He came like a thief in the night, stealing Darby Collin's shy heart before she even had a chance to resist him. Dressed in his finest clothes and wearing a million dollar smile, his eyes met hers, and she was smitten. He asked her to dance, and all she could do was nod her head. Darby smelled his fragrant cologne and thought she had died and gone to heaven.
It was at the Fall Festival church social that Darby first met her husband to be, Jack Devlin. He passed himself off quite easily as a Christian man who wanted nothing more in life than a good Christian woman to marry and have children with. Everyone who met him was quite taken in by his good looks and charming disposition.
Her friends and family were thrilled for her. Darby was so in love with Jack that when he suggested she leave college and be a full time wife to him, she happily agreed.
A few months after the wedding, however, Darby started noticing a change in her husband. He became critical and more demanding of her time. He seemed to resent her spending time with her family, and berated her friends.
"You're my wife now, I should come first." Jack complained one day when she was about to leave to have lunch with her sister, Lisa.
"I won't be gone long. Just a couple of hours. There's plenty of leftovers in the fridge for lunch, or I can cook something for you when I get home. "
"Your sister is a loser, and you spend too much time with her. You know I hate leftovers. Cancel your date and make my lunch now!"
"Jack, I can't cancel. Lisa needs to meet with me. She has some personal problems she wants to discuss." Darby said calmly. Stunned by the change of tone in Jack's voice, she started out the door.
Just as she stepped outside, Jack grabbed her arm and pulled her back in, slamming the door. She never saw his hand coming when he hit her in the face with his fist.
"Listen, you worthless little piece of nothing, I said I'm hungry, and you will make my lunch!"
So began another life of an abused woman. Each time Jack hit her, he always cried and said he was sorry, and she forgave him. She was able to hide her bruises with make up and felt too ashamed to tell anyone Jack was hitting her. He swore that it would never happen again, but it did.
Two years of abuse passed before Darby found herself pregnant. Although she was thrilled, she feared for the life of her baby. What if Jack hit her and caused a miscarriage? What if he beat their child as well?
Darby planned the evening well. She would tell Jack about the baby tonight. She cooked his favorite meal, lit candles, and put on some soft music. Setting the tone for gentle conversation and having no idea how he would take the news.
Jack came in the door promptly at six o'clock. He smiled at the pleasant surprise of a candle lit dinner. He kissed Darby on the cheek and opened a bottle of wine.
The dinner was delicious. Jack's mood was mellow. Now was the time to speak.
"Jack, I have some wonderful news."
"What is it, my dear?"
Jack's face turned beet red. He stared at Darby for what seemed like minutes, and without warning he reached out and struck her in the face.
"How could you be so stupid as to let yourself get pregnant? If you have a baby, you'll have no time for me!"
Later, Jack apologized and cried, just as he had a thousand other times. Darby accepted his apology, but she also made a decision. The moment his fist hit her face for the last time, she realized she did not love her husband anymore, but she did love her unborn child. Her marriage was over.
Darby's motherly instincts gave her the courage to go to her parents and her pastor tell them the truth about her marriage. She filed for a divorce and started therapy. After finishing her degree, she went to work as a Christian counselor for battered women. Her beautiful son is a happy three year old.
Darby's story has a good ending. Most stories of abuse don't. Many people are taken in by others who are abusers. Others like Jack Devlin.
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