How Do I Let Go Of A Dead Marriage?

Morning friends,

Our new dog Addison is adjusting to her new house and new routine but we haven’t gotten the potty training down quite yet. She’s a lot of fun and I’m really enjoying her.

I’m going to put some short, under 5 minutes, videos on my professional FB page addressing one specific question or topic that you might find helpful. Click here to see Leslie Vernick – Enriching Relationships That Matter Most

Some of the topics I’ve been working on are: “What’s the first step in rebuilding a broken marriage?” Or “How do you know someone is truly sorry?” or “What’s the difference between just an ordinary sinner who crosses the line and an abusive person?”

My goal is to do one a day for 45 days. Let’s see if I can do it. Stating my goal out loud keeps me accountable and more motivated to actually do it.

Today's question:Now that I recognize my emotionally destructive marriage, we have separated. He has already quit counseling; this is our 7th marriage counselor.

He denies any abuse and can’t handle that I see him this way. I have been in recovery for several years. I don’t see any remorse or reconciliation. He wants to split everything and get his own place. I guess I need to take the next step and get an attorney.

Any suggestions on how to do this peacefully and how do I let go after 33 years?

Answer: Your husband has made it clear to you that he doesn’t want to be married anymore. He emotionally exited your marriage (or never really entered) but it’s obviously a dead relationship. Now he wants to make it official and legal.

He’s offered to split everything 50/50 and if that’s true and he sticks with that agreement, what are your fears? What things might make it adversarial?

You’re correct. You definitely do need a good lawyer. Start there, and prepare for some conflict. But the harder part of your question is how do I let go of a 33-year marriage that’s dead? It’s painful to face the reality of death. If your husband physically died, you would have to let him go by moving through the grieving process. You wouldn’t cling to his corpse hoping to find signs of life. You’d have to come to accept it.

You don’t have to face his physical death but you do have to grieve the death of your marriage.  

You’ve faced the truth that he’s done and doesn’t really care or want to work towards a true reconciliation in a factual way, but you haven’t accepted it yet emotionally. That work is the process of letting go and grieving.

Through grieving, you say goodbye to your dream of what you could have had if he been willing to change. You say goodbye to your ideas and plans of what your future might have been and grieve your change in status from married to divorced and single, as well as financial disruptions and possible losses.

Your losses are real and they do take time to emotionally process through to acceptance. But until you are able to let them go and put them in the past, you won’t have the emotional or mental energy to put towards rebuilding your present and future life nor will you even want to.

Moving forward alone can feel scary in this new season and sometimes it’s easier to stay stuck in what you wished would have been instead of figuring out a new normal in your present life. But I’d encourage you courageously face reality rather than resist it. Click To Tweet

Paul reminds us that when an “unbelieving husband wants to leave, let him go” 1 Corinthians 7:15. I don’t know if your husband claims to be a believer but he doesn’t sound like one.

But I think Paul’s words here are important. Marriage is important but it is temporal like all things and when we cling too tightly to things, even good things, we are depending on something other than God to give us what only God can give us: security, unconditional love, and acceptance.

Lastly, find some good girlfriends who can help you through this process. You might also want to consider joining a Divorce Care and/or Grief Share group to find some extra support.

Friends, what helped you to emotionally “let go” of a dead marriage?

Have you heard about the BRAND NEW group coaching program?


This small group coaching program is the culmination of 25 years of private practice and hundreds of hours helping women just like you.


  1. Anonymous on April 3, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks for answering my question, Leslie. My husband is a believer, which makes it even more confusing and problematic for not just me, but my kids too. I worry about their walk and the poor example we have set. Grieving so much loss is painful and I feel the need to hang on and do whatever it takes, but I don’t see him doing that. In the past, when we’ve come to this point, I talk him out of leaving. At least that’s what I think has happened.
    I am looking at finances today and all that a divorce means for the family. Many changes will need to take place and our kids will suffer too. Pray for me and us as we move through the next months on this journey of letting go.

    • Alina on April 25, 2019 at 3:46 am

      Praying for you friend ! So hard to hear.

  2. Susan Roberts on April 3, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    It was 35 years for me and I held on longer than I should have. The grieving process is hard so let yourself feel the emotions and walk through them with support. I attended Celebrate Recovery which helps address hurts, hangups and habits. I also attended DivorceCare and I wish I had done that sooner. It is a twelve week course and it explains and validated the feels you are having plus others are going through the same thing. I joined Conquer and it also validated my feelings especially where I was feeling crazy from the emotional abuse which included indifference which is something you are experiencing. Reach out, don’t isolate! There are others that have been down the same road and want to encourage you in your journey! Take care of yourself.

