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What's New:

  • It’s back! My Walking In CORE Strength 3-Month coaching group starts September 10th. Ever wanted to work closely with me and allow me to help you with your exact situation? This is your chance. For more information go to leslievernick.com/groupcoaching.

  • Have you heard? Give Her Wings is opening up their academy! Click here if you’d like to learn more about how to help churches deal with emotionally destructive and physically abusive marriages, Give her Wings has developed a curriculum just for this.

The ONE Thing

By Julie Davis

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 September 10th. We only have a few openings left but it might be just the structure you need to start focusing on you. You can learn more at leslievernick.com/groupcoaching.


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 “We Too: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis” by Mary E. Demuth are Brooke B. and Lisa R.


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
Nashville, TN

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 Stay Well Or Leave Well?

Question: In the 24 hours since discovering this site, I’ve read the Destructive Marriage e-book, watched every chapter on YouTube, scoured the blog posts, and read the Nine Tactics of Manipulators PDF… I’m desperate to understand how to restore my situation through any means necessary, but I just don’t know how to stay well or leave well.

Staying well means take care of yourself, don’t harbor bitterness, don’t engage in behavior that matches or retaliates the abuser… But we’re also to show the law of consequences… How? How do you show consequences to a man that disdains your existence? Who is just as happy to lecture you for five hours as to ignore you entirely for weeks? I’ve demonstrated sacrificial love and perpetuated this cycle deeper every time, so what does the balance of good behavior and consequences look like?

Leaving well means establishing a community of support (which will certainly violate his expectations of privacy and respect) so you can do so safely and sanely. But how do you kick out a man who refuses to leave, except on his terms? And how can you walk away from home to leave him to destroy everything of value to you?

Answer: Your feelings are valid and many women (and men) in your situation feel the same. They feel desperate for answers that will restore or fix their marriage – at any cost or any price.

But that approach will never lead to peace or true reconciliation or healing of your marriage. You don’t really tell me much about what’s going on in your marriage but you are quite clear that you feel ignored, disdained, lectured, and trapped. You don’t know how to stay well or leave well. Either choice will result in some pain and staying and doing nothing is also painful and as you’ve realized, foolish.

You said, “I’ve demonstrated sacrificial love and perpetuated this cycle deeper every time, so what does the balance of good behavior (CORE STRENGTH) and consequences look like?”

Let me take you to that passage in 2 Peter to give you a couple of examples of the balance of good behavior and consequences.

First, Peter tells us how to handle ourselves in the presence of abusive people. He is clear that believers should be respectful of others regardless of how we are treated. That’s good behavior.

Here is What People are Saying About Leslie's Walking In CORE Strength 3-Month Group Coaching Group.

Walking in CORE strength was a game changer for me!

I knew that my marriage, issues with me kids, and crazy financial upheaval constantly left me feeling like a fish – flopping around, out of water, gasping. Walking In Core strength helped me SEE my part of this problem. I began to see how I was contributing to the cycle.

Walking in CORE strength allowed me to become aware of my own choices, feelings, and thoughts. I began to see God and his truth with more clarity. In this class, I realized that because my people pleasing addiction affected my ability to establish healthy boundaries in my life. The result was that I had given other people control. I didn’t know how to take it back and sit in the driver seat of my life.

My life has changed drastically! Yes, I am single and I’m ok with that. I have much better relationships with my teenagers. I am successfully setting boundaries! My kids give me daily opportunities to exercise that muscle!

And best of all – because Jesus has freed me to walk in CORE, I am clothed in strength and dignity….. and I smile (HOPE) in what the future holds. Is it scary some days? YES! But today I can confidently say that I can look fear in the face and smile. Praise the Lord!!!


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.