How Do We Make Repairs If He Doesn’t See Anything Wrong

Morning friends,

Thank you for sending me examples of the lie’s that you’ve been told that have kept you stuck, afraid and feeling hopeless in your destructive marriage. I am going to do a Facebook live this Thursday, April 20 at 7:00 PM ET to discuss Three Things that Christian Women are Regularly told to do that DO NOT WORK to repair a destructive marriage.

I would love for you to participate, but remember for your safety, this is a live FB program so your comments and questions are seen by the public.  Click here to participate or just listen on 4/20/17 at 7:00 PM EST.

Question: All the articles and blogs I read regarding divorce seem to frown upon it. Many talk about trying to work things out and repair the damage that has been done. However, I am married to an individual that does not think that there is anything wrong, that does not see the need for change or even communicating about our problems. He believes in a higher power but is not spiritual or religious.

With that said, he does not think that we should see a counselor and gets bothered if I even mention it. The last time I brought it up he asked me to give him the chance to change on his own. I disagreed but went ahead and gave him some time to see the changes. The changes he made were all superficial and nothing that would have an impact or show that he is going to change long-term.

I am tired of being the one always trying to make things happen. He shuts me out every single time I try to discuss anything. He is dismissive and everything I say he makes it seem like all I do is complain.

I don't know if divorce is the way but I know that our marriage is a destructive one according to the assessment I took on your website. Any advice? I know I need to start by strengthening my core and replying in a loving manner while setting boundaries and that's what I plan on doing in the time being until I can figure out if I can get out of this marriage.

Answer: I would agree that if possible, repairing the marriage is preferable to divorce. But there are two fundamental questions that must be addressed by both the husband and wife if there is to be a true restoration of the marriage.

The first question is: What’s broken? If we use the analogy of a house that needs repairs, we start by making an overall assessment of what’s broken and what is essential to repair in order to make the house inhabitable. Is there a cracked foundation, termites, mold, broken windows, water damage, roof problems, weak joists, no insulation, plumbing problems? In other words, what is the extent of the damage?

From your question, you say your husband feels that there is no damage. From his perspective, everything is fine. He doesn’t see any need for repairs. On the other hand, you say your marriage is broken so badly that you need a repair person (counselor) to help you fix your marriage.

But then, you say your husband says he will make some changes on his own.  But I would ask what changes is he going to make if he doesn’t see anything is broken? One doesn’t waste time fixing a roof that doesn't’ leak or a pipe that isn’t broken. His promise to make changes is like someone who promises to hang new curtains over broken windows. It might cover the problem for a bit, but when the cold rain and the wind come, the curtains don’t last because the curtains did not fix the problem, they just covered it up.

My second question is for you: how is this broken-down house (marriage) affecting you? Perhaps the mold is affecting your health. You are freezing cold and getting sick a lot. Or you fell through the floorboards that were eaten up by termites and broke your leg. Just because he’s fine living this way does not mean you are. Therefore, it’s important for you to learn that it’s biblically wise and right for you to advocate for yourself in order to be a good steward of your physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual health. You are not complaining, being ungodly or a bad wife when you object to living in a toxic environment.

God does not value the sanctity of marriage more than the safety and sanity of the individuals in that marriage. – Click To Tweet

Third, if the two of you can’t agree on what’s broken, then you won’t agree what needs to be repaired. But even if you did agree that your house needed extensive repairs, are you both committed to doing the work necessary to truly repair the damage?

Your question didn’t specify what my test on destructive marriages showed you (Take the free assessment test) but based on what you learned, your husband has work to do to repair the damage. But you too will have work to do. You will need to be able to not only forgive but to learn to trust him again, to stop enabling and over functioning as you indicated that you are getting weary of shouldering the entire responsibility of keeping this relationship viable.

You know what you need to do right now because you stated it already. You said, “I need to start by strengthening my core and replying in a loving manner while setting boundaries and that's what I plan on doing for the time being until I can figure out if I can get out of this marriage.” Exactly. That’s an excellent place to start the work you need to do because if no repairs are made, you will have to decide whether or not you can stay well, or how you can leave well.

Friend, what specifically do you think would be required to repair your marriage?


  1. Anewanon on April 19, 2017 at 7:23 am

    > You will need to be able to not only forgive but to learn to trust him again, to stop enabling and over functioning as you indicated that you are getting weary of shouldering the entire responsibility of keeping this relationship viable.<

    If one of the repairs is a problem with lying and porn. (Most addicts lie to protect their habit.) Then how is a wife going to "learn to trust" again?

    If he won't see his addictions as a problem and continues in them, then HOW can one "forgive" another who is unrepentant?

    • Nancy on April 19, 2017 at 8:13 am

      Hey Anewanon,

      Forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. You can only learn to trust once your husband begins to earn your trust. Reconciliation ( and earning your trust) is up to him.

      As I see it, the spouse of an addict’s job is to set firm boundaries. It is only from a guarded heart that we can forgive. Forgiveness does not mean reconciling, it doesn’t mean trusting.

      See Patrick Doyle’s video on reconciliation ( YouTube).

      Leslie’s book, the emotionally destructive marriage sets out clear steps in how to confront in love. Love is not passive, it is active…just like God.

      • Aly on April 19, 2017 at 9:15 am

        Well said! And yes I agree with you.

        Regardless of the offense by the spouse, when there is any broken trust it take a long time to repair depending upon lots of factors.

        Sometimes wives don’t always see the repeat offenses and as we guard our hearts and place strong boundaries we begin to see clearly in my opinion.

        A husband doesn’t have to be an addict or have a porn issue in order to break trust, in fact he can do this simply by ‘saying one thing and doing another’!

        I have found that those that break trust tend to have deeper character and maturity issues to tend to … so regardless of what they say it’s only the behavior we can observe.
        And realistically this process takes a lot of times but victory can happen in this area for both parties.

        • Leslie Vernick on April 19, 2017 at 1:55 pm

          Yes broken trust is a huge deal in marriages and must be repaired and it doesn’t come instantly or easily. It takes time.

      • Leslie Vernick on April 19, 2017 at 1:56 pm

        Yes, once trust is broken it needs to be rebuilt. And trust can be broken in many areas – not just sexual fidelity. Trust can be broken in areas of care – I don’t trust you care about me, my feelings, needs, etc. Or I don’t trust you handle the money responsibly or fairly. Or I don’t trust that you do what you say you will do. Etc. All those broken areas of trust need to be addressed and repaired.

        • Anita on April 22, 2017 at 9:11 am

          I have a question about this subject. My husband won’t ask for forgiveness for ways he has hurt me. For the first 10 years of our marriage, he flirted with other women, and wouldn’t stop because he said it was all innocent. There were other issues one being that he mortgaged our house without talking with me. His response was “I thought you knew”. He says the problem is that I am controlling. In the past 6 years, he has become verbally abusive. As a result of that, we went to counseling with our pastor and church counselor. When I told them all of this and more, he didn’t say anything. They said I was too direct and unforgiving. Later at home, he blamed me for our problems and that I always bring up the past. He said he would not listen to me anymore. Afterwards I went to see my pastor again, and I think that because by that time, I was very depressed and crying, he said he wouldn’t listen to me either. I went to another counselor and began taking better care of myself so I am better now. I am reading the Emotionally Destructive Marriage and am finding answers for questions that have troubled me all of my adult life. I am working on my CORE and am feeling much better about myself. My question is, how to know when I am controlling and when he is just wanting to do things his way without talking with me about them?

          • Nancy on April 22, 2017 at 11:39 am

            Hi Anita,

            I’m very glad you are reading the emotionally destructive marriage. Your question is such a good one. I hope others respond here, too.

            This same accusation of being controlling is what kept me from setting boundaries and stating my needs, for years.

            It is not controlling to say what you need. It is not controlling for you to say what you will not tolerate. In fact, it is your responsibility. This is the very nature of using your voice to let others know where you begin and where you end. It is you using your voice to define who you are. What defines us as individuals? It is our needs, and what we will and will not tolerate.

            I have found that the more I did this, the more I was called controlling because it was very hard for my h to tolerate me having different needs and limits than him. He could not tolerate me not being an extension of him. I had always talked myself into complying in order to ‘make peace’ – now I know that I was faking peace.

            There is pressure to be who my husband wants me to be, but The Lord wants me to discover who I am, in Him. For me this is the process of ‘above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your life’ [ Prov. 4:23]. I was given this heart by my Lord, and it is for me to steward it for His Glory.

            You cannot control his reaction to you stating your limits and needs. So get rid of any expectation that he will ‘understand’. At first he will do his best to make you feel controlling- with whatever tactics he has that hit you where it hurts most. But keep speaking, keep setting limits, keep walking in CORE strength. As you do, things will become clearer and clearer.

            May The Lord continue to guide you, as you discover the precious daughter of the most High King called Anita!

          • Aly on April 22, 2017 at 12:48 pm

            So well written out! So well affirmed and validated Nancy~

            Unfortunately those that begin with this tactic of blameshifting who really is the controlling one.. part of the crazy making as Leslie V. Might be able to also speak into.

            And yes Nancy, the gmail one;) if you can try again.
            Hugs and here’s to…Peacemakers 💕

          • Anita on April 22, 2017 at 3:56 pm

            Thank you for your answer that is affirming to me as I begin this journey to leave the painful place of denial I have been in for all of my adult life. I have been depressed many times and feel like my life has been wasted because of it. I have been to quite a few counselors who seem to have no clue about how to help me. I decided that the Lord was the only one who could help me, and He opened the door to Leslie’s council.
            I am thankful for all of you who speak the language of love to help other sisters. May God richly bless you.

          • Steve R on April 24, 2017 at 4:35 pm

            I don’t presume to know his heart but IF he acknowledges that there is marital stress in your marriage and he is willing and open to a new way of relating I would recommend the DVD series How We Love by Milan Yerkovich. My wife and I went to this over this past weekend and literally in 6 hours we were crying and begging each other for forgiveness as we realized how two hurt children had been hurting two grown adults. IT WAS POWERFUL!! Literally SAVED our marriage. I recommend the DVD series- The BEST money you may ever invest in your life. ONLY if he will watch it AND be open to how his bad behavior (AND YOURS) are eroding your relationship.

            I wish you well on this- Feel free to follow up.


          • Aly on April 24, 2017 at 4:58 pm

            Steve R,
            Praise God for that opening of your hearts to see and hear!
            They have I believe some of the best tools and material on attachment around for anyone (married, single, divorced) ..One of my favorites by far and their material on ‘How we love our kids’ is also so very good.

            Is this the same Steve R. that was commenting last week of why men don’t go to counseling? Did you or your wife initiate the resource?

          • Free on May 2, 2017 at 11:42 pm

            Anita, you are not controlling. Your abuser is projecting his behavior on to you. Isn’t he tricky? Don’t be fooled.

      • April on April 20, 2017 at 2:39 pm

        Yes, I highly recommend Patrick Doyle’s video as well!

        • Anita on April 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm

          Thank you for recommending Patrick Doyle. I just watched his video on boundaries and plan to follow his advice to read the book Safe People by Cloud and Townsend. I also plan to journal to learn what boundaries I have and what new ones I need to make.

      • Jen on April 24, 2017 at 7:56 pm

        Well said Nancy! Well said. I wish this was standard marriage advise!

    • Learning to Live Free on April 19, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Perhaps the confusion comes because the two words “forgiveness” and “trust” are in the same sentence. These two concepts are separate from each other. The reason we need to forgive is because Christ forgave us, and we will be forgiven to the extent that we forgive others. However, forgiveness is separate from the person we are forgiving. It doesn’t depend on them because forgiveness isn’t even really something we are able to do apart from God. God gives us the gift of being able to forgive. He doesn’t tell us when we will receive this gift – just that He will give it to us when our heart is ready to receive it. I don’t want to sound preachy because I myself am struggling with this concept. I am struggling to forgive my soon-to-be-ex as I am coming out of a marriage full of his addictions and abuse. My children and I are dealing with many things, and I have been preached at by many people (and further abused by pastors preaching lies) that I must be hard-hearted, or that I am not a forgiving person. I have reached the place, finally, where I am ready to begin praying for God to give me the gift of being able to forgive my offender. I now understand that forgiveness doesn’t require reconciliation (they are two completely different concepts) nor does it mean I have to trust him again. But I do want, for myself and my children, to be able to feel the freedom that forgiveness will bring. I know that my diligent prayers will eventually bring about forgiveness when God knows that I am ready to receive it.

      As for trust, if this woman plans to remain in the marriage, trust will have to be rebuilt. You cannot have a marriage without it. But the responsibility to rebuild that trust is not hers. She needs to develop and maintain strong boundaries which will necessarily include physical separation of some sort for as long as necessary until all of the changes that need to be made have been identified, established, and maintained for a length of time. If that trust cannot be rebuilt because he is not willing to do any of those steps, then she will never be able to have a healthy marriage.

