A Rant…

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Do y’all remember when I wrote that blog post where I was ranting and raving about what we need to see from our husbands in order for us wives to heal?  Maybe I’m listening to too much Dave Ramsey or something but I think I have another rant in me that I need to get out today.  Buckle up – it’s going to be a ride.

I’m so sick and tired of how much control some husbands {whom have made some really terrible choices} have over their wives.  Please note – this isn’t directed to every one of you.  Some of you are doing a fantastic job of allowing your wife to grieve.  Answering her questions.  Holding her pain.  Others of you – not doing so hot.

These are the husbands that need to read on.

Countless women, whom should be given permission to grieve that their life as they knew it was a complete lie, was nothing like what they thought it was – aren’t even given the space by their husbands to start to grieve.


Instead, these husbands are so busy blame-shifting, manipulating, criticizing, withholding love – all this both before and after disclosure – that these wives can’t even focus on grieving.  Instead, they have to focus on the continued craziness.  It’s killing me!

I sit back and think – these wives – they are capable and willing to forgive what many believe to be the unforgiveable.  They are willing to do the necessary work to repair the marriage.  But they can’t even start the repair work (which, just to be clear, starts with a 1)  full disclosure, 2)  grieving, 3)  turning over the puzzle pieces and asking a ton of questions and 4) grieving some more) because their husbands continue to resist giving them what they need.

So the focus for these wives looks like this – “Why won’t my husband answer my questions?”.  “Why won’t my husband respect my requests to have physical space from him?”  “Why won’t my husband give me the diginity of hearing my pain?”  “Why is my husband so defensive and angry?”

It’s as if these husbands – they 1)  caused the pain.  And then 2)  are the biggest road block to working through the pain.

Are you with me?

Husbands, do you not get it?  You have stomped on your wives’ hearts.  You caused her terrible pain that she would never wish on anyone.  Not even you.  And then you proceed to be the biggest road block to her healing?

I do not understand.

If you want to save this marriage, if you want to give your wife dignity and healing – let me tell you what you can do:  Hold your wife’s heart with more care and concern than ever.  Let go of the pride.  Let go of the entitlement.  Ask God to give you the courage and the strength ( ’cause that’s what you are going to need) to hold your wife’s heart.  To cocoon it and protect it with everything you’ve got.

And let. her. grieve.

Let her see that you hurt for her.  That you are so sorry.  Not just with the words that come out of your mouth but with the tears that fall down your face.  With the fact that you will drop everything and come running if she needs you.  With the respect you give her by asking before embracing her.  By being intentional and asking her what she needs to process with you today about her new reality.


Shall I say more?

By answering her questions.  By giving her back her dignity by always telling her the truth.  By allowing her to use her voice.  By validating her feelings.  By giving her nothing but your best.  From this day forward.  And when you trip up, you get right back up.  Because God is sanctifying you and ain’t nothin getting in your way.

It’s only when you are doing these things that your wife can actually start to feel she is safe enough to grieve your past – her present.  You hear me?  She is grieving her present reality.  Her truth.

So please, that heart that you stomped on over there?  Take it in your hands and treat it with more care than anything else you’ve ever cared for.  Do your part to sew up every wound.  You be Jesus’ hands and feet to your wife.  Allow God to work through you.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3


25 thoughts on “A Rant…

  1. Melanie

    April 27, 2016  |  09:52 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this, Shelley. I am so weary and am so close to giving up on my cheating fiancé after continuing to uncover more of his betrayal. I have tried to explain to him how important it is for him to take accountability for what he has done, rather than continue to try and cover it up. Stop making me feel like I am crazy and jumping to conclusions when you have made horrible decisions and lied to cover them up. Just be honest! Please stop breaking my heart, again and again. You’re not “helping me.” You’re not “protecting me.”

    • Shelley Martinkus

      April 28, 2016  |  09:50 am

      Yes, Melanie! It makes all the difference when our husbands are able to protect our hearts from more damage instead of adding insult to injury. Thanks for responding to this post and I hope you come back soon. xo-Shelley

  2. Lisa Taylor

    April 28, 2016  |  02:55 pm

    OH MY GOODNESS. This is so bang on. And you know what gets me? When they say, “well, you’re allowed to freak out and withdraw… how come I’m not allowed to?”
    This brilliant Canadian addictions specialist/doctor, Gabor Mate, has said “unlike other psychological disorders, the core issue in trauma is reality.” And that’s basically the answer — when the husband is acting in it’s often about his IMAGINED dangers (from the wife). For the wife it’s about her REALITY.

