After Dale returned from Brazil, he was not the same man. He hardly interacted with me or the children. He stopped sleeping with me, preferring the living room couch over our bed. He stopped praying with me which was something we did together every morning before we left our bedroom for at least 15 years. He stopped interacting with me on almost every level. He would go for long “prayer walks” every evening often returning after I had gone to bed. He would lay on his face on the floor for 2 hours in the morning and read his bible and pray.
Sometimes, after his morning quiet time, he would come get in the bed with me to “cuddle”. I felt like he was throwing me an old bone. As if I should be satisfied and thankful that he was willing to get in the bed with me for 10 minutes. I was desperate for his affection and attention. After we had been apart for those 3 months, I looked forward to the renewal of physical intimacy between us. However, when it finally happened, I remember looking at him and he was looking out the window as if he was just hoping it would end soon. I liken the whole experience to him having an affair…with God.
He abandoned his marriage relationship in every area. I was distraught. I tried everything I could think of to woo him back to the relationship. He wasn’t going to divorce me. He would never consider that. But he divorced me emotionally, physically and spiritually. He just didn’t leave. I felt like a used up Kleenex that he just stuck into the bottom of his pocket and forgot about.
Earlier I mentioned a revelation that he said God had given him in Brazil. He told me flat out that he believed that God had plans for him in Brazil and he didn’t think they included me. I was floored. “God doesn’t work like that in Christian marriage”, I told him. “You are listening to demons, you are being deceived by Satan.” I told him these things and he refused to hear me. He drifted farther and farther away and I was clueless as to what to do to bring him back. I prayed and cried and talked to godly Christian friends of mine. Other quiverfull wives who seemed to live life in the same circle that I did. Yet few, if any of them were being denied the right to be themselves. Few were being treated as the child of their husband. None were being threatened with the misery that I was daily walking in because their husband, their spiritual head was hearing from God anew and now everything they had ever believed was being thrown away.
My husband sat all the children and me down one day and said that he didn’t care one bit about anything on this earth. He said it was all going to burn ( a reference to the end of time when God supposedly destroys the earth with fire) and he didn’t care. All he cared about was knowing God better. He would quote the verse in Luke which commands the followers of Jesus to hate their relatives (wives are specifically mentioned) and follow Christ. Otherwise they are not worthy to be Jesus’ disciple. How I grew to hate that verse. It was as if the bible was giving him justification to hate me. Justification to abandon me in every way. And yet he continued to say that he was a godly Christian man who loved Jesus with all his heart.
I was so confused and hurt and angry. I had always let Dale do my thinking for me. He was “god” to me. I let him interpret the word of God for me because I could never seem to win any arguments with him over interpretation. He was more learned that me, more eloquent, smarter and a better Christian by far. I saw him this way. I was so young and impressionable when we met. I almost worshiped him. And I hated and resented him as well. I knew inside that I was getting ripped off but I didn’t think there was any way out. I was trapped. Trapped by my culture, my faith, my little children who needed me. I was trapped by my marriage and my lack of education. I had given up my college education for this man. I had stayed home and cared for our children one after another. When Dale turned his back on me, I felt as if God himself had turned his back on me. I always trusted and believed what ever Dale told me God was telling him. Yet now it was too far off the mark for me to swallow. If God really loved me, why in the world was he telling my husband to desert me? Why was he(God) ruining my marriage?
I am a talker. I have to talk about stuff to process it. I talked to some of my friends about all this stuff that was happening. I talked to my former pastor, the man who had married us and encouraged us to have as many kids as we could, the man who was like a father to me. He thought Dale was wrong and being deceived. He was sad to see me suffering so. He couldn’t help me other than to encourage me to “keep on keeping on”.
I felt like a worthless, fat, ugly, unnecessary person that my husband was just tolerating. I had never experienced rejection like this in my life. I was always a very popular girl in school. My husband, however, was the class nerd. He was the guy everyone beat up on the way home from school. He was used to rejection. It was a part of his everyday life growing up. When he rejected me, I felt like he had jerked the rug out from under me. I had no previous experience to draw from to figure out how to deal with this. I know I have said this before but I must repeat it again…I was devastated.
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