My Wife Says I’m Destructive

Morning friend,

Thank you so much for all your heartfelt love and support for one another. I am grateful for you all. Lots of activity here with my daughter’s family moving to the area and the Fall speaking season gearing up. I do appreciate your prayers and continue to need them. I have more on my plate than I’m managing well and I need to get some additional help with some responsibilities. Pray I find the right people to help me.

Question: My wife says she is in an emotionally destructive marriage and she will not attend counseling because Leslie said it will not help our situation. I attended counseling at my wife's request and when I follow my counselor’s suggestions, my wife thinks I am trying to intimidate her. How do we get on the same page?

Answer: Thank you for submitting your question. First, being on the same page would mean that both you and your wife agree on what the problem is in your relationship. She defines your marriage as emotionally destructive. Have you asked her in what ways does she see its been destructive? And if she told you, do you agree with her assessment? Have you read my book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage to understand where she might be coming from?

The reason I ask these questions is that often in my counseling experience, the destructive person (for example, husband) is unwilling to “see” his own attitudes and actions that have been destructive. He typically blames what he does or how he thinks and feels on his wife or on outside circumstances. For example, if you scream or curse at her, you may reason that it is because you were stressed out or tired or because she did something that upset you. Not because you don’t know how to handle your own stress or negative emotions in a constructive and healthy way.

So when you go to your own counselor, and she asks you, “Why are you here? What is your problem?” What do you say? If you describe your problem as “I don't know how to control my temper or negative emotions and sometimes I become hurtful and destructive with my wife,” your counselor will start on one type of treatment plan.

However, if you describe your problem as, “I’m so hurt that my wife has separated from me and she won't go to marriage counseling with me. I’ve tried everything to save my marriage but she won’t listen. What should I do?” Then your counselor may develop an entirely different treatment plan. She may help you try to “win” back your wife. Or, if that doesn’t work, she may help you set some boundaries or consequences because of her “hard heartedness.” Either approach may make your wife feel intimidated.

How you describe what’s going on at home to your own counselor will impact the way your counselor can help you. Have you invited your counselor to speak with your wife to get her side of things? Have you signed a release of information so that your wife can speak with your counselor so that she can hear what kind of help you are receiving and what you have told your counselor are the problems you are having in the marriage? These things would all be positive ways you can show your wife that you are serious about getting the help you need to stop being destructive.

Understand this: there are at least two separate issues that need to be addressed if healing is to take place. No doubt you have some marital issues that need to be addressed that may be contributing to your and your wife’s unhappiness. However, fundamentally if there have been destructive elements to your relationship – control, abuse, chronic deceit, neglect, and/or indifference, those are individual issues, not marital ones.There are lots of married people who fight or are unhappy at times but don't resort to abusive or destructive or deceitful behaviors. When you blame destructive behaviors on the marriage and don’t take personal responsibility for why you chose to act that way, you are not seeing clearly.

That's one reason why I don’t recommend marital counseling, at least not at first. When marital counseling happens before a person takes ownership for his own destructive behaviors, the destructive person tends to blame his own destructive behaviors on the marital issues. For example, I had a wife recently catch her spouse in an affair. He blamed her. He blamed their relationship. He lied. He never was willing to look at himself and ask himself, “Why did I choose to do this? Even if I am unhappy in my marriage, why didn’t I talk to my wife instead? Why didn’t I get some counseling to deal with my unhappiness? Why did I resort to cheating and deceit?” His wife was just as unhappy in their marriage but she didn’t choose to have an affair. Why did he? Do you see the problem?

Have you told your counselor that your wife feels intimidated by the assignments she has given you to do? Have you listened to your wife and backed off from what you were doing that felt like that to her? Often in your desperate attempt to “win” her back you pour on the charm or ask her to talk or text or e-mail her lots of articles to read, Bible verses to study or sermons to listen to, hoping she will soften her stance.

Instead of trying to convince her she’s wrong for her boundaries, it would be more helpful for you to work on you. Show her you are changing by being honest with your counselor about what your wife has said, what you have done and what you need to learn to grow into the man and husband you want to become. And then do your own work. Show that consistent effort.

Stop worrying about fixing your marriage and with God’s help fix yourself. That is your wisest approach to fixing your marriage (Click To Tweet).

Marriage counseling may be absolutely appropriate at some point down the line. But not until you understand how and where you have been destructive and learn to be different, especially under pressure. And friend, that takes time. You can’t change overnight. You can’t learn these things in a week or even a month. You can learn about them, but you can’t learn how to consistently live them without practice and lots of time. I hope your wife gives you that time but that has to be her choice. But if you want to be on the same page, it looks like you will have to do more looking within to see what you have done to break trust, hurt your wife, and harm your marriage. I’m sure she’s told you many times before she reached her limit. You just weren’t listening. Now it’s time to listen, honor her boundaries, and get on the same page acknowledging that you have some work to do if you want to grow and be a healthy person. I imagine if I were speaking to your wife, she too would see she also has her own work to do and I hope she is doing it. Start there. Work hard. And then, hopefully, when the time is right, marital counseling will be appropriate and helpful.

Friend, what advice would you give this man to help him understand why marriage counseling isn’t a good idea right now?


  1. Linda on August 9, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Leslie, that was so helpful! I’ve always been told that everything my now ex husband did (affairs, porn, neglect, deceit, online sexual activity) was somehow my fault. I do understand my part in the relationship breakdown (mostly trying to get him to change, which I see now only created a sense of desperation and controlling behavior on my part). I have felt so much guilt and responsibility, constantly wondering if I could have done somethiing different. I did try many times to encourage him to join me in resolving issues we were having, but he insisted we were fine, and I was just blowing things out of proportion, then after the marriage ended due to his online sexual activity and all the deceit, he claimed it was because we had issues that weren’t addressed. He could have dealt with them at any time, but didn’t. At the end of the day, we cannot take responsibility for another person’s choices.

    • Debbi on August 9, 2017 at 8:48 am

      I have learned the same and the incredibly sad realization my husband will likely never be willing to step up and own what he has done to contribute to the break down. My husband has been at spiritual warfare, and it is difficult to have faith over fears, which has frankly kept me afloat. Leslie you don’t know me or know this, but over a year now, you have been by my side with encouragement and essentially guiding me with your wise publications. I stumbled onto your material after 4 years of trying to make sense of non-sense. Thank you for what you are doing for women like me who did not/don’t understand what is to be gained in the mind of a person engaged in destructive behavior.

    • Charlie on August 9, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      I agree Linda. Sounds like you live in my world. My soon to be ex husband is a serial cheater and blames me for his behaviour. Somehow he thinks I am responsible for his choices.

      • Aly on August 9, 2017 at 9:02 pm

        Dear Charlie,

        I’m so sorry for your situation. But what you posted is true and (wrong of your h) not that you don’t already know that. Just wanting to add support.
        So typical of any addict .. they choose the fight, the issue, you name it so they can go and have their addiction if choice.
        I have heard addicts (in recovery) actually admit creating and planning a fight so they can leave and go do what ever! Whatever is the substance of choice and feel no remorse for it because again it’s all about how they feel in the moment and they feel justified for doing it.

        Prayers for your journey Charlie, stay safe and sane!

  2. Linda on August 9, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Finally!!! Someone understands what is going on…….

  3. Aly on August 9, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Dear Leslie,

    Praying that God will continue to make a path for your ministry and prayer for how he brings the people and the resources.

    This recent question is so pivotal and full of so much critical advice for many different marital circumstances!
    Especially this below and I do hope the husband who wrote shows some willingness in really marinating in what you say here… he may want to read this several times and consider reading your full post ~ taking notes for himself etc. these are things my husband had to learn and take lots of notes to develop ‘ears’ that could listen well and not take the same old brain pathways of wanting something ‘quickly’~ especially if he has a history of breaking trust and not seeing the harm that he has brought to the marriage.

    You wrote:
    “But if you want to be on the same page, it looks like you will have to do more looking within to see what you have done to break trust, hurt your wife, and harm your marriage. I’m sure she’s told you many times before she reached her limit. You just weren’t listening. Now it’s time to listen, honor her boundaries, and get on the same page acknowledging that you have some work to do if you want to grow and be a healthy person. I imagine if I were speaking to your wife, she too would see she also has her own work to do and I hope she is doing it. Start there. Work hard.”

    I appreciate here how you mention the two different types of work. This is so essential! My h struggled at times understanding this concept; that he had different growth and maturity work to do than I did.
    That doesn’t mean I didn’t have my own part or my own growth, mine was different and was about not tolerating a lot of unacceptable standards and norms that he thought was ‘well normal’ when it wasn’t and how he handled his pressures etc was key to himself seeing that he took his own individual destructiveness out on myself primarily.

    You are correct in it’s a lot of time, and work! The consistency is one the main issues in my opinion.

    I also like that you mention the release forms and having the wife go in to the counselor by herself to explain where she is at. I think transparency in this process is also essential… too many times couples get individual couselors and fail to keep the lines of communication and process open.

    A counselor dealing with a destructive person or someone who clearly has issues with listening and learning relational health, knows how deceptive that individual is capable of.
    In our couples counseling our therapist was crystal clear early on that my h was not going to be the one to determine the ‘storyline’ because she said he had such an issue with ‘distortion’ this was life giving to me. Not only did I take the primary role in this and some might say this was not good, but it was necessary for my h to learn areas where he most certainly self sabatoged things.
    Our therapist felt confident that I would not abuse that role, mainly because I was willing to be wrong at times and consider several angles.

    I think this post is so very important to many out there struggling trying to see their next step, it’s easy to get narrow and only see individual counseling or couples counseling as separate when they can have healthy folds.
    Many ways of healing and most prayerfully that it is God’s will to grow both individuals toward a healthy redeemed marriage.

    God bless you Leslie, your staff and your family!

  4. Starlight on August 9, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Ask you wife what makes her feel safe. Obviously blaming your bad choices or bad behaviour on her or you defining her experience for her will not. Stop lying to her, she is not stupid but if there is deceit between you there really is nothing to work with. Be a safe person, blowing up when confronted with truth will not help, neither will twisting her words or distracting from the real topic in a conversation. Blaming your wife makes you right, her wrong and you alone, if you don’t want your wife to leave you do not treat her like a piece of gum under your shoe. If you tell her she should act like the neighbor’s wife or the pastor’s wife or a woman who is treated badly and just takes it you are invalidating who she is as a person. She gets to be different from you and have her own mind and thoughts. Do you want to be married to yourself, don’t expect her to think like you or know what you are thinking. Women love the freedom to be who they are but they cannot if you are not safe or if she is continually diminished as a woman or under attack for being wrong or thinking wrong or doing what you say is wrong,
    If you cannot keep the zipper on your pants up, cut your wife loose, and acknowledge that marriage is not for you.You don’t have the right to keep her tied to you in marriage to be chief cook and bottle washer, housekeeper and babysitter while you prowl the face of the earth for other women and live like a very immoral single man. Scour the word of God to see what he says about those who oppress others and to discover what pleases him. May he replace your heart of stone with a heart of flesh when you seek him!

    • Charlie on August 9, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Well said, Starlight.

  5. Sophia on August 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

    For us, ‘marital counseling’ looks like separate weekly counseling that we each attend for the past 15 months. We see the same very helpful counselor. Initially, I was against this idea. The counselor convinced me that it could be very beneficial for each of us to see him. When I began to see that this counselor understood our dynamics and patterns, it was easier to trust that he could help us. There are days in this process where my husband is defensive and blaming. On those days I know I have to have boundaries and step away so I am not further wounded by the blaming behavior. Increasingly more are the days when this message is communicated…’I love and care about you…’. And then further dialogue about life. This is after a few decades of sharing life. It is helping us to both individually throw ourselves into the lifeline that counseling is. It is LONG AND SLOW. BUT….I would much rather share a sandwhich with a spouse who is becoming a friend, than a cruise in a marriage that was destroying to both of us in different ways. We are learning to love each other, but still in kindergarten and still getting things wrong sometimes because it took each of us a lifetime to get where we are.

  6. Sophia on August 9, 2017 at 10:27 am

    P.S. This BLOG has helped me more than any book or website. These are testimonies of ‘front line soldier’ battles. Here are real life examples of living in truth and battling against lies and evil. The transparency of these humans along with Leslie’s courage of pursuing her calling is a precious gift to ALL. Here the church is being built up, not only individuals.

  7. Aleea on August 9, 2017 at 10:47 am

    “Friend, what advice would you give this man to help him understand why marriage counseling isn’t a good idea right now?” . . . . Just the advice you gave him. It’s basically all there: “. . . .Instead of trying to convince her she’s wrong for her boundaries, it would be more helpful for you to work on you. Show her you are changing by being honest with your counselor about what your wife has said, what you have done and what you need to learn to grow into the man and husband you want to become. And then do your own work. Show that consistent effort.” ―That’s what to do. Don’t try to “win” her back, pour on “whatever”.

