Relationship Truth: Unfiltered
Every relationship has its problems. But, too often, those problems become destructive and even dangerous. This happens in Christian marriages, too. And, the church, unfortunately, hasn’t done a great job of dealing with it. Relationship Truth: Unfiltered is a place for people of faith to find real answers when it comes to destructive relationships. Leslie Vernick is the author of seven books, including the best-selling, ”The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.” She has dedicated her life to cutting through the religious confusion and teaching women to be strong, even in the hardest of circumstances.
2 days ago
2 days ago
In this episode of Relationship Truth: Unfiltered you’ll hear some of Leslie and Julie’s experiences with the emotion of fear and how it has, at times, been in the driver’s seat of their lives. Leslie will share how fear can be a good thing but also when it becomes detrimental to decision making and living the life God has called you to live. Notes from this episode: Fear can be a good thing. Our bodies warn us of danger and it’s good to heed the body’s warning. Fear can also be detrimental when it turns to anxiety and a person lives with the fear of “what if I look foolish, what if something bad happens, what if something bad happens, what if I get rejected…” How do you deal with the fear of decision making? The first step is to make a decision: The absolute best decision you can make is the right decision. The second best decision you can make is the wrong decision. The worst decision you can make is no decision. 9:35 What if you’ve made a decision that isn’t easy to change, like marrying the wrong person? Even this can be a good decision if you let it teach you. When does fear cross the line to where it’s becoming a detriment? When the fear stops a person from growing. When fear drives your decisions. Any emotion you allow in the driver’s seat can be detrimental. When we really understand God’s plan for our lives, when something puts us in a scary situation and we are afraid … that may be something where we are to grow and learn. What would be a better way of facing those fears?Face your own internal self talk. Maybe you don’t think you can handle hurt so you live in a bubble. Maybe you need to think about how you can handle hurt or stand up for yourself instead of being a victim. As the question, “because.” I’m afraid because… and if that happens, what does that mean? “It means… and if that happens, it means…” and so on. It’s a way of getting to the root issue of your story. Maybe the root of it is that you think you’re worthless. The Bible has more to say about fear than almost anything else. If we really do trust him, that he knows what he’s doing and will work it out for our good, for our maturity, (not necessarily our happiness or pleasure) then we don’t have to live in fear. How do you deal with the feelings and fears that come after experiencing something tragic?Your emotions aren’t the boss of you. You can get help and support. How can you learn to deal with it? How can you prepare yourself to accept that you will have to deal with it and come to a place of acceptance? You don’t have to lose your mind or sanity. One of the biggest ways to conquer fear is to walk toward what you fear. You can face the fears in your mind. If you know you can handle it and there will be resources for you, it’s still unpleasant and hard but knowing you will get through it makes the fear less powerful. Don’t transfer an old experience to the present. You aren’t the same person. Where do people get support? Counseling and coaching support is available. Grief groups or other groups. The most important thing is to know you’re not alone. Being alone can lead to feelings of shame and depression. It doesn’t always have to be professional support. Peer to peer support is also a big help. Once you de-shame having problems it’s very empowering. Pay attention to your thoughts. Psalm 55:2 My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught. If you struggle with anxiety. Philippians 4:6-8 Be anxious for nothing but in everything let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind. And, later, Pau says, Whatsoever things are good and noble and true and just…let your mind dwell on these things. You don’t have to think negatively. You can change the channel in your mind. The Bible tells us to discipline ourselves when our mind is focusing on negative and worrisome things. Don’t feed your mind with worst-case scenarios. We have to say, “God, you are in control.” How do you go about training yourself to think differently?Once you recognize what you’re thinking, that’s when you consciously change the channel. The first step is recognizing your thoughts. So focus on what’s good in your life. What can you be grateful for? Intentionally feed your mind different ways to look at your situation. There is more than one way to look at your situation. Believe that. Be very intentional when it comes to your thoughts and it will start to become more natural. God has wired our thoughts to affect your emotions. If they are impacting your emotions in a way that doesn’t match with reality, understand that your body is reacting as though your thoughts are reality. We are called to do this. “Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5) “Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) You can deal with it. Or you can learn to deal with it. It may be hard. But you can do it. Emotions are our informers. They are not our deciders. Don't just work on your thinking. Work on your virtues as well. This will help you deal with those emotions. Don’t forget to: Sign up for Leslie’s newsletter at www.leslievernick.com Register for a free webinar on www.leslievernick.com/joinworkshop Share this episode!
