I hope you have been finding the weekly video’s that I’ve been posting on my home page helpful as you navigate through emotionally destructive marriages. This week I’m talking about misunderstandings on headship and submission that can lead to a mindset of entitlement and excusing abuse.
I would appreciate your prayers as I always have more to do than I can sanely accomplish. I’m feeling like summer is flying by, and I’ve not enjoyed it as much as I wanted to. I need to slow down, but I’m just not exactly sure how to do that. Pray that God would give me great clarity as I have to scrape something off my plate or get a much larger plate.
Today’s Question: I have been separated from my husband for over two years. God brought his infidelity to light and freed me from over 15 years of his pornography, deception, lack of maturity and responsibility, neglect, manipulation, etc. Reading your book, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship, helped me understand more about what I had been living. I am looking forward to the new book soon to be released.
I don't believe that God wants us to reconcile without change being made. I have learned many things and am changing and growing. I am not seeing that as much in my spouse even though his words say he's sorry and he loves me and wants everything to be different.
The most difficult question I am still receiving (from church leadership) is that Scripture doesn't allow for "separation," so I am living in disobedience because I am not being submissive to my husband's desires for reconciliation. In the video clip I watched tonight, I loved your quote about not valuing the sanctity of marriage over the safety of an individual. And it's not just me–I have two sons that are living through this as well. I believe it's okay to have healthy boundaries (insisting on seeing change), and I feel like that is what I am working on in addition to my healing and learning to speak up for myself. But I can't defend my actions with a verse of Scripture that gives me this right or excuses me from living with a difficult husband.
Do you have any advice on how I can answer this accusation?
Answer: I think the way you phrase your question may lead to part of your problem. Basically, you asked where there is Scripture that gives you the right to separate because your husband is difficult. I can’t think of one (nor can your church leaders), and therefore that’s where you (and they) get stuck.
However, I don’t think you’re really asking that particular question. I think the question you’re asking is this: “Do I have justification from Scripture that gives me the right to be cautious about fully reconciling my marriage when my spouse has not demonstrated the fruits of repentance after serious and repetitive sin?”
I think the answer is clear; yes you do, and even more so as there was infidelity. Most church leaders would not hesitate to accept adultery as Biblical grounds for divorce; however, you chose not to end your marriage. Instead you took a different route and said to your spouse something like, “I’m going to wait and see if you’re going to use this as a wake-up call for personal growth. I’m going to watch and see your actions over time to see if this grievous breach of our marital vows wakes you up to the changes you need to make as a husband and as a Christ-follower.”
From what you say in your e-mail, in two years, it has not. Despite his words and declarations of “I’m sorry” and “I love you so much” and “I want everything to be different,” he hasn’t changed much.
Now, after this two year separation, your church leaders are starting to view you as the hard-hearted one. Perhaps they see you as the resistant, rebellious, unforgiving spouse who has no grounds to stay separated because he’s sorry and wants to come home. It’s now you who should submit despite your husband’s track record of sin, foolishness, adultery and deceit.
The Scripture that most people use to support some grounds for Biblical separation is in 1 Corinthians 7:10 where Paul writes, “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): The wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.”
From what I understand, this is what you’ve done– separating, hoping for reconciliation.
Here are a few other principles from the Bible that also support separating ourselves from those who intend to do us harm, foolish people or so-called believers who refuse to walk in the truth:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 – The essence of this passage says that there will be people who profess Christ but are all smoke and mirrors. Paul tells us to avoid such people.
Ephesians 5:11 – Paul says that we are “not to participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead expose them.”
Proverbs 22:10 – “Drive out a scoffer and strife will go out and quarreling and abuse will cease.”
Proverbs 22:24-25 – “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
Proverbs 14:7 – “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet word of knowledge.”
Perhaps most applicable to those who choose separation, especially when a spouse is a professing believer, is Paul’s instructions to people to often distance or separate themselves from so called “believers” who are living contrary to the gospel.
For example, in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 Paul writes, “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.”
Titus 3:10 states, “As for the person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warmed and sinful; he is self-condemned.”
1 Corinthians 5:11 states, “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler – not even to eat with such a one.”
Finally, I don’t know if the following statement applies to your situation, but it does to many other women in destructive marriages. God values physical safety and relational safety, and we sometimes must separate ourselves from a dangerous person.
For example, in spite of God’s general instructions to submit to the laws of the land and to higher authorities, when David feared for his life because of King Saul’s jealous rages, God didn’t instruct David to “submit to the King and trust me to take care of you.” Instead, David fled, always respecting the position of King Saul, but not allowing himself to be abused by him. (Read 1Samuel 18-31 for the story.)
In another example, when Jesus was born and King Herod sought to exterminate all the Jewish babies two years old and younger, God told Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt until it was safe to return (Matthew 2:13-15).
When Rehab hid the Jewish spies, she lied to keep them safe and God commended her (Hebrews 11:31). I suspect those who lied to keep Jews safe from the Nazi army were equally commended by God.
Jesus himself valued safety and said even the well-being of an ox was a higher value to God than legalistically keeping the Sabbath by not working (Luke 14:5).
Safety is an important component of trust, especially in marriage. There can be no freedom or honest communication if someone feels afraid or is threatened, either physically and/or emotionally, or has a price to pay whenever they honestly share their thoughts and feelings.
Women (and sometimes men) fear taking measures to protect themselves because they’ve been taught it’s unbiblical or ungodly. They suffer endlessly with verbal battering, even physical abuse, believing that by doing so, they’re being godly martyrs. Keeping the family together at all costs is seen as God’s highest value.
Yet Proverbs 27:12 teaches us, “The prudent see danger and take refuge.”
The scriptures are clear. People influence and impact us, both for good and for evil. When we live with an abusive, destructive, manipulative, deceitful person, it definitely takes its toll on our mental, spiritual, emotional, physical and spiritual health. Often separation is not only good, it’s necessary for our emotional, physical and spiritual health.
Lastly, I would encourage you to talk with your church leaders about this important biblical truth. If Jesus doesn’t offer unconditional relationship with everyone even when he loves them, why do they expect you to offer unconditional relationship to your husband? Sin not only separates us from God, it separates us from one another. Until your husband can see his sinful heart and actions as damaging not only you but to your marriage and is willing to actually do the work it takes to change them, it may be most Christ-like to stay compassionate yet separate from him.
Friends, what other scriptural support can you find to support separating yourself from your destructive spouse?
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Question: My wife says I’m manipulative and controlling. I don’t think I am. Let me give you an example. We have been separated for about a year, but recently we were out to dinner. While we were sitting there, she was friendly to some other patrons (policemen who she knew). She wasn’t flirting but I…
I don’t have other scripture right off hand, but having all of this in one spot is so helpful to me. I have read your books Leslie and will read the next one when it comes out. I am now reading Not Under Bondage by Barbara Roberts and have read one by Dr. R. B. Ouellette which all support the Biblical grounds for seperation and even divorce for grounds other than adultery. These writings along with prayer are seeing me through this difficult time.
This morning I recieved an emil telling me that I am the devil and hide behind the Bible. If I need a place to hide I can’t think of a better place than God’s Word. That did not stop me from wanting to sit in a corner crying until the men with white coats come to take me to a padded room.
Last night I was accused to stealing his baseball cards. I don’t have them. He also treatened to call his lawyer and have a full investigation and inventory done of everything I have of his. I reminded him that we have a signed agreement. What is in his possession is his, what is in my possession is mine. Within an hour he miraculously found the items he accused me of stealing and said “sorry”. That did not make it all better. This is far from being the worst thing he has done or said to be even since I left 2 months ago.
How any Christian could say you need to stay with a person like this because you may just lead them to the Lord has obviously not had to walk in this muck and should probably keep their mouths shut.
I filed for Legal Seperation when I left to protect myself from his financial irresponsibility. I no longer have any hope for reconciliation especially after the “you are the devil” remark. I am so tired.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are hard hearted because of staying seperated no matter how long it has been. You will know if their is true change, those who say things are clueless. Keep your children and you safe.
Last fall my (Christian) marriage counselor told me 3 times to separate from my husband because of emotional abuse and he was getting increasingly concerned about my personal safety as things had spiraled downhill in marriage counseling and in the sessions my husband was “intense” while claiming he wasn’t angry. I was trembling constantly.
So..at Christmas I packed up and moved to an apt. Almost 7 months later finally Post Separation Support and much financial abuse, name calling, and blaming me along the way.
Last month I asked the counselor if he would be capable of counseling me for abuse and he said he “felt” he was.
Last week I told the marriage counselor that I was moving forward with the divorce. We actually got into a heated discussion for last part of the session regarding my view on how I could justify it since it wasn’t adultery (in his view the only thing that can or should result in divorce). I felt he was trying to guilt me, condemn me, then shame me because it got pretty intense. He said I was an angry woman and that I am too focused on what the offending spouse has done. He then said he that I had stopped hearing from God and was determined to go through with the divorce.
At first he said I was trying to get him to agree with me then when I said “I could care less whether or not you agree me regarding the scriptural reasons (well, I said it a little more blunt than that)”. Then he said “I was a force to contend with.” wow – contradictory. He also said that he had been doing this for 30 years and he was trained that only adultery was the only reason then said that “I seemed to be more studied on the subject” because I answered him with multiple scriptural examples. -He asked, so I answered.
I’m going forward with the divorce regardless of whether or not my counselor agrees that I have scriptural grounds because to my knowledge my husband hasn’t slept with anyone.
My question is this:
Am I better off going to a secular counselor skilled in abuse counseling than going to a christian counselor who may or may not understand/empathize the emotional fallout that one has as a result of abuse?
What kind of therapy does one need? cognitive, etc?
I don’t want to get stuck in this emotional place. My choice is to LIVE regardless of people’s opinion.
BTW: My counselor said that *until* one of commits adultery that I could not divorced or get married again. OMG – was he serious?! We had quite a heated discussion on grace at that point. I fall on the side of the blood of Jesus covering ALL sins. He made me feel like I was making an unpardonable sin by divorcing instead of just staying separated which would result in my financial devastation.
Your counselor is right. It is a sin to divorce but not to separate. Seems that you have gotten away from the Lord. Ps a Christian does not take the Lord’s name in vain – w
David, sometimes divorce is the best choice and is not always a sin. When one partner is continually destructive, abusive, and unfaithful to his fundamental marital vows, a safe healthy marriage is not possible and separation does not always provide the legal protection that divorce would, especially financially.
Not always a “his”! Sometimes God can change/transform people – guess my God is stronger than yours but if the main concern is financial and not the marriage/spouse then nothing can be done – if financial is the main issue then never would make sense to ever get married. Your comments re people (with God’s help) can never change are very discouraging
David again you are taking comments out of context. No one is saying here people can’t change and that God isn’t in the business of transforming people’s lives. But read your own Bible. Even Jesus couldn’t get through to some people – for example the Pharisees. They wouldn’t see, they wouldn’t repent and therefore did they change? No. Did Jesus have fellowship with them or count them among his closest friends? No. He was caring, respectful, but he did not trust them nor did they change. Why didn’t God change the Pharisee’s? I think it has something to do with free will. If a person has no heart to repent, to change and submit to God, then God doesn’t do his work in his heart.
Wow!! Glad I’m not married to you.
David, wow. Just wow. You call yourself a Christian and you probably call yourself a man of God, but here you are being so incredibly insensitive and rude to a woman. I don’t know about you, but MY God forgives everything. MY God will never judge. And most importantly, MY God will never say the things you’ve said. You don’t know her walk of life. Please please please stop judging people and shame on you.
Wow! I soooo agree. My husband is Narssitic and CPS is involved and made my now eight month old and I leave in February to get away from the abuse. He caused me to loose my other kids and will not own up to his mess either. The man is sick, I don’t see myself with him unless God do a permanent deliverence in him.
I’ve been pondering being ‘set apart’. ‘be holy’.
I kept apart in heart for many years, focused on the Lord, but hopeful, waiting, my heart was guarded and secure. At one point, it looked like there was a change of heart. I have found that the root was still there. I had opened my heart and at that point my heart began to be influenced by him, disappointed the change didn’t acknowledge the root, trying to be strong but getting influenced by his pattern which remained.
What I am learning is to be set apart balanced with humbly loving. By healing from my own wound called ‘alone’, I can be humbly loving in a way that is clear to him. Before I had been set apart but protective of my wound and that prevented me from loving clearly.
I found in I Peter 3 beauty is set apart; inviting, drawing others, but separate.
I see being a set apart woman is essential.
I must be set apart to be an influence.
I must be strong enough and healed enough myself and growing in humility.
I taught about David at a kid’s club earlier this year…David kept some distance from Saul. I pointed out to the children that respect and humility are important but so is wisdom and waiting for fruit.
Leslie I so wish that I knew the information that you have given out 20 plus years ago. I lived 25 years with an emotional abusive husband who cheated on me but always found a way to make it be my fault. We were highly involved in a church and for some of it he was a Christian Counselor! Here he was helping couples with their marriages as he cheated with one of his married clients. I had no self esteem and stayed, it wasnt the only affair and he is actually married to his last affair now. He married her 2 weeks after I said I wouldnt take him back. I had to go outside of the church for counseling. I am 50 years old and have been divorced for nearly 4 years…the best not perfect 4 years of my life. I am married to the man I was engaged to 30 years ago. My Ex was responsible for breaking us up all those years ago. Thank you for your books and information. I love to inspire women that you can have a life, you can start over, you can stop the abuse…God never wanted me to live like I did for 25 years, defeated, hurt, rejected, emotionally abandoned and unloved. I wont ever let a man treat me like that again.
I find it most interesting that the term “cheated on me, or been unfaithful to our marriage vows” is only used in re: to adultery. I did not have that experience. An affair.
My experience was, my Pharisee husband tells everyone how faithful he is to his wife, saying he never cheated on her—
but the greater truth is every single day he cheated me, was unfaithful to his family, as he continued daily to break the Marriage Covenant thru emotional, physical, spiritual abuse. All my children have suffered from years of abuse, as so have I. But isn’t it interesting, when some say you can only get a divorce, if there was adultery. Is sexual unfaithfulness worse in God’s eyes, than daily emotional and verbal beatings???? I think it might be a good thing to redefine what God see’s as unfaithfulness, in a marriage.
In the OT Israel was accused of committing adultery by God and He used that as a metaphor for unfaithfulness.
Not wanting to take Scripture out of context or take a passage to mean what I want it to say, I will share a verse that I think speaks into the boundaries of the marriage relationship. Proverbs 4:23 NIV says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” If one feels threatened physically or emotionally, it affects their heart by a myriad of ways – dampening of spirit, confusion, distrust, etc. GOD’s people are to be wise and letting someone hurt our heart is not wise. I think GOD is okay with separation as long as we are open to Him working in the relationship to move the partners to reconcile. Fortunately, I have not had to have a legal separation but have left for a short period when I felt traumatized and too anxious to be in the same house as my husband. I’ve done so for my heart – to calm it, feed it and strengthen it.
Dot I love that you used this verse in Proverbs because God is saying ABOVE ALL ELSE – Guard your heart. So often when we are in destructive relationships we value Staying together ABOVE ALL ELSE and then we get weak, fearful and/or resentful. God is concerned with our safety and sanity and when we are in the constant company of wicked, destructive, evil, and foolish people it takes its toll on us. Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man (or woman) who walks NOT in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the say of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” It’s pretty tough to do that when you are married to someone like that.
Leslie and Dot,
Thank you for those Scriptures. You are so right when you say it is pretty tough to do that when you are married to someone like that. I had that scripture above my door for so many years, and never applied it to my marriage. I stayed, and prayed, and hoped – that he would one day ‘see’ me and what I tried to tell him – how he was killing my soul. Now, I think it was not good that I stayed so long. I thought it would be bad for my kids if I separated – and how God hates divorce. But, my kids have suffered and it is even more painful, I think, when you leave when your kids are older than if you would have done it when they were younger. His manipulation and hatefulness abound and continue in our separation. I still pray for him, but I will not allow myself to be treated w/ abuse. My children do not respect me just as they saw that he didn’t do so. But, they don’t want to have much to do with him either – it’s easy because he has left the state and all his responsibility toward them and me – but they don’t seek him out, for sure. I am hoping in time, and with maturity and wisdom, they will see why I had to leave. Actually, they do see, they know, but they are still so emotionally affected by it all after our 30 yr marriage – how can they not be? They are still angry and hurt. So, they are confused – they see how their dad is, but he has always gotten a ‘pass’ through the years, and it’s hard for them to assimilate how nasty he truly can be. He’s not as good at hiding it now as he used to be around them. I just leave it alone. I love them as best as I can. I answer questions they may have, but do not speak of it to them unless they ask. Some things they will never know, I can’t tell them and they shouldn’t have to know. But I think they see and know enough – yet they are still angry and resentful. Maybe they feel safe in taking it out on me sometimes. I do not answer his ugliness when he puts out group texts to the kids spouting lies and exaggerations about me. I just wait. And pray. And grow stronger in my God, who is my fortress and my strength. Thank you for your Scriptures, they give strength.
Adult children need time to figure out deceit, manipulation, and divisiveness. I know it breaks a mom,s heart and I,LL pray for you. But I have seen it happen in my own life, and can assure you, God is true when he says, I’ll restore, all the locusts have eaten.” It takes time, but God will be faithful, He see,s you and desires to fill your heart,s desire.
Comment nearly three yrs later!….but guarding heart with all dilligence is SUCH wisdom to apply as medicine….curative & preventative..because could we hear Gods council in our heart if we allow it to be made ” sick” by deferred hope!…by ” either” party…i am sure God can HEAL our heart .. EVEN with His Word to ” Guard ” it. ..To BE seperated UNTO Him within…whether or not externally ….I pray that God heals & restores every heart reading this thats been damaged by confusion , loneliness , resentment etc etc. In relationship problems …victims AND repentant perpetrators …who are ALSO victims to whatever degree…Thankyou for revealing that word
Look at II Corinthians 6:14-18 It says to separate! And God will take care of you. Very soothing to me!
I do not believe this passage says to separate. I think it says to not get into these types of relationships in the first place.
Kelsey, it would be ideal if we could all be wise enough to not get in these kinds of relationships ahead of time but most of us aren’t always that astute. Other people don’t show their true colors for a while and then we realize that we’re hanging out with a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In Matthew 18 Jesus himself says, “If someone sins against you, go to them and be reconciled. If they refuse to hear you take others to help with the process. If they still refuse to hear you bring the matter before the church. If they still refuse to hear you treat them as a pagan or tax collector.” This passage tells me that there are relationship issues that will go unresolved and become broken not because of sin but because someone is too proud to acknowledge their sin, seek forgiveness and make restitution. Jesus says when that happens, the relationship as it once was is broken. All Jews knew what it meant to treat them as a pagan or tax collector. It didn’t mean be rude or disrespectful but it meant keep your distance, they are not to be trusted. Unacknowledged and unrepentant sin separates people. It separates us from God and from one another. Sadly, it happens in the church and it happens in marriage too.
Leslie, this is so wise and comforting to hear! The wolf in sheeps clothing is true and my husband didnt show ALL his true colors till we were married. Each year it got worse and he has never apologized or asked to be forgiven. There is no trust when there is no freedom! Pride has been what drives him. I can do my part and get all the counseling in the world, read God’s word and get my heart right with God. But I can’t FORCE him to change or want to be a Christian. He makes a choice every day to disrespect me, my feelings and his vows. I DO NOT FEEL CHERISHED HONORED OR RESPECTED. I have never felt like his partner or his helpmate. It breaks my heart that people will continue to defend the abuser and expect us to keep taking it all without any consequences.
