How Do I Minister To My Unbelieving Abusive Husband?

Morning friends,

How are you doing? I mean really doing, deep in your soul and spirit? Are you sensing His presence? His love? His forgiveness? His help? I hope so.

Many of you here experience a crushed spirit. You are regularly invalidated, dismissed, demeaned and degraded and used as an object. This takes it’s toll on you and please don’t minimize this. Recently a woman said to me, “If only I was more godly, this wouldn’t affect me so much.”

That’s not true. I think Jesus felt real hurt, real rejection and real pain when he was beaten, humiliated, mocked, and tortured on his way to the cross. Although he was God, he was also human and he felt the raw and real emotions that human’s feel when they are mistreated and abused.

However, it is crucial that you build CORE strength as well as put your marriage in it’s proper place so that your husband’s love, or lack thereof, is not THE stabilizing force in your identity or your life. Jesus always knew he was loved by his Father, even when everyone else in his life failed him.

In response to last week’s blog on projection, someone asked the difference between defensive projection and offensive projection. She referenced George Simon’s work and here is a link where he defines some terms for you much better than I could.


This Week’s Question: I don’t think my husband is a genuine Christian. Three years ago after things got really unhealthy in our marriage I made a decision to make it my ministry to be an instrument of God to be used in his conversion process in whatever way God would be pleased to do so.

I’ve tried to practice 1 Peter 3 (See: Does God Want me to Submit to Mistreatment according to 1 Peter 3 ) Without being born again, how can he have true conviction that his actions and attitudes are sinful? Can we hold our unsaved spouses who are emotionally destructive responsible for their actions when they cannot even “see” their sin and need for God’s ultimate forgiveness?

Grace and undeserved mercy, as the Bible describes them, isn’t something he fully comprehends from what I can tell which is why he justifies his behaviors and refuses to take responsibility for his abusive actions. If so, what is the biblical way for a wife to respond to her emotionally destructive husband, whom she does not want to divorce nor separate, but at the same time does not want to be victim any longer to his abusive ways (verbally/emotionally/physically – i.e. slapping my leg, arm, head/shoving)?

Answer: First, let me encourage your heart. You obviously want to honor your vows and be a good example in order to draw your husband to Christ’s love, forgiveness, and mercy. That is very hard to actually want to do in a culture that doesn’t value self-sacrifice or staying in an unhappy marriage. God sees your heart and will help you accomplish his purposes but don’t think that means you must stay a passive victim.

You talk about not wanting to hold your husband’s sin against him as if you are the judge. You’re right, your place is not to judge, but that does not mean that you are not to speak truth in love or prevent him from experiencing the consequences of his sinfulness.

You ask, “Can we hold our unregenerated spouses who are emotionally destructive responsible for their actions when they cannot even “see” their sin and need for God’s ultimate forgiveness?”

Let me ask you something. Do you think God holds people accountable when they are blind to their sin?   For example, do you think God will give the Pharisee’s in Christ’s day a pass because they did not see their envy or their pride or their hypocrisy, even when Jesus directly told them? Read Jesus’ words to them in Matthew 23:13-38

Second, you say, “Grace and undeserved mercy, as the Bible describes them, isn’t something he fully comprehends from what I can tell which is why he justifies his behaviors and refuses to take responsibility for his abusive actions.”

I don’t think your husband’s primary problem is that he doesn’t understand grace and mercy, although he may not understand these truths. His primary problem is that he feels entitled to abuse you when he doesn’t get his way or what he wants. There are many, many non-Christian men who know nothing of God’s grace and mercy yet they treat their wives with love and respect. They do not verbally, emotionally, sexually, or physically abuse them. It has nothing to do with your husband’s lack of understanding of God’s grace and everything to do with his attitude of entitlement.

That takes us to your last question, how do you respond? If you want to “minister” to your husband as a Godly wife, what does that look like specifically? Does it mean that you are to simply continue to allow your husband to sin against you without consequence? Is that the best way you can “love” your husband?

Or, is a more bold love required? A love that is strong enough to hold him responsible and accountable for his sinful choices. A love that might call the police and let him experience the legal consequences of his abusive behavior which very well could be a wake-up call that helps him “see” the sinfulness of his behaviors.

There is no easy answer here, but finally, if you do not want to be a victim any longer you must take steps to prevent your own victimization. (Tweet this)

You can do this lovingly but firmly as you leave the house when he escalates, refuse to engage in arguments, call the police when he gets violent and separate from him until he gets the help he needs to change his sinful behavior so that your marriage has a chance of being healed. If not, trust me, nothing will change. It will only get worse.

Remember, you are not just taking these steps for you. You are also doing them for him with the hope that as you draw a line in the sand and say “no more” your husband will begin to repent of his abusive behavior and want to change.

Friends, share how you have worked through the 1 Peter 3 passage and “ministered” to your abusive spouse?


  1. Lynn on February 11, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I completely understand. I was right where you are. It is very hard to minister to someone when you are living in fear for your safety. I struggled for years not knowing what to do. I committed to praying daily for him. Nothing I did made a difference. He would temporarily change his behavior so that I would stay but it never lasted long. I finally found the courage to hold him accountable and he chose divorce. He did not chose to repent. For years I was making myself responsible for his behavior and choices. The only way to stop being a victim is to stand up to him, unfortunately sometimes when you do it will mean divorce. But it isn’t really a marriage when you are being abused.

  2. Brenda on February 11, 2015 at 8:34 am

    I was right there with you. I thought my being better would change him. That speaking quietly and submissive would stop him from throwing things. It didn’t. I started trying to leave when he behaved viciously, he wouldn’t allow it. I left and filed for legal separation, the verbal and emotional abuse continued. I had proof that he was seeing his ex-wife and when I confronted him he said he wanted a divorce. I obliged him. Not we texts me about every 2 weeks to tell me how much he cares. Now I don’t. I realize that the nice little texts he sends are smoke and mirrors without any repentance. If there are no consequences, there is no change. Now instead of being a victim, I feel victory with Jesus. I turned the X over to Him.

  3. Peg Gentle on February 11, 2015 at 8:49 am

    This lady’s mindset right now reminds me of my own at one point in my marriage when I first began to have to deal with as my abusive husband’s behaviors got worse and worse. I remember trying to come up with NEW strategies of how I would try to ward off his triggering—-nothing worked. He just got worse. I prayed! I asked others to pray! I didn’t fall into his entangling behaviors and sin against him. I remained calm when he raged and walked out so many times. I even spent the night in my car one winter night to “keep the peace.” So, I know how much this lady wants her marriage to work, but she cannot make it work ALONE! It’s difficult to ACCEPT that these men are hateful, angry, mean-spirited, and insensitive to the hurt they cause. That has to be accepted first! They are abusive! They are not children who do not know better! They know what they are doing! However, I believe the patterns of behavior get ingrained because nobody confronts or counters those behaviors. I taught high school for many years. I had students who were unbelievably cruel and mean! So, I could have used the same reasoning with them—–they didn’t know any better! NO NO! As I “managed” their behaviors with consequences, counseling, and referrals to the principal, things would change. They would realize their behaviors were not bringing the result they wished for. The most loving thing you can do is to set the boundaries, stick to them without fail, and administer the consequences if he does not honor your boundaries. Now that I am no longer the victim of my abusive husband (he divorced me), when I run into him in town, he is very respectful and seems quite pitiful. I did NOT enable his bad behavior. Do you think Jesus did wrong by throwing the money changers out of the temple? After all, did they know they were sinning? Jesus took that matter into his hands as he did because those men were dishonoring our Heavenly Father and defiling the temple. Your husband is dishonoring his vows to you! He is dishonoring God’s laws. His job as a man is KNOW God’s laws. God holds everyone accountable! Nobody gets a free pass! As believeers, we are disciples of Christ and therefore, we must be careful to NOT allow people to go unchecked when they disobey God’s Word. If your husband is an unbeliever and defies God’s laws, then you must by all means HONOR God’s laws in your behavior and never enable your husband to get away with wrong behavior in your marriage. I think it is astounding when one sees these abusive behaviors get worse and worse over time and see no end to it! One begins to WONDER—-is there a monster living in this man? It’s just incomprehensible to see no change and it causes one’s spirit to just grow weary. God helped me get through that weariness and the realizations that I had to stick to the boundaries (Read Cloud and Townsend’s book) or I was literally going under myself. My motto became—–It’s either God’s way, or the highway!” If my husband couldn’t or wouldn’t honor God and seek to get help so that he would honor God, then the highway was the place I sent him to travel on his own. I do not regret that. I have peace with God and that is what matters!

