Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.
by Defendant Rising
On my wedding day, I embraced a new religion. I marched up the aisle on my father’s arm, in a white lace gown with monstrous leg-o-mutton sleeves—very fitting for a lamb going to the slaughter.
No bride was ever more madly in love, or more giddily romantic, or more enraptured with her white church wedding. It was my greatest accomplishment; it was my reward from God for being virtuous and pure. Saying vows that I wrote myself, I outdid every right-wing, anti-feminist bride on earth. I promised to obey and submit and never speak a word against my husband until either I was dead or he was—but I think I phrased it more poetically than that. Then I walked up to the altar and took the symbolic body and blood of Christ directly from the hand of Nate Willoughby, while my own pastor, and my beloved Granddaddy who was also a pastor, stepped aside. My mother, who later became a pastor herself, told me it was “a little weird.”
She had no idea.
Something was saying “weird” to me on my honeymoon. There were forecasts of bizarre on the horizon, but a 23-year-old virgin wouldn’t know from bizarre, now would she?
It was weird that from day one, Nate would not have sex after dark. Or without immediately showering afterwards. It was weird that I could not initiate sexual contact—it always had to be his idea. I tried seduction, the day after I married him. I had some inkling from TV or the movies that if a new bride on her honeymoon put on a racy little red-and-black number and emerged from a hotel bathroom, her husband would. . . smile? Make passionate love to her? Say, “You look [insert flattering adjective here]”?
Nate looked blank. He looked through me and said, in a voice colder than Christmas in Siberia, “That’s not the kind of lingeré I like.”