Is It Worth Trying Or Should I Run?

Morning Friends,

Thank you for your kind words and prayers regarding the loss of my beloved dog Gracie. For those who knew her, she was one of a kind. She is greatly missed. But I am also very grateful that I was with her during that last week. I travel so much and was out of town the week before in Nashville. I would have been even more heartbroken if she deteriorated while I was away. We got to be with her and she knew she was loved and safe, even to the end.  

But grief is exhausting and I haven’t been myself. Even my brain feels dull and not firing like it usually does. I feel sluggish and my pickleball game is also off. I can’t hit the ball – sometimes I don't even see it as it whizzes right past me.  

I’ll be in Dallas this week to take a class and then Thursday fly to speak in North Carolina. Pray for stamina and clarity of thought. I don’t want to forget what I’m supposed to say. I'm doing a 3-hour training for Christian counselors on working with couples in emotionally destructive marriages.  

Today's Question: I have recently learned that my Christian husband of 36 years has been visiting strip clubs and massage parlors for years. He also has developed a problem with alcohol. His job requires him to travel and is gone for a few weeks at a time, so this has been easy for him to hide.

I am learning a lot about “covert narcissism” and he definitely has these traits. I am wondering if there is hope for healing and deliverance, or if I need to cut my losses and “run for the hills” as much of the literature advises. He has come clean “with everything” (per his reports) and has even offered to tell others, while I am present, about his behaviors.

I would appreciate any thoughts you might have.

Answer: I’m so sorry that this has happened in your marriage. Betrayal is one of the worst things anyone has to deal with.  Discovering that your husband has a whole secret life is devastating and disorientating. You feel like you don't know who he is. You don't trust what he’s told you about anything now that you've discovered he is such a good deceiver and pretender. Your whole marriage feels like it is unraveling.  

How did you find out? Did he confess this or did you stumble upon it?

When someone is caught in a chronic addiction pattern as your husband has been in for 36 years, these types of people do display many of the traits of narcissism – covert and overt. There is minimizing, denial, lying, extreme selfishness, and gaslighting. They don't want to be found out so they do whatever it takes to make you doubt yourself and not trust your own perceptions of what is wrong.  

It is important that you pay attention to how he handles himself the next few weeks and months. For example, you said he has come clean and offered to tell others. Has he really? Since he is such a good liar and pretender for 36 years how would you know? His word is worthless right now.    

What do his actions show? For example, has he changed jobs so that he isn’t traveling and tempted to hide and cheat? Has he found a treatment program for his alcohol and sexual addiction that he is committed to? Has he found an individual therapist to help him work on a full disclosure session with you? Has he given you passwords to his Internet and phone without you having to ask or threaten? Has he put controls on his own devices such as his computer, cell phone, and iPad?

Do his behaviors seem to show genuine repentance for not only what he has done but also how he has hurt you? Or is he scrambling around to make it look better and feel better so that you won’t leave him or implement other consequences?    

His addiction problems are the first layers of treatment that must be addressed, but with a secret addiction of 36 years, there are also lots of character issues and habit patterns that are unhealthy that have fed that pattern. Is he owning these things, not only the sexual and alcohol addiction, but the way he has lied to you? How selfish he has been? Or other things he has done?  

When someone is truly serious about his or her recovery, a person will do whatever it takes, whatever it costs to get well. Click To Tweet.

Jesus puts it in the extreme when he said, “If your eye-even your good eye causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand–even your stronger hand–causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29,30).

This is a long road ahead of both of you. If your spouse is serious about his recovery and taking the right steps, perhaps giving it time to see his progress is worth doing. Thirty-six years of marriage is a long time and I’m sure you have lots of threads knitting your lives together including grandchildren. These are not easily severed. However, you also have Biblical grounds for divorce if you feel that you are not able to ever trust again. Sometimes the consequences of these kinds of sins are not reversible. That doesn’t mean you have to be cruel. You can have compassion for his struggle without feeling like you need to bear the burden of living with a man you don't know and can’t trust.  

I hope you have some good support to discuss this with – pros and cons. Staying married looks hard, but separation and divorce has a whole other set of challenges. Neither path is easy so you will need to listen hard to what God is telling you that your next step should be.

Friend, when you discovered your spouse’s addiction, what were the things that helped you decide what to do next?


  1. Nancy on October 25, 2017 at 9:40 am

    The fact that he’ll admit to what he’s done is huge. What do you suggest a person do when their spouse is in denial? I have consulted a number of sources online and would be interested in your opinion.

    • Sea of Galilee on October 25, 2017 at 10:04 am

      I’ve found that admitting to others is not enough. He should give full disclosure to another with you present.
      My H is good at admitting and even saying I’m a saint to have put up with him, he says this all with a laugh. There is no true repentance or sorrow. Therefore no fruit of repentance.
      Mine has a porn addiction, is narcissistic (by diagnosis)
      He’s covert, deception , lying, cheating .
      He tells others , but doesn’t stay with these people to seek accountability. He moves on to new people to tell and switches counselor after counselor ..
      Bc he does NOT want accountability..
      full disclosure in front of you.. is key. And full accountability, and going through the painful process of working through the destructive thought patterns and changing this IS the hard work.

      Mine is not there yet. It’s behavior modify, telling me he’s talking to other men, but not telling me in the presence of those he tells.
      He is still very much in control and may be fooling them. But he can’t fool me.

      • Remedy on October 25, 2017 at 10:16 am

        Sea… are you taking care of you, realizing there is no repentance?

        • Sea of Galilee on October 25, 2017 at 12:02 pm

          While I work on me and get a plan in place.
          He moved out and wants to work on things. So he says— but no trust .

          What should I expect at very least before we begin counseling? What’s a good checklist ?

          • Sea of Galilee on October 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm

            Anyone have a good resource that I could look at? I need objectives and a way to observe . I’m not ok with managing morals ..or behavior modification he’s deceptive!

          • Elizabeth on October 25, 2017 at 12:16 pm

            Sea of Galile, In my comment below, I reference the ‘Checklist for Repentance’ from the cryingoutforjustice website. It is thorough. Also, I am about to read Lundy Bancroft’s book “Why does He do that?” Bancroft has worked extensively with abusers and has been able to point to certain patterns that he sees in knowing who will change and who is likely not serious about changing. Prayers for all of us!

          • Roxanne on October 26, 2017 at 10:16 am

            Have you purchased Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why does he do that?.” There is a check list of behaviors that indicate change. Every single box must be checked to indicate change. At one point I checked every single box and reunited with my husband. His non-abusive behavior lasted three months. He vomited the first time he became abusive again Yet, on he raged. He had read the book and tried to do the behaviors indicated. He never changed, but was delusional and in denial about so many things. Sadly, there is little to no hope. You both heal better (if at all ) when out of the relationship.

            I am glad you are making a plan. Mine took almost 18 months to bring to fruition, yet the calculating was worth every difficult move.

      • Renee on October 25, 2017 at 3:48 pm

        Seaofgailee, this is sneaky. You are a saint to put up with me while laughing. In other words, you think you are a saint. He may not put it that way but I’m sure.

        I look forward to hearing from others who speak to how you can care for yourself when no acceptance and repentance has taken place.

        So Seaofgailee, have you done any individual counseling or you’re going straight for couples counseling?

        • Sea of Galilee on October 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm

          No more marriage counseling! He got us booted Bc he wouldn’t cooperate.
          I’m in individual counseling. He just quit his 4th counselor in 18 months ..
          No accountability

          • fRebecca on October 27, 2017 at 5:58 am

            Sea, I like the energy in your post. It is the kind of energy you will need to break free.

            I think your separation has benefited you well and you are moving forward.

            In my case, I couldn’t think clearly within the marriage. My abusive spouse had a firm grip on everything in my life, including my mind. I didn’t realize it. My denial was so well established that it took close to two years before I could begin to see the affect such a life had on me. So when I read posts of staying well, I know it is possible but well is a fallacy, it is still a terrible, terrible situation to live in.

          • Nancy on October 28, 2017 at 4:40 pm


            It is possible to stay well IF the husband can respect boundaries. As we engage in walking in CORE strength and make the necessary changes, we find out if our husband can respect the boundaries we set.

            Respecting boundaries and heart change (or repentance) are not one-in-the-same thing.

            If a husband can respect boundaries then ‘staying well’ is possible. The waiting then begins to see if he will respond to The Lord ( as we continue to work on ourselves).

            In many cases, this is not possible- as you described in your case. But in some cases – like mine- my h was able to respect the boundaries I set. I was then able to safely work on myself as I waited to see how he would respond to The Lord.

            I believe that Leslie’s process of walking in CORE strength, setting boundaries and making requirements will end up revealing what type of character that an individual is dealing with.

          • DG on October 29, 2017 at 10:19 pm

            Can you please help me understand what you mean by “CORE strength” and “setting boundaries and making requirements will end up revealing what type of character that an individual is dealing with.” I would love to know more.

            I’d love to know your definition, or a link to help me better understand so I get the most out of your comments and others’ conversation.

            Thanks! xox

          • Nancy on October 30, 2017 at 9:24 am

            HI DG,

            Sure. If you google ‘YouTube CORE Leslie vernick’ you will see a 7 minute video that describes her concept.

            As we identify and set boundaries ( for example, “I will no longer allow myself to be yelled at”) as well as maintain those boundaries ( leave the house ( with kids) each time he yells), we will be 1) guarding our hearts against being belittled as well as 2) discovering how he reacts to these boundaries. The h will either escalate this particular behaviour or learn to ‘keep a lid on it’ ( note this is not the same as heart change -only behavioural). If he escalates then our heart will not be safe to do the work we need to do. Physical separation will be necessary.

            As we make requirements of our spouse ( for example, “Before I am able to move forward in our relationship I need you to get into individual counselling with a counsellor where I can check with him/ her on your progress), we will discover ‘what they are made of’.

            This is all detailed in Leslie’s book EDM on how to go about doing this. In my case, we went out to dinner and I gave him a well rehearsed speech followed by a letter when we got home that articulated my boundaries and requirements. (I would not talk about our relationship any longer- there was no more relationship to discuss. We were ‘on hold’ and us moving into a ‘building phase’ was up to him).

            This process will reveal the character of the h. Some can respect the boundaries and will subsequently open themselves to The Lord’s healing and growth. In other cases the h’s narcissistic character is revealed and things become more drastic at each turn.

            There was a podcast on focus on the family this month about a controlling h. The wife changed her way of relating and ended up asking him to leave. If you would have just looked at his behavioural traits, you would have called him a narcissist. But he had a change of heart as a result of her changing her ways of relating.

            My point is that it’s the process that reveals the character and it’s, in many cases, pre-mature to label someone a narcissist. If I had done that, I would have not allowed The Lord to work in my own heart, or his, and ultimately, our marriage.

            I hope that helps 🙂

          • Nancy on October 30, 2017 at 9:40 am

            Hi DG,

            I want to add that this is a my interpretation of the ‘overall process’ (with an emphasis on trusting in God and the process itself to determine our next step at each stage).

            I know that for your particular case, you are separated p, praying and watching. Leslie has some articles in her archive on your question, “how long do I wait?”, maybe check those out.

            You are in an extremely difficult position of feeling ‘strung along’ and it is SO hard to find the ‘balance’ between doing our own work ( CORE) and watching him ( without putting our Hope in him- our Hope is in Christ regardless of our H’s decisions)

            May God Bless you as you try to discern His will for you!

    • Nancy on October 25, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Hi Nancy ( nice name 🙂

      If a husband is in denial then his wife needs to allow the full consequences of his bad behaviour to completely rest on his shoulders. Keeping the consequences at bay will only reinforce his denial.

      Allow reality to fully enter his life. Whether he chooses to face it or not will be between he and The Lord, but either way the wife will have stopped enabling him to live in illusion.