  4. Alene on February 11, 2015 at 8:51 am

    I used to think that I should be submissive like I Peter 3 but I realized I needed a better definition of submission; not passive, not one that enables the other person’s sin to continue hurting himself, the children, myself, and others as it went on and on and on and I was stuck. Submissive must indeed be loving and love must be both strong (wise as a serpent) and gentle (as a dove) in order to stand strong. I came to a point when I took a whole year to ponder out I Peter 3 as I sorted things out in my mind. I saw that the wife passage follows the section about Jesus. His actions were purposeful…to bring redemption, not passive to allow t sin to continue on and on and on.
    But it is hard to see the way, to learn new steps.
    It did no good to try to reason with him. As Proverbs says, when you answer according to the folly…lest you become like them and you go in circles, more entrenched. So there came the day when I said I would not listen to all the put downs of our son anymore, I just decided I needed to keep all that garbage out of my yard, and could do so calmly leaving the room and returning to speak of other things or solutions. This impacted the behavior but not his heart, truthfully. It helped me tremendously not to have the pressure of those words landing in my ears constantly so I could focus on other things.
    I have found that small, specific truth statements are powerful points of truth that can act as seeds. When I speak observational truth and name what I see, I am speaking in a different way so that he will not be wise in his own eyes, so the light of truth has a chance to break through.

  5. Cheryl on February 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

    So, while I don’t share the ‘ministering’ mindset of this writer, I have stayed in the marriage and have learned that I need to set boundaries and that is what ‘loving’ looks like. We are living as roommates since beginning of November. He refuses outside help and says he’s praying and asking God to help him. I have noticed his behavior is more controlled, but I also see that the underlying attitudes of entitlement and the anger, distrust and lack of love are still there. He says I ‘have to give him something’ (referring to sex) to hope for and to show that I see the changes he is implementing. I feel for him because he has no clue. But, I also realize he is not willing to seek outside help to get a clue, thus proving that he is not humbly seeing his issues.

    • Nicole on February 21, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Oh man…I could’ve just written that myself! Well said.

  6. Liz on February 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    One of your first comments, Leslie, spoke to me because that is just how I feel and as I was doing my reading this morning I was thinking….if I was more godly I would be more serene, feel less pain etc. I try to be perfect and take every bit of nonsense that my husband throwd at me and when he cannot find a fault, he makes one up. His lies upset me so much. It feels like a knife in the back. So, being loving, respectful, submissive, tolerant etc have not brought any change or improvement

    • Peg Gentle on February 11, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      I think whenever a “victim” shows grace and treats the abuser with mild/meek type responses, he just becomes that much more abusive. I remember a time when I first tried to be very mild and meek in my response to my ex-husband’s raging, he just plowed in that much harder. AND YES, he made up things that didn’t even happen! He accused me of saying horrible things that I wouldn’t have ever thought to say. SO, they become irrational so much so that it isn’t worth the energy to try to “reason” with them or speak truth to them. Ultimatelty, I could have no conversations with my abusive spouse. He shouted me down and would NOT listen to truth. It’s worse than dealing with a 2 year-old throwing temper tantrums! The lies and untruths hurt me too so much! However, God toughened me up and made me see it was useless to try to “battle” it out with an irrational man! At last, I do not concern myself with my ex’s lost state! God can handlel him if He so chooses! I leave it to God and I feel for those out there who haven’t arrived at that resolve yet.

  7. Jane on February 11, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I have been reading the posts at this site for several months. Does any situation ever improve? Do you post good reports? Just wondering….

    • Loretta P on February 11, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Yes, with support and boundaries some situations get better. At this time mine is healing. It’ll be a long process but I now have the support needed to make the boundary changes needed. He is responding after I said I was going to leave if no changes on his part. It doesn’t always go well. For me it was years of abuse, then when I first used consequences, he wasn’t interested in change, but the consequences got through and lots of prayer. There is hope, but both parties have to work on the relationship. It can’t be one sided. You can’t change him. He must make his choices, but prayer can help!!!

    • Rebecca on February 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Please read more of the topics and more of the posts as there are plenty of stories of hopeful results. They are there. It is just that the sad stories are so, so sad they tend to cast a pall over everything, through no fault of the poster. Also, don’t forget to pray for these individuals and remember God doesn’t answer prayer, He answers desperate prayer (When we are really serious with Him. Let’s seriously remember to weep and pray for these abuse victims.) Abusing one of God’s precious daughters and justifying it brings the sure and serious judgment of God. I affirm the wisdom and propriety of fleeing an abuser but once safe, we don’t want anyone to fall into that judgment of the Pharisees. If we do, we need to repent of it. If they will perish, let them have to jump over all our continuous warnings, efforts and prayers, even if they mock us from afar. Praying for your former spouse is actually loving your enemy and that helps you love the enemy within you too (everybody has one).

      One day there will be a low tolerance for violent behavior against women coupled with various forms of control and real costs for perpetrators of domestic violence. Anyone dealing with the court systems can see the changing attitudes toward violent men. If the trajectory holds, it will become as sensitive as racism. I would say in some courts the entire community is generally doing a better job of holding men accountable for violent behavior. Churches, non.

      I love the comments above about putting your marriage in its proper place. Nothing: children, husband’s love, parents, our comfort can come before Christ! He must be the stabilizing force in our identity and our lives. -Oh, I just love that too! Snuggle into the love of God for strength and refreshment, but never forget to risk for those women that really need our help. 🙂

      We also need to remember that we each have enough sin to level ten city blocks and yet we often do not see that sin because we aren’t close enough to God. The whole mess we are in is the result of just one sin. Think about that. We are simply comparing ourselves to each other. I am so immersed in sin (attitudes, motivations, etc.) myself that, like a fish, I don’t even know I am soaking wet. Realizing this actually elevates us because it elevates Christ to His rightful position as our Savior. We are actually terrifyingly powerful when we are that broken and that humble before God. I fear hardship and the evils of men but I can see from the lives of those that have gone before me that an easy life will not lead to conformity to Christ. Allowing abuse will not either and we always must utilize the church, the civil authorities and the courts immediately. But if your marriage is just really hard and really disappointing that is different. How can I learn unconditional love with a man that meets most of my conditions? How can I learn mercy and pity if married to a man who rarely fails me?

      “Do you think God holds people accountable when they are blind to their sin?” Yes, see vast sections of the entire Old Testament.

    • Robin Baumann on February 13, 2015 at 1:06 am

      not many, but a few. But on this blog, we have witnesssed many woman healing, and getting strong, and going on with their lives in a much healthier way!!

      • Rebecca on February 13, 2015 at 11:44 am

        I should not have said “plenty” because I do not know the actual numbers and I bet our definitions are different too. Thinking about the severity of many of the cases here, “a few” would make more sense. -Gee wiz, it is tough work being accurate.

        Leslie asked in her post: “Do you think God holds people accountable when they are blind to their sin?” I think so but if sin is insanity (as we agreed to, -see the post: Headed To California + Church Discipline Pt 4), do we hold insane people guilty? Do I yell at a blind man that knocks me down? I would say they are accountable but I see some logical contradictions. When sin is destructive to others, I think we have to warehouse individuals who are committing those sins so they can’t harm even more people. Are they morally accountable if they are insane or blind? I just don’t know enough to really know that. Our tort and criminal law would be moderated by their insanity and blindness but God sometimes (not always) has a standard of strict liability, like the law uses for environmental cases –say EPA cases. –And now that I reflect on it, how come Jesus pays for our sins like it’s a parking ticket (tort law)? If I hurt someone, I have to go to jail (criminal law). You can’t go to jail for me like you can pay my parking ticket for me. How is that not a confusion of moral categories right there? -Good grief, I have really confused myself now. 🙂

        • Leslie Vernick on February 14, 2015 at 2:37 pm

          Yea I think it all can be confusing if we think of it all that way. I think we are blind and self-deceived because of sin , but we also have a moral compass internally built in by God that helps even unbelievers – know right from wrong. That’s why God says he will hold each accountable- Read Romans 1:18-32.

