Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Husband and Wife (08/08/14)
- TITLE: Learning to Love
By Ashley Lambert
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We had just started to chat when the door that leads to the garage suddenly flew open, and he appeared: The stepfather I wished I didn't have. His presence was like that heat lightning phenomenon that happens when it's warm. The lightening beams across the horizon, and you wonder if a storm is coming, so you brace yourself. It could be nothing. Or it could be bad.
He shouted at me, unprovoked, as he often did. "Get in the house, NOW!"
I glanced at my mom, who looked about as annoyed as I felt. I could tell he had been drinking. Again. I discreetly rolled my eyes, bit my tongue, and shimmied past him in the doorway.
I was fed up with him, but what could I do? He was something I just had to live with. Like a toothache or poor weather. I headed to my room to engage in the everyday act of pretending he didn't exist.
I picked up a CD and was about to pop it in, when I heard my mom scream, "Ashley, call the police!" I flung open my bedroom door, and saw him standing in front of my mom, arms crossed, like a bouncer at a club. He was intimidating, a pretty big guy. My mom was trying to get past him. He hadn't touched her (yet), but he was just standing there. The kind of stance that lets everyone know that you don't have to exert force to get people to fall in line.
He slammed my door shut, but I burst out of my room again at the sound of something - someone- being slammed against my door. I didn't see what happened, but I could imagine. Looking right past him, I asked my mom if she wanted me to call the cops, and she said no.
He got really upset about the wretched act of defiance called “trying to defend my mother”, and got right in my face, breathing all kinds of alcohol-saturated stench into my nostrils.
"Do you want to step to me?” he asked.
A sudden flash of anger-induced courage shot through my veins as I stared into the face of this man, easily twice my size.
"If you want to step to my mom, yeah I want to step to you", I retorted.
His hands were around my neck as soon as those words escaped my lips.
At some point he decided it would be best not to choke his stepdaughter to death, so he let go. The next thing I knew, he had passed out a couple of feet from where we stood.
They divorced shortly thereafter.
This was the picture of "husband and wife" I had come to know. Certainly not the Song of Solomon depiction of marriage, not the "love your wives just as Christ loved the church" deal. The picture was distorted, that of a dictating alcoholic spewing venom at a wife and her children.
On the contrary, my husband - an executive pastor - grew up observing a Godly marriage. His parents loved and supported each other. They were devoted to Christ and His purpose for their family, always active in their local church, always eager