    . . . .Here are some other experimental thoughts: I bet if you asked God each day for wisdom, asked the Holy Spirit each day to guide you and did depth psychology work, you would realize very quickly that you don’t even know what you really want, ―not really. We can’t know what is best for us, all we can do is live by the Truth (―and you will have your hands *full* trying to figure out what that really is without just parroting others). . . . .I want God, . . . . —God Himself, not my or someone else’s ideas of God. I don’t think anyone can fix themselves, or effectively work on themselves. I think Satan laughs at people’s “self-reform” (See Luke 11 and Matthew 12, read those very carefully and notice how that person ends up far worse off than if he’d never gotten “cleaned up” in the first place. —It’s also in the source that Luke and Matthew are both using.) . . . .Only God can transform you, if you choose to enter the caves of your own making. But you have to be willing to go in there and really take full responsibility. The caves we fear to enter hold the treasures we seek. . . . but who wants to go in there? —That’s where the dragons we need to slay are. . . .That’s where those black as night moments are (—in there), the moments when the real transformations are going to come. —There, the awareness will help you transform. —Or, I just say: Love is an inside job! —A truly compassionate attitude towards ourselves (―internally, in the factory of ourselves, our CORE) is the only way to have it for others. If we get it right *internally* all that cycles out into our worlds (externally), even if others behave negatively or hurt us. It seems like only the development of responsibility, compassion, love and understanding for ourselves (*ourselves* internally) can cause us to have real love, real compassion, and real understanding for others *externally*. . . .It seems the reverse logic that God always seems to use: The way right is left; the way up is down; the way to save your life is to lose it completely. . . .Evil does its worst, but God takes it as the actual raw material by which to bless people, turning even the greatest evil into the greatest good. . . .That is really hard stuff to process. —It’s almost unbelievable, —but that’s Christ for you! . . . .With the Holy Spirit’s help, deeply look inside, that is where the answers are. . . . .And to the questioner: Thank you for asking your questions. They are a real warning for us all to go home and ask: “What do you need me to hear that I am just not hearing!” ―I’m praying for you and your wife.

  8. Connie on August 9, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I agree with Aleea here. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on His wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

    Several years ago we were getting counsel on the phone, from a couple and their helpers who have a theory of ‘fake it till you make it’. Just do the right things and after a while you’ll like it. This just did not work. The (usually) husband was always trying this or that ‘trick’ that the counselor suggested, but then watching for the reaction, and if she didn’t respond the way he hoped, he would be annoyed or discouraged and pout. In fact, when I complained that my h was very stingy and had to have a receipt for every penny spent, they told him to give me $500 to spend without strings attached. He was furious, but they insisted, so he called the bank and asked them to get him $500 of pennies. He never did carry that out, but that shows what can happen if the spouse is trying to do the right thing ‘just to get her off his back’. The letter of the law, not the spirit.

    Jesus said of the goats, “You did all the right things, but I never knew you.” So many women here are sharing how falling in love with the LORD is what not only rescued them but also what revealed the truth about everything. Not following someone’s teaching, though the teaching here is really good and helpful……but it doesn’t give you the real ah-ha and the courage and peace to carry out what you know is right.

    I don’t even know if this man’s counselor understands the dynamics of a destructive marriage, but either way, it seems as though he wants some magic tricks to try, or some magic incantation (many church people use scriptures that way) and then watch for results and complain if he doesn’t quickly get what he wants (sex?) so he can go back into his shell again. I’ve often told h, “It’s all in the attitude, I don’t care what you DO”, and he didn’t seem to get that. Because he was looking at me, not HIM. We really do try to claw out of each other what only God can give us. No excuses. Love because He loves.

    I recently read a testimony by a young ex-gay man. He said it was not that he was weird, it was not that he’d been molested, or that his dad wasn’t there for him, which was all true, but it was how he chose to think about these things, and it was when he looked into the eyes of Jesus that things began to change. And God’s journey for him was unique and don’t try to copy it, but seek His face and let Him reveal your personal journey to you. We can learn from each other and encourage each other, but we can’t make a lesson plan for someone else because we don’t know the secrets of their hearts and their particular deep needs.

    • Starlight on August 9, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Fake it until you make it never effects heart change!

      • Aleea on August 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm

        I call that “metanoia” after the transformational experience talked about everywhere in the New Testament. Re: The Great Meaning of Metanoia: The Life and Love of Jesus Christ. —And when I read the gospels, I fall in love with Christ, the way one falls asleep: slowly, and then all at once. It is like a magnet that reaches to my heart and just pulls me. So, maybe sometimes the reason God doesn’t show up to win our battles is because He has already put inside of us the power to end it. Like I had to do with my mother but I don’t even think of that as ending it. It is giving it a *chance* to redeem itself in the only healthy way: reflection, awareness, metanoia —transformative change of her heart.

    • Aleea on August 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      “We really do try to claw out of each other what only God can give us. No excuses. Love because He loves.” . . . . That is beautiful insight Connie. —Wow, that convicts me, deeply.

      “So many women here are sharing how falling in love with the LORD is what not only rescued them but also what revealed the truth about everything.” —Absolutely!

      “. . . .we can’t make a lesson plan for someone else because we don’t know the secrets of their hearts and their particular deep needs.”
      —Brilliant!!! Be the light you wish you had in your darkest moments. . . . .But, ultimately *we* have to become aware. There are no experts, no gurus (—even though I love and use counseling and counselors). . . .only the Holy Spirit, the greatest tool of self-compassion/love is self-awareness. My responsibility, I’ve realized, is seeking and speaking the truth. . . . .Not even being consistent because we are always discovering new things! That has been incredibly liberating for me! . . .No matter how much we cry, the tears will dry. No matter how many nightmares, flashbacks, visions, or terrors, they will pass. . . . .I only accept your mistakes and flaws to the degree that I accept my own, the same with love, with compassion, with everything. . . .The greatest potential we have for opening our hearts lies in opening of our minds. When we do that, there, —for a few moments, time stops. . . .so that you can feel immense silence. . . .silence is the language of God. . . .and love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated. —And truth is the assistant of love, and dialogue is the pathway to truth. —And humility is recognition of personal insufficiency, and the willingness to learn. . . . .and just being alive and in-love with Christ is such a gift and Connie that is how we find pure Truth! Re: “So many women here are sharing how falling in love with the LORD is what not only rescued them but also what revealed the truth about everything.” —Again, Absolutely!!!

    • many years on August 9, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you, Connie. You have a lot of insight and wisdom in what you are saying about ‘the letter of the law and not the spirit’.
      As I don’t know what it is with men and money, sometimes, as you were mentioning the $500 episode of another woman; and especially when the husband is the one who bring in the income. Yet, the state I live in, ANY income coming in to the marriage, belongs half to one spouse and half to the other spouse, no matter WHO is making the money, and I am not sure if that includes from the day you are married, as in a divorce it may be different, like ten years of marriage. (except in the case of an individual inheritance which belongs to the spouse whose relatives gave them gifts etc. that belongs to the person in general). But, normally, when I asked my husband for ra little bit of help with the grocery money, he almost goes into a rage about it and grudgingly gives it to me.

      And I told my sister the other day, that if ‘money’ is the glue that is holding the marriage together, and not the Spirit of Love, then the couple really doesn’t have anything in common. Which I know money and finances can be a VERY heavy topic in marriage, especially in today’s present nation’s crises economy. Most young couples I know today, with young children are barely making it month to month.

      But back to Leslie’s council to the husband in question, I have a close relative, a man, who did do the council route, with his wife, and yet the wife immediately did not like the woman councilor, so she refused to attend any more sessions. And sadly enough, I have heard both sides of their dilemma, and each side says the same thing against the other side; no adequate communication; no forgiveness; gossiping about the other spouse to the immediate sides of both the wife’s and the husband’s families; the husband has apologized time and time again, even down to the husband showing an email to his wife, which he had sent to a younger wife who was having similar marital problems as the husband seemed to be having with his own wife. And his wife refused to accept the information, calling it an ’emotional affair’, which she has accused the husband of ‘many’ affairs, all of which in her mind are emotional. So the younger wife and the older man were finding a mutual connection with their individual dilemmas in their separate marriages; and yes, this is what councilors are for.

      Yet to the husband, there was no emotional involvement about the incident between himself and the young wife. You know how the story goes. Jealous wife sees it as flirting. I could show that husband’s wife what flirting really IS, with no concern for this wife, ME, in my own marriage.

      And going back to the original couple; one spouse’s side takes a stance against the other spouses side, and there is no resolution, even after the husband ends up having more sessions with the councilor. The wife goes to another man councilor and does not invite her husband to partake in those sessions. So, one-sided in order to not have any type of resolving of any marriage issues. And we know there is always two sides to the dilemma, as Leslie is pointing out in this blog post.

      These circumstances don’t just affect the immediate couple who is having problems, but it ends up involving entire families, who end up not seeing the entire picture. And, if a particular relative from one side or the other aligns their status with one or the other spouse, then that relative becomes bad-mouthed by the other spouses relatives and sometimes close friends jump on the bad-mouthing band-wagon.

      ‘The wounds of a tale-bearer go deep’. ‘How great a matter a little fire kindles.’ ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.’ And that means any and all of us, until we come to the Lord asking for forgiveness and repentance. Like Leslie pointed out, it is an individual heart matter, getting yourself right before God. And if there is no sign of reconciliation, then it is a matter that has to be put into the Lord’s hands.

      It can become a nasty, and vicious tug-of-war.

      At this time, I don’t believe there is any hope of restoration for the one marriage I am addressing, as neither side will ‘bend’ toward the other. Satan is on the job to destroy what little there is left of the family unit not just in this instance, but such circumstances seem to be prevalent in marriages all across the nation..

      And so much of it is about petty things, that if maybe we lived in another third world country, maybe some of the things we ‘fight’ about wouldn’t even exist in our own minds or in our lives. The ‘I, me, my’ agenda/mind-set which seems so prevalent today, is what drives some of us to do the things we do, or say the things we say, instead of listening first to the Holy Spirit.

      As one of our pastors said this past Sunday, the core of the Christian is the Holy Spirit, especially the fruit of the spirit, and Love. He asked why Love (referring to I Cor. 13.) was the GREATEST of these, among the fruit of the Spirit? And sitting there, it dawned on me that LOVE it is the MOST difficult aspect of the fruit of the Spirit to condescend to, we have to bow our pride sometimes to love one another; as we tend to watch out for ourselves and not the other person.

      So I spoke up on Sunday and said,”Because it IS very difficult to love some people”. Yet, Love covers a multitude of sins if we let it. And love IS the fulfilling of the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ. This is where the love of God comes in, which LOVE fulfills the Law of Christ, and the Spirit comes together to blend in all Love’s splendor through the Cross of Christ. ‘And by this, shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have LOVE one to another.”

      I know, this is an aside from Leslie’s question for today, and yet it ties in with how we relate to one another.

      • Aly on August 9, 2017 at 9:29 pm

        Many Years, oh my goodness..
        Please please consider your post.
        Abuse is not ‘petty’.
        I’m sorry many Years but you might be in an abusive relationship based on your rationalizations.

        • Aly on August 9, 2017 at 9:33 pm

          Many Years,
          My definition of Love is wanting ‘and acting out’ the highest good for the other person.

          Many people think they are loving when in fact they are accepting, tolerating and are not truly honest with their fears or what drives their behavior of what they might define as love.

        • many years on August 10, 2017 at 1:14 am

          Thank you, dear Aly for your thoughts.

          I am not quite sure what you mean by your phrase ‘Abuse is not ‘petty’. Can you please explain what you are referring to.

          If you are thinking that my rationalizations have created this abusive relationship, this is about the furthest from the truth you can get. If that is what you are implying.

          When I began researching about covert Narcissists, about two years ago, as realization began to dawn on me that my marriage was not normal; I began uncovering the personality traits of my husband. It was scary to find there was a definition to how he lived. Charming, full of himself, a ladies man, possessions and materialism, lacking in feelings and emotions, yet lavishing ‘gifts’ upon people to keep them ‘engaged’ in his Narcissistic ‘supply’. He hates confrontation about himself, because he fears being ‘found out’ so they will do anything they can to deflect that when they are confronted; yet they can dish it out without a thought of how it will affect the other person, and it is done through manipulation and subtle lies. And the lack of compunction to even admit to their own subtle lies and deceits.

          So, their perfectionism is a fear based denial of not being able to face what people really know about them. Thus, they fill their lives with things and people who really don’t know them, in order for them to fill the void their heart so desperately needs.

          Actually, it is Christ whom they need, and for them to have to repent is excruciatingly painful . More’s the pity. And, because of this, for them to repent when found out, they will back pedal and do everything they can to get out of their shame which they cannot face. It is more of a mental sickness then a personality disorder, as their brain is lacking in the frontal lobe matter, which has been proven in the medical field.
          So one doesn’t just approach a Narcissist like other normal humans who have a lot more compassion going for them. Nope. This is not an easy road for a wife to disengage from this type of neurosis.

          I hope this explanation helps, Aly. Prayers are definitely appreciated. I am an Empath, with all 40 traits, and sometimes it is more of a curse than a blessing. But first and foremost, I am a born-again Christian, who loves the Lord, and it is my calling to be at peace with those who are lost sheep.

          God puts together whom he will for whatever reason, even when we don’t realize certain aspects about individuals when we marry them. And the charm and the subtle shifts which can cover up the mistakes of a person who is not a Christian can be kind of like Satan when he is transformed as an angel of light, to the unsuspecting, and to the innocent ones who are clueless.

          If we think we love someone, Christ loves them more than we ever could. Love can be an emotion in a marriage, and yet, the marriage can not have anything to do with Christ at all. And I do think this happens in many marriages. People fall ‘into’ love and ‘out of’ love, and it doesn’t have anything to do with their relationship to the Lord. It can also be a ‘religious’ marriage, thinking God has joined two people together. We can have the love of God for someone, yet it is Agape love which cleanses all of us from unrighteousness.

          • Charlie on August 10, 2017 at 7:03 am

            Many years: very good description of narcisism.