          • Rebecca on February 15, 2015 at 6:59 am

            I see it now! You are so right. Romans 1:18-32 makes it crystal clear: In every culture, Christian or not, lying is wrong, murder is wrong, stealing another man’s wife and property is wrong, etc. as per Romans 1:18-32 (God’s wrath against sinful humanity). Excellent answer –thank you. That was embarrassingly simple.

            Is this question’s answer just as simple, somehow? You say above “There are many, many non-Christian men who know nothing of God’s grace and mercy yet they treat their wives with love and respect.”…Real love? Real respect? Then what real difference does Christ really make? Non-Christian men really loving and really respecting their wives, how do we explain that? Marriage is about as real as it gets, if non-Christian men have love and respect, as well as have, sense and goodness without God, why the Lord God? “Dwell with your wives in kindness for even if you hate them, you might be hating someone in whom Allah your God has placed your very deliverance.” [Quran 4:19]

            I might not improve on silence, but I’ll try to explain that too: Non-Christian men “love” only to get (-sex, respect, love, etc.) in return but that ultimately brings the sure judgment of God because they are doing it for selfish reasons and not for the glory of the one true living God (1 Corinthians 10:31 . . . . whatever you do, do all to the glory of God). More than this, non-Christians are not capable of sustained selfless love (-if , for example, what they really married for: sex, beauty, a second income, -if that goes away) because selfless love originates with God and one needs a connection to the Holy Spirit to be able to show real love continuously? While unregenerate men are capable of “love,” it is not always sustained or consistent (-of course, it isn’t for a Christian either, so, as always, I’m caught on the reef again). The love a Christian has is at least capable of being sustained and consistent by virtue of our connectedness to God through our new heart and new life in Christ? Is it also that apart from the restraining hand of God, men’s unregenerate hearts make them monsters of iniquity and vile abominations (Romans 1:18-32)? I think those terms are truly capturing Romans 1:18-32, as we are so blinded by our culture. Culture says it is a mistake not a vile, wicked, hopeless corrupt heart. It is an affair not abominable adultery. -So even if they “love” it is only because God is restraining them and their motives are horrific?

            Better is one day in your courts; Better is one day in your house; Better is one day in your courts. . . .than thousands elsewhere.

      • Lonely wife on March 2, 2015 at 9:41 am

        I agree, Robin…I’ve read this blog for months now, and sadly, I have found VERY few marriages that have been transformed…meaning the abuser has seen his sin for what it is and has turned to Christ to help him stop his abusive behavior.

        • Robin on March 2, 2015 at 10:48 am

          Lonely wife– I feel so sad when I am reminded how abusive men don’t want help, don’t show any signs of wanting reconciliation, don’t repent and when their wives eyes are finally open to truth and follow it, the destructive spouse does nothing, or only that which will get them what they want. That’s why we support counselors and leaders who walk in Truth and are working busily to inform and educate women and churches. Plus one thing also we can do is support one another as we do on this blog. I try to remind myself often, if my words and my testimony encourages just one woman and then that woman encourages one woman, we are on our way to setting others free to walk in Truth and Freedom!!! YEAH!!

        • Robin on March 2, 2015 at 10:53 am

          But although not many marriages are healed– we remember it is POSSIBLE- just not probable.

    • Lynn on July 22, 2016 at 10:52 am

      I believe my marriage is on the way to becoming a success story! I praise and thank God for it! Due to the counsel of a godly mentor and Leslie’s materials, I gained the insight and ability to stand for what is right. As my friend says, Truth at all costs, not peace at all costs. I have been married for 16 years. Throughout my marriage I tried to be what I thought was a truly godly & submissive wife and did not want to nag my husband so I didn’t confront him when he was wrong but tried to win him over by my submissive behavior.Little by little, I gave up parts of myself and wasn’t allowed to truly be free in my expression of thoughts and actions without fearing some type of retribution…usually unkind words, a cold shoulder, and the devaluing of my worth as I was repeatedly told I was foolish or stupid. By not setting boundaries things slowly grew worse overy time. In year 14, in an extremely weakened state when I was isolated from support, and after pleading with my husband that we needed help, I fell prey to my husband’s best friend who worked for years to win me over, all while he tried to “help” my husband. We had an affair that lasted a few months until God in His great mercy rescued me from my entrapment and caused everything to come crashing down. I was devastated & repented and was so thankful to not have to live a lie anymore. Initially, my husband seemed to want to change. Then, as bitterness set in, the verbal abuse worsened, and I was given the silent treatment for days on end. All while the children watched and listened. The leaders of the church we attended for 18 years essentially abandoned us. I begged for help as my husband raged and I was told to just hang on even though I begged my pastor to confront my husband. He refused.We left the church. We attended a new church for 7 months. We had made an an appointment with that Pastor to learn more about it and my husband, at the last minute, refused to go. I showed up distraught and crying. The pastor could not meet alone with me (I understood) but he prayed for me but did not follow up. The cold shoulders and raging words continued. We left that church due to doctrinal reasons. We have found a wonderful church and have been attending for 6 months. In Feb, my husband agreed to get counseling. We spoke to an ACBC counselor for 2 months. My husband was not confronted for his sins. Instead I was questioned as I tried to start implementing boundaries and Leslie’s lessons. My husband was told he could stop attending counseling since he obviously didn’t want to be there. I met once more with the counselor. I tried to lay out my case for the emotional, controlling, and psychological abuse I was receiving. I begged for help. I was told that there is no earthly help for me and that I should look to God only, continue to apply 1 Pet 3 and that I didn’t love God enough because the abuse was causing me to despair. He also told me that it is good for our children to suffer for my husband’s decisions even if it goes against my conscience. I told the counselor several times about Leslie’s book throughout the counseling sessions and he did not read it or refer to it. I left that last counseling session with no hope and no emotion. Even the despair was gone. I had nothing left. The night before, I confronted my husband firmly, lovingly,and told him the Truth. He was abusing me and I would no longer stand for it. 2 days later, we had a date and talked things out. I told him that the church had failed us and that even if we have to turn to the world for help, that is what I am going to do. I continue using Leslie’s biblical principles and stand for what is right in a loving way. On that date, my husband admitted he doesn’t want a doormat for a wife, but an equal to share his life with. Thank you Leslie for your ministry and work! As a side note, I have spoken with the head pastor on the issue of submission and I don’t believe he agrees with the counseling we received. I need to make an appointment to clarify the counseling views there. But, honestly, I have just been taking the time to breathe deep and enjoy my marriage as it improves.

  8. Belle on February 11, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    For years I labored under the lie that if I was more godly I would not be ruffled, angry, hurt etc. by my husband’s behavior. I totally agree with Leslie. The Psalms also show a man who was deeply hurt by the wicked.

    I am just now coming to the light regarding boundaries. They have scared me as I don’t want to be a parent, and I don’t want to be controlling. I know how talking hasn’t worked. And I have tried to be as sweet as I can. I have tried writing instead of talking. I have tried so many things…

    I have said I will not listen to the badgering. I leave.

    Pray for me as I am writing a letter and planning on implementing further consequences in the sexual realm. If anyone has a heart to pray, I would love it as online is my only support system. I have some encouragement that some repentance may come, but still realize that realistically that won’t happen.

    • Remedy on February 11, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Belle….I also did incremental things/consequences to show I meant business. It escalated to a whole new level of scary. I had to finally involve pastoral leadership, which resulted in the same abysmal responses you read on this blog. It has now been over 2yrs since the sexual acts were brought to a halt… change, remorse, or repentance. I hope you fare better than me, but be prepared for any outcome. With these types, boundaries only incense them more.

      • Elizabeth on March 2, 2015 at 8:51 pm

        Thank you Remedy for your insightful observation that “boundaries only incense them more.” I have experienced this over and over. At first I expected the boundaries or natural consequences to “work” by making him realize his demeaning behavior but it only made him angrier. Now I am not surprised by it but sad that he is so blind to his ways. I am learning to maintain the consequences and live at peace with him as I develop new and healthy relationships with my Christian sisters. thank you to all of you for your stories and how much they encourage me to keep going and growing in Christ.

