Marriage doesn’t equal ownership or automatic consent

Warning: Post contains sexual content and  information that may trigger some people. I feel it is important to share in hope that it will help others.

Many cultures, groups and religions have different beliefs about sex and intimacy before and within marriage. Some don’t discuss it at all. Some believe that sex it is only intended for procreation. Others believe that it is meant to satisfy the man. Whatever you believe when it comes to sex, one thing is true; each individual has the right to control their own body, and has the right to say what happens to their body and when.

I believe that marriage is a partnership, where spouses care, uplift, love one another, work together, have fun, support each other, have a family, and grow old together. As I was dating X(my ex-husband), I thought he had the qualities I was looking for. We had a lot of fun together and I fell in love with him.

As a first time newly wed who believes in abstinence before marriage, I didn’t know what to expect. Sex was not discussed and I believe my mother will cringe that I am discussing it now. But I didn’t know until I married my current husband what a healthy, respectfully, loving, and enjoyable sex life was.

I was in love with X and excited to be married and start our lives together. My wedding day was not exactly what I expected. X didn’t waste anytime. As we drove from the ceremony to our wedding breakfast he reached over and grabbed my breast. At the first stop light he unzipped his pants and place my hand on his penis. It didn’t end there, on our wedding night he seemed to know exactly what he wanted, while it was playful and loving it was also aggressive. We had sex daily which I thought this was a normal part of the honeymoon phase of our marriage, but there where times I didn’t want to be touched.

About 3 months into our marriage, X started taking every opportunity to touch me sexually regardless of where we were. It was embarrassing when he would grab my breasts in public. I felt like a piece of meat.

He also started pointing out flaws with my body. He would tell me I needed to loss weight so I could look good in a bikini. At one point he told me if I was not in a bikini by a certain date he would find someone who would. He also told me that I needed makeup on to look good. I was devastated that the man I loved unconditionally was continually putting me down. As time went on the verbal abuse got worse and I felt worthless and unattractive.

The abusive behavior continued to progress. The frequency of our sex life actually increased and not in a healthy, loving, respectful way. The first time I realized that there was a problem was when I was not feeling well and I told him I didn’t want to be touched. He told me it was his right because he was my husband. He grabbed me by my wrists and pulled me into the bedroom. Despite me asking him to stop, he didn’t. Since I was not feeling well, I stopped fighting as he raped me. I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

I believe my X was addicted to sex. He would tell me if I didn’t make love to him, he would take care of himself. That only made things worse, it didn’t satisfy what he was looking for and he would pin me down and rape me. He often laughed as I would tell him he was hurting me. As things progressively got worse, he would demand sex 2-3 times a day; first thing in the morning, when he would get home for work and as we went to bed. I stopped trying to fight it. I would essential zone out and go numb until he was done. I know I participated, but I was doing it to avoid getting hurt. Sex became away to avoid physical abuse at times. The emotional, physical and sexual abuse all went hand in hand with him dominating me. There was no love, intimacy, or bonding taking place. He was simply satisfying his own carnal desires.

photo by Arbutus Photography
photo by Arbutus Photography

X was a very jealous person and would not let me go anywhere but work without him. He would touch me inappropriately in public, I felt like it was his way of proving he was in control of me. X degraded me anytime someone complemented me. There were times he would take credit for things I did. For example I did the cooking, cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping, but he would tell people how lazy I was and that he had to take care of all the cooking and cleaning. I felt useless and more like his possession than his partner.

I wish I would have realized sooner that marriage doesn’t equal ownership or automatic consent. I now understand that I have the right to chose how my body is treated; as does every human being. Sex is meant to be pleasurable and consensual for both parties and help strengthen the love and bond that you have for each other. If you are being force to have sex or participating to avoid other forms of abuse, stand up for yourself, and open a dialog with your partner. If your situation is not safe for you, get help getting out and get counseling to help start the healing process. I found help from my current spouse, friends and my counselor.

When JJ told me he could see himself married to me, I told him I didn’t know if I could be intimate with anyone. He knew about the physical abuse, but I had not told anyone about the sexual abuse. I was ashamed and felt broken. He told me it would be okay. As we dated we held hands, but only kissed a few times. Our relationship is based on our friendship, love, and respect for each other. We discuss our fears as well as our dreams. Our wedding day and our marriage are the exact opposite of my first. Our relationship is a partnership, we strengthen and complement each other. We work side by side cooking meals, working on the yard, and house work. We also enjoy playing games, camping, sports, and watching movies as a couple and with our children. He is my rock, and my best friend. JJ knows my deepest darkest secrets, that I am chemically imbalanced, depressed, and that I feel suicidal and broken. He supports me sharing our lives with the world to help others.

To this day I have nightmares of being raped and/or abused. If I get restless during a nightmare JJ will wake me up, hold me and talk me through it. There are times that I get anxious or self-conscience about intimacy and it does have its effects my current marriage. Gratefully JJ and I are able to talk about whatever is triggering me. He is good at helping me realize that he is not X, that he loves me exactly the way I am, that he is not going anywhere, and most important that we are okay. I am grateful I found someone who understands what a healthy, respectfully, loving, marriage and sex life is. I am grateful I am on the path of healing. I know it will be a continuous process. I hope by sharing my experience I can help others know they are not alone. There is hope, healing and people who can help.

Everyone has his or her own journey. We each have our own triggers and interpretations of life. My intent is to add in the healing process not cause anxiety or pain. Our experience may be similar but they are each unique. Even though many people could have been at the same event each person experiences and remembers those events through our own eyes and will recall the event differently. My blogs will be from my perspective of my life. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. I am not a Doctor, Counselor or Therapist. I believe it is important to work with Doctors, Counselors and Therapist along with Essential Oils, Energy Healing and spirituality to find health, healing and balance.

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