A Letter to the Woman with a Controlling Husband

by | May 5, 2016 | Abuse | 133 comments

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Are you married to a controlling husband?

I wrote a big post recently about how too often our Christian culture promotes a version of church and marriage that makes women powerless–and that this inevitably leads to abuse. Not that EVERY woman will be abused, but when we set up structures where one person has all the power, then people who want to control and abuse others will gravitate there. Since then I have been inundated with emails about that subject, and several have been from women whose sisters/friends/cousins are married to controlling husbands. They want to help, but the wives refuse to see it. I want to write today to that woman who is in an unhealthy marriage. So let me address you personally. Maybe you’re here because someone sent you to this blog. You’re probably nervous and suspicious, and I understand. But that special someone cares desperately about you, and desperately about God, and wants to see God’s love in your life. She isn’t seeing that right now. So let’s start with some first principles.

God did not intend that anyone should control any other person. In fact, Jesus said just the opposite.


Mark 10:42-45

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NIV)
People are not supposed to exercise authority harshly over one another or force other people to do their will. That is totally outside of the kingdom of God. And in Ephesians 5:21, before Paul starts writing specifically to the husband and wife, he begins his treatise on marriage like this:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The Christian life is about serving each other. It is NOT about controlling any other person or demanding obedience. In fact, if anyone does that, then they are acting in an unChristian manner. They are not reflecting God; they are reflecting the enemy.

Therefore, your husband should not control you, and he is acting unbiblically if he does.

What does it mean for someone to control you? It means they act in such a way to exert extreme pressure or force to make you act according to their will. These are all examples of control:
  • He tells you who you can and cannot talk to, text, or message. He tries to stop you from seeing close friends and family.
  • He hits you or physically exerts force in any way.
  • He limits your access to money, keeping all the bank cards in his name and requiring you to ask him for cash.
  • He demands an accounting of how you spend your time, what you thought about, or who you talked to.
  • He yells repeatedly, and demands that you sit and listen to his tirades.
  • He sexually abuses you, or pressures you to do things sexually that you are extremely uncomfortable with or think are sinful.
  • He verbally berates you, saying things like, “you would never survive in this world without me”, or “you’re too stupid to ever figure out real life.”
  • He makes big decisions about jobs, schooling, housing, etc. without consulting you.
  • He uses Scripture to tell you why you are wrong to question him or disagree with him in any way. He tells you that to disagree with him is to go against God’s will.
  • He refuses to let you drive or have access to a vehicle.

If your husband is doing things on this list, then your husband is not serving you as Christ did.

But shouldn’t you submit to him anyway?

After all, if he’s not having an affair, then technically the marriage is still valid, right? And doesn’t that mean that you have to submit to him? Let’s take a step back here.

What is God’s ultimate aim–that you do God’s will, or that you do your husband’s will?

It’s that you do God’s will, right? And yet many people assume that the two are one and the same thing. But is that biblical? Absolutely not. In Acts 5, we read the story of Ananias and Sapphira, early Christians who wanted to curry favour with the apostles. So they sold some property, and then came and gave the money to the apostles. But they only gave a portion of the money, yet told the apostles it was the whole thing. Ananias came in first, told the false story, and God struck him dead. When Sapphira came in, she repeated the story that she and Ananias had agreed to, and Peter reprimanded her harshly, saying that she should not have gone along with Ananias. She should have done the right thing, regardless of what her husband did. And because she went along with Ananias, she was struck dead. You are responsible for doing God’s will, not your husband’s will. I have more about this question about abuse and marriage here.  
If women are supposed to submit to husbands, then don’t we have to put up with controlling behaviour? NO. You’re ultimately responsible to do God’s will, not your husband’s will. Enabling sin is never God’s will!

But aren’t I supposed to obey my husband?

No, you’re not. You are not a child. In fact, you were made as a “suitable helper” for your husband, which doesn’t mean that you’re inferior at all. It’s closer to the meaning of being a “necessary ally”. God wants to use you in this relationship to help your husband!  

Listen to me here: You are not helping your husband if you let him control you. You are hurting him.

I want you to really grasp this. If your husband is sinning by trying to control you or your children (and that is a sin), then to allow him to continue in this is not to follow God’s will. It is to go against God’s will. Let’s look at another relationship to see what I mean. Let’s say that you had a sister who was a drug addict. She had already had two children taken away from her by children’s services. She’s pregnant again by who-knows-who? She comes to you one night, high as a kite, and asks to borrow $500. What do you do? You say no, because it is not loving her to fuel the addiction. God’s will is not that  you be nice to everyone or that you do what everyone wants you to do so as not to rock the boat. God’s will is that everyone look more and more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). That means that the way you act should point people to Jesus, not away from Jesus. If your husband is yelling at you and demanding that you give an account of your day, or demanding that you not see your family who loves you, and you agree, then you are encouraging your husband to act less and less like Jesus everyday. Let that sink in for a moment. If you allow your husband to keep treating you this way, then you are helping him move away from God. You aren’t doing God’s will; instead, the enemy is using you by confusing you and making you feel hopeless and helpless. This is not what God wants for you.  
If you stay with an abusive husband, then you are helping him move away from God. The enemy is using you by confusing you and making you feel hopeless and helpless. This is not what God wants for you.

You are hurting your children if you allow your husband to control you and to control them. And you ARE responsible for your children.

In 1 Samuel 25 we read about a controlling husband–a man who yelled at everyone and made life difficult for everyone. Nabal (that was the guy’s name) offended David, and David and his warriors were about to come and wipe out the man and his servants and family.

Then Nabal’s wife Abigail, without Nabal’s knowledge, intervened. She intercepted David before he could do anything, made amends for her husband’s bad behaviour, and smoothed everything over. She did it to save her servants and her extended family.

She succeeded, and David was so impressed with her that after God struck Nabal dead, he asked for her hand in marriage.

So what did Abigail do? She disobeyed her husband. She did something without his knowledge and behind his back, because she knew that her servants were counting on her. If she did not intervene, they would be harmed. And God greatly blessed and rewarded her for it.

My dear sister, do you understand the implications of that? God cares about the little people who are under your care, too. If you have children, and you are allowing your husband to control them, berate them, or even just to watch him control, beat, or berate you (because studies show that a child witnessing a mother being hurt like that is as bad as being hurt themselves), then you are hurting your children. And God wants you to stand up for them, even if that means standing up to your husband.

So if you’ve decided your husband is controlling, what should you do now?

If you came to this blog because someone sent you, reach out to that person. They want to help you. They likely already have a plan of how to do that. Please, just talk to them, even if your husband doesn’t approve. God did not give him the right to restrict who you can talk to, and you do not have to listen to a command like that (just like Sapphira did not have to listen to a command to lie to the apostles).

If you just read this blog post on your own, then I’m going to suggest several things.

1. First, if you or your children are in imminent danger, seek help now.

Call the police. Talk to a women’s shelter. Make a plan of how you can get out quickly.

If you aren’t in imminent danger, then:

2. Read more about what God wants from a Christian marriage.

Here are some good books on the subject:

I also have a variety of articles on submission. You can find them at my Marriage FAQ page (just scroll down until you find that topic).


Are you GOOD or are you NICE?

Because the difference matters! God calls us to be GOOD, yet too often we’re busy being nice. And sometimes, in marriage, that can actually cause problems to be even more entrenched. What if there’s a better way?

3. Find Your Voice

It’s very likely that by living in a controlling relationship you’ve lost your “voice”. You’ve lost the ability to speak up, or even to figure out what you want, because the only thing that you’ve been thinking for years is “what does he want”? Find a counselor to talk to where you can practice saying out loud what you want in life. Find a mentor with whom you can practice saying out loud what it means to be redeemed in Christ, and what it means that you are precious and bought with a price. Seek out people who are healthy to talk to.

And read the Bible for yourself! Don’t only read the passages he tells you to read; read the gospels. You’ll see a gentle Jesus who loves, and a firm Jesus who stands up to injustice and to bullies.

4. Refuse the “Dance”

You can refuse to participate in his attempts to control you.

If he demands that you tell him what you did today, then you can tell him, “I don’t feel comfortable telling you these details if you don’t also share details with me.” If he demands to see your phone, say, “I’d be happy to share phones, but I’d like to see yours as well. It doesn’t seem as if this is a real partnership if you don’t trust me but I’m forced to trust you.” If he yells at you, then you can say, “I can see that you’re upset, and I’d be happy to talk to you about this, but I won’t talk while you’re yelling. I’m going to go in another room until you calm down.” And then leave the room.

In other words, don’t go along with what he says. Go and learn how to drive. March down to the bank and get access to the accounts, or start one of your own. Say no if he pressures you for something you’re not comfortable with in bed.

Note: if this behaviour is likely to trigger physical violence, then please seek out some help now.

Please Listen to Me: God does not want you treated like this.

If you are married to a controlling husband, God is grieved. He does not want  you treated like this. And He does not want your husband–God’s son–acting in this horrible way. By you standing up to your husband, or simply removing yourself from the situation (if that’s the only thing that’s safe), you allow you and your children a chance to heal and experience God’s love. But you may also give your husband the push he needs to work on his own issues.

You are precious in God’s eyes. Do not let anyone, even your husband–and especially your husband–ever make you doubt that.

A letter to a woman with a controlling husband: God does not want you putting up with emotional abuse.

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Emily

    Thank you.

    • Sheila

      You’re welcome, Emily.

      • Christine

        I can relate to all of this article. I have loved a series by Katie Souza on you.tube and I have been doing the suggestion from Miracles While You Sleep (Katie Souza)

    • Sadie


      How about the husband who doesn’t check your phone or emails, but he is always suspicious of his wife. He called her a liar. He doesn’t trust her at all. Is that a controlling husband?

      By the way, he always belittles her in front of his family and calls her names. In front of her family he is the perfect husband, gentle, sweet and attentive.

      He thinks she has no brains. Every idea she gets it is not good enough for him.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        That’s definitely not a safe place to be. I’d recommend that she get a good counsellor or a good support system and look at what her options are, because that isn’t emotionally safe.

        • A

          Thanks, that was an answer for me too. Meeting with my Pastor tomorrow afternoon. Not sure how much more I can take. It’s beginning to affect my own faith. It’s a spiritual wear down tactic. Makes me feel like, the less I have faith in God, the less I’ll believe my Pastors wisdom, the more I’ll just fall to what he wants from me, rather than choosing to submit to him myself. And he’s a believer, saved, yet not renewed. Losing hope in the renewal of his mind.

        • Jenna

          I’m not sure if my husband is controlling. He makes me feel terrible about every single decision I make whether for myself or our children. For example I gave our son his bottle and then about 45 minutes later some pancakes for breakfast and he starts saying that I’m going to give him am eating disorder for feeding him too close together and I needed to wait longer cuz he needed time to get hungry. Telling me I’m Being narcissistic just like my mother for forcing him to eat to satisfy my own insecurity when he isn’t hungry. Of course my baby was hungry, and I didnt force him to eat! It so tough be cause I do see that the things he controls comes from a place of truly wanting to raise our kids the right way and for God but it just feels so constant. I feel like I can’t do anything right. I feel so overly criticized that it just paralyzes me. He refuses to go see a counselor with me because he has this feeling like I just want to give someone else credit for healing things in our marriage, that I want to do it to please my family. That is not it! I wouldn’t even tell my family cause it isn’t their business. I just want a healthy marriage. When I said maybe we could talk to a pastor at our church he was against it because he feels like I want to make him look foolish at our church. I really don’t feel that way, so many times he insists that I’m lying about my true intentions and feelings on SO many things, when I’m positive that I’m not. I feel like I can’t say anything. I’m getting worn out. The kids love him and he isn’t a bad father. I’ve never feared him physically abusing me. And I know God put us together but I don’t know if I can live the rest if my life this way! I’m feeling so defeated and stuck. I don’t know what to do.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Jenna, if you’re feeling beaten down, like you can’t do anything right, and that you are always criticized, then that matters, and that’s a big problem.

            I’d really suggest that you read both the book Boundaries and my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage. And when your husband starts criticizing, it’s okay to say, “We see this differently. I would appreciate it if you would stop telling me I’m wrong and just start a discussion. I am no longer interested in talking about how wrong I am about things.”

            And if he starts in again, you can say, “I no longer want to talk about this, and so I’m leaving the room.” You do not have to accept being criticized. And it’s good for your children to see you standing up to it! It really is.

          • Michelle

            You need to go alone to talk with a counselor. I’d recommend someone who has an actual degree (master’s or higher) in counseling who does not know you or your husband. Talking with a pastor isn’t a bad idea, but not all of them are thoroughly trained in counseling and it can be hard for them to remain unbiased when they already know you and your husband.

