Is My Marriage Doomed?

Morning friends,

Thanks for your prayers. This is a very busy season for me so I deeply need and appreciate them. Continue to ask God to give me a deeper wisdom of his character and his love.  

I’m reading through the Bible again this year and reading some of the Old Testament books can be challenging. I struggle sometimes to see the OT God and Jesus as the same God. I have no problems seeing Christ in the Psalms but it gets more confusing and dark as I read through slaughtering entire cities of men, women, and children in Joshua and Deuteronomy.

I think if we’re honest, we all struggle to see the God we know and believe in certain passages in the Bible. And perhaps this is where some of you can get a bit lost. The Bible is one way we know God. Nature and creation is another way (Romans 1:20). Jesus tells us that he is the exact representation of the nature of God (Hebrews 1:3) and that the Holy Spirit will lead us in all truth (John 16:13).

So I trust that when I am in the dark cave, God will show up or send a sister or brother to help me know him in one way or another. I pray that same thing for all of you. When one of you gets lost in the darkness, another can come and shine some light on the path.

Please remember that none of us is 100% healed and no one but God knows all truth.Click To Tweet

This blog is a support blog, not a therapy group. We can share our light with one another as best as we can, but let’s continue to be gracious and respectful even when we disagree or we see someone believe things or make choices that we believe are unhealthy. We can share our concerns, but please let’s do it humbly and lovingly.

Question: I have been having trouble in my marriage since my daughter was born (2 years ago) and things have progressively gotten worse. The MAIN problems in my marriage are…

1. He is always CONSTANTLY negative.
2. He is controlling (looking through my stuff, making me tell him when I go somewhere and with who, he won't let me/my daughter go to church, etc)
3. Anger issues – Blows up about small things like LITERALLY spilled milk (We have a hole in the wall because of that).

I’ve tried every approach and nothing helps. I’ve tried leaving and brought it up but he admits he has a problem and wants to change, so I stay and try again, but he never changes. We JUST started getting into couples therapy. I’m trapped and unhappy.

Any advice on how to help him, myself, or just survive? Is my marriage doomed?

Answer: You are in a tough spot but I’m so glad that you recognize that there is a serious and dangerous problem while your daughter is still young.

First, the three things you mentioned, constant negativity, controlling behavior and explosive anger are all red flags for domestic abuse. Let me ask you a question. Is he negative, controlling and explosively angry at work? In other settings? With other people? Or just at home?

My guess is no one else knows what he’s like at home. Is that true? If so, that tells you that he has a whole lot more “control” over his negativity and explosive anger than you think. You also mentioned that this behavior started when your daughter was born and is escalating. This is a typical pattern in interpersonal abuse.

Often women report the first incident of physical violence while pregnant with their first child. Pregnancy often threatens an abuser’s status as #1 in your life as your attention begins to be divided. You are no longer solely focused on pleasing him or making him happy or doing what he wants. Now you have another little person to consider and you can’t always be there for him. 

I’d ask you to reflect back on the time before you got pregnant. Was he also controlling, negative and angry but you were more able to accommodate all his needs and demands so you didn’t experience the backlash and anger that you’re feeling now? When we look at the pattern of domestic violence, it usually escalates in frequency (happening more often) and intensity (getting worse and worse) over time. You’ve noticed that is exactly what’s happening to you.

You also mentioned that you just started couples therapy. I don’t recommend that approach for you right now. In a recent blog, I talked about three reasons why marriage counseling is not helpful. It’s important that you realize that his anger, his negativity and his controlling behaviors are not marriage problems.

They are personal and character problems that are negatively affecting your marriage. In marriage counseling, your husband will attempt to make his anger about you. Sadly many counselors who are not trained to recognize abusive and controlling behavior will try to help him by “helping you” try harder so he doesn't get so mad. Or will try to frame his controlling behaviors as his attempt to exercise biblical headship. Bad ideas.

Plus, I bet you have not felt safe to fully disclose with your counselor what’s truly going on at home.  

You asked what’s next. What can you do to help him, help yourself or your marriage?  

I’m going to give it to you straight and I’m sure the other women on this blog who have lived through what you’re living through will also share their experiences and wisdom they’ve gleaned.  

  1. The worst thing for your marriage is for you to do nothing. The abuse will only get worse and you will get more trapped and more beaten down and it will be harder and scarier to leave. Plus you might have a few more children making you feel more stuck. Trying harder to make him happy only reinforces his idea that it’s your fault that he acts that way because you are not meeting his needs/wants/demands at all times.  

Your child or children will grow up seeing dad abuse mom and mom being victimized again and again. This is very traumatic for children and for you. You can’t be the good mother you want to be when you live afraid all the time.

2. You cannot change him. You know that because he hasn’t changed despite your best efforts. Only he can change himself and so far, although he’s said he’ll work on himself, he hasn’t. The only way he’ll even consider working on himself is when he suffers strong consequences for his actions. As Henry Cloud says, “jail does some people good.”

However, I want to be realistic. Your husband has the classic signs of someone who will not change, not because God can’t change him, but because he won’t do the work and submit himself to the right people who could help him change. If that’s true, where does that leave you?

3. The only person you can work on to change is you. And for your sake, your daughter’s sake and the sake of your future, please get some help for yourself and do not just “survive.”   

You need help in staying grounded in truth and reality because it sounds like your husband is a good talker and can convince you of things (like he’ll change) or (it’s all your fault) which are both not true.    

You need help to get and stay safe. You and your daughter are not safe in this environment. It’s only a matter of time before he explodes again.  

Remember, not all abusers are 100% abusive all of the time. Many have a charming side that is quite enjoyable and fun. When you are with that side of him you might think to yourself, “He gets it. He’s changing.” He is not. Your husband’s charm can be a strength or a front, but being “nice” or charming doesn’t mean he’s changed his controlling, negative or abusive ways.

Your husband needs to learn how to handle his negative emotions and insecurity without abuse. He needs to recognize and change his entitled way of thinking. Until he sees that the problem is not “you” or “the marriage” but him, he won’t get the help he truly needs. It will always be shifted to you to “stop making him mad.”

Please call your local Domestic Abuse organization to develop a safety plan or call 1-800-799-SAFE and talk with someone who can help you. I know this isn’t the answer you want to hear, but right now you need to steward yourself and your child and bring yourselves to a place of safety and restored sanity.  

This blog community can be a great support for you, but you will need to do what you need to do to not be a repeat victim of his anger, insecurity, and control.  

Friends, when you woke up to the abuse in your marriage, what was the first baby step you took to get help for yourself?


  1. Marie on March 14, 2018 at 7:24 am

    I said the word abuse out loud. Not stressed. Not tired. Not rough childhood. Not angry. Not Asperger’s. ABUSE. Please learn from my denial and get out while it’s relatively easy. I was over twenty years in with four kids.

    • Lisa on March 20, 2018 at 9:44 am

      Honey, it’s hard to admit that it is abuse. Think not only of yourself but your daughter. She may grow up thinking that this is how marriage should be.

    • Mabel on April 2, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      Wait…you said Aspergers. I’m currently wading through the process of “is this Aspergers or is this abuse? If there is Aspergers can I still call it abuse?” Any advice or resources?

      • JoAnn on April 2, 2018 at 10:24 pm

        Mabel, I hope that Leslie will address this, but my understanding is that a spouse with Aspergers will probably be an unsatisfying partner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he/she will be abusive. In her book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, Leslie distinguishes between a disappointing marriage and a destructive one. A person with Asperger’s Syndrome lacks the ability to connect emotionally on some level, and that can vary, as it is part of a spectrum that leads in the extreme to autism. But AS doesn’t necessarily include abusive behavior, so it would be important to have the person evaluated by a professional who is qualified to identify AS or other personality disorders. Of course, you can google Asperger’s Syndrome and learn a lot there.

        • Aly on April 2, 2018 at 11:03 pm

          JoAnn, Nancy

          I feel like I remember one of you posting a link about someone or a resource for counseling that specializes with couples & Aspergers?

          It is on a spectrum~ but those with AS can get treated if they want to work toward learning something (like with many disabilities).

          My personal opinion is that the result sometimes is ‘an abusive experience ‘ meaning the recipient (partner) is experiencing the neglect and certain aspects to a marriage.

          Also depending on the degree a person with AS, the lack of empathy area and the ability to reason at times is such an experience of emotional abuse and sometimes a person with AS will lash out when they perceive a ‘threat’.

          I have brought AS to my therapist as a possible reason for my h’s (pre recovery) reactions & postures?
          A professional in this area can really do the work to assess accurately.

          Regardless, even if there is AS there are treatment methods to improve the relationship. It’s isn’t hopeless~
          He was able to court you into marriage;) so that can show a lot of potential to continue to learn.

          • Connie on April 3, 2018 at 10:26 am

            Yes, I had written about my course at Elijah House ministries where the director has Asperger’s. He is married and has 3 grown children. He talked about how he had to be particularly attentive to his family’s encouragements and bringing to his attention when his attention tended to stray from focusing, but he is a very humble and godly man, very empathetic. About 20 years ago my first h and I went to Elijah House for a week of counseling and had him as a counselor. He was very in tune with the Holy Spirit, would stop to pray for a minute and then proceed with whole new insight into what was going on. At the end of the week he said he’d had a dream that he was watching my h through a window. Wolves were chasing h and Mark was calling to him to warn him but he wouldn’t listen. Mark has also had other huge issues to over come. God is big enough.

            Anyway, just to say that Asperger’s isn’t an excuse either, along with all the others. Different yes, needing extra attention yes, but not beyond the scope of God’s inner healing and love.

      • CK on April 3, 2018 at 6:11 am

        I’ve been married to an Aspie for 38 years. I didn’t know what I was dealing with until about year 29. He has a lot of co-morbid conditions and had an abusive childhood, so it was very difficult to sort it all out. He has an official diagnosis, takes antidepressants, has been in therapy and has made behavioral changes. I say abuse is abuse even if it’s unintentional. Good resources: books on marriage to Aspergers partners can be found on Amazon, A Cry for Justice has a pull down tag on Aspergers and abuse, Delphi forums has a group called Asperger Partners. There are many more resources if you search Aspergers and marriage. Thanks to these resources and my husband’s willingness to sometimes make changes, our marriage has gone from destructive to mostly alternating between difficult and disappointing. We are still working on improving things and are about to start the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality course. Good luck, Mable, it’s not an easy journey.

        • Nancy on April 3, 2018 at 6:51 am


          The EHS course is wonderful. I’ve walked through it twice now – once with two girlfriends and once in a bigger group, with my h. The Lord met my h and I through it, in surprising ways!


          • Nancy on April 3, 2018 at 6:57 am

            Next week, we start leading the EH relationships course….together!

            God can do infinately more than we can ask or imagine 🙂

        • Aly on April 3, 2018 at 8:08 am


          You wrote:
          “He has a lot of co-morbid conditions and had an abusive childhood, so it was very difficult to sort it all out.”

          So true! The co-morbid conditions most certainly mask or add to the treatment.

          You wrote:
          “He has an official diagnosis, takes antidepressants, has been in therapy and has made behavioral changes.”

          Can I ask why the anti-depressants? And what help does it provide?
          I’m not asking because I’m anti-meds, infact I believe there are those who can only progress in behavioral therapy because of certain benefits of meds.

          You wrote:
          “I say abuse is abuse even if it’s unintentional.”

          So so clear. I agree CK. I think a Leslie has pointed it out many times that it’s part of being in our human state that we are capable or have hurt or sinned against someone out of our own issues, but a repentant person doesn’t make a consistent pattern of it and takes responsibility for it.

          Often one that won’t take responsibility for it, believes and twists that ‘unintentional’ means that they don’t need to be held accountable for the offense.

          • CK on April 3, 2018 at 11:17 am

            Aly, he was dx with clinical depression. He was very depressed the first few years of our marriage to the point of threatening suicide. Since taking medication that craziness has stopped.

      • sheep on April 3, 2018 at 10:45 am

        It makes me sad that there are so many out there that have to find an excuse to either justify, ignore or blame their sinful/bad behavior on. Knowing that the things that they fight the hardest against are the things that will set them free, and bring real joy and peace to their lives.

        But then again, for every person that excuses their sin, how many are there out their that let them do it? how many of us have made excuses for them?

        • Aly on April 3, 2018 at 11:38 am


          Thanks for your response;) I’m glad the craziness has stopped (for you especially)!
          Addressing Neurological components can make such a difference.
          Antidepressants also treat anxiety.

  2. CK on March 14, 2018 at 8:13 am

    This is off topic to the question, but related to Leslie’s opening comments. Leslie and interested others, I’d like to recommend a great Website called The Bible Project. They have videos on each book of the Bible and theme videos as well which help tie the OT and NT together. Videos are also appropriate for kids. They are fun and informative to watch. A spirit lifter indeed!!

    • Nancy on March 14, 2018 at 9:25 am

      LOVE the Bible Project!

      • Aly on March 14, 2018 at 12:23 pm


        Have you seen ‘Heart of Man’?

        What they are able to put into 75 mins is amazing as it deals with core brokenness and core healing.
        Of course not all dynamics of the highlighted issues will apply but many of us on our journeys can put our own experiences in the blank.
        I highly recommend it, hoping it blesses many here on just how we can Receive Him fully🌈💜

        • Nancy on March 14, 2018 at 2:37 pm

          I just checked out the trailer, Aly. It looks beautiful!

          Thanks ❤️

          • Aly on March 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm


            Hope you are having a blessed week!
            You can access it through Right Now media which many churches have signed up as supporters.

            The conversation after the movie by the filmmakers is such what we can all experience in community with ‘safe others’
            This is a heavy prayer on my heart for all of here on this blog who reach out and hug and care so much about our wounded places.

            💜 To you virtual sister;)

          • Nancy on March 21, 2018 at 6:47 pm

            Hi Aly,

            We watched the movie this week-end ( Netflix). Very, very real.

            Wow. Thanks for the recommendation.

          • Aly on March 22, 2018 at 10:28 am


            Sorry I can’t reply directly to your most recent.
            So glad you found it to be a great recommendation and that you were able to access it!

            Such praise to the makers and participants of the film for highlighting I think something that seems to intertwine all of our circumstances on some levels.

            I think often in our culture ~ Christian culture we underestimate the damage and the repairing & restoring thatbis possible for those that look at this with an honest truth.

            Hugs Nancy and as always continued prayers for your trek~ your trekking.. praise God! 💜

  3. Katie on March 14, 2018 at 8:30 am

    I started to read about emotional abuse online, and then moved to books (after we had separated, not safe to have books like that with him around) and a great counselor who understood covert abuse (many don’t…but they’re out there). ‘Why does he do that’ and ‘the verbally abusive relationship’ were two really good books. After a two year separation he refused to change and we are divorced. Hard, but so good to be free of his abuse.

  4. Starlight on March 14, 2018 at 9:03 am

    God showed me that the abuse was not my fault, like Leslie describes here. I camw to realize his abuse and awful ur scary behaviour was only about him and not about me. Something Leslie said made me sit up and realize that my problem was not me but that I was married to my biggest problem, him!!
    I used to cry all the time when my husband was mean to me to tricked or trapped me or diverted the subject during the discussion so the the real issue (like cheating or stealing or lying) was lost and the issue always became that I was wrong to see evidence of it and bring it up.
    I stopped crying thank goodness and really see I really had to use my wits to get out of the relationship while I still had the financial resources to do so!!
    Not everyone is in as bad or as black and white situation as I was so not separating was not an option, even biblically speaking at the time. My ex is a con artist “the long con” we are in court almost 3 years after separating, he is trying to cash in and take 1/2 the house that I brought into the marriage that he did not contribute to and always made sure to “protect himself” from his money bring used for it or anything in regards to it.
    Leakue’s Advice and support from fellow abuse survivors has really helped me do what needed to be done to go back to being free and who God made me to be!

    • Aly on March 14, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      What a blessing of a post and so true to the articulation of ‘crazy making’ that you referenced. Loved how you used your ‘wits’, objectivity to escape and be set free;) such a victory!
      Praise God for this and His faithfulness;)

  5. Pam on March 14, 2018 at 9:09 am

    If you are unable to leave for yourself, then do so for your child. Your child’s grid in his brain is being wired NOT to thrive, as he soaks in the extremely unhealthy dynamics between you & your husband. Please take Leslie’s loving words to heart. Join one of her groups, listen to her webinars on Facebook. She has incredible wisdom & knowledge that will help you grow to become a stronger woman. You are in a very emotionally damaging marriage & I believe God will open your eyes if you will let him in.

  6. Kristy on March 14, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Leslie refers to “classic signs of someone who will not change”. Can someone elaborate on those signs?

    The first baby-step I’m taking right now is being back in university 20 years since my first degree to upgrade my skills for a new job to support myself

    • Barbara B on March 14, 2018 at 7:58 pm

      Hi Kristy, here is a section from a blog post titled “Do I Let Go or Hang On?” (March 30, 2016). I think this post gives some good insight into whether or not there is reasonable hope that an abusive person will change:
      “That said, the book of Proverbs tells us the difference between a wise person and a fool. One of the most distinguishing features is that a wise person learns from his or her mistakes and listens to instruction and feedback from God and from wise others. A fool refuses instruction, mocks those who try to give him feedback, and does not learn from his or her mistakes. When you are married to someone who consistently refuses to value your input or feedback, does not self-correct when he gets negative feedback from others, or does not learn from his mistakes, there comes a time when you have to face the truth. You are married to a fool who does not want to change. That takes us to your second question. Now what?“

      The husband in this week’s post definitely acts like a fool according to Proverbs. His hurtful words, disrespect for the worship of God, and especially his violent anger prove his foolishness. I agree with Leslie that it’s reasonable to think that a person who has already shown himself to be a fool will also have the foolish tendency to be stubborn and unrepentant. It’s highly unlikely he will change anytime soon.

      • Sunshine on March 14, 2018 at 8:52 pm

        Loving this person will not fix them. We can not change a fool through love.

    • K on March 15, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      Kristy, good for you!! 🙂

    • Renee on March 18, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      Kristy, I’m sure there is a study somewhere. However, this article on Health Place appears as a healthier alternative or at least something to ponder.

      With that being said, I believe we are our own best gauge, at least initially. We know if things look/feel the same as they did 6 months ago, a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, etc.

      I enjoyed this Dr. Phil segment last week with Actor Terry Crews On How An Addiction To Porn Almost Cost Him His Marriage. It described what many here say real repentance should look like.

      I’ll also look at the page Barbara suggested.