          • Aly on August 10, 2017 at 7:56 am

            Many Years,

            Thank you for your post and I want to clarify. I am also apologizing in advance for the length because in these forms of communication ~ copying and pasting are necessary to clarify and examine our beliefs and the process many of us find ourselves in. Most likely I will write 2 replies to shorten.

            I do hope you can hear my care for your heart and your Many Years in what consistently sounds destructive and a unhealthy relationship.

            I have struggled with some areas in your posts…. basically in how you relate biblical concepts to what peace, love and our overall ambassador role as Christians posture but first I want to answer what you asked.

            You wrote:
            “If you are thinking that my rationalizations have created this abusive relationship, this is about the furthest from the truth you can get. If that is what you are implying.”

            That is not what I meant by saying rationalizations, any one can “co contribute” (not create) to an unhealthy relationship in many ways. You are ‘responsible for your own response’ in how you decide to relate to what sounds like a very unhealthy marital dynamic but not uncommon here. Your h, regardless if he is a covert N based on being fractured in places developmentally… is ALSO responsible for his behavior and choices. This doesn’t take him out of the life journey of growing. Most covert N, rarely get challenged in my opinion because they are surrounded by empaths and avoiders of all sorts… quite convenient in my opinion.

            I think your question is very good to challenge me on, because to me it sounds like maybe you have a tendency to take more responsibility of things than are yours? I’m not saying I’m right but maybe you could look back at your question, and see your response was about ‘creating- meaning the whole’ verses possibly addressing your part of the responsibility only? Just something to consider if your willing.

            Having traits, tendencies, behavioral issues, you name it.. never omits a person from responsibility! This goes for the ’empath’ and the person who does want to be at peace based on the scriptures. More on that later based on your post earlier. Because you and I might have very different ways we ‘define peace’ based on biblical truths.

            Your husband would behave in the manner he does (as you describe covert N) regardless of who the person he married in my opinion. This is usually NOT a personal sought out selection, by a covert narc as you define him but more of how he creates his environment of which to function in. Not really functioning in my opinion. But surrounding himself by many who ‘will tolerate’ the mind games. Empath wiring …. and being closer to that wiring and family of origin development myself, are high in tolerance… on a spectrum ofcourse.

            I believe ‘rationalizations’ can AID strongly on ’empath wiring’, noting this here since you mentioned you have all 40 traits of empath wiring.
            You wrote:
            “I am an Empath, with all 40 traits, and sometimes it is more of a curse than a blessing. But first and foremost, I am a born-again Christian, who loves the Lord, and it is my calling to be at peace with those who are lost sheep.”

            Maybe you could define clearly for me what you mean by peace? And define those that are lost sheep?

            Your above comment is imp because you are able to see that you are a ‘believer’ in Christ for your eternal security. Praise God!
            You mention that you also have these empath traits which I believe are created in the development years. We all might deem having empathy a necessary element to healthy relationships.
            Those without empathy traits (I married one a long time ago.. he has had to have long term care to develop empathy) fall into more of the narcissistic side of things and they truly can be functioning adults but little little toddler minds inside. The professional experts have a much better handle on this than myself so I leave that to them.

            I will write a separate reply to answer more detail on my comment, abuse is not petty.

            I will also mention the rationalizations I see from my lens in your writing about
            ‘Love covers a multitude of sins’ and how you might define love?
            The action of love? Agape love?

            Was God being ‘loving in action’ when he divorced Israel because she kept the same repetitive patterns..?

            I’m thankful Many Years that you are doing your research and educating yourself on your situation, that’s imp. For myself, being married to what you might also define as a covert Narc. I stopped my ‘part’ but only once I could see what my part was clearly. And my stopping created a crisis for my h, a crisis he desperately needed. I got out of the way and created a high standard of requirements, so my h could reach for God and deal with him alone. That was the beginning of a long road of recovery for my h. God used me…
            God gave me the wisdom, courage and strength to be a catalyst to flip the boat over.
            He also used plenty of vessels of help in our situation to bring health ‘not more of the same’ just looking different.
            For this I share my journey as hope, real hope to pursuing God regardless of the fear, or the cost… sometimes the cost is not a marriage or relationship with someone we invite into health.

          • Aly on August 10, 2017 at 8:38 am

            Many Years,
            Part 2 ~
            I said to please consider your previous post. And said abuse is not petty.

            Let me clarify this reply of mine and how I was interpreting your explanation as you were referencing 2 marriages struggling.

            You wrote:
            “At this time, I don’t believe there is any hope of restoration for the one marriage I am addressing, as neither side will ‘bend’ toward the other. Satan is on the job to destroy what little there is left of the family unit not just in this instance, but such circumstances seem to be prevalent in marriages all across the nation..
            You went on..
            “And so much of it is about petty things, that if maybe we lived in another third world country, maybe some of the things we ‘fight’ about wouldn’t even exist in our own minds or in our lives. The ‘I, me, my’ agenda/mind-set which seems so prevalent today, is what drives some of us to do the things we do, or say the things we say, instead of listening first to the Holy Spirit.”

            This is what I meant by abuse not being petty.. abuse does not discriminate based on 1st or 3rd world living conditions.

            I have no interest to battle materially but every desire to battle for a heart issue regardless of the prosperity of a person.

            To me, what you wrote above can keep many in a cycle of reasoning or long term ‘self talk’ that their issue ‘isn’t that bad’,
            Or someone next to them is always suffering more than they are. Your example sounded like a comparative approach.
            For me when we compare along those lines especially as a more wired empath, it’s easier for me to settle and tolerate my situation than face the reality of what could happen if I decide to act on my boundaries and my requirements for a healthy relationship, that ‘would honor God’.

            I can agree that many people in our ‘worldly mindsets’ are dealing with petty things but to me they are sometimes just a symptom of the heart issue.

            Minimizing the symptom, rarely gets someone on the table for heart surgery.

            You wrote:
            “maybe some of the things we ‘fight’ about wouldn’t even exist in our own minds or in our lives.”

            The way I interpret this point is that the selfish nature wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have marriages battling over petty things..? Maybe I’m totally off here with how I am reading your words.

            To me conflict and any selfish behavior is going to be there based on a broken system we are in.
            Conflict can be a good thing if people can resolve conflict and find repair to areas of friction, this is growing. I think I read your comment to mean that These problems as an epidemic wouldn’t be there if we didn’t have so much 1st world luxuries?

            God cares about all His children in all ways. He cares about the big issues and the smaller issues. Sometimes the small ones are the hidden bigger ones.
            We can tend to tolerate the small ones because we might struggle feeling guilty for the first world lifestyle we have. But this doesn’t get us free from the bondage a destructive marriage or relationship can have on us.
            In fact I believe as the first world living conditions ~ we are MORE responsible to our emotional health overall!
            Not in a place of pushing it away and reasoning that we don’t need to address it because we might not see our problems as ‘real problems’ and this is what I mean many years by the rationalizing but yet not acting on difficult scary outcomes as we proclaim our faith in Christ and being born again.

          • JoAnn on August 10, 2017 at 11:54 am

            I’m responding to Many Years here….I have a feeling, from reading your posts, that you are trying to justify staying in your marriage, even though it might be called “destructive.” Correct me, please, if I am wrong. This brings up some questions, in my mind. First, of all, if you are still content to remain in your marriage, and you have the Lord’s blessing to do so, then there is no need to “justify” that decision. Perhaps you have learned how to tolerate his narcissistic behavior, and you don’t mind continuing to enable him to be that way. That is entirely your decision. When you live with your h in the power of the Holy Spirit, then you do have inner peace, and you experience the Lord’s blessing. However, if it is a struggle to fake peace, and to maintain a quiet environment in your home, then I would offer that this is not the kind of peace that the Lord calls us to. Only you can decide if you are truly happy in your marriage and content to remain where you are. Rationalizing (justifying) your decision to remain will only get in the way of doing what the Lord is calling you to do. Several of the women here have decided to set appropriate boundaries over what they are willing to tolerate in their marriages, and they have had a big price to pay, as they have told us. In some cases, the boundaries forced the n-h to make changes, and in others the h made it impossible for the wife to remain in the marriage. Big price, and the Lord does challenge us to count the cost of following Him. So, if you are arguing for the right to remain in the marriage, no need. That is your decision to make and we respect that. But I believe that all of us here would be concerned for the toll that remaining might be taking, both on your relationship with the Lord, and the personal cost….the burden it places on you physically and emotionally to remain in a destructive marriage. Do you have joy and peace? Are you comfortable in your home environment? Is your spirit filled with the Holy Spirit? Only you can, and should, answer these questions. Then, go on from there, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Grace be with you.

          • Connie on August 10, 2017 at 12:11 pm

            My concern in Many Years’ post was the judgment of others’ marriages, similar to what Aly’s concern is. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and how much effort is being put into the marriage. Even my own children say (over 20 years after the marriage was over), “Mom, when you two argued, I could see both sides” and they think those little ‘petty’ arguments were the reason for the break-up. Their dad was very careful to conceal his true motives from them, and they never heard what he said when they weren’t around, how he harangued me for hours and hours at night, what he whispered in my ear when he’d told me what to do, then when I did it, said he never said that…….the sexual abuse, the financial abuse, how with a smile he would try to sabotage and spoil any plans I tried to make…….and he’s still doing it. We traveled 8 hours to have a celebration with the children and grandchildren (several of whom also traveled a long way), only to find that he (who lives near them) had guilted them into coming to his house so they had very little time with me…..and refused to allow 2 of the grandchildren to come at all.

            I’m just saying to be very careful in jumping to conclusions about others’ marriages. They could be very destructive after all. I was driven out of town by his black-mailing and almost all my friends taking his side. I couldn’t reveal ‘my side’ because he was so charming in denying everything and making me look even worse for it.

          • JoAnn on August 10, 2017 at 12:19 pm

            Oh, Connie, that’s horrible! I truly hope that by now you have established a new life for yourself, where you can thrive. Even so, it is so painful that he is still manipulating and interfering with your relationship with your children. Do you dare to tell them the whole truth, so that they can understand and support you in not allowing him to continue to come between you and your children and grandchildren? I know that would be hard, but perhaps a letter, well written and guided by the Lord, would help them to see what you have been dealing with. No doubt, he has them believing that the divorce was all your doing, so they really do need to learn the truth. Otherwise it will always be a barrier in your relationship with them. God bless you.

          • Connie on August 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm

            Yes, Joann, I’ve tried that, and it did not help. He is very clever, and has had lots of time to spin many tangled webs. I’m praying all the time for God to reveal truth and expose the lies, and I feel like this last stint was part of His answer. It seems at least some of the kids were aware and upset with what happened but they haven’t yet figured out that they can set boundaries with him. They fear what he will do. One is totally on his side, the rest waffle. They are confused. It’s called ‘magical thinking’. At the counseling class I went to earlier this year, they explained that children want a relationship with both parents SO badly that they will blame the victim (mother) just so they can have that, because they know that she will love them anyway, but if they admit the truth about dad, he will make life miserable for them and possibly reject them. It’s a crooked world we live in. Only the Holy Spirit reveals the real truth, and we are so educated to rely on our intellect that we so often forget to ask Him the questions.

          • JoAnn on August 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

            You are right; I have seen that phenomenon several times. the good thing is that they know you love them, so they know whom they can trust. You have a taste of how the Lord feels when those He died for reject Him. Let His heart be your comfort.

          • many years on August 10, 2017 at 6:48 pm

            Thank you, Aly, Charlie, Connie, JoAnn, and whomever else is praying for all of our own personal situations, and the comments to ponder, finding our way through the heartbreaks in our lives.
            Aly, thank you for the forthright answers, and also indepth questions. I will read over what you have said, and for sure, I know how the devil can defeat us, and I do know that the fear of another person, be it the fears the Empath has, or the fears the Narcissist has in place to protect themselves…we do know that ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom’.

            Ah, and the subject of Israel and also Judah is a very deep one. I am not sure I want to go into that. Although I do stand on one verse for myself in the book of Isaiah 54 verses 5 & 6, gave me great hope that in my disparity, the Lord is on my side.

            I have come far in setting boundaries, and I can see my husband ‘backing off’ as he now knows I know how to deal with his subtle and crazy-making excuses. They aren’t ‘flying’ with me any more, now that I know how he relates to himself and how other perceive him.

            I will also answer JoAnn, and Connie too, as I appreciate their perceptions of the different aspects and facets of relating to, and resolving situations that sometimes only God can deal with.

            Once we have done what we can to help a marriage, then, it is waiting on God to help the other spouse.

            Thank you ladies, and thank you Leslie for bringing this man’s dilemma with his wife and their marriage on this post.

            It may take me a couple of days to format some responses, with prayer and hope that all of us will continue to support each other, and challenge those things which need to be challenged in order for us to grow in our own relationships, and also grow in our own vertical relationship with the Lord.
            Blessings to everyone here!

          • Aly on August 10, 2017 at 8:03 pm

            Many Years,
            Thank you for your reply and your willingness to read over my post and others here.

            You wrote:
            ” I know how the devil can defeat us, and I do know that the fear of another person, be it the fears the Empath has, or the fears the Narcissist has in place to protect themselves…we do know that ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom’.”

            I’m thankful to read that you know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, knowing and doing can sometimes get foggy in these types of relationships. But like JoAnn said in an earlier post… it’s ‘your’ relationship. I’m just asking that you consider your place and voice of perspective to be sometimes similar to ‘sound bits’ that many of us (speaking mainly for myself here) have been influenced by to stay and be stuck in a very damaging cycle with another person.