    • Anon on April 3, 2019 at 11:57 pm

      35 years with me and getting ready to separate in 2 weeks. I’m a disaster, please pray that I can be strong enough. No emotional connection and complete indifference. I’m a leper in my own home. I keep thinking do I want to be the maid and cook and be lonely or do I want to just be alone and at peace.

      • Susan Roberts on April 4, 2019 at 10:32 pm

        Indifference is the opposite of love and it is so painful. When someone doesn’t!5 acknowledge your existence it can crush you.
        You can’t do this, only God can so call out to Him and He will give you the courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is being afraid and doing it anyway!!!

    • ja47646 on April 6, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      I left an abusive marriage 1 1/2 years ago and am now divorced after 32 years. Every day I remember something that he did to hurt me. My counselor tells me to ‘quit looking in the rear view mirror’ and move on but I’m still in pain. Is she right or does it take longer to recover from all the abuse?

      • Robin on April 7, 2019 at 11:29 pm

        Ja47646, I don’t think it’s wrong to remember how you’ve been wounded. I believe it’s part of the healing process. But a day will come when u want to stop remembering – and move forward. And only you, will know when you’re ready to shut that door and walk into the future God has planned for you.

        • Susan Roberts on April 8, 2019 at 6:56 am

          I agree with Robin. The remembering helps us not go back and validates our choice to get out. However, there is a place we can become stuck, where nursing our wounds becomes more comfortable than taking steps toward a new life that God has planned. Only you will know when that time is. One and half years is not very long in the healing process. In DivorceCare they teach that the longer the marriage, the longer it takes to heal. Give yourself gentle nudges to do something new or different to break your routine when those memories come. I am still processing and it has been 2 1/2 years since my divorce. Be kind to yourself and in your kindness take small steps toward freedom. Memories can hold us in a prison just like we were in or they can remind us to keep moving further and further away from the prison door.

          • Robin on April 8, 2019 at 2:18 pm

            Something I read recently stunned me—
            ‘She left physically, but she is still there letting him do all the things he did but now she’s doing it for him’.
            Someday each of us has to choose to do more than just leaving physically, but I trust God will have the perfect timing.

      • JoAnn on April 8, 2019 at 10:55 am

        ja47646, What Robin and Susan say is surely true and helpful, and I would add that this healing process will go faster and with less pain if you begin with forgiveness from the heart. Think of forgiveness as release. Letting go of the offense. June Hunt, in the web site has a really helpful message on forgiveness. She says there that forgiving doesn’t require you to forget. But every time a memory comes, just release it to the Lord, and let it go. He knows your pain, and he was able to forgive even from the cross. Now He is in you to do the same thing. Forgiveness heals so much. It’s like the “key” that opens the prison door so you can walk out in freedom.
        Remember, to forgive is not saying that what he did was ok; no! You are simply releasing that pain to the Lord, and in so doing, you allow the Lord to heal your heart and also to deal righteously with the offender.

        • Susan Roberts on April 8, 2019 at 11:24 am

          Oh so true, JoAnn! Forgiveness is the key to letting go. Each time I thought of forgiving him I had to remember than what he did offended God even more than it did me and that God is my defender. It made it easier to release it to Him. Thank you for sharing this, JoAnn because this should have been mentioned first.

          • Ja47646 on April 8, 2019 at 7:41 pm

            Thank you all so much for your help. It’s a painful process and I am struggling.

  3. Barbara B on April 3, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Whenever I have to let go of something, I have an image that really helps me. I picture handing whatever it is to God, then standing before Him with hands that are now empty so He can put something different in my hands. He promised to fill us with life when we wait on Him. I’m not saying He promised it will be easy. But it will be good.

    • Susan Roberts on April 3, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      Good image! I picture myself placing my marriage at the foot of the cross. I like the ideal of visualizing empty hands so God can fill them! Thank you.

      • Priscilla on November 21, 2022 at 1:02 am

        thank you, your comments encouraged me to ‘draw’ in my journal what this looks like to & for me. I found this article and as I read it the phrase, What do we do with dead things came to mind? my response, ‘bury them’ combine all that and I have a journal page, part of my healing.