    • Paula on February 11, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      I have prayed for you, Belle. God bless you in your situation. I know it is so hard, and I know what it is like to have no personal support system and rely so heavily on online help. I have asked the Lord to bring you to my mind to pray for you more.

      • Belle on February 12, 2015 at 1:04 pm

        Oh Thank you sooo much, Paula. It means a lot to me to have prayer support from those I do not even know.

        • Paula on February 12, 2015 at 3:57 pm


    • Lonely wife on March 2, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Belle I stopped all intimacy in June 2014 after I read Leslie’s book and realized why I hated sex so much….my H was using me for HIS needs…and could care less about mine! This even after I had told him several times that I felt used and unloved.
      It has made NO difference to my husband. He continues to be emotionally abusive, has flirted with another woman from his office Christmas party and when I pointed out that his behavior was over the line and made me uncomfortable, he became angry at me, and accused me of “looking for something to blame him for.”
      I did move him out of our bedroom after the Christmas party incident for about 8 weeks…he went back to counseling twice, and has stopped again.
      I’m trying to live well, as Leslie has said in her book, but it is hard.
      My husband doesn’t yell at me, he doesn’t curse at me, he’s a loyal and hardworking employee, providing well for our family, he goes to church every Sunday…everyone thinks he’s the perfect husband…..BUT he’s had two emotional affairs that I know of….He has no boundaries when it comes to other women from what I can see…he has no relationship with our older children, my sons come to me to talk about problems or situations in their lives, not their father, because they know he doesn’t care.
      I don’t believe my husband is saved, nor do my children. We see no evidence of a man who loves God and seeks to serve him…so we pray for him, because at this point, that’s all we can do.

  9. Liz on February 11, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Leslie, you described perfectly where I’m at, how do you heal from a crushed spirit when you are still living with daily torment?

    I’m sorry I’m not much help with your question – my husband fully believes he is a Christian but he still is unable or unwilling to be accountable for his words and actions. I really struggle to forgive and live as the Christian I’m supposed to be. I hope for your sake your husband will start taking responsibility for his own actions – saved or not saved

    • Paula on February 16, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      “…how do you heal from a crushed spirit when you are still living with daily torment?” I wonder the same thing, Liz. In my case, the stress of the relationship gradually broke my health down over the years such that I am very disabled now. This only makes me more vulnerable. How do we heal when the wound continues to get fresh salt ground into it before it gets a chance? I get an adrenaline surge so many times a day and I can’t shut it off. I wish I had an answer. I only know that Christ is trustworthy and He knows our situations. May He deliver us.

      • Liz on February 20, 2015 at 4:57 pm

        I’m sorry to hear that Paula, that is pretty much my experience too. I am trying as Cheryl below says with boundaries and it has helped a bit over the last few years but it is still a constant struggle. Praying for you and everyone else here. I really appreciate having a Christian site that understands. Thanks Leslie

    • Cheryl on February 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Liz, that was the question I was asking for about a year or so, before it became clear that boundaries were the key. In November I implemented boundaries and continue to do so, and I find my confidence coming back, I’m renewing friendships, even taking a trip by myself. In other words, getting back to my authentic self that was lost. This gives me hope and makes me feel alive again. Don’t fear making positive changes and don’t fear reaching out to others and asking for support and prayer. I am not fully myself yet, but am doing much better than I was a year ago, even without changes in him. Remember that it is a process and learn to be ok with that process. I’m praying for you!

      • Liz on February 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm

        Thank you Cheryl that’s so kind of you. I have been trying and I have made progress over the last few years but i still struggle daily. I pray you continue to heal and become your true self. I pray that for everyone of us

  10. Survivor on February 11, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    I can so well relate to this!!!! In fact, I was encouraged by a sister in the church to “see it as my mission from God to love him into repentance”. At a support group I have been attending, I have been asked by several if I am codependent. After taking inventory of my thoughts, emotions, needs and desires, I came to conclusion that I do not fit that profile. But I still felt confused as to why the relationship was looking the way it was. Recently, I began attending a different church. This week, my husband and I met with the congregational care pastor and his wife. They observed this dynamic that I am struggling with and mentioned it. I acknowledged that I had seen it too and didn’t know what to do with it. After about a minute of dialogue, they both saw that HE is the codependent, not me! That really took me by surprise as I had not even considered that as a possibility! But I have to say: it was SO refreshing to talk with someone who doesn’t just think that I am doing everything wrong but can actually see how/cycles have started and know how to help me–in a healthy way–to get free of them!! PTL for the few churches/pastors out there who actually do this ‘the Jesus way’!

    • Brisbane Wife on January 14, 2016 at 9:54 am

      After 12 years of marriage, my health had taken a turn for the worse.

      I have been seeing several kinesiologists and having bioresonance treatment just to help me cope with home life.

      And in the last 6 months of getting help, my brain fog has finally lifted and I have seen what my husband has been doing to me all these years.

      But now, as a Christian, I don’t know what to do with this information.

      Christian websites are so conflicting on the subject of divorce (which I have never considered until now because of my beliefs and not wanting my 2 kids to be affected by divorce)

      He has managed to even discredit me to my own family so I can’t turn to them for support. Even though they KNOW what he’s like, if I go to them with a problem, they always give me advice on how I can do better.

      So he might tell my Dad that he’s working so hard but we’re getting no where and it would really help if I got a job.

      Next thing, my Dad is approaching me about getting a job.

      We have enough money coming in each week.
      The issue is that my husband refuses to budget with me.
      He can spend what he wants but checks the accounts every day to see what I’ve spent.

      And btw, the only reason I didn’t work for a year, is because I got to the point in my previous job where I was so anxious, I couldn’t even handle four hours of work each week.

      After getting appendicitis a couple of months after resigning, I had trouble recovering spent most of 2015 trying to get back to health.

      Since my eyes have been opened to his abuse, our cycles have escalated.

      He is very strong and does martial arts and sometimes uses his strength to dominate & submit me.

      I hate feeling powerless.

      I also learned that he does something called Gaslighting.
      Apparently it’s quite common in DV. (worth a google)

      I struggle with unconditional love now, because it always makes him think that everything is back to normal, and nothing EVER gets resolved.

      If he is in an aggressive mood, he can force sex.
      Or he guilts me into “putting in an effort, because he doesn’t want a dud you-know-what.”

      Several Christian websites quote 1 Peter 3, which states that we are to submit as Christ, saying:
      Jesus was reviled and suffered yet did not retaliate, but, sinless though He was, bore our sins in his body meekly and without threats, trusting “Him who judges righteously.”

      I am scared to go to the Church about it because I know he will manipulate them into believing it’s all my fault, and/or he will promise to change…which will never happen.

      It’s hard to find a church that understands and is equipped to handle abusive/manipulative partners.
      Far too many will offer counselling, get completely blind sided, and end up giving the victim advice on how they can be a better wife.

      He has apologised and promised to change so many times in our marriage, but NOTHING has changed.
      I don’t even bother engaging in these conversations any more. I know all he wants is sex (which he says he needs for stress relief, and if I gave it to him regularly, he wouldn’t get in his moods) and his apologies mean zip to me.

      I was on a mission to Love him unconditionally when we dated and got married, but it was never enough.

      I was convinced love conquers all, and if I loved him unconditionally, he would become born again.

      I can trust God with every other aspect of my life…but after praying and waiting for 12yrs, this is the one area I am struggling to trusting him with…especially his timing.

      I just don’t know how long I can live like this.
      And I now have the kids to consider too.
      During the intense parts of our cycle, his words are awful.

      After calling a DV hotline, I was given the facts:
      Abusive partners have a very low rate of reform.
      Nothing you ever do will be good enough.
      Everything will always be your fault.
      Everything they do is calculated. If they’re nice, it’s because they want something. If they’re mean, it’s because they’re trying to drop you down a peg.
      If you try to gain confidence/independence and get yourself out of the fog, they will always try to drag you back down again.