            I’m not sure I understand your comment on the devil can defeat us?
            Maybe you want to expand.
            Our flesh, our fears the devil will use, but defeat?

            I hope I’m not interpreting also a ‘the devil made me do it posture’ because I would very much disagree with that and even though I’ve heard it in certain circles I think it’s a appalling excuse for any behavior.

            You wrote:
            “Ah, and the subject of Israel and also Judah is a very deep one. I am not sure I want to go into that. Although I do stand on one verse for myself in the book of Isaiah 54 verses 5 & 6, gave me great hope that in my disparity, the Lord is on my side.”

            Thank you for your comments here but I do struggle when I hear anyone say they stand on 1 verse from an entire book, let alone weighing the cannon of bible for direction in alignment of the Holy Spirit.

            My hope and prayer is that you are weighing ALL scripture because it’s all essential for growth and healing.

          • many years on August 10, 2017 at 7:34 pm

            Connie, what you just explained about your own family situation, with your ‘husband’ making plans for family to get together, is exactly how the husband in my blog post has had his own wife/and his grown daughter make plans for ‘him’ to see his family, at birthday celebrations for grandchildren, which is about twice a year that he gets to see them.. Yet they live in the same city! Make yourself go see those two grandchildren whom you did not get to see. Put your own foot forward and make your own boundaries of a positive sort, as my man relative, is passive-aggressive and won’t stand up for himself at times. Otherwise, even though he and his wife still live in the same house, she is the one who is welcomed all of the time with open arms to be with her grandchildren. So, there is something wrong with that mindset. And I know, it is easier said then done at times to go visit family, especially if distance is involved.

            I am praying for you, as some of what you have endured, has been my own experience too, as far as the covert manipulation of my own life, including finances, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, which I bowed down to the extreme ministry which basically said ALL things can be done in the marriage bed, there were no restrictions. Whoopie for the husband, he can do what he wants with his wife’s body is what it boiled down to. And now I am finding out there are laws against certain sexual acts inside and outside of marriage.

            And yes, the marriage I was talking about IS a destructive marriage. And I do know the details, they have not been hidden to any degree from both sides. Both spouses in that marriage do have unresolved differences. This is not a judgment on either spouse. It is what it is. I was just using it as an example for the poster man, whom Leslie is addressing. I cannot judge either spouse in the marriage I was addressing except the knowledge that many know the marriage is ‘on the rocks’.

            Just like you should not be being judged by your husband or others in your own family, yet that is what they have done and are still doing to you.

            Yes, there are many things that no one except the spouses, will ever see, which happens behind closed doors. And many people will not even want to believe things even if they were told. Sometimes, God and the Holy Spirit are the only witnesses.

            My heart cries out for whatever destruction has happened in all marriages of those who have posted their intimate stories here on Leslie’s blog.
            And prayers all who are here for help.

          • many years on August 10, 2017 at 8:29 pm

            Thank you for your words of wisdom. I cannot explain everything about my marriage as it involves another person who is still living at home, which will most likely be for the rest of that person’s life, and I am talking about one of my own grown children who cannot take care of themselves.
            This is the ‘static’ the ‘catalyst’ the ‘thorn in the flesh’ in my life, which has a multitude of scenarios surrounding this dilemma, which is a source of pain in my life which I don’t believe can be resolved this side of heaven, at least not at the present time.

            I will not even go into any details about that situation except for others to pray for me, in that regard. As it does throw into the ‘mix’ part of the reasons why I am staying in my marriage at this time.

            As far as I know, my husband’s attitude has not changed, even when I have faced him with things which he has done to me over the years of our marriage. He either chooses to ‘not’ ‘get it’, or is so fearful of his own failure, that he shifts the story to suit his own mindset. I do not believe he is saved, and that is a huge difference in this entire charade of a marriage. As how can two walk together except they are agreed?

            This is the catalyst of my dilemma. He doesn’t want to address what is so apparent in our marriage. My husband is ‘religious’ yet he does not appear to be spiritual.
            So he lives in his la-ti-da land of excuses and denials, where this type of reasoning gets our differences no where.

            People will say I am a martyr and that is possibly what I am. I would like for my situation to change.

            There is a particular financial obligation which my husband refuses to acknowledge, and he said, that me even asking him was as much as saying I wanted a divorce, in his mind. The word divorce never came into the conversation from my side of the conversation, concerning this financial obligation, until it came from my husband’s lips. When he mentioned divorce (in his mind) I told him to ‘Calm down!’ and he did, oddly enough, yet there was no solution, no bending to my logical assessment of the dilemma from his point of view. So his twist on what is supposed to be for the wife’s legally, he has chosen not to respect that legality.

            This issue may end up topping the scales, as I am going to approach him again on this subject, as he basically shutting me down, as is the way with Narcissists who feel they are loosing control over their victim.
            This man does not make me happy, in the regard that no one except ourselves can make ourselves happy. Jesus is the Light of my life, and also the Joy of my salvation is what keeps me in the Joy of the Lord. And this is a huge step from what I was like for many years of our marriage.
            I have escaped the ‘fear of man’ in that regard. No one owns me but my Lord.

            And yes, it is up to the Holy Spirit to nudge people to repentance.

            And actually, I do not want to enable my husband in his Narcissistic ways. I have had the Holy Spirit tell me ‘do not leave your house’. In other words, THIS is my house, and I am not going to leave. I live here. God has provided this dwelling place for me. I am not going to jeopardize the one grown child living in our household who cannot care for themselves. That is another reason, I have not left. And I believe God is honoring that decision and is also, at this point in time, protecting me and also my grown child. It is a little bit different of a mix when someone who is in your care, is a permanent part of your life.

            Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

          • JoAnn on August 10, 2017 at 11:47 pm

            I appreciate your opening up about your situation, and I see that it is a very difficult one. It reminds me of Paul and Silas in prison; they were singing and praising the Lord, even as they had shackles on their feet and hands, and their testimony was so strong that the jailer and guards got saved. As long as you can maintain your joy, the Lord will supply, and we can hope that at some point, the Lord will free you from that difficult situation, but even if He doesn’t, He is still your light and truth. Praise Him!!

          • many years on August 10, 2017 at 10:19 pm

            Aly, thank you for your latest response.
            What I was attempting to get across about relationships, and the petty things which can destroy relationships, what I was referring to was the fact that most American’s have an ‘entitlement’ mentality, and this mindset places a different standard of wants, desires, needs, which we feel are expedient to a successful marriage.
            Which, if the abusive spouse feels they are entitled to certain things in life, they use this as leverage to control the other spouse.
            And yes, abuse has no boundaries as to the lack or excess of earthly goods.
            I will get back to you on more of what you expressed.

          • many years on August 11, 2017 at 1:05 am

            JoAnn, and Aly,Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I am not one to complain, seriously!

            Yes, the Lord has been my strength and my song. Yes! Praise Him.

            Even the disciples were hindered by Satan at times. Yet Satan is our defeated foe, through the blood of Christ on the cross. And Aly, you mentioned my thought about ‘I know how the devil can defeat us.’ I have no clue why I even said that! As Satan can only defeat us if we allow him to. We are told to ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you,’ which is actually how I deal with Satan, in the hopes that whatever evil entities are continuing to infiltrate my husband’s thought processes will come up against the prayers of the wife for her husband.

            I used to have a very difficult time praying for my husband. It was so gut-wrenching, and it was most likely that Satan was attempting to hinder those prayers. And ‘the devil made me do it’ cliche, which you mentioned, Aly, is what most of the unsaved will revert to, which, who knows? Maybe Satan does cause the unsaved to do whatever they end up doing at his bidding, when he whispers in their blind ears! But Satan does not have that type of authority nor control over a child of God.
            Okay, so I am slowly answering concerns and questions from some of you ladies.

            And thank you for your prayers and concerns, as ‘friend sharpeneth friend’. And I do consider all on this site to be my friends in Jesus!
            God bless everyone of you!

            Like Aleea has mentioned in some of her posts on this site, for the wife ‘to be an Ezer for the husband’.(Aleea’s comments are on another blog posted about what an Ezer is) I looked online to find out what the definition of an Ezer is, and I was encouraged.

          • many years on August 11, 2017 at 1:32 am

            Dear Aly,
            You mentioned about Isaiah 54: verses 5 & 6 ‘I do struggle when I hear anyone say they stand on 1 verse from an entire book, let alone weighing the cannon of Bible for direction in alignment of the Holy Spirit.’
            I will explain:
            When I felt that there was no one able to see my destructive marriage the way I perceived it, I was doing my own scripture reading on my own. And that verse popped out at me and gave me hope for the way I felt so abandoned by my husband. God was going to take up the slack and guide me into His truth, where my husband was basically clueless about.
            And it was at that time, that I asked the Lord to reveal to me who my husband really was as far as his belief/and or salvation. And I know some of you will disagree with me that only the Lord can see the heart of every person. And this is basically true, yet the Holy Spirit points out that ‘by their works you shall know a person.’
            My husband was religious, to the degree that he continued in the Bible teachings he had been taught in a denomination, to the extent of the doctrinal dogma, basically being treated like an ‘exercise’, with Bible ‘drills’ so that every boy and girl growing up in that environment ‘knew’ what their parents or pastors believed. Yet many times, it was not a heart’s belief, but a regimented doctrine.

            So with that in mind, anyone can quote scriptures, if certain scriptures have been drilled into their pliable minds.

            I had to get away from that type of mindset, and do my own scripture reading on my own. That verse in Isaiah 54:5 & 6 had tremendous impact on my faith, and NO, by no means do I place my faith, nor do I stand on ONE VERSE ALONE in the Word of God.

            That verse was a launching point to the dilemma of my own marriage situation, and led me to have very strong faith in my Lord and Savior. That all was not lost, and I rebuilt my faith into a strong defense and I put on the Whole Armor of God.

            And that is my testimony to the fact that God is able to deliver abundantly, above all that we ask or think, IN HIS TIMING.

            We are not beings fortified with patience. God says: ‘Let patience have her perfect work.’ Tribulation works patience. If it doesn’t then we have missed receiving a blessing from the Lord. ‘And patience works hope, and hope works faith, faith maketh not ashamed.’ We have nothing to be ashamed of when we go through trials, as it establishes our faith in the Lord, if nothing else, we grow closer to God.

          • JoAnn on August 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

            What you are describing, Many Years, is that instant speaking we get from the Word of God, the rhema. This is what I love about the Word, that any verse can instantly become life to us, regardless of context. When something “pops out” to me, I take that as the Lord’s fresh speaking to me and it gives me life. Previously, I described how I like to pray these verses back to God, and in doing so, they nourish my spirit and refresh my heart. It’s one thing to study the logos, the written word, and we need to do that, but it is important that we have the experience also of that word becoming spirit and life in us, rhema. This becomes our lifeline through the deep valleys of our experience.

          • Aleea on August 11, 2017 at 5:16 am


            . . . .I guess I don’t completely understand the “Ezer” . . . .I roll it all up into an Encourager/ Truth Seeker Warrior. . . .In other words, a woman (a person) encouraging/leading a man (or women) to his/her highest calling in Christ. Think how exciting it is to be on that journey of going deeper and deeper with Christ ✞. Sort of a “I’m really afraid to do this, but, Hellfire & Brimstone I’ll do it. . . . I’ll speak/ live the Truth even if my my voice and hands shake. I’ll tell the Truth, as best I know how, even about God and Jesus. You always have to go for the Truth even if it sends the whole thing crashing down around you.

            It’s hard to be open, authentic, and honest. The Truth burns so many things right to the ground and I, like others, have lots of dead wood. It’s hard dealing with theocratic shunning, everyone wants to belong. . . .What if the church would be less concerned with creating saints than creating a world where we do not even need these saints? A world where people like Mother Teresa, MLK, Leslie Vernick would have absolutely nothing at all to do, except pursue Christ themselves. . . . .That requires lots of rainbow vs. black and white thinking, on everybody’s part. A true Christian pastor attacks systems of oppression against women, men, everybody —and fights for people’s spiritual health AND a better world even though that new world will negatively affect his own position of power.

            . . . In order to destroy the scapegoat mechanisms (. . . .Just ad hoc blaming Satan and demons and people for stuff vs. taking personal responsibility), a different strategy must be adopted. Instead of trying to create a community where there are no outsiders allowed (black and white thinking), the real answer may lie in understanding that we are *all* outsiders in Christ. Christ dies outside everything: outside the religious system, outside the political system, etc. In concrete terms, this means that a community faces its own lack of certainty and unknowing (—on marriage issues, on all kinds of issues, etc.), rather than ignoring them (—or even worse, telling women to “try harder” —what does that even mean?!) and thus creating a scapegoat who must carry the burden. ✞+ ☥ + ☧ = ☬ —Women are just extraordinary creatures, but men are equally extraordinary. It’s difficult to lay down our “identity” even for a moment and see others beyond their identities where there is no Jew or Gentile, no male or female. . The highest quality love is God’s (real love) and the way to get more of it is to keep our hearts as clean as possible. For me, that is flushing out/ getting rid of my bitterness, jealousy with people, resentment with God, etc. Repentance is not tears. . . .it is not emotion or remorse or self-reformation. In the N.T., (μετάνοια -metánoia, met-an’-oy-ah) seems to be this ongoing awareness that leads over and over and over to a death—rebirth sequence. Re: Personality and its Transformations. Transformative change by awareness of Christ in our minds and hearts. We can live dying everyday: 1 Timothy 4:12; Ephesians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 15:31, This, I think, has nothing to do with “trying harder”. . . . .When we program a young girl to be “nice” we take away her power. In doing this, we are setting females up to be victims – defenseless. Every girl should be encouraged to embrace her WARRIOR. But to do that we have to take the Truth seriously and the Truth is hard because it dismantles power structures that people are fighting *very* hard to maintain. But this is our Divine Right in Christ and a necessity in a church that has long ago declared a silent war on women. . . . .If your branches grow anywhere near heaven, your roots go all the way down to hell. . . . .In other words, stop loving love and fall in love with Christ. . . .The road to Zion (the city of God) is within you –when Christ is our treasure. . . .