    • Renee on October 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      Yes that is huge if he is willing to admit. However, he could be admitting just a bit to get her off his back. Nancy that is a good question and in my case I just don’t see any other option for a person in denial (my husband) other than to divorce.

      I would love to be wrong saying there are other options so that our family can remain together. However, I don’t believe there is when you keep getting blamed. The other person want you to be held sole responsible.

      There was a scene on TV Monday where the lady’s husband had an affair. She said she wanted to get drunk and have revenge sex. I said I understand how this lady feels. I have been fighting to not start drinking. I’ve been fighting to not do something reckless. I’m asking the Lord to help me because I am now more lonely and hurt than ever.

      He goes you can’t compare her hurt to your hurt. I go maybe not, but my hurt is still my hurt and right now I’m still hurting very bad. He goes you bring on what you get. So in my mind that says he feels I deserve how he has treated me.

      Yesterday our kids tell me dad says, once I left for work, I have a boyfriend on the end where I work. They said they did not want to tell me because they did not want to start a fight. I told them thank you but I know dad has been telling people that lie. Even tells my daughter she is picking sides (mine).

      • Connie on October 25, 2017 at 7:54 pm

        Picking sides is a good thing when you are choosing righteousness over evil. “Choose you this day….”

        • Renee on October 26, 2017 at 9:17 pm

          Connie I love this. Choosing righteousness over evil.

      • Nancy on October 26, 2017 at 6:29 am

        Hello Renee,

        I’m just wondering…In your post, you said that you don’t see any other option than divorce. What about the option of separation?

        It is separation that allows the full consequences of bad behaviour to fall on the one in denial.

        • Renee on October 26, 2017 at 10:34 pm

          The option of a full separation is a wonderful idea. I really want that now, but haven’t been able to pull the trigger. I don’t want to pull the trigger and then have to live under a bridge while he lives all nice and cozy in the home we built together.

          Apartment cost in our area is well above our current mortgage except one’s in bad neighborhoods. There is an empty home where my husband could live while we work through our mess. The home left behind after his mother and grandmother passed. Of course, he would have to make some repairs. But, he refuses to leave this home he has built under any circumstances.

          Our state does not recognize legal separation. So I’m left with the option of divorce and then try to get temporary use of the home. He will not agree to divorce (the cheaper option) and says he will not sign and he will fight. I think he just means FIGHT because he is not fighting for us now and neither of us have money enough to fight long-term in court. He is still very comfortable in his little room. I mean besides not having a sex buddy, he seems comfy while I am miserable. He stresses how he misses sex, but not so much as missing me.

          I did talk to another attorney this week and he said I could probably file for divorce on the grounds of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. But then he says I would need lots of proof, medical doctors that prescribed MEDs and that stated why, and witnesses. The only other grounds are impotent, adultery, bigamy, criminal conviction, habitual alcohol/drug abuse, hospitalization due to insanity, willful continuous desertion for at least a year.

          I have a few recordings and my journal of things that took place, but he didn’t say that was good enough. He has not listened or read of course. I told about my anxiety med but he says the records would have to show the marriage problems were the reason of the prescription.

          He also said after the $1500 deposit that I could end up in a money sucking pit if hubby gets an attorney to fight or just make things difficult.

          So now I’m like keep the $1500 for now and pray. $1500 would cover initial deposits and utility hookup so I am torn.

          My friends have all moved to other states and moving in with my parents is not an option. Of course, this is his preference. Even says I can take the kids if I go home. So if I have to go, I will want my own place or own home. Not go where he wants me to go. I think he feels if I go home, I will be hidden and unable to move on with my life.

          • Sunshine on October 27, 2017 at 6:10 am

            Renee, What state have your friends moved to? Can you go there. I say take the $1500 and get out. You can always file while not living in the same house. Eventually the courts will equal everything out.

            I found the key to being able to leave was having support. If you move near your friends will they be supportive? The initial move is wonderful and the freedom brings new energy and peace. Yet, he will try to get you back under his control. You will need strong resources to support you when he starts of act up.

            Do you have a women’s domestic violence organization in your area? They can be a great source of help. Ours provides a truck, movers and $2000 grants for women leaving domestic abuse.

          • DG on November 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm

            Please be careful. Reading through my local laws I learned that taking kids to another state can work against you when child custody is part of a divorce settlement. Know your laws and do what’s best for you!

      • Roxanne on October 26, 2017 at 10:23 am

        Well, yes of course you can remain together and continue being used and abused. Sometimes women pick this for financial reasons. We all have a chose and detachment is one way to stay in an abusive relationship. Some people stick it out until the kids are grown. It is a choice. But be assured it is abuse and you are being abused during the process. In time living like this takes a physical toll on many people. The get chronic illnesses that leave them incapable of leaving and increase their dependence on their abuser. So, yes we can continue in our world of denial and do our best to protect ourselves and our children. It will be a living hell, but it can be done.

        Eventually, I have to ask but why do it? Does this behavior glorify God or are we just enabling sin by letting evil permeate us.

        • Nancy on October 27, 2017 at 2:21 pm


          This really hit me, ” yes, we can continue in our world of denial and do our best to protect ourselves and our children.”

          I spent my life constructing and maintaining my world of denial, of illusion, of distortion. My first response is to suppress the truth and this is a way of being that has enslaved me in ways that The Lord is now revealing, gently, and tenderly.

          I have asked God to show me my loved ones for who they are, not who I want them to be. And He is answering my prayer. But the Truth is painful. My world of projection and blame is crashing in around me and I am beginning to see how my lifestyle of denial has robbed my kids of their mom seeing them for who they are.

          It has robbed them of BEING SEEN.

          What I am saying is that to choose denial has devastating consequences on our own souls and of those of our kids. Jesus said, “then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” To surpress the truth is what denial is.

          I thank God for His wisdom and His timing in all of this in my heart and my life.

          This is not meant to cause condemnation or guilt. As JoAnn recently reminded me, The Lord reveals things in His time and His way.

          He is so very good.

      • Myrtle on October 27, 2017 at 7:03 am


        Don’t be reckless. I did it in a hopeless case of being emotionally & verbally abused for years. I wanted to be taken away by the man I fell for because my husband drank 7 days a week and treated me like a doormat in every way. I wanted to be rescued by someone and failed to turn my hurt over to God. I pay for it everyday.

        It only led to more heartache. You cannot fill your void for love with any vice….alcohol, spending, sex, another person etc. -it is a temporary and fleeting escape that you will pay for dearly. One vice leads to another and before long you are hooked just like your spouse.
        Only by separating and keeping in God’s word can you make change. God doesn’t want you to be abused. God doesn’t want your spirit to be crushed.

        There is never an easy answer, as you know. You have to have PEACE.

        • Renee on October 27, 2017 at 11:26 pm

          Thanks Myrtle so much for your honesty.

        • Renee on October 30, 2017 at 3:48 pm

          I loved this so much from your post. I had to repost the thought.

          You cannot fill your void for love with any vice…. alcohol, spending, sex, another person, etc. – it is a temporary and fleeting escape that you will pay for dearly. One vice leads to another and before long you are hooked just like your spouse.

      • DG on October 29, 2017 at 10:23 pm

        Thank you so much for speaking truth and helpful comments.
        I know it’s a horrible situation to be in, and leaving or initiating divorce usually makes things worse before they get better. But I just have to ask – what lessons are your kids learning by you staying in the marriage? Depending on their ages, I hope you’re communicating with them and they are learning that this isn’t normal or acceptable. I am concerned for the very same with my husband’s two teenage sons who also joined in his abuse – they don’t know any different.

        • Renee on October 30, 2017 at 5:38 pm

          Our teens are 17 and 14. DS will be 15 in Dec. and DD 18 in Jan.. It’s funny because I also will have a birthday in Dec. and hubby will have one in Jan. So we all are linked together.

          I have always tried to communicate with our kids. As they have aged, they see more and have their own understanding, especially DD. The hard part has always been not slipping and saying your jerk of a father is an ahem. Now I call it for what it has been, emotional abuse and not just dad acting crazy. The counselor really helped them with this part so they did not have to just rely on my understanding.

          Either way, the damage has been done to us all. Between them seeing us and their grandparents, they swear they will never, ever get married. I play around with them saying you know what not to do, who not to bring home, and I want lots of grandbabies.

          I pray the Lord will send them the right person. However, all of us should fear for our children because not many understand emotional abuse. I know fear is not the correct word.

          I guess in a way I’ve taught them emotional abuse is not as bad as physical abuse because I’ve stayed. I’ve taught they can take whatever is dished out just stay strong.

          I know, wrong message.

  2. Remedy on October 25, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Good morning Leslie. Thank you for everything you are doing to bring light to the issue of abuse and destructive patterns of behavior in relationships by showing what the Scriptures say and instructions. I am so sorry to hear about your loss of Gracie, your faithful companion. After losing my first dog years back, I was a real mess for about 3 weeks…..couldn’t cook, clumsy, forgetful, couldn’t sleep in the total silence of his breathing/dreaming all night. It was surprising to me too, the toll it took. May God comfort you and help you smile even through the tears, when you think of the good gift she was to you.

    As for our dear lady’s question, I’m not sure she can ever be really certain of anything with him again after so many years of smooth deception. Much much prayer and lots of time to see fruits. My heart feels her anguish of heart for as you said, neither path is desirable or easy.

  3. Elizabeth on October 25, 2017 at 11:33 am

    At year 14, my husband and I were separated 2 years ago for about 6 months after I called the police following a physical abuse incident. He was initially very sorry, admitted to many things, and began seeking God again. I was naive and did not require him to stick to my list of boundaries for our separation. He became pushy and basically checked the boxes to get back into the house. So I uneasily trusted him and now, 2 years later, his behavior is almost the same as before we were separated, except that he is adhering to the letter of the law. He doesn’t steal my phone or keys or physically abuse me but his verbal & spiritual abuse are bad. He has told several people that he has ‘fixed everything’. The website cryingoutforjustice has an excellent article called “Checklist for Repentance”. I am currently being assisted by a couple of awesome girlfriends and the male leadership at church is checking in periodically to assist if needed.

    • Nancy on October 25, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      Hi Elizabeth,

      You seem crystal clear about your situation. I’m just wondering what is stopping you from re-instating the separation?

      • Elizabeth on October 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        There haven’t been any physical abuse incidents since his moving back in, he is slightly improving in doing some constructive things with our children, and there has been some small improvement in how he handles money since his moving back in. I homeschool our 3 kids and gave up my career years ago, so I am dependent on him. With that said, I am about to give him a list of a few boundaries and consequences based on problematic things that are still occurring. I will see how he reacts and am reading A Cry for Justice and will read the Bancroft book, Why Does He Do That?, afterward in the hopes for more clarification.

      • Elizabeth on October 25, 2017 at 3:06 pm

        Nancy, There has been no physical abuse since he has moved back in and I have seen some slight improvement in his handling of money and involvement with our kids. I am about to give him a list of boundaries & consequences, however, based on his problematic behavior, so I will see how that goes. I am trying to be wiser also and am reading Unholy Charade and then will read Why Does He Do That.

        • Elizabeth on October 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm


        • JoAnn on October 26, 2017 at 10:46 pm

          Elizabeth, you still need boundaries around your heart to protect yourself from the verbal and emotional abuse. Abuse is abuse, even if there are no physical bruises. The bruises on your heart and mind, while invisible, are harder to heal. Are you in counseling for yourself? If not, please get some help. Separation will demonstrate just how much he is willing to change.

          • Renee on October 27, 2017 at 10:06 pm

            Abuse is abuse, even if there are no physical bruises. What does emotional abuse need to look like visually for us to be heard and believed? Lord knows I try not to show how I feel inside. It’s Like Little Big Town song says, “when someone stops loving you, you still gotta walk into a crowded room, you still got to crack a smile like it don’t bother you, make it through the 9 to 5 like you don’t hurt.

