A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Michelle Lindsey – Stop it! Put down your Pen and Stop Enabling Abusers and Hurting Victims

WARNING!  This is about as triggering of an article as anything I have read for a while. It got me riled and inside shouting “shut up! Just shut up!” This is not mere misguided, well-intentioned error. Oh no. This is arrogant ignorance if not out and out evil. It comes from a blog one of our readers directed us to, written by one Michelle Lindsey who describes herself as: “Michelle Lindsey is a Jesus-loving wife of more than 2 decades and a homeschooling mom of four who blogs about what happens when romance meets reality.” [blog site is http://www.nittygrittylove.com/dear-wife-whos-married-to-a-jerk/ Don’t go there unless you feel you can handle major triggering].

So here is Michelle. Many of you won’t make it through all of this, and that’s ok. But this, THIS is the junk that is constantly laid upon abuse victims, keeping them in the oppression and slavery. It is the stuff that the enemy just loves. It enables the wicked to continue in their wickedness, tightening the thumbscrews and leg-irons of bondage upon their victims. Stop it Michelle. Stop it! Just stop it!

Let’s tell Michelle via comments here, and on her blog or facebook page if possible, just what is wrong with what she is saying. For example, what does the term “jerk” imply as opposed to calling an abuser what he really is? What does it do to you when you hear her say “you will never hear us say [divorce him]”? And do you really believe her when she says “I have seen marriages transformed”?  How does that statement make you feel? Do we here at ACFJ and all of you see marriages “transformed” all the time?   Why does Michelle claim that she does?

Anyway, here you go:

Dear wife who’s married to a jerk,

Nitty Gritty Love is a conversation. So when we hear the same feedback from readers, I want to address it.

We spend a lot of time here encouraging women, and we are equally encouraged, but when we get this question, I will admit, I sink a little inside.

What if I’m married to a jerk?

It seems some people want us to throw our hands up in the air and say, “Alright. You got us. You are correct. Divorce that creep.”

But you will never hear us say that, even though it is tempting. Why? Because we believe marriage is a reflection of Christ’s love for the church, and Jesus isn’t going to divorce us for being jerks. If He did, we would all be left high and dry. His love for us is amazing and relentless, its almost too hard to believe. But I do feel for people who are unhappy, and lonely and discouraged because its sad. By no means are we trying to be calloused or unfeeling. We started this blog because we care about marriages and want to support other wives and encourage them by sharing our own experiences. We are not professionals, but we are married, so we can relate with each other.

That said, if you are married to an insensitive jerk who isn’t kind, won’t keep a job, plays video games all the time, and is basically rude and uncaring, I’m sorry. I really and truly mean that. I didn’t make that description up. We hear about that guy every week from angry wives who are ready to give up. It makes me mad and I wish I could tell him off for you.

Instead, I spend hours and hours writing to faceless people, hoping that just a handful will snap out of it and start treating their spouse as a gift. Because that is what a wife, and a husband is. A GIFT. You are not OWED a spouse, so if one has agreed to spend their life with you, be thankful! Yes, the thankfulness should go both ways. In a perfect world it would, but as we know, this world is not perfect.

Maybe your husband missed that memo. Maybe he is self-centered and you can’t even stand looking at his face. Maybe you are on the brink and can’t take another day. If your spouse feels more like a cruel joke than anything else, then you have a longer, tougher road. You do. But it’s not hopeless. With Christ, all things are possible. I have seen marriages transformed, and let me tell you, it never gets old witnessing changed lives.

But back to the problem of your mean husband. I am sure you didn’t grow up dreaming of being ignored and disregarded after marriage. Zero people daydream of one day being demeaned by their spouse. Little girls don’t imagine sitting sadly on the couch while Prince Charming plays video games. And then watches TV. And then goes to bed without saying goodnight. What a shock to find out you are married to a checked-out, jerk. It is unfair. It isn’t what you bargained for.

But people can only be loved where they are at. They can’t really feel your love when expectations are looming over their heads. You are probably right in being mad. But the vicious cycle kicks in and then it goes from bad to worse. The more frustrated he knows you are, the less he tries, because what is the point? And then you get more angry and justified and bitter, which makes him retreat. Around, and around it goes.

There must be a reason you chose him. Find that reason. Sit and think about that reason. Force that reason to the surface and try to love him for that one thing he does well. Tell him you love him for that one thing. Tell him you love him for who he is. I imagine you have all sorts of changes you would like to see happen before you trust him or love him, but we have to start small in situations like this. And remember, God loved us while we were yet sinners. We were not a beautiful, perfect Bride. But His love changes us over time!

That’s enough. That’s more than enough. “There must be a reason you chose him.” Oh yeah, lay that one on an abuse victim who is still struggling in the confusion and fog cast upon her by evil. YOU chose him. YOU. And remember, you are a sinner too and God loves you, so stop your whining and start loving your abuser and watch him be transformed into a saint.

Michelle, stop it. Go and learn what truth is. What evil is. Go and learn what it really looks like to have the mercy and kindness of the Lord acted out as we deal in real righteousness with the oppressed.

****

For Further Reading

Lundy Bancroft says the Right Outlook is Outrage

Non-Negotiables for Effective and Biblical Abuse Ministry

Euphemisms for Sin

Love Covers a Multitude of Sin — But Not All

Abusive Marriages Portray God’s Covenant With His People? — Really?

Traditions of Men Have Largely Consumed the Evangelical Church and are Causing Widespread Suffering

 

106 Comments

  1. Sue

    Wow, I hope this woman doesn’t have many abused followers. All I heard throughout her “advice” is, “it’s all your fault. Get your act together and he’ll become wonderful.” Yes, stop it, Michelle! There’s been enough condemnation done to these women.

    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you for your comment and welcome to the blog! We like to direct commenters to our New User’s page which gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog. If safety is an issue for you, you may want to consider changing your picture gravatar. And if you would like a different screen name, email me at twbtc.acfj@gmail.com and I can change it for you.

      Again, Welcome!

  2. Sarah

    typical garbage! I used to retell this myself because I was led to believe that God will fix it and I will be blessed. Not so in fact the opposite happens; you get damaged for not fleeing from evil

  3. Lea

    ‘He’s a jerk’ is not really specific enough to give advice, imo. And her advice is pretty useless. I don’t like that her article just responds to a general concept rather than a specific person with a specific issue, because ‘Plays too many video games’ could be Laziness or depression and is a different problem (imo) than someone who is unkind, rude, and uncaring (although I could see them being related).

    I don’t even know what she thinks she saying with this article “sucks to be you, but you can’t leave”. Helpful.

  4. Brenda R

    I just left a comment for Michele on her website that she probably won’t like and I don’t care. She has no business writing about marriage and needs to read up on abuse.

    • Brenda R

      I’m going to venture a guess and say that my comment (on Michelle’s blog) is not going to be published. It was there where I could see it most of the day saying it was waiting moderation. Nothing is there at all now. Apparently, she wants people to respond that agree with her.

  5. CMP

    Multi generational familial dysfunction was what I unknowingly inherited. It was when I did our family genealogy and tree, speaking to others on the outer fringes of the branches, that I learned the truth. […]

    I stuck it out for more than 15 years with the first marriage, then 20+ in the second. My children are grown. I can only tell you of my heartaches and how they are broken and estranged and need help although college educated, intelligent and some are thriving. They have trouble in relationships, they marry or get involved with abusive people, to say the least. […] The journey is a difficult one and we are all in differing places at differing levels of understanding and growth. Reality is we need good books and good leaders to help us out of this psycho bondage. Better yet, let’s educate the next generations that they be able to avoid the snares.

    […] I recently received copies of the books offered and they are excellent. THANK YOU

  6. Diana

    oh, wow, Trigger warning for sure! I can’t even….but I will. EXACTLY what kept me in my abusive marriage for 21 years. “Love him more, be like Jesus, forgive and forget, show him love in the middle of his abusive tirades, God will reward me, all things are possible….” It is really only by God’s good grace and love for me that I have come out of it intact without leaving Him and the church. She is so lopsided too to suggest that the love Jesus has for us, His death for us, should be anywhere equal to our love for our husbands. Really, there is NO comparison! I know we are to be LIKE Jesus, but we are still human and our love will not be perfect like His is. What a load of guilt and shame heaped upon a woman’s head to be told it is her responsibly to reflect the love Jesus has for His church!! Ugh.

  7. Ng

    Good grief. ‘Just be thankful that someone deemed you acceptable enough to marry you’ ..
    I am glad I had the guts and energy to cut myself free from such abusers, before they had the chance to show any more of their character, and expect any thankfulness from me…
    Now, that’s something to be grateful about…!