          • Aleea on August 11, 2017 at 9:19 am

            ✓Absolutely, Aly. . .
            Dr. Meier tells me that many times she will be working with a couple separately (husband and wife) both of them claiming to be “Christians” . . . . .but then, one will actually be ✞ transformed by Christ and amazingly the other “Christian” is now running as fast as they can away from the other who is now *really* transformed by the Lord. —Amazing!!! But that makes sense to me. . . .And let none of us be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others, we need these experiences for ourselves. —The transformation part, not the running. . . . .Yes, He’s our Great Reward!!!!! ✈ 💟 💜

          • many years on August 11, 2017 at 4:09 pm

            Dearest JoAnn

            Your lasted post is so redeeming, and so uplifting, about how you pray the verse back to God which speaks an instant connection to your soul.. Thank you!

            And the verse that instantly came to my mind when I was reading your comment was:

            ‘The Word (Jesus Christ) became flesh and dwelt among us.’ Jesus was here as the living Word when he was upon the Earth, yet so many, rejected him. Yet, He is the Great Physician who is touched by our infirmities and sorrows and He came with healing in his wings.

            Which another verse is: ‘ For they who WAIT upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary and walk and not faint.’

            How great is our God! (and I love the song with that title!)

          • many years on August 11, 2017 at 4:27 pm

            An incredible post. So freeing and uplifting. ALL of it, such wisdom from the Lord.
            Praise the Lord!
            It is so sad, when I meet people who claim to be Christians, and I begin a spiritual conversation with them, and I get a ‘blank’ stare, it grieves my heart that there is not that ‘instant’ connection with the Holy Spirit’s presence. ‘The Lord knows those who are His.’ speaks loudly in that context. When some will at the end of time hear God’s voice saying to them ‘I never knew you, depart from me into everlasting fire.’

            Only then will all things be revealed. Until then, we can only hope to bring the Truth of salvation to those we meet along Life’s journey, and the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts and convinces, if someone’s heart is fertile soil for the Holy Spirit to reach them, and they are open to that still, small, voice which whispers Jesus’ blood into that soul’s being.

            Amen, sister!

          • Aleea on August 11, 2017 at 6:53 pm

            “It is so sad, when I meet people who claim to be Christians, and I begin a spiritual conversation with them, and I get a ‘blank’ stare, it grieves my heart that there is not that ‘instant’ connection with the Holy Spirit’s presence. ‘The Lord knows those who are His.’ speaks loudly in that context. When some will at the end of time hear God’s voice saying to them ‘I never knew you, depart from me into everlasting fire.’ . . . .”

            Many years, thank you so much. I appreciate that. . . . .I too very much like when I can feel that ‘instant’ connection with the Holy Spirit’s presence, but in my limited understanding, what people say often has very little to do with the way they really feel and what they really believe. Real beliefs are not at the level of our egos. Real beliefs are the highly nuanced cognitive biases that are deeply encoded in our actions and symptoms (—the actions we take when we are *really* stressed, that’s what people really believe), —not just their words. It is in dedicated action to Christ that our belief in the resurrection is truly made manifest. Jesus is testified to by our actions not wrapped up in articulation of beliefs. In that sense, behaviors are far more important than beliefs. You can have the right beliefs but for all the wrong reasons. Do I really, r-e-a-l-l-y love and want Christ or do I just want Eternal Life and Happiness? (—yes, the later for me —lots of times!!!) and when I want that, I am broken and I am alone, even if I fill my life with activity or numb myself. . . . . I tell myself I am this nice person so I don’t have to face the fact that I deny the resurrection of Christ each day in so, so many ways. I deny the resurrection of Christ each day when I turn my back on the poor and it seems like every day there are more poor. —I can’t believe it. I have learned to just walk by them faster and faster. . . . .I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of those exploited by and lend my support to, unjust and corrupt systems. I sit in Starbucks talking about the evils of major corporations and Starbucks is a major multi-national private investment corp. with many violations of foreign corrupt services practices acts. Anyways, as I always say, I have a lot to work on. . . . .How are our beliefs functioning? What are they keeping us from confronting? Beliefs are so often used to cover over our serious anxieties and prevent a head-on encounter with this disturbing fact: lots and lots of people are abused. We must prevent the Bible from being structurally used as a defense mechanism that provides psychological cover for all forms of abuse, even and maybe even especially, spiritual abuse.

            . . . but I’m with you. 😊 💕 I know what you mean. Nothing is better than deeply connecting with someone on a spiritual level and you can just feel the Holy Spirit’s presence. I met a woman who is a missionary for Samaritan’s Purse the other day, she was just obsessed with Jesus and it was just so beautiful. . . .what a Christ-centered, Christ-seeking, Christ-serving, Christ-adoring heart inside of her!

  9. Sophia on August 9, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Yes! Some days my h is a loaded weapon. He is destructive to me and others. Even pointing it out gets us nowhere, so….my true identity is in Christ. I remove myself from the crazy dance. Boundaries are my friend. I no longer allow myself to be destroyed and stepped on in those patterns. This brings glory to God.

    • JoAnn on August 9, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Yes, and we hope/pray that those boundaries will incite him to make some changes, too. Protect your heart, dear Sophia, and in doing, we hope that you will also bring in salvation to your marriage.

      • Sophia on August 9, 2017 at 10:04 pm


  10. Joanne. on August 9, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    Love you Leslie, your answers are very good! The gift that God has given you, wisdom in counseling others, has kept me going on this journey of being divorced, and now learning to take care of myself. (Going into my 60’s)
    Thank you!

    • Sandy on August 15, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Joanne, I’m 60 and I never dreamed I’d be getting divorced at this age. My husband wants to come home and has been going to counseling but I’m not seeing any change in him so far. It’s been almost a year since he moved out. I agree that Leslie’s blog, the classes and material are awesome!
      Thank you Leslie!

  11. caroline on August 10, 2017 at 2:19 am

    My first thought was that “This man” has not shared nearly enough details for any advice to be very helpful. My next thought was that this is probably a main problem his wife has with going to marriage counseling with him!

    No one likes to be told they are destructive, emotionally or otherwise. After such a pronouncement there might be a very natural inclination to get a “professional” to immediately debunk the idea rather than mull it over and try it on for size. That alone might keep me out of an office!

    Some spouses aim to use the marriage counselor as a pawn in an intricately played game of chess. They are not seen as a helper to get to root issues or even reconciliation, but instead as an expert witness to prove how hard they tried to make it work. They share just enough information to make the other look crazy and impossible: “…and even our counselor said she was…(whatever, fill in the blank here)…”

    The bible tells us there is wisdom in a “multitude of counselors”, but this is not limited to sessions with paid professional therapists (who could afford it!).


    Listen to your wife. She actually lives with you and the counselor does not!

    Now, if you truly want to be married, my advice would be to find out what an Emotionally Destructive marriage is. There are books and videos available describing that kind of union. Humble yourself and begin to see in what ways you may have created one.

    Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and expose “any wicked way” that may be hiding there. Adopt an ongoing lifestyle of repentance, owning anything that has harmed your wife, and be truly open to learning what it looks like to love a wife like Christ loves the church.

    Entertain for a moment that you do use tricks gleaned from your counselor to intimidate. Be careful not to silence your wife’s concerns or try to slap a band aid over deep wounds.
    This is the work of a lifetime. My prayers are with you, and God Bless

  12. Aly on August 11, 2017 at 7:12 am


    I agree with you, When Christ is our treasure;) 💖
    And when this is the anchored place it can’t help but transform someone.

  13. Charlie on August 11, 2017 at 8:34 am

    I am following and agreeing with what is being said here. Some food for thought: sometimes when we are in a destructive relationship, we don’t always see the destructiveness because it is our normal. When I left my destructive marriage, I felt tremendous relief, not having recognized how destructive it was.

    • Kaycee on August 11, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Charlie, you said, ‘Sometimes when we are in a destructive relationship, we don’t always see the destructiveness because it is our normal. When I left my destructive marriage, I felt tremendous relief, not having recognized how destructive it was.’ Yes, I am now seeing how true that is!

      As the days go by since I found out about my husband’s extra-marital involvement while working overseas, I have been reading whatever I can about infidelity, emotionally destructive relationships, narcissism etc. This has helped me gain clarity on my own situation and I can now see how destructive the relationship was and continues to be. Yes, it was my normal but educating myself on the topics at hand is helping me to now set appropriate boundaries. Leslie’s website has been so helpful and encouraging – I am learning to develop CORE strength for this journey I am on.

      At this point, leaving his destructive behaviour and marital misconduct without consequence will simply mean that H will have the freedom of continuing to do the same things again and again, just because he knows there will be no consequence. I am really not seeing any change in him. He refuses to be accountable to me and after having recently returned home from his work overseas, he has made it clear to me that he will never make available to me his cellphone PIN and computer password. When I had this rare opportunity to talk to him about the state of our marriage early this week, he has shown no desire, interest or intention in working on our relationship and going for counselling.

      We are currently in a separation stage but living under the same roof. Our adult children are aware of how emotionally destructive their father is and see the narcissistic personality traits he exhibits, and as far as they are concerned, I should file for divorce today. I have already consulted with a lawyer – it’s just a matter of time. I just don’t know if, at this point, I should formally separate first and divorce later or just file for divorce straight away.

      If any of you reading this has been in a similar situation, I will really appreciate any advice, suggestions or comments.

      (Hello to Aly, Nancy, T.L., Connie, Content, Lori, etc, who commented on my post a few months ago, sorry if I left out anyone from this list. I have been silently reading the comments here in the past few months. I really do appreciate all your advice, encouragement and prayers while I was going (and continue to walk) through this dark valley. Please continue to pray for me, thanks 🙂 )

      • Charlie on August 11, 2017 at 12:39 pm

        I have not yet filed for divorce but that is my next step. If I had grown children, I would have divorced much sooner. If there is no chance of reconciling, why wait? I can’t see any good reason for it.

        • Kaycee on September 1, 2017 at 3:58 pm

          Charlie, I hear you. Thank you!

          This whole thing is so gut-wrenching but yes, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

          Praying for you on your journey. God bless you!

      • JoAnn on August 11, 2017 at 2:06 pm

        Your lawyer might be a good one to consult about what is the best way to proceed. Laws vary from state to state. On the other hand, getting out altogether asap will give you more time to heal and reflect. For sure, get a counselor to help you with that. We pray and wish you well.

        • Kaycee on September 1, 2017 at 3:59 pm

          Thank you JoAnn, praying for you too!

      • Connie on August 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm

        I lean more and more toward asking why do we drag these things out? If he loves you, he would already be fighting for you. If you cut off the dog’s tail one inch at a time, what does that accomplish? More time for playing games and using you as his scape-goat? More time to enable him to thinking he is entitled to his own way? There is a verse in Ecc. 8:11 that says if the wicked aren’t punished immediately, they get to thinking it’s ok to do evil. I just read an article by the Boundaries guys (Dr. Cloud) that the whole problem is that we are not honest from the start, and keep giving in and giving extra chances. Just my thoughts.

      • many years on August 11, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        I am praying for your situation. My heart goes out to you. When it comes to the point were we are so angst driven, and nothing seems to reach the h, that is when we cut the ties of our heart to the one who has caused all of this frustration. We have to! Shutting them out of our lives, even if we still live under the same roof, the conversations are mundane, with no real connection to the soul. Which is sad, as, actually, there never was any spiritual, godly, soul connection with them to begin with. Yet, it took me years to figure this out. And they are really the ‘clueless’ one, eking out an existence of their non-reality about relationships.

        • Kaycee on September 1, 2017 at 4:03 pm

          Thank you Connie and Many Years, I appreciate your input and encouragement.

          Lifting you, and every need you have, up in prayer to our Heavenly Father today. He is your refuge and fortress and will hide you in the shadow of His wings until these adversities have passed by …

          God bless!

      • Content on August 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm

        I’m so sorry, Kaycee, to hear that your husband is unwilling to work on the relationship and to pursue your heart the way he should. I well understand.

        I think it’s interesting that your adult children are encouraging divorce.

        I’ve been separated ten months at this point. I don’t think any of us will be able to tell you exactly what you should do here. Trials like these are good schools for us learning how to take each step only under the direction of the Holy Spirit and this step for you will be no different.

        But, I wanted to give you some of my thought processes as I also wait to hear “when” to file for divorce.

        In my own situations, it just felt like God was saying to wait a year. For me, it felt like the right thing to do for our children who were all very surprised when we separated. They knew we were having problems, but my husband is very covert and so there were no obvious problems where they could see his abuse. Because of this, and their ages, I wanted to give them time to process and be ready for the next step.

