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Relationship Truth: Unfiltered

English, Social, 67 seasons, 108 episodes, 3 days, 3 hours, 41 minutes
Every relationship has its problems. But, too often, those problems become destructive and even dangerous. This happens in Christian marriages, too. And the church, unfortunately, hasn’t done a great job of dealing with it. Relationship Truth: Unfiltered is a place for people of faith to find real answers when it comes to destructive relationships.
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Divorce and the Bible: Navigating Complexities with Faith & Understanding

RESOURCES: Find Joel Muddamalle's books and more at: Find Leslie's books, programs, and more at:  Find Lysa Terkeurst and the Therapy and Theology podcast:  I. Introduction: Setting the Stage Acknowledging the complexity and sensitivity surrounding the issue of divorce and the Bible II. Interpreting Malachi 2:16 Analysis of the New King James Version's interpretation of Malachi 2:16 Emphasis on the importance of understanding cultural context and nuances in translation Addressing misconceptions and criticism regarding biblical interpretation III. Unpacking the Statement "God Hates Divorce" Clarification of the implications of a unilateral statement from God Discussion on the potential impact on individuals experiencing divorce Emphasis on the need for a nuanced understanding of biblical teachings IV. Marriage, Divorce, and Biblical Context Examination of Exodus 21 and implications for marriage and divorce Discussion on the complexity of marital relationships and divine understanding Exploration of the New Testament teachings on divorce, particularly Jesus' response to the Pharisees V. Understanding the Cultural and Historical Context Insights into the debate between the Hillel and Shammai camps regarding divorce Analysis of Jesus' response to the Pharisees and its cultural implications Consideration of Paul's teachings on divorce and remarriage VI. Pastoral and Ethical Implications Reflection on the pastoral responsibilities in addressing divorce and marriage issues Advocacy for seeking specialized help and guidance in dealing with complex marital situations Emphasis on the importance of theological honesty and discernment in interpreting scripture VII. Encouragement and Final Words Affirmation of God's love and care for individuals, particularly women Encouragement to uphold one's dignity and worth as children of God Call to discernment, prayer, and reliance on the Holy Spirit in understanding biblical truths.  
4/22/202450 minutes, 14 seconds
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Questioning Control: Elizabeth's Emotional Journey

In this deeply personal episode, Elizabeth courageously shares her journey of facing the reality of her marriage and finding the strength to pursue freedom and healing. Here's a comprehensive overview of her story: RESOURCES: JOIN CONQUER: Leslie's website:  Darby Strickland:  Lysa Terkeurst:  Episode with Jeremy Pierre & Greg Wilson:  "When Home Hurts: A Guide for Responding Wisely to Domestic Abuse in Your Church," by Greg Wilson and Jeremy Pierre Peaceworks Live 2024 Quick Start Guide Early Signs of Trouble: Elizabeth describes the early signs of trouble in her marriage, including controlling behavior and emotional manipulation from her husband. Despite her efforts to maintain peace, she grappled with feelings of rejection and struggled to assert her own autonomy. Escalation and Confrontation: The situation escalated as Elizabeth's husband exerted more control over major decisions in the family, leading to confrontations and emotional turmoil. Elizabeth recounts instances where she stood up for herself, challenging her husband's authority and facing his disapproval. Coping Mechanisms and Inner Conflict: Elizabeth shares her internal struggle between wanting to honor her husband and feeling suffocated by his control. She alternated between coping with strength and exploding with anger, grappling with feelings of guilt and grief afterward. Awakening to Unhealthy Dynamics: Through reading Leslie's book, "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage," Elizabeth began to recognize the unhealthy dynamics in her relationship. She realized that she had inadvertently made her husband the center of her life, prioritizing the marriage over addressing underlying issues. Separation and Reconciliation Attempts: Elizabeth opens up about the difficult decision to separate from her husband and the subsequent attempts at reconciliation. Despite seeking counseling and church support, the marriage continued to deteriorate, leading Elizabeth to face the painful reality of divorce. Finding Peace and Acceptance: Elizabeth reflects on her journey towards finding peace and acceptance amidst the shame and pain of divorce. She emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one's own behavior and finding grace and support from others. Community and Support: Elizabeth highlights the profound impact of joining Conquer and the supportive community she found there. Through Conquer, she found a safe space to share her struggles, receive practical tools for growth, and form deep, lasting connections with other women. Encouragement and Hope: Elizabeth encourages listeners to be honest with themselves about their own behavior and seek support and community as they navigate their own journeys. She finds hope in the midst of brokenness, recognizing the transformative power of God's love and the possibility of growth and healing.  
4/15/202449 minutes, 9 seconds
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Deciphering Transformation: How to Trust His Change

Segment 1: Setting Boundaries with Compassion Leslie emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries for safety without resorting to shaming or demeaning language. Discussing the misconceptions around divorce and the true essence of God's stance on marriage, rooted in love and protection for women. Segment 2: The Journey of Forgiveness Examining the stages of forgiveness and repentance in rebuilding a fractured marriage. Understanding the woman's role in moving forward, including evaluating trust, releasing resentment, and embracing personal growth. Segment 3: Confronting Painful Realities Sharing poignant stories of tragedy and anger to illustrate the lasting impact of recklessness and the necessity of processing emotions. Encouraging listeners to rewrite their stories beyond victimhood, embracing resilience and new beginnings. Conclusion: Leslie emphasizes that, regardless of the outcome, finding peace and growth is possible. Julie reinforces the idea that even if the desired ending differs from reality, a happy conclusion can still be achieved through personal transformation.  
4/8/202437 minutes, 43 seconds
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Untwisting Scriptures: Seeing Beyond the Spin

1. The Genesis of "Untwisting Scriptures" Discover the origins of Rebecca's groundbreaking series, sparked by the urgent need to address misuses of scripture in handling sensitive issues like sexual abuse. Learn how Rebecca's journey evolved from social media advocacy to a comprehensive exploration of scriptural interpretations. 2. Challenging Authority and Misinterpretation Rebecca's transition from missionary storytelling to theological discourse, as she courageously challenges flawed interpretations of scripture. Understand the significance of Rebecca's work in addressing gender disparities and offering fresh perspectives within theological discussions. 3. Addressing Core Issues Delve into the critical themes tackled in Rebecca's books, including the misrepresentation of Christian rights and the often misunderstood concept of biblical bitterness. Gain valuable insights as Rebecca realigns these notions with the true character of God, providing a roadmap to understanding and spiritual freedom. 4. Cultivating a New Vision of God Uncover Rebecca's mission to correct distorted images of God prevalent in abusive religious environments, revealing the loving, relational nature of the divine. Experience a transformative journey toward spiritual clarity as Rebecca illuminates the true essence of God's word. 5. Reception and Impact Explore the overwhelming positive response to Rebecca's work, underscoring the profound need for her message in a world hungering for authentic spiritual guidance. Understand the formidable challenge Rebecca's engagement with scripture poses to critics, despite minimal direct confrontation. 6. Untwisting Bitterness and Beyond Delve into the unjust accusations of bitterness often faced by victims in abusive situations, as Rebecca offers fresh perspectives on accountability and forgiveness within the church. Gain invaluable insights into navigating complex emotions and reclaiming spiritual agency.
3/25/202438 minutes, 11 seconds
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Self Esteem: A Biblical Perspective

Defining Self-Esteem and Self-Image Julie poses the question: What constitutes healthy self-esteem, especially from a biblical standpoint? Leslie explores the concept of self-esteem in relation to self-image. Discussion on the formation of self-image through interactions and perceptions, particularly in childhood. Highlighting the role of parental influence and societal standards in shaping self-esteem. Understanding Humility and Self-Acceptance Expanding on the notion of humility as a component of healthy self-esteem. Drawing parallels between humility and accepting one's limitations. Leslie emphasizes the importance of embracing truth about oneself and avoiding unrealistic expectations. Discussing the difference between self-improvement and self-condemnation. Biblical Perspective on Self-Worth Julie prompts discussion on what the Bible says about self-worth and identity. Leslie highlights biblical verses affirming inherent value and purpose in individuals. Emphasizing God's unconditional love and acceptance regardless of human flaws. Encouraging listeners to recognize their worth as God's beloved creations. Overcoming Negative Self-Talk Addressing the impact of negative self-talk and external criticisms on self-esteem. Sharing personal anecdotes and struggles with self-esteem. Strategies for combating negative self-talk, including renewing the mind with truth. Encouraging listeners to challenge and replace self-defeating thoughts with affirmations of truth. Balancing Self-Care and Self-Improvement Delving into the fine line between self-care and self-absorption. Discussing the potential pitfalls of excessive self-focus in pursuit of improvement. Advocating for a balanced approach that includes consideration of others' needs and interests. Highlighting the importance of nurturing healthy relationships and community support.
3/18/202436 minutes, 29 seconds
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Surviving Verbal Abuse: Amanda's Courageous Journey

In this compelling episode, we delve into the courageous journey of Amanda as she navigates through tumultuous waters in her marriage, finding strength, and healing amidst chaos. Early Struggles and Expectations: Amanda reflects on the early struggles in her marriage, feeling the weight of societal and religious expectations placed upon her as a wife and Christian. The pressure to maintain a facade of perfection made it difficult for her to seek help. Impact on Family and Identity Crisis: She shares the realization of how her marital struggles affected her children, prompting her to prioritize their well-being over societal expectations. Amanda opens up about the identity crisis she experienced when her reactions contradicted her perceived identity. Overcoming Shame and Seeking Help: Despite feelings of shame and embarrassment, Amanda reached a turning point when she recognized the need to prioritize her mental health and seek support for herself and her children. Discovering Support and Resources: Amanda discusses her journey of finding support through programs like Conquer and Walking in Core Strength, which provided her with valuable tools and biblical guidance to navigate through her challenges. Facing Reality and Acceptance: Amanda bravely confronts the reality of her marital situation, acknowledging persistent behavior patterns. Despite the challenges, she maintains hope and resilience, prioritizing personal growth and the well-being of herself and her children. RESOURCES:  Join Walking in Core Strength:      
3/11/202438 minutes, 36 seconds
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Confronting Depravity: Essential Steps for Abusers & the Abused

Understanding Abuse Dynamics: Andrew and Leslie delve into the multifaceted nature of abuse, encompassing emotional, psychological, and spiritual manipulation. They highlight the insidious tactics employed by abusers to exert control and maintain power over their victims, emphasizing the importance of recognizing red flags and setting boundaries. Breaking the Silence: Both hosts underscore the significance of breaking the silence surrounding abuse and fostering environments of safety and support for survivors to share their experiences. They encourage listeners to validate and honor their own narratives, while also extending empathy and understanding to those who may struggle to disclose their stories. Navigating Victimhood and Empowerment: Andrew and Leslie engage in a nuanced discussion on the concept of victim blaming, emphasizing the importance of holding perpetrators accountable while offering compassion and support to survivors. They explore the complexities of maturity and self-empowerment, challenging harmful narratives that perpetuate cycles of shame and self-blame. Spiritual Dynamics and Healing: In the context of Christian faith, Leslie addresses the challenges faced by women reconciling teachings of submission with experiences of abuse, highlighting the need for discernment and critical engagement with scripture. Andrew shares his personal journey of confronting his past actions and embracing a process of self-reflection and transformation, emphasizing the role of truth-telling, accountability, and therapeutic support in his healing journey. Practical Steps Toward Healing: Practical advice is offered for individuals experiencing abuse, including seeking support from trusted networks, consulting with professionals, and prioritizing safety and self-care. Both hosts emphasize the importance of recognizing triggers, practicing self-awareness, and advocating for healthy boundaries in relationships as crucial steps toward healing and empowerment. RESOURCES: Join Walking in Core Strength Andrew Bauman's book, How Not to Be an #ss Christian Counseling Center for Sexual Health & Trauma  Andrew Bauman's Website  
3/4/202451 minutes, 7 seconds
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Keeping Your Cool: Managing Emotions in Conflict