    • Brenda R

      Just be thankful that someone deemed you acceptable enough to marry you’

      How insulting is that????? So none of us are marriage material?? I have recently started dating again. Does that mean that I should accept whomever deems me worthy, regardless of how I might feel about him? If he beat up his last wife, this woman would probably encourage me to marry the idiot. Praise God for this site that has taught me the Red Flags to look for and to set boundaries for myself. I no longer will put up with people like her that have no knowledge of what the Bible really says.

      • Ng

        Yes, this is what Michelle’s post seems to imply.. ‘Be grateful that someone agreed to marry you’.. ! never mind what a criminal that person might be, or has proven to be…

  8. Diana

    Oh, dear, she is only 23. I just saw that. She needs much more experience in order to give sound counsel to women who “married jerks”. I actually feel bad for her. She is not going to understand. She is only one year older than my oldest daughter and married only a few years, I’m sure.

  9. Misty

    Here’s what I replied in her blog:

    This is the kind of advice that kept me in an abusive marriage. Being in the midst of it I couldn’t see it for what it really was. It just seemed like individual instances of bad behavior, kind of like not being able to see the forest for the trees.

    If you’re going to talk about difficult marriages you need to make the caveat for those that are abusive. Otherwise, you’re no better than Job’s friends who offered good sounding advice that was misapplied truth so egregious that God told them to ask the friend that they verbally wounded to make sacrifices for them. Make sure that your words cannot be misunderstood by the most vulnerable and hurting of us, because I’m pretty sure that the God who loves the least of these does not demand that we stay in marriages involving dehumanization, control, forced sodomy, and a number of atrocities that a person like you could never fathom.

    • Brenda R

      Misty……..Good Job!!!!!

    • GratefulBeliever

      I don’t see it in the article yet.

      • Misty

        It probably didn’t make it through moderation.

  10. Brenda R

    Diana, I believe she has been married for 23 years.

    • Diana

      oops! thanks

  11. Diana

    also, posted a comment on her blog. I wonder if she will approve any of the comments we make. If she doesn’t, at least she will read them herself and perhaps become better informed. Thanks for posting these really hard to read blog articles. They are HARD to read but needed.

  12. Sunflower

    Sounds like another round of the pink book (Fascinating Womanhood?).
    Um, God actually did divorce Israel.
    Remember why I married him? I do, actually. I married him because I loved that sheep coat. It’s gone now. It gets locked up and used only for others. So, tell him I love him for his falseness? I don’t think so.

    • Ng

      Sheep coat.. ha! brilliant. At least you have your sense of humor… 🙂
      I have met several guys with that sheep coat hanging so loosely that it was not too hard to see the wolf peaking from inside… but still, they tried to adjust the coat and become more credible.

    • beckij

      That horrible book, that load of garbage, that handbook for how to stay chained to an abuser! I read it shortly after I got married and it did horrendous, irreparable damage to me because I was a brand new believer, and had no way to recognize the lies and half truths in it.

      Now, 35 years later, I learned that the author is part of a sect that is not truly Christian, and it all makes more sense.

  13. E

    This is what is so very scary to me: my husband and I over the past three years just met and dealt with a true sociopathic, empathy-less abuser who almost got our daughter who had been engaged to his abuser-in-training son. We then saw and understood the consciousless abuser and began researching, finding Pastor Jeff’s wonderful books to be exactly what we had been learning, and have passed on many of them to others. And, we have gotten some responses just like this blogger’s.

    While reading many books on abuse, my husband came to me sadly and said, “I have treated you a lot of these ways…” and he never has again. This happened in our thirtieth year of marriage after years of rounds of most of the stuff mentioned in this blog post. I stayed because I did not believe divorce was an option (though would have left if there had been physical violence towards me or children). Also, I could be very puzzled and discouraged, shaking my head, and know that “But, my husband is not a MEAN man…” Now I know I was attempting to verbalize “But he truly has a conscience, and empathy, though we did not know how to treat one another.” It was hurtful actions instead of his being an abuser in essence, or by nature. Confusion about “patriarchy,” and my wrong expectations about how I thought my laid back husband should have been “leading our family” led to much of my unhappiness, which was just projecting a vague, “You are not doing it right!” onto him.

    Life has become so good, though several of our family are still dealing with PTSD-type fallout from the recent ordeal; our family has never been closer, our children are seeking God. It is so important to “discern good and evil,” in regards to the hidden nature of true psychological abuse vs a troubled marriage with problems, when both can look so similar to outsiders.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, or advice, Pastor Jeff or Barbara? Thank you so much for your work here.

    • Hi E, you might find it helpful to dig into the “Trauma” section of our resources: the Resources tab is in the top menu bar.

      And we have a tag for PTSD — find it in the Tags tab in the top menu bar.

      Also, we have a category for children. Look in the side bar for the ‘categories’ heading. Some of the posts in that category deal with adult children.

      • E

        Thank you for pointing me to the Children resource link! Already very helpful for several families we know.

        In my comment above, the part of our story that makes me cringe for others, is that I was so close to leaving, but having a sense that my husband was not an abuser (though we both demonstrated abusive behavior at times, in how we interacted or assumed things of the other) kept me there, and our life is very good now that we have been able to put terminology and restorative effort into our relationship. If I had left too soon, assuming in my personal ignorance that it was true abuse, I would have devastated our family. I just encourage everyone to study and understand patterns and dynamics of true abuse and manipulation before making the decision that leaving is the only choice or option.

        So grateful for your work here at ACFJ, and for helpful suggestions of books for further reading.

      • Hi E,
        can you please clarify for us what you meant by this part of your commment:

        having a sense that my husband was not an abuser (though we both demonstrated abusive behavior at times, in how we interacted or assumed things of the other)

        As you know, most of our readers have spent years in the black hole of self-blame and self-scrutiny, trying to find and correct whatever they were doing ‘wrong’ in order to improve their marriages. And as you know, we explain to them that “It’s not your fault; you are not to blame; you are not the abuser — your spouse is.”

        I don’t want to contradict your assessment of your own marriage history, but I think it would be good for you to clarify what you meant, so that our readers are not triggered back into needless self-scrutiny and self-blame.

        Hope you understand!

        In your explanation, you may like to refer to our definition of Domestic Abuse in the sidebar of this blog. 🙂

        Thanks. 🙂

  14. Diana

    This plus my comment above is what I left on her blog:

    I have to let you know how very damaging this counsel is to women who are in abusive marriages. The “jerk” she is married to could very well be (most likely) verbally, emotionally, financially, sexually, physically abusive. God does not want this for any woman. This type of counsel kept me in my abusive marriage for 21 years. It damaged not only me, but my children. Do not think for a moment that this type of behavior by the “jerk” does not have an impact on your kids. It does. And I believed the devil’s lies for 21 years that I could protect them. Instead, they have deep wounds, confusion, and psychological impact like severe anxiety that will last years. It damages the Christian witness to your own kids. Think they will want to be a part of a church and religion that allowed their mom to be treated with evil, hatred and disdain? Think again. They will flee. As they should. This has nothing to do with true religion and love for God. Please, please, educate yourself on domestic abuse and search out sites and books that are advocates for the women who married “jerks”.

    • For Too Long

      Well said, Diana. I’ve been in my abusive marriage for twenty-four years, but the divorce will be final soon. Both of my children suffer depression and anxiety, as well as a deep sense of rejection since one of my husband’s favorite tactics toward his family is abuse-by-extreme-neglect. And, like you said, my younger child is rejecting the faith because of not only what her “Christian” father has done, but also the church that ex-communicated me. …Frankly, I can’t say I blame her. It has made a very deep impression on her about the way “Christians” treat others and she wants no part of it.

      • I think that the ‘c’hurch has so lost the plot that the true church is increasingly living outside the camp.

        Those ‘Spirit Festivals’ that are held regularly by New Agers and that crowd — the festivals where you can go to learn about a smorgasbord of eastern religion, pagan and weirdo belief systems and practices — the true church needs to start evangelising at those festivals. There are many many people who are looking for spiritual truth, mercy and justice, and who have rightly decided that the church is the LAST place to look for it.

      • Diana

        Oh, “for too long”, how your story grieves me! I understand. I can’t blame my kids either, not one bit. I so want them to love Jesus and walk with their heavenly Father. I pray that God brings “beauty for ashes” in this. I have about half a dozen kids. God used the deep anxiety problems my oldest one was revealing to me as a wake up call.

  15. I Didn't Know

    I didn’t know my husband was a jerk when I married him. He came across as kind, humble, gentle and hardworking. We were married more than a decade ago. He asked me to marry him and because I loved and respected him I did. I moved from my very nice home out to the country, straight into his family of origin’s house, which I did not know I was going to have to do. I gave up my businesses, and left everything to start a new life with him.

