Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dean, over at http://deanabbott.typepad.com/notes_and_meditations/ has been writing about the effects of modern secular society on today's young women. Recently, he posted about a young woman, going by Raggedy Ann, in despair over not being able to find a husband. I would like to share my feelings about the matter here.

Raggedy, and others like you, please know that there are worse things than not finding a husband. You are doing much better than you give yourself credit for. You know that you want a husband, and I think that you have at least some idea as to what you are looking for in a husband. That will save you so much heartache down the road.

I was not raised with a strong moral compass, or with a loving home environment. It was not an abusive home, but there were not many hugs or "I love you"s. And what little guidance there was was based on fear. "Don't have sex before you get married. If you do, you will no longer be my daughter." "Don't get pregnant before you get married. If you do, don't expect to live here." "Don't have sex with another woman. If you do, you are a pervert and you are not my daughter." You get the idea. I was also taught that a woman should put her career first, that if a woman doesn't have a career she doesn't have any worth to speak of. I was taught that being a mother is secondary to being a teacher, doctor, psychologist, etc. The career was supposed to be first, then taking care of oneself, then the husband, then the children, then God or church.

In retrospect, it makes sense to me that I struggled with all of these ideas with every fiber of my being. Somewhere inside, I knew that these priorities were completely wrong. It sure was hard figuring that out though. I was trying to do right, but not knowing how. I knew I should be honoring my mother and father, but I also knew that what my mother taught me was somehow wrong. I didn't know what to do.

So I messed up a lot. Looking back, I'm amazed at how much worse it could have been. God surely must have had His hand on me even then, even when I didn't truly know Him. I don't know how else I could have avoided drugs, alcohol abuse, and promiscuity. I did however get married to the wrong man, for the wrong reasons. I was 19, he was 27. I don't know why he wanted to marry me. I don't know why I married him. I'm glad I did, only because of my two oldest children. I wouldn't give them up for the world.

Marrying the wrong man took me further into sin than anything else I ever did in my life. I worked as a stripper, and did irreparable damage to my relationships with my family, and to my soul. I allowed my ex-husband to treat me like posession, which I see now as the darker side of submission to a husband. I didn't even understand what was happening at the time. Time and distance have helped me to see that going to that job every night to support him was not by any means what God intended a marriage to be.

Even after I filed for divorce, I allowed this man to control and manipulate me. When I discovered I was pregnant the day after the divorce was final, I told him, and asked him what he wanted me to do. In my heart, I wanted him to tell me to have the baby. I didn't have the guts to make my own decision, and have regretted my weakness ever since. Our story didn't end when that pregnancy did, but my self respect did. I moved away, and he followed, convincing me that no one else would want me. Because I believed him, I got pregnant again. Lucky for Kathryn, he wanted to have another baby. He was using her to trap me with him, to force me to keep doing that job that I hated to support my family.

Completely by accident, I made a friend while doing that job. That friend listened, and loved me without any expectations, and when the time came for me to finally free myself and my children that friend was there for me. He's my husband now, and my best friend. He's not perfect, but I believe he is who God intended for me. He has shown me what love can and should be since the day I met him.

So, to Raggedy, and others like you: Please don't despair. God has a plan for you. If you are meant to be married, please let God lead you to your chosen mate. No husband at all is better than one who treats you like property, who manipulates you, traps you, verbally abuses you, cheats on you and says it's your fault, pressures you to do things you know are wrong. I have a lot to answer for from that period in my life. I hope you don't have to go through what I did to learn to trust God.

God bless,


Jennie C. said...

I'm glad you found a man worth loving, after all that heartache. Hugs to you.

Fiddledeedee (It Coulda' Been Worse) said...

This post really touched me. I too made far too many mistakes in my youth. It is by the grace of God that I'm here, and whole. I didn't marry my husband until I was 37. God had a plan. And it was very different from mine. But his plan was the best one I could have imagined.

Thank you for your transparency.

BTW, your duct-tape diaper story on my post made me laugh out loud!!!