    • Shelley Martinkus

      April 28, 2016  |  03:01 pm

      Thanks Lisa for standing with me on this one. When I hit the “post” button, I have to confess, I felt a little anxious! xoxo

  3. J

    April 28, 2016  |  03:49 pm

    Aaaand the deafening roar of betrayed women everywhere cheering in agreement begins……
    Infedility/SA is what breaks marriages. And THIS is what ends them. This behavior, this attitude, this treatment after having already suffered such betrayal is what breaks the soul of a woman beyond repair.
    How long until your website crashes from the sheer number of women forwarding this to their husbands?

  4. J

    April 28, 2016  |  03:56 pm

    Really Shelley? Anxious? Because after writing something this spot on and powerful and NECESSARY you should have done nothing less than drop the mike and exit stage left. I don’t posess the number of thumbs I want to put up for this post.

  5. Heiti

    April 28, 2016  |  06:13 pm

    Melanie, I don’t know you at all but I cannot just read your share and not say this. Do not marry this man. I know you love him, otherwise you wouldn’t be still trying. But it won’t be better after you have committed your life to him. He has some very difficult and long-term work to do in order to learn not to be a liar and a cheat. Without a major turnaround (that is completely transparent and visible by you), he will just get better at covering his tracks.
    I’m sorry that these words are brutal. I care about your future. My marriage of 33 years is ending and the pain has been awful. I want you to have a different future.

    Ps. Shelley, I appreciate your very brave “rant”! You know I’m right there with ya!

  6. Michelle

    April 28, 2016  |  08:59 pm

    Wow, Amen Shelley tears are flowing and I’m one of those ladies who will be forwarding this to her husband tomorrow after praying for him to receive it tonight.
    He says he’s further than his actions show me he is .
    What a gift for writing girlfriend!
    Thank you!

    • Shelley Martinkus

      April 28, 2016  |  09:06 pm

      Thanks Michelle! I’m pretty sure you have the gift of encouragement! xoxo

  7. Sheila

    April 29, 2016  |  06:53 am

    Melanie I will jump in with warning you. My husband cheated with an ex-girlfriend before we got married. He was still talking to her and she was still visiting his house for a long time into our dating relationship. When she wanted him to break up with me and he refused then she outed his behavior to me. We did break up and he had what he called ONE LAST NIGHT with her to figure out what he wanted. For 3 months he worked to get back into my life and I allowed it. Thought well it was his ex and blhahahaha. Waited almost 2 years before marrying him. I should have never done it. When I busted him during his most resent affair I discovered I was a FOOL. I thought that was his only affair. He finally came clean, this was his 3. But there was other deception that has caused so much pain and financial hardships. A gambling addiction, a shopping addiction, and I think a couple of emotional affairs and more lies than I can even count to cover trips to topless bars and lies about money. If I could go back to my 20 year old self I would tell don’t do it.

    We are currently still trying to recover ONLY because we have had all these yrs together and because of our kids. Don’t get me wrong my kids are the only thing that have kept me in this mess and I realize not marrying him they would not be here and there is no guarantee that another man would have not cheated, but the odds are in the favor of one that had not.

    Just my thoughts. Heal yourself and tell him call me in a year or 2 if you get the help your need and are healthy and I will see where I am at.

  8. Stacy

    April 29, 2016  |  09:01 am

    oh Shelley…. you said exactly what I have been feeling and right where I am living!!!
    And “J”s comment about infidelity/SA is what brakes a marriage, but THIS is what ends it” is spot on! I will be forwarding this to my husband as well.
    Thank you!

  9. Melinda Ramirez

    April 29, 2016  |  09:34 am

    Shelley …THANK YOU!!!

  10. Debra

    April 30, 2016  |  05:14 am

    This is tough to say because I agree that for restoration all of the components Shelley mentioned are needed-but I want to share that in my experience -5 years into this process-it takes time. Addiction is an illness and using actually changes brain chemistry.