      • JoAnn on April 28, 2017 at 10:30 am

        About forgiving:
        I have a brochure by June Hunt ( on forgiveness, and she does make the point that forgiveness is for the forgiver, not the offender. When you think of it as dismissing a debt, or dismissing your demand that others owe you something, it is easier to understand. It is NOT saying that it is okay that they did what they did, but it is releasing the offense to the Lord for Him to deal with. Then it is no longer your burden to carry. I would encourage you all to go to her web site and perhaps ask for this great brochure. I have shared it with many people. So helpful.

        • Sandra Lee on April 29, 2017 at 12:49 pm

          Thank you for this reminder, JoAnn, regarding forgiveness. I have forgiven my ex-h, but still need to release his abuse to the Lord for Him to deal with, realizing my forgiveness is for me, not him.
          You are a blessing!
          Sandra Lee

        • Aly on April 29, 2017 at 6:30 pm


          Thanks for posting this.. I will look further into it;)

          As far as my destructive marriage., and be being quite the forgiver role ..
          I began to get more educated on this as best as I can describe.

          But you can’t forgive something that’s is ongoing..

          What I mean is if your in a relationship with these destructive abusive behaviors … you can’t actually be in the forgiveness process as the offender in continuing in the behavior in my opinion.

          Now I don’t think the offender has to acknowledge or repent etc.. in order for me to grant forgiveness.. that I do on my own with Gods help.
          But I don’t stand in relationship where I am being abused and dismissed and myself at the same time saying “I forgive I forgive and allowing continued harm.”

          • JoAnn on April 29, 2017 at 6:46 pm

            Aly, I agree, that you can’t really let go while you are in the situation, but you can commit the marriage relationship to the Lord and stand back and watch what the Lord will do. I think it is helpful to just stop trying so hard and take care of your higher priorities: yourself and your kids. I am encouraged to see how you are moving along on your journey, and your posts are helpful to all of us.

          • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 9:28 am

            I definitely understand this. The offenses keep being repeated. For years. Now when he ‘gets over’ it, the only thing I can trust is that it will happen again. It seemed just as I try to forgive, or am in the process, it happened again. I feel like I’m a door mat or something. Forgiveness 7×77. How do you do this in this state? It seems forgiveness takes longer than the offense. So offenses are able to take place and repeat before enough forgiveness can be produced to cover the offenses. Visciouscycle!

          • Aly on May 3, 2017 at 9:59 am


            I’m sorry for what you are dealing with.. I do understand.
            You can’t forgive something that’s is ‘ongoing’ and is continuing to put you in harms way.

          • JoAnn on May 4, 2017 at 1:08 pm

            There is really a big difference between forgiving and healing. We forgive, that is, surrender the hurt and anger to God, to allow Him to deal with the abuse, but after that, it can take a long time to heal from the abuse, and in the case of repeated abuse, the wound never gets to heal, so the pain remains. I would encourage you to avoid thinking of it as “forgiving” and think of it as releasing the offender to the righteous God, who sees you and knows your pain. Pray for Him to protect your heart, and to show you how to go on in this situation. He may want you to leave, and if so, He will show you the way out. Praying for you, dear Sister.

      • Sandra Lee on May 3, 2017 at 4:49 pm

        Dear Learning to be Free:
        I agree with you that without trust, there can be no reconciliation. My h & I were divorced two years ago, after nearly 60 years of marriage. He begged me to return and promised we would forget the past and live for the future. I told him I would continue the “no intimacy boundary” until trust was evident and no verbal abuse. However, after three months, there has been no change, and he continues to be angry about the boundary. I have forgiven him, but as Michelle also said, the abuse is ongoing, so I need to trust the Lord’s grace one day at a time to survive emotionally.
        Jesus loves us and cares,
        Sandra Lee

        • JoAnn on May 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm

          Sandra Lee, do I understand you to be saying that you and your ex-h are living together again? I can’t help but wonder what he is getting out of this, if not the sex. Are you his cook and maid, doing the laundry and keeping house for him. Is that what he wants? And what, exactly, are you getting out of this?What did you hope to be getting out of the relationship if you allowed him back in?? Please take a good, hard look at this situation and compare what it’s like now with what it was like when he was out of your house. If you haven’t remarried, then you have the right to “kick the bum out” again. Violation of trust. Take care of your heart!

          • Sandra Lee on May 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm

            Thank you for your kind reply, JoAnn. The problem with my situation now is that my ex-h begged me to come live with him, promising that “the past would be forgotten and we would “live for the future.” I was living in a senior apartment that I disliked, an hour drive from our daughters; he has a townhouse in a senior complex — very nice– only three miles from our daughters. I agreed to “give it a try,” but no sex or verbal abuse allowed. However he still wants sex and the VB continues. I do the housekeeping, and it was so needed when I moved in, however he doesn’t seen to appreciate it, but takes it for granted, as he did during our marriage. The pluses are that we had our wills redrawn, and he granted me lifetime lease of the house, and I do love living near our daughters. To tell you the truth, I was struggling to make ends meet while living in the apartment, and soon would have had to apply for Medicaid. Now I buy the groceries and help with others things, while he pays the bills. I guess I’m betwix & between, so to speak, and simply take one day at a time, and trust the Lord for His grace. Better days are coming/////////////////////. God bless you,
            Sandra Lee

          • Aly on May 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm

            I’m so sorry for your situation and the continued lies of your x husband.
            I can see why you are making the trade off to some extent but I do want to offer something that concerns me..maybe something to consider.

            You wrote:
            “The pluses are that we had our wills redrawn, and he granted me lifetime lease of the house, and I do love living near our daughters.”

            What from his previous behavior makes you think he will keep his word on this.. even given the paperwork., he still can reformat his will without you knowing.
            I have a senior friend that was married 2 marriage.. for 25yrs and the h recently passed and she found out that he changed his will on her.. devastating and she is in her 70’s
            When she told me what happened I wasn’t overly surprised because something just wasn’t right with me.. course she still think that he was the most wonderful spouse (regardless of the controlling behavior she endured)
            And she chooses to believe it was the medicine that caused him to redraft the will behind her back~

            So I say with caution, maybe double check the drafted wills and protection of them for your own well being if you choose to stay.

          • JoAnn on May 6, 2017 at 10:08 am

            OK, so he gets a housekeeper, and you get to be closer to your daughters and a future benefit that may or may not ever happen, all while suffering verbal abuse daily. He obviously cannot keep his word to you about the conditions of moving back in, so can you really believe that he will not change the will later? Please, please rethink all this. Guard your heart, Dear Sister.

  2. Nancy on April 19, 2017 at 9:24 am

    “It is biblically wise and right for you to advocate for yourself to be a good steward of your physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual health”.

    This sums it up for me, Leslie. If I could REALLY incorporate this into my heart and mind, my fuel would be love, not guilt.

    Friend, what specifically would be required to repair your marriage?

    Now that my husband has taken responsibility for his part of the marriage, I am now in the position of examining what my responsibility to him, is. Your comment about the writer’s responsibility to ‘learn to forgive, trust, stop enabling over functioning in the relationship’ really hit home. That’s exactly where I am.

    My desire to move forward in a new relationship – we are REALLY seeing new patterns develop- can conflict with my need to continue to hold him accountable. Frankly, I hate to hold him accountable and yet I know that holding our brothers and sisters accountable is part of walking with Christ.

    Maybe this resistance to holding him accountable is simply an extension of my fear of advocating for myself.

    Holding him accountable is what The Lord used to create this new relationship…why is that the very thing that I want to let go of????

    • Aly on April 19, 2017 at 2:47 pm


      I hope it’s ok I comment here on this post.
      You wrote:

      “My desire to move forward in a new relationship – we are REALLY seeing new patterns develop- can conflict with my need to continue to hold him accountable. Frankly, I hate to hold him accountable and yet I know that holding our brothers and sisters accountable is part of walking with Christ.”

      Nancy I want to encourage you here because you are beginning a journey and you have had a lot to trek through in regards to your mom and your past cycles.
      It takes time to develop new patterns and healthy clarity on everyday situations.
      Be kind to your process and expect it to take more time that one might prefer for character to begin to become consistent in your husband.
      You will not always have the level of boundaries in place as you do ~ nor will you feel the level of accountability especially as your husband gets healthier and stronger knowing how to better protect and love you from a place where he has actually been able to receive God’s love, His accurate love and be rooted in his identity of it.

      As long as you can see that you are not the only one your h is accountable to for behavior change.. you will feel a support team around you both. The weight won’t be all on you, but the issue is you being his closest responder~ you will feel and be impacted the greatest.

      God sees you Nancy, continue to speak truth in love and hold your h to the standard that will eventually (if it being God’s will) will take root.
      Sending my prayers for your heart 💜

      • Nancy on April 19, 2017 at 3:10 pm

        Thank you for the encouragement, Aly ❤️

  3. Peggy on April 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

    My husband cannot admit fault or exspress repentance or remourse. I recently had a life threatening exsperience that i take full responsibility for. He watched it all unfold and got up went to bed and never cared. He replued the next day , that he didnt know why i was hurt after all he tried calling 911. Huge wake up call for me. I will move on with my life….realizing his counselor was spot on telling him he has a very hard heart. Its his problem and his to change. I must too strengthen my core and find myself again.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 19, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      I’m so sorry you experienced that. Yes, he must own his problem and change if repairs are ever going to be possible.

    • Free on May 2, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      I think when a spouse is unavailable and lacks empathy in times of emergency a huge red flag is being waived. Think about it, even most strangers would come to the aid of a hurt or suffering individual. Your husband’s callus behavior shows the depth of his depravity and dare I add, a truly evil mind.

  4. Mary on April 19, 2017 at 10:11 am

    How should I handle it when we both know things are not as they should be, but he says the problem is that I show no affection and find intimacy really hard and traumatizing? He says that IS the problem and I need to find out what the problem is. In the meantime he will try to be patient when I do not perform sexually as he desires. He wants an active, romantic loving marriage where both partners are very much in love and show that through affection and intimacy. I agree. He thinks my “issue ” is some stronghold or wrong belief that God needs to show me so I can repent and heal from it. In my heart I feel like I’m wounded and bruised from years of harshness, anger, verbal and emotional abuse directed towards myself and our children. He says I’ve hurt him a lot over the years too and he has no problem showing me love (affection, and sexual intimacy) so that’s just wrong of me to feel that way. Any suggestion like this upsets him and makes him feel like I’m blaming and not moving beyond that. He doesn’t want anything to do with counseling, saying we can work it out ourselves. But every discussion turns into an argument, with both of us getting hurt again. Finally, the last time he said I need to figure out what to do about my lack of affection and trauma in intimacy, maybe even using a counselor to help me. I don’t know if he really meant it or not. Any suggestions or insights on how to move forward? I feel like I’m going crazy. If at all possible I would want Leslie to comment as well. If I’m seeing or doing something wrong please tell me.

    • Nancy on April 19, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Mary. Go to 20 minutes into this video link ( below), and then go back and watch the whole thing. Patrick Doyle talks directly to this issue.

      Feeling like you are going crazy is confirmation that you are being manipulated.

      Lean into God, Mary. Read Leslie’s book the emotionally destructive marriage. He will lead you into safety and sanity.

      I will keep you in my prayers ❤️

      • Mary on April 19, 2017 at 3:08 pm

        Thank you!!

    • Leslie Vernick on April 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      I can’t comment as to whether you might have other issues from your childhood regarding freedom in the intimacy area, but I do know that when someone treats you harshly and lashes out in you in anger, for most women, the last thing they want is to be sexually intimate. Here’s the catch though. Your husband thinks you SHOULD be just like him. Just because he still wants those things you should want them too. Just because he doesn’t feel a lack of sexual desire, then you shouldn’t either. It’s like saying to someone, Just because I didn’t catch the flu you shouldn’t have either. Or just because I can still like ice cream after getting poisoned by it, means you should still like it too. This is classic reasoning in a destructive marriage where there is no YOU in the marriage. You should be like him and if you are not, there is something wrong with you. Hog wash.

      • Mary on April 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

        Thank you Leslie! I was never sexually abused or molested. What you said makes sense. I am unsure of how to proceed from here, as he very seldom considers my point of view, especially if it puts him in an unfavorable light, or is restrictive in what he wants or desires.

        • Aly on April 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm

          I’m very sorry for your position. I had the same type of issues and attitude from my h.
          The best thing I did was get a counselor to help me work through my own thinking and responding patterns or lack there of.

          My h also had the belief that my opinion or issue was irrelevant.
          Even if you h won’t get a professional Christian counselor involved, you go for you! Include him but don’t be surprised when he doesn’t want to come… besides he thinks your the one with the problem right…?

