Dresses and dashed dreams…

Dresses and dashed dreams… March 12, 2009

by Laura

Dale and I had been married for 2 years when we had our first child. I was still very much of the mind that we should be responsible and have children when we saw fit. The idea of “letting God plan your family” seemed crazy to me. I mean, I was only 20 years old and I remember saying, “For crying out loud, if I did that, I would end up having 10 kids!!!” Actually, I have 11. The control issues started after the first few years of marriage. I remember my husband and I arguing over what kind of clothes I should wear. I mean the Bible does say in Deut. 22:5 “A woman shall not wear a man’s clothing”. I guess that meant that I was commanded to wear dresses. But I hated wearing dresses. Heck, I quit Brownies when I was a kid because I HAD to wear a dress. My young husband told me that he “couldn’t love me the way he wanted to” when I insisted on wearing pants! So I wore dresses. And I hated him for it. As time wore on, I got used to the dresses. They were really just over clothes that I wore over my leggings and shorts. Sort of like a full body apron. After we had a child, my mom wanted so badly to be a grandma to him. But we had our rules. She was NOT to take our son to her home to meet my other mom. It was as if my other mom was a non-person to be feared and despised and definitely stayed away from. I went along with all this and as time went on I really believed that by keeping my children away from their loving grandmothers, I was protecting them from evil. Who knew what these feminist, pro-choice women would say or do around my children. When my mom couldn’t stand it anymore and took our son to meet my other mom, we found out and that “privilege” was ended immediately.

Dale worked and his business grew and we saved money and we prayed and hoped for a piece of land of our own somewhere where we could raise our kids and not be influenced by “the world”. When our fist born was 5 years old, we found a farm in Nebraska and away we went. Dale had always had this dream of having a ranch where troubled kids could come and he could counsel them and help them find Jesus. I never wanted to take in a bunch of problem kids but being the dutiful wife, I followed along. That was my position, the follower. I didn’t dwell on the fact that my now husband had guilted me into giving up my financial aid and grants to go to college. That he had challenged me into marrying him, that he had driven an ever growing wedge between me and all my family. I didn’t dwell on the fact that my grandfather disowned me for following Dale’s god. I didn’t think about any of that stuff too much. In fact, I didn’t really think about anything at all. I let Dale, my “head” lead and interpret the bible and the sermons and all, for me. I let him follow after his dreams and my dreams of going to college, having a career as a singer/actress, going to Chile to visit high school exchange student friends and many other things died from disuse.

Laura’s Story:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

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9 responses to “Dresses and dashed dreams…”

  1. Laura, I so look forward to reading the next excerpt from your history. Know that you are beyond courageous for leaving that world! I was never a Quiverfull mother but grew up in evangelical, charismatic Christianity and now am atheist. So the lingo still makes me cringe from church, etc.But most importantly, thank you for your bravery and being true to your self in setting up this website. Your moms know you and even from the photo, I can see such love and ‘welcome back, Laura!’ in their eyes.Take good care, Stephanie

  2. God is love and that’s really all you have to know about it.Surely God loves you two and your honesty and bravery!Love,Fugi

  3. Hang in there both of you brave women. Hope you will post updates in Salon, as your story is amazing.

  4. I want to tell you that I am crying reading this. It is a travesty that you had been tricked into giving up your will, your everything into the control of a person who did not have your best interests in mind. Anyone who seeks to so control another never has their best interest in mind.I am praying for God to continue to show you that the Patriarchal quiverful movement is not His Way, and that His Way is freeing, empowering, encouraging and will help you to be the person God created you to be. hugs,tiro

  5. Reading about Dale (and so many others like him), the two words that come to mind are:American Taliban.

  6. Everyone who is commenting here is lauding Laura for being so brave to leave Dale, but that fact is, that Laura bears some responsibility also. She admits that when she married him she was being mindless – not thinking and therefore, not putting into words what was going wrong. This is not Biblical submission or helpmating. A helpmate is a helper to her husband in so many ways, and being a counselor, sounding board, giving a different perspective, calling him to grow in Christ, all those are her jobs, not just doing the physical work. Both Laura and Dale are sinners, just like all the rest of us. Both of them failed in their roles as spouses, both misconstrued the words of Scripture, so the picture Laura is painting is not accurate to what God has said. Laura, you are reacting to sin in Dale’s life, and in yours too, and you have projected that sin onto God falsely. You can find the truth and be free!

  7. Whatever Laura’s actions in the past, she IS brave and I think her honesty with herself about how she got into the situation is also brave. If I were her, I’d be sick of the self righteous preaching.

  8. Wow, that's just heartbreaking. Congrats on breaking away and I hope your kids grow up happy now that they're out of that environment.<3Lisa