    His family of origin have been extremely cruel and hateful to me and my child. He did not once stand up for me or protect me. He had an agenda. It was marry me, than take everything away from me. I have been financially destroyed by this man, and on top of it, he has been cheating on me throughout our marriage. I recently caught him and have filthy photos, text messages and video. It was enough to double me over in pain.

    He has left me for the married woman next door, and has left me all the debt, and no monetary support. I have not had a job of much account since my child committed suicide some yrs ago as I lost the job due to mourning. Even when he went to the hospital with me the day my child died he was a total #*# to me. Rude, hateful, snotty. The pastor and his wife thought it must be because of all “my” problems. Never mind he had a date that night and we interrupted his fun, unbeknownst to me at the time. When we headed home I BEGGED him not to leave me alone because I was afraid of being alone after losing my beloved child. He almost yelled at me that he couldn’t be sitting at home with me he had to get out in the fields and work. Yep, sure did. Don’t know whose field he was plowing, but he wasn’t with me in the most agonizing time of my life!!!

    I now have physical problems that I deal with daily. It is hard to do much of anything. I have been kind, gentle, compassionate, and respectful of him. He is still an #*# and I am done.

    • Dear sister, I am so sorry for all you have suffered.

      I changed your screen name for your safety. Welcome to the blog 🙂
      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com .

      The way your husband behaved towards you is very very cruel. You are wise to be done with him. 🙂

  16. To help avoid any confusion – there are two writers associated with the Nitty Gritty Love website. Michelle is the author of the article that we noted in our post. And according to their website, Michelle has been married 20+ years.

  17. GratefulBeliever

    About the only correct statement in the excerpt you quoted is “marriage is a reflection of Christ’s love for the church.” Yep, it is — but only if the marriage is non-abusive and both partners are dealing with their “stuff” in an effort to be, or become, healthy people. Abusive marriages don’t reflect Christ’s love for the church, even when both partners are believers. Indeed (as another commenter posted) God divorced Israel for abandonment, adultery, and what — in a human-to-human relationship — would be considered emotional abuse.

    • YetAnotherAnon

      Thank you, Grateful Believer, well said.

      • Hi “YetAnotherAnon”
        I changed your screen name for your safety. Welcome to the blog 🙂
        We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

        If you want us to change your screen name to something else, just email twbtc.acfj@gmail.com .

  18. Lee

    My ex sent me a book entitled something about jerks. He apologized for being a jerk. I didn’t like the book at all. He didn’t change at all. My mommy told me not to call people jerks anyway. It’s not a good enough description of selfish controlling people. A spouse that I chose should be my friend and confidant and lover. Not my controller and non supporter. Evidently Michelle isn’t married to a jerk. She has no idea what she is talking about!

  19. Joy

    I’m using husband and father as an example below, as well as victim to refer to the one being abused, I know that wives and mothers can also abuse their victims: Thank you for posting this information about Michelle Lindsey’s blog. I’m infuriated by it and it takes a lot to get me angry. The reason why is although it seems like Michelle Lindsey is helping abuse victims, what she’s really doing is further bonding the wife or child to the abuser by telling the victim that the relationship can be transformed through loving the abuser; in other words, by submitting to him. [In actual fact,] the further the wife or child submits and is obedient to the abuser, the worse the abuse gets.

    If the wife or child stands up for herself, the abuse gets even worse. Right after the abuse, the bully, because abusers really are bullies, will act very kind and generous to the victim out of guilt [or pseudo-guilt] for days, weeks or months until the abuse starts again. Then, if the wife or child talks about the situation to someone else, in a plea to ask for help, the listener will demand that the victim should be grateful to have such a wonderful husband or father, to not disown the gift of the person given to the victim, because that exposes the uncomfortable truth of abuse and shows that the abuser’s wonderful reputation is false.

    Instead, the listener will tell the victim to silently suffer through this slavery, so that it won’t upset the community. The listener will even distort scripture to prove the point, saying that a wife should submit to her husband and the child should honor the father and mother, without saying that the husband should love his wife and the father should not aggravate his children.

    This is pure ignorance and evil right here. Instead of condemning the victim, people should be supporting the wife or child that is being abused.

  20. Avid Reader

    This brings back so many memories of growing up in the church hearing this taught—that you’re supposed to feel guilty for wanting anything in life. It took me years to figure out how to respond.

    Peel away the layers of what they’re saying and you realize that if the devil can get you to believe that you don’t deserve to have anything in life—then it opens you up to his plan for “stealing, killing, and destroying.”

    So here’s how I like to respond when people try to pull this guilt trip:

    “All I want for my life is what Jesus wants—Jesus came that we might have life “MORE ABUNDANTLY” and warned us about the “thieves and robbers” that would try to interfere with that. (John 10)”

    Then if the conversation escalates, I like to go into

    “I don’t know about all that, I’m just trying to obey the Bible’s command to “tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God (including the knowledge of God’s heart towards women) and take captive every thought into the obedience of Christ.” (2Cor 10:5 Berean Bible)

    At that point they’re looking at me with the deer-in-the-headlights look. There’s nothing they can say so they try going on rabbit trails as a diversion.

    I smile and respond very gently,

    “All this other theology has to bow its knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ who came “to proclaim freedom to the captives and…to set free the oppressed.” (Luke 4:18 HSCB)”

    Hope this gives you all something to stand your ground with the next time that someone tries to pull this guilt trip.

    • Diana

      Excellent!

  21. Song of Joy

    This kind of damaging marital advice it is in the very opposite spirit of what Jesus taught:

    Mark 2:27 (NKJV)
    And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

    In context, Jesus makes it clear that the institution of the Sabbath was NOT more important than a man or woman’s legitimate needs for help and relief from pain (such as hunger or a crippling disability). The institution was meant to be beneficial and enrich people’s earthly lives, not make their lives more difficult.

    But the Pharisees insisted that people were inferior to the institution, legalistically bound to “honor” the Sabbath, even if it meant a person had to needlessly suffer to the point of absurdity, such as starving or not being healed of a terrible disability. Jesus was very angry about that kind of attitude (Mark 3:5).

    This legalistic approach is what Michelle Lindsey is advising in her article. Put the institution of marriage first, put your jerk (abusive) spouse first, before your own real human needs for kindness, compassion, respect, financial support of the family, relief from suffering, etc. Not sure why she doesn’t see how her advice aligns with that of the Pharisees instead of Jesus. I hope she wakes up to that.

  22. H

    Very clear that this woman is not speaking from a place of empathy or knowledge. She must have a decent husband to be so callous towards “you” who are married to a “jerk.”

    I’d like to point out that she doesn’t have her theology right. “Jesus doesn’t divorce us for being jerks.” Actually, God did divorce and has divorced his unrepentant, destructive, idolatrous people. Kicking Adam and Eve out of the garden was at least a separation, if not a divorce. God divorced his people in the prophets. And Jesus requires radical repentance from anyone who would be in intimate, loving relationship with him. The divorce will be finalized on judgement day, when anyone who persists in their ungodly ways unrepentantly will be thrown into hell, forever.

    She clearly doesn’t read the plain words of the Bible. Instead she’s just parroting what she hears from famous teachers and saying what’s trendy and cool in certain circles from her safe position inside of a tolerable marriage. Easy to do when you come out on top, shaking your finger at those women beneath you who just aren’t as brave or close to God as you.

  23. H

    And what is with that gift thing? An abusive spouse is a gift that I am not owed? Is she on drugs? I’m sorry, that is a low blow, but do these people even hear themselves speak?

    It’s an evil lie that a spouse in itself, whatever they do, is a gift that I don’t deserve. Totally misses the newness of what the gospel proclaimed. The new covenant destroyed and surpassed the old ways that God showed his love and blessings for his people. Marriage, children and land were the symbols God demonstrated his blessings through. Now, God commands the eunuchs and the widows and the barren and foreigners to rejoice – we have something even better than marriage to look forward to!

    So glad that my life is a powerful reflection of the gospel totally apart from my marriage that is no marriage at all.

  24. Deb

    “Because we believe that marriage is a reflection of Christ’s love for the church….” Yes, hello, so does every abused man or woman trying to escape a marriage that doesn’t. I can’t handle dealing with one more ignorant and clueless person, I just can’t. This type of thinking doesn’t deserve a response. She’s blinded, enabling evil and abuse and doesn’t even know it. God help her.

