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Category: Listener Questions

I Don’t Want to Look Like a Bad Christian if I Leave My Abusive Marriage

I Don’t Want to Look Like a Bad Christian if I Leave My Abusive Marriage [Episode 175]

Abusers who leave a relationship are as rare as steak tartare.

In fact, waiting for an abuser to leave is similar to waiting for them to change.

Or asking for a hippopotamus for Christmas. Riding a unicorn. Losing weight on a cake-only diet.

Not likely.

If abusers are so unhappy with their victims, why don’t they leave first? Because staying fits within the point of abuse: to control you. And unless he’s discovered an excellent and easy alternative, you’re an endless supply for your emotional abuser’s selfishness.

On top of that, if you’re a Christian woman, he knows you take your vows seriously. He’s counting on you to stick it out, no matter what. He’s got “God” on his side.

Finally, when he mistreats you, like any sane person or hurt puppy, you react, and it ain’t pretty. You’re so ashamed of your behavior. He knows it. So instead of focusing on the harm he’s doing, you’re consumed by what a failure—a raging, bitter wretch of a person—you feel like. And you wonder: Am I the abuser?

You’re stuck between a boulder (an impossible, destructive marriage) and a hard place (your paralyzing beliefs).

What now?

Should Abused Christian Wives Stay and Suffer Like Job?

Should Abused Christian Wives Stay and Suffer Like Job? [Episode 174]

Imagine two terminally ill children. Both are given three months to live. For one, there’s nothing doctors can do—death is certain. The disease is incurable and untreatable.

For the second, there’s a life-saving treatment available. If it isn’t taken, the next three months will be a slow, excruciating crawl toward the end. If the treatment is started as soon as possible, the child will live and—what’s more—thrive.

Family, friends, and church leaders of the second child gather around and declare that the life-saving treatment shouldn’t be accepted. Since the first child’s death is certain, it would be best for the second child to accept death as well. The second child should die. In fact, not only is it right to condemn the second child to death, but their suffering and pain will bring glory to God.

One more thing. The second child is YOUR child.


I have some. So listen in.

What Does It Mean to Find Yourself After Getting Out of an Abusive Relationship?

What Does It Mean to Find Yourself After Getting Out of an Abusive Relationship? [Episode 173]

It’s a thief.

Abuse robs us of the truth about ourselves.
Abuse steals our sense of safety.
Abuse consumes our time and energy.

And when we’re overwhelmed by all that abuse has taken from us, we can’t focus on the future or growth or discovery—the things that feed our soul and nurture our lives.

So how do we find that little girl full of dreams again? How do we connect to the young woman who had stars in her eyes? Where’s the door to a sense of belonging and self and fulfillment? How do we build a future on a busted-up past?

I’ve led many women through these questions. And we have to start by getting very precise. Because we don’t find our lives…we create them.

Does the Bible Say I Have to Give My Abusive Husband Sex on Demand?

Does the Bible Say I Have to Give My Abusive Husband Sex on Demand? [Episode 170]

You’re not a toaster.

No matter what you’ve been taught by religious leaders, you’re not a thing to be used.

No matter what you’ve been told by your husband, you’re not an appliance to be owned.

No matter what you’ve come to believe about yourself, you’re not property — at the mercy of a spouse who wants toast on demand.

If you’ve found yourself tormented over how you’re treated in your marriage, especially when it comes to sex, and you waver between disgust and despairing “submission,” I have a new bottom line for you.

It’s four little letters, and it never justifies your mistreatment.

The ways emotional abusers don't take responsibility

Different Ways Emotional Abusers Don’t Take Responsibility for Their Behavior [Episode 169]

He wants to treat me better. He just doesn’t know how.

He says he’s sorry. He really hates how he acts.

He’s struggling. He can’t help it.

Do you have these thoughts about your husband?

Have these thoughts led to anything good? More peace? Change (on his part)? Hope that lasts? A better marriage? A never-ending bucket of fried chicken?

Didn’t think so.

I have some other thoughts to offer. You can take them or leave them. They might seem cynical and hopeless on the surface. But I believe they’re the means to all the things you’re hoping for…except one.

This episode comes with not one but two guarantees:

Adults have 100% control over their behavior. And you have a 0% chance of making someone grow or change when they don’t want to.

Am I Responsible for Fixing My Husband?

Am I Responsible for Fixing My Husband? [Episode 167]

If you break abuse down to the nitty-gritty, at its heart is something called “emotional childhood.” Abusers think everybody should make their life work. Everyone should cater to their whims. Everybody is responsible for their emotions. For fixing them, moment by moment. They shouldn’t have to do anything. Like a stunted emotional child.

If you’re a wife in this situation, you come to believe that you are supposed to fix your husband. You think you’re the only one who can (and that “fixing” him is even possible).

Any movement to protect yourself, to detach, to assign responsibility to him for HIS OWN LIFE and CHOICES, feels like betrayal and selfishness and just plain gross. Your husband and many religious people would agree.

Which leads us right back to: Am I responsible for fixing my husband? Is detaching from him to protect myself wrong?

I’ve been asked these questions hundreds—if not thousands—of times, so I’ve fleshed out an answer that addresses them AND all those icky rabbit trails in your mind.

And unlike what you’ve been told in church, online, or by your husband, this answer doesn’t require you to throw yourself in a pool to save a person who wants to drown…and drag you under too.