  7. Julie on March 14, 2018 at 10:33 am

    I believe it is a process, one that takes time to discover once you realized “something’s” not right. It took someone else pointing out my former husband’s as abusive! Those words were hard for me to digest! One of the many other pie pieces the Lord gave me was Leslie’s book on “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”. I took the test, took it twice and had others take it for me to make sure I wasn’t making my situations worse than it was! It was the first time I felt validated that what I was experiencing was real and not mad up in my mind. Those steps,along with others, brought me out of my denial and facing my situation head on. I had Biblical Counsel with my church as well. It was not an easy journey or process, but God…He is faithful to protect His own. Once the decision was made that I could no longer live in the environment the children and I were living in, and my former spouse rejecting all counsel of our church, I filed for divorce. I wish I could tell you his behavior was better during this process, but it got worse. But God….again, He protected me and worked things for my benefit even when I didn’t know how it would come together.

    My best advice would be, do not deny what is going on! Take the time and steps now as Leslie has laid out to get the help and support you need for you and your daughter! It will not be easy, but God…will see you through!

  8. Ann on March 14, 2018 at 10:34 am

    I agree with every comment Leslie made about patterns of abuse. I have stayed much too long- 34 years! I think of all the confusion in my head because I believed him when he said he would change. Today, Leslie wrote the one piece of information I have been searching for all these years. She said, “ it is not that Hod cannot change him but it because he will not submit to the people who will help him change.” She gave me the clarity to understand when to quit hoping God will change him. My husband has never stayed in counseling longer than a few months. And worse he is an atheist. He regularly denounces everything about God and my faith. I get it now! I have been blinded by false hope. Even after I read a very helpful book about abusive men and their mentality of “entitlement ” I denied the statistic that less than 2% of such men ever change their belief and behavior. I kept wishing that my husband would be in that 2% category. Please don’t waste anymore time expecting your husband to change because you try harder. That is enabling him to keep being abusive. Get out while you still have some sense of your identity. You owe it to your precious daughter.

  9. Lynn on March 14, 2018 at 11:07 am

    My first baby step was to call my pastor. I had never told anyone before what was happening in my home! It felt so good to finally tell someone.

  10. Getting stronger on March 14, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    One of my first baby steps was to tape one of our arguments. I could never figure out how the issue I brought up was not addressed but turned back around onto something I had done. After listening back to the tape, I realized what was happening. He would deny, accuse me, I would then backpeddle to defend myself, and then left feeling frustrated. Nothing ever got resolved. It was good information to help me finally understand the pattern of our discussions. I have relistened to some of the tapes so I can get stronger and not back down to “keep the peace” so often.

    • Jolene on March 14, 2018 at 9:07 pm

      This is a very smart tactic. I have done this as well. I liken our past arguments to a game of tennis. I would state an issue such as “When you call me names, it makes me feel invalidated.” He would hit back with “But what about when you nag all the time?”. Back and forth we would go, and nothing would ever get resolved. He would deflect, deny, project, verbally assault, emotionally wound, until finally give up defending myself and retreat. He wins. Because it’s all about winning, not solving.

      I am at the stage where I don’t even bother pointing out behaviors, because I know he will not change. I have accepted him in that way. If he approaches me, I say “thank you for letting me know”, or I use the Gray Rock approach (if you haven’t read about this, I highly recommend googling it).

      • Getting stronger on March 15, 2018 at 6:33 am

        Your comment that it is all about winning really hit home. There is no thought about long term relationship and love. It is truly about feeling superior. At least that is what it appears like in my case.

        • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 7:50 am

          Getting stronger,

          Immaturity and ‘possibly’ distorted personalities see things as: winner and loser.
          They don’t always see a (win win) dynamic.
          So it’s often in these cases that you will see someone go to great lengths just so they don’t have to ‘perceive’ a loss, because that makes them feel all to powerless.

          It’s too bad because healthy dynamics are about both winning through the difficult processes.

      • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 10:10 am

        Jolene, Thanks for the Gray Rock tip, I had never seen that one before. I looked it up and it actually looks a lot like where I am at currently with my wife. I interact as little as possible, I try to be in other places, I speak when spoken to and that is about it.

        Unfortunately I know that this is not a long term solution for me. I don’t want to have to be a grey rock in the presence of my wife for the rest of my life. I can no longer stand to be the only one that cares about our marriage. I know the next step is divorce but honestly I am having problems bringing myself to say the words “I want a divorce” Because in a lot of ways I don’t, But in a lot of ways I do. Maybe that is from decades of being taught that I am at fault for everything and that any little thing I say is just ammunition to be used against me. I just know that even though I have been working my tail off for reconciliation for the past 3 years with nothing in return, if I say the words “I want a divorce” THEN that will be thrown in my face. I can already her her saying “See! you want a divorce, not me. This is on you not me because YOU want a divorce” And “What is so wrong about about me that you would tear apart our family and subject our kids to divorce?”
        Maybe it would be more appropriate to say “I am filling for divorce” When we have talked about divorce I have always been very careful to say that divorce is not what I want, but that I can no longer live with her abuse. Actually I generally focus more on her unrepentant attitude toward her last affair because the few times that I have brought up abuse, she absolutely refuses to listen or accept that she is abusive, even when our counsellor told her she was. And that doesn’t even touch her reaction to when I told her that I believe she MIGHT be abusive toward the kids. That one ended with her saying “I am not abusive and don’t you ever bring it up again”

        All that to say I think Grey Rock can be helpful on a temporary basis for those that you have to be around a lot, or on a permanent basis for those you don’t have to interact with much. But it isn’t a long term solution to keep a marriage together.

        • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 10:28 am


          It’s one thing to say, ” I am going to have to file for divorce from a broken covenant marriage” .. verses, ” I ‘want’ a divorce”.

          I dont believe that’s your hearts cry~ here, given the seriousness of the issues.

          Your wife is in dangerous abusive denial and at that level it would be healthy to not continue to give the impression of a functioning marital relationship when there really is no marriage (biblical convenant) one at all.
          So to ‘want’ to be set free from that type of oppression is a healthy thought and direction for the care of your heart.

          • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 10:30 am


            One other thought to consider…
            What is it that your keeping together?

            Sometimes it’s the very thing that is destructive ~ should we fight to keep unhealthy staying unhealthy and toxic?

          • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 11:38 am

            I know what you are saying about what am I keeping together. At this point I’m not fighting to keep it together anymore, I’m just kinda still here. I suppose a lot of that is getting used to the idea that biblically, it is OK (and I do know it is) it’s just that I’m mentally fighting a lifetime of of general and specific church teaching and attitudes that would say that divorce is the worst possible thing in the world.

            Another thing is dealing with my fears of what divorce will do to my kids (I have a lot). I am a very unselfish person and I feel like I am being selfish if I file because we are conditioned to believe that divorce is always a bad thing and it is the worst thing for kids.

            I’ve tried to just “grin and bear it” for a long time and I’ve “loved her as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” for a long time. But now, I just don’t want to anymore, and it makes me feel guilty that I cant.

            In another way she has been “good” lately. unfortunately this means that she is bing nice. but that is all it means. She will not address her issues, won’t take responsibility, will not talk about difficult things, she is living in a fantasy world that just makes me feel crazy. But none of that matters to her, she is being nice, that should be enough for me.

        • Nancy on March 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm

          Aly and Sheep,

          The language you suggest Aly, is excellent. It is more accurate to Sheep’s feelings, and also deals with her behaviour on a factual level ( instead of labelling a pattern of behaviour – abuse).

          ” I am going to have to file for a divorce from a broken covenant marriage”. Excellent, I think 🙂

          • Jolene on March 15, 2018 at 6:12 pm

            Sheep, I understand your way of thinking about divorce, what it will do to the kids, and what your spouse may accuse you of by initiating the process. My husband dares me to file. I haven’t yet figured out why, as I am sure there is some advantage to him, so I remain hesitant.

            I was talking to my dad about how divorce seems the worst thing in the world. I told him, “I don’t want my kids to come from a broken home.” His response: “They already do.” I think it was on this forum that I once read that it take two to make a relationship, but only one to destroy it. So true. I want to get to the point where the destructive spouse’s words no longer have power, and I can see the pleas, the dares, the antagonization toward divorce to be just tactics and manipulation, and not words coming from someone with whom I built a life.

          • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 8:55 pm

            My wife has also told me to file for divorce, but she hasn’t done it for awhile, I think because she is starting to understand that I am in the place now where I will. I think in the past it was something she would say as something to skewer me with because she knew I wouldn’t. The last time she said it, I just quietly said “OK”

            I heard the same exact same thing from our marriage counselor when I told her the exact same thing you told your father. But she added that now they are from a broken home but don’t know it. They are sucked into her fantasy world being told that everything is fine but their little hearts know that not all is fine. It is like there is a 10,000 lb rotting elephant carcass in our living room. It is making everyone sick but nobody knows it is there.

          • Renee on March 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm

            Sheep, do the kids have a counselor? A good counselor will help them prepare (for the separation/divorce) just as yours is doing with you. They would know how to make it age appropriate.

            Hopefully the fear you feel inside about the future is not being projected (can’t think of the word I’m looking for) onto the kids.

            I think it was last month, unsure at this point, but one morning the feeling of uncertainty crept up on me and had a strong hold. I mean it was whipping my butt. No amount of saying devil leave worked, no nap could be had, no trying to be busy worked, etc.

            If the teens had been paying attention, they would have known I was falling apart. The only thing that elevated that fear was removing me and the teens away from the premises for a few hours.

            I did explain to them what was happening (just not in depth).

          • sheep on March 19, 2018 at 11:15 am

            Renee, No, at this point they don’t. right now, only the older two even know this is an option and that is because I have talked to them about it. I’m not quite sure how to even do that until we are separated.

        • JoAnn on March 15, 2018 at 7:59 pm

          Sheep, I am wondering….after reading so many accounts of how women thrive after getting out of an abusive relationship, how can you still hold onto the thought that divorce is so very bad? And, are your children happy and thriving the way things are now? Have they said anything about whether or not you should get out of the marriage? Your wife is “being nice” now….according to the experience of many here, that is her manipulation. And If I remember correctly, there was a time when she challenged you to divorce her. The thing that bothers me the most is how you are letting guilt feelings control your choices. That tells me that once you do go ahead and file, you are going to get hit pretty hard. I would strongly urge you to see a therapist to help you work through this, and if you are seeing a therapist already, I wonder if that person is really helping you, because it has been some months now that you have been writing here, and you are still dealing with the same issues. Pray for insight. Pray for freedom. Pray for God to shine into the dark places in your heart, to free you from the condemnation that keeps you bound. As long as that condemnation is controlling your choices, you will remain stuck.

          • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 8:12 pm


            Is it possible that the emotional and covenant divorce has already happened biblically for sheep?

            But holding on to a wish can feel like ‘something’ anything……..rather than deal with the idea of nothing?
            This is a grief question..

            Even though ‘nothing’ isn’t Sheep’s truest reality.
            I say this Sheep because you have much to still hold.. (your self dignity and worth)
            The Lord will hold you in your grief, I promise 🌈💜

          • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 8:36 pm


            This isn’t really related to your dialog with sheep but I’m curious if you or Leslie are familiar with this person:

            “See collectively, we as men are taught to have less value in women, to view them as property and the objects of men. We see that as an equation that equals violence against women. We as men, good men, the large majority of men, we operate on the foundation of this whole collective socialization. We kind of see ourselves separate, but we’re very much a part of it. You see, we have to come to understand that less value, property, and objectification is the foundation and the violence can’t happen without it. So we’re very much a part of the solution as well as the problem. The center for disease control says that men’s violence against women is at epidemic proportions, is the number one health concern for women in this country and abroad.”

            Tony Porter?

          • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 8:51 pm


            I can’t post directly to you but this is in response to today at 11:38 your post.

            You wrote:
            “I’m just kinda still here. I suppose a lot of that is getting used to the idea that biblically, it is OK (and I do know it is) it’s just that I’m mentally fighting a lifetime of of general and specific church teaching and attitudes that would say that divorce is the worst possible thing in the world.”

            I can certainly relate with this teaching and well… indoctrination of sorts that have missed some important aspects. Especially your scenario of betrayal.

            As, Christians we are called to please the Lord, not the teachers, church people etc and not the worldly who judge from their own understandings.

            Why do you say that her ‘being nice’ is what should be enough for you?

            It isn’t given the offense!

            The offender doesn’t get to set the bar of repair.

          • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 9:14 pm

            I hold on to those thoughts because that is what I have been taught and that is what I have believed my whole life. That is a lot to overcome in 7 months (thats about how long it has been since I “saw the light” of what was really going on in my home. At times I’m sure it doesn’t seem like it, but I have really come a long way in that time.

            No, I don’t think my kids are thriving, and not necessarily happy, but once again they have been taught to put a good face on it. And No, they haven’t said anything about getting out. They really don’t even know what she has done because I have protected her from that. They have also been fairly sheltered and they aren’t really that old, so I cant imagine any of them telling me to get out, at least not without a lot more info.
            Actually, just this evening I thanked her for being nice, but then informed her (again) that being nice without the heart change and everything associated with it, really mean nothing to me anymore. That being nice without the rest is not going to change the course we are on. Her response, “I know” that was it, end of conversation.

            although I still have guilt issues, that is no longer what is holding me back from filing. I have already made the decision to do so, I am waiting more on a few practical things that are in process first to try to make things as good as possible for my kids, and myself.

            I do have a good counselor. Actually it is our marriage counselor, but she has stopped going. (and the counselor said there is no point in my wife going back) And she helps me a lot in these things.

            Actually I see myself changing a lot after divorce because then I will not be heard by the vows that I made to her to love, honor and cherish. I’m going to keep those to the end, I want to finish well.

          • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 9:14 pm

            Held not heard.

          • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 9:17 pm

            Aly, After reading “redemptive divorce” I do believe that our divorce already happened. She divorced me when she chose the arms of another man and then refused to reconcile. In our case the covenant ended then. Filling for divorce only informs the state of what has already happened.

          • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 9:27 pm

            With the “being nice should be enough for me” I was being sarcastic because that is exactly what she thinks. Here is an exact quote “why cant we just be friends that have sex and raise our kids?” Of course that came shortly after being told “Our vows mean nothing and I cant say that I won’t have another affair”

            You know what stinks? from what society says and what a lot of the abused women that comment her say, there are a lot of men out there that would be perfectly happy with that arrangement.

            Sorry, but I want more. I was promised more when we made our vows. I want real intimacy and acceptance that goes both ways. I don’t want meaningless sex. Meaningless sex means that sex is meaningless! If it means nothing then why not have it with anyone that tickles our fancy? Sorry, not interested.

          • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 9:48 pm


            Sorry this post is out of alignment!

            Just want to say YES you have come along way in such a short amount of time overall.

            You said something about her wanting to have a sex partner and raise kids together…
            Does she also profess to be a Christian with Christian values?

            Often there can be hope in betrayal situations but not with her posture for sure~
            So it’s seems weird though..
            Does she see you also as someone who has betrayed her or does she have something against you?

          • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 10:46 pm

            Aly, Yes, she does profess to be a christian, in fact she probably knows the bible better than the vast majority of christians. The problem I have come to see is that that knowledge has never gone from her head to her heart. She believes in others living to biblical standards, but she finds a lot of excuses when it comes to herself.

            Yes, she sees me as someone that betrayed her, but she also lumps about everyone else into that category as well. She uses these things as excuses for her own bad actions. Over the last year she generally tells me that I am a wonderful husband and father, she just doesn’t love me like a wife is supposed to love a husband. That is about as far as we get. I have stopped asking what I can do to improve our marriage, because it got to the point that she couldn’t come up with anything.

          • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 11:21 pm


            So you say she believes that you betrayed her?

            Is this true ~?
            Or is she applying something that has nothing to do with your faithfulness or loyalty?

          • JoAnn on March 15, 2018 at 11:59 pm

            Sheep, I see you as a good, kind and honest man with a huge capacity for love. Set yourself free to become the man that God intended you to be, to serve Him, and to love your kids to the uttermost. Set yourself free to bloom.

          • sheep on March 16, 2018 at 12:15 am

            Yes, I did. Years ago, I was addicted to porn. She never knew it, although she did know I had had an issue with it when we got married. i tried to share these things with her early on because I wanted help and deliverance from it, I wanted to repent. But I learned really fast to keep my mouth shut, because she doesn’t forgive and she always holds on to things to use as leverage when she wants something. She has also been particularly offended by sexual sin in others and if someone had a moral failing, they were branded forever.

            Fast forward 20 years, one day out of the clear blue she confessed to having an affair when we were first married. I had never known about it. I forgave her. But this gave me hope that maybe just maybe since she had been through that she might understand and forgive me. So, on my own, i confessed my former porn use to her. I came totally clean, told her everything. I also got serious about God at the same time. I started discipleship with a pastor, I opened everything I owned up to her, she had everything…Passwords, full access, internet monitoring and filtering on everything. I stoped using the internet for everything but work and that was over a monitored and firewall connection. I found other men to be accountable to as well as her. I confessed my sin to many others that I felt I had wronged including my children. I took full responsibility for my actions. Anything she asked for, I gave. I was totally open with all areas of my life. any question she asked, I answered willingly even when I felt it was something she didn’t need to know. In short, God did a miracle in my life. I haven’t looked at porn since before the “confession” day. In fact I have talked with quite a few men since then about their porn use and the deliverance that is available to them after they humble themselves and submit to God in this area.
            Keep in mind, her confession to her first affair was the same day as mine to porn. Our responses couldn’t be more different. she refused to talk about her affair or give me any details. She started hiding every area of her life, She pushed away all good influences she had.

            Then she had her second affair that lasted for a year and her actions and attitudes since then have been even worse than the first time.

            Part of the issue is that because of what I went through and the repentance in my life, I know what brokenness and repentance look like. I know that when someone has been broken and they truly repent, that this is life changing. They don’t need to be told what they need to do to fix what they have broken, they are anxious to do whatever needed to heal the wounds that they have caused.

            So, there ya have it. I’m guessing that with the number of women here that have been so devastated by their husbands porn use that I will now be labeled for it. Thats ok, nobody can punish me more for it than I have already punished myself.

            But in Christ I have found wonderful deliverance, grace and relief from the incessant guilt.

          • Renee on March 16, 2018 at 10:47 am

            sheep says
            March 16, 2018 at 12:15 am

            Sheep I can’t post directly under your comment. So hopefully you will eventually see my thought.

            Sheep You Said: That’s ok; nobody can punish me more for it than I have already punished myself.

            My thought is that you are still punishing yourself. Your wife does not need to lift one finger or say one word. You will not set yourself free to love someone who will love who you are today. Why is that? What are you afraid of Sheep?

            You even said here that now that you’ve spoken about being addicted to porn, that we here will not look at you the same. Is that another reason you are staying stuck? Afraid that someone can’t love one who was once addicted to porn?

            I am not excusing you by any means. However, sex is everywhere and it is a struggle for all. I fight right now to try and teach our kids what is healthy and unhealthy when it comes to sex. Heck, it is all in our face including television, magazines, etc.

            Sheep are you physically separated? I’m talking about different homes. That may be another little step.