Podcast Show Notes: Managing Emotions and Conflict Resolution In this comprehensive discussion on managing emotions and resolving conflicts, various tools and strategies are explored to navigate challenging conversations and maintain healthy relationships. Understanding Emotional Responses: The conversation begins by acknowledging the complexity of emotional responses, especially in high-conflict situations. Emotions like frustration and desperation often arise when individuals feel unheard or invalidated by the other party. Tools for Emotional Regulation: Practical tools are discussed for managing strong emotions during difficult conversations. Grounding oneself internally is emphasized, highlighting the importance of not overly relying on external factors for emotional stability. Preparation for Conflict: Prior preparation for conflict is recommended, including affirming internally that one's validation doesn't depend on the other party's approval. Setting boundaries around communication and emotional engagement is crucial for maintaining composure during heated discussions. Biblical Principles in Conflict Resolution: The discussion incorporates biblical teachings on conflict resolution, emphasizing the importance of gentle communication and avoiding harsh words. Anecdotes are shared to illustrate how calm and empathetic responses can defuse tense situations. Addressing Lingering Relationship Issues: The conversation shifts to addressing unresolved issues within relationships, such as past infidelity. The importance of acknowledging the impact of past actions and showing compassion for the affected party is emphasized. Individual Responsibility vs. Relationship Dynamics: While individuals are responsible for their own healing and emotional well-being, genuine efforts from both parties are necessary for resolving relationship issues. Seeking professional help for unresolved trauma or emotional distress is encouraged, alongside self-reflection for personal growth. Conclusion: This comprehensive discussion underscores the importance of self-awareness, boundary-setting, and compassionate communication in navigating challenging conversations and resolving conflicts within relationships. Practical strategies are integrated with biblical principles to provide a holistic approach to emotional regulation and conflict resolution.   Resources: Sign up for Walking in Core Strength - Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) JADE stands for Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain, a tool to recognize unproductive patterns in arguments. BIFF stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm, a method for managing communication in contentious situations.    
2/26/202444 minutes, 49 seconds
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Empowering You to Thrive

Julie and Coach Diana answer all your questions about Walking in Core Strength... and offer valuable insights you can apply to your life today. Understanding Core Strength: Diana explains how Walking in Core Strength focuses on nurturing maturity and rediscovering one's identity rooted in Christ. Unveiling Destructive Patterns: Learn how the program helps women identify and challenge destructive beliefs and behaviors. Cultivating Empowerment: Discover the importance of setting healthy boundaries and taking responsibility for personal growth and well-being. Embracing Faith and Transformation: Hear about the supportive community and deep Christian fellowship that participants experience in the program. Taking the Next Step: Interested listeners can sign up for Walking in Core Strength at and embark on a journey of faith-based empowerment and transformation. Join Julie and Diana as they explore the life-changing potential of Walking in Core Strength and invite Christian women to step into a renewed sense of purpose and freedom. To learn more and sign up for the program, visit
2/19/202442 minutes, 37 seconds
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Rebuilding Trust and Becoming Trustworthy

In this poignant and candid episode of "Relationship Truth, Unfiltered," Leslie's guest, Mark Savage bares his soul as he shares his extraordinary journey from the depths of a devastating affair to the triumphant rebuilding of trust with his spouse, Jill. Mark takes us through the challenges of personal growth, honest conflict resolution, and celebrating individual strengths within their marriage. This episode serves as a powerful testament to Mark's inspiring story of redemption and resilience, offering a beacon of hope for those looking to break free from destructive relationship patterns and embark on the path to a brighter, trust-filled future. Introduction Introduce the episode with a brief overview of the topic and the guest, Mark Savage. Highlight the significance of rebuilding trust in a relationship and the journey towards becoming a trustworthy person. Mark Savage's Personal Journey Discuss Mark's personal journey of transformation and the challenges he faced. Emphasize the commitment and difficulty involved in making profound changes. Jill's Growth and "Inviting with Love" Explain how Jill, Mark's spouse, played a crucial role in their healing journey. Discuss Jill's commitment to personal growth and her approach of "inviting with love" to encourage Mark's return home. Rebuilding Trust and Accountability Explore the strategies and decisions Mark and Jill implemented to rebuild trust. Highlight their commitment to healthy conflict resolution and open communication. Mention their practice of reading books together to facilitate growth and understanding. Explain the shift in accountability, where Mark took more responsibility for his actions and decisions. Becoming Trustworthy and Embracing Strengths Discuss Mark's personal transformation, his self-acceptance, and newfound confidence. Highlight the importance of celebrating each other's strengths within a marriage. Emphasize the evolution from rebuilding trust to becoming trustworthy. Connecting with Mark and Jill Direct listeners to Mark and Jill's website,, for more information on their ministries, courses, and resources. Provide Mark's email address, [email protected], for direct contact and inquiries. Closing Prayer Share a heartfelt prayer for the podcast listeners, asking for hope, grace, and mercy in their journeys. Conclude with a message of hope, highlighting the possibility of breaking free from destructive relationship patterns. Resources Sign up for Leslie's free webinar Tuesday, February 13th. Just go to:  I Really Messed Up and No More Perfect Marriages books can be found at [email protected]  Other Resources Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
2/5/202453 minutes, 37 seconds
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Healing After Infidelity: Dee’s Journey

  Discovering the Betrayal Dee's life as a pastor's wife and the shock of discovering her husband's affair. The initial emotions of hurt, anger, and confusion. The difficulty of facing infidelity within the confines of the church community. Seeking Support and Clarity Dee's decision to reach out to her pastor for guidance and support. The disappointment of the pastor's response and the need to find alternative help. Her discovery of the Conquer program and how it provided clarity in a confusing situation. Taking Control of Her Life Dee's realization that she had the power to make choices for her future. The importance of separating herself from an unhealthy relationship. The role of Conquer and her faith in helping her regain control and self-worth. Forgiveness and Moving Forward Dee's journey towards forgiveness and understanding its different layers. The distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation. How staying close to God and finding a supportive church community helped her heal. Conclusion Dee's message to those facing infidelity: Seek support, stay close to God, and remember your worth. Her story is a testament to resilience, faith, and the possibility of finding healing after betrayal. Resources: Leslie Vernick's Quick Start Guide:
1/8/202448 minutes, 45 seconds
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Christmas Memories and the Gift of Presence

Merry Christmas to our podcast listeners! In this episode Leslie and Julie share some Christmas memories and some practical advice, especially for those who find this to be a difficult holiday. The Gift of Presence: Leslie emphasizes the importance of preparation and the opportunity to create a more positive Christmas experience. She recommends starting the day with gratitude and setting intentions for how you want to feel. Leslie explains the significance of recognizing that God is in you and with you. She also explains how to use breath as a tool to calm the body and switch thoughts when negative emotions arise. Finding Hope in Christmas: Julie shares a personal experience of finding hope in Christmas after the loss of a loved one. She emphasizes the importance of intentionally focusing on what Christmas represents, even during difficult times. God's Presence Among Us: Leslie shares a powerful story from her experiences in the Philippines, where she encountered people living along railroad tracks in cardboard shacks. She draws a parallel between Jesus' humble birth in a manger and the way God lived among the lowly. Closing Thoughts: We hope you will make meaningful Christmas memories, even in challenging circumstances. We wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas.
12/25/202320 minutes, 24 seconds
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What Is Your Anger Telling You? Understand and Manage Your Strong Emotions

Title: Empowered Podcast Episode 2 - Managing Anger and Guarding Your Heart During Difficult Times Introduction Welcome back to the Empowered Podcast. In this episode, we delve into the topics of managing anger and guarding your heart during challenging moments. Leslie and Elise share valuable insights and practical advice. Handling Anger in Parenting Leslie shares a personal story of her teenage son challenging her. Emphasizes not letting emotions hijack your values as a parent. Discusses the impact of emotions on self-esteem and personal story. Releasing Anger in a Healthy Way Elise provides tips on releasing anger from your body in a healthy way. Deep breathing and prayerfulness in the moment are essential. Physical activities like running or ice water submersion to calm the nervous system. Writing letters as a form of emotional release. Communicating with Children About Anger Discussing how to communicate with children about anger, especially in challenging situations like divorce. Emphasizing age-appropriate communication. Modeling healthy self-care and conflict resolution. Encouraging honesty without oversharing. Guarding Your Heart During Divorce Addressing a listener's question about guarding their heart during divorce, especially in shared church settings. Stressing the importance of protecting your heart and maintaining discretion. Not feeling guilty about setting emotional boundaries. Conclusion Practical advice on managing anger, communicating with children, and guarding your heart during difficult times. Prioritizing self-care and emotional well-being. Join us in the next episode for more empowering insights. Resources: Join Empowered to Change:  
12/11/202346 minutes, 31 seconds
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Married to a Mostly Great Man

Segment 1: Identifying Abusive Behavior Leslie and Julie discuss the challenge of identifying abusive behavior in relationships, even when it occurs infrequently. They emphasize the common tendency to believe the best about people while acknowledging that everyone has flaws and dark sides. Segment 2: Evaluating Responses The importance of evaluating the husband's response when he acts abusively. Unhealthy responses, such as blame shifting and deflection, are signs of an unhealthy, controlling person. Leslie contrasts these unhealthy responses with healthy ones, emphasizing that healthy individuals take responsibility for their actions. Segment 3: Biblical Examples Biblical examples, specifically David and Saul, to illustrate different responses to wrongdoing. David owns his mistakes and his repentance stands in contrast to Saul's blame shifting and excuses. Segment 4: Assessing Patterns Leslie introduces the concept of assessing patterns in abusive behavior. Ask specific questions to determine when the abusive behavior first occurred, the most recent incident, the worst occurrence, and typical patterns. Recognizing these patterns, especially if they are increasing in frequency and intensity, becomes crucial. Segment 5: Taking Action Practical advice on taking action to address abusive behavior. The importance of finding safe ways to remove oneself from potentially dangerous situations and encourage open communication about the need for change and boundaries. Segment 6: Making Decisions The importance of making decisions about what is healthy and acceptable in a relationship. "Normal" does not always equate to what is good or right and encourage reflection on personal boundaries and values. Segment 7: Manipulation and Love Bombing The difference between genuine good behavior and charm used for manipulative purposes, urging listeners to discern their partner's true character. Conclusion: Prioritizing Well-being The significance of recognizing patterns, evaluating responses, and taking appropriate action in response to abusive behavior. The importance of prioritizing safety and well-being and invite listeners to seek support when needed.  
11/6/202323 minutes, 38 seconds
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Uncovering Lies: Overcoming the Impact of Abuse

