Staying Together Damaged Me
[Guest Post by Anonymous – Today’s guest wishes to remain anonymous to protect the identity of her family. If you know of anyone who is suffering in silence in a marriage that is both damaging and abusive, please encourage them that they are not alone–and it’s okay to get help!]
Living together damaged me.
I can hear the traditionalists cheering and saying “Finally!” Hold those cheers ones of traditional leanings…you may not like what I have coming.
I have a history of doing the “right” thing. In high school I didn’t drink because I played sports, and the legal age for drinking was 21, not 15, 16, or 17.
I stayed pure because I wanted to save myself for my husband.
And really, even in college, I deemed no boyfriend worthy of all this fleshly goodness–and then I met my future husband, who also wanted to do the right thing.
It’s so hard being in your 20’s and not giving in to the wonders of the flesh.
Since I knew I was going to marry him–well, I’d saved myself long enough–I jumped in. We married a few months later and I really believed life would be my fairy tale–until I found myself divorced 17 years later.
Living together damaged me.
Staying together damaged me.
I previously said I had a history of doing the right thing.
I followed rules.
I ate right.
I took care of my physical body.
I made my husband breakfast every morning, and lunch, and dinner. I had sex with him even though exhaustion ravaged my body. I paid the bills, then when he deemed I couldn’t handle finances, I let him take over to the point of freezing me out of bank accounts. After all, that is what good wives did.
The right thing to do is to follow your husband’s lead.
I took care of the kids night and day. I got them to school or schooled them myself. I got a job—to help out the family. I served, or over-served, in my church. I spoke my husband up, even though I lived with a massive secret. I did all this because it was the right thing–the wifely thing to do.
And my sense of worth suffered.
I worked harder in ministry because I didn’t quite have it right. I cleaned the house every day because it needed to be just right. I kept all forms of kid fighting off the radar when daddy got home, because that was the right thing to do. I kept our fights, my bruises, the insults and harsh words a secret—all in the name of the right thing to do.
And then I cracked.
I fell apart.
I started throwing over the counter migraine medicine down my throat because all the right things had caught up to me and I realized how wrong I had been.
For years and years I stayed in an unhealthy situation, because I thought it was the right thing to do.
For years and years I cultivated a marriage, I lived together, in a situation where sin abounded and so many, many people got caught in its crossfire. For years and years I let unhealthy people walk all over me, believing it was the right thing to do.
And all the while, staying together was damaging me.
I grieve over the loss of my marriage.
I grieve over the loss of family.
I hate divorce, even though I am divorced.
But I celebrate in the broken pieces being renewed. I celebrate healthy living—not in the physical form, but in the mental, emotional and spiritual form. And I have come to this conclusion:
Sometimes, living together in the covenant of marriage can damage you, but living together outside the covenant of marriage will always leave its imperfect mark on the relationship.