        I have heard very specifically from God on next steps to take. Six months into our separation, I felt like God was saying for me to stop verbalizing the truth to my husband about our relationship. The first six months, if he said anything that was manipulative or wrong, I just very bluntly told him the truth about how I was feeling and how things really were. That was a good six months of me unloading and it felt quite good, to be honest. For the most part, I said hard truth but kept myself in check as far as hitting below the belt, if you will. (wasn’t perfect, won’t deny that!). Then, I felt like God took me to this place where He was saying to just stop and be quiet and to not respond when my husband tried to pull me into arguments, etc. At the end of that time (which will be in October, which also happens to be the one year point of our separation), I believe God will give me the next step to take. Which I believe will be divorce unless God has worked some sort of miracle in my husband’s heart.

        So, that is how the process has looked for me. My husband has continued to support our family and I have not seen any obvious ways of him trying to retaliate with money or whatever. So, things may be different for you, and those would be things to take into consideration as far as your decision on when to file.

        I think I can say that if it weren’t for my kids, I would have already filed for divorce and probably would have done it pretty quickly.

        Another thing I’ve thought of often is that divorce will not hinder God’s working IF there is to be a restoration of our marriage. Divorce can gain the attention of some men (not saying this is common, but there are definitely many stories out there of marriages being restored and people’s lives being changed after divorce – even years later).

        In my mind, separation and divorce will let my husband have the freedom to live the way he has wanted to all along. Maybe he will love it and be thrilled to be away from me. Maybe he will see the emptiness of a life spent still living like he’s 19 years old. Who knows and honestly, my and your focus can’t be there.

        We just need to live in reality and the reality right now for both of us is our husbands are not interested in having a real marriage where they put in real work to make it healthy.

        Praying for wisdom for you on your next steps and knowing already that God will give that to you as you seek Him. I love that we can come to Him for that wisdom and have complete faith that He will answer us if we do not doubt that He is good enough to lead us in specific ways.

        • Aly on August 12, 2017 at 6:20 pm


          I so agree also! I think everything you took the time to write out and clarify are wise especially since the level of grief associated with such a reality of having….as you say a husband wanting the lifestyle that reflects a 19yr old. Paraphrasing here.
          Goodness are these scenarios all too heartbreakingly common? Husband’s not equipped with the foundational places of Godly many let alone seeking to be a Godly husband.

          I like how you wrote out your action and process over time, it’s helpful to be in an objective and detached place in my opinion to be able to walk through what you are facing.
          I’m sorry for the overall outcome so far, but I was near were you were when I could let go and watch what my h was going to do to redeem and restore our marriage. Technically a marriage that we never really had in the first place.

          Prayers for your journey content💕

        • SunRiseIsland on August 16, 2017 at 10:39 pm

          Content, if I didnt know any better, I’d swear you were telling my entire story – especially the part about husband living life as though he is 19 years old. I use this line often when addressing my situation “my husband appears to have regressed back to the age of 25!!!” He has taken up life with all new “single” friends and the bars/street life are his total focus and priority now – not his marriage, our family or our children.

          You wrote “In my mind, separation and divorce will let my husband have the freedom to live the way he has wanted to all along. Maybe he will love it and be thrilled to be away from me. Maybe he will see the emptiness of a life spent still living like he’s 19 years old. Who knows and honestly, my and your focus can’t be there.

          We just need to live in reality and the reality right now for both of us is our husbands are not interested in having a real marriage where they put in real work to make it healthy.”

          The last sentence sums it all up & thus – I have come to the reality of filing for divorce & have sought legal representation to do so and am scheduling my consultation for next week. I have held on and watched his destruction tie up my life long enough and the time has finally come (its bad when our children are in support of divorce after witnessing him self-destruct.) He isnt getting or working towards better, he is actually getting worse and whats sad is that everyone close to and around us sees how awful his behavior is but he is completely oblivious – lost his family and seems to be strutting proudly like a peacock. When in fact, he has gained NOTHING close to what we built together over the years.

          For all the ladies in this same situation, my ❤️ and continued prayers for our strength in coming to grips with the reality that the person we married is/was a complete facade.

          Although I dont always comment such, I feel comforted knowing that many of you ladies on this blog know what it feels like to walk in my shoes and you continue to validate my feelings after having them denied for so very long so thank you all & Leslie too.

          • JoAnn on August 16, 2017 at 11:05 pm

            SunRiseIsland, may the Lord grant you a rich portion of His all-sufficient grace as you move on to the road less traveled. He is there with you and will guide your path.

          • Kaycee on September 1, 2017 at 2:28 pm

            I really appreciate you taking time to write such a lengthy response and thank you for your valuable input. You wrote so beautifully and clearly. I can relate to a lot of what you said. I also sensed that God was telling me at the beginning of the year not to lean on my own understanding and not to rush into anything In the meantime, I have been seeking His face, abiding in Him and basking in His presence. As I do so, I allow myself not only the time to hear from Him, but also the time to write down what I sense God is saying. It is so precious, because when I look back later at what was written, I know it can only be God who gave me those words of comfort, encouragement and guidance. I have no idea what I would have done if I did not have God in my life. I am the only Christian in my family and some days I feel like the enemy is working overtime to bring destruction to my marriage and family and also to crush my faith. But he will not succeed – he is a defeated foe!

            I have accepted and am living in the reality of my marriage situation and focusing not on my husband or my marriage but on Him who pulled me out of the darkness and brought me into His marvellous light. I know He will see me through and He Himself will guide me in the way I should take – step by step and day by day.

            Thank you so much (other ladies as well) for your words of encouragement and prayers for me. I am praying for you too, as you each continue your journey holding God’s hand. It is so heartbreaking to know that there are so many of us in such destructive marriages. But God is good and faithful. Let us continuously keep our eyes on Him … it is so important!

          • Aly on September 1, 2017 at 2:36 pm


            This is an encouraging post for sure;) is this the same Kaycee dealing with the out of the country husband?

            I agree with you that we must keep our eyes on the Lord, for me, this has been critical and life changing
            my eyes have empowered me to not just see Him but to want to chase after and follow him!

            Knowing their will be a cost and a consequence.

      • Lori on August 13, 2017 at 4:09 pm

        Hi Kaycee,

        Nice to hear from you again, although I am sorry for the situation you are in.
        You wrote:
        ” I have already consulted with a lawyer – it’s just a matter of time. I just don’t know if, at this point, I should formally separate first and divorce later or just file for divorce straight away.
        If any of you reading this has been in a similar situation, I will really appreciate any advice, suggestions or comments.”

        I am wondering if your question is motivated by a legal, spiritual, financial or emotional need to decide? Maybe a combination of some of these, or all of these? It is difficult to speak to without knowing what your needs are.

        So I will share my own experience and hope somehow it might be of some help to you.

        I am currently in a similar situation, although it is not an “in-house” separation. We are physically living separately and have been for a year and a half with no end in sight really. He seems to be quite comfortable with his new life and freedoms and continues to fully financially support mine. He shows absolutely no interest in personal change as he sees nothing really necessary in his life to change. He is quite content to believe all the marital problems lie with me.

        The advice my lawyer gave to me was to continue to kick the “separation” can down the road as my h continues to supply the financial needs we have and I am not yet in a position to take on full time employment. So, if eventually we are to divorce, the investment of a legal seperation would be an unnecessary expense and would decrease financial provisions.

        I still have children to consider that are dependent on this home for their needs.

        I believe no two marriages are the same, and so no two separations or divorces would be.

        If your question is of a legal nature, I think your answer would best come from a trained professional legal advisor in your state and I would encourage you to revisit with your lawyer stating your questions, needs and goals clearly.

        You also wrote:
        “At this point, leaving his destructive behaviour and marital misconduct without consequence will simply mean that H will have the freedom of continuing to do the same things again and again, just because he knows there will be no consequence. I am really not seeing any change in him.”

        I am sorry your h doesn’t value morality enough to see his lack of it or desire to do whatever it takes to walk in it. It is a painful reality for us wives to bear.
        However, I also believe that regardless of any “consequences” you attempt to impose on his behaviors, he is “free” to live the way he wants to anyway. My opinion is that the effect of the “consequences” you impose has more to do with what you choose or choose not to endure.

        I am so glad to hear you are growing in CORE strength as I believe that will be necessary for your path.

        Praying for you today Kaycee.

        • Rebecca on August 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm

          I agree that it is hard to give advice on this matter for a number of reasons. The greatest of which in my opinion, is the consideration of the laws in your state. Each States laws are so different.

        • Brave Rabbit on August 15, 2017 at 12:17 am

          Hi Kaycee

          Re filing

          When I saw a lawyer he told me I was better to file for the divorce. The case can always be continued/dismissed. He’d suggested that because it was cheaper in the long run. It may be different from state to state.

          It’s worth the money to just go and speak with a lawyer. Have all your questions ready before hand so you can get your money’s worth. The one I saw changed$200/hour. I was there 1 hour 20 minutes, and he only charged for the hour. That doesn’t always happen.

          Praying for you. 😇

        • Kaycee on September 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm

          Hi Lori,
          I am so glad to hear from you and I enjoyed reading your response. Thank you so much for your time, prayers and words of encouragement.

          You asked, ‘I am wondering if your question is motivated by a legal, spiritual, financial or emotional need to decide? I will reply by saying that it is not financial (since I do not work, the lawyer said that I can petition the judge to get H to pay the legal fees). My thought process is this – maybe, just maybe, if we go for a legal separation, this will give H time to come to his senses and want change, accountability, work on trust issues and therefore reconcile. Having said that, from what I am reading about CNs, they do not really change, do they? Is having that trickle of hope in vain?

          You said, ‘The advice my lawyer gave to me was to continue to kick the “separation” can down the road as my h continues to supply the financial needs we have … So, if eventually we are to divorce, the investment of a legal separation would be an unnecessary expense and would decrease financial provisions’. My lawyer said the same thing about extra/unnecessary expenses if divorce happens after the legal separation. Yes, I am planning to revisit the lawyer soon as I have a few other questions and points to clarify.

          You also said, ‘My opinion is that the effect of the “consequences” you impose has more to do with what you choose or choose not to endure.’ – I completely agree with you. The time surely comes when the message needs to be loud and clear, “I am done, enough is enough. I refuse to continue to live like this, to be treated this way …”

          Lastly, I have recently bought Leslie’s book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, and I am so thankful to be able to read what she has written in those pages – to ‘listen to’ her counsel, learn from her and apply what she teaches to personally grow and be made stronger.

          Praying for wisdom, strength, peace, courage and God’s blessings for your journey. Take care 🙂

        • Kaycee on September 1, 2017 at 4:09 pm

          Hi Aly,

          Yes, I am the same Kaycee you responded to with encouraging and uplifting words a while back – they were and still are really helpful!

          I am glad to hear from you. Hope you are doing well as you continue on your journey. Take care and God bless you …

      • Nancy on August 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm

        Hello Kaycee,

        I am praying that The Lord grant you His Peace. You are completely covered by His Grace.

        • Kaycee on September 1, 2017 at 2:36 pm

          Hi Nancy,
          Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. I am praying for you too. May God continue to give you wisdom, strength, courage and peace as you put your trust and hope in Him! God bless you always …

  14. JoAnn on August 11, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Kaycee, you said, “At this point, leaving his destructive behaviour and marital misconduct without consequence will simply mean that H will have the freedom of continuing to do the same things again and again, just because he knows there will be no consequence. I am really not seeing any change in him.” Don’t worry about him continuing in his behavior. That is not your concern. Let the Lord deal with him about that. God will be sure that he has consequences. You need to take care of your heart.

    • Rebecca on August 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      I also think that sometimes the consequences are more for our benefit than theirs. We feel like we are taking action and try to gain a measure of control in the situation. They often could give a hoot what we do. They would never say, my wife enforced consequences. Rather he would find a way to blame the wife for the action.

    • Kaycee on September 1, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Yes, Rebecca, I am taking care of my heart and my self.

      Thanks for your input and wise, encouraging words. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you on your journey and may His hand of favour rest upon you all the days of your life!

      • Kaycee on September 1, 2017 at 3:46 pm

        Oops, sorry, I meant to address JoAnn …

        Thanks for your input Rebecca, God bless you!

  15. Charlie on August 12, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Content, I completely agree! I can see we have similar thought processes.

  16. Confused and hurt on August 13, 2017 at 7:07 am

    Good Morning Friends

    As I begin to write this it is 4:10 a.m. my time. I’ve been sitting at my dining room table since 3:20 this morning. I’ve prayed and dialogged with God and asked for clarity for the fork in the road I face this day. An unexpected opportunity popped up.

    I’ve thought of leaving for some time now, but struggled with when the right time would be. Is it here now? I’ve been pretty sick this past week fighting a nasty cold. H was invited away for the day. I don’t believe he will be back until 3-5 pm. tonight.

    After my dialog, I spent a little while waiting to hear. I may have been nudged because Ephesians popped into my head. I started at chapter 3 which begins with The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed. 3:14 talks about Prayer for Spiritual Strength (yup need this!) 4:17 talks about The New Life (is this a hint?)

    Ephesians 5 starts the Walk in Love. And 5:14 . . . “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (is this another clue?)

    And then I read on about Wives and Husbands 5:22. It is my opinion my h has a hardened heart and currently is not a Christ follower. He, at one time, went to church fairly regularly. But in hind sight, I don’t know if he did it out of love for God or to make his mother happy?

    Just a brief history, my thoughts are jumping all over the place right now.

    With me being sick, H stepped up to the plate and pitched in. We’ve no children, so he had only himself and me to care for. The first two days I stayed in bed (not hard to do I was so sick). Water and chicken bullion was my diet. There were leftovers and a couple of pizza in the freezer, so he made do. He even cleaned up after himself.