          The more information and the more you can equip yourself, the navigation will be clearer.. not easy but clearer.

          If your h is heavy on the narcissistic side of things ….eventually down the road in counseling you might be able to ask him to participate in counseling to better identity the problems between the two of you.
          I say this a bit tongue and cheek but I have seen it bring them in front of another person that they just might listen to.
          Either way, you will at least know better the landscape of what you could be dealing with.

          Gets lots of support and healthy biblical knowledge.. prayers and hugs to your heart and the hopes for restoration of your marriage. 💕

          • Mary on April 19, 2017 at 3:08 pm

            Thank you!!

        • Free on May 2, 2017 at 11:54 pm

          I think Mary, the only thing you can do is to work on yourself. By this I mean, get counseling so the YOU has a voice. Not marriage counseling, counseling for you to be heard, validated and understood. Your husband’s behavior is classic manipulation with entitlement attitudes. There is nothing wrong with your sexuality. Your husband is not offering you any love, just demands, beware of his opinions, He does not speak the truth.

          • Mary on May 4, 2017 at 10:26 am

            Thank so for your input!

    • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 9:36 am

      This is my story too. I actually had to check to make sure I didn’t post it!

      • Mary on May 4, 2017 at 10:26 am

        Oh wow! How have you processed this or dealt with it?

  5. Leslie on April 19, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Our relationship would need for my husband to provide for his family by earning money to assist with rent, food, etc. Our relationship would need for him to protect our family instead of hurting us by bringing home diseases, etc. In order for our relationship to be repaired, I would need my husband to be truthful so that we can rebuild trust. Because he is unwilling to do these things at this time, I have chosen to take my children, and leave this condemned house (marriage). I don’t want us to fall through the foundation and break our legs, or worse, die. Numbers 16 is a great example of entire families dying because of rebellious and provoking husbands…I don’t want that to be me, my children, or my future grandbabies.

    • JoAnn on April 19, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Is this Leslie Vernick? It doesn’t seem like the kind of response she would give to Mary’s question. I’m confused.

      • Leslie Vernick on April 19, 2017 at 1:43 pm

        JoAnn, yes it was me (Leslie) who answered this question. What about my response doesn’t make sense to you?

        • Ann L on April 21, 2017 at 8:47 am

          My two cents on why Leslie’s reply didn’t make sense: It was highly personalized and without context. Leslie V’s responses do not sound as though they are roaring up from some deep basement of hellish pain, like this one did.

        • JoAnn on April 25, 2017 at 5:11 pm

          Leslie, I think AnnL hit it; it was “highly personalized and without context.” We don’t see you as currently being in an abusive relationship, so it surprised me. Perhaps you were putting yourself in Mary’s place and answering for her? However, I think all of us could relate to the answer you gave, so it was a good example. Thank you for replying.

      • ContentinChrist on April 21, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        There’s a “Leslie” and “Leslie Vernick” – two different people, I would think? Maybe that’s where the confusion is coming from. Yes, it sounds like “Leslie” is in a lot of pain. Leslie, you are loved and valued. Your heart is safe in God’s hands. I pray that He will give you wisdom, courage and strength for the days ahead.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 19, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Good for you. Sometimes we need to take a stand that if repairs are not made, we cannot live like this. It’s too toxic.

  6. Michelle on April 19, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Oh my gosh! We are putting up curtains all the time. Just installed one the other day. Happens before I realize it’s up. At least until the wind blows, rain and glass chips land on the floor. I totally understand this.
    I’m so tired of faking fine. Sometimes it seems a fake fine is better than the trouble, so I try to make it last as long as possible, at least for the children’s sake. It’s getting harder, and harder to do, though.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 19, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Yes it is. It gets exhausting and you get depleted. So what do you need to do to take care of you?

      • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 9:42 am

        Well, I ensure I have early quiet time before anyone else gets up. I have recently decided to stop writing so much about my negative reality, and instead write about what I want to see. Keep a gratitude list. I take martial arts for excercise and protection. And I’m building up my design studio so in case I need to take care of my children and myself one day, I can. These things aren’t always enough, but I keep going.

  7. Aleea on April 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    “Friend, what specifically do you think would be required to repair your marriage?”

    . . . For me, I think it would have to be healing all my childhood abuse issues, —internally in my CORE. . . . I, I wanted to be the one who had an understanding and a forgiving heart who looked for the best but like the cosmic balance you see everywhere in nature, that has its trusty offshoots of self-righteous indignation, bitterness, and resentment.*** I have unhappiness, I assume, because of my lack of boundaries . . . .but I also have had to recognize my inability to love before I could accept love the way God loves. His version of love is so unfamiliar: sacrificial, selfless, beautiful deep love. . . .It is divorcing resentment and marrying forgiveness —a forgiving heart filled with love and gratitude. My current problems, I think, stem from not forgiving myself and deep pockets of undrained trauma that have very tight seals. I also want to be deeply authentic about everything: God, Jesus, all of it. . . .but the blowback that that creates is just astounding. —Anyways, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. —What else can we do?

    *** “God does not value the sanctity of marriage more than the safety and sanity of the individuals in that marriage.” . . . Whatever happened to “the Answers” they disappear with primary source evidence all along the way. Truth serves Life. What is true from the Bible is dependent on what is useful to human flourishing. That means that what in it is true will change as we understand more about what facilitates human flourishing (e.g. —no slavery, —divorce for all kinds of things, . . .but the shadow side of that approach is that it cuts the certainty out from under core doctrines related to all kinds of things: “salvation” “eschatology” . . .Because psychology, biblical research, archaeology, manuscript finds, anthropology, discoveries change all kinds of things that promote more eudaimonia (εὐδαιμονία), “human flourishing”. . . .And so the voice in my head says the words “I believe” but the primary source evidence in my hands is almost impossible to believe. There is no certainty but change. . . . .And yet, we should never give up on love. Love like you have never been hurt! I think at the heart of all anger, all grudges, and all resentment, you’ll always find a fear that hopes to stay anonymous. For me, it is the fear that nothing, absolutely nothing, is really certain. My idol is certainty but all of it is just floating along with culture and the sciences, what people will accept, modern psychology and all the rest. I simply have not made peace with that yet because making peace with that means admitting that Christianity deeply evolves. That frightens me: Timeless Truths vs. Process Christianity. . . . or more simply: Truth serves Life —vs. Timeless Truths. . . .Salvation takes place within our unknowing, when we break our idols of addiction to certainty —a really hard process for me.

    —And for our questioner, if you deeply change in your CORE, your factory of yourself (—where “you” is being manufactured), your husband has to change because the former you is not even there anymore to interact with. He can’t interact with that former you, that will lead to change and at least you will be moving in the right direction. In the past, I wanted to change the world. Today, I am a bit wiser, —maybe, so I am changing myself. . . . Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine, of course, is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together. All the really hard work is internal. You solve it internally and that will just cycle out into your entire outside world.

  8. Sandra Lee on April 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    I don’t believe this marriage can be saved without counseling, anymore than mine was. I separated and later divorced my h, after he left, as he couldn’t live with the boundaries I set (no sex until he stopped the extreme verbal abuse and accusations). After three years he begged me to return to him, saying how much he loved and missed me and promising we would “forget the past, and live for the future.” My daughters encouraged me, saying he had changed. I dubiously decided to give it a try, warning him there would be no sex. Unfortunately, after three months, nothing has changed. He continues to be angry for our lack of intimacy, and is living in the sceptic-pool of the past, and verbally abusive as ever. I refuse to respond (as in the past), and simply say, “I’m no going there again!” He hates my using the internet, accusing me of “man-searching,” and that he made a mistake asking me to return (MY mistake!).

    I’ve confessed all this to my doctor, who prescribed a mild tranquilizer and recommended a support group as well.

    Even though he has granted me life-lease of his house (recent new will), I don’t know how long I can live with him. However, I know there’s no utopia, so continue to trust the Lord’s grace, believing He knows all and is in control.

    Thank you for letting me vent again! With love & prayers for dear Leslie and all of my Sisters here, Sandra Lee

    • Sandra Lee on April 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Sorry for the error in my previous post: NOT going there again.

      • Free on May 2, 2017 at 11:58 pm

        How can you get away from this man?

  9. Kaydee on April 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    I have been quietly reading this blog and comments for over 3 months. My husband and I separated in January, after 20some years of marriage that included physical, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse. We have been to counseling 6 different times over the years, with no changes. We spoke last weekend, and he begged me to give him another chance. In a moment of weakness, and especially loneliness and worrying for my kids, I said we could. He moved things home from the apartment where he was living, and now I fear I’ve made a huge mistake. I care about him as a person, and as the father of my four children, but I really don’t enjoy being around him. Im afraid that I’m operating out of fear – fear of the future, financial fear, fear of wrecking my kids. I also struggle with depression and have been a wreck since he came home. I would appreciate your prayers and any advice you can give me.

    • Nancy on April 20, 2017 at 6:38 am

      Hi Kaydee,

      I’m so sorry for your situation. Are you in counselling? Do you have a support group of some kind? These things are so important to help you strengthen CORE and begin functioning out of love and strength.

      I lift Kaydee up to you Father. Strengthen her, Lord. Enable her to feel Your tangible presence. Shine Your light on her path just ahead. Show her the next step Lord. Father, I pray for Godly support and counsel for her. Grant her clarity, discernment, wisdom and Peace Lord. In Jesus precious and Holy name, I pray. Amen.

    • Aly on April 20, 2017 at 9:42 am


      I’m so sorry for what you have come to understand better and what you are facing currently. I’m so sorry for the dynamic and the difficulty in knowing what to do when.
      I was not sure what 6 times of counseling meant? 6 times or 6 different counselors?
      ~I do think with abusive mindsets ~it takes a lot of counseling (consistent counselor) and added interventions until things can possibly begin to get healthier. It really can depend more on how deeply rooted the individuals beliefs are.

      I do think Nancy already asked what I would have, so I won’t repeat.
      But I agree it’s essential to the process regardless if your marriage gets rebuilt.

      I do hope others chime in here…

      You wrote:
      “Im afraid that I’m operating out of fear – fear of the future, financial fear, fear of wrecking my kids. I also struggle with depression and have been a wreck since he came home.”

      I think it’s really a blessing that you are seeing something or choices in yourself that could be a root to how your are functioning especially when you begin to make stronger choices or come into contact with your spouse.
      To me there is more destructiveness if a person can’t or won’t see their fear choices and how they are contributing to the dynamic.

      You are quite introspective and that will serve you well in your journey;) regardless of the outcome of the journey but it will benefit you.

      I also was to encourage you that it’s ok to make a mistake, make a choice that you can step back and say maybe this isn’t the best decision and what can I do today to make a different one.

      I do want to mention that in these dynamics it is often the hope that the abuser will change, they actually believe on some level they can. But I don’t see where you listed down non-negotiables or requirements for him to be able to move back in?

      Him getting the relationship technically back before doing the hard heart change and going through the difficult process of ‘character growth’ could set you both up for more chaos and disappointment.
      But I want you to know it’s ok to change your mind or develop a new plan.
      Do you have a counselor that can work with you?
      Individually? And possibly together in the future?

      Kaydee, most importantly you are not alone here and many support loving women are here to encourage and strengthen as vessels of God’s plan. I want you to also know it’s ok to be scared or have fear, I think many of us can relate. There is not shame in those feelings. But God does want to write His love and His strength in your heart. He does want to give you the courage for your next steps.

    • Free on May 3, 2017 at 12:05 am

      Kaydee, we had over 30 years of counseling and nothing ever changed. My husband became very astute at feeding back psychological terms and has a well practices fake repentance, victims persona fueled by years of counseling. Save yourself the time and money. If he hasn’t changed with six counselors, he is not going to change with six more.

      A lawyer I consulted was so blunt with me. I told her my husband was abusive and that this was the second time I had to take out a restraining order against him. I was interested in legal advice about post nuptial agreements and marital separation. She said why don’t you get divorced? I said I was not ready for that. She said, ‘What are you waiting for a third restraining order?” Ouch…the truth hurt.

      • Free on May 3, 2017 at 12:09 am

        a well practiced fake repentance and a victim persona

    • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 10:02 am

      I can relate to this somewhat. DSS was called into our lives right before Thanksgiving last year, and my h was asked to leave our home, it was more of an ultimatum. Either he leaves, the kids and I leave, so he left. I know I care about him and his welfare, but even after 3 weeks, I was not ready for his return. Long story short, I had to go through a 12 week class costing me income for those days, the two older kids are in counseling, and he was suppose to go to a group counseling 1 day a week for 6 months. Once you miss 4 sessions, you are kicked out. He travels a lot for his work, so he missed his 4. Since then the case has been closed after making sure I had proof of me attending the classes and my kids are in counseling. But what about my h? They didn’t check him. He got off, and the whole mess was because my kids didn’t feel safe with him at home. So me and my kids pay. And things haven’t changed to the point they should. I can’t relax when he’s gone, only when he’s out of town. Therefore, I, too, don’t really enjoy, either. My two older kids still don’t feel comfortable and sometimes safe with him around.