  Understanding the Impact of Internalized Lies The psychological impact of internalized lies among abuse survivors. The debilitating effects of false beliefs on personal growth and recovery. The Lies that Impede Healing Falsehoods hindering women's capacity to heal and progress post-abuse. The inclination to blame external factors while neglecting internalized lies. The misconception surrounding divorce and the importance of understanding biblical perspectives in abusive relationships. Addressing emotions like fear, doubt, and anxiety stemming from abuse and their potential to obstruct healing. Discernment and the ability to differentiate truth from falsehood. Navigating Towards Healing and Truth The importance of taking responsibility for one's life and not relying solely on external authorities. Prioritizing self-discovery, discernment, and establishing healthy boundaries. The significance of formulating a personal mission statement. Resources: Quick Start Guide: Charlene Quint:
10/23/202355 minutes, 50 seconds
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Surviving Coercive Control: Jennifer’s Journey

In this powerful episode, Jennifer shares her courageous journey of surviving a destructive marriage characterized by coercive control.   Part 1: Unveiling Coercive Control Jennifer reveals the insidious nature of coercive control, including constant threats of abandonment and emotional manipulation. She emphasizes how these actions often went unnoticed because they were subtle but nonetheless destructive. Part 2: The Impact of Coercive Control Julie delves deeper into Jennifer's experiences, focusing on the profound impact of coercive control. Jennifer shares an early experience that revealed her husband's manipulation tactics and how she was discouraged from setting boundaries or expressing opinions. Jennifer began to experience anxiety and panic attacks that resulted from her husband's threats and unpredictable behavior. Part 3: Coping and Staying in the Marriage Julie explores Jennifer's coping mechanisms and they explore why she stayed in the marriage. Jennifer discusses the gradual progression of abuse and her belief that her husband would eventually change. She also reflects on a feeling of being trapped and how fear played a significant role in her decision to stay, particularly after having children. Part 4: Isolation and Punishment The conversation delves into the isolation tactics used by Jennifer's husband. Jennifer describes how her husband never explicitly imposed rules but used various strategies to isolate her and exert control. She shares examples of emotional punishment, including contempt, belittling, and affection withdrawal, emphasizing the need for recognizing the signs of abuse. Part 5: Seeking Help and Church Response Julie discusses a pivotal moment when Jennifer and her husband sought help from their church. Jennifer acknowledges her husband's initial willingness to address the issue and recounts the church's response, including the pastor's advice and the lack of support from church members. Part 6: Hitting a Breaking Point The conversation shifts to a recent incident in 2021 when Jennifer's husband once again walked out on her. Jennifer explains the unique challenges she faced due to her husband's control over finances, isolation, and living in foreign countries. She describes the extent of her husband's rage, which lasted nonstop for nine weeks, and its emotional toll on her. Highlights the power of coercive control and emotional abuse, even without physical violence. Part 7: Seeking Help and Finding Conquer Jennifer shares her journey of seeking help, including a turning point when she cried out to God for guidance. Talks about her struggle to find the right support, navigating between secular and Christian advice. Discusses how she discovered Conquer and the impact it had on her healing process. Part 8: The Transformative Power of Conquer Jennifer highlights the transformative impact of Conquer on her life. Expresses gratitude for the safe and supportive space it provides for women facing similar challenges. Discusses key insights and "aha moments" she gained through Conquer, including understanding the abuse cycle and victim mentality. Emphasizes the importance of focusing on personal growth and wellness, regardless of the decision to stay or leave an abusive relationship. Part 9: Encouragement for Others Jennifer shares a message of hope and encouragement for those who may be listening and facing similar situations. Encourages individuals to consider joining Conquer and emphasizes its role in empowering women to make informed choices about their relationships. Highlights the significance of finding a supportive community and taking steps toward healing and personal growth. Resources: Conquer is open through October 17th. Sign up at Order Leslie's book, "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage." Find other resources at 
10/16/202353 minutes, 44 seconds
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Transforming Through Trials: A Journey of Faith & Growth

In this episode you'll meet Geri, a mentor in the Conquer private membership group. She bravely shares her story of walking through a destructive marriage.  Lesson on Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Distinguishing between forgiveness and reconciliation. The misconception that forgiving automatically means rebuilding a close relationship. The need for comprehensive understanding of forgiveness in abusive situations. The Love of God and Malachi 2:16: Geri's realization about God's love surpassing the institution of marriage. Reference to Malachi 2:16 and its impact on her perspective. Emphasizing that God values individuals more than preserving a dysfunctional marriage. The importance of knowing God's love and protection. A Supportive Church Community: Geri's experience with a supportive church community during her divorce. The role of her pastor in providing guidance and perspective. The blessing of having a church community that encourages healthy boundaries and protects against abuse. Differences After Joining Conquer: Geri reflects on personal changes since joining Conquer. Transition from self-doubt and insecurity to self-acceptance and inner peace. No longer relying on external validation for self-worth. Desire for a future relationship based on a healthier self-perspective. Preparing for a Healthy Future Relationship: How Geri's newfound self-awareness will inform future relationships. The importance of healing personal insecurities and self-development. Cultivating a God-centered relationship as a foundation for future relationships. Final Advice for Listeners: Geri's essential advice for listeners in similar situations. The importance of pressing into the love of God. Personalizing Scripture to reinforce God's love for each individual. Encouraging honesty with oneself and willingness to hear the truth. Trusting in God's good plan and faithfulness. Resources: Join Conquer now through October 17th!
10/9/202344 minutes, 39 seconds
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She Deserves Better: Raising Healthy Daughters

Leslie's special guest on this episode is Sheila Gregoire, author of "She Deserves Better" and "The Great Sex Rescue." Together Sheila and Leslie delve into debunking harmful stereotypes and fostering meaningful connections with your daughters. Segment 1: Harmful Beliefs About Girls and Their Consequences: Sheila discusses (and debunks) the damaging belief that girls talk excessively and its adverse effects on their lives. Explore the potential consequences of buying into this stereotype, including the risk of marrying an abuser. Segment 2: Nurturing Healthy Communication with Daughters: Sheila underscores the significance of parents actively listening to their daughters and allowing them to have a voice. Encourage ongoing and open dialogues, with an emphasis that parents need not be perfect in these conversations. Parents are encouraged to teach their children the art of respectful disagreement and independent thinking. Segment 3: Impact of Toxic Relationships on Parenting: How toxic relationships, particularly abusive marriages, affect parenting. Sheila emphasizes the importance of recognizing and breaking free from authoritarian and harmful patterns in one's life. Parents are urged to treat their sons and daughters equitably, imparting values of mutual respect and shared responsibilities. Delve into setting boundaries and recognizing red flags in relationships. Segment 4: Parenting Daughters in Healthy Relationships and Non-Negotiables: Sheila offers valuable advice on parenting daughters and identifies non-negotiables. Emphasize that daughters should not be instrumentalized to make parents look good but should be recognized as unique individuals. Encourage parents to provide guidance, maintain open conversations, and embrace imperfections. Resources: Register for Leslie's free workshop on October 5th, 2023: "If He Doesn't Hit You Is It Still Abuse?" Leslie's website: Sheila Gregoire's website:  Sheila's podcast: Bare Marriage (formerly "To Love, Honor and Vacuum"):
10/2/202346 minutes, 36 seconds
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Is Your Relationship Abusive?

No Relationship is perfect. But when does "not perfect" cross the line into abuse? That's the question Leslie answers in today's episode.  1. Types of Relationships: Differentiate between difficult, disappointing, and destructive marriages. Difficulties can bring couples closer if handled maturely. There are many external stressors in marriages. 2. Disappointing Marriages: Discuss common expectations that lead to disappointment. Emphasize the importance of accepting imperfections in a spouse. 3. Recognizing Destructive Relationships: Define abusive and destructive relationships. What the Bible teaches about love, harm, and taking responsibility. If an abusive incident happens, it is very important that the behavior does not continue.   4. Types of Abuse: Emotional, financial, sexual, and spiritual. Leslie explains the motivations behind using these abusive tactics, primarily control and power. What is the impact of abusive tactics on the victim's self-esteem and freedom? 5. Addressing Sexual Abuse: Misconceptions about sexual abuse in marriage. Analyze 1 Corinthians 7 and its interpretation regarding consent. The importance of mutual respect and consent in marital intimacy. 6. Emotional Abuse: Is "emotional abuse" talked about in the Bible? The power of words and their impact on individuals. Scriptural references about the impact of words on relationships. 7. Taking Responsibility: Leslie and Julie discuss the notion of provocation in abusive relationships. The reality of individual responsibility for emotional reactions. Self-awareness and self-improvement is encouraged in order to break the cycle of abuse. 8. Seeking Help: Guidance for individuals in abusive relationships. Resources: Free test to discover if you're in a destructive relationship Kindle version of Leslie's book, "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage"  
9/25/202330 minutes, 39 seconds
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From Broken to Empowered: Debbie’s Story of Surviving Abuse and Rediscovering Faith

In this show Julie Sedenko has a heartfelt conversation with Debbie, a woman who is rebuilding her life after a painful marriage.   Part 1: The Early Years and Marriage: Debbie's background and early life. How she met her future husband. The early stages of their relationship and marriage. Part 2: Recognizing Abuse: The signs and patterns of emotional and verbal abuse in Debbie's marriage. How Debbie came to recognize the abuse she was experiencing. Attempts to seek counseling and the challenges she faced. Part 3: The Turning Point: The pivotal moment when Debbie realized she needed to make a change. Her decision to initiate a separation from her husband. The impact of this decision on her health and well-being. Part 4: Finding Support and Healing: How Debbie discovered Leslie's Conquer membership program. How Conquer became a crucial source of support and empowerment for Debbie. The importance of the Conquer community in her healing process. Part 5: Rebuilding and Moving Forward: Julie and Debbie discuss the steps Debbie took to rebuild her life after the separation and divorce. How Debbie found her dream job and pursued her passion for teaching. Debbie talks about the growth in her faith and her role in a new church community. A message of hope and resilience for others RESOURCES:
9/18/202356 minutes, 1 second
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Unhumanable Love: A Journey of Redemption and Restoration in Marriage”

