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What's New:

  • Leslie will be speaking on April 14th in Arizona, at the Gilbert Christian High School - she will be speaking to the public on marriage. You can find more information here.

  • The 2018 Conquer Conference: Be Brave, Grow Strong tickets are here. This event happening October 2018, will be amazing. You can click here for more information.
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Ten (10) Truths Every Christian Needs to Know About Marriage

By Leslie Vernick

1. God designed marriage to be a loving and respectful partnership, not a slave/master dictatorship where one person dominates and controls the other. When one spouse seeks to gain power and control over the other and bullies or intimidates using words, finances, physical force, or the Scriptures, he or she is not only sinning against their spouse but also against God’s plan for marriage.

2. Every healthy adult relationship requires three essential ingredients to thrive. They are mutuality, reciprocity, and freedom. Mutuality means that each person brings into the relationship honesty, compassion, and respect. Reciprocity involves a give and take, where both people in the relationship share power and both people in the relationship share responsibility. Lastly, a healthy marriage needs freedom to express one’s thoughts, feelings and needs without fear as well as freedom to respectfully challenge someone’s behavior or ideas. When any of these three ingredients are missing we may be in a relationship with someone, but it is often difficult, unhealthy, and sometimes destructive.

3. All marriages experience angst, disagreement, and struggle. When a conflict arises mature people engage in conversations where they discuss, negotiate compromise, as well as respect one another’s differences, feelings and desires. They work on problem solving, not attacking one another.

4. When a person is seriously sinned against, Jesus understands it fractures relationships. He provides instructions for relationship repair in Matthew 18. First, we are to go to the person who has sinned against us and speak to them about it. However, when that conversation does not result in repentance, no reconciliation of the relationship can take place, even if one-sided forgiveness is granted. Relationships are damaged by sin and are not repaired without repentance and restitution. Joseph forgave his brothers long before he saw them again when they came looking for food in Egypt, but he did not trust them or reconcile with them until he saw their hearts were changed (Genesis 44,45).

5. When a person or spouse respectfully speaks up against injustice and oppression in a marriage (or anywhere else for that matter), God is with them. When a spouse speaks up against the abuse and injustice in her marriage, Christians need to come alongside her, hear her, and provide church support and help. In practicing Matthew 18, she is seeking true reconciliation and is attempting biblical peacemaking. The church must not pressure her reconcile without any evidence of repentance or to be a peace at any price peacekeeper.

God does not care more about the institution of marriage than the safety and sanity of the people in it. .

6. If the abuser refuses to listen, refuses to repent or change, the blessings of a close marriage are impossible. Unconditional love does not equal unconditional relationship. God loves humankind unconditionally but does not offer unconditional relationship to everyone. Our sin separates us from God and repeated unacknowledged and unrepentant sin also separates us from one another. Marital intimacy, trust, fellowship, and warmth cannot exist where there is fear, threats, intimidation, bullying and disrespect of one’s thoughts, feelings, body, or personhood. A marriage with no boundaries or conditions It is not psychologically healthy, nor is it spiritually sound

7. One person in a difficult/destructive marriage can make the relationship better by not reacting sinfully to mistreatment, not retaliating and not repaying evil for evil, but one person in a difficult marriage cannot make a bad marriage good all by herself. It takes both people working together. Sometimes people helpers place an inordinately heavy burden on one spouse to somehow maintain fellowship and intimacy in a relationship while they are repeatedly being sinned against.

8. If the couple desires biblical change, Christian people helpers (pastors, Christian counselors, well meaning friends) must not attempt to heal the couple’s serious marital wounds superficially by pushing premature reconciliation or promising peace when there is no true peace (Jeremiah 6:14) A Biblical peacemaker knows there is no quick fix to these difficult situations and walk this couple through the counseling stages of safety, sanity, and stability, until they reach security. There is no mutual counseling possible without first establishing some history of safety, not only physically, but emotionally and financially.