  10. HopeInHim on April 19, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    My husband & I have gone to counseling and came to understandings and agreements with that help. That gave me such hope and motivation that we can continue to work things out using the tools we learned.
    Well not even a year later, he has renounced all that we learned – that he doesn’t need those tools and they don’t work. This crushed my hope of working with him on family issues. What he decides rules, with or without my input.
    I’m now just working on strengthening my core. And trying to learn how to live with him being like this.
    Recent decisions he has made has had big impact on one of our young adult kids. She had opportunity to live st home & save $ then move into her own place with some financial security. Well he encouraged her to get an apt and buy car right out of school, she now struggling to make rent etc.
    I’m so upset because it did not need to be like this. It’s difficult to see her struggling when could have been avoided.
    Sometimes I don’t see how I can live with this crazy anymore. But I have so many painful things in my life that I don’t think I can bear a dissolving marriage too. I have seen his mean side and don’t want to go thru it. It feels like the ultimate pain, and I’ve been thru a lot of pain.

    • Free on May 3, 2017 at 12:15 am

      The tools didn’t work for him to get what HE wanted. The brief use of “tools” was to get you more compliant and off his back. He had no intention of keeping it up. These men are incredibly selfish.I imagine you hoped he had your daughter’s best interest at heart. Yet his decision revealed his true entitled, flawed thinking. It’s all about HIM, no other opinion has any value. In fact, an opinion is considered a threat.

  11. Many years on April 20, 2017 at 12:42 am

    I have come to the conclusion that if your husband has never been on the same page as you are, which should include his owning up to your needs, and for your spiritual life, especially if he has narcissist tendencies, that you are barking up the wrong tree, so to speak, when you ask him to change. He is already pretty much set in his ways. I know that hurts to say it, but it is true.

    The only thing that is going to change your husband is for him to realize his need of the Savior, as he has not yet comprehended the concept of repentance and change. He can’t comprehend it as it is spiritually discerned, as the human heart cannot even relate to the NEW MAN in Christ; as it can only happen with repentance of the heart, and then the transforming power of the Holy Spirit creates that NEW, inward, cleansed heart.

    On the other hand, you, as the wife, already have the Well Spring of Life, which is Jesus and the Word of God, and also the guidance of the Holy Spirit which you do have as a believer, whereas, your husband is still out in left field somewhere, doing his own thing, because that is all he knows to do;sometimes he asks your opinion, but then he goes ahead and does things ‘his’ own way.

    I have seen this happen over and over again in my marriage for years. No amount of talking is going to convince them/the husband that there is anything wrong with the marriage at all. I know my husband would not go to a secular councilor if I asked him too. It would go against his own human perfection.

    At this point in time, I am looking after myself spiritually, and building myself up, as Leslie calls it the CORE, as I have been on site after site, to shore myself up in the Word of God, and I have just encountered the fact that my husband needs to accept the Lord first in order for him to ever change.

    At this point, I have been faithful in rebuking the darkness that has existed in our marriage, which someone called it ‘the years the locust have eaten’ which those years ate away at the very fabric of my faith, even though I knew the Lord was with me. I had to PROVE what was wrong, and then I had to assert myself and begin to stand up for myself in the confidence the Lord gave me.

    So, my husband is accountable as I have again, reiterated to him, where I had been emotionally abandoned by him at times, with him being clueless to a woman’s feelings and emotions. Many men are clueless, whether they are saved or not. This and the fact that God is still pursuing my husband’s heart, through the Holy Spirit.

    All I can do is continue to pray for my husband’s salvation, as at this point in time, I have seriously done all that I can, as I am not accountable for my husband’s own decisions. And I am looking forward to Leslie’s live FB agenda on Thursday at 7 p.m. EST.

    My heart goes out to all who access this site, as we are attempting to put the puzzle pieces together in order to have more fulfilling lives for our Lord, and also to protect those who are under our own personal care, to keep them from the evil. Praying always for God’s mercies, as they are new every morning.

    • SunRiseIsland on April 24, 2017 at 6:26 am

      Thank you “Many years”…as well as many other ladies on this forum who comment & also share in my pain of being in a destructive marriage and having an unrepentant husband (shows no remorse nor takes ownership for the detrimental pain he has caused me). It has taken me quite a bit of time to come to terms with the crazy making and to accept that my husband has become controlling and abusive to me, the mask has come off. The crazy making, blame-shifting, rage, anger, lies, affairs, denying my reality, the silent treatment & absence or refusal of any spiritual foundation all lead me directly to research character & personality disorders (he’s textbook NPD) its a vicious cycle of 12 & 6 o’clock. Thank you Leslie Vernick for sharing that insight during ur FB live (especially the Jekyll & Hyde part)

      I have separated but continue being sucked back in each time he shows signs of good behavior. After many attempts & counseling there really is no change, just me holding on to desperate hope for change in him to repair our marriage. Its time for me to accept him for “who he is showing me now” & not “who he pretended to be” and make some big girl decisions and realize he will play this game for as long as I allow it – all is well for him and hell for me 🙁

      • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 10:13 am

        Jekyll & Hyde…those two keep coming up in my mind when the bad thing happens. Is there treatment for that? Could there really be a medical diagnosis?

        • Aly on May 3, 2017 at 10:41 am

          Yes and yes!
          Are you in counseling? Do you have other support around you with what is going on..?

          Many years ago in counseling I discovered a false belief I had about forgiveness (formed in my own childhood)
          That if I forgave .. then the behavior would stop.
          Just not true for most cases even mild ones in my opinion.

          It’s prob best that you stay separated until more can be revealed at a professional level.. especially since your own children are scared.. that’s a pretty severe area. This could take a long time and it could mean that it can’t get repaired.

          Some men truly do get stuck in pre-adolescent or early developmental stages and are walking around in grown men bodies.

          The behavior will always be the indication of reality over what they say.

          My h has been in a long term path of professional help … basically (being reparented)
          Although this doesn’t happen without full repentance and the continued acknowledgement of abusive tactics that destroyed a marriage.
          Not my job to repair (h only)
          but my job is to not allow any self deception to enter for my own emotional safety and children’s overall well being and character growth themselves.

          • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 11:13 am

            The behavior will always be the indication of reality over what they say…

            That’s an interesting idea. I suppose that’s why I can’t just get past it like he wants.

            And, we are not separated. It has come close, but we are still in the same household. I take my older two with me wherever I go and wherever they need to be.

        • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

          And you know what really makes me feel bad and somewhat ashamed, I’m here talking and sharing, but at the moment my h is being nice. Sure he’s out of town and more times than not he is nice when he’s out of town. But I can’t really participate in these kinds of discussions when he’s home. He just texted me and wished me an early Mother’s Day. He ordered me a present last night!

          • Aly on May 3, 2017 at 3:39 pm


            My heart goes out to you;) I hope you stay connected and get the outside support you need for your own healing.
            I get you when you write:
            “And you know what really makes me feel bad and somewhat ashamed, I’m here talking and sharing, but at the moment my h is being nice.”

            This shame is what keeps the cycle from going.. on and on plus it’s not healthy shame or guilt, it is false.
            Why should you feel bad for getting perspective and outside influence and speaking truth to your situation and dynamics?

            Be honest and confident in this area as a healthy place to be working on your part~ Only if it’s safe to do so!

            You wrote;
            ” Sure he’s out of town and more times than not he is nice when he’s out of town.”
            Ofcourse he is.. his mood will change by the wind..
            the only thing that sounds consistent is the cycle.
            He gets further away (physically speaking) and he is using that to make you second quessing yourself?
            Just recently Leslie has a an article on Second guessing and how that pulls us back into the crazy making.
            I’m my opinion when they get all nice and buy gifts is because this has probably worked in the past with avoiding responsibility to their behavior. In other words .. they are saying in their behavior here is a gift for my bad behavior but I have no intentions on doing any character work so I can stop this nonsense!
            Has it worked in the past to buy you something and then things kinda dissolve.. you feel seen and thought of and he goes on about his pattern?

            You wrote:
            “But I can’t really participate in these kinds of discussions when he’s home.”
            Can you expand if you feel you can? Do you have freedom when he’s home.. ?

            What might it feel like for you to be (you) and free to grow in the ways that will nurture your heart?

          • Michelle on May 4, 2017 at 8:50 am

            I suppose in the past the buying gifts may have worked for a time. Then, it was called a ‘peace offering’. Also back then, it may have worked because I didn’t realize what was going on. I have sense learned the pattern. These ‘peace offerings’ did not apologize nor resolve anything. It was more of a sweeping under the rug just to rear it’s ugly head later. One time, he even through the ‘peace offering’ across the coffee table towards me and told me to throw them away for all he cared. At this point, I would like to throw that dress away. Every time I look at it, all I think about is the ‘throw’. And yes, he seems to just go on about his pattern, even though he’s ‘trying’. And sometimes I do see him trying somewhat. But like you said, the only consistency is the cycle, or like I usually call it, the only consistency is his inconsistency. It’s the only thing we can count on.
            I can’t get caught having these kinds of discussions when he is home. He can go (and has) onto the phone account and see my texts and emails. The account is in his name, not mine. So, I do try to keep my email cleaned up and certain pages deleted from my home page on my computer.
            I do have a certain amount of freedom when he is home, I guess. I try to enforce it. It does cause problems at times. Luckily I can blame the kids’ schedules sometimes.
            You asked, “What might it feel like for you to be (you) and free to grow in the ways that will nurture your heart?” You know, I’m not sure. When he’s out of town, I do dream a lot. ‘Castles in the sky’. The atmosphere is lighter for all of us. I am totally myself, and sometimes I think how if he were here it just might make him crazy to watch. The kids and I are so busy. He can’t keep up. Anyway, what it might be like to be me, who God meant for me to be, even when my h is in town, is home,…I’m not sure. It’s been so long. And the longer time goes, the further away I get, and somehow the more affectionate he gets towards me, unless he’s mad. Then the crazy comes out and is really confusing and crazy. And all that just feeds my inability to trust him. It’s just a real mess. And my two older children, teenagers, struggling in ways they shouldn’t have to. Emotionally and mentally. They are in counseling.

          • Aly on May 4, 2017 at 10:42 am


            So can understand the confusion based on my own destructive marriage cycle. I’ll share some of my journey out and what critical components (orchestrated by God~ but required my participation) lead to freedom not just for myself but for our children.

            Our cycle started slowly in courtship (more ofvthe pursuer/distancer dynamic) and continued to become entrenched.. but also predictable in ways.
            Yes! You are So correct that the inconsistency is what is consistent!
            I believe this to be about your h (self talk) .. what I mean is that what he tells himself in his thinking.. is on a superhighway .. and eventually the other persona erupts. People on the outside have no idea how the negative self talk is impacting and bonding your h.
            Just my opinion.. but unless they begin speaking outloud what they think, what they fear.. and how they reason.. it’s hard to see the irrational beliefs that continue to reinforce the cycle.

            The reactive behavior (controlling) is a strong indicator of what is not being dealt with from within. As well as the unresolved conflicts over and over..
            I bet he extremely resents being challenged or questioned..? Just a guess..

            I’m so very sorry it does sound like you are very fearful should he discover your true feelings about what takes place in your dynamic.
            Are you also in counseling with your children?
            I wonder how you found Leslie’s website..;)
            There are a lot of amazing women that understand here~ your not alone.

            Are you aware of the Webinar tomorrow that Leslie V is doing?
            Also, do you feel in danger by your h?

            There are places that will offer private counseling usually for donation if necessary.

            My h traveled a lot too for his job and those where opportunities for me to better equip myself with what I was dealing with and get the support I would need to not go through ‘this alone’.

            One thing that really helped me too was to be around other mom/wives etc that were having a much healthier marital experience than I was.. not that I was comparing but there some areas that became clear when I saw what it ‘really looked’ like behaviorally for a spouse to Honor, Respect, Cherish and Consider his wife an equal partner in all things around the marriage and mostly having a husband that would put Christ as the center.
            A husband that can’t put Christ at the center.. behaviorally its usually because he himself is still at the center ~
            This becomes a fierce wall and takes (a lot of prof intervention)

            My prayers are for you and your family. I hope any of us here can assist in caring for your heart the way you need💖

    • Free on May 3, 2017 at 12:27 am

      The problem I have with the discussion that these men “need the Savior” is that many already claim to have him. They believe they are walking in the Lord and often behave like pseudo Christians. They believe the nonsense that comes out of their mouths. Remember their reputation is of utmost importance to them, far more important than anything you could ever say or do. Your voice is an annoying him. He is just so very, very special in his own eyes. Of course Jesus, died for him and he is now blameless. In his mind, everyone else has the problem.