      No one here seems to have an answer.
      I really want to obey God, but I’m running on empty.

      My son has now started mimicking my husbands behaviour.
      He taunts his sister relentlessly when he’s in the mood.
      And it’s likely my daughter will eventually be attracted to someone like my husband.

      Desperate for answers and a solution, but can’t seem to find any.

      • Brisbane Wife on January 14, 2016 at 10:05 am

        Another thing I was told by the DV hotline is that they will never leave you because they love the control they have over you. Threatening to leave is just how they make you feel more insecure (especially if you are financially independent.)
        And they know that if they leave you, it’s unlikely they will find someone else who will tolerate their abusive behaviour.
        This gives my husband a lot of power, because he knows my beliefs and the verse about the non believer leaving the believer (but not the other way around)

        • Brisbane Wife on January 14, 2016 at 10:11 am

          *Actually, after reading further down, it appears as though some partner DO leave…

  11. Loretta P on February 11, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    If a woman is going to stay in an abusive marriage, you must respect yourself (a daughter of God) enough to say NO to the abuse!!! Allowing abuse doesn’t help a man find God, it makes him disrespect you and your God! I’ve been there. It didn’t work. My husband came back to God when I said NO more abuse and threatened to leave him. Now that he’s being held to consequences, he’s finally trying. I don’t know the outcome long term, but allowing abuse does NOT work! It will tear you down, make him look down on you more, and harden his heart. Men know that abuse is wrong and if you allow abuse you are allowing him to sin (even if he doesn’t know it’s sin, he knows it’s wrong). It also makes a man feel inadequate when they resort to abuse. It’s a loose/ loose situation! Please stop the abuse for his sake, your sake and his future relationship with God that is at stake.

    • Brisbane Wife on January 14, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Almost a year later, has your relationship improved?

  12. Amy on February 14, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I lived in an abusive marriage for 20 years and about 10 years into the marriage I became a believer. I was so desperately seeking the Lord to help me in my marriage because I wanted to make it work, but unfortunately I now see the wrongful teaching/advice I was given.

    I was told often that being in an abusive marriage was just my lot in life and since it was the place I was in when I found salvation then that is where I was to stay — it was to be my mission field if you will.

    I tried doing all the ‘right’ things being very submissive, speaking quietly, being joyful even through the pain — basically just not being real. And all that got me was escalated abuse.

    I found at that time how the Church basically doesn’t want to deal with abuse in marriage, they would rather turn a blind eye to it and honestly that made me wonder if that is what God did too. Did He even really care about me? And I was positive if I ever left, especially chose to divorce He would stop loving me.
    I felt so trapped and what I failed to see is that actually God gives us freedom from abuse, but when you’re in the midst of it and receiving all kinds of advice from often well-meaning Christians who have no clue what it is to live with abuse it’s easy to remain in a situation for a lot of wrong reasons.

    I’m not sure I ever ministered to my abusive husband, he ended up walking out 6 years ago and I finally found the courage to file for divorce when after 2 years there was no change. I don’t think anything I could have done would have changed him. He was so determined that I was the cause of his problems that he could never take responsibility for his own wrongdoing.

    A commenter above states that a woman must respect herself enough to say NO to abuse in her marriage, but sometimes that is very hard to do when you’ve been beat down for years. I tried to say no and stand up for myself and my kids, it only caused him to escalate his abusive ways with us. But certainly if a woman can speak up and set boundaries, and be strong about holding firm to consequences, AND if there is a true repentance and change in her husband, then that should certainly be the first thing to try.
    Unfortunately, it just doesn’t always happen that easily.

    • Rebecca on February 14, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      If we all got fooled (and we probably did), is it any wonder we got fooled and taken in? You know all the verses all across the New Testament and you know the contexts: “submit yourselves to your own husbands”; “wives must accept the authority of their husbands”; wives be subject to your husband”; “be submissive”; “wives, be in subjection”; “husbands will be won over without a word by the way you live”; “husbands will be won over by watching the daily behavior of their wives” –Is it any wonder people are influenced to think incorrectly with texts like that? It is like yelling “fire, this way out!” in a full theater. What are people supposed to think it means? What’s the number one principle of good relationships? Straightforward, clean, solid communication, right? It’s not carried out on the back of secretive, “oh, it doesn’t really mean that,” hinty, mystical words. -I love the Lord God more every day, even though, in my human frailty, I feel He should have made all true bibles indestructible, unalterable and self-translating. What is the value of irresolvable disagreement and confusion about what we should and should not be doing in this critical area?

      Seriously praying for everyone here: Lynn; Brenda; Peg Gentle; Alene; Cheryl; Liz; Jane; Loretta P; Robin Baumann; Belle; Remedy; Paula; Survivor; Loretta P; Amy; Leslie, Robin.

      -More than a thousand words won’t do to say, I love You. -Romans 8:26

      • Paula on February 17, 2015 at 10:22 am

        Rebecca, I just saw your comment. I thank you sincerely for your prayers. That means so much!

    • Leslie Vernick on February 14, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      I think that’s so true, when you’ve been beaten down for years, it’s what you expect and it’s hard to stand up for yourself. But sooner or later, the lights come on for a woman and she must either stand up for herself or her lights go out and she loses herself all together. It is during those times when she starts fighting for her very life (not always literally but always spiritually, emotionally and mentally) and it’s not very pretty. That’s why women are often seen as a little unstable and overly reactive and angry.

      • Amy on February 14, 2015 at 2:58 pm

        I was at that place where I’d become a shell of a person. I no longer knew who I was or if I was even worthy of any kind of love at all.

        I still remember clearly the day years ago when my youngest son was joking around and finally said to me, “Mom, you never smile anymore.” How sad, but how true it was.

        And yes, on those rare occasions I had had enough and let loose it was not pretty, and I often heard from him how I was the one with the anger problem, how I was the abusive one…and that’s what he told people over and over after he left. He told them that he had no choice but to leave because basically I was the one with all the problems.

        But today, I no longer doubt the truth of what happened in that marriage and am finding peace and healing after all these years.

        And my life has been redeemed in ways I would never have imagined. Life does go on after abuse, although the road can be very rocky for a while — you can survive and you can live fully again!

      • Lynn on February 17, 2015 at 7:56 am

        Leslie, what a perfect way to describe it! I remember the exact moment that “the lights came on” & I started fighting for my life! It hasn’t been pretty, the pain is still gut wrenching at times but I am healing! I can look back & see that I was dying inside, suicidal thoughts, feeling completely trapped. I pray that the women still trapped will see the light!

  13. […] By Leslie Vernick […]

  14. Robin on February 14, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I have wished a thousand times I wish I knew then what I have learned now. For years upon years I thought a Godly wife tries to fit into her husbands leading. After all isn’t that what we are taught in church?? I banged my head upon the wall over and over wanting to be soft, gentle spoken, submitting to his needs. And the truth is I became a wreck that ended up in a hospital for nervous breakdown. What I would do different today, is I would stand up to his destructive behaviors and not submit. I would submit to God and the things that build my family up, not make them emotional wrecks. I would (before my relationship with him was shattered beyond repair) talk to him daily about what I need and still express my love for him and how much I would like to follow his leadership. But when sin crouched at my door waiting to enter- thru my husbands abuse- I would stand tall and firm and not allow it to come into my home. If after several times he repeatedly showed me he would not listen, I would let him know what the consequences would be if he follows that path of destruction. I would know, I cannot minister to my unbelieving husband as long as he persists in sinning against me and the children. I would NOT compromise my beliefs and my conviction to protect myself, my children, and even my husband as abuse doesn’t serve any good for him.

    • Leslie Vernick on February 14, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      I so wish all women would hear your great words from teenage years before they get married. Unfortunately the traditional teaching exists in much of Christian circles – absorb your entire personhood into your husband – and do not ever comment negatively on what he does, lest you be seen as a nagging, unsubmissive wife.

      • Robin Baumann on February 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        Leslie, you said to me once, my scars will be used for good. My counselor has saved every one of my emails and given them back to me, there is a book to be written…….

        • Leslie Vernick on February 14, 2015 at 5:23 pm

          You have some important things to say. YOu have learned a lot.

