forest as well as the trees. Which can get traced back to child development or abstract deficiencies also.

        • Aly on February 4, 2019 at 10:59 pm

          Personally I’m confused!
          You wrote:
          “If we all agreed on the definition of emotional abuse then I guess this would be a great place for me.”

          Can you define how you see emotional abuse and can you define covert abuse.?
          This may be of great help for us here and to better grasp how you feel or how you think.

          Also, I just would like to point out since you are acquainted with imprints – maybe this will offer some perspective.

          When a person ‘feels or thinks’ doesn’t not mean that it is quickly invalidated.

          Just because someone feels or thinks a particular thing or experience…doesn’t mean it’s not reality.
          We can think or feel that someone is being harsh or abusive and the fact can still be that the person IS being harsh or abusive.
          Invalidating anyone because it’s a feeling or a thought is really not a good assessment of compassion or further truth finding.

          God’s Word is such an instrument that cleared so much family dysfunction in my life. I would have never saw the abuse (with my family of origin) without God’s word and his heart for his own.
          It WAS the lamp for my feet and it led me to where HE could give me freedom from things I first ‘felt’, thought, investigated and then revealed.
          And then HE held my heart and surrounded me with so many people to love and comfort me in my grief.

          • Remedy on February 6, 2019 at 9:21 am

            I sort of feel the ‘imprint’ excuse for justifying our some is in category of ‘I think or ‘I feel vs holding the Word of to our behaviors and adjusting through confession and repentance. Am I missing something here?

          • Remedy on February 6, 2019 at 9:22 am

            Our sin…..sorry for typo.

          • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 10:13 am

            So can you clarify? Are you saying that the imprint that has been touched on via How WE love…is justification for not growing in Christ?

            I hope I’m expressing this clearly, the HWL resource is to Actually identify the imprint and then change- Transform with the help of the Holy Spirit and others in the body.

            The ‘imprint’ is about attachment and bonding from our Family of origins and how those early experiences shape our thinking and interactions about our self worth etc.

            Are you saying that Veronica or myself? are using this as an excuse to stay ‘unchanged’?

            Just trying to clarify.

            How we have been shaped can impact how we interpret many things, many scriptures etc.
            This is why I think it’s important to identify the imprint often but NOT STAY there.
            Milan and Kay’s ministry is about REPAIR and restoration, recovery, lifetime growth…not about accepting status quo.

            Those who skew their resources to me show signs of deeper interventions and interpretations.
            Veronica said she identified with the vacillator imprint and this imprint is commonly linked with misinterpretations, sometimes quick assumptions etc. sometimes narrow reasonings which cause black and white areas that can be twisted upside down. More reactive in drawing conclusions that can set someone up for struggles.
            I said common areas, but not saying this is completely her specific imprint. This is just some examples.

            Most people can identify with a couple. Imprints.

          • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 10:25 am

            I think a simple way of looking at HWL resource is:
            An imprint is NOT a personality type…. but an ‘injury’ formed long ago.

            This is why addressing this is so important because how we relate and interact relationally will also be impacted by how we See God and how we interact with God.

            Many people want to see it as a personality- my husband first did because he is familiar with the five love languages.
            That is different.
            That is about our unique gifting and personality.
            Imprints go back to attachment whether we had a secure attachment or insecure attachment growing up.
            Again there are many developmenta stages that contribute to this.

  23. Ruth on February 4, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Leslie V
    (There is no reply link under your comment)
    What you said on-
    Feb 2 1:40 am You were replying to Sheep.

    Long Direct Quote: “Thanks Sheep for sharing so clearly, vulnerably and openly of your hurt with those who do not understand.
    I have just finished reading the book of Job. I think Job’s friends meant well but were so hurtful and God held them accountable. Yet, this time when I read Job I was struck by something I never really read before. At the end where it said that Job prayed for his friends – I realized, Job didn’t hold what they did against them. He knew they were off in their Spiritual interpretations as to why things were going haywire in his life and yet he showed grace. I don’t know if they were ever his friends again, but he didn’t want his experience with them to embitter him. And God restored Job’s fortunes, family and status to him. I think Veronica wants to be true to Scripture, yet she holds a rather literal and legalistic view of some things, while not adhering to the letter of the law (i.e. head coverings) in other places. Why does one get an exception and the other is for all times forever? I don’t know and that is for her to struggle and wrestle through. But thank you for sharing your heart with her and hopefully she will learn things she does not know yet so that she can more effectively help those God puts in her path”.
    I re-read this and I can’t just quote part of it, so Leslie’s whole quote 😉. That’s Gold ❤️
    Veronica, I sorry if we’ve come across as Know-It-All’s who could put you off – well, maybe I should speak for myself. I am thankful more people are becoming aware of emotional abuse. After awareness, comes a deeper understanding & compassion for the brokenness a victim of emotional abuse carries. If you read our stories, just to listening without trying to prove your point about scriptural grounds for divorce, then hopefully you will grow in this area.
    If you enjoy reading, you should pray about what book the Lord might want you to read about abuse victims.
    “Mending the Soul” by Stephen Tracy is an excellent Christian book. I would recommend it to everyone here! I don’t think it debates the biblical grounds for separation and divorce; this book is about the pervasiveness of abuse, the multi-layered effects of abuse, abusive people in the Bible, how abuse affects your relationship with God, the Bible’s stance on abuse, and healing from abuse – and more.

    • Veronica on February 6, 2019 at 11:45 am

      Aly and Remedy,
      I hope you can see this post. I couldn’t find a reply button below Aly’s last post.