            Write down specific things your husband has said or done to make you feel inadequate; this will be helpful for the counselor, and eventually your husband, if he’s ever receptive to seeing a counselor on his own or with you. This will provide concrete examples to help identify what he is saying/doing, why he is saying/doing these things, and how to change his behaviors/thought patterns.

            Your counselor may recommend a period of separation until your husband is ready to cooperate with reconciliation. You’ll want to prepare yourself for that possibility.

          • Kim P

            Jenna, I completely agree with Sheila and Michelle, especially ab finding a professional counselor and going on your own. I did that instead of going to my pastors, and I’m so glad I did. I would add (and maybe I’ll write ab this more in my own comment at the end bc of my own experience) that your husband refusing to get help is a subtle kind of control. It leaves you so stuck, which is what overt control does as well. The positive is – you can go get help for yourself.

            This part really struck me: “ he has this feeling like I just want to give someone else credit for healing things in our marriage”…. I’ve never heard someone say that. That’s kindof bizzare. And that to me sounds very controlling! Insisting that you’re lying ab your true intentions and feelings is also controlling. He’s got you trapped in a corner emotionally, paralyzed to even speak it sounds like! That is not ok, and that is not a partnership. You are being treated like a child, not a wife. I hope you find help, Jenna! Jesus sees you and loves you and is grieved over how your husband is treating you!

          • Lfloyam

            Let me add: even children ought not be treated so disdainfully.

      • Tina


        What to do after my husband did the following:

        We were going to bed and I was cold and he refuse to give the the blanket we share. After that I told that if he did not gave the blanket that I will star t being charge of the AC temperature and started saying that was not allowed because he is the one that know how it works and could block it and put a password so he could only do it. I started getting angry because from what I remember I would stop talking and was telling me to shut up and in less that what I can remember he use his pillow and my pillow and put in the my head and put pressure and being on top of me. In the meantime I was screaming telling him to stop which felt like forever until he let me go. Then I told him he hurt and I could believe he did that first he said he was playing I around and then he said it was nothing just a little discomfort not getting enough oxygen.

        I was very scared and fear for my life. I couldn’t believe my husband did this. I don’t know what happened to him but I know the man I married would have never hurt me like that. And break all my trust and safety that I felt I around him.

        He Apologized and say he was sorry and said again he didn’t know how much it had affected me his behavior.
        I didn’t believe him. Why will he do such a act. Another disclaimer he couple hours he was drinking gin which. I don’t know if that anything to do with his behavior. I don’t know.
        I need help and I don’t feel safe sleeping next to him and being in the same room or house.

        Please advise what a wife in the eyes of God and biblically should do in this situation.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Tina, please call a domestic violence abuse hotline. Please speak to a licensed counselor. It sounds like you’re in a coercive control cycle, and that isn’t okay. It is dangerous. Your body is telling you you’re in danger for a reason. Please pick up the phone and call and get some help! I’m so sorry.

    • Baz45

      Wished this entire page could be sent anonymously to our daughter who has been brainwashed.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’m so sorry.

    • Dennis M Jones

      Re controlling husbands article. Why did controlling wife not addressed? In many marriages it is the opposite. Also sometimes the husband and wife try to control each other. Every angle needs to be addressed not just husbands who are controlling.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        You can certainly reverse the advice! This is primarily a woman’s blog. I know I have a lot of men reading it, but it is primarily a women’s blog, so I tend to write to women. Also, in evangelicalism, there is a common interpretation of Scripture that allows a man to control his wife, but not the opposite.

        I am sorry that this is happening to you, though, and I strongly urge you to see a licensed counselor who can help you work through what to do!

      • Claudine Deveaux

        I just wish I could , speak to my cousin she is trap .
        Husband has control over ever.thing.
        Her life is in danger. . Lord teach how to pray O lord

      • Not untrue but used as ammo

        I agree we had accounts in both our names she had her own account. Never did I do any of these things and yet I feel she has accused me of all of them. People read this stuff believing they are being controlled because we should discuss how we should spend our money as I did with her.

  2. Amy

    I’m not sure if this is the time but I wanted to make a quick comment that might push back on some of your analysis. First, as part of a marriage and also in & around what you would refer to as the patriarchy we would agree with you on the majority of your practical points- a wife should have access to money, transportation, family, etc. It is not our beliefs that this would be a healthy marriage so I feel our beliefs have been mischaracterized. We have some common ground.

    Where we differ is on the aspect that we do believe in headship and submission and interpret the scripture vastly different than you. To examine the scripture you used very quickly.

    First, Ephesians 5:21. If you interpret this verse as you do then you must admit that parents must submit to their children equally as children to parents. By applying your logic to the whole verse this must be the way it is interpreted. Our belief is that God, through Paul, was giving the order (for he is a God of order), or hierarchy of who is in authority over who- and yet charging those in authority to act in a Christ like way in their authority without diminishing their authority one bit.

    Second, the Mark 10 verse. We also believe that those in authority are to be servants. But servants that are also in authority. It’s teaching us how to act while we are in authority, but not undermining the authority. After all Jesus, held unto His authority. He has legions of angels and power over life and death, heaven and hell. He at times set aside that authority, and even when we did not He acted righteously, but He retained His authority.

    Third, Abigail. Following this story to the next chapter, instead of ending it where you did we find that she married one of the great patriarchs of all time. A very strong husband who was much in charge.

    Finally, we would agree that a wife should choose to not sin if a husband is asking her to sin- steal, commit a falsehood- for example in your last scripture. So as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira we would agree that a husband is asking the wife to sin- in which lying by misrepresenting the amount they were giving- that a wife should follow God in that case. So we would have more common ground there. Were we would disagree is where a wife just doesn’t not feel good about something, but it is not a case of sin, there we believe she is required to follow her husband. So in some ways I feel you misrepresented our beliefs.

    Thank you for a thoughtful piece. I do believe it is helpful to many a marriage. Where we would disagree is that patriarchy is the problem. I can see where patriarchy can at times swing to far past biblical because we believe the church, it’s leaders and the culture has undermined what we believe is biblical at every step. And as is human nature we often past back what is godly or accurate. But the fix is not to undermine what is biblical, which headship and submission is, but to nail it accurately. There are things that need fixed within it, but continuing to undermine it only makes the it worse as the push back within it will only be stronger. We need to get it right, not get rid of it. Thanks for letting me share what we believe.

    • Sheila

      Amy, thanks for your thoughtful analysis, and I do understand that people come at it from different standpoints.

      But as for Ephesians 5:21, I have a real problem with people saying, “Paul didn’t really mean that other people should submit. Paul only meant for women too.” Yes, he really did! Verse 21 is directed at EVERYONE, not just women. This is what is revolutionary about Christianity! We are to serve each other! We are all to submit to one another in reverence to Christ. That’s an absolute. There are no loopholes in that passage. We are ALL to serve one another, to look out for each other’s best, to work for what God is doing in each other’s lives.

      And, in fact, Paul elaborates on this in Philippians 2:

      “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

      5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

      6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
      7 rather, he made himself nothing
      by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
      8 And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!”

      Yes, I believe that this applies men-women, women-men, children-parents, parents-children, Prime Minister-citizens, citizens-Prime Minister–everybody! That’s what Paul is saying. It’s about servanthood. If we all simply concentrated on how we can best serve one another and we all simply looked out for one another, and we all, in humility before God, sought out His will, then there wouldn’t be any issues at all.

      • Lisa

        Well written and thank you for this important piece.

    • alchemist

      About the children: Paul actually did say that children should obey their parents. He did NOT say that wife’s should obey their husbands. Honour your father and mother is also one of the ten commandments. Obey your husband is not. A parent-child relationship is very different from a husband-wife one. If your marriage looks like a parent-child relationship, something is very, very wrong.

      But even in the case of a parent-child relationship, the child is not obliged to blindly follow their parents. Their first allegiance is still to Christ (as Christ himself said). They are also not obliged to stay with their parents or allow their parents to abuse them or their children/ spouses.

      Sheila is complementarian. It just becomes deeply troubling when people start implying that one person should absolutely obey another. Or that a person is the absolute infallible representative of God. Or that you can only access Christ through another person.

      This is heresy. Each person has their own eternal soul. And that soul is only bound to Christ, who is perfect. Not to man, who absolutely is not. Giving your absolute allegiance/ trust/ agency to another person is idolatry.

      • Kim P

        This was very enlightening, alchemist!

    • Kim

      1.) Amy said, “Ephesians 5:21. If you interpret this verse as you do then you must admit that parents must submit to their children equally as children to parents.”

      Biblical example of a parent listening to adult child:

      So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. Es 4:17

      Mordecai raised Esther. She was his adopted daughter, but there came a time when it was necessary for Mordecai to obey Esther’s orders.

      There are modern day examples of parents submitting to their children. Ec 3:1 states that “there is a time for everything.” In life, many adult children have to make decisions for sick and/or elderly parents. This role reversal is known as parenting elderly parents or care-giving for elderly parents. Elderly parents often become SUBJECT to their adult children’s decision making. It happens all the time. One well known example – many adult children have taken keys away from aging parents because they are not capable of driving safely anymore.

      2.) Concerning Abigail…

      Following the story further, instead of ending it where you did we find that David coveted another man’s wife, committed adultery with her and had that man killed thereby bringing tremendous suffering upon his household, wives and children (2 Samuel 24 :11-17). David’s wives and children suffered severely because of David’s, the great Patriarch, sin. A man even lost his life because of it.

      • Sheila

        Well said. I think the key about the Mordecai/Esther story is that it’s about listening to GOD, which is what we all should be doing. If we ever try to listen to someone other than God, we run into deep trouble!

      • Kim

        Correction: 2 Samuel 12

  3. P

    Amy mentions Eph 5, 21-24 and this does ask women to submit to their husbands, but people then do not read on further. Verses 25-33 detail the sort of husband he should be, he must be prepared to die for his wife should it be necessary just as Jesus died for His church. He must put her needs before his own. For years I did not follow these verses, and as a human, I fail from time to time, but since I have sincerely tried to follow these instructions our marriage has become stronger and I appreciate God’s gift of the woman I love more and more. I thought our marriage was good from day 1 but it is so much better now. We both have health problems but it is sheer joy to look after each other and encourage each other and our love grows daily.

    • Sheila

      Love your constant encouragement, P! That’s beautiful.

    • evelyn

      I have heard too many people say that men have to be willing to give up their lives like Christ for their wives, but the words are an empty promise unless she accidentally steps out into traffic or something. Giving up our lives like Jesus did isn’t just referring to actual death, but the way Jesus gave us His whole life from the day of His birth. This is not a hypothetical thing: this is dying to ourselves everyday as we put a spouse ahead of ourselves. My abusive ex said he would push me out of the path of a mac truck if it came down to it, but he was completely unwilling to give up his life in the smaller everyday ways that make a marriage, or any close relationship, possible.

      • Darla Partida

        I am in the same kinda marriage. He is very mentally emotionally and has been physically abusive. I truely have tried to do everything possible to make him happy. Nothing works he says I am a worthless *****. I sit in my lonely bedroom and wonder why life has turned out this way. To other people male or female he is great. He truely believes I am beneath him. I am in the process of building myself up so I can take my daughter and leave. That is very scary. But I have no choice. Thanks for listening. Darla

        • Kim P

          Darla, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. Have you heard of the support group called Flying Free? There are lots of free resources on the blog and the podcast…just google flying free now, Natalie Hoffman. That woman has changed my life (and Sheila too! :))

      • Kim P

        I’m right there with you on the day to day, same here. So I don’t want to take away from the seriousness of it to say – I burst into laughter when I read “unless she accidentally steps out into traffic or something.” EXACTLY! It’s what I’ve been thinking for years but I’ve never heard anyone say out loud! Like what kind of logic is that!? For me it was the idea that he would take a bullet for me. Wellll what are the chances I’ll be standing in front of a loaded gun? Thank you for fleshing all of this out ab what Jesus truly meant.

    • nah

      Submission of the wife is not conditional (1 Peter 3:1,2, et al).
      Contendingg with an unruly and obstinate wife is the biggest challenge a god-fearing man has on this earth (2nd only to maintaining a right standing before the Lord). Genesis 3:16 and 1 Peter 3:5,6 should also help you further with the model the Lord put forth for the family headship. Feminism is deeply engrained in our culture and its hurt Christ’s model of the family in so many ways.

      This blog entry is unfortunately another example of this. Through the use of misquoted and misapplied scripture, used falsely as proof texts, it calls women to bear arms against their husbands instead of being subject unto them. Mingling abuse with accountability and calling the whole bundle wrong is wrong. Accountability is good and appropriate… it leads to order. Abuse is wrong. By mixing truth with non-truth, you are helping to lead other wives astray. Please stop doing this.