  12. Sol on April 20, 2017 at 1:03 am

    My marriage really doesn’t need repairing as much as it needs to be completely rebuilt. I desire communication, teamwork, support, and overall for him to be my friend. Me and my husband have never had those things and I believe we will never be able to. He tries to change but not in a meaningful way. For example- he will be nice to me by buying me things and being affectionate. However, I do not even want him to get close to me. I feel like there is a wall between us and I cant break it dowm. I do not know if this means that it’s time to let go and get divorce but I feel empty with. Is it bad to say that I think I don’t want to fix things? There is a lot of fear and anxiety surrounding the thoughts of leaving though since I got married when I was 16 and have been married to him for almost 20 years. He’s all I know but he has emotionally abused me throughout our time together….I just didn’t know it was abuse until recently.

    • Aly on April 20, 2017 at 11:10 am

      I’m so very sorry for what you are experiencing.
      I would think that many can relate to your emotions and how you are feeling about the marriage.
      I would agree with you that in abusive dynamics they do (and should) go through a tearing down and rebuilding process for it to be considered a healthy growing marriage of (teamwork).

      Just as a house undergoes inspection, the foundation is inspected for approval before any lumber can construct.
      If the foundation is not solid and done accurately, it will effect every next step of the process.

      Yes it’s a painful process to go through and your feelings of not wanting to fix it I think are rather common especially as you have such a history of realizing what ‘has been taking place against your sanity’

      This is traumatic and I wonder if you have a counselor you are working with?
      Is your h a professing Christian that’s wants to face the realities of your marriage as it is? Does he want to be the main rebuilder since he has been the ‘taker’ of sorts?

      Do you have additional supportive women or a support group to help you as you gain strength in making decisions?

      Sending prayers and hugs for your heart, I can relate to the dead feelings of wanting to cut my losses. I’m sorry for that, but I do know that the Lord will guide you;)

      • Free on May 3, 2017 at 12:32 am

        Rebuilding a difficult marriage is possible. Rebuilding a destructive marriage is impossible. You are in a destructive marriage. It is great that you are on this site trying to learn more about abusive relationships. It takes time for the magnitude of the problem to fully reveal itself and then even more time for us to figure out what we want to do about that problem. Remember it is your life and you live in a free country with many resources, no one should have to live with abuse, including you.

        • Nancy on May 3, 2017 at 7:01 am

          I’d put it this way. A destructive marriage has already done- and will continue to do- destruction.

          There IS a possibility of the couple building a new healthy relationship. But ONLY if that destructive relationship is allowed to die. And then ONLY if there is repentance on the part of the abuser. And then ONLY if there is willingness to start from scratch on both parts. ( and all of this takes LOTS of intervention and leaning into God).

          It may be the same two people in a relationship after all this, but it is a NEW marriage.

      • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

        I totally understand all of this as well. I just need time alone. Away. I just want to raise my children and salvage what stability is left for them. I don’t even want to think of the man. He can take care of himself.

        • Aly on May 3, 2017 at 11:23 am


          I totally understand where you are and getting space is critical given the dynamic.
          I want to encourage you though to also do your work so you can take back what was taken and you can restore areas of your heart that might be vulnerable to another similar relationship.. not saying a romantic one but just any kind for that matter.
          Counseling and a support system can really assist in bringing truth and healing that your heart will need especially as you parent your precious children and help them walk into healthy relationship patterns.
          Prayers for your decisions 💕
          and most importantly stay safe and sane

          • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 11:59 am

            Thank you. I really appreciate your words.

  13. Steve R on April 20, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    I’m sorry I just cant let this chick post her question and the response is really one sided. Nowhere do I see the questioner even address that HER behavior has improved. Oh we all go to counseling but if the behavior doesn’t change toward him how is he even going to have any confidence in the process if he is skeptical? But we all feel like WE are so much better when we are “working the program” but most often the behavior doesn’t reflect it.

    Second, when you have a mindset that divorce IS an option then most often one does NOT put in a true effort because there is always an escape clause or plan B, so many women of this mentality will do the bare minimum for a week and then give up.

    Leslie, your advice is inconsistent. Nowhere did you start with confirming that SHE ‘may’ have a log in her own eye while seeing the spec in her husbands eye. You just dug right in and slammed his nuts in the drawer. Very one sided. It is no wonder MEN wont go to counseling.

    I speak from experience. I went- and all I received was a scolding like I was some 6 year old child and I was ALL wrong and my wife was a saint with a few minor problems.
    WOW! I totally get why among the men’s community may reject any type of counseling. Feminism has definitely infiltrated the psychology of today where there is not “it takes two to tango” but the MAN is the sole source of the marital issue. God forbid a guy should be respected in his own home. But let’s not address that because that wouldn’t be politically correct as though the PC mentality has IMPROVED marital relations over the past 50 years.

    • Connie on April 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      You say, “Second, when you have a mindset that divorce IS an option then most often one does NOT put in a true effort because there is always an escape clause or plan B”

      Actually, the opposite is true. Many men I’ve known have a mindset that divorce is not an option, and so they put little effort into the relationship because they believe she has to stay no matter what. I’ve heard a man say to another, “Ha! She’s a Christian and doesn’t believe in divorce, so I can do what I want, hehe.” Their women have almost killed themselves trying to make it work and when they finally set an either/or boundary, he claims she isn’t trying.

      • Remedy on April 24, 2017 at 3:18 pm

        Amen here Connie!!

    • Aly on April 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Steve R.

      I just want to express that I don’t know your situation or what you have been through. I’m sorry if you are going through a difficult time with your marriage or if your marriage is dissolving.

      Many things that you wrote I resonate with because of the mindset and points you bring to the table.. by resonate I don’t mean agree infact they cause me to reflect and are so very familiar to my past destructive marriage. I’m thanking the Lord for His repairing work in my marriage and that my husband is free from that bondage type of reasoning.

      Steve R. Your comments sound like you are in fear and pain, maybe I’m wrong but I’m praying for your heart that maybe it’s willing to hear another perspective.. to want to learn and want to see more of what’s going on in many of these destructive dynamics/marriages. I’m asking with respect that you be open to seeing another point of view?

      You wrote:
      “Oh we all go to counseling but if the behavior doesn’t change toward him how is he even going to have any confidence in the process if he is skeptical?”

      So are you saying that the behavior in her needs to be the’ initial change’? And if so why is this placed on her shoulders?
      And why should he have an attitude that it’s ok for only him to be skeptical or more so that his behaviorchange needs to be dependent upon her changing?
      Two individuals are responsible for they’re own response!

      You wrote:
      “But we all feel like WE are so much better when we are “working the program” but most often the behavior doesn’t reflect it.”

      I agree with you here that the real behavior heart change would reflect it for it to be authentic.. and I do believe for some individuals it takes a lot of counseling before they see their own self talk and analysis of themselves.

      You wrote;
      “Second, when you have a mindset that divorce IS an option then most often one does NOT put in a true effort because there is always an escape clause or plan B, so many women of this mentality will do the bare minimum for a week and then give up.”

      Wow, I don’t think many people look at divorce being an option when they marry. Maybe some do. But I think we may be talking about 2 issues here, there is a difference with divorce and healthy boundaries.
      Also I do think that the mindset to think divorce is not an option … can be just as destructive to one person taking the other for granted and not following through on their covenant vows.
      They may have a marriage on paper, but the covenant is broken and the relationship is destructive ~ it must be rebuilt in order to thrive, some can and some don’t rebuild.
      Marriage takes a lot of work! A lot of work! And there can be a lot of rewards when both parties are working at a union under God’s purpose for marriage in the first place.

      You wrote:
      “You just dug right in and slammed his nuts in the drawer. Very one sided. It is no wonder MEN wont go to counseling.”

      I’m sad for you and why you feel the need to express yourself this way.
      Your comments sound very much like a narrow generalized place or a mindset of justifying.

      I do feel that many (not all) ‘unteachable individuals’ or unwilling people tend to run away from good healthy biblical counseling to justify not facing pain.
      It’s common that the ones seeking out help first are the ones suffering the most in the marriage and the other partner is quite satisfied or comfortable with the dynamic of the marriage.
      Usually because they are getting their needs met.

      You wrote:
      “I speak from experience. I went- and all I received was a scolding like I was some 6 year old child and I was ALL wrong and my wife was a saint with a few minor problems.
      WOW! I totally get why among the men’s community may reject any type of counseling.”

      I’m sorry that you had a difficult experience, I wonder how long you stayed in the process?
      You do sound a bit reactive and seeing yourself through a (US vs Them) Place?

      You wrote:
      “Feminism has definitely infiltrated the psychology of today where there is not “it takes two to tango” but the MAN is the sole source of the marital issue.”

      I don’t think I agree with you here, I do think that the research and statistics show the wide emotional and spiritual immaturity rising in men though and reinforcing to other men these beliefs and immature mindsets.
      I do think biblically speaking the husband has the greater responsibility to be to protector of the marriage and this would include the health and thriving of the marriage as God designed.

      Praying for your heart and that you will find the support and wisdom needed for healing.
      Blessing to you;)

  14. Steve R on April 20, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I know I need to start by strengthening my core and replying in a loving manner while setting boundaries and that’s what I plan on doing in the time being until I can figure out if I can get out of this marriage.

    “until I can figure out if I can get out of this marriage…” I as a man find this so inspiring. I’ll bet her efforts aren’t worth squat if that is her endgame plan.

    Makes me just wanna run to therapy right now knowing how committed she is to the marriage….

    • Ann L. on April 20, 2017 at 6:36 pm


      There is a lot of helpful information here and I can see how it might be hard to digest because it is all presented from the perspective of one gender. May I suggest that you try reading it by reversing the he’s and she’s?

      Also, I disagree with you on the matter of divorce as an option. The fact that divorce is always an option makes a commitment to work on a marriage a lot more meaningful, imo.

      Husbands and wives don’t owe each other anything more than agrees to provide. Some people believe that their religious belief determines what is owed to a marriage. But if two people are bound together because of an external sense of obligation, it’s not gonna hold much strength under stress.

      Again, my opinion only, but seriously, if a couple can’t figure out how to get along, or aren’t able/willing to seriously consider the other’s view point, what’s the point in denying them a divorce?

      Yes, I realize that this stance gets torn apart, condemned by True Believers, and maybe you’re one of them. If you are, you’re welcome to pray for me. I wish you grace and peace either way.

      • Steve R on April 21, 2017 at 10:09 am

        I actually do read it both ways as unlike most men who see relationships one way only I realize it takes two to build a marriage and MOST often two to tear it down.
        I didn’t appreciate the True Believes line, seemed a little snarky but in defense of your statement a TB is one who accepts scripture as written and within contexts and WHETEHR THEY LIKE IT OR NOT they follow it. As painful as it is to say much less DO but here is where the rubber meets the road – James 1:22. Be doers…. I cannot find in scripture where it is acceptable to pick and choose what you will or wont do. It is a b***h I know, I struggle daily with that phrase “Be a doer”
        And I will stop now, but be confident that once I hit send I will take time and pray for you, and us. That our hearts will be sensitive to the Spirits leadings and that our hardness of heart will soften to “DO” what is right within our own marriages because that is what we are called to do for HIS glory. It is NOT about us.

      • Steve R on April 21, 2017 at 10:25 am

        Husbands and wives don’t owe each other anything more than agrees to provide. Some people believe that their religious belief determines what is owed to a marriage. But if two people are bound together because of an external sense of obligation, it’s not gonna hold much strength under stress.

        Actually wanted to address this in my response and forgot. “agrees to provide” makes the marriage a flexing and vacillating contract. Where is the commitment in that? SO 5 years into the marriage one says I’m not wanting sex anymore and there is no agreement how is that resolved in light of the “agreement”?
        As far as a sense of obligation to the marriage?? What is the pledge of “To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer for poorer, so long as we both shall live?
        We all are SELFISH people. When we say I do we take on the obligation but we usually only mean for better, health and richer.
        Again the True Believer accepts the worse, sickness and the poorer by faith that God works ALL things together for His glory if we will set aside our selfish prides. Men AND women.

        • Aly on April 21, 2017 at 11:44 am

          Steve L.
          Hmm… I think you forgot to mention the love, honor, cherish and the ‘forsaking all others’.