      Yes Aly I identify with the Vacillator. Can you imagine my reaction to hearing my h say “we are not paying for our son to go to WOL bible college, he got himself into this mess and he will have to get himself out” then he leaves. He is the avoider, he has learned to leave because what would be coming out of my mouth by then would be…… as you described above. I would apply motive…. He’s in love with $ and control, since it wasn’t his idea he doesn’t like it, and I would resort to all good/all bad and at that moment he would be ALL BAD, etc etc . I’m sure you read the blog where I describe that situation and this did not happen because I knew to get good counsel.
      As a vacillator imprint I am sooooo thankful that I married an avoider. If I had married a vacillator it would probably been a very explosive marriage. As my h would leave me standing there with all those feelings and emotions it drove me to the God. IF my h would have been willing to fight it out with me I was more than willing. However the Vacillator feels better after and explosion so why would I need God.
      I hope that makes sense.

      Remedy, I like this part. ‘I think or ‘I feel vs holding the Word of to our behaviors and adjusting through confession and repentance.
      That’s what I’m working on and He who has begun a good work in me…..

  24. Janice D on February 5, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Veronica, We are fearfully and wonderfully made:body,soul,and spirit.We are thinking,feeling and acting imagebearers of our Heavenly Father.The Holy Spirit is the agent of change in us as we submit to the will,way and Word of God which is alive and active.I sense a zealous and fervent desire to be true to Gods word in you which is beautiful.I cannot imagine a women’s bible study without being able to say I think or I feel,this seems like a rigidity that is an attempt to control the outcome of every discussion? Whose rule is this? My women’s bible study at church is where I do life with about a dozen women.We learn the Bible but we also live,love,lament,and laugh it…I think that is how we love the Lord with all our heart,mind and strength.If God has brought you to this site it’s for a reason and I encourage you to pull up a chair and stay awhile.You are welcome here.

  25. Free on February 5, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Two thoughts have me itching to contribute. The first is that I don’t like abuse being dissected into physical or emotional. I don’t like it being labeled as covert or overt, latent or imprinted. Can we just say abuse and that is sufficient? Any attempt to clarify the term seems like a challenge to justify the claim. I find that hint of doubt insulting to the victim.

    My second thought is how we whitewash criminal activity because the criminal is our spouse. Let’s remember that stalking, assault (in all its forms), restraint of any kind, slander, defamation of character, pornography, imbezzlement, fraud, rape, exploitation and child endangerment are all crimes! Why are we Christians not bringing our abusive spouses to justice? Please, lets use the law designed to protect us AND scripture to guide our lives.

    Scripture is great but let’s keep it in context. I have traveled and lived within Muslim nations. A man can walk around his wife three times and divorce her. He can also marry a woman for a few hours. I have seen this is India. The Iman receives payment who issues a marriage decree so a man can “marry” a prostitute for an hour. I think these practices and this ancient culture was evident in biblical times.

    So, yes the Bible is alive and relevant and Holy, but it wasn’t written in 2019. It yields great richness, yet don’t down play the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Cut and paste is for WORD documents, not the Bible.

    • Aly on February 5, 2019 at 9:40 am

      I can see your point about Abuse being abuse but sadly we have to also remember how many people have been taught, modeled and heard ‘subconsciously’ that the term or definition of abuse or DV is when a spouse is beating up another spouse and the cops are called in.
      I recently had a woman/friend realize through talking and education that she was being abused physically and emotionally in very covert & controlling ways.
      It had to be peeled back.
      She thought since she didn’t look like a battered wife with black eye etc that if her husband occasionally ‘Kicked’ her .. that wasn’t So bad and more or less like a way of how some individuals believe in kicking their dog!
      I certainly don’t believe that is humane.
      Not everybody’s destructive relationship is So obvious to those that are in it or those close by. Manipulative abusive mindsets are very good at covert type of abuse and many of us who are more naive or not educated on what these specific things look like do not realize what IS taking place.

      Imprints are a whole different topic and like I mentioned to Veronica previously I think she may need to go back and understand the resource about How we Love to better represent their ministry. Because it clearly is about awareness, education, growth and transformation. It is not accepting imprints as they are and acting like that’s how someone should remain.

      Have you every heard someone say ‘well that’s just my personality’ to diffuse something that might be a relational issue?
      They need to learn that they are acting out of an Injury.
      An injury that can be healed and they can overcome with the help of many factors but mostly the courage and willingness to boldly look at it and sift through it with wise counsel and the Holy Spirit’s guiding.

      • Veronica on February 5, 2019 at 6:33 pm


        I’m in contact with Milan and Kay’s ministry. I have lead their class many times. Our church is working to bring them to our area with my help. I’m not sure if I was unclear about their ministry but you described it correctly : “Because it clearly is about awareness, education, growth and transformation. It is not accepting imprints as they are and acting like that’s how someone should remain.”
        It’s a tough class to go through. What helped me the most was that I was able to empathize with my h imprint. I no longer feel bitter toward him. Learning about my own imprint has helped me tremendously.

        • Aly on February 5, 2019 at 6:54 pm

          I’m glad that you have clarified some important aspects of HoW We love material.

          I’m also glad that you saw your husbands imprint, and you saw your own.
          Having empathy without Enabling is a key part of shifting a marital dynamic that needs growth.
          Leslie has this Empathy without enabling as ‘E’ in core I believe.

          Does your husband have a similar posture of empathy toward your imprint?

          Are you have a mutual balanced relationship where you feel cared for and your concerns / thoughts are just as valuable as his?

          Is your husband a man surrendered to the Lord, the Lords Character, Leadership… and are you following your husband as he follows Christ?

          By the way How we Love material is highly centered around ‘feelings’
          Do you have a feelings word list you work with your kids with?
          Are your children free to describe how they feel about their Dad or mom?

          • Veronica on February 5, 2019 at 8:04 pm

            I’m the vacillator so the HWL words list was VERY difficult for me.