  4. Cindy Kershaw on April 3, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    Perfect response!

  5. Lynn Kasprzyk on April 3, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    I can really understand this situation. I was married for over 40 years and finally left my husband due to physical, emotional, and verbal abuse. I stayed in the marriage for a long time due to fearing the unknown of the future. I first had to let go of my ‘fantasy marriage’ – the marriage that I wanted but never had in which my husband would love me, cherish me, and treat me like a wife instead of a child and a servant. That was not reality and I had to accept that. Secondly, I had to stop saying ‘what if?’ and to realize that I had done everything I could possibly do (even going to 9 counselors). I had to instead say ‘what now?’ and to begin moving on. I had to realize that I could not make my husband acknowledge and repent from his abuse. I could not convict him of what he did and give him the desire to seek help from his narcissistic behavior. Only God can do that! My husband chose to not acknowledge his abuse or repent from it. That is and was his choice. My choice is now to look forward to what God has for me.

  6. Janice D on April 4, 2019 at 6:59 am

    At the heart of the struggle is the struggle for our hearts.Will we guard our hearts above all else?No one can do this for us but ourselves.The marriage vows are about having a life partner who helps in this endeavor and sadly,many here testify to having our hearts broken by our spouses.I try to visualize giving my heart to the Lord and trusting that He will show me if it will ever be safe to reconnect with my estranged husband. I have come to the end of believing it’s my responsibility to have the answers/ fix what’s wrong/ just be patient and pray more,etc.I trust God’s heart and am working on releasing my anger and disappointment about my failed marriage as well as grieving the profound loss.Just read a great quote”Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ”May we all sense His presence today as we bravely face our new realities…always remember that the battle belongs to the Lord.Stand firm in Gods amazing love and truth.

    • Susan Roberts on April 4, 2019 at 7:14 am

      Beautifully said, Janice. And there is joy on the journey, though filled with heartache, when we have God’s presence. We are more than the Mrs. in front of our name, we are His child first and foremost❤️

    • Nancy on April 4, 2019 at 10:22 am


      This is so well said. It is indeed a battle for our hearts. The Lord has entrusted us with the stewardship of our heart (and those of our children, until they are adults).

      As you say, the question is “will we guard our hearts above all else?” For me, that proverb is beginning to mean something a little bit different. “Will I trust in Christ to be the guardian of my heart?” (Instead of trusting in my defensive coping mechanisms, to guard my heart).

      • JoAnn on April 4, 2019 at 4:29 pm

        Nancy, I really like this: “Will I trust in Christ to be the guardian of my heart?” (Instead of trusting in my defensive coping mechanisms, to guard my heart). That is so true! And it’s wonderful that you have found that and shared it with all of us. Our own defense mechanisms often get us into trouble, anyway.
        We have a song that has these lines: “As we trust in the Lord helplessly, depend on Him for our love and strength, and listen to His speaking,…our prayer is Come, Lord Jesus!!…”

        • Nancy on April 8, 2019 at 5:05 pm


          This week I talked to the Lord about John 10- the good shepherd.

          I had an image of my family of origin being scattered by the wolves. Where were you Lord? I asked Him. He told me that He was there with us. Then I asked him “well then why did we all scatter?” ( my sibs and I are all over North America as well as relationally distant).

          He told me, “because you believed that you were unprotected.”

          This was the first time that I experienced the REALITY of Scripture, while simultaneously seeing how false beliefs can twist reality into illusion.

          We can choose to trust His word which is Truth, or we can operate in illusion. Of course, I was a child and did not know any better. My Spiritual director says “children are incredible experiencers, but terrible interpreters”

          • JoAnn on April 15, 2019 at 11:28 pm

            I just now saw this, Nancy, so I don’t know if you will see my response…. I love that image you shared, that the Lord told you that the reason you scattered was because you believed that you were unprotected. WOW!! I think that is the problem for so many of us here, that we can’t trust in our Lord’s protection. What a wonderful message from Him. Thank You, Lord!

    • SteVee on April 6, 2019 at 4:50 pm

      @ JaniceD
      “I have come to the end of believing it’s my responsibility to have the answers/ fix what’s wrong/ just be patient and pray more,etc.”

      I know I need to be there, but part of me still feels that I an breaking my wedding vows to God. I feel so isolated from God. In 25 years, my wife has never been wrong. I know we’re on a collision course with divorce. The more I read this blog, I’m convinced I just need to initiate the divorce.

      “… over 40 years … over 9 counselors”. I thought I was the only one that had sought so much counsel. (I’m on the 9th. She is participating somewhat this time.)