            Aly post was deep. However, please as she says don’t get confused. Does it really matter the reason at this point because only you desire to work through the reasons.

            JoAnn you wrote: That tells me that once you do go ahead and file, you are going to get hit pretty hard.

            I believe that to be so as well JoAnn. I’m not sure Sheep has made peace with his decision because he still want to inform his wife about his decision to divorce hoping she will stop him and do a 180 right then and there.

            Just the way he spoke the other day (standing ovation) tells me he is still very emotional.

            Sheep I don’t want you to have a nervous break-down behind the road ahead. You will be ok if you get help. Can you see you being ok? Can you picture it?

            JoAnn you said: it has been some months now that you have been writing here, and you are still dealing with the same issues.

            I can’t remember where I heard it from at this point. But someone once said that sometimes deep down we aren’t ready for change, we want someone/anyone to keep listening. Once that person gets tired of listening, find someone else. Now we have online.

            When I heard that, I was like oh my poor friends and apologized. I had to do something. So that was fighting my husband’s controlling behavior. I saw my best friends (he hated me doing), I fixed myself up (he hated me doing)(calls me 2.0 now) , I did not quit my job (he tried), I did not leave my church (he tried), I stopped spending myself broke (he hated), etc.

            When I did couple’s counseling last year very briefly, I was like no more story telling. So that’s why last year, the anger ball started getting bigger and bigger.

            Those were my baby steps I believe. Sheep have I missed your baby steps?

            I’m not trying to offend you. I know it is hard. It is very hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

          • sheep on March 16, 2018 at 11:31 am

            Renee, For the most part, I don’t really think I still punish myself and really, I have gotten nothing but love, acceptance and forgiveness from the many people that I have confessed/told about this. (except, of course, my wife) I suppose that lack of love and forgiveness seeps into my thinking still, but I really don’t expect it any more. I gave the reason I haven’t told that part of my story in this forum before, but I think I probably feared that the women here have been hurt so deeply by their husbands porn use, that I would be lumped into the same boat. Please keep in mind that I really don’t know what it is like to have a “normal” relationship with a woman. I got married young and I have been very careful to avoid relationships with other women and that is for a number of reasons. 1. avoid the appearance of evil. 2. don’t give satin a foothold to take advantage of 3. My wife was always insanely jealous of any woman that she thought was attractive. (note, that didn’t have anything to do with whether or not I found them attractive) and I didn’t want to hurt her and I didn’t want to make her mad so it was just easier to have very superficial relationships with women. Honestly, I read here the level of love and vulnerability that some of you have shown absolute clods of husbands and it makes me so sad that I have never know that, and that until recently I thought that how I was being treated was normal.

            No, we are not physically separated. I have been advised by many that I cannot leave (for a number of good reasons) I have asked her to leave multiple occasions but she just looks at me like I have three heads. until recently when more serious talk of divorce started, she has agreed to move out but for a number of reasons she hasn’t. I don’t know if she is serious/lying or not. I think that physical separation would help me a lot because I do much better when we are not together.

            I have mostly made my peace with divorce and I don’t believe that separation/divorce will somehow make her “see the light” and somehow things will be healed. And I do believe that once separation/divorce happens I will be able to detach myself from all of this better. A lot of that is because I will do what is right no matter what she does and at this point we are still married so I will keep my vows to love honor and cherish until it is final. I want to end well, having known that I haven’t rushed into anything and that I have done all possible to reconcile. I feel I am at that place now but I am waiting on several Practical things to happen before I file.

            No, I’m not going to have a nervous breakdown. Emotionally I am much better than I was 6 months ago. I don’t blame myself like I did, I don’t react anymore to the manipulations, and I am not nearly as depressed. I see God blessing me in other areas of my life that will make the future easier for myself and the kids.

            You don’t offend, that is what open and honest conversation is all about, learning from each other. My baby steps are there, along with a few leaps. And it is so hard to say goodby to yesterday, but now I’m ready to.

          • Nancy on March 18, 2018 at 4:36 pm

            Hi Sheep,

            I hope it’s ok to interject here.

            You mentioned above, how you have decided to ‘love honour and cherish until it is final’, but if I remember, at some point you talked about having read a book that made you understand that you are already divorced. Was it called redemptive divorce, or something like that?

            If that’s the case, then you sound conflicted in yourself about your relational status with her.

            How you behave towards her, and with your children where she is concerned, will stem from the reality that you choose to walk in.

            1) the superficial reality that you are married
            2) the spiritual reality that she has divorced you

            My sense is that if you choose to behave as though you are divorced ( treating her respectfully, but no more), you will become clearer within yourself.

            I have some tough questions for you.

            If you continue to ‘love, honour and cherish her’ won’t you just continue the confusion and elongate the process…? And is commitment to live this way ‘until it is final’, really ‘finishing well’? Or is it continuing the fantasy?

            The C of CORE is committed to truth. So, what’s the Truth of your current situation, Sheep:

            Are you married, or not?

          • JoAnn on March 18, 2018 at 5:53 pm

            Good points, Nancy. I agree.

          • sheep on March 19, 2018 at 11:32 am

            Nancy and JoAnn, Interject away. I suppose in some ways I am still conflicted about my marital status. Yes, I believe she divorced me at that point. Yes, I believe that the civil divorce is informing the government. At the same time, we are living as if we are married and I am allowing this to happen because there are a few practical things that I am waiting on before I push for divorce. Some of that is also because it just makes it easier for me to live without the abuse that will stem from me making a concrete announcement that I am filing for divorce.

            Nancy, You are probably right that Loving honoring and cherishing is elongating the process at this point. I believe that will change once I actually either get her to move out, or officially start the divorce process. Once I start that process, I will push forward as quickly as possible. I will do everything possible to keep it from dragging out. The fantasy is over for me, it is more about practical concerns now. I cant do anything about her fantasy life, I think she is going to live that one no matter what. It doesn’t matter what I say about our future, give her an hour and it is like I never opened my mouth.

            Truth. I have told her the truth of the situation multiple times but she chooses to ignore it. I know the truth but for now am allowing it to look like this, to try to make things better for my kids and myself when this does happen.

          • JoAnn on March 19, 2018 at 11:44 am

            Sheep, I do believe you have thought this through very carefully. You know your wife, and you know how she is likely to behave. Of course, you can always pray against what you fear will happen when you initiate the divorce and tell her to move out. She might surprise you. In any case, when you follow the Lord’s leading within, He will guard your way and open doors for you. He will give you His peace, which is what we all want in following Him. You are a good man, and kind and loving. It’s too bad that she can’t appreciate that and return your love and care in kind. Take care to guard your heart, and that of your children.

          • Nancy on March 19, 2018 at 1:49 pm

            Hi Sheep,

            I’m wondering why you would wait to stop loving, honouring and cherishing her? Continuing to treat her as your wife is a daily choice that denies the reality of your situation,

            Each day you postpone walking in the Truth, you are choosing to prolong the fantasy. I’m not talking about her fantasy, Sheep, I’m talking about your own. As I said above, your behaviour ( and words) will stem from the reality you choose to walk in…today.

            You say, “I believe that will change once I actually get her to move out, or officially start the divorce process”.

            Again….waiting is harmful because it denies reality. What are you waiting on? ( I’m not talking about practical world things that allow you to move in a concrete way towards divorce. I am asking what you are waiting for, to make the decision to release your marriage / wife?)

            This is a critical question Sheep because your passivity in identifying and claiming ‘what you want’ continues to allow destruction into your home ( in the form of mixed messages, ambiguous word games, competition about whose gonna avoid responsibility the longest…etc…)

            You can ask The Lord to help you appropriate His authority in your life. He wants to help you walk into Truth, today.

            Once you put those emotional boundaries in place ( by removing your love, honouring and cherishing of her) you will see and hear Him so much more clearly.

            That’s how ‘Your ( Christ’s ) kingdom comes’.

          • sheep on March 19, 2018 at 3:04 pm

            Nancy, You guys are really making me dig deep. As I look a little more deeply at the words “love, honor, and cherish” I realize that I’m probably not doing as much of that anymore as I thought I was. let me explain.

            Love- yes I am still loving her, but what does that look like… It is not the mushy, warm, romantic love at all. I don’t tell her how wonderful she is, I don’t tell her she is beautiful, I’m not making her feel like she is great. I am not being mean, but I am also being about as exciting as a grey rock. I am giving her what she needs (meaning hard truth about herself) But I don’t do it very much because I choose not to engage very much, because it takes a lot out of me to pour that into her knowing that she isn’t going to accept it. (Yes, I know that I’m to the point of casting pearls before swine.) I am also providing for her, but that is as minimal as possible.

            Honor, I guess there isn’t really much left to that one other than I try really hard not to talk bad about her.

            Cherish, yeah I guess I’m not doing much cherishing either.

            Waiting, I really am only waiting on practical things at this point, I cant talk much on that one but it very much effects my ability to provide for the kids and myself into the future.

            You are right, I have been incredibly passive. I have also been unbelievably tolerant, patient and loving. Looking back, far more than I should have been. That being said, I should have acted decisively a long time ago, but I wasn’t capable of it after decades of abuse. My mind as been expanded exponentially and my knowledge of myself and relationships has increased so much over the last year. It was a huge process that God took me through to get me to where I’m at today. I also know that while I probably should have acted sooner, I don’t think I will regret being patient and loving and doing all I could to reconcile before saying “I now want a divorce”

          • Nancy on March 19, 2018 at 3:08 pm

            Being a ‘nice grey rock’ is a great way to be, with her!

            Then you’ve done the job of cutting those emotional bonds. Good for you!

            This is hard work that you are doing, Sheep.

            Keep on following our great Shepherd 🙂

        • Debbie on March 27, 2018 at 7:32 pm

          I totally understand not wanting to say the word divorce. Because it will definitely be thrown up in your face. I also understand about everything being turned around to be your fault. Part of me wants to leave my marriage every day. I do a lot of the same things. Just try not to be around my husband. And have to be so careful about everything I say.
          But part of me doesn’t want to divorce either. I’m 61 and we recently retired. So I have no income andnit would be financially very hard for me.
          I will be praying for you. Because I know what this feels like. I can tell you it hurts the kids. My husband was abusive to both older daughters that were mine from a previous marriage. He was good to his daughter that was ours together. But she wound up in therapy as an adult. She felt responsible for keeping g her dad happy so he wouldn’t abuse us. If you can, leave for your kids sake and take them with you. If you can’t take them you may need to stay. It’s an awful place to be I know!!!

          • sheep on March 28, 2018 at 9:45 am

            Debbie, I’m so sorry. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I just don’t. You are between a rock and a hard place.

  11. Caroline on March 14, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    I have been out of my absuive marriage for 17 years but sometimes still struggle with the aftermath. When Leslie points out that your husband will not allow God to change him, she is right. For a long time I stayed because I felt it was my Christian duty to stay and by my example, show my ex the way the Lord wants us to live.

    Instead he did all the things Leslie and others have described and more. I finally was able to leave when my 13 year old, 70 pound son tried to pull his dad off me. That’s when I finally saw what the marriage was doing to my 4 kids. Please see that now and do this for your daughter.

    You and your daughte’s safety comes first. You can pray, witness and set an example from a distance. Realize that violence is from Satan and living there is living in Satan’s house.

    My ex hasn’t changed in the almost 30 years I have known him despite many, many promises to do so. I still pray for him daily, but the damage (particularly to my daughters) continues to infiltrate our families. God will see you through . Jeremiah 29:11 has been my soul verse all these years. I hope you will claim it for yourself.

    • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 10:27 am

      One of the things that my abusive wife has said too many times to count is
      “I know God can heal our marriage but that doesn’t mean he will” To say that used to just go against everything in me as well as the attitude behind it going against everything I believe. That is until I realized that what she was really saying is “I know God can change me, but that doesn’t mean He will, because I’m not going to let Him.”
      Now that I know what is really being said, I realize that the statement is true, He can heal our marriage… If both of us were allowing Him to control us. But I cant do it by myself no matter how much I want to or try. And He is most likely not going to change her against her will. How many “road to Damascus experiences do we really see in the Bible and in life?

      • Aly on March 16, 2018 at 6:27 am


        I’m sorry I can’t post directly under your last post from
        March 16, 12:15am

        Wow~ so thankful you got the healing and the recovery work from porn. Thank you for being truthful, not that you had to here in this way, but I certainly didn’t want to make assumptions about you or your situation.
        I will be honest that this was my hunch based on some of your wife’s behaviors and attitudes.

        Sheep, I don’t think many that are here would label you as you describe especially as you have humbled yourself and opened your heart to the Lord for healing.
        Since you have done or are doing your work, you are right when you see repentive posture in its truest sense and then the heart change following with such character change.

        You wrote that your wife didn’t ‘know’, sometimes this is the case, but often wives know deeply the things that they don’t want to really know.

        And since you have done your work in this area, Praise God for your freedom and your journey….then you do have the understanding that porn is betrayal at such a traumatic level especially for wives.
        It’s almost as if they pick up a shield that they think many can’t see but that even in their nicer moments it’s laced with unhealed hurt & often ‘contempt’ ~ for some reason this feels safer than prior to the traumas.

        You got into a healing path, but unfortunately your wife ‘could’ be a casualty of trauma and betrayal (yours and her own)?
        Let me explain what I’m thinking…

        I’m not saying she is going to be a casualty.
        Bare with me here.
        So my journey took me down trying to understand and put as many patterns and pieces together of all the behavior of abuse and neglect in my marriage, I looked for porn, affairs … you name it.
        The issue was the attitude my husband had and it had happened prior to my marriage to him, he had been betrayed by a girlfriend and carried such core shame.
        I could not understand the attitude he had toward me and it got more abusive emotionally the more I peered closer.

        Because I was the safest to him he projected all that hurt and betrayal upon me!
        It was a death trap to say the least especially since I felt like such a loyal partner married to such an unavailable man. He had no problems projecting all his emotions of what happened to him upon me, as if I was the offender! It became maddening!

        Little did I know how much he was guarded by tephlon (for such a long time) and I was Velcro ~
        Basically he was acting out his pain of betrayal and deep hurt (other things in his history) upon me.
        Plus, he would have wanted or preferred me to think he was unfaithful even if he wasn’t truly because he felt that if I was hurting then he wouldnt have to be the hurt or vulnerable one ever again.
        (He liked that it put him in a power position and he thought is really guarded his heart but it also guarded his heart from my authentic love for him to receive!)

        I say all of this because, with your situation your wife could very well be doing something similar with her hurt.?? Not saying for sure, but none of us are not all that inventive with destructive types of behaviors.

        I’m assuming you have ‘confirmed evidence of the 2nd affair’? ( not that you need to have it)
        The first time she told you about her first, I’m skeptical because often those who are injured like this will LiE to hurt the other person as best as they believe they can!
        Crazy making .., I know.
        Maybe she’s telling the truth?, but my hunch is her behavior and attitude is also quite telling too~
        Let’s have sex, and raise kids, she says?
        Hmm… this sounds like such a jaded hurt woman.
        She’s hardened for sure, but to protect herself from further pain by you and quite possibly the person she hoped was her husband. When a wife is in this place, it’s very hard for her to have eyes to see the journey and growth you have taken to restore your sexuality and trust.

        Trust has been shattered at the deepest sense to her core being and if she doesn’t get her own healing process then yes she will continue to ‘self harm’ in a self protective way… such as I’m going to hurt ‘you’ husband before you hurt me again.
        I’m going to have affairs and betrayals and you get to put yourself in my shoes, even if this isn’t factual it’s enough that you believe she is having affairs.
        Have you considered this possibility? Traumatic experiences for people can morph in many ways to cope so it’s important to understand what is real.

        Sheep I don’t say any of this to confuse you or second guess anything..,,
        Sometimes marriages don’t get healed through these places of brokenness.
        I also assume that you have discussed this possibly of your wife’s affairs or posture with your counselor but I also am taking note about your (time table) and the amount of time thus far you have shared.
        To me, it sounds like you have covered a lot of work in the months you describe but given the depths of the wounds ~ now those can take years.

        I also say this that regardless of your own betrayals it doesn’t give her the right to abuse you as pay back but often trapped individuals are stuck in that level of immaturity.

        I certainly support your decisions and understand your crossroads. Some people won’t face their pain in order to get free ~ my prayer will be for her to have that so that she can leave
        The defensive mechanisms ~ that really don’t do anything but push intimacy & healing away.

        • sheep on March 16, 2018 at 10:22 am

          Hi Aly,
          Thanks for the response. I have no problem sharing “my” part of my story with anyone anymore. For me that is continued work in humility. Also, I figure that if my story with porn can help someone else, who and I to withhold that information. The reason I haven’t done so in the past on this forum is because I have tried not to give too much information that could link my comments back to me just in case she were to ever read this blog. I shudder to think about how ballistic she would go if she found I was talking about this.
          In some ways our spouses are alike with the whole teflon and velcro analogy. That is very true with us and has always been that way. One thing I need to be clear on is that her abuse did not start with the revelation of her affairs or my porn. She has been emotionally abusive of me and the children since early on. I just never understood what that abuse was and what it looked like before I found The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. She has always been emotionally distant from me. Our counsellor has told us that we have never really had intimacy in our marriage because she will not allow it.
          But our spouses are very different in that mine would never make up having an affair to hurt me or to protect herself. She bases much of what she does on having a perfect image and that would be especially true in the area of sex. Since I have known her she has always been willing to deceive or lie about something if she thought it would make her look a little bit better or keeps her from looking “bad”.
          I do know for sure that she had both affairs. The second one I had to hear with my own ears and see with my own eyes. I went far beyond what was really needed to prove the affair because I had tried to confront her months earlier with less evidence (but looking back still enough) and she would admit nothing, change nothing, and in fact threaten me. So I let it go. So, Yes I know for sure and those images and sounds will haunt me for the rest of my life.
          One of the very few things that she told me about the first affair came out in counseling and it just blew me away. The counselor asked her if she had loved the first man. She said “Oh no, I did it mostly because I was bored and because I wanted to get him (me) back” When asked what she was getting me back for, she said it was because I had turned her down a couple of times when she wanted to have sex in our first year of marriage. What? Literally, it was a couple of times and only because I was exhausted from work or because I had a headache or something. And I cant even count the number of times I was turned down in the same time period. That was probably TMI 🙂

          You are right and I don’t deny that the revelation of my porn use was very traumatic for her. But oddly enough I learned from our counsellor that it wasn’t in the way you would think. The counsellor has told me that she really isn’t all that hurt from the porn use itself, What really bothers her is that she didn’t catch me. And that makes a lot of sense considering some of the things she has said.