Your story is my story. I feel your pain and I agree. I loved Leslie’s new video on consequences. Praying for you.
But ” often” its allready HAPPENED before someone has RECEIVED that word!
It’s referring to being separate from the world NOT separate from your spouse!!
David, Look at Leslie’s response to Kelsey from August 6 @5:30. You seem to need a little enlightenment. In the case of an abusive spouse-he is the world and the . Many people majorly change once saying I Do and it is not for the good. You said above that Christians do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Christian husbands likewise do not abuse their wives. In doing so they make themselves the unbeliever if they ever were a believer. I find the passage in II Corinthians very calming, as well.
So it is OK for a professing Christian to take the Lord’s name in vain!? Contrary to your thought – two wrongs do not make a right
I don’t think anyone here advocates taking the Lords Name in vain. Two wrongs do not make a right. But one wrong is still damaging to a relationship and without repentance and change, reconciliation may not be possible.
Being KIND to one another = recognising ” hurt” hearts & applying The Healing Word of Love ( God) ” Lovingly ” IN the integrety of Truth ….ie LEADING to the RECEIVING of Gods ultimate Will…step by step…
You provided a lot of great verses. Another passage I know you are familiar with that has been helpful to me and which supports the wisdom in verifying the fruit of repentance before reconciling with an offender (we are talking serious offenses / patterns which result in broken trust – not isolated trivial mistakes) is found in the story of Joseph. He did not immediately reconcile with his brothers. He observed their attitudes and responses from a distance to to see how they would handle various temptations … Observing their character under pressure – in circumstances where there was opportunity to lie, blame, hide, be defensive, rebel, etc… gave him opportunity to see that true heart change had occurred. It is a beautiful story and example to us all. He showed how we should, yes, love our enemies and do good to them, but we should not have close fellowship with them until they consistently demonstrate a heart worthy of friendship and trust.
Great comment-Love the story and application of Joseph you described-Thanks!
It really bothers me when people get involved in others lives and try to dictate what they think is right. I was told I needed to do something by a leader in my church and I feel like it caused a lot of problems between me and another person.
I also think sometimes people look at the fruit of an issue and do not deal with the root. In this case it sounds like the root been untouched and that fruit is still questionable. I would think the goal would not be to “just get them back together”… but the goal would be to find out what needs healing and work on that.
Maybe if this couple gets back together the church leaders will feel much better, but it’s not about them….
I pray you don’t feel guilt-ed and manipulated to get back together with your husband, but that you would want to because something gets healed between you.
Amazing article. I’ve read those verses over and over, but somehow always felt like a different set of rules applied to marriage. I wondered why that was so.
I have felt unprotected from evil, but these verses, if followed, are protection!
What a beautiful name. Yes, I agree! It felt like a different set of rules applied to marriage! I am so thankful that Leslie has taken age-old Scripture and helped us feel strength and protection from them – and that God does desire justice for us – HE sees what our spouse has done – HE sees the manipulations and horrible actions and repeated verbal onslaughts done in front of the whole family – this grieves Him greatly and when Scripture is used out of context, when the abuser mocks God and shows what he’s capable of – Well, our God is truly our shield and defender and our ever present help in our time of need. He reveals what has been hidden sometimes, also – to us and to others – and even though these things caused us such devastating pain – ultimately we can see it was HIS protection of us! Our God is a good God, truly – always. And He will not be mocked.
Hello I was married to a verbal abuser for 8 years and divorced now for 3 years. I struggled with asking for a divorce if it was really what God wanted me to do, I had a good church friend who told me I needed to go back to him that it wasn’t that bad. When you look in the mirror and realize you don’t know who you are anymore because someone has taken the life out of you its time to make a change and I tried for 8 yrs to change someone who didn’t think they were at fault. I have been divorced now 3yrs and slowly healing and learning who I’am again all with Gods help. Too all the women who are abused you are in my prayers and your not alone just remember to call out to Jesus he never leaves you and he loves you unconditionally no matter what. God Bless You
People who don’t live in the home walking in your shoes are clueless. They may see “a really nice guy”, but they don’t have to live with him or through what you have experienced. A couple of years ago I asked an older lady from my church to go to dinner with us on Thanksgiving and of course was on his best behavior. He hardly said a word the entire time. She went on a week or so later telling me how nice my husband was, “so quiet” and how I was so lucky to have him. I responded by saying, “got a quarter”. She then told me about her 53 year marriage to her abusive husband. She didn’t tell me again how lucky I was.
she stuck with him for 53 years … cudos to her … so many on here just a gave up … sad … no patience … all consider themselves to be perfect and better than their spouse
David, I’m not going to allow you to put people down on this site. The women here do not consider themselves better than anybody but they have begun to realize they do not deserve to be abused nor does God require them to submit to abuse, even from their husband. Some of them have been very patient, waiting, praying, pleading for their husband to change but to no avail. So how long do you allow sin without saying, no more? So unless your comments can be helpful and constructive, I will no longer approve them.
Thank you so much Leslie. As a reader, I found David’s comments disconcerting too, especially his response to Donna, “Wow!! Glad I’m not married to you.” While I don’t speak for Donna, I can imagine that she’s pretty glad that she’s not married to him either. If David believes in marriage “at all costs” that’s his opinion, and he has a right to it. However, he doesn’t have the right to brow beat women with his personal opinions and/or interpretation of the Bible.
I’m reminded of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. Jesus didn’t browbeat her or tell her how glad he was that he hadn’t been married to her. He didn’t condemn her for her failure to stay married. In fact, Jesus didn’t condemn her at all, but rather he offered her the living water of eternal life (John 4:14).
I’m so glad that Jesus is our judge and not mankind. No doubt, some people would be all too quick to literally throw stones like they often did to women in the Old Testament. While that’s not permissible in this country today, people of that mindset use their words to stone those whom they feel deserve it.
One thing I see that has not been addressed in this issue is that there is something wrong at this church instead of something wrong with separating from a husband.
I’ve seen this before, too many times. Unfortunately, church leadership is not always right. Sometimes we need boundaries from their abuse. Proverbs 18:5 says, “To respect the person of the wicked and be partial to him, so as to deprive the righteous of justice, IS NOT GOOD.” (cap’s mine)
It seems as some churches favor the person doing wrong instead of the innocent party (male or female). My advice? RUN. Find another church that practices the known Word of God, instead of staying in a church that is trying to make you come up with a verse to support your position. Do they not know the Word of God themselves? How then can they teach you or lead you in truth? When we have been through abuse, we often stay in it because we don’t know what normal looks like. I learned to stay out of those churches, and have many years now attended good churches that support and teach what is right.
I think God must be proud of you for standing up against evil especially in the midst of such opposition. You know the truth in your heart, remember, confusion is not of the Lord.
I was a missionary/pastor’s wife for 40 years of physical violence to me and my children, plus severe emotional/mental abuse.
This issue kept me, not only in the marriage, but lying, if needed, to cover his sin and keep others from knowing about his destruction … because to everyone else, he was wise, quiet and gentle.
I separated just over a year ago, but have daily fought a feeling of guilt, of displeasing God. Bill Gothard’s extreme application of his umbrella teaching has done immeasurable harm.
Your articles, Leslie, have done so much to encourage me that I did the right thing because, though everyone, including my children, think I should have left long ago, I still needed Bible proof. Doing right has always been more important to me than being happy, because I love God so much.
Other Bible proofs, some you’ve mentioned are:
1) “You reap what you sow.” ie destruction, loss of trust
2) Prov 15:4, 17:1, 25:24, 26:28 – the devastation of living with a contentious, argumentative person
3) Joseph & Mary fleeing to Egypt
4) God commended the midwives in Egypt who did not kill the Jewish babies, but kept them safe
5) 9 times Paul ran for his own safety – Acts 9:25, 9:30, 14:6, 16:40, 17:14, 20:1 & 3, 23:17
6) Paul ran for the safety of others (Jason & the young believers) in Acts 17:10
7) He left once because a relative suggested it (nephew learning of suicide plot)
8) He appealed to Caesar to protect himself
9) In Romans 8:38,39, sin doesn’t separate us from god’s love, but from a close relationship and from His presense.
10) God’s dealings with Israel in the OT is our example. He never stopped loving them and stood willing to forgive, but there was no forgiveness or reconciliation until there was true repentance.
Other times, however, Paul chose to stay in less-than-safe situations.
To me, a key verse is Prov 27:12, as you mentioned, ‘the prudent see danger and take refuge’.
Those who stay in extreme circumstances like me are living in an unreal world. Keeping up appearances is a lie. ‘Forgiving and forgetting’ with no outward consequences to the abuser is a facade and unloving to him. Jesus is ‘the Truth’ and wants us to ‘walk in the light’.
Thank you for your ministry and encouragement.
Hi Joy! Just wanted to thank you for your journey. I honor you as a faithful woman – doing what God asked of you when He asked you to do it and living in integrity with that. I also wanted to hug you for your AWESOME list of verses that are sharp and to the point- all those years of being married sank your roots in deep. I believe to the core that every tear you ever had will be redeemed and that your story will help women in this situation. Thank you again. 🙂
Joy and Vicki,
Thank you for your words and Scriptures. More comfort and support to not give ‘cheap forgiveness’ as my counselor says. Acknowledgement has to come – and for me this hasn’t even begun, and may never will. Vicki, I love the verse that says God will restore the years that the locusts have eaten! Such a promise. And yes, Joy, I agree with Vicki, every one of our tears will be redeemed.
Hi-I’ve been separated for almost 3 years. He has gone to counseling and made some changes, but I still feel there are “quick” reactions from him and disrespectful actions though much rarer when there is visitation times. I feel there has been some improvement, but how do you know when it is safe to get back together? Do I look at it as a situation that people don’t really change, or look at him as if we’ve never been married and ask myself if I would marry him now? Relatives don’t understand why we are not back together because he wants to get back together and has done everything he can in order to do so. I am scared to trust and “be stupid” for going back and that the kids will be hurt again. We are still married and not divorced but live in different states. What is the ah ha moment when you know they have recovered and really changed so it is safe to go back? Thanks!
I’d encourage you to go back to some past blogs on how do you know when someone has changed but in my weekly video’s I’ll be outlining a way that you will know that it’s good to move forward. Stay tuned every Monday for the new video and probably the week of September 3 or 9 I’ll share the roadmap to recovery.
I look forward to these also, Leslie. My counselor and my pastor said that if this were to be a possibility, that much caution needs to be taken. A list of the specific things you would need to see changed in him and quite some time to go by before reconciling would have to be while these things are proven – hard to do in separate states (that’s my situation now also). He would have to make himself accountable to someone who isn’t a ‘buddy’ and who would have to be willing to invest in him and your marriage. Someone who is trustworthy and can see through him. Other than that, I’m not sure. I guess I will cross that decision if I ever have to.
Go with your instincts Michele. Better to go with the side of caution. Other people giving their advice to go back don’t have to be there, you do. If he is giving reactions although rarer what will they be like if you are back in that place again. This is only my opinion. Just be careful.
I am not one in this situation myself and my heart goes out to anyone who is.But I am one who serves in lay person counseling and marriage/family ministry with my husband for 35 yrs. Leslie, I agree basically with what you have shared.Love your counsel being biblicaly based!!!
For me the vs that supports separation is 1Cor 7:11, ” But even IF SHE DEPARTS, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.”
It is clear by scripture that God wants our marriages to work out.EVEN in the case of adultery ,God only allowed it because of hardness of hearts. “Moses, because of the hardness of hearts, permitted you to divorce, but from the beginning it was not so.” It is not what He wants, in Malachi 2:16 , He says He hates divorce. And Matt 19:6, So then they are no longer two but one flesh.What God has joined together ( and whether you were both Christians or not He has allowed the marriage as a sovereign God) let no man separate. Once again the context is divorce, not physical separation.
Why does God hate divorce ? Because our marriages are supposed to represent to world the picture of Christ and the church, Ephes 5:22-28 and God’s love for His church is UNCONDITIONAL love. Let me say that doesn’t mean STAYING IN a house and being verbally and/or physically abused, but it doesn’t mean divorce either.
The most beautiful biblical example of that is the book of Hosea.It represents the unconditional love of God for us in the story of Hosea and Gomer. Gomer is a prostitute (adultery going on here!!) that Hosea loves unconditionally and wins her back in a repentant state.
We also see biblical examples of accepting the repentant back in the story of the prodigal son.
I think there is so much confusion about marriage because we have the wrong concept of God’s love.We think we deserve a good marriage.We think marriage is about someone making us happy, though cases of abuse are extremes and I am not saying women deserve that.
But the goal of marriage is to represent God’s love to the world, which was and is unconditional. It is about our reflecting His image , our pursuing glorifying Him and being Holy NOT the pursuit of HAPPINESS, 1Cor 10:31. In our pursuit of holiness and glorifying him with our lives we will be happy!
Our marriages are more about our relationships with GOD than our spouses, for NO one can MAKE us happy only God does that. A spouse is to add the joy we have in the Lord!! When we pursue God and His character, then we will find lasting happiness, in a relationship WITH HIM.
One woman said this, when her kids asked her why she didn’t divorce their dad because he was so mean to her… “I will never give up on your dad because GOD WILL NEVER GIVE UP ON ME.”
I also think think that a woman separated should not see her life on hold, till her husband gets himself “squared away.”.She should be activily pursuing God and growing into the woman/wife/mom/daughter God wants her to be, and that IS NOT DEPENDENT on any man, for any of us.
We can glorify God, no matter what our spouse are doing!Everything we do is to be for HIM,and for HIS GLORY 1Cor 10:31.God is surprised by her situation and HAS things for her to do, He is no waster of time.If she has kids , focusing on her kids and always first and foremost her walk with God!
With all due respect to you and your husband things are not always black and white. In the case of Hosea and Gomer, Hosea was called out by God to show an example of what His Love for us looks like, how he grieves when we stray and what we look like until we are joined with Him. Nowhere, in that example did Hosea beat, belittle, intimidate, manipulate, or in general show any indication that he did not love his wife as a husband should. Any man who does the things that have been done to most of the people in this blog to their bride looks nothing like God in anyones mirror. Change is always possible but if you have seen any statistics recently less than 1% of abusers change. Those that do are generally for the worse. Is the for the good. Most only get worse and possibly kill their victim.
Is the church going to tell a young Christian woman whos husband had beaten her black and blue that she must be celebate for the remainder of her life because of her former husbands sin? In 1 Cor 7:2 Because of the temptation to sexual immorality each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
In 1 Cor 7:15 my Bible says: But if the unbelieving partner seperates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. In the case of a nonbeliever remaining in the house, and in the case of an abuser who does not show repentance that person should be treated as a non believer, they have already abandoned their spouse. Their choice not to leave is for their own selfishness. They want to torment their spouse. If we are not enslaved, doesn’t that mean that we are free and can remarry?
These things have nothing to do with happiness with God or marriage, but with safety and that of any children. There are those that would keep a family with an abuser even if they were being beaten. I know you have said that you would draw a line there, but still not give this woman her freedom. I believe God does.
There are many over the centuries that have studied this situation intensely over years that tell a completely different perspective of what God said. Leslie’s books are fantastic. I just finished Barbara Roberts book, Not Under Bondage. She did 3 years of research before writing her book on this topic, what the Bible says on the subject and why we should be digging deeper instead of making black and white blanket decisions on what we are preaching to be the truth. There is a book by Dr.(Pastor) R Oullette which also is very good. There is a difference between a divorce such as no-fault (just because I can) and a Disciplinary divorce because of adultery, abuse and abandonment. Those 3 things are cleary grounds for divorce in my Bible and do not leave a believer in bondage.
I am aware that we may have to agree to disagree and in the best case scenarios you perspective is wonderful, but we don’t live in a perfect world and God knew that.
Brenda, you were more tactful than I was going to be. Thank you for your response… 😉
I was going to add that God does hate divorce, but I believe in many of our cases, divorce happened in the heart a long time ago and that the physical separation is an act of courage and strength and great love to be truthful with what the state of the heart is.
Don’t give me too much credit. I had to bite my tongue, rewrite, reread and pray for wisdom before I pressed submit. You are correct I may have filed for the Legal Separation after I left, but my husband filed for a divorce with my heart a long time before my leaving. He just didn’t bother to leave or pay a lawyer. My heart was gone a long time ago. It took everything I had to leave and God showed me it was time. I prayed long and hard over this decision, had an apartment, movers and my daughters here from out of town within a week. I don’t move that fast, it was obvious to me that my Lord was with me. He has provided my every need.
O Brenda I am crying as I read this..
My husband has divorced himself emotionally from me many years ago. He experienced ‘family trauma’ and something just went ‘dead’ inside him. It’s like I lost my husband when other people died. He simply ‘stepped out’ of our relationship and stopped seeing me, loving me (and he adored me beforehand for 7 blissful years!)
Initially he was depressed, but never admitted it and never wanted to take medicine.
But even after he was better, he still excluded me from his life. Indifference took over and I just had to carry on on my own. I was so confused.
For 12 years I tried to win him back through changing my hair,my clothing, my comments, walking on eggshells around him not to provoke his anger and grumpiness…writing letters, having conversations, weeping, and then, as I got healthy: tried praying, fasting, counseling sessions……all in vain. After our last counseling session when he said that I was ‘manipulating him’ and the process was ‘manipulating him’, I realized that I can’t play the games anymore.
(I still believe that Imago therapy is one of the most wonderful ways to help a difficult marriage, IF both partners are willing.)
And my heart saw the truth, that I was trying to hold the marriage together on my own…and he was not interested…I just couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t hold up the front anymore either. And my heart gave up on him ever changing.
I mourned for my own losses, then mourned for my daughter’s losses and that she doesn’t have a father who esteems her or affirms her in her womanhood.
I am still very heartsore at times and still hope that he can become restored to God and turn his face in stead of his back to me. Recently I felt stuck in a hole of depression for 10 days and just couldn’t stop crying. I just wanted to be somewhere else. I am never like this and am always hopeful, trusting in God’s provision. I just can”t imagine the next 10 years staying like this. BUT I also do not want to do anything (especially out of selfpity) that will move me away from God’s plan for my life.
God gave me amazing Godly women in my life and I became responsible for myself. And i am making good choices for myself. I have grown tremendously through reading David Clark’s- When your spouse says he does not love you anymore. all the Boundary books and of course Leslie’s books!
I often feel confused and guilty that I feel like someone who has been abused, because he hasn’t hit me, endangered my life or cheated on me. (He reminds me of that as well.) I feel such empathy for the women on this blog in these situations…although it sure feels like I’ve been cheated and left out in the rain.
I am just a ‘that’ , a ‘function’ to him, some one to wash the clothes and see to the kids.
And he does look after the cars and the sprinkle heads of the garden water system and now and then cooks bolognaise.
Does indifference and carelessness and no kind words and no hugs or any touch whatsoever – for years!!, and always voicing dissatisfaction about every thing and living with a bitter and resentful attitude count as abuse? Or am I just ‘expecting too much’ after 23 years of marriage. I am 51 yrs and not totally ugly.
