Difficult vs. Destructive Relationships | Therapy & Theology

How Can We Pray For You? Have you signed up yet?

Difficult vs. Destructive Relationships | Therapy & Theology

Lysa TerKeurst talks with her friend Leslie Vernick about the difference between difficult relationships, which we all have to navigate at times, and destructive relationships, which are damaging to our relational and emotional health and overall well-being.

Helpful resources from Lysa TerKeurst and the Proverbs 31 Team:

– Download the FREE Listener Guide for this Therapy & Theology video here

– Get your copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s book “Good Boundaries and Goodbyes” here

Hi, friends. Welcome back to another episode of Therapy And Theology.
In just a moment, you’re gonna hear a conversation with my great friend, Leslie Vernick.
Leslie is a popular speaker, an author, and a licensed clinical social worker, and a relationship coach.
She has more than 3 decades experience helping individuals, couples, and families with so many issues.
Now here’s why I’m really excited that we’re gonna talk to Leslie today.
Because she’s gonna help us understand the difference between a difficult relationship and a destructive relationship, and I think it’s gonna bring you a lot of clarity.
I can’t wait for you to hear what we discussed. So let’s jump into that conversation now.
Well, hi, Leslie. It is such an honor and honestly a joy to have you with me on the podcast today.
This is gonna be a little bit of a different therapy in theology, but I’m so excited.
And one of the main motivators that I had in wanting you to come on the podcast besides the fact that you’re very brilliant.
You’ve been working in this field for many, many, many years.
You’ve helped 1000 upon thousands upon maybe millions of women. Um, but the main reason is because you’ve helped me.
And I am so grateful for how you helped me understand something absolutely crucial.
And that is that there’s a big difference between a difficult relationship and a destructive relationship.
So let’s start there.
You know, thank you, Lisa.
I really appreciate that because you know, one of the things that I struggled with was I was in a destructive relationship, not in my marriage, but in my childhood with my mom, And when I finally figured out that I couldn’t change her, I wasn’t sure how to handle that because how do you have a relationship with someone who continues to harm you that does care that they harm you.
That doesn’t apologize. It doesn’t take any responsibility for the wrongdoing.
Um, and I think Christianity and our teaching, especially as Christian women, has been a little bit heavy on the side of forgiving and forbearing and, you know, not keeping a record of wrongs.
And I tried to do that with my mother, but it didn’t improve the relationship. In fact, it depleted me.
And so I began to start my own journey of what does the Bible have to say about healthy relationships and good boundaries?
And does it have anything say about the other side of relationships, not just forgiving and forbearing, but does it say that we need to hold people accountable or speak the truth in love?
And uncover the unfruitful deeds of darkness. So that was my first personal journey into this whole topic.
But then when I was writing my book, I had a clinical practice. I was a therapist.
I was writing my book on depression in women.
And Lisa, I have to tell you that ninety 5% of the women that I saw in my practice that were clinically depressed were in emotionally and physically destructive and abusive marriages.
And I’m thinking to myself, is the best thing that we have to offer them is take antidepressants and go to therapy, but somehow you’ve gotta keep your marriage together when it’s killing you.
It’s destroying you emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes even physically.
And so I began to dig deeper and what does marriage look like and what is the difference between all marriages that are hard sometimes.
And I’ve been married a long time to the same person.
It’s been hard, and there’s been hard times and hard years.
But there’s a big difference between a difficult marriage that has stressors, external internal differences, and personality or values.
And you’ve gotta work that through.
And a destructive marriage, which will deplete and destroy you if you’re not aware that there is a huge difference.
So, Leslie, I know that you, like myself, you are a big proponent of marriage, and at the same time, it is important to acknowledge the underbelly that can happen that often goes very unaddressed.
So Talk to me a little bit about red flags that someone might be experiencing that Maybe it’s hard for them to identify, but that are evidences of some destructive realities in their marriage.
Yeah. So here are 5 red flags that I think because I think women often don’t have the words.
In fact, oftentimes, women have told me, thank you for putting this into words.
Because I didn’t have the words to describe it, but I felt it.
I felt it deep in my belly and my spirit.
And so I think when you feel scared in your marriage, scared for your safety, whether it’s physical safety or just emotional safety that you feel like you’re being attacked all time that you’re being gaslit.