          One of the things I have learned in my research and reading about her NPD really brought some clarity to this and our marriage. The book said that a lot of times someone with NPD is perfectly happy in their marriage/relationship when they are in control. When their “victim” does what they are told, when they are told to do it. But, the narcissist “needs to put the love object on a pedestal in order to hold herself together, because if the partner is wonderful and she can have him, then all the insecurities inside her will go away” “These relationships can be quite successful, as long as the idealizations and illusions can be sustained. But when unpleasant reality intrudes, love implodes” I would also add that it can work well until the abused realizes what is happening and no longer tolerates it. I believe that these two things probably come as close to explaining us as is possible.
          For years now I let my own guilt excuse her sin, I tried and tried to take responsibility for her sin and bad choices. At one point during her affair (before I knew “for sure”) and after reading a particularly misinformed blog, I actually went to her and told her that if she were having an affair it would be my fault and that she would be justified in doing so.

          As far as facing pain to be free, she is in that place. I once asked the councilor what it would take for her to “hit bottom” and be completely broken. Her answer was that she wasn’t even sure that was possible with my wife (excluding miraculous intervention) Because as a narcissist, much of her manipulations and controlling behavior are specifically designed to keep her from hitting bottom, to keep her from facing herself.

          • Aly on March 17, 2018 at 8:55 am


            I’m so sorry for this…
            You wrote:
            “I went far beyond what was really needed to prove the affair because I had tried to confront her months earlier with less evidence (but looking back still enough) and she would admit nothing, change nothing, and in fact threaten me. So I let it go.”

            This response of hers is horror! This isn’t a relational experience where someone can interact with ‘other’. This response to me is so very painful because of the words of ‘letting it go’ hit home to so many of these situations.

            I know you getting equipped and aligning a few things before your final departure which is probably the wisest and takes a lot of strength.
            I’m thankful you have a counselor who is well aware and able to help you process such traumas.

            The next steps after ‘letting it go’ can be essential to your healing because she thinks she ‘has won by her continued functioning of lack of remorse or warped lense’, sadly she most likely won’t ever be free of her ‘disordered developed self’, like your counselor has described about rock bottom…but you will!

      • Renee on March 16, 2018 at 8:19 pm

        You Said: My wife was always insanely jealous of any woman that she thought was attractive. (note, that didn’t have anything to do with whether or not I found them attractive) and I didn’t want to hurt her and I didn’t want to make her mad so it was just easier to have very superficial relationships with women.

        At least your wife was selective (she thought was attractive). My husband was/is insanely jealous period. I promise you we could be in a store and my husband would swear some dud I never saw was checking me out and become mad. When I would go to church (missing my family being by my side deeply) he would accuse me of giving lap dances to the deacons. Male cashiers, I’m flirting. No amount of trying to reassure (grabbing his hand, babe I’m with you, I only want you) worked. Neither did defending! So why try either any more.

        In fact, even with the separation he is trying to get in my head saying people have talked. It really is sad that he can’t see and is still blind.

        So even superficial is a no no. A hello to someone who spoke to me made him mad. Of course, the rule was different for him. He’s just friendly.

        You Said: she has agreed to move out but for a number of reasons she hasn’t. I don’t know if she is serious/lying or not.

        She is probably receiving that same advice.

        You Said: I see God blessing me in other areas of my life that will make the future easier for myself and the kids.


        • sheep on March 16, 2018 at 9:05 pm

          Renee, I’m so sorry, I know how awful it is to be accused of things that aren’t even close to being true. I remember too many times of being accused of “eyeing” some woman in public, and I wouldn’t even be able to figure out who she was talking about. But I quickly realized how pointless it was to say that or to deny it. It never mattered what I said.. Baffling, because I just don’t think that way, I trusted her. I trusted that she wasn’t eyeing other men (let alone having sex with them) But I was wrong. That being said, I still don’t regret being a trusting person. I would much rather trust and take the chance of being hurt than to constantly live in fear, suspicion, and trying to catch the other person. The month I was trying to prove her adultery and the months to follow the confrontation were absolute hell. I cant live like that and it is yet another reason that this marriage cant go on. I can’t live with someone that refuses to do what is necessary to rebuild trust after such a betrayal.

          I’m sure that if our spouses would read these comments, they would accuse us of having an affair with each other 🙁

          It sounds like your separation is not bringing about any change in your husband. Do you know how long you are going to stick that out? I have already told her that I do not see separating as a step toward getting back together. She has already had all the chances that she needs to reconcile and she has ignored them all. I only see separation as something that happens as the divorce plays out.

          Actually I doubt anyone is telling her stay in the house and “make” me move out. She has very few people that she actually talks to and I know that all of them including her family are telling her she is totally wrong in all of this. But she happily ignores them and moves on.

          • Renee on March 17, 2018 at 9:51 pm

            Sheep: I would much rather trust and take the chance of being hurt than to constantly live in fear, suspicion, and trying to catch the other person.

            Yes, this has to be a miserable, miserable feeling and a tormenting way of life. I told husband that today after communicating. I also told him it saddens me that this is his way of life and he is not getting help for it to change.

            You said: It sounds like your separation is not bringing about any change in your husband.

            Since he has been asking are we finished, a supportive person suggested I return the question but to add if he is, did he want me to file for divorce and release him/us). So his first response was kind of babble. I stated he seemed confused. He stated based on what he’s not getting from me, he guess it’s over and asked if there was agreement.

            Rather than agree, I asked now what?

            He went on to say he can’t live with someone who is living a double life, hiding things, and keeping secrets. Then I asked about divorcing. He says he did not mention anything about a divorce.

            You said: Do you know how long you are going to stick that out?

            My aim is to file for divorce by end of May or first part of June. I would be willing to not divorce but I can’t do anything with those deadly weapons he is carrying.

            You said: I have already told her that I do not see separating as a step toward getting back together.

            My past responses state how I feel about separation (outside of the home). I was ok when we were doing the in-house. But honestly, the physical one is much better. I can live some and not worry about an eruption.

          • sheep on March 17, 2018 at 11:52 pm


            Wait, Deadly Weapons? Please tell me you are talking about his mouth and attitudes…

            Wow, I am impressed by your conversation with him. You seem so strong and clear headed. I feel like I would be a lot more that way if we weren’t living in the same house.

            Although last night I did ask her what if any plans she has made for moving out. She said (surprised) I didn’t know that was a for sure thing. I said, well actually you told me that you would find a place and move out. She said well, I never gave any kind of a date for that. I said, actually you said in may. So then she turned it around and said well what do you want me to do, I didn’t say anything, and she added “I just want you to know that if I leave it is because that is what you want not what I want” I said no, lets not say that, you don’t want to separate/divorce but at the same time, you are not willing to do the things that you need to do to keep that from happening. The conversation ended at that point. Today you would think that we hadn’t had any conversation at all.

          • Renee on March 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

            You: Wait, Deadly Weapons? Please tell me you are talking about his mouth and attitudes…

            You are exactly right. There isn’t a thing I can do with the contents of his heart and his mind (Joyce Myer calls it stinking thinking) that exits his mouth. Of course, I know someone who can if he would let him.

            I have not given his words any additional thought. However, what is the meaning of living a double life (I’m not really asking anyone to answer but it’s just craziness) to him? I’ve take it to mean you have an affair partner or practicing bigamy.

            You: Although last night I did ask her what if any plans she has made for moving out. She said (surprised) I didn’t know that was a for sure thing.

            Oh how I wish adults would quit playing games.

            You: she added “I just want you to know that if I leave it is because that is what you want not what I want”

            Maybe that is not what she wants (to leave). Maybe she is content but you are not! Because you are receiving bread crumbs it sounds like from your post.

            But maybe, just maybe you are still offering her over the top care in some shape, form, or fashion.

            I’m not saying become unkind/hateful. I’m saying she is reaping some good benefits somewhere.

          • JoAnn on March 18, 2018 at 5:48 pm

            Sheep, I am curious: Why, when she asked “what do you want me to do?” didn’t you reply? You do want her to move out, you do want her to keep her word….or am I misreading your thoughts and intentions as you have shared them with us? Are you still on the fence about this? From my perspective, you are pretty consistent in giving her mixed messages. How about giving her a clear word: move out by the end of May. When you think of doing that, what is the inward feeling you get? That is what you need to be talking about with your counselor, so you can get clear about exactly what you want. Her being “nice” right now is just her effort to manipulate the situation to her advantage. She has all the advantages going her way in the current situation; why would she volunteer to move out? Take a look at your heart, and decide just exactly what you want and then move on it. You will need to be clear and definite with her. Giving her ambiguous responses aren’t helping the situation.

          • Nancy on March 18, 2018 at 7:25 pm

            These are good points, JoAnn.

            This woman has not owned her decisions at all. Are you waiting for her Sheep, to suddenly own this divorce?

            JoAnn’s point about identifying what YOU want is key here.

            The question, though, isn’t :

            “in your ideal world, do you want a divorce?” nor is it “did you ever imagine that you would ask for a divorce?”

            The question is:

            “In the reality of your particular situation, having lived everything that you have lived with her, do you want a divorce from her?”

          • JoAnn on March 18, 2018 at 7:54 pm

            Nancy, you said this so well: “In the reality of your particular situation, having lived everything that you have lived with her, do you want a divorce from her?” That really is the question that needs to be answered. Maybe that’s the question several people here need to be considering. Pray for wisdom and grace to follow the wisdom.

          • Connie on March 18, 2018 at 9:30 pm

            JoAnn, you said for sheep to say to his wife, “Move out by the end of May”. I would definitely include and ‘or else’ in that statement. Boundaries need consequences or they are almost always ignored.

          • JoAnn on March 18, 2018 at 10:24 pm

            Connie, I agree with the “or else.” There must be consequences or nothing will be happening. Would you pack up her things and put them on the curb? What would you set as a consequence? That’s the only way she (or you) will know that you are serious.

            Sheep, to what extent are you willing to follow through on your decision? I believe it is time for you to decide either to “stay well” or “leave well.” Being on the fence is unhealthy for you, your children, and your relationship. You have told us you want to divorce, but in your interactions with your wife, you are not clear. Work it out, Brother.

          • sheep on March 19, 2018 at 12:25 pm

            Renee, JoAnn, Nancy, and Connie. Wow, lots to process. Thats what I get for having a busy sunday.

            OK, this is my opinion because I have to make an educated guess on this. I don’t think she WANTS to leave. But that is only for selfish reasons.
            1. She doesn’t want the kids (or anyone else) to learn about her adultery.
            2. She doesn’t want to have to provide for herself. She wants to work, but only for fulfillment and fun reasons, she doesn’t actually want to be responsible for her life.
            3. She wants the kids on her terms. In other words, she wants to be able to do what she wants and when she wants knowing that I will be there to take care of them when she is doing something else.
            4. She wants to continue her fantasy that she has it all together.
            5. She fears abandonment. (at least that is what everyone says about narcissists.)
            6. I think it is dawning on her that if she leaves, she is going to have to work really hard and her standard of living will go down.
            7. fear of being called a bad mother.

            All that being said, if she didn’t have to pay that price, she would just assume be free of me.

            Also, I am NOT offering over the top care. I am being a polite grey rock 🙂 Unfortunately she is so capable of denying reality that It would really matter unless I were really being mean, and it just goes against my nature to be mean.

            JoAnn. I did not answer that question this time, but I have other times. I specifically didn’t answer it this time because I was trying to get her to tell me her plans (if she has any) I know that was an attempt to get the conversation of of the question of what she was going to do because I have plainly stated multiple times that I want her to move out. If I start talking, she will stop talking, or even responding. She knows that I want her to move out, she just doesn’t particularly care.

            So far I have avoided giving her a date to move out by. Some of that is just because I am so surprised that she actually said she would move out. Some is because I’m not ready to be that forceful yet (until a couple of practical things are dealt with) Some of it is that I am afraid of how she will react. (yes, I’m better than I was, but I still fear her)

            I don’t know how to describe my feelings on the whole thing of “wanting” a divorce. Nancy I think you have helped me a bit in that one. So, I will say… in an ideal world, no, I don’t want a divorce. But my world is far from ideal. At this point, I look at her and I cant even imagine spending the rest of my life with her. With all the doubts, with all the lies, manipulations and the total lack of relational intimacy. So, yes I do want a divorce because I haven’t seen her do anything to correct these things and I cant see her ever doing them. When all is said and done, to quote her… I just don’t love you the way a wife is supposed to love a husband.

            Connie and JoAnn, “or else” I am open to suggestions on the “or else” I have not been able to come up with consequences that would even matter to her that at the same time I am willing to implement (because of the abuse I would receive for doing or saying such a thing) I have felt for a long time that the only “or else” I have at my disposal it filing for divorce. Telling her to do something is a really good way to make sure she gets her back up and does the opposite. I fear adding the or else until I can back that up.

            You are right, being on the fence has helped nothing. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks those “practical” things will get worked out so I can move forward.

            Thank you all for making me think.

          • Lori on March 19, 2018 at 1:54 pm

            Hi Sheep,

            I am sorry for the situation you find yourself in right now. It must be so difficult dealing with such and obstinate and unrepentant spouse.

            I think you are being wise to get matters in hand and be prepared once the separation and divorce process are in full swing.

            I have every confidence you are capable to move forward in this and I pray for Gods wisdom to continue to guide you and His Word to quell your fears.

            Regarding this that you wrote:
            “So far I have avoided giving her a date to move out by. Some of that is just because I am so surprised that she actually said she would move out.”

            A word of caution here. I wonder if we can believe one who finds it so easy to lie for any kind of perceived “self gain”?

            I don’t believe her words Sheep. I believe she may have said this to buy time.

            Regarding getting prepared for the date you do separate, here is a link I found helpful in getting oneself free from these type of abusive people:


            I hope it may be of some help as you navigate the difficult road ahead. I do believe it is a road to yours and your children’s freedom and healing.

            I am thankful to this community for their loving support, wisdom and care and hope you continue to gain strength here.

          • Nancy on March 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm

            Hi Sheep,

            Thanks for your reply. I’m a bit confused to hear that you are being a ‘polite grey rock’ because in your last post you talked about continuing to ‘love, honour and cherish’ her until the very end, and that you saw that as ‘finishing well’.

            I wrote you a reply above about asking The Lord to help you appropriate his authority in your life.

            He’s talking to me about that, today. Maybe that could help you, too.

            No need to reply to me. You’ve had lots of comments 🙂

          • JoAnn on March 19, 2018 at 3:37 pm

            Lori, that article you gave the link for is great, and very helpful. I also saved the “Loser” article by Dr. Carver that is linked at the bottom of the page. Very insightful. My granddaughter is now divorcing her abusive husband because she wouldn’t listen to our warnings about his behavior before they were married. She will get a copy of those articles to -Hopefully- protect her from another mistake. Unfortunately, there is now a baby involved, so she will have to deal with him for the rest of her life.

        • sheep on March 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm

          Lori, Just so you know, I do not believe her when she says she will move out.. She also said that she doesn’t want anything. She will only take her toiletries and clothes. I don’t really believe that one either. I think she might think that those things are true, but when push comes to shove, not so much.

          Thank you for that link, I really appreciated it and found that I am already doing a lot of those things.

          • JoAnn on March 19, 2018 at 3:10 pm

            Sheep, you asked about the “or else.” From wwhat you have said, the only thing that is going to make aa difference will be a very definite “or else,” and that would be to say that if she isn’t out by a certain date, like May 1, she will come home from work and find her clothes and toiletries in boxes on the sidewalk and the locks on the doors changed. Now, I don’t advocate telling her the exact nature of the “or else” before that day, only that she won’t like it, since you are concerned about retribution on her part if she knows what the consequences will be. But when you pull yourself up to your full height, shoulders back and determination in your voice when you give her the deadline, she will sense that you mean business, and it will be different this time. Not a conversation, but a definite word. Six weeks should be enough time for her to get a place, and for you to wrap up whatever it is that you need to do.
            From the list you made, if you go back over it carefully, you will see that she is the one getting all the benefit in this marriage. She has everything to lose, and you have so much to gain. I would also caution you, as you have shown yourself to be a kind and generous man, not to give too much away in the divorce. Be careful, realizing that you have already given so much.
            Perhaps the others, Nancy and Renee and Lori, will have other ideas or want to modify mine, which is ok with me. We all wish you well in this.

          • Renee on March 19, 2018 at 4:55 pm

            Response to this post Sheep
            March 19, 2018 at 12:25 pm

            2. She doesn’t want to have to provide for herself. She wants to work, but only for fulfillment and fun reasons, she doesn’t actually want to be responsible for her life.

            (Benefit) Actually Sheep you desire to be a good man (love, honor, cherish – your words) and so you don’t want your wife to HAVE to provide for herself. You want to be that rock where she doesn’t have to except for fun reasons. Nothing wrong with that except for the relationship you are in honestly.

            3. She wants the kids on her terms. In other words, she wants to be able to do what she wants and when she wants knowing that I will be there to take care of them when she is doing something else.

            (Benefit – but please care for the kids)

            6. I think it is dawning on her that if she leaves, she is going to have to work really hard and her standard of living will go down.


            Not telling you what to do by any means.

          • Renee on March 19, 2018 at 6:11 pm

            Sheep I can’t get this under your response to Nancy. I wish Mrs. Leslie could get this fixed. But it is free lol. And I would rather we still have access than no access.

            You think this is better (picture perfect world) for the kids? I’m sorry, (just my thought – hope I’m wrong) but an all of a sudden change in your family’s way of living could be devastating especially if you are living the way you suggest.

            You all need to start experiencing some detachment. Slow is ok but start.

  12. Daisy on March 14, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Leslie’s advice is completely correct. Unfortunately, I did not come upon her advice (or that of others) until after I was divorced. All through my marriage, I wondered what was wrong with me? Why was I going crazy? Why couldn’t I remember? (I have a near photographic memory, so for me this was serious. It left me wondering if I had a brain tumor or something. Thankfully, several years after the divorce, my memory has remained intact – it was just his influence on me making me think I was losing my mind, getting forgetful, and going crazy). I am much more aware of these signs now, if I ever get in another relationship.

    • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 10:31 am

      The memory thing is interesting, I have a pretty good memory for everything except when I am talking to my wife and she is demanding that I give her 3 examples of everything that I see as being a problem in her life. Is that because I know she will argue with all of them? blame me or others for them? Deny they even exist?

      Do we forget because we have been trained to forget because that is the coping mechanism we learned to make life tolerable? Or do we forget because it is pointless to remember?

      • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 10:54 am

        Personally I’ve been in this scenario with a very manipulative person.

        The 3 examples will most often get deflected, denied, dismissed or you will end up talking about something entirely off the issue ~ again a defending person is a master at deflecting!

        One example Is enough~ youdont need 3

        Something I often said to my husband was~
        So is there space for my experience if you or something that took place for example?
        Or was their only space for his version which was often skewed in order to create that top Down position.

      • JoAnn on March 15, 2018 at 8:05 pm

        This is why I think keeping a journal is so helpful. You can have it all documented; not that she will listen, but it will help you to realize that you aren’t going crazy.

        • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 9:31 pm

          JoAnn, I agree. I never used to journal but I started about 10 months ago. I just looked back the other day and read some of the first entries. It was amazing and sad to see that NOTHING had changed. In a world illuminated by gaslighting it is difficult to see reality without something to refer to.

          • JoAnn on March 16, 2018 at 12:02 am

            Sheep, you are doing all the right things. Don’t take on any more condemnation. That is from the enemy. Put your future into the Lord’s hands. You’ve done all you could.

      • Aly on March 16, 2018 at 11:48 am


        You wrote:
        “Because as a narcissist, much of her manipulations and controlling behavior are specifically designed to keep her from hitting bottom, to keep her from facing herself.”

        How true! I have heard similar responses from our counselor with my parents issue.

        I’m sorry for the outcome but I do hope you can feel fully free as you move on to safer environments for your healing and your future with your children.

  13. Sunshine on March 14, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    A baby step for me was getting out of the house and going to women’s Bible study. He never let me out of his sight, so this was a bold move. Eventually I told one of the women in the group what was going on. She was ill prepared and said none of the men in her family ever act like that and that people don’t usually tell her such personal things. She never asked me how I was or talked about it again. That made me return to my silent secret and learn to endure the suffering.

    • Jolene on March 14, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      What a sad reaction to your confiding in this woman, Sunshine. I often wonder how many of us are suffering in silence.

      • Sunshine on March 14, 2018 at 9:51 pm

        Yes, So many, many, many people are suffering.

        For me this rejection led to more than a decade of additional abuse. Eventually I told a childhood friend. So many of my memories are tossed away in disassociation, that I would have to ask my friend how the sequence of events unfolded. I don’t remember.

    • Aly on March 14, 2018 at 10:34 pm


      This breaks my heart and I do feel appropriate anger at this.
      Are you still going? Have you looked for another bible study with women?
      You describe something that I believe is epidemic of sorts and I can understand if someone doesn’t ‘know’ how to comfort you directly, but goodness at least point you to a safe place or someone who you can begin to seek counsel and support!
      What happened to you was added injury and sadly all too common I think.
      There are safe churches and safe people out there but sometimes you have turn over a lot of rocks.
      Is counseling an option for you?

      • Sunshine on March 15, 2018 at 5:07 am

        Aly, that was a long time ago. I am safe and strong now.

  14. Jolene on March 14, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    To the writer of this week’s question: I am so sorry this is happening to you. I also experienced a dramatic change into my 9 month marriage, when our twins were born. I was sleep-deprived, suffering postpartum depression, and dealing with a horrible family-of-origin situation, and my husband became a lazy, irritable, raging, absent man who did nothing to contribute to the home outside of a paycheck. I was called names, had things thrown at me, I was followed, he opened my mail, he gaslighted me. You name it. Everything that he could do without leaving physical marks for evidence. It’s been ten years, and two more children, and I’m stuck for now because of bad health. Please don’t end up like me.

    Some things that may prove helpful: 1) Find a Christian counselor that specializes in domestic abuse and narcissism that you can attend BY YOURSELF. Chances are, because he sees YOU as the problem, he won’t have a problem with you trying to “fix yourself”. Go. 2) Read all you can. I load a book onto my Kindle app, then I erase it when I am finished reading for the night, and reload it when I am ready to read again. No evidence that way. All of Leslie’s books have been extremely helpful, as has “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft. You will find validation, and you will see that a man abuses because he is an abuser, not because he is stressed out by parenthood. 3) Get at least a part-time job and squirrel away all the money you can. If you have your own money, you will have choices when it comes time to get away. 4) Have an escape plan. He will eventually turn on your child. 5) Practice birth control. It becomes so much more complicated to leave, the more children you have. Mine were all conceived during “good times”. Boy, was I fooled, and now they will pay the price.

    I wonder if you look back in your marriage, that you could identify signs that the problems may have actually began before your child came along. Sometimes there is a pattern of enabling and acquiescing (his family Christmas comes first, he picks the movie or restaurant, your birthday isn’t celebrated but his birthday is a big deal) that we don’t recognize. Then when a little one comes along with demands and a schedule, it becomes obvious that husband expected to be #1. After you have gotten some clarity about him, then do some work on you, so that you can prevent another relationship like this in the future. All the best to you. You’re in my prayers today.

    • Jolene on March 14, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      One more thing that the counselor suggested for me, that I found helpful was keeping a journal of all the “incidents”. When he turns into Prince Charming, I can go through these journals to remember who I am really dealing with. I am no longer so easily manipulated because the journals have helped me recognize his patterns of behavior, particularly when he has attempted to gaslight a situation. My account of the situation is in black and white, no questions and no debates. It used to be hurtful to read, but now I find them empowering as I have made my decision to leave. God willing, I will no longer tolerate being treated in this manner, and more importantly, I will not accept this example as a model of marriage for my children to repeat. When they are of proper adult age and have questions, I may even share the journals with them, as I fully expect their father to gaslight and manipulate their version of history as well.

      I am also told that such journals may be helpful in divorce/custody decisions. Has anyone found this to be true?

      • Sunshine on March 14, 2018 at 9:56 pm

        I agree that finally figuring it out is empowering. I knew the ebb and flow of every cycle. As Leslie wrote though, the abuse intensifies in its severity and frequency over time. Eventually there are no good times, he can’t keep the fascade up anymore and just abuses constantly.

  15. Sally on March 15, 2018 at 12:40 am

    My first baby step (but it felt really big to me!) was to secretly open my own bank account and start squirreling away a few dollars at a time: birthday money, etc. Money that he wouldn’t notice was missing. I didn’t know what my future would hold but I knew money could never hurt! haha

    My second step was to go secretly to an attorney for a free consultation in order to learn what kind of a legal and financial support was actually available to me in my particular state. After being a stay-at-home mom and homemaker for 29 years, I had no career or way to earn enough income to support myself.

    Both of these felt like I was being very “sneaky” and I was uncomfortable because I had to tack on these errands with trips for groceries, medical appointments, etc. But Leslie advised our online group to prepare ourselves and get our affairs in order just in case we needed to make an exit. These were my way of doing that and I was so thankful that I did!

    Thank you, LESLIE, for you wisdom which is both godly and practical!

    • Jo on March 15, 2018 at 3:15 am

      Did you actually leave the relationship? How did you survive at first? I am in your situation with out of date skills and have been at home. I have been married for almost 37 years. It would help me if you described more of your journey.

      • Sally on March 15, 2018 at 11:17 am

        I have been separated from my husband for 2.5 years now. My state doesn’t have Legal Separation so I filed for Spousal Support. That enabled me to find an apartment to rent (I knew I couldn’t maintain our house during winter months by myself).

        I quickly found a part time job (not a career) that was perfect for my skill set. So while he paid for my rent and health insurance, I was able to take care of my food, gas, utilities, etc.

        I never dreamed that he wouldn’t get a “wake up call “ when I moved out. But here I am. He sporadically goes to counseling for his abuse and sex addiction, but I haven’t yet seen a heart change.

        I am safe and sane and restoring my broken health in my own little place. It still feels so good to sleep well at night.

    • Lisa on March 20, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Another way is to get cash back at the grocery store, have a garage sale at a friend’s home, babysit, etc

  16. John on March 15, 2018 at 6:13 am

    Sorry but I need to comment on what I am reading here. I pray that this gets posted in Jesus name.
    Though many of you have experienced the worst case scenarios in your marriage/ divorce, it is not proper to project that negative experience on to a new comer who may have a marriage that is worth saving, even if you believe your was not. All truly Christian marriages are worth saving. If we are not Christian in faith and action, then prepare and believe for the worst and watch your faith in reverse bring that belief into reality. However, if we do really believe that Gods word is true and that He is sovereign over all things, then act accordingly in obedience to His word. Yes, separation may be necessary for a time, but is not an ideal solution as this does not teach us or our children how to deal with life’s tough situations but teaches them to run from their problems. When I earnestly seek the Lord He answers, if Hes is not answering pray for Him to reveal what is standing in between and to remove it.
    The very fact that you are reading this post shows that you realize that men, just like women are not prefect. Any info you may discover to be helpful needs to be shared with your husband/ wife. Sometimes people simply just don’t know what to do or how to act. Broken homes makes more broken homes. End the cycle by crying out to God, for real, and test the spirits that they are of God, as we are told in the Bible, and act accordingly. HE WILL COME THROUGH FOR YOU in so many more ways that you can imagine. It is so beautiful and amazing. I have experienced this with my wife and I love her dearly. If you feel led, look up Jordan Peterson and Terrance Real. These guys will show you a dynamic that you may not even know existed when it comes to men/ relationships. The spirit of truth will guide you into all truth. Also, get in the word of God, not just one day a week but every second of every day. Study marriage, divorce, re-marriage, adultery etc for yourself from the Bible. Don’t let someone else interpret for you. Let the word become flesh in you. He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him. God Bless.
    In Christ,

    • Nancy on March 15, 2018 at 7:03 am

      Hi John,

      You said that separation does not teach us or our children how to deal with life’s tough situations, but to run from them.

      I disagree. Separation was the situation in our marriage that allowed me to ‘get out of the way’ of The Lord accessing my h’s heart. Separation was the wake up call that made my h realize that he was responsible for his own heart. Separation was the thing that untangled the emotional destruction in our marriage and allowed us both to release our marriage to God. Separation was the ‘tool’ that God used to make us both take responsibility for ourselves.

      When done the way Leslie suggests, it is an act of responsibility, not running from responsibility.

      • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 8:05 am

        Nancy, John,

        Nancy I agree fully here with you.

        Separation or separating from harm is wise and often modeled throughout scripture John!

        John, you are commenting on something that I don’t believe you understand the criticalness of these situations and like I have said to you prior in other posts and I have asked you questions ~ which you don’t answer?
        It must only be outgoing from your end.

        Based on the recent posts of you John and your lack of response given your position it concerns me that you are unwilling to see the bigger issues here.

        Your posts are concerning and remind me of a time when I ran into similar examples of people who have not done their homework and is one of those people who ‘means well’ but is ill ~ equipped to give objective insight and wisdom.

        If you have been an abuser or have been on the receiving end of abuse, I think you might have a different understanding about boundaries and repentance in such a dynamic.

    • Amanda on March 15, 2018 at 7:16 am

      Very well said, John! It is right to actually see what the Bible says and follow it. Not other people’s “experience”. We would be quite foolish to allow that to trump what God says. It is refreshing to read this here.

    • sheep on March 15, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      HI John,
      Part of the problem here is that the original question is flawed, although I think we all understand what she meant by the question. The question really isn’t “is the marriage worth saving?” The question is actually is it possible to save the marriage?

      I will look at my own as an example, is it worth saving? yes, at an intellectual level it is. Do I wish it were saved? yes, I do. But is it possible to save? That depends on how you define saving it. Supernatural, miraculous intervention by God? Yes, that would save the marriage and would truly make it a marriage. What would make that possible? God bringing about a change in heart, taking real responsibility for adultery, pride, selfishness, entitlement, and abuse. Then taking whatever steps are necessary to change and heal the damage that has been done and not repeat it.

      John, God does not promise to change the heart of others against their will. I know this very well because I and dozens of other very Godly believers have been praying this for a very long time. So apart from this, what does saving a marriage look like for an abused spouse?

      For me and many others it means keeping our mouth shut to sin and abuse. (because the abuser doesn’t care, and isn’t going to accept anything that is said.) It means not only living with ongoing abuse and neglect, but encouraging it because the only (other than a miracle) relief from that abuse, (separation or divorce) has been declared by others to be off limits. You say separation may be needed for a time. Why the time qualification? If there is no change in the abuser what does time have to do with anything? That would be saying “well sweetheart, we have been apart for 3 months now. I know you haven’t changed but we should get back together now so you can hurt me some more” Then in the same sentence you talk about separation not teaching children how to deal with tough situations but to run from problems. All this attitude teaches them is to ignore problems. All that would teach them is that the abuser has more of a “right” to abuse them than they have a “right” not to be abused.

      I also know full well that men and women aren’t perfect, in fact, I am a man. I have learned full well in the past several years that christian platitudes often have little basis in the Bible or in fact.

      ” End the cycle by crying out to God, for real, and test the spirits that they are of God, as we are told in the Bible, and act accordingly. HE WILL COME THROUGH FOR YOU in so many more ways that you can imagine.”

      Saying things like this to someone that is in more pain than you can possible imagine are not helpful. All it serves to do is make them feel worthless and guilty for not being as “good” of a christian as the person saying it.

      The thing is, it is a true statement but not necessarily in the way most people would mean it. When most say something like that what they really mean is “hang in there, take it, get closer to God, pray more, read your bible more, and God will give you what you want”… in other words, he will heal your marriage and make it the greatest thing in the world, and you will live happily ever after.

      I have personally lived this being true but absolutely not in the way I wanted. I have gotten closer to God in a way that I never thought possible. I have totally learned to accept God’s sovereignty in a way I never would have. Though my life has been awful the last several years, I wouldn’t trade it because of the trust it has brought me in Him. It has made me dig into the word for myself and not just accept what I’ve always been taught or assumed. It has made me see the body of Christ in a whole new way, more accepting and forgiving that I ever thought possible. But none of this has made my marriage any better, it hasn’t stopped the abuse. God does not promise to do what we want just because we are obedient, and I’m just fine with that.

      I don’t know what your relationship is with your wife, but I’m glad that you have experienced something good and that you love her dearly. Thats Awesome and that’s the way it is supposed to be. In talking about the teaching that you have found helpful you say ” Any info you may discover to be helpful needs to be shared with your husband/ wife.” This shows that you do not know what it means to be in an emotionally abusive relationship. What you seem to know is being in a relationship with mutuality. Where both people deeply care about the relationship, where each cares about the other, and where constructive observation and criticism can be shared because there is mutual trust and respect for the feelings of the other.
      But that statement just makes those in the emotionally destructive marriage sad because we cant share those things with our spouse. I’m not saying we don’t want to, I’m saying we can’t. We have tried again and again to help them see how much they hurt us. We have cried out for them to join us in trying to heal our broken homes. At best this plea falls on deaf ears, at worst we are criticized and blamed for the problems. But then again we have gotten really good at taking the blame to keep the peace.

      I’m not even sure how to address this last quote,

      “Also, get in the word of God, not just one day a week but every second of every day. Study marriage, divorce, re-marriage, adultery etc for yourself from the Bible. Don’t let someone else interpret for you. Let the word become flesh in you.”

      While I am sure there are people reading and commenting on this blog that are not doing these things, You are making an incredibly bad generalization and an awful lot of assumptions when you say that. Why do you assume when you are speaking to a bunch of really hurting people that have been and are in some really painful and bad situations that they aren’t in the word of God? Why do you assume that they aren’t studying what God says on these tough issues? I have found in myself and with others that those in these situations tend to be in Gods word more than those that are living on easy street. Who needs the (great) physician more? those that are healthy or those that are sick?

      Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because someone is looking for help on this or other web sites or books that they aren’t also looking to God or in the bible. In fact, you point to two different people that your marriage was helped by, and that is great. Could that mean that God was working through them in your marriage?

      • Connie on March 15, 2018 at 1:54 pm

        Thank you. My thoughts exactly.

      • Nancy on March 15, 2018 at 2:33 pm


        • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 3:41 pm

          Nancy, Sheep!

          Sheep you speak clear and rooted.

      • Renee on March 15, 2018 at 10:05 pm

        Sheep you get a

        Standing ovation!!!

        Thanks for speaking on my and others behalf.

        • SunRiseIsland on March 18, 2018 at 8:42 am


      • Wounded on March 16, 2018 at 12:05 am

        Thank you Sheep for your wise words, so needed tonight. Stay strong!

      • SunRiseIsland on March 18, 2018 at 8:41 am


        Very well stated and so eloquently written.

        Your words are my EXACT circumstances and sentiments. Many Thanks to you for respectfully expressing and validating what so many of us have experienced!

    • K on March 15, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Hello John

      You state ‘all truly Christian marriages are worth saving.” By your own definition then , a destructive marriage (abuse, infidelities, deceit, etc) cannot be a ‘truly Christian marriage’, which would beg the question of the statement about being ‘worth’ saving.

      Rather, I think most participants in these blog conversations express the understanding that the people within the marriage are “of worth”.

      That is the heart of Leslie’s Biblically informed, professionally robust teaching.

      And that is consistent with Scripture, namely that the inestimable worth of each human, (created in the image of God, by God) is worth the sacrificial love of Christ.

      And that is true whether they are married, unmarried, Christian, not Christian, respectful or abusive. “Truly Christian” marriage .

      Blessings to each of you!

      • K on March 15, 2018 at 4:33 pm

        (oops, please ignore my moments ago posting for this one. typo’d my thoughts!)

        Hello John

        You state ‘all truly Christian marriages are worth saving.” By your own definition then , a destructive marriage (abuse, infidelities, deceit, etc) cannot be a ‘truly Christian marriage’, which would beg the question of the statement about being ‘worth’ saving.

        Rather, I think most participants in these blog conversations express the understanding that the people within the marriage are “of worth”.

        That is the heart of Leslie’s Biblically informed, professionally robust teaching.

        And that is consistent with Scripture, namely that the inestimable worth of each human, (created in the image of God, by God) is worth the sacrificial love of Christ.

        And that is true whether they are married, unmarried, Christian, not Christian, respectful or abusive. .

        Blessings to each of you!

      • Sunshine on March 16, 2018 at 4:12 am

        I think you comment about worth is significant to reflect upon. I think what is lacking is not the worth of the destructive party but rather the lack of SELF worth of the abuser partner. People with better self awareness don’t subject themselves to such mistreatment. That is why many of us need individual counseling and most certainly should not enter quickly into a new relationship. Often our families are of no help because they contributed to our distorted view of ourselves.

        • Renee on March 16, 2018 at 11:13 am

          I still kind of get offended behind this (lack of SELF worth of the abuser partner). I did not think my self esteem or self worth was low because I’ve always fought (and harder last year) to not get took to the ground. I did not leave but I fought.

          So maybe what others have been trying to say is that if you don’t leave completely and stay, that those things are true. Low/no self esteem or self worth. I don’t know, can anyone elaborate?

          • Nancy on March 16, 2018 at 12:57 pm

            Hi Renee,

            What comes to mind is that it comes down to heart posture.

            An individual can dig their heels in and ‘fight’, but still have low self-worth. In that case, the ‘fight’ may be coming from the desire to ‘be right’, or even ‘to win’.

            This is a very different than a heart that recognizes oneself as a daughter of the King, who walks confidently away from such engagement, or confidently confronts the lie with His Peace.

            Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still”

          • Renee on March 16, 2018 at 4:51 pm

            Hi Nancy, thanks for responding.

            I can assure you that it was never coming from a desire to be right or win. Husband has that attitude enough for the both of us.