Vikki I agree. I’ll never forget a counselor saying to me, “God hates the things leading to divorce.” That was a light bulb moment for me! God does hate divorce, but he also hates violence, irresponsibility, unkindness, betrayal, adultery, lying, alcoholism, pride, etc. He hates divorce because a Christian marriage is supposed to be a beautiful picture to the world of the loving, sacrifical relationship between Christ and the church. Abuse and other chronic, destructive behaviors to not honor God, reflect his image or reflect that loving relationship.
My Mom was in an abusive marriage. I still recall her bruised face as my grandfather drove her to the hospital with us kids in the car. She tried so hard to make it work because she loved God and didn’t want a divorce. She asked advice from the pastor and got the standard, love him move, submit more, what are you doing wrong in the marriage, etc.
I am in a long-term emotionally and verbally abusive marriage. My husband has raged at me, accused me of things I never did, makes unilateral decisions, goes on angry tirades when I respectfully disagree, has kept us low income and in debt our entire marriage by underearning (refusing to work enough to support his family – he works only p/t) continually going to school almost our entire marriage(to be a pastor! and now a counselor!), racking up school debt. He kept me from my friends and family, broke every promise he ever made, wouldn’t let me dedicate our baby (because he didn’t like our senior pastor), made a mockery of our child’s baptism, whispered verbal abuse to me during church services, threatened to take our children away, pushed me, falsely accused me of abuse, fabricated situations which he seems to believe & expected me to suck it up and just “be where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be there.” All in the name of ministry, all with everyone at church giving him full approval and telling me always how wonderful he is. I see in Scripture that, “He who will not take care of his own is worse than an unbeliever?” So why does the church not do anything when my husband refuses to work, or will work only at certain part time jobs, but refuses jobs beneath him or refuses to follow up on leads or potential vocational help, even though we don’t have enough money to make ends meet?
I do not understand it when church leaders give someone a hard time over divorce in an abuse situation, but were no where to be seen when the abuse was happening. How is that biblical? When will they see that divorce is not the issue, but the destructive behaviors leading to someone having to separate or divorce for their safety or sanity are the issue? When will they address these sins? It seems like once you get married, it’s perfectly acceptable to church leaders for your husband to sin against you anyway he wants & you must “forgive”, which they seem to interpret as “put up with it no matter what”. How is that honoring to God?
It seems to me church leaders and laypeople are willing to make sacrificial lambs of wives and children for no godly reason. No godly or Kingdom purpose is served. In fact, quite the opposite. Neighbors or family members who might know of some of the abuse are given a very horrible impression of the church and God’s love when they see the church failing to help those who are being mistreated and in fact expecting them to stay and remain victimized. They are condoning sin, really. Jesus forgives repentant sin. He expects us to give up our sin and grow in grace and in Christlikeness and He will help us. It seems to me Scripture says he cares about the oppressed and disadvantaged and expects us to as well. Whey does that not apply in Christian marriage?
Everything you said is so true. If our marriage does not show the world who Christ really is, it is all in vain. It only shows the world hypocrisy. It does not show His love. It shows them that we are no different than them so why bother.
ALL scripture is given by God for us to follow, 2Tim 3:16.
Lean not on your own understanding, Prov 3:5
We are not to pick and choose what we want to believe or what makes sense to us.When we do we miss the AMAZING WORK He wants to do!!
I have seen Him do some amazing things, by women living obedient to HIS Word, not by what seems right to them but by WHAT HE SAID AND ALL OF IT
I have seen God do some amazing things too as each of these women testify to. By your words your implying that a woman who chooses to flee an abusive marriage is not living obedient to his Word and I don’t think you are to judge that. I think you are picking and choosing instead of looking at the whole counsel of God and the wisdom of the Word. Let me give you an example of your thinking. One of the ten commandments says not to lie – don’t bear false witness. Yet when Rahab lied to save the spies from getting caught and killed, she was commended. Do you think the Christians in Germany should have said “Here are the Jews” when they were hiding in their basement? Or do you think God said their safety was more important than being literal about lying in this instance? You are quoting verses and leaving absolutely no exceptions. Yet despite the general “rule” that we are to obey authorities over us, David fled Saul when he was abusing him. He didn’t just wait and trust God. When baby Jesus was being threated by Herod God didn’t tell Joseph, obey Herod and trust me. He said “Get out.” By the way, do you cover your head in church? If not why not? The Bible says we should. Do you believe in slavery? Why not, the Bible doesn’t specifically speak against it?
No where in scripture did I see Jesus say that a wife is to stay in a home where the husband is suppose to love me but yet I am to allow him to: throw things at me, slamming doors and his fist against pillars, verbally attack me, accuse me of sleeping with various people, best my cat, emotionally abuse my children, masturbate where I will know he is doing it shortly after I had surgery amongst every other times and blame me for his sinful behavior. No, there are consequences for our actions and after 2 decades I realize that I am not respecting my husband by allowing him to continue these practices.
You can be self righteous all you want. We can match scripture for scripture all day long to prove our sides to this issue. The bottom line is Jesus is far more forgiving than many so-called Christians. Those who are in healthy Christian relationships often have trouble seeing anything beyond what they have and what they think scripture says. They can go home at night and go to sleep smiling and wake up the same way. They don’t ever have to think about the rest of us. We don’t exist. This is not a perfect world and perhaps we should pray about being more understanding of others.
I was not called to be a missionary and go into a foreign land and risk my life when I said “I do”. That would have been being persecuted for Jesus and an honor. Being married and abused is not a calling. It is an abuser hiding who he really is and tricking us into marriage with someone they did not allow us to see.
I can see that you have picked a battle with Ms Leslie. Perhaps you could pick someone who is not trying to help other Christians gain strength and endurance. Perhaps the Muslim or Buddist community who don’t know Christ at all might be a thought. Bringing souls to Christ should be all of our ultimate goal, not beating down other Christians.
Vicki, you just spoke my heart. I have felt that also, that motives and a type of ‘divorce’ happened in the heart long before the physical separation happened. And it took GREAT COURAGE and STRENGTH for me to leave after 30 years.
Brenda B, your response gives me hope and I clearly believe that the 3 reasons are Godly. I don’t think for one minute that divorce will be easy but God will make a way out if he sees me fit to leave.
Excellently said, Brenda. You go girl!!!!!
Respectfully, your first sentence says it all: This is not your situation.
Did you know that God “divorced” Israel then Judah because of idolatry and adultery and a refusal to repent? Read Jer 3:8
Jer 3:6 Then the LORD said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there.
Jer 3:7 “I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
Jer 3:8 “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.
Jer 3:9 “Because of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.
Jer 3:10 “Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,” declares the LORD.
Jer 3:11 And the LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
Jer 3:12 “Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not be angry forever.
Jer 3:13 ‘Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the LORD your God And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the LORD.
Realistically, if you choose to separate and not divorce there can be serious financial implications and you may not have the luxury to stay separated because you won’t be receiving alimony or equitable distribution. I’m not sure someone should even be commenting if it isn’t your situation as you don’t have an understanding of the mental pain and anguish the decision makes one go through because you have to know what God’s will is in the situation. Some people have Grace to stay, others have Grace to stay for a period, others must be obedient to leave because their Grace has run out for that situation. Only the Holy Spirit guide you and lead you for that specific instance.
God even gave Jezebel time to repent Rev. 2. When your spouse is abusing and not repenting after a period of time, follow God’s example. What did He do? He separated/divorced for a period of time until “they got it”. Once they were broken of themselves and their kingdoms that they had built around themselves then He took them back and restored them because they had a different mindset and appreciation.
For many of us who’ve walked this pain, we have to be de-programmed from trying to please our spouses, families, and Church and staying in a dangerous circumstance far too long because of it.
God is the God of Grace, Love, and Mercy. This doesn’t end regardless of our decisions.
I reject the condemnation you have poured out upon the women in your comment. When it is you who is going through then I’ll listen…
I’m sorry but I don’t understand where you heard I was condemning the woman. I was just trying to clarify for her that if she tries to find support to scriptural separate from a “difficult” spouse she may not find it. On the other hand, I think there has been plenty of support both from me as well as other women in this group to support a woman who is separating from a destructive spouse.
No, I was actually responding to this person and maybe didn’t do this correctly:
“I am not one in this situation myself and my heart goes out to anyone who is.”
While I appreciate that her heart goes out to the throngs of the abused and she has many good points in her reply, it is such a hard, painful, complex situation that one’s opinion comes off as condemnation when we ALL need to be led by the Holy Spirit for not only grace but guidance and for healing so we don’t unknowingly keep putting ourselves in abusive situations.
I have found Leslie that your comments and insights inspire, clarify, and encourage us all to do just that without your opinion being added in.
Okay thanks Donna for clarifying. We haven’t heard from Claudine recently so hopefully she’s thinking a little more about how staying with a destructive spouse might not be good for a woman, for her children or even for her spouse. Some people think that staying no matter what it costs you is always is the right thing and that is the only way God is glorified, but as we’ve seen, that’s not true. God cares for victims of abuse and injustice and doesn’t call his people to be passive or silent about it.
If you are responding to Donna, I don’t believe she was implying that you were condemning anyone Ms Leslie. She was saying that Claudine was harshly condemning all of us in this blog for our choices and has no personal knowledge of abuse or what path God has chosen for us and should mind her own business.
Sadly, the type of marital counseling that Claudine and her husband have been giving is exactly what has kicked MANY of us into despair truly without them realizing the damage they impart. The intentions were good, the living Word of scripture used but the sword was really wielded against us. There is a special kind of torment straight from hell that comes out of most churches toward the believing, conscientious spouse who has been taught to make their marriage an idol. As I’ve gotten “healthier” I have realized that this type of counseling which is commonplace, is a form of abuse in itself and abusers never really see themselves as abusing. Unfortunately, church often is the most abusive environment outside of an abusive home one can find themselves in. Isn’t this what the Pharisees were like? They decided on the parameters of God’s love based on meeting the rules and not based on people’s actions towards one another? Thank you Jesus that He has a better way: Matt22:39 Love your neighbors as you love yourself. Loving your neighbor doesn’t mean letting them continually live in a lifestyle of abuse or neglect.
Leslie is shedding light on God’s love, self-worth, boundaries, consequences, leading of the Holy Spirit (because only He can lead, guide, and tell you what is best for you), a progressive set of actions, and most of all Truth. Thank you Leslie for being a Truth bearer. You are walking by Isa 61 and Luke 4 and are setting so many captives free!
When I thought I was losing my mind before I left, the Lord gave me this verse which will be my life verse for as long as I’m living: Psalm 118:17 I will not die but live to declare the works of the Lord!
Very few people ever get do overs in life but if you are separated and/or divorced, in between tears and healing, embrace your do over. You are on God’s blank canvas and let him paint you a new, beautiful portrait of how He sees you and all your potential and new dreams! Suffering and living are both choices.
I think Claudine meant well and I hope she joins us again. It would be wonderful to begin to help those who are in the front lines trying to help broken marriages gain a new perspective, a new way of approaching these situations that truly is helpful. Jeremiah warns the prophets of Israel, “You heal the wounds of my people superficially when you say peace, peace, but there is no peace.” That is what we must never do, be peace at any price people. IT is only the truth that sets people free.
Amen. The Lord is to lead each of us through our own path. We are not to listen to every wind of doctrine. The Lord did not lead each person we read of in His Word in the same way and he doesn’t today. I so loved the example you used Donna. In verse 7 “I thought, after she had done these things she would return to me….” We all wanted our spouses to see their sin,leave it, repent and return to our marriages and be the relational being they were meant to be. It didn’t happen for most of us. God did not mean for us to be persecuted by marriage. He meant it to be wholesome, a oneness, not a one person stomping out the life of the other. This is not an example to the world of who God is, not will it ever lead anyone to Christ.
Agreed. Until you have been through it or at least sympathize with it or feel the least bit of compassion or love in your heart for me or those like me, do not pretend to know the will of God in my life or of others going through similar circumstances. You do not have the right.
Exactly. It was that type of teaching that lead me to a suicide attempt. I had it drilled into my brain repeatedly that there can never be divorce except for in cases of adultery. Well, I couldn’t let God or the church down, so in my twisted thinking, death was the only way out…and I could not wait for a natural death. That teaching nearly killed me…literally.
AMEN…ie….that the Holy Spirit is THE counciller…at work …..
The Bible gives us permission to separate vs divorce but now I realize that your main concern is financial – btw, even during a separation a marriage agreement ( simaler to a pre-nup) will protect you financaily – at least here in Canada maybe not elsewhere.
No our main concern is not financial it is safety. Please do not take my words out of context.
Mrs. Perry, if marriage is to be a representation of Christ and His Church, shown to the world to win them to Christ, then what you say here is absolute proof that abuse in marriage is cause for divorce. How does staying with someone who abuses you, represent Christ and the Church? Does God abuse the Church? Does Christ beat up His own because He feels like it? Marriage was given to man by God, so that we had support and a place in life to find comfort from this darkened world, as we venture out in it, to take the Gospel to the lost. Marriage was not meant by God, to be yet another place where we have to fight the enemy constantly and risk losing our minds or our lives in the process. Marriage was made for man, not man for marriage.
Claudine, I realise you are wanting to honour and uphold God’s word, and I affirm you for that. I would just like to request that you read my book and then come back to this thread and tell us what you think. I believe you will find that my book has arguments to counter every point you have raised.
While I appreciated you concerns, and do not blame you for voicing them here, a blog is not the ideal place to hash this stuff out. The interpretation of the divorce texts is very complex and has been debated for millennia in the Judeo/Christian circles. Please just give my book a careful reading. I am hopeful that we may find our love for God and his Word to be paralleled by our coming together in an understanding of divorce doctrine.
with kind regards
Barbara Roberts (www.notunderbondage.com)
I also want to say, I think we need to be very careful about applying all the same scriptures to marriage as we do other relationships. In marriage YOU HAVE MADE A COVENANT WITH GOD AND ANOTHER PERSON. I have not made a convenant with every brother or sister or everyone else.If the same scriptures applied to all relationships there is no need for marriage!
Not suggesting we ignore any scripture. But as we are speaking of marriage we need to see if they are really pertaining to those in marriage, those in covenant. For 1Pet 3:1 tells a wife that GOD CAN use the behavior of a DISOBEDIENT HUSBAND to win the husband back.And some of those husband may be angry or foolish men.
Just as there are vs that don’t apply to marrieds there are vs that dont apply to singles. For instance a married woman is to be submissive to her husband, as unto the Lord but not EVERY man. A single and a married woman both respect the authority over her, as in church leadership but ,there is no man a single woman is to submit to like a wife does her husband.
Claudine, I have no doubt whatsoever you mean well in your comments and that you are just passionately seeking to uphold God’s word as you have come to understand it. I am passionate like that too, so I understand where you are coming from. However, in regard to your last words above : “There is no man a single woman is to submit to…” are you aware that there are many fathers/husbands in this country practicing Old Testament patriarchy today — it is a growing development within many denominations and within the home-church movement? Among many limitations and requirements of the wife and daughter is this one: that the daughter must submit to her father until she is married (and that even once an adult, she must gain the approval of her father before courting any certain man)… There are a lot of mixed-up teachings going on today. That is just one example.
In regard to your response about 3 replies previous to this one – about the careful application of scripture and that the verses which apply to regular relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ do not necessarily apply to the marriage relationship…. I would think that it is quite the opposite… Think about it… God says judgment (accountability) “begins in the household of God” – meaning it begins first with believers rather than non-believers. Likewise, then, I would think that He considers whatever verses are apply to all men in general are to be applied to the marriage relationship all the more. The marriage relationship, yes, is supposed to be the closest representation of our relationship to Him. So, It has the highest responsibility of demonstrating all His teachings – especially in regard to what love should look like in practice as well as healthy conflict-resolution. These are just my thoughts for your consideration.
Thanks Carolyn – well said. I don’t know where some people get the idea that certain verses don’t apply to married folks. Or that marriage automatically entitles you to a “get out of jail free” card with no consequences for serious sin. That just isn’t biblical.
Hi Claudine. Be prepared for some strong push back from this group – if you focus on the Bible and you disagree with this group!!
David that’s not true. I think many of the women have been very kind to you despite your differences and disagreements.
Claudine, I appreciate your perspective and your excellent points on the lack of church discipline is right on. Many a woman have begged her church leadership to hear her or help her to no avail. But sometimes divorce is an option for women in these situations, sometimes it is her only option due to the hard heartedness and destructive behaviors of her husband. God values her safety and sanity as much as he values the sanctity of marriage and he’s not asking her to continue to be violated without any consequences. Barbara Roberts has written an excellent book, Not Under Bondage that goes through each passage on divorce and helps women see that God’s heart isn’t against any divorce, he’s against divorce for trivial, meaningless, reasons. He’s against a treacherous divorce – where a man discards his wife like a used tissue when he tires of her, which was the essence of God’s statement in Malachi. Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of people’s hearts and sometimes it is still necessary today for the same reasons. As I’ve said before, God calls us to unconditional love but not unconditional relationship. When there has been repeated serious sin with no repentance or change, a safe, healthy marriage is not possible. Permanent separation may work for some but for others it still subjects her to abuse of power, especially financially over her.
Thank you, Leslie,
I also recommended Barbara Roberts book, but you state its purpose much better than I did. I just finished it. It was thoroughly researched and well written. We would all love to be in marriages that last until death do us part. What we don’t want is that death to be caused by our spouse.
I meant LOL as they would send us to an early grave… if it wasn’t intended in that light, then ignore me. I’m determined to be joyful today… 😉
It was and it does happen.
Leslie,lean not on your own understanding.You keep saying , I don’t think. It is not about what we think but about what GOD SAYS and we can reason Him into saying anything that seems to difficult to us.This line of thinking and not following what He says is exactly why the churches testimony is as bad as the world.
When we learn not to view things as how big our problems are BUT HOW BIG OUR GOD is when I follow His word we will see us having the testimony we should have in our marriages and the rest of our lives.
Claudine, Did you ever hear of the verse “Whatever a man sows, he reaps?” That is God’s law of consequences. When someone is acting out in a destructive way towards another person and there are absolutely no consequences, when there is repeated sin, and a wife is told that she is to just “endure for Jesus sake” that is not biblical love as I read the scriptures. I’m not leaning on my own understanding but we do disagree. God doesn’t offer unconditional relationship to people. Read John 3:16 – God so loved the world…he loves us unconditionally. Yes and he calls us to do likewise, and then in John 3:36 it says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” So if the wrath of God remains on someone who refuses to repent, despite the fact that God love him or her, than their relationship with God is broken. In the same way, a wife is called to love unconditionally, but marriage is NOT an unconditional relationship -We don’t say, ” I promise you can hit me, lie to me repeatedly, cheat on me, not provide for our family, badger me until I can’t think straight, break my furniture, strangle our family cat, burn my family photos, refuse to allow me to see my parents, etc, etc, etc, (and these are real stories I hear from women every day) and he is to have absolutely no relational fall out or consequences for his sinful behavior. How is this love? Biblical love is acting in his best interests. How is in his best interests to enable his sin to flourish. unchallenged?
Very well said, and received, Leslie. Thank you for your earnest desire to study the Scriptures and share them with us. I appreciate this blog so much. Its so beneficial to hear from others, experiencing similar circumstances and what they are doing to find their way out of abuse……
Hate to keep adding but as I read over some of your
responses it is clear what has failed in many of these cases IS CHURCH LEADERSHIP. Perhaps the women didn’t go or perhaps the leadership didn’t listen, perhaps sadly their husband was the leadership. Matt 18 clearly states one in sin, including a husband is to be confronted!!!!
