Kari Trent Stageberg’s Story: Abuse, Divorce, Remarriage | The Life-Saving Divorce – FULL VERSION

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Kari Trent, the daughter of bestselling Christian marriage author Dr. John Trent, co-author of the book, THE BLESSING, ended up in an abusive marriage. Last year, she talked about it on a Focus on the Family broadcast. But you may not know the rest of the story. She filed for divorce (actually, she was granted an annulment) and 7 years later ended up remarrying.

Here she recounts the whole story. She talks about abuse, the long process of recovery, and finding a wonderful marriage partner.


01:00 – Kari tells her story of an abusive marriage, and how she didn’t know what abuse was. She did all the typical things: she tried harder, they went to counseling, but it didn’t help.

Then Kari tells the rest of the story. How she filed with an attorney. Despite initiating it, she felt devastated. Her husband refused to acknowledge the court ruling, claiming he had changed. She waivered but wanted to give it another chance.

06:38 – How can an abuse victim NOT KNOW they are being abused?

07:00 – The Abuse Cycle keeps us stuck: Honeymoon, Tension, Incident (often some sort of explosion)

08:00 – A family member gave her a book “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” by Patricia Evans (Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3u6K30H). But it took her more time to admit it was abuse.

09:10 – We find all kinds of reasons to stay. Maybe we doubt our memory of an incident, or we think that our love can overcome his jealousy or insecurity, or we just tell ourselves “I need to work on myself and become a better person.”

12:40 – They reconciled for several months. Her husband claimed to want to go back to church. At first, it was good, but then the toxic behavior started again.

13:30 – She kept all the problems secret from her parents. Her parents responded with balance: good boundaries.

15:45 – How to help a woman who is being abused, but stays with her abuser? Don’t pressure her or try to panic her.

19:10 – The fantastic letter Kari’s father wrote to her.

21:00 – Kari talks about her view of God’s love in the face of abuse. God opened the door and helped her get into a Christian community.

22:20 – Her father told her that abuse IS abandonment.

24:00 – Authors who do a good job on the topic of abuse and the Bible: Leslie Vernick (Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/32I3RMI) and June Hunt (Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/32I3RMI).

24:40 – God gave her a new life with an incredible husband and now a little boy.

25:40 – How to deal with the message that says your next marriage will fail too because you bring your own problems into the next relationship. Kari explains how she knew her new husband was emotionally healthy and safe.

32:00 – A healthy marriage as a healing experience.

33:10 – Kari talks about co-authoring the updated and expanded version of THE BLESSING, the best-seller her father wrote with Gary Smalley.

35:20 – John Trent’s blessing to his daughter, Kari: “It’s not where you have been; it’s where you are going.”

• Appropriate meaningful touch
• Spoken words
• Attach high value
• Picture a special future
• Genuine commitment

38:25– What if a woman’s parents give their future son-in-law their BLESSING, but later he ends up being an abuser or cheater? We’ve all been fooled by people at various points in our life, perhaps in our school or work.

40:00 – God heals and restores. God redeems our bad decisions. She had eloped with her first husband, but God gave her a gentle kind loving husband… and a wedding.

42:45 – God still has the blessing for you! You are not disqualified from being used by God. You may have to switch churches or friendships if people tell you you’re cursed.

43:50 – And she talks about her upcoming book. “The Merge for Marriage.” How to put your lives together in the early years of your marriage.

46:15 – Kari, what would you change in our churches about abuse? Churches need to know it’s happening in their church. Right now. About 1 in 4 highly religious couples: www.lifesavingdivorce.com/1in4. They need to have referrals to domestic violence experts and domestic violence shelters. The abuse is probably worse than what you’re being told. They cannot tell you if the abuser is in the same room. Another author Lundy Bancroft’s book “Why Does He Do That?” (Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/34dLY8X)

52:15 – Examples of emotional abuse.

52:50 – Child abuse must be reported. CPS will investigate for themselves. It doesn’t mean someone will automatically get into trouble.

54:00 – Focus on the Family – has not added abuse to their list of valid reasons for divorce. But Kari feels that FOTF cares about safety.

God has a redemptive story available to both spouses, whether they choose to listen or not.

How to connect with Kari:

Facebook & Instagram: Kari Trent Stageberg
Coaching: www.karitrent.com
Her Father and Her Ministry: https://www.strongfamilies.com/

Gretchen’s site: http://www.lifesavingdivorce.com


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