You’re confused. You’re scared to bring up something. You’re scared to say no.
You’re scared to make your own decision.
Those are red flags that this is not a healthy relationship that this may be, um, the destructive side.
Another red flag would be that you are controlled that you I I remember Lisa talking about going to a women’s retreat.
I was just attending a women’s retreat with a friend of mine and she goes, Well, I don’t know.
I have to ask my husband if I can go. And I’m like, are you an adult in this relationship?
You have to ask your husband if you can go.
I can certainly understand talking to him about that and to see if it’s a good time for him to watch the kids and all those kind of things, but asking permission like a child asks a parent.
Um, as I Talk to her further.
She was kind of controlled that she wasn’t allowed to make her own choices.
She wasn’t allowed, even to cut her hair.
And when her mom was dying of cancer, She wasn’t allowed to go take care of her mom because it would inconvenience him.
To me, that’s a really destructive marriage when she’s not allowed to make a grown up decision.
To care for someone she loves because her husband won’t let her.
That’s a misunderstanding and a misdefinition of headships, admission, and marriage.
So when you feel controlled by someone, when you feel afraid of someone, when you feel constantly and regularly confused with someone.
For example, I remember talking to a woman and she said, you know, my husband and I agreed that if he was gonna be late, he would call me.
Because I would be upset that he wouldn’t call and he’d come home 2 hours late from work, and I’d have dinner and the kids were upset, and he didn’t want me to eat without him.
And it was frustrating. But then when he didn’t call and he came home late and I called him on.
I confronted him on it. He said, I never said that. You’re trying to control me.
You’re trying to micromanage my life. And so then she started getting really confused.
Like, did we agree with this, or didn’t we not agree with this?
And so Sometimes that gaslighting, that confusion that I thought we agreed to this, or I thought we agreed not to this, or I thought we were gonna agree to tell each other.
We took money out of the ATM. All those kind of decisions that you agreed to as a couple.
And then all of a sudden, it didn’t have or it didn’t happen the way you remember, and you start to feel a little nutty inside.
So when that happens on a regular basis, that’s a red flag.
The 2 other red flags I would say is when you are regularly feeling deceived or you have been deceived.
Trust is a component to any healthy relationship, especially marriage.
I love in the proverbs 31 chapter where it talks about the virtuous woman where it says her husband trusts her to do him good, not harm all the days of her life.
And I think the opposite is true too that we would trust him to do us good, not harm.
And so when you feel deceived, you can’t trust someone who’s telling you lies all the time or covering up things or, uh, misleading you.
That’s a red flag. And the last one is when you are regularly devalued, that your feelings, your needs, your opinion, your Goals don’t matter.
You are there to serve their agenda, and that’s it. You don’t matter as a person. You become an object.
Rather than a person to love.
Control because sometimes I think people have a certain vision or a certain definition of how control plays out, but you know, I have seen control play out and you better not tell anyone that we’re going through this or you better not tell anyone that you caught me doing this because and then there’s all these ramifications that feel very scary and very daunting And so that can be a form of control as well.
And so what do you say to the wife who maybe she caught her husband looking at pornography.
And obviously, she doesn’t wanna invite everyone in, but she’s she’s nervous to to not tell someone and yet she doesn’t wanna betray her husband, or maybe she has, you know, had a suspicion about her husband.
That he’s been taking phone calls in the other room, and there’s just this feeling something could be going on, but she’s nervous that if she says something and nothing is going on, then that’s a betrayal of her against her husband.
So what would you say to the woman who’s struggling and that kind of angst?
Well, you know, we all need the help of wise others.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews, for example, um, that we should encourage one another day after day list any one of us become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
And so we are to talk to one another.
Um, obviously, the first person we talked to is the person who we think is sitting against us.
So we’re concerned about them. Galatians 61 tells us if you see someone in a Trust, go to them and speak to them.
Jesus says if someone sinned against you, your brother or sister, go to them and talk to them.
So she’s already done that. And that’s going on deaf ears. That’s being deflected, denied.
Um, you’re threatened that if you tell more, you’re gonna be in trouble. And that’s a red flag.
Because true love seeks the highest good of the other.
And so if you truly love your husband, and he’s doing something harmful to himself, to the marriage, to your family’s welfare.