            Our kids are grown we have grand kids now. However I did ask all our kids to take the HWL test and they all did.

            Before we were married.
            When we were dating I made him chocolate chip cookies to win his heart. I made several batches before he announced that oatmeal raisin cookies were his favorite. ARE they even dessert, sounds more like health food. However I had new information about the man I loved. So even though I whole heartedly believed that I was pleasing him with my chocolate chip cookies I now had new information from him as to what he really likes.
            That’s how I feel about the Word Of God as I learn what He really wants from me I get excited to serve Him. Knowing that I am pleasing the Lord that I love.

            I think on this blog you are all accustomed to evaluating if your spouses are surrendered to the Lord, empathetic to you etc. I learned early on that I wasn’t going to be able to change my h. I focus on learning about the Lord and how to please him. I figured i get a better return on my effort 🙂 and i have.

          • Aly on February 5, 2019 at 8:45 pm


            It is wise as a wife and the responsibility of a wife to pray, evaluate, seek wise counsel, observe, and discern if who we are following is also showing a heart posture & willingness of growth-change to following the Lord.
            This is a wise and responsible trait as a fellow helpmeet and for some who are advocating for their children.

            Especially in situations where problems arise and there are some patterns of marital issues.

          • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 8:21 am

            Veronica, and others here too,

            Veronica wrote:
            “I think on this blog you are all accustomed to evaluating if your spouses are surrendered to the Lord, empathetic to you etc. I learned early on that I wasn’t going to be able to change my h.”

            Veronica I would like to clarify some things about your comment above that puts an ALL in your thinking.

            I do not have any power directly to change my husband but clearly ‘especially’ when I was dealing with a man not honestly surrendered to Christ but going to church, professing Christianity, not studying God’s word… did I have a good reason of why I believed some character issues needed changing. To bring this to Truth and light, was actually a loving and honoring act of my God-given relationship designed by God.
            God changed me and my ability to have courage and strength to do difficult things that didn’t come easily. We all have things to grow and change and my husband’s role didn’t exclude him from this responsibility, in fact it defined him as even more responsible to lead his family into this by modeling humility and accountability.
            Please try to not get stuck on this section of you can’t change your husband, the important thing is to see How God wants to change you and this is not to enable behavior that is not more in the image of Christ!
            To change you might be you inviting your husband into healing and recovery for his lack of emotions and feelings.
            There is a reason this is suppressed and it often gets passed down into family systems and patterns.
            Some of the ‘coldest, phony people I know are choosing to be without feelings or emotions and it’s their choice to live that way and reap what they sow in relationship.
            I do think they miss out on critical aspects of intimacy & connection with others.

            You wrote:
            “I focus on learning about the Lord and how to please him. I figured i get a better return on my effort 🙂 and i have.”

            Veronica I’m curious how you have said that you want to please and be obedient to the Lord as your posture but this comment sounds a bit self motive driven? This comment begins with it being about the focus of the Lord, and then is negated when it turns to your effort & motives/reasonings.

            Also, did the whole family get interventions as your son began his recovery process from addiction to drugs?

        • Jane on February 10, 2019 at 8:01 am

          Honestly this is what I suspected. My husband is a vasalator and controller! He is also a narcissist and sociopath and a lot of the tone I am hearing in veronicas posts ring like he is speaking. I suspect we are confused about this relationship. It is wise to consider that there may be a certain level of coabuse going on.

          Why do you want a big crown to throw at His feet? Is it attention? I just want to be at His feet. He already has all the crowns he could stand really. What He wants is us and our hearts and our love for Him. I agree there needs to be a check on your motives here. I think I am done with this part of the blog as I feel I am discussing with my husband and just like when he is not conceded to, veronica acted like she was hurt and done with us and we were just a bunch of hurt co-conspiritors supporting each others emotions. I pray that if she is here to actually get help with her situation that she will, and I all the more pray that if she is in a position of power and control at church such as she said she is- God will help clarify in her heart all truth about His very Spirit and who he is. He is so much more than the “greek” interpretation of a word.

          • JoAnn on February 10, 2019 at 11:10 pm

            Jane, I am so glad that you have finally been able to separate from your very abusive husband. The Lord will be your shield and defender…Let’s wait and see what the Lord will do to protect you and your children. I’m sure the Lord has a way to do what is needed. Just be sure all your legal options are covered, and may the Lord’s grace be abundant to you.

    • Nancy on February 5, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Free,

      In your second point you talk about criminals. Not all abusers are criminals. My spouse was never anywhere near a criminal. And so, yes, it is important to be specific about the kind of spouse we are dealing with. Is he evil, or is he a fool. There is a world of difference between how one should deal with each type.

      My spouses problem was that his self-protectiveness got so out of control that he would perceive attack where there was none. There was no space whatsoever for vulnerable conversation, let alone intimacy. This doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Especially when we bring ‘criminal’ and legal language into the subject of abuse.

      My situation was horrible because it made for an extremely EMOTIONALLY unsafe environment. Nothing physically unsafe, whatsoever. This was crazy making.

      Because of this it took me a LONG time to realize that not only was this not a God honouring marriage but it was my responsibility as his wife to hold him accountable for his unwillingness to grow in The Lord.

      So, I do think it is critical to address the differences, because 1) we need to be safe about how we confront and 2) those who are dealing with covert abuse are in need of a different type of guidance.

      • Free on February 5, 2019 at 5:33 pm

        Their are others on this site who ARE living with spouses who are engaging in criminal activity. I didn’t mean that everyone on this site is in the same situation. The meekest and most battered often wouldn’t dare post of this site. They live in fear and read this in fear of being caught. To my sisters living under tyrants hoping to pray away the sin. I say, I hear you, you are not alone and you may need to call the cops on him and press charges.

