I’m back from my little cabin in the woods where it was cool and quiet and now in my hot but thankfully air-conditioned home in the Phoenix area. I will miss it there. It’s just a tiny cabin but there was something quite peaceful about being there. Next summer I hope to spend a few months up there to get away from the heat.
Next week I am going to be on FB LIVE every day talking with you and our guests about our 2018 CONQUER Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska on October 12 &13.
Starting on Monday, September 17, I will be talking about Living Fearlessly in a scary world at 12 PM ET.
On Thursday at 1 PM ET, licensed counselor and one of my team coach Elise Berryhill will be talking about Boundaries – why they’re important and how to set them.
On Friday at 7 PM ET Sandra Lovelace will be talking about the Wallflower Woman and what she needs to do to stop hiding.
These will be just some of the amazing breakout speakers at our 2018 CONQUER Conference in October and I want you to get a bit of a preview on how wonderful our conference will be. Right now we have over 750 women registered and you DO NOT WANT TO MISS OUT. Prices go up October 1 so click here to register.
Question: I have recently left my husband of 26 years again for the 4th time in 4 years, due to the domestic violence. Each time I leave, he “finds God,” repents, and I fall back in again. Each time I come back home after leaving for a 4 month period, usually from a domestic violence shelter, it only takes 2 weeks of going to church and praying, then it is back again.
He is very angry, always angry with everything I do. It is never enough or good enough. The physical violence has lessened up in the past 4 years. More just pushing me up against walls or throwing things at me. The control, name-calling, accusations, and calling me crazy have increased.
Anyhow, I have recently left again for the 5th time and it has been 3 months. He has again, “found God.” I am so torn, I have no proof that he has ever had an affair, however, I cannot find any scripture that it is ok to leave for abusive reasons.
He uses it to get me to come back home, then changes back again. I get confused if it may be a real change this time. Any advice?
I have been a Christian all of my life and try harder and harder to make our marriage peaceful and happy, but cannot ever please him. This last time before I left him, I tried to commit suicide, but he came home early that day and took me down from the rope. I began feeling the only way out is death. Now, being away from him, I realize that is not the case, thank God, but I have to obey God, and do not know what to do?
I trust God and feel he has made so many ways for me to escape this marriage, but I continue to go back each time. I cannot live that way anymore, but do not know what to do. Any help you can offer would be so appreciated. I love my husband, and I love my Lord God. Thank you, Leslie!
|Answer: You are not alone. Sadly many women find it hard to stay separated or initiate a divorce from their destructive/abusive spouse. There are a variety of reasons, but the top two I hear most often are economic (feeling like you can’t make it on your own) and spiritual (God hates divorce or he wants you to suffer for him). Click To Tweet
I want to challenge something that your husband says. Despite your husband’s words, he has not found God. There is nothing in your description of his behavior that indicates any of the fruit of repentance or the fruit of the Spirit that the Bible says are characteristic of a true believer or a changed life (Galatians 5:22,23; Matthew 3:8).
The Bible also warns us that we are to have our senses trained to be able to discern good from evil (Hebrews 5:14). Why? Wouldn’t evil be easy to discern? Not always. Sometimes evil pretends to “look good” not actually “be good.” Your husband uses the “I found God” line to manipulate his way back into your home and heart, giving you false hope that this time, he’s changing.
But how many times do you need to be fooled to know that he’s playing the same game? Nothing has changed over these past 4 years. And if by some chance this time he has found God, then he would not demand or pressure you to reconcile. He would understand what he has put you through and allow time to show you real sustainable change in his life.
His “finding God” does not appear to be repentance, but rather a strategy to get you to soften your boundary and let him come home. In other words, it’s still all about him and his needs/wants/feelings. It has nothing to do with genuine repentance for the pain and suffering he has caused you or how he has rebelled against God.
You said you love and trust God and that God made a way for you to escape this marriage. Why would God lead you to escape only to tell you to go back? It’s like the Israelites who were clearly lead out of slavery in Egypt only to question if they should go back when it got hard and scary.
It seems going back reinforces the same old unhealthy patterns in your marriage. Is that what you want? Instead of going back in fear (fear of disappointing God, fear of displeasing your husband), I’d like you to go forward in faith. I’d like you to trust God – that if he led you out of bondage, you are to stay out of bondage and live in freedom.