      A wife is to submit to her husband as the church is to submit to Christ. When a wife fulfills her role in this way, her husband’s heart is for his wife (Proverbs 31:11-12). It melts a god-fearing man when his wife is for him and not against him just as it melts the Lord’s heart when we obey him. Look more closely at Ephesians 5:24. You very quaintly slid past this one. Also, god-fearing wives will want to have a have a look at Titus 2:5. There’s many more passages… including Colossians 3, 1 Timothy 2, and 1 Corinthians 11.

      Go deeper into biblical truths and let the holy spirit be your guide.

  4. nylse

    I think you are spot on; I think you read the Word and the Holy Spirit speaks to you to give you the wisdom to know how and what to write. I also think that, to many who accept the status quo some of what is said here will sound like heresy – but it’s not. God in his infinite wisdom knew what he was doing when he left his word here for us; though we are all wired differently, the truth is in God’s word if we are willing to look. May these women have the courage to take the next step; may the men have the courage to act in a way pleasing to God.

  5. Amy

    Thank you so much for writing this Sheila! This is a light in the darkness for those who desperately need it. I believe God is doing a major work in the church to set many captives free. We have been taught so many lies and partial truths about dying to ourselves, submission, turning the other cheek etc that have been used by the enemy to keep generations of women in bondage through abuse. It absolutely breaks my heart. So many passages are misapplied and used as a weapon to control. I don’t believe that’s what God had in mind at all.

    He is such an amazing, loving God. He is just and cares about His kids that are being treated horribly. Being a doormat and being “nice” by not standing up for yourself does not make you a good Christian. I think so many of us as young girls are taught to be nice instead of being good. There is such a difference between the two.

    • Hurting

      I wish I could share your comment with my in-laws Amy. My husband has become more and more abusive over the last year. I reached out to my in-laws, thinking they are very serious, faithful christians, that they would confront their son, but even when the controlling behaviours (eg making me grovel for money for groceries) became outright abusive (refusing to let me have money for groceries at all, saying he would do all the grocery shopping but refusing to buy half the things the kids and I need because he decided we didn’t need them, and even when he did the grocery shopping, it wouldn’t be when it needed doing, it would be when he felt like going which meant particularly I was stuck either going hungry or eating things that made me sick, eg I have lactose intolerance, partial gluten intolerance and so on. I can’t eat the things that he wants to force us to live on).

      Unfortunately, they refused to confront him. At first I believed their initial claims that they weren’t going to bother because he wouldn’t listen to them. As the abuse got worse (eg he began to smash things up when I begged him for money for essentials), I begged my inlaws for their help, but painfully I realised this year that unfortunately my husband’s parents have made it very clear that they think being a doormat and acting “nice” is what a good christian wife should do and that speaking up about this kind of controlling behaviour is being “disrespectful”, “rude”, “impolite” and so on (all of those are exact words my mother in law used to describe me politely, calmly and gently trying to raise the serious abuse issues with my husband with her there to mediate, while he was rude and cruel to me and her response was to defend it because it was passive aggressive and not direct).

      Sadly, there are a lot of christian men and women out there who think women should be doormats and put up with all sorts of abuse and genuinely believe it’s “rude”, “disrespectful” and “impolite” to confront an abusive husband in love, and even more to follow what the bible says about if a brother sins against you and going to him alone doesn’t work, then take witnesses to confront them.

      I just give up. I cannot understand how bible believing christians can possibly believe that when a woman is being abused, that if she speaks up, she is the bad one??? I am eternally grateful to teachers like Sheila who try to stamp out this myth, but I am hurt terribly by those like my inlaws who think women should not try to speak up about being abused because it’s not “nice”.

      • Lisa

        You need help and protection. Please stop going to the tree (your in laws) that dropped this apple. Go to a domestic violence center.

      • Kim P

        Unfortunately this is so very common in the church, in families, with in-laws, the courts etc.

        speaking up about this kind of controlling behaviour is being disrespectful”, “rude”, “impolite”

        When the initial behavior was abhorrent, disrespectful, rude, and downright cruel!! What!? It’s an upside down world we live in when it comes to this stuff, but the tide is turning! Thanks to women like Sheila and Natalie Hoffman of Flying Free (I always promote her bc she has helped me immensely even tho I’m still stuck in my emotionally abusive marriage.) John Piper’s church excommunicated her for divorcing her emotionally abusive husband, two years after she withdrew her membership. Hurting, you really tried with your in-laws and you can feel good ab how you approached them. For your own sake maybe you should let them go (in whatever way that feels healthy to you) bc clearly blood runs thicker than water (and oh boy do I get that with my own in-laws). So many people refuse to stand with victims, and those people just aren’t safe.

  6. Amy

    Thank you for your reply. I’m sorry the little one is sick today and couldn’t respond right away. Again, we have found common ground. We also believe that husbands should be loving, care for their wives, not be harsh, be servants, be understanding and so on. We just believe that they, like Jesus, do it without giving up their authority. I also think we twist some of the meaning of those words to fit our modern view of what loving and not harsh means. When I read the bible I see God acting in ways that most modern people do not define as loving or not harsh a great many times. And we often forget the context of situation in which God actions are taken. The same could be said for many a husband.

    NYLSE, we also believe that most folks can pick up the bible and read for themselves exactly what God desires of us. I do think that sometimes we let our modern lense though filter what we see or we go looking for scripture to back up what we believe instead of just letting God have His say and aligning ourselves with Him. That is why I cannot agree with alchemist, for 1 Peter 3 says this:

    5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

    6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

    And none of that makes the admonishments to husbands in the next verse any less true. The answer is not to get rid of authority, but for authority to be godly and for those under authority to be godly.

    I’ve got to get back to my little one and I don’t want to monopolize the comments. Thank you for letting me speak my piece. God bless you everyone.

    • Lydia purple

      Dear Amy and Sheila,

      I’ve been thinking and studying a bit about the words authority and power and submission since they came up in a few recent posts and there seems to be some confusion as to what they really mean in biblical context. Actually both terms authority and power have several terms in the Hebrew and Greek language. They also have a variety of definitions in English. The modern use of the word authority which is derived from the Latin has a very political or institutionalized tone to it, but there are other aspects.

      For one authority in Greek as well as Latin meant originator or founder and rightful owner. This is also were we get the word author from. In biblical terms we find this first of all with God himself who is the author of creation, the source of all life and therefore has all authority. This is an authority that can’t be taken away. The originator however can decide to lend certain rights to whomever he wishes to whatever extend he wishes. This is exactly what we find next in the bible. God gave Adam and Eve dominion over the earth and he gave them freedom of choice by putting the forbidden tree in the middle of Eden (2 more of the many definitions of authority – dominion or right to rule and freedom/power of choice!)

      By falling into sin mankind has actually given away part of their God given authority to Satan. We still have freedom of choice but we are not the only rulers of this world! The bible says that Satan is the ruler of this world, and when Satan tempted Jesus after his 40 day fast he actually offered Him all the kingdoms of the earth. The bible never tells that God gave Satan dominion over the earth, but he did give it Adam and Eve! So the logic would tell us that because we submitted to sin we gave over our dominion to the devil. It does not directly say this in Genesis but we find something similar in Revelation where it says that the rulers gave over their dominion to the beast.
      In the New Testament we find that God is the origin of all power, authority, dominion and that it’s meant for good of society (to protect from evil and to enhance the good). And in general we should submit to these authorities. They are good. But more than once in history we have seen when rulers handed their power to Sayan and how it was abused to kill whole people groups or persecute the church. In these cases one should not submit to the authority because God as the creator is still the last one to answer to! His authority is above all authority. I think we all agree on this.

      Authority and power are not in itself good or bad. They are tools meant for good but we really mess up a lot there. If we throw out authority and power we also throw out our free will. And I believe here is a key in defining where power becomes force or authority becomes abusive:
      If somebody is trying to take away your free will there is trouble! (We see this in governments that don’t allow for any other opinion and we see see it all the way down to husbands who give their wives no voice or parents who think they need to break their children’s will! I studied this issue for a while now and yes, God says to obey and to submit but always to the one who is to obey or submit. There is not one single command that I know of in the bible where God says to the one in authority to force the other person to submit or obey! It’s up to each individual to decide whom to submit to and to what extend! we are actually encouraged to test the spirits of teachers for example to make sure we don’t fall for a false gospel. We ultimately are responsible for our own actions before God. Yes he wants us to submit and esteem the other higher than ourselves, to love, to build to serve. But Jesus himself also said not throw pearls before pigs.

      I think I’m the church we would be better of if wives encouraged other wives to love and serve their husbands, to put their needs before their own. And likewise husbands should encourage husbands to love their wives unconditionally and to lay their lives down for them. The whole idea that men preach over women to submit to their husbands or women manipulating their husbands to try to get them to serve her is driven by something that is sinful and selfish and a doorway to abuse. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power love and self control. Power executed through fear is not of the Holy Spirit. I think that verse gives a clear guideline… Power must be used within the boundaries of love and self control! I have some more to say but I got to go feed the children!

      • Sheila

        Love this, Lydia, and this is exactly as I see it:

        “I think I’m the church we would be better of if wives encouraged other wives to love and serve their husbands, to put their needs before their own. And likewise husbands should encourage husbands to love their wives unconditionally and to lay their lives down for them. The whole idea that men preach over women to submit to their husbands or women manipulating their husbands to try to get them to serve her is driven by something that is sinful and selfish and a doorway to abuse. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power love and self control. Power executed through fear is not of the Holy Spirit. I think that verse gives a clear guideline… Power must be used within the boundaries of love and self control!”

      • Rebekah Baldridge

        Thank you for your wise and thought out comment Lydia! Amen 👍🏻

      • Kim P

        Lydia, I always love your thoughtful comments, and this one’s a keeper! I’m going to reread bc there is so much to unpack here. Thank you!

    • Kim

      There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the heavens (Ecc 3:1). Sarah obeyed Abraham. However,there is also a time documented in scripture when Abraham obeyed Sarah. “But God said to [Abraham] do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman LISTEN (shama 8085) to what Sarah tells you because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned (Genesis 21:12). The listen in that verse is defined as obey. In a productive marital relationship, to some degree, submission (obedience) is mutual.

  7. Lindsay

    Thank you, Sheila!

    You, once again, have put a lot of things into perspective.

    I also enjoyed the previous comments and never thought about Paul clearly stating submit and not obey.

    When it becomes about obedience to the husband, I feel like it puts him in God’s place.

    This article/conversation really made me see how that is idolatry. Your husband is not God!

    A husband is a leader under God’s calling. He should honor God and lead His family in doing so. And that is when submission is a beautiful thing! When your husband loves you enough to gently lead you down a path of righteousness for God’s namesake and NOT his own. It’s not about feeling like he is right, but that God is honored.

    I also think that’s when a wife can feel safe under her husband’s authority.

    If you feel like a disobedient child instead of a wife, then I think it’s safe to say that you may be in a controlling relationship.

    I think where some ladies may feel between a rock and a hard place is when you want to honor your promise to your husband. I think you answered that when you said that by stopping the abuse and not letting it continue, you allow the Lord to move. That’s the best way of loving your spouse: letting God be first in their lives.

    If they are controlling you, who are they serving? Themselves.

    Stopping the abuse and not standing for it will help to take them off their own pedestal and hopefully, through prayer on your behalf, allow room for the Lord to be first in their heart and life.

    If they don’t know the Lord, how can they love like Him? Give your spouse space (even if that means physically separating, especially for safety) so that the Lord has room to work.

    Prayers for any lady walking through this right now. Prayers that this article would comfort and open her eyes. Prayers that if she needs to physically separate to save her marriage or escape abuse that the Lord would clearly provide a safe place of refuge. I pray that the door is so wide open that she can confidently walk through it knowing the Lord is working it out. Lastly, I pray that any woman in this situation would also be surrounded by a support group. Lord, you know who is reading this and who needs these things. May this woman know she is royalty, a child of the King, may she not identify herself with the abuse, but know her value and worth are found in You. Knowing this will also give her the confidence to release her husband and marriage into Your healing hands. Thank you, Lord, for Sheila, your servant. May her ministry be continually blessed by You. In Jesus’ name!