  15. Lost on April 20, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    My husband just picked up our kids. He asked me why I took him off our security monitoring system. I told him I didn’t feel comfortable with him having access to it since he didn’t live here. He thought it was ridiculous since he paid for it and he needs to keep his family safe. I asked him how having access keeps us safe and he didn’t really have an answer. He finally asked me a question I’ve been avoiding for a while and it was if I think there can be reconciliation. I told him no. He started a huge dialogue on what if Christ did that to us and how I will be held accountable one day when I die. He made it clear I’ve done things and I said then leave me if it is that bad! He said he forgave me and wouldn’t do that and that’s exactly what I should do too. My heart is so heavy right now. He said I was so short sighted. That I’m not looking at the big picture and our kids…. but I have. I have played it out in my head for so long now. He’s been gone for over 3 months and I’ve had more peace than ever before. It has been so refreshing to have a toxic person be removed. The thought of him moving back in makes me ill…but then I hear what will Christ think and how Christ wouldn’t do that to me as well as my judgment when I die. If anyone can help encourage me in this I would be so grateful. I know marriage is a covenant and divorce is awful, but to go back to living with that man after all he has done to me is so hard to even contemplate, it truly makes me ill. Please help me.

    • Nancy on April 20, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Hey Lost,

      I’m so sorry for what you are feeling and the guilt your h seems to have dumped on you.
      Have you watched Patrick Doyle’s video ( on YouTube) on reconciliation? He talks about how reconciliation is always up to the offender. If your h is abusive then reconciliation will be on his shoulders, not yours. That video might clear up some things for you.

      My prayers are with you, Lost. Keep leaning on The Lord. He will guide you through.

      • Lost on April 21, 2017 at 9:09 am

        Yes, my husband has been abusive. He will say he’s sorry but his actions don’t show he is sorry and I’ve heard what he’s told others and it’s not a repentant person. The biggest struggle I have is that even if he were truly repentant, I don’t see how I could allow myself to ever let him back in. The abuse he has done has harmed me in so many ways. As bad as it sounds, aside from co parenting, I don’t want anything to do with him. I want us to co parent and be “friends” but the thought of a marital relationship with him gives me so much anxiety.

        • Maria on April 21, 2017 at 5:30 pm


          As long as your husband has not repented of his abusive behavior, things will be the same as before if you get back with him. Here one of Leslie’s articles that explains what to look for when a person claims they’ve changed.

          A person who is truly repentant will focus on his/her wrong and not pressure the other to take him/her back. His actions should be what persuades you to consider getting back with him.

          I would encourage you to pay attention to your anxious feelings. What is the reason for them? Could it be you’re afraid that if you get back with him, tha abuse will start again? If he hasn’t repented, that is more than likely what will happen. It’s not your actions that caused the separation, it’s your husband’s abuse. Instead of taking responsibility for his behavior, he is trying to pin the consequences of his actions on you.
          When we sin and don’t repent, there is a barrier between us Christ and us. He does not ignore our sin. It is only when we repent that we are reconciled with Him. This applies to your relationship with Christ.
          I can relate to you not wanting to have a relationship with your husband (even if he were to repent). I thought about what it would take to repair my marriage for half a second or so and then didn’t give it any more of my energy. I am married to a very selfish man who doesn’t think anything is his fault. I have accepted that he will most likely never change. I want to live in the real world and not in a fantasy world wishing he will change, when his actions everyday say something else.

        • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 10:29 am

          I get it. It does sound awful. Truth does sometimes.

    • ContentinChrist on April 20, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Lost, I pray God will give you wisdom and peace. I know during those times I start to feel confused again, it doesn’t seem long before God is reminding me again of the pain and emotional abuse that I underwent. Many times, He shows me a new memory during those times of confusion, almost to say, “No, honey, you are alright, what you’re feeling is valid and here’s one more thing to remind you.” Those times were really painful at first, but now I realize God is just keeping me strong to stay where I am.

      Don’t forget, God divorced Israel. 😉 Yes, divorce is awful, it is not the best, the ideal by any means….but I know for myself that in my separation of six months, I am free to be a better mother to my children and I’m not obsessed with trying to figure out my crazy relationship anymore. God divorced Israel for their hard-heartedness. It wasn’t what He wanted, but He refused to pretend, too. You are ok. Follow the peace. I know that when I am confused, my peace leaves and ironically, the confusion only comes when I start wondering if I should somehow try to make this work. I feel much more peace when I’ve emotionally let him go and am just walking forward on this road that God has me on. I believe that that inward and deep peace I have comes from God and, again, it is when I’ve accepted the reality of my marriage for what it is right now.

      I trust God will bring you back to that place of peace soon. 🙂

      • Aly on April 21, 2017 at 9:24 am


        Well written and I think many of your comments can point to the confusion of ‘trauma bonding’ that maybe Lost is experiencing at times?

        These messages take time to rewrite and process. In a trauma message there is that small place of ~ we just want to believe the best of this person and that they care deeply for injuring us emotionally ~ but the reality is that they don’t choose that capacity for themselves.

        The blessing in getting the reminder of validation of what was wrong and not repentant but repetitive can give us a glance of that reality and our journey toward where we are walking in peace.

        We are then freed up to be in such a more available place to others in our lives who benefit from our choices now.
        Thankful that the Lord is reminding and validating those thoughts for you;) they are strength building.

        • ContentinChrist on April 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm

          Yes, and also confusing is when your husband is still wanting to do nice things for you like install a new faucet for you and pop your hubcab on without being asked to. Him being nice and kind (he always has been with these kinds of outward actions) and wanting to strike up casual conversation at our kids’ sports games as if all is well (typical behavior from him — let’s pretend problems don’t exist and everybody can get along just fine) feels in a way like more emotional abuse.

          Aly, I enjoy your comments – you have a counselor’s heart, for sure. 🙂

          • Nancy on April 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm

            Hi ContentinChrist,

            My h has always relied on those same types of ‘surface niceties’, too. It was crazy making because he seemed like such a good guy, and I was just dying inside. I would’ve rather have had a black eye than try to identify what was actually going on. So. Confusing.

            In our case, after 9 months of separation, he decided to take responsibility and committed to the emotional work of being married. We are slowly…oh so slowly…peeling back the layers that have contributed to his ‘defend himself at any cost’ mindset. He too was dying inside. But let me highlight to anyone reading this that in order to get to this point, he had a choice to make. If he hadn’t chosen to do the emotional work, we’d either still be separated or on our way to divorce. I am no longer willing to live in a surface marriage.

            After 20 years of waiting for him to commit to me, I had to (with plenty of support) give him an ultimatum. Some people need tough love. God knows my permissive love wasn’t a reflection of Him.

            I am so proud to be a daughter of a King who does not stand for His children being treated as doormats! Our King has very high standards for His children.

            Now I am praying that my husband comes to a much deeper understanding / knowing of our Lord’s love for him too. I pray that our precious Father shed’s His Love and Light directly into the darkened places of my husband’s soul. That His love is ETCHED onto his heart ❤️

          • Aly on April 21, 2017 at 3:30 pm

            Wow, I can so relate to you.
            I do think that what you wrote is key about him making a choice.
            I do think that you offering an ultimatum was the beginning of posturing yourself with offering love… the kind of love that offers the highest good possible to the other.

            He still had to choose to receive it, as we all do in our relationship with the Lord ultimately.

            It can be scary for the task oriented ones (acts of service of sorts) to pause and decide to look inside~ the other ‘surface defense mechanisms’ have served them so well in avoiding the emotional development and work.

            Not saying acts of service is a bad thing here but when it’s misused it robs everyone short of the Glory of authentic connection and knowing one another better and growing in other places.

            And yes Nancy it’s extremely hard work but most certainly worth it.

            Nancy… I’ve checked a few times the other email account… not sure if you tried again.

          • Aly on April 21, 2017 at 4:18 pm


            Thank you for your nice comment, I’ll forward it on to our counselor;)

            I do feel like I can relate to those ‘niceities’ as you mentioned whether that be from a spouse, family member or aquaintence.

            And yes it can feel like emotions are being toyed with or coming off confusing because the real issue isn’t being addressed but one might feel more playcated of sorts.. it’s fake, false and counterfeit.

            I myself had a husband that would have done any acts of service in replacement of the better option ~ ‘saying that they are sorry or wrong for something’
            Or at least willing to problem solve;) and listen to the others perspective.

            But when dealing with these individuals.. some of them mean well, don’t get me wrong. But some of them will do anything to Avoid feeling bad, shame or uncomfortable .. and yet here we are again back at them using what helps them not have to feel~feelings.

            I’m sorry ContentinChrist I don’t want to come off as I know etc.. my one thought is that …
            Your husband could be trying to do what he knows~ Only what he knows… such as being a servant role to show his protection of sorts (not saying he should be doing this since you guys are separated) but I do think the game changer is he willing to learn other ways of problem solving and taking responsibility in owning behavior & growing?
            Many men struggle in wanting to grow emotionally because it feels so weak to them. Nor was is modeled well for them from their absent fathers.
            Wives want to feel cared for and understood we don’t just want to hear a lazy apathetic apology or have our oil changed as things are now all better.. they ‘are not’ especially if our husbands don’t value hearing how their behavior or attitude impacts us on an emotional and spiritual level!

            It’s not rocket science, but it’s men that are ‘willing to learn and work’ at something that they might be terrified of and many we’re taught to be terrified of this, and it’s sad because they ultimately still don’t get what their contribution to the dynamic is.
            Some men do chose to learn new skills to problem solve and be more other centered rather than self centered and usually they reap great things! One of the biggest challenges is fear and fear removing this option for them to grow and reap better outcomes all around, but most definitely the greatest outcome of a sweeter relationship with the Lord that is authentic and growing in intimacy.

            Blessings and prayers for your situation;)

          • Nancy on April 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm

            Hi Aly,

            I really like how you articulated ” the surface defense mechanisms have worked so well for them in avoiding the emotional development work”. So, so true. And also, “not saying that acts of service is a bad thing here but when it’s misused it robs everyone short of the Glory of authentic connection and knowing one another better and growing in other places.” Aly, this is so well said!

            That is EXACTLY what happened in our marriage. In repeated and obsessive attempts to connect with my husband I’d embark on hands-on projects ( renovation type stuff mostly) to connect with him. I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling empty. Also when he’d offer to do stuff ( especially stuff at the church- fix things etc,,,,) I’d get furious. Everyone would tell me what a wonderful husband I had and I’d be so confused by my feeling of overwhelming anger at those comments. In not holding him emotionally accountable I was allowing him to rob us of ‘authentic connection and growing in other places’.

            It’s such a relief to identify these things! Thank you❤️

            Yes, I tried the email…. It’s a gmail one, right?

          • ContentinChrist on April 22, 2017 at 6:16 pm

            Nancy, thank you for your understanding comments. I’m glad your husband seems to be making steps in the right direction. I can so relate to that desire that you want God’s love etched in his heart. My husband is so empty, he has been making comments for several years about needing to find happiness and about “not feeling like he has purpose in life”. Yet, he resists hearing the truth and is running from it.

            How did you treat your husband during those nine months? Did you let him do the nice things? I would love to hear more about the journey God has taken you on through this process. What has your communication been like with your husband? How has he acted (angry at you ever for initiating separation? Blaming, etc.?)

            As far as the nice things my husband wants to do, I’m kind of in that place — like hey, if he wants to save me money and do it for me, why not? At this point, I think it’s nice that he does it and I don’t really know what it means for him (easing his guilty conscience? Him trying to show he loves me? Doing it just to put on an act to make others think I really am crazy for asking for the separation? Who knows?), and that’s the confusing part for me, but in the end, it certainly doesn’t make me go “Oh, maybe I should not be taking this road I’m taking.”

            On a separate note, friends, I am hurting so much lately. Grief is not fun at all. It is so hard to think that this could be the end. Watching the pain on my kids’ faces. The deepest part of me knows that God is in control of every detail of this situation and that He has good plans for me, but wow. This is just so hard.

            Thanks for listening.

          • ContentinChrist on April 22, 2017 at 6:26 pm


            If you gave advice to someone in my situation about how to react to these nice gestures, what would it be? 🙂

            The other day, when my husband offered to install a new faucet (by text) and told me that he’d seen some marked down at Lowe’s, I simply responded “That’s nice, thanks. I’ll try to look soon.” I didn’t agree or not agree, wasn’t really sure if I wanted him to at that point. Actually, I was thinking…..I’d like to install it myself and learn!

            Anyway, I am asking God to show me ways to not burn bridges between us as I was very much reacting in anger to ANYTHING he said during those first few months of separation. Now, I have this feeling that I want to let God control my responses and do everything I can on my part. The thoughts I have are about blessing enemies and about God’s kindnesses leading us to repentance. That does not mean I think I need to reconcile without his repentance or anything like that, but I can also see that it would be hard for a man to come clean with his wife if her heart is hard and bitter towards him. If he sees softness and feels somewhat safe, maybe he will be willing.