Leslie interviews Jill Savage, host of the No More Perfect Podcast, a creator of online courses, and the author of 14 books, including "No More Perfect Moms" and "No More Perfect Marriages." The episode dives deep into Jill's personal journey of resilience, redemption, and unconditional love in the face of a significant marital detour. The Marital Detour and Learning to Love Unconditionally: Jill's husband, Mark, resigned from pastoral ministry after 20 years, a decision that initiated their challenging journey. The difficulties they faced during a church plant took a toll on both of them. Mark's personal struggles with self-worth and identity, stemming from his abusive upbringing, contributed to their marital problems. Depression had been a recurring issue in Mark's life. Jill describes the emotional detachment and emotional affair that strained their marriage. She reflects on God's call to love Mark, even when he seemed unlovable. Boundaries and saying "no" became essential components of her love. Jill turned to Romans 12:9-21 as her guiding principles during this challenging time. She aimed to honor Mark as an image bearer, despite his actions. Jill learned that love isn't always soft; it can also include firm boundaries. During their separation, Jill displayed grace and love, which Mark later acknowledged. Heaping burning coals on his head meant allowing him to see his own actions more clearly. A Journey to Healing and Treating an Image Bearer with Honor: Jill shares how Mark's personal resurrection on Easter Sunday in 2012 turned their marriage and his life around. The concept of redemption played a significant role in their journey. Jill emphasizes that her journey was not about controlling the outcome of her marriage but focusing on who she needed to be in the process. Leslie highlights the importance of treating a spouse, even during a crisis, as an image bearer. Jill shares how she maintained honor and respect for Mark despite his behavior. Loving unconditionally often includes setting boundaries and holding the other person accountable for their actions. The Unhumanable Love and The Power of Keeping Your Side of the Street Clean: Jill reflects on the term "unhumanable love" and how it became a central theme in her journey. She explains how this type of love is beyond human capability and can only be achieved through faith in Christ. Jill's actions and love towards Mark made him realize the depth of her love and grace. Leslie and Jill discuss the importance of maintaining personal integrity and avoiding retaliation. Focusing on one's actions and growth can lead to a clearer path to reconciliation. Jill shares personal anecdotes about times when she struggled with anger and imperfection during this process. Conclusion: Jill's journey is a testament to the power of love, grace, and redemption in the face of marital challenges. The importance of maintaining personal integrity and heaping burning coals on the other's head is a valuable lesson. Healing and restoration require effort from both parties, but unconditional love can be transformative. RESOURCES Walking in Core Strength group coaching program: Jill Savage:
9/11/202350 minutes, 36 seconds
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”Ask Leslie” Part 2: Speaking Up in a Destructive Relationship

In this episode, Leslie & Julie discuss the following listener questions/topics: How does staying calm help others see their own behavior more clearly? What distinguishes appropriate reactions from inappropriate ones? How should one handle a spouse who insists on arguing in front of children? What advice can you provide for overcoming the fear of speaking up and handling criticism? How can one respond to a spouse who uses profanity and initiates fights? What strategies can be employed to address criticism and communication shutdowns? How do you balance assertiveness with expressing love in a relationship? How does personal healing and growth impact communication patterns? What steps can one take to recognize control and choose battles wisely? How can difficult conversations be handled in a productive and empathetic manner? How do you address resistance to feedback and constructive criticism in relationships? RESOURCES: Walking in Core Strength:
9/5/202337 minutes, 52 seconds
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”Ask Leslie” Speaking Up in a Destructive Marriage

In this episode, Julie Sedenko & Leslie Vernick discuss the importance and the challenges of speaking up in relationships, particularly in difficult or destructive marriages. The Challenge of Speaking Up: In destructive marriages, speaking up can be scary and unsafe. Balancing the need to speak up for oneself with the potential negative responses. Referencing Matthew 7, where Jesus warns about casting pearls before swine. The Value of Learning to Speak Up: Emphasizing the importance of speaking up for oneself in mature relationships. The need for effective communication to build healthier relationships. Acknowledging that speaking up doesn't always mean speaking in the heat of the moment. Guidelines for Speaking Up: The wisdom of using biblical teachings to navigate different situations. Differentiating between speaking about someone else's behavior and one's own feelings. Self-reflection is important before addressing others' behaviors. Approach others with humility and understanding. Navigating Difficult Conversations: How to keep things calm when a partner isn't interested in listening or finding solutions. A different approach to asking about their perspective on a healthy marriage. Recognizing contradictory expectations about marriage and communication. Preparing for Meaningful Conversations: The importance of preparation and groundwork before discussing sensitive topics. The significance of speaking with love. Balancing truth with love to avoid coming across as harsh. Hard conversations require personal preparation for effective communication. The Five Levels of Conversation: Superficial chitchat. Sharing news and facts. Sharing personal thoughts and ideas. Sharing feelings. Sharing one's essence and deepest self. Creating a Safe Space for Conversations: Understanding potential reasons for a partner's escalation or shutdown. Addressing a partner's potential fear of feeling incompetent. Encouraging compassion and patience in understanding each other's limitations. Comparing emotional intimacy to physical intimacy. Overcoming Resistance and Creating Safety What happens when one partner resists opening up or having deep conversations.  Establishing a safe space is crucial. This can be done through various boundaries and techniques.  Balancing Expectations and Reality Sometimes partners have different communication styles and comfort levels.  Understanding your partner’s background, upbringing, and communication patterns can help bridge the gap.  Recognize that not all conversations need to be extensive or immediate. Patience and consistency are key. Navigating Disagreements and Escalation How to handle situations when a conversation has escalated.  Emphasize mutual respect and recognize when emotions are becoming heated. Resources: Walking in Core Strength Group Coaching Program: Love Talk Starters: 275 Questions to Get Your Conversations Going by Les & Leslie Parrott
8/28/202334 minutes, 54 seconds
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Breaking Free: A Journey from Destructive Marriage to Hopeful Healing

In this episode of "Relationship Truth Unfiltered," join host Julie Sedenko in a powerful conversation with Kim, a courageous woman who shares her story of transformation from a brutally destructive marriage marred by serial infidelity and emotional abuse. Kim's journey of discovering the truth, finding her self-worth, and rebuilding her life offers hope and inspiration to women facing similar challenges. From the struggles of uncovering deception to the healing process of breaking free and eventually finding love and acceptance, Kim's story reminds us of the importance of recognizing our own value, seeking support, and embracing the potential for positive change.   Uncovering the Destructive Marriage Kim's Experience: Victim of Serial Infidelity and Emotional Abuse Dealing with Confusion and Suspicion in the Marriage Living in Denial and Silent Suffering Unearthing Clues and Inappropriate Behavior Coping with Deception and Anonymous Infidelity Struggles of Identifying Anonymity and Facing Denial Kim's Inner Struggles: Dealing with Shame and Silence The Emotional Toll and Breaking Points Emotional Impact of Discovering Infidelity and Betrayal Coping with Emotional Abuse and Trauma Living with Fear and Anxiety in the Marriage The Silent Suffering and Desperation of Seeking Answers Wrestling with Values and Church Influence Conflicts between Religious Beliefs and Personal Well-being Coping with Conservative Church Teachings on Divorce Kim's Internal Struggle: Balancing Family Values and Personal Safety Overcoming Societal Expectations and Finding Self-Worth Discovering Truth and Seeking Healing The Turning Point: Finding Leslie Vernick's Book Kim's Revelation: Recognizing the Destructive Patterns Lessons from Leslie Vernick's Coaching Groups: Empowered to Change, Walking in Core Strength, and Conquer Preparing for a New Journey Learning to Value Oneself and Seek Safety Overcoming Destructive Thought Patterns Finding a Healthy Love After a Destructive Marriage The Transition from Victim to Survivor and Thriver Embracing a New Beginning Kim's Journey to a Healthy Relationship Night and Day Difference: Old Marriage vs. New Marriage Transitioning from Idolizing Marriage to Finding Personal Wholeness The Importance of Focusing on Safety and Healing First Advice for Those in Similar Situations Face the Truth and Seek Safety Take Time to Make Decisions Acknowledge the Painful Process of Transformation The Precious New Life on the Other Side of Struggle Continuing the Healing Journey Accepting Imperfection and Continuing Personal Growth Dealing with Triggers and Self-Esteem Issues The Lifelong Process of Overcoming Deep-Seated Patterns Empowering Women to Embrace Their Worth and Seek Healing
8/21/202336 minutes, 19 seconds
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Gymnast & Dr. Nassar Abuse Survivor Addresses Sexual Abuse in Churches

Empowering Survivors and Shining Light: Addressing Abuse in Churches Introduction: Guest: Rachel Denhollander - attorney, author, advocate, educator. Role in exposing sexual abuse, notably Dr. Larry Nassar's abuse in USA Gymnastics. Highlighting the importance of discussing abuse in religious contexts. Rachel's Background: Pursuit of justice against Dr. Larry Nassar. Over 300 survivors, including Olympic medalists, came forward. Book "What's a Girl Worth?" recounts her journey and exposes the truth. Collaboration on "" for educating church leaders on abuse and trauma. Importance of Speaking Up: Debunking the misconception about survivors' reluctance to speak up. The lack of safe avenues for disclosing abuse. Community responses and institutional support as empowering factors. Role of media coverage in enabling survivors to share their stories. The Role of Church Leaders: Creating safe spaces for survivors within religious communities. Misunderstandings within the church about unity, authority, justice, and forgiveness. Theological views hindering appropriate responses to abuse. Need for education among church leaders about abuse dynamics and trauma. Value and Worth: Discussion on devaluation of women's worth and expectations of suffering. Motivation behind Rachel's books "What's a Girl Worth?" and "What's a Little Girl Worth?" Initiating conversations with children about identity, value, and speaking out against abuse. Personal Experience: Insights from Rachel's memoir revealing challenges of speaking out against abuse. Unveiling legal processes, abuse dynamics, and survivor trauma. Acknowledging the privilege and difficulties of supporting survivors. Progress in Churches: Positive changes in churches' responses to abuse survivors. Establishing support systems, offering resources, and standing with survivors. Understanding the hurdles survivors face in seeking justice. Highlighting the Positive: Intentionality and Learning: Pastors seeking knowledge about trauma despite lack of formal training. Engaging Difficult Topics: Addressing abuse, oppression, and trauma in sermons to foster communication. Empowering Survivors: Creating safe spaces for sharing stories, fostering healing and support. Practical Support: Providing legal fees, counseling, resources, and tangible assistance. Championing Transparency: Standing against silencing tactics, supporting survivors' public speaking. Advocacy and Legislation: Pastors engaging in legislative efforts to criminalize clergy abuse. Final Words of Wisdom: For Survivors: Worth is not defined by others' actions, find hope in the existence of light. For Supporters: Stand with the vulnerable, embodying Christ's love and care. Closing Prayer: A heartfelt prayer for comfort, advocacy, and justice for survivors. Resources:  Sign up for Leslie's free webinar on August 17th! It's titled, “I'm Not Okay When You're Not Okay: Defining My Problem, Your Problem, and Our Problem.” Leslie will even answer your questions - live! Register at   
8/14/202339 minutes, 36 seconds
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Biblical Headship & Submission

Introduction: The importance of mutual respect and understanding in a partnership. Part 1: Understanding Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics Traditional perspectives on gender roles and submission in relationships. Misconceptions around submission and headship. The danger of oppressive relationships and their impact on women's well-being. The need for women to reclaim their identity and voice. Part 2: Communicating and Asserting Boundaries The importance of respectful communication in relationships. Healthy mutual decision-making in relationships. Potential consequences of asserting oneself in an unhealthy relationship. The importance of being a God-centered woman rather than a husband-centered one.
8/7/202334 minutes, 31 seconds
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From Abuse to Empowerment: Ayana’s Faith Journey