          • Robin Baumann on February 14, 2015 at 5:54 pm

            Thank you Leslie.It is true that our trials and hardships do give us a testimony. I have been told many times I had a gift to write- but its only been since I came into my own wholeness, that I felt writing was my gift and now I have something valuable to say, as I have walked thru all this and come out on other side- healing and full of Joy for seeing what God has done. This week in my counseling session, my counselor and I had a good time remembering the last several years and all the steps I took. I told her, the longer I am away and out of abuse, the more I see the hidden secrecies and sneakiness and evil- to abuse. It empowers me to continue to speak up not only in the past with my ex-husband, but to those who have not yet stayed in a sick relationship for 30 years as I did. Please pray for God to give me direction in how He wants me to write!!!!!! And mostly, for His Anointing.

  15. Bev on February 14, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Your husband doesn’t have to be born again to recognize his sin. Any man, even any child, would recognize that the way he treats you is sinful.

    No one wants separation or divorce. It is ugly, and God hates it. However, neither does God want you to live your life as an abused wife. If you truly want to minister to your husband, give him consequences for his words and actions. Enabling him to keep abusing you only makes the habit harder to break and increases his sins.

    I don’t say this lightly. I, too, walked in shoes similar to yours. After 30 years I ended up divorcing him, because he would not change.

    Ask God for the wisdom to do what is right for both of you. Divorce was the right thing for us. In fact, my ex and his son now have a good relationship, which they never had while we all lived together.

  16. Robin on February 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    For the women commenting on how do you heal from a crushed spirit and stay in an abusive relationship….. The Lord said to me, why are you still here?? Is this the life you want or you think I have for you?? It was a very hard decision to make– but I separated hoping he would fall to his knees and repent and want me back. He did nothing. He never called, never repented, and even became more destructive. But I am free. I no longer live with a crushed spirit and am doing smazingly well. No more physical illnesses due to high volume of stress. And the Lord is my husband now and an excellent one. So I ask, why do you stay ???

    • Amy on February 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      I stayed for way too long to, Robin and although I often ask myself why anyone would choose to stay in an abusive relationship, well…guess I’ve been there and done that!

      So, why do we stay?? I suppose the answer is as varied as all the women who come here.

      For me, I stayed for so many reasons, perhaps they were excuses more than anything. But I stayed because of my faith and the wrongful advice and warnings I received from other Christians. I truly believed that God would just bring me out of that abusive marriage if I stayed and was patient, but I failed to see how many resources He sent to me so I could leave and be healthy again. I truly believed when everyone told me how much He hates divorce and I was convinced He would turn away from me if I did, but now I know that it is not divorce He hates but violence within a marriage that often leads to divorce. And I suppose I had come to believe after 20 years that I had no worth, was not smart enough to make it on my own or handle my own money, and that somehow I truly needed my abusive spouse, that I was simply to scared to leave, to make a change.

      When my ex left me and our two sons 6 years ago I feel the Lord was setting me free and I did not hesitate (okay, maybe a little 😉 ) to stay free and not go back to abuse.

      Why do abused spouses stay? Maybe we should ask, why do churches not encourage abused spouses to escape and find real, true, healthy life from abuse?

      I’m glad that you are free and your spirit and health have been restored. God is so very good!

    • Liz on February 20, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Robin I was one of the people that wrote about a ‘crushed spirit’. I actually did leave for 2 years 5 years ago. Unfortunately I didn’t do so well by myself, especially as I had to leave my late teenage boys behind. I went home again and had the privilege of seeing all 3 sons married from our home. I obviousely only managed to separate physically not emotionally. My reasons for staying going and coming back are complex. Maybe they are excuses but they are also core to who I am or who I think I am. It’s also complicated by the fact that my husband has Aspergers which puts in to question how much control / intent is involved. I know I am dying inside and don’t really care enough about myself but I have been working hard for over 10 years to heal. I’ve been married 32 years and I’ve been estranged from churvh for 4 years now even though I was on the pastoral staff before I left. I’m obviously doing something wrong or believe something wrong but I am trying to put in boundaries etc I’m just still on my journey. Thanks for your posts you are echoing the words of my Christian Psychologist take care and live an amazing life

      • Robin Baumann on February 20, 2015 at 9:28 pm

        Liz. I don’t believe at all- that there is only one way to do abuse. I simply tell my story, and what worked for me. I was just trying to say that I don’t believe one can heal until they leave their abusive relationship. Is there someway one of us can help you???

        • Liz on February 20, 2015 at 10:05 pm

          Hi Robin I’m so glad you tell your story abd that it worked for you. Don’t get me wrong – I guess I feel like a failure because I used all the courage I could with the Lords help and left for that two years but I didn’t manage to start healing. I struggle sometimes with whether it really is abuse but I know that it is really. I don’t really understand why I am so useless – I can be quite a strong person. Maybe I am just in a very disappointing marriage or maybe I’m so depressed now that I can’t heal. Sorry I shouldn’t write like this. I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you sharing your story I wish I had managed to be more like you last time I left. I’m not as strong now. Take care xxx

          • Robin Baumann on February 21, 2015 at 2:21 am

            Liz, Im sorry to hear about your hardships. We all seem to be in very dissapointing and complicated destructive relationships. My husband had about 7 disorders, and just refused any help or wouldnt even acknowledge them. I left once before also- and while much of it was very good for me, it came with difficulties also. There are no easy answers. I was fortunate this time, in that my mind was made up, I was already on a healing path for a year before we separated. I have been in intense counseling sessions weekly for over a year. I was ready and prepared, and had a wonderful support team behind and beside me. I dont believe it is a easy road at all- and it takes some very strong determination to move forward and fight. But each of our lives, has a different story, and the way we walk our journey maybe very different. I hope you can find some good support, and perhaps a trained therapist??

      • Amy on February 21, 2015 at 9:12 pm

        I’ve been thinking of you all day after reading your comment. You are in my prayers dear sister.

        You probably are depressed after being beat down for so many years while living in an abusive marriage.

        You are worth so much, much more. Please find someone to help you.

        Seeing a counselor helped me so much to sort through my feelings and to open my eyes to the abuse I was living with.

        It is not okay. You are worth so much more.

        Know you are being lifted up in prayer.


        • Liz on February 22, 2015 at 2:42 pm

          Thank you Amy it is very kind of you

    • CountryGirl on July 27, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      Me personally I stay because I fear that my daughter will hate me for leaving my current husband. I’ve already put her through one divorce from her physically abusive father. I ha earlier been remarried for almost 12 years. However, he isn’t physically abusive, he’s mentally and emotionally abusive which I think is just as bad if not worse. Our disagreements usually end in I’m not sharing (sex daily) the way he wants me to. But my spirit is so crushed to the point where I’m not even interested anymore. I pray often and really don’t want a divorce again, we have a 7 yr old son together now. I don’t know if he is strong enough to deal with it however he does know something is wrong because he emotionally clingy to me and my husband. In 2010 I expressed how I had enough of being on the back burner and how I felt like hisother and sister was his priority over me and our kids. He had no remorse until I told him I wanted to leave, I wanted a divorce I couldn’t do this anymore. He somewhat repented but things have seemingly turned into, smothering me, making me feel like I can have no privacy what so ever. I’d sit on the couch and cry alot. I will sadly admit, that I ended up in an emotional affair that grew into sexual. He found out and I repented my little heart out. In turn is when the emotional abuse started. I did every thing I needed to do to prove to him but he acted as if I should not have any alone time to heal, he was always in my face, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, he was suffocating me. Trying to hard to make up for what he had done however it scared me, I wasn’t sure how to feel. He hadn’t been that way towards me in a long time, if ever in our relationship.
      As we speak I can feel myself slowly fading into a person I don’t want to be. He is again telling me pretty much in so many words and body language that he’s tired of begging for my attention, being sex, he’s tired of me not sharing. It’s hard to share when your emotionally, mentally worn down and stressed out. The sadest part is the kids are even noticing how he’s acting my oldest daughter 15, says why’s he acting like that, what wrong with him, what’s wrong with y’all? I don’t understand why y’all can’t just get along. Please pray for me, as I feel the urge stronger day by day that it’s time to end this relationship. I’m just waiting on God, I don’t feel like he’s given me any answers as to what to do, where to go from here. But I feel like it’s coming soon, just in His timing not mine.
      Sorry for any typos I may have, I’m typing from my phone.