    The effect pornography has on the brain has been likened to cocaine-cocaine! Some literature suggests it takes two years of sobriety to get the brains “out of hoc” and then, if in recovery, “three more to learn how to use them”.

    I am NOT saying lying and defensiveness are ever acceptable. For me, boundaries were very necessary and recovery was and is full of things I wouldn’t have chosen-I have asked my husband to leave several times-summer number 3 he had an apartment for a few weeks. It’s been bumpy and rough and required me to increase boundaries when unacceptable addict thinking (which lasts into sobriety) took over.

    But-I always tried to be quiet in my heart at some points and seek G-d’s will for me and I just never heard leave. And I’ve had wise sponsors in my recovery who’ve helped me remember progress is slow and to pay attention to the direction he was headed.

    Were there lies and mistreatment I didn’t deserve after sobriety? Yes. Did I just take it? No. I upped my boundaries. I focused on me. But The small changes got bigger and that’s been good. Today there is very little lying, and when I catch distorted thinking and share I have grown enough to know its not about me and can say it calmly most days! Ok some days! And he can hear me more quickly and the response I usually see is regret and pain .

    Please remember healing takes time and I had to hold my own heart a while and use boundaries and patience.

  11. valerie

    April 30, 2016  |  08:31 pm

    Thank you so much Shelley. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My heart is so broken. Into 1000 pieces. My husband is just, little by little by little, beginning to see how his full disclosure of 9 years of adultery (porn- addictive &repeated & passionate porn use – unbeknownst to me) has devastated this devoted Christian girl’s heart and rocked her reality forever. Thank for saying YES to healing. I praise God for your story. Recently saw your MOPS video with Jason on porn & boy was I blown away.

  12. Godspeach

    May 1, 2016  |  08:06 am

    I think you again Dear Shelley. I for one am just tired. Sexual addiction turns a man into a beast somewhat like the creatures from the old movie “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”
    Dear, Melanie, I was 14 when and a virgin when I met my husband. Came from a Christian home, but it was only that on the surface, so I married at 18 to get away.
    He had already began the isolation of me from my friends and social activities. I should have listened to my friends when they said, ” What do you see in him?”
    He turned out to be a a Covert Narcissist. Yes, and my life from 1984 until 2013 have NEVER been the same.
    Because, while he demanded I stay home and wait for him, and sometimes he didn’t call or show… HE WAS SLEEPING AROUND ALL THOSE YEARS. It took a lie detector on my anniversary in May of 2013 to reveal that fact and that he had been fired for drug use ..and his current misbehavior at that time from 2010-2012 was a present affair!
    Here’s how twisted it gets for him: He had believed that Unattractive Women were Safe to get close to Beautiful Ones such as Myself were Dangerous. He competed severely with me and villanized me with a coworker(unattractive ) whom he felt safe to befriend. The years 2000-2006
    She used him for rides, money , but as far as I know it was emotional because she was chasing another man’s wallet strings on the job and he said she was too ugly to sleep with!
    After the lie detector reveals his long term affair, and I call him from my therapist’s office demanding to meet with the both of them– the Liar goes behind my back gets the old former friend’s number, borrows 200 from another friend at work whom he lies too, of course, and tells her the story.

    I look her up on Facebook prior to the meeting. He sure can pick them. We meet. She has the nerve to have a cross on her mirror!!!
    Anyway, I say, ” So I see You Love the Lord.”
    My husband, Liar, Cheater, Deceiver, Thief, Mommas Boy is looking as if he is about to use the restroom on the spot. The meeting was right next door to HER CHURCH!

    I really should have gotten in his truck, and left the two of them right there.
    I find out from her in 2015 that HE PAID HER TO LIE & he was actually seeing so other coworker.
    After which, she supplied me with the name. I’ll skip the confrontation with THAT PIECE OF WORK.

    He was siphoning money from our house note account, and we almost lost our house EASTER WEEK. But, God miraculously saved it. My husband was getting help from the VA to pay our mortgage payments, and he simply stopped answering their emails and began deleting them!!!
    I found a Final Notice in the mail box one day and was prompted to check his email.
    Good thing I did. Last chance.
    I have two autistic children at home. We would have been in the street with 3 cats this month.
    I had to get to work saving this house!!!
    I pushed him and God told his hard head to not eat for 24 hours.