        • Nancy on February 7, 2019 at 6:40 am

          Hi Free,

          I’m wondering ( from reading your comments on this week’s blog post to Robin) if you see my response to you above as me ‘correcting you’? Just wondering.

      • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 8:34 am

        You wrote:
        “Because of this it took me a LONG time to realize that not only was this not a God honouring marriage but it was my responsibility as his wife to hold him accountable for his unwillingness to grow in The Lord.”

        Nancy this is well said and such an important aspect for many wives who are dealing with many types of marriages.
        A disappointing marriage can quickly turn to destructive when one holds the other accountable based on covenant marriage. Mine did.. I think I could of convinced myself that I was in a disappointing marriage for a long time with an avoider type H and workaholic, and even a difficult marriage… but when God changes us and calls us to chose Him, things Do and will change!
        Not saying the outcome or the change is always good.

        My mom used to try to minimize my concerns by saying things like ..
        “Well your h will have to answer to God someday for his choices and his behavior”
        This is true, but what about my own choices and the very truth that I also will have to answer to God for my participation? This changed lots of perspectives for me earlier on and it help keep the focus on my responsibilities in alignment with what God calls me to, but certainly shined light on how quickly these comments can turn to enabling/contributing spouses to Not grow.

        • Nancy on February 6, 2019 at 10:12 am

          HI Aly and Veronica,

          I can relate to what you are saying Veronica, about knowing that I have no power to change anyone but me.

          This is so key. It is absolutely true. I also am a vacillator too and understand and respect your desire to not be over-focused on your H.

          Having said that, it is really important to look at why it is important to require growth in The Lord, in our spouse.

          It is NOT to control or to ‘bust another’s boundaries’. It is about looking at what it means to be ‘Ezer’ (helpmeet).

          As The Lord began to change my own heart, I did a word study of Ezer. It was amazing! Given your love of accuracy for words, I would encourage you to delve into that incredible word. ‘Helpmeet’ doesn’t even begin to describe it!

          I cannot articulate the blessings that our Lord has bestowed on us, as a result of me taking responsibility as my h’s Ezer (and as a result of my h rising to the challenges that our Lord had laid before him).

          So you see, it is not about changing him. It was about taking greater (and deeper) responsibility for the promises I had made before The Lord and our community.

          Also, I really encourage you to answer Aly’s questions. She has a gift for walking alongside and challenging us all here. We are blessed to have you, Aly!

          • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 10:33 am

            That was really sweet encouragement;) thank you.

            I think your comments above about you taking responsibility for what is your commitment to the Lord is so key! I so appreciate all the insight, experiences and mostly your way and gifting of articulating these somewhat complex areas!
            I have been so blessed by you, many others here who have offered such love, care and growth!

  26. Veronica on February 5, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Good morning to you all,

    Aly says you can’t invalidate how a person thinks or feels. “invalidating a persons feelings is harsh abusive and not truth finding”.Yet she completely invalidated how her h thinks and feels by saying he is having an affair with his feelings. Soooo only Aly’s feelings are validated. Her h has to get help to change his feelings. She was referring to my bible study forum.
    For bible study we are looking for what God says about any particular subject. That’s the truth finding we are searching for.God’s word has the final say.

    It was not illegal to cut fellowship with our son. Yet the world and our pastor FELT AND THOUGHT that is was too harsh, unloving , unkind. We heard it all. We stuck with SCRIPTURE. Let me make it very clear. I DID NOT FEEL OR THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO DO THAT TO OUR SON. But I believe in the inerrancy of scripture.

    Remember we cut fellowship with him and it took less than 6 months before he repented.
    Our son signed himself into Word Of Life Bible College . it will cost $12,500 for the year. My h said we are not paying for his college. WHAT!! We had planned to pay for all our kids to go to college (we had one in college at the time and we were paying) . My h decided that our oldest son “got himself into this mess so he’ll have to get himself out”. WHAT!!! So my first phone call was to one of the 4 girls. I said I THINK I FEEL that my h is controlling, mean , selfish, unkind, and an a hole, (sorry but that’s reality and it my first born son we are talking about). We tithe and give lots of money to missions. So we had the money. My girlfriend said ….do you THING AND FEEL that you and your h are the only way he can stay in WOL bible college for the year. And do you T n F that it will be what changes your son from dependency on drugs to dependency on God. YES YES YES I Do. Well we can’t implement Matt 18 with your h cause it’s not sinful it’s what he believes is best. You cant control anothers action. so lets trust God for this after all you are following scripture. (Can you imagine if she said your h is having an affair with his feelings…….that would not have helped the situation it simply would add fuel to the fire) Our son paid $300 entrance fee and had one month to get the rest or a payment schedule started. I trusted God and still loved and respected my husband . No withholding sex or demanding my way or saying he is having an affair with HIS FEELINGS. I simply trusted and let him lead. 3 weeks in our son called me and said pls call this number and see how much $ I have in my 401K. I did and he had $12,700.00 . I simply cried. I sift and I obey. Again if he was kicked out of WOL for lack of funding I still would trust a obey. God is not asking me to agree with Him He’s command that I obey.

    Janice, “control the out come of every decision” CONFORM is a better way to say it. We are sifting through scripture to conform ourselves.

    Free, doesn’t think the Word Of God is valid for 2019. Just because a Muslin THINKS he can divorce his wife by walking around her …….doesn’t make it so. The muslims and you and me will be accountable for how we handled what we knew to be sin. James 4:17.

    And you can all stop trying to convince me that my h actions are inline with “emotional abuse” and that I’m “in denial” and I need to see him for what he is. I already do feel he is “emotionally abusive” BUT you are forgetting is that he also T n F im the emotionally abusive one.