  17. Robin on February 16, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Amy, I can very much relate to much of your journey. I stayed for 30 years and made plenty of excuses, and I do understand that women have varied reasons why they stay. I was responding to a woman on the blog that said how do you heal from a crushed spirit- when you live in constant abuse. I wanted to say- you don’t . I didn’t realize that at the time but I do now. My counselor kept making comments about how badly it was needed for me to remove myself from his continual abusive, destructive behaviors and complete chaos– so I could start healing. I didn’t understand until I did it. Healing was immediate after we separated. Suddenly I didn’t have to fight every ment to prove something or just survive. I could start relaxing and live with some peace. I never dreamed my life would be this calm and so beautiful. The one thing I would say about your comment on the church is — yes the churches should help abused women to get healthy and make right choices– and it is a wonderful thing that people like LESLIE and many counselors and leaders are training churches and helping them to see the effects of long term abuse– but I also think we need to educate women to learn how to respect themselves and take responsibility for their own lives. Only one that can change the direction of our lives, is us. We need to learn how to advocate for ourselves and our children. I have had several churches fail to give me the right tools. But I think it is up to me, to take control of my life and the life I want to live, and proceed finding ways to get the help I desperately needed. We need to be strong women and fight for the safety and well being of our children and ourselves!!!

    • Amy on February 16, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      I agree, Robin about everything you wrote.

      I do not believe an abused spouse can ever find true healing while living with abuse. I know I couldn’t. It wasn’t until my ex left that I started to find the courage and strength to stand against all that was so wrong.

      “I could start relaxing and live with some peace. I never dreamed my life would be this calm and so beautiful.”
      Oh how I can relate to this comment! The moment my ex walked out the front door and closed it behind him, I felt so FREE! and I felt peace like I’d not known in 20 years of my life! the weight of his abuse was just lifted from me and I could breath. I could feel again.
      I know that sounds a little far fetched but that was how I felt in that moment and as the days turned into months and then years — oh the peace, the calmness and yes, the beauty of life returned.

      I do agree with you that ultimately it is the woman who needs to stand up for herself but often, as you know, that is so very very hard to do when you’ve been beaten down for years and then to have your church family continue to push you down only makes it all that much harder.
      I ended up leaving the church I had attended with my ex about a year after he left and it was around that time I finally stood strong and made my decision to divorce.
      Finding my strength and courage required lots of prayer and communion with God, and finally shutting out all the other voices.

      And yes, I too am so grateful for the work Leslie does in helping to not only educate women about destructive/abusive relationships, but churches and clergy also.


      • Robin Baumann on February 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

        I so agree!! Its very difficult, when a woman has been beaten down for years and has no self esteem or confidence, and then the church isn’t supportive either– very very difficult for that woman to stand up for herself and her family. But its not impossible. I guess I am an example that it took a very long time- an dnow its my passion to share with women, to not wait, run an find the help you need.!!!!!!!!!!!! It is available, as we lean in toward God, and ask Him to teach ius for cause us to hear, what we cannot . It is possible.

        • Amy on February 18, 2015 at 1:39 am

          It is through voices like ours, the voices of survivors of abuse, which can then be a light for those walking the dark path we once did.

  18. Leslie Vernick on February 18, 2015 at 12:55 am

    You are not alone Islandgirl. You will find a safe and loving community here of people who know what you’re going through. Come back often and get whatever support you need. It’s tough to begin to see the truth, scary too, but you’ll see from the stories of the other women, freeing and the first steps towards reclaiming your own voice.

  19. Amy on February 18, 2015 at 1:33 am


    I know the fear of the future very well. That was me many years ago. And yes, we want only the best for our children and want to protect them the best we can, but know that while you are in an abusive marriage they are a part of that too.

    The first steps are the hardest. I can still remember the intense fear I had which often paralyze me from moving forward. The fear of the unknown and what-if’s, but living with abuse is also paralyzing and drains the life right out of you.

    My ex walked out on me and our two sons six years ago after a 20 year abusive marriage and one of the things which helped me find my worth was reading through the Psalms.

    I pray that Leslie’s writings along with all of our stories here in this community can help get you started on the path to freedom from abuse however that may look for you.
    May the Lord protect you and give you clear direction and discernment during this difficult time.


  20. Bev on February 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Liz, my heart bleeds for you. You are NOT useless! God does not create useless things. You are a treasured child of the King! It is the destructive marriage you are in that makes you believe the lies of the devil. You are so valuable that Jesus died to save you! For anybody to die to save us is really admirable, but this was God’s son!!

    I remember feeling a lot like you do! The depression, despair, feeling completely unloved and totally expendable…the lies we tell ourselves. I will be praying for you! God has better than this planned for his princesses, and you are one of them. Believe the truth you see in the Bible! God is real, he is alive, and he wants to bring healing to you. Seek out good books from Christian authors, such as See Yourself As God Sees You,Love Is A Choice, Lies Women Believe, and Say Goodbye to Regret. I will pray you find a good Christian counselor who will help you to see the truth about you and about God’s love for you. I will pray God would surround you with Christian women who will be loving and supportive of you, no matter what you decide to do about your relationship with your abusive husband. I will pray God will overwhelm and bless you with his love, so that you will feel it continually forever. Know that you are loved and valuable!

    • Liz on February 21, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks Bev that was so kind of you. I wish you all the very best x

  21. Liz on February 21, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    To Robin thanks for sharing you last post to me ( sorry there wasn’t a reply button) it was encouraging to hear that you had left once previously. Go well x

    • Robin on February 21, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      I am praying for you Liz!! It sounds like you have been best down and depressed and need some support. I am hoping you can look for a good counselor and maybe get proactive in finding what you need to get to next step of your journey. Do you feel you could read Leslie’s books?? One that really helped me was Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud, or any of Lundy Bsncrofts books!!! We care and support you!!!

      • Liz on February 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

        Hi Robin thank you – I’m just really slow at progressing – I’ve had a very good Christian counselor and have read many books including necessary endings – and another good one ‘should I stay or should I go’ and Leslie’s book which brought me here. I really appreciate the support here I just feel a bit guilty that I haven’t managed to make a better go of what I’m doing – sorry I didn’t mean to take up everyone’s time – you guys just understand – thank you

        • Robin on February 22, 2015 at 2:57 pm

          My question then would be since you say you feel guilty for your slow progress- is where would you wish to be??

          • Robin on February 22, 2015 at 2:59 pm

            And then I would share Lundy Bancrofts book, Should I Stay or Should I Go– was my first eye opener to truth that I need to take action on. How was it for you???

          • Liz on February 22, 2015 at 4:03 pm

            In answer to your second question ( because the reply button keeps disappearing) I read Should I stay or should I go before I left the first time and yes my reaction was I need to leave – it took me another year to get the courage but I did do it. I have a long standing back disability and so I was only working a couple of days at church when I left and was on a pension – it meant I was only able to move out because a friend of a friend let me rent his granny flat at a VERY cheap rate. I wasn’t able to afford even a one bedroom flat at market rates. Even my therapist who is encouraging me to leave again wants me to move into a share house because although I’m now working part time ( outside church) I still can’t afford to set myself up. Trying to answer your first question is much harder. I would like to be able to push my way through the PTSD and Depression and feel alive again. Preferable I’d like to be able to do that in my own home whether my husband stays or go (not that he will leave) I’ve just become a Granma for the first time and I so want to be a good one. I feel like I am pretending everyday I manage to get out of bed ( which I make myself do) Sorry I feel like a lost cause I’ve tried for the 3 years since I came home but I just keep deteriorating sorry

  22. Robin on February 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I know I am asking challenging and stimulating questions– but I know from personal experience- sometimes we need someone pushing our buttons to do the things we need to do for ourselves and don’t quite have the courage. I’m wondering if you think your progress is slow because of weak counseling, or your own resistance?? A Chapter in the book – Should I go or stay- that helped me get my priorities straight- was Chapter 12 WHY YOUR GROWTH MAY BRING MORE ANSWERS THAN HIS. I read and studied this chapter over and over until I understood how disrespectful and unkind I was being to myself!!!! I recommend it to women all the time as I think it’s key to making healthier choices. I love the last words– WE ARE EXCITED FOR YOU. Your own treasure is there for you. In our eyes, the outcome is certain; you will become your answer and you will shine with it.