Monday Nov 28, 2022
Monday Nov 21, 2022
Monday Nov 21, 2022
In this episode Leslie interview Darby Strickland, a faculty member and counselor with Christian counseling & educational foundation as well as the author of, “Is It Abuse? A Biblical Guide to Identifying Abuse and Helping Victims.” 3:10 - What has been the hardest part of getting people to understand? Oppressors don’t often look like oppressors to the outside world. Their public face is often much different. They come from such a problem in their heart. Victims have a hard time believing their spouse’s heart is that commited to self vs. living for the Lord. They rationalize, wanting to believe the best about a person. 4:45 - How does a woman discern between a man who is an overzealous leader and a man who is truly an oppressor? Even Jesus’ submission was willful. It wasn’t fear-based. Often a woman is afraid to disagree or have a different opinion. Her input is devalued. This is complying, not submitting. It’s subjugation. 6:30 What do you say to a woman whose husband dismisses her by saying she’s being too sensitive? Coercive control goes across all dimensions of relationship, not just physical. Journal. It may take up to 30 entries before you see a pattern in the stories. Then, see if those stories match up with what is in Darby’s or Leslie’s books. Or, find someone who is familiar with oppressive dynamics and can help you interpret those stories and see the pattern. Identifying the pattern is very important. 11:15 If a woman feels unheard and devalued and reduced to a role, what should she do? Depending on the severity of the abuse, you could try having a “micro” conversation about a specific thing you’re noticing. You can also begin to talk to someone else and get some validation to your story. Also, begin to work on the mindset that you have to diminish yourself in order to be submissive. As you begin to stand up to yourself, you will begin to shift the dynamics of the relationship. He will get more respectful or more abusive. If he gets more abusive, that’s a really good sign. Abort the conversation and get extra support. 16:15 What about the argument that women were made to be a helpmate? Being a godly wife does not mean simply serving your spouse. It’s okay for you to have your own personhood. Don’t allow your husband to usurp God’s position in your life. Your primary purpose is to love and serve the Lord. That means loving your husband by confronting sin, reading scripture, loving your friends and neighbors, etc. When someone wants to put themselves as the center of your purpose, there’s a big problem. The Proverbs 31 woman had her own life and wasn’t micromanaged by her husband. 19:00 - What are signs a pre-marital counselor could see that a relationship might be destructive? Abuse, early on, doesn’t look like abuse. It can look like passion. Maybe one partner says, “I want to spend all my time with you.” They wouldn’t say they are wanting to isolate you from others. “I love you so much I can’t…” Find out what happens in other moments of relationship. Separate each partner and ask… “Are you allowed to complain? Does he get upset when you’re sick and unable to be there for him? Does he talk about ex or mother in disparaging ways? Has he ever berated a waitress? What’s it like when you say ‘no’ to him?” If she hasn’t, she should try to say “no” to him or even ask him to do something for her and then see if he’s willing to meet her needs or accepts her “no.” Does he use the Bible to try and control? Anytime someone uses scripture to condemn rather than convict it’s a huge red flag. If he is pushing engagement too fast, that’s a red flag. When the relationship feels too good to be true, it is. 25:30 What would a small group leader do who observes concerning behavior in a couple? Pursue a friendship with that woman. It may be a while before she feels able to even identify what she’s experiencing as abuse. Encourage her to be able to speak without her husband’s permission in the group, etc. Make sure she feels valued by you and that it’s a safe relationship. Ask questions but don’t accuse. Always stay in a curious mode. 32:15 What if a pastor is uninterested or gives advice like, “Try not to upset him?” First, be praying. Then, look for a counselor who understands oppressive marriages. There might be an elder or someone else in the church who would understand. Maybe you need to attend a Bible study, even at a different church where there are understanding people. If you’re telling your story and being dismissed and shut down and leaders are using the Bible to keep you stuck in a destructive situation, you really need to find other counsel. RESOURCES: Article “How to Discern True Repentance when Serious Sin Has Occurred: www.leslievernick.com/repentance Christian Counseling and Education Foundation: WWW.CCEF.ORG www.leslievernick.com
Monday Nov 14, 2022
Monday Nov 14, 2022
In this episode Leslie shares seven fundamentals truths parents must teach their kids in order for them to be healthy and strong. Chapter #1 1:45 It’s important that kids know they are loved unconditionally. Children need to know they matter and they are important. This gives them a secure base from which to flourish and grow. This is also their first taste of the love of God. Admit and own when you make a mistake. This gives kids permission to not be a perfect kid, too. Chapter #2 4:00 They need to know and be able to name their feelings, to put words into what’s happening inside of them. Chapter #3 7:00 How to name your feelings - ask yourself “Is this upset feeling more of a sad, scared, or mad feeling?” Then ask, “Is it a little bit of that emotion, medium, or a lot? Chapter #4 9:48 No matter how sad or angry they are, kids must learn there are limits to what they can do with those emotions. Sometimes we need to help children face their feelings instead of coddling them into not feeling their feelings. They must learn how to control the expression of their emotions. Chapter #5 13:50 Reality exists and they have to accept it. The more they deny reality the more pain exists. It can be as simple as accepting the fact that it’s bedtime or that they have to do their homework before watching video game. Chapter #6 17:50 They need to begin taking responsibility for themselves. This starts at a young age with toilet training. It’s important not to overfunction for a child or teen. Failure can be an important teacher. Chapter #7 22:10 - You must teach your children how to tell themselves the truth and how to live in the truth. We all lie to ourselves. “I can’t do that.” “It’s too hard.” “Nobody likes me.” For more resources go to www.leslievernick.com
Monday Nov 07, 2022
Monday Nov 07, 2022
Karen's marriage lasted nearly 30 years. She and her husband were financially successful and both loved the Lord. In fact, her husband is the one who led Karen to Christ. But there was a dark side of anger and control that challenged everything she believed about marriage and divorce. A word of warning: there is some disturbing content in this episode. Karen's story, while difficult, is one of bravery and doing the right thing...not just for herself but for her children and even for her husband.
