Who Needs Men??

When you are in a relationship with someone who is abusive or has an addiction, you learn the hard way not to rely on that person.  To be on time. To follow through. To offer up kind words at the end of a frustrating day. To pray for you. To support you. To tell you the truth. Basically, for anything.

In fact, Jan Silvious, author of Foolproofing Your Life, says that when you are in partnership with what she calls a biblical fool, it’s not a relationship that you’re in, it’s an agreement.  What she’s saying in essence is that you cannot be in a relationship with someone you cannot trust who treats you poorly on a consistent basis.

So, for twenty years, over and over again, I learned I could not rely on my partner. That was a bitter pill to swallow and a truth that I tried regularly to ignore and deny and refute.  In fact, I’d act as if I could trust and rely, and continually be hurt and disappointed. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Years of not accepting my reality, it was now on my head. I didn’t want my reality to be my reality.  But it was.

Until one day I realized that I should not rely on my partner for anything emotional or spiritual. That it would actually now be foolish for me to think I could. And so I stopped. High walls around heart erected, check.

And then we divorced. And I was single. And I no longer had a partner at all.

And I came to terms with the fact that I may never again have a partner.  And I learned to become emotionally and spiritually self-sufficient.  […]

Communication in a Difficult Marriage

Every married couple has heard the standard communication tips of using I-statements (“I feel sad when you say…”) and parroting (“I hear you saying that you don’t like it when I…”). And I’m sure these work just great for couples who are generally kind to and respectful with each other.

But what about those couples whose entire marriages are filled with drama and chaos, with control and abuse and addiction and lies?

Some thoughts for you, sweet ones, who are fighting a different kind of marriage battle today.

If your words are being twisted:

This is mind-numbingly aggravating. To know that you are saying and meaning one thing and to have it thrown back at you in a totally different form is maddening.

I remember wishing on and off for about fifteen plus years that we could just have a third party in our home at all times to help us decipher our conversations. (This is not a normal wish. Two mature adults should be able to have a conversation.)

So, if this is you: if you say something and you feel like it is completely either misunderstood or turned around on you and you’re getting nowhere, I would tell your husband that you would like the two of you to see a counselor, and if he refuses, I would go to marriage counseling on your own to find out how to communicate as clearly as possible.

I would also suggest that you prayerfully consider what issues really need to be discussed.  There was a point mid-separation when I was emailing my then-husband about the tiniest things. Things like the air filter needs to be replaced or whatever. And then I’d wait. And I wouldn’t get a response. And I would […]

There are No Good Men Out There

Recently on my Facebook writer page, I posted the following:

Relational PSA: Sweet girls, there are good, kind, tender, thoughtful, generous, God-loving men out there, who, hypothetically, may cause you to tear up in gratitude, often, and won’t get tired of you after, also hypothetically, seventy-five or so dates.

And then the responses rolled in:

Really? Sounds like a total pipe dream. I’m glad you have found one, though.

Where???

I sure hope so!

I’ve all but given up completely.

Woman…don’t play with me like that! You have a sighting?

Not really seeing them in my area or online for sure. A single man who catches my eye and who is honorable and honest is a rarity. Sadly, even those who claim to be God-honoring are just as disrespectful and dishonest. And many of my single Christian friends are finding the same in their dating.

Sigh.

I get it. I really do. I recognize the cynicism that is born out of deep betrayal and marriage & divorce pain.  Before I tried online dating, I didn’t think there were any forty-something, Jesus-loving, single men in my area. I just never ran into any.

So, I’m here to officially say a couple things:

Yes, there are immature men out in the world who have no business dating who end up hurting my sweet girls. (And I want to ring their necks.)

But (ugh) men don’t have a corner on the market on jerkiness. There are just as many immature women out in the world who have no business dating who end up hurting some sweet men.  (And I kinda want to, more gently, ring their necks too. Or at least tell them to stop dating and heal up, for their own sakes.)

Both genders are equally sinful, equally capable of hurting […]

By |December 11th, 2014|dating|3 Comments

World Split Open Releases TODAY on Kindle & Paperback!

I’m so excited to re-release World Split Open after hearing from many who didn’t get their copy the first time around.

I was told by a trusted and respected industry insider that World Split Open was, basically, too raw for the Christian market and too Jesus-y for the secular market.  (Hmmm…sounds a bit like my life.)  But I believed in the both the raw-ness and the Jesus-y-ness of the story too much to water down any of it. So it’s coming to you as is.