    If I had blogged to you all instead of calling my girlfriend it seems I would have gotten a whole different perspective than my girlfriend gave. I’m not looking for that kind of perspective. I’m looking for biblical guidance for my own struggles and I try and give biblical guidance to other’s in struggles.

    So if you want me to stay in this blog. You’ll be hearing a completely different perspective. Mine will be how can we sift through scripture and align our actions and reactions with the Word Of God.

    • Aly on February 5, 2019 at 11:16 am

      I appreciate your response but I do need to clarify some important details about what I posted and what is factual about my journey and my husband’s recovery from avoidance/intimacy and workaholism.

      You wrote:
      “Yet she completely invalidated how her h thinks and feels by saying he is having an affair with his feelings. Soooo only Aly’s feelings are validated. Her h has to get help to change his feelings. She was referring to my bible study forum.”

      First, please know that I do not invalidate my husbands feelings. It was his own insights and interventions that he was able to see how he was very much skewed in his perceptions and insecurities.
      This was done through lots of interventions in the way he thought and how he reasoned.

      He was quite emotional immature and had some development work to do through many years and continues to work on this. The unfaithfulness was to his covenant of marriage that he promised to God about how e would care for his wife.

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean by your sentence in I was referring to your bible study forum.

      My husband came to the realization that the way he did our marriage wasn’t all that marital because he was making himself and his feelings determine his choices and behaviors, rather than looking to God’s word and additional aligning counsel to help him sift through it.

      Also, BTW, you situation with your son and drugs is awful and I’m very sorry for that experience but joyful that he is in recovery! I would most likely have taken your similar path, I think we have several things in common there.

      Financially, my husband is not the final authority on our money management, but we turn to God to guide us as it’s not ours anyway.. but only His for us to manage.

    • Free on February 5, 2019 at 11:44 am

      To clarify, yes the word of God is valid for 2019. It just was not written in 2019. Interpret scripture in its context is my point.

    • Maria on February 5, 2019 at 12:49 pm


      I feel sad for you when you describe your relationship with your husband. It seems like he always gets his way with what he wants even when it distresses you. He seems to have no regard for you or your opinion. Has he been ever open to input from you? Leslie teaches us how to respond to others in a respectful way when they are demanding and when they want us to do sinful things. Not to give into their sinful demands in a way that is respectful and honors Christ. Since we are all sinful beings with lots of room to grow, it’s important for us to listen to input. Can you do this with your husband? Of course, no one is telling you to divorce him.

      If your husband chose to gamble all your savings away or give them all away, would you sit back and let that happen in obedience?

      We don’t all agree on this forum. But we try not to impose our beliefs on others. I voice my opinion, the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts. If I do it with compassion and caring, I am more likely to be heard.

      • Maria on February 5, 2019 at 1:46 pm


        One more thing, you mentioned before that your kids don’t have a close relationship with their father. You just gave an example why that’s so. It’s sad that he would not receive input from you and reconsider his decision. Again, I’m not encouraging you to divorce him because of this.

    • Nancy on February 5, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Veronica,

      Your tone in this last post, referring to Aly and Free in the third person, is disrespectful.

      • Veronica on February 5, 2019 at 2:07 pm

        Ugh this is where I wish I could private message someone.
        I did not refer to them in the third person. I used their names and quoted what they were saying. they both responded so hopefully they did not feel disrespected.

        • Aly on February 5, 2019 at 6:31 pm

          Veronica, Nancy,
          I didn’t feel directly disrespected especially since you are new to this forum…but I did feel and continue to struggle with this dialog.
          I feel that my words, my experience or the few things I have shared are misinterpreted by Veronica, where there are things inserted which are not originally there or expressed. The comment of where I was assumed or accused of invalidating my husbands ‘feelings’ and yet my feelings were more valid was completely twisted….

          Veronica, I hope you will be more open for slowing down a bit, dialoging with others questions, showing curiosity over getting straight to divorce comments.
          Some of your assumptions seem defended with how you are drawing conclusions about how people have made decisions about their marriages.

  27. Veronica on February 5, 2019 at 1:58 pm


    I’m trying to think of times my h asked me to do sinful things. Him saying we are not paying for our son to go into WOL bible college was not sinful. Just a different way of handling it, that I completely disagreed with. It takes a lot of trust in the Lord to let someone else lead.
    I do remember one time we were scheduling our vacation to FL and we would be towing our boat like every year. Well our trailer had rusted out lights so we would be traveling in the dark with no tail lights. I deemed that dangerous for us and others on the highway. I voiced my opinion and he disagreed with me. So I simply said I will not be able to attend the family vacation in that car with out lights. I said no more. Several days later. He asked me to take the boat trailer and get a new wiring system put on. I guess he needed someone to change diapers while on vacation. lol .

    I can’t speak to the gambling situation. He’s very good with finances he would never gamble money away.

    And yes I feel like he mostly gets his way. However I must say he would laugh at that comment because he feels like he has had to bend and give and change and adapt to me. 🙂 go figure.
    He could respond in a blog and I’m sure someone, probably a man, would say those exact words to him ‘I feel sad for you when you describe your relations with Veronica’.

    • Maria on February 5, 2019 at 2:14 pm


      Were you ok with him taking the kids without the taillights?

      • Maria on February 5, 2019 at 2:26 pm

        By the way, I think you have mastered ‘blogging’. I don’t know how to insert emojis yet.