Monday Oct 31, 2022
Monday Oct 31, 2022
In this episode of Relationship Truth, Unfiltered, Leslie discusses why conflict doesn’t have to be a negative part of relationships. She’ll address some of the hard parts of disagreements and how to fight fair. Chapter 1 (2:10): How do you keep conflict from escalating? Talk first about how you can talk about a topic and have both people feel safe. Talk about the way you deal with problems so that issue can be dealt with first. Chapter 2 (3:29) When do you stop talking about the past? It depends. If someone isn’t over the past then it’s time to ask curious questions. “This is really bothering you and you keep bringing it up. What’s that about? I’m curious.” You have to be committed to how you’re going to show up in a conflict. You can only keep your side of the street…you cannot control how they show up in a conflict. Decide to show up in a respectful, curious, and generous way. If you do this it can’t deteriorate because it takes two to deteriorate. If he chooses to be destructive then the conversation is over. Chapter 3 (6:30) Questions to ask yourselvesHave you ever had a time in your relationship where you worked on a problem in a positive way? What was it you did right? How did you work on it together? Learn from that. Chapter 4: (7:50) How do you deal with someone who just doesn’t want to “give in?” What would be different if you just accepted this? For whatever reason he’s done being passive, being accommodating? Accept his point of view and decide on how to solve the issue at hand. Maybe, if it’s something that is just important to you, figure out how you can make it happen with a good spirit. Chapter 5 (13:45) - What if you have someone who won’t deal with conflict and withdraws? There are people who are conflict avoidant, possibly because of their background and negative history of conflict. Deal with that fact, first. Deal with how your relational history has been negative in this area. Ask how he would feel safe talking about this. There are many ways to create safety. As examples, you can set time limits or simply share points of view without trying to solve the problem first. Chapter 6 (16:30) How do you keep to the topic? Know yourself and what you need out of the conversation. Be self-aware about how you deal with the topic and decide that you will not go off topic. Again, you can only control you. But you can help your partner to know that you’ll keep to the topic and that will help create safety. Chapter 7 (19:55) How do you handle when someone doesn’t follow through with promises? Be careful of the story you tell yourself. Instead, look for overall patterns. It’s tempting to tell yourself “he doesn’t care about me” when that may not be true at all. We have to be careful of the story you tell yourself when your husband isn’t reliable. You can, instead, ask a question… “I’ve noticed a pattern where you commit to things and don’t follow through. What’s that about?” Or, approach it by saying, “I know that you tend to make me happy by saying ‘yes’ in the moment. I’d really invite you to be honest with me. If you don’t want to do something, for whatever reason, tell me so we can figure out something you can follow through on.” Chapter 8 (23:00) How do you deal with gaslighting? Gaslighting is when someone distorts or lies about the truth with the goal of making you feel crazy or confused. It’s important for you to decide “how do I want to show up for me?” If you’re starting to question your own mind, take notes. This helps you, at least, to know the reality. Also, look for the pattern…if this is happening a lot, you know gaslighting is going on. Chapter 9 (27:58) How to handle yelling Most people, when they’re angry, have a change of voice tone. You want to be clear, with your tone, that you mean business. When you’re angry, tone and posture naturally changes. What’s really important is the words. If you’re name calling and abusive speech, attacking, accusing, and reviling, that’s the problem, whether the words are being yelled or not. You have to find your own boundary around this but you don’t have to be a willing victim. Chapter 10 (31:00) Dealing with the passive aggressive person You can’t change someone else. Understand the limitations of a relationship when you’re dealing with someone who won’t look at himself (or herself). Growth in that type of relationship is impossible. In order to grow, you have to look at yourself, especially when you fail. Maybe you can say, “I sense you’re trying to tell me you’re angry, in very soft ways. Do you want to talk about it?” You’re inviting them to grow and they get to decide. Chapter 11 (33:53 ) When does conflict cross the line from normal marriage conflict to a destructive nature? Are there patterns of abuse, deceit, or indifference? Understand that God doesn’t expect you to be in a relationship who is out to destroy you. Resources: www.leslievernick.com Bonus: Download 8 Steps to Resolving Conflict https://www.leslievernick.com/pdfs/8-steps-to-resolving-conflict-FR.pdf
Monday Oct 24, 2022
Monday Oct 17, 2022
Monday Oct 17, 2022
