Do We Ever Think Back on Our Story?

by | Sep 5, 2016 | Bare Marriage | 10 comments

Merchandise is Here!
I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful Labour Day weekend! For most of my fellow Canadians, school starts again tomorrow. So this is the last day of summer!

Just a quick announcement today about a radio interview, and then a thought I’m having.

The announcement: I’m the guest on FamilyLife Today radio today and tomorrow! I recorded it last spring with Dennis Rainey, and it was so fun! Today’s installment is “Stinkin’ Thinkin'”, and tomorrow’s is “Thinking the Best of Our Spouse”. We were chatting about my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage. Listen in here! FamilyLife Radio And remember: I have a FREE study guide to go along with the book. You can sign up for the individual study guide, or, if you run a women’s Bible study, I have a 6-week women’s Bible study and an 8-week women’s Bible study that you can use. With video, of course (though I’m uploading some of the last ones tonight!). Check those out here!

Thinking About My Story…

I spent last most of last week in Ottawa with my daughters, dropping Katie off at university and helping Rebecca edit her book on Why She Didn’t Rebel which is due in at Thomas Nelson on October 1. Family (We had just finished recording a podcast for my patrons (the readers who support me each month), and we made fun of Connor on it for sipping soup. Hence he’s sipping soup in this photo!). Meanwhile, my husband was on call at the hospital in Kingston, about an hour from where we live. So I decided to spend a few days here with him while he finishes up his shift. We’re staying at a hotel with a lovely patio (I’m sitting outside surrounded by stone and ivy right now) that’s quite close to downtown, so I walked Keith to the hospital this morning and then spent an hour and a half along the waterfront trail. Sitting on Terrace Kingston has so many memories for me. We met here, while at Queen’s University. We were married here. I remember taking walks when I was pregnant with Rebecca, just praying not to throw up. I remember heartbreaks and miscarriages and stress. And I remember so much laughter with housemates and kisses with my fiance on a frozen lake. Yesterday I was remembering other things–it was twenty years to the day since my son died. And I was just thinking about how God writes our stories, and how there is so much to remember. How all of is makes us who we are.
Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

There is something about walking by water that makes me reflect on what has been, and then pray for what’s coming. My girls are both moved out; they won’t be coming home again, I don’t think. As I write this I’m listening to two other sets of parents on the phone with their kids, who have just moved into residence at Queen’s. My niece moved in here yesterday. We’ll likely stop by and bring her ice cream later this afternoon. Kids grow up. BeautifulGarden This morning, as I was walking, I stopped and actually read all the monuments that are set up around the downtown. Kingston is one of the oldest cities in Ontario (really in Canada, actually), and there’s so much history here. So many stories. Irish Monument I don’t have anything profound today. I’m just thinking. We all have sadness in our lives, sometimes profound sadness, but there is also so much joy. And somehow it is all a part of it. And I think it’s good, sometimes, to stop and remember.
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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. Mel


    If you can be bothered, check out B’s post on hot holy humorous. If you have any sense at all, you’ll see she is bitter and resentful.

    Yet you chose to turn on me, accusing me of being the problem & not B?! I cannot understand why you did that & why you chose to defend someone who clearly uses blogs to stir up trouble
    You defended B and attacked me instead.

    The whole thing was actually disgraceful.

    [Editor’s note: Mel is responding to the comment thread on this post. I know these comments seem like they’re coming out of left field; they’re really a continuation of what was written there)

    • Sheila

      Mel, I’m honestly not turning on you. Really. I just want you to know the fullness of life! I want you to experience real joy in your life. I don’t know if that will come within your marriage or not; I really don’t. I think that’s where you need a counselor or another person to walk through this with you. But I do know this: it’s not about B, it’s not about me, it’s not about anything except God. And feeling bitter and angry always hinders our relationship with God. I just truly want you to seek out counseling for the hurt and anger you feel, which very likely is very justified. Your husband seems like he did treat you terribly. But that’s not B’s fault (and I have no idea who B is). It’s your husband’s fault. And the ball is now in your court: are you going to live angry at your husband and convinced that life with men can never be good and that God made sex for men, or are you going to go to God with your hurt and ask Him to help you deal with the anger?