            But, maybe I am putting too much pressure on myself. ?? I don’t think so. I just want to live clean before my Lord. I want to live in peace and not anger.

            I’m very rambly these days, it is hard to connect thoughts and take the time and energy to put together well-written and organized comments.

            So, thank you for wading through. 🙂

          • Aly on April 23, 2017 at 8:56 am


            I wanted to respond to your question Im not sure I understand it, I’m trying to remember …i will go back and reread posts. Or you can please refresh my memory.

            But I did want to say that I feel sad for what you are going through… very tough to be separated and trying to navigate something ‘relational’ with your spouse especially as you are dealing with a lot of grief. This is layered when the person shows up in the physical form on a regular basis.

            Grief and loss are really excruciating especially if you might be the one who did ‘the majority of the feeling’ in the relating? Not saying you did, just thinking it’s a possibility.
            Also your not rambling on in your posts at all … and it’s important to have a place to process what your going through.
            There are many women here who are so compassionate and kind because they understand the pain in ways of what your experiencing.
            Give space for your grief and for your healing regardless is your marriage gets rebuilt or not.

            Do you have a support system around you that can understand what’s going on?
            Counseling is very important too but the supportive people that truly can relate to a process are so impactful.

            You wrote;
            “The thoughts I have are about blessing enemies and about God’s kindnesses leading us to repentance. That does not mean I think I need to reconcile without his repentance or anything like that, but I can also see that it would be hard for a man to come clean with his wife if her heart is hard and bitter towards him. If he sees softness and feels somewhat safe, maybe he will be willing.”

            What might you mean by maybe he will be willing?

            I agree with you that it’s important to represent a heart that would align with God’s safeness and softness but I wonder if you are feeling you are being bitter or harsh because you have laid out boundaries?
            Also I don’t know your story, so I don’t want to act as I do, but I’m thinking that you must have realized destructive behavior and non repentance in order to separate?

            You also mentioned coming clean.. so I’m not sure if you mean having a clean heart overall or a posture of that toward God.. or if it’s more about having a husband that is not telling the truth about who he is?

            When it comes to someone lying or being duplicit… I think anger is going to be common especially if your someone who values truth and honesty.
            If your husband is guilty of lying ~ I’m assuming here… and won’t face up it’s painful because being lied to is abusive in my opinion in a marriage dynamic especially and continuing to lie (even about minor things) layers the offenses and creates more problems overall~ making trust and anytype of relational acquaintances hard to interact with.

            When someone lies to me.. if feels like they protect themselves over protecting the value of the relationship. Again you will see this behavior pattern of ‘superiority over other’
            in destructive people.

            That isn’t so say they can get help for this, some do and some choose not to see a problem.
            I’m wondering if you were able to catch Leslie’s last Facebook stream.. on thurs? It covered a lot of great affirming places.
            It’s avail to replay if you didn’t see it.

          • Nancy on April 23, 2017 at 3:55 pm

            Hi ContentinChrist,

            I’ll try to hi light some of f the important aspects of our separation and the journey The Lord took me on through that process.

            The Lord used a fight we had to show me how unhealthy my dependence on my h had become – I had made my h my saviour, and that day The Lord dethroned him in my heart. After that fight I identified the areas of our relationship that I felt safe discussing with him, then I commicated these to him. There were three areas: daily tasks, the kids, planning fun activities. Any other discussion was off limits.

            I went through another month or so, reading Leslie’s books and preparing to confront him. I confronted him in person and gave him a letter that re-iterated what I had said in person. I asked for things that Leslie recommends ( him to go to counselling, him to be accountable to me and others, etc…). Neither of us moved out of the house but our relationship changed drastically. I continued to not share my heart with him- only talked about those 3 safe topics.

            My h accepted it. He didn’t like it. He would try to push buttons, manipulate, be nice. But my heart was closed to him- not hardened, but off limits. As far as him helping, I decided to do a lot on my own. Saying no to his help seemed to clarify things for me. It was almost as though once I did more practical things, the unevenness of our relationship became more apparent- to me ( I’m not sure if he saw this) and I became clearer. Also I began feeling more competent. I don’t do things the way he does, but I get them done just the same. That helped to keep him off the pedestal in my mind and heart.

            I can so identify with your grief, Content. For me it was grieving the loss of him as idol, the loss of all the years pretending, the loss of familiarity…the list goes on and on.

            I clung to Christ, especially when my h would get angry and frustrated. I’d just turn up the worship music, raise my hands and worship God in the midst of the disapproval, anger etc… My kids didn’t understand what was going on and it didn’t matter. Better they see their mother turning to Christ rather than engaging in the drama. Looking back it seems weird, even to me, but it was good.

            As far as you questioning what motivates him to offer help to you…I would suggest you don’t focus on that. His motives are between he and The Lord. If his offer of help doesn’t feel right FOR YOU, then say, “no thanks” and leave it at that. If him helping you in whatever he is offering won’t damage or confuse you further, say “yes”. Stay focused on your own heart and listen to your insticts. For me, most of the time, accepting his help was damaging to me, during our separation. I’m not even sure why that was.

            I hope some of this helps ContentinChrist ❤️

          • ContentinChrist on April 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm

            Thank you, Nancy. Can relate to several things – the doing things and getting them done – even if they’re not his way. I’ve always felt inferior to my husband in “getting things done” and he has always had a way that says “his” way is right – it has been very hard to work past those feelings of inadequacy and “not good enough”. I feel like he judges me constantly, but in the last year or so, I started to just live authentically and didn’t let what he thought of me drive me to do things I wouldn’t normally do, if that makes sense.

            Singing and raising your hands and worshiping God. Wow. I did that several times. I think, looking back, it was just that the spiritual battle was so intense. One of the last days as we separated, I sang in my bathroom very loudly “No longer slaves to fear”. My husband was using all kinds of manipulation, guilt, blame and totally uncaring of my feelings and unwilling to listen to my heart. I just started seeing in my mind’s eye a mental image of Jesus and my husband kind of side by side….with me running with all of my strength towards Jesus and choosing Him. Looking back, I think those times of worshiping God probably really hurt my husband, but I don’t know what to think of them. It was my sanity during an extremely confusing time – I think the confusion the enemy threw at me went into high gear during those days trying to keep me living below the standard of what God was saying I could live in.

            Thanks for your advice about not trying to figure out his motivation in helping. I appreciate that, good advice there.

          • ContentinChrist on April 24, 2017 at 7:22 pm

            Yes, I did the majority of the feeling in our relating, definitely. The only feelings I ever heard from him mostly were when I brought something to him — then he would decide to tell me how much I hurt him, etc. He never told me on his own apart from when I would bring something to him that was hurting me even though I pointed that out to him more times than I could count in our marriage and he would apologize and say I was right….but nothing ever really changed in that regard.

            I do have a good support system, but it would be nice to communicate a little more with those who *really* understand. I do have a couple of friends who have kind of been there.

            What I mean by maybe he will be willing to repent is I guess I realize that if I’m hardened and bitter towards him, he is not going to really be drawn. I do think of God’s character quite often as it relates to how to walk this road. I feel God has given me the grace to start doing very small things to just bless him. But, I also realize how doing those things could very quickly get tangled up in my mind and heart — kind of “If I do everything just right, I can manipulate this situation and get the outcome I want.” I know that I have to surrender this outcome to God and I keep thinking I have and then keep realizing that I haven’t. It is soooo hard to really come to grips with the fact that this could be it. But, I just have to trust that God will heal me and even take me to a place where I don’t even really *want* to be with him if, in fact, the relationship will never be restored or healed.

            Uggghhh, I wish I could fast forward through this pain and grief. I’m really tired of crying. And, I’m only six months in. But, I feel like I’ve been living in marriage limbo land for so long, it seems like this road will never end.

            Yes, I definitely understand destructive marriage and non-repentance and that helped me separate. I read a lot of material and God led me to many things that gave me the courage to do what I did. For the most part, I really don’t question that move.

            It’s incredibly painful not to see my husband make necessary changes or even be trying to meet me to do so. If anything, he has just stayed his course and proven all that I already saw. He has never pursued me in our relationship – it has always been me who has pursued over and over and over, even before we were married. He broke a promise to me, a pretty big one while we were dating and looking back, that was a huge red flag. I ended up pursuing him through that.

            As far as coming clean, I think for me, I meant that I want to walk this road well that God has me on. I want to go to sleep knowing I wasn’t living in bitterness and anger and heaping shame on my husband. I know there’s nothing I can say that will wake him up. Only God can do it. I think the best thing I can do from my side is to show kindness to him. And, yes, somewhere deep inside, I guess I’m hoping that a wife who has taken the stand I’m taking but is not doing the angry bitter thing will help him feel safe enough to come clean with me. I totally believe there are things that have been hidden that he needs to confess to. This is something that I feel God has confirmed to me. The thing that really led to our separation was that God started revealing his lying problem. I had gotten to a place where I accepted I may never have an emotional connection with him, but I could not figure out how to stay with someone who lied to me so easily and then tried to blame me when I confronted him about his lies.

            Yes, he definitely lies to cover up. I have no idea what he’s covering up…..that’s the hard thing about lying, you start to think all kinds of crazy things and have no idea what you’re looking at when it comes right down to it. Lost trust is a very sad place to be in a marriage.

            I think I answered most of your questions, Aly.

            Thanks again for listening.

            I am really struggling with just not knowing what the future holds and frankly, I’m kind of telling God, “OK, if we’re done, can You just make that clear so I can start accepting it and moving on with life?” This place just feels so weird. Surrendering my marriage and yet hoping at the same time. I don’t know how to do it well. Maybe I’m missing something.

          • ContentinChrist on April 24, 2017 at 7:25 pm

            When I said my husband would not even meet me to do so (about making changes), I did not mean I am trying to get him to meet me to talk or anything like that. I meant that he is not even moving toward me to meet me in what I need and am asking for. Just wanted to clarify that I am not hounding him for change. 🙂

          • Nancy on April 25, 2017 at 7:05 am

            Hi ContentinChrist,

            The Lord gave me “no longer slaves” last year just before I confronted my h. That was my ‘go to’ worship song!

            I have often felt that my h was jealous of Jesus. I don’t think he’s realized this but it makes sense. I used to idolize him and now it all belongs to God.

            I want to support you here, ContentinChrist. It sounds as though you have grown in The Lord by leaps and bounds. I can hear the horrible pain of knowing you are walking with The Lord while not seeing your h make any changes that move him towards you. That is an excruciating place to be, and my heart is heavy for you.

            I’m assuming that your husband knows what you expect of him for him to begin building trust?

            There is so much of your story that resonates. The lying, the ‘being nice’ alongside the knowledge of his emptiness.

            Just know Content in Christ, that Christ pursues your heart every day. Christ desires emotional intimacy with you. I loved your imagery of running into Jesus’ arms. He is a husband who will never draw back. Hosea 2:14-20

            I will hold you and your husband in my prayers. 🌷

          • Sandra Lee on April 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm

            Dear Content: I SO relate to your grief regarding your h reluctance to repent and receive Jesus as Savior, as mine is the same. He continues to blame me for my past sins, but refuses to admit his own. Even though we attend church together, he simply goes through the motions and puts on the “nice guy” act there. However, he fails to mention any appreciation of the sermon or respond when I do. He likes gospel music on the radio, but changes the station when a sermon is aired. During my daily devotions he seems bored, nor does he read the Bible I gave him ages ago. I have continued to pray for his salvation throughout the early years of our marriage, however.
            The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart — these, O God, you will not despise.
            Psalm 51:17
            With my love & prayers for you, dear Sister,
            Sandra Lee

          • ContentinChrist on April 29, 2017 at 2:45 pm

            Thank you, Nancy and Sandra Lee, for your caring comments.

            Nancy, I have made it very clear just recently that for our marriage to work, we have to have complete honesty and a willingness to learn to be open to each other. His reply to that? “I’m sorry I couldn’t give you what you needed in our marriage.”

            Well, in some ways, that was mind-boggling (as if I’m the only one who might want that in a marriage — and how is it that we got into this marriage and we both didn’t know that was pretty much a pre-requisite) and yet, that simple “apology”, has really helped me to realize that it’s just true….he really can’t give that to me where he is right now. Nor will he be able to give that to anyone else. The more I keep that up in the front and center of my thinking, the easier it is to detach from him.

            As I am getting more detached, though, my sweet children are suffering. They have now had to transfer back and forth for the second week and **already** it is taking a toll on them. My middle child broke down crying last night (it’s the first time she has shown emotion since our separation but she still didn’t talk a lot). It breaks my heart. I just prayed over her and asked God to give her peace and speak to her heart in the way she needed. I told her again that she was safe sharing whatever she wanted to say to me.

