His Divorcing Vows
I heard the divorcing tone as he recited his vows. I thought I found my fairy tale. For me, it was a once in a lifetime love; for Steve, now my ex-husband, it was a financial arrangement.
At the stroke of the twelfth year of our marriage, my carriage turned back into a pumpkin and my horses into mice. Illusion crumbled, and reality of what my marriage was came to pass, a nightmare masquerading as a fairy tale.
I wanted to sue Disney for false advertising, maybe even my fairy godmother. Our marriage was like living in a snow globe. It all seemed perfect with the pristine water, the white virgin flakes of snow swirling around a home filled with love and peace, and evil could not penetrate the protective glass bubble. But loneliness marred the crystalline world, eating, devouring my perfect illusion. Reality drank up the lies I told myself all those years and exposed us for what we really were. The pure water was nothing but tears of frustration and heartache; everything inside, cheap plastic pretending to be a home. Glass slippers were stripped from my feet, my home given to another.
This book is my journey and growth through an unhealthy marriage, a devastating divorce and a celebration of my new and wonderful life that God bestowed upon me. I hope that in the lines of my testimony you will find answers for your own life and learn to live free, healed and victorious. Sadly, bad things happen to good people, and we have to learn that the bad things are only occurrences or incidents during our expedition.
I met Steve in college. We sat next to each other in a math class and spoke only once until one fated day during finals he found me sitting in the library.
Growing out of my awkward appearance, I never thought I would find someone. Geeky and shy in school, I never dated and was treated cruelly. I felt special to have him in my life and to be loved by someone.
As our relationship grew, Steve enveloped me in compassion and understanding; he elevated me. Cinderella met her prince, and she was ready for her happily ever after. He was six years older than I was and found my innocence alluring and respected my virginity and inexperience. He filled the hole in my heart, and I felt complete. After a childhood of emptiness and disappointment, I was hungry for love, and Steve was there at the right moment to offer it.
One night, after work, Steve shared his previous life. While he was in Florida serving in the Air Force, he married a young girl who recently divorced her husband and had custody of her two children. They were deeply in love, but unfortunately, they were divorced within seven months for her ex-husband guilt-tripped her into keeping the family together. Wanting to be a good mom, she sacrificed her love for Steve and went back to her husband.
A few months later, Steve’s enlistment with the Air Force was completed. Divorced and devastated, he returned home to pursue a degree in Nursing. She confessed to Steve that she made a terrible mistake by divorcing him and intended to leave her husband again after their children were grown. She insisted he needed to get on with his life and not wait for her.
Steve told me he loved her and wanted her more than anyone in the world. I deserved to know the whole truth about him. In hindsight, I should have kicked him out of the car. Instead, my compassion took over. I felt for him and wanted to mend his pain, to show him that I wasn’t like her and that I would stand by him forever.
She told Steve to get on with his life, but her actions proved otherwise. Having all the control in the tri-relationship, she attempted to undermine our relationship at every turn. She called him every time I came over to see him. I was angry at her for what she did, and I let him know.
By January of the following year, Steve was called into action for the 1991 Desert Storm war. Thankfully he was to be stationed in England rather than the Gulf. Still, I was devastated to learn the news.
We dated for nine months and wanted to get married when he finished his AA Degree. Now, with the war, I had no idea when he was coming home. His absence left me emptier than I had been before I met him.
For three months we wrote each other nearly every day, and he sent me a few gifts while I supplied him with books from the bookstore where I worked. Every day before my classes, I stopped at the post office hoping for some correspondence so I could read his loving words.
I received a letter in March. He would be home at the end of the month. Impatiently, I counted the days.
Falling into his arms at the airport, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Steve felt the same way; however, every fairy tale must have an evil witch to break up the prince and princess. Shortly after he returned home, the ex showed up again. This time it wasn’t by way of phone calls; it was a plane ticket for Steve to come see her. I believed it was her way of keeping a hold of him so that he would always be available to her. In my mind, this was now war. I loved this man. He was now with me.
Steve still left to see her even after I protested. His excuse was that the ticket wasn’t refundable. I told him I would be happy to repay her for the ticket just to keep him from going. Looking back, I should have told him, “If you go see her, we’ll no longer be together. I’ll leave you.” When he came home, he was never the same; we were never the same.
In the midst of dating Steve, I was plagued with a recurring nightmare for months. Standing side by side, Steve and his former wife were laughing at me. Like a fun house mirror, they became distorted, growing taller as they fed upon my pain. The symbolism behind that disturbing dream came true. It foreshadowed my future; they would laugh at my pain.
We continued dating for four and a half stormy years. Several times Steve said he didn’t want to be with me because I deserved someone who could give me his entire heart. I loved him so much. He was the first person with whom I had been intimate. Honoring my faith, I wanted to wait until I was married, but my heart could not wait. Horrible fights should have been a sign we weren’t compatible, but I had no healthy relationships to draw upon. All of my relationships were toxic and conditional. If I hadn’t shared myself with him, it would have been easy to walk away. I kept seeing Steve for how he was in the beginning of the relationship and denied the changes.
He married me so that I could receive financial aid. The government changed the rules on receiving financial aid after I finally qualified. I was denied the financial means to continue with my education under my current situation. The only way I would qualify is if I were married. Steve agreed to the arrangement so that I could have a future. I hoped to show him I was a good wife and could make him happy.
Two weeks before the wedding God spoke to me so earnestly, Please do not marry him, Angela. You are settling and will be miserable. You know what you want. I knew God was right. I was settling. But I wanted to be married. With all the chaos in my childhood, I wanted a normal life. Only someone else still held the key to his heart.