Then I think the brave thing would be to say, hey.
I’m not gonna enable this by keeping your secret.
That doesn’t mean I’m gonna put it on Facebook, and I’m gonna out you.
But I am going to take this to the next level. And it might be the church.
It might be a counselor, but here’s the mistake oftentimes that Christian women make.
They think that they can fix his problem.
If only they either try harder to love him better or even go to the church, that somehow that’s gonna fix his problem.
And certainly it might be a good start to expose the unfutual deeds of darkness.
Bible tells us so that the light comes in and someone sees their sin and is held accountable.
But it doesn’t always work.
And so that’s not necessarily the final solution for a woman in that situation, but it is a good path for her not to participate in those unfruitful deeds of darkness secrets destroy and especially unhealthy destructive secrets.
That’s really good. So what if she feels something’s wrong?
And she’s tried to talk to him and he just either has kind of made her feel crazy or she doesn’t have any proof, but she just keeps having this this checking her spirit that, like, something is wrong.
What can she do? Because I mean, it’s really hard to deal with a problem if you don’t even know exactly what the problem is.
Well, I think if she’s concerned about his behaviors on the outside of the marriage with porn or an affair or hiding money or any of those kind of things.
I think the first thing I don’t know if you ever experienced this, Lisa, but god has often told me to check on something that I wouldn’t have thought of.
I remember one time my son was doing something that he shouldn’t have been doing.
And I was going to bed. I thought he was in his bedroom sleeping.
He must have been 12 or something at the time. And the lord said, go look out your front window.
I mean, just before I was ready to crawl into bed, I just heard the Holy Spirit say, go look out your front window.
And I go look up my front window, and my son is smoking up by the driveway.
And I went out there and found out that he had his, um, his grandmother smoked, and he was curious about what that was like.
And He took a cigarette and tried it. But it was interesting that god told me to go look.
And so I think that God wants us to know the truth. The truth sets us free.
And so if we have those suspicions about activity that we don’t know about, I think it’s okay to do a little checking, and I think it’s okay to do a little prayer about exposing what’s wrong so that I can take the appropriate action just like if you had a tummy ache, or it was a chronic problem in your body.
You would do some investigation. You would go to the doctor.
You would seek out some answers about why this is happening. I think it’s an important thing to do.
However, sometimes you don’t get the proof. You don’t get all the answers you need.
And so it leaves a woman in a kind of a quandary.
Um, how do I deal with my fears when I really don’t have any evidence that they’re real?
And I think that’s that’s an important it’s an important job for all of us to have to work on because we can have boogeymen in our head that keep us paralyzed when we don’t know for sure what’s really going on.
So do you feel like though if a woman has some of those fears that they’re is a reason why she’s having them, or do you think we can just have fears and they’re totally unjustified and it’s just something that that happens because sometimes I feel, I remember Jim Crest, um, my therapist said one time, if you’re smelling smoke, there is a fire.
But, you know, sometimes I do have unrealistic fears and yet sometimes my feeling of fear or suspicion a lot of times where there was smoke, there was a fire.
And so sometimes for me, it’s hard to discern especially because I was in a situation where I was gaslit and I was told what I was seeing is not what I was seeing or what I was um, what I was feeling is is was just completely unjustified, and then years went by.
And I found out, oh, actually, my discernment was right.
So is there a way that if I’m having some of those fears, uh, is there a way for me to kinda check my self and say, this is something I need to investigate or no, this is kind of an unrealistic fear?
Well, I think it can be both. I think we can have unrealistic fears about things.
People who fear cancer, and they’re always worried that they have cancer and they don’t have cancer, but they fear it.
So I think and I also think that women have really good Got instincts. And so you are smelling smoke.
It might very well be smoke, and you just can’t find it. You can’t find the source of your smoke.
And so this is the first next step for a woman in that situation.
I think if she went to her husband, if if I went to my husband and I said, I don’t know.
I’m having all kinds of insecurity about our finances. I I don’t know where, you know, where money is.
I don’t know how much money we actually have.
Maybe I had some smoked smell and then, you know, he’s spending money that I don’t know about or all those kind of things.
I might not say that directly, but I am gonna say to him, I’d like to look at our checking accounts.
I’d like to see where our retirement accounts are. You know, can you give me those passwords?
And I’d like to just calm myself down.