Divorce was not the BIBLICAL answer CHURCH DISCIPLINE was.
Kids think their mom should leave because they don’t realize that she has other biblical help at her disposal.
Kids may think their moms should leave because they see what is happening to all of them and have common sense. God not only gave us His Word he gave us a brain to process individual circumstances and to make judgment calls with His leadership.
Women, such as myself, have gone to church leadership and church leadership does nothing. They stand back and see what happens. Walking into church together seems to say that all is ok. Well it isn’t. Not one who knew what I said was happening even asked how things were going.
I wonder if your heart would soften if it were you or your daughter going through this. It has been recommended you read Barbara Robert’s book, Not Under Bondage. If I had an address for you, I would be happy to send you a copy. I do not believe that God is much more caring, supportive and loving than those who are leading in our churches.
Claudine, may I ask you if you have been in our shoes? And also could the hard hearts that moses was talking about being either a man or women who refused to contribute to a healthy marriage.? Itfunny how that is not looked at. My husband acts fake at church and everyone feels sorry for him and will not help me when I tell them what is going on. Wel I do have one person who helps. My mother was murdered when I was tjree in a bad marriage. I wonder who she tried to get help from who told her she should just love him more.lplease pray God shows you how to help tjese poor women.
Spoken like a woman who has never had her children hysterical, thinking that their father had set the garage on fire, with their mother in it. Now, how would that event, be a better witness to the watching world, than the mother quietly and in a respectful way, leaving the marriage? The world doesn’t look at believers and criticize them for leaving their abusive husbands; they look at the ones who stay until they end up dead and say, “That crazy woman stayed because she claimed God wanted her to!! Who wants to serve that kind of God??” That is what the world says. The mercy and deliverance of God goes much further with a hurt and lost world, and that is Who God really is in the first place. Besides, most of the women I know, stayed in their abusive marriages, for decades, keeping silent to the abuse they were living in, hoping for God to bring repentance to their spouses. I think we have forgotten that the Word of God says, that God must bring someone to repentance. It is His work, His choice, and if He chooses not to, who are we to question Him about it? We do not hold the power to bring true godly repentance to anyone.
I am so thankful for your words of encouragement Claudine. I was reading all these comments about how there are reasons in the bible that make it okay to be separated/divorced from our husbands, and I KNOW God does not want that.
I have been married before, and I was not treated the way God would like his child to be treated, and I left, and quickly. I am older now, well let’s say “more matured”, and I realize how I had made some mistakes by acting out of my own anger and frustration. I was not walking the Christian walk that I should have been, and my excuse was… “Well, God doesn’t want me to be un-equally yoked, so I’m out of here, and it’s okay!”
I had been an abused wife, and a young one. I left with my 2 girls.
I have since remarried, and my husband now is not the most respectful, obedient, God fearing, loving, inspiring person that God would want for my life, but I made a promise to God and to my husband, and it is for better or worse, sickness and in health, richer or poorer, until death. UNTIL DEATH. Although sometimes I feel as though I am going through “death”, I fear no evil…for I am comforted.
My husband and I have not lived together from the day we were married…almost three years ago. My life has been anything buy ideal, but I KNOW my God is with me. There have been so many times when I would just ask, “Where are you God? Please reveal yourself to me”. And He has… through my devotions, through divine appointments, through words of encouragement, and through times with my husband lately that was obvious…so obvious that it could have only come from God.
“Be still and know that I am God”. I KNOW he is God… I just have a problem with the “Be still” part.
He’s working with me, and watching. He has a purpose for our lives, and He gives me peace. No matter how many rivers of tears that God has collected from me, I have always had peace.
I understand what it’s like to be abused… and it’s not a good place to be. I’m not stating that wives should subject themselves to any kind of harm, I just know for myself that if we could possibly hang in there for our husbands when possible, and pray for them and not give up, we might be the “light” that God wants us to be.
I believe in my husband and I love him, and I love him unconditionally. There are many good qualities about him too, and I know when we are at odds with our husbands, we forget what we fell in love with in the first place.
Satan is attacking our families and we cant let him win. Giving up is giving in to what Satan wants.
My daughter attends our church youth group, and the 7th grade girls met in a special group as all the separate grades do. Her leader came to me and told me that a question was asked to the girls about who they look up to and why. My daughter said she looks up to her mom and when asked why…she said, “Because my mom never gives up”…
God is good, and He kisses us on the head daily. We just need to be still enough to feel it… Let’s not give up on our husbands…God may be using us for something special in their lives…
AMEN, Believer AMEN! Thanks for sharing your testimony. Sorry for your first marriage and agree God does NOT want anyone beaten.
I will pray for your present marriage and what an awesome thing for your daughter to say!
He wants our marriages to be an illustration of HIS LOVE in the good and the bad.In sickness and in health.
There was NO greater torture than Christ on the cross because He is perfect, yet He still loves us and says He will never leave or forsake us.
Love suffers long ( it may not be easy) and is kind. 1Cor 13:4
This is an example of a Biblical awesome attitude and very encurageing – thank you
What I wish I would see more than anything is the body of Christ of women come together and say “I love you whether you stay or go.” I feel this has come down to should’s.. to interpreting correctly… to who’s right… to what God really wants (seriously?).. and bottom line judgement. I want to honor the stories of the woman who wrote in even asking how to sort herself, to the pastor’s wife who finally left, to the moms who are protecting their kids…
Bottom line is, if we had husbands like Hosea, we wouldn’t be talking about this. But we do faaaar less than Gomer ever did.
Sometimes I think the only question we should be asking our sisters is “What do you believe God asks of you? And what’s the Bibilical ground for that?” and then say, “Then I’m here for you. Period.”
Because whatever it took for them to get to that point, is in and of itself a miracle.
And standing by someone in that miracle is unconditional love.
wow. very well said. God Bless you!!
God Bless you Vikki for your loving no matter what OUR decision is. It is A MIRACLE we stay, it is to wake up every day to it and continue on! We don’t need anymore guilt and shame or condemnation! That NATURALLY goes on EVERY single day, with no end in site! Talk about oppressive, its debilitating.
thank you for this… agree with you totally
A quick apology… I shouldn’t have put “I KNOW” in capital letters regarding what God wants or doesn’t want in response to divorce. It just seems to me that he truly despises it.
Also after reading some of the other comments…(it took a few hours to get the first reply sent) when I said, “UNTIL DEATH”, I didn’t mean death through our spouse! That is a horrible thought. I meant through natural death.
To Claudine, Believer, and Renee I say thank you for sharing on this site. This is exactly the kind of healthy discourse and exchange the church needs in order to grow up. Now you may think I will agree with your points especially because I am still married after 35 years. Just for the record I do not see it your way. I wish I had got solid and sane Biblical council when I needed it. I believe that if I had the backing of my church I would have left my husband. He would have fallen very very deeply into more sin and perhaps come to the end of himself and repented. Instead, he has learned that it doesn’t pay to act the way he did before but there is not much desire to follow or serve God from what I can see. I am a pacifier to him. He doesn’t need God because I am enough for him. I sometimes wonder if I had left him and divorced him when the behavior was at its worst if he would have had to come face to face with himself. It takes a great deal of courage to expose darkness and walk away from it. It’s too bad there is no soft place to land in the church and among Christian counselors for these women here who are exposed to such cruelty day in and day out. Leslie I applaud your courage and correct interpretation of the whole councel of God. Also, we need to remember when we read the scriptures that we are in a new covenant of Grace at this time in history. The story of Gomer is a beautiful picture of God’s love for the lost. It was not written as a training manuel for marriage and divorce.
Thank Ellen! It is about the abuse and sin, lets not forget that…
I find this debate very disturbing but will try to comment without being reactionary. I have a really hard time understanding why the debate always revolves around if she is sinning by leaving and not around dealing with the evil actions that cause her to leave. They are both in a covenant of marriage and if he has clearly broken that covenant in word and in deed then the covenant is broken, she cannot hold it together alone. It is a mockery of covenant. Just as God had to divorce Israel when they continually abandoned him (though he did not want to) so we must be willing to let the non believing spouse go if he does not want to live within the covenant. If a spouse has been scripturally confronted with his evil actions and refuses to repent he is no longer a believer and his actions say he does not desire to remain in covenental relationship even if his words say the opposite. He is choosing to leave the covenant of marriage when he lives in opposition to the covenant.
We are to rest in Gods strength to build his kingdom, not in submitting daily to evil! If God calls you to continue in the relationship as he did with Hosea he will supply strength for that situation. But if he calls you to confront evil and speak truth in your broken marriage he will give strength for that journey also. I believe there is scriptural story in support of both but great discernment is required in determining Gods direction for your own individual kingdom story. Please tread gently when addressing the story of another.
Thank you for that comment AJ. It so made sense and said very well.
AJ I tried to articulate what you just wrote and just couldn’t get it out. It is superb. Thanks for your comment.
AJ, Thank you! It will not be easy to leave or set bounderies. I have spoke MANY times in love only to be laughed and mocked at. I cannot HOLD IT TOGETHER ALONE any longer. Its phy. and mentally hurting me. Perfectly said, thank you for your compassionate comment!
I can tell you in my personal case Claudine, that my Pastor and church leadership tried to talk to my husband, pray, etc. He REFUSED to listen. He takes NO responsibility for his actions and blames everyone else. He left our church and now is trying to keep me away as well. I’ve heard many stories of failed leadership, but sometimes it’s the prideful heart that will not listen.
Dear Kelly and all:
I hope you listen, please, from a man’s perspective. I feel and hear you all, for I can place myself in each situation.
I hate divorce, was married for 17 years in an abusive situation, was asked to leave for the peace of the family and the sake of our 4 wonderful children, two years after I called the Elders in Matt 18 and she became more abusive. I left the church after intense mediation where separation by the wife is OK, but divorce by the man is a sin, and cried out to God for reconciliation. After two years of fighting the Church that separation is a sin, and makes things worse, I cried out to God for His will to be done. Miraculously, he placed an African lady in my life, and I went from a traditional, European cultural, legalistic church to a Spirit-filled, international Church where I have for the past two years loved the most amazing, believing lady more and more every day.(And I enjoy her undeserving love). God has given me more “children” then I “lost” through my marriage. My wife refuses to grant divorce over her Church’s teaching and out of spite, yet her actions continue to reflect the lie of a wife’s love, let alone biblical love (actions/not feelings).
I still hate divorce, as God does, but believes that God will use our past to bring us to a better place. My friend and I both believe in marriage until death do us part, and have learned and found a daily forgiving love that we never had from our previous relationships.
I say, fight for your marriage, be willing to suffer loss for Christ’s sake, as He has, and patiently wait for God to answer prayers and place you in a Church where God’s Word reigns supreme! Kelly, I have been blamed for being the man you describe, where the Church blamed me for the wife being verbally and physically abusive. Years later, God has vindicated me, to His Glory! Praise God for the trials and tribulations He has placed in my life.
I truly believe that God hates the sin that lead to the divorce than he does the actual divorce. I am not sure where you live, but in most states you don’t need your spouses permission to file and be granted a divorce. Didn’t she ask you to leave? If so, then the covenant is certainly broken. Whether or not the church you no longer attend doesn’t like it should have no bearing.
I’m not sure how you “lost” your children. Are you not able to get visitation with them? If not, why? I’m not sure why you say you were given more “children” than you lost. I am happy for you in finding someone who truly loves you and pray that you are keeping that relationship pure until you are able to legally marry her.
Im sorry for what you went through with your wife but im glad that God has delivered you and provided for you. Im not quite sure of your whole story about your children and all. But i have fought for my marriage, could we all do more sure, but sometimes to what avail? I dont “believe” in divorce either. However my question is whose going to fight for my kids? If it were me alone, im pretty tough i could endure more. Should they have to? How am i suppose to answer to God that i sat idle and waited for my husbands heart to change while my 16 year old medicates himself with drugs or sleeps in the woods so he doesnt have to hear us fight or be called names by his father or seeing me locked in a room? How am i suppose to answer to God that my 9 year old was suspended from school for 6 months because he has an anger issue and trouble with authority. What am I suppose to say to the parents of a girl who my son may abuse because he saw it at home? What if it were your daughter? Or even if my daughter only finds love in abusive men? Whos going to protect them when CPS is called again and they feel to take the children? Do i blame my husband for these things? Nope. But he sure plays a part. Marriage and parenting require 100% on each of us. One alone cant hold it alone. If one isnt or refuses to see their part then……. i dont mean to attack anyone or be disrespectful, im usually pretty quiet. But these are just SOME of the things i face. Now we obviously can not predict the future only God knows but I refuse to sit do nothing and let the devil steal my innocent children. I belong to a spirit filled church who pray and are solely wanting healing and restoration. I trust God for His provision and that He will care for my children. But i also need to be realistic, i cant do nothing.
It’s a year later. I pray you have found a safe place, emotionally and physically for yourself and your children. MAy God continue to guide and bless you Kelly.
I can’t believe that in the last few mounts I have found the two most important site’s I have ever seen. It was God who sent me to them. I have lived in a verbally and mentally abusive marriage for years I would fight back to be seen and heard . I stopped about 10 years a go. I gave in and went along just to get along. But it didn’t work ,he just got worse . About 2 1/2 years ago he started having an affair with his friends wife,I cant tell you the offal,offal things he has done. I have been even more verbally and mentally abused then he was going to physically remove me from our home one night in Jan 2012 .The week after his friends wife left her husband ,I would not leave .I told him I was going to call the Sheriff’s department. He stopped his cousin is on SWAT. So at that point for the next 3 months when we had sex he physically hurt me. In april 2012 I couldn’t do it any longer. I told him I was leaving .By this time the other women had gone back to her husband I called him to tell him ,he didn’t want to believe it ,See she had found another guy that knew both my husband and her’s and moved in with him .on Jan 7,2012 she moved in on Feb 28,2012 she moved out. at some time between the time after New Years and the 28th of Fab 2012. she was pregnant.I believe it was my husbands . he had been a Big But to me but he had become Evil. .He ask me to stay in April after I told him I was leaving ,he would go get help .yeah ,yeah,yeah ! That ended after 4 times .for a year he has treated me like cap” until I outed him to his Father & Mother. His Dad is holding him to the fire,his Mother is Evil to .She told him she did not believe it. That I don’t even care about. I have been going to therapy at my church because I don’t have the money to go any other place. He closed all the checking accounts .We wont a Landscaping Co. I have been with him for 25 years .We had bad times and ok times. But now I have come to the point I am not going to take this any more. He’s been a angel for the last 3 months. Every now and then “he shows up” see last year when I packed up and was leaving he told me he had been attacked spiritually .I know ! I do believe that but he has not got away with it.I have found new courage,I am pushing him. He doesn’t see or want to see his any thing he has done. Last week we had a incident at a restraint someone was inappropriate with me ,I did not do anything!!! Really ! He blamed me. The Old Man came out in him .I called him out on everything he has been doing to me also with her and any thing that came to mind. I did not lose it I stayed calm.He passed out in the floor,after I got him up he told me I was crazy and everything that goes along with it. I said to him and I have never done anything like this .I told me he is abusive a liar and an adulterer.He had told me I couldn’t go to therapy with out him because he didn’t know what I was saying. He flipped out when I told him I was going “you stacked to cards ” is what he said .He’s going this Wednesday at 9:30 .Please Pray ! I’m preparing to for anything . He has he but covered as far as he did this because I did what ever. I’m reaching out to people who know what it feels like to thing your losing and to realize that your not the crazy one. I want to be free! I has taken me a long time to get here and I’m trusting in God. Please Pray .
please for give all the mixed up things in this note. I’m not sure just what happened. You can take it down,but please pray for me .
I’m praying for your Annette. I have one just like him as many of this site do. They will never take the blame for anything until you’re walking out the door. Then they will say anything to keep you from leaving. This cycle has repeated for me for 20 years. I left 2 months ago, but he still calls or emails, picks some random thing he can’t find and accuses me of stealing it. Last night and this morning it is I am trying to shaft him on the property settlement that a week ago he had completely agreed to and signed. I purposely did not argue over anything. I would rather have my sanity than money or possessions. The Lord has provided my every need. I will continue to pray for you in whatever decision you make.
Dear Annette, Leslie may want to chime in here too, as she is the professional counselor and I am not a counselor, only a writer who advocates for and supports other survivors, and a fellow survivor like yourself. But from what I understand, couple counseling is NOT advisable in cases like yours. Couple counseling is often dangerous in domestic abuse sitatuations, as unless the counselor is really wised up about abuse (and most church counselors, sadly, are not) he or she will naively believe the lies and distortions of the abuser, and you will end up being hurt and abused even more because the counselor will end up take the abuser’s side. Even if the counselor thinks he or she is not taking one person’s side, what they don’t realise is that neutralitity is NOT neutral in domestic abuse. In domestic abuse, bystander or counselor neutrality actually serves the interests of the perpetrator much more than those of the victim. Please read this post at the blog A Cry For Justice, for further information. Blessings and hugs to you!
We also have a tag for ‘neutrality’ on our blog, with many posts in it:
I agree with Barbara. What happens in couples counseling is often the one who is more powerful, intimidates the less powerful one (usually the wife) so that she cannot be totally honest and then the counselor isn’t getting a true picture of the marriage.
Or, the wife is so desperate for help and eager to improve, the counselor focuses his/her attention on “helping her be a better wife” which reinforces the husband’s entitlement issues and blindness to his own sins. Then she is always the reason he’s losing his temper or lying or cheating or abusing or ignoring. If only she were the perfect wife, the fantasy wife (see my video on When Trying Harder Becomes Destructive on my home page) than he’d be a wonderful husband.
The fallacy with that kind of thinking is that no person can measure up and therefore it will always be her fault in some way for him being abusive. Therefore it is her who needs to change, not him.
Thank you Leslie. I hope you don’t mind but reproduced your comment at our blog, on our post titled Why Couple Counseling is Not Recommended for Domestic Abuse. I gave a link to this comment of yours. If this is no okay just say so and I’ll delete it from our blog.
Thank You Brenda, I was leaving last year and I can’t tell you how happy I was just knowing I would not have to deal with him after everything was over. Oh! the peace that I was feeling at that time . THEN I STAYED!! Errr… I do not pretend to know the mind of or the will of God. But he’s not going to change .It’s sad he’s so nice now,but it ain’t for real!Thank You 🙂
I am so thankful to have found you Leslie, this blog and my sisters in Christ enduring what I have been experiencing. Peace be with you all.
I explain in my book “Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion” that:–
The chief NT scripture that allows divorce for abuse is 1 Cor 7 :15.
The OT scriptures that confirm this are Ex 21:10-11 and Deut 21:14.
All the scriptures about fleeing persecution where possible, and being prudent to protect oneself from danger, are confirmation of the above. Leslie’s post and other comments in this thread have given such ‘fleeing from persecution’ verses.
1 Cor.7:10-11 is not confined to what we call marital separation. It also covers divorce; the English words ‘separate’ and ‘divorce’ in those two verses are two Greek words that were both used for divorce, legal divorce. In fact, there was no distinction made in Roman law — and Corinth was a Roman colony so the Corinthians lived under Roman law — between separation and divorce. All that was needed for marriage to cease was for one party to live separately from the other party with intent to end the marriage. Pretty much like co-habitation is today…
In Jewish law, a divorce certificate had to be issued and signed by the husband, and that made it legal divorce. But in Corinth that was not the case. So when Paul talks about the wife separating in 1 Cor. 10, he is actually referring to what WE know as divorce.
