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June 26, 2013

What Kind Of Legacy Are You Building?


Woman Smiling

This weekend my father and step-mother celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. My siblings and step-siblings had a party to honor them and the legacy they have left us. We became a blended family in 1963 when there was no word in our culture to describe two divorced single parents trying to merge as one family unit. There were no books, manuals or videos on how to blend families or how to be a smart step mom or dad.

Yet we made it through. Our family is intact, and together all of my siblings and I honored a mom and a dad who loved God enough and loved us enough to work hard to glean every ounce of wisdom they could from God’s word. Their work was tireless, uncompensated and often unappreciated and unrecognized. Yet their reward is priceless.

Whether or not you want to or even realize it, you are building a legacy that will impact and affect later generations. How will your grown children describe your marriage, family life and home atmosphere? Will they remember mostly kindness, mercy and love sprinkled with lots of laughter or will rule-keeping, strict adherence to family or biblical beliefs and blind obedience to authority fill their memories? Sadly, some will only remember guilt trips, cruelty, indifference, abandonment and abuse.

A fiftieth anniversary is always a time for celebration, but it’s also time for personal reflection. How am I doing in my marriage and family? What needs to grow? What needs to go? Here are four things you can do to build the legacy you want.

Be Reflective:  Most people do not take the time to think about what kind of legacy they are building or the kind of legacy they want to leave. They just live without pressing pause to reflect on their choices, behaviors or the direction they’re heading. If you never stop and ask yourself the question Am I living on purpose and with purpose, you will probably miss both. It’s too easy to allow the busyness of life to zap all of our time and energy. Take some time to slow down and evaluate your closest relationships and your character. Ask others how they see things too.

Be Intentional:  If we get lost while driving, we must be intentional if we want to find our way out in order to move toward our destination. We can pull out a map, program our GPS or call someone for help. In the same way, things that are broken or not working well don’t fix themselves. If there are some things in your marriage or family life that need attention, rejuvenation or repair, be intentional. Do the work, make them a priority, and set some goals.

Be Teachable:  My parents didn’t have a lot of materials on step-parenting or blended marriage, but they were good learners and willing to receive feedback, even from their children. No one is so wise or smart that they don’t have something to learn. If things aren’t going the way you’d like, ask for help, go to a conference, pick up a book, or scour the internet for practical and wise help to be the kind of parent or partner you want to be.

Be Quick to Apologize and Make Amends:  Every family contains sinners who sin against one another (James 3:2). Therefore, all relationships require regular repair. Sincerely apologize, seek forgiveness and make amends when you’re wrong so that the person you’ve hurt sees your repentance and desire for reconciliation.

These four steps take discipline and may seem difficult at first, but you can either live with the pain of discipline or you will live with the pain of regret. Proverbs warns us, “At the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!  I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin.” Proverbs 5:14

Friends, choose life and live.

P.S. I want to warmly welcome ALL new subscribers who have joined our community since last month! You are going to love the resources you find to help you grow. I'm thrilled to have you here!

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Leslie Answers Your Questions

Our Marriage Counselor Isn’t Helping. Help!

Question:  My husband and I have been going to counseling for several months now. The man who is counseling us doesn't help a whole lot. He is a Christian and is a doctor; however he uses very little scripture to help us. He mostly tells us stories about his life and his family. He has helped us in a small way.

Our problems are various and too many to begin to type in this brief email. I cannot afford your fee, but any free advice or some direction to any free info would be helpful. We have been married nearly 29 years on July 1. My husband is a good man but is controlling, and manipulates. He does not see it nor does he agree that he does this on purpose. For all of these years, I have sat and listened to him and eventually would "agree" with him on things because it saves the peace. We also have 9 children most of whom are grown now. One major issue is that my husband feels that our grown kids are not spiritually mature. However, ALL of our close friends who have been involved with our family for many years do not agree. My husband crushes our kids and me with his words. He has gotten better these past 6 months. He believes that the boys are free to go and do what God leads them at age 20, but the girls are to stay home until married. They would like to do that, but he is so oppressive and has done many deceitful things in their lives that he feels were right but they do not, neither do I. As a result of this turmoil, 4 kids are out of the house--two sons and two daughters.