So I’m not gonna blame him or accuse him, but I am gonna say, hey, I need more information, or I’m really nervous.
I don’t know if it’s in my head, but I just sense there’s been a distance between us and I see you on your phone a lot.
Can I look at your phone? I just need to calm myself down. Alright.
His response will tell you an awful lot.
Oh, this is good, Leslie. Yeah.
His response, but because a normal husband who, if you’re not attacking him or accusing him of anything, will say, of course, here.
Let’s look at the accounts. I don’t want you to feel anxious.
You know, it’s all here, and here’s what I’m doing with it.
And they’ll be honest and forth, right, because they want to help you calm yourself down.
If they’re hiding something, then they will let you know that through shaming you, avoiding you, making excuses, gaslighting you.
You’re being ridiculous. I don’t have time to do that now. Why are you always accused in?
So it’s really important how you say You don’t say that it’s your problem. It’s my problem.
I’m feeling anxious about this. It would help me if I could look through your phone.
Yeah. I can’t remember.
I just gave me your password. Yeah.
Yeah. That’s so good. I remember, um, in a situation I was in, um, when I would ask you know, can I look at your phone?
Um, it was totally the script was flipped on me, and it’s like see, this is what our problem is right here.
It’s you because you keep having all these crazy thoughts, and then you wanna make your craziness my problem.
And no, I’m not going to show you my phone because it’s just going to feed your issues.
Like, you either trust me or you don’t.
And then that left me feeling so ashamed that I had asked.
And so now not only did I not have the answers I was looking for.
But now I felt so ashamed that the next time I really wanted to look at the phone, I I would second guess myself.
And I really did start thinking that I was crazy.
And I think this is something that can really happen, um,
to women. And that’s such a good that’s such a good strategy that your husband did because it does deflect off of him and shames you for even asking.
Where in a healthy relationship, if you ask, even if you ask your doctor, if you say Hey, I don’t know.
Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I just I just sent there’s something wrong with my breast.
Can we do an extra mammogram? Most doctors would let you do an extra mammogram. Right?
Especially if you say, if your insurance isn’t gonna pay for it, you say, I’ll pay for it.
You know, I want to have that information. They don’t shame you for that.
They give you that information because it helps you know what you’re dealing with. Nothing. Oh, it’s just my imagination.
Or why aren’t you wanting me to see your phone? Why are you shaming me?
Why can’t we look at the accounts? Why can’t you tell me where you were yesterday?
Why can’t I look at the checkbook?
All those kind of things that may be those red flags for you I think in healthy marriage can be open conversation.
And when you’re ashamed and you’re not allowed to talk about it or you’re not allowed to ask those questions so that you can calm down, That’s a red flag.
That’s a red flag. You might back off because he won’t tell you, but don’t think yourself is crazy.
Think yourself as, wow. I didn’t get that information.
I don’t know what’s on his phone, but I got information that he’s hiding what’s on his phone.
That’s good. Okay. So then what?
So now she maybe got some information that is concerning or alarming or she had the conversation and he is obviously hiding something on his phone.
And, obviously, this could be the husband approaching the wife. It can go either way.
You know, maybe the wife is hiding something So I wanna just make it clear.
It’s it can go either way, but let’s say just for the sake of our example that now she knows that either he’s hiding something or there’s something wrong because of his reaction or she discovered something.
So now what? What does she do? What’s a good first step?
Because I remember sitting in that feeling so panicked and terrified and honestly completely paralyzed because I did not want this to be real, and yet I knew somewhere deep inside of my heart that something real was happening, and it was not good.
And that if I chase this this thing down, that my whole world could implode, and I was just terrified.
So what would if I would have called you in that moment, Leslie, what advice would you have given me?
So I would have said that you’re suspecting that he has a problem, and your suspicions are probably right.
So what is your problem with his problem? Uh. Right?
And so you would say, I’m terrified to find out Because if I find out, then I’m terrified about what was gonna happen to our marriage.
I mean, so then your work right then is to learn to get strong enough to handle the truth. Wow.
Right. And so god may be giving you that space before knowing the truth to give you enough space to build up the courage to face the truth.
That’s so good. Okay. So then how how do I get strong enough to be able to face that truth?
Like, what are some things that I can do?
I think a couple things.
