Author Leslie Vernick, a licensed clinical social worker and relationship coach, has worked for more than 30 years helping individuals, couples and families rebuild and grow their relationships. In her newest text, THE EMOTIONALLY DESTRUCTIVE MARRIAGE, Vernick guides women through the common mistakes and unbiblical thinking that has so many suffering silently. She engages her audience with sound biblical truth and practical means to address even the most problematic areas within their marriage.
Though Vernick could be addressing both men and women, she chooses to focus on helping women suffering within the confines of abusive marriages. She has laid out her text in three parts. In “Part 1: Seeing Your Marriage Clearly,” readers will better understand if they are in a destructive marriage; learn the three essential ingredients necessary to a thriving relationship; recognize the five patterns that destroy relationships and damage people; and discover where God is in this painful place.
"Vernick’s commitment to marriage is evident throughout every chapter, and she always encourages women to work on repairing their marriage with wise and prudent steps before giving up."
“Part 2: Change Begins with You” will find readers zeroing in on specific principles for making lasting changes within themselves; understanding how trying harder becomes destructive; how to build your core of inner strength; and making wise plans to confront a spouse who is abusive. In “Part 3: Initiating Changes in Your Marriage,” women will learn how to speak up in love and stand up against the destruction; determine next steps when there is no obvious change; identify necessary changes for a marriage to heal; and restore the destructive marriage.
Each and every chapter is replete with real life stories of women who have faced emotional suffering and abuse within their marriage relationship. Vernick shares the conversations she has had with them and gently leads them to reflect upon their situations from a new and truthful vantage point. Once women see the damage being done against them (and their children) and how they aren’t living out their purpose as brave and courageous helpmates to their spouses, Vernick offers the steps to change.
Not only does Vernick help women identify abuse as it occurs, she also shows them why it is biblically wrong to allow such abuse to continue. With gentle care and strong biblical admonition, she supplies everything women need to be equipped to take steps to free themselves (and their children) from the clutches of abuse. Even the most dismal relationships can be healed when women first stop the cycle of abuse as outlined throughout this resource and their spouses begin to make change as well.
Vernick’s commitment to marriage is evident throughout every chapter, and she always encourages women to work on repairing their marriage with wise and prudent steps before giving up. Given the subject matter, Vernick’s text could be construed as difficult and dismal reading; it is not. In fact, her skill at turning even the most horrendous situation into something God can transform into something beautiful will encourage and hearten every reader who opens this book and studies its contents.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on September 19, 2013