I know that this is not much information but I need direction.

Answer:  First let me applaud you for wanting to do things differently as, if you’ve read much of my writing, change begins with you. You have been an accommodating peacekeeper most of your married life and realize that it has only enabled and empowered your husband’s blindness to his control, manipulation and verbal abuse.

Something has brought these things to the surface (although you did not tell me what) as you’re both in counseling and you say he’s gotten better over the last six months. So whatever it was that began to get his attention, you must continue. You also said that the counseling has been helpful a little bit. What specifically did the counselor do or say that you found helpful?

I can’t answer your questions specifically, but I do want to give you some direction and a couple of things to think about based on what you did say.

First, you’re falling into the same role with your counselor as you did with your husband. You’re being a passive accommodator. You’re not happy with the counseling you’ve been receiving yet you have not spoken up and said “this approach is not working for me.”


Add your (or view other) comments to Leslie's answer to this question by clicking the link below.


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What kind of legacy are you building?


Coaching Spots Available



Coming Soon! You will be able to find me on Pinterest!



The Smart Stepmom Book by Ron L. Deal and Laura Petherbridge. Plus see the winner of the previous give away!



Our Marriage Counselor Isn’t Helping. Help!


For more information on Leslie's coaching program, please click below.

Leslie Vernick Coaching Programs



I'm excited to announce that I'm currently in the process of building a Pinterest Board! Here you will find pictures, inspirational quotes, tips, etc. on Emotionally Destructive Relationships as well as other topics related to my ministry.

Watch for the link in the next newsletter.



The Smart Stepmom

The Smart Stepmom

Book by Ron L. Deal and Laura Petherbridge


The stepmother's role often is ambiguous and underappreciated, and frequently it carries unrealistic expectations. The book answers women's concerns and questions, including: How can I be a caretaker and a key emotional connector in the family if the children don't accept my influence? How should I cope with children who are confused about their family and torn between loyalty to their biological mother and me? When should I step back in conflicts and when should I insist that my husband stand up for me? In addition, it addresses the spiritual and emotional climate of the home, providing perspective and guidelines to help stepmothers and their families thrive.

Just email your name to assistant@leslievernick.com by midnight Friday, June 28th for a chance to win one of two copies!

Congratulations to Beth R. of Bushnell, FL and Joanne S. of Kentwood, MI winners of the The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness Book by Suzanne Eller.



Jun 29  Excellent Living presents... The Winsome Woman, The Smith Center, McLean, VA

Jun 30  Speaking at Loudoun Bible Church (Morning Service - 10:00 AM), Stone Bridge High School, 43100 Hay Road, Ashburn, VA 20147


Aug 10  CareNet Women's Ministry Share Fair, Schuylkill Country Club, Schuylkill County, PA


Sep 11-14  AACC Conference, Nashville, TN


Oct 4-5  The Bible Chapel Women's Retreat, McMurray, PA

Oct 22  AACC Webinar on “Counseling Strategies That Work for the Emotionally Destructive Marriage” 6 to 8pm


Nov 23  Domestic Violence Conference, First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Glenarden, MD (Open to the Public)

Nov 29-Dec 1  Singles Conference at America’s Keswick, Whiting, NJ


Dec 1  Singles Conference at America’s Keswick, Whiting, NJ

Invite Leslie to speak at one of your events.
Call us at 1-877-837-7931
leslie@leslievernick.com or
visit www.leslievernick.com



"I really appreciate the common sense, biblical approach Leslie has in coaching. It's been life changing for me! I look at life and my marriage through a different set of glasses now, a much healthier set. I came from a dysfunctional family and have had a pretty dysfunctional marriage--now it's healthier because of this coaching experience. I feel refreshed after talking to Leslie. It's like the struggles of life get the "lense" of my life cloudy and after talking with Leslie--I see better!"

— Better in NC


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Send your questions about dealing with difficult people, stress, or relationship issues to:


Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.