    • Kim P

      Commenting like a crazy woman bc I haven’t hopped on the blog for awhile here, but Lindsay thank you! I teared up over your prayer. “I pray that the door is so wide open that she can confidently walk through it knowing the Lord is working it out.“ The door feels so narrow for us all; this was really amazing and reminded me of the wide path in psalms. You have a lot of insight and empathy. 💛

      • Sonty

        Greetings in the name of Jesus.
        What do we do if the abuser is the wife.Praying for this couple, the husband is also prayerful, praise God .
        Verbal abuse- yelling, faltfinding, arrogant, prideful,swearing, always angry,controlling,never satisfied, the husband is helping with household chores- cooking, washing dishes,cleaning, taking care of their child. Always home because she doesn’t want to socialize with friends or family. But still shes not content.Not working, shes a house wife.Husband is doing everything for her.The husband keep quiet will not answer back. He said he just want peace and tired of arguments, although sometimes he gets angry and ask the wife why she is acting the way she’s acting.When their argument becomes deep and the husband put facts on the table, the wife becomes angry, loose it and take any object around , aim it at him, trying to hit him.The husband will run into the next room lock himself there until she calms down.This has been going on for the past seven years. We are continuing with prayer asking God to intervene. The words that comes from the husband every time is “I am tired, I want peace , I have emotional pain”.
        They started counselling but the wife have abandoned it twice, and the husband continued until he finished it alone.Now they have started again, praying that it yields good fruits. And may God lead.

  8. Nicole Nolley

    I was in a controlling relationship for 17 years, I had to exhaust every resource I had and come to the end of myself to break free. You know you are in a controlling relationship when you yourself start to become controlling in ways that arent visible at first…

    …like acting a certain way to avoid his wrath,
    …. shutting down and refusing to conversate because of the mental anguish of anger tirades.
    …. Lying for him and coming to his defense when questioned by friends and family about his behavior.
    I never felt a release from God to initiate divorce, but I did…..

    …. get a restraining order.
    ….we did seperate for a season.
    ….we got back together with state mandated counsel, which ended with him bankrupting the family home and moving out and into his mothers home, all while me and my 3 children had to deal with trying to sell a bank foreclosed home.
    ….we tried once again when he moved into my rental home, but then abruptly left after an argument, packed his stuff and I came home to his empty closet and stolen jewelry.
    ….This is when I felt a release and with a counselor realized that he wasnt loving me correctly and that I was beautiful and that there was someone out there who would cherish me as I deserved.

    …Woman are strong! …but we can be broken, so broken inside and still look able and strong on the outside. I couldnt have pushed forward without counsel and outside help!

    If you are a woman in this situation, DO NOT DO THIS ALONE! Seek outside help and counsel, and unfortunately some of the biggest hinderances come from within the four walls of the church. They would rather you die in the name of obedience and sacrifice your life on the altar of rule keeping, than you live in the name of freedom in Christ!

    • Sheila

      Nicole, so true! And unfortunately your last paragraph is true, too. I have known so many women in these situations who have sought help from the church only to be told to “go home and submit and learn not to provoke him.” It’s so backwards and unbiblical. Jesus really does care!

    • Esther

      God bless you Nicole! Your last paragraph is aptly put, I thought this happens only in Nigeria.

  9. Clotheslinemusings

    THANK YOU. I wish I would have read this 10, ,15, maybe even 20 years ago!! I am currently divorcing after “celebrating” 20 years of marriage in January. Controlling began around year 2 or 3. Not to the extent but i am starting out with few contacts, few friends, and a core self who is figuring out how to think, speak , and act for myself for the first time in decades. My friends are calling me Rapunzel.

    After the initial guilt of “giving up on my marriage,” when all I’ve done for over 15years has been to adapt in order to lesson the scorn and detestable attitude toward snything I tried to offer, I am SO READY TO FLY. The freedom is terrifying yet exhilarating.

    I can’t wait to live the second half of my life as GOD created me. Thank you for sharing. I hope many find this messsgevand are brave enough to stop the control, one way or another.

  10. Faithful

    There is another form of abuse you did not mention. Egg Shells and silence. When a wife has to walk around always afraid of what will set her husband off and then endure the silent treatment for weeks on end because of an action sometimes she doesn’t even know about.

    Anger and physical abuse is real. I do not negate their harm. Women should never put themselves in danger and should take action. But the emotional harm that is experienced from non physical abuse can be just as destructive. And sometimes you wish you had physical abuse so you have something to show for the pain that is caused.

    I have been told he is just in a mood and I should support him and give him space, I have been told I need to show him more love, and my favorite is sex makes everything better.
    The thing I struggle with the most is that I still have to do what is right in Gods eyes even when he is not. That is really hard to do when you know your actions can actually set him off instead of being taken as love.

    I pray daily that God will intervene and show me where I need to change and what I can do to help our marriage. I pray for my husband that he will have peace and comfort and Love me the way Christ loved the church.

    I do believe in submitting to my husband as long as it is not illegal or immoral. I do believe he is the head of the house as scripture says he should be. But I can only pray that God will touch him to do his part. I can not control that.

    And yes I have thought a lot about leaving but I believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I do not want to give up on my marriage or my husband. I know that sometimes there is no other way but to walk away and I am proud for the women that can find the strength to do that. And one day I may be to the point of walking away but I have to know that I have done EVERYTHING Christ wants me to do first.

    I pray for all the women who read this and are in an abusive relationship. There is help out there. I pray you will find someone who can lead you and support you in the difficult days ahead of you. I strongly urge you to find someone to talk to, to find a church or support group that can help you. You are Loved and you are Cherished.

    Your sister in Christ

    • Sheila

      That was lovely, and so real. You’re right–the silent treatment is so hurtful, and really is manipulative at heart. It has no place in a healthy relationship.

      Is there a counselor that you could speak to about this? Or a mentor couple who would better understand? It sounds like your husband has some major emotional issues and desperately needs some actual help. I pray with you that you’ll be gracious, but I also really pray that he gets the kick he needs to get help, because it is not healthy to live like that. Not healthy at all!

      • Faithful

        I am working with someone but I cannot get him to work with anyone. He doesn’t feel like anything is wrong. All prayers are appreciated.

      • Anon

        Is the silent treatment okay when you provoked a fight and he responded angrily by bruising your arm? We fight very little but we’re under financial stress and occasionally he responds like that. I suppose its my fault for “starting it” because I’m the first one who threw a dish towel, slammed the door or throw a pillow or a sock at him in the early fights. But over the years he went from “in your face” shouting me down (in response to my harsh words), to a shoulder shove, the next time a shoulder grab, then the next time it was grabbing plus pushing me down. now its a bruise. I always hear the stories about how it starts out small and then gets worse. Yet I see very clearly the role I play in my temper. I almost feel like the Holy Spirit cant even do any work in me because I’m so mad at him. I’m having a hard time even wanting to “make up” because he’s expecting ME to ask for forgiveness. I”m the one with a bruise in the end… even if I started it. I know a lot of people wont believe me when I say its my fault. I realize that there’s no excuse for hurting me but I was wrong for getting mad at him. I’d explain but the scenarios too long and reasons for fighting have varied over the years. Most of the time we have a great relationship. But the longer we are married the harder it is for me to forgive and forget. somethings you just dont forget and its hard to get over. I guess I have a lot of growing up to do.

        • Sheila

          Anon, I am so sorry that you’re hurting so much! And you know what? It may indeed be that you sinned in your anger, or that you yelled when you shouldn’t have, or that you responded totally inappropriately to things that he did. And it may indeed be that the Holy Spirit wants to work on you to help you deal with your anger and to help you grow to be more Christlike.

          BUT NONE OF THAT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT YOUR HUSBAND IS HURTING YOU. Please hear me on this. Just because you did something wrong does not mean that he gets off the hook for hurting you. And, yes, abuse usually escalates. It starts small and it gets worse.

          Please, please, talk to a counselor and get some help–and call the police if you EVER feel in danger. Please.

          This is not your fault. Abuse victims ALWAYS feel as if it is their fault in some way, and there is never an excuse to hurt. It sounds as if you both need to figure out how to resolve your conflict in a healthy manner, and you really need some help in doing that. But if you talk to someone who tells you that it is your fault that he hurt you–find someone else to talk to! Find someone who understands the dynamics of abuse, because this sounds really dangerous.

          By the way, it’s okay to say to your husband, “I’m sorry that I reacted inappropriately in anger. I truly am. But I am crushed that you would physically hurt me, and until we address the fact that you have been physically hurting me, I won’t talk about other issues in our relationship. This trumps everything, and we need to deal with it NOW.”

          Please get some help!

          • Anon

            I’m going to do that. thank you Sheila.

        • Brievel

          That’s how it startedin my marriage (also partially because of financial issues.) It ended with him concussing me – while pregnant – and throwing me and our one-year-old out. You need to get this addressed NOW.

          • Betty

            I am very happy I came across this write up. I have been trying to seek help and talk to someone but seems I got no one around. I got into a relationship about 7months ago , the start was very juicy as the man professed so much love for me that almost looked unreal to me, He was all over me and became highly possessive , I was happy and felt I finally found some one who loved me so much. He showered me with lots of gifts and money to support my daughter and I as I lost my job and was really needy. Few weeks into the relationship he subtly brought the idea of registry , I consented thinking I was lucky to have a man with so much interest in me. After all this, boom the real controlling nature in him started,. We live in different countries, he wants to be on phone with me all time of the day, I feel choked, he wants to know who called or talked with me, forces me to do things against my wish, tells me to submit to all his instructions, wants to always be on video call with me monitoring what I do, who I meet . He has serious anger issue, talks down on me always making me feel worthless and making me feel he is doing me a favour for being in a relationship with me. He doesn’t want me to pick up a job or stay with him abroad, he wants me to stay back in our home country but can only visit him once in a while.. I am a master’s degree holder while he is just a diploma holder, he makes me feel my degree is nothing but thrash. I can’t have a smooth discussion with him, I became afraid of him and found it difficult to please him with so much complaints about me, he is a man of too much words, he has called several people into our relationship issues and at every point carelessly divulge important issues of my life , which I discussed with him , to the third parties. All these people blame me telling me I have to be utterly submissive to him and that I beg him always to have my way or wish. He yells at me in the presence of my daughter, this has affected her emotions too, I find it difficult to correct him on any issue as he claims he is the head. Gradually I have lost my confidence and don’t even know where to turn to. He claims he could slap me if he is around me if I disobey his orders. He has no respect or regard for anyone . He controls who l talk to and friends I should keep, he controls the use of my time, he wants to know everything I discussed with family and friends on a daily basis, he stopped me from attending my church because he feels he doesn’t like the denomination, I cannot go anywhere without his company on phone. I am in emotional distress right now.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Betty, I’m so sorry for your turmoil. But I’m going to be blunt: You have to cut off contact with this man. This is not a healthy relationship, and you already know that. And you should not be submissive to a man like this in any way. You need to say no. And you need to work instead on getting a support system around you that can help you through this difficult time. If you have to change your phone number, do it. But you have to get away from him.

    • Hurting

      Faithful your post has me on the verge of tears. The only reason I am not crying because I know if i start, I won’t be able to stop for days. I’ve only just stopped crying a few days ago and only because my heart feels too broken to even cry. My marriage for months now has been me constantly walking on eggshells with my husband alternating between ever worsening explosions and ever increasing silent treatments. Even though it has spilled over to him being violent to me several times now (with the last one being quite serious), it is the silent treatment that is even worse. He will only speak to me in grunts. While I was out, he installed a huge expensive door and massive lock to replace his previous study door and now locks himself in there whenever he’s not at work.

      It was just petty revenge to get back at me for saying if he assaulted me again, I would go to the police and press charges. I can get over the assault, despite him not being at all sorry (even going to the point now where he denies it even happened), but it’s the locking himself in there, pretending he’s the victim of the big bad wife because of me saying I will go to the police if it happens again, that is more painful. It’s the third time, not the first time he’s assaulted me. And before that, he’s been smashing things (usually my things) for quite some time, but it’s the deliberate silent treatments for days afterwards that hurt more. And not just emotionally – he’s left me stranded in another state with the kids and no money and no way to get home, no food, nowhere to stay, nothing, and then refused to take my calls to beg him to give us at least some food money or help me find somewhere to stay until I could get home.

      I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve had to go without medications (and more recently food as well) because of him giving him the silent treatment on payday and then him having spent all his pay before he decides to stop giving me the silent treatment.

      Reading Sheila’s post and the comments are a painful reminder of just how badly he is abusing the children and I, that the the verbal, emotional and financial abuses are far worse than the physical abuse (and that hasn’t been easy as this is my second marriage to an abuser, and my first husband was incredibly violent – since the last time my second husband attacked me physically a month ago, I literally have not been able to sleep at night. Even though he locks himself in the study every night, I lay awake in our bed with horrible flashbacks to the vicious assaults from my first husband, and when I eventually do manage to get some sleep during the day when he is at work, I am tormented by nightmares of the abuse from my first marriage – yes the flashbacks and nightmares are of my first husband, but I hadn’t had them for nearly a decade until my second husband started becoming violent, and my second husband is escalating in abuse far quicker than my first husband did).

