Shadowspring’s story was originally published on her blog Love. Liberty. Learning. She describes herself on her blog as, “a home school mom near the end of my career home schooling and looking forward to what life has to offer next. I am a follower of Jesus and a lover of freedom, as it is for freedom that Christ has set me free (Gal 5:1).” This story is reprinted with her permission.
Today I plan to post about some home school marriage disasters of which I have personal knowledge. As I freely admit, my own home school marriage was in deep trouble, and I fully intend to tell that story. I guess I’ll give a brief synopsis of my story at the end of this little post, just to be fair.
Also before I begin my laundry list of half a dozen bad marriages, let me point out that I know dozens if not hundreds of home school families that have perfectly fine marriages as far as I can tell. No doubt some are even great!
I am not posting any real names. I know that some will accuse me of making these stories up since I will not post any verifying details. That is okay by me, accuse away. I know that these stories are all true, even though I will not reveal the details. Each story represents real flesh and blood people that I have seen.
Please keep in mind that all the names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved, innocent or not. Also each of these families was very active in their church leadership during the time that I knew them. They are all Christians with a capital C.
The Founders were a family that proudly started the first home school support group in their area. To everyone’s shock and dismay, their oldest son secretly married another home school girl as soon as he turned eighteen. So began the unraveling of their whole family.
I remember the Dad telling me puzzled that he did not understand how this could happen. He and his son and discussed it and his son agreed to wait until after college to marry. (Get the feeling Dad did all the talking and none of the listening? I do.)
Shortly after, Dad was arrested for sexual misconduct. Mom divorced dad, and the other children were enrolled in private school. Dad later confessed that there were marriage problems going on for a long time before the divorce.
But all this time the Founders were very involved in what was to become an exclusive Christian home school support group. Their son was prepared academically for any Ivy League school. I don’t think he ever even made it to college, though. Last I heard he was working at an entry level job to support his wife and young child.
The Excluders were a very loud and opinionated family that was largely responsible for that home school support group’s “statement of faith”. Their idea was that we needed to protect our children from associating with other home school children that didn’t share our Christian values. They won that battle, and so the only home school support group in that county became closed to all but Christians.
The father of the Excluders is now a registered sex offender. Seems while he was away on business he would chat online with young ladies in need of “spiritual guidance”. A police officer, posing as a fourteen year old girl, agreed to meet him at his hotel to discuss this all in person. According the the prosecutors and law enforcement, he was guilty of soliciting a minor. His wife did not leave him. They are still married and I think still home schooling. But I don’t for one minute believe that everything is fine in that marriage.
Then there is the Serial Adulterer family and the Refuses Work family. Incidentally, in both of these families, friends of mine, the fathers fancy themselves preachers called by God. And preach they do, every chance they get. Though why anyone wants to hear anything either of them has to say, I could not tell you. They must keep their private lives hidden, or put on an amazing spin to it all.
Mr. Refuses Work is also an adulterer, though not as practiced at it as Mr. Serial Adulterer. Both claim their latest woman are finally God’s true calling for their lives and now their ministries will really take off!
Mr. Refuses Work is now divorced. Believe it or not, his wife put up with him refusing to work for three years. Once he finally returned to work, he met his current girlfriend and left his wife. Yes, after she gave up home schooling and supported the family on her part-time wage for three years! Always the submissive wife, I don’t think she would have ever left him (though she should have years ago!).
Mr. Serial Adulterer’s wife is still praying and trusting God to heal her family, though as her long time friend, I wish she would divorce him and move on with her life. Her children have been in and out of public school/home school as mom has had to work off and on. She is a great teacher and loves to bless her children with the freedom to home school when possible, but Mr. Serial Adulterer is not the most reliable provider.
I promised you half a dozen families but I have deleted at least three of my examples because, even though there was moral failure and broken hearts galore, not every reader understands the connection between teens acting out and the state of their parents’ marriage. I see it clearly, but it would take too much time and a lot of research and footnotes to make the connection plain to all. So I have only chosen to write about the crystal clear home school marriage failures.
Others I have left out because as best as I can tell the people in the marriages appear to be resigned to an unhappy life. I suppose if they are willing to accept a crappy marriage, that is a disaster in itself, since Jesus wanted our joy to be full. But they would claim they are okay, so I won’t post their example.
Which brings me to my story in brief. I was also in leadership in the home school community. My husband has a perfect religious pedigree, though he never fancied himself a preacher or teacher. To the outside world he has always been a great guy, little shy maybe, but a great guy. He was friendly, knew a lot of Bible verses, held to the right doctrine plus he was a great provider.
The hidden reality? My husband was an abusive man. Not only abusive. He has many good qualities. Not always abusive. In the first ten years of our marriage I hardly noticed it at all. Abusive moments were rare and easily excused. It wasn’t until our children were older that he really began to grow cold.
But he had hidden hatred and resentment in his heart that grew to poison our marriage and our family. And there is a reason Jesus told us that hating someone is akin to murdering them. Hatred leads to violence. It is inevitable.
I can’t end this post without letting everyone know that my marriage is healing and growing stronger every day because my husband is healing and growing stronger every day. Once he admitted that he was an abusive man and started getting useful help, things began to turn around.
I’ll save the rest of the story for later.
To be continued.