If you are new to this blog, a good beginning point for you is here. I’m going to pick up where I left off last week with the story of how I came to be married to a pedophile for almost forty years without knowing it.
For the continuation of this series, I will use the name “John” because that is the name of the man I married.
John and I met at Philadelphia International Airport just three days before our wedding. He had been living the past semester overseas in Israel with his parents doing overseas studies as part of his senior year at Oklahoma University. When we saw each other at the airport, a shaky sensation overtook me. Not the kind that makes you want to jump into the arms of the man you love and are about to marry, but the kind of shaky that sends shivers up your spine and makes you step back and say to yourself, “What am I doing? I don’t know this person. I have no idea who I am marrying!”
I had those thoughts a thousand times over, and I even expressed them to John several times during the three days prior to the wedding. But, he kept comforting me and told me I just had the pre-wedding jitters. “This is normal for every bride to feel this way.” I kept feeling strange around him, but the wedding was planned and the show would go on! And, so April 18, 1970 arrived……………
There had been a terrible thunder storm the evening before our wedding which worried me so much because we planned on having an outdoor wedding in Villanova, Pennsylvania at the college where we met. But, when the morning of the 18th came, my fears left. The sky was beautiful and John called to say that campus was alive with flowers and blooming trees and blue skies! A perfect day for a wedding!
John and his groomsmen set up all of the chairs and all I had to do was to get dressed in the dorm room upstairs and be ready to walk down the aisle with my father as the college chorus began singing some of our favorite hymns. *Note: I’m leaving out tons of details which will be included in a book, should I decide to write one. For now, I’m just giving you the details that pertain to the behavior of a pedophile.
I honestly don’t remember much at all about the wedding ceremony. I was very preoccupied with thoughts of doubt. God, how much I didn’t want to get married on that day!!! Nothing — absolutely nothing — felt right. I’ve asked myself a million times over why I was such a coward. Why did I go against my will? Nobody was holding a gun to my head. I made the choice to get married. I did make the choice — but in many ways I didn’t. The choice had already been made for me by almost two years of priming me, grooming me, manipulating me, doing my thinking for me, and creating an atmosphere where I felt totally dependent on this man named John.
And, so on April 18, 1970, I said the words that sealed our relationship forever. I said, “I do” before both man and God.
We had a very low-key reception — cake, punch, and light finger foods on campus. There was no big fanfare. No dancing. No music. No toast to the bride and groom. Nothing that would make this seem like a celebration. John had promised to plan this part of the wedding if I took care of all of the other details such as the flowers, the photographer, lining up the preacher, the rehearsal, the invitations, the tuxedo rental, the bridesmaid’s dresses, the food……..and a thousand other things that had to be done long distance from Oklahoma where I was living while he was in Israel.
I kept asking him how we were getting back to Oklahoma. Did he have plane tickets for us? Where were we going for our honeymoon? I must admit I was excited about this part! I had “saved myself” for my wedding day, and I had packed some beautiful lingerie and pretty outfits for a week-long honeymoon.
John kept telling me to stop asking questions and just relax because I was in for a big surprise!
By 5:00 in the afternoon, I was beginning to get a bit anxious about the honeymoon part. I thought, “This must be big! I’ll bet we’re flying into Florida and staying on the beach. He knows I love the beach more than anything in the world!” My father had given us some money for a nice honeymoon. John grabbed hold of that money right away! His parents also gave some money towards our honeymoon due to the fact that they remained in Israel and did not fly home for the wedding.
This is what took place. Pay close attention because this has a lot to do with the way a pedophile works. He took my hand and walked me to the side of the room and said, “I have something to tell you. I forgot to take care of the honeymoon. I don’t even know how we’re getting back to Oklahoma, but I came up with a plan a few minutes ago. My sister is here and my parents gave her the family car to use while they’re in Israel. I’m going to talk her into letting us take the car.”
I will repeat what I just said. John told me he forgot to make plans for the honeymoon.
How in God’s name does a man who loves a woman who is about to become his wife “forget” to plan the honeymoon? HOW? HOW? HOW does this happen?
This happens if you are selfish. It happens if you are a controlling person. It happens if you are a liar. It happens if you are a master manipulator. It happens if you are a pedophile and have other things on your mind!
I was being put to the test again! How would I react? What would I do? Cry? Get mad? Throw a fit? Not on your life. I quietly said, “Okay” just like he knew I would.
That man went to his sister and within less than one hour he had the keys to the car handed over to him!!!!! His sister had to find a ride home from the wedding AND she had to figure out what to tell her parents about the family car!
At this point, I was feeling rather sick in my stomach. I pretty much knew there would be no fancy honeymoon surprises. Instead, we went to the home of his best man’s family, ate Campbell’s soup for our supper while John and the best man spent another hour outside whispering.
One again I was told a big surprise was in store for me! The car was packed with our wedding gifts, and we headed out for “the surpise” around 8:30 in the evening. My head was pounding and I just wanted to get to a hotel to get a hot shower and call it a day.
Nope! We had a three hour drive ahead of us! Three hours in the pouring down rain along winding, country roads. He kept telling me to stop crying. It was going to be a wonderful surprise. I wanted to believe him — I really did, but my heart told me otherwise.
