The Wrecked Wife

I love to study, to know, and to communicate that knowing. I also love to contribute in meaningful ways to the lives of my fellows. My greatest love of all is to keep my home and my family. To have people to love and to be loved by in this house is the greatest gift of all.

I have oft felt sheepish for my love of homemaking. I have a relatively clear head and a solid heart, nearly 7 years of post secondary education, and I still love care taking. I love cooking, cleaning, caring, and cultivating home. I love to bring shalom to this space.

On the radio yesterday, I heard a famous actress discuss how much she loves being a housewife. I detest the word, but I realise the liberty in loving something despite the despicable label. It is also good to be a work wife, and academic wife, and no ones wife.

It is difficult for me to say that I love my wifely life but I do. I see women beating other women into a pulp with the wifely ideology and I want to rescue the poor wretch from her narrow worldview. Just because you love something, doesn’t mean that every woman must. “Good grief woman,” I wish to shout, “shut up until you grow up.”

It is also difficult for me, because I was preyed up the lines of wifehood. One offender told me that he targeted me because he saw in me a quiet and attentive wife. It mattered not that I was wed to another. He ripped and tore at the foundational fabric of my restored and redeemed life, wedging himself into, and then wrecking, the little home that we the homeless, had so carefully created.

Years went by when one of us could not be at the table with the other. When one entered a room, the other left it. We could not parent well for a long time, nor sleep, nor eat, nor work, nor move. Life was a horror of haemorrhagic proportions; activities of daily living – a trauma triage. The grief, the blame, the soul searing shame, the humiliation, the  harm, the hurt — all from his hunting.

I speak in whispered tones with women, who through no fault of their own, found a clerical snake had consumed their womanhood; their wifehood; their motherhood. Who, having trusted the praying found themselves preyed upon. If they have a partner, most of them vacillate between blame and bewilderment. These precious couples have to work hard to know what they have known, to understand that there is an enemy, and that they are not each others. It takes time to untangle the snake from the sacred. Ever grateful, am I that I/we survived the wreckage.

We lost so much, but we kept each other. I am grieved to know that some of you are not so fortunate. Clerical abuse has stolen years of your life, your fresh tender souls, disconnected you from your partner, your people, your body, your health, and in some cases, your hope. That is not the end of your story, the last chapter is yet to be writ. I will hold your pen until your spirit settles and your hand is steady.


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