  7. Robin on April 5, 2019 at 12:36 am

    I want to respond to the question how do I let go after 33 yrs?
    I think several have given some wonderful thoughts about how to go towards God.
    I would like to comment on how I let go after 33 yrs. I realize now that many phases was necessary. I have been separated for almost 5 years, and divorced about 4. Even recently I have heavily grieved for those 33 years that was a large chunk of my life and family. How do you not hold on to some of that. I think we let go a little at a time. God knows exactly what we can handle and need when we’re freshly separated. I think for me it was important to keep telling myself, to only focus on today. And that can be difficult for a myriad of reasons. But separating ourselves from 33 years of our life and history isn’t dealt with in a couple months. It’s been necessary for me at different stages to analyze the loss and seek to find more healing . And ask myself and the Lord to help me search and seek for the questions I needed answered. I don’t regret my marriage even though it was very painful, but I want to be aware of the cost to myself and my children and so I keep seeking to know more truth. We have a history of all those years and I believe God wants to use it in our lives and help us move forward. One step at a time.

    • Susan Roberts on April 5, 2019 at 9:41 am

      Robin, well said and I agree, it really is a one day at a time process of letting go! Thank you for sharing a part of your journey.

    • SteVee on April 6, 2019 at 4:55 pm

      Robin, That’s really good. I wish I was 5 years down the road, instead of stopped at the beginning of the exit ramp.

      This topic and blog is exactly what I needed today.

      • Robin on April 8, 2019 at 2:08 pm

        SteVee, I am 5 yrs down the road. I fully understand that I lived in s false reality for many years, instead of what our marriage really was. Even so, I didn’t find it easy to quit thinking about the dream I wanted. It’s been a difficult journey to quit bringing up memories and especially the bad ones. But this was my life and my children’s, and you don’t just walk away and deny this part of your history. Someone said to me once, Everytime you bring up your abusive spouse, you are re-Injuring yourself. I believe that’s true- but a part of healthy healing to call what you lived exactly what it was. Now 5 years later I am healthier and don’t want to focus on those things because they are my past and I realize today until I let go of them – I won’t be going into my future. I literally have resolved to let go and pray if I get tempted. 5 yrs later, my life has become increasingly healthy and happy. But I am still a woman who lived over 30 yrs in abuse; and I find today it’s okay to remember and thank God for removing me from that destructive relationship.

        • SteVee on April 10, 2019 at 8:42 pm

          Thank you Robin. That is encouraging. 🙂

  8. Janice D on April 5, 2019 at 6:50 am

    I loved what Lynn wrote,she needed to change the “what if… narrative to “what now”.I’m even thinking “what’s next,Lord?”and then as a friend of mine likes to say jokingly we get to see God “show up and show off” as He lovingly cares for us,His precious children.Yes, you must “do it afraid” but do it we must…that is real bravery and is the beginning of your new reality.God only dwells in reality,not our fantasies of healed marriage relationships.It takes 2 committed people for reconciliation and that is beyond our control.Forgiveness however, is about our hearts and relationship with the Lord.It is a process and a posture that our lives begin to conform to.Will we let the offenses go or continue to hold onto them? I have found this is a key to living the abundant life the Bible speaks about.This is the narrow path we are all called to walk in.Forgiveness is our work and we leave the rest to God.I learned this difficult yet beautiful truth in forgiving my abusive father and am now learning it again in forgiving my emotionally unavailable,indifferent husband.Praying for all facing hard decisions…life is hard,God is good.His mercies are new every morning.

  9. Anonymous on April 5, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Thank you for all the beautiful thoughts. I will keep them in my heart as I take the next steps into my new future; knowing God is with me, that He is Good and He still has a plan for my life!

    • Susan Roberts on April 5, 2019 at 9:43 am

      Amen, trust His plan and His goodness above all else!

