When Your Husband's In Jail

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When Your Husband's In Jail
She's a lawyer. He's in the Aryan Brotherhood. And he's in jail.

For those who question the maxim, 'love conquers all,' the Los Angeles Times feature, "A Quarter-Century Marriage To A Man Behind Bars," by Joe Mozingo, is a must-read.

Meet Pamela Dowden and her husband, Robert Griffin. The couple married in Folsom State Prison, beneath a guard holding a .30-caliber rifle, after which, the bride drove off the prison grounds to spend her wedding night alone. The best man had recently been snagged by metal detectors hiding knives in his rectum; the groom, an inductee into the prison's racist Aryan Brotherhood gang, wed wearing jeans and a prison-issued shirt.

 

Most surprising in this 'love conquer's all' story is the couple's divergent life choices. To call Griffin a 'bad boy' would almost be a laughable understatement: his adolescence was marred with heroin addiction, convenience store robberies and violence. Yet Dowden married him her first year out of law school!

Their courtship is unlikely, too: the couple used to be in-laws. Dowden had previously been married to Griffin's brother, and met her now-beau on his high school graduation day while in jail. She grew to know Griffin intimately (that is, emotional intimacy) while writing him long letters on behalf of her then-husband's family. She debated his racist beliefs, mailed him feminist books, like The Second Sex and The Women's Room and discussed history and philsophy with him.

The way the L.A. Times puts it, Dowden saw the young man as a troubled adolescent who needed a guiding hand to learn right from wrong. But not even that, she needed someone to listen to dreams, her frustrations with life, and her lonesome story. This first sectionof the  installment (part one of three) leaves us off with her asking her then-husband for a divorce.

We're riveted....we really are. We can't wait to read the second and third installments later this week.

In the meantime, tell us what you think about when love flourishes against the odds. Or, in all honestly, when it flourishes against what a lot of other people would call common sense.