Over the last few months, I’ve shared with you the details of my unexpected marriage due to pregnancy and the physical abuse that followed. I lasted four years in an abusive marriage.
Although I have laid out perfectly good reasons for a Christian to leave a violent marriage, that doesn’t make divorce any easier.
In South Carolina, the law required you to file a legal separation and wait one year to get a divorce…unless you could prove one of three reasons: adultery, drunkenness, or domestic violence. Then, you could get the divorce in three months. Thank goodness. For some reason, the woman who did my hair before our wedding told me about a couple she knew who got a divorce in three months thanks to this law.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. I Cor. 10:13
I’m not trying to say God provided this information to me before I needed it, but over and over, he did provide escapes as I tried to leave.
The night before I moved out was horrible. I had bought a car, but I didn’t park it anywhere near our apartment. I didn’t want him to know what I’d gotten or try to mess with it. I don’t recall what started the argument, but looking back I realize a blow up was inevitable. He had been agreeable to the separation, and so, like an idiot, I stayed in the apartment until I could move out. That night he came after me, threw me on the bed, ripped my clothes off of me, and wrapped his hands around my throat and began to squeeze.
I had never been more terrified in my life, but I fought back.
Maybe that’s why he stopped, because one second I could barely breathe and the next, he let go and stormed from the room.
I jumped up, dressed, grabbed my purse, and locked myself in our daughters’ bedroom. I opened the window and put my purse on the ground outside. Then, I tried to figure out how to pick up two small children from their cribs and get out the window with both of them. I moved with care, trying to not make a sound. The older child was easier, but she was sound asleep. With her in my arms, I couldn’t figure out how to pick up the younger. The sides of her crib were higher so reaching over with one child in my arms wasn’t working. While I struggled, he rattled the doorknob. Before I could get away, he forced the door open, took one look at me trying to pick up both babies, and noticed the open window.
He grabbed both children, tossed them in his car, and sped away.
I called my lawyer who didn’t appreciate the phone call and told me to call him at the office in the morning.
So, I called my cousin. She came and we tried to figure out what to do. Since he was the children’s father, the police couldn’t do anything.
After a few hours, he surprised us and returned with the children.
The next day, I took the children to the babysitter and went to class. I had started a summer school class the month before and was determined his efforts to control my life wouldn’t result in me missing a session. When I came out of class, my father stood in the hall outside the door. Down at the end of the hall stood my husband. Mom and Dad had planned to meet me after class and help me move our things. When they saw my husband arrive, Dad decided I needed an escort from the building.
As we loaded the moving truck, I kept looking over my shoulder for him to appear.
For once, he didn’t.
We were out.
But my struggle had only just begun. Thank goodness I had God and faith to guide me when the path turned dark.