  10. Leanna on April 7, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    I have been married for 10 years to a Narcissist who is a great dad, a loving father and charismatic guy….but a self-centered, condescending and patronizing husband. When we married he set the stage with our first argument telling me to get out of “his” house. I am a nurse practitioner, at the time in school 40 hours a week and he questioned my work ethic because I did not sign up for as many 12 hour shifts on top of my schooling as he liked. He took back the decision to have kids with me saying he needed to think about it as if I was unworthy due to a fight that was entirely his fault, then used it against me when he wanted forgiveness and submission to pursue fertility. At 22 I thought it was my submissive duty. Now I know submission and doormat are two different things! I had stroke symptoms and lost vision and speech at a friend’s wedding where he was the best man and he asked me what I wanted him to do about it because he was the best man and couldn’t just leave. I found out a week later I had a brain aneurysm that had evidence of a recent bleed. He has never done sickness and health well and has always given the expectation of me performing with a perfect house and job performance. Calling in sick 1 time in 2 years didn’t go over well. . Now I own a family practice and another business and I feel his love and respect has correlated to my performance. He has his moments but will turn things on me and speak to me in subtle, patronizing ways that pour salt on wounds of the “bigger things.” He does make me feel like its all just a problem with my perspective and “childhood issues” yet he continues to passive aggressively treat me like a child. I know no man is perfect but I have felt like he has never died to himself for me no matter how much he says it because all of the hurtful selfish things and the continued aura of being the man in charge continues. Shushing me to lower my voice in a restauraunt while pointing his hand at me, telling me “zip it” with a finger in my face,, or saying “no we are not doing that because I have decided…” Saying “I know you wont understand this but….” So rude! I never go that low towards him and have always cared for him in sickness and in the threat of him losing his law enforcement job. I disgust him now and simply don’t want to choose again to soften my heart and subject myself to more. I filed separation but am considering checking the divorce box instead because that is what he has said he will do anyway, refusing to separate and do counseling. We tried multiple counselors before who told him he was a narcissist and he gave perfect responses saying he knew what he needed to do but can’t seem to ever folllow through. I have thought I maybe just need to keep giving grace, but 10 years of this with anxiety and adrenal fatigue and positive autoimmune labs on and off from stress is too much. When is it too much I should say? My family of conservative Southern Baptists say he has not committed adultery so I have no grounds. He says that is not of the Lord and it needs to be in-house separation or divorce. He doesn’t want us to end but is setting ultimatums and again, has never changed his fruit. I forgave many things but how do you not bring up major past neglects and abuses when the character patterns show that same selfless person is existing on the inside and coming out to pour salt? Its little things that continue that make the bigger things not go away and I feel tired. Can someone help me with the verses that interpret towards marriage being breaking a covenant and treating the wife treacherously is doing just that. Or what about Exodus? Am I crazy? Matthew 19 holds me up and it is is hard to debate with well-meaning friends/Christians.

    • Moon Beam on April 8, 2019 at 9:27 pm

      Oh, yes you are yoked to a narcissist. Yet, you my friend are not mentally ill, you are being abused. You H also sounds like he exhibits misogynistic behaviors as well. Check the divorce box. There is no cure. Your Southern Baptist family can just get over their judgement and legalistic comments.

      Statistically, when you stop complying he will try new measures to control you. Be ready for domestic violence.

      One school of thought is that he tricked you at the altar. He was never marriageable material if he really had NPD. He is incapable of honoring anyone but his public persona. It was all a sham. You are an object to support his highly regarded superior self.

      Have you read, Dr.S. Varkin’s “Malignant Self Love?” Read Lundy Bancroft? Watched Patrick Doyle on youtube?

    • Autumn on April 8, 2019 at 9:35 pm

      Leanna, to quote Lundy Bancroft…”Great Dad’s don’t abuse their child’s mother.”

      He is NOT a great Dad. He is using his children to compete with you and for his own Narcissistic supply.

    • SteVee on April 8, 2019 at 11:26 pm

      I say this as a man who is struggling with divorcing my Borderline Personality Disordered wife for the same reasons you’ve mentioned (no adultery): your husband is an abusive dirtbag. The reasonable expectation of a man doing those things to another man (finger in face, zip-it etc…) would be a fist fight. If you haven’t, read Leslie’s book; watch the online videos from the people mentioned above, attend a support group for abused spouses. You are a highly intelligent, high functioning, professional woman with a conscious. If nothing else the big red flag is,your comment “Am I crazy?” No you aren’t crazy. You are in an abusive fog.

      Your well meaning Christian friends don’t, and cannot gain the 10 years of perspective you have about what is really happening. They will give sound Biblical advice about the wrong problem. If you get in a support group, read and watch videos, the lights will start to come on for you.

      With a narcissistic spouse you -may- have developed codependent coping mechanisms that will actually enable your husband to get worse. The Human Magnet Syndrome by Ross Rosenberg, along with his online videos were a water shed for breaking the code of the dynamic in my dysfunctional part in my dysfunctional marriage.

      And, I second the comment that he isn’t a good father. If you have daughters, he is teaching them to be attracted to men that will abuse them. If you have sons, he is teaching them how to mistreat women, and that is just the beginning of it. You don’t know how bad it really is.

      Again, you are NOT crazy! You are in a mental fog caused by a narcissist. You need outside perspective (a support group) to restore your soul and bring your smile back. By the way, you deserve, and God wants you to have a smile from the inside out.