  25. Still Reforming

    I truly hope that the author of that post considers the responses of the anguished souls driven to this website in search of truth and comfort. The very fact that the title of this post includes the word ‘triggering’ may at least give her pause for thought. What could ‘trigger’? Just being a ‘jerk’ behavior? No… it’s years upon years of manipulative, deceitful ways – including lying to one’s own children, pretending to be a Christian in front of others but wearing ‘the angry smile’ at home, spinning the car around with the family in it for no more than the wife suggesting he write himself a reminder note, unpredictable outbursts that keep the family walking on eggshells, etc etc etc…

    Goodness, but I wish there were fewer well-intentioned Christian advice websites out there and more genuine Christians interested discerning what real evil (which God tells us about over and over and over in His Word) is and how abusers masquerade as sheep in the church. These wolves are all the more aided and abetted by that website’s counsel.

  26. Let’s examine the notion that “marriage displays God’s covenant-keeping love to the church.”

    People who proclaim that idea say that if a Christian seeks divorce, the Christian is giving a bad witness to the world because he or she is not ‘displaying the gospel’.

    We have rebutted this idea on the blog before. Here is a post by Jeff:
    Abusive Marriages Portray God’s Covenant With His People? – Really?

    Here is what I wrote about it at this post:

    John Piper teaches that the institution of marriage, and therefore all actual marriages, display and portray the covenant-keeping love of God. And he most certainly teaches that the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church (Ephesians 5). Piper never sees the husband as the church in that Ephesians 5 analogy; he sticks to the script that he thinks he sees in Ephesians 5. He says the wife represents the church and the husband represents Christ.

    He never inverts that Ephesians 5 metaphor in how he applies it to men and women; he never talks about an abusive husband as being the picture of the church, because the husband, in Piper’s concrete and blinkered mind, can only ever represent Christ. Piper just seems to ignore the fact that abusive husbands are pictures of Satan persecuting the church and keeping her in bondage, rather than pictures of Christ caring for the church.

    I guess if you could push Piper and nail him down on this, he might readily concede that abusive husbands are displaying Satan not Christ. But he would never say that that allows the wife of an abuser to divorce and remarry a true Christian husband if she so choses, because for Piper, the principle that trumps all other principles is that The Chief Purpose of Marriage is to Display the Covenant Keeping Love of God for the Church.

    Nothing can uproot this fixity in Piper. He is so single minded on it that he devoted THREE CHAPTERS to it in his book What Jesus Demands of the World. And guess what? In that book, Piper devoted one skimpy shallow paragraph to the command of Jesus that we not put our pearls before swine.

    • IamMyBeloved's

      This: “abusive husbands are pictures of Satan persecuting the church and keeping her in bondage, rather than pictures of Christ caring for the church.”

      Amen and amen!!

      I left a post over there asking her to clarify what she thinks is abuse and what she would give as advice for dealing with that.

  27. Michelle Lindsey, why don’t you take a bit of your own medicine?

    Maybe you missed the memo. Maybe your are a tad self-centered and thus too proud to reconsider your views. Maybe you can’t even stand being rebuked so you are not publishing the comments that our readers have submitted to your blog. If the feedback you are getting from abused wives feels more like a cruel joke than anything else, then you have a longer, tougher road. You do. But it’s not hopeless. With Christ, all things are possible.

    I have seen people transformed. People who once believed that abuse was not grounds for divorce, people who were unconsciously endorsing male privilege, people who were parroting Pharisaic, victim-blaming theology because it was what they had been taught, people who had loaded up wives with false guilt and told them to submit to their abusive husbands and pray harder and look to their own sins as the cause of the problem — I have seen these people change. It never gets old, witnessing changed lives.

    Why don’t you give our ideas a go, Michelle?

    • And I just submitted my above comment to Michelle’s blog as well. It’s sitting in moderation.

      • Brenda R

        Barb,
        I doubt it will be published. Michelle wants to keep her readers in a cozy little nook while wearing their rose colored glasses. I lost my pair a long time ago. ((((HUGS))))

  28. I just saved Michelle Lindsey’s blog post to the WebArchive. Here is the link in case she scrubs the post from her blog.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20160609003231/http://www.nittygrittylove.com/dear-wife-whos-married-to-a-jerk/

  29. If any of our readers want to comment on NittyGrittyLove’s facebook page, here is the link —
    https://www.facebook.com/NittyGrittyLove/

    • Brenda R

      My comment that I put on the FB page today is still there. That’s something.

  30. Rosie

    Instead, I spend hours and hours writing to faceless people, hoping that just a handful will snap out of it and start treating their spouse as a gift. Because that is what a wife, and a husband is. A GIFT. You are not OWED a spouse, so if one has agreed to spend their life with you, be thankful!

    That’s about where I about threw my iPad across the room. I chose not to continue reading because I feel that pit in my stomach I felt when I was being “counseled” at my former church.

    “Faceless people?” Who is she even talking to? If it’s to her readers, that’s dehumanizing. Thanks, that how he made me feel too. (Same mentality alert.)

    Since my jerk husband is such a gift to me, I’d kindly like a refund. 😜

    I know I’m not owed a spouse. But does that mean I’m entitled to mistreatment or being ignored for decades? My problem is not a matter of gratefulness.

    The information from this blog is damaging & I can’t can’t tell you how sick I am of this kind of advice. I hope little Mrs. Happypants never has a daughter that suffers abuse from being married to a jerk because that poor dear will surely be on her own.

    • Since my jerk husband is such a gift to me, I’d kindly like a refund. 😜

      ^ that

      • Annie

        ^
        Me too!
        That’s was excellent!

    • Suzanne

      I think that your last sentence says it all. This woman is heartless and it’s not difficult to imagine that she’d counsel her daughter to remain in an abusive marriage. She has, like so many others, made an idol of marriage and she worships that idol by sacrificing the happiness and well-being of innocent women and children on its altar.

      • Daisy

        Suzanne said,

        She has, like so many others, made an idol of marriage and she worships that idol by sacrificing the happiness and well-being of innocent women and children on its altar.

        I’m not disagreeing with you, but I find it slightly amusing that she says on her Nitty Gritty Love Facebook group (which Barbara linked to elsewhere) this:

        Your spouse cannot be your savior, or your source of life. It’s easy to make marriage an idol, and without it we feel worthless. But God is first and foremost what you need.
        He won’t ever hurt you, or leave you. When that is securely in your mind and heart, it’s easier to navigate through marriage problems.
        (Source)

    • sara

      Oh, I wish I could have a refund of over 2 decades! Sorry, but he was not a gift — he was an abuser!!!!! Because of theology like this I stayed and raised my children under his “leadership” and now watch oldest son do some of the same things — I grieve this harder than the years I lost.

      • Brenda R

        I told a pastor many years ago that marriage and a spouse were not gifts. He couldn’t believe I said that, but I meant every word. Although, I have started dating after the divorce 3 years ago, I’m still not sure that finding someone would be a gift or a trap.

  31. Nancy

    I sent her a comment via her Contact Me link. Very similar to the ones above. I submitted it this way saying I didn’t think she would post it, but wanted her to reconsider her article as harmful to a woman married to an abuser. “Jerk” is very vague. I used to grade my 8th grade English students down for using such vague terms as “jerk”. By now she has had that word redefined for her i.e. Physical, sexual, spiritual, emotional abuser by many of us. Poor woman is in cognitive dissonance now, as so many of us have been trapped in for years. I’m praying for her that the Holy Spirit will whisper to her to look at truth.

  32. kind of anonymous

    Hi Jeff and Barb,
    I strolled over to Michelle’s blog and left this comment. It is awaiting moderation right now, don’t know if she will delete it. If she does, I am going to confront her about only showing comments that give a glowing response, which lacks integrity in my opinion. Here is what i said:

    June 8, 2016 at 11:06 pm Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Michelle, I am sure you meant well here but I have some concerns . If by jerk you mean a guy who can be an insenstive boor at times or who has some imperfections, I would agree that those things alone are not reason enough to end a marriage. However, some of the things you describe are serious sin problems, not faults to be borne with problems. And a pattern of consistent neglect and cruelty is actually better known as abuse. Surely you do not suggest that a woman married to a guy who is sadistic and harming her and/or her children or who compels them to live in near poverty by his refusal to provide for his wife and kids, is required by God to stay in that miserable situation.

    You say you have seen marriages transformed; please elaborate. An abusive, cruel or selfish person doesn’t find much impetus to change with the usual kind of church teaching handed out, so if you are talking about marriages where there is ongoing major evil jerkdom, I woud love to hear about how it happened and what steps were necessary.

    You see Michelle, deliberate abuse is an ongoing pattern of behaviour that the offender is aware he or she is doing, but that the offender has no serious intention to do anyting to correct or stop. The kind of teaching you give here puts the abuse victim at the disposal of the abuser with no apparent resourse and removes any real consquences from the sinning and possibly abusive spouse that could provide a God given impetus to change. I think it is important that you differentiate between occasional jerkdom and serious ongoing sin. The reasons that biblical confrontation, church discipline and the law system exist are because God put them there for the purpose of putting the brakes on evil. A woman’s only recourse is not to continue to be a victim and pray for a miracle. God outlines various natural and human enforced consquences for sin.