We know this for a fact not only because of how the Greek words were used at the time, but because Paul talks about the woman in verse 11 as remaining UNMARRIED (agamos = without a husband). It’s legally impossible for a woman to simultaneously have a husband and NOT have a husband! So verses 10-11 are talking about REAL divorce.
We need to wrap our heads around the culture of the time and what the words mean then, not filter what these verses say through our present cultural presuppositions.
Sorry, got carried away in this comment, but you can read summaries of my teachings on divorce at
blessings to you, Leslie!
Leslie mentioned Proverbs 22:10.
Proverbs 22:10 – “Drive out a scoffer and strife will go out and quarreling and abuse will cease.”
The Hebrew word for drive out is Garesh (Strong’s 1644). One of the synonyms listed for Garesh is “divorce.”
Hey, thanks Kim! I didn’t know that! You’ve given me an extra stone in my sling.
…not that I see myself as David, no way, but I do think we are fighting Goliaths on this issue of divorce for abuse 🙂
This issue is way more prominent in society then we give it credit for! This site is a blessing and I am so grateful ALL the comments and Leslies advice! It literally a life preserver! Its a subject NO ONE wants to talk about or deal with!
What about verses that mention separation & remaining single unless reconciled to husband?
I think we should be careful how we use and apply verses to support separation and divorce.
I am not sure “Scoffer” refers to a husband or wife.
As soon as I saw Barbara’s reply, I thought of Prov 21:19
“Better to dwell in the wilderness,
Than with a contentious and angry woman.”
and this passage is actually quoted 2x in Proverbs:
Prov 21:9, and Prov 25:24 – reflects importance:
“Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”
You think God wants you to send your husband to the wilderness or a corner of the roof with quarreling and nagging and by being angry?
So fast we forget the passages that say, “do all things without quarreling” and “do not let the sun go down on your anger” and “submit to one another in love” and “be quick to listen”, slow to speak” “trust and obey”, etc.
God still hates divorce & separation, and the Church, counsellors and family/friends have to wisely discern what
needs to be done by both husband and wife to heal the relationship and prevent divorce/separation at ALL costs.
Love does not limit itself to husband/wife, but the Pastoral team must do all within it’s power to take steps to assist both husband and wife in working 100% to love each other, sacrifice for each other. Instead of the courts, the Church should cut off the spouse that refuses to sacrificially love, respect and submit to their spouse.
For there is no witness in the Church of love if 50% of Christian marriages end in divorce/separation *breakdown in loving commitments and marriage vows).
Christ suffered on the cross for the sake of his believers, that they may have abundant life. So we as spouses must be willing to do the same.
Scoffing, anger, quarrelling all would disappear if the husband and wife practised love and showed the feelings even when they may not feel that way.
Biblical counselling and writing books and blogs must have the goal of extending marriages, not excusing break-ups. I have been through it, and a large part is because the Church and Counsellors excused separation as a “temp” solution to the other party’s sin.
Our chief purpose in life is to glorify God and serve our neighbour…… family & Church family first.
I think these verses in Proverbs can go both ways. Perhaps the husband shouldn’t belittle and degrade his wife and send her into the wilderness or the roof. Most, if not all, abused women do not nag, they know only too well what the outcome of that would be and it isn’t pretty.
This blog doesn’t excuse break-ups. It gives people options and Biblical Truth. It tries to help make things better until you can’t. God may not like divorce and seperation, but he did these things with Israel because of her adultery and idolatry. I believe God hates the sin that caused the divorce/seperation more than he does the actual divorce.
Henry said, “I am not sure “Scoffer” refers to a husband or wife.”
So husbands or wives can’t be scoffers? That only applies to unmarried people? Poor exegesis. It applies unless it doesn’t fit your particular agenda – marriage at “ALL costs.” Nowhere in scripture does it say that marriage should be preserved at “ALL costs.” The idea that marriage should be preserved at “ALL costs” is a man-made ideology and not a Biblical one.
Henry said, “God still hates divorce & separation…”
Although God hates divorce, He still PERMITTED divorce (and separation) in cases of adultery, abandonment and being unequally yoked.
Now honor the LORD, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. SEPARATE yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives (Ezra 10:11).
God hated divorce then too because God doesn’t change, yet He still PERMITTED divorce in certain cases. God did not tell the Israelites in Ezra 9 & 10 that marriage should be preserved at “ALL costs.”
There are 6 other things that God hates: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers (Pr 6:17-19). Unfortunately, the other things that God hates occur within the bond of some marriages on a regular basis. More often than not, it’s 1 or more of those 6 things that lead to the breakdown of a marriage and make separation/divorce a consideration. However, there aren’t as many sermons or strong convictions about that. More often than not, fellow Christians can’t recite the other things that God hates as easily as they can cite Mal 2:16 because it doesn’t suit their man-made agenda of preserving marriage at “ALL costs.”
Henry said, “Church, counsellors and family/friends have to wisely discern what needs to be done by both husband and wife to heal the relationship and prevent divorce/separation at ALL costs.”
The Bible has already laid out the duties of husbands, wives and Christians in general to prevent divorce/ separation. However, we live in a fallen world where people don’t always behave as God originally intended. That’s why blogs like this one are necessary and helpful. As Christians, we need not bury our heads in the sands of denial acting like this situations don’t exist.
Henry said, “Instead of the courts, the Church should cut off the spouse that refuses to sacrificially love, respect and submit to their spouse.”
So, it’s okay for the church to “cut off” (divorce/separate/ drive off) a member of the body of Christ, but it’s not okay for a husband or wife to “cut off” (divorce/separate/ drive off) an abusive spouse. When it comes to dealing with an abusive spouse, the concept of separation doesn’t apply. What a double standard!
Henry said, “Instead of the courts, the Church should cut off the spouse that refuses to sacrificially love, respect and submit to their spouse.”
This is not Biblically. The Bible speaks very specifically about “putting out” and “keeping away” from certain church members: sexual immorality (1 Cor 5:1) idleness & disorderly conduct (2 Thess 3:6). And yes, these concepts also apply to spouses unless you believe that spouses can’t be sexually immoral, idle or disorderly.
Kim, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Henry, we appreciate you and chiming in here on this blog. That’s what “encourage one another and sharpen one another” is all about. But I do think Kim makes some excellent points. Keeping a marriage together at all costs and at any price is not God’s highest value. I’ll be speaking in a few weeks at a church where the pastor killed his wife. I wonder if she kept things together way too long – at too high a price. Now she’s dead and he’s in jail and their church is struggling to make sense of this. Is that God’s best? Does that glorify Him in any way?
Pastor killed his wife. That’s unfortunate. Unfortunately, that’s all too common where I live.
This is probably the most horrific example.
This case hasn’t been solved yet, but they pretty much suspect the husband and pastor.
Unfortunately, my home state of Alabama is #2 in the nation for women to be killed by men, many times their husbands.
I myself am an abuse survivor and child protector. Thank God because many haven’t lived to tell the story.
Wow that’s sobering. Thanks Kim for sharing these links.
I had the opportunity to meet a former pastor’s wife several years ago who is now a counselor with the Underground Railroad. She had scars all over her body where her husband had brutally stabbed her repeatedly. It was only by the grace of God that she survived. She has since then healed and married a wonderful man who treats her with dignity and respect.
I know we had this discussion a while ago, but when I read this article, it reminded me of this conversation about pastors killing their wives. This particular pastor is suspected to have killed multiple wives. Tragic …
Kim, yes thanks. I actually spoke at this church this past year. It is an awful thing how insidious this abuse in the church is.
I’m putting Henry’s words in quotation marks and dealing with the quotes one by one.
“I think we should be careful how we use and apply verses to support separation and divorce.”
I agree with that statement, and that’s why I took three years of careful study and research, and much pondering, prayer and weighing scripture with scripture, when writing my book.
“I am not sure “Scoffer” refers to a husband or wife.
Okay Henry, but neither can you be sure that in that passage “scoffer” does not and can NEVER refer to a husband or wife.
As soon as I saw Barbara’s reply, I thought of Prov 21:19
“Better to dwell in the wilderness,
Than with a contentious and angry woman.”
and this passage is actually quoted 2x in Proverbs:
Prov 21:9, and Prov 25:24 – reflects importance:
“Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”
Henry, I do acknowledge that some men are abused by their wives. Let’s not get locked in gender debate over this by simply brandishing a verse or two.
“You think God wants you to send your husband to the wilderness or a corner of the roof with quarreling and nagging and by being angry?”
No one suggests that Leslie or any of the other commenters of this thread are thinking that. So Henry’s argument is a straw man.
“So fast we forget the passages that say, “do all things without quarreling” and “do not let the sun go down on your anger” and “submit to one another in love” and “be quick to listen”, slow to speak” “trust and obey”, etc.”
No Henry, we do not forget those passages, in fact, most victims of domestic abuse have tried to uphold and follow those precepts for years … and all their submission, trust, obedience, self-sacrifice, attempts to keep the peace, forgiveness, reconciliation — all that led to was only more abuse from the abuser. Abusers take advantage of their victims when victims do all that nicey nicey stuff. It gives abusers more latitude to perpetrate their abuse.
“God still hates divorce & separation”
No; God only hates treacherous divorce. Please read my book.
“… and the Church, counsellors and family/friends have to wisely discern what needs to be done by both husband and wife to heal the relationship and prevent divorce/separation at ALL costs.”
No. Henry is assuming that BOTH husband and wife need to heal the relationship …. that BOTH the husband and wife are at fault. This is a fundamental error. In abusive relationships, the abuse is the problem — the abuser’s attitudes and behavior and beliefs are the problem. The abuser need to take FULL responsibility and do all the hard word of changing into someone who no longer abuses.
Anyone who is trying to mutualize the problem is either clueless about the dynamics of abuse, or is an abuser who is arguing that mutualising line to shift blame from his or her self.
“Christ suffered on the cross for the sake of his believers, that they may have abundant life. So we as spouses must be willing to do the same.”
Henry has a distorted and sub-Biblical theology of suffering. Christ’s suffering on the cross was a special case with a unique and unrepeatable purpose: paying the price for sin and saving all who will believe in Him from the wrath of God.
To say that suffering in marriage is exactly point by point congruent with Christ’s suffering on the cross is very bad theology. Are we able to pay the price for our spouse’s sin? No way. Is a husband able to make his wife blameless and perfect? No way. Is a wife meant to always submit to a sin-wracked husband? No way: if a wife does that she is going to be be complying with grievous and serious sin. Is a husband supposed to perpetually sacrifice himself to a wife who chronically lies, cheats, and is solely focused on her hedonistic, selfish whims? No way, that would be just allowing sin to flourish and run wild.
“Scoffing, anger, quarrelling all would disappear if the husband and wife practised love and showed the feelings even when they may not feel that way.”
What about when only ONE spouse regularly shows love and the other spouse regularly shows covert aggression and contempt for their mate? Henry’s formulation does not recognise that this kind of marriage actually occurs with deplorable frequency.
“Biblical counselling and writing books and blogs must have the goal of extending marriages, not excusing break-ups.”
“must”? Really? Always? Even when one spouse is corroding and even destroying the other spouse’s physical health, spiritual integrity, emotional wellbeing and sense of personal identity? Even when one spouse is covertly committing crimes against the other members of the family?
“… Our chief purpose in life is to glorify God and serve our neighbour…… family & Church family first.”
Henry’s theology sounds all too much like an idolization of marriage and family. What about all these scriptures:—
Luk 9:59-61 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”
Mar 10:28-30 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
Luk 14:26-27 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
I hesitate to reply to an author that has for a long time studied, prayed and wrote about an issue that has impacted my life and the readers of this blog significantly. I will look for your book and read it.
There is no doubt that many of the books I have studied came to me from within our traditional circles and were mostly written by men. Our Churches have an extremely rare divorce rate, yet many families lives are not balanced, and fulfilling marriages sacrificed for work and Church. I am not saying abuse, but not “happy”
I also want to apologize if anybody thinks I am taking Bible passages out of context. That was never my intent. As a believer who accepts the whole gospel of God, my understanding that the teaching of Jesus in Matt 5 & 19, Mark 10, Luke 16 should be central to a believer’s life. Connecting divorce to adultery (remarriage / unfaithfulness) is a clear teaching of Christ, and what the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Cor. 7 has been focal for me during the past 5 years, plus. Especially when both spouses claim to be believers and continue in a church.
I love Leslie’s (and Barbara’s) comments and respect their wise opinions. This response is definitely not to question their faith or teachings, only to have a fair and balanced discussion. Like Barbara, I will try to address a few of her points:
Barbara says that “I do acknowledge that some men are abused by their wives. Let’s not get locked in gender debate over this by simply brandishing a verse or two”.
That was my point exactly. I felt that the Proverbs passage about “scoffer” is a brandishing of a verse to support divorce. And I say there are enough other verses to discourage divorce/separation. When Paul speaks for God, and he uses a strong words in 1 Cor 7:10 “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.” (some translations use “must not”-HS). 12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
This should give more weight then the passages we look at in proverbs, which are poetic and contrasting to bring out points, points I would not argue with you about.
Yet I also give credence to passages that state “except for adultery (unfaithfulness)”, and “for the sake of peace”. Abuse is NEVER acceptable, yet “emotional/mental abuse” many times is a fine line, and can be fed by the people one hangs around with. There are pessimistic and optimistic individuals, and this affects, is part of one’s emotional health and stability. Sometimes medicine helps, sometimes the side effects are more dangerous. I have lived and witnessed it all(in my spouse).
Barbara also writes “No one suggests that Leslie or any of the other commenters of this thread are thinking that. So Henry’s argument is a straw man.”
I am glad to hear this. I have heard it many times from other Christians, It’s Ok to sleep in different beds/rooms, as long as you look like Christians, and don’t embarrass God’s Name (my translation). Again, I am only hearing men and women stories in real life.
Barbara writes: “…all that led to was only more abuse from the abuser. Abusers take advantage of their victims”
Again from the perspective of an abused man, who married a woman who admitted to “having problems with submission from the beginning”, I think abusers are more likely to abuse because they lose control, and do not have the tools to deal with healthy relationships. “to take advantage of their victims” is in my opinion a strong and unfounded accusation. Especially if they married in the Lord, and are not to be counted among the scoffers and wicked (intentionally mocking God and His Kingdom).
Barbara writes :”Henry’s theology sounds all too much like an idolization of marriage and family.”
I personally take offense at this and consider it an inflammatory comment. There is a reason that Paul writes in Eph. 5 concerning Marriage—Christ and the Church:
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[e] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband”
This passage so clearly identifies Christ and the Church with a marriage between husband and wife. It is called a mystery, and clear passage on marriage (not a passage where we can apply it to marriage, it is the ground for a Christian marriage)The heavier obligation on the husband.
So I do not idolize marriage and family, but I place the same importance of this wonderful gift and example to the world that the Word of God does.
The last passages Barbara writes has clearly to do with the cost of being a Believer. If you are abused BECAUSE of being a believer, then these passages may apply to you. But to use these passages to break your marriage vows so you can preach to other nations is a violation of God’s Word and an abuse of the gospel. The Apostle Paul wrote extensively on this also, including the passage in Corinthians about staying with an unbelieving spouse for the sake of the sanctification of the children, and perhaps, maybe even bringing the spouse to Christ by being an example of a godly person.
As a believer, my desire should be to suffer if it means my wife or children may be saved. The Apostle Paul again wrote in Romans that he would give up his whole life to save his fellow Jews.
I would like to end on this note. Many of us came out of abusive marriages, and know, read, and counsel others in similar circumstances. Yet we must remember that it is not good for man to be alone, that God created man and women to be one, so both may serve God in a more complete manner. This is best for our children also, and I pray that I and others may never lose sight of the wonderful gift of marriage and children, because of our past history. God has a better plan for us, and we are to ensure we do not make the same mistake twice. Marriage is until death do we part, for better and worse. This is not a man-made vow, it is well grounded in scripture.
To the glory of God, and in love for our neighbour…..
Barbara also wrote:
” The abuser need to take FULL responsibility and do all the hard word of changing into someone who no longer abuses.”
Again I agree and have suffered under the “man is to be blamed, because he is responsible for his wife”, as my church told me….
And yet, as a father, I keep in front of me all the time the passage telling a “father to not provoke your children to anger”. For the women, imagine for a second the heavy obligation this places on a father.
Thanks for allowing me to comment on this Blog, Henry S
Henry, I very much appreciate all your thoughtful remarks in your last two comments and want to thank you for them.
When you’ve read my book, Henry, I think you will see that I am not wanting to brandish verses out of context just to make it appear that divorce is allowable for selfish or trivial reasons.
I believe that the Bible allows divorce for adultery, desertion by an unbeliever, and persistent abuse — which is a form of desertion where although the abuser may not walk out on the marriage, his or her conduct effectively pushes away the other spouse so that the marriage covenant is destroyed. In abusive marriages, the relationship is in inversion of the cherish / protect / submit /love that marriage is meant to be about.
that the marriage covenant is all about: rather it is an inversion of all that and one spouse suffers greatly while the other spouse behaves unconscionably, often with very covert aggression so that neither the abused spouse nor the bystanders actually realise that what is going on is *Abuse*.
So I’m glad, Henry, that we agree on not wanting to brandish verses out of context to make cheap points. I do not think that the ‘cast out the scoffer’ verse is a verse that could or should be used to prove that divorce is permitted for abuse. But it is a verse that could be secondary or tertiary confirmation of the principle of divorce for abuse IF one can establish that principle from other more explicit texts on divorce — which I believe one can, from 1 Cor. 7:15 (backed up by Ex 21:10-11 and Deut. 21:14).
Henry, you said that your church laid on you that “man is to be blamed, because he is responsible for his wife.” I know a man who felt super-responsible for bearing with and tolerating his wife’s immense neglect of him and their child. It got to the point where he could scarcely go on. He ended up divorcing and is now a regular contributor to where I blog at A Cry For Justice. (If you go there, just search for posts by Jeff S.) We also have a few other men at that blog who have suffered abuse from their wives.
The ‘fathers do not provoke your children to anger’ is indeed a demanding call on fathers. I cannot pretend to know what it is like for a godly man to feel the weight of that obligation, though I certainly know what it’s like for a Christian woman who was married to an abusive man who did NOT care about provoking his child to anger — or enticing her into any other sin, for that matter.
We may have to just agree to differ, Henry, on the question of whether abusers are more likely to abuse because they lose control and do not have the tools to deal with healthy relationships, or whether they deliberately and intentionally take advantage of their victims. But from my reading in the field of domestic abuse, the professionals who I most respect say that abusers are intentional (though not always conscious) of what they are doing to obtain and maintain power and control in the relationship. And that they often claim the excuse that they ‘just lost control’ but this is a smokescreen to hide the fact that they were and are in control when they are being abusive. The “I just snapped” line is part of their array of excuses and impression management that keeps the victim and bystanders from seeing the actual truth of what is going on.
However, in the few stories I have heard from male survivors (only a few: not enough to draw strong generalisations) it seems that some of the abusive wives have had major psychological issues which though they did not were cause the abuse, certainly coloured it to quite a large extent. So it may be that some male victims’ experience of abuse is fairly different from the experiences that most female victims have. Female survivors often say to each other: “It sounds sound like I was married to the same man you were married to, sister!”
Perhaps intentionality of abusive acts and deliberate taking advantage of the victim may be something that is more obvious and prevalent in male abusers than in female abusers. (??)