    • Michele L on February 5, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      Veronica, Great response to the tail-light issue! I have attempted to do something similar in situations that the hubby has been neglectful and in my opinion making it unsafe but I (in front of hubby) was advised to trust God enough to trust my husbands decision and if something happens to me while driving the unsafe vehicle trust that God will use that to correct my hubby. I tried to explain that the very thing happened before and I had to walk over a mile 8 months pregnant to find a phone to call for a ride (with a toddler who got tired half way)….and he didnt learn from that situation since the current one was the SAME issue! I had a long trip to make and when I brought up I was concerned once again H ended up blowing up at me, but did go get it fixed before I left. My child has previously told me in similar situations ‘mom, even if you trust God fully you dont get in a vehicle with a drunk driver, thats just stupid, God gave us brains’.

    • JoAnn on February 5, 2019 at 3:12 pm

      Veronica, My question, which you don’t have to answer, is: are you satisfied and happy in your marriage? Do you feel loved, honored, and cherished? (Your wedding vows) If so, fine. But if not, what are you willing to do to create change in that dynamic? Do you feel that you even need/want to? These are questions that we all have to deal with at one time or another, privately, before the Lord. If you need verses, look at Ephesians 5:25, 28. Does he give himself up for you? Or is his opinion the only one that counts.? I applaud you for setting that boundary about he trailer lights. You handled that in a respectful way, and you got results. It was especially important because the safety of your family was at stake. But what about your needs? Can you ask for something that you need from him, even though he might not see it as valid? These are just things to think about. I’m not here to criticize, but on this blog, we all help each other to think about our situations in a realistic way, and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.
      I think that you will appreciate reading Leslie’s letter about “Putting Your Marriage in its Proper Place.” She makes some of the same points you have written about.

    • Aly on February 5, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      You wrote this:
      “Just a different way of handling it, that I completely disagreed with. It takes a lot of trust in the Lord to let someone else lead.”
      From some of the things you have described about your experiences I’m not sure I would consider his posture ‘leading’ especially with a servant heart of protection and care for his wife.
      There is leadership where leadership is healthy and modeled with respect and value for others cares and inputs and then there is the kind that is unhealthy and that can have a whole range of areas of concern.

      • Veronica on February 5, 2019 at 6:57 pm

        I agree completely. However he says,” try and run a household four kids a wife and a business. I pray I listen to everything you say and I make a decision” “look up leaders in the bible that’s how they lead”.

        Hence the reason our kids are not close with him. He does not do emotions and feelings. They respect him and honor him . We do lots of activities together. HWL avoider is activity , workaholic driven. So he’s tons of fun.

        • Aly on February 5, 2019 at 8:33 pm


          Can we clarify that the whole point of transformation in the process of sanctification is change!
          HWL material challenges those imprints and challenges one to better develop emotional maturity rather than just settling with it is what it is.

          Would you say That the Lord doesn’t do emotions or feelings?
          Would you say that the Lord is without empathy?
          Aren’t we as Ambassadors of Christ to be growing more & more into the image of Christ?

          If you Husband doesn’t do emotion or feelings doesn’t mean he should stay that way.
          In fact, he can still offer a lot of repair to your grown children and offer a lot of connection to your grandchildren if he chooses.
          Now that he is aware, he is clearly responsible to repair and align these things to the character and nature of Christ.

          You have a responsibility also as his helpmeet.
          Age, length of marriage, kids grown, etc don’t minimize your growth responsibilities to the next gen.

          • Veronica on February 6, 2019 at 9:38 am

            The Lord does do feelings and emotions.

            He knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead YET he let everyone experience emotion first. He Himself wept. They were all weeping over Lazarus’ death. After everyone was fully cried out ….TaDah he raises him from the dead.

            So yes our emotions are a gift.

            I agree with you that my h should do feelings and emotions. What I’m not sure about is what you are saying my responsibility as a help meet is in reference to his lack of desire to share feelings and emotions. Of course he will tell you he does have feelings and emotions. Just because he doesn’t show them like me doesn’t make him devoid feelings.

            Next generation:
            Fortunately for me I’m the part time baby sitter for my grands that live nearby. (part time because I already raised 4 and it’s not my job to raise theirs) However I have a big influence on them. My daughter in law tells me what she is working on with the kids so I can also follow through .

            I’d like to interject to grandmoms here. I found it very hard at first to not try and interject my thoughts on the way they raise the kids. Believe it or not they are doing some things differently than I would do. lol. They will make mistakes just like we did.

          • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 10:43 am

            I hope as a facilitator you are assisting your class with this:

            You wrote:
            “Just because he doesn’t show them like me doesn’t make him devoid feelings.”

            This is true but you could also be dealing with someone who doesn’t have or hasn’t yet developed emotional intelligence and bandwidth.

            Are you regularly doing the comfort circle with him?
            Does he resist and does he push you away?

            Emotional intimacy is part of a healthy marriage;) does he show it the same way.. no but he should be challenged to find ways to discover it and express it.

            No .. he probably isn’t going ‘to feel’ like talking about ‘how he feels’ but again we don’t let our first feels dictate our choices in growing in areas.
            It does become about developing vulnerability and authentic relationships with those we love and especially our ability to first connect withGod emotionally.

            My husband for a long time felt normal lacking emotion and empathy. This was his normal, he felt he was a ‘man’… but then challenged he was when asked ok so your a man, are you more representative of a Worldly man the world has defined or a Godly man based on the characteristics and nature of Christ?

            This was a beautiful moment for him and many others.

        • Aly on February 7, 2019 at 8:47 am

          You wrote this:
          “I agree completely. However he says,” try and run a household four kids a wife and a business. I pray I listen to everything you say and I make a decision” “look up leaders in the bible that’s how they lead”

          Your husband’s comment about running kids and a wife?
          I feel its possible this is a posture and attitude that would lend itself to an imbalance of power in a marriage especially?

          Leadership doesn’t grant him a misaligned authority over things.
          It’s important that the leader not show double standards – like what’s ok and acceptable for me is not ok you etc.

