Behind my closed doors

Not knowing who I was really marrying

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

I always had this vision growing up that I wanted to one day share my life with someone and have a family of my own. Little did I know how that vision would become shat­tered. I walked down the aisle young, not knowing much about what the future would hold as I prepared for what life would be like once I said “I do.” I believed I was marrying my best friend at the time.

I was married for almost 15 years. The love we had for each other when we first met was blissful in every way, but that love quickly faded and reality hit. I realized my husband couldn’t let go of the par­tying, drinking and the single life he once had. Holding onto the past seemed to be worth the endless ar­guments with me. He had the best of both worlds transitioning from married life to single life at any time he chose.

Only a few months into our mar­riage, I approached my parents with what was happening in my home. With Catholic’s views on divorce and typical Chaldean worries of reputation, my parents told me to make it work so I tried, countless times. “We all have flaws,” I can still hear my parents repeating again and again. As years passed their percep­tion of divorce had changed.

Over time, the arguments be­came more violent. The excessive drinking, cheating and betrayal be­came a normal thing for me. The stress brought on by my marriage took a toll on my mental and physi­cal health. My life with this man had reached a point where I had no desire to be with him. My self-worth meant nothing to him.

A few years later, I became preg­nant. Expecting a child should be a highlight of a marriage and greatest experience a woman could have. Those nine months were emotion­ally and physically draining for me; I felt as if I was mentally broken in a million pieces. I began to cry my­self to sleep and ask God “why me?” I was trapped in my marriage like a prisoner in a jail cell. To friends and family or any outsider looking in, I had the perfect life. Little did any­one know what went on behind my closed doors.

The day came where it was not just verbal abuse, but it became physical. He had punched me in my face because an argument got out of hand. I can think back to that day and believe that was the day I real­ized that I felt as if I no longer want­ed to exist in this world. As blood was gushing out of my nose and my stomach in pain as he was kicking me, I kept thinking, “Was this hap­pening to me? Is this real?” And yet, I still stood beside him as his wife. People that knew that incidents like this happened in my life countless times, have always said, “If that was me I would have left.” But, for those that are in this situation, we know it is easier said than done.

I woke up one morning with courage, and gave him an ultima­tum. He had to choose to give up his drinking and attempt to change or I was filing for divorce, he laughed at me, and said “I was nothing without him and that I would come crawl­ing back.” At that point my decision was made.

Reflecting at it now, I realize as I was preparing for my wedding, I became caught up in the excite­ment of the moment which shifted my focus from our relationship to planning for a wedding. I had the wedding of my dreams, the diamond ring I have always wanted, that beautiful home on the lake, I had all these THINGS, I never saw the big picture. In reality, over time things don’t make you happy, they come and go. I had everything but a hus­band.

As mothers, we do whatever we can to protect our children. One of the most difficult tasks is to raise a child in that sort of environment surrounded by tension and negativ­ity. As she became older, she began to understand more and expressed her feelings of constantly being ex­posed to the abuse I suffered. My marriage was not only toxic to me, but also to my daughter. I came to terms with the fact that sometimes, you can’t fix what’s broken. I knew I had done everything I could to keep this marriage together.

For women in our community who find themselves in a similar situation, please keep in mind your children are watching and observ­ing these types of behaviors and take those unforgettable memories of their mothers crying and their fa­thers being the cause of it and might believe its ok to act out those be­haviors as they become adults.

With God’s will and the support of family members, as well as some of the most amazing people I’ve crossed paths with, who have guided me out of this awful marriage, I was able to transition to the next chap­ter of my life. Very few will ever really know what I went through. I can only emotionally handle shar­ing pieces of my story.

For those who have friends and family going through similar situ­ations, please share my story. Give them guidance instead of judgment. Women that are planning to ex­changing vows soon please don’t get caught up in planning a wedding or the diamond ring. Get to know the person you are committing to spend your life with. Be observant of their behavior and habits.

For the men reading this who are skeptical that there’s another side to this story, I won’t deny, there are al­ways three sides to a story: his, hers and God’s. I will say no man can jus­tify breaking his vows. Once a man is married in the eyes of God, he should let go of his single lifestyle.

To protect the identify of the writer and her daughter, we are sharing this story anonymously.