            What happens if you show how you really feel? What will be the other person’s response?

  4. MJ on October 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    My first husband had a pornography addiction and had two affairs that I know of during our marriage. All of these I found out through discovery and not through confession. Here is what I learned…
    1. True repentance and recovery must originate with him. No amount of policing by me ever worked and only caused me heightened anxiety, despair, and fixation on the relationship.
    2. He needs to be very clearly aware of what he will lose if he continues down this path. I went too easy on him and was quick to “patch” things up. He will only experience the full fruit of his actions if he is released to be in a position of the full consequences. I strongly believe that if I had much earlier on enforced a healing separation of several months, it would have required him to be transparent, self sufficient financially, spiritually, relationally, etc., it would have required him to make a choice for true and lasting change (or not). Granted, it could have been the end of the relationship, but eventually the relationship ended anyway after 13 years and affair #2.
    3. Sin cannot live in the light. If he is willing to shine a light on the dark and hidden parts of his soul, to bring others in in humility and transparency, to openly confess his heart and search for righteousness to fill those places, the sin will wither and die and he will be made new. This is NOT something you can do for him or force him to do. It has to be out of his realization for his complete need and dependence on JESUS to make him clean. Anything else is playing the part and not true change.
    4. One of my few regrets in life is not fully releasing him to God early on in our marriage (meaning let him face the full consequences). Instead, I was man centered, looking to my husband, clinging to him for my significance, for love. I cushioned the discipline God wanted to bring to him (ouch!). I won’t know what would have happened if I had chosen a different path 15 years ago, but I do know now, with much more experience and a deeper relationship with Christ, that’s where we would have stood a better chance.

    • Renee on October 27, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      MJ: You stated. One of my few regrets in life is not fully releasing him to God early on in our marriage (meaning let him face the full consequences). Instead, I was man centered, looking to my husband, clinging to him for my significance, for love. I cushioned the discipline God wanted to bring to him (ouch!).

      I see exactly where my tolerance came from. It has taken my mom until the age of 83 to start letting my father have it behind what he did in their marriage. Growing up I saw nothing/heard nothing. They seemed so happy. They are both 83 now and it just hurts me to my heart they don’t get along. Now they are trying to deal with what went wrong. Trust me when I say it is not going well. Sometime I have to enter the front door and exit the back door until they get calm.

  5. DG on October 25, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you immensely, Leslie, and every wonderful, strong woman here, for coming together in a powerful force fighting against the evil of abuse.
    I still don’t know if I should stay or go. My husband became obviously abusive immediately after our wedding – the very night. In retrospect, I now see orange/red flags even during our courtship and engagement. Soon after marriage I learned how he misrepresented key areas — the things that had brought us together are actually what would have kept us apart had I known. This has led to the death of what had been my greatest hopes and dreams. This is my only marriage as I had been waiting for the “one” God set aside for me.
    By any measure, I was a very successful, strong, independent woman. I left a high-level position, moved an hour away from my community, paid for the wedding and honeymoon, lost friends due to how he insisted it be handled, he made me sell my house and spend my savings before he finally added me to his smallest bank (checking) account, but still wouldn’t let me buy what I needed/wanted – not even food. I experienced the severity of every type of abuse other than physical, though he made three threats of physical violence (he of course says he was joking) when I finally escaped while he was at work. I moved what was left of my belongings (he insisted I get rid of almost everything, even irreplaceable family heirlooms and sentimental items) into storage, and searched for a place to stay. He called and sent countless texts without my responding to any for nearly two months. I eventually responded to texts about him getting help.
    My leaving him was the wake-up call he needed. He initially lied to everyone he knew, saying I married him for money, took everything and ran off. His one friend I’d confided in and sought help before escaping, asked him questions and gently challenged him. To his credit, this prompted him researching online resources, quickly realizing and admitting he is an Abuser.
    He meets the majority of the ‘Checklist for Repentance’ described above. He attended a 4-day men’s intensive with 5 other abusers, and meets 1-3 hours/week with a counselor who only works with abusive/narcissistic men. He says he’s going into the red, but praise God can afford to get the necessary help. I don’t see how any abuser could make the necessary changes without getting help tailored to their specific needs. Even with all of this excellent help, and what I believe is a genuine desire for true change and to be the man he thought he was, the cycles of abuse continue. The cycles might be getting old for him as well – the apologies, repentance, the work….
    How do you know if it’s worth waiting for? We’ve been separated for as long as we lived together – my experiencing abuse in each situation. How do you know when it’s time to cut your losses and move on? How do you know when they simply can’t change or can’t change enough? He says all the right words, but so far can’t follow through with a normal, healthy conversation or relationship. I can’t imagine a 50-something year old man can reprogram his core attitudes quickly, if ever.
    I need to know where home is. I need to be able to have a life, a job, friends, community, a purpose, a place I can stay and unpack my things. I have a small handful of friends who know the situation and are supportive, but do not live near me. My aging mother and childhood friends are more than a day’s drive away. I’ve gotten involved in a great church, but there’s little they can do to help.
    Thank you all for sharing your experiences and helpful resources. You bless and encourage me! I get strength from you all and hope to do the same for you. xo

    • Nancy on October 26, 2017 at 6:18 am

      Hello DG,

      Wow. You have been through a lot. I would ask you…what are you dong to walk in CORE strength?

      You say you need a life, a job, friends, community, a purpose….none of these things depend on anyone, but you. Is it possible DG, that – like me – you have been either ‘husband-centred’ or ‘marriage cantered’ instead of ‘ Christ centered’?

      With Christ, you can build all those things regardless of what your H chooses. Begin your life today, putting your focus on Christ. He is your husband. Build your life, with Christ at the centre 🙂

      • DG on October 29, 2017 at 10:46 pm

        Thank you, Nancy.
        Yes, I am working on me as he works on him.
        I’m working on rebuilding all that I’ve lost, it just takes time, significant effort and great faith being in a new community, no network, trying to get a job so I can support myself so I can qualify to get a place to live.
        I worked in ministry and due to my abusive upbringing, was so very committed to raising a Godly family and waiting for the right man Christ had set aside for me. I married later in life when most of my friends’ kids are in high school/college. Little did I know that this man who pretended (I think he really believes all he’s put on though he’s since admitted to manipulation, exxaggerating/downplaying) to be “the one” created a foundation of deception and manipulation. Therefore, yes, I was very focused on both Christ, and also my responsibility for making the marriage the very best it could be.
        I do remind Jesus regularly that HE is my husband, the only one I’ve ever had and likely will have; HE is my father.
        In one year of marriage we also had: two mediations with his ex-wife who is Borderline Personality Disorder, his father very unexpectedly died, caring for his mother who can’t communicate or care for herself, his accident and resulting facial reconstructive surgery, teenager issues including shoplifting, sneaking out, changing schools 3x in 3 years, and his mother 100% of the time removes him from the situation and says he didn’t do it, so he has never faced accountability or consequences. Even without my husband’s abuse, her abusive actions towards me/us have made this marriage a living hell. And they are teaching their children to do the very same.
        I’m working hard on me, PRAYING, working hard to get myself into a place where I can care for and provide for myself.
        I think the fraudulent foundation for marriage alone, then coupled with abuse is more than enough.
        God is my Father, protector, provider, counselor. He is seeing me through. I will be an overcomer and will use this painful experience to help other women like us in the future. I just wish I’d left when things first didn’t feel right – but I truly didn’t know it was abuse until later. I didn’t know I had grounds. I’ve now been separated for as long as we were married living together. I’m just so very sad, mad and all the other emotions that come and go.

        • Nancy on October 30, 2017 at 9:53 am

          This is SO hard, DG. I can see why you are sad and mad.

          You have been through A LOT, and are now at a very important point.

          What I can tell you is that when you experience true repentance, you will know it. If he’s repentant, then he will allow you as much leeway as you need in processing YOUR pain, with him. Have you seen Patrick Doyle’s video on reconciliation? It’s excellent. On YouTube.

          For sure…do not go back unless you are 100% sure. And your support system is in agreement.

          • Nancy on October 30, 2017 at 1:12 pm

            I just thought of something that others in your position have written, DG.

            They have asked The Lord to give them a clear sign that it’s time to move on. A confirmation from God Himself.

            And they have asked The Lord to allow them to see their h for who he is.

            These are both very bold prayers.

    • Roxanne on October 26, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Only you can determine the right time to throw in the towel. It seems you are craving a better life. Your life would most likely be healthy, thriving and fulfilling. It is just a matter of removing him from it.

      As a person who has lived with an abusive man in multiple recovery programs for decades, I realize that all the treatment did was string me along as I gave my very life for his problem. Jesus came to die for man’s sin. My shoulder’s were never designed to bear my husband’s sin.

      I learned my life has value. I have been created by God for a purpose. The purpose was not to stand in the path of a fool, even if he was my husband. I was created for so much more, and so are you.

      • Renee on October 26, 2017 at 8:42 pm

        Roxanne, you are making a very true statement in saying, “only you can determine the right time to throw in the towel.” It would be easier if someone else would do that part for us. Kind of like the diet coach invited into our home to take out all of the bad stuff that hinders us from losing weight.

        I read on this blog about leaning heavy on the Lord and he will direct your path. I get this nagging, nagging to just throw in the towel. Just don’t try anymore. But how do you know when you are leaning on the Lord and not leaning unto thine own understanding to get rid of the pain that is causing so much discomfort?

        • Roxanne on October 26, 2017 at 10:10 pm

          Again, this is a very personal decision and I can only speak for myself, with this. For me it has always been crystal clear that I was being abused. I just found work arounds to stay in the relationship if would have been impossible to accomplish such a feat unless I was leaning on the Lord. I often said the Lord was my husband because I was living with a tyrant.

          It is logical not to throw your pearls before swine. It is logical to not enable a fool. Although, I dreamed up a lot of reasons why I had to stay and found scripture to back up my thinking, the reality of the situation was that the pain my husband dished out was not for my spiritual growth. I didn’t need his abuse to serve the Lord to honor the Lord or to grow in faith.

          The truth was that living as a doormat and peace keeper was a slave to the idol of marriage. That coupled with a thousand rules from my Christian up bringing about the role of the long suffering woman left me asking questions just like you.

          Yet, you and I know something is wrong, very wrong. It is logical to move away from a hot fire so we don’t get burned. It is insanity to talk yourself into taking the flame into your lap and then say this is God’s will.

          One last thought, separating from an abuser will not be pain free. So seeking relief is not about stopping the pain. It is about being brave enough to believe you have value enough and deserve not to be harmed, not even once, ever.

          No martyrs required.

          • Renee on October 27, 2017 at 10:39 pm

            I can’t dream up any other reason to stay. I guess I’m at the hubby give me a reason to stay. Well, it has not happened. I started trying to really stick to my boundaries and really put it out there about my unhappiness in June of this year.

            Sometime I feel reduced to kids in a school yard. You closed your door so I’m going to close mine. You locked me out of your bank account so I’m going to change the password to mine.

        • DG on October 29, 2017 at 11:06 pm

          Thank you so much for your words of Truth and wisdom! You, Nancy and Renee are all helping me to solidifying my conviction and move forward.
          THANK YOU for these powerful words: “Jesus came to die for man’s sin. My shoulder’s were never designed to bear my husband’s sin….I was created for so much more and so are you.”
          All of you women have shared helpful words of wisdom – thank you!
          While he IS doing a lot of hard work, and appears to be doing everything he can to create change, I fear his counseling is also just stringing me along. I fear it will never, ever be a normal, healthy, marriage.
          He reacts when I ever so gently try to speak to him. I told him I feel there is nothing I can safely talk about with him (even faith, ministry, volunteering, etc, the very things that initially brought us together) – therefore that we have nothing to talk about. As you know, the constant work-arounds are exhausting, totally void of relationship or connection.
          Roxanne – if your husband went through multiple programs for decades, did he WANT to change, initiate getting the help, or go willingly? Once he realized what was happening and told people that he’s an Abuser, my husband initiated getting help, found the program, the counselor. He genuinely seems to want a total transformation of the heart and soul, and appears to be working hard for it. Whether we are together or not I pray he has a total and complete spiritual heart transplant. He says that his entitlement and anger make him just as miserable as they make me.
          But the question remains – how long do you wait? I’ve decided that for now I’m working on me, and getting back into a position where I can take care of myself. When I get to a place where I can do that, I’ll then make that decision. The hard part is his coming in and out of my life during his honeymoon/abusive cycles.