      I’ve had anger, Mel, and it’s really hard. And it’s really poisonous. And when we’re angry and hurt we lash out. But it doesn’t do any good, not really. So I just encourage you to seek out a counselor and talk to someone about the things that are hurting you. Because letting all of this go and walking forward in joy and freedom (because God really does offer us that when we let go) is so much better. It really is.

  2. Mel

    If you take the time to look, you’ll see a string of posts from B on the website I mentioned. Clearly she is hurting And feeling rejected. It is very clear she lashed out at me, driven by those emotions. ‘Hurting people hurt people,’. I was just so shocked you didn’t see it that way and even went as far as to accuse me that if I ‘attacked’ B in that way then surely I must be doing the same to my husband?! It was just nasty.

    Counselling seems the advice for everything. Its a controversial topic. I’ve seen some people on your blog say they avoided counselling. It isn’t for everyone. Iasked mmy Dr once if everyone is into/finds benefits from counselling and she said most definitely not.

    So to shove me off to counselling is a copout. I’ve got friends who say they’ve been damaged by counselling. So please don’t tell me what to do by suggesting ‘counselling’ is the only way forward.

    I also asked you to remove my posts. You did…then put some back up?! Not a good look.

    • Sheila

      Mel, you’re right. Counselling isn’t for everyone, although I think that’s usually because they haven’t found a good counsellor.

      But I think the issue still remains: when you’ve been very hurt, and it’s affecting how you see others, what are you going to do about it? If you aren’t going to go to counselling, then what is your alternate plan? Staying stuck isn’t really a plan. Staying angry isn’t really a plan. Staying in a miserable marriage where you’re miserable and you’re refusing sex because he’s angry (which may indeed be very true, I’m not disputing that) isn’t really a plan. You have children that you know are being hurt by what you’re going through and what you’re feeling. If you won’t speak to a counsellor, then who will you speak with? Will you go to a Celebrate Recovery study? (You don’t have to be an addict to go at all; it really just focuses on healing). Will you go seek out a women’s Bible study that’s focusing on healing? Will you talk to a mentor and ask her to help pray with you?

      I have no idea who B is or what her other comments are. I just thought her ONE comment here was actually quite a good one and addressed the issue. Perhaps she makes other ones that are bad; I don’t know. But you definitely commented with an issue, and I just pray that you will get help with that. Because being angry at everyone else doesn’t solve that issue. And God really wants you to walk forward in freedom. So again, the question is: what are you going to do about it?

    • J. Parker


      Sheila is not responsible for the comments on my blog — I am. I moderate my comments; she moderates hers. We both have comments policies. All too often, what I’ve seen is that your defense against others being “nasty” to you is being supremely nasty back. I consider my blog like my home: I invite people in, and you’re absolutely welcome to share your opinion but not welcome to harass others. Now, that does mean someone might perceive a comment to be hurtful which I don’t (there’s always some subjectivity), but personal attacks are pretty clear. And you have personally attacked Sheila repeatedly here, and on my blog.

      While what we’ve both tried to say a number of times is that we are not your enemy. We’re completely on your side!!! We are for you, for your marriage, for your holiness, for your happiness. I prayerfully ask you to consider the comment threads here and ask yourself why Sheila would invest so much time in this conversation if she didn’t truly care about your hurting heart.

      My personal story is that more than once in my past I thought my marriage was utterly doomed, and I had a mile-long list of ways my husband had mistreated me that I could rant about at the snap of a finger. But my marriage improved when I stopped simply praying, “God, change him,” and began praying, “God, change me.” I don’t know what that looks like in your situation, but no one else can live your life but you. I pray that you can pursue emotional, relational, and spiritual health in your life. Truly wishing you all the best!

  3. Mel

    I really can’t believe you think B’s nasty comment was a good one. You took posts down at my request then put them back up. My Dr never said bad counselling experiences are because of the counsellor. She did say counselling concept isn’t for everyone.

    Now you’re accusing me of damaging my children but make no mention of how my husband is damaging them?! Just that its me.

    You put those posts back up, knowing I asked you to take them down, yet you will not apologize for that, or take them down, nor will you admit any of your own fault in any of this.

    Its you that’s right and I’m wrong. This is disgraceful that you point the finger at me but won’t take any responsibility for your own actions.

