Sometimes the explanation given to us for WHY THIS IS HAPPENING is JUST not a good enough reason. It makes us keep asking, seeking, looking for that perfect thing that makes perfect sense. But what if we had it the WHOLE time, just didn’t realize it?

When I look back over my journals, especially my promise journal which I kept specifically for any words God directly spoke to me about what was going on, I often found just ONE WORD explanations. 

I would ask God about why my spouse was reacting, behaving, choosing something. Why he felt the way he felt. Why he was believing the way he was believing. And God would give me these quick, simple answers.

  • pride
  • shame
  • guilt
  • hard heart
  • deflection
  • lust
  • condemnation
  • bitterness
  • jealousy
  • resentments

These answers NEVER satisfied me. I wanted more. Especially in the beginning. It was not until near the end of my seven-year storm did I start to come to understand, while these words are just simple words, they are not a simple description, nor do they come close to explaining the depth of destruction they can bring.

These words are descriptions of places of bondages, strongholds, and snares that our spouse can become trapped in, and they are not weak and powerless places either.

I stopped looking for better explanations about these “words” when I started to really learn how each of these “words”  created a stronghold in my spouse and how that stronghold worked.

We have grown up hearing many of these words used but may have never come to understand the fullness of what they mean, what they actually do to a human ensnared by them. We have come to underappreciate, and underestimate how destructive they are.

That is why I went looking for a better explanation. I just could not accept that a hard heart, lust, guilt, shame, condemnation, rebellion, and pride could be THAT powerful to have caused my trustworthy, loving, loyal, faithful, amazing husband to become the version of what I was seeing before me. It just did not make sense.

I think what helped me come to accept and regard these strongholds over my husband’s life as the powerful snares they were, was when I started to desperately seek my own strongholds. The refuge and strongholds of the Lord to help me escape the torment of what had become my life.

I had become so overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction of my husband’s life that I felt like I was losing my mind and it was literally destroying me from the inside out. I had 3 beautiful children during my storm and I could not even enjoy, cherish, or be in the moment to fully appreciate them. It was heartbreaking to be sitting there alone cuddling my newborn and have my mind overcome with grief and many times anger and resentments at my husband because it was 3 am and I had no clue where he was.

I became so tired of being tired. Tired of being in pain. Tired of being angry. And TIRED of hearing God say “TRUST ME.” I wanted more. I needed more to escape the pain. 

So I looked to the Word and to a book my mom gave me. It had “solutions” through scripture for many things. You looked up ailments you had like pain, anger, anxiety, bitterness, and it gave a list of scriptures to read to help you through it.

As I opened this book and the Word, I had come to the end of my witts and was desperate to try it. I needed something that would work, because nothing had been working for me. So I dug in to find a way out of the torment. 

And it worked. But it ONLY worked when I worked it. This is really important to grasp. 

In order for me to obtain the peace and freedom from the torment, I had to do the work and put in the effort to make my mind choose something other than what it had been choosing. Instead of dwelling on the latest bit of news I had just heard about my husband or trying to analyze the behavior I had seen, I had to chose to let it go and meditate on the scriptures and what they told me to do to give me what they promised. Every scripture seemed to always point me in a direction that said I had to do the same things so I could get this miraculous outcome of peace, rest, security that I was so desperately looking for.

 I will share those scriptures in the end. But first I want to tell you, that as a new stander, I didn’t want that miracle of peace. I was not ready yet because I was still in the “I got this, I can fix this, I can find a way to save my marriage and change my husband.” God still spoke direction and truth to me, but I was not ready to hear, embrace, accept it because I had to try my own thing first. This right here is EXACTLY what happens with our spouses that are on a quest to fix something that is broken. They are not able to hear someone else’s direction because they got this, they got a plan and a path they are choosing to take to fix what they know is broken and messed up and turn it around to become what they want. They are going to rely on what they have most likely always relied on, themselves. For those that are believers and knew they needed to turn and trust the Lord, they may have walked away in rebellion after becoming angry and frustrated with how God was managing their life.

Just about every Stander knows how hard they have tried to get their spouse to listen and was met with opposition to what they have said. This was true for me. God was met with intense opposition from me when I read those scriptures in the begging that were giving me direction to trust Him, rely on Him, rest in Him. NONE of that is what I wanted to hear or do. I wanted to read directions on how to get my spouse out of the snare and back to normal. I wanted to know how to wake him up. But when I went to God and asked Him for help, I got those darn ONE WORD explanations that I didn’t really want to hear. 

“God, why?”
“It’s pride.” He said.
“Ok, what do I do?”
“Trust Me!”


“God, how can he do this?”
“It’s shame.” He said.
“Ok, what do I do?”
“Trust Me!”