      • all the time, God is good on April 16, 2019 at 10:36 am

        “Your well meaning Christian friends don’t, and cannot gain the 10 years of perspective you have about what is really happening. They will give sound Biblical advice about the wrong problem.” from SteVee is so spot on from what I understand Leanna to be asking.

        I’m a daughter raised by a submissive mother and emotionally abusive father. Their 40+ year “marriage” was a series of power plays that used the church against my mother. Unwittingly, those teaching scriptural solutions to marriage problems were completely blind to the abuse. They misunderstood the problem and that’s why God’s desire for their marriage – one that is a picture of His loving sacrifice for all believers – seemed to be misrepresented to our family.

        God protects the unprotected (“orphans and widows”) and he speaks against the oppressor over and over in scripture. It’s not different in marriage. My father was merely physically present and it was always a negative experience when he was around. I’m thankful we were not physically abused children, but he was far from the father we deserved or God desired him to be.

        Leslie’s perspectives (and she speaks specifically to how the conservative evangelical church misapplies scripture about marriage in the context of abuse) as well as a book by Shannon Thomas called “Healing from Hidden Abuse” were part of our family’s resolve to call my father to a healthy life choice and provided comfort when he blamed us for his choices.

        One thing that I always questioned as a child in that dynamic was that my father enjoyed my mother’s anguish. I did not understand, until reading Shannon’s book, that his world was working for him – he had the situation he wanted. I also learned that he needed to choose a strong, capable, and deeply connected to emotion and empathy kind of person to slowly disassemble. It’s very ill, but it was his life work to destroy her. That was my “a-ha” moment because it was exactly what I observed in their marriage that I did not want in my own (and thanks to my mother’s God-given conviction and teaching, my siblings and I knew what he was doing was wrong, we did not know until recently to call it emotional abuse.)

        My heart goes out to you, Leanna. It’s a difficult thing to explain to a church goer who has NO IDEA that someone can be so treacherous and deeply selfish. Thankfully, you don’t have to, and there are the rare few who understand and champion your cause. I love what Susan Roberts said in the comments above about “Forgiveness is the key to letting go. Each time I thought of forgiving him I had to remember than what he did offended God even more than it did me and that God is my defender. It made it easier to release it to Him.” Not only does this ring true for your husband, but also members of the body of Christ who pile on the abuse.

      • Ann on April 16, 2019 at 10:57 am

        SteVee, thank you for calling out another man’s behaviour as wrong. I have my own sick story and have been surrounded by the “good old boys” club mentality in the churches I have attended . Around here the men bury their hands in the sand and do nothing to challenge each other. I have asked a couple men to help my husband, confront him, challenge him but no real action takes place. They agree I am being abused but no one wants to stand up to him so I have had to stand alone. I had given up there were any decent men left. Thank you for restoring a little bit of faith.

        • JoAnn on April 16, 2019 at 1:41 pm

          Ann, please do protect yourself from his abuses. Read Leslie’s book to learn about boundaries, and also Townsend & Cloud called “Boundaries.” So sad that no one is willing to stand up to him, but keep the Lord by your side, and His shield in your heart. You don’t deserve to be mistreated.

  11. Annie on April 9, 2019 at 12:48 am

    I agree with Moon Beam, try binge watching Patrick Doyle. Let his words sink. You are not crazy.

  12. Maryse on April 12, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    I have found comfort in reading the comments that have been shared here. Thank you, all!

    I have recently separated from my husband after a 45 year relationship. We have tried marriage counseling during the past decade but in the recent past, he told me that he “feels ganged up on” with that method of intervention so now a divorce is the only option left. Over the years, I have never heard a sincere apology from him and realize that he has been blame shifting to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. He has given himself permission to rage at me but denied me the right to be angry at all because “he could hear his mother’s voice” in mine. He also had a tendency to avoid spending time with me. He has told me that the way to get a “woman to shut up is to snap at her”. He told me that we had to keep our conversations to surface topics and not to expect him to discuss anything of an emotional nature. My precious childhood keepsakes and other personal items have “disappeared” over the years and I have finally made sense of what has been happening to them. There is evidence that he has disposed of other people’s property as well as a way to seek revenge. I have never been physically assaulted or called names although I have been insulted and ignored. I persevered through the irritability, the drinking, the porn addiction and indiscretions. It was when I finally figured out how much he was lying to me (about big and little things – not caught for so long due to my projection of honesty and integrity onto him) that at long last, I reached my bottom line and I gave him an ultimatum to either get help with his anger and lies or to move out. He chose to move out. The psychological and emotional abuse has been so slick and stealth. We are both university educated, have had careers as professionals and raised a family of four children but unfortunately, we both grew up in homes where personality disturbed individuals influenced our views on relationships. To his credit, he could “do for me” but, unfortunately, could not “be for me” in the relationship. Oh dear, I am in so much pain…. I tried so hard, tolerated so much… Please pray for me!

