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What's New:

  • Mark your calendars. I will be doing a free webinar on Monday, August 5th at 12 PM ET and 7:30 PM ET. You can go to leslievernick.com/joinwebinar to register.

Rebuilding a Broken Marriage Takes Work

By Leslie Vernick

When a marriage relationship breaks apart it needs serious repair work, not superficial changes. Buying flowers, going on date nights, or helping around the house are nice gestures, but do not repair broken trust anymore than adding a can of oil repairs a frozen engine, or putting up wallpaper, gets rid of termites.

Sometimes the spouse who broke trust unfairly places the burden of reconciling the marriage on the shoulders of his partner and links it with forgiveness. His or her thinking goes like this: if you truly forgive me, then what happened is in the past. We don’t need to discuss this anymore and trust should be automatically restored.

But that’s not true. Forgiveness is an undeserved gift, repairing broken trust takes time and hard work. Once marital trust is shattered, it must be earned back.

Below are three areas where marital trust breaks down and what has to change if the marriage is to thrive.

  1. Honesty and authenticity. People immediately mistrust someone who lies to them or who is charming and kind in public and surely and selfish at home. Don’t beat yourself up if this person happens to be your spouse. It is wise not to trust someone who has shown a pattern of being deceptive and fake. Jesus loved people, he didn’t trust everyone (John 2:24).

    If you recognize that you have not been truthful with what who you are or what you are doing, feeling, or thinking, your marriage cannot be what God intended it to be. This is not a marriage issue, but a character issue and you must do your own work to change to become an honest, authentic person.

  2. Reliability. We don’t trust someone who consistently fails to follow through on what he or she says they will do, whether it is in big things or little things.

    In rebuilding broken trust with a spouse who has a track record of unreliability, look at what your spouse does, not what he or she says that he or she will do.

    For example, does he say he will put filters on his computer but never does? Does she say she will stop drinking, or spending money on the credit card but does nothing? Does he say he wants restoration of the marriage but won’t go to counseling or do any work towards that end?

    Proverbs 25:19 says, “Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.” It’s foolish.

    John Mark was someone who was not reliable and as a result, lost the apostle Paul’s trust (See Acts 15). Later trust was restored, not because Paul gave him trust, but because John Mark proved he was reliable (2 Timothy 4). Building consistent reliability into our character rebuilds broken trust, not empty promises.

  3. Care. In marriage promises are made to love and care for our spouse’s well-being. When we consistently behave abusively or indifferently the marriage is broken, even if you stay legally married.

    The foundations of trust is that love does not intentionally harm the other (Romans 13:10). And, if in weakness and sin there is harm, every effort is made to make amends and not repeat that harm. When it’s repeated without repentance or repair, the relationship is broken.

    It’s true; it hurts our pride to hear how we have hurt someone. It takes humility and work to listen and care about your spouse’s person’s feelings when you have broken his or her trust. Yet without consistent compassion, empathy, and care for your spouse, rebuilding trust is not possible.

    When we don’t trust that our spouse cares for our well-being, a close marriage is not possible. Proverbs 31:11,12 says, “The heart of her husband trusts in her.” Why? Because, “He trusts her to do him good not harm all the days of his life.”

Rebuilding a broken marriage takes time and specific evidence of change, not merely words or promises of change.


The Emotionally Destructive Marriage (How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope)

by Leslie Vernick

You can’t put it into words, but something is happening to you. Your stomach churns, your heart aches, and the tension in your marriage is making you feel weary and a little crazy. The constant criticism, disrespect, cruelty, deceit, and gross indifference are eroding your confidence and breaking your spirit.

For any woman caught in an emotionally destructive marriage, Leslie Vernick offers a personalized path forward. Based on decades of counseling experience, her intensely practical, biblical advice will show you how to establish boundaries and break free from emotional abuse.

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 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents (Gifts of Hope) by Kathy Howard are Gwin P. and Brenda W.


Upcoming Events

October 3rd
The Evening of Stories 2019
Spokane Convention Center https://genesisinstitute.org/

October 4th and 5th
RLS Convention
Dallas, TX

October 9th – 11th
AACC Annual Conference

October 25th and 26th
Maranatha Bible Church
Akron, OH

November 2nd
Hawthorne Gospel Church
Hawthorne, New Jersey

Want to have Leslie speak at your event? Click here to find out more information.

Do I Have to Make Amends to My Abuser?

Question: Sometimes I was verbally abusive towards my husband. This came after mountains of neglect, rejection and emotional abuse. I sometimes doubt my reconciling on this matter. I think my response makes sense under my personal circumstances and yet I acknowledge it is my responsibility to amend those “reactions” to the abuse.

I am unsure if this is healthy to do especially with an abuser. In fact, I know it is not a safe idea but in the past, he used these moments as evidence of my weaknesses and it was a weakness, but weakness that came from neglect, rejection, and abuse.

Am I an abuser because I responded to his gaslighting and other tactics with sometimes intensity? Would you consider speaking to this in an upcoming blog post?

Answer: I think you bring up some areas we need to consider and talk through in our blog community. There has been some discussion here about awareness and intent of abusive individuals. Some have said there can be immaturity and a lack of emotional intelligence (EQ) that sometimes leads to people behaving poorly and being afraid of or resisting personal growth.

Others see abusive behavior solely as a tactic to gain control, with an abuser having full knowledge of what he or she is doing. I believe Nancy defined that kind of individual as an evil person with the intent to do harm, where the foolish one might be more ignorant or immature, yet still capable of doing great harm.

You bring in a third category, a caring person who loses control of his or her tongue or temper when repeatedly being oppressed, abused, attacked or gaslighted and neglected. In my interactions with my mother (as I’ve talked about before), I think I had emotional and spiritual immaturity coupled with poor boundaries that allowed me to get so provoked, I would lose it and sometimes lob some verbal bombs back at her, which always left me feeling bad about myself and made only a negative impact on her.

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

I loved this class. I became aware of who I am in Christ and staying connected to recognizing my “real self” – redefining myself through His eyes and seeing my uniqueness by Design. As a teacher and coach I advocate and speak truth into the lives of teens and yet I haven't fully advocated for myself. My perspective has changed and I'm trying to see myself loved and cherished (beloved) and not just being damaged.and not willing to tolerate abuse. – fighting for freedom and healing that I deserve.

I have comfort and validation from knowing my story is similar. When I read your book I felt like finally someone knew what I was living in for 33 years. I'm an intelligent, energetic, loving mother of five and grandmother of 3, but very few know the price I've paid to stay in my marriage.


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

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


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