          • Roxanne on October 30, 2017 at 12:20 am

            I am glad some of my words were helpful. I feel for you!

            To answer your question, Yes, my husband initiated counseling. He told people, oh boy, did he tell people. He told them how reformed he was, about the man he used to be and about all his family problems that caused his behavior. He even wanted to lead groups and help other abuser. (Start a Lifeskills center if you know Paul Hegstroms’s work) He got elected to the board of our citywide local men’s battering group because he was so remediated.

            Ha, it was all a sham. He was/is in denial and delusional. He loves thinking and talking about himself so counseling is something he loves to do. Did he try? Absolutely. Could we find a counselor slick enough to outwit him? No, never. The only one who called his bluff was Lundy Bancroft. To him, my husband said, “That guy is telling all our secrets.” Is he still abusive? YES!! Does he still cycle? YES!!

          • Roxanne on October 30, 2017 at 12:26 am

            Oh, DG one more thing I want to mention. About the cycling. I found over time the cycling got faster and faster. Consequences or life circumstances can increase or decrease the cycling. At our best I might have had a 3 month break from extreme abuse. At it’s most frequent (which is how it is now by the way) he cycles within hours. So a day with him has multiple cycles over and over. I understand this is not uncommon as this problem persists and people age. My husband’s father, also an abuser continued his cycling into his 90’s. His cycles were so quick that changed in intervals of minutes. Collecting injustices/Outbursts/ Honeymoon.

            Crazy sickness. So few
            people helpers for any of us.

          • Roxanne on October 30, 2017 at 12:30 am

            Ok, now I am really stopping, DG.

            Know that the honeymoon period that you like is a mask. It is a persona he has developed to hide his true feelings. The other behaviors are the truth, that’s the real him.

    • Roxanne on October 26, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      When a man is transformed you don’t have to ask yourself such questions. The changes will be so obvious that your know exactly what to do. The fact that you have any question at all indicates that he has not changed. Statistically, it is almost impossible that he ever would or could change. Meanwhile you are not getting any younger and life is slipping by you.

      Have you heard this tidbit? “Life its’ not a dress rehearsal.” This is the only life you are getting. Is this how you want to live it waiting for someone to change? Really? Do you think they would wait for you this long?

      • Roxanne on October 26, 2017 at 10:22 pm

        The above reply was for DG.

        • Nancy on October 30, 2017 at 10:05 am

          I agree Roxanne with your first statement that transformation brings changes that will be obvious.

          You are, however, making a big assumption in saying that statistically it is almost impossible that he ever would. The assumption you are making is that someone who exhibits controlling and narcissistic behaviours is a true narcissist. That’s dangerous because there are men who exhibit these behaviours out of a defensively controlling posture, not a narcissist one. In these cases, it is not at all impossible.

          Trusting in God, and the process will reveal his character. One. Step. At. A. Time. With. Christ.

          (Of course if a woman is scared, she must act and remove herself – but that’s not what I’m talking about).

          • Roxanne on November 1, 2017 at 11:55 pm

            Nancy, I think that I was thinking of a destructive marriage and it seems to me that you are thinking of a difficult marriage. Maybe my perspective is off or exaggerated, because destructive means something far worse to me than the difficulties you are describing. We could just be thinking apples and oranges.

        • DG on November 2, 2017 at 8:31 pm

          Thank you so much, Roxanne and Nancy, for your truly helpful comments and resources. I’m using them! I was having a hard time keeping the conversations straight – learning how this board and its postings works. 🙂

          I had watched that video with Patrick Doyle nearly a year ago when this all started. I watched again tonight and it was a very helpful reminder. Thank you!

          When my dear h angrily threw the top layer of our wedding cake away (what you’re supposed to eat on your one-year anniversary) it was a huge shock and I felt in an instant like he gave me a clear window into the value he puts on marriage, on our relationship, on our hope for the future… I know it’s silly, but after all we’ve been through, talked about, and verbalizing how that part of the cake is symbolic of our hopes/dreams for healing and the future, at one point he said it was the most important thing for him to protect it as with hope for the future…. But he FORGETS everything important or significant. He needs to make a MASSIVE MASSIVE apology, but hasn’t. Just a short little generic email that felt like an abbreviated version of the pattern he has learned worked for him in the past. I don’t know if this is forgivable – certainly not without greater awareness of his actions, genuine empathy and a repentant heart. My heart is becoming so hardened towards him.

          I think his apologies seem to be coming too easily and he’s getting complacent in general. He actually said “Let’s just get through this.” That plus an attitude I interpret as: I apologize, you get over it, I ask you to do something or figure out a way to pull you back into my life and we get back to the normal day to day….

          I’m trying to mentally move myself towards what seems inevitable.

          I don’t know that it’s an answer to my prayers, but interesting things this week with his sister visiting from out of state. It forced me to interact with him, but I used that as an opportunity to describe to her what his abuse looks like with him present and a part of the conversation. She only heard the top .5%. He didn’t say as much as I would have liked, but he didn’t deny anything. She still has a very hard time believing it. She later said that once they were alone, he said the situation we described (his locking me out of hotel room 3-4x one night after kicking me out even after I’d gone to bed about 2 hours earlier) was complicated and not exactly what happened….
          Then in that same conversation with her, he told us if he continues to hurt me that “I might have to force her out of the marriage.” While on one hand that might sound like a kindness (or a martyr), does it register with anyone else that it’s again HIS control, HIS way, HIS timing, HIS choice….

          (Sorry – self-talk processing, rambling below)
          It does not feel kind. It feels the same as how he forced the marriage, the timing, etc. lying and manipulating truths to get what he wanted, though I repeatedly expressed reluctance and wanted to wait, do it differently, etc. But he fooled everyone (I think he deceives even himself). He won over our premarital counselor, my mother, two sets of friends who supported him saying what a wonderful guy he is, when I repeatedly expressed concern and wanted to wait. They said, “don’t be such a runaway bride, etc…” I am so angry with myself. I had been so cautious for so many years and then fell for a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Instead of trusting myself, I listened to the voices of those around me, those who love me and were in positions to protect me, instead of what I knew I needed.
          I have no vices but am in a church 12-step broken lives recovery group (because that’s the best option the church has to help me) and trying hard to learn what it is about me that allowed this to happen. (I have hurt by an aunt saying, “what is it about you – why did you allow this to happen?!)
          Why did I allow it? Perhaps there’s a separate conversation that discusses our issues.

          Thank you friends for allowing me to pour out my heart. I covet your insight, shared experiences, and prayers. I hurt that so many others have experienced such grievous abuses from those who vowed to know, love and protect us.

          I keep going back to Psalm 23 and John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

          • Renee on November 3, 2017 at 6:48 pm

            DG you said: But he FORGETS everything important or significant.

            I say: One year we both forgot our anniversary. His mother called and said happy anniversary. We both looked at each other. We should have known then we were in trouble.

            DG you said: She later said that once they were alone, he said the situation we described (his locking me out of hotel room 3-4x one night after kicking me out even after I’d gone to bed about 2 hours earlier) was complicated and not exactly what happened….

            I say: Of course he did.

            DG you said: Then in that same conversation with her, he told us if he continues to hurt me that “I might have to force her out of the marriage.” While on one hand that might sound like a kindness (or a martyr), does it register with anyone else that it’s again HIS control, HIS way, HIS timing, HIS choice….

            I say: I’m not sure I/others understand. He would force who out of the marriage. You or the sister. I guess I’m having one of those moments.

      • DG on November 3, 2017 at 10:29 pm

        Thank you, Roxanne, Renee, Nancy –
        I’ve really appreciated your comments this week. It’s given me a lot to process and chew on, and has truly given me strength to move forward! Thank you!
        After his cycles these past several weeks, and recent “piece de resistance,” I’m preparing to got “no-contact” for the next month. This is to give me time and space to heal, get perspective and focus on ME, though he should benefit from it as well.
        I find it absolutely exhausting and need to get to a better mental state so I can focus on getting out in this new community and getting a good job again! Can’t get a place to live until I can prove a good income! Hard, but I’m trying to do my part and praying God provides the rest as He does His. 🙂

        How could anyone get through this without a relationship with the Lord and having Him to lean on?!

  6. Aleea on October 25, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Re:Is It Worth Trying Or Should I Run?
    “Friend, when you discovered your spouse’s addiction, what were the things that helped you decide what to do next?”

    . . . .So, I have never, thankfully, had that situation. . . .But look at what you have over a prolonged period of time: strip clubs, massage parlors, alcoholism, covert narcissism —you may already know the answer you seek. God made us to deeply think and reason. He gave us super strong rational reasoning abilities to balance with His Word. I would say don’t allow your emotions to hijack your intellect and that is much harder than one may think. What do we already know that might be true that we just don’t want to know is true? That is, sometimes we don’t want to know what we really already know. . . .In talking to so, so many women and reading so much research, I sometimes wonder if there are sustainable transformations in certain situations. Transformations require radical alteration in the way we perceive the world and derive meaning. The rate of recidivism is astounding and maybe that means . . . .well, I don’t know what that means. . . .Reality is a hard, hard road to walk but that is how you know when you are on that road, it is normatively complex and hard. Seriously pray for God’s help and wisdom. . . . Personality and its transformations are massively complex and nuanced. Maybe you and your husband need to start by deeply answering those questions Leslie asked and then questioning everything behind those questions. Deep questions lead to even deeper questions, and more questions and bewilderment leads to new discoveries, and growing personal awareness leads to any sustainable transformation in how a person lives. . . . Evil is the force that believes its knowledge is complete because the things we most need are always to be found where we least want to look, —for me too! Keeping speaking the truth with your husband, as best you know how, and see what happens. The truth, as best you can articulate it, always brings the best possible relationship into being. . . .I’m certainly am praying for you!😊

  7. Jean on October 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    I recently found out my husband has been seeing prostitutes for the last 20 years of our 33 year marriage. He did not confess, but admitted when confronted. We had been separated for 2 years when it came out. I forgave immediately, but indicated it would require me to have much healing and he a long road to walk to regain trust. I requested him to tell someone so it would be out and he could get help, which he did at first. It has been 5 months and he has backed out of counseling and teachings that could help this addiction. When I don’t respond the way he thinks I should, but hold steady for healing and accountability, he goes to silence and punishes in various ways, usually financially. He has declared us “divorced” lining out his provision without legalities. My pastor and counselor say this is holding me hostage to his controls. That is not hard to work through legally. The hard part currently is that we have 8 adult children (ages 34-20) that I’ve asked him to disclose this to since his double life was not just a sin against God, me, and his own body but them as well. The foundation of our lives was sinking sand and chaos and this was part of why. I feel our family needs truth, even painful truth to let healing begin in every heart and soul. He says it would devastate them and I just want to look good in their eyes. I would like to hear some thoughts in regards to telling them. My plan is to wait and give him a year from original disclosure to tell them him self (he is unaware of my decision on this year) and if he does not, then I plan to tell them. I am trying to be compassionate in this difficulty, but sometimes I wonder if it’s right to not disclose it to them now. It’s difficult to be around them, especially at a family function when he is there. It feels like a heavy burden that I am part of his lie now. I’ve told him when you love deeply, this hurts deeply and grief and anger comes in layers. But our kids are loving and forgiving and eventually will get there. He still says no. No doubt, having to admit to me was hard, but it was not a terror to him like it will be to tell the kids, but it may be the one consequence that will begin a true repentance towards healing for him as well. I try to stay before the Lord and accountability people on if I’m being vindictive. I have had to work through much anger in the aftermath, but I am getting free of that moving forward. Still, I am really trying to hear God’s direction because His ways are higher, loving and best.
    Thank you to all who read and will respond,

    • Renee on October 27, 2017 at 10:50 pm

      Reply to Jean

      I wanted to hopefully bump this so others would give thoughts. This one did not come to my email box. I was re-reading and saw your post.

