In November of 2008, I married a man I had known for five months. I had fallen head over heels in love with him and he with me. Though he was missing the number one item on my list of what I wanted in my husband, I blindly believed he was my dream come true and that we were going to live our happily-ever-after life together.
Though while we had dated he had been everything a gentleman should be, things quickly took a turn for the worse the following January. He began instigating fights and exploding at me for any and every reason, often issues that I was completely unaware of. He would tell me that I was to blame, and I needed to change. It took me aback. I was flabbergasted, as this started happening every one to two weeks. No guy had ever attacked my character in so many ways, in such a short time. I had no idea how to react and how to navigate the situation. When I tried to defend myself, the fight only got worse.
Gradually, I began unravelling a series of lies he had told me or started to tell me. The fights only continued to get worse. He threatened that I did not want to see his anger at full force. I tried to get him to go to counseling to no avail. Finally, I separated from him. However, I returned two months later due to him getting in a major car accident and my conscience's need to be able to say I gave it one more try. This was just this past December.
During the month that I was living with him again, I uncovered more lies. But finally, things crossed the line of domestic violence. No, he did not directly hit me. However, one evening he grabbed me and, despite my struggling and tears, would not let me go until he had said what he wanted to say. At that point, I began making plans to leave for good. That absolutely crossed the line for me. It scared me and traumatized me to the point that I hardly let him touch me from that point forward.
Before I could leave, he once again exploded. This time, after screaming in my face and refusing to leave the bathroom so that I could proceed to get ready for work, he slammed the door and punched a hole in the door. After leaving the house and consulting with family and friends, I acquired a police escort to accompany me back to the home so that I could pack my things and leave town. A short time after returning home, I learned of his infidelity. After receiving a protection order against him and not being in contact with him anymore, He has since been the subject of multiple criminal investigations that have nothing to do with me.
I have realized several things through this experience. First, I think I was more in love with the idea of being in love and getting married than I was truly in love with this man. I did not know him well enough before we got married to truly have loved him for who he was. If I had known him for who he was, I would not have married him. Secondly, I realize there are huge blessings and benefits to being single. I realized that being single is much more wonderful than being married to the wrong man. I used to shudder at the words "single" or "singleness". I will never take being single for granted again. In fact, it's the ONLY thing I want to be right now.
Thirdly, it is of the utmost importance to make sure you truly know who you are marrying. Some truly deceptive men will still be able to get their abusive tendencies past you until you have already walked down the aisle. But I have no become a wholehearted endorser of making sure your future partner is emotionally and mentally healthy and balanced. To me, this means pre-marital counseling and psychological tests, personality tests, whatever your preference. I just know that if I ever consider getting married again in the future, that will be a requirement for the gentlemen wishing to ask my hand in marriage.
Of course, the number one lesson that God was trying to teach me the whole time was the value in being equally yoked with another believer, an issue I had been locked in a sin stronghold against for many years. This experience was the kick I needed to finally end that stronghold in my life and change me to a point where I will never be unequally yoked again. I have recommitted and surrendered my whole life to Christ in a way that I never have before.
Throughout the course of trying to resolve the issues within my marriage, I consulted many friends and professionals who share my faith, as it is the cornerstone of my life. I realized, eventually, that the only reasons I was still trying to save my marriage were religious conviction and obligation. There is a point when these things need to take a backseat to one's safety, however. As my mom put it (and please know that she was very emotional at the time, as I had just told her about the door punching incident) - "The hell with religious convictions, you get your butt outta there!!" Despite the fact that I had sinfully entered this marriage, however, the fear of God led me to not pursue divorce until it was biblical for me to do so, at the point of his infidelity.
I am also now and forever will be a life long advocate for victims of domestic abuse/violence. I hope to make consistent contributions to organizations working to stop these things from happening in any ways that I am able.
I am obviously not happy with the things that I have endured over the last year. I am very broken, and it will take time to put my life back together in an emotionally healthy and stable way, now that I have finally left an unsafe, unhealthy, and threatening environment. Luckily, I am surrounded by friends and family rushing to help me in that process, embracing me with loving arms, and ensuring that I am safe.
Would I say that I regret having married this man? Absolutely. But as a friend of mine likes to say, "From everything comes good." And the good from this experience is that I learned more lessons that I can count at the moment, and I am grateful for every single one of them. I think that they will prevent me from making the same or worse mistakes in the future. They might have been learned the hard way, but I know that I will be forever changed for the better by them.
I am writing this at this point for a few different reasons.
First, because I think everybody wants and dreams of happily-ever-after. And every girl when she gets married wants the world to see that she has the perfect happy marriage. So I did not want to provide indications that I had divorced my husband and have people wondering what went wrong and either thinking unkind things or speaking things behind my back. This is my official record of what happened, setting the record straight, and addressing the situation head on - leaving no room for whispers, gossip, or malicious talk. If there is any of that out there, that person's character is something they have to deal with, and it's not my problem.
Secondly, because I don't ever want someone else to have to go through what I went through. If my story can save only one person from heartbreak and a marriage filled with misery, then I will consider it worth having gone through.
Thirdly, I have always been a very open person when it comes to sharing my experiences. I have never hidden behind my story with shame, nor will I start to do that now. I realize some aspects of this story may be shameful. I married too fast, and I married an abusive man without realizing it before it was too late. Am I a little ashamed? Maybe. But not as proud as I am of the lessons I have learned and the person this experience will turn me into. And that is the least shameful thing of all.
Thank you all for reading. And to all my friends and family, thank you all for your endless and unconditional support and love. I would be nothing and nowhere without you guys, and I can't imagine my life without you. I am forever grateful for you and indebted to you, and I love you all with all my heart.