And this was how it went. Always with the “Trust Me!” that honestly was NOT the words I wanted to hear and wanted to scream and run away pulling my hair out. But guess what. Those words are the words I now live by. Words that are water to my soul and words that transport me from one place instantly to another.

The words that I once hated and resented, have become my posture, my attitude, my ATMOSPHERE that keeps me SANE! 

I didn’t come to appreciate fully those words until I had experienced fully what life was like not trusting Him. Only when I came to the end of trusting myself, my choices on how to wake up my spouse and reaped the rewards of that did I come to fully understand what trusting God was going to do for my soul.

This is also the very place your spouse is in. Right now, they are doing everything in their power to make their lives work. They are working so hard to get it right. To fix what they believe is the reason they feel so lost, broken, angry, resentful. Whatever they come up with as a reason for their agony, THEY are doing it themselves. Yes, they have the support of someone else which makes it easier. Together they are conspiring to have a better life and be happy, fulfilled, at peace. And if that means placing the blame fully on you, that is what they will do. 

For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.Galatians 6:8 AMPC

Just as Standers need to come to full exhaustion from reaping over and over what they have been sowing in the flesh, your lost spouse will too. God knows this and is patient to wait for them to come to full depletion. I watched this in my own life and with my spouse. I came to feel the full weight of my own efforts around the same time my husband did. We both had been trying with everything we had to make what we wanted to come to pass, and were reaping very heavy loads that didn’t give us the fruit that we wanted.

It’s through that that we both came to full surrender and found only one option left to try. Forced to surrender and trust Him. Forced to rely on Him. Forced to say “Not my will but Yours.” And then only one thing left to do. Be at peace with that surrender. 

That is where I find myself today. Living in the peace that comes when I surrender with the knowledge that I am powerless to make someone do something they are not ready to do yet, and fully accept and understand the process of being patient as God is patient to wait for the person to exhaust themselves. Remember, When Jesus came to Paul in a bright light, the first thing He stated was that Paul must be tired from kicking against the goads. (Acts 9:5 KJV) God waits for people to become exhausted from not prospering in their own efforts!

13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:13-16

So, this can of worms I opened has become much larger than I realized. But it’s raw honest truth. There is a process that God takes us through for us to come to learn what is needed to endure this journey. And that is what it’s about for both you and your spouse. Learning what works and what doesn’t work. Learning that strongholds are snares for the enemy OR a place of rest and refuge for the Believer. 

So let’s get back to that. Our spouses are stuck in strongholds of shame, pride, lust, ect. And we can get sucked into that pit of despair and pain with them until we learn to give up our efforts to change them and want to create our own stronghold of security and peace in the Lord.

 How do you create a stronghold in the Lord? 

First, you must come to the END of yourself and trying to make sense of things, and just be okay with God. You must come to the END of needing to know everything and why it’s happening. You need to come to where God says “Trust me” and instead of those words making you want to scream, those words bring release, joy, peace because YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS and the burden of responsibility falls off you and is placed on Someone much more cable than you are!

You have to do the WORK. It’s not easy going against yourself, standing up to your fears, worries, anger, frustration, and saying “NO, I am choosing THIS DAY to put my trust, hope, faith in You God. Not what I think, see, feel, or am told by others.” 

And you have to make the choice to believe. Believe above what you are currently feeling is the absolute truth. Choosing to believe what you don’t see and stop believing in what you are seeing. That is a very hard thing for us because we have learned to live, walk, believe in what is right in front of us. But the Christian way is be set apart from this. That is what makes us UNIQUE children of God set apart from the norm. 

So, what are those scriptures that I was talking about? These are the scriptures that help us make choices to create a new place of escape once we come to learn that He will keep His promise if we do the work. 

Isaiah 26:3“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

Isaiah 27:5 let him (Israel) cling to My strength and rely on My protection [My stronghold], Let him make peace with Me, Let him make peace with Me.

Psalm 91:1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].

Psalm 31:19How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who [reverently] fear You, Which You have prepared for those who take refuge in You,

Before the sons of man! 20In the secret place of Your presence You hide them from the plots and conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter (pavilion) from the strife of tongues.

Psalm 40:4 Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who makes the LORD his trust, And does not regard the proud nor those who lapse into lies.

May God strengthen you and help you find your refuge in Him as you do the work needed to trust and rely on Him as you combat the lies that try to make you believe otherwise.

Standing with you,
Sheila Hollinger


IF our ministry has blessed you, and you want to SOW in faith into marriage restoration and the work God is doing, would you consider GIVING?
Ebooks & Magazines
Email Newsletter
FB support group,
ZOOM meetings and Classes

(~Marriage Revealed Ministries Inc. is committed to helping bring healing and restoration to couples who are struggling in their marriage. We do this through the revelation of Who God is and His heart and design for marriage which never intends abuse in any form. If you suspect abuse in your relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit them online at