In regards to Luke 9:59-61;14:26-27 and Mark 10:28-30, I would never use those texts as an excuse to break your marriage vows to go and preach the gospel in other nations. I did not mean that when I quote them. I only quoted them to refute the claim that Henry made that “Our chief purpose in life is to glorify God and serve our neighbour…… family & Church family first.”
The problem with this precept as Henry stated it is that, in many cases, staying in an abusive marriage and suffering the abuse is neither going to glorify God nor serve your family or the church. It’s only going to lead to the entrenching of sin and bad witness to the kids who will pick up on the tense atmosphere and the modelling of abuse and cover-up.
My quotes of those scriptures was simply to show that we must be careful not to elevate “family” to too high a place in God’s economy. Yes, family is important, but it is probably not as important as many in the current Christian world like to say it is.
This brings us to the question of what I called the idolization of marriage. I am sorry if you were offended by my words there Henry, but I have seen over and over the pernicious effects of so called Christian teaching which puts *marriage* on such a high pedestal that the health and safety of an spouse is considered of much less importance than maintaining the marriage.
I agree that Eph. 5 makes an analogy between Christ’s love for the church and how a husband ought to love his wife. But like any analogy, we can press and extend it too far. I think the modern evangelical church is pressing this analogy way too far in many instances. We must be very careful not to go beyond what is written in scripture. That is all I’m cautioning about. We have posts about this at our blog.
In regards to staying with an unbelieving spouse for the sake of the sanctification of the children, and perhaps maybe even bringing the spouse to Christ by being an example of a godly person, I like to remind people that John MacArthur called that verse ‘God’s caution against marital evangelism.’ I have no objection to an individual believer deciding that he or she is prepared to suffer if that means their spouse or children may be saved, but I DO object to making that a ‘should’ for all Christians.
(Those who know me well know that I call “should” the “S” word in Christianity . . . and am very cautious about shoulding on anybody.)
Regarding marriage vows and ’till death us do part’ I would simply encourage people to read my book as I have a chapter about that too.
I am glad to read your response, Barbara.
I can’t disagree with most of what you write. I look forward to reading your book, being delivered by
Amazon as we write.
How much suffering and abuse we take is very much a decision each person should consider, with wise counsel. And I think men could (should) take more then women – in line with “bearing with the weaker sex”.
Again, I don’t condone any abuse. We have all sinned and fallen short in our life, and that will continue until we are taken up to be with Christ.
I love your comment about the “S” word. I remind others about it constantly, in a gentle and loving manner 🙂
God bless, Henry S
David, The reason for that would be??????
David, I don’t believe anyone on this site believes they are perfect or better than anyone. In your eyes, how many years must a person be in an abusive relationship before she/he is considered patient? 10 years, 20, 30, until death which could happen before the end of year one in an abusive relationship? Do you honestly think this is what God wants for his daughters?
Both my mother and a friend of mine stayed in marriages for 53 years. Niether of them were patient and both gave up on their marriages being a real marriage long before the death of their husbands. They just happened to live in the same house with abusive men until the day these men died. They are both now very happy and content. You are giving cudos for things you know nothing about. In both cases there was no reflection of a Biblical marriage whatsoever.
I am just sad and taken aback by the harsh pushback I have received. Seems that most on here will not allow God to work to change/transform their spouse. Seems many on here twist the Bible to suit their purposes and to support separation and divorce. I have a strong feeling that if I was married to any of the women on here that have never said a harsh word to their spouse but would leave their spouse if a harsh word was ever said to them. I will only do what the Bible says NOT a twisted version.
It’s interesting to me David that you felt sad by the harsh pushback you received but are totally unaware and unapologetic of the harsh words you used towards the women in this group. Words do hurt and apparently Donna ending her comment by referring to you as a troll was hurtful and I would add unnecessary. By you too accused the women here of twisting scriptures, of being impatient who were not willing to trust God with their lives or marriage. You said they consider themselves perfect or better than their spouse and that you would not want to be married to them (implying that any man would feel as you do). You don’t know these women’s hearts or their life circumstances and to sit in judgment of them is wrong. Again, you are welcome to dialogue to learn, to ask questions, to understand, but not to accuse, attack or judge. And if women do that towards you I will also censure their comments. None of us is perfect but we’re all wanting to be Godly and strive to treat others as we would want to be treated and as God calls us to. You did not like the harsh push back so don’t give it to them either.
Hi Leslie. I humbly accept your ‘scolding’. I have 2 main concerns/issues: 1) it seems that most on here will not allow God to work to change/transform their spouse – I believe God can … my God is very powerful and can change anyone and 2) it seems many on here twist the Bible to support separation and divorce not giving their spouse any chance whatsoever to reconcile. All seems very hopeless.
David, I invite you to humbly listen to what the women here have patiently endured and ask you if you would do likewise.
Hi Leslie – David and all,
First let me apologize for my harsh words and also that they detracted from the point I was trying to make of not letting things get to you. I didn’t mean that David was being a troll like the little, different colored hair that we might remember when we were young.
“Trolling” is a “term of art” regarding blogs. See the definition from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29:
“In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”
I’m not sure how the other women feel but this seems a safe place to let our hair down, discuss our struggle, and encourage on another. When you go through years of gas lighting, excuse making, and a toxic relationship, it is hard to put down the boxing gloves for many of us.
One way to know that you are headed down the road to healing is to not let that person get to you as much (or any more), not have the same reaction to similar situations, and not dwelling on the little injustices and misunderstandings along the way. In other words, Peace or more Peace than previously felt.
I would certainly welcome David’s comments if they in any way didn’t feel like judgment or condemnation. Trust me, we’ve all had more than our fair share of that if you have in any way kept why you’ve made your decision private and family, friends and coworkers don’t have the inside scoop.
David, I wish you well. No hard feelings here. You don’t walk in my shoes, can’t pay the consequences of my decisions of either staying or leaving, and the financial, physical, or emotional fallout of my decisions. I pray that when you encounter someone like me that you will be quick to listen, slow to speak, and reserve judgment for God.
To God be the Glory for the work He is doing in us all. The destination isn’t what matters, it is the journey.
Again, Leslie thank you for the safe place you provide for weary soldiers to gather amongst the online water cooler, extract our pain, and encourage each other that the future holds brighter days than the past. We all make mistakes but God’s grace is sufficient for us.
if my wife ever left us/me and based on what I have read on these comments I would not think that there is any hope – again based on many of these comments maybe I should be proactive and get rid of my wife now.
Thank you Leslie!! I have responded to this man patiently, but it is wearing thin and I do not want to wind up giving David the satisfaction of getting me upset. If I wanted to do that, I could go see my X across town.
Ladies we all deserve better.
Amen, Kim. I absolutely love Jesus’ relationship with Sam. (Samaritan woman). When I am feeling oppressed that is the story I run to. David could gather wisdom from reading these scriptures a fews times and learn Jesus heart.
“David” is “trolling” the blog causing trouble. Please don’t let him get to you. He is not worth the cost of your precious time to respond.
There was this book I read recently, “How to live with screwed up people”. I noticed that I would respond to my (now) ex every time he pushed my buttons. In this book, it said that someone like my ex (and I’m going to say like this David too) comes by like Road Runner, lays out their destruction, says “Beep Beep” then runs off while the Coyote is destroyed and can’t regain his balance and his day is ruined while he is fretting and fuming over Road Runner’s antics.
When my ex tries to ruin my day, I just think he is pulling a “Beep Beep” and then I let it roll off my back and continue on with my day instead of being destroyed by Road Runner.
Don’t rise to David’s banter. It isn’t worth your mental energy. Just think “Beep Beep” and have a wonderful day. :>) Healing is hard work.
Brenda you are an amazing woman and have helped many to heal through your posts. Ask God to bless him and then don’t give this bully another thought.
Thank you Leslie for protecting your community from trolls.
I second Donna’s good words to you and about you dear Brenda!!
However, the whole ” if I wanted this behavior I could go across town and see my ex” was CLASSIC and has made me laugh all day long.
I figured the dude ‘s wife left him, left behind a bunch of Leslie’s books and he’s ticked. We’ll keep all in prayer!!
You and Donna both have been huge reasons Im not in a hospital sick or a mental ward, or worse. Keep on keeping on dear hearts!!!!
No, my wife hasn’t left me and I have never seen a book by Leslie
Then why are you here? If you’re in a reasonably functioning marriage, why are you invested in this discourse with wounded women of great faith? How can we serve you here? Beyond your God being bigger than ours, beyond youre glad youre not married to one of us, and beyond your own fears, what can we do to love/ serve you as a brother? Whats your story?
Donna, Thank you for your support. I love the Road Runner analogy. I may sound a little odd saying Beep Beep during certain instances, but if I am thought to be crazy, oh well. Maybe that will make the real crazies go away! It is sure worth a try. I like the title of the book too, “How to live with screwed up people”. It sounds like a book to add to my list. Have a wonderful day Donna. Beep Beep.
Robin, Thank you for your support. To God be the glory. I do believe I was on a roll that day, but God was in it, without Him the only thing on the page would have read blah, blah, blah. I am so willing to be used anyway he chooses on whatever day he chooses.
I would love all of your prayers. I am on a purge between medications for MS and going through a lot of pain. May God be with you all. Brenda
Brenda, I’m praying!!
Vikki, I agree wholeheartedly that this man’s wife probably left him. I am glad that I could provide some laughter to your day. We all support each other. Everyone here has been uplifting to me at one time or another. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that the Lord lead me here. The greatest blessing is knowing there are people out there praying for one another. Brenda
no, as I said prior, my wife has not left me and if she did I would hope that she (during separation) would allow God to change/transform/restore me rather than divorcing me. This man hating as me freaked out as is not Christ like.
I hope she would too, but if you didn’t change, weren’t willing to change, weren’t willing to get help, weren’t willing to listen to your pastor or counselor or other people in your life then what? Should she continue to wait and hope or should she face the truth, that you are blind and prideful and unwilling to change or submit to God or to wise others? These women are not man haters David – again stop judging, they are simply trying to stay safe from men who are abusive – not all men or women are abusive, but some are and God even told Joseph to protect Jesus from those who were seeking his life.
David, You obviously haven’t read many of the women’s stories on this blog. I will give you a little of my back ground as reference and would love to hear your feedback.
I was sexually, physically, verbally, emotionally and spiritually abused by my stepfather. I was taught very early to say nothing or my mother or sister might be harmed. IF, my mother had known would you say that she should stay with this man. He verbally abused her on a daily basis and stayed with him because she felt she would only do worse as far as men were concerned if she did. My father abandoned us before my younger sister was born.
During my own marriage I was cursed at while having items thrown at me. I was sexually assaulted. Now remember I had already been well trained not to speak up for myself or tell anyone. An attempt was made to push me out of a vehicle while going down a highway. I was small and fit at the time and managed to get into the back seat. X threw things, hit walls, slammed doors on a regular basis. This was his form of communicating rather than working through our differences. I wanted a cat. His response was that if I brought one home he would kill it. When it was his idea to have one several years later he brought one home and within 2 years we had 4. For the first 6 years of my adult life adultery on the part of my husband was a regular event. I have been punched, tied to a bed, my children threatened to make sure I did as I was told.
Does this really sound like giving up because of a few harsh words? David I believe it is you who have twisted the Bible and its reflection of God’s heart. You have set yourself up as judge and jury. Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to sit back quietly and find out the truth about the ladies here. There is no one that just gave up because of a few harsh words.
Amen Donna, I knew what you meant by his David’s trolling. It made total sense. He seemed to be on a quest to cause discord.
I’ve already had words with X this morning. I found my reaction quite patient and peaceful. Walking away for a brief time and allowing the spirit to take over my heart for just a little while makes my responses much more controlled and inline with God’s heart. It takes time to get beyond all of the hurt someone else has caused and to have the walls of safety of this site and others like it bombed is hurtful. There have been times that I have said things here that I cannot say aloud anywhere else, but there is true understanding here. There is the feeling of a group hug on days where you just don’t think you will make it through another day.
When those who have NO understanding breach the walls it is if you went back to the abuse you once felt from sunup to sunset. Just my opinion. In someways people like David, make me stronger. I’ve learned a little bit more patience through the darkness he brought with him.
David, This is not hopeless at all. We have found hope here and through God’s word and not the legalism and bondage that others would put women under. Those who have NO understanding of what we have been put through. God doesn’t hate divorce, He Himself divorced Israel because of her adultery towards Him. He does hate the sin that caused the divorce. The majority of women here have endured for 20, 30, 40 years. But God shows grace that could not endure that long. Perhaps they were beaten, there children violated. God expects us to protect ourselves and our children. God can still work in the lives of men who’s wives no longer live with them. Matter of fact he could use that fact to show them what they have lost without Him and being the kind of men that he created them to be. I told my X once, “it is not over until it is over”, meaning if God changes Him and it is His desire there is always the possibility that He will bring us together again. You have to look at life as eternal, which it is for those who believe.
David, This is not man hating. It is hating the things they have done. My X demanded a divorce after I confirmed that he was being intimate with his ex-wife. I had filed a legal separation to protect myself from his financial immaturity. I prayed for my husband’s salvation for many years. He showed no reason for me to believe that he had actually accept Christ as His savior. Listen and learn. The women here have tried everything. Separation was not an instant decision. It was long, prayerful and painful. Many of us went through extensive counseling to get to this point. I hope that you would not treat your wife as the men have to the women on this site, but with your reactions to us, I do have to wonder what your wife is going through. Self reflection is always good.
Brenda, can you define for me benefit of legal separation, instead of going towards divorce??
Good morning ladies (and David):
I have written before. I do not believe myself a troll, but do want to react to this “busy” blog. David made a
similar comment that I made (Not to justify separation/divorce too fast), which was not meant to be provocative, but just a flag some men may see in the responses on this blog. With mostly women writing, I was hit with the Word of Jesus while trying to listen fairly to the individuals hurting on this blog. David may have said a few unwise comments, but so have some of the responses been unwise. As Jesus would say, “let those without sin cast the first stone”. I believe those hurt by men should also consider whether they are perfect, or perhaps that have also hurt their man? I could see in the comments, that some of the ladies comments would have raised a man’s (husband’s) hackles. Fair or not, this is what I see. May we all speak with grace and truth.
David, Man hating is not Christ like, but niether is making your self judge, jury and executioner against people that you know nothing about even before learning their circumstances.
Amen, Leslie. Well said.
David, You pick and choose what you want. You will not see truth until you let all sink into your heart. Do not quench the Spirit.
My issues are as follows:
1) Separation vs divorce. Sometimes it is wise for a spouse (usually the wife) and the kids to depart for safety reasons but NOT divorce. Financial reasons are NOT acceptable – if that is the case all spouses that are financially successful should immed divorce! The Lord does not give us permission to leave our marriages because our spouse does not make enough money in the time frame that we want!
2) Even if a spouse (husband or wife) is abusive – God is all powerful and can change anyone. Many on these comments seem to believe that God is weak and therefore better to divorce and give up.
Ms C Perry – said what I understand to be true.
Even if your husbands were complete idiots – you can separate and still love and pray for him but the hatred I detect on these msg board is very disturbing not mention un Biblical. Remember you took a vow before God. Seems that this group wishes to ignore several scriptures to support divorce ie “let no man put asunder …”
I do not think that I’m welcome here as I am a man and believe solely in the Word of God so I need to depart.
We agree sometimes separation is necessary for SAFETY reasons. However, then what? What if the husband controls the finances and uses them to continue to torment and abuse the wife? To harass her legally, to withhold support for the children? To spend them recklessly on gambling, addictions, other women, poor investments? Then what? What does she do for SAFETY? That’s when she may need to file for divorce in some states so that she is able to gain some access to their joint marital accounts and LEGALLY separate their finances so that she can take care of herself and her children.
I don’t mean this in a harsh way but why are you here on this blog? What is it that draws you here? What is your motivation?
Hebrews 1:3 Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. Jesus came with compassion, mercy and grace. He not only came to forgive our sins because we ALL sin even you David but He also came to show us the Father’s heart.
Let me ask you if you encountered a prostitute would you tell her how horrible she was in her sin or would you have compassion on her and pray that she knows the Father’s love and that He would heal the wounds that got her to this place?
You see David, many on this blog are so pleasing to God the Father because the only thing that pleases Him is faith. For many of us, this is ALL we have because begging, pleading, long suffering, tears, prayers, all of our actions have done nothing to affect our spouses and we no longer have the grace to stay in that environment for mental and physical safety reasons. God will not and neither can we change the will of a person. Some people’s will refuses to change for the betterment of their family and relationship. So this is where faith comes in. We have faith that God has us. Our journey is extremely painful and full of gut wrenching hardship. An outsider might look critically and judgmentally on our decisions but God knows the truth.
I would say that quite possibly instead of looking at the comments with criticism and condemnation that I might suggest maybe God has you here on this blog to ask you to look at the wounded’s heart, have compassion, intercede in prayer for us and our family’s. Maybe God is trying to reveal something personally to you even? Do not be arrogant and prideful to think that you can’t learn something. Maybe He wants you to gain a measure of truth out of our pain. Just maybe He drew you here to reveal something to you because He is having compassion and mercy on -you? Is there something He is trying to show you in your own marriage?
One cannot and should not judge another’s heart. This is dangerous territory.
Mat 7:1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
Mat 7:2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
I pray God’s mercy, grace and compassion on you David no matter how you feel about each one of us. God has His loving arms around us even if we make a mistake. He is all powerful and He can handle us. You don’t have to defend God. He has enough love for each one of us and you as well. You will come to a time when you will need God’s grace and mercy in your own life when you are misunderstood and I’m here to say God will extend it to you because He is full of loving kindness.
God bless you…
I am new to this dialogue tonight, and have read about 3/4 of the discussion. If my following comments have already been shared, I apologize for redundancy. Nevertheless,
(1)You said that (I) took a ‘vow’ before God. Other words used in discussion have referred to the ‘marriage covenant’. I did. And though took that solemnly, tearfully and with great devotion to my husband and to God. I don’t appreciate the fear-filled words you frequently use to intimidate readers like me in to thinking that my separation is the ultimate, unforgivable sin.
Does God not teach in Genesis, when he made his first covenant with Abraham, that He in essence said, “Abraham, I’ve got this”, by putting Abraham to sleep while he (the torch) passed through the torn animals? In so doing, He pointed to Jesus, whose broken body would be like those animals torn at covenant making time – proclaiming that any who would believe in His great love for them would not perish but have eternal life?That if I believe that God is faithful to His promises, never lies, never changes, then if I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus is Lord, then I am saved. And so, when I stand before God in heaven and if He were to say, “Jenny, you were wrong with your reasons for separation (and my likely) divorce” – God would STILL welcome me, equally, to share in His joy and rest in His company, along with you, because of Jesus! That welcome, that equality, that protection is my security. And it demands your respect and loving honor through your tone and words used here on this blog – even if you are set on being right.
No matter what happens, Jesus has my back. Nothing can separate me from His love. I don’t need your approval for my life choices. I made a vow, but even in this vow’s brokenness, Jesus is strong for me: my warrior, my protector, my first spouse (before I ever married), my intercessor, my savior. And he will not let anyone, not even you, bully me with fearful words, intimidating remarks into thinking that my life choices, even a divorce (which I don’t want), can EVER separate me from His love. My separation, my husband’s abuse and its torture on my soul and that of my three girls under the age of 5, can NEVER convince Jesus to says, “whoops, shouldn’t have died for those people! I take it back! To hell with them.” So stop with the “vows” and “covenant” remarks – with all due respect, but with firm warning, they do not represent the character of OUR God.