    • Frre on April 12, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Maryse I completely understand what you are talking about. Lundy Bancroft says ” He is fine with anger as long as it isn’t your anger.” The red flags are all there and you are doing the right thing to value the wonderful woman God made you to be.

      I assume you have gone to the you tube channels and books mentioned on this blog for support and clarity. The journey out of abuse takes time, especially after 45 years. You will need people who speak the truth to you and provide encouragement. Do you have people in your life like that? It all gets better, you have taken the first giant step towards freedom. Well done!

      • Maryse on April 17, 2019 at 2:26 pm

        Frre, thank you for your kind words of support. May God bless us both with His wisdom and strength.

    • SteVee on April 17, 2019 at 8:08 pm


      I can only imagine your agony. I am so sorry to hear about it. Do you have local support? Celebrate Recovery, Divorce Care, or if there is nothing like that locally, Al-Anon might be surprisingly helpful. I know your husband isn’t an alcoholic, but you have been deeply damaged and probably changed in ways you are not aware of after the many years of abuse. These groups can help you to help you.

      Praying for you.

      • Maryse on April 18, 2019 at 11:59 pm

        SteVee, thank you for your suggestions. I know that I have to take responsibility for my own healing so attending Al-Anon might help me with that. I will give that option serious consideration. Thank you for caring and for your prayers

  13. Lauri on April 13, 2019 at 12:17 am

    I hear you !! I know what it’s like to keep praying, hoping and waiting for the marriage that you dreamed about. It doesn’t seem fair. I am sorry you’re in this pain. I am there as well. I know that God can still do great things with our lives. His plans never fail. I will be praying as you walk this road. Pray for me too❤️

    • Maryse on April 17, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      Lauri, thank you for posting this thoughtful comment for me. Please know that I will pray for you as you continue on your own healing journey.

  14. SteVee on April 13, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    I am so sorry to hear your agony. I will pray for you.

    Unfortunately, the vindictiveness you described is not unique. Just this past week, my wife finally admitted in the counselors office that she only wanted to hurt me to get back at me, not kill me. The sad thing is, she thought that made her look better. Her vengefulness was completely justified in her eyes. I deserved it. Most of the time, I have never known what my offense was. I feel like a dumb, friendly, family dog that doesn’t know that people don’t want their feet stepped on, or be drooled on.

    • Maryse on April 17, 2019 at 2:36 pm

      Thank you, SteVee for your validation of my pain. It sounds as though your wife is reacting to who she thinks you are but not to who you actually are. May God soften her heart to help her to remove the log from her eye.

  15. Suzanne on April 16, 2019 at 10:35 am

    I’m curious to know how everyone deals with the financial part of it? It has me very angry at my ex husband. Our situation was: I came to recognize that our marriage was destructive and that he was emotionally abusive. He refused to attend counseling, saying it was unbiblical. I put up a boundary and said, “Please do not come home until you will attend counseling with me. Our marriage needs help!” Well, he did not come home — for weeks. Then he filed for divorce. That was June of 2016. To this day I blame myself for the boundary I put up (I pushed him away too hard!), and I’m angry at him for not caring about me and our 6 children and 22 years together enough to try harder. So now, after enjoying being an at-home mom, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to support myself when I no longer receive alimony. I am making $14 an hour part time at the moment to supplement the alimony. Going back to school is not an option for me. And since I stayed home all those years I don;t even qualify for Social Security when I’m 65. Yes, I qualify for half of his, but that’s only if i remain single. And to add to the anger, he has a bride on the way from Indonesia, 20 years younger than him, that will now receive all the comforts that I had. There is certainly more in the mix than the loss of money though: our kids are floundering now that their dad, who still texts them Bible verses every day telling them to, “Trust in the Lord!” could do such a thing. They are depressed, bulemic, cutting, having nervous breakdowns at college…while my ex goes on his merry way, and we deal with the mess he dropped on us all. How do I forgive him?!