      I know how bad things are, I really do, but I have no way to leave. I’ve been trying since several months ago when he stranded the kids and I interstate with no money and no way to get home. But there are just no services to help here. I have no money, nothing is in joint names, everything is in his name. I can’t get single parents benefits until after I leave him, but I can’t leave him with nowhere to go (going into winter, the refuges are overflowing with people already homeless and people suffering far worse than me), and I have nowhere to go without money, which I can’t get unless I’ve already left.

      I have a counsellor who is trying to help emotionally, but we’ve exhausted all practical solutions, at least until a place in a refuge becomes available (and there are issues with my first husband still being out there, still stalking me, and I fear if he finds out the situation with my second husband, that he, my first husband, will come after me and my children – it’s only been just over 6 months since the last time he was threatening to, and only fear of my second husband that stopped him).

      I’ve begged our church for help but gotten nowhere. When it comes to practical help leaving, every single person I’ve asked for help has just said ask secular services for help – even though there are none who can currently. When it comes to help in trying to deal with the underlying issue (my husband’s abusiveness), the first response was they aren’t marriage counsellors, go see one (we’ve seen several and got nowhere), the second response is to continue to treat it like it’s a two way issue, and not see that abuse is a one-way issue. There is nothing the victim can do in most cases.

      One of the most powerful speeches I have ever seen on the topic of domestic violence is by Sir Patrick Stewart, talking about his parents and how the police would come in and tell her “it takes two to tango, Mrs Stewart”, and Patrick Stewart’s response is to yell “WRONG”. I think it should be mandatory watching in schools as it is definitely the most powerful video I’ve seen on the issue. Because abuse is NEVER the victim’s fault, and while some victims may do things that are also not okay that make the situation worse, firstly, the victim is still not at fault, but secondly, in most cases of abuse, it doesn’t matter what the victim does or doesn’t do, it would not change the outcome. Even the most loving, caring, people can be victims of some of the most horrific abuse.

      I’m sorry, I’ve talked way too much. I just want one of two things – my preference is that God touches my husband’s ever colder heart, and that he stops being abusive (he claims to be a christian and claims that he believes what the bible says about marriage even though his actions and other words show the complete opposite), or if that doesn’t happen, to find some way to leave that doesn’t involve the kids and I sleeping in the car when it’s not even winter yet and it’s already down to zero (degrees celsius, ie literally freezing) and within a few weeks will start reaching as low as minus 10.

      No one at church has offered to take us in, there are no government or NGO services out there who can take us in at this stage and I can no longer cope with calling around constantly to try and find practical help to leave, especially when half the time I don’t even have a working phone (my charger broke and he won’t always let me use his and I can’t afford to buy another) and it doesn’t really matter because my phone bill is already several days overdue and he refuses to pay it because it’s my phone, I have no money, and he has a pin on his and refuses to let me use it. It’s hard not to give into wondering if he’s cheating on me as he keeps pins and passwords on everything of his, he goes to another room whenever he gets phone calls and to make phone calls, he closes things on his computer screen most of the times I come, he can’t explain where all our (“his”) money goes and so on. I know he has a porn habit as in the past he’s admitted to it (even though now he claims he never did despite his past admissions), but it’s hard not to give and believe it’s more than that, as a porn habit doesn’t explain him locking himself away when he’s on the phone etc.

      I don’t know anymore. I just want this to be over. I married him because he seemed like the polar opposite to my first husband. My first husband was never a strong christian, and he was very brash, impulsive etc. I thought at the time that him being a christian and us loving each other was enough. We separated due to his violence, we divorced because he demanded a divorce to marry his long term mistress. My second husband seemed to be a very strong, mature christian, he seemed to be mature and responsible in life matter like career, buying a house, being settled down etc. He had no “big bad past”. He seemed everything a christian woman could ever hope for in a husband. But now I see that the only difference between the two is my second husband is better at putting on a good front.

      I keep praying to God, begging to either touch my husband’s heart and end the abuse, or to give me a practical way to leave. Or at the very least, to just give me a way to sleep at night without lying awake crying with flashbacks most of the night and having nightmares when I do manage some sleep. I stopped crying on the outside days ago, but now I just cry more on the inside.

      And it breaks my heart because even though I have never physically cried in front of my two year old, she knows and constantly says to me the last few weeks “mummy crying”.

      • Faithful


        I will pray that God will open the door’s and meet your need’s. I will pray that he will send someone your way that can and will help you. First and foremost you must take care of yourself and your children. I may be unpleasant for a while but you can do all thing through God who gives you strength.


    • Kim P

      Faithful, you are a strong, amazing caring woman! I absolutely agree with you ab eggshells. I too know the damage that does to spend a life that way! You encouraged me and I hope to encourage you…this part struck me

      “The thing I struggle with the most is that I still have to do what is right in Gods eyes even when he is not. That is really hard to do when you know your actions can actually set him off instead of being taken as love.“ Yes! It’s so hard! What I’ve been learning lately is that doing what is right in these scenarios looks different than what a wife would do in a loving, respectful partnership marriage. So if you’re setting him off, it probably means you’re standing up for yourself and asking him in love to change his bad behavior. Which is loving and right to do! Setting boundaries when someone is hurting you is the most loving thing you can do for yourself and that person. You’re doing it right, Faithful. May God be with you and give you the insight and courage you need to make the decisions for your future.

  11. T

    There is no help out there for a disabled senior. All the programs in my area are geared exclusively toward women with dependant children. I have pounded the pavement searching for several years now, to no avail… and your advice to ‘march down to the bank’ doesn’t work. If YOUR name isn’t on the account, they won’t give you the time of day.
    I have no friends or family in a position to give any meaningful help. and the church is a joke. They just talk pretty but won’t actually DO anything of real substance. I doubt very much that this comment will even be visible on your page here, since it flies in the face of your sweet advice. I am elderly and disabled. Living homeless under a bridge isn’t an option..Sometimes the option of leaving simply doesn’t exist.

    • Hurting

      T I completely understand. I have the same but slightly opposite problem. I am a woman with dependent children, and all the services here are geared toward women with no dependents.

      Actually I think it just comes down to the services for people with disabilities don’t exist whether you have children or not. Going and living under a bridge for a few months get you access to homeless services here that would otherwise take years to get into. But being disabled (and in my case having kids, one who is also special needs as well), means living under a bridge (or in my case, I have seriously considered living in my car) is realistically not an option. I’m tired of people saying “you’re young, just go couch surfing on friends’ couches”. They don’t seem to understand that that requires friends who are both willing and able to offer somewhere for a disabled woman, a special needs teenager with serious issues, and a toddler who is currently being assessed for ADHD – I have no friends willing and able to do that just for me on my own even.

      I think most people mean well with the suggestions that they make, they just don’t realise how complicated things are. For example, you can make an application for a spouse’s account, but not until you are officially separated, and then you have to go to court which can take years, by which time the money might be all gone anyway, and unless you have lots of money to fight it in court, the point is moot anyway.

      Sadly you’ve just summed up the position I’m in – need to leave because of the abuse, but without any practical support from the church, I’m simply not in a position to leave.

  12. Elaine

    “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
    It always seems (to me) to come back to a heart issue. Wives ARE directed to [obey] be in subjection to their husbands, EVEN when the husband is not a Christian and therefore might NOT be carrying out his part of treating his bride as lovingly and self-sacrificially as Christ would treat the church. (Check out the context: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.”) We women don’t get to stop behaving as Christ-like wives [i.e. submitting to our husbands] just because the man of the house isn’t exactly reflecting the image of Christ in his relationship toward us.
    However, before y’all start shooting at me, let me hasten to admit that there IS a time when an abused woman should seek help and/or stand up for herself… maybe sooner in the marriage than we may think! God doesn’t countenance abuse! I love Gary Thomas’s wisdom when he talks about how God cares more about the people in a marriage than He cares about the shell of marriage itself. That’s so precious and meaningful to me and helps me to refocus my vision of God.
    So I think the whole issue comes back to the individual state of a woman’s heart. Some abused wife may receive courage from this blog to reach out for healing and safety through whatever measures are necessary. Conversely, a proud and rebellious woman may use this blog (which was intended for good) as a spring-board of excuses for manipulating and disrespecting her partner and tearing apart her family.
    It would seem so much simpler if one answer fit all sizes, wouldn’t it? LOL Of course there are some bedrock principles, but applications have to be made individually, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Possibly some women COULD win a spouse to Christ by enduring some abuse with love (we’ve all heard stories), while other abused wives would please God MUCH better by immediately getting themselves and their children out of a similar situation. And how do we know what’s right for us? The patient guidance of the Holy Spirit — which won’t do us much good if our hearts are not listening to Him.
    It’s a frustrating state of affairs for some of us, who would like all answers to be cut-and-dried, DEFINITELY including me! But though we’re supposed to build each other up in the faith (and specifically the older women are to give instruction to the younger women — kudos to Sheila for her much-appreciated ministry to wives) we can’t expect every individual’s life to fit the precise pattern of “answers” we offer. God is more creative than that!
    This isn’t a pot-shot at ANYBODY, honestly. Just reminding myself that God wants each of us to have a heart that hungers desperately after Him and depends completely on His Holy Spirit. And that just because our lives or opinions are not identical with every other Christian’s doesn’t mean that — quite often — we’re each offering a facet of the truth.
    Focus on loving God with our whole hearts, ladies, and He will faithfully direct our individual lives — wait patiently on His perfect answer, whatever it may be!

  13. Lisa

    I’ve been following your blog for a month or so. Some of the things I have found refreshing but I wonder how much of this is “me” centered. Marriages are complicated, men are selfish, women are selfish. I’ve seen women be just as abusing as men sometimes. I’m not condoning abuse, true abuse in any way, shape or form but I do believe in our society abuse can sometimes be an excuse for not having to follow because I don’t agree or it hurt my feelings or etc. I believe God is most concerned about marriage vows (especially in today’s society where it’s under attack on every front). As I read through 1 Peter again the other night I was challenged, challenged to love a “disobedient to the word” husband, challenged to love and care for someone who is difficult…not because I need to have all my expectations met before I can be happy in a marriage but because Christ loved me when I was unlovely, He found ways to draw me to Himself when I was opposed to Him. Maybe, just possibly, God doesn’t want me to give up on a sutuation and demand my own rights but He wants me to lay down my life for another. To run to Him with my hurt feelings before I give up. To realize my husband is either a struggling brother in Christ fighting his own sinful flesh or may not even be a believer…even if my spouse may appear to be. There is always a root cause for sin and although we cannot change another’s behavior, if we can take time, seek the Lord and ask Him to let us see into their heart and not the outward appearance, maybe we can be the very person God created to love and help our husbands. Regardless, God wants me to love and do all I can to keep the marriage sacred or distance temporarily but always seeking ways for reconciliation. i just think most importantly before one decides to uproot their children, shame their husband and leave, much prayer should be sought before the Lord. Read His Word…all verses relating to women in the scripture, especially New Testament. Maybe the Lord will still impress your heart to leave or maybe He will give you new mercies everyday to keep loving, finding ways to love and your children and yourself as a wife will find a new man living in your home… Just my 2 cents… I’m SLOWLY realizing marriage is about so much more than me or my desires or my picture perfect life…it’s about glorifying God in the good times and the tough times. Sometimes glorifying God may be walking away but I think more times than not it is choosing to love the unlovable in others.

    • anon


  14. Nicole

    My mother was 18 when she met my father and shortly after became pregnant with me. He was an alcoholic, and he became physically violent, to the point of nearly strangling my mother to death while she was pregnant with me. After I was born, she had to protect me with an iron skillet because according to him, I “cried too much”. When I was six weeks old, he killed my mother. She was planning to leave with me the very next day. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I have forgiven my father, but he is still unrepentant, and is out of jail. I made a promise to myself to never allow a man to belittle me or treat me the way my father treated my mother. Ladies, please, if you have any way of getting out of an abusive relationship, do it! Please don’t let your children know the pain of losing their mother! I know that controlling isn’t necessarily what some would call “abuse”, but abuse starts out with isolating the victim and making them completely dependent on their abuser, like my father did to my mother. (She had no money, no family nearby, no vehicle, and no way to defend herself from a raging alcoholic). If you are in a relationship with a controlling person, get outside help ASAP, and protect yourself and your children!

    • Sheila

      Wow, Nicole. What a story. I’m so sorry that you’ve grown up without your mother. I agree with you–controlling behaviour is very dangerous, and often does escalate.

  15. OKRickety

    Of all the Christian marriages you know, what percentage of them have any of the 10 “control” examples given in the post? I’m curious, and not really looking for answers to that question here, but, if you have links to any studies with statistics, please post them.