Disclaimer: The content shared in this episode contains sensitive and potentially triggering topics related to domestic abuse and miscarriage. Listener discretion is advised. 1: The Beginning of the Destructive Marriage Ayana and her current husband met after both having experienced previous failed marriages. They initially appeared to be a perfect match with similar spiritual values, but things changed drastically after they got married. Ayana's husband started exhibiting controlling and verbally abusive behavior, and she couldn't understand where it was coming from. Friends and family were concerned about Ayana and tried to check on her, but they were unable to share their concerns before the wedding due to her husband's request for secrecy. 2: Unraveling the Truth Ayana gradually realized her husband had deep-seated issues and unresolved trauma from past relationships, which led to a hatred of women. He would use Scripture to condemn her instead of using it to support and guide her on her spiritual journey. Ayana's husband also struggled with financial control, withdrawing money during arguments and insisting on separate financial plans. 3: The Accusation After Miscarriage yana and her husband experienced a traumatic miscarriage after arguments and stress surrounding her previous husband's near-death experience. Heartbreakingly, Ayana's husband accused her of "murdering" their unborn children, causing immense pain and emotional distress. 4: A Mother's Struggle: The Desperate Cry for Safety Ayanna discusses hitting a breaking point in her marriage, facing abuse on every level, including physical, and her realization that she needed to seek help for the sake of her children. The traumatic incident with her ex-husband that led to a life-altering injury and its impact on Ayanna and her family. Ayanna's internal conflict and emotional turmoil when her current husband demanded her not to make physical contact with her ex-husband during a visit. Ayanna shares the intense emotional and physical abuse she endured during a heated argument with her current husband. The fear and helplessness she felt when he aggressively confronted her and the moment she realized she needed to escape for her own safety and the well-being of her children. Ayanna's internal struggle with the decision to leave and her faith-based approach to seeking guidance from God. 5: Finding Support and Strength Ayanna's discovery of Leslie Vernick's work and Conquer, which provided her with the language and understanding of emotional destructive marriages. The transformative power of being part of the Conquer community, where Ayanna found support, biblical guidance, and the encouragement she needed to build her safety plan and exit strategy. How prayer, surrendering to God, and surrounding herself with a supportive community empowered Ayanna to face the challenges ahead. 6: The Decision to Leave Ayanna's spiritual journey in seeking God's guidance in her decision to leave the abusive relationship. The pivotal moment at a prophetic event where Ayanna received a clear message from God, affirming her path towards healing and restoration. The importance of recognizing her worth as a child of God and setting boundaries to prioritize her safety and well-being. 7: Embracing Healing and Wholeness Ayanna's gradual transition towards healing and wholeness after filing for divorce and separating from her abuser. The importance of taking ownership of her emotions and focusing on self-improvement and self-love. Ayanna's current state, working full-time, and living with precautions in place while she prepares for a new chapter in her life.
7/31/202345 minutes, 32 seconds
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Necessary Changes for Changed Behaviors

In this episode of Relationship Truth Unfiltered, Leslie provides valuable insights and guidance for Christian women who find themselves in destructive marriages. Drawing upon her expertise as a counselor and Christian author, Leslie discusses the importance of recognizing destructive patterns, setting healthy boundaries, and seeking personal growth and healing. With a focus on faith and wisdom, she offers practical advice on emotional regulation, rebuilding trust, and creating new patterns of behavior. Join Leslie Vernick and Julie Sedenko as they empower women to navigate their challenging relationships with grace, love, and self-care.   Part 1: Recognizing Destructive Patterns   Understanding the warning bells within ourselves and the accidents that occur when we ignore our capacity. Exploring emotional regulation and learning to control anger in safe ways. Recognizing the importance of self-awareness and accepting responsibility for our actions. Part 2: Creating New Patterns of Behavior   Embracing our unique personalities and learning to love ourselves and our partners as they are. Understanding the significance of heart change, not just behavior change, in fostering growth and transformation. Exploring resources and programs for personal growth, counseling, coaching, and support groups. Part 3: Seeking Healing and Setting Boundaries   Addressing the challenges of rebuilding trust and creating new patterns of behavior after recognizing destructive patterns. The importance of self-care and recognizing the impact of a partner's refusal to change. Praying for wisdom, support, and the strength to set healthy boundaries and appropriate consequences. Resources: Visit for a free Quick Start guide that provides clarity on whether your marriage is difficult, disappointing, or destructive.  
7/17/202339 minutes, 29 seconds
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Unmasking Control: A Courageous Journey Out of a Destructive Marriage

Carrie is a brave woman who shares her story of being in a destructive marriage for 26 years and her journey towards healing and finding the strength to leave.   Early Signs Carrie grew up in Canada but moved to California after marrying her American husband. Her husband exhibited controlling behavior from the beginning of their marriage. It's not as great as it sounds Carrie explains complementarianism, a belief system prevalent in the evangelical church during the '70s and '80s. Complementarianism emphasizes the equal yet distinct roles of men and women within a marriage. The husband is considered the leader, while the wife is expected to be a supportive helpmate. Opening her eyes Carrie gradually realized that her marriage had more significant issues than typical marital problems. Her husband's control extended to decision-making, financial matters, and the personal growth of their daughters. As their daughters entered their teenage years and developed their own opinions, tensions escalated. The Complexity of Identifying Abuse: Carrie struggled to pinpoint the abuse in her marriage due to religious justifications and confusion. Her husband's manipulation of biblical authority and twisting of God's word caused further distress. Seeking Help and Facing Challenges: Carrie and her husband sought counseling from their church due to their daughter's severe anorexia. The church's approach blamed the daughter's behavior on her attempt to exert control, exacerbating the situation. Carrie's husband refused to acknowledge his role and his blame -shifting caused division among their children. Coming to Terms with the Destructive Marriage: Carrie discusses the difficulty of realizing the destructive nature of her marriage. The combination of religious teachings, guilt, and her husband's manipulation made it challenging to identify the abuse. Over time, she began to understand the impact on her children and the need to protect them. The Turning Point and Pursuit of Clarity: A conversation with Leslie Vernick helped Carrie gain clarity and recognize the abuse. Leslie's book, "The Emotionally Destructive Marriage," resonated with Carrie's experiences and offered practical strategies. Carrie describes how she gradually took a stand and made the heartbreaking decision to end the marriage. Coping with Devastation and Rediscovering Self-Worth: Carrie shares her emotions after her husband's cruel actions, such as calling the police on false grounds. The experience shattered her belief in her husband's support and led to a reevaluation of her understanding of God's love. She embarked on a journey of self-discovery, learning to prioritize her and her children's well-being. Empowered by Conquer: Carrie joined Leslie's coaching programs, including Walking in Core Strength and Empowered to Change. These programs provided her with valuable tools to communicate, set boundaries, and regain her sense of self-worth. Carrie highlights the importance of learning to ask non-confrontational questions and gaining clarity in difficult situations. A Path to Healing and Moving Forward: Carrie shares her transformation through Conquer, finding value and purpose beyond her destructive marriage. Despite the challenges she faced, she recognized her resilience and embarked on pursuing her dreams. She emphasizes the significance of understanding one's worth and focusing on personal growth. Resources: Visit for a free Quick Start guide that provides clarity on whether your marriage is difficult, disappointing, or destructive.
7/10/202338 minutes, 14 seconds
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The Toxic War on Masculinity Part 2

In this second half of Leslie's interview with Professor Nancy Pearcey, we explore the journey of masculinity throughout history and how it has been shaped by different beliefs and cultures. Professor Pearcey, helps us understand how the worship of many gods and the shift to monotheism affected our understanding of manhood. We also discuss the problem of toxic masculinity and the importance of promoting positive male behavior. Key Points: The Changing View of Masculinity: In ancient times, people worshipped multiple gods, and their behavior influenced the idea of masculinity. Monotheism brought new perspectives, some focusing on God's power and authority, while others emphasized a loving father figure. Christianity introduced the idea of servant leadership and challenged gender stereotypes by valuing virtues traditionally associated with women. Our Responsibility to Society: In the Bible, the cultural mandate in Genesis 1 tells us to multiply, take care of the earth, and build social structures. This means developing families, communities, and using our skills to create a better world. The book emphasizes the importance of marriage, family, and meaningful work in fulfilling our purpose. Challenges for Women: The Industrial Revolution changed the role of women, taking away their economic contributions and status. The feminist movement emerged as women sought equality and opportunities outside traditional roles. Both men and women should have the chance to pursue meaningful work and contribute to society. Dealing with Toxic Masculinity: Toxic masculinity refers to harmful behaviors and attitudes associated with traditional ideas of manhood. Women and children are often affected by toxic masculinity in their relationships and upbringing. By setting positive examples and providing support, we can help men break free from toxic behaviors and develop healthier relationships. Taking Responsibility for Change: Men have a significant role in creating healthy relationships and families. Research shows that men who listen to and respect their wives have stronger and happier marriages. Pastors and counselors can address the issues behind toxic masculinity and offer support groups and resources to help men grow and change. Understanding the historical, cultural, and religious influences on masculinity is important for fostering healthy relationships and combating toxic behavior. By promoting positive examples and providing support, we can encourage men to embrace healthier attitudes and behaviors, creating a more positive and inclusive society for everyone. Resources:  Visit for a free Quick Start guide that provides clarity on whether your marriage is difficult, disappointing, or destructive. Find Nancy's latest book here: The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes
7/3/202335 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Toxic War on Masculinity- Part 1