    • anonymous on April 16, 2019 at 10:52 am

      @Suzanne – I am so sorry. You have so many consequences to deal with, and you didn’t inflict the damage. In my situation (as a daughter of a father who did similar things) I had advice to think about forgiveness in two parts: the dragging it around with me part and the continuing in relationship part. Biblically, I had the tools to work on the dragging around unforgiveness. Also, Biblically, I could restrict my contact with him as a measure of self protection because of his continued choices and unwillingness to recognize the damage he had inflicted. It helped me to know that there were two parts. Again, I’m so sorry for the mess he has left you to survive. Part of his negligence sounds like your financial future could be very unstable. I know this forum is geared toward seeing the damage inflicted from a toxic spouse. I’d suggest that Dave Ramsey would be another good resource for financial work. His perspectives help folks quantify the money going out and the money coming in and it helps makes it less emotional and more mathematical (while, obviously, finances are always both).

    • JoAnn on April 16, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      Suzanne, First of all, it should have been obvious that the marriage was over when your X refused to go to counseling and walked away. (I feel very sorry for his little Indonesian slave. I don’t think life will be very comfortable for her.) Don’t blame yourself for his choice. You are in the Lord’s hands, now, and He will provide for you. Trust Him, wait on Him, love Him, and praise Him. He is your shield and defender. Meanwhile, go to Divorce Care groups, look into taking computer classes at your local community classes, explore resources, etc. Let the Lord open doors for you. Your situation is only as dismal as you paint it. Why do you think that going to school is not an option? There are online courses and local training from DARPA.
      How do you forgive him? You let him go! You turn him over to your Lord to deal with him according to His righteousness (Not vindictively, but with release). Go to to read about forgiveness. That will help.

  16. Karin on April 16, 2019 at 10:58 am

    I am struggling with making the final decision to formerly separate and divorce as well. Each situation is unique and I struggle with whether I am “justified” in my mind, the church and God to move forward. Any thoughts are appreciated.
    My husband and I have been sleeping in separate bedrooms for at least 6 years. 2 years ago I asked him to move out and he refused, so I began the separation process. (The only way I will get him to move out of the house is to have a judge tell him to leave.) He begged me to reconcile saying he would “do anything”. I agreed if we obtained outside help. On his suggestion we went to our Pastor who suggested counseling separately and then together. We saw the counselor several times together, but I was really stressed so requested meeting separately. I continued to see the counselor, but my husband never went back. He says that the sessions are always complaint sessions talking about the past instead of looking to the future.
    Over the last 6 years I have been working on “being me” and taking my life back. This included me emotionally detaching from the relationship to be able to continue to function. In addition, I have set boundaries and surprisingly after testing them, he has mostly respected them. We cohabitate in the house I own and share meals but don’t spend a lot of time socializing together. As long as I don’t bring up any issues or concerns and don’t contradict him too much, we function without a lot of arguing. He doesn’t shout, call me names, spend all our money and I don’t believe he has cheated. However, he uses vague language so he can later say he didn’t say something and tends to turn issues around to make me question whether it is my problem. My attempts to relay to him how I am feeling (I feel —- when you —– and I would prefer —- ) either ends in him not responding, saying “I don’t know what to say” or us getting in a fight because I feel he is trying to turn the issue back around on me. Alternatively, he is trying harder by doing more around the house, helping with food shopping and preparation and buys me a little present sometimes, however his helpfulness improves when he thinks I am “fed up” and might make a drastic decision. My gut says his basic nature is the same (although improved by my ability to better set boundaries) and that his motivation is to maintain the lifestyle I can offer as I make more money and I own the house we live in. I do not trust him and I can’t forget how I felt when I got completely confused and turned around and wound up accepting the responsibility for our relationship issues. I do not believe I have seen true repentance or contrition and therefore I have no hope of true reconciliation.
    How do I know I have done as much as I can and even though he has made some substantive changes, how do I justify to myself and God that it is OK for me to leave? When other woman are dealing with spouses who cheat, do pornography, shout at them, hit them, spend all their hard earned money or just do nothing, how is it OK for me to separate when he isn’t doing those things?

    • elisa on April 17, 2019 at 3:14 am

      i resonanted deeply with your experience. i’m in a parallel situation 18 years in 3 kids

    • Moon Beam on April 20, 2019 at 9:21 pm

      You seem to be living with a parasite. Someone who wants to take what you have to offer without giving or being a partner. Parasites need to be removed as the grow and grow as they devour their host. You deserve better!

      • Moon Beam on April 20, 2019 at 9:23 pm

        As they tend to grow and grow as they devour

      • Karin on April 22, 2019 at 9:24 am

        That is a good analogy. At one time I really had been “devoured” and have worked really hard to regain myself. Now I am completely detached from him so I can function emotionally and am not willing to reconnect emotionally with him because I question his motives and don’t trust him.

  17. Moon Beam on April 20, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    Let it go Sandy, he already has.

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

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