    I question whether “He hits you or physically exerts force in any way” is necessarily an example of controlling behavior. I know that it can be, but I wonder how often it might actually be for another reason.

  16. OKRickety

    First, I believe that every form of abuse is sin.

    However, this post makes many claims that seem to be true, but are not when they are considered more carefully. These statements tend to assume the worst, rather than the ideal.

    Before proceeding, let’s consider the definitions of power and authority.

    The Oxford Dictionary defines power as “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.”.

    It defines authority as “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.”

    Looking closely, you will see that authority includes power, but power does not include authority.

    Sheila writes “I think there is an immense difference between power and authority. Power is the ability to force someone to do your will; authority is the ability to persuade someone to do your will through moral force. They are really two different things.”

    They are indeed different. However, the definitions she gives seem to be reversed from the dictionary definitions.

    Here are some claims from the post that are not completely or always true, or are misleading, and my reasoning:

    “Unfortunately, though, power over others is intoxicating.”
    — Power may be intoxicating, but it does not ALWAYS lead to abuse. Alcohol is intoxicating, but it does not always lead to drunkenness.

    “Power always leads to abuse. Always. When we give people power over another person while denying that person the ability or opportunity to get help or to get justice, then we open the doors for abuses of that power.”
    — Power does NOT always lead to abuse. It does, however, always give the possibility for abuse.

    “Let’s stop giving husbands, pastors, or churches unchecked power. That’s how abuse flourishes.”
    — I strongly agree that no Christian should have unchecked power over another Christian. However, the implication is that abuse will ALWAYS flourish in this situation. More correctly, unchecked power is an environment that provides the opportunity for abuse to exist, and possibily flourish.

    In short, abuse is not a certainty when a person has power. In fact, I think a better title for the post would be “Let’s Not Abuse Women in the Name of God.”

    The true issue is the drive for power and the likelihood of resulting abuse. Sheila does state the true issue when, in a graphic, she states: “We can’t stop abuse until we address the root: a drive for power.”

    An example of how authority and power can be beneficial is when a parent controls their child’s behavior to prevent them from being harmed. For example, a parent grabbing their child to stop them from running out in the street where they could easily be injured is not abuse, but love in action. I realize this is not marriage, but the same principle that authority can easily be beneficial applies there, too.

    Now, let’s return to the idea that the root cause of abuse is a drive for power. The drive for power will likely always exist as part of the human condition. I don’t think it’s possible to destroy it. Ultimately, abuse is best prevented when that drive for power is subjected to God’s plan for love as the basis for human relationships. Only when a person allows God to have control of their life will they be able to behave as God desires. This is the more important concept in this post, and I don’t think it was addressed (it was only mentioned one time in the graphic).

    Note: I do agree that checks on power or authority are important. When failure occurs, those checks would reduce the incidence of abuse (and other hurting behaviors). The Bible provides the checks, for example, church discipline for restoration as given in Matthew 18:15-17.

  17. Amanda

    This article reassures me that I am and did the right thing. I physically left my husband 5 months ago and his still…luckily only through emails…making me feel like I’m dishonoring him or not submitting to him because I don’t want to continue in the emotional abuse he used for a long time.
    He has constantly even when we were together used scripture to “correct” me for not submiting or respecting him was his lines and scripture for years.
    Feeling at times lonely that if I really did the right thing, but God is grieved because of this. And protecting the children God gave me is my responsibility and allowing them to witness that and then they disrespect me, isnt helping us have a healthy family. I don’t have a lot of hope of things to change but GOD only.knowd.my future with or without my husband.
    I’m going to keep.this and refer it for more reading especially on the emotional destructive book.

    Thank you for this.

    • Therese

      Amanda, you did do the right thing by leaving him. He’s just using the Bible to justify his own bad behavior and pretty much using anything he can to try to manipulate you into staying with him. If only people would try to convince us through their own good character and positive changes they have made instead of manipulating us and calling it God’s will. He’s going to try to convince you that you are making the wrong decision but you are actually protecting yourself and your children from abuse. Sometimes it takes years for children to show the effects of the abuse that they have witnessed. And even worse, If someone is abusive towards them they might not recognize that as abuse because they’ve become immune to it. If they’re used to seeing a man treat his wife in a condescending and disrespectful manner, They might assume that that’s just how relationships are. Whereas a child that did not grow up in an abusive home might notice right away that this relationship is not healthy. My husband is verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and this is what I’m afraid with my daughter. That this cycle of violence will continue and that she will be more likely to choose someone that treats her badly because that alarm in her head won’t go off like it should. I’m finally in a position (financially) where I think I can leave. For years he’s made me beg for any amount of money (which he usually won’t give) and won’t let me go food shopping because I’m “too stupid”. The few times I was able to go he would go through it line by line screaming. It’s only now that I have inherited a small amount of money that I can leave but it has been 10 long years and I feel like he has killed me inside and I’m just a shell of the person I used to be. Even if you know that the names he calls you are ridiculous it takes it’s toll and you start to believe it. Don’t let people guilt you into staying in something that is harmful for you and your kids. And for people to pressure you in the name of God is shameful. We might not remember it but we are stronger and more resilient than we realize.

  18. Lacy

    The word “obey” should never be in anyone’s wedding vows.

    I’ve been married twice. Once to a man that hit me and abused me mentally. That marriage ended in divorce. My second marriage was to a wonderful man – or so I thought. He changed after a few years and began being controlling and abusive mentally, verbally and emotionally – and nearly physically to both me and our son. He DEMANDED respect even though he did not deserve it. I was actually begging God to make it stop. Within 6 months of my plea to the Lord my husband was injured and died from his injury, I believe that was God’s way of setting me and our son free from a live of daily torment and misery.

  19. Cholula

    This is great. Problem identified. But we women continue to focus on our growth while enduring abuse in the name of submission.

    What can be done to bring about change? How do we get to the abuser? Most will not go to counselling or face their violence. They cower in social settings and rage at home.

    God hates divorce but how does He feel about abuse? We see historically that women were mistreated in the Old Testament. Did God condone it or was because of the corruption of people?

    Truly I have no answers. Pleasing God kept me in an abusive marriage for 35 years. I’m saddened that I didn’t keep my vow. Life is not necessarily easier just different.

    I guess the best help is to listen and encourage women to stand up for themselves when they can, keep focused on the Word, and know that God loves them.

  20. Hannetjie Gerber

    Good morning

    Thank you so much for this.

  21. LR

    I can understand how some Christian men get possessive over their Christian wives, knowing the Bible mentions about not being yoked together with unbelievers, or people of different faiths. In other words, a Christian wife straying from her Christian husband with a male non-believer who is of a different faith in which the Christian husband worries that his Christian wife whom he’s entitled to might be influenced to sin by the non-believing manstress, or male mistress, who also targets happily married women whose husbands can go after them and kill them, which, of course is a sin. It’s no wonder women are expected to marry within the same faith although it can be confining.

    I’m sure there is such thing as Christian male entitlement to Christian women.

  22. God Is Faithful

    I’m at a loss for words. I’ve been in therapy and have talked to Christian counselors. I’m still torn as to what to do in my marriage. My husband cheated 2 years ago (was caught didn’t admit to it up front). Since then his behavior has gotten worse to where the last 7-8mos he goes out drinking and has just chosen not to come home. Doesn’t know where he is. Has said he wants to “file” for divorce but has hope God will restore our marriage. That I don’t listen to him and basically I need to change. We have a young son. I’m not staying with him because I’m scared to leave, I believe God could restore our marriage. My husband was not like this at all when we first got married. He was on fire for God! Always had a generous and giving heart. Very loving. Some days I ask God if divorce is the answer cause I’m so fed up. I’m just in this bizarre place of literally not sure what to do. His actions have taken a toll on me emotionally to where anxiety is an issue and focusing on my business.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I’m so sorry! I’m wondering what those who know the full story are advising you to do? Sometimes we know deep inside what we should do (that’s often God talking to us), but we don’t want to admit it. I don’t know what way you should go, because God sometimes calls people to different things. But I do know that if he is treating you like that, he is very likely to continue to if you tolerate it. And if it’s starting to affect your health, that really does matter. I pray that you’ll be able to make a good decision!

  23. Desperate Wife

    Dear Sister,

    Thank you for your words from the Bible. I’m a 28 year old female and was going through a difficult time. With tears running down my cheeks, I read your blog. I also read few others who said similar to you.

    My husband earns well and always buys anything he wants easily. He also buys me somethings. He is good person because there are husbands who never buy anything for their wife. But, my husband never discusses anything with me. He does whatever he pleases. That is sad and disappointing. After marriage, my life crumpled and I lost all faith in God and became a backslidden Christian that went into sin. By God’s glorious grace, God restored me again and again. Now especially after going home to my parents for Christmas and New Year, there is a visible change in me. Today also, the Holy Spirit of God helped me and comforted me many times. God enabled me to pray in faith using Bible verses to defeat the devil’s negative worrying and depressing thoughts.

    My husband is a fallen Christian. He is addicted to porn, smoking and sometimes drinking. He always threatens me saying, ‘Wives submit to your husband’. He is very rough in sex even though I cry. He wants to me wear see through dresses like prostitutes and wants me to be naked also. He wants me to use sex toy. He even bought me on his own will. He also has something like that. I’ve been living in depression all my married life (2 yrs 9 mos). He always threatens me saying, ‘He’ll go to prostitutes if I don’t do whatever he says’. He says he’ll be able to love me only if I submit to him and when he feels satisfied. Even his family supports him fully. My husband came to my parents house with his mother, the day after Christmas and shouted at me and my parents and threatened to send a divorce notice in a week. By God’s grace, it hasn’t happened yet.

    On top of it all, my husband wants to live with his parents in our hometown. They declared it in front of their relatives without even asking me. Now, my husband uses the Bible verse saying, ‘A husband is saved through his wife’s acts.’ When I ask him to come to church, he says, ‘You go. I won’t. I’m not interested.’ and repeats the same verse again.

    I’m also confused by Bible, what does it mean by ‘submission’ and that ‘our bodies do not belong to us’. Therefore, I’m afraid to approach church lest they tell I’m wrong and I should obey whatever my husband says. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to his threats anymore. But I even prayed today that if God tells me to do whatever my husband says even if its disgusting and uncomfortable, then I will get His strength and obey. If that pleases God, then i’ll do it too. But honestly, if its not for God, I’d rather die than to do those disgusting things. Please help.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Desperate Wife, I’m so sorry that you’ve in such an abusive relationship–because that’s what it is. It’s an abusive relationship.

      You need to decide if you are worth more than this, or if you want to continue in this. I’ve written so much about all the questions you’ve asked, it’s hard to point you to a single post. I would point you to my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, which can clarify submission.

      I’d also recommend reading this post on my submission series (other posts are linked within it) and this one about how women are not responsible for men’s lust (again, other posts are linked within it).

      I hope that helps! And please seek out some help, either at a good church or even at an abuse hotline of how you can get some help.

    • Therese

      Please don’t believe the things that he tells you. He’s saying those things to manipulate you into doing what he wants. He doesn’t go to church or claim to really believe and yet he tries to use the Bible to control you and make you do things that you feel wrong doing. He treats you with contempt and seems like he does not respect you. And to make decisions without your input when it comes to living with his parents, That is a very bad sign. Please don’t take this the wrong way but I think he wants you to dress like a “whore” so he feels that he can treat you like he feels a “whore” deserves to be treated. I’m sorry to use those words and I don’t mean to hurt you. I’m afraid if you go to live with his parents he’s just bringing you into an environment where they will side with everything that he says and won’t be there to support you. If they see him treating you badly and appear not to notice it and are not disturbed by it I’m afraid it might only get worse. My prayers are with you and I hope you stay strong through this time.

    • Kim P

      Desperate wife, are you in Africa? The way you write reminds me of my friends in Uganda. Precious sister, if that is the case I understand that your situation is even more complicated than we in the US or Canada could understand. You are not your husband’s property. The Bible says you were bought at a price (Jesus’ sacrifice) so honor God with your body, which includes protecting your body from harm. If a man uses the Bible to threaten, subjugate, control, do harm to his wife then he is using it as a weapon, and that is not ok with God. Your husband sounds very abusive on many levels. I hope you can find help! If no one will help you, please come back here and tell us. You’re young and you have your whole life ahead of you!

  24. Meg

    My husband is being very controlling and I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how much longer I can take it. The article says to not go along with what he says, but I think that will just make him more angry. I don’t think he would ever physically abuse me but I don’t think going against what he wants will work either. Should I leave him?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Meg, I’m so sorry you’re going through that! Can you talk to someone about it? Talk to a counsellor? Or talk to some friends and ask them to help you? Or even call a shelter? This sort of thing is very difficult to deal with alone!