  28. Veronia on February 5, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    No I was not ok with the kids going in the car on vacation with out lights on the trailer. Thankfully it did not come to that.

    Emoji…… I just type a colon and a right parentheses and it shows up as a smiley face.

    • Maria on February 5, 2019 at 3:33 pm


      But it could have. Many of us are in situations like that. Giving in means harm for us and our kids. It’s not just another way of doing things. God wants us to stand up for what’s right.

      Regarding sin, God judges our motives. Sometimes the motives of our husbands are outright sinful (because they will tell us why they are doing something). For example I can volunteer at a soup kitchen for everyone to admire me.

      Sounds like you married a C- partner. You have accepted that he will not take your input and consider grow, I think. You are staying well by accepting that and having fulfilling relationships with other women. For many of us that is not so. For many it is intolerable to stay. If you were to walk with some of us daily you would see that.

      One thing that has been reinforced after chatting with you is the import of CORE that Leslie talks about. When we don’t agree with our husbands, we should do so in CORE.

      • Remedy on February 6, 2019 at 9:38 am

        Agree! Jesus had the worst for the Pharasaical leaders who were all squeaky clean with law on the outside, but totally dirty on the inside with their hard and oppressive hearts …..and no mercy. Some of the words He used to describe them are quite harsh!

  29. Janice D on February 6, 2019 at 5:11 am

    In my experience “religious” righteousness makes one less human ( no emotions and feelings) while a relationship with God through Jesus makes one more human( emotions,feelings,thoughts,will and behavior conforming to that of the Lord) This life long process of growth( or sanctification or transformation) is of the Lord( He who began a good work in you) yet also requires our cooperation ( work out your salvation with fear and trembling) With the Lord It is not either/ or but both/ and. Attempting to appear outwardly more pulled together by repressing and suppressing our inner selves is a “ form of godliness but denying its power”.I have a sister-in-law whose husband is a pastor who is completely controlling about all aspects of her life( what she wears,how long her hair is, etc ) and this is all done under the guise of “ religious convictions “. It’s so interesting that in all fundamentilist religions these “ convictions “ are all about controlling women’s behavior. This is not loving,servant leadership nor biblical headship/ submission.This is far from living with your wife in an understanding way,showing honor to the woman.

    • Autumn on February 6, 2019 at 5:59 am

      I love your comment about religious “convictions” being about how to control women. Ha! Excellent observation!

      I trust that God is Holy, righteous and fair. I hope I get to see his authority leveled on these false prophets (aka self inflated jerks) when I get to heaven! Sic.

      • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 9:38 pm

        You will be captivated by so much Joy! It won’t even dawn on you what other experiences (that have nothing to do with heaven entail)
        You most likely will be too enamered by what is taking place in front of you that ‘those false prophets’ don’t even be a thought!
        Best ever moment forever! Peace beyond anything we can imagine.

    • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      Janice D,
      This post is well articulated! Thank you for your insights on this! I hope some here can see how you important it was that you mentioned … ‘under the guise of religious convictions’
      You also mentioned- our cooperation! How important;) fools don’t cooperate (period).
      Those who are not surrendered to Christ have no interest cooperating let along the maturity to ask themselves ‘am I cooperating?’ They don’t want to face the answer.

  30. Remedy on February 6, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    It seems to me Veronica is excusing her husband’s lack of loving responses to his family members because of his “imprint”….yet states in her Bible study and with her children “we don’t do think and feel.” Seems like a double standard…..husband is allowed to use think and feel bc of his imprint. But no one else better go down that path.

    I’m not able to read all the posts…but that seemed to be a theme and wondered if my perception was correct or not.

    • Remedy on February 6, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      This should have posted up at Aly’s response/question to my comment.

    • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      I understand what you are wondering. I do hope Veronica will clarity.
      If by chance she is giving more allowance then their could be things of dynamics that the Lord wants to reveal in the relationship.

  31. Connie on February 6, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    I just got this today:

    I have found that the kingdom of God truly is an upside-down kingdom. What makes sense to our worldly default brain is not always kingdom thinking. Spiritual things are spiritually understood and reading the Bible with only the brain can be detrimental. We need the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our understanding, and He often works through our feelings. In fact, ignoring my ‘gut feelings’ has often led me down a wrong path. Sometimes when I have that gut feeling, I ask the Lord and He guides me to scriptures that either I hadn’t read in a long time, or I had not seen it in the correct context.

    A big one here is humility. I really believed I was being humble and a martyr when I ‘submitted’ to everything and protected my h’s (false) reputation in the name of being the perfect wife. Each time I cried out to God because of the distress it was causing the family, He would guide me to making decisions and doing things that scared the heck out of me, and certainly didn’t enhance my hoped-for accolades in the eyes of others in the church and family. It takes so much courage to stand up to evil and expose it, and courage is something my natural self doesn’t have much of, especially when it comes to knowing what I do will cause me to lose ‘face’ and friends, even from my own children. Surrender has to happen again and again, every day, trusting that somehow God will make it come out right, even when it doesn’t look like it.

    For example, I used to believe that a couple has to ‘communicate’. So when h would call me into the bedroom to ‘talk’, I would turn myself inside out to try to explain what I meant by something, but he would never ‘get it’. He even said, “Connie don’t you know you’re always wrong?” It would always end up with me crying, and THEN he ‘got it’. One day he said, “Connie don’t you know that if I can make you sick or cry, that makes a man of me?” That’s when I realized what a bully he was. I cried out to God and God actually said (almost audibly), “Shut up” (was God being sarcastic? Maybe, but compassionate). Huh? Then He led me to Proverbs, and oh, the ah-ha moments!! But so scary. I kept slamming the Bible shut because I didn’t want to see at first. The first time I refused to bite the bait he blew up. This was many years ago and my children and others still insist that I was prideful to not talk to their dad. But it was prideful of me to keep thinking I could make a difference by talking. Boundaries were needed and implemented. And for those who are thinking, “Well she should have just agreed with him and given in”, I will add that I tried that. He would change his mind to keep the argument alive. If he said A and I said B, and then I said OK, A, he would look confused and say he really meant C, or sometimes even B. Others won’t believe that he was abusive because he’s so smooth. I’m praying about giving them Lundy’s book but the timing has to be right there as well. Or maybe I’m being afraid again. Still praying on that.