One of the things that I think we’ve taught women to do in the church is to become marriage centered women or husband centered women.
Sort of like Leah when she said, I need him to love me in order for me to be okay.
And so we’ve put all of our eggs in that basket. Eggs of our own well-being.
Like, I will never be okay if this if my marriage doesn’t survivor, if he doesn’t love me, or if he doesn’t say he’s sorry, I need him.
To show me his phone in order for me to be okay.
And so we’ve put all of our emotional well-being, our source of our well-being in our marriage and in our husbands.
Hands, and that’s a pretty risky place to put it.
And so I think the first place is reorienting, and it’s not saying that marriage isn’t important.
It is but it’s not the most important.
And so god calls us to be god centered women and to use him and have him as our source of well-being which then gives us the courage to deal with whatever is out there that is scary and hard in a very different way than if we need to have what’s out there not be scary and hard for us to be okay.
That’s good. I remember one thing that I did write in this season is I didn’t tell everyone, but I picked just a couple of friends to to walk alongside me and to and to be my people that I could that I could call that I could process things with.
And when I felt like I was so dysregulated because of new discoveries, they could help be my stable thoughts when I felt like I didn’t have stable thoughts of my own.
And, um, that was helpful. That was really helpful for me.
That is so important because one of the tactics of a destructive person is isolation.
So we’ve heard of cults and, you know, organizations that don’t let any fresh air in that you have to think how we think.
You have to believe how we think in order for you to be a part of this group.
And so when you’re in a marriage like that, you’re not allowed to talk to anybody about this.
You’re not allowed to tell anybody about this.
You have to think like I think in order for us to be okay. That’s a very oppressive, destructive relationship.
And so for us to go outside of that and say, what do you think? This is what happened.
Is this normal? That’s a really helpful question to ask your friend. I’m worried about this. Am I overreacting?
Because sometimes we don’t have a gauge in we maybe came from a dysfunctional family where this was normal.
And so we’re not exactly sure whether we’re reading something or we’re overreacting or we’re underreacting.
And so having wise others, the Bible tells us that we’re to surround ourselves with wise advisors, wise friends who can help us discern true truth and also avoid being bamboozled by the smooth words and the flattery talk of the evil one.
And so to be able to have those friends are essential.
And so that’s another second step that, you know, you orient yourself to god, but god also invites you to have those wise others and those good girlfriends.
And again, not publicly outing your husband, but sharing with some of your friends, hey, I did go to him, and I did talk to him.
And this is what happened. Will this happen in your marriage? No. My husband would show me his phone.
Oh, alright. What does that mean that he won’t show me his phone that he turned it back on me and have those conversations so that you’re not alone in that gut feeling like something wrong here.
That’s really good. And and another important thing for me was to override being told you better not say anything to anyone because that would be the thing that would make me walk away from you.
And I had to override that fear, and it was a daunting fear. And I did not override it.
I didn’t invite in my friends. For several years.
And so I lived with this source of secret sorrow in my heart, being afraid to tell anyone, being um, trying my best to investigate on my own and yet just feeling absolutely fractured in having to smile on the outside, carrying this this great sense of fear and devastation on the inside.
And what I’ve since learned is trauma is not just something that happens to you.
It happens in you. And I think me carrying this for a long time without getting some trusted wise advisors around me.
Um, it took a real toll on my body.
And for those people who have followed along with my story, you know, in 2016, I almost died because of a twisted colon that was just a very strange situation that happened, but knowing the trauma I was experiencing then it’s not strange at all.
And then I barely healed from that. And in 2017, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Answer and then had to go through all of that.
So, you know, I just I I just wanna speak tenderly to someone’s heart that we don’t wanna be overly suspicious but we don’t wanna keep our mouth shut when we really should use our voice to get some wise advisors around us.
And, um, another important step that I took was to find a good Christian counselor.
And I didn’t find the right one at first. You know, I went to several.
And, um, but then I knew when I finally found Jim Crest who wound up becoming my counselor.
I knew that he was the right person when I walked into his office, and I told him everything I’d been experiencing.
And he said, I believe you. Now let’s figure out what to do about it.
And just him saying that he believed me was such comfort because for so long, I’ve been saying things to this other person that I was in a relationship with and they kept saying, you’re crazy.
You’re crazy. This is what’s wrong. You know?