    So many people don’t have options to make their lives better. They live with what they’ve got

    You are refusing to read B’s posts on J’s website because you will see then that she is in a habit of attacking others. You don’t want to see that because it proves she is the problem and I’m not which squashes your theory and you don’t want that happening do you!

    • Sheila

      Mel–I put the one comment back up (and kept ALL the others deleted) because there was some discussion on another post of what you actually said and what I said in return, and I couldn’t post mine without posting yours.

      You’ll see from my comment guidelines that I clearly say that the comments are my property once they are left for me to use as I see fit. You keep commenting and then asking for the comments to be taken down, which is really strange.

      I NEVER said your husband isn’t harming the kids. In fact, I quite believe that he is! But my question to you is the same: what are you going to do about it? What are you going to do about the fact that you are really angry at your husband and angry at God for making sex the way he did, and that your children are hurting watching how your husband treats you and how depressed you are?

      B isn’t the issue, Mel. If B has issues of her own, then B needs to deal with them on her own. The question is: what are YOU going to do? Getting upset at me and at B and at the world isn’t going to help you to solve your marriage problems.

      I have no idea if your marriage can be saved or restored or if separation is the better route. I just don’t know. I don’t know your situation. But I do know that doing nothing about it, and being angry at everybody else, will not help you and will not help your children. Please, just think about this: what’s ONE thing that you could do, today, to get you on the road to a healthier YOU? What’s ONE thing that you could do, today, that could help you start to heal with God’s help? Then why don’t you run after that one thing? Just pray about it, and I know that God will send you someone to really help you, or will open your eyes to a really great resource. My book 9 Thoughts That Can Help Your Marriage is meant for people who are just stuck in their thinking, but there are so many other great books out there, too, if you’re determined not to go to counselling. But God wants you whole, Mel, and He wants your children to see a mom who is emotionally healthy. So what’s ONE thing that you can do to move towards that?

    • Eliza

      Hi Mel,

      I haven’t been following any previous comments of yours, but I can feel your anger and frustration coming out in these comments here. Maybe in this particular instance Sheila, or B, or both, were in the wrong. HOWEVER, I think what Sheila is getting at, is that ‘winning’ THIS argument isn’t actually going to change anything in your situation. It might (or might not) make you feel good for a short period of time (after all, a win is a win), but its not actually FIXING anything.

      I think that perhaps instead of writing your frustrations out on a public blog, and then getting replies that are the opinions of other people, you might be better off journaling your thoughts and frustrations to yourself (and to God, if you are a believer). Then, I would leave it for a couple of days (maybe pray for God to give you wisdom in this situation), and then read it back to myself, and see if I can see anything any differently.

      The biggest thing that I have learnt through my own marriage struggles, is that you can only change yourself, not your partner. I also think that you are feeling frustrated and rather powerless in your current situation. So, give yourself back a bit of power, by looking for one little thing that you can do today, to start going in the right direction. As I don’t know your situation, I don’t know what that one thing could be.
      Some ideas that I have used in the past are
      *making something nice to eat for my husband, just because 🙂
      * snuggling up and reading a story with the kids
      *having a hot shower and imagine all the ‘hard’ getting washed down the drain
      *smile at a stranger/acquaintance
      *go for a walk in nature and admire God’s creation – pick some flowers and REALLY look at them – like, practically with a magnifying glass, and just think ‘wow, God made that’

      I know what you mean about counselling not being for everyone, I am married to just one of those people, however, if you don’t feel like counselling will help, you need to be trying something else.

      I’m praying for you and your family right now.

  4. Sarah


    Hello it is Mel here. You have blocked my email address.

    You do not want the world to know what a troll you’ve been.

    I asked you to delete my original comments, I wanted to move on from the whole thing. You deleted, but then chimed in further with your own comment & accused me of ‘attacking B’ & therefore I surely must ‘attack’ my husband! Which just dragged the whole thing on. So it was not ‘strange’ at all that I ‘kept commenting’. Then instead of dropping the whole thing you then raise it AGAIN in an introduction of another post?? When I wanted it left dropped?! You accuse me of saying all men are perverts which I did not!!! This is about you winning & manipulating so you look good & other people don’t! You manipulate your blog to make people look like they’re at fault whilst refusing to ever admit any fault of your own.

