When we last left Lori she was explaining about how horrible and contentious her early married years were. She really missed out because for myself and many other people I know that married for love those first few honeymoon years were wonderful. Not much fighting going on either. None of what she’s talked about so far bodes well for the long term survival of most marriages, except for those ones where people refuse to ever consider divorce, deciding that this is the hand that God dealt them so they must play the cards no matter how crumbled or fake they are.
The rest of this chapter starts off with Lori telling of their wedding and how life wasn’t any better afterward. In fact, she describes their first few years this way:
We experienced a rough couple of years.
Apparently after they said ‘I do’ the arguments increased and it wasn’t for any legitimate reasons either.
I didn’t think he was giving me the praise and attention I deserved. He also continued the poor eating habits he had before we were married.
That’s it, the two main points of contention in their honeymoon years. No praise and eating junk food. Which makes me think that neither of these people ever bothered to communicate their needs, desires or requirements before they married, when it would have been important in determining if they should have ever married in the first place. Talk, people, it’s not that hard! Open communication needs to be there from day one, with no sulking and pouting if the other party fails to read your mind.
Then the book goes on to talk about the birth of their children and how cheated, insecure and frustrated Lori felt when she had to go back work full time when her baby was four months old teaching in a Los Angeles inner city school.
I felt like I wasn’t a good wife, mother, or teacher.
I’m guessing as she kept her job, didn’t kill her child from neglect or abuse and kept them all from being featured on ‘Cops’ or ‘Hoarders’ that Lori was probably perfectly fine in all of those areas. It’s sad and a useless expenditure of emotional energy that she felt like such a failure in every area. This is where a loving and emotionally supporting spouse can be such a help. Clearly Ken did not fit that role adequately at the time.
Are you ready for some poor-shaming? You know Lori cannot go more than a page without throwing some blame on someone.
I also welcomed the chance to get out of a tough situation teaching at an inner-city school, where many children didn’t have fathers in the home and few parents came to parent-teacher conferences.
Meee-ouch! Can you just feel the Christian love oozing from every word?
When their second child was born Ken magnanimously allowed Lori to be a stay at home mother. Her reaction is just what you’d expect from someone that stated they didn’t feel they needed to get a career type education because they just wanted to be a wife and mother.
Yay! (sic) I never wanted a career. It was always my heart’s desire to just be a great wife and mom and have a happy home.
At least it spared all those poor children from having to put up with her disdain of their living situations!
The rest of the chapter is a very convoluted and rather boring recitation of various illnesses and ailments she claims to have suffered from in those years and how unhappy she was. Marriage counseling was tried, very unsuccessfully and everyone counseling them ordered Ken to love her more.
See, here’s the thing about that. You cannot make someone else happy. You can change how you treat them, treat them with more love, respect, appreciation, or whatever else positive. But you cannot control their response to your reaching out to them. Particularly if they have some sort of inner template they keep measuring you against, demanding you fix their lack of happiness by being whatever while they look for flaws in everything you do.
The other person has to want to fix things, and every indication in chapter one is that Lori was unhappy most of her life, a critical taskmaster with zero mercy for anyone that failed to measure up for whatever reason. You cannot change someone like that, no amount of marriage counseling it going to work, no matter how you try, until they gain the ability to see that they too have a responsibility in the relationship.
When I think of all the small kindnesses between my husband and I still to this day I feel humbled and grateful. I feel like crying thinking about it. Especially when I see marriages where there is zero kindness or consideration.
I saw this dynamic play out many times in my old church, never ending with a divorce but with some of the most miserable one-sided marriages. One fellow we knew would turn up on our doorstep, never wanting to leave, eating dinner with us, participating in our family life, watching movies, making music, Bible study, you-name-it and he showed up at least three times a week at our house and others. His wife could have been a carbon-copy of Lori Alexander, except she would call our house and our other friends homes screeching and yelling that her husband was shirking his manly duties by being away from her and their home. It was pretty obvious to every one why he never went home, because nothing he did, said, thought was ever right. No amount of marriage counseling helped them. This isn’t even the only case of this I’ve seen in the Evangelical Quiverfull world either. I think it’s much more common to be unhappily married in these types of religious environments because you are not allowed to be human or deviate from the tightly proscribed roles laid out by the religion.
Lori leaps right from reading Debi’s book to suddenly mentoring all these younger women with miserable marriages and started her Always Learning blog. She says she found a ‘real passion’ for mentoring women.
Funny, all I’ve ever seen her do on her blog is sneer, put down others, behave in some rather unloving unChristian hate-filled ways.
There’s still zero love, mercy or forgiveness in any of this, just a babbling out of how unhappy and sick she has been. Wow. I’m still kind of blown away by the lack of love between her and Ken. She’s really missed out on all the wonderful parts of marriage and been stuck in misery.
That friend of mine whose husband hid from her when we were all Quiverfull? She died back in June, still miserable and now her husband is newly married very happily to someone else. What a sheer waste!
This is all followed by one of her old blog posts citing Michael Pearl and Voddie Baucham. I will not bore you with a recap. Short version: Satan does not want women at home.
Next time Lori talks about her reasons for mentoring (debasing) other women. Oh joy!
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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