  25. AshamedControllingHusband

    I don’t see any posts by the controlling husbands on here. So , unless I just missed them, let me be the first.
    I have read some of your heartbreaking stories and I don’t know how you put up with it. I just came to realize recently that I am a controlling husband. I am so ashamed and heartbroken knowing the pain this has caused my sweet wife. She has filed for a divorce, which is probably the reason for my self-reflection. I knew he had problems, and I knew she was pulling away. I just thought she was becoming less interested in me so I increased efforts to show her that I care about her, but also my cause my anxiety (fear of losing her) to skyrocket. I was not trusting God like I should have been – but thought I was serving God by trying to fix our marriage myself. Backwards thinking in retrospect, but that’s where I was. I love my wife and 3 kids dearly. I never, and would never, physically abused any of my family. I am terrified of these new legal proceedings and I want nothing more than to save our marriage so we can, together, learn how to experience a healthy marriage. I do not want to control my wife! I didn’t even realize that I was until now! I was reading this post and subsequent comments to get a perspective like hers. I have changed many things, one is much much much more prayer, the other is increased biblical study, counseling, talking with family and friends, and joining a men’s group (from a different church because ours has nobody even close to my demographic) in order to have a group that will hold me accountable. I am working on myself to try to get healthy again to start working on our marriage, but she seems unimpressed, to say the least. What do I do?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi there! Thanks for reaching out. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and I do pray that you’ll both find real healing.

      I’d say that the best thing to do is to work on yourself, regardless of what she’s doing. When you look at Psalm 51, which David wrote after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had Uriah killed, he said to God “against you, and you only have I sinned.” That’s weird, because obviously he also sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah! But I think what he was getting at was that ultimately, his sin was between him and God. Even if earthly relationships were not restored, he would endeavour to get right with God and fix his character.

      That’s what you need to do. Get right with God without the consideration of what effect it will have on your marriage. Run after God wholeheartedly. In time, she may notice the change. But if she senses that you’re changing only to get her back, it won’t last and it won’t register to her. So just chase after God, and trust that He has your future in His hands. Whatever happens, you’ll be okay. And I do pray that you can all find real reconciliation.

  26. Glenys Robyn Hicks

    This was such a good post. My ex husband did *everything* in the list. Everything. I put up with it for 25 years until I could no longer even keep any food down because of fear. He kept telling me if I left that nobody would love me as I was such a horrible person. Yet he would not tell me in what way I was horrid. When I finally left, I not only carried just my clothes two bin bags out with me, but years of abuse that left me with post traumatic stress disorder. I simply stayed too long. God brought a godly man into my life 4 years after my divorce and we have been married 21 years. He doesn’t know why I was told those lies, but I know. Control. Hate. Power. And it nearly worked. Don’t stay too long. Please.

    • Therese

      I’m being told the same thing. That no one will ever want me. That he’s the best thing that ever happened to me and then I would be on the streets and homeless if it weren’t for him. He tells me this every day but when I look at what he’s actually saying it makes no sense. I have a college degree and despite staying with him through this abuse I know that I am smart. I had a good career before I stopped working to stay home with my child. I’m going to be leaving soon and I know it’s going to be very bad when that happens. If he’s out of control when I don’t “provoke” him I can’t even imagine what he’s going to do when I leave. But no one has the right to destroy another person down to their soul. I’m always walking on egg shells and he has broken or destroyed many of the things that I care about. Old family heirlooms and things like that just out of spite because he knew it would hurt me. When an hour before he had been telling me how happy he is and how much he loves me And what a good mother I am. It’s like there’s a switch inside him and there’s a complete 180 and he feels he needs to punish me for something. That I didn’t dry the dishes quickly enough, or something my mother said that he thinks is stupid Or he remembers something I supposedly did wrong years before and he goes off on a rant again. If anything breaks at our house he accuses me of causing it because I’m “stupid”. It’s so that I am terrified if there is any sort of plumbing leak, or a fuse blows or car problem.


    H comes home after hearing this “sermon”
    AND tells me I am to do what he wants.
    that he is responsible for me
    before God
    I told him that I am responsible for myself.
    He disagrees.
    I try and tell him my opinion..
    his reply.
    I’m not going to do what you tell me to do…………
    20 year pattern.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry. I saw you share that sermon on Twitter. It’s just awful.

      I’d say this: He’s entitled to his opinion. But you are also entitled to yours. And you can say, “I won’t go to a church that does not value me, and I will not take children to a church that does not value women.” And then go to a church that does value you. Or you can say, “I’m glad that you love me and want the best for me, but I would ask that you also respect me, because I don’t feel as if you do.” And then learn to start speaking up when you need to. It may be that you need some good counseling together, or even just counseling for just you so that you learn how and when to speak up. I don’t know the dynamics in your marriage, so I can’t say, and that’s where you may need a third party. But it isn’t okay to be devalued and to be told that you shouldn’t have opinions. It really isn’t.


        Thank you, Sheila!
        Yes, that sermon is representative of what goes on there.
        Marriage is “headship”, not a partnership.
        One “sermon”, the pastor asked the men
        if they were discipling their wives
        to become Proverbs 31 women!!!
        ….and keeps saying “SUBMIT!!!”
        you’ve been hurt?
        “GET OVER IT.”
        I feel like I am in a cage there,
        and will not be going back.
        It has even had a strange influence on my husband,
        even tho he sees it as “biblical.”
        Huge into “biblical” counseling there.
        Thank you for this safe place to share with others who understand.
        God bless you!

    • Carly

      @Freeatlast…I just finished listening to the sermon that you left the link for about Christian Marriage from beginning to end. The only concern that I had with this sermon is that the preacher was quoting from a modern version rather than the Authorized King James Bible. Everything else sounded Biblical. So I don’t understand why you have a concern with this sermon. I don’t even understand how your husband could listen to it and walk away thinking that he could do whatever he wanted with you because the preacher spoke against husbands thinking that they could do whatever they wanted with their wives. Yes, this message was going out to husbands too, not just the wives.

      • Rebecca Lindenbach

        I say this as kindly as I can, the fact that you believe modern translations of the Bible are wrong to use makes me believe that you may not be capable of discerning what is legalistic versus what is Spirit-led. If you are so hung up on just the translation, perhaps there is a deeper reason why you cannot see the dangers of this message that others have gleaned.

  28. Hilda

    What scripture can be used , where it states that we are not allowed to go to bible study or woman’s gathering class.

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Hilda, there isn’t any scripture that says women cannot study God’s word. If you are in a marriage where you are being told this, please seek professional help from a licensed counsellor who is trained in abuse issues.

  29. Lynsey

    I don’t know if my marriage qualifies and I can be quite the attacker as well when I feel attacked.
    My husband threatens divorce when I don’t want to have sex or am not into it, has locked my credit cards, criticized my income, threatened to split accounts, quoted submission verses to Me but doesnt read the Bible himself and is not an active Christian, and today just locked my thermostat not giving me the password. constantly unhappy with my cooking or income or sex. he criticizes me for going to the dr because it costs money, he makes very good money. I’ve since stopped working thinking the more I submit the more he’ll get off my back. And the thermostat incident today..
    He doesn’t get loud and verbal, I’ll do that honestly and admittedly when I get upset or feel attacked. He’s one to shut down, never resolving anything or acknowledging my feelings or admitting his wrongs.. and I just don’t know what to do Anymore. I know what i want to do and I know what I think the Bible wants me to do. And I know I have two kids under five.
    Is this normal? What can I do?
    7 years of marriage. I have a mentor I’m in a step group for life, not addiction. I go to lifegroup and church. He does none and refuses any and won’t go to Counselors because of the money control issue and he just refuses to open up even if it was paid for.
    What should I do?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Lynsey, that is abusive. Threatening you, refusing medical care, all of this is abusive. Please reach out and call an abuse hotline and get their advice for what to do. And let others at church know how bad it is, so that you can enlist their help. But it’s okay to call an abuse hotline. Not all abuse is physical. I’m so sorry you’re going through this! Be brave, especially for your kids.

  30. Kiwigirl

    Hi Sheila, If a woman in a marriage where she is being controlled; she should seek help as this is abuse even if she is not in danger at the time. Reading your marriage books may help but seeing a sensible counselor, getting support from the local women’s refuge, a understanding family member or a friend who has walked the road would be wise. The abuse will get worse over time and I personally believe that once a person knows they are in an abusive relationship; they are best to get help or leave as soon as they are ready. Staying put and nothing to solve the problem won’t help them. God is able to work on abusers’ heart, even if their spouse is not with them if they are open to it.

  31. Mona

    i don’t know my husband is controlling or not but there is ongoing do that and do that , I am always afraid of him because as he is getting old but that yelling is bigger and bigger and controlling more and more is worst .
    if i want to go even grocery store to breath i have to wait until he gets out and than i run at grocery store and come back . I do that hardly for 20 min per week and still he ask me why you went .
    His yelling is so annoying that i don’t know what to do . My heart just cry inside .Kids are collage age and they see all this and feel uncomfortable .
    i am never able to meet my friends . Even which color hair i need to do that also create argument . Basically i m tired of life ,

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Mona, what you’re describing is abuse. Please call an abuse hotline and get some help. If your kids see it and are uncomfortable, they may even help you, too. This really isn’t okay.

  32. kellie

    I have been with my husband for going on 24 years. Mostly all years abusive. We both accepted christ and submit was just another word for control. We then walked away from God and our church and the abuse got worse. I started attending a church again in July and he just accepted christ back in his life in December. I’m struggling because I do not want to be abused or controlled anymore. I try to read books on being a wife and submitting and loving and all I do is cry. Because all it has meant for me is control and misery.
    I seem to have 2 paths and neither is healthy. Quiet and just submit in his form or stand up for myself out of anger and frustration.
    I don’t want to divorce him for many reasons but I am afraid I will forever be miserable to a husband who does not love like christ but expects me to be the “wife” who is quiet and submissive and doesn’t own her own body.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Kellie, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through! And please know–you are NEVER to submit to being manipulated, controlled, or dominated. That is not what submission means. Your main goal is to point people to Christ, and often that means setting up boundaries! I’d encourage you to read my submission series (the links for the next posts are at the bottom) and see that it is nothing like that at all.

  33. Monica

    Hello my name is Monica. I first one I be open and transparent by admitting how my current husband and I got together. It wasn’t from God because I was previously married. The details are too long. This current husband and I have been together for about 10 years pardon my language it’s been hell. And I will admit that I have not been faithful with him and he does know. I was very much shallow and deceived about 10 years ago. And this current marriage is proof of that. She has done drugs he has stolen from me we’ve lived in many many different places I have been the one to provide a very high percentage of our money are needs our bills are food Etc. So many details maybe someone will comment and ask for more I would be happy to share. Moving forward without all the details, now he is following a belief that I discern is very cultish it is called King James only ism. It’s horrible it’s extremely heretical and he’s very demanding he is very controlling and knowing the depths of how we got together and that I know it’s not from God, I know the Lord has got awesome plans for my life and this is going to sound prideful when I please I don’t mean it to be yet my current husband is is a hinderance. I just have it prayers comments scriptures. Thank you for your time the reading this.

  34. Grace Edwards

    If am with my husband, I develop fear and anxiety. He makes me feel what less. Am a confident person but lost all that when am with him. If I laugh war, I look war, speak u don’t have sense

  35. Lori

    I have been so unhappy this past year or so. My husband and I are Christians (as far as I know). My husband is bi polar but refuses meds because God can cure him. He has gotten into reading the bible (which should excite me), but all he reads are passages that talk about the signs of the end times. He believes that Hollywood stars eat babies. He believes that the sky is showing signs. If I disagree with him at all he gets very angry. I don’t know what to do anymore. We really don’t have a relationship anymore. We dont talk anymore because every subject leads to him talking about all the evil around us
    I know that already. I ask him, “but what should we be doing about it?” We are to be doers not just readers. I am at the end of my rope. Please help.

  36. Anon

    So I just got married in November…love my husband dearly but thus blog post made ke cry! i constantly feel not good enough and have these thoughts that i bet if he had his time again he wouldn’t marry me. I feel so lost! 😭

  37. Susi

    I have been with a abusive husband for 30 years now , it’s not as bad as it used to be but. He still controls who I talk to and where l am, he hasn’t had a job in years tells me what to do with the money lm making waitressing, I don’t love him anymore.I’m going through menopause and I have no sexual desire. But he says it’s my duty to be with him when he wants it, he went and got hormones injected and to be even more active, and I just don’t understand it, when he already knows what I’m feeling, I want to leave but at the same time I feel guilty. And I don’t want to sin by doing so. I’m l wrong to feel this way?

