Relationship Truth: Unfiltered

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 grow in their relationships: with God, with themselves, and with others.

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My Kids Saved My Life

Monday Mar 13, 2023

Monday Mar 13, 2023

Jessica’s destructive marriage impacted her to the point where she seriously considered suicide. She says kids helped save her life. She had to get them - and herself - to safety. 
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Three Takeaways
Safety is priority! Get emotionally and physically safe. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233. They offer confidential support 24/7. 
Staying well: It’s possible to stay well but it really depends on how regulated you can be in your situation. You have to do your work!
Leaving well: Without an irrefutable, documented case of child abuse, it’s unlikely the courts will help with your plea for protection or more parenting time for yourself. It may be better to save your emotional time and energy (as well as your finances) by building positive relationships with your kids and teaching them how to regulate themselves when visiting their father. 
Other Resources
Conquer opens soon! Join the waitlist:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233. Or, text START to 88788

Dealing with a Destructive Ex

Tuesday Mar 07, 2023

Tuesday Mar 07, 2023

Brief summary of episode:
When a relationship ends, the problems don’t all go away, especially when you’re forced to co-parent. In this episode you’ll hear practical tips you can apply in dealing with your ex or soon-to-be ex. Whether it’s dealing with finances, fairness, or emotional wounds, you’ll find help here.
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Three Takeaways
It is in your children’s best interest to have a positive relationship with both of their parents. Remember this at all times!  Your kids deserve one parent who is healthy and doing their best to be living godly principles. 
When communicating with a destructive spouse, use BIFF…Brief, Informative, Firm, and Friendly
In order to experience peace you must give up the NEED for him to understand your reasons, your NEED for him to understand and agree with you, even your NEED for him to support you. When you NEED anything from him he then has the ability to hold you as an emotional hostage. 
Join Leslie’s email list to receive her free newsletter and to be notified when new classes open.
Empowered to Change is open until the end of March. Sign up at
Conquer will be opening to new members in April. Join the wait list here:

Monday Feb 27, 2023

Whether you're a trauma survivor or married to one, trauma has a profound impact on relationships.
Heather Davediuk Gingrich, Ph.D. is passionate about helping complex trauma survivors as well as educating churches on how to be trauma informed.   
In her 40 years as a professional counselor, she has lived, practiced, and taught in Canada, the Philippines, and the United States. She was Professor of Counseling at Denver Seminary for 17 years and recently moved to northeast Georgia where she coordinates a 5-course Graduate Certificate in Trauma Counseling for the School of Graduate Studies at Toccoa Falls College.
In this episode Leslie interviews Dr. Gingrich about practical ways to handle situations where trauma plays a part in your relationships. 

Monday Feb 20, 2023

Karin and her husband of nearly 39 years were missionaries to Zambia for two decades. Everything looked good to the outside but, the truth was, Karin was a victim of an extremely controlling and manipulative husband. In this episode Karin explains how she came to accept the truth about her situation and learn that she did have choices, even if her husband didn’t want to change. 
Join Walking in Core Strength today! Go to
Join the waitlist for the Conquer membership, go to
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Ten Dangerous Beliefs

Monday Feb 06, 2023

Monday Feb 06, 2023

Everyone has an ingrained belief system…a sort of hard-wiring that we don’t even think about. Today Leslie is going to talk about ten of the most common - and dangerous beliefs. Dangerous because believing them could seriously damage your life. 
Life Should Be Fair
Hard is bad
I should be able to have my cake and eat it too.
It’s all my fault
It’s never my fault
I can control the outcome
If I wait, the problem will go away
My choices only affect me
I can’t do it
I don’t need God
 For more resources and to sign up for Leslie's Quick Start Guide, go to

Married to an Addict

Monday Jan 30, 2023

Monday Jan 30, 2023

Dawn knew there were red flags before she even married but she thought she could "save him." Instead, she spent more than two decades dealing with a husband who was addicted to alcohol and prescription pain medications. Hear how, as a Christian, she dealt with this destructive problem and what she learned in the process.