    You state that Jesus never divorces us for being jerks. Yet God divorced Israel for her persistent sin against Him. And in the new testament there is in fact, a form of being divorced for being a jerk; namely church discipline, in which an unrepentant offeder is re classified as a false convert/unbeliever and is to be put of the church, until if and when he or she makes a real commitment to Jesus and to obedience. Then there is the incident where a man had his father’s wife. In that case, the guy didn’t even get the three confrontations usually required before he got the boot. Now if marriage is supposed to resemble God’s relationship with the church…..well, I think the correlation is pretty obvious here. It is not love to tolerate evil. Not to the offender or the victim. There is also the scripture that says that if a man provide not for his own, he is WORSE than an INFIDEL and has DENIED the faith. The descriptions you give are of extremely serious sin that God Himself does not tolerate in His church, His bride.

    I don’t at all disagree that God can do miracles in some pretty shocking situations. But the fact that God can do these things in no way leads to the conclusion that one always has to stay. God could send me a zillion bucks in the mail but that doesn’t exonerate me in the meantime from using common sense and having to employ some effort at earning an income. Every situation is different and you can have one man who is trapped in pain and hates the way he is and wants out and another acting the same way who enjoys the power and pain he can inflict. I just read of some fool of a pastor telling a woman God says she can’t leave her husband who was forcibly raping her up against a wall while she cried the whole time, repeatedly because the bible “says he has the right to enjoy his wife when he wants to”.

    No wonder the world hates us when we demonstrate such clueless ignorance or worse, behave like the pharisees who are so into the letter of the law that they forget its intent and load up heavy burdens onto people’s backs that cannot be borne. Perhaps worst of all is that the church does these heartless tomfooleries in Jesus’ name, as if HE would tell a woman such a thing. I hope you will at least consider looking into the reality of abusive situations and what scripture actually has to say about abuse ( a surprising amount) and divorce ( much more than we are usually taught) and how the advice you have given more often than not, does not lead to change in a reasonable amount of time in such destructive situations. I don’t believe God expects women and children to live for five or ten years in a nightmare on the off chance that the dude might get saved or repent. That is just too much responsiblity to lay on one person for another. – See more at: http://www.nittygrittylove.com/dear-wife-whos-married-to-a-jerk/#comment-1539

    • Bravo! 🙂 🙂
      Your comment is superb!

    • Brenda R

      I just looked back at the comments and my comment shows back up as in moderation. Last night it wasn’t there at all.

      Kind of anonymous, Well said!!

      • Brenda R, Yesterday and today I have been re-checking Michelle’s post. Each time, at the bottom of the comments thread there, I see the comment which I submitted and it says “in moderation”. And NO comments have been published on there from any of our readers. We’ve had many readers here, and at our FB page, tell us the text of the comments they submitted to Michelle’s blog. So it seems that possibly the moderators at that blog are not on the job and ALL our comments are still in moderation.

        But certainly, none of our comment have been published there.

    • Diana

      Kind of anonymous , very well said indeed!

  33. Renewed Spirit

    I thought this reply on her blog was helpful – I find many of your posts very helpful, relatable and encouraging. I thank you for the writing you do here.

    However, on this one, I have to disagree with how this post may be viewed by the women who are in a physically/sexually/mentally abusive relationship. Women stuck in this type of relationship with abuse is usually not one where it started out with obvious abuse. The abuser has to “feel out” their victims before making them a victim. Once these women are in this situation, many times the emotional part of the abuse has been so much that they aren’t worth much and they are scared to leave. They are scared to leave for different reasons and most of the reasons aren’t true or logical to someone who is not in that type of relationship.

    While I agree, marriages are something to be worked on and people shouldn’t just move on to the next partner because they are tired of “jerky actions”, there’s also the stance that some people are in very dangerous situations that put their life or their children’s lives at stake. In my opinion, these are not relationships that can be easily repaired, if at all, because abusers usually have psychological problems that THEY (the abusers) have to accept responsibility for and work on it themselves. Even if this does happen, the abused spouse has emotional repercussions from what has happened to them.

    I’m sure your intention was not meant to disregard these situations, but at the same time, the audience could be someone being abused and on the fence about using their safety plan to get out of there. They may also need confirmation that it’s the right thing to do. When they come across something that states there is absolutely no reason to divorce, they have more thoughts pushed on them that it is wrong to leave their marriage. I wholeheartedly believe there are some exceptions to the “no divorce” rule. I do not believe that God intends us to stay with someone who intentionally hurts us in this type of way, and most people don’t wear a sign stating they have psychological problems as a warning to avoid them.

  34. Louise

    Sadly this was the same advice I was given by my Church fellowship. Other than the part about “being thankful he agreed to spend the rest of his life with me”

    These words confused me so much when spoken to me. It kept me chained in guilt and fear that leaving him was not God’s will. I prayed for a year, every night and every morning, for God to change my heart and help me to be the wife I was called to be in this marriage. The part of my husband that I fell in love with is no longer here. I was blamed for that too. That I caused him to change. He continues to have drunken episodes and verbally attacks me and everything I have communicated to him in trust over the years. The next day he’s “sorry” and those words are supposed to erase all the damage.

    Through prayer and friends and blogs like this I finally changed my prayers to “God lead me, guide me, direct me and protect me”.
    I felt peace and clarity when I prayed this. I am leaving him.

    I am putting my trust in God. Thank you for these articles.

  35. Anonymous

    Michelle,
    The above comments say a lot if you care to read them, but I’ll come at it from a different angle. Do you have a conscience?

    Lots of people don’t these days whether it’s due to abuse, a familial tendency, or whatever reason you got to this point it’s a decision that you made and if you don’t have a functioning conscience all the things you say are just words. You see, those without a conscience love to throw around all the words that tend to make Christian’s hop to it such as guilt, shame, gratefulness and love etc.–words that have no meaning to a psychopath because their brains don’t process these emotions. Now, if you are one of these people (unconscienced) reading your post can be a lesson for the conscienced and can help us see how those like you try to manipulate us into compliance.

    Let’s start with this:

    Instead, I spend hours and hours writing to faceless people, hoping that just a handful will snap out of it and start treating their spouse as a gift. Because that is what a wife, and a husband is. A GIFT. You are not OWED a spouse, so if one has agreed to spend their life with you, be thankful!

    Now, if you are a sociopath, one of the things you desire is to have others feel sorry for you. The first part of the quote above sounds like you are whining about spending (wasting) all your precious time trying to help strangers who are ungrateful to you. With no conscience, you feel that you are god and that it is others job to worship and serve you. It makes you very angry that people haven’t realized this and that you have to be bothered to write things to try to explain that it is THEIR job to worship you. We are all faceless to you because that’s how those without a conscience see others. We are nothing to them except in how we serve or worship them and any who disagree with you should be destroyed–in your mind.

    You seem to actually want others to think of YOU as a gift, you couldn’t care less what the real God of the Bible thinks or that those who serve him are nothing like you. You seem to be incapable of seeing the world through others eyes–it goes with your spirit of selfishness written about in 2 Tim 3:2, “For people will love only themselves…”

    As far as considering our spouse as a gift — none of us were ever told that some people don’t have the capability to love others due to their hardened heart and that not only do they not love Jesus — they think that they are god- – these are the blasphemers written about Matthew 12:31, “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” We are married to people that will never be forgiven by God because they don’t want to be. They LOVE what they are. If you don’t have a conscience, this describes you as well. We wouldn’t have married these evil ones in the first place if we’d been taught how to identify them and they AREN’T a gift from God — they are an anti-Christ.

    Because many of us were raised with so many lies such as — all people can be saved if WE work our butts off, or that modeling love to others can help them see the love of Jesus — but were never told the part about the deceivers and how they will masquerade as lovers of God but are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing — so we were ill prepared to confront such evil — right in our own beds! It is not a matter of us trying harder to serve evil it is actually a matter of God finally showing us the truth and us being absolutely devastated by the depth of the lies we were forced to believe and then turning for help and running into people like you who want us to go back into the lion’s den of evil. Not gonna happen Michelle.

    God teaches us so that we can be “…as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” and identify wrong (dangerous) teaching when we see it. Unless you repent and go back over what you’ve written here and denounce what you’ve said, I have no choice but to believe that you are just another deceiver or at the very least, deceived yourself. I pray that God shows you his truth through His word in your life and that if your heart isn’t hardened to the point of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, that you can see His truth in his word. It will probably be absolutely devastating to you — as it’s been to those of us here — but guess what? You will have a place to go — here — for help and love and understanding — something many of us didn’t have until years after discovering the truth. If you are an evil one — this all means nothing to you except to perhaps anger you at the impertinence of one of your servants not worshiping you — it’s known as butt-hurt and all those without a conscience feel this way when they are confronted with truth and reality.