    • Robin on February 22, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Having said that, let me say I have deep compassion for you Liz. It must have been very difficult to leave 3 older sons behind and I’m sure there were consequences. Our move on with our life, comes with risks and difficult decisions. I lost connection with 3 of my children because I filed a protection order having police escort him out of house. The night before that happened he stood in my eldest daughters house shaking his fist in the air saying I will not leave my house!! I now live in our home which is paid for– and he had to make other living arrangements. None of this is easy. For me had I not taken the time to take my counseling serious and grow healthy myself and in my faith- I would not be where I am today. I pray that you can step out, whatever that looks like for you, and be an advocate for yourself. God has a way of making good happen as we keep our eyes towards Him and take that first step on faith!!

      • Liz on February 23, 2015 at 8:45 am

        Thanks Robin we have lots of similarities – I discussed the possibility of having to get an AVO if things didn’t improve once with my boys – the middle one went straight and told his father. My husband is scared of the police so he doesn’t do things now that I could get one for. Not that he isn’t bullying it destructive – he is – but just smart about. I appreciate your kindness and i will continue trying to do better take care

        • Remedy on February 23, 2015 at 9:10 am

          Liz…..I am exactly where you are at this time. Three teenage boys who do NOT want to leave their home. I am left either leaving without them which is imaginable to me. Or go through courts through filing for divorce and have courts remove him since I homeschool and haven’t worked full time for 17 Yrs. Both options have me paralyzed with fear.

          I know if I leave, their father will not get the help he needs, therefore no reconciliation will be impossible.

          Oh, what to do….I feel tortured!!

          • Remedy on February 23, 2015 at 9:11 am

            Liz…..I am exactly where you are at this time. Three teenage boys who do NOT want to leave their home. I am left either leaving without them which is imaginable to me. Or go through courts through filing for divorce and have courts remove him since I homeschool and haven’t worked full time for 17 Yrs. Both options have me paralyzed with fear.

            I know if I leave, their father will not get the help he needs, therefore no reconciliation will be impossible.

            Oh, what to do….I feel tortured!!

          • Liz on February 23, 2015 at 12:49 pm

            Remedy I’m so sorry to hear that. I pray you will find the way that works for you. My thoughts are with you

        • Robin on February 23, 2015 at 10:43 pm

          Liz, about 15 years ago I was pretty close to where you sound you are now. My parents were both alcoholics and no help- my i laws were very legalistic and in denial themselves, and I resorted to staying in bed a lot. I took pills and wine to mask my pain. But one day I got up and decided things were going to change for me and I would keep seeking till someone would listen. Today that seems like a very long time ago. I survived those tough years somehow and got some help. I am so glad I didnt stay a victim or my husband would have won. I am a very strong and determined woman today and moving forward into a new future. I want you to fight. Don’t give up!!! I will be praying for you u til you are strong enough to stand up for yourself again!!!

  23. Remedy on February 23, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Will be possible…sorry.

    • Elizabeth on March 2, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      I just finished ready through all your stories and my heart is both broken and encouraged. Know that I am praying for you all, Amy, Liz, Remedy, Islandgirl, Lynn, Peg, Cheryl, Robin, Alene, Rebecca, Bev. Our journey’s are unique and yet very different. My hope is in Christ who loves us each one completely and intensely. Love you all…

  24. MarriageCounselingNaples on March 18, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Thanks for sharing the article. It’s a great article. Visit Marriage Counseling Alt for a therapeutic treatment by expert therapists who are devoted to heal your marriage in Naples. Read more at

  25. Robin on January 14, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Brisbane wife- the issue is neither over a financial budget or u getting a job. The issue is he is abusive and what next step will you take?
    Divorce is easier on children than an abusive, unhealthy, destructive relationship. I would recommend finding a good therapist who can help you make some healthy decisions. You are right there are so many opinions out there about abuse and divorce. That’s why it’s important you hear from God specifically for your situation.
    My exhusband was a sociopath/narcissist who refused to acknowledge his abuse or get help. That was his problem and responsibility. My responsibility was to make the best decision for me and my children. I will be praying for you. Know- there is help out there and it can change your life from one of illness and chaos to abundant life which God intended for us!!!

  26. Loretta P on January 14, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    I ended up filing for divorce because of his cheating and manipulation.
    My husband is seeking God a little more but is a very sick emotionally messed up person and in the end I finally had to file for divorce. Because he would not leave me alone I ended up filing a restraining order and now I’m moving on with my life. It’s been a long journey but I’m finally finding peace and God is opening doors for me.

  27. Bev on January 16, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    You will find a lot of good support here. The DV people are absolutely right, and I think you know it. You can see the damage it is doing to your kids, i.e., your son mimicing your husband’s behavior. I was in the same boat, and I left. It was very, very hard on many fronts, but it was so worth it My kids are much happier and better off without all the abuse they were experiencing and observing. Even my ex seems happier, because a lot of his stress has been relieved – he had some mental health issues that were aggravated by the responsibilities of having a family. Seek the Lord on this, and see where he leads you. I feared the church for a long time too – their judgment – and took their advice to be a better wife. They are often simply ignorant of the truth that God doesn’t hold the sanctity of marriage higher than he does the sanctity of life. You are God’s daughter, and he does not desire you to live in an abusive home. Leaving is a horrible process, but the end result is life as God meant people to live. For myself, my husband had become my god, because he demanded worship, adoration, all my time and energy. I’ll be praying you find true peace and freedom.

  28. […] Answer: First, let me encourage your heart …read more […]

  29. Ann on February 27, 2022 at 2:49 am

    I married a man who is 10 years younger than me. I only say this cause im pregnant with our 4th child together but my 6th. Im 40 right now and i didnt want me being older to get in the way of me having children for him. Anyway during an argumemt (cause i was upset he didnt care aboug what i wanted. He told me his brotber was goinv to church in the morninv and needed to shower at pur hlise in the morning. Well i have to get all 3 of our children ready for church in the morning includinv myself and i told him itd be better if his brother can take one at night. He never told him amd tells me he was too tired and wanted to take one in the morning or not at all. I was mad cause he never told hisbrother and i wanted the bathroom free in the morning before church. During our argument i told him i carrked his babys for him and take care of his children but be said he doesnt care and it means nothing to him. This really hurt me. He says God said women have to bear children so its nothing special. This made me feel worse. anyways during our argumemt be likes to call me a devil amd has this fight and a past fight calls me a karen. Even though I treat service workers with respect and am patient and dont yell at them. But im a white 40 hear old woman..hes 30 and not “white” hes mexican. Anysays he calls me a devil and a fallen angel amd likes to call me satan during fights. Then cause im yelling he accises me of being a horrible motber like some way hes protecting our children from me. I put his hand aggressively over my face so i went to do it back and he clawed at my arm digging his fingers in. I feel so stupid having so many children with him. This isnt the first time hes been abusive. I wanted to walk in faith by trusting God with how many babus we have so i allowed him to possibly get me prevnant. But he keeps getting abusive. Jist earliar today our car kept shutting off when i was driving it along with the brakes. He tells me since i didnt get gas as early as i should its my fault amd not to call him if it breaks down. So i had to call my dad to come pick me and my daughters up. Our car is a 1986 crown victoria. and it was doing the same thing when he was driving it the other day.
    I TRY and be hopeful when things are good. I thought another baby meant there was hope and things were getting better with us. I was hoping my hisband could vet saved and i could walk in the spirit like romans 8 instead of letting the flesh control me but it keeps winning. I have so many regrets…My husband loves amd cares about his brothers needs more than mine. I feel sad cause we have a baby on the way and he doesnt love me. And could care less. Ive really messed up. Hes so mean. I cant take it so.etimes its so hard ..

    • Ann on February 27, 2022 at 2:52 am

      im sorry. He put his hand over my mouth..i typed I. Im horrible at texting.

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