Finally, at 11:30 that night, we pulled onto a muddy, wooded road and I was told to close my eyes. The surprise was waiting!
John had once again worked his manipulative magic! He talked his best friend’s parents into giving us the use of their hunting cabin for the next three days as our “honeymoon suite.” While we were eating soup and talking small talk, his friend drove all the way to that horrid cabin to bring sheets for the bed, and to put a few groceries in the cupboards. There was no heat. No dry firewood. The temperature dropped down into the low 30’s that night. It was pouring rain and sleeting. And, I was afraid. I really and truly didn’t know this person I had just married. Somehow I wanted to believe so much that he really did have a secret surprise all prepared for me, but this was it. A far cry from a warm, lovely hotel room with a hot shower, running water, and a swimming pool.
And, so the honeymoon began.
There was no need for fancy lingerie. There was no intimate, candlelight meal. There was no warm shower. Nothing that I had dreamed about was even remotely in this plan. Instead, we were in a hunting cabin in the middle of some woods without heat, without hot water, and with no TV, and very little food. For the next three days this was “my honeymoon surprise.” I was sick. I wanted out of this marriage already! We were not off to a great start!
Do you see the red flags? Do you see the control and abuse? Do you see what was happening? Do you see how many people this man used on our wedding day? Do you see his fast talking and manipulation? Do you see how easily he got people to do what he wanted? And, this was only the beginning!
There was no asking me what I wanted to do for the remainder of our week together before I had to get back to work. Instead, he said, “I want to go to Lipscomb University. We can stay in the dorms there. An ‘old flame’ of mine is there and I want to see her.” Really? You want to sleep in separate dorms on our honeymoon on a college campus so you can visit with a girl you had a crush on in church camp? I tried — I really tried — to get him to change plans but he got his way. Off to Nashville we went.
Then on to Dallas! Yep! We were visiting another one of his sisters who lived in Dallas. We went to church with her and had chili for lunch. Isn’t it odd how you can remember certain things? We ended up getting a flat tire on the freeway in Dallas in the blistering heat and crazy traffic!
This really was the honeymoon from hell! I didn’t need anything extravagant, but this was ridiculous!
Not once did we eat in a nice restaurant. Not once did we have a wonderful, carefree afternoon together. Instead, we were on the road driving well over a thousand miles to get from point A to point B and finally to our $95 a month basement apartment in Oklahoma.
As we pulled into the carport of this one-room basement apartment, my heart felt heavy. It had been a rough week. I don’t remember laughing one time. I remember taking Tylenol for headaches. I remember long hours of silence driving in that old station wagon. I remember asking if we could please stop to get just one nice meal and being told, “No. We don’t have time.” I remember crying. I remember feeling alone and so lost.
But, the truth is that I had said, “I do ….. ’til death do us part.” Maybe things would get better. Maybe this was just hard for him coming off of being out of the country for four months. Maybe he had a surprise waiting for me at the apartment!!!! I remained hopeful, but the next week proved to open my eyes even more as to the heart of this man I had married.
Now, I can imagine some of you are thinking how stupid I was. You’re no doubt thinking that I should have raised cain and should have thrown a fit about this week together. We had the money to have steak dinners for breakfast, lunch, and supper!
Remember when he said he had studied me? He knew me better than I knew me! I don’t like to argue. I don’t like fighting or controversy at all. I would much rather “give in” than to pick a fight. He knew this. And, so we visited his ex-girlfriend on our honeymoon. I stayed in the dorm and cried while he walked all around campus with her. I cried into my pillow when he ignored me at the end of the day saying “I’m too tired. I’ve been driving all day.” I didn’t understand at all what was happening, but I went along with it. Why? Because it was so ingrained in me that Christian wives are to be submissive. They don’t talk back. They don’t question. They are there for their husbands no matter what.
And, I was determined to be a wonderful Christian wife! I had waited a long time for this! Maybe I didn’t understand, but somehow I would make it work.
Listen to me, and listen to me good. If you are in a relationship like this — GET OUT!!! I’m not an advocate of divorce, but I certainly do advocate separation and counseling in order to try to repair the marriage! If your gut is telling you something is wrong, then most likely it is! Learn to listen to the voice of God whispering to you, calling you, trying to help you! For the sake of your sanity, learn to speak up and don’t allow anybody to manipulate and use you!!! Ever!
Pedophiles are liars — masterful liars. They “groom” adults as well as children. I was being groomed for what was to come –and a lot would happen the very next week in my life. Stay tuned…..things took a sudden, unexpected turn and I was perfectly groomed to accept it.
If you have questions or comments, please send them my way. Post your question, and I’ll answer to the very best of my ability. I feel compelled to tell my story in order to save others from the trickery and manipulation of sex offenders such as John. Through education and awareness we can make it very, very difficult for this grooming process which is the first step leading to child sexual molestation. Please stick with me and get educated! Share your experiences, too, so that we might learn and grow stronger together! For the sake of the children, let’s make it incredibly difficult for a pedophile to get away with his actions!
A predator will choose the parent as much as they choose the child!!! Remember that ALWAYS!!!