  38. Anonymous

    Mrs. Gregoire;
    I just read your article “A Letter to the Woman with a Controlling Husband.” I went to your site to read what the Bible says about living with an abusive spouse. My husband is so filled with anger and I can not get him to agree to get counseling. It is every night I have to listen to him tear me down, tear my family down that I love dearly. He wishes them gone and even prays God takes them. He has verbally abused them. Calls them horrific names that breaks my heart. I won’t repeat the sadistic words he says to me but when I tell him I can not live like this and I am leaving, he threatens to call my family and follow me where I go. I feel so trapped. I have left before and he conveniences me he’s changed and his anger is gone, however when I trust him and come back it starts all over again. My problem is I feel sorry for him so I keep coming back. I am in a toxic circle. I know God does not want this for me. Maybe I am too forgiving or with him out of pity. He’s been through a lot health wise and I thought that would humble him. It has not. I’m broken, hurt. I do not know how to help him. I am not the person I want to be or used to be.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Anonymous, I am so sorry, I really am. But what you’re describing is abusive behaviour and is not safe. It is very common for abusers to apologize and say they’ve changed in order to get you to move back, but then not have changed at all.

      You need to decide if you want to live like this your whole life, because it is very, very, very unlikely that he will change. If you have children, you need to decide if you want them to be subjected to this.

      I’d highly recommend following Sarah McDugal on Facebook or Natalie at Flying Free or Leslie Vernick. You can look them all up on Facebook, and I think they may help you.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you so much for your advice. I know I don’t want to live this way, I was just hoping he would change. It is affecting my health and my emotional state. I will follow them on Facebook and prayerfully have the strength to do whats best for me. Thank you so much. God Bless.

  39. Angelic butterfly

    Hi! Never been so low in my life. My husband Of 21 years tonight tells me that I who have cancer in my colon and uterus and a lot of other severe illnesses should put my bills before my pain and before losing anything I should consider maiming myself before I lose anything. Just bc my medicine cost so much.

  40. Cat

    What wonderful writing. 💛

  41. Donna

    I am currently struggling with this. Married 28 years to husband who has become an alcoholic, God has changed me & my husband refuses to except God or quit drinking. I left 6 weeks ago & have tried to communicate but he still refuses to quit & has blew me off. Does God allow separation or divorce on grounds of emotional, financial, alcoholic abuse?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely, Donna. If your husband is neglecting and abusing you, he is not acting as a believer and he has already abandoned the marriage. He has done that, not you.

  42. SuzieQ

    I’m not sure what to do anymore. I’ve been married for almost 24 years. Most of my married life was alone. My spouse worked very hard and we were not together very much, but when we were together we fought all the time. I always felt like everything I did was never good enough. He is very critical towards me and my children. I feel bad writing this because sometimes he can be a wonderful father and husband. He just frustrates me so much and I don’t know what to do with that. We hit a very rough patch about 4 years ago and almost separated. I turned to God and leaned into Him for comfort, guidance and wisdom. It has worked in a way that I don’t fight back the way I used to. However, I don’t want to become this person who is just submissive and overly tolerant. I speak when I need to…I haven’t become a total doormat…I don’t think I ever will. Oh….the internal battle is real!
    Thanks for listening!

  43. JRV

    My husband is always throwing scriptures at me when we argue. And apparently he says we argue because it’s my fault. And he gets depressed and wants to kill himself because it’s my fault and he said this to me MANY times. That I shouldn’t talk back to keep my mouth closed. That he’s the man and he makes the decisions. He controls everything such as all the money only giving me $100 a month. And he gets upset if I want to buy the dogs extra treats with my money. I work 48 hours a week he’s on ssdi. He said that I need to submit to him it’s in the bible even if I don’t enjoy it that he’s suppose to enjoy it. And my husband has ED so is a rare occasions when we are intimate. I’m going through menopause and I can take it or leave it. He’s 10 years younger then me I’m 58. He doesn’t tell me I’m beautiful anymore he criticizes me on my weight. He once told me I have to lose weight, dress nice and keep my nails and toes painted and my hair dyed. Before I met him I paid my bills and controlled my money. Now I don’t have any control over anything anymore. I can’t get through to him when we talk. He thinks I’m dumb. I don’t know what to do I’m lost. One more thing he’s says when I argue back that I don’t have the spirit of the Lord in me and that I’m not reading the Bible enough and praying. Because if I were doing those things I wouldn’t be arguing back. I feel traumatized. I can’t breath my heart pounds in my chest and I want to scream at him so bad. But I don’t.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, JRV, I’m so sorry! But you are being abused. This isn’t okay. Please call a domestic violence hotline, or follow Natalie Hoffman, Sarah McDugal, or Leslie Vernick on Facebook. It’s normal to feel lost when you’re being abused, but you can get out. You can.

    • JRV

      I don’t want to leave him. I love him. I just want solutions. He doesn’t beat me and he is a good man he is just confused about what a marriage should be.

  44. Matthew

    Can I ask this from a different perspective seeking a different perspective. What if you reverse this…my wife has inflicted more pain then I can measure upon me and our two kids. Which is both strange and difficult to say,seeing she was the most amazing person Ive ever known until the last year or so. I know she still IS that person inside…but something changed her. She left me,kidnapped our kids,stole all our money,accused me of just awful things to the police,took me to court,has been trying to do everything we talked and planned together for years…12 years. Thing is,her lies began to fall apart…truth will always out. I was proven innocent in court…she actually perjured herself and admitted her statements were lies to hurt me. I won my kids back …yet have still not seen nor heard from them in a month. Now see,I gave up my business so my wife could work like she wanted…I became the caretaker for our family. Cooking, cleaning,boo-boos…all me. She makes the big money…we had it all balanced and growing. She began to yell at the kids constantly,then me,then began calling me names like ugly…useless …mistake… grotesque. I know she didn’t mean it …but it’s like it wasn’t her. Then she’d profess her love for me….then hate me again…then love me. She’s bullied me for some time now but people don’t want to see it cause of the sexual roles in life. So what does God ask of the beaten man??? Is there any spiritual help for a man who’s been strong…never given up…but is contending with this agony?

  45. Grace

    My burden is lifted after reading you advice. My husband always make me feel worthless. He naggies and say hurtful things his not surpose to as a Christian. And my marriage is still young. Barley 2 yrs

  46. Lynn

    My husband purchased our home through a corporation under his parents name claiming that was the only way because we didn’t qualify. As trusting as I am, I decided to accept the deal. Years later we have paid off our home and my in-laws added my husband to the Corp and excluded me. When I questioned myy husband about this transaction, he claimed he is the one who paid off the bulk of the house. I’m an educator and don’t make much money, but I’ve put my heart, soul, and everything I’ve got in this house. I made this house a home and I’m raising 2 beautiful daughters. I feel helpless and broken.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry, Lynn. Legally, you likely have a case that the house is part yours. If your marriage were to end, a good lawyer could make that case for you. I’m so sorry for this.

  47. Carolyn

    Recently, my husband got jealous of a work colleague of mine and questioned our working relationship. My husband’s basis for his concern was a few team work pictures just because we were coincidently standing next to each other. Although, I though his allegation was absurb, and I was extremely offended, I tried to work it out with my husband to clarify his concern; however, he was relentless and was demanding a meeting with my work colleague. I begged him to reconsider because this was humiliating and embarrassing for me, but he felt he was in his right. Unfortunately, without my consent, my husband appeared at my job to speak to my work colleague about the pictures which were group photos of our team and nothing else. This made be feel terrible and my work colleague felt uncomfortable. My husband keeps throwing bible scriptures at me claiming he was within his right to because a woman is considered to be a man’s property and must be submissive. I don’t think this means that husband’s have a right to humiliate their wives.

  48. Amudha Naidoo

    Thank you for this encouraging and powerful article that cleared so many of my hidden doubts. I was married for forty years to my husband who cheated on me with a Hindu married woman. He was an alcoholic, a liar and he possessed a very controlling character. I was blamed for things I never did eg. he received a speeding ticket caught on camera when he was nearing the toll road heading to see his mistress 2 hrs away from home. I never travelled alone on that road. On that day I was very unwell and came home from hospital diagnosed with stomach ulcers after a G-Scope. After his death all his hidden secrets and his sinful behavior was revealed. Only God knows for how long he was living this double life. I am still trying to get over all the physical abuse and psychological trauma I suffered for 40 yrs. God bless you.

  49. Noe

    Just a warning to those younger who can get out! . I am 68 and have stayed in a 44 yr marriage, with a physically and verbally controlling husband. I wish at times that I could just end my own life, but that is unbiblical. I was not belong to a church that i wanted or to talk and make friends with anyone that we visited together. I have no friends, because they are not allowed in my life, I am watched all the time. I financially support my husband as he was not able to keep working. I am grateful to be working, but when I retire…..I have no friends at work my age now but I can’t retire becaus e I can’t afford to. At least I am grateful to get out of the house. My husband won’t let me drive my own car. by myself. He must drive me because he doesn’t trust me. I will be 70 soon. Is this all there is? It feels like I am done.

  50. Guest comment for now ty

    Hello Blessings to you. I have a lot to ask but try 2 b short. I didn’t kno I was supposed 2 seek God b4 marriage, we r together 17 years, over 20 yr age gap, we were living life, low key, doing us, without worrying about what anyone thought till 1 day spouse couldn’t walk good, then went to cane, walker, wheelchair, 2 a lift! I HEARD HOLY SPIRIT says You r walking with unforgiveness in your heart and wonder why you limping!! I said WHOA, guess what I just heard in the Spirt?! I told spouse. This was b4 the full use of cane. Later some family try to say I am trying to kill spouse!! After almost 17 yrs. COME ON! I am born again 6 years, many kno this, some didn’t. They didn’t test the Spirit by the Spirit but persecuted me. Checked 4 poison too! I never felt so alone, I pressed in to my Father🙏🏽😭💔 They came near and far to pray 4 spouse but slay me. I stood my ground. We went to Minnesota to Mayo 2x NO ANSWERS, MANY TESTS! It was only GOD ALONE this time but no one believed till almost 1 1/2yr later. Spouse even turned against me for a while still now people disrespect me, spouse too in ugly ways, below the belt. I feel broken. I still BELIEVE GOD can and will RESTORE us but better.🙏🏽 Spouse is almost able to do pretty much everything alone now. Spouse could not even raise legs, wipe watery eyes, eat. It was something and HARD! I went thru HELL but my pain producing Purpose. So much has happened, the mirror Kingdom is not really the real Kingdom, the hearts are not right. The Spirit is missing, heart problem in the Spirit realm. I pray 4 the ones who slay drag me. I was rejected by my own fam then I thought I had a wonderful fam, all years later it’s not what I thought. I just need to hear God tell me how to help someone that is a WALKING MIRACLE but won’t proclaim His name or want 2 even do much period. Doesn’t want me 2 either. They came in treated me like dirt and our marriage and home in shambles!🙏🏽😭 I said God had an ORDER, let no one come in between what He put together. That was completely dismissed! Truth was kicked to the side, feelings trumped ALL, I am so tired. I am getting better in some area bc I am seeing God Revealing me to me, as our lives our HIDDEN IN CHRIST. I thought I knew me but I see He had some things on RESERVE. Praise God. My home doesn’t feel like mine at all, even trying to decorate is a problem. It wasn’t like this till God sat spouse down. Now He RAISING spouse up but WHERE R they now? Only a few real ones at all and even when they know spouse is wrong NO ONE in this fam will STAND UP for me. Spouse doesn’t stand up for me either. Sorry for long post. Appreciate any God given only advice, I’m seeing too that even a Born Again believer takes sides because of who the person is. What’s right is right, what’s wrong is wrong. I’m baffled to say the least. Love you in Jesus name ❤️

  51. Jhil Taylor

    I live with a needy, controlling wife. She tracks and wants to know where I am 24/7. We now have a child when I am in my late 50s. She does not care other people feeling (she is in her late 30s)

  52. Sue

    I have been married for 5 months , my husband tells me how he wants me to answer , he gets upset if I don’t agree with how he thinks . We married older and each have children ( all adult but one ). We are both retired and have our own homes . My husband is demanding his own words , and he is accusatory, he blames most things on me . When I was at his home , he would argue with me regularly and still does when he does not get his way I have returned to my home, I asked him to have couples and individual counseling . I have had several individual sessions , he has not . Our couples counselor requested we work on communication. He believes we have talked enough .

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This sounds like a very destructive relationship, Sue. If he does not want to talk with you and he regularly berates you, perhaps he’s telling you what he’s like and what he thinks of you? I’m so sorry you’re going through this.


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