    This is disgraceful. And yes I am angry because you are being controlling & manipulative. I wrote a lovely reply to Eliza which you refuse.

    I have around 300 friends on Facebook. Perhaps its time to get some of them involved by posting on your Facebook page where you’d have to watch it 24/7 to catch them all. Sorry to resort to threats but you have been a complete nasty piece of work and I’ve had enough. So block and ban all you like. There are other ways to make a point until you wise up to how you’re behaving here. You pride yourself on being a good Christian woman. Really?

    I just wanted this to go away. When someone specifically asks you to remove a comment you can’t then use those comments as your ‘property’ to manipulate & damage someone.

    Shame on you.

    • Sheila

      Mel, I am truly sorry if I caused you pain. I wish I had kept your original comment; I typed an editor’s note over it to delete the info you asked me to remove, so I can’t go back and look at it, and perhaps I don’t remember it right. But I do remember something about how you don’t like how God made sex and how you’d be happy if you never had sex again, and about how you’re very angry at your husband. I think that recollection is correct, because B replied directly to it, and that’s what B saw, too.

      I have deleted many comments on this blog–I get a lot of men especially who hate women and say very derogatory things towards women, and I have to delete those every morning, usually about a dozen. And when comments start veering in a negative direction, especially after all has been said that needs to be said, then I start deleting things because it’s not helpful to all the other people who arrive here. And yes, I used your story as a jumping point (as I do MANY people’s comments; seriously–look at my blog. It’s mostly interactive. Monday’s posts are always about reader comments and questions. My books, too. I get ideas from what other people say! That’s the whole point of a blog!).

      I also left my comment policy very clearly–I reserve the right to keep comments, so that I can use them in other posts or in books. I never reveal anyone’s personal information at all, and I didn’t reveal your information. You keep leaving comments and then asking me to delete them. If you don’t want comments up, there’s a simple way to avoid that: just don’t comment! I don’t mean to be glib, but that really is what blogs are about. I still have most of the comments that you asked me to delete in my trash file.

      As for why I have blocked you, it is because you have been attacking me. And you have repeatedly commented and said that I’m the one dragging this out and accusing me of a lot of things. You’re the one who won’t let this go, Mel. Not me. I’m simply responding to the comments that you keep leaving.

      But I’m worried about this, because from your first comment, and from subsequent ones, it’s very clear that you’re hurting. And instead of addressing that hurt, you’re lashing out at people who have said that perhaps your original attitude–that sex is awful, that you’re planning on staying married but you’d be happy if you never had sex again, and that your husband is angry and mean to you–isn’t the most helpful. It’s not helpful to your or to your kids.

      You have 300 friends on Facebook. That’s wonderful! Do you think that you could pick one or two of those friends to pray with about your marriage? Or to help guide you through a process of figuring out how to move towards healing? Do you think that instead of continuing this conversation, which I really think has gone on long enough, that you could ask yourself, “what can I do to move towards a more peaceful life?”

      If you’ve had enough with me, that’s fine. You don’t have to comment here. But I need to say–if you do keep commenting, I WILL put the comments back up that I did delete where you really did call me names. I deleted many that you asked me to delete, but then you keep commenting saying really awful things to me, and I can’t defend myself unless I put those back up. That’s why I posted that one comment after deleting it–I had to defend myself from what other people were accusing me of afterwards.

      This has gone on enough, Mel. I sincerely wish you all the best, and I pray that some of your friends will be able to help you work through your marriage issues, which I believe truly are genuine. I don’t doubt that your husband is angry at all, and if he has been abusive as you claimed in a comment–then PLEASE get help. If not for your sake, then especially for your children. Often when we’re an abusive marriage we can’t control very much, and so we start to lash out in the areas that we can control. I think that may be what’s happening here.

      But God really does want to help you experience real healing and real peace. He is so sad when He sees people hurting so much. And Jesus came not just to die for our sins but also to carry our sorrows. He can handle your pain. But you have to give it to Him rather than feeding it. I just hope that you can focus on healing rather than on feeding anger. Jesus wants so much for you and your kids, and I really pray that you can find that.

      Many blessings to you.


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