    We made it!!!The House did.
    I’m not speaking to him. We signed papers for the VA to pay the mortgage company, and I ordered him an air mattress. If our finances were not so messed up, I’d tell him to find somewhere else to live. I don’t want to look at him. And I don’t.

    Melanie. I can’t predict Your future. But before the wedding, the night before. God clearly said,” Don’t Marry This Man!”
    He told me at the altar, ” Don’t Marry This Man!”
    And during the vows, too.
    Immediately after the ceremony it grew quiet.
    My new husband wouldn’t look at me, talk to me and later that evening sexually assaulted me.
    Took a shower and told me he was going for a drive.

    This was the FIRST TIME I saw him act vicious towards me. But, covert narcissists can turn from time to time. His reason: His family didn’t want him to marry ME. So, they didn’t show and he was hurt and angry.
    Where did he go that night? His aunt’s house. Wanted to be with Family. sigh.
    Where was I? Alone. Like now.
    Sorry this was so very long. I’m just sorry. Period.

    Please pray about whether the Lord even wants you with this guy. Call 1-800NEWLIFE.

  13. Anonymous

    May 1, 2016  |  09:36 am

    The writer nailed it! Over years of repeated betrayals, I was never allowed to grieve. I wasn’t even allowed to know what exactly happened. The next-to-last time I discovered his betrayals, I demanded details (for the first time ever). In response my husband said “never.” I told him that this wasn’t over. That someday the truth must come out. Eight years later, that day arrived, where I said truth or divorce, I’m not going to go through this again. The sad reality is that he’ll do anything but 1) full disclosure, 2) allow me to grieve, 3) allow me to turn over the puzzle pieces and ask a ton of questions and 4) grieve some more). Including divorce, including being willing to let me think the worst.

    So now I’ve grieved and grieved and grieved. Come to terms with the fact that he’ll never provide the kind of responses needed before we can consider re-building trust.

    Poor guy. He’s so out of touch with himself –I can’t imagine how hollow he must be. Or if he’s not hollow, how much damage he’s doing to himself by remaining a blank slate.

  14. Leslie Vernick

    May 1, 2016  |  10:03 am

    Shelly – great job. As a Christian counselor and author of the book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage I see this ALL the time. It’s not the sin that breaks the marriage – it’s the blindness. It’s the unwillingness to make amends and do the necessary repair work. Some of these men believe grace entitles them a “Get out of any consequences free” card when it comes to marriage. They’re entitled to a new start, no talking about it, no bringing up the past” Its incredulous to me that they want to call the shots when they were the ones to break the vows. But even worse is when their wives cater to this nonsense and if she refuses, she’s often accused of being hard hearted, bitter, unforgiving. It is just crazy.

  15. Mr C

    May 3, 2016  |  11:50 pm

    I get what you have ranted, and I agree with it… usually. In principle I believe it to the point where I can preach it with all my heart to some other stupid addict. But… in the heat of the moment, when it seems there is NO ANSWER to her questions. When it seems that the actual problem is that I have done these terrible things in the FIRST place. They cannot be undone, I cannot seem to reassure her (even with three years of no slip-up sobriety and ABSOLUTE accountability for every minute and $) that I will never go back.

    What is really bugging her is that I am EVEN TEMPTED. I get her argument that we are tempted to do that which we want to do, and I agree with it, being sound doctrine right out of the book of James! However, I cannot answer that accusation. I feel COMPLETELY helpless in being able to help and reassure her. I’m afraid I even went so far as telling her so just today. So I need to get back up, but I still can’t answer her accusation.

    So, I agree with your rant, but where the rubber meets the road in my own mess, I am a hypocrite. Despite my noblest intentions, I fall well short and am an unintentional road block, and I feel incapable of clearing it out. I am your target, but honestly I’m not sure what I am able to do to “straighten up and fly right”.