    Yes Matthew 24 would have been appropriate – but when nobody believes you… And so, he missed out on opportunity to mature and is still a 5-year-old in an old body.

    Recently I read “Bold Love” and there again, what is love? Not always what we think it is.

    This may not make sense but I don’t want to write a book here, ha. 🙂 I think those who have been there will understand what I’m trying to say. This page is a great prayer list.

    • Nancy on February 6, 2019 at 4:17 pm


      I had the same experience with my h. I would ‘turn myself into a pretzel’ trying to explain myself.

      Ceasing communication about anything except logistics around parenting (a safe topic for me), was a critical boundary that ‘evened things out’. I was no longer willing to be vulnerable with someone who would not be careful with my heart.

      Now there was mutuality.

      This lasted a very long 9 months, responding from CORE ( to the best of my ability), bathing everything in prayer and crying out to God (not to mention getting support from you all, here.)

      By the Grace of God my h realized that he had idolized our marriage and decided to join me in laying it at the foot of the cross.

      I believe this ministry and blog are so critical to digging deeper into what God has to say about relationships. Especially marriage.

      May God continue to bless you Connie, with more and more of Himself!

    • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 9:17 pm

      Makes very clear sense to me. You are certainly validated.
      I also have experienced similar things.
      Oh and on the ‘timing’ thing…. an immature abusive person will never be ready for the right time .. just my personal opinion.
      The timing thing to me can also be another tactic they use to prolong the relationship and the consequences of their patterned destructive behavior.

    • Aly on February 6, 2019 at 9:28 pm

      Also thank you for posting this link! I’ll check it out.. I really appreciate those that post resources here.
      I hope others on this site are able to see just how many good resources are within our reach.
      Blessings to you Connie and your consistent effort in sharing things here.
      You may never know in this lifetime who it impacts here and now. Have a blessed day and more importantly know that you are valued and highly regarded!

    • Autumn on February 7, 2019 at 2:05 am

      Connie, I always value and appreciate your posts. Thank you for taking the time to explain the abuse you have suffered. Your insights is practical and very useful to many of us.

  32. Veronica on February 6, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Aly and Remedy I posted 2/6/19 at 11:45 I hope you saw that.

    I am not excusing my h lack of loving response. There is no excuse for unloving responses.
    I love to do THINK AND FEEL with my kids. They have no problem telling me how they feel. I love that about them.

    The ‘THINK/FEEL’ sign was posted during bible study time. You can’t say I FEEL like I want to have an affair because my h is not loving me……I THINK God can understand that i need love. etc. You can thing and feel that and I can sympathize with your feeling that way. However during bible study the Word has the last Word. It doesn’t matter if everyone around the table agrees with you. BIBLE STUDY TIME IS TO HELP US ALL CONFORM TO WHAT GOD THINKS AND FEELS about any given subject.

    “husband is allowed” hmmmm we are all allowed to think ,feel and do what ever we want as adults. He can’t make me do anything nor can I make him do anything. However if he sets up a boundary that makes what I’m doing too uncomfortable for me . then I might change my mind.

    • JoAnn on February 7, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      Veronica, I do admire your determination to know Christ and gain him in all the challenges of your marriage. No doubt the Lord has added added Longsuffering and endurance to you in this relationship. I have to wonder: what does your husband do to make you feel loved and cherished? In the “give and take” of marriage, it is important to “feel” loved, not just have him tell you that he loves you. This is where the “love languages” come in, and I think that in a healthy marriage, we learn how to love each other in ways that they can feel loved. It’s this way with children, too. They can each have different love languages, and a wise mother will discern that and take care of each child appropriately. When a parent or a partner does not take care of the child’s heart, or the partner’s heart in this way, there is a hole left that yearns to be filled. I believe that it is God’s plan for marriage that each partner expresses God’s love to the other, and in this way, we experience God’s love for us in the human dimension.

  33. Maria on February 6, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Boy am I glad people who wrote the Bible had emotions and display they’re personalities. By the way, I am not saying we should act on our feelings and thoughts when they don’t align with Gods word. Don’t you believe context matters when reading the Bible?

    • Maria on February 6, 2019 at 4:48 pm


  34. Deborah on February 7, 2019 at 6:36 am

    Hi, I’m new to this community, but I wanted to share my response to the original post as it’s somewhat different. I don’t like to assume usually and we don’t know for sure what the pastor was thinking when he asked this lady to read Romans 12:1-2. My first thought is that as he wants to meet *after* the separation is finalized, he is unlikely to be trying to get her to remain in an abusive marriage. That may be exactly what her husband would use the verse for, but I can’t see that from the pastor, otherwise he would want to meet before the legal separation is completed. These verses are often helpful in considering our behavior in relation to dating (and all that means in a worldly context). I think that’s more likely to be the topic of conversation, along with legal separation not being the equivalent of divorce. Perhaps sometimes we survivors see a little too much through the lens of our past abuse? The pastor may actually be looking to help this lady move forward in a healthy, non-worldly way. I hope so.

    • Leslie Vernick on February 7, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      Great alternative perspective. Thanks for sharing.

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