            I totally understand now why women stay for the kids. I felt like I didn’t have that choice in my marriage because we always had this close-looking relationship until God started revealing his lying and the emotional abuse. My mind can’t fathom thinking of pretending and living with him until the kids are gone. I’m starting to feel a lot of mother’s guilt.

            Sandra Lee, I’m sorry for your struggle and heartache and that you can relate to me. 🙁

            I know there are many here who might disagree with me, but for me, something that really helps me be able to process this in a healthy way comes from knowing that my husband is totally blind and another part of that equation, for me, is realizing that it is ONLY because of God’s mercy that I have eyes to see and have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Those truths help me not judge my husband (most of the time, haha) and continue to pray for him (yet while separating from him to stay emotionally safe and sane).

            I have read your comments for the past several months. I hope that you are taking care of yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you, only what God does — so I hope that if you felt like you had to change your mind and separate again, that you would understand that you are free to do that. I hope and pray you don’t feel “locked” in to this choice.

            Know that God is ultimately your provider and *He* is the One who will ultimately take care of you – all the way to the very end of your age. He is not limited by what looks like a lack of resources or stable housing or income.

          • Aly on April 29, 2017 at 6:19 pm


            Wow can very much relate to your process and your decisions. I’m sorry for the heart-wrenching separation but sometimes it is the only sane thing to do for the overall long term road for all… in my opinion.
            Maybe some of you have heard the remark.. we pick our pain.. ‘our choose your pain’.

            I’m my situation detaching came at a place that did grant me the mercy to see ..
            do I have a marriage? Or do I really just have person who most definitely likes the perks of my commitment to the marriage where (he) can stay detached and uninvested (really).

            You wrote:
            “I know there are many here who might disagree with me, but for me, something that really helps me be able to process this in a healthy way comes from knowing that my husband is totally blind and another part of that equation, for me, is realizing that it is ONLY because of God’s mercy that I have eyes to see and have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. ”

            I agree with you too here and can understand where you are.
            My equation was a little different as God continued to show me that in my situation my h was not just blind but was actively ‘choosing’ to be blind.. that’s a whole other point of view and it certainly helped with my detaching and boundaries.
            Plus, it gave me the strength to set a course with knowing that our children deserved to have as healthy as a mother as I could be for their benefit.

            I know how painful it can be when our children are also suffering the immediate impact of separation.
            Both my husband and I were raised in very unequally yoked marriages which we paid a different price later on in life as well as our own children.

            Prayers for your strength and your heart as you allow these natural consequences to playout.

          • Nancy on April 29, 2017 at 3:44 pm

            Hi ContentinChrist,

            Your h’s response is telling for sure, and you are wise to keep that in the front of your mind.

            It must be excruciating to watch your kids suffer. I’m so sorry for that! I pray for His Peace on you and the children.

            I also pray for a complete upheaval in your h’s life and soul that will drive him toward Jesus.

          • JoAnn on April 29, 2017 at 4:19 pm

            So many of you have concerns about your children and the pain they are experiencing because of the divorce and/or abuse. I’d like to comment on that. My husband and I have been fostering a whole family, mother and three children, who had to leave an abusive situation. One of the first discussions we had with the children was to tell them that we would never, ever lie to them. We might not be able to tell them the whole truth, for their own well being (because of what their dad was involved in), but we would not lie. And they could always come to us with questions which we would try to answer as truthfully as possible. Another point we made with them was to assure them that we would do whatever necessary to keep them safe. We also made ourselves available to all of them, as “surrogate grandparents” and we have enjoyed this relationship now for nearly three years. Mostly, children just need to be heard. You can’t always fix their situation, but just listening with love and sympathy goes a long way. I have to say, by way of encouragement, that while they did go through some rough patches, they are all thriving now. They are seeing counselors, and the mother is a strong christian who has a very vital prayer life. Their ages range from 12-17. Mother/sisters, please do whatever it takes to act in the best interest of your children, if you don’t want another cycle of abuse to occur in the next generation. Forget your own doubts and fears and get away from your abuser to a safe place. The Lord will provide. May He grant you courage to do the right thing.

      • Michelle on May 3, 2017 at 10:33 am

        All the time I pray for peace and wisdom. Often I slip back into confusion. Sometimes I forget who I amor whose I really am.
        God divorced Israel? I hadn’t thought of that.

    • Mary on April 21, 2017 at 9:21 am

      When you’re in the middle of something like this, it can be really hard to see clearly. I posted a question above because in my own situation it’s hard for me to feel confident, especially when I get told over and over that what I’m thinking and feeling and doing and saying is wrong.
      But I can see clearly that you are being manipulated and blamed. He is taking no responsibility for his behavior, which I can detect is manipulative, controlling, and guilt tripping others to get his way. By his behavior of blaming and guilt tripping you concerning divorce he has just shown you that he is still not safe in relationships.
      If he is concerned that divorce is so wrong, then he should be actively seeking to change so it doesn’t happen. His behavior indicates no love, no compassion, no repentance for any hurt or destruction he may have caused.

      • Lost on April 27, 2017 at 1:24 pm

        My husband has also said that Satan has a stronghold on me and is deceiving me into believing lies. It confuses me even more. How do I respond to that? I don’t know how to handle things anymore. I feel like I’m losing my mind trying to be open about my own sins and things I have done wrong, but I am also fully aware of the detrimental things he has done and to say that Satan has a stronghold on me makes me feel like I am screwing things up. He is not repentant, no matte what he says, his actions prove completely otherwise. Someone, please help me process this. Is he saying Satan has a stronghold on me to continue to try to manipulate using good biblical terminology? I’m so tired of this 🙁

        • Mary on April 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm

          Yes, he is manipulating you. He is taking the focus off of the hurtful things he’s doing and putting it back on you, making you feel like what you’re feeling, thinking, wanting, etc. is bizarre.
          You mentioned that he has done some very detrimental things and shows no remorse or repentance for them.
          He is totally manipulating you. Next time he brings something like that up, say that you’re not saying you don’t have problems; but right now you are talking about …mention some of his hurtful actions. Maybe that’s not the best way to handle it. I just know that you don’t have to bow to his accusations.

        • Nancy on April 27, 2017 at 5:26 pm

          Hi Lost,

          Have you watched Patrick Doyle videos on YouTube? If not please do. Your confusion is confirmation that you are bring manipulated, but you will never ‘get through’ to your husband because you are dealing with a master.

          When I was lost and confused I’d binge watch Patrick Doyle videos. I would suggest two in particular. One on Boundaries and on reconciliation.

          Please don’t count on your husband ‘understanding’. He won’t. Only the pain of boundaries will have a chance of creating a space where The Lord may ‘getting through’ to him. Also have you watch Leslie’s CORE video, on YouTube? Super. Clear.

          • Nancy on April 27, 2017 at 5:30 pm

            Confirmation that you are BEING ( not bring) manipulated

        • Maria on April 27, 2017 at 6:14 pm


          Your husband does not sound like a safe person. Confiding in him is not advisable as he will use it against you.

          Everyone of us is a sinner. If we can only bring up issues if we are perfect, how do issues get resolved. This is a tactic that people use so that they don’t have to deal with confrontation. When we have conversations with people like this, we need to focus on the issue we are trying to resolve, and not get distracted.

          • Maria on April 27, 2017 at 6:22 pm

            Another option when he says the devil has a stronghold on you- tell him you’d appreciate his prayers for the Holy Spirit to speak directly to you. Then focus on the topic you are discussing.
            Focusing on developing your CORE will help you to not be manipulated. Giving yourself some distance from him, will also clear your mind. When you feel weak, maybe not engaging in a conversation with him is advisable. Talking with personalities like these is draining and exhausting.

        • Aly on April 27, 2017 at 9:46 pm


          I’m so sorry for what is being told to you. I do think that so many people have given such great feedback and wisdom for your journey.
          I do think whoever mentioned the ‘healthy part of looking at ourselves’ and how manipulative individuals attack that (good part) was so well articulated. This is so common in these dynamics.

          Again I’m not sure what the back story is why your h would say something like that to you.. and the more I thought through my response.. I felt the need to share with you what was going on in my own processing…. a healthy individual does not dialog with another person that way.. it just doesn’t happen. (I’m sorry but your h does not sound well)

          Now a person who is disturbed and quite controlling will go to great lengths to say some outrageous things like that! My own mother has told me some crazy things with spiritual words that have been meant to shame and guilt me~ so I can relate on some level.

          I pray that the Lord is equipping you with truth and strength for your journey. Again I’m sorry for what you have already been exposed to.

    • Free on May 3, 2017 at 12:37 am

      He thought if he threw religion into the discussion he could guilt you into compliance. Don’t be fooled.

      • ContentinChrist on May 3, 2017 at 9:45 pm

        Yes, even very hard-hearted husbands will use religious language to manipulate. Mine said to me “F… your God” about a year ago to me, but during the days around our separation, told me that “God sent him a sign” that he only lives on this earth once. Um, yeah, don’t think that was from God, sweetie. 🙂

        Ask God to show you the truth. There were days that I cried out to God to show me truth, even if it meant I was wrong and that I would have to be humiliated and confess or whatever else. Almost without fail, within 24 hours of praying those prayers, my husband would lie about something and God would highlight it so clearly for me. That happened several times before I started really trusting that God was leading me and guiding me and I wasn’t just coming up with stuff to be a wife who couldn’t be pleased (as opposed to what my husband would constantly tell me).

        • Aly on May 4, 2017 at 11:15 am

          My dad used to use religion type praises toward my mother..
          He would say to her and in front of other “what a Godly woman and ‘saint’ she was for not leaving him and sticking it out for the long haul…dealing with him throughout much of his journey toward Christ.” Making it look as though his salvation was dependent upon her tolerance of bad behavior. He would continue to praise her saying that she really understood grace~ and unconditional love because she never required anything from him!
          That journey for him to Christ goes cold on many occasions throughout 50 years and their marriage as well everyone around them reaped the consequences of this influence.

          But the sad thing is that those comments about how much God will reward her in heaven etc.. have been strongholds for my mom to continue to participate in a marriage that is unhealthy /toxic ~ even though they together keep ‘painting the tomb’ to look like the image they want.
          My heart crystal such sorrow as she will be devasted by choosing fear over faith and seeing what the realities of her tolerance & ‘unconditional love’ sowed for her h and some of her legacy. Very sad.

          • ContentinChrist on May 8, 2017 at 9:58 pm

            Yes, it is sad. 🙁

            Do you feel like that influenced the way you behaved in your marriage at all?

          • Aly on May 9, 2017 at 10:28 am

            Totally yes to answer your question.
            Especially in the early years … because I did marry fairly young.
            But then I began studying God’s Word and educating myself more and more on marriage and I was empowered to not be a victim any longer..
            Those influences robbed so much of our early years, but thankfully the Lord does repay the years the locust takes.
            When we confront the issues we actual are Peacemaking rather than making ourselves comfortable in peacekeeping mode.
            There is a difference between ‘really experiencing peace’ and living in false peace’
            False peace is a safe and known place for many people.. many times they themselves are unaware of it because it’s so familiar and functional for them to remain there, but the Lord calls us to authentic living not just coping.
            Authentic living can cost too, but at least I can rest in His truths and His promises;)
            He has continued to bless our family for our courage and risk to face the generation patterns and surrender to Him rather than family norms and comforts~ basically idolatry.

            Hugs and much love to you for your journey! 💖

  16. Free on April 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Lost, the longer you are safe the stronger you will feel and the more sharply your brain will function. Distance provides clarity. You are on the right path and stay strong. Did you know that 95% of women break their own restraining orders and return home? Be alert to ALL form of manipulation that come your way, including spiritual abuse. What you have been living is not marriage. Jesus loves you, he has no desire to condemn an abused woman.

  17. Free on April 27, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Lost, may I also suggest that you take a break from looking at your own sins. This is not the time for self examination. This is the time to flee and be strong. There will be plenty of time for self examination in the years to come. I was told that my abusive spouse is never a trusted authority on my behavior. ALL his strategies, remember, are rooted in achieving power and control OVER you to fulfill his twisted entitlement thinking. He wants to win, nothing else matters. If you leave, he will just find another person to manipulate. He needs manipulation like the rest of us need oxygen.

    • Nancy on April 27, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      I love your advice here, Free, to take a break from self-examination. It is our willingness to self-examine ( such a great trait!) that gets exploited by a manipulator.

      • Contentinchrist on April 27, 2017 at 6:18 pm

        I know that God specifically took me to a place where He said “This is not about you anymore.” I truly felt His permission to stop analyzing my behavior in the marriage. I needs that from Him to take the next steps I took.

        (Don’t worry, He will not let you go.)

        • Contentinchrist on April 27, 2017 at 6:20 pm

          Oops – *needed*, I mean.

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