Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2014 e-mail sent to friends:
I have some news to share with you. I have made a difficult decision. I want to share with you some information that will help you understand why I made the decision to separate from Matt.
During the time I attended the Apples of Gold Bible study last fall it became even more clear to me that our marriage was not the idea of what God had in mind for marriage. I was searching on the Internet for things or ways that I could change even more than I already have over the years because I kept hearing the same messages of everything that is wrong with me. While searching for examples of exactly what it was I was saying or doing that was so critical, I ran across this article in October: http://m.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/life-with-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-the-verbally-abusive-marriage-11597290.html. After reading that article, I had an epiphany. After you read it you will see why.
On Oct 31 I had an appointment with an attorney to explore my options of legal separation, not divorce. This was not the route I wanted to take. Over the years I have set boundaries. They are violated. I’ve been told to pray. I have. I have asked for intervention from people at our church. Most who I have spoken with tell me to keep praying. I’m told that I can only change myself and to keep working on myself and let God do the rest. However, in spite of the changes I was making, things continued to be terribly difficult in our home. And not just difficult but destructive, as I have since learned.
Then on Nov 4 I read the below article that is forwarded below. I receive this weekly email and have not read or even opened any of them. Divine intervention. I began to read some of Elisabeth’s blog posts and articles and it was if they were meant just for me.
It is hard for me to sum it all up as well as these articles have so succinctly so I hope that you will read them so that you can understand this situation better. If you have never been in a difficult or destructive relationship, some of the behaviors will seem very foreign to you and may be difficult to understand what one endures. I have read so much in the last month or so that I want to share it all but I know it would be impossible for everyone to get through it all.
In early December, Matt found an email to a friend that I had sent disclosing my plans to separate so I had to tell him my plans earlier than expected. By the time he found the email I had already made a deposit on a duplex and paid the first month’s rent. Since then he has been very repentant and seems ready to do the work to make the changes that we need in our marriage…the things that I have been asking and praying for for so long. His epiphany moment came when he was listening to a radio program where the author Leslie Vernick was speaking. She was speaking about her book How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong. He reached out to her by email and let her know how much the radio program meant to him. She replied and suggested that he get her other book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. A month prior on November 4 when I read the email blog from Elisabeth Corcoran I emailed her to let her know how much of an impact her article had on me. She too responded. I thought that the name Leslie Vernick rang a bell because looking back at her email I saw that she also suggested the book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. I would say that God is at work, wouldn’t you? I am currently reading it and it is like a breath of fresh air to know that someone understands what I have been experiencing for so long but unable to put into words.
It has been a whirlwind for the last couple of months. At the present time, Matt is so committed to make a fresh start and make new memories that he is ready to sell our house. We have found one that was not even on the market yet – but does need a lot of work. We only put our house on a couple of web sites and had not yet listed it through an agent but have had four people look and one couple has presented an offer to us. We feel like God is opening doors for us so we are trusting Him. The scripture Romans 8:28 keeps coming to mind through all of this: “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.
I made a commitment to the duplex I am in through March so if our house does sell, we will be able to live there until the house we buy is finished, as it needs a lot of work.
In the meantime, I am cautiously optimistic. Things have been better than they have been in a long, long time. We are attending an intensive marriage workshop this month in Nashville. I am skeptical but willing to go. In the last few years we have been to many workshops, retreats and attended classes but not a lot gets applied afterwards. I’m praying this time will be different.
I’ve tried to be very selective about the articles that I send, because like I said, I know many will not be able to read them all but if you only read one of them, please read this one that will help you to help other women who may be in my same situation: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2013/november-online-only/out-of-darkness.html?paging=off.
Also, the material by Leslie Vernick is absolutely amazing. She really hits the nail on the head with everything she says. I implore you to listen to some or any of her videos on her website; especially if you know of anyone who may be in a marriage that is difficult or destructive. http://www.leslievernick.com/
I would appreciate your prayers. And while Matt and I transition into this new phase of our lives toward reconciliation, I will need to devote time to do the work that our counselors recommend.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Weekly ReFill
Date: November 4, 2013 at 10:37:32 AM CST
Subject: Out in the Open
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Out in the Open
By Elisabeth K. Corcoran
“Here’s the thing I can’t say out loud to anyone who knows me: I’m in a miserable marriage and I don’t know what to do.” I have heard this sentence more times than I can count in the past ten or so years and it never ceases to break my heart. But there’s an even deeper sting when the secret-teller is a pastor’s wife or women’s ministry leader, which I come across more often than you want to know.
And I get this, I really do. Not only was I a woman in a difficult Christian marriage, but I was a Women’s Ministry Director for ten years, part of that time holding a staff position at my church, all the while fighting – and hiding – my marriage demons.
I didn’t want anyone to know, for so many reasons.
I didn’t want to ruin my husband’s reputation as a good Christian guy with a heart to serve.
I didn’t think anyone would understand or believe me.
I didn’t think my situation was all that bad (turns out, it really was).
I didn’t think anything could be done about it.
I was trying to be an example to other women and this would blow the lid off of that. (Who would want to follow my example if they knew?, I assumed.)
I didn’t want my precious little Christian life to be exposed.
Does this sound like you? Are you a leader and your marriage is falling apart, but you are expending every ounce of your energy keeping the façade in place?
Can I tell you something that I believe with all my heart?
Jesus doesn’t want you to hide anymore.
He sees you. And he knows your heart. And he cares about your pain.
There is nothing that will shock him. There is nothing too broken that can’t be mended. There is nothing too far out of his reach.
He can help you.
Now, I’m not saying this as if he’s a genie in a bottle. My marriage did not end in reconciliation. But God absolutely did help me deal with the mess, look it full in the face, and surround me with a loving, godly support system to walk me through a reconciliation attempt, and then, sadly, my separation and divorce. But I’ve seen just as many marriages turnaround.
Jesus says in John 8:32 that “…the truth shall set you free.” He wants you walking through your life with integrity. He wants you to be open and free. He knows it’s terrifying – as do I. He knows you do not want to upend your life – as do I. But Jesus and I know something you might not yet know: authenticity in ministry is the best gift you can give to the women you’re serving, to yourself and to God.
It may be a mess for a time, but sweet one, Jesus will walk you through it. The dark will not stay dark forever. Your best life waits on the other side of you telling the truth about who you are and what you’re hiding. It’s time to be free. It’s time to stop hiding. It’s time to tell your truth.
Elisabeth Klein Corcoran is the author of Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, speaks several times a month to women’s groups, and is a member of Redbud Writers’ Guild. Visit her online at http://www.elisabethcorcoran.com. If you are in a difficult marriage or find yourself going through a difficult divorce, she has created two private groups on Facebook – for more information email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Unraveling: Hanging on to Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage today!
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