Here’s what some readers are saying about World Split Open:

“Too many Christian women are being crushed under the weight of their secrets that they just can’t share. World Split Open is here to free women from the lie that they are alone. Through the fictional account of Jules, we see that an imperfect life, when placed in Jesus’ hands, will be redeemed. Jules refuses to be crushed by the weight of her family’s sin and shows readers where their hope comes from in realistic and life-giving steps. This is a book about the truth, the challenges of telling the truth, living the truth and ultimately being freed by the truth.” -Erika

“World Split Open has all of the authentic elements of a great story: dramatic relationships, conflict, and one woman’s quest for a whole marriage. This is not your mama’s fiction.” -Julie

“In World Split Open, Elisabeth Klein doesn’t gloss over the pain or the heartache of a difficult marriage. I appreciated that Jules isn’t completely healed by the end. She’s definitely on her way up, but she hasn’t arrived. I’m thankful Elisabeth left it slightly messy. Do we ever truly arrive at complete healing?”  -Brenda

“I loved World Split Open. It was very realistic. The ending was very unexpected, […]

How Do You Know When You Love Someone

Someone recently asked me how you know when you love someone.  I jokingly told her to go read my blog. Not helpful, especially as it turns out, I haven’t tried to answer this question before.  Because this question is different than how do you know if he’s the one.  That’s a farther-down-the-road question.  You can love someone before knowing if this person is “the one” or not.  (Not that I believe there is a “the one”, as I already touched on. Anyway…)

So, sweet one who is dating someone new, you asked how you can know if you love someone. My gut instinct was to tell you “you just know”. But that’s not very, ummm, specific.  I haven’t loved that many men in my lifetime but I can only go by what I know.  So, here’s how I know I love Tall-Shadow, in no particular order. (And let me be clear that all this could very well be different for every person.)

I would rather be with him than not be with him. This is especially big for me because I’m a flaming introvert to the nth degree. There are very few people I want to be with for an extended period of time. Not because I’m a snob but simply because I just crave alone time. But not once have I wanted our dates to end. And our dates sometimes last, like, fourteen hours.
I like who I am more now that he’s in my life. He makes me a better, softer, calmer version of myself. I’m not defensive all the time. I don’t have anything to prove. I’m not emotionally flinching. I am just one hundred percent me, but a little nicer.
I think he’s just one […]

By |December 8th, 2014|dating|4 Comments

What I’m Doing Differently in My Relationship

There are so many things that I’m doing differently in this relationship with Tall-Shadow compared to my marriage that I’m practically not even the same woman. He wouldn’t recognize the wife that I was.  (Thankfully.)

But I wanted to share the two main areas that I am handling differently, and they may surprise you.

First, I’m not taking any crap.  (I so wish this weren’t a Rated-PG blog because I want to phrase that sentence another way pretty badly. But I won’t. Anyway.)  Now, this implies that Tall-Shadow doesn’t treat me well and I’m having to constantly fight it back and keep it at bay.  To be clear: he treats me amazingly well.  In fact, the closest we get to me “not taking crap” is when he’ll occasionally say something that I completely misconstrue, I then get defensive which leads to me doing my Oprah/z-snap/oh-no-you-di-int thing, at which point he kindly says it’s not what he meant, and then I apologize.

But even this is my point.  Because the old Beth would’ve gotten defensive deep down inside. And would have cried. Or held it in. Or journaled about it. Or told a friend. BUT THEN DONE NOTHING. AND TAKEN IT. AND DONE WHATEVER I WAS TOLD TO DO. OR ACCEPTED THE NAME I WAS CALLED DEEP DOWN INSIDE MY HEART. OR YELLED WHICH GOT ME NOWHERE. Or any manner of combination of unhealthiness.

But now, if I even think I catch a whiff of being told what to do or even a differing opinion (heaven forbid), the claws come out. (Yes, I have perhaps swung to the other end of the spectrum, poor Tall-Shadow. I’m working on it. Thankfully, he is so kind, patient and gentle with […]

Modern Family

My daughter told me that she loves having dinner at her friends’ houses because she craves being around normal families.

Ouch.

She didn’t say this to be mean, and in fact, the moment she saw me wince, she said she was sorry and she hadn’t meant to hurt me.

I was immediately defensive, thinking these thoughts simultaneously:

I’m trying!

and

I suck.

and

What’s a normal family anyway??

After she walked away, I sat with all that a bit.

First of all, yes, I have been trying these past few years to bring calm into our chaos. And right now, we have so much less crazy than we used to have. Our home is a place of peace. And we’re all grateful.

And yes, sometimes, I suck as a mom. But I sometimes sucked as a mom when I was married too. And I think all moms suck sometimes. (No offense.)