      I don’t see why you would have to wait for your husband to disclose. Did I not hear that you have 8 adult children (ages 34-20). You are protecting your husband? Why?

      I think I saw on another post how Leslie says you can have age appropriate conversations. In your case, your kids are all adults. I don’t see why you can’t have the conversation. That’s just my thought.

      • Roxanne on October 28, 2017 at 10:36 pm

        Reply to Jean. You have to tell them. When the kids find out they will lose their trust in you because you withheld the information. It is not worth breeching their trust. I withheld some information from my adult son who was so incredibly hurt. I told him I thought I was protecting him, he took it as a heart felt hit to our trust and intimacy. He felt very strongly that I should have told him immediately. He wanted to care and was so angry at his father. (Which was a normal reaction.) You need and deserve the support of your adult children. By not telling them you risk their trust and deprive yourself of their love and support. In addition you all get o enable your husband. He needs the wrath and distain of his own children to want to change. At this point he is not getting enough consequences for his despicable adulterous behavior.

        • Jean on October 28, 2017 at 10:57 pm

          Ladies this is thoughtful input and I thank you immensely. Great takeaways for me and I’ve been praying over your responses. In May, the year was for giving him the chance to show true repentance. Now that he is declaring all of this and cutting off all communications, it has brought me to this place of “game changer.” It’s clear he has backed out of responsibilities and so definitely I may begin the hard work of bringing the kids up to speed. I sincerely appreciate hearing these thoughts. And btw, yes….immediately went to my dr and she ran every test possible to, in her words “we are at least answering this part today!” So grateful, I am clean!
          Thank you again dear sisters, I truly covet prayers for my children and myself for this next difficult step.

          • Renee on October 29, 2017 at 3:26 pm

            Jean you said: He has since told me he will not be telling them at all, it would be too detrimental for them.

            I ask: Who did he really mean it would be too detrimental for? Himself, your adult kids, or both? Who do you think he is really trying to protect? I think I know, do you?

            You said: He lined out his provisions (which is what they have been since we separated two years ago) and stated if we were to legally divorce, he may not be able to provide this way due to costs of health insurance, etc. He has moved all monies out of the joint account.

            I ask: Have you consulted with a divorce attorney to find out about your rights? He is already hiding assets. May gives him even more opportunity.

            You said: I will most likely also pursue the legal divorce as well as tell all of the kids the main points of what has come to light, that I forgive him and do not despise him, and feel he is in need of definite help. I will not be his wife, but I am his sister in Christ and will pray for him, but beyond that they need to know I am out of the picture.

            I ask: I think you also wanted to know what this could possibly look like for you.

            It could look something like this. I’m picking from your post and responses.

            A family meeting with you and your adult kids. Getting it all out at once if possible. You all know how much I love each and every one of you. I feel our family needs truth, even painful truth to let the healing begin in every heart and soul. Some of you may feel you should have been told immediately, but I thought I was protecting you all.

            I recently found out my husband/your father has been seeing prostitutes for the last 20 years of our 33 year marriage. He did not confess, but admitted when confronted. We had been separated for 2 years when it came out. He has declared us “divorced” lining out his provision and is cutting off all communications.He has moved all monies out of the joint account.

            I don’t know if I would show the proof to anyone except my lawyer. Never know is dear old dad may try to get one of the adult children to destroy evidence once things start getting really, really hot.

            For you Jean and others: Do you think the last part would be too much truth for adult children?

    • Renee on October 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Jean you said: I recently found out my husband has been seeing prostitutes for the last 20 years of our 33 year marriage.

      I said: As another person on this blog suggested to another poster. I hope that you have been to see a doctor asap and had every test done that is available to you. Hopefully, you have access to insurance and he is not withholding that from you. If he is withholding finances, I would try to find a health department or free clinic and get this done asap.

      Jean you said: When I don’t respond the way he thinks I should, but hold steady for healing and accountability, he goes to silence and punishes in various ways, usually financially. He has declared us “divorced” lining out his provision without legalities. My pastor and counselor say this is holding me hostage to his controls.

      I said: Jean, do you agree with your pastor and counselor? If so, what options are you thinking of taking even if very small. I sense that you are very weak and fragile right now. I feel your support system needs expanding. Here is one great option. You have your counselor and pastor, and now I think you need your kids and family. Immediately.

      Jean you said: I would like to hear some thoughts in regards to telling them.

      I said: I feel you have a very good start in sharing with your kids (adults) from your post. You don’t have to talk bad about him at all. Just use some of your post and the rest will flow. What does your counselor suggest about exposing? Do you have a safety plan?

      You said: My plan is to wait and give him a year from original disclosure to tell them him self (he is unaware of my decision on this year) and if he does not, then I plan to tell them.

      I said: I’m sorry, what is the reasoning behind the year? Why does he get to be the one to pad the news. He is going to pad the news to make himself look good.

      You said: I wonder if it’s right to not disclose it to them now.
      I said: If I were a daughter or son of yours and you waited a year to tell me about the major pain you are going through I would be upset. Why would you not allow me to be there with you every step of the way? I would want to be there for you right NOW not a year from now.

      I hope some others will chime in here for you soon. My heart bleeds for you. Hugs and hugs and much prayer.

    • Nancy on October 28, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Hi Jean,

      Here are my thoughts:

      Truth is key. The truth sets us free. It is not right to withhold the truth from anyone. Your h has shown extremely poor judgment, why give his opinion on this extremely important judgment call, any weight at all?

      He’s terrified. Don’t let fear run your family for one more moment.

      Tell him that he has until whatever date you decide is best. If he doesn’t fully disclose to each of them by that date, then you will.

      You don’t have to ‘bash him’ when you tell them. Just tell them factually.

      • Nancy on October 28, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        In fact, you shouldn’t ‘bash him’ because that WILL add weight to them. But the Truth, the basic facts, will set them free.

        It may be painful, but don’t confuse that with what is right.

        • Jean on October 28, 2017 at 5:50 pm

          Thank you Nancy and Renee. I left a detailed reply earlier, but I’m not sure things are posting here correctly from me. I appreciate your input very much and will take it to heart.

      • Renee on October 28, 2017 at 7:05 pm

        Nancy you said: Tell him that he has until whatever date you decide is best. If he doesn’t fully disclose to each of them by that date, then you will.

        I said: I believe she has already set a date, but it is a year from now.

        • Jean on October 28, 2017 at 7:41 pm

          Nancy & Renee, it will be a year in May. He does not know I have the timeframe of a year, I’m simply still trying to see any kind of effort and repentance. The lie and deception part is just as damaging as the actual engaging of prostitution part has been. He was challenged in a meeting with my pastor end of September to tell them as soon as he could. He has since told me he will not be telling them at all, it would be too detrimental for them. He said he was counseled that way. I asked if we could meet with whomever counseled him in that way, he again refused saying he was done meeting with us (my pastor and I). He has since sent me an email stating he considers us divorced, though not legally, that is how he considers us. He lined out his provisions (which is what they have been since we separated two years ago) and stated if we were to legally divorce, he may not be able to provide this way due to costs of health insurance, etc. He has moved all monies out of the joint account. He also said no contact with him unless an emergency and gave me a new email address for that. “Do not call me. Do not text me.” This is why my supporters say he is holding me hostage. My current plan is at a year, I will most likely also pursue the legal divorce as well as tell all of the kids the main points of what has come to light, that I forgive him and do not despise him, and feel he is in need of definite help. I will not be his wife, but I am his sister in Christ and will pray for him, but beyond that they need to know I am out of the picture. It’s so strange how he is the one that had the covert life for 20 years, but now that I’ve found out, he acts out and punishes me as if I had been the one who had done it. Crazy making much?

          • Nancy on October 28, 2017 at 8:50 pm

            Hi Jean,

            Despite him trying to drive you crazy, you sound awfully healthy to me!

            “..that I forgive him and do not despise him, and feel he is in need of help. I will not be his wife but I am his sister in Christ and will pray for him but beyond that they will need to know that I am out of the picture.”

            Jean, this is such a healthy place to be despite all of his shenanigans! Good for you. I’m glad that you have support from people who see and know what’s going on.

            Keep doing what you are doing. The Holy Spirit will guide you in the timing of the disclosure.

          • Roxanne on October 28, 2017 at 10:43 pm

            Take legal action. He is not allowed to do what he is doing to you. You can document his behavior and report it to the court. Act now. He is incredibly abusive. You need to be free from him to get stronger. Please tell, your kids, show them the finances and the phone record of his prostitution use. You need and deserve the love of those wonderful eight children!!

          • Sunshine on October 29, 2017 at 6:16 am

            Jean, a thought just crossed my mind. It is very probable that some of your children already know about his behavior. They may think they are hiding it from you. Do you have sons? They can sense something is up and can’t quite put their finger on it.

            Have you thought about a family meeting and bringing up the subject with everyone there? Sounds like your husband states he has no intention of telling anyone, ever. The risk of you not telling is that it collaborates his smear campaign of you and your character.

            Sending your a prayer for strength, wisdom and the peace that only the holy spirit can give in such situations.

    • Aleea on October 29, 2017 at 8:23 am

      re: Jean . . . .I was praying down through this blog this morning. . . .

      “. . . .I recently found out my husband has been seeing prostitutes for the last 20 years of our 33 year marriage. He did not confess, but admitted when confronted. We had been separated for 2 years when it came out. I forgave immediately, but indicated it would require me to have much healing and he a long road to walk to regain trust.”

      Your amazing Jean, how did you forgive immediately? How was that even possible?

      “I feel our family needs truth, even painful truth to let healing begin in every heart and soul. He says it would devastate them. . . . .”

      Truth is always the answer no matter how much it deconstructs. The truth speaks the best possible world into existence. Sincerity, authenticity, integrity, mutual understanding —these are the real sources of moral wealth. —Speaking the Truth puts our lives back in God’s hands, because we are not outcome engineering, peace faking, pretending. . . .If instead, we try to articulate what we believe to be true as carefully and as accurately as possible. . . . accepting the outcomes (—never, ever easy), . . . .that seems to me to be the best course. The truth, as lived and spoken, produces the best possible outcomes long-term. Lord God help us all, especially me, to do it❣😊 I’m praying for you.

  8. April on October 26, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    The book necessary endings by Henry Cloud really helped me. I was able to write down milemarkers that would indicate that real change was (or was not) happening. I also set boundaries with real consequences and I followed through with them. Now we are getting divorced and I feel it is a clear decision bc he has failed at all milestones and has continued in his abusive behavior. The consequence was that I was leave (after already doing 2 separations and 2 years of trying to work on it… all in all a 8.5 year marriage). Staying in reality and looking back at that list of milemarkers where a big help is seeing that change was not happening no matter how nice he tried to be at times

    • MJ on October 28, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      April, thank you for the recommended reading. This is exactly what keeps me “stuck”. It’s no doubt to me that my h is abusive. BUT there are days (never more than a week) where he is nice and even sometimes will go as far as confirming that this is something that is his issue and needs to be addressed by him. I call it his “clarity moments”. This pattern has happened so many times though that I am no longer filled with hope or even belief that what he’s saying is true. It only takes me having a different opinion or wanting to go do something with a friend to set him off and the “clarity” disappears and we’re back to the pattern of disconnect and control.

