We welcomed our first child to our family that next year. He was everything that I imagined and everything that I prayed for. I just knew that with our new addition, Tony would calm down. He would no longer be so angry and I wouldn’t have to walk on egg shells so much. That was false. The fights continued. Even over the smallest of things. I started believing that I could not win for losing. I believe that was the first peek that I took at myself to see that I was growing up. I started not caring. I also started developing ‘strange’ sexual urges. I wanted to look into swinging, sex with a girl, group orgies. I thought that in a marriage, whenever you had feelings like that, you should definitely bring them to your spouse. The person that you are supposed to grow old and die with would definitely listen to you. And with this type of discussion, I thought most definitely a man would want to ‘get down’. When I brought this to my husband, it infuriated him. I was slapped in the face so hard that as dark as I am, I bruised. He told me, “there are just certain things that you do not tell your husband. I’m done talking to you now.” At that point, I’d never felt more alone.
A few of his friends let us know about a new church that was opening off base. A few of the sergeants had collected funds and opened a COGIC church right off base. Tony thought that it would be a good idea for us to go. He believed that the ‘sexual demons’ that I had could be done away with if only we went to church. The pastor set up an ‘emergency marriage counseling session’. My husband was all but too eager to be on board. I was so embarrassed. Even the pastor already knew about what I had brought to my husband because my husband had already been telling everyone that would listen to him about my ‘fantasies’. The pastor and his wife told me that I was perverted; that no young woman would have those thoughts. That I should not talk to my husband about those things. Even the ‘first lady’ made it a point to tell me, “This is your husband’s time sweetie. Don’t worry about a job, don’t worry about going to school. Just support your husband right now. You will have your time when the baby grows up.”
I felt sick. I felt hopeless. I was thousands of miles away from home. I had no job. I was just a military dependent. I had no friends. I was so alone. That Thanksgiving, however, was one to remember. We had all of my husband’s work friends over for dinner because we were the only ones that had a family (and I was the only one that knew how to cook). There was one young lady that lingered. She sat in the chair on the other side of my husband at the table during dinner. I had seen her once or twice before at his office. The whole night, she fawned over him, laughed at all of his jokes all the while looking at me as if she wanted me as well. Surprisingly, this turned me on. I had to inkling of jealousy. I wanted to see him with her. After everyone left, things became intense. We had been drinking and one thing led to another. She and I were all over each other. The attraction was strong. I put the baby to sleep upstairs and came downstairs to see them together on the couch. She waved me over and that was my first threesome. I remember the music playing in the background, how she tasted, how my husband moaned and groaned. It was amazing. One of my fantasies had finally come true.
Days later, my husband expressed his disappointment. He felt as though she and I planned to do what we did all along. I explained over and over how that was not the case. He felt as though his involvement in the triad was tantamount to rape. He was ‘forced’. I was floored and angry. From what I remembered, he enjoyed himself very much. That Thanksgiving night was the first and last time Tony and I experimented with non-traditional sex in our marriage.
Over the next year, we added a second son to our marriage. He was a dream baby. He never gave me any problems during the pregnancy. Even though I was in so much pain and lost so much blood after having him, when the doctors brought him in, I felt better. My pain stopped. The bleeding slowed. Unfortunately, in my marriage, there also developed more contention. There was one argument that was so bad, that the military police were involved. I was hospitalized and he was given an Article 15 for domestic violence. We went through ordered marriage counseling. He went through ordered anger management. But the fights continued. He was separated from the Air Force a year and a half early due to a history of behavior issues and we were on our way back to Detroit.
We added two more children to our family, one more boy and a baby girl over the next three years. The abuse never subsided, however. There were numerous chokings, punches, body slams. One of the worse things was the 16 hour long arguments. I was not allowed to fall asleep or do anything else but agree with what he said. If I did anything else like, oh say, cook for the kids, help them with their homework, take a shower or anything else, I was accused of ‘not having any time for my husband and putting other things before him’.
Tony never could keep a job stateside for more than three months at a time. I found work and continued working through the two pregnancies. At one of my jobs, one of the managers “encouraged” me to obtain a degree (in a very condescending way). When I asked about moving up in the company, she stated that, “any degree is better than no degree.” I thought about how my supervisor didn’t have a degree and her sister that worked there also didn’t have a degree. The think they had in common was that they were white. And I remembered, “twice as good to get half as much.” I spoke with a counselor enrolled in college the next week. It took some coaxing, but I also was able to get my husband to enroll in classes. I wanted to major in Business and he wanted to study IT. However, the only way that he would go to school was if I majored in the same thing as him. I hate IT. But I wanted so much for him to improve himself that I conceded. We started our courses to learn web design. Together.