Leslie welcomes guest, Nancy Pearcey, author of The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes, as well as Love Thy Body, The Soul of Science, Saving Leonardo, Finding Truth, and Total Truth. She is professor and scholar in residence at Houston Christian University. She has been quoted in The New Yorker and Newsweek, highlighted as one of the five top women apologists by Christianity Today, and hailed in The Economist as "America's preeminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual." Dispelling Misconceptions about Christian Men: Nancy shares the surprising claim from her book that evangelical Christian men have the lowest levels of abuse and divorce, contrary to common accusations. The concept of toxic masculinity and its development over time is discussed. Sociological studies within the last few decades have proven that these accusations are incorrect. Empirical data reveals that evangelical Christian men - who truly practice their faith - exhibit loving behavior towards their wives, engage as active fathers, and have low rates of divorce and domestic violence. Addressing the Divorce Myth: Leslie raises the common perception that Christians have the same divorce rate as the rest of society. Sociological research shows that dividing Christian men into two groups, regular churchgoers with authentic faith and nominal Christians, results in significantly different outcomes. Wives of men with genuine Christian commitment report higher levels of satisfaction, engagement, and lower rates of divorce. Understanding Competing Scripts for Masculinity: Nancy explains the two competing scripts for masculinity that men often face, as identified by sociological research. The "good man" script emphasizes honor, duty, integrity, sacrifice, and responsibility. The "real man" script, commonly associated with toxic masculinity, promotes toughness, dominance, control, and self-centeredness. Men often feel torn between these competing scripts and face societal pressures to conform to the "real man" script. Historical Origins of Toxic Masculinity: Nancy traces the roots of toxic masculinity back to the Industrial Revolution when men's roles shifted from family-oriented work to individual competition in secularized workplaces. The change in the public square led to men being detached from moral and spiritual responsibilities, resulting in the development of negative traits. Women were assigned the role of moral guardians responsible for taming men, which intensified the tension between men and women. Stereotypes and Blame Game: Leslie mentions how society often blames women for men's failures or misconduct. Nancy discusses how women historically became burdened with the responsibility of keeping men's sexual desires in check and reforming their behavior. The burden of blame placed on women for men's moral failures perpetuates wrong thinking and hinders the development of male responsibility. Ignoring Men's Issues: Nancy highlights how men, as a group, are facing challenges such as falling behind in education, employment, health, and life expectancy. The social acceptability of expressing hostility towards men has created an environment where men's issues are often ignored. Men's falling behind in various areas is linked to societal changes and the dismissal of men's struggles by feminist groups and others. Secularization of Masculinity: Nancy elaborates on the secularization of masculinity at different stages in history, revealing how men have been let off the hook morally and women have been burdened with responsibility. She discusses the influence of Darwinism, which depicted men as naturally brutal beasts and women as morally superior. The changing societal scripts affected men's behavior, distancing them from their traditional caretaking roles. Conclusion: Leslie and Nancy emphasize the need for Christians to understand the secular definition of masculinity to counter its negative effects. The importance of cultivating a biblical understanding of masculinity is stressed to ensure men embrace their responsibility to love, serve, and protect others. Nancy's book, "The Toxic War on Masculinity," aims to dispel misconceptions. Resources: Visit for a free Quick Start guide that provides clarity on whether your marriage is difficult, disappointing, or destructive. Find Nancy's latest book here: The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes  
6/26/202334 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Power of Detachment

In this episode, we dive into the topic of "Detachment" and explore how detaching can bring freedom and peace in destructive marriages. Understanding Detachment: Leslie defines detachment as the ability to show up as the person you want to be without expecting the other person to meet your expectations. Detachment doesn't mean disconnecting or not caring; it means letting go of the need to control or fix someone else's behavior. Detachment in Everyday Situations: Julie and Leslie explore how detachment can manifest in normal, everyday situations, such as preparing dinner for your spouse without expecting their appreciation. It's about showing up as your authentic self and not relying on the other person to fulfill your emotional needs or expectations. Healthy Detachment in Intimate Relationships: The conversation delves into the complexity of detachment in intimate relationships, particularly regarding sexual intimacy. While detachment can be a way to protect oneself from harm in destructive marriages, each person must decide their boundaries and what feels right for them. Common Roadblocks to Detachment: The episode highlights common roadblocks that hinder detachment, such as the resistance to let go of our preconceived notions of what our marriage or spouse should be. Anger, resentment, and depression are warning signs that detachment is not being practiced effectively. Detachment as a Process: Detachment is not a one-time decision; it's a process that requires acceptance of the reality and boundaries within the relationship. By detaching from the desire to change or control the other person, individuals can reclaim their time, energy, and resources for their own growth and well-being. The Peace in Detachment: Julie and Leslie discuss how detachment ultimately leads to inner peace, as individuals learn to love others with limits and accept that their well-being is not solely dependent on another person. Detachment allows for the development of a new story, reinvigorating one's life and finding new avenues for personal growth and fulfillment. Remember, detaching is about finding strength and centeredness in God, trusting that growth and strength can come from navigating difficult relationships. May God bless your relationships with Him, with yourself, and with others. Resources: Visit for a free Quick Start guide that provides clarity on whether your marriage is difficult, disappointing, or destructive.
6/19/202339 minutes, 14 seconds
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An Expert in Sexual Addiction Speaks to Wives

In this episode, we are joined by special guest, Jim Cress, an expert in the field of sexual addiction recovery and marriage restoration. Part 1: Understanding Destructive Marriages Leslie and Jim delve into the reality of destructive marriages, especially in the area of sexual addiction, and its impact on individuals and relationships. Jim's shares his personal story and how he came to recovery. Part 2: The Power of Boundaries Jim Cress shares his wisdom on establishing healthy boundaries with a husband who is dealing with sexual addiction. Jim and Leslie discuss how boundaries can serve as a means of self-care and protection, enabling women to create a safe environment for themselves and their families. Part 3: Speaking Truth in Love Jim offers practical strategies for women to address their husband's problems in a wise and loving manner. Drawing from his years of experience, Jim emphasizes the importance of speaking the truth in love and approaching difficult conversations with empathy and understanding. Part 4: Empowering Women to Take Action Jim shares powerful tools and approaches for women to assert themselves, set healthy boundaries, and prioritize their own well-being in the face of challenging circumstances. Part 5: Signs of Positive Change Jim highlights key signs that indicate a husband is genuinely changing and working towards personal transformation. Jim and Leslie also help women navigate the journey of healing by identifying observable signs of progress and growth in their husbands. Remember, you are not alone, and there is hope for healing and transformation. May God bless your journey towards healthier and thriving relationships. Resources: For more information on Jim's work and additional resources, visit  To find out if you are in a difficult, disappointing, or destructive marriage go to
6/12/202342 minutes, 41 seconds
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Surviving Emotional Abuse & Addiction: Katrina’s Journey to Freedom

In this powerful episode, join our host, Julie, as she engages in a heartfelt conversation with Katarina, a brave survivor who shares her personal journey of breaking free from an abusive marriage. Together, they explore the challenges Katarina faced, the transformative moments that led her to question her circumstances, and the profound impact of finding hope and healing in the midst of adversity. Episode Highlights: The Horrendous Years: Katarina opens up about her 30-year marriage, revealing that 15 of those years were filled with emotional and psychological abuse. She describes the impact of being in denial and the moment she realized she was trapped in a destructive relationship. Seeking Help: Learn about Katarina's courageous decision to seek counseling for addiction, which inadvertently led her to discover the concepts of codependency, enabling, and denial. She shares her experience of finding a specialized counselor who validated her experiences of abuse and introduced her to the work of Leslie Vernick. Eye-Opening Realizations: Katarina discusses the profound revelations that shattered her previous misconceptions about her marriage. From understanding the concept of emotional abuse in the Bible to recognizing the red flags of an unhealthy relationship, she shares the pivotal moments that opened her eyes to the truth. Overcoming Fear: Discover the immense fear and challenges Katarina faced when contemplating leaving her abusive husband. She talks about the resistance she encountered from both her husband and some members of her Christian community, highlighting the importance of receiving accurate biblical counsel and permission to prioritize safety and sanity over the institution of marriage. Parental Alienation: Katarina bravely shares the heart-wrenching experience of parental alienation, where her husband turned her children against her. She recounts the impact this had on her relationship with her children and the subsequent restoration and healing that occurred as they witnessed the truth about their father. Embracing a New Identity: Find inspiration in Katarina's transformation as she breaks free from the shackles of her past. She describes how she rediscovered her passions, particularly art, and embraced a new life filled with purpose and joy. Through her story, she encourages other women to pursue their own personal growth and to never lose hope in the face of adversity. Subscribe  Apple * Google * Spotify * Amazon * iHeart Other Resources If you think you might be in a destructive realtionship, go to Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
6/5/202338 minutes, 29 seconds
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Why Trying Harder Isn’t Always Biblical

In this episode, we explore the theme of why trying harder may not be the most effective approach when facing a destructive marriage. Part 1: Understanding the Reality of Destructive Marriages Differentiating between difficult and destructive marriages. Acknowledging the presence of harmful patterns such as abuse, control, or addiction in destructive marriages. Recognizing the importance of accurately identifying the dynamics in order to address them effectively. Part 2: God's Heart for Safety, Growth, and Well-Being Exploring God's desire for healthy and safe marriages. Emphasizing the biblical foundation for mutual love, respect, and well-being within the marital relationship. Understanding that God values the safety and sanity of individuals over the mere preservation of the marriage. Part 3: Jesus' Teachings on Self-Reflection and Treating Others Drawing wisdom from Matthew 7, examining Jesus' teachings on self-reflection and treating others with grace. Encouraging listeners to assess their own growth areas and avoid a self-righteous or judgmental attitude towards their spouses. Recognizing the importance of personal growth and self-care in the context of a destructive marriage. Part 4: Challenging the Narrative of "Just Try Harder" Questioning the effectiveness of the advice to "just try harder" in destructive marriages. Empowering women to assert their individuality and decision-making rights in the face of controlling behavior. Encouraging open communication and setting boundaries to foster healthier dynamics within the marriage. Part 5: Taking Steps Towards Safety and Well-Being Understanding the significance of taking action and pursuing personal well-being in destructive marriages. Exploring scriptural examples and support for seeking safety, protection, and consequences for harmful behavior. Highlighting the importance of self-care, seeking support from trusted sources, and exploring options for change. Conclusion: Recapitulating the theme of why trying harder may not be the best advice in destructive marriages. Encouraging Christian women in destructive marriages to prioritize their safety, growth, and well-being. Offering resources and support for those seeking guidance and clarity in difficult marital situations. Resources: For more information, resources, and support, visit for Leslie's free Quick Start Guide. May God grant you wisdom, strength, and courage as you navigate your journey in a destructive marriage. Remember, you are not alone, and there is hope for healing and restoration.
5/29/202346 minutes, 56 seconds
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Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean You Have to Submit to Abuse

  What is forgiveness? What does forgiveness mean? If I forgive my husband for something, what does that look like, biblically? It may mean canceling a debt. Or, does it mean you don’t talk about it anymore and you continue like everything is fine? That isn’t biblical. It isn’t a “get out of jail card” where you still offer your relationship and trust to a person who habitually sins against you.    How do you deal with "70x7" verse in Matthew 18?  You don’t have to do anything. That isn’t the heart of God. God gives us choices. Even Adam and Eve had choices and then they experienced the consequences of those choices. If God had truly forgiven, why wouldn’t he have erased the consequences of their sin? Too many churches teach that you must stay in relationship with a person even when they sin against you over and over and over again.    Not even God has a relationship with unrepentant sinners. So why would we be required to have relationships with people who continue to sin against us when God, himself, doesn’t?    When do you put things in the past and no longer bring it up? If the past is still your present then you still need to deal with it because the lesson has not been learned.  When the past is truly the past and the behaviors have truly changed and the person has repented, there is a time to let the offense go. But, understand, there may still be an impact upon the person who was sinned against.     The church too often bundles forgiveness with an erasing of the consequences. That is not biblical.    The past is instructive.  For the person who sinned…If we don’t learn from our mistakes by reflecting on them, we will repeat them. Reflecting on the past is supposed to instruct you on how to do better next time. We learn from our mistakes.   
12/19/202244 minutes, 44 seconds
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Hope for Those in Destructive Relationships

In this episode you'll meet Grace, a brave woman who shares her story of being a people pleaser and learning to set boundaries with a jealous husband who would rage and exert control over her. She spent years walking on eggshells and trying to manage his emotions.  Today she is living in truth and being a godly wife by not enabling his sinful and destructive behavior.  
12/12/202233 minutes, 13 seconds
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Is Fear In Charge?