And so to have a Christian counselor to also help me process things and to tell me over and over and over again, you’re not crazy.
And he had the degrees, you know, he had the degrees hanging on his wall.
That told me he’s a good gauge of whether or not I’m crazy. So that also helped.
Leslie, is there any final words of comfort that you would give to women and and how can they connect with you?
Because You’ve got so many fantastic resources. I love your book, um, on emotionally destructive relationships.
And the emotional destructive marriage. They’re 2 different books. Right?
Yep. Mhmm.
And so I highly recommend those books, but you’ve got some other tremendous resources as well.
So I would love for you to, um, to just let our listeners know the other resources you have available.
Probably the most helpful resource for a woman who might be feeling like she’s in this situation, especially if it’s hard for her to get some report is we have a large online support group called Conquerer.
Um, and that’s by, um, we only open it twice a year so that we can really love on our women help them get the security and the safety and the support that they need to make good decisions to know that they’re heard and they’re valued and they’re believed because sometimes they’ve gone to counselors just like you did, and they weren’t believed or they’re gas lit even in their counselors.
Or they’re told, you know, it might be true, but god hates divorce.
And so You’ve got to be the sacrificial martyr here, and you’ve gotta suffer and sacrifice for Jesus in order to make sure that your marriage stays intact.
But what they’re really asking a woman to do is lie and pretend.
And I don’t think that honors god.
And so really getting around a lot of other women in this and knowing you’re not alone and having godly wisdom and support to help you walk through some steps to gain greater safety.
You talked about your body being impacted.
And I think the Bible’s really clear, especially in proverbs, that when you live with a person who’s destructive and contentious, it does affect you physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Um, you start to feel crazy. You start to break down. Your body breaks down and yours did.
And those were warning signs that you needed to take care of you and not be as focused on keeping his secrets.
And again, I think this is really important to understand that god values the sanctity of marriage just as we’ve talked about, but he doesn’t value the sanctity of marriage more.
Then the safety and the sanity of the people in that marriage.
And so if that marriage is toxic and destructive to the adults in that marriage, Imagine how destructive it is to the children in that marriage who then carry on those same patterns in the next generation.
So for a woman to finally say, I’m not participating in in that that way anymore.
If there’s repentance and change, that’s a whole different picture, but I’m not colluding with the secret, and I’m not staying in this pattern in this way anymore and to get the help to get out of it.
That’s great. And there is help and hope for um, situations that have even become destructive, marriages that that are destructive.
And I like what you just said, you know, just for the woman to say I’m no longer participating.
I’m I’m no longer signing on to, um, endure what what we’ve been experiencing or what I’ve been experiencing in this dysfunctional dance and in this toxicity.
Um, and so there is help even for the destructive marriage.
And, um, you know, and and sometimes god’s plan is a redemption plan where 2 people do humble themselves.
They’re they’re, um, the one who has caused the destruction that they are repentant and they come back and they they want to do the hard work.
And I think that’s the real key is instead of excusing away the behavior, they they want to do the hard work to get better.
They want to humble themselves. They want to be repentant.
And I think you know, then there there could be hope for that situation.
Um, and so anything you wanna say about that, Leslie?
Yeah. I think it’s really important for women to understand what that really looks like because oftentimes a man, once he realizes, he can’t continue to get away with this without consequences.
He’s gonna lose his family or he’s gonna lose half his money in retirement and he doesn’t wanna get a divorce for that reason.
He will start saying the words of repentance, but you won’t see the fruit of repentance.
So let me just share a couple pieces of fruit that you wanna see because we can’t read someone’s heart We don’t know if they’re really repentant or not, and their words alone aren’t enough.
In fact, on the Baptist side of the pharisees, proof by the way that you live.
That you’ve repented of your sin and turned to god. So the Bible doesn’t say that words are enough.
Our actions over time show it.
So so two actions that you would want to see different One is they’re not telling you what you need to do when they’re repentant.
So they’re not saying, well, you need to forgive. And you need to take me back.
And you need to get over this. And you need they’re not doing that.
They don’t have that entitled mindset anymore that I can call the shots. They’re grateful.
When you’re repentant, you’re grateful that someone is even willing to give you a second chance.
Willing to let you show you the fruit of repentance over time. They’re not making demands.
