I’m going to jump back a bit in time, 21 years ago I was 11 days from getting married. I don’t remember it as good memories or feelings at all. In fact, I was already questioning the wisdom – but was too embarrassed (& stubborn?) to admit my parents might be right. I didn’t give my parents much input into my life at the time. After all, I was 22….I wasn’t a rebellious teenager while living at home, and I’d been out of their house for three years. <-this qualified me to know what I was doing, right?
I was raised with the belief marriage is for life. I still believe this….
except when it’s not.
We “dated” for four years, I thought I knew him. We taught Sunday School together, were in various small groups at church, and helped before/after with set up/take down for every service. Our church family thought we were on the “right track”. We both had jobs, we both had our own place. We went through pre-marriage counseling. We talked about finances. We had hard discussions. According to church leadership, we did everything “right”. It used to be I didn’t allow for the possibility of marriage being less than a lifetime commitment.
Jump ahead a few days, to seven days prior: the church we’d attended for three years closed its doors. This seemed like just an odd bit of crazy to throw into the mix. I didn’t have a large wedding plan, but no church was an interesting twist. The next four days were bit crazy. On top of this, we were both moving out of our places because we were moving out of the State just two days after the wedding date.
Day of: our wedding day was not fun. it was not even a bit enjoyable. It was full of crazy stresses – such as morning/afternoon of – we cleaned the church we were getting married in; crazy freezing rain storm; and he didn’t show up at the church building until over an hour AFTER the wedding was supposed to have started. I was told to not wear my watch, I was in a room with no clock, with his mom & sister – I had no idea what time it was. To be totally honest, I didn’t even know he wasn’t in the building. Can you say weird crazy?
Two days later – was the first time I was afraid of him & poor decisions. … He was done being charming. He wanted to get out of the State ASAP. Even though it meant leaving in the middle of the night amidst yet another crazy freezing rain storm on treacherous, icy roads through mountain passes – without winter tires. In case you don’t know, there is only one road in & out of Alaska. Gas stations close after September for the winter. It is not a road to taken lightly.
I chalked it up to too much emotional upheaval the week prior, and thus began my enabling & excuses.
Rationalizing in my head.
Trying to make sense of what shouldn’t make sense.
I believed this was just a “hardship” of learning to live together.
So often, when there is emotional and/or verbal abuse, the abused feels as if they are “going crazy” or they’re being “mean” to expect […]. These thoughts are usually confirmed by the abuser in action and with words. After all, “it’s just in your head” or “you just don’t understand” or “you don’t know what I think”.
“it’s just in your head” – worries are typically totally in our own head. Think about how many times you’ve process through the death of a family member because you heard/saw a siren and lights – whether your family member was in the area or not; whether your family member was still at home or not.
“you just don’t understand” – this is so true. There are so many things I don’t understand. So many times I’ve misunderstood another persons actions or words.
“you don’t know what I think/feel” – again, this is true. I don’t know what another person thinks or feels. I can only know what someone wants me to know – sometimes indirectly, you can learn what someone is thinking or feeling with them being away…but usually you’re really only reading body language – how they act out their thoughts/feelings.
All of these statements can be good, right & true in absolute love, and when someone cares for another they are good to talk through…but when one person is over-running another person in any relationship, this is not healthy. I don’t write these things to be controversial or even to make it seem as if I somehow condone staying in a dangerous situation or even walking out of a marriage. I simply state these thoughts to help shed light on “why do they stay?”.
Please, if you or someone you know needs help – get the help needed. A trusted option – contact Focus on the Family. It is important to get Godly counsel, when you’ve been hurt and it’s time to heal, it’s too easy to be further swayed. Make sure the help you get is actually going to help, aligning Biblically with what is in Scripture. Each situation is unique.