9. When trust in a marriage is broken (through deceit, infidelity, abuse, or unfaithfulness in various ways), the marriage is seriously damaged. The gift of consequences[1] can be a painful but potent reminder that the wrong-doer will not reap the benefits of a good marriage when they continue to sow discord, sin and selfishness. Consequences may include legal ramifications, church discipline, and/or loss of relationship through separation when warranted.

10. Church and pastoral support and accountability are critical for a couple to heal from a destructive relationship pattern. Secrets destroy. An atmosphere of loving accountability and support along with zero tolerance for manipulation, abuse, or power and control over another individual, is the optimal environment for biblical peacemaking and relationship repair to take place.

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Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing

By Kathy Howard

Lavish Grace is a unique, nine-week study of Paul's experiences with and teachings about grace. Filled with contemporary examples of grace at work, this well-written format gives you the rare opportunity to combine a character and topical study into one rich, practical approach to Scripture. Lavish Grace will help you recognize how God's grace is being poured out on you and through you. It will give you reason to rejoice in the grace that is available to you every day.

As part of the Bible Studies for Women series, this study looks specifically at God's grace: Poured Out on us in salvation and for our continued spiritual transformation; Poured Through us as we become channels of God's grace to others in practical ways; Overflowing in the inevitable difficult seasons where we need to rest in and rely on Him.

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

The winners of Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy by Leslie Vernick are Melissa L. and Angela S.



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Upcoming Events


April 14, 2018
Gilbert, Arizona
For more information please click here

April 21st, 2018
General Conference
Indianapolis, Indiana
For more information please click here

May 4-5, 2018
Grace Fellowship Church
York, Pennsylvania
For more information please click here.

June 1-2, 2018
Community Church at Tellico Village Loudon, Tennessee

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


I Have to Tiptoe Around My Spouse

Question: I just finished The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. It’s a wonderful resource. I was especially interested in the concept of reactive abuse, but wanted to know if this can occur without other abusive behavior? I see my husband exhibiting this quite a bit in his interactions with me, but his threshold for a response seems incredibly low.

He reacts poorly when I am legitimately stressed by work deadlines, frustrated, or when I try to talk about marital issues. When my dad was dying of cancer, he became cold and intractable because he thought I was overly stressed and not handling my family correctly. He did eventually apologize and mostly has not repeated this degree of poor behavior.

Of course, this makes discussing relationship problems almost impossible, because even with a gentle start-up on my part, he becomes defensive and begins lashing out with very hurtful words.

In other areas of life, my husband is a very good partner. He supports my career, is an engaged father with our kids and does more than his fair share around the house.

He grew up with a very volatile father, who would yell and rage when he was in a bad mood, which I think explains his hair-trigger response. My husband does not think that is the issue and says that this is just “who he is.”

I want a marriage where I can feel emotionally safe, even when I struggle or am not perfectly happy, and I’m frankly exhausted from trying to sidestep around his sensitivity.

What else can I do to help him and our relationship?

Answer: This is an excellent question because it is important to differentiate reactive abuse from controlling abuse.

It’s also important to note that even someone who displays abusive behaviors can be kind and helpful in other areas.

You indicate that your husband reacts negatively to you when you are stressed and in his opinion not handling yourself the way he thinks you should in those situations (work, your dad’s death). He also reacts negatively when you try to discuss touchy marital issues.

Does he react to other people this way too or just you? Most people who are “reactively” abusive have trouble with other people too. If it’s just you, then his “reactions” would seem a bit targeted to a purpose.

Here’s What People are Saying About Leslie’s Conquer Support Group

The Conquer group has been an incredible resource at a very affordable price. The monthly phone calls are extremely helpful to hear Leslie coach women through similar issues that I have struggled with in my marriage. We receive a copy of the recording so we can listen to them again and take notes. We also receive videos that we can watch over and over on topics like core strengths, victimization, and changing the dance. Leslie speaks truth that is biblically sound and her books, videos and groups have been life changing for myself and my marriage. Her materials have led me on a journey to peace and freedom in Christ even in the midst of a difficult relationship.

~ Conquer Member

LESLIE WELCOMES YOUR QUESTIONS

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.

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