And lastly, no family is normal, and her small tastes of an hour here and there with random families aren’t the complete picture (though I am grateful that she is getting to experience different families and their rhythms and rituals).

But then I realized this: I get it. I totally get where she’s coming from. I, too, am a child of divorce. I, too, craved normalcy.

And when she meant she craves normal, she only means one thing really: a mother and a father, married, who love each other and treat each other well, living under the same roof.

And she doesn’t have that. And that’s what families are supposed to be. And so when things in life happen to us that aren’t “supposed to” happen, something feels off.

A child dying. Cancer invading. Church splits. Friendships ending. Divorces and broken families. These things aren’t supposed to happen, and so when […]

My Relationship is Too Easy

I’m dating someone I get along with really well. As in, if I had to guesstimate, we get along like 98% of the time.

We have just enough conflict (and conflict is good, by the way) that I know we’re both not pretending to be people that we’re not and just enough conflict to know how we’d work it out, but we have so little of it that, as a former conflict-habitual-relationship sufferer and as a woman who used the phrase Matthew 18’d like a verb at her former church, it unnerves me just a tad.

As in, is it really supposed to be this easy? As in, something must be wrong with us; it just can’t be this easy. Caveat: to be clear…lest you all picture Tall-Shadow and me skipping through fields of wildflowers without a care in the world, we do still have our issues: distance, schedules, weather, and other outside obstacles that we’re up against. But thankfully, between us: easy.

So I was talking to a girlfriend about this, because that’s what girlfriends do. And she was telling me how she and her husband had each been in relationships that were rife with drama prior to meeting each other. And how when they started dating, they kind of looked at each other like, Umm, this is too easy. Aren’t we supposed to fight and stuff?

But then they realized that the “easy” was how it was supposed to be and that because of the ease, they were able to focus on other things, like enjoying each other and serving individually and together as a couple.

I’ve talked many times before about how my difficult marriage was my primary focus, no matter what I was doing during that […]

By |November 27th, 2014|dating|3 Comments

I’m Not Going to Change and You Can’t Make Me

You may think I’m about to talk about husbands who don’t do what you have been begging them to do, but I’m not. Mainly because you can’t make someone do what they don’t want to do.  Oh, and as I’ve said a bunch of times before, you’re not your husband’s Holy Spirit. Or mom.  So yeah.

But what I am going to talk about is the woman in a hard marriage who stays the woman in a hard marriage year after year, despite all her complaints.

Let me say upfront that what I’m not saying (and this should be obvious if you’ve read my blog for even five minutes) is that if you’re in a hard marriage and if you’re not happy and if you’ve got a list of complaints as long as your arm and if your husband is a complete jerk, that you should just up and leave the guy once and for all.

Umm, no. That’s not what I’m saying.

But what I am saying is this: you have options. In your pain and anger, you may not feel like you do, but you do, so let me lay them out for you.

Option #1: Keep doing everything the same way you’ve been doing it. Do not change. Do not look inward. Do not take responsibility for your part in your marriage’s current state. Do not course-correct. Do not take anyone’s advice. Do not ask for forgiveness. Do not make amends. Keep yelling. Keep crying. Keep complaining.

This is definitely one very viable option for you. And for some of you, you see it as the only option. And for some of you, and I don’t know why exactly, you will accept this as your plight and […]

Leaving Church

I spent almost nineteen years in the same church, what I often referred to as my second home. But then I got divorced and I felt it was time to leave.

My situation is not uncommon. I’ve heard time and time again of one or both spouses leaving their married church during or after their divorce, for a variety of reasons. But divorce or not, sometimes, people just need to move on.  There is no verse in the Bible that says you must find one church and stay there for a lifetime, though that of course can be a gift.

So if you find yourself contemplating leaving your church home, here are some thoughts.

Make sure you’re leaving for the right reasons. Only you can know if your motives are pure, so do not make this decision lightly or without prayer.  If there is something in your church that is really bothering you, you can decide whether to stay or leave by asking yourself these questions that I heard author/pastor Nancy Ortberg suggest:

Can you respectfully live with whatever the situation is? If not, can you respectfully affect change? If not, then respectfully go.

It can be scary. I honestly believed I would be at that same church my entire life. I saw no reason that could possibly come sweeping into my life that would make my leaving a necessity or desire.  I had lived out my adulthood there, had thousands upon thousands of memories there, had a sweet support system there, grew up and broke down and did some major healing there.  It was my other home, my family. The thought of no longer calling that place my church unmoored me.  The thought of looking around, let alone […]

By |November 20th, 2014|Church, faith, wholeness|2 Comments
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