            Doing what was asked of me by husband was not satisfying, so why continue to try. Maybe I should not call it fight but highly, highly frustrated at this crazy person. Yes I feel he is nuts or maybe I am nuts at this point.

            A few weeks ago he said I was pressuring him so I’ve been no contact and he is blowing up my phone saying I must have moved on and have wanted this all along.

            This really is saddening because I really wanted this to go the other way.

            I saw this morning where he texted our son and told him to let him know when I leave because he doesn’t want to see me. This stemmed from me. The other day he was visiting with the kids and so I stayed away because it is getting harder to see him knowing it is not working out like I’ve hoped.

            So then our son replied the counselor said leave us out. He told son the counselor can go to he** and is wrong and did him wrong. I feel this is setting our son up to rebel with the counselor when they are making very good strides.

          • Sunshine on March 16, 2018 at 6:32 pm

            I agree Renee. I didn’t like it when someone said that to me. I had plenty of self esteem. Yet, now that I am safe I see that my self worth was a strong B+. It wasn’t until I was free that I discovered, abounding self value and see myself as an A+. The submission and compliance I participated in would be completely unacceptable now. I would never tolerate it.

          • Nancy on March 17, 2018 at 8:35 am

            Hi Renee,

            I’m sorry for your husband’s escalating behaviour. That must be very hard to stand firm. But I commend you for not responding to his texts,mind staying away.

            It’s so good that your kids have a counsellor that can help them through their father’s manipulation. That is a gift to them!

            By the sounds of things, his true colours are coming out more and more. As you dis-entangle from the dynamic, it will become more and more obvious that he is immature.

            You are sounding stronger in The Lord, Renee. What you are dealing with is no picnic!

            Praying for you, sister !

          • Nancy on March 17, 2018 at 10:44 am

            Hi Renee,

            One thing that I did to practice the E of CORE ( empathy without enabling), while separated, was to pray ( regularly on the phone, with a sister) for my h. ( she prayed for hers and I prayed for mine – we used The Power of a Praying Wife).

            At first I was afraid that this would dissolve my resolve to stand firm, but it did quite the opposite. I was able to see him more clearly and maintain the boundaries that I had committed to.

          • Maria on March 17, 2018 at 2:08 pm


            I have made the decision to stay, but I can honestly say it’s not because my self esteem or worth is low. People like narcissists are very charming and often target people who make them look good (with good self esteem).

    • Jolene on March 15, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      John, I may be wrong, but I don’t see a Christian marriage here. He is keeping his wife and child from going to church (!!!), he is punching holes in the walls, and he is constantly negative. Would you want your daughter staying with a man like this? Maybe hang around for a few years and a few more kids, just to find out he has moved on from punching walls to punching HER? Please share why you assume this to be a Christian marriage. I don’t see it.

      I wonder if you have a good idea of what an ABUSIVE marriage actually is. A person abuses, because that’s who he/she is. An ABUSER. It isn’t because of a bad day at work, or because it’s that time of the month. It’s because they are evil, manipulative, abusive people at heart, who turn their face away from God. God tells us to “turn away from such as these”. The Bible verse below describes my husband to a “t”. And as Leslie says, the passage doesn’t end with “unless you are married to them”. God says to get away, which says to some of us, there is no hope but divorce if we are to save ourselves and our children.

      2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!”

      • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 7:58 pm


        Agree much with your post.
        Let’s go back to the writers’ words;
        “I’ve tried every approach and nothing helps. I’ve tried leaving and brought it up but he admits he has a problem and wants to change, so I stay and try again, but he never changes. We JUST started getting into couples therapy. I’m trapped and unhappy.”

        Is this not the abusive cycle to a t?
        And I also Would want to come alongside this new mom, hug and encourage her to consider her word of ‘unhappy’
        I feel she is not describing ‘unhappy’ but ‘UNSAFE’.

        The way she described unhappy concerns me because it doesn’t align with her experience ~ but it’s often what happens in the cycle of a person who consistently ‘behaves’ in such a manner that I believe highlights deeper issues that must be addressed or it will get worse and the trenched in thought patterns even for the one victimized will get worse.

        What toddler doesn’t spill milk?
        What baby doesn’t cry or need attention?

        • Jolene on March 15, 2018 at 10:49 pm

          It is absolutely the cycle to a “t”, and the cycle ESCALATES. I didn’t dare call myself abused because I didn’t have bruises on my body. Little did I know what was happening to me until I went to Christian marriage counseling by myself, and during the very first visit, the counselor showed me a diagram of the cycle of abuse, and advised me to form an exit plan. That was 8 years ago, and the abuse has indeed escalated, despite my extra hard try at being submissive, despite prayer, despite ultimatums, etc., I wish I would have listened to the counselor instead of torturing myself and my children. This man’s behavior is abusive, destructive, and intimidating, and the woman and child are not safe.

          • Sunshine on March 16, 2018 at 4:05 am

            Jolene you speak the truth. As a person who is finally safe now it becomes crystal clear that no man, woman or child should ever live in such a situation. Unfortunately, we Christians often stay, thinking we are honoring our vows, when really Satan rules the mind of our spouse. It is hard to hear, but the only solution is to flee from Satanic dominion.

        • Sunshine on March 16, 2018 at 4:07 am

          Yes, good point, unsafe is the better word. In fact that is the most truthful term in this situation.

    • Barbara B on March 16, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      To the original writer,

      I would like to chime in on what John has said. (John, I greet you with peace but I don’t wish to offer anything like correction because I think others have said what I would say.) Therefore, to the original writer, I would say that John is correct that no one can tell you what to do and we can’t necessarily lay our experiences over yours and predict any kind of outcome. However, the same is true for what John says. He is also laying his experiences over yours by saying something along these lines: “Don’t separate or divorce. Look how great things are going for me because my wife did not separate from or divorce me. You should do the same.” I hope that is a fair paraphrase and summary of John’s point.

      John’s opinions are welcome on this site, but the type of advice he offers has been tried by many and has been found seriously lacking in effectiveness or health. I’m especially concerned by his referral to the two popular psychologists, one of whom is openly unchristian and the other who offers traditional marriage advice which is good, but not pertinent to abuse.

      There are many people who will chime in with an opinion, but in the final analysis the decision will be between you and the Lord. He will surely guide you with His strong right hand.

      • Nancy on March 18, 2018 at 8:17 am

        HI Barbara B,

        I agree with your post. We can all offer up our own experience to one another, as examples, but we are each responsible for our own lives and the decisions that we make. Taking that kind of responsibility can be scary, especially if someone ( like me) has been co-:dependant.

        That’s why, personally, I love the CORE acronym – each situation is so different, and The Lord knows each of the hearts involved.

  17. Aleea on March 15, 2018 at 6:26 am

    “Friends, when you woke up to the abuse in your marriage, what was the first baby step you took to get help for yourself?” . . .baby steps? . . .baby steps???

    “I’ve tried every approach and nothing helps. I’ve tried leaving and brought it up but he admits he has a problem and wants to change, so I stay and try again, but he never changes. We JUST started getting into couples therapy. I’m trapped and unhappy.”

    [With the entire Bible and its theology bracketed off] . . . .Life is truly hard enough without a horrible home life and all the stress it brings. —Stress that will eventually kill you. People, and not just husbands, . . .people with these types of behavioral issues . . .These people never really change. The issues will actually just morph if confronted or “worked on.” . . .and generally, they will only resurface —and maybe even in a far, far worse form than before. Even if your husband “totally changes.” —Look at what you say . . . .“He is always CONSTANTLY negative.” “He is controlling (looking through my stuff, making me tell him when I go somewhere and with who, he won’t let me/my daughter go to church, etc)” “–Blows up about small things like LITERALLY spilled milk (We have a hole in the wall because of that).” . . . .Why waste any more of your precious life? Take all possible safety, protective and legal action, as soon as possible.

    . . .Once you get free, you might want to ask yourself: How can I be far more careful in the future? It is very critical to see people under lots of total stress situations before you marry them. —I know you know that. . . .You need to see them under the most stressful of situations and see how they react. People will make excuses for themselves in stress situations but don’t believe them. Don’t believe them and don’t even believe yourself. Believe the actions you see. Believe their/your actions. Actions are our real, genuine beliefs, not any words we say. I’d rather have a kind, compassionate person, even if they are an agnostic, than a brutal, harsh “changed/converted” person. . . . .There are just people. Kind people are kind and brutal people are brutal (—often, very sadly, with lots of real reasons) . . .but for kind people to be brutal, that generally takes some type of religious system that is overriding their better judgments. . . .We are not neuroscientists, —who cares about the whys? The “whys” may be hundreds of years away. The psychological research now is woefully incomplete. . . . .All we know is that we need an environment of sincere, ongoing affection, caring, protection, nurture, thoughtfulness, . . .Be gentle with yourself. I just bet you already know what you should do, —just have the courage to actually do it.💖 . . . .And courage isn’t any type of victorious attitude. I’m sending you a huge hug ((())). —It is just being totally terrified and taking constant, consistent action anyway.

  18. K on March 15, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Hi, Sisters in Faith

    I love the simplicity and encouragement of your closing words, here Aleea, and hope the women who are asking the questions here will be blessed by them: “Be gentle with yourself. I be you already know what you should do, just have the courage to actually do it. And courage isn’t any type of victorious attitude……it is just being totally terrified and taking constant, consistent action anyway.”

    Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord, sisters, and find your courage and guidance in His care for you.


    • Aly on March 15, 2018 at 3:46 pm


      I would agree with your last sentence!

      Courage is with the full presence of fear.
      Even if that means looking at it long enough to hold it and consider the realities.

  19. Free at last on March 15, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Understand and realize there is a slow pattern of emotional abuse that has happened to you. No one u detstands unless they walk in your shoes. You are brainwashed and when you breathe in what is happening to you you start to realize of course you want to protect your child and yourself. The fog is so heavy and the weight overwhelming each day. But when Leslie said to me you have lost your sense of safety and you must start working on a safety plan I felt like the scales came off my eyes. You will do this with Gods help. It is also a relief to know you can’t change them because we love them and really want the magic bullet. I am divorced this week after 16 very scary( he’s on the run at the moment from the police after coming into my house even though I have s restraining order) months, I am shocked what I enabled in my marriage. And his behavior has gotten worse when we separated but I am no longer trying to fix him. Praise God! He gets all glory! Please use The local violence prevention center they will walk you through your options help you in court and with counseling. Be strong for your child. you both deserve a fear free daily life.

  20. Starlight on March 16, 2018 at 2:30 am

    Sheep – when you “get closer to God, pray more, read your bible more “ as John advises, you might find that God is actually leading you and showing you it is ok to not be unequally yoked as a believer to someone who is not a believer (shown by their actions, not their words) and who will not live in peace as scripture suggests and when we pray in the Lord’s prayer for Him to deliver us from evil it actually has meaning and you get to experience that deliverance in an up close & personal kind of way. Perhaps the divorce that Moses allowed and Jesus referred to is for the benefit of the one being dealt with treacherously by their spouse and not for the benefit of the abuser at all but for relief and release for the oppressed spouse!! Let the evil one go in their way and continue the evil that they are so bent on continuing but God’s own drink deeply of the springs of living water and experience that his yoke is not burdensome!

    • Jolene on March 16, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      That’s a beautiful thought, Starlight.

  21. Aleea on March 16, 2018 at 4:43 am

    . . . I also would wager that if this husband was gentle and kind with himself he would not be: . . . .controlling (looking through her stuff); making her tell him when she goes somewhere and with whom; he would let her and her daughter go to church, etc; not blow up about small things like spilled milk; put holes in the wall;

    Everything flows from the inside. Her husband must be incredibly controlling with himself. . . .Maybe he can get some type of illusion of control by trying to “control” his wife but we are so, so, so out-of-control. We are on a rock spinning some 107,000 km/h —67,000 mph through space. We can die at anytime from just about anything. But this is probably not a logical/fact-based/reality question with this husband. He knows he is in control of next to nothing at all.

    I would suggest an experiment for this husband: Let your wife “run wild.” Let her go a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e without question ☑; never go through her personal things ☑; let her go to church with your daughter ☑ —oh hellfire and brimstone, maybe even take them to church and when you are really feeling brave go in with them!!! ☑ [Husband, this is an experiment 📚 remember!!!!!] —See what happens.🆗👌 . . . .Here is my hypothesis: You are “in control” when you are totally “out of control” and you are totally “out of control” when you are trying to control everything. . . .As if anyone could control anything. . . . So let them “run roit”😊 and try just really, deeply loving them. —See what happens. . . .The things we do not now know💡 are very often our best friends.

    Authentic love is letting go of control. That is why it is amazingly rare. The most basic thing which is dangerous in all of us is the possibility of real love, because if you are possessed by love you can go even against the whole world. People’s real selves are dangerous to, for example, established churches (—people asking far too many evidence related questions), dangerous to the state (—people asking too many “why?” questions), dangerous to tradition, etc. because the real self is a total individual. Imagine that, —being a total, real individual! . . . .Real love is always chaotic. You are going to really lose control. You lose the ability to protect yourself.💌

  22. Renee on March 16, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    Aleea you state: Real love is always chaotic.

    Were you looking for another word here? I don’t associate real love with chaos or chaotic!

    • Aleea on March 17, 2018 at 7:39 am

      Hello Renee,

      “Were you looking for another word here?” . . .no.
      “I don’t associate real love with chaos or chaotic!” . . .believe me Renee, neither do I! . . .but that doesn’t make me/us right. . . .

      . . .so, I was thinking of the utter chaotic beauty of the world [while keeping the Bible and its theology bracketed off]. —Whole universes just bloomin’ colliding 🌌 with each other. 💥—Stars totally exploding in space. . . . .Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. —Your star dust (The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True —Origins Project at Arizona State University, et. al.). Chaotic but more true emperically each and every day. . . .

      “I don’t associate real love with chaos or chaotic!” . . . .believe me Renee, neither do I! My counselor tells me all the time that safety is most important to me [but that doesn’t make me right]. I’m afraid of everything, especially disorder. But that means I am avoiding life. Real life, —reality. . . . If we ask powerful questions maybe we create conversations that matter. . . .Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my or your place, but who will in fact never see the light of day, outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. . . .poets than Keats, scientists greater than Einstein. They know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds, it is you and Aleea, in our ordinariness, that are here. ツ

      [Let’s bring the Bible and its theology back in for a sec.😊 . . . .☕ re:Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream] Obedience to Christ is not safety. . . .It’s not comfort, not safety, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Obedience to Christ risks losing *all* these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. —And He is more than enough for us. . . . .Wrong???

      . . . . [the Bible and its theology bracketed off again] . . .All the chemicals and ingredients in your body were cooked deep in chemical processes in the stars. The chemical elements of life, which are cooked in the interiors of those stars were released in supernova explosions into interstellar space where they condensed into solar systems with planets, some of which have life that is composed of this star stuff.

      . . . .Love is really giving up control. —Really giving it up. —Maybe??? It’s surrendering the desire to control other persons. The two—love and controlling power over the other person—are mutually exclusive. When we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all the desires within to manipulate the relationship, even using “God says” to manipulate the relationship. . . . .Because the moment Love is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with Love. Real love is total mystery. . . . .And the most powerful things happen when we surrender our desires to control people. I see it in the way people at church interact with me if they have been shredded by marital trama. It is just true that only love that continues to flow in the face of anger, blame, and indifference can be called love. All else are simply transactions . . .I’ll do this, if you do that. . . .Bring in the lawyers and thick contracts. —And who is going to measure the compliance? Giving up control —chaotic! . . . Real love contains zero attempts to hold power/ influence over the other person. When we are attempting to hold power over another person, there is no room for real love —chaotic!✨💫🌠🌟 ☕

  23. Renee on March 17, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    Can’t get back under your post. I will check out the resource The Power of a Praying Wife.

    • Renee on March 17, 2018 at 10:51 pm

      Today was the first day in three weeks I’ve texted with hubby. Other times he would ask why I was not talking. I would just tell him I am ok and hope he was as well.

      • Nancy on March 18, 2018 at 8:33 am

        That’s great, Renee. You’ve maintained distance while ‘wishing him well’. I would guess that he’ll try many ways to stay in contact, or simply ‘drag out’ whatever topic you texted about, the other day.

        Now that you’re establishing healthier patterns of relating, are you finding that your conscience is more sensitive to you stepping back into unhealthy ways of relating ( to him, and maybe to others too)?

  24. Renee on March 18, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Oh Nancy, I would like to think that I’m making healthy strides.

    • Nancy on March 18, 2018 at 7:39 pm

      You know, Renee, be sure to give yourself lots of Grace. As we’ve so often said on this site, these people are masters. Their defenses are so well developed that once you establish one boundary, they find another gap. It’s exhausting!

      BUT….with God nothing is impossible. He empowers us in amazing ways as we learn to draw on, and submit to, His Holy Spirit.

      Walking in CORE strength is new, and difficult. It’s a whole new way of BEING. He will see you through this, Renee. One step at a time, and one day at a time.

      I am praying for you. For strength, for courage, for Peace. For more of Christ in you every single day.

      You are doing right by your kids, Renee. And you are doing right by their mother and father too. Regardless of the outcome, you are putting Christ on display for you all to experience ❤️

  25. Renee on March 19, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Can anyone, anyone here give us an idea of what it means to STAY WELL? I can see “Stay” but not “Stay Well.”

    I have seen on here where some have said they decided to stay but I still didn’t see where they mentioned how they are able to do it well.

    For me, I probably (?) could “stay” if hubby did something with his anger and yelling. I got use to being ignored just by doing things with the kids or with me, myself, and I (mostly church – so sad) outside of the home.

    Don’t jump on me. I know that was/is not right.

    I guess I’m challenging the stay well part. I can’t see what that looks like or maybe looking too deep. Did I miss this in Leslie’s book? Are we talking about health wise (mental, physical)?

    • Sunshine on March 19, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      I think staying well is for difficult marriages. It can’t pertain to destructive marriages in my opinion. I think we fool ourselves if we think that we can stay well in a destructive marriage. That is magical thinking in my book.

      • Aly on March 20, 2018 at 9:33 am


        I agree here, I think it’s hard and takes a lot of time and counseling to uncover those ‘magical thinking’ places. They have been hard wired in for so long.
        For those of us that have found our own or other motivations for ‘trying’ to ‘stay well’ in a destructive marriage, will often have a choice to look into the mirror and into the grief or choose to not~ this is where you say it’s magical thinking, or fooling ourselves.

        This is where we can be invited in to better self care and worth by looking, and not choosing ‘fooling’ ourselves as a coping strategy. But even that requires a lot of Gods interventions and especially accountability.

        There is a common theme though for the ‘fooling ourselves’ and maybe some others here and counselors who have engaged with many people might agree;
        No accountability toward growing.