If your husband has indeed found God this time, he’s got a lot of his own work to do to grow and get healthy as a man and as a husband. Can you not “wait” and see if God is truly at work in your husband’s life? Instead of listening to your husband’s false promises or declarations about finding God, or feeling pressure to bow into his demand to come home, simply wait and see.
Perhaps you are not comfortable Biblically with filing for divorce, but I believe you already feel comfortable with separation since God initiated it for you and you’ve done so five times. Why not stay separated for a longer period of time instead of repeating the same old cycle. Watch his actions of a changed life, not his words of “finding God.” Time will tell.
You mentioned that you were so depleted and depressed living in this environment that you attempted suicide. Allowing this cycle to repeat itself over and over again to where you would get so confused that you would think it’s more Biblical to take your own life rather than leave or divorce an abusive man is not God’s plan for you.
I cannot decide for you what the Bible says to you about divorce. Conservative Biblical scholars don’t all agree. This is something for you to wrestle with for yourself as you have to answer to God for your choices as well as live out the consequences of those choices.
But you say that you love God and know he loves you and have seen him provide a way to escape several times. Isn’t this incompatible with you believing that God would require you to return to an abusive situation after leading you out? Even Jesus didn’t trust certain people because he knew what was in their heart (John 2). I think you’ve confused your husband’s voice for God’s voice.
Please…don’t allow your husband to manipulate you into thinking that he can act like the devil and be abusive towards you without any consequences. The Bible teaches whatever a man sows, he reaps (Galatians 6:7-9).
Jesus also tells us in Matthew 18 that if someone sins against you (and harms the relationship or you) go to them to reconcile the relationship. However, if he (or she) refuses to listen, then bring it before the church. If he or she continues to refuse to listen, Jesus says, treat them differently. They are no longer in a close relationship but rather like a pagan or tax collector.
The consequences of your husband’s abusive behaviors are that you don’t trust him. You don’t feel safe with him, nor do you want to live with him even if you still love him. And God understands that and realizes that the marriage relationship is broken. Without your husband’s true repentance, reconciliation of your marriage is not possible.
That’s why he led you out and to safety. That Bible is clear that when we live with an angry, contentious, destructive person….it affects our physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and sometimes sexual and economic health. Do you think God truly wants you to live like this just to stay legally married? Do you think he wants his precious daughter to be abused, just to say you didn’t divorce an angry, abusive, selfish, deceitful man?
I don’t believe he does, and I suspect you don’t either and that’s why you’ve left. And you said you trust God and he that he has led you out – many times. But now it’s up to you to keep moving forward in the journey God has taken you on – away from bondage and captivity. Away from your abusive spouse.
Here is a Biblical example of God’s provision for a slave wife who wasn’t being treated properly by her husband. He says, “If a man who has married a slave wife takes another wife for himself, he must not neglect the rights of the first wife to food, clothing, and sexual intimacy. If he fails in any of these three obligations, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment (Exodus 21:10). God cares for a woman who is being mistreated by her husband.
Now your job is to learn to stay on the path God has led you on and trust God for the outcome. Don’t return to Egypt or your destructive spouse no matter what your husband promises. Time has shown you that his words and promises mean nothing. God made a way for you to leave, now stay on that path.
I’d even recommend going no contact with your husband because it seems that he has way too much power over your thinking than he should in order for you to stay strong and get healthier yourself.
I’d also recommend you join CONQUER for some additional education and support for what’s going on inside of you that keeps you confused about God’s love for you. You can start Your CONQUER Journey that will help you learn God’s plan for your safety and sanity.
On the one hand, you love God and feel he’s leading you to safety and away from your spouse. And then you go back to your husband, thinking that God says you can’t divorce except for adultery.
God doesn’t work that way. He isn’t doubled minded, nor does he play games. God is a God who cares for the oppressed and is against the oppressor. Don’t allow your husband to malign God’s character by manipulating you into thinking that God requires you to submit yourself to more marital abuse. He does not.
Friends, when you got spiritually confused and turned around by a manipulative spouse or person, what helped you find TRUTH again?