Warning: Be careful of a judgmental tone. You don’t want to be on the side of needing the mercy and compassion of the church, in-laws, family, neighbors, friends. People’s judgements of our lives are like a box of chocolate – you never know what you are going to get. I choose Jesus over listening to you tonight. I need some peace and your words are anything but that.
EXCELLENTLY SPOKEN, Jenny. Thank you for speaking for many of us……
As already mentioned – a marriage agreemnent can be done during a separation or prior – no need to get a divorce but if a spouse really wants a divorce any excuse will do.
Good questions, Vikki!!!
David, Perhaps you should invite her input. She may be very interested in your perspective.
Robin, For me I was still mulling over how I felt about divorce outside of adultery. My pastor was saying no way. I knew I had to leave, but really didn’t know what to do. I still felt like I was in a state of shock even though I had been praying about this for years. I was a basket case.
My attorney explained that with Legal Separation assets would be divided, but legally we were still married. If he were to make a purchase or accumulate any form of debt, I would in no way be responsible for it. The only thing that had to happen to move on to divorce was one signature. Everything else was complete. We had no children together. For me it was a good jumping off point. It didn’t take long for the divorce to become necessary, but I felt confident about it by that time. Filing for LS first gave him one last chance for him to do something that would show he was trying to change. That didn’t happen.
Donna, Amen. Eloquently and graciously said.
Brenda, thank you for your imput. I am not interested in a L.S. as it doesnt sound to me that it would give me what I need. I filed for divorce this week and am feeling it was needed. You said, you decided on L.S. to give him one more chance to change. In my thinking, I have given him a million last chances. With no repentance. If the divorce should come to him, as a wake up call, that would be great. But I think I’ve waited way too long now, and am not willing to expose my family on-going to his abuse– anymore. He is very destructive and doesn’t seem to be able to see that. I leave him, in God’s hands.
Robin, I know how you feel, there had already been far too many chances given in my case too. I don’t think your way is wrong at all. I wanted a divorce even when I filed for L.S., but fear over took reason and I was having to make far too many decisions in a short period of time. I hope it all works out for you and you will be safe in all you do.
Thank you Brenda. Please pray for my safety. There are some concerns that are troubling, in how he will respond…He is an intense controller, manipulator, liar, and very abusive. The longer I wait, the more God reveals.
Robin, I will be praying for you even now and continuing on. God grant you safety, a secure place to go and freedom through his grace. I pray that He would put his hedge around you and protect you from his evil. Robin, keep us posted. You are loved.
Brenda- GREAT TIMING!!!!! Thank you. My lawyer files the divorce petition and the Protection Order tomorrow. We are requesting those who could pray and maybe fast if they can, to comealongside us. My husband is returning from being gone for 10 days tomorrow night about 9pm with no knowledge that I have contacted a lawyer. I will be gone staying with friends. We’re asking for safety and Emergency Protection Order, if the Lord desires that for this situation. There is concern for safety.
Thank you for your support!
Lord, please be with Robin and her children – for wisdom, safety and perfect timing for everything tomorrow. Thank you for her friends who are helping her. Amen
Thank you Leslie for your prayer support. My counselor and I met today, and we were discussing how much support I have right now- and how it is making such a difference, in what is happening in my life. I have lived in a destructive relationship for way too many yrs– but the strong support base I have now, is breaking the evil bondage I’ve known for so long. I’m ready to go towards this disciplinary divorce. !! and eager to see God move in all our lives!
Robin, I will be praying for your throughout this day and through this move. Lord, protect you and your children.
Robin, let us know how you are doing.
Robin, I am so glad to hear you are making headway and that you have good counsel and a growing support system. My prayers are with you.
Hi friends, im safe and with good friends. We heard from the court. They gave me a restraining order, and will remove him from house by noon tomorrow. I will stay with these friends likely, till the hearing, Feb3rd. Thank you for your loving support and prayers.
Yea! Thanks for letting us know.
Praises. Keep safe, Robin. I will continue to pray for you. Brenda
I want to testify how God is always working for us. Getting a restraining on your abusive, sociopath, narcissistic spouse is a scary deal, but not with God. HE ALLOWED ME To Stay in family home, provided a monthly spousal support even tho at the hearing my husband very strongly stood up against me by gathering 3 of our children to write dishonestdeclarations. Yesterday we got word , our patience pd off. While it was looking at end of hearing my spouse had gotten everything he wanted, there is a new turn. We are asking judge to review our case and filed an avadavit of prejudice, and are being given a new judge from out of town. 2 of the 3 judges we may get our women. We are praying God will truly be Glorified as we step out and fight this battle against evil. So ladies, don’t give up when things look dim. God is always working for us, even when we don’t see it !!
I am doing very well, ladies. This is day 4 of being away from my home. The Lord graciously placed me with very loving friends who are protecting me, and caring every moment. I fully know I am on God’s path for me, and I get to just rest and heal for awhile….. Thank you for your continual support and prayers and love sent my way!!!
So jenny – if I understand you correctly we should just ignore our vows made before Go and then just rip out the many verses in the Bible that are very clear re marriage. Reading thru the blog it seems I am not the only one who believes the Bible
You are not the only one who believes the Bible, in fact David, you don’t apply all of the Bible to your speech in this group. But we don’t all agree the Bible says exactly the same things as you believe.
Jenny, Well said. Glad you are here.
Hi Leslie.Guess we have different Bibles as mine is very clear. It is more than just showing compassion – a few comments back – I was asked how I would react to a prostitute – hopefully I would show compassion but her actions would still be wrong. Sorry. Many things are stated in the Bible that we do not like and are not convenient but we still have to accept and it is not right to twist the Word of God to suit our purposes. I noticed that the few others on this blog that also believe the Bible are no longer commenting so I should do the same – it is just to believe that someone would profess to believe the Bible and then make it say something else. A husband who has committed abuse and/or has been unfaithful can been be transformed by the Lord but from the comments that is not believed – sorry but my God is all powerful and all things are possiable thru Him.
David, I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God as do many of the participants in this blog and for you to infer otherwise is misleading and contentious, but we do not agree on the same interpretations of certain passages. I also believe as I’m sure most women here believe, that anyone can be transformed by God but a person also has a free will. Cain killed Abel because he was not willing to do what God told him to do. It started right in the beginning. If someone is not willing, no transformation takes place. Show me one place in the Scriptures where someone was transformed who was not willing to submit to God and give up their own prideful ways. No one!
Leslie, We agree completely. There is not one place where free will was not involved in an individual’s submission to God. Could God change X? Of course, but not without his willingness to give up self and believe and trust in Christ. I also believe that if that happens, it can happen without me living in X’s home. It is also true that God cannot change David’s heart without his submission and willingness to allow Him(God) to show him(David) the truth of who He(God) is. God is a loving and compassionate God. He desires what is best for me and staying any longer in an abusive marriage with an unrepentant man was not in my best interest. I stayed where I was until he said move, and I moved. I like this quote and keep it with me in my Bible. “Suffering for Jesus is not the same thing as being abused and pretending everything is alright for Jesus.”
“It is also true that God cannot change David’s heart without his submission and willingness to allow Him(God) to show him(David) the truth of who He(God) is.” Don’t think I am the only one that needs to be changed!!
“God is a loving and compassionate God” … but hates your husband!!
No one ever said God hates husbands. But sometimes he hates what they do (and also hates what some wives do) When we treat one another with cruelty, selfishness, deceit, indifference, recklessness, and cause them pain, God hates that whether it is a man or a woman but he still loves the person.
Thank you guys. And David, maybe in heaven you’ll be happy to see me there, even if you learn that I was later divorced on this earth?
I wouldn’t bother to answer. These are the comments that
create distructive relationships, in my humble opinion.
Hi Henry. I agree 100% re you comment above ‘destructive relationships. The Bible is very, very clear on these matters but the folks on here refer to interpretation when it is just a matter of simple reading. ‘in the last times …’
You both are using the law and no grace, no love.
Neither of you have shared your wounds that any balm may heal it.
You are both gifts to us and this thread- that we would watch women rise up in Love, that Leslie Vernick would show us in deed how to deal with those who would crucify with the letter of the law, that we would watch grace enacted on behalf of those who’s souls are bleeding.
We here do not further rip the wounded. We have offered you a place to share your stories, your vulnerabilites, but you refuse to put down your axe- just like the men we have/ do live with.
May God forgive you both- and may the way you adhere to the law be used on you. Have the last word, be right. We have love, support, each other and confirmation through your example that we are DONE with the law of exactness and fall at the feet of Jesus and His blood to forgive.
What I know for sure about people like you us that the only happiness you have us in judging others.
God forgive you both.
We have love and freedom and honesty before our Father who wars on our behalf.
God forgive you both and have mercy on your wives.
I am not here to defend myself. My wounds were shared in
August 2013. Your next post that I saw after that was in January 2014 and I saw no balm to heal it. Blogs can only start to reflect law and grace (Which MUST be balanced), but love comes from physical connections. I can’t and won’t expect to get love from a blog, although I believe in speaking the truth in love at all times (read my posts).
I am sorry you see my responses this way, but trust me, I have NO axe to grind. Your snide comment “just like the men we have/do live with” should have no place on a Christian Blog, and I pray you reconsider your words before speaking/writing. Of course God has forgiven me, we thank God for this every day, as we forgive those who sin against us. Pray and work… forgiveness is work.
You don’t know me at all Vikki, not in the slightest, from one blog entry you take offence to. I may judge words and actions as we all should from fellow believers – yet I am not writing in judgement!), and there is NO “happiness” in this. Wherever you judge a person’s heart for this “happiness”, I think you may need to reflect and ask for forgiveness. in humility.
Blessings to you Henry, David, Ms. Perry, and others.
I have no further comments on this thread because I am going to have this amazing day, this blissful Saturday of second cups of coffee, quiet lingering over the scriptures of God’s intimacy, apologies of every sin I committed and then birds that fly by my window to affirm sweet forgiveness.
No, I no longer seek to engage in who’s right who’s wrong.
I spent 20 years doing that.
Today, I’m surrendering to this beautiful life being rebuilt cell by cell in my adrenal depleted body. Surrendering to love that shows up in notes from friends. Surrendering to a plan greater than my own – while simultaneously resurrecting dreams from 19 years ago.
I am rebuilding and have no further time for being heard and considered, being understood, being loved.
I just already am.
In His Compassion,
Yes David, it was me who asked you about what if you encountered a prostitute not to support the sin but so that you would see what is in your own heart whether you lean towards compassion or judgment. Many people jump to conclusions without ministering to the person. You have jumped to many conclusions without ministering to one person on this list UNLESS they agreed with you.
I do agree that our God is powerful and He can change lives and situations but since we are not God’s puppets, we have free will. Most parents wouldn’t will their children to be drug addicts but the son or daughter’s will can choose to take the drug or not no matter how much a parent wouldn’t want that for a child. In many marriages, it is the same. A spouse doesn’t want to be abused or be divorced but the offending spouse does not “will” to change their part of the formula. It takes grace to stay in those situations but sometimes grace runs out, then what? Some one should die (spiritually, mentally, emotionally) because the church isn’t doing their part stepping in to make the husband accountable? That would make one sin in idolatry.
You may not be prideful but your postings suggest that only you have the “correct” interpretation of scripture. There are many, many scriptures regarding the sin of pride but again, I defer to God’s mercy and grace.
Life is not black and white. One day you will need mercy and grace and I pray you will receive more than you are giving out on this list.
What is your agenda David? It “feels” like the abuse we all left. It “feels” like you have no compassion or grace towards any of those who have walked through horrific situations. Have you cried or prayed for any person on this list when you read their heart ache? Have you interceded and been absolutely burdened for any one on this list? Have you gone back and researched what the husband’s responsibility is in marriage or have you just passed judgement and said only you have the correct interpretation to scripture without leaving any room open to you learning something that you may pass on to a struggling husband who needs encouragement to cherish his wife?
You are witnessing the raw emotions and the train wrecks of marriages many have gone through. Most on here have been married many, many years which means many repeated efforts to course correction, many tears, many days and nights on their knees praying.
Conscientious people are on here because they DO believe in marriage and prayer and Christ. I thank God for Leslie because there is more than our fair share of condemnation, guilt, and religion to remind of us of the heavy weight of a divorce decision. Sometimes a person can have so much pain that they don’t have the words any longer to describe their faith through it. Thank you Lord that Leslie not only understand the pain but is a merciful Shepard helping us to find our through it.
Pro 11:9 With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
To me, and I cannot speak for other women, you have gone beyond your “opinion” and are like the foxes in the vineyard. Song of Solomon 2:15. I do not need your permission to move forward in my life even if it means divorce. You’ve stated your opinion over and over and over and over. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. What’s your agenda David?
“Life is not black and white” Life may not be but on some subjects the Bible is … whether we like it or not … sorry!
Donna, this was one of the posts that made me realize I have nothing else to add. This was AMAZING and beautiful and chock full of verses. You are a Godly woman and I am honored to be here with you. God bless you and your path. XOXO!
Henry, If your desire is to be humble, you might try understanding what the women, and sometimes men, have gone through in their marriages and I use the term loosely. Perhaps asking God for wisdom and compassion in an area that you do not understand and Lord willing you will never have to experience personally. Passing judgment on Jenny’s brief post to David was the opposite of humility and showed your lack of knowledge on the real life issue of abuse.
When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well He knew everything about her and still he showed compassion, mercy, grace and love until she overflowed. Not once did he show her condemnation. You could learn much from how Jesus responds to people. I expect to meet Sam one day and I am sure she will have that same story.
This will probably be my last post. I AM the abused husband that stayed in a marriage for over 17 years,
suffering in love with a mentally unstable wife. At the end my life was in danger, as well as the damage my 4 beautiful children witnessed every day. I continue to suffer through her words and actions, but I trust God to protect me from the fiery flames of the devil, who has control over her. (I am speaking in sadness, not spite or any other issue of anger and bitterness).
I just wanted to share this with you, so when I say judge me not (re: humility, lack of wisdom & compassion, lack of knowledge and the real life issue of abuse), lest you also be judged, I am only speaking Christ’s words as a loving warning to you.
Just because the one man you loved more then anybody else in the world treated you the way he did, does not give you the right to judge all other men (like me)or treat them the way Jenny spoke to David. Men are getting the raw deal on this web site, and there is a reason why the Bible commands women not to teach in the Church, and warns teachers that they are subject to a higher level of judgement. And please don’t take me the wrong way, I am not a woman-hater, or anything like that. I am in another loving relationship, and God provided a miracle in my life to confirm that I am not the abusing husband my wife told everybody I was, throwing the same accusations around that you are. I am not perfect, there is no perfect man in the world, but forgiveness has to be the centre of every relationship Husband-wife, family, church leadership, and do not let the sun go down on your anger (even if it is only the silent treatment), otherwise our relationship will not reflect Christ in our life.
May God’s name be praised in this post.
compassion does not mean that is right.
If you believe that the Bible is a matter of simple reading, perhaps you are still on the milk and need to grasp the meat of the word. I know that each time I read God points out something new that I never saw before. Having my heart and mind open to what he has to tell me and not leaning on my own understanding is key to drawing closer to Him and His will in my life.
The following blessings of God, for each of us who believes, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus:
“You surround him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12b
“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.” Psalm 3:3
And since none of us refutes the injustice of abuse, hear now God’s response to injustice and His merciful promises.
“Now the Lord saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought salvation to him, and His righteousness upheld Him… ‘As for Me, this is My covenant with them,’says the Lord:’My Spirit which is upon you, and my My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,’ says the Lord, ‘from now and forever.'” Isaiah 59:15b,16,21
And to Henry and David, I was just thinking about what an impact your words would be if their focus and energy was first to against the injustice of abuse and in protection of the men, women and children who suffer tangibly now? My husband doesn’t think he needs protecting or support because he is right. He’s not asking for your defense of him. He doesn’t need you. The women and children like myself and my kids could sure use your words, your passion for truth and justice in protecting and interceding in word and deed. How I wish you could use your voice to help the down trodden instead of protecting those who are unrepentant.
Thank you Jenny for your truths, your words, your timely wisdom on directing words appropriately….what grounds could be covered if men would be our brothers… I know they are out there – many. Bless your journey
Actually Henry, I was unaware that you were the one being abused. I believe men can be in this circumstance, but also believe that those like their female counterparts should protect themselves and their children. I see nowhere in scripture that God expects a parent to allow their children to be abused. I do see where he tells us to teach them in the way they should go……..Keeping them in an abusive household does not teach them the ways of God. It teaches them evil. A marriage in which one of the parties does not choose to follow Christ in a biblical way is not reflecting Him in our lives in anyway. The abused party allowing it to happen does not reflect Christ in their life either. We become shells of the people that God calls us to be. I put myself at the top of this list. That is what I was–an empty shell. Men are quite welcome as far as I am concerned to come in safety to express their issues and gain support whether they stay or go. Most of the men who come here only want to belittle and give their version of how we should behave and judge our decisions as unbiblical.
You made mention to David not to respond to a post as it would not do any good. It seemed as though you were one of those who would throw us in the pit for our God given right to choose safety and sanity over staying in abuse. If that is not the case, you have my apologies.
Brenda, when I read this post from you, I realized this is crazymaking, in my opinion. I clearly saw your heart to connect, to explain, to not hurt, to clarify and I saw myself in this for 19 years only to hear that I (and now you) misunderstood. This was one of the posts where I realized I could literally go back and find all the posts and comments and sum everything up – because I’ve been very good at this – and I no longer can. I thank you for helping me realize I have to let go, even when I’m not heard, or even understood ( I can, as you can, handle not being agreed with).
I am letting go of these people and all our arguments because wow. each of you have said things I never even thought of (that encourage me daily). I bless YOU for your sharing and honesty and courage. I am going to heal and not engage in any more endless rants where attention is rated over connection. Will connect with you on other posts, friend!
Thanks Vikki and I hope you join us in other threads. I think watching this happen actually helps women clarify that crazy making pattern. That no matter what you say or how you say it it is twisted around and made to look like you are the one who is accusing, judging, abusing, and ungodly. Good thing we have it all in writing. But it’s good practice for those who have had their heads spun around a time or two or three.
I truly hope that we will speak on other threads. You are right. There really isn’t anymore to say. I applaud your courage and ability to see through the crazy making. My reason for coming here is to safely connect with others in similar circumstances and HEAL, not to get into the same crazy abusive scenario as I had with X with other people.
No matter what, I wish you healing and happiness in your life. Brenda
Vikki, That was so beautifully said. There is no one here who hates men, but we do not condone their abusive behavior and God does not expect us to do so. Those who would condemn the down trodden even if it be by a spouse is not following scripture. The black and white that was spoken of by David….God says we are not to be liars, but we see in scripture those who lied to save others or themselves. God did not strike them down dead because they lied for that reason or say they were not justified. What makes it any different for a woman (or man) to save herself and her children from abuse and possible death? Just because there is a marriage license? I don’t think so.
Henry you said that your wife said you were abusive. Were you? Just because one relationship is abusive doesn’t mean another will be. Perhaps your current relationship is with someone who complies with all of your desires like a stepford wife. I don’t know what your relationships were like, but I would really like to hear their sides of the story. You seem not to want to believe that men can be and are abusive. Look into your heart and actions and ask God to point out those things that you may not want to see.