Still, I could tell that my husband was becoming more and more depressed. A man without a job is worse than have a rabid dog in the house. He was vicious. The abuse became worse. I wanted to leave but with four kids, I just didn’t see how. How could I support them on how much I made, with no degree, and pay for somewhere to live at the same time? Wouldn’t he find me? I loved him so much, I just wished that things would get better. I spent countless hours helping him find jobs. Even while I was at work, I was online trying to find him jobs. Half way through my Associate’s courses, I decided that I COULD NOT continue on in IT. I called my counselor and changed to Marketing. When my husband realized that I was not in the same classes anymore, he was livid. He called me a liar. He threw a tantrum that only a four year old could better. I did not waver, though. Not on that. I was so earnest in my desire for a Business degree that I even finished my term paper for my Associates while in the hospital, hours after giving birth to our daughter. All I had was a laptop that my mom brought, wifi, Motrin, a new baby and a dream.
The weight of adulthood was heavy, but I found myself getting stronger and stronger. I could handle the kids, school, work… and I thought I could handle being a wife. But it was hard being a wife to someone who had become so down and dark. Even his essence, his smell became repulsive to me. I couldn’t stand to be around him. No matter how much I tried to bring him up out of his depression, I was rejected and turned away. This began to have an effect on me. I became depressed… and my eye started wandering. I wanted to feel. I wanted to be liked. I no longer felt loved and that was what I wanted the most. As strong as I thought I was, it was becoming too much again. He withdrew into video games, so much so that I actually became jealous of them. I would tell him that I needed his attention, that I wanted things to be the way that they once were and I was rebuffed everytime. I was scared, but I actually deliberately broke one of his gaming consoles and urinate on it while he was away one day. I felt good; I finally had some type of revenge. I was body slammed into the floor once he found out what I did.
It had been years since I had gone to my husband in confidence to tell him about my feelings. One night, I mustered up the courage to try again. I sat him down at the table and told him that him being without work, bills piling up, four kids and me being the only one working had me scared about what was to come. I had no idea what we were doing. I felt mild regret for moving so fast and putting so much on our plate. His response? “WHAT?! THE LIFE I GAVE YOU IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH?! YOU UNGRATEFUL BITCH! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR THIS SHIT! GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY FACE!” And just like that, I was done. Every feeling, every ounce of respect I had for him was gone. I no longer cared whether he lived or died. Honestly, I didn’t.
Things were quiet for months. His sister moved in with us because she had nowhere else to go and to help us out with bills. I didn’t have much to say to him and he didn’t have much to say to me. He had found a part time job working for Job Corps as a teacher’s assistant. It didn’t pay much but it kept him occupied and it brought in a check. A young female started making advances towards Tony and he would come home every day complaining about it. At this point, he had dejected my feeling so much that I didn’t care what he was going through. One night, while in bed, he told me that the young female told him that she wanted to ‘fuck him’. He looked so disgusted when he told me this. I was so withdrawn in my feelings that the only thing that I could think of to say for conversation was, “so are you going to?” I did not expect what happened next. There was a pillow over my face. I couldn’t breathe. I could hear loud, muffled yelling and screaming and I was struggling to get the pillow off of my face. Tony tried to smother me. He was so pissed that I had the ‘audacity’ to ask him such a question. I was ‘disrespectful’ and horrible. “OH, SO? AM I GOING TO FUCK HER? FUCK HER LIKE THIS?” He ripped off my panties and raped me. He smashed my face into the bed and again, I couldn’t breathe. Right there with our bedroom door open. With his sister still up and walking around and the children not even asleep. I didn’t scream because I didn’t want the kids to come into the room. His sister saw though. I was…broken. I shook. I was so shocked I didn’t even cry. I just went to sleep. He was so angry. He left the room and that was the best part about that night; we didn’t sleep in the same bed. I did however overhear him on the phone with his uncle telling him about all of the ‘perverted’ things that I wanted to do and how terrible a wife I was that I would even think such things. The next day, when I came home from work, I overheard his sister ‘chastising’ him for what he had done. Not for what he had done to me, but because of what he had done with the door open and she had to ‘suffer’ seeing such a thing. She never did like me. His uncle called me too… to counsel me… about all of the sexually perverted things I had discussed privately with my husband.
In the emotional state that I was in, my thoughts were that all of this was still happening to me as a punishment from god because I had that abortion. I confided in my aunt who was a Jehovah’s Witness and I started studying. I just wanted to find peace and she said that in the loving arms of Jehovah, I would find that peace. From the beginning, I had trouble with the doctrine. The ‘submissive wife’ bullshit and the ‘head of the household’ crap. I just couldn’t stomach it. I decided that I would put my acceptance of that mess on the back burner and focus on finding peace in the other parts of the ‘word’. Even my husband got in on it. His favorite part was the Proverbs 31 woman (of course). He loved every part of him being charged as ‘head of the household’ and it just made my life even more miserable. I prayed and prayed for peace…