      Bottom line, he loves himself more than anything else and while he wants something better, it’s not enough to bring change. I don’t see a humble heart change.

      I’ve heard someone say that abusers are just nice enough to keep you under their control.

      If it weren’t for the few days of “nice” and what appear to be a desire for change I would not feel doubtful at all about me need to separate. Do you think Cloud’s book could help with outlining a clear plan that I could feel confident in?

      • Roxanne on October 28, 2017 at 11:42 pm

        You are doing a good job describing the domestic abuse cycle. Are you familiar with the model. Once of the things that helped me as I started to get out of denial was to realize that my abusive husband wasn’t unique. Abusers have similar behaviors. The power and control wheel is one of the tools which helps identify abusive behavior. It is not unique in fact it is very much the same in person, after person, they just pick a different dysfunctional coping mechanism at different intervals.

        It is likely that your husband’s periods of good times only follow a period of bad times. As he collects injustices the behavior escalates until he acts out. At some point in his life he never dealt with his own issues and not lives all of life thinking it is about him. He doesn’t know you are there. He can’t think about others only himself. The good times are a very carefully placed mask and a well practiced public persona.

        You have read Lundy’s books right?

        • Roxanne on October 28, 2017 at 11:48 pm
        • MJ on October 30, 2017 at 6:04 pm

          Yes, Roxanne, you’re so right. I’ve come to a very severe realization lately that he doesn’t love me. He doesn’t love the unique and beautiful and quirky me. He loves his idea/image of me. Yes, I’m familiar with the cycle. Also with Lundy’s books. When it’s in the diagram, it makes sense. What completely jumbles my brain is that the good period feels so real. Why is it that it’s so much easier to believe the good things he says and believe that’s who he really is rather than the hurtful, controlling, completely self focused person I see on the other side?

          The only way I’ve been able to wrap my brain around it is this: When he says “I love you so much. I never want to live without you” it means “I love the way you make me feel, I never want to live without you making me feel good”. When he says “I’ve been so horrible to you, I’ll change, I promise” it means “I’ve been horrible to you, I’ll adjust as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me and just enough to keep you from taking away what makes me feel good”. The reason it warps my brain is because the image he projects is a very carefully constructed veneer. Meaning, it looks nice from the outside, but if you adjust the angle of view, you see through the surface to the rotting wood underneath. It’s an optical illusion that my brain can’t process well.

          • Nancy on October 30, 2017 at 8:21 pm

            Hi MJ,

            You ask a really good question about why it’s so much easier to believe the good things he says…

            Maybe because his words feed an illusion that you have constructed? Maybe even long before he came into the picture? I can relate to a type of ‘Cinderella syndrome’….. Could that be it? It doesn’t take much to keep that fantasy going. It is, after all, what ‘dreams are made of’.

            Maybe a good question here ( for myself too) is, what illusions, about my relationships, am I working hard to maintain?

  9. Renee on October 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Crazy question

    How do you all feel after an individual therapy session?
    I mean do you feel shaken, confused, or in thought? My husband often comes home happy. Today he came in with a whistle.

    I will explain later why I asked.

    • Aleea on October 27, 2017 at 4:24 pm


      I apologize if you were not asking me, just disregard if you were not. . . .

      I come home a total mess from my counseling sessions. I usually feel so de-centered I could just cry. It was not always that way but now it is that deep.

      . . .For example, today, I tried to explain to Dr. Meier (my counselor) what happened this week at my church. . . . .So, I tried in my class to explain the difference between a difficult, a disappointing and a destructive marriage (in my re | engage marriage class) . . . .because with the amount of crying —and shaking— three of the wives are continually experiencing week-after-week when answering normal questions, there must be outright abuse going on. I’m not the leader (—obviously. I’m not qualified to even lead myself. . .) so I have limited input. Anyway, I was besieged by people accusing me of “limiting the power of God and Jesus”, “promoting divorce”, “not believing in the power of Christ to change people”, . . . . .So, I started to think about what people had said to me. . . . .You know one of many, many things I have never been able to understand in the “having Biblical grounds for divorce tether model” is its constant widening out. It is amazing over time because this apparently innocent device, which is a rework of Karft’s method of exegesis, does not differ in principle from Bultmann’s program of demythologizing. I guess, if we never think about the trajectory of our approach to the Bible, we never realize the cliffs. . . . .But that is my struggle. To believe is human, it is in doubt that we embrace the divine. . . . As everyone should know, Mark is the first gospel. All others seem highly dependent upon it. Matthew copies out app. 83% of Mark verbatim, right down to the spelling errors (no one had spell check in those days and you will see the same word spelled many different ways —even on the same page!) These hermeneutical procedures that allow divorce for a huge range of reasons, logically and implicitly deconstruct Jesus when honestly applied elsewhere to the texts —because one could consistently abstract what seem to be “larger biblical principles” from “cultural baggage,” to the point that Jesus is demythologized too. I have always been pained by the problem of “where do you draw the line?” but I don’t know what to do about it. Again, we all know Matthew copied Mark verbatim (without telling anyone; and yes, that was considered dishonest, even then and certainly does not qualify for any “eyewitness testimony”) Then he snuck in a bunch of changes and additions. We also know Luke copied Mark verbatim (also without telling anyone who he was copying, when, or why. I mean why?), —why do that if this is eyewitness testimony? —And then he also snuck in a bunch of changes and additions. That alone establishes that Matthew and Luke are really just redactions of Mark, expansions of the Markan CORE. . . .Our church holds to this “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy”. But that statement makes a huge “hermeneutical circle” because it depends on the pre-understanding with which one approaches the texts. To be consistent with this approach to divorce, one must now ask, not “Did Jesus and Peter really walk on water?” but rather, “What is the theological point Mark intended us to get by including (or inventing!) this story? Maybe its normative “intent” is the message that we must keep our eyes on Jesus or we will sink into the waves just as Peter did. But I don’t see how that allows us to keep the meaning in the claims. That is, as far as I can tell, identical to the “having Biblical grounds for divorce tether model” —that constant widening of what the texts “really mean.” . . . But, maybe the world has passed us by anyway. When I talk to some of my friends who are family law attorneys who do mediation in those situations, what they find is that lots and lots of people aren’t even getting married today. You look at those child support guidelines worksheets for shared custody, it is clear. . . .so many of those are coming from people just living together. This blog is a peaceful place but the questions we deal with are somewhat in the backwater. If one’s doctrine of inerrancy is the theological reason one has to affirm the historical reality of biblical events, that would appear to vanish, logically, under the “Biblical grounds for divorce tether model.” I have no idea, maybe, maybe you can only get answers by standing outside the stadium, not switching sides. Whatever is true is just true? Just like there is no “Christian math” vs. “Hindu math” vs. “Jewish math.” —We just have math. In the same way, what even is “Christian Truth” vs. “Hindu Truth” vs. “Jewish Truth.” —Why not just Truth? Imagine a world in which we could have a truly *deeply* honest and open-ended conversation about our place in the universe and about the possibilities of deepening our self-understanding, ethical wisdom, and compassion. . . . .Whatever is true is just true. . . .Truth transcends boundaries. Again, we don’t have “Muslim dentistry,” “Hindu dentistry,” Christian dentistry.” We have dentistry. We have psychotherapy and counseling that works or psychotherapy and counseling does not work. “Christian moderates” invariably claim to be more “sophisticated” than Christian fundamentalists. But how does one become one of these “sophisticated” believers? By acknowledging just how dubious many of the claims of scriptures are, and thereafter reading them selectively, bowdlerizing them, and allowing the assertions of the Word-of-God about reality to be continually trumped by fresh insights —scientific (“You mean the world isn’t 6000 years old? —Okay.”), medical (“I should take my daughter to a neurologist and not to an exorcist like in Christian churches all through the middle ages? —Seems reasonable…”), and moral (“I can’t beat my slaves? I can’t even keep slaves? —Hmm…”). There is a pattern here, and it is undeniable. Christian moderation (—for example, divorce for *all kinds* of things by torturing scriptures and twisting them beyond historical recognition) is the direct result of taking scripture less and less and less and less seriously. This is so easy to see historically or I am blind (—always a possibility). So why not take it less seriously still? . . .Anyways, now I have to meet with the group leaders. I don’t even know what to say to them. It just seems if we had way more loving freedom of speech in our church, abuse would not stand a chance. I don’t know, maybe that is superlative naïveté.

    • DG on October 27, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      I’m doing my own therapy as my husband does his weekly intensive work. I believe my husband is sincere about wanting to make deep, permanent change. He’s done good work at changing some of the surface, outward effect – the tip of the iceberg. He seems to be struggling to make the deep seeded changes in core beliefs, attitudes and entitlements that make him abusive – defending himself against what his warped thinking perceives as my abuse towards him.
      He often feels enlightened after discovering new truths and possibilities in a session with his counselor – I would not describe this as happy. His counselor often gives him positive feedback that continues to encourage his hope and optimism for change (I fear it’s just stringing us along and prolonging the inevitable). Most frequently after doing the hard work, he feels exposed and vulnerable, emotionally worn. This capable, very energetic man is often emotionally worn by the end of those days and goes to bed early. I’ve never seen or heard of him feeling “happy” unless he’s made a huge discovery and feels like he’s gained significant ground.
      If he were to be “happy” after several sessions, I couldn’t help but question the content and effectiveness of the sessions. I couldn’t help but be fearful that that on some level he’s successfully manipulating the counselor in some way – that he doesn’t have a problem, that it’s not that bad or really my issue, etc.
      I can’t help but wonder if he’s doing his work exclusively or if you’re doing couples counseling – which will not help until he’s made significant progress on his own. In my situation, he has his counselor (who we use for occasional couples counseling), I have mine, and the two work together and communicate with each other as needed. If/when my husband wants to be “right” rather than to be helped, he could easily present his truth trying to persuade the counselor. The counselor is pretty perceptive, questions him a lot and holds him accountable, but not being present there could be limited material they can work with. Though rarely, my counselor has had to tell his when things are getting wonky and he needs to back me up, support me because he may not have the big picture or complete truth.
      If I had a counselor who would do only couples work (which infers that I’m part of the problem), or who didn’t back me up and support me, or didn’t encourage me to speak firmly, but gently, I would not participate and would leave.

      • Renee on October 27, 2017 at 11:51 pm

        Maybe I’m interpreting his emotions wrong. We are seeing the same counselor. However, she seems to mostly want to do couples counseling. I’m ok with that as long as she would question him a lot and holds him accountable as you said in your post. I’m willing to accept the same fate.
        This is copied from another post of mine. This was after our first couples session. I went in the next day to do an individual session.
        [I said no but do you feel/think something else is going on inside my husband’s head? I was like, but did you hear him say a pair of wedge sandals I had chosen to wear was a form of disrespect and a way to provoke him. I was like, but isn’t that a form of control? Why wasn’t that pointed out just in case hubby does not get the memo. She advised me to stay away from diagnosing and away from trying to fix hubby and to continue working to fix me. I guess I just wanted to hear her say it (abuse/control).] [Even associated it with feeling abandoned. He felt his childhood all over again.]

        When I went in to challenge him during the couple’s session (that it’s just a pair of shoes), I could not challenge him. I was only allowed to say I heard him. I just cannot understand how shoes can cause such a trigger. I needed him to help me understand or even the counselor.

        I’m not trying to be a difficult individual, but it is not going down that way next week. I am trying to prepare myself to exit if need be and announce I will not participate in pretend sessions.

        Maybe there is a process to counseling and I just need some patience.

        • Nancy on October 28, 2017 at 5:02 pm


          Leslie advises against marriage counselling for destructive marriages. You might want to re-read that section of EDM.

          • DG on October 29, 2017 at 11:12 pm

            Almost all of my reading by those who specialize only in abuse counseling say no couples counseling! – not until the husband has done significant work on his own issues.