  36. Joey

    There’s a huge difference between living with a jerk and living with a physical and emotional abuser and she obviously is in the dark. If she had been beaten up, consistently put down and insulted, slapped, hit and made to feel worthless she wouldn’t even have the courage to write about it. Love, caring, loyalty and nurturing mean nothing to a real abuser. In my case, the Lord took a hand in what was happening and saw to it I was removed from the situation after almost 30 years of doing the very best I could to make it right, believing I HAD to stay. Perhaps she should keep in mind that the Pharisees were also self-righteous and WRONG!!

  37. KayJay

    These are all really great comments. “There must be a reason you chose him…”. Why yes, yes there was: he was a great ACTOR. Some might even call it deceiving or lying about who and what he really was. I think in his case he was probably even lying to himself in order to cope with past failures.
    I loved what a previous commenter called it: a sheep coat. It doesn’t take long to slip, and then all you’re left with is a shell of the person you thought you fell in love with and years of confusion ahead while well-meaning people like Michelle preach their toxic mix of grace and law.

  38. freeatlast8

    This had got to be the absolute best thread of comments I have seen in the 2 1/2 years I have been walking outside my destruction. You all GET IT! And your ability to articulate it is superb! It really helps me to get my head around it all when I see how well all of you can put it out there in words from every possible angle. It’s a level of understanding I never could have gained if I had stayed.

  39. BrokenKaliedoscope

    Fits right in with the advice I was given when I tried to get help early in my marriage.

    “See him as God sees him.”

    “Look at him through eyes of faith seeing him for what he could be not what he is.”

    I’m out, I’ve been out three years and I’m still haunted by this advice. I’m still wrestling with the thought I didn’t deserve any husband at all so I should be grateful for the one I was given. And of course, I certainly deserve to have God divorce me.

    They are such powerful lies, such potent poison.

  40. Singing Eagle

    […] when it comes to making sense of a life in danger, physically, mentally or spiritually, this is more than enough proof that the abuser has broken their covenant vows to love, honor and respect their spouse.

    I am one of those who vowed to stay married “til death do us part” but after abuse of every kind was inflicted on me and I was ready to commit suicide… ready to do death we WILL part (and he acted like he couldn’t care less), I had to start using wisdom that God did not want me to purposely put myself in a position of constant abuse. … The act of divorce is sometimes needed. If you are being verbally abused, physically attacked, the life of you and your children threatened, do we blindly stay in this situation and wait until God does something??!! Too many cases where women were terrified to oppose the “church” rule or biblical legalism to NOT divorce, ended up with physical or emotional scars for life or dead.

    Sadly I was one of those who believed everything taught by the “biblical experts” without regard to the reality of my own life. Unfortunately, after living over 30 yrs in marital abuse, praying, fasting, seeking to change what was wrong with me through counseling, etc…… I realized that the guilt, shame and burden of carrying others and the church’s expectations took its toll on me spiritually & physically. I have multiple health issues the medical specialists can’t explain but only those who have suffered abuse understand and share parallel issues. Focusing on the letter of the law, kills (legalism) — while the spirit or heart of the word brings life (2Cor. 3-6) and revelation.

    When your adult children beg you to leave and get divorced, something is wrong!!! I now minister to other women who were not able to find a safe christian environment to share their heart. Sometimes I minister to those who were wounded by pastors who think that just because they are a pastors, they have the knowledge to understand or counsel abuse victims. In fact, when attending a secular abuse support group, I found it interesting that the majority of women there were born-again, spirit filled christian women who had no place to go for genuine help from a true biblical perspective.

    • Hi Singing Eagle, you may like to read this post: God hates divorce? Not always.

      • Singing Eagle

        Thank you Barbara!

    • Avid Reader

      I realized that the guilt, shame and burden of carrying others and the church’s expectations took its toll on me spiritually & physically.

      Singing Eagle,

      That is such a powerful statement. Thank you for sharing your heart. Sometimes, I look back and wonder how I could have stayed in certain situations that long. I’m realizing with you that it’s that heavy burden that keeps us in the fog.

      • Singing Eagle

        AMEN Avid! Thank you!!

  41. Song of Joy

    Another red flag regarding the blog “Nitty Gritty Love” is Michelle Lindsey’s use of the phrase “stay sweet” in her post called “To the Wife Whose Husband Won’t Apologize”.

    This statement is alarmingly identical to the well-known catchphrase “Keeping Sweet”, an idea promoted by the likes of convicted felon Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (polygamy), and the Patriarchy movement promoted by the Duggars. Both these groups have malicious philosophies that degrade women and girls and put them in inferior positions to males.

    The fact that the blog author uses this phrase in her advice is another indication she is promoting unbiblical, damaging directives to women.

    • Daisy

      @ Song of Joy said,

      Another red flag regarding the blog “Nitty Gritty Love” is Michelle Lindsey’s use of the phrase “stay sweet” in her post called “To the Wife Whose Husband Won’t Apologize”.

      My mother used to say that to me often.

      When I was a girl and teen – and even into my 20s – if someone had been rude, mean, or cruel to me, and I went to my mother in tears over it or enraged and obviously angry, my mother would cut me off by saying in a calm tone, “Be sweet. Now be sweet, Daisy!”

      My mother grew up in a family where her dad was an alcoholic, would get drunk and hit her or her mother (my grandmother). From what I’ve heard, my grandmother was very passive, she never asserted herself, and only tried to get away from her abuser maybe one time (and that was when my mother was an adult and already out of the house).

      I’m afraid that my grandmother role modeled some very passive behavior for my mom when my mom was a kid, and that may be in part where my Mom picked this up, I suppose.

      But I know for years, having my mother scold me and stop me with the, “Be sweet now Daisy, be sweet!!” (and she forbid me to fight back against bullies or even stand up for myself politely when wronged), communicated the message to me that I should be a doormat. I should go through life allowing people to walk all over me.

      When I was engaged years ago (I later dumped the guy), my ex fiance took advantage of me financially. He’d ask for a thousand here, a thousand there, ask for a few hundred later, promise to pay me back but never did.

      I knew after awhile my ex fiance was conning me, but my mother’s insistence that I “be sweet” all the time, even to abusers or jerks, meant I was conditioned to allow him to continue to use me.

      A lot of Christian preachers, authors, parents, and churches sure as heck do brain wash a lot of girls and women to think it’s their duty in life to be a doormat, to never stand up for themselves. I know better now, though.

  42. Jonathan

    “And do you really believe her when she says “I have seen marriages transformed”? How does that statement make you feel?” Ummm…. it makes me feel that she has restated a basic tenet of the Christian faith — that God can and is transforming the vilest of sinners all the time. I understand the righteous anger and pain that is being verbalized on this site, but please let’s not descend into questioning that.

    • Jonathan, your comment indicates to me that do not understand how domestic abuse victims feel. And it also suggests to me might be intentionally misconstruing what Michelle wrote.
      Allow me to explain.

      Michelle said, “I have seen marriages transformed.”
      You claim that she said “God can and is transforming the vilest of sinners all the time.”

      That is NOT what Michelle said. You have mis-represented what she said.

      At this site, we accept the truth of the statement: “God can and is transforming the vilest of sinners all the time.”
      We know that God can and is transforming vile sinners every day. We have no difficulty with that tenet of Christian doctrine. I was one of those vile sinners. I am now regenerate. I was born again in 1981 in my late 20s. All the regenerate readers at this blog were also vile sinners once. God will very likely by regenerating vile sinners this very day, as I write.

      HOWEVER, Michelle’s claim was written in the context of her article where she was talking about a woman married to a ‘jerk’. (Her word: we would use the word ‘abuser’.) She said “I have seen marriages transformed,” in that context. She was clearly meaning that she has seen jerk-abuser husbands be transformed. That is what we question.

      We asked our readers “How does it make you feel when you read that?” because Christian victims of abuse are routinely told by ‘christian marriage experts’ this very line: “I have seen marriages transformed!” It is a line which cruelly coerces victims of abuse into staying longer in these horrific marriages, staying and praying and hoping and trying to ‘increase their faith’ and ‘be more Christlike’ and ‘win their husbands to the Lord without a word’ etc. All of that is a recipe for prolonging the torture. Prolonging the suffering of the victim and her children. Enabling the abuser to push her further down in to the black hole. … and the kids grow up in this toxic environnment: they are modelled how to be abusers (by their father) and how to be a doormat (by their mother). This is a tragedy and it’s an epidemic.