In this episode of Relationship Truth: Unfiltered you’ll hear some of Leslie and Julie’s experiences with the emotion of fear and how it has, at times, been in the driver’s seat of their lives. Leslie will share how fear can be a good thing but also when it becomes detrimental to decision making and living the life God has called you to live.    Notes from this episode: Fear can be a good thing. Our bodies warn us of danger and it’s good to heed the body’s warning.  Fear can also be detrimental when it turns to anxiety and a person lives with the fear of “what if I look foolish, what if something bad happens, what if something bad happens, what if I get rejected…” How do you deal with the fear of decision making? The first step is to make a decision: The absolute best decision you can make is the right decision. The second best decision you can make is the wrong decision. The worst decision you can make is no decision. 9:35 What if you’ve made a decision that isn’t easy to change, like marrying the wrong person? Even this can be a good decision if you let it teach you.  When does fear cross the line to where it’s becoming a detriment? When the fear stops a person from growing. When fear drives your decisions. Any emotion you allow in the driver’s seat can be detrimental.  When we really understand God’s plan for our lives, when something puts us in a scary situation and we are afraid … that may be something where we are to grow and learn.  What would be a better way of facing those fears? Face your own internal self talk. Maybe you don’t think you can handle hurt so you live in a bubble. Maybe you need to think about how you can handle hurt or stand up for yourself instead of being a victim. As the question, “because.” I’m afraid because… and if that happens, what does that mean? “It means… and if that happens, it means…” and so on. It’s a way of getting to the root issue of your story. Maybe the root of it is that you think you’re worthless.  The Bible has more to say about fear than almost anything else. If we really do trust him, that he knows what he’s doing and will work it out for our good, for our maturity, (not necessarily our happiness or pleasure) then we don’t have to live in fear.  How do you deal with the feelings and fears that come after experiencing something tragic?Your emotions aren’t the boss of you. You can get help and support. How can you learn to deal with it? How can you prepare yourself to accept that you will have to deal with it and come to a place of acceptance? You don’t have to lose your mind or sanity.  One of the biggest ways to conquer fear is to walk toward what you fear. You can face the fears in your mind. If you know you can handle it and there will be resources for you, it’s still unpleasant and hard but knowing you will get through it makes the fear less powerful.  Don’t transfer an old experience to the present. You aren’t the same person.  Where do people get support? Counseling and coaching support is available. Grief groups or other groups. The most important thing is to know you’re not alone. Being alone can lead to feelings of shame and depression. It doesn’t always have to be professional support. Peer to peer support is also a big help. Once you de-shame having problems it’s very empowering.  Pay attention to your thoughts. Psalm 55:2 My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught. If you struggle with anxiety. Philippians 4:6-8 Be anxious for nothing but in everything let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind. And, later, Pau says, Whatsoever things are good and noble and true and just…let your mind dwell on these things.  You don’t have to think negatively. You can change the channel in your mind. The Bible tells us to discipline ourselves when our mind is focusing on negative and worrisome things. Don’t feed your mind with worst-case scenarios. We have to say, “God, you are in control.”   How do you go about training yourself to think differently?Once you recognize what you’re thinking, that’s when you consciously change the channel. The first step is recognizing your thoughts. So focus on what’s good in your life. What can you be grateful for? Intentionally feed your mind different ways to look at your situation. There is more than one way to look at your situation. Believe that. Be very intentional when it comes to your thoughts and it will start to become more natural.  God has wired our thoughts to affect your emotions. If they are impacting your emotions in a way that doesn’t match with reality, understand that your body is reacting as though your thoughts are reality.  We are called to do this. “Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)  “Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) You can deal with it. Or you can learn to deal with it. It may be hard. But you can do it. Emotions are our informers. They are not our deciders. Don't just work on your thinking. Work on your virtues as well. This will help you deal with those emotions.    Don’t forget to: Sign up for Leslie’s newsletter at Register for a free webinar on Share this episode!  
12/5/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 31 seconds
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Missionaries, Marriage, and Addiction

In this episode Laura shares how she navigated her missionary husband's alcohol addiction and how it almost destroyed their marriage. 
11/28/202232 minutes, 23 seconds
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Is It Abuse?

In this episode Leslie interview Darby Strickland, a faculty member and counselor with Christian counseling & educational foundation as well as the author of, “Is It Abuse? A Biblical Guide to Identifying Abuse and Helping Victims.” 3:10 - What has been the hardest part of getting people to understand? Oppressors don’t often look like oppressors to the outside world. Their public face is often much different. They come from such a problem in their heart. Victims have a hard time believing their spouse’s heart is that commited to self vs. living for the Lord. They rationalize, wanting to believe the best about a person.   4:45 - How does a woman discern between a man who is an overzealous leader and a man who is truly an oppressor?   Even Jesus’ submission was willful. It wasn’t fear-based. Often a woman is afraid to disagree or have a different opinion. Her input is devalued.  This is complying, not submitting. It’s subjugation.    6:30 What do you say to a woman whose husband dismisses her by saying she’s being too sensitive?   Coercive control goes across all dimensions of relationship, not just physical. Journal. It may take up to 30 entries before you see a pattern in the stories. Then, see if those stories match up with what is in Darby’s or Leslie’s books. Or, find someone who is familiar with oppressive dynamics and can help you interpret those stories and see the pattern. Identifying the pattern is very important.   11:15 If a woman feels unheard and devalued and reduced to a role, what should she do?   Depending on the severity of the abuse, you could try having a “micro” conversation about a specific thing you’re noticing.  You can also begin to talk to someone else and get some validation to your story. Also, begin to work on the mindset that you have to diminish yourself in order to be submissive. As you begin to stand up to yourself, you will begin to shift the dynamics of the relationship. He will get more respectful or more abusive. If he gets more abusive, that’s a really good sign. Abort the conversation and get extra support.      16:15 What about the argument that women were made to be a helpmate? Being a godly wife does not mean simply serving your spouse. It’s okay for you to have your own personhood.  Don’t allow your husband to usurp God’s position in your life. Your primary purpose is to love and serve the Lord. That means loving your husband by confronting sin, reading scripture, loving your friends and neighbors, etc. When someone wants to put themselves as the center of your purpose, there’s a big problem. The Proverbs 31 woman had her own life and wasn’t micromanaged by her husband.    19:00 - What are signs a pre-marital counselor could see that a relationship might be destructive? Abuse, early on, doesn’t look like abuse. It can look like passion. Maybe one partner says, “I want to spend all my time with you.” They wouldn’t say they are wanting to isolate you from others. “I love you so much I can’t…”  Find out what happens in other moments of relationship. Separate each partner and ask… “Are you allowed to complain? Does he get upset when you’re sick and unable to be there for him? Does he talk about ex or mother in disparaging ways? Has he ever berated a waitress? What’s it like when you say ‘no’  to him?” If she hasn’t, she should try to say “no” to him or even ask him to do something for her and then see if he’s willing to meet her needs or accepts her “no.” Does he use the Bible to try and control?    Anytime someone uses scripture to condemn rather than convict it’s a huge red flag. If he is pushing engagement too fast, that’s a red flag. When the relationship feels too good to be true, it is.    25:30 What would a small group leader do who observes concerning behavior in a couple?    Pursue a friendship with that woman. It may be a while before she feels able to even identify what she’s experiencing as abuse. Encourage her to be able to speak without her husband’s permission in the group, etc. Make sure she feels valued by you and that it’s a safe relationship. Ask questions but don’t accuse. Always stay in a curious mode.    32:15 What if a pastor is uninterested or gives advice like, “Try not to upset him?”    First, be praying. Then, look for a counselor who understands oppressive marriages. There might be an elder or someone else in the church who would understand. Maybe you need to attend a Bible study, even at a different church where there are understanding people.  If you’re telling  your story and being dismissed and shut down and leaders are using the Bible to keep you stuck in a destructive situation, you really need to find other counsel.   RESOURCES: Article “How to Discern True Repentance when Serious Sin Has Occurred: Christian Counseling and Education Foundation: WWW.CCEF.ORG    
11/21/202241 minutes, 52 seconds
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Parenting Priorities

In this episode Leslie shares seven fundamentals truths parents must teach their kids in order for them to be healthy and strong.   Chapter #1 1:45 It’s important that kids know they are loved unconditionally. Children need to know they matter and they are important. This gives them a secure base from which to flourish and grow. This is also their first taste of the love of God.  Admit and own when you make a mistake. This gives kids permission to not be a perfect kid, too.   Chapter #2 4:00 They need to know and be able to name their feelings, to put words into what’s happening inside of them.   Chapter #3 7:00 How to name your feelings - ask yourself “Is this upset feeling more of a sad, scared, or mad feeling?” Then ask, “Is it a little bit of that emotion, medium, or a lot?   Chapter #4 9:48 No matter how sad or angry they are, kids must learn there are limits to what they can do with those emotions.  Sometimes we need to help children face their feelings instead of coddling them into not feeling their feelings. They must learn how to control the expression of their emotions.   Chapter #5 13:50 Reality exists and they have to accept it. The more they deny reality the more pain exists. It can be as simple as accepting the fact that it’s bedtime or that they have to do their homework before watching video game.    Chapter #6 17:50 They need to begin taking responsibility for themselves. This starts at a young age with toilet training. It’s important not to overfunction for a child or teen. Failure can be an important teacher.    Chapter #7 22:10 - You must teach your children how to tell themselves the truth and how to live in the truth. We all lie to ourselves. “I can’t do that.” “It’s too hard.” “Nobody likes me.”    For more resources go to  
11/15/202239 minutes, 28 seconds
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Doing the Right Thing

Karen's marriage lasted nearly 30 years. She and her husband were financially successful and both loved the Lord. In fact, her husband is the one who led Karen to Christ. But there was a dark side of anger and control that challenged everything she believed about marriage and divorce. A word of warning: there is some disturbing content in this episode. Karen's story, while difficult, is one of bravery and doing the right thing...not just for herself but for her children and even for her husband. 
11/7/202244 minutes, 56 seconds
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Fighting Fair