        • DG on October 29, 2017 at 11:16 pm

          I’ll say it – his issue with the wedge sandals is abusive. It is not ok.

          Perhaps the counselor is choosing the topics/battles, trying to focus on those that can be won or would make a strong point with him, rather than risk starting a fight in the session, which could actually get in the way of progress.

          • Sunshine on October 29, 2017 at 11:52 pm

            What do you think about giving your counselor some books or referring them to Leslie’s website for professionals? If they seem disinterested, I would find another counselor. They must know Lundy’s work, the Duluth model, Crippen’s work, a cry for justice, Patricia Evans etc… Ask.

    • Rebecca on October 27, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      He thought he won. That is why he whistled. He fooled somebody and he is proud of himself. You on the other had your autonomic nervous system stimulated by trauma triggers. He would too if he was doing any work, but he is not. He has issues under lock and key.

  10. Renee on October 27, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Elizabeth, I requested a refund on Lundy Bancroft’s book “why does he do that?” I wasn’t ready. However, it is a recommended read so maybe one day. I then purchased Leslie’s books “how to act right when your spouse acts wrong” and “the emotionally destructive marriage.” When I found EDM and this blog, I was hooked. I also have read Patricia Evans “the verbally abusive relationship.” Even scanned Steve and Kim Cooper book “back from the looking glass.” That last one still leaves a question in my mind, but it was trying to teach one how to live with a narcissistic person.

  11. Renee on October 27, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Aleea no apology needed. I loved hearing from you. When you write, you go deep, so I know I’ll have to read again to absorb all that I can from you. I guess I’m waiting for husband to come home or stay away from home for a while after his individual session because he has had one of those moments.

    Since he has not, I’m like what is happening in those sessions?

    As it is said on this blog, that is why so many of us stay in marriages getting abused. (accusing me of “limiting the power of God and Jesus”, “promoting divorce”, “not believing in the power of Christ to change people.”)

    I wonder if they give males the same advice?

    Our church briefly speaks about physical abuse. The message is brief – leave. I haven’t designated myself as the one to educate about emotional abuse. The only thing I have told a church pastor and deacon is that we are not getting along. I would be opening up a can of worms.

    • Aleea on October 28, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Thank you Renee!

      . . . .It is not “deep”, it is confused. I’m very confused. Not about the facts, but just what those facts mean and what to do with them. . . . .Anyways, it feels so, so good to say it even if it is totally confusing. I can’t even know what I think until I say it.

      You say: “The only thing I have told a church pastor and deacon is that we are not getting along. I would be opening up a can of worms.” . . . .I guess the reason pastors, deacons, “leadership” have to rein this stuff in is that otherwise they would have chaos. But I sure wish we could have a “tell the truth about everything” day at my church. Of course, always in love and respectfully, but the Truth, just the Truth, —not the party lines.

      . . . .So, dumb as I am, ignorant as I am, biased as I am, my theory is that speaking The Truth speaks the best possible world into existence. . . .Pretending is the royal road to utter chaos. The truth speaks the best possible world into existence long-term. Sincerity, authenticity, integrity, mutual understanding —these are the real sources of moral wealth and they are destroyed the moment we deliberately misrepresent our beliefs, whether or not we did it to increase faith or not. —Speaking the Truth puts our lives back in God’s hands, because we are not outcome engineering, peace faking, pretending to know things we don’t really know. . . .If instead, we try to articulate what we believe to be true as carefully and as accurately as possible. . . . accepting the outcomes (—never, ever easy), . . . .that seems to me to be the best course. The truth, as lived and spoken, produces the best possible outcomes long-term. Lord God help us all, especially me, to do it❣😊

    • Sunshine on November 1, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      You know sometimes just because someone is a pastor or a deacon, that doesn’t necessarily mean they know anything about counseling. They may be called to teach, preach or lead worship, but they are not called to counseling. The counseling comes with the job and many are ill prepared for that role. Keep your expectations low and leave the biblical counseling to those trained in that speciality area.

  12. Lily on October 28, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I’m just wondering about y’all’s take on this:

    • Roxanne on October 28, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      I thought it was great. Yes, why are we a good match for a narcissist is worth asking ourselves. We are the 1/2 of this nonsense.

      • Sunshine on October 29, 2017 at 9:09 am

        I thought he was a little nutty. After the first few minutes he lost me.

        • Lily on October 29, 2017 at 11:34 pm

          Generally he is a Christian comedian, and comes across a bit goofy, but this one is serious. And yes, you have to get past the beginning few minutes to get to the meat of it.

    • Nancy on November 1, 2017 at 6:53 am

      There are some good nuggets in this video.

  13. Renee on October 30, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Aleea you said: But I sure wish we could have a “tell the truth about everything” day at my church. Of course, always in love and respectfully, but the Truth, just the Truth, —not the party lines.

    I say: I had a really good laugh at that idea. If my church had one of those days, I would be sure NOT to grace them with my presence. It is hard enough for my church to keep a year end business meeting under control.

  14. Renee on October 31, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    I don’t know what I’ve done, but I have put down my deposit with an attorney to start divorce proceedings. I have no idea if I have made the right decision or even the best decision timing wise. Our teens/us and Thanksgiving and then Christmas.

    Although I know this needs to be done, I still don’t want my marriage to end. However, last night suggest I needed to take another approach. The decision probably would feel better, except the attorney (all spoken with) say it will be hard getting exclusive use of home during the divorce and trying to do so would increase cost.

    Yesterday morning I asked hubby to please allow our son to sleep with him for just one night. He says he’s having stomach issues. I said use air freshener. Please give me a break. He said what’s he doing so bad that I need a break. I say let him stay with you a few days and that will tell all. He says oh no he don’t agree and that’s what I get for giving him an inch. Don’t try to put him off on me unless we change rooms.

    By now I’m saying never mind one of us will take the sofa. He’s says I want him to roll over like a good boy. He then comes out of his room and escorts son to our room. At this point, I could not sleep and went to the sofa. He comes back out of his room to make sure son was still in the room. Told me to deal with it from kicking him out years ago.

    Needless to say, I am in a what now? I have a PO box rented, a couple of credit cards only in my name, the $1500 went to an attorney, I have hopefully all documents copied – have to get most to attorney.

    Do I explain this to kids or hubby before he gets served? Not so much as hubby, but kids? However, he has a way of poking at them until he gets the information.

  15. Aleea on October 31, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    . . . .ha, ha, ha. . .I never thought about it that way Renee. . .ha, ha, ha. . . .but that sounds right now that I really think about it. If the world runs on lies that means p-l-e-n-t-y are in the church too. . . .That would be chaos. In fact, just thinking about that starts me deeply praying:
    🙏 1) To love God in a deeper, fuller way ✔ —Clean my own heart and even now, *nothing* but God’s infinite love/heart can ever satisfy me. He is all I want to live about, talk about, think about, etc. . . .but at the same time, I care *deeply* if what I believe is really true.
    🙏 2) ✞ transformed daily ✔earnest obedience to Christ!
    Many prayers always,
    Aleea 🌷 🌷 🌷 🌷 🌷 💖 💜 💟

  16. Rebecca on November 1, 2017 at 7:35 am

    His behavior a perfect example of why you need to proceed with separation. Thinking about how strong and we’ll you felt before this latest interaction. He should have been kind, supportive, helpful and concerned. He selfish game play has to end. Stay strong. You are right. He is messing with you, as usual.

    • Rebecca on November 1, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Destroyed post due to auto correct. Sorry. I’ll try again.

      His behavior is a perfect example of why you need to proceed with separation. Think about how strong and we’ll you felt before this latest interaction.

      It sounds like you are in the middle of the storm. There are more rough seas ahead. Yet, be assured in time the seas will calm and a gorgeous sunrise awaits you on the horizon. Sail this ship with confidence captain. You are headed in the right direction.

      • Renee on November 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm

        Thanks Rebecca

        As Aleea says, “Lord God help us all, especially me!”

        I need thoughts or post on how to let your children know you have filed for divorce. I guess with them it will be the same as I suggested to Jean.

        So where I need help is…

        I need thoughts about whether I should use the couples session tomorrow to let husband know I have filed for divorce or should I just allow him to be served.

        If you think I should let him know before getting served, do you think couples therapy is the right setting?

        Should I let them both know at the same time or should I notify the counselor before tomorrow?

        • Roxanne on November 2, 2017 at 12:06 am

          I am sure you already made a best decision for you. My opinion would be to have him served. Have all your ducks in a row and expect a reaction. The reaction could be anything from a violent explosion to a crying pity party to win you back. He will be extremely creative in his attempts to keep his power over you. Be wise as a serpent and graceful as a dove.

  17. Renee on November 1, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I have made a decision on how this needs to be be handled.

    Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers.

    • Content on November 1, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      Praying for you and your family tonight, Renee.

    • Rebecca on November 1, 2017 at 11:42 pm

      Rene, praying along with you. You are very brave. Don’t forget you serve a mighty God who loves you more than you can ever believe or imagine. He gives wisdom to those who ask him.

      Please let us know how it went. I know that a counselor told me the story of a client who chose to tell her husband of her intent to divorce during a session. She thought it was a safe time and place to reveal the information. The appointment went ok, but when the couple left the husband began beating his wife’s head against the roof of the car. Thankfully the counselor peeked out the office window and saw the horrible incident occurring in the parking lot. The counselor called the police.

      Everyone situation is different, but the most dangerous time is when the victim tries to leave.

  18. Renee on November 2, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Update on the couples session. Keep in mind, I notified the counselor ahead of time about retaining an attorney. I figured once there I’d decide if it was safe to disclose that information.

    My hubby went in playing the victim (he had the cry face going, he had the leaning over as in a stomach ache going). I mean he came in the door as such and I noticed her eyeballing. Quickly asking him if he needed any water and then asking me.

    He was not talking, so I started the session. So I fessed up about the TV episode and said I was sorry about what I said. She jumped right in on my mistake. So I checked her saying wait, you had nothing to say last time to hubby when he was talking about how sandals caused him all kinds of negative emotions. She says oh you didn’t want to know how he felt. I said I heard him, but help me understand.

    So I provided another example. This was with the counselor seeing our teens. She said son was struggling to open up. She was questioning about activities being a homeschooler. I said hubby and I don’t agree on boy scouts. So I ask if they have anything like big brothers in our area. What did I ask about that for?

    He took that as a personal attack right there in the office. He said he was offended. He said I was trying to replace him. He said no other man was going to be interacting with his son. He stressed us having a difference of opinion was such a horrible thing. We said what about the guy just interacting with son at the office? It was still no, conversation over.

    So couple’s counselor still hints around that somehow there must have been a vibe being given off, a word or tone being used. Saying we need to be careful how we approach one another. I tried to explain the topic got brought up and bam. I also tried to explain that unless we are talking about fun, husband is hostile.

    She asked me didn’t I want to know why he had that reaction? I said no I’m tired reactions. Just tired. I told her I probably would not understand. I then tried to give one final example of husband and hostility (about son sleeping with him for one night).

    She was headed back to how we are approaching one another. Needless to say, I didn’t want to feel double teamed, so I stood up and told her it was my last session and thanked her for her time. Hubby jumps up saying he had to leave as well because I was his ride. I told him I would wait for him in the car. He said he had to leave.

    She suggested he get his next appointment. Well, it was taking a while so I drove around and went back in to see if he was ready. When I knocked, he has his appointment card in his hand, but they still had the door closed and was talking.

    So I absolutely don’t trust either person at this point.

    I think my game plan has to change. I don’t think I can keep living here waiting for a divorce to go through.

    I think Sunshine and those that moved out first had the right idea. I talked to attorney again today. I don’t feel assured of the outcome.

  19. Sunshine on November 3, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Renee, You are dong really good weather the storm. You were right to end the relationship with the counselor. Given the information you revealed privately the season should have gone very differently. So, who can you find for support now? There is a great need for someone to know the truth and help you. I found even just one person was enough to help me leave. They provided an emergency bed and greatly needed reality checks.