    Since Thursday, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of praying, thinking and reading. I’ve reread Leslie’s book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage (4th/5th? time I’ve read her book), The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans (I read this the first time in 2010?), and on audio listened to Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Lundy Bancroft and Jac Patrissi.

    March 2017, I’d packed a bag and called my sister and asked her to stop at my church. I wanted to speak with my pastor. I’d written a letter to H and had taken that with me. Pastor was easy to talk with and we prayed. He said since, (according to what I’d shared) I was not in immediate physical danger, time was on my side. He said my letter was a nice draft and suggested a few minor changes, but thought I should speak to my H in person and to share my feelings with him.

    I asked my sister to take me home. I could tell she was not happy with the outcome. She thought he talked me into it. I tried to tell her it was still my decision and asked her to pray for me and to please just love me through the process.

    I have since rewritten my exit letter. Journaled along the way documenting the verbal abuse and as I posted in a previous blog, I’ve had ample opportunity to call him on it, only to have my voice swallowed up by me.

    And he’s aware of my unhappiness. We’d moved to a different region in 2015, to retire. We lived there 5 months and I felt like I was thriving. I’d networked, plugged in to a wonderful church and was making friends. H would send zingers along the way about how much time I was spending away from home (4 times a month plus church averaging two days a week including church-H controlling tactic?). H one day said he wasn’t happy and he wanted to move back “home.” My bubble popped. He was so distraught, I worried about his mental health (a ploy?). He thought I’d be the one having trouble adjusting and as it turned out, he couldn’t adjust. (I wonder in hind sight if he was threatened by my growth too?)

    H also made a statement to the effect, “When we lived in our last home, I thought we had the world by the tail. I don’t know why you were not happy.” What can I say to that? Gee honey, the last three years before we moved I went through a bout of severe depression, dealt with his numerous health issues that included cancer, helping various family members with their health issues, family members dying and oh ya, loosing my job, his brush with the law . . . ya think maybe I had a little too much on my plate? In the end the loss of my job was a blessing because it freed up time for me to care for H and my family and ultimately when I did find another job, it was one of my more favorite jobs I’d ever had! About 3 years before all the turmoil hit the fan, we’d had “the talk”. I told him that I thought our relationship was in trouble and asked him if he would go to counseling with me. He asked me if I had a boyfriend! I said I did not (I’m so broken I shudder to think about any other relationships!). I explained that his belittling, put downs, lack of support for my schooling and his disregard for my talents (arts) and lack of financial trust all hurt me. I bared my soul to him of all my hurts. He’d told me he couldn’t go to counseling and he’d try to be better. (At this time he was an active alcoholic). His change didn’t last long!

    This morning I feel I’m at a crossroads. I confuse myself because he’s been so nice to me these past few days (I can hear you groaning out there). With that being said, a leopard cannot change his spots so to speak. When H was going through his geographic depression, I could not talk him into therapy. He does not want to grow and change and I cannot make him. All I can do is love him, pray for him and work on my growth. The more I grow, the further we grow apart. Right this moment I feel I’m on a precipice. Is there ever a right time to leave? Part of me thinks wait until his next outburst and lay my boundaries out there for him. That the consequence is his loss of me. But as I said before, I lose my voice when opportunity strikes.

    It’s now 5:51 a.m. my time and I can hear cardinals calling to one another, the sky is clear and the sunrise is beautiful!

    I don’t have knots in my stomach, but I can feel my anxiety creeping up. My heart wants to leave but my mind is stuck. I have this internal battle between the two going on. Physically I’m safe staying. Mentally is another issue. If I say, I need to stay well. I’m now dragging my feet sending this. It’s 6:07 a.m.

    Thanks for listening,
    formerly known as Brave Rabbit

    • Aly on August 13, 2017 at 7:30 am

      Brave Rabbit,
      I’m praying for you 💜🙏

    • Content on August 13, 2017 at 7:49 am

      Hi, Lost and Confused,

      Your comment gives us a clear picture of the anguish and confusion you are in. I am so so sorry you’re in such emotional turmoil.

      One thing to consider is that once you set a boundary, it is important that you stick with it so that you don’t lose more ground and respect in the eyes of your husband. So, I would consider that and just make sure if you take that step, you know that you know that you will not give in to manipulation.

      Also, consider that you need to be fully aware of all the tactics that will be thrown your way. Are you ready? Because they will most definitely come.

      But you are brave and strong and Christ will be with you. He is your strength and wisdom and source of all you need.

      I know He will guide you today and give you direction on what to do. Listen for His voice, be willing to do whatever He asks of you and you will hear Him whisper “This is the way…”

      I do believe you’re right, in some ways it will never seem like the right time to make this bold and necessary move. But, I knew when oit was time and God just kept confirming it with my husband’s responses in those days surrounding my decision. I could see the spiritual battle really clearly and could see that the enemy wanted to keep me oppressed and enslaved and unable to enjoy my freedom as a child of God. (One of those incidents was my husband’s declaring I was a bad mother for going to church every week in the morning and to women’s Bible study twice a month. I knew who was saying that through my husband and it just confirmed it all).

      Praying for you right now. You have the power of God with and for you. Take courage and when you take that step of faith, you will watch the waters part in front of you.

      • Content on August 13, 2017 at 7:51 am

        Oops, wrong name…I’m sorry. Love Brave Rabbit, though. 🙂

    • Maria on August 13, 2017 at 8:37 am

      Brave Rabbit,

      Only you can make the decision to leave/stay. Praying for God’s guidance for you as you make this tough decision.

    • Lori on August 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Brave Rabbit,

      I am praying for you now.

      I find this that you said so very powerful:
      “The more I grow, the further we grow apart.”

      And when you were really thriving, your h was really struggling to get things back to “normal” where you are under his thumb (or at least he thinks you are) and not thriving.

      It’s my opinion from what you shared that your h prefers to remain the same and that means he prefers you stay the same. Like cords wrapped around you and a large heavy rock connected to the cords, your marriage seems to be one of bondage not freedom.
      The most astounding thing I discovered (being in the same type of marriage) was there are no knots in the cords. It is for freedom that Christ set us free. We are free to leave or stay. We are free to choose, as you know, because the marriage covenant was “unloosed” by our h abuse of us and their betrayal of the marriage covenant.

      I think you already know this, so what I would ask now is if you have support available to you if you choose to leave? By support, I mean emotional (counselor, friends, family). Financial?

      If you choose to physically leave (the emotional and spiritual divide appears to be growing by the minute), do you have a clear idea of concrete conditions necessary for you to even consider returning to life with him under the same roof? I would hope you gain clarity to this point so you are not tempted to return when things get confusing, emotional and his manipulations begin to hit home (as they are likely to).
      For me, the road out and away from my marriage of 29 years has been frought with highs and lows. Especially at the beginning there were more lows than highs, but all in all (for me),the freedom has been worth it.

      I have found that the “support of others” has been essential both to getting out and staying out.

      Much love and prayers for your tender heart today

    • Rebecca on August 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Confused and hurt, I left my husband when he was away. I made a plan and left a note that I needed some time apart. It was a safe time to leave. I went to email only communication. I got help from a women’s shelter and never went back. My life is much better without regular abuse.Best wishes with your decision.

  17. Brave Rabbit on August 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Lost and Confused is so much true right now! 😇

    Thank you for the prayers, love and support. I’m spending my morning in quiet contemplation and prayer.


    • Rebecca on August 13, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Great job celebrating the Sabbath!

  18. Brave Rabbit on August 13, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Boundaries are a new tool I’m trying to learn to use. I cherish the wise counsel to not give in to manipulation and to stand firm when my boundaries are violated. Keeping myself anchored in Christ and with other Godly women is a must. I’ve not been able to hear His voice (maybe I need a 2×4?) lol to use on me that is 😉

    My network of one person didn’t pan out. My sister is in crisis and I couldn’t bring myself to ask for help when she is in such a need herself. And maybe that was God’s answer for today.

    I feel encouraged by all the emotional and prayer support I’m receiving here sweet sisters.

    My new normal is closer bondage. With h taking our only transportation out of town for the day and my unavailable support being 28 miles away (too far away to bicycle) I stayed home just taking care of me and getting a lot of one-on-one with God. I sound so pitiful. BUT I have hope and I have God and my faith will see me through. (I love that I see my glass as half full)!

    Lori, I like what you said about the cords without knots. It made me think about the dance h and I have been doing for 38 years and that dance winding the cords tight. Thinking back, I believe things changed 36 years ago. And when I wanted to go to college back in 1988, I think that’s when his verbal gloves came off. I did go part-time and paid as I went. He refused to help fund my education. Until one day I was told to not waste my time and money. Especially since it was for a career change he did not support at all. And it wasn’t the first career change he put his foot down on.

    My gradual awareness came about 18 years ago. And it’s been within the last 2 years that I’ve begun to see things a lot more clearly. Through educating myself by reading books and speaking with wise people, I became aware of the disease of verbal abuse.

    I realize the plans I have will probably be fought tooth and nail. I really appreciate that kind reminder. Maybe that’s why the seas have not parted for me today. I still need to clothe myself in more armor and gather other tools and resources. Financially things will be tight. I may even have to go back to work. If I have to work, I’d only need to for about 5 years, then I have a retirement plan that will reach maturity and I’ll be able to live ok as long as I keep to a tight budget until social security kicks in.

    I’m feeling that maybe I wasn’t as ready as I thought. I still have a lot of work to do. I’m not feeling that this was God’s timing. I’ve taken everything into consideration what everyone has shared and a few other things popped up while in my quest for input.

    Thank you everyone for your loving support and encouragement. When I make my break, whenever that is in God’s timing, I will keep you posted. It will probably be on a different blog as this one will probably be closed by then.

    xxxoooxxx Hugs and prayers back to all!

    • Maria on August 14, 2017 at 4:23 am

      Brace Rabbit,

      Is it possible for you to reach out to other women in your area so that you have other people who can support you? Looks like he is really trying to isolate you.

      • Brave Rabbit on August 14, 2017 at 8:36 am

        Maria, you are spot on. I’ve allowed myself to be cut off to the outside world. Church is my only outlet.

        I’m exploring ideas as to what my interests may be. I’m looking into classes that are available at our local college. I’m realizing the world is my oyster and it’s ready for me to explore.

        I’m excited about living my life. I’m scared too. I feel that I will experience great resistance and I know I must be ready. When I get plugged in somewhere, I’ll be able to network and make friends with other women.

        • Aly on August 14, 2017 at 9:24 am

          Brave Rabbit,

          Are you working with an individual counselor? If not, I would strongly encourage you to make this as important as expanding your support circle.

          I agree that from what you have described you are a bit isolated in proportion to your situation with the type of relationship you have with your h. Yes, you have married him.. but it doesn’t sound anything close to a glorifying marriage.

          I’m sorry about that, but glad you are seeing that you can make changes ‘for yourself’ and you can trust God to equip you~ even if it means you flee to safety. (Healing and rest)

          i believe there are unique places in all of our journeys out and through;I have witnessed the places of critical power where a wife has had to leave in order to break from that cycle and overall abusive environment in order ‘to absorb the good things’ and the establish strong places that are necessary in getting healthier and ….yes Braver.

          Brave Rabbit you are Brave and part of being brave is taking those next brave steps toward healing.

          I agree it’s wise to predict the destructive behavior that you might receive from your h, but then I will also encourage you that it might pull you back further in a power struggle and ‘stump’ your place of growth.
          I say this to caution you, because in my case I regret all the years when I tried not dancing the cycle ~’ while actually dancing’. Hope that makes sense.

          I had years not being isolated at all, feeling the presence of support or options for me, while not realizing that the support I had was far from kind I needed.
          In counseling I discovered more and more what ‘real safe people looked like’

          During the worst parts of my power abusive marriage ~ I was surrounded by ‘all the wrong’ people. I loved them, but they were not the vessels that God had in mind for my trek. He wanted to bless me with the sages and the ‘sherpas’ for my journey knowing that was what I needed to not go back to thinking the way I did and not continue to find relationships that were commonly ‘insided and unhealthy for me.

          I share these things to caution you and especially since you plan to expand your circle, definitely do expand your circle but in conjunction with counseling so you can choose wise people who also have a mature faith and mature growing character overall.

          There are many wonderful places and ways to meet such people but there are also a lot of immature insecure people that will not be the right fit for the situation you are having to navigate away from.

          Love and lots of support for you Brave Rabbit~

          Since you mentioned you were also ‘confused and hurt’ you wrote about the dishwasher?
          I could be getting confused myself here, if you did as you know your h’s control has long past the healthy boundaries.
          Did you join Leslie’s Core group?

          • Brave Rabbit on August 14, 2017 at 10:36 am

            Someone suggested a woman’s shelter where they may be able to work with me or refer me to a counselor.

            I completely understand what you say about the dance. It’s just mind blowing when I’m able now to step back and see the damage.

            I’ve now realize, someone I thought was safe really is not. At least I didn’t learn it the hard way. It was a recent dawning. I’m learning to be careful. And I agree with the mature faith.

            Yes,I’m the dishwasher gal.

            I’m looking into the Core group.

            Thank you Aly for your input and support. I really appreciate it!

          • Aly on August 14, 2017 at 11:27 am

            Brave Rabbit,

            You are correct, most women’s shelters are full of resources, it’s good to find out what they can offer and I do believe they have the some expertise in these dynamics.

