I remember the first day, having to stand up with the other new teachers. My heart had butterflies. My engagement notice was in that day's newspaper but I was too shy to tell anyone.
I found that first year of teaching very difficult. Those suburbia kids had a lot more behavioural problems than the country kids I had experience with. I didn't know how to manage them effectively and had to learn pretty fast. I also had an unsupportive controlling principal who made my life more difficult. She did not offer me any constructive criticism for how I could improve or praise for what I was doing well. She berated me because the desks were too close to the board and because the children did not have pencils. She made me feel inadequate and she told me that she didn't think that I should be a teacher...that I should find a different job. That principal left and God blessed me with a wonderful principal who took me under her wing and helped restore my confidence in my teaching ability. If it wasn't for that caring lady I would not still be teaching and changing children's lives 23 years later!
Now I've mentioned that I became engaged in the January. It was kind of like...break up or get married...so marriage it was. Preparations were made and a beautiful wedding was planned. The day was lovely and I wore a spectacular dress that made me feel like a princess. Unfortunately an argument on the wedding night set the scene for the rest of the marriage.
I continued to teach, improving in my skills and expertise. In my second year of teaching I studied my Bachelor of Education. Upon finishing my degree I wanted to have children. My husband said that he was the child of the family. There would be no children. I tried to persuade him but no. I then started my Master of Education which took me 5 years to complete. During this time I was told that if I got pregnant that I would have to abort the baby. He wasn't going to have a kid with a deformed face. Once I actually thought that I might be pregnant and went to the doctor feeling very scared but I wasn't. With my persistence he did relent to looking into adoption which we were eligible for, but he didn't want people prying into our private lives so we didn't go through with that.
The years passed and I was daily being destroyed by my husband's controlling ways. I was losing my identity. I was isolated with only one friend who lived half an hour away. No friends near by. I felt so lonely. I could not wear what I wanted to wear, I could not talk to other men, I had to go out where and when he wanted and leave when he wanted to...I had no say. He would scare me with our electric knife and with his martial arts. Home was a horrible place to be.
I began thinking about committing suicide and it consumed my thoughts...but when I was feeling rational I knew that God would not want me to do this. So I prayed and prayed for a way out of the situation.
Finally an opportunity arose. One day after threatening to leave which I had done several times already but never followed through with, I packed a bag and walked out. He chased after me and begged me to come home. I did... We went to Christian marriage counselling but he could not see what he was doing wrong and he didn't understand why I was how I was. I was always curled up in a foetal position on the couch...my counsellor kept saying that God could change him...and yes God could change him as I had seen before in other marriages...but my husband did not want to change - he saw nothing wrong with how he was treating me. God can only work when a person chooses to let Him help them.
I prayed and prayed that God would provide a permanent way out. I didn't want to be in that marriage anymore. I thought that I couldn't just pack up and leave because I didn't know where to go...and he had told me many times that I was his wife and if I ever left he would hunt me down and bring me home... And I believed him.
In my desperation and depression I continued to pray and cry out to God to save me from this beast. He answered. I told the counsellor that I wanted to go home and spend a weekend with my parents. My husband would never have allowed this. The counsellor told my husband that that was a good idea. I rang my parents who were oblivious to what was going on my marriage and said I could come home. I had had some issues with my mum previously and didn't know if she would let me come home, but of course she did.
Mum and Dad welcomed me with warm loving arms, shocked by my state of mind. Over the weekend I opened up to my parents and asked if I could come back home and stay with them. They were so supportive. I then with my Dad's support rang my husband to tell him that I wasn't coming home. My heart was beating furiously and I was so scared. But I did it. Of course he wasn't happy.
The counsellor rang me and suggested I go back because God could still change him. She also said ignorantly that I might never find another man... I told her that no man was better than being in an abusive relationship. My husband tried all sorts of ways to get me back. I put the ultimatum to him - he gives up his martial arts which I hated and I would come back. He said 'no' so I said 'not coming back' and I stood firm. My Dad nurtured me and helped me to find my voice. He would sit with me when my husband would ring and tell me how great I was at standing up for myself. My Dad was my backbone.
That deep depression lasted for a long time. I went on anti-depressants which helped but most of my depression was psychological messiness. After 6 months of living with my parents I felt ready to live on my own. I went back to my townhouse. My husband would come and stand under my bedroom window and follow me.
I filed for divorce and went through all the proceedings. We split all our stuff and we were both fair in doing so. There were no children so once the divorce went through that was the end of seeing him. I could then start to heal.
I should of been happy that God had helped me to get out of the marriage but my mind was so twisted that I turned my back on Him.
© 2012 by Jenny Woolsey
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