And someone someone makes demands on you and starts using spiritual language. And especially the Bible to control you again.
They may have stopped watching porn for the season, but they haven’t stopped their destructive ways.
And that will give you that red flag that repentance isn’t real because there’s not humility.
There’s still a lot of pride and entitlement.
And so Watch what they say and how they say it in what they do, not just their love bombing and buying you things and promising you a new ring and taking you on a nice trip.
The second thing that you want to see is that they own the patterns that you’ve seen, that pattern of entitlement, that pattern of deceit That pattern of gaslighting, that pattern of devaluing you or scaring you.
And if they don’t notice when they’re doing it again, and maybe you’re just having a exchange of children, and you say, hey.
I I feel like when you’re talking to me right now, you’re devaluing what I’m saying.
I’m telling you, I don’t wanna do that.
If they don’t stop, and value the feedback that you’ve given them in that moment and reflect. Nothing’s changed.
They’re still doing the same thing they’ve always done. They might not do it as harshly.
They might not do it in the same way, but they’re still not listening to what you have to say to be the proper helpmate in their life.
For them to self correct. And so those would be 2 red flags that would tell you right then and there that repentance no matter what they’re saying or how charming they are.
The character fruit of repentance isn’t there.
That’s so good. And I like what Jim taught me is it’s trust is built time plus believable behavior.
And so give it some time.
And over time trust, but verify, like, look for the believable behavior and you’ve just given us such a gift in what to look for and what are some more red flags even in that season of repentance.
So thank you so much, Leslie. This has been so helpful.
And I’ll also tell people that One of the best things that I ever did was to get your resources to watch your videos on YouTube to participate in the group.
I know I’ve spoken to your group before, and, um, all of that is doing exactly what we’ve said, getting people around you, who believe you, who will help you, and who can help you discern when you feel a little confused in what is real and what is not real in the situation that you’re in.
But the main thing I wanna leave women with, and then I’m gonna have you leave the women with something, the listeners today.
The main thing I want to leave you with is what my counselor said to me.
I know we’re not sitting there having coffee together, but I want you to hear me. I believe you.
I I believe that you are experiencing some concerns. I believe you that you are feeling brokenhearted. I believe you.
And so I pray that that is a comfort to you that you’re not alone.
I I may not have been through the exact same circumstance as you, but I’ve been through something pretty similar.
And I just wanna say, I believe you, you’re not alone, and there is a lot of help for you.
And I think Leslie will be a great resource.
Of course, other episodes of therapy and theology can also be a tremendous resource.
And my book, good boundaries, and good buys, another good resource in Leslie’s books, the emotionally destructive relationship, the emotionally destructive marriage.
I just wanna make sure you know you’ve got friends that will walk along beside you and professionals who can help you.
So, Leslie, what would you like to leave our listeners with today?
I would like them to know that not only are they believed by us as humans, but god knows.
God knows. He knows everything. And so you can trust him to take you through this dark valley.
Nobody wants to get a divorce. At least nobody that I know of.
He says, Oh, this is a good thing.
Nobody wants to go down that dark path, but it’s so important for you to to not only have other people in your life to believe you and know that god believes you and values you, but I think it’s time for you to believe you.
For you to trust that your body, your soul, your spirit, your mind is informing you. Something’s wrong.
Pay attention. And you might not know all of the details, but pay attention value that. Don’t just ignore that.
Just like if you had something going wrong and you felt a little lump in your breast, you would pay attention.
Something’s wrong, and you would do something. You would begin investigating. You would begin asking other people.
You would begin talking about it, you wouldn’t just ignore it and say, oh, I’m not gonna pay any attention to that.
And so god is giving you this opportunity for you to really Begin to face what you might not wanna face.
Just like you didn’t want to, Lisa, and I wouldn’t want you either.
But it doesn’t go away if we don’t face it. And so really know that you are not alone.
You are not alone 1 in 4 Christian women report being in an emotionally destructive marriage.
And so this is such a common problem.
And it’s so important for women to get together and talk about it and talk to each other, not to bed mouth their husbands.
But to realize that god cares about this situation, both in their home and in the broader area of the church, to really begin to help people understand what genuine godly marriages look like and to begin to help the next generation create that.
That’s so Leslie, thank you so much. It’s been such
an honor to have you today.
Thanks for having me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button