            Good for you in seeing the clarity you need to take your steps! Have a blessed day and so glad your considering Core.

  19. Connie on August 13, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    I was talking with my friend about all this. She said that if we suddenly realized that we had been in a bad cult for several years, even if at first we had ‘vowed’ to stay forever, would we try to change the cult leader, beg, plead, reason with him, and worry about the ‘vows’ we’d made, turning ourselves inside out about whether we were doing the right thing? No, hopefully we would just split, not look back, go no contact and be done. We know that cult leaders don’t change. How is this different? Both Paul and Jesus said we shouldn’t make vows anyway, because we don’t know the future. Marriage is a covenant that, like a dance, requires two parties to keep. If one breaks it, it’s broken.

  20. M. Lynn on August 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you for adding the spiritual awakening element about daring to go into the dark cave with God!
    I will be Leslie’s article to my husband (we’ve been separated for 1-1/2 yrs after 35 yrs. of marriage) along with the notes at the end of your post. I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will use it to remove the blinders from his eyes and help him want to search his own heart and see himself. He has been humble and repentant for many months, but not able to look deeply enough to see the core issues. Thank you, Leslie & Aleea…

    • Aleea on August 15, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      Hello M. Lynn,

      I’m also praying 🙏 that the Holy Spirit will use Leslie’s words to remove the blinders from his eyes and help him want to search his own heart and see himself. . . . . —And absolutely, I will be praying that for your husband (—I always pray it for myself too) . . . .and thank you M. Lynn for the kind remarks. To know Christ and to have any part (—no matter how small) in His kingdom is just overwhelming to me. . . . .That is very encouraging that he has been humble and repentant but we have to be willing to go deep, to die to self, to look at all those nasty CORE issues and *really* transform. . . . .Tell him I hate, just *hate* doing that too but the caves we fear to enter do hold the treasures that we seek. . . . —And you M. Lynn, realize that if you love Jesus Christ and want to seriously live for Him, you are a precious, special treasure that is so, so valuable —so stand your ground. I know most men don’t see it that way, and even many women don’t either but God does. —And, as you well know, it isn’t just about avoiding hell or going to heaven, it is about having *real* life and *real* love, —right here, right now. Really, actually, living *real* life. You never plug into real love or real life without Christ. Being a Christian, sometimes when I really see it clearly, it is such a majestic thing! 💗💕❤💕 ♛Christ comes and lives inside us!!! Sometimes, I can’t even fully process that. It is so unbelievably wonderful it is almost unbelievable to me. 😊

  21. Husband on August 17, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Thank you for posting my question and taking time to answer it. I will focus on fixing me and hopefully that will help fix my situation.
    Best Regards,

    • JoAnn on August 18, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      We are praying for you on your journey to CORE strength. The Lord is your companion on this journey. Bless you.

    • Autumn on August 19, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      What are your thoughts about the women’s comments to your questions?

      • Husband on August 20, 2017 at 11:33 pm

        The comments remind me to listen and think, confirm what I heard and then reply calmly with relevant comments. This has been a long process. I have been to three different counselors over the past two years.

        • Aly on August 21, 2017 at 8:23 am


          I hope it’s ok I ask, I’m wondering why 3 counselors in a couple of years?
          And of those counselors how many sessions were completed? Meaning did you see someone once per week for 12 months.. or was it a few times and then you moved on to someone else?
          I ask because listening (also being heard) and building a relationship of trust even with a professional takes many hours to develop and few people seem to do the ratio of 1 hour per week out of the other 168hours.

          I have heard other women and some husbands say well we did counseling or we went the counseling route and it was unsuccessful (not saying it always is) but I have found that it’s better to understand how a person might ‘define’ what counseling is actually to them.

          My mom went ‘once to a professional of her choosing’ and never returned because of what he challenged her on (I was there). But she says to me and to others that ‘she did counseling’ …. that’s far from a counseling process in my opinion.
          Defining clearly how one ‘defines things’ I have found to be critically important to the overall process. My husband and I have benefited greatly as he has to define his version of beliefs often and why… it took a long time for him to see over and over that ‘hearing someone speak’ was not listening.

          He also had to see that the amount of energy and processing of any dialog & the overall relationship was nothing he was equipped for prior to adulthood. Learning this was an intense part of his recovery.
          What he had termed normal and healthy for much of his life and into adulthood was nothing but upside down ‘unhealthy thinking patterns’ that kept him from being present in life and facing fears of the unknowns and possibly listening to unpleasant experiences of others.

          • JoAnn on August 21, 2017 at 6:13 pm

            Good points, Aly. Actually, the best counselors are the ones who make us a little uncomfortable. They challenge unhealthy thinking, and they force us to look at ourselves and own our part in the process, which is not fun, but eventually, this leads to honesty, transparency and truthfulness. If that isn’t happening, then, by all means, go somewhere else. Not all counselors are really good, as our dear Leslie is. But there are good ones out there, and we sometimes need to look for a while before we find the right fit.

          • Aly on August 21, 2017 at 6:30 pm


            I agree with you;) but what you said about it leading to honestly, transparency and truthfulness happens to usually depend on the person ‘staying with the uncomfortableness’ of the process~ if that is indeed what is taking place. Not many seek this out~?

            I have heard and witnessed the ‘all to common pattern’ of a person or spouse willing to go to counseling as long as it doesn’t require them to address and act on their individual issues.
            They will look like they are in participation but not really participating~ and then usually throw their hands up and the full tantrum when the counselor challenges those barriers/beliefs. 😡😥😩

            But I think it’s important to get a scope of how one would define having counseling overtime.
            Not always… but more often than not the hours invested are quite minimal.

  22. Aly on August 21, 2017 at 6:32 pm


    Oops meant to add this..
    “Not always… but more often than not the hours invested are quite minimal, in comparison to what needs to be treated over the long term with character and behavior issues to get to the core identity fractures.”

    • JoAnn on August 21, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Of course you are right, Aly. To get the kind of life-changing effects from counseling, a person has to be highly motivated and committed. Sometimes the boundaries will help with the motivation, at least initially. I venture to say that most abusive men are not brave enough to enter into this kind of work. They are abusive because they need it.

  23. Husband on August 21, 2017 at 9:34 pm


    My wife asked me to see a counselor, so I contacted one and attended sessions. She eventually wanted to meet with both of us and she couple counseled us. After some sessions, she said she had done everything she could and suggested we see somebody else if we were still interested. My wife then asked me to see another counselor for anger or depression, so I contacted my physician and he gave me a recommendation. I met with the new counselor, and again he started couple counseling us. Since we were seeing him as a couple, my wife wanted me to see a separate Christian conselor. My wife felt uncomfortable with the new conselor and said she was not going back. I continued to go to my counselor every other week until she said I did not need to go anymore.

    • JoAnn on August 22, 2017 at 12:44 am

      I have the impression that you have been dissatisfied with the results of your counseling experience. I am sorry that you didn’t get any real help. It is very helpful, when starting counseling, to begin with the end in view….that is, have a clear statement of how you will know when you are “done.” How will you be different? What will you be able to do or not do when you finish? Work out a list for yourself and take it with you for your first interview. If you get the impression that this person can’t help you achieve your goals, then find someone else. Counseling is dependent on having a skilled therapist and being able to connect with him/her. Both things are necessary. Good luck with that. Pray for the Lord to take you to the right person. He will lead you.

      • Husband on August 22, 2017 at 7:17 am

        The counselors I had were very good and they were helpful. I want to get my wife to go to one with me. She was not satisfied with them.

        • Aly on August 22, 2017 at 8:32 am

          Husband and JoAnn,

          Husband thank you for your other reply to my questions, I guess I struggle with understanding why I don’t feel like they were answered specifically. I asked ‘sessions’ because I think it’s important to see that long term therapy is usually more the rule than a year or so of the common use once per week.
          Why? Because when a person as you have mentioned with anger or depression… quick solutions tend to not be the scenario.. these things return based on many factors that take a lot of discovery in counseling to see what is driving the behaviors.

          The way you responded to my questions ~ as a wife myself I would struggle hearing that after ‘some time’ the counselor told you that you didn’t need to continue. (Just my gut related to some of my own experience)
          As a wife I would also struggle hearing how you generalize and not really answer specific questions asked of you. This makes me see you as a vaugue communicator overall.

          You did mention one thing, about every other week, that in itself tells me that the therapy was not weekly. Early in our process …Our therapist started with my husband every other week and it was quickly addressed that the ‘space in between sessions’ was far too long for old coping skills and patterns to begin to form. And counseling was just a part of the overall intervention process ~

          I say these things because I can’t tell you the amount of times my own husband has heard our counselor tell ‘him something’ and he has ‘ran with it’ or wanted so badly to believe he heard something ….when come to find out that was not at all what was being expressed!

          This is one aspect of couples counseling that I find very important especially if two people are willing to do the work.

          JoAnn, your advice is very good for this husband so I do agree with much that you shared as key important aspects of therapy. I guess I feeling hesitant at trusting his interpretations ~ especially one post where is was very mechanical about how to listen. Just feels like there is a lot more going on here.

          • JoAnn on August 22, 2017 at 2:14 pm

            Aly, your comments are the voice of experience. I agree.

    • Autumn on August 22, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Thanks, Husband for answering our questions. Have you read Lundy Bancroft’s books or seen his teaching videos? My husband found him to be the first professional who truly understood exactly what he was thinking. Have you tried LifeSkills with Paul Hegstrom. Some men find his work helpful.

  24. Connie on August 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    To ‘Husband”,
    A few thoughts from the trenches here:

    I’ve heard several marriage speakers (eg Gary Smalley) say, “If the husband is looking for a marriage manual, ask your wife, she has that manual in her heart, you probably have not given her the freedom to tell you.” And then LISTEN. If she is not satisfied with the counselors, she probably has a good reason for that. There are few counselors, especially in the christian realm, who understand these dynamics that we are talking about. If you have ever watched ‘Mystery Diagnosis”, the people on there have gone to an average of 30 – 40 doctors who all told them the wrong things, before they got their answers. But they all say it was worth the long search. You might have your wife first interview each counselor until she feels truly comfortable…..and even then she may change her mind after a while. My first h and I went to several that seemed good and then they turned on us. How badly do you want this? Really? Then don’t leave any stone un-turned!!! Fight for this!!!!! Humble yourself before her and God. Proverbs 13:10 says that only by pride comes contention. There is a ton of good info right on the internet. If you’re anything like my 1st h, you will pick out a few little things and ignore the rest and then wait for pats on the back. I’m hoping you are more mature than that.

    How is your attitude? If there is even the slightest resentment and/or contempt toward her and this process she is asking of you, you have already lost. Forget everything else I or anyone else here says. Cry out to God to reveal it to you. Surrender your will and ideas and everything to Him and listen for His voice, if you are His sheep. If you can’t do that, do her a favour and walk away, you are just prolonging her anguish.

    Dr. Phil turned to the husband and said, “She will never get over this until she knows for sure that you fully own and understand ALL that you have done to hurt her.
    Have you done LOVER apologies? Where you ask her how you have hurt her, and for every single thing she remembers that was hurtful (this will likely take a long time, like weeks at least), you don’t argue or make excuses or minimize or interrupt or ask when is it your turn, you:

    L – listen, then ask if there’s more and listen more
    O – offer a sincere apology with no ya-buts
    V – validate – let her know that her perception of this hurt
    is totally valid, repeating what she said as in “Yes, I….
    E – embrace (when she is completely ready)
    R – repent, as in DON’T do it again.

    Again, how badly do you want this? Is she a pearl of great price? Worth laying all that pride on the altar? She is, but are you seeing it?

    • JoAnn on August 22, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Connie, I especially like the LOVER apologies. We often lament that men are so “clueless,” but this is a great way for them to “get it.” They are wired so differently from women, and it is often very difficult for a therapist to help couples make the connection.
      Everything you said above is very good, and I hope the husband here can fully take it all in. Sir, Brother, we are all pulling for you. Praying for you.

    • Aly on August 22, 2017 at 2:55 pm


      I think you wrote this out so well! Could not agree more with what the posture needs to look like~ even if the wife still chooses to move on apart from the marriage.

      I’m sorry about your previous marriage~ but you learned a lot through that and my heart is that you are experiencing Now ~present time ~ such a thriving marriage yourself💖?

  25. Brave Rabbit on August 22, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Mr Husband

    You are an inspiration to other men that may be reading this blog. I wish you many blessings on your journey to an enriched and healthy marriage. I’m praying for you and your wife.

  26. Lori on August 25, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    I love it! This article just explained what I went through this week.
    I just decided that I would no longer attend marriage counseling because it was clear to me that my spouse needed to first find healing with his own stuff before being ready for marriage counseling. During the session he just wanted to blame me for his pain and not take responsibility for his part; he was the victim.

    I felt misunderstood and like I had to explain to him, what I have tried many time before, that I was there for him and wanted the marriage to work, that I was willing to do what it took to take responsibility for my part. That was my mistake. I kept trying to get him to understand something he has no desire to understand. He didn’t want to hear what I had to say, he just wanted to blame me so he could maybe feel better. As you know, he will not feel better until he does the hard work of facing his fears, failings and shortcomings. He is pretending everything is ok and white knuckling it in hopes that things will fix them self. He needs to stop pretending everything is going to get better without doing the hard work it takes to heal the anger and resentment.

    I will continue to work on myself and my shortcomings. If he chooses to get help, then maybe our marriage has a chance to find healing and reunification.

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