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  • [Back by Popular Demand] My 3- Month Walking In CORE Strength Group is back. We only offer 20 spots per class. So grab your seats now. Go to leslievernick.com/groupcoaching

The ONE Thing You Can Control

By Leslie Vernick

If you remember nothing else from this newsletter, remember this: the only thing you can control is you.

It’s a simple truth but a very hard one to accept when you’re in a destructive relationship. I work with women all the time who are desperate to get their husbands to see their destructive behavior, to repent and change.

These women are pretty resourceful. They find articles, books, recordings, sermons, counselors, and come up with their own persuasive lectures…all in an effort to open their husband’s eyes. By the time I come into the picture they’re exhausted, frustrated, and incredibly sad. But, hopefully, they’re also in a place to accept their powerlessness… that they are absolutely, completely, totally powerless – to get their husbands to see or do anything.

Friend, if you are one of those women, it’s time to get the focus on the only person you can control: you.

Let me first say, working on you won’t make your marriage great. That takes two people. But it will make you much, much stronger. Doing your own work will mean you react better, know how to set better boundaries, have the strength to enforce those boundaries, and don’t fall apart when your husband hurts you.

Carefully follow these steps if you’re ready to work on what you can control: you.

1. Open your eyes to the truth. God tells us that the truth sets us free (John 8:32)

Self-deception is easy…until it’s not. It’s time to really contemplate how you got here. What happened inside of you that allowed the mistreatment for so long? What did you tell yourself? Why – and how – did you allow it? What lies have you believed? These are really important questions to answer.

2. Believe God’s word about your value, you are God’s daughter and he loves you.

Women who have been demeaned for a long period of time have a very difficult time accepting they have value. But, just like a lay person isn’t qualified to appraise valuable art, your husband doesn’t get to decide your worth. God does that. Go back to his word every day and meditate on these verses until you truly believe what he says about you:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Luke 12:7

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139: 13-18

3. Get feedback from godly, wise people.Women in destructive marriages often find themselves isolated from others. But, in order to get healthy, you need to have the perspective of godly, wise people who will see things you don’t see. People who will love you enough to tell you. Invite trusted people into your life and situation to hold you accountable and speak into your situation. (And be open to their feedback, even when it may hurt.)

4. Be aware of how you are being shaped by what’s happening to you in the midst of your marriage.

Haggai 1:7 says, “give careful thought to your ways.

It is not selfish to prioritize you right now. Get alone and reflect on what’s happening inside, how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking and how you are responding. What do you value? Remember, negative emotions aren’t “bad.” They actually serve an important purpose and it’s wise to pay attention to them without being controlled by them. If you don’t pay attention, your emotions tend to become bigger and stronger until you find yourself out of control and full of negative, toxic feelings.

5. Put your marriage in its proper place.

One of the reasons your marriage has gotten so bad is because it’s become too important. That may be the opposite of everything you’ve heard but it’s true. You’ve become obsessed with making it work, with making him change. You’ve put keeping your marriage together as God’s highest priority, above your own safety and sanity and maybe even the well-being of your children.

If you’re in this place, your marriage has become an idol. It’s in a place where only God belongs.

Ask yourself this question: “If I do my part and my marriage doesn’t make it, can I trust God to be enough for me?”

Until you can answer “yes” to that question, you’ll be too afraid to do anything differently. You must be willing to unravel the life you’re living to allow God to create the life he meant for you to live.

Your marriage is important, to you and to God. But it is not more important than your safety and sanity. Only God can get through to your husband. So focus on what you can control: you.

If you’d like more help in learning these steps, you may want to consider joining our Walking in Core Strength Group Coaching class that starts March 3rd. It might be just the structure you need to start focusing on you. You can learn more at leslievernick.com/groupcoaching.


How To Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong

by Leslie Vernick

Despite the abundant availability of both self-help books and Bible study materials, many of us find it difficult to apply what we learn, to make that long head-to-heart journey of change. When we are faced with life’s daily trials, our responses often lack the Christian maturity we desire–showing us clearly just how far we have to go. Is it possible to achieve a deeper, more permanent change of heart?

Discover the Principle that Could Transform Your Life.

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 Relationship” by Leslie Vernick are Connie R. and Amy W.


Upcoming Events

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

March 26th and 27th 2020
Dallas, TX

Center for Christian Counseling
July 24th and 25th 2020
Madison, WI

GT Church
August 16th and 17th 2020
West Lawn, PA

New Hope Church
November 6th and 7th 2020
East Lansing, MI

The Village Church
December 3rd, 2020
Flowermound, TX

Build Your CORE

Question: I’ve tried everything and my husband refuses to admit he’s emotionally abusive or controlling. I don’t know what to do next. Does God expect me just to live like this for the rest of my life?

Many reading this blog are in destructive marriages and have felt powerless and hopeless like you do. I hear that you’re tired and confused and afraid. Your husband won’t change, but perhaps you have. You are not the person you used to be, and perhaps not the person you want to be. You don’t like what’s happening in your marriage but you also don’t like what’s happening to you. I want to give you four steps that you can practice that will help you become more empowered.

A while back my friend Barb noticed I was slouching more than usual. Ugh, I feared I was turning into an old lady with bad posture. I didn’t want to end up with a walker and a curved spine so it was time to make a change. I called my gym and made an appointment with a trainer for an evaluation.

Chris a young, burly fitness trainer pushed me through a battery of tests and finished our evaluation by whipping out a camera. Already I felt old, frumpy, and fat but it got worse. You know the saying a picture doesn’t lie. The truth was right in front of me. My shoulders slumped, my belly pouched out, my back swayed and my neck and chin somehow jutted out from my shoulders in a most unflattering way—and I worked hard to stand up straight when he took the picture. Chris turned to me, eyebrows raised and said, “You need to build your core.”

“What’s that?” I asked, dreading his response.

Here is What People are Saying About Leslie's Walking in CORE Strength Group.

I am so very thankful that I took Walking in CORE Strength. I have learned how to take things my head has known and apply them to me in a very real and personable way.

My head knows I am loved by God, my heart even knew that as it comforted me through many a hard time but now I am able to carry that through to its intended end…that I roll my shoulders back, hold my head up and stand before others as someone who knows how deeply loved she is. Being loved means that I can love and being loved means I can love for the good of the other not for keeping myself safe and protected.

I have learned to stop pretending. I still do at times but that is growing less and less as I grow stronger and stronger. I don't pretend I can do everything and I ask for help. I don't pretend to have feelings I do not have. I don't pretend I want what my husband wants.

I am learning to stop lying to myself and I can do that because in these groups I have found a safe emotional place where I can be genuine without fear of being shamed.

Thank you so much!

Roby T.


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