Where is God in My Destructive Marriage?
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Where is God in My Destructive Marriage?

By Leslie Vernick

Anyone who grew up in church learned the song, “Jesus Loves Me This I Know.” And, how do we know? As the song says, “The Bible Tells Me So.”

Then you grow up and learn that’s not all the Bible says. In fact, that same Bible also says God hates. We’re taught he hates things like divorce (Malachi 2:4). Not a big deal … unless you happened to grow up and marry an emotionally abusive man.

So what do you do with that? How do you reconcile this “God who loves me” with, according to many church leaders and counselors, a God who seems to care more about the sanctity of my marriage than my personal (or my children’s) safety or sanity?

To stay on God’s good side they often counsel women to:

“Just forgive.”

“Try to stop pushing his buttons.”

“Try harder to make him happy.”“Respect and submit to him. He’s the head of the home.”

And, of course, “If he hasn’t cheated you have no grounds for divorce.”

Friend, please understand that the majority of people handing out this advice are well-meaning and truly believe they are offering godly counsel. But I believe they are wrong.

Anyone can cherry-pick a verse and make theology. But, to properly interpret the Bible, one needs to look at the whole counsel of God and know the heart of God. It’s important to see who God is and how he has handled situations similar to the one you’re in.

Please know you have a God who knows how you feel. God knew grief when Adam and Eve sinned…to the point where He actually regretted creating mankind (like you may regret marrying your partner). He gave them everything and it wasn’t enough. They wanted even more. (Genesis 6:5-6)

Then there’s the Jews…a nation God invited to be his chosen people. They were in a covenant relationship. But, instead of being faithful, Israel broke their covenant. They were unfaithful and indifferent. And, God’s heart was broken once again.” (Luke 13:34).

You have a safe place to pour your heart out. You have a God who understands and cares about the anguish you feel.

Please know that God hates what’s happening in your marriage.
A lot of pastors and Christian counselors want women (or men) in destructive marriages to play a dangerous game of lie and pretend. Only a sexual affair is seen as Biblical justification for breaking marital vows. For every other sin (explosive anger, pornography, indifference, financial deceit, etc.,) the burden is on the injured spouse to perpetually forgive and endure the abuse.

God is not asking you to pretend or to lie to cover up evil. You don’t have to act like you have a great marriage when you don’t. It’s okay to acknowledge that your husband’s sin has seriously damaged your marriage. That trust is broken. That you don’t feel safe, or loved, or valued.

There are so many examples of this in Scripture. In Genesis alone, there’s Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, Rebekah and Isaac, Laban and Jacob. God didn’t hide the hideous sin in these relationships and the damage it caused. (Genesis chapters 4, 24, 29, 37)

The infamous Malachi 2 passage that is so often quoted as “God hates divorce,” is actually saying that God hates when a husband is treacherous and unfaithful to his wife. Hates it. He hates when you are being treated with cruelty and indifference. He hates it when you’re struggling financially because of your husband’s sin. He sees your situation and he hates it. (He doesn’t hate your husband but his sin and the hardness of his heart.)

Please know that God Values Your Safety and Sanity
Too many Christians (and even pastors) expect women to stay in a relationship where they are not safe. But that’s not the example we see in the Bible. God cared about the safety of his people. God told Joseph to flee the King (Matthew 2:13-15), David fled from King Saul, God commended Rahab for hiding Jewish spies and lying to the soldiers about it (Hebrews 11:31). Jesus confronted the Pharisees about Sabbath rules, saying it was right to rescue a child or even an ox on the Sabbath … that their safety and well-being was more important that “rest.” (John 7:1, Luke 14:5)

Proverbs 27:12 reminds us, “The prudent see danger and take refuge.”

Therefore, if you’re in danger, do what it takes to get safe! Be confident that is God’s will. That includes physical safety as well as your sanity. If you’re at the end of your rope, tell someone. Get help. Don’t lie and pretend all is well when it is toxic and/or dangerous. God does not care more about the sanctity of marriage than you and your children’s safety and sanity.

Hey it’s not too late to sign up for our free training called (4) Lies That Make Women In Destructive Relationships Feel Crazy and Powerless. It’s today at 12 PM Eastern or 7:30 PM Eastern. Click here to sign up.


The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving It

by Leslie Vernick

Leslie Vernick, counselor and social worker, has witnessed the devastating effects of emotional abuse. Many, including many in the church, have not addressed this form of destruction in families and relationships because it is difficult to talk about. With godly guidance and practical experience, Vernick offers an empathetic approach to recognizing an emotionally destructive relationship and addresses the symptoms and the damage with biblical tools.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter! (Giveaway only available to U.S. residents)

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of ” The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” by Leslie Vernick are Lorna C. and Gretchen H.



Upcoming Events

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March 26th and 27th 2020
Dallas, Texas

How Do I Get My Husband To Take Responsibility For His Anger?

Question: How do I respond to my husband when he won’t take responsibility for his explosions? I’ve told him that I have anxiety due to his explosions. He says we cause his explosions. He says I’m doing the same thing by blaming him for our anxiety.

Answer: First the bad news. You are powerless to “get” someone to take responsibility for their issues. That is their responsibility to take not yours. But in a twisted kind of way, your husband is right. You are asking him to take responsibility for his angry outbursts, which he blames on you. But in the same way, he is asking you to take responsibility for your anxiety, which you are blaming on him.

Here’s the good news. You can take responsibility for yourself. Therefore, it’s crucial that you identify the problem that you can and must take responsibility for. His anger is not your problem. It causes you to have a problem ….anxiety. That is what you must take responsibility for now. I understand what you might be thinking. If he would only stop his explosions, I wouldn’t feel anxious. You’re right and in the same way your husband tells himself if only you would stop challenging him, or confronting him, or bothering him or asking him to change, he wouldn’t have outbursts. It’s a circular way of thinking that will go nowhere.

Here is What People are Saying About Leslie's Introduction to Core Strength Group.

Before taking Intro to CORE Strength, my biggest hesitation was just thinking outside this religious box he had put me in and realizing there was more to this life as a woman then being this man's footstool. I wanted to join because I was so unhappy and felt deep down there was a better way that God would want for me.

My biggest takeaway is that I'm important and just because I'm married doesn't give him the right to treat me like a slave. God cares more about me than if I'm married, divorce, or separated. He wants me to do what he has called me to do and it's not walking on eggshells.

– Sarah


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

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Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States