Domestic Violence is rampant…even in the church. 1 in 4 Christian women report being in an emotionally destructive marriage. In this episode you’ll discover when behavior crosses the line, how the church should handle these situations, and what women can do to get safe. Leslie will share biblical support for all of this crucial advice. Chapter #1 :43 A definition of domestic violence. Domestic violence is about controlling another. The Bible’s word for this is “oppression.” A person can hold “power over” someone physically, emotionally, financially, and even spiritually. Chapter #2 3:08 Can a woman be guilty of domestic violence?A woman can be guilty of domestic violence toward her children because she’s bigger, stronger, and more able to use violent methods of control. That’s not as true with men. Men aren’t usually afraid of their wives but women are often afraid of their husbands. Chapter #3 4:30 Why would Christian men do this to their wives? We see a lot of sinful things happen in the church because people are sinners. Sometimes men grow up in these kinds of homes and under this type of patriarchal teaching in their churches. Chapter #4 6:07 When does it cross the line and what is a biblical definition of leadership and submission? When a woman is objectified…she is not a woman to love but an object to use, a role. God created us to have choices. God’s definition of leadership was not to “lord over” but to serve. Chapter #5 8:12 What about when a woman provokes her husband? People get provoked all the time by all kinds of situations. Life is provoking. The question is really, “when I get provoked, who is responsible for managing me?” Moses was legitimately provoked by the Israelites; he lost his temper twice. God held him responsible for his temper outburst, not the Israelites. Chapter #6 11:08 What should a pastor or people-helper do when a woman claims to be a victim of domestic violence? It’s important to understand how prevalent this is in our society: Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup. Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs. Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help. The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion. Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents. As a church we must recognize when oppressive control is at play, even if it isn’t physical. It might be spiritual or financial but recognize it as sinful and serious. It’s still abuse. Treat it as such. Chapter #7 15:55 What about submission? Submission is a good discipline. Men and women are called to submit to one another. Submission is yielding your will to one another but it is not your will being taken by another. Submission is recognizing and deciding to lay down your will for the greater good. But it is a choice and not done out of fear. It is not just for wives. All believers are called to submit. But when the church tells women to submit to sinful behavior that is contrary to what God teaches. Chapter #8 21:17 How does a Christian woman handle domestic violence, biblically? Understand that, while we have a high value of marriage, God does not ask women to stay in an abusive situation. He values your safety. If we can agree domestic abuse is evil, then God gives us direction in dealing with this in Romans 12:21: Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. How do you overcome evil with good? It is good for you to get safe.. Proverbs 27:12 Expose the deeds done in darkness. Ephesians 5:11 Speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:24 Allow consequences to happen Galatians 6:7 See the fruits of repentance before reconciling. Genesis 42-45 Chapter #9 35:00 How do you know when change is real? Is he being totally transparent with finances, his phone, and other practical realities. Don’t fall for love bombing and words. Focus on his actions. Does he allow you to have a “no?” Does he continue working on his own issues? Does he respect your boundaries or is he still trying to control you? Resources: Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE Resources for People Helpers: https://leslievernick.com/people-helper/ Other resources: www.leslievernick.com
Monday Oct 10, 2022
Monday Oct 10, 2022
Tami has been married for 32 years and has seven kids. Her relationship disappointing from the beginning but it eventually turned destructive. Tami's church was anything but helpful, leaving her feeling confused and alone. In this episode Tami shares how she began to wake up to the abuse she was experiencing, her own destructive patterns, and how she is staying in her marriage and staying well.
Monday Oct 03, 2022
Monday Oct 03, 2022
This is a special audio version of a workshop Leslie conducted where she answers the questions, "How Long Do I Keep Trying?" and "How Do I Know if This Relationship is Dead?" CLICK HERE for a free handout to take notes as you listen: leslievernick.com/webinarhandout You'll also get a roadmap to rebuilding broken safety and trust. Conquer doors are open for new members...but just for a short time. If you'd like to join Conquer, go to www.leslievernick.com/jointoday.
Relationship Truth: Unfiltered
Relationships. They can be difficult and even disappointing. But what about when they become destructive? Does God want you to stay in a relationship "no matter what?"
You know you're supposed to forgive. Does that mean forgetting? What if the sin continues?
In this podcast, relationship expert and best-selling author, Leslie Vernick tackles all of these questions and more. And she doesn't hand out the same old drivel you may have heard in the counseling office.
Get ready for real, biblical help for even the most destructive of relationships.