    Have you contacted your domestic abuse center? Now you might say, I don’t need that. but they have contacts and resources. There is a national hotline that you can call day or night and they will affirm you and help you reason through the craziness if you do not have a single person you can trust.

    You are headed in the right direction. Stand strong sister, you got this!

    • Renee on November 3, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Sunshine you said: Have you contacted your domestic abuse center? Now you might say, I don’t need that.

      I said: I don’t know Sunshine. I’ve always associated domestic violence centers for those being physcially abused. I feel I would be using up resources for someone more deserving then me. Does that make sense? That is one reason. The second reason I’ve always avoided such centers is because I don’t want to be labeled – victim.

      Is that pride?

      • Sunshine on November 3, 2017 at 7:49 pm

        It is not pride. It is negative self talk. Remember abusers disregard our needs and take away our choices. You have been trained to devalue your needs and choices, often in deference to the abusers needs and choices. That is why you think you don’t deserve something that was designed to help you.

        I can’t say enough good things about my local center. It was there that I finally found people who understood exactly what I was going through. I got free individual professional counseling from a licensed social worker who believed everything I told her. That was the first shock when compared to our Christian marriage counselor.

        There was a private undisclosed location and a shelter available in another undisclosed location. There was a play area for children and a secret code to get through a series of doors to provide security. Because I needed a restraining order, the center provided a lawyer whom I met with multiple times,for free. She prepared my documents and attended court with me. The center sent an advocate to sit with me when my lawyer was up by the judge so I wouldn’t be alone.

        I owe my life to the efforts and services of my local domestic violence shelter.

        So, no it wasn’t Christian. But Renee, they were respectful and professional. They were helpful and patient. They maintained my privacy and dignity, all for absolutely nothing. I am welcome to use the services any time I like in my journey all for free! What a gift!

        • DG on November 3, 2017 at 9:57 pm

          Renee, I totally agree with Sunshine! When I fled, I didn’t know where to go. The two friends I’d turned to meant well but then were getting frustrated/angry with me when I didn’t do what they thought was best, at their pace. I turned to a victim’s center. I too felt it was for someone else – someone who had been physically abused, a different socioeconomic group, etc. I was embarrassed – ironically, not realizing the situation I was in, I’d just donated to support then less than a year prior! I thought of every reason not to contact them – but I forced myself and am tremendously grateful for their help and support. They told me that I was EXACTLY the type of person, and that this is exactly the type of abuse, their services were there for. Their experience and expertise is unparalleled. The social worker assigned to my case 20+ years younger. I was afraid, skeptical, cautious – she is WONDERFUL! She continued to help me and regularly met with me by phone as I was in different states. They do provide an advocate to accompany you to court, etc. They can help talk with you about how best to serve papers, or how not to, and will be aware when it happens to stay in contact with you checking on your safety. The Center I went to provided women and their children with I think three months shelter absolutely free if needed. This shelter probably shouldn’t be your first choice, but it is important to know it’s an option if needed!

          Please reach out and at least inquire – they may provide services that help solve your biggest problems, or provide expert support you need. They helped heal me of the compounded damage of our previous counselor, perhaps much like your own. Just of course please don’t let your h know….
          Praying for you and sending you warm hugs –

          • DG on November 3, 2017 at 10:07 pm

            PS – They will ask your information, but it will be kept in the strictest confidence. I am trying to remember if you even have to share your real name. This is important information as it helps them track trends and justify the need for their services, which helps secure essential state and federal funding! Also alerts the local law enforcement and medical community which are directly impacted. Talk with them if for no other reason than to help justify the need and secure funding to help other women who don’t have the resources we do!

            I will warn you that 85-90% of the time I visited for an appointment, there was an ambulance and/or police car there responding to an abuse victim. It really shook me up. I could have again thought the center is not for me, but instead it was a solid reminder that had I not left, that could be me.

  20. Rebecca on November 3, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Thank you for sharing how the counseling session went. What a ridiculous waste of your time and money. It is time for you to get your own individual counseling. I agree with Sunshine that many domestic violence shelters offer free counseling and support groups. Although not Christian, that would be a great start even if you have to drive to another city it would be worth your trouble.

    Have you heard of Focus ministries in Illinois? There director will give at least one free counseling session over the phone also Patricia Evans does phone counseling. You need someone who can stand in the gap and speak the truth to you as you journey forward.

    Please don’t turn back and give up. You deserve freedom and respect. Praying for you and your family to feel the peace of the Holy Spirit as you walk boldly in righteousness.

    • Renee on November 3, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      Thanks Rebecca for the resources and for this positive affirmation – I do deserve freedom and respect!

      We all deserve freedom and respect.

  21. Jo on November 6, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    I am trying to be a survivor. I left my abusive husband Jan 1st. I filed for a divorce this time. It has been a nightmare. I wish I could go to a domestic abuse center but I can’t. You see, my abusive husband IS the police. Where does the wife of an abusive police officer go?? They have contacts everywhere. The brotherhood is deep. The Blue Wall of Silence Is for real. I finally reached out after 11 months of him using his police power to intimidate me and filed a complaint with the police. I received a certified letter last week that my complaint was UNFOUNDED. And yes it was written in all caps as if screaming at me. I did find this website that helped me realize that my situation is real. I can relate to all these specific ways a police officer uses his police training and position to abuse their wives. I have been told throughout my 14 year marriage that “I could kill you and make it look like an accident and it would be my friends investigating”. And, “being a police officer has taught me how to be the best criminal and get away with it”. It’s true. He is a criminal. I would love for some of you to look at this list on the website and give me any ideas of who I can turn to. My attorney does not care about emotional side… Only dividing assets. I should have found a female attorney.

    • Roxanne on November 8, 2017 at 5:52 am

      Jo I know it seems very hopeless now, but if you can allow yourself to look to the future, there is great hope.

      I agree and understand your problem. Have you contacted the national domestic abuse hotline? Moving authority to the State or Federal authorities may help
      After the legal work is complete, can you move to different area or even country to get out of his jurisdiction?

    • Renee on November 8, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      I have ran across this website before and was very interested in what it had to say. However, I did not follow through on the e-book purchase because my spouse is not a police officer. I would say if you have the resources and the safety, I would take a chance. I would also consider what Roxanne mentioned, if you have not already done so.

  22. Tasha on November 9, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    I have been reading Leslie blogs here more so lately, seeking answers or revelation. I’m sorry so many women keep experiencing heart break. I have been married 11 years and it has been an all out fight majority of the time. We have a daughter who was born with special needs and eventually needed a kidney transplant which I was able to be my daughters donor. My husband has been caught in lies communicating with different women the whole marriage. I did file for a divorce once and didn’t proceed through when it was time because he stated he wanted his marriage to work. But as soon as things calms down he goes right back to the nonsense because a bump came in the road and he reverts back to old patterns. So I’ve struggled with even wanting to be sexual with him all these years and went to doctors because I thought something medical was wrong but turns out nothing medical. So fast forward to now he kept saying how he’s not communicating with any females I don’t know about. I said ok but I always get this feeling that he is because he is constantly on his phone regardless. I left it alone and said the Lord will reveal if you are too. So about two weeks ago low and behold I get a message in my inbox from his ex wife letting me no about an incident that she was told I knew about (no didn’t have a clue) And so when I thanked her for the info, I said ok what else he hiding so now I decide to look at his phone. He thought he was doing a good job deleting but he’s been watching porn also. I did confront him and there was nothing he could say because I had already made it known that if he get in another situation like this there was nothing he could say to get out of it. The next thing you know he is remorseful and crying and praying. I expressed to him that all I have for him is to co-parent. We just brought a house and now this really and I do not work outside the home. I am trying to find a balance for now because we are under the same roof and being able to cope together but not have any Miscommunication with where things are. I have had enough being disrespected. There is so much I had to leave out because it would have been a longer book than this.

    • Renee on November 10, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      Sorry Tasha for your heartbreak.

      Tasha you said: I have been married 11 years and it has been an all out fight majority of the time.

      I ask: What have you both attempted in those 11 years to change the dynamics? Has he ever done counseling for his addiction?

      How will the next eleven years look?

      Tasha you said: We have a daughter who was born with special needs and eventually needed a kidney transplant which I was able to be my daughter’s donor.

      I state: Hugs to you and your daughter. Where has your husband been in all of this?

      Tasha you said: I did file for a divorce once and didn’t proceed through when it was time because he stated he wanted his marriage to work.

      I ask: Did you put your divorce on hold with the courts? I heard that some jurisdictions allow you to put your divorce on hold for up to two years. This allows you to work on the marriage. However, if it does not work out, you can proceed with divorcing.

      Tasha you said: But as soon as things calms down he goes right back to the nonsense because a bump came in the road and he reverts back to old patterns.

      I state: I don’t know. Are we doomed? In the book “Should I stay or should I go” it gave suggestions on how to gauge if your spouse is serious about change. For example; the spouse should go back to all those he has lied to and tell the truth. For example; if he says the wife was having an affair and it was actually him, he should make it right.

      Oh my, that is all I have to say on that one. I can’t say that some husband’s have not made it right. I don’t know if my husband would be able to do this step.

      Tasha you said: I am trying to find a balance for now because we are under the same roof

      I state: What do you mean? What does that mean?

      • Tasha on November 10, 2017 at 8:46 pm

        Renee thank you so much for your response back. In the 11 years we went to counseling, coaching and for myself individual counseling consistently and coaching for myself too. He went to individual counseling maybe 2 appointments and didn’t return. This year we went to counseling again together but he gets the tools and do not apply them that fruit can be evidence from them. My next 11 years cannot look like the first 11 this time because I have tried so much to make the marriage work even apply what he would say he needed or me lay off nagging and allowing the Lord to do what he chooses. When we did the transplant he was there, I had him to stay with my daughter mostly because she is a mamas girl and I didn’t want her alone. He did lie while sitting in the bed of the hospital with our daughter by talking to a female and got caught when I came up to ICU once I woke up after surgery to come see our daughter. That was my first surgery and it was rough and painful, but I pushed through like I know how too. In regards to the divorce being put on hold I didn’t know you could do that or not so I did not put it on hold. I realized that I need time to process my thoughts and feelings and can’t really with him right here unless he at work or sleep. That’s what I mean trying to balance myself. Today we spoke and I said it’s hard to try to get the time I need to process things and he claims he will allow me my space but we will see how that turns out. He says he realize I most likely have made up my mind to leave him and he don’t know when that would be but for now he is going to start applying things needed to show he is serious about changing and placing boundaries in place to help protect the marriage going forward. He wrote down 7 things he is implementing for himself. Only the Lord knows his heart and motives for sure.

        • Renee on November 11, 2017 at 6:21 pm

          Tasha You said: He says he realize I most likely have made up my mind to leave him and he don’t know when that would be but for now he is going to start applying things needed to show he is serious about changing and placing boundaries in place to help protect the marriage going forward. He wrote down 7 things he is implementing for himself. Only the Lord knows his heart and motives for sure.

          I’m sorry Tasha, but this is manipulation. Telling you what you want to hear all the while trying to pick you for information so he can be one step ahead and so that you will not guard your heart and remain hopeful. I believe that although you don’t know his heart as well as our Lord, you do know enough about his heart and motives and that will help you not be in denial.

          My husband said to me today how much of a change man he is and the only thing I could say was, “darling if only it were that easy.”

          I can’t find a “search” feature on Leslie’s blog, but I do believe you will find an entire section that may be helpful here:

          Also consider reading the newest post and posting there if you need more input:

          I know your hands are full probably more so with your spouse. Maybe you’re not ready to divorce. Many suggest legally separating for a year working on just you. That is if it’s available in your area. Will you have resources, including family, to assist you and your daughter if you two were to separate or divorce?

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