      You are clueless about domestic abuse, Jonathan. You need to read this blog and learn about the dynamics of domestic abuse.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Down go the false notions, Barbara. Thank you.

    • Daisy

      @ Jonathan said,

      mmm…. it makes me feel that she has restated a basic tenet of the Christian faith — that God can and is transforming the vilest of sinners all the time

      So you’re saying it’s necessary for a woman to stay married to an abuser or a jerk in order for God to “transform a vile sinner.”

      I don’t recall the Bible teaching that God can only redeem someone via a spouse.

      I’ve never married, so I guess that means I am hosed. I cannot be redeemed.

  43. Sunflower

    The comment about ‘keep sweet’ was an eye-opener. There are two books by that name, both written by women of a certain faith, one from Utah and one from Canada. In fact I used to live near one of them. This explains a lot. It also causes me to think that maybe,”I have seen marriages transformed” really means,”I have seen wives let go of all expectations, become doormats and slaves of their husbands, and there are no more fights, all is quiet and well.” Just a guess.

    • For Too Long

      Sunflower, that’s exactly what I did. Let go of all expectations and was the “perfect” wife and helpmate. I gave and gave; never had an opinion (at least none that I shared with him); let his offenses roll off my back (after all, it’s our glory to overlook an offense [sigh…]), and basically tip-toed around so as to not disturb the sleeping giant. …Crazy, when I look back on it now.

  44. freeatlast8

    Wow, you said it Sunflower! I think you are right. Marriages transformed by the wives just giving up and giving in. That is not transformation. That is death.

    • Marriages transformed by the wives just giving up and giving in. That is not transformation. That is death.

      Yeah. And Michelle thinks she has seen marriages ‘transformed’. I would bet any money that she is unable to detect the difference between that death-transformation where the victim goes into a deeper and deeper coma so she can live under the unrepentant abuser, and a truly transformed marriage where the abuser reforms.

      I bet she is clueless about the differences.

      I bet she is clueless about how to detect (let alone confront and call out) the phoney repentance of abusers.

  45. Daisy

    I guess I’m not like the woman poster of the “Nitty Gritty” group and blog post (her name is Michelle?), and some on this very blog may disagree with me on this (which is fine), but I feel that the behaviors she cites in her post – the “jerk” behaviors, such as the guy ignores you consistently, pays more attention to video games than to you, etc – are valid reasons to break up or divorce a guy.

    I was engaged to a guy who didn’t meet my emotional needs. He was very self-absorbed. He exploited me financially.
    He continually put his mother before me and defended her, even when his mother was rude to me (though I was always polite to her and did not give her a reason to be rude to me).
    My ex was somewhat verbally abuse towards me the last year and a half before we ended things.

    I could go on and on with example of other things he did over the years.

    I broke up with him.

    Prior to breaking up with him, I bent myself into a pretzel trying to please him. My mother was a very traditional kind of person, and she raised me to be that way. I was raised to think that the guy you are dating or married to is the head honcho in the relationship, and I was to be the little doormat, and my needs did not matter, and I was to please the boyfriend/ fiance as best I could.

    So I tried very hard to meet my ex’s needs. After several years of that and the garden variety boorish behavior the OP (Michelle) described, I had enough and dumped my ex.

    I could not imagine being trapped in a marriage that was like that, where I felt neglected, taken for granted constantly, even if there was no physical abuse.

    I would definitely divorce a guy for that stuff (stuff like ignoring me regularly to watch football on TV, or whatever), and I don’t give a rat’s behind what any church or Christian advice lady thinks of that.

    It’s my life to live, and I’m not wasting it on some dude who takes me for granted. I was already in an engagement like that for several years, I refuse to spend five more minutes in another relationship like that.

    I’m not looking to the Michelles of the world for approval in how I live my life, or whether or not I stay in a relationship or marriage.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Daisy – You showed real wisdom in dumping the guy and I fully agree that such habitual, unrepentant behavior like you describe is indeed grounds for divorce. Why? Because it is an out and out violation of the marriage vows the guy took. “Forsaking all others” surely means more than not committing adultery! A guy who won’t “leave” mommy and cling to his wife has no business marrying. Absolutely, why stay married even to the jerk as Michelle describes? What kind of marriage and life could you ever have with such a person? None!

  46. HisBannerOverMeIsLove

    the last or second to last paragraph. Well, all of them actually but especially the part about loving them where they are at and expectations. Has she tried this!? IMPOSSIBLE!

    What kind of horrible expectations does she assume we have? Was it wrong to expect that our spouse would participate in the marriage, would participate in the responsibilities of being married? Was it wrong to expect to be cared for or even paid attention to?

    (I was told [by my h] that I didn’t need to talk or even say anything. Just the fact I was a warm body in the room or house made him feel good. No need to communicate, share ideas, goals, dreams, fellowship, much less have any physical touch or eye contact)

    Was it wrong to expect to be cherished and loved?
    Was it wrong to expect that my husband would not be completely self centered?

    Seriously this post hurt and triggered me in so many ways I can’t sort it out to write here.

    [Barb has edited this comment a little, for clarity]

    • kind of anonymous

      Uggh; your husband said that you were a warm body in the room and that’s good enough! Gross! A warm body is one step away from being a cold corpse; doesn’t say much about him and whether he wanted a relationship with a real live person, or a body donated to “science”.

      What really grosses me out about the warm body comment is that it reminds me of something my father said to me after I confronted him about a sexual attempt he made towards me. He said “Well, it was a warm body next to me and i responded, how was I to know it wasn’t my girlfriend?” He actually DID know it was me. That kind of reasoning [excuse making] is of the sort where someone is driven only by gratifying animal passions with no regard for the humanity of another. May the lid of the toilet seat fall down upon his pee pee.

  47. IamMyBeloved's

    People like those over at Nitty Gritty, who have no idea nor understanding of life with an abuser, feel free to speak without making qualifiers in their speeches.

    In reality, what they do not understand or know is that when they give that type of counsel to victims of abuse, what they are really saying is, “stay living with Satan, even though he really is a murderous fellow”. But – they would never spend a day locked in the same room with Satan, and we all know it.

    I see that the comment count remains at 15. It is sad that they do not even know how to respond to the afflicted, nor that they even will respond. Once again, the oppressed’s voice is silenced due to ignorance. I do not believe people like this want to dirty their hands with understanding true evil and how it operates. I also think that people who respond – or do not respond to so many comments left by victims – just do not fully know God’s Word, so they cannot respond.

  48. kind of anonymous

    Couldn’t help myself; just had to add this:

    Hi again Michelle, Please forgive me for adding to my already long comment. I thought about this further and more scriptures occurred re the idea that God doesn’t divorce us for being jerks. We are directed in scripture to withdraw ourselves from any brother who is living a sexually immoral lifestyle. From those who have the appearance of godliness but are denying its power, from those who are revilers, divisive etc. And in Revelation, Jesus Himself warns an entire church that if they do not repent, He is going to remove their lampstand. Whoa! Not the feelgood, cultural christianity with its warm fuzzy endless benevolent acceptance no matter how we behave, that has come of late; this is stern stuff and sobering. ( didn’t say this but should have, that God does continue to love even the vilest offender and to desire him to come to repentance, but that doesn’t mean others are obligated to be vicitmized endlessly by him)

    Rather than issuing blanket rulings on all situations, its my thought that women should be encouraged to seek God as to how He would have them proceed; He alone knows what category an individual husband is in. There’s a difference between a wounded man caught in sin and a man who knows full well what he is doing and doesn’t care, who will purposely continue his sin as long as he can get away with it. I read of a woman who made the discovery that her hubby was a secret homosexual; he’d been picked up in a raid on a bathhouse. She sought the Lord and He directed her that while she indeed had legit grounds for a divorce, if she would stay and fight for his life in prayer, God would deliver him out of his sin and restore him. According to this testimony, that man is now a merciful pastor serving God and totally changed. I have no means of course to check in on this situation and find out how he is doing today, although I have no problem believing that God could and would say and do such a thing.

    I have also heard stories of God directing women out of abusive situations and providing a place to go and a means to flee. So it is important for a woman to listen to what God would lead her to do through His word and His Spirit. He alone knows the hidden truth of someone else’s heart and of the situation. Thank you for considering my thoughts. – See more at: http://www.nittygrittylove.com/dear-wife-whos-married-to-a-jerk/#sthash.QbxAxxg4.dpuf

    My comments show on her blog as being in moderation; as of yet there is no response. I don’t know if others can see my comment or just me, not sure how the techy side of blogs work but anyhow, I added this last bit to show that there are more scriptures that speak in a similar vein, and that those of us who disagree aren’t coming from a place of total unbelief where we think God doesn’t ever act in serious problem situations. It just isn’t one size fits all advice in every situation.

