It wasn’t until some amount of time had passed after my divorce that I started trying out the words: “I think my marriage was abusive.” I wouldn’t say it out loud, of course, certainly not around people who knew him, it was more of a whisper in my heart.
My life never felt lighter than the day I walked out of the courthouse. In fact, the whole thing felt easy. I said that out loud to my friend who’d gone with me. “That was so easy.”
She laughed. “Well it should have been, the marriage was hell.”
Having someone walk with me through all this changed everything for me. Gave me the courage to stand up against what I couldn’t name. I know now that was an extraordinary gift. She fought hard to understand what I was experiencing, and she read relentlessly everything I found to try to explain it. Most people don’t have that. When they do try to talk about what they experience, it gets misinterpreted, ‘helped’ unhelpfully, by people who just don’t understand.
I’m not the only one working on this blog; another dear friend who you’ll see under the moniker “pleasebelieveher” is doing a lot behind the scenes, sketching out ideas, talking with me about what’s needed. Urging me on. (She has always been urging me on.) We wanted to start this because not everyone will read a stack of books on a friend’s behalf. We know that this is hard, hard stuff to explain. That even marriage counselors won’t understand what’s happening most of the time. (We’ll talk about that sometime soon.)
PBH has experienced in her marriage things so similar to me–but in some ways much worse… that thing you can’t explain, though you often think: If you could just live as me for a week, you would probably get it.
But we can’t live like that. We do believe that truth is always good and will always set us free. So we started this blog, on the eve of another Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and when we went looking for a name, I found the fearful heart in a chapter of the book of Isaiah, where he writes prophetically about Jesus coming, how then “the fearful heart will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear” (Is 32:4).
So we hope and pray for all the fearful hearts to know and understand what they’re experiencing and for stammering tongues to become fluent and clear in explaining the truth about what happens in their relationships.