        So as much as the abuser ‘refuses’ accountability, the person harmed can also push back similarly and find many reasons of why it ‘seems’ like a good choice.

  26. JoAnn on March 19, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Renee, the way I understand it is that to stay well means keeping safe within the marriage, guarding your heart, and maintaining healthy boundaries. When that is not possible, then you need to plan to “leave well,” putting into place the various suggestions that Leslie makes in her book and the ones in the web site that was linked in Lori’s post earlier today. In other words, the marriage may not be satisfying, may not be happy, but it also might not be destructive or dangerous, so for various reasons you might not want to divorce. But to stay in the relationship, there is a need for CORE strength and boundaries that protect your heart. Maybe someone else has something to add.

  27. Renee on March 19, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I’m just catching up on all of Sheep’s responses today and wonder if he’s trying to figure out a way to stay and stay well.

    Leslie says it is an option.

    Maybe it should just be called staying.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into that phrase.

    • Free on March 20, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      I agree the situation is better described as staying. No one stays “well”. The just create adaptive techniques and strategies to minimize the pain. We all have our reasons for staying, but let’s not fool ourselves that it is healthy to live with a destructive person.

  28. sheep on March 19, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Renee, No, I’m not trying to figure out how to stay well. Maybe in the beginning, before I realized the abuse I might have thought that was an option (although I wouldn’t have called it that) In fact I told her recently that if in the beginning she would have just done a few things to be accountable and taken a little bit of responsibility, I probably would have made myself perfectly happy with that because I didn’t know any better at the time.

    Then, I stayed trying to be patient and give her every chance to repent.

    Now, staying well is not an option. There is no staying will with an abuser let alone someone that cant even lie and say she will be faithful.

    I have said before that the only way to stay now would to become nothing. A non-person with no hopes and no dreams, dead on the inside, longing for death on the outside.

    • Nancy on March 20, 2018 at 7:06 am

      This last description, Sheep, of a non-person is familiar.

      It made me think of my childhood, and my h’s childhood, too.

      It’s amazing that the non-person ‘state of being’ was the way I learned to survive, and yet the choice to be that way quelched the very life out of me. But then, I was a child, I had no choice. As an adult, I didn’t know any other way to be.

      Now that The Lord has given me a taste of LIFE, the way of death is being made clear more and more.

      I thank God for being so gentle in the way he’s opened my eyes and heart.

      Delusion is just far too costly.

      The truth really does set us free.

      • Sunshine on March 20, 2018 at 7:33 am

        You used a viable survival technique, don’t fault yourself for it. Many prisoners of war have employed the same strategy. Now that you survived the battle there is no need for the behavior.

        • Nancy on March 20, 2018 at 8:31 am

          I totally agree, Sunshine. What is astounding to me is that I look at my MIL ( we have no contact)- she has no reason to continue her delusion. She’s safe, the external battle is over and yet the delusional life she has spent so many years constructing has become a prison for her.

          The only One who can save her is The Lord ( if she allows it).

          I shudder to think that that could be me ( or my h for that matter).

          I’m grateful to God for opening my eyes and providing the safe spaces where I could oh so gradually dip my toes into reality.

      • Aly on March 20, 2018 at 9:10 am


        Yes! Praise God … your words are so true and indeed His words and clarity has set you free.
        Many in the thick of it, it’s their ‘normal’.

        I think many of times we see those we love start out with ignorance, and battle for choosing ignorance over wiser choices and certainly choices that the Lord offers which brings healing.

    • Aly on March 20, 2018 at 9:20 am


      Wow~ you are doing some hard processing and it will not be easy even as you move to aligning your behavior with your actions.
      The ladies the past few days have been ‘loving’ you well.
      You have written such critical comments in the last days and I do hope it’s helping you see your posture and your previous wiring of what IS? … truly loving, honoring and cherishing? Sometimes it’s not what we think ~

      You wrote above;
      “In fact I told her recently that if in the beginning she would have just done a few things to be accountable and taken a little bit of responsibility, I probably would have made myself perfectly happy ”

      To me Sheep, I mean this with all gentleness as a fellow sister here, … your comment above is a ‘low bar’ to set for her but also mostly for yourself.
      If that is your internal self talk it’s something that you ‘Can Change’. Most of us don’t change these normal thinking patterns on our own.
      See so many of us here are in community caring and loving one another. Not hiding truth, but challenging our situations in gentle but not enabling posture.
      There’s such a difference ‘in this type of community’ I hope you feel the difference and the difference it can make as you continue to ‘follow Him’ as your Rock;)

      He will see you through, even in your worst grief moments, He will be there to comfort and heal.

      • JoAnn on March 22, 2018 at 5:42 pm

        Sheep (March 22, 11:34am) You are in a good place, and you are getting the information you need to carry out your plans. If you haven’t done it, make a file with all the information that you are collecting, so that everything can be documented. I would also suggest that you give some careful and specific thought to what you want your outcome to be with regard to the children and financial matters, living arrangements, etc., and put it all in writing for your own benefit. These are things that will have to be ironed out in legal agreements, and it will be helpful for you to know exactly what you want by that time. I assume that she will not be arming herself in this way, and will end up being surprised when it comes to negotiating the divorce. If the kids aren’t in counseling yet, I would encourage you to try to get that started, and even ask her to pay half for it, as the problems they are dealing with result from her behavior. Things that they reveal to the counselor can be used for the court to determine who should get primary custody. I get the feeling that you are already feeling more empowered in this….that is a good sign.

        • Nancy on March 22, 2018 at 6:20 pm

          Amazing practical steps, JoAnn!

          • JoAnn on March 22, 2018 at 8:31 pm

            Thanks, Nancy. I hope it helps.

    • Renee on March 20, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Sheep I’m so glad you have made a clear choice to not accept that fate [I have said before that the only way to stay now would to become nothing. A non-person with no hopes and no dreams, dead on the inside, longing for death on the outside.]

      I resonate with what you say. I told my hubby (not recent – but last year), “that I would rather get hit by a bus rather than to continue as we were. Not feeling constant love (has to be more that what I was receiving).”

      That was not clear communication of my needs but surely was a clue that I was not happy. It could also have been that he had no intention of meeting my needs and was content.

      • sheep on March 20, 2018 at 10:46 am

        I get it, I have told my wife several times (when she has asked what is so wrong about her that I would file for divorce) That for me to stay would mean that I would have to quietly sit in the corner, speak when spoken to, never have an opinion other than hers, and be content to be her emotionally whipping boy the rest of my life. Of course she doesn’t reply to such a statement because she has no intention of meeting (or even recognizing) my needs and she is content. Because if she recognized my needs, then she might actually deal with the fact that she isn’t right.

        • Free on March 20, 2018 at 7:23 pm

          Narcissistic abusers are unable to recognize your needs, Sheep. They lack the ability to emphasize. Caring for anyone other than themselves is impossible.

          • Free on March 20, 2018 at 7:24 pm

            Empathize that is. (Auto correct is not always correct)

      • sheep on March 21, 2018 at 8:45 pm

        Renee, Aly, Nancy, Joann, Free, Sunshine,

        It was good that we had our “talks” this week. I think your questions and challenges have really helped me to process and come to terms with things.

        I think you would be proud of me for my conversation with my wife last night. This one oddly started with her asking me something serious. She wanted to know what I was thinking now (about our future) I said that she has done nothing to reconcile or show repentance. Nothing has changed in her. So, nothing has changed in in my mind, and we are still heading to divorce. She then worked on me for awhile with a variety of statements trying to manipulate me through responsibility, honor, guilt, putdowns, sympathy. I was quiet because I was curious where she was going with it. Eventually she stated that she is willing to leave but I am going to have to help her because she cant afford it. (she also knows that I cant afford to help her)
        To explain, she does have a full time job and her own bank account that I have never had access to, She does not and has not contributed to the needs of the family in any real way. I pay all the bills and all the needs of the family (and we barely make it each month)
        Anyway she kept reiterating how I had to help her and she cant make enough money because she stayed home with my kids (interesting whose kids they are changes according to what she wants at the time) She got more and more aggressive in her insistence that I help her and finally I simply said that we are in this place because of her actions and attitudes. She chose to have 2 affairs, she chose to not reconcile even though I gave her every chance to do so. I told her that she should have thought about this when she took other men to bed with her and she should have this when she continually refused to reconcile. I said that she knew full well when she made those choices that her having to provide for herself might very well be the outcome of those actions. And that she continues to this day, refusing to do anything to reconcile. She went on a rather long tirade about why she deserves for me to help her. After awhile she asked me to tell her what she is supposed to do. Puzzled, I simply said that it wasn’t my problem. She came unglued at that telling me how I was going to throw her out on the street and that I didn’t care what would happen to her. During all this I told her that she was making a very bad error by acting that way. Eventually she went out of the room.
        Awhile later she came back in to tell me how much she cares about me. She talked for awhile during which I said nothing. Eventually she asked me if I wanted her heart. I simply told her that I did for a long time, but I don’t anymore. She asked me if she had my heart, I said no. She asked me who did, and I said no-one but God. She has lost it. Eventually I told her that if she truly isn’t lying when she says that she wants to end it as easily as possible for the kid, then we need to go see a legal mediator to draw up an agreement to base our divorce on.

        Anyway, this conversation cemented in my mind that there is no change in her and she does not intend to change. she just wants to use me and she will use any method she can come up with to continue that. This only firmed my resolve to interact as little as possible with her and to work toward her leaving and us divorcing as soon as circumstances allow.

        • JoAnn on March 21, 2018 at 10:25 pm

          Well done, Brother!! I am proud of you, truly. From what you wrote, if you go back and read it again yourself, her manipulation is SO very obvious. She is angry now because she will not be able to maintain the same standard of living that you have provided for her when she has to pay her own bills. So, she will have to get a small apartment to live in, and that means the kids will spend more time with you. All good. The one thing I would add to this is some deadlines for action. And do hold the line on the support issue. She has a job, and she has a bank account. Those numbers will all come out in the settlement, and things will get worked out according to the law. You did well.

          • sheep on March 22, 2018 at 11:34 am

            JoAnn, yes, that stuff will get worked out according to the law. And it is something that that either a mediator(hopefully) or a lawyer will have to deal with. It is impossible to have a real conversation with her and actually settle real disputes because she just doesn’t have a grasp on reality or logic. She has no idea what the law says and probably doesn’t care because all that matters is what she has told herself is the truth. The laws in my state are actually fairly decent in this regard because there is no spousal support in this case because she already works, and child support only goes to the parent with primary conservatorship of the children. I just cant see a judge giving her that because she will have to work so much just to make ends meet, and I work from home, so I am always available.

          • JoAnn on March 22, 2018 at 5:45 pm

            Sheep, FYI, I wrote something that got inserted in March 20. Just scroll up a few entries to find it.

        • Nancy on March 22, 2018 at 6:44 am

          Sheep!! You stood firm, and as JoAnn said, that made her manipulations so obvious.

          Congratulations 🙂

        • Aly on March 22, 2018 at 8:27 am


          I think you did a great job at applying some difficult truths for her to set with and try to hold.

          You were healthy and from your discription ~ you remained detached and objective about the marriage.
          This is not easy to do when someone you love has betrayed and lacks the heart and maturity to respond even reasonably.
          Well done!

          You wrote this:
          “After awhile she asked me to tell her what she is supposed to do. Puzzled, I simply said that it wasn’t my problem. ”

          Ok, how true is this! She wants you to be responsible for what she ‘should’ do, but I can pretty much guarantee that even if you did take that bait, she would find any reason to NOT do, or dismiss quickly even what you would ask her to.

          On a logical side, I do believe her that she ‘doesn’t’ know what to do and she is met with being in an adult body but inside functioning as a child/teen.
          But you are absolutely right by saying it’s not your problem or place.
          Stay their for her to own her own problem solving ~ even if she chooses poorly, you can step further away while be objective about the interactions.
          The more objective you get, the more you will have space to move into your path and make your choices of good self care that is God honoring.
          Stay getting support and know He heals those whom are His.

          • sheep on March 22, 2018 at 11:25 am

            Aly, You are correct, she doesn’t know what to do because she cant figure out how to get what she wants without using me. And for a Narcissist, not getting what she wants isn’t an option.

        • Aly on March 22, 2018 at 10:37 am

          Another clear sign is what you wrote is this;

          “She then worked on me for awhile with a variety of statements trying to manipulate me through responsibility, honor, guilt, putdowns, sympathy.”

          No wonder you have been trying to cope with this arrangement for many months now~
          See this twisted perspective of hers is simple:
          What she thinks and holds you accountable for is not what she holds for herself!
          This is the imbalance/ double standard dynamic that IS a destructive one ~ even though many victims find creative ways to survive it and get desensitized by the living environment for sure.

          What do you think is now your next step?

          Since having such a conversation that established clarity and non- resolve from her end.

          See you don’t ask the offended to ‘repair’ what is the
          Responsibility of the repeat offenders!

          So often though, many get this garbled and end up back in the same boat with such an individual who lacks personal character and responsibility.

          • sheep on March 22, 2018 at 11:22 am

            Aly, I get it (now) I find it so hard to believe how blinded I was for so many years to all of this as well as how well it worked for her. But now, it becomes so much easier to see through since I realize that this is absolutely not normal behavior on her part, that this isn’t how a normal couple and relationship look.

            I have known for a very long time that she holds herself to a much lower standard than she holds others, but after living with it for so long (because I believed there was no other option) you have to force yourself to not see that.

            No, I no longer ask her to repair what she has destroyed. I have asked her to do that far too many times already. If there was change/repentance in her heart she would have jumped at the chance to make amends.

            Next steps…I am still waiting on the practical things that need to happen first, but once that happens, I will be working to get her out of the house and filing for divorce. Hopefully in that order, but if she will not leave on her own, I will file anyway.

        • Renee on March 23, 2018 at 11:46 am

          Sheep, I had more comments but lost the first response so now my time is up, so I can’t fine tune at this point.

          You: She wanted to know what I was thinking now (about our future) I said that she has done nothing to reconcile or show repentance. Nothing has changed in her. So, nothing has changed in in my mind, and we are still heading to divorce.

          I like the way you responded. My response would have been similar. I can’t think about the future when nothing has changed.

          You: She does not and has not contributed to the needs of the family in any real way. I pay all the bills and all the needs of the family (and we barely make it each month)

          Now, you triggered me with this response. It’s an old familiar tossing of words.

          [Let me explain (from a book his need/her needs). You feel you are meeting your spouse needs because you are giving what you think they need but come to find out, they had an entirely different set of needs. Now you know why the impact was not great. [Not speaking of an abusive relationship.]

          So question: How can a wife contribute to the needs of the family in a real way?

          I ask because: “In a real way,” sounds judgmental. I mean who made you the “in a real way” police? Are you sure you never discounted something she was contributing? I pay all the bills (sounds so familiar).

          It sounds like that is the big one that counts for you since it immediately followed your statement.

          So really you feel totally responsible for all things financial it sounds? Were you ever able to have that conversation? I mean before now.

          You: Eventually she asked me if I wanted her heart. I simply told her that I did for a long time, but I don’t anymore. She asked me if she had my heart, I said no. She asked me who did, and I said no-one but God. She has lost it.

          Love it! Love it! I would have responded similar – I did for a long time. No one has my heart but God.

          • sheep on March 23, 2018 at 12:25 pm

            Renee, The whole financial thing has never been a big issue for me. I have always been really easy going about money (probably too much so) The reason I brought it up in this conversation is that the discussion she wanted to have was financial in nature. She wants me to provide for her financially after we separate and divorce, so money is the essence of the conversation.

            to answer your question “how can a wife contribute to the needs of the family in a real way” (I am assuming you mean financially) She has and has had a job for over a year, and she also teaches private lessons) She has a descent income, and her own checking account (which she started, while she was having the affair, by taking money that was sent to us to pay for our child’s surgery) I have no access to this account. (which I have not asked for other than for her to show me her records of what what was going on during the affair)
            During this time I have literally paid all the bills. And most of her wants. I have paid for all of the “needs” of our home, real or imagined. I pay for all of our phones, cars, insurance, food. She uses our account to pay for her gas, eating out, shoes. During the affair she used our account (not hers) to pay for weekend getaways with him, eating out with him, buying chocolate that they could lick off each others lips (I know I’m being petty about that one, but it is a trigger) and buying him birthday and Christmas presents.

            What does she spend “her” money on? I know some of the answer to this because when she buys something for our family she is sure to point it out to me. Occasionally she will buy 10 or 15 dollars worth of food from Aldi and tell me she bought groceries for us (true, but it is only to be able to say she is paying for something) I know this because she stopped buying groceries a long time ago. I am the one that does all the grocery shopping (she hates it). She buys some of the “wants” for our kids. When there is a “Want” for one of the kids and they don’t need it and we cant afford it, She might pay for it. Although she is just as likely to use “our” account for it.

            She knows full well the kind of financial pressure I am under to make it each month, but she does nothing to help with that.

            Ya know, I have never minded being the bread winner, but now I am also the stay at home parent, the homeschool teacher, the counselor, the taxi driver. It is like I am a single parent, but still having to deal with having her in the house and the abuse that comes with it.

            If you think I am out of line in this, please tell me. But would you like it if you were in my shoes?

          • Renee on March 23, 2018 at 12:51 pm

            I have not read your full response just did a quick glance. Toward the end we have much in common as far as the kids.

            My intention is to fully respond after work and getting settled. Again, it use to be a sore spot. I am trying to examine myself and a situation.

            So that’s why I asked, “how can a wife contribute to the needs of the family in a real way?” I mean more than finances.

            I am not trying to attack, just want to use your knowledge of that concept.

          • JoAnn on March 23, 2018 at 1:18 pm

            Sheep, I don’t think you are out of line at all. In fact, I would ask if you think it would be a good idea to impose some specific financial boundaries, so that she can’t sabotage your account. Perhaps taking her off of your checking account, or telling her that she must buy all her own clothes and shoes. Specify the amount of money that she must contribute to household expense, or at least for the children. Take away her debit card and/or checkbook. Anyway, to me, I think this would be the next step in bringing about a separation. Separate the finances. These are just suggestions, so by all means, take this to the Lord in prayer and get a clear sense of whether He wants you to do this at this time, or if at all. Fellowship with your spiritual advisor about this, for sure.

          • sheep on March 23, 2018 at 3:20 pm

            Renee, JoAnn,

            Renee, I know you aren’t attacking and I didn’t take it that way 🙂

            Wives can and do contribute to the family in a myriad of different ways other than financial. Those ways are just as important if not more so than financially.

            My issue is that is that she has stopped doing a lot of those things so that she can work. This work is not to contribute to the family, it is to contribute to herself. (at this point I am fine with that because I want her to have some money so that she will be able to move out)

            So, She has chosen (for her own reasons) to work (almost full timed). Now I find myself working full time (from home), starting a new business (so that I can provide better and be more available to the kids after divorce), Doing most of the normal things that a stay at home parent does, homeschooling and so forth.