In this episode of Relationship Truth, Unfiltered, Leslie discusses why conflict doesn’t have to be a negative part of relationships. She’ll address some of the hard parts of disagreements and how to fight fair.    Chapter 1 (2:10): How do you keep conflict from escalating?   Talk first about how you can talk about a topic and have both people feel safe. Talk about the way you deal with problems so that issue can be dealt with first.    Chapter 2 (3:29) When do you stop talking about the past? It depends. If someone isn’t over the past then it’s time to ask curious  questions. “This is really bothering you and you keep bringing it up. What’s that about? I’m curious.”  You have to be committed to how you’re going to show up in a conflict. You can only keep your side of the street…you cannot control how they show up in a conflict. Decide to show up in a respectful, curious, and generous way. If you do this it can’t deteriorate because it takes two to deteriorate. If he chooses to be destructive then the conversation is over.    Chapter 3 (6:30) Questions to ask yourselves Have you ever had a time in your relationship where you worked on a problem in a positive way? What was it you did right? How did you work on it together? Learn from that.    Chapter 4: (7:50) How do you deal with someone who just doesn’t want to “give in?” What would be different if you just accepted this? For whatever reason he’s done being passive, being accommodating?  Accept his point of view and decide on how to solve the issue at hand.    Maybe, if it’s something that is just important to you, figure out how you can make it happen with a good spirit.    Chapter 5 (13:45) - What if you have someone who won’t deal with conflict and withdraws? There are people who are conflict avoidant, possibly because of their background and negative history of conflict.    Deal with that fact, first. Deal with how your relational history has been negative in this area. Ask how he would feel safe talking about this. There are many ways to create safety. As examples, you can set time limits or simply share points of view without trying to solve the problem first.    Chapter 6 (16:30) How do you keep to the topic? Know yourself and what you need out of the conversation. Be self-aware about how you deal with the topic and decide that you will not go off topic.  Again, you can only control you. But you can help your partner to know that you’ll keep to the topic and that will help create safety.    Chapter 7 (19:55) How do you handle when someone doesn’t follow through with promises? Be careful of the story you tell yourself. Instead, look for overall patterns. It’s tempting to tell yourself “he doesn’t care about me” when that may not be true at all. We have to be careful of the story you tell yourself when your husband isn’t reliable. You can, instead, ask a question… “I’ve noticed a pattern where you commit to things and don’t follow through. What’s that about?” Or, approach it by saying, “I know that you tend to make me happy by saying ‘yes’ in the moment. I’d really invite you to be honest with me. If you don’t want to do something, for whatever reason, tell me so we can figure out something you can follow through on.”    Chapter 8 (23:00) How do you deal with gaslighting?  Gaslighting is when someone distorts or lies about the truth with the goal of making you feel crazy or confused.  It’s important for you to decide “how do I want to show up for me?” If you’re starting to question your own mind, take notes. This helps you, at least, to know the reality. Also, look for the pattern…if this is happening a lot, you know gaslighting is going on.    Chapter 9 (27:58) How to handle yelling Most people, when they’re angry, have a change of voice tone. You want to be clear, with your tone, that you mean business. When you’re angry, tone and posture naturally changes.  What’s really important is the words. If you’re name calling and abusive speech, attacking, accusing, and reviling, that’s the problem, whether the words are being yelled or not.  You have to find your own boundary around this but you don’t have to be a willing victim.    Chapter 10 (31:00) Dealing with the passive aggressive person You can’t change someone else. Understand the limitations of a relationship when you’re dealing with someone who won’t look at himself (or herself). Growth in that type of relationship is impossible. In order to grow, you have to look at yourself, especially when you fail.    Maybe you can say, “I sense you’re trying to tell me you’re angry, in very soft ways. Do you want to talk about it?” You’re inviting them to grow and they get to decide.    Chapter 11 (33:53 ) When does conflict cross the line from normal marriage conflict to a destructive nature? Are there patterns of abuse, deceit, or indifference? Understand that God doesn’t expect you to be in a relationship who is out to destroy you.    Resources: Bonus: Download 8 Steps to Resolving Conflict   
10/31/202238 minutes, 11 seconds
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Advice From a Family Law Attorney

Mary Ann Modesti is a long-time family law attorney who shares, from a Christian perspective, what women need to know when considering a divorce. 
10/24/202239 minutes, 19 seconds
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Dealing Biblically with Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is rampant…even in the church. 1 in 4 Christian women report being in an emotionally destructive marriage.  In this episode you’ll discover when behavior crosses the line, how the church should handle these situations, and what women can do to get safe. Leslie will share biblical support for all of this crucial advice.    Chapter #1 :43 A definition of domestic violence.  Domestic violence is about controlling another. The Bible’s word for this is “oppression.” A person can hold “power over” someone physically, emotionally, financially, and even spiritually.     Chapter #2 3:08 Can a woman be guilty of domestic violence? A woman can be guilty of domestic violence toward her children because she’s bigger, stronger, and more able to use violent methods of control. That’s not as true with men. Men aren’t usually afraid of their wives but women are often afraid of their husbands.  Chapter #3 4:30 Why would Christian men do this to their wives? We see a lot of sinful things happen in the church because people are sinners.  Sometimes men grow up in these kinds of homes and under this type of patriarchal teaching in their churches.  Chapter #4 6:07 When does it cross the line and what is a biblical definition of leadership and submission? When a woman is objectified…she is not a woman to love but an object to use, a role. God created us to have choices.  God’s definition of leadership was not to “lord over” but to serve.    Chapter #5 8:12 What about when a woman provokes her husband? People get provoked all the time by all kinds of situations. Life is provoking. The question is really, “when I get provoked, who is responsible for managing me?” Moses was legitimately provoked by the Israelites; he lost his temper twice. God held him responsible for his temper outburst, not the Israelites.    Chapter #6 11:08  What should a pastor or people-helper do when a woman claims to be a victim of domestic violence? It’s important to understand how prevalent this is in our society: Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup. Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs. Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help. The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion. Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents. As a church we must recognize when oppressive control is at play, even if it isn’t physical. It might be spiritual or financial but recognize it as sinful and serious. It’s still abuse. Treat it as such. Chapter #7 15:55 What about submission? Submission is a good discipline. Men and women are called to submit to one another. Submission is yielding your will to one another but it is not your will being taken by another.  Submission is recognizing and deciding to lay down your will for the greater good. But it is a choice and not done out of fear. It is not just for wives. All believers are called to submit. But when the church tells women to submit to sinful behavior that is contrary to what God teaches.    Chapter #8 21:17 How does a Christian woman handle domestic violence, biblically? Understand that, while we have a high value of marriage, God does not ask women to stay in an abusive situation. He values your safety.  If we can agree domestic abuse is evil, then God gives us direction in dealing with this in Romans 12:21: Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.  How do you overcome evil with good?   It is good for you to get safe.. Proverbs 27:12 Expose the deeds done in darkness. Ephesians 5:11 Speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:24 Allow consequences to happen Galatians 6:7 See the fruits of repentance before reconciling. Genesis 42-45 Chapter #9 35:00 How do you know when change is real? Is he being totally transparent with finances, his phone, and other practical realities. Don’t fall for love bombing and words. Focus on his actions. Does he allow you to have a “no?” Does he continue working on his own issues? Does he respect your boundaries or is he still trying to control you?  Resources: Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE  Resources for People Helpers:  Other resources:
10/17/202244 minutes, 1 second
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”What Can I Do?” One Woman’s Story of Staying Well

Tami has been married for 32 years and has seven kids. Her relationship disappointing from the beginning but it eventually turned destructive. Tami's church was anything but helpful, leaving her feeling confused and alone.  In this episode Tami shares how she began to wake up to the abuse she was experiencing, her own destructive patterns, and how she is staying in her marriage and staying well.   
10/10/202228 minutes, 31 seconds
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How Do I Know If This Relationship Is Dead?

This is a special audio version of a workshop Leslie conducted where she answers the questions, "How Long Do I Keep Trying?" and "How Do I Know if This Relationship is Dead?"  CLICK HERE for a free handout to take notes as you listen: You'll also get a roadmap to rebuilding broken safety and trust.  Conquer doors are open for new members...but just for a short time. If you'd like to join Conquer, go to
10/3/202259 minutes, 34 seconds
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A Story of Faith, Loss, and Learning

In this episode Leslie introduces you to a powerful member of her coaching team. Elise Berryhill shares, vulnerably, about her experience with grief and dealing with a family member entrenched in addiction. 
9/26/202229 minutes, 46 seconds
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Healing From Emotional Abuse

In this episode Leslie shares stories you haven’t heard before about her personal experience with emotional abuse and the impact it had on her, even into adulthood.  Hear how Leslie dealt with her destructive mother, even into adulthood. And, learn how she found healing and the real, practical steps you can implement in your own healing journey.  Healing from Emotional Abuse: Three Practical Steps “I’m lost. Where am I?” Re-educate yourself on what is healthy. Learn to identify your emotions so you can address them. “What is my problem with their problem?” Identify and take responsibility for your problem, not your abuser’s problem. This will show you the work you need to do. Recognize your limiting beliefs “You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.” - C.S. Lewis Join us for a free, private webinar on September 29th. Register at   Leslie’s website:   Leslie’s Blog:  
9/19/202246 minutes, 18 seconds
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How I Accelerated My Healing From a Destructive Marriage

In this episode you'll meet Suzanne, a woman who didn't even recognize many of her habits as being the result of her destructive marriage. The product of an abusive home, she found it easy to believe her husband's behavior was her fault.  Four children and several decades later an event happened that opened Suzanne's eyes and set her on a course of real healing. You'll hear specific things she did and tips she has for you in finding healing from a destructive relationship.
9/12/202233 minutes, 45 seconds
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Advocating for Abuse Victims

Today’s guest is Joy Forrest, founder and Executive Director of Called to Peace Ministries and author of, “Called to Peace: A Survivor's Guide to Finding Peace and Healing After Domestic Abuse.”    To become an advocate, request a church partnership liaison or find personal support, go to
9/6/202246 minutes, 17 seconds
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Ready to Take a Chance Again?

How do you know when you're ready to date again?
8/29/202245 minutes, 3 seconds
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What My Mom’s Destructive Marriage Did to Me

Hannah is the daughter of Maureen from Episode 3, "Free After 41 Years." Hear Hannah describe what life was like growing up with her destructive father and how it impacted her as an adult. 
8/22/202226 minutes, 42 seconds
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Dealing with Sexual Betrayal

Have you been impacted by sexual betrayal? Take the FREE QUIZ HERE: Dr. Sherri Keffer knows - personally - the devastation of sexual betrayal.  In this episode Sherri tells her story and shares how denial and depression kept her from dealing with the truth of what was happening in her marriage.  Learn the TWO PILLARS every sexually betrayed partner needs.  Hear what you should do - and what you shouldn't do - when dealing with the sin of sexual betrayal. Find out what you CAN DO - even when you don't know whether sexual betrayal has happened.  And, answer the questions, once and for all ... is it YOUR fault this happened? Is there anything you could have done to have prevented it? Leslie and Sherri will also talk about how to talk to the kids when there's been sexual betrayal in the marriage.     
8/15/202252 minutes, 56 seconds
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Three More Lies Christian Women Believe

In this episode we discover three more lies that Christian women often believe...lies that keep them stuck, afraid, and silent.  1. It's your fault your husband acts the way he does. 2. God hates all divorce. 3. If I try harder, he'll change.   To register for Leslie's live, free webinar, go to
8/8/202230 minutes, 45 seconds
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When a Good Christian Girl’s Marriage Goes Bad Part 1

Gretchen Baskerville was the ultimate good Christian girl. She followed all the "rules" so she would get all of God's blessings. And then her marriage imploded. She wound up as a divorced mother full of hard questions for God and for the church. Hear part one of her two-part story and learn what she was never taught about what God says about women, marriage, and divorce. 
7/11/202227 minutes, 27 seconds
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RelationshipTruth: Unfiltered Trailer

Find out what you can expect from Leslie Vernick's brand new podcast
6/4/20223 minutes, 28 seconds