    • Hi KOA
      At Michelle’s blog, I can only see my comments (two) that are still in moderation. I can’t see any of the other comments that are in moderation. I think that’s how blogs work.

      I wish their moderators would get on to the job of moderating.

  49. 3blossommom

    Wow. Even one year ago I would have stood with Michelle. I have spent two decades doing exactly what she says. Affair after affair and unkindness after unkindness and deceit after deceit and I would tell myself I was a sinner too and try to love him more, be thankful I had a husband,and forgive and forget. Of course he didn’t think I forgave enough because I just couldn’t forget (esp. not when he continued to repeat his evil). He has left me shipwrecked now, but with the help of a Christian therapist I am seeing him for what he is and seeing God for the Father and husband and giver of justice He says He is. Thank God I am free.

  50. Song of Joy

    Can’t help posting one more time!

    I’ve been exploring the Nitty Gritty Love blog and Facebook page, and other blogs it recommends such as the Unveiled Wife. I just feel queasy about it all. These various blogs have what I can only describe as a split personality.

    One side promotes the fantasy image of marriage, mostly through the art, images and platitudes posted; and the other side urges the marriage legalism, that is the “load of burdens hard to bear” for women (Luke 11:46). Neither of these approaches is wise or beneficial. Put together, it is a heady mix of mind boggling, religious entrapment for women suffering with an abusive husband.

    I keep seeing an abundance of sticky-sweet, romantic, fantasy images, coupled with platitudes and sweeping general statements. As far as images, not much is realistic. Lots of feel-good statements. Yes we all had some girlish fairy-tale fantasies about life and love. That’s normal for young girls. I don’t see how it is beneficial to encourage grown women to have those heavenly images in their heads. But the worst part is that, while posting all these romantic unrealistic images, these blogs are subtly teaching a form of bondage to women (“let’s fight for our marriages”).

    When I think of my maternal line (all Christian women), my great-grandmothers, my grandma, my mom….I think of women who bravely immigrated across oceans, leaving family of origin behind, hardship, loneliness, tragic loss of children due to assault, drowning, mining disasters, crime, miscarriage. Domestic violence and abuse. They kept their faith, they fought the good fight, ran the race. Their lives were HARD. Some had honorable, decent husbands to walk alongside through life, but my mom didn’t. None of them wore flowing, gauzy gowns with flowers and sunlight sparkling in their hair…none had a male model twirling them around on the beach.

    What women need is deep, serious, responsible bible teaching….that which will give them the strength and faith to follow Jesus, to make wise decisions, to recognize and escape from evil, to serve others, to help them persevere through the trials of this life. The kind of teaching that is promoted here at A Cry For Justice.

    • Thank you, Song of Joy 🙂

      The split personality of that blog — and of MANY other blogs for women.

      It’s so formulaic. Give the readers a steady diet of pretty-princess, platitudinous memes to feed their girlhood fantasies, and at the same time feed them marital entrapment doctrines that lay on them the burden of eternally supplying a husband’s narcissistic self-centredness. When it’s wrapped up and bookended in the fantasy princess memes, the readers don’t see they are drinking Kool-Aid.

      Oh, and the other bit of the formula: sell books and resources to your readers. If you’re good at the formula, it can be a tidy little money and status spinner.

      One question is: do these bloggers know they are supplying poisonous Kool-Aid, or have they just drunk the Kool-Aid themselves? And the answer: it doesn’t matter whether they know or not. They still need to put down their pens!

      • Jeff Crippen

        Thank you Barbara. Increasingly I am coming to the conclusion that most of us who have grown up in the evangelical church have been fed false religion as a steady diet. It isn’t that people like this bondage-making blogger are wrong on marriage. They are wrong on their entire concept of God and of our redemption in Christ. They are wrong about the nature of the real church, about the personhood and mind and heart of the Christian. In the end we know they promote a false religion because they call evil good, and good evil.

  51. Brenda R

    It appears that my comment has disappeared from the FB page.

    • Hi Brenda
      your comment here just prompted me to check whether Nitty Gritty Love have hidden my own comment on their FB page.

      It seems that they haven’t removed or hidden my comment which I submitted to their FB page: it’s still visible to me in the left hand side bar on their FB page — https://www.facebook.com/NittyGrittyLove/

      I also checked their FB page post dated 26 Feb 2016 (Dear Wife Who is Married to a Jerk) and I found there a comment by Brenda which I think is from you:

      So I think your comment is still on their FB page …. . and I think their moderators are still somewhat asleep on the job.

      HOWEVER, their moderators don’t seem to be completely asleep: I just went to their blog post Dear Wife Who’s Married To A Jerk (not their FB relay of that, but their blog itself) and the two comments I have submitted there are no longer showing on my screen as “in moderation” —- they are simply not showing at all. This means that their moderators have trashed my comments. My comments are no longer in the ‘moderation queue’ they have been deleted altogether, sent to that big trash can in the sky….

      So… I conclude that NittyGrittyLove is run by people who are obstinately resistant to acknowledging the truth about domestic abuse in the church.

      • Brenda R

        My comment on the blog is still in moderation. I found that if I check it using a different computer it doesn’t show up at all. I don’t know if you use different tech or locations. Yep! You are correct my comment is there. I was looking in the wrong spot. It’s buried under replies, so it may never be seen.

      • Diana

        Hi Barbara. I can still see your comment on the facebook page. Glad it is there! Unfortunately, I bet most people do not look at the side bar on pages to see reader comments. My comment on the article is still in moderation too, two of them.

      • Anonymous

        Barb, I just had to comment to this. I didn’t go on her website because I can’t stomach this garbage but since this is here, I had to pick it apart.

        “He may be acting like a jerk. But he is your jerk and you are his best chance at being loved well.”

        He is not MY jerk and it is NOT my job to love him well. It was the job of the church to help me identify evil people so that I didn’t marry them and if one of these deceivers slipped past the red flags that identify him as an abuser and it is discovered, it is the churches job to help the victim and to oust the evil perpetrator. Love is reserved for those God chooses to give it to and NOT for the devil and his children.

        While studying for a psychology test recently, one of the questions was about what to do when the psych ward was preparing for a new patient who was a narcissist / psychopath / had oppositional defiance disorder etc. The answer surprised me because up until recently psychology tried to tell us to try to understand these evil people. What was the answer? It was something like, “Ensure that firm boundaries are in place and that the staff are all on the same page in this because showing love and fostering a nurturing environment only makes people with these personality disorders more abusive.” BAM! Someone FINANLLY figured out that giving evil free reign and ignoring evil behavior DOES NOT make it go away and only enhances its evil characteristics.

        “At least you can rest your head at night knowing you are showing unconditional love.”

        Oh, how gross! But here again–this is an abusers tactic trying to tell us how they want us to behave. It’s grooming. Dear abuser–the answer is no. My head does not rest well at night when I’ve allowed a child of the devil access to the love that God put in my heart that was meant to edify and reach those he chooses to reach. Those who’ve claimed to be of God yet continually abused those who belong to him have zero excuse for evil behavior. God’s unconditional love is only reserved for those who already belong to Him. A child of the devil has no such claim and when Jesus yelled at these people in John 8 he did NOT send the message “…on the wings of love.” I’ll take the advice Paul gave and “…hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh…” and stay as far away from him as possible because this is what God tells us to do. Your comments reveal that you do not have the mind or spirit of God and that makes you a stumbling block to those who do belong to Him and until you repent and explain why what you’ve written is anti-biblical, those who do belong to Him need to stay away from you.

  52. MarkQ

    This is a vicious form of victim blaming. Michelle is trying to create codependent wives, those who coddle their husbands with affection and then try to manipulate them through prayer and subtle influencing. When those women complain that their husbands aren’t changing, Michelle says they aren’t being codependent enough. If they would only pray harder, love their husbands more, go the extra mile, etc., then their husbands would change. In other words, wives must become the Holy Spirit for their husbands. This is idolatry, and somehow wives are supposed to feel guilty because they’re not omnipotent?

    In the same sense, she and others like her don’t realize the conclusion of their argument. Jesus spent three years discipling Judas, and yet Judas was never converted. Would Michelle say that, if Jesus would only have tried harder, loved Judas more or gone the extra mile, that Judas would have been converted?

    Again, if this is the case, why does the church excommunicate unrepentant sinners? If there are unrepentant sinners in our midst, does that not mean that the pastor and elders failed? Shouldn’t the church excommunicate the pastor for lack of faith when an unrepentantly sinful member of the church dies in his sin?

    • Suzanne

      You make some excellent points.

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