            I fully realize how lopsided this arrangement is, But I am more than willing to do it. My kids need me at home more than ever.

            JoAnn, Yes, you are right I do need to separate the finances for separation. So far I have been unwilling to deal with the abuse that will follow. I would just assume that she is out of the house before I cut those things off. (but not much before)

  29. CK on March 20, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Just a couple of days ago, I, too, started to think about what “staying well” looks like, so I pulled out Leslie’s book, EDM, and found 5 pages devoted to staying well (see pgs. 167-171). This is off topic, but I would love to hear how staying well plays out in the lives of those who stay. I looked on this site for a past newsletter on staying well, but didn’t find anything. Not sure if Leslie has ever addressed this question directly. I’d love to read more on this and hear others’ experiences.

    • Sunshine on March 20, 2018 at 7:27 am

      It’s a concept she created, right?

    • Renee on March 23, 2018 at 10:16 am

      CK, I sent in a request asking Leslie to re-visit the concept, “staying well.” I received a response stating, “do a Google Search.” It was suggested that after doing so, to reach out to Leslie for other advice if needed.

      Below are the posts I found. One you already have. I wish we could get a current post so we could stay on topic. It is part of Leslie’s concept. Maybe some others can request a fresh eye on this subject.

      Three to five years ago can be discussed again.

      • CK on March 23, 2018 at 12:44 pm

        Thank you. I’ll check out these resources.

      • Rebecca on March 24, 2018 at 10:37 pm

        Do a google search seems pretty callus and uncaring. Huh?! Thanks for nothing!

        • assistant on March 26, 2018 at 10:07 pm

          Rebecca, it was not my intentions to sound uncaring.

  30. Maria on March 20, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Here’s a link to a previous post by Leslie on staying well:

  31. Renee on March 21, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Maria, thanks for the link. I see that post dated for 2015.

    Do you and others think it deserves a second look?

    I didn’t see responses from Aly, Free, Seeing the Light, Nancy, Sheep, Sunshine, JoAnn, and perhaps others whom I may have forgotten (their screen names). Leslie’s may even define staying well differently – three years later.

    Seeing the Light, hope you are doing ok!

    • Aly on March 22, 2018 at 8:52 am


      I read the post and a few of the comments.
      Such a good topic to bring up and have something to look back on.

      It would be interesting to see if this woman is still in the same scenario after 3 years of living in the same home but separate bedrooms?

      I do think many people do ‘do this’! Sadly…Even though the writer said she is authentic and not pretending, many people would naturally assume that a husband and wife share a bedroom and wouldn’t ask point blank,…so are you in 2 bedrooms like roomates?

      I do think the ‘staying well’ concept has its issues especially for some of us that have been on the receiving end of a destructive dynamic.
      Almost like ~ how does this compute? Is this person just flowering up a toxic situation by saying ‘the well part’?
      And is this another place of pretending where the destructive partner gets to have the illusion of an intact relationship but really they ‘don’t desire to do the necessary work relationships often take’.

      Maybe Leslie will have more to write on this area and maybe the ‘staying well’ is really an option for those only in disappointing or mediocre marriages that have no real importance of modeling a thriving relationship between husband and wife?

      I do think it’s more often than not, that those in difficult marriages grow into destructive without interventions.

      • Nancy on March 22, 2018 at 2:16 pm

        Hi Aly, Renee,

        From what I have read here, most who choose to ” stay well” do that because to separate or divorce would be destructive for the children ( ie) risking a destructive spouse getting even part time custody may be placing children in harms way. So, mom has to choose the lesser of two evils. And really, only she is in a position to judge, and make that call).

        When this is the case, maybe it should be called “staying as well as possible”.

    • JoAnn on March 22, 2018 at 5:53 pm

      Renee, I wasn’t on the blog in 2015, so I didn’t see that article, but I have read the book. I agree that “staying well” is for those who have no clear way to leave, and for various reasons. Even so, I think that even when a person decides to stay well, he/she should make plans for a future opportunity to leave. So often, the destructive behavior escalates, so that eventually the abused one is forced to exit for safety reasons. That back door should always stay open in an abusive relationship.

    • Seeing the Light on March 25, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      Thank you, Renee. I just saw this today. I’m hangin’ in there. So tired lately. Lots of stressful stuff. Thanks for checking in 🙂

  32. Renee on March 23, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Sheep, thanks for getting back to me. This is frustrating not being able to respond in the appropriate area.

    Responding to this post sheep says
    March 23, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    I don’t feel that you are out of line. Your wife has a right to be freaking out – she is losing her free ride. She probably felt she had the best of both worlds. You as Mr. responsible so she had no worries (because you were carrying it all and for the both of you) and then the others for fun.

    What is sad is that she chose to be abusive rather than communicate with you. She may have discovered that the things she did for/with the others, could have been done with you.

    No, you are not being petty about the images being played out in your mind. I don’t think my husband has cheated. I can imagine that if he had, my mind would go places. With multiple affair partners (I believe you said at some point) I hope you had a work over with your physician.

    $15 dollars for grocery (gag) – no. One night dinner – yes. Serious food (home cooked meals) cost as much as a house note especially with kids.

    I’m happy as others have stated that you have a decision in play. Your decision appears sound. You are doing it on your own already/anyway.

    Yes it’s hard. I understand that ending you wrote. Instead of working from home like I use to, I had to get on the highway to work the last five years. Almost an hour one way. DD has started a job this week. Thankfully in same direction. Son wants to work – so trying to help him.

    Since hubby left, schooling has just kind of falling apart. He was my helper in that area. Now I try to do as much as I can to keep son from falling through the cracks.

  33. Renee on March 23, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Sheep, responding to post
    March 23, 2018 at 3:20 pm.

    My husband over the past few years started discounting my contributions especially the financial ones. Acted as if I was sitting in the corner eating cinnamon buns all day, every day. He had me so convinced at one point that I started hunting down my resume to see if I had been out of work at some point.

    Both of us have always worked. We had many self-employment endeavors we ran together including from home until he got so he was having medical issues. And we worked as employees. At one point, he was out of work, and we never lost an inch and never got disconnected. Same for me. Another time we both ended up out of work and we almost lost our home but through the grace of God we made it through.

    So when you said, “She does not and has not contributed to the needs of the family in any real way. I pay all the bills and all the needs of the family (and we barely make it each month).” It was a trigger phrase. Though not wealthy, we were stable and not headed for bankruptcy. Yes, I would love for my family to have that experience.

    Our bills got paid something like this: he paid the electric, house note, his personal cards, his medical expenses, and household/grocery. I paid the water, gas, cell phone bills, auto insurance bills, television, internet, my personal cards, my student loan, my expenses for work, and grocery/household.

    So finally after hearing it for far too long, I started disconnecting stuff that I could one by one. Of course the kids were upset when I got rid of the satellite, and then went his cell phone payments. Someone here slapped my hand on that method but I was at my wits end. Not only that but I did the cooking, cleaning, home schooling, medical appointments including his, hair combing, etc. My job is flexible so I was still able to juggle.

    Yes he helped. I have to give him that but never understood why he wanted to discount all of a sudden.

    Now it is tax season. Another thorn in our side. We get back only because of kids. Every year we never could come to an agreement that would last (he would change it because he thought I was benefitting more I guess).

    So this year comes and I’m like what do you think we should do to benefit us all. I want you to pay some medical bills created since our separation and a portion on a credit card bill. Me, ok just send me the bills or tell me where to go and pay. Oh no, he can’t do that, I must give him the cash or mo. Since everyone has been calling him on his trust issues, now he finds every opportunity to put trust being an issue back on me.

    So I talked to a lawyer again and they mentioned again that all debts and assets will be divided or very close. So rather than going into divorce (seems we still headed) just to get divorced and have lingering debt, I decided to pay off as much as possible. The car insurance was one of those debts. His vehicle, he drives 98% percent of the time. He said I don’t know why you paid that because it does not benefit me. I figured a fresh start either way it goes.

    It’s about two weeks later now and he is ok with how I’m handling the money. Maybe he has talked to an attorney.

    Thanks for giving me your thoughts. Maybe my husband needs to get a dose of what your wife has to offer but I would not wish that on anyone. You need help and you deserve someone willing to help.

    Sorry late on response, daughter decided she wanted to bake cookies tonight. I helped but fired myself toward the end.

  34. Sheep on March 23, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    Yuck, sounds aweful.
    I got a kick out of “maybe my husband needs a dose of what your wife has to offer” I might pay to see that one. My money would be on her. But you are right, I wouldn’t wish either of those things on anyone either. But sometimes a little humor helps 🙂
    Go enjoy your cookie baking.

    • Fern on March 27, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Sheep- after reading this thread I thought I was reading my own story- only I was you and your wife was like my ex-. I totally get it, and I think these last few conversations, you did great (they are almost verbatim some of my own, right before the end…). My decision to file for divorce was the hardest thing I’d done in my life. I had reached my “I Corinthians 7:15 moment” months earlier, and he clearly wasn’t interested in reconciling or dropping his latest “relationship,” yet he never did anything about it. I still think he’s mad at me for filing for divorce and no doubt in his mind this whole thing is “my fault” even though he’s the one that committed repeated adultery, didn’t really do the “work” in counseling, and at the end, his solution was that I quit seeing my biblical counselor and we go to a new church. Right… anyway, I just wanted you to know you are not alone, and I want to encourage you to keep being a great “grey rock” (this was a new concept to me, but fitting!). The next few months getting used to actually being divorced and the whole parenting schedule, etc. takes a bit of adjustment, but keep leaning into the Lord despite the challenges, and just take it one day at a time. Keep up the good work!

      • sheep on March 28, 2018 at 10:04 am

        Fern, Thank you for the encouragement. So are you actually divorced now? What has that been like for you?
        I really hadn’t thought of 1 Cor. 7:15 for my situation because I have always thought of abandonment as a physical/location type thing. But now that you mention it, She has abandoned our marriage in every way but location of residence.
        As far as I know she has stopped the last affair, but she will not promise not to do it again (not that promises mean anything)
        While I have to wait a little longer to move forward for practical reasons, I am really ready to move on this. I am so tired (physically and emotionally) of the constant act/fantasy on her part. And now because I am ready to move forward but can’t, I find myself just going along to get along. What is the point of rocking the boat and making the last few weeks miserable? It is just so hard for me to “let” her believe whatever she wants. That makes me feel like I’m being disingenuous, But then again, it doesn’t matter when I do say something because I’m just ignored. I’m sure that she is thinking that she is getting what she wants because for the most part I have stopped opposing anything. But for now that is easier than trying to converse with someone that only wants to argue.

        • Nancy on March 28, 2018 at 12:03 pm

          Hey sheep,

          I want to comment on ” then again, it doesn’t matter what I say, I’m just ignored”.

          We don’t speak truth to be heard or understood. We speak truth to bring us into the Reality of His Kingdom.

          We pray, ” Your Kingdom come, Your will be done”

          Don’t allow her to dictate the world you choose to live in. Not for one more minute.

          • Aly on March 28, 2018 at 12:23 pm

            Nancy, Sheep,

            I agree Nancy.
            I also agree that in the marital dynamic… to be ignored is to be abandoned.

        • Fern on March 28, 2018 at 12:23 pm

          I Cor 7:15 does refer to a nonbeliever no longer wanting to be married to a believer. However, though he professed to be a believer, my ex- certainly was not / is not acting like one. We even have a Biblical church discipline process in our church, and he did not respond to that, so effectively, he walked away from the church, and his adultery more than indicated he walked away from our marriage some time ago. We had tried joint counseling a few years ago (he never really did the work). I allowed him space to pick another counselor (he never did). He constantly said he no longer wished to be married to me and how amazing this other woman was who was “willing to invest in” him (as if after 15 years of marriage, I wasn’t). So, I finally decided that I was no longer going to fight to make him stay. At that point, HE should have filed for divorce, but he never did. So I did, several months later when it was clear he was not going to move us out of limbo land and take responsibility for his choices. I did not make this decision lightly, and did so under lots of great counsel through my church.

          Anyway… the divorce process itself was dragged out much longer than it needed to be, probably because it seemed like I was calling the shots, which is a challenge to someone who likes to control/manipulate. Like you, I was constantly afraid of making him mad, rocking the boat, etc. I was raised to believe you NEVER get divorced, so just filing was like turning myself inside out. When you no longer live under the same roof, it is a little easier to process things because you don’t have the constant, negative input. It’s weird at first because you aren’t used to deciding anything for yourself (even though I’m pretty independent). Then getting a parenting time schedule in place was also key (up to then, it was just him calling every once in a while, “Hey, I haven’t seen the kids for a few days, can I pop by and say hi?”). Every day it gets a little easier. My kids are 6 and 2. The 2 yr old has never known any other life, but I think it’s hard for the 6 yr old to go back and forth between our places. Keep things as stable as you can for the kids.

          And even though we don’t like each other, my ex- and I have always been pretty good (not perfect) about not fighting or badmouthing the other in front of the kids. This is also a very practical thing you should work hard to do, for the kids’ sake.

          I’m being a chatterbox, but these are a few things that have helped me through the process. It is so, so hard to deal with a negative, self-absorbed person. Keep pressing into the Lord and His Word so you can counter the lies/ deception of what she is saying to you, with the truth from Scripture.

        • Fern on March 28, 2018 at 12:42 pm

          Also- regarding the “promises” – ha. When someone has deceived you and themselves for so long, they have lost all credibility. My ex- even told me at one point, “If I stay married to you, I am 100% sure I WILL cheat again.” Well, thanks for that heads-up (and, as if it’s my fault he cheats…). If your wife is not promising to stay true to you and truly “forsaking all others,” she has not truly repented (and likely has no intention of doing so). Just my 2 cents.

          • sheep on March 28, 2018 at 12:55 pm

            Fern, Good grief, I cant believe how much our situations sound alike. I suppose the difference is that she no longer actually says that she wants separation/ divorce. That stopped when I caught her with him. But along the same lines she just wants everything to continue along as they are. She is actively doing what she wants (which means doing nothing to reconcile) while at the same time saying that she doesn’t want separation. I can only conclude that this is because she is afraid of taking care of herself and the public humiliation of people finding out she is an adulterer. (she is and always has been very critical of those caught in sexual sin)

            No, I have no desire to bad mouth her, but I still don’t know how to handle correcting there record when she says things that just aren’t true.

            I just want her to go away and never have to deal with her again. (yes I know that isn’t possible)

            Our counsellor has told me that she will have another affair, it’s only a matter of time. She can and will justify anything that she wants to do.

          • Fern on March 28, 2018 at 1:32 pm

            “I just want her to go away and never have to deal with her again.” Ah yes, divorce is like the grief that never ends. When someone dies, it’s a one time thing. Divorce is like a death, but the pain keeps coming back when you just want to move on. And with the kids, there’s never real closure, is there?

            Of course she is afraid of public humiliation- maybe she has a smidgen of conscience left? But it sounds like she is too proud to truly repent. (If she’s like my ex-, image is everything.) She wants to have her cake and eat it too. The thing is, you can choose your sin, but you can’t choose the consequence of the sin. Consequences for unrepentant adultery MAY include separation, divorce, public humiliation, financial struggles, any or all or other things, too.

            My pastor had a great sermon about divorce a few years ago; when talking about divorce in the case of adultery (a biblical reason for divorce), think of how God allows for this because 1) the marriage covenant was already broken, divorce merely formalizes it, and 2) it allows justice for the injured party, so to speak, because the adulterer thinks “oh, they will never leave me,” when actually, they can, and with biblical grounds. No, adultery doesn’t HAVE to lead to divorce, but BOTH parties MUST be willing to submit to God’s way of reconciling. You can try for separation, maybe that will “jolt” her into true repentance (should the Lord allow), but her actions do not speak of humility and true repentance, from what I read. Prayers for you as you continue to walk through this. It is not easy.

  35. JoAnn on March 24, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Sheep, LOL. Yes indeed, sometimes a little humor helps.

  36. Bee on March 24, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Is there a blog post that deals with making the move and taking that first step towards divorce? I feel like I am in limbo with this and prospect is frightening. I am worried what my adult children will think as well. One adult child knows what is going on. The other lives out-of-state and thinks our marriage problem is both our fault and that i need to be “forgiving” and the ‘Christian” thing to do is stay. I am worried about this (adult) child. Thank you in advance.

    • assistant on March 26, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Leslie does not have a blog post on how to move forward towards divorce. So sorry!

  37. Psalm84 on March 27, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Sheep, I am reading some books now on preparing for divorce from a high conflict spouse. You might want to check them out as well. You sound like the nice, reasonable person whose general good qualities are misused in the adversarial divorce process. The book I am reading now is called “Splitting” and it warns you a lot about the dramatic responses to expect and to help you prepare for what is likely to lie ahead. It sounds like it would be very timely for you now. I also have read “Child Custody from A to Z” and have ordered something about “High Conflict Divorce” from Brook Olson (all of these from Amazon.) Finally, kudos to you Sheep, you sound like an awesome guy. I fully expect a happy ending will be around the corner for you. Psalm 84

  38. sheep on March 28, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Psalm84, Thank you for calling me a nice, reasonable person. That is actually quite the compliment after many years of being taught that I’m just fine as long as I agree with her and don’t question anything. And saying that I sound like an awesome guy is icing on the cake. So, thank you.

    Thank you for the book recommendations. They sound like they could be quite helpful. I just have to figure out how to get them without her knowing. I don’t want to have to deal with that one at the moment.

    I don’t know that a happy ending is possible, there are just too many people involved. But hopefully it will be as happy as possible. I’m not at all jaded toward marriage and it is difficult not to think about the possibility of real love someday in my future. But I can’t let that be my motivation at this moment.

    • Nancy on March 29, 2018 at 7:01 am

      A suggestion: Get a book on your tablet ( or phone), and lock it with a code 🙂

Leave a Comment

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?

Read More

Critical Heart Changes For Successful Reconciliation

Morning Friends, I’m in San Diego getting ready to speak at the American Association of Christian Counselors Marriage America Conference.  Please pray for me that I am able to communicate wisely with the counselors and pastors who are attending.  I will be presenting all day Thursday at a preconference on Domestic Violence and then giving…


I Can’t Say Anything Right. Help

I am traveling this week, so I’d appreciate your prayers.  Question: The reoccurring theme over the last 3 years in my marriage has been that I have failed to communicate in a proper way or have been misunderstood, to the point where my husband’s anger gets the best of him.  I’m not allowed to ask…


I Feel Crazy. What’s Going On In My Marriage?

Morning friends, This is a long blog post so I’m not going to write much here. But let’s remember to love one another well here and give each other the benefit of the doubt. We are all at different stages of healing and we are all working on becoming a healthier version of ourselves, growing…