Monday Jan 23, 2023

In this episode Pastor Brad Hambrick and Leslie will tackle some tough topics:
Why do you think the church is making the same mistakes over and over again?  Why is it so hard to believe the victim? “Innocent until proven guilty” is cultural, but, when applied to a person telling their story we too often look at it as “liar until proven truthful.” Is it wrong to let the legal system, CPS and other authorities, into matters involving church families? Is the institution of marriage more important than the individuals in the marriage? 
Key Takeaways
When there is an abuse-related accusation toward a leader, the first call is too often made to a lawyer or an insurance company. That’s important but these are not the only voices to have in the situation. 
Go to your pastor but don’t turn your brain off. You are to steward your mental and emotional health. Sometimes a pastor is so focused on saving your marriage he/she isn’t seeing anything else.
Anytime you’re consulting with anyone who is an expert in anything, value their input but don’t be mindless. It’s okay to say, “I don’t think that’s the best advice for me,” whether you say it out loud or just to yourself. 
For pastors: When it feels “messy,” don’t make an edict … at that point you need to be in a supportive position. You need to ask for the type of cooperation from the unsafe individual that would make it a safe environment … and if they won’t, that tells you something. If they start bashing you and/or the church, you’re getting just a small taste of what the spouse is experiencing in the privacy of their home. 
Sometimes abuse is manipulative and coercive. What are some of the red flags and remedies a pastor can do? 
When it comes to the subject of abuse…especially non-criminal abuse…the church needs a “category” to deal with those. Matthew 7:1-6. Most pastors think verses 1-5. 
Proverbs 19:11 … sometimes it’s good to overlook an offense. But if the offense keeps happening it needs to be addressed. Verses 3-5 doesn’t contradict verses 1-2. It’s different but it’s addressing a higher level concern. Jesus says you don’t just keep overlooking … that’s being “devoured.” Verse 6 is the continuation of 1-5. If you’re in a chronically destructive situation, you don’t have to keep being abused. 
The Bible doesn’t treat all conflict as if it's the same. Pastors need to understand how to nuance and ensure safety. Maybe they aren’t in a Matthew 7:3-5 situation but it’s a Matthew 7:6 situation: “Don’t cast your pearls before swine.” Many women keep sharing their feelings and it’s turned on them. Sharing emotions is not always safe. It can become a lightning rod for attack.  
How do you discern when a heart change has taken place?
Ephesians 4 gives us a really good paradigm. Abusive individuals typically have pride and impatience. 
The opposite of pride is humility. When we’re humble we ask good questions. We really want to understand instead of just being understood and getting our way. The defensive attitude goes away and is replaced with listening. 
The opposite of impatience is patience. We don’t put a timetable on getting back to normal. Moving back in, etc. Can they hear? Are they wanting to learn? Or are they more focused on getting what they want and being in control of the situation? 
Maybe there isn’t something illegal happening but they aren’t cooperating. They need to understand they are still being relationally destructive. Are they going through the motions for their own comfort or because they are truly repentant? Are they giving the spouse time to feel safe again? 
You cannot rebuild a relationship without the foundations of safety and trust. And when those have been broken they have to be repaired. Asking for reconciliation without that is asking her to lie and pretend. That is against her very biology. She must feel safe and be able to trust…especially in marriage. 
There is a time period to heal, whether it’s physical, emotional, or relational. Don’t rush the healing period. 
Pastors don’t have to be experts about everything. Lean on those who are experts in matters of abuse.
Brad Hambrick’s books: 
Brad Hambrick’s website: \
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Tuesday Jan 17, 2023

What is betrayal trauma?
There can be financial, emotional, betrayal, sexual, etc. When betrayal happens the picture you had of your spouse is shattered and so is the picture you had of yourself. It can be a struggle to even trust yourself again … because you trusted this person who once betrayed you. 
The priority, beyond any problem, is your self-care. When you’ve been betrayed, you must take care of yourself in order to deal with the problem. 
Coach Jen Cole experienced betrayal trauma in her own marriage and shares how she went from having a faith of desperation to having a faith of surrender. 
First thing to take care of you is, of course, a deep breath and prayer, along with good sleep. But you also need to find a trusted person - someone who won’t pass judgment on your heart and who will let you express the emotions you need to express. 
You are worth the time, money, and effort to work on YOU. Your work is to heal and grow so that, if you are betrayed, you know how to handle yourself so that it isn’t as scary and devastating as when you are dependent on that person.
Connection is important. Connection to God, and to others, and even to yourself. 
Proverbs talks a lot about being aware of yourself, having self-awareness, self-control, and self-discipline so you can self-discipline. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. The very term, “love others as yourself” implies that you care for yourself. “Guard your heart above all else,” implies that you are aware of your heart and caring for it. 
If you’ve been betrayed in any way, understand that God knows how you feel. He was betrayed, too. He is your advocate and will comfort you in your pain. And there are others who want to help you through this dark time. 
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You Don’t Have To!

Monday Jan 09, 2023

Monday Jan 09, 2023

You. Don't. Have. To. 
Most women are stuck in the lie that, "I have to..." I have to stay married, I have to go to church, I have to go to work...there is a resignation to a life that is choice-less. But that's not true. You don't have to do any of those things. 
With every choice we make there are consequences. But we DO have a choice.  
God created Adam and Eve with choice. They could choose to listen to Him and they could choose not to listen. But there were consequences to what they decided. 
Jesus gave Judas a choice. And he made it. The rich young ruler also had a choice. And he made it. Jesus also had a choice and he chose to go to the cross.
You make decisions based on what you want in life, not because you "have" to do something. You get to choose. 
Life happens to many of us because of our choices. But when we feel like we don't have a choice we end up feeling victimized. 
At the end of the day, how will you feel about yourself and the choices you made? 
When you put yourself in the "have to do these things" category you rob yourself of the feeling of saying, "I choose to." 
Psalm 119:1-5, 30, 33-34:
"Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!...
I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.
Teach me your decrees, O LORD ; I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart."
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Monday Jan 02, 2023

Date: January 2, 2023
Name of podcast: What is a godly woman?
Many Christians have a certain image of what a godly woman looks like, how she behaves, and what her priorities are (her husband being at the top of the list). 
In this episode Leslie takes a look at what the Bible really has to say about the virtues and priorities of a godly woman. 
A godly woman is God-centered, not self-centered or other-centered. Our love for God has to be first. Being a godly woman does not mean living around your husband. That’s actually idolatry. 
God has both masculine and feminine characteristics and he says we - both genders - are to be like him. Men should be kind and loving while being strong and courageous and women should also be strong and courageous while being kind and loving
A godly woman has virtues. God calls us to develop virtues. The Proverbs 31 woman was more than the tasks she did which were cultural. She was a strong, decisive, and God-centered woman.
A virtuous woman is someone who decides who she wants to be and how she will show up, whether she feels like it or not. 
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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.

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