  16. Melanie

    May 4, 2016  |  01:06 am

    Heiti and Sheila, thank you so much for your responses. Unfortunately, our situation is not so simple. I had accepted his marriage proposal and we learned we had a surprise baby on the way about 4 weeks later. We have not married due to his infidelity. Although we may not have spoken vows to each other, I still feel committed to him and to the family we share. It’s not a simple situation to walk away from, given he would be part of my life since we share our son. But I find myself weary of the lies, or rather the truth as I uncover it. My feelings have changed. My love is not so strong. He is terrified of losing me and his son, and is beginning to show a demonstrated willingness to change, not only with his words, but also his actions; going to meetings, going to couples’ therapy with me (at his insistence), and going to individual therapy. But I have to admit, I feel hopeless about what future we may have because I just don’t know how to trust his effort. I am simply praying that God will guide him.

    I had a friend describe trust in this way: “Trust is like a sheet of paper. When you break that trust, the paper is crinkled, even torn, and no matter what you do, the paper will never be smooth again.” I thought that was such a powerful metaphor and wanted to share.

  17. Mary

    May 5, 2016  |  05:34 am

    Thank you, Shelley, again for speaking truth. I have so appreciated your and Jason’s openness about your journey to reconciliation. I am fresh off of another confession from my husband about his acting out. He comes to me about every other month now sorry for what he has done, but with no change in plan on how to stop it. He always mentions that it is good he is telling me right away now. I know he wants me to praise him for telling me, forgive him, and go on as if it didn’t happen. I don’t know if we are on the road to reconciliation or whether it is time for me to end this…

  18. muchalone

    May 9, 2016  |  09:54 pm

    Thank you, Thank you!!!

    I have been trying to figure out what it wrong with me…why I just can’t seem to move forward…to get beyond this…it’s been years since I found the porn…and the computer has been clean…and it’s mostly been years of nothing…with some really petty lies thrown in, but mostly just nothing…so what’s wrong with me that I can’t deal wtih the nothing?

    Then I read this: **It’s only when you are doing these things that your wife can actually start to feel she is safe enough to grieve your past – her present. You hear me? She is grieving her present reality. Her truth.**

    And I realized that I’m right there…it is my present, because his nothing doesn’t make it go away…or make it better…or make it my past…it remains my present because nothing isn’t helpful…and untimately, it isn’t honest…and that’s what I’m missing…that’s my roadblock…

    Thank you for giving words to my angst!!

  19. Lark

    June 14, 2016  |  08:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing! When I would be having a hard time with something and he didn’t get it I would say, ‘You broke me and now you are mad because I’m not working like I used to’.

  20. Cara

    August 11, 2016  |  06:11 pm

    I’m devouring everything on your site. THIS ONE! It is baffling, as you say, that I am willing to do the work of repair but he is not. I’m praying the scales will be removed. I’m almost gone.

  21. Diana Booth

    April 16, 2017  |  07:04 am

    Bam, you hit it. My husband cheated on me before we were married and I forgave him. We did not get the help that was needed. Shortly afterwards he asked me to marry him. I loved him so much and I didn’t listen to my friends, his friends nor my family that he would cheat again, I loved him so much that I married him. 2 years into our marriage (recently). He had an affair with a woman from our church who portrayed to be my friend and that I had confided in. She used what I had told her to get to my husband. Now my husband and I are working on our marriage. But he is so distant and always complains about everything about me. I am trying to be the wife that God wants me to be. I have submitted myself to him and I attend to his sexual desire. But when it comes to my needs and reassurance he pushes me away. My heart is so broke and saddened. Everyday the tears keep rolling down my cheeks. I don’t know what else I can do. I am so lost and confused but I love him to much to walk away. Please help me. I don’t want my heart to become bitter.

    • Shelley Martinkus

      April 19, 2017  |  12:33 pm

      Oh Diana,
      I’m so sorry for your pain. I want you to know you are not alone here. I realize I don’t know the whole story but the one thing that is causing bells to go off in my head is that it sounds like your husband is blaming you. And you think if you can keep him sexually satisfied, everything will work out? Is that how you feel? I just want to ask – can you give yourself permission to only do what you feel comfortable doing? Given his betrayal, it is okay to not be sexually intimate with him until you feel more ready. Some women need years, yes years before they can reengage at that level (sexual intimacy). Again, I am so sorry for your pain and thank you for being so brave to reach out. xo-Shelley

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