I have said many times prior ie
My issues are as follows:
1) Separation vs divorce. Sometimes it is wise for a spouse (usually the wife) and the kids to depart for safety reasons but NOT divorce. Financial reasons are NOT acceptable – if that is the case all spouses that are financially successful should immed divorce! The Lord does not give us permission to leave our marriages because our spouse does not make enough money in the time frame that we want!
2) Even if a spouse (husband or wife) is abusive – God is all powerful and can change anyone. Many on these comments seem to believe that God is weak and therefore better to divorce and give up.
Ms C Perry – said what I understand to be true.
Even if your husbands were complete idiots – you can separate and still love and pray for him but the hatred I detect on these msg board is very disturbing not mention un Biblical. Remember you took a vow before God. Seems that this group wishes to ignore several scriptures to support divorce ie “let no man put asunder …”
I do not think that I’m welcome here as I am a man and believe solely in the Word of God so I need to depart.”
I have noticed that many of my points ignored and many parts of the Bible are always twisted and there have beed several on here that also believe the Bible but they are rudely chased away. I need to realize that in the last days I will see stuff like this and the hatred against men (ie against Henry) is disgusting and I need to go – I am not welcome here.
David you are right – separation should be one’s first choice. But I believe you live in Canada and your laws may be different. In the US each state has different protections for those who are separated, some states provide no protection at all. There is no such thing as a legal separation in some states. You are either legally married or not. Period. Therefore, it makes it very tough for some women and men who are separated and would choose to stay that way if they could but it’s impossible. They aren’t leaving or divorcing for financial reasons they are leaving for abusive reasons, but once they’ve left, they can’t get financial marital assets that are 1/2 theirs unless they initiate a divorce. Or if they would, like Brenda, choose to stay separated until their spouse began to change, the spouse chooses to divorce them. So all we ask is that you not judge and condemn. You are welcome to your point of view and your convictions.
No David. I don’t believe that God hates my husband, but I also don’t believe that he is happy with his behavior and treatment of others. I also don’t believe that God condemns me for living separate from him or being divorced, which my then husband insisted on. I would have remained legally separate, but not divorced, at least not after only 5 months of separation.
I do believe that God wants my husband to repent and follow Him. He has not done that. I honestly don’t understand why people like you that want to judge others, but not bring anything helpful to the table come to sites like this. Do you feel empowered to walk on the downcast? If so, you are having the opposite effect on me. I am feeling stronger in my God by seeing a person who will not take the beam out of his own eye before judging me or the others who come here for safety and support.
David, We do have a powerful, loving God. There is no weakness in Him. He can and does change people in mighty ways, but he has also given us and our spouses free will. Our spouses do not have to change if they do not want to. God is not going to change them unless it is their desire. He will force no one to turn to Him.
Hear me: From the bottom of my heart I am so sorry to hear that you too have suffered from abuse. My husband’s sister has also greatly abused my brother-in-law. Husband abuse can deeply damage a man’s self-worth maybe even worse than a wife although damage runs deep for both. My brother-in-law also deals with a wife who has mental health issues. He has stayed to protect her from herself. With that being said, he has said to me multiple times that if he were the “weaker vessel” meaning the wife that this was happening too, he doesn’t know that he could have stayed because his physical being would have been at risk.
I pray Jer 31:25 for you: God will refresh tired bodies and restore tired souls.
Whatever your story is, I am glad that you have found your joy again regardless of who you are or are not with.
To your point that you were abused: Can you imagine being the weaker vessel? Many of us are totally dependent on the abuser for protection, provision, etc? Can you imagine Henry what you went through but being physically smaller, not working, raising the children, and no voice because if you speak up you could be greatly punished and usually are either emotionally, physically or financially. Hopelessness and despair start to break one down in this position and the strength to endure, persevere or get out only comes from God. The majority of people can never enact upon the strength and then they are judged by society when the truth is out why they never left in the first place! Or their bodies break down with resulting cancer, stroke, adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, obesity or heart attacks if they haven’t already gone through a nervous breakdown.
What you read on this list is a matter of perspective. Our inward thoughts and beliefs color what we read as well as our outward experiences. So you may internalize venting and discussing as man-hating, bashing, anti-scripture while others are actually supporting one another with their similar experiences and healing in the process.
I really in my heart do not believe that anyone hates men on this list. Yes, some may be bitter or resentful (and I certainly am not pointing fingers). But as God works on their hearts they will heal. Healing takes hard work and an environment to heal in. God says to guard our hearts – be careful of what is implanted and allowed to stay.
God’s greatest commandments are to Love Him first and then love everyone else like yourself. What I have found most startling in my journey is that the very definition of Love I had defined by a “feeling”. Sometimes Love is letting some one go to reap the consequences of their actions so that the rest of the generations see that bad behavior must not be tolerated. That is actually loving the spouse and loving the children.
Although it may seem an oxymoron I actually still deeply love my spouse although I will be divorcing him soon. His name is upon my lips to the Lord all throughout the day and night. I wonder if it ever won’t be? It is a painful love because it is his blindness and arrogance that driven me away and became quite abuse over the last 15 years. This will be “his” story with God as I have my own.
I am glad you have made Peace with God over the decisions with your wife. While some may thing this list is man hating and many women have refuted this argument, it “feels” as though much judgement has come against the women on this list for their discussion.
Rom 14:4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Rom 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
I think it is good and welcome to have a lively discussion on things. Nobody is saying you should not have your beliefs but when it crossing the line to people who are already wounded, bleeding and oppression, I wonder to who’s satisfaction it gives? It certainly doesn’t seem to give Glory to God who is the God of ALL compassion, mercy, and grace.
I pray for God’s mercy and grace upon him every day and I pray His mercy and grace for you. We all need these.
Again David, why are you here? What is your story? Have you shared your story yet why you are even interested in this discussion?
I want to thank you for your constant attacks on this list. This is how the world and often the Church that no matter what happens to the abused, we must go by the letter of the law. Actually, let me not insult the “world” because they do not seem to be nearly as judgmental as the Church at times. The Pharisees erred in law with no love and compassion.
I have not detected even one post given by you that even had a smidgeon of compassion. Do you have compassion for the abused?
2Ti 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
I meant to say when you attack the abused on the list, what happens is that you strengthen our core being and each other. So what is meant for bad, has turned into our good. Praise God.
If the devil knew what the death of Jesus would bring about, he would have killed all those who killed Jesus so that He would have never died.
Your wounding, blesses us.
Why do law and grace need to be balanced? We are not under the law, we are under grace.
Forgiveness is a choice. It is coming to terms with what has happened and letting it go for your own heart’s sake. It is releasing the other party from owing you anything for the sins they have committed against you. You release them from it. It does not mean that you forget or allow them to continue to sin against you. It doesn’t mean that you continue relationship with them.
I don’t think you get to deem what is appropriate for a Christian website unless of course profanity or vulgar suggestions are made. This is Leslie’s blog and she does a wonderful job of relating making our decisions in a godly manner. Some of the comments that have been made by you and David have sounded like things abusive spouses and abusive church leaders have said. The key word is “abusive”. If you have been through this yourself, why are you condemning others who have to make decision for their safety, sanity and spiritual welfare as well as for their children? I don’t understand.
I disagree with you. I have felt much love on this blog. People who cannot speak still feel love. Those who are blind and cannot hear still feel love. Many people here are just as real to me as the one sitting next to me in the pew on Sunday morning, but never offer a Hello even when I speak first. I lived with X for 20 years–I felt NO love from him.
I don’t recall your initial story, but have heard loud and clear things that you have said since. Perhaps you should get back to your story and use it to uplift the people here instead of criticizing their decisions, comments and making them out to be man-haters.
Actually law and grace aren’t balanced. Grace unbalances everything. Mercy triumphs over justice James tells us.
For Henry and David and others who find this whole idea hard to fathom. Let me give you an analogy. If someone who was babysitting your child molested him or her and sincerely told you that he or she was sorry, would you forgive? I hope so. But would you then allow them to babysit your child again? I hope not. Why not? Because of consequences. Because sorry and forgiveness does not automatically restore trust. Saying sorry doesn’t always remove consequences and sometimes those consequences are painful and last a long time.
Separation and sometimes divorce is one of the consequences of our inability to rebuild trust because the person who sinned is unwilling or the one who has been sinned against is unable or both. Jesus himself didn’t trust everyone because he knew what was in their heart. (see John 2)
GREAT analogy! You know for all intensive purposes this whole discussion is extremely valuable. The majority of Church people feel as Henry and David hence why spouses stay in abusive relationships for so long trying and trying to make it work thinking that they are not pleasing to God if they get out of an abusive relationship.
This discussion has taught many of us, myself included, how to understand how the leaving spouses actions are perceived and how to respond appropriately if at all.
Part of my issue before was pleasing people. Now I live only to please God (Seek the Kingdom first). Previously, this discussion would have made me really, really anxious or feeling condemned and angry and definitely bottled up. But after months and months of healing, it just makes me stronger because I have drawn so close to the breath and voice of God, His Word is alive as never before, and I have been the recipient of His great compassion, mercy, and grace. The canvas of my life is so much richer than before.
One thing I know for sure, no one can litigate anyone else’s viewpoint and change anyone’s mind. Only God is in this business. Grace and brotherly love (doesn’t mean agreement but just that you love someone because Christ does) is all we can extend to one another because at the end of the day that is all that matters.
I think everyone’s heart has really shown through both good and bad.
Grace and Peace to you all,
I agree with Leslie that Grace and law is unbalanced.
For women, grace exceeds law, unless one is a man, in which case they are judged by the women’s interpretation of the law, and I found almost no grace here. So some women like Donna and Vikki become extremely judgemental, and then when they don’t like God’s Word relating to law (Matt 28:28 to obey, and Roman’s 6, that Grace Does not mean keep on sinning), they escape to another blog. You want to hear my story…. My wife joined a “Christian support group”, and became so bold that the laws of honour, love and obey your husband (or Christ as a consequence), was outweighed by their encouragement of “being abused”. And for the “weaker sex”, Karate was the tool used as she dealt with the pain and hurt of the previous 15 boyfriends that “treated her wrongly”… without ever thinking that perhaps she was to blame…
So does my story sound familiar?… yes. Every women on this blog has been so abused that they can justify their actions over the Word of God…
I pray that when Christ comes again to this earth, he may say to each one of you “well done, faithful servant” and not “get away from me, I never knew you” I know consequences of others sin’s… divorce and boundaries. My wife is bearing the consequences of her sinful actions, yet that does not excuse mine. I can list many examples of believers punished and suffering for being obedient. God will reward you and them in the life to come.
I believe that as I supported many men/women for staying in an abusive relationship (as long as possible),as a Christian example – while trying to improve their relationship. But I also know the Churches and the courts (and this blog) give men a raw deal in break-ups.
Part of the problem is that the children are stuck with the abusive wife, and this will damage their long-term relationships. That is one reason I and many men I talk to are willing to suffer longer then others may consider “reasonable” For the sake of the children.
God always answers prayers, and He will show a patient believer the time a place to separate/divorce. I have been shown many times to be patient, my time is not God’s time. May God give you strength and wisdom in your time.
I’m amazed at the persistence and endurance in the women that have hung in there, taking this opportunity to speak many truths to these two men who go on and on. I applaud you, and I am very proud of all of you who have put great energy and time into this arduous task. I’m wondering if it’s time to lay this debate down now, and use our time encouraging and feeding the one’s on this site, that really want and need help…….Bless you all!!
“So does my story sound familiar?… yes. Every women on this blog has been so abused that they can justify their actions over the Word of God…”
Goodness. Sigh… I feel this is a conversation in my marriage. Can’t make a point without it being twisted, judged, maligned or misunderstood.
Thank you Jesus that you are my Husband, Maker, Advocate, and Judge.
GRACE and PEACE to you all.
Goodness Henry. You don’t know me or anything about me. You don’t know what I have or have not done to try to save my marriage. I am an extremely private individual and there is an insinuation that either Vikki or I have posted on other blogs. Where does this come from? Certainly not from me. I am divorcing but am still married hence, I am not dating nor do I have a desire too as another insinuation in your post.
God divorced Israel. Hosea gives the pattern as do ALL the prophets: warning of repeated, unrepentant sin, consequences, discipline, redemption/restoration. Do you know my path? Do you know the path of my husband? Do you know who’s repeated, unrepentant sin caused my marriage to end? Do you know how God wants to work in either of our lives?
I am no longer a victim. Do I have issues? Absolutely. With time, distance and space, I am able to see more clearly. However, the clearer I see the more I know I made the right decision. Does it make me sad? Yes, sad so sad that things couldn’t be different. That I am the only one changing and addressing my issues.
Are the kids caught in the middle? Yes, absolutely. The pain can be lessened for them when adults act like adults and do not drag them in the middle, be a victim, bad-mouth the other parent, punish the other parent and not emotionally lean on the kids.
Divorce/separation is a family tragedy never to be taken lightly. You are emotionally talking when you speak about men getting financially taken advantage of in divorce.
Studies show that 44% of women fall into poverty after divorce. 2.83% of women with children are more likely to be in poverty. Who wants to be in poverty? No one! What must it take for a woman to come to this point if she is willing to take poverty over financial security?
I might suggest you print out the entire discussion, put it in a safe place and after intense counseling go back and read it a year or three years later. You may or may not come to a different conclusion that what you are saying right now.
I am sorry Henry that you were wounded. I truly am. However, please don’t bring deep seated anger as judgment against all people who separate or divorce. You do not know the details of their situation. I agree with you about divorce when it is frivolous, not taken seriously or without proper scriptural reason. If we are speaking about abuse, most abused people hang in there wayyy to long and much damage is done. Some don’t recover and those who don’t work on their issues, never do. They keep making the same mistake further hurting themselves, their children, and others around them.
People who know me, know that I extend God’s grace and love to all. It is God who deals with the heart, not me. Bottom line: I’ve never judged you. Instead, I have prayed for you to feels God’s grace, peace and compassion.
Below is a book written by a social worker who saw so many narcissistic and BPD divorce trends that he went to law school to help families in your situation. This is eye opening and let’s you know how to assert yourself while staying safe.
Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder
By Bill Eddy, LCSW, JD and Randi Kreger
Format: Paperback, 292 pages
Publisher: Eggshells Press 2011
How do you go about making the separation happen? Do you tell them ahead of time or do you make arrangements and then tell them after you’ve left the home? What about finances? I highly doubt my husband will give me money while separated. He gives me money for food & gas. He pays the household bills. Recently he has been refusing to give me money for my medications. Yet he bought himself an expensive “toy” and regularly goes out to eat and other outings. Over 25 yrs. he has been verbally, emotionally, & physically abusive. AND he goes to church and Sunday School every week!!!
Does indifference and carelessness and no kind words and no hugs or any touch whatsoever – for years!!, and always voicing dissatisfaction about every thing and living with a bitter and resentful attitude count as abuse? Or am I just ‘expecting too much’ after 23 years of marriage. I am 51 yrs and not totally ugly.
Yes, to most of the above. It is abuse. It is abandonment while he still lives in the home. It certainly isn’t a marriage. Those few things that he is doing does not make up for all of the things you should be able to expect from your husband.
I have now been separated/divorced for 16 months. I’m 57 and not totally ugly either, but have no desire to get into another relationship at this point. I am taking time to find out who I am again. Find the me that died along the way. Confusion comes with the territory of abuse. Even after I left the X he tried to make me think that my medications were making me crazy or I wouldn’t possibly leave him. No, I left him because I finally realized that the marriage was ever going to be a real marriage. For the first time I am living independently and at so much peace, I don’t want to spoil it. There is no need for you to feel guilty, what you are experiencing is not what God intended for marriage.
Seriously David, you are questioning something that was said 9 months ago. That had to have taken some time to come up with that one. No, indeed. You stated that professing Christians do not take the Lord’s name in vain. which depending on who you listen to could mean that you don’t speak his name at an inappropriate time and not just cussing. No, I do not think that professing Christians should take the Lord’s name in vain. I also do not believe that a professing Christian abuses his wife in any way. You can profess Christ all day long and not know Him. There are ministers, elders and missionaries that spread the gospel and abuse their wives and children. They have missed the big picture. Jesus was gentle with women and children. He showed them love and kindness. These attributes do not exist in many profession Christians. Something is missing in their hearts–namely, Christ. The Holy Spirit does not reside in them. Two wrongs never made a right, but 2 rights never made a wrong either.
LOL, I did on the cell, on the fly, didn’t look at the date!
What brought me to your page was actually the search to get biblical counsel for a lady who is going through challenges of separation from her husband who converted her to Christian. but later went ahead to impregnate another woman outside his marriage and several other ways abusing his wife at home.
i am a man and i want to advice women to always be very strong and take no nonsense right from the period of dating or courtship with their spouse. don’t allow your husband or anybody to tell you what you can do or can not do. the scripture that says be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might applies to both male and female. but is disheartening to see that alot of women consider themselves the weaker vessel.
unfortunately, when it comes to marriage counseling, no pastor or church leader can give you the perfect counsel.
But what ever situation you have in your marriage and the step you are planning to takr, just remember that there’s more to Christianity than marriage, and God didn’t sacrifice Jesus Christ because of marriage. so don’t let anyone condemn you and please don’t condemn yourself because Rom 8:1. Paul said it is even possible to stay unmarried 1 Corinthians 7:20-40.
Just make sure you are serving God in truth and in Spirit.
To my understanding marriage was created by God and is a symbolic as well as a lifestyle that should reveal our marriage role to christ the groom. No man is to separate! In saying this I have found that redemption and restoration are God’s plans all through out His Word yet we must think of others before ourselves thus in this discussion the wife should seek out the help her husband needs whether counsel, recovery, accountability anything to restore her husband back to Godand to be healthy thus the wife’s role to be the help mate per say. Marriage is work and worth saving. If there is a safety issue of bodily harm or extreme verbal abuse yes separate but not divorce for all things are possible and God is for marriage not divorce, marriage is God’s imago dei on us and so if we divorce it’s against God and His image the very thing Satan wants to remove thus the high divorce rate even within Christianity, we must be willing as a body of believers to step in and help restore marriages not justify it. We made the choice and covenant to marry the person now fulfil your vow as God has His, He never throws in the towel but is loving, patient and kind, Hosea ND Gomer????
God always permitted divorce in the Scripture because of the hardness of a person’s heart. OF course that is not his ideal, but he’s realistic to know that because of sin, that will sometimes happen. Of course we should seek help, reconciliation, restoration where possible. Safety and trust are foundational elements for marriage. When safety and trust are shattered and there is no repentance or change – even if the wife dragged him to counseling, or to a doctor or pastor for help, he has to be the one to receive help. That isn’t always the case. Jesus pleaded with Judas to …Judas did what Judas chose to do. Jesus talked to the Rich Young Ruler, the young man left and Jesus let him go. You cannot MAKE someone repent or do relationship with you. That is always a person’s choice – God does not offer unconditional relationship – unconditional love, yes, unconditional relationship no. If he did offer unconditional relationship there would be no such thing as Hell. Read John 3 the whole chapter. God loved the world John 3:16 and God says that if we don’t receive him we do not have a relationship with him John 3:36 not because he doesn’t love us but because of the hardness of our own heart. Please don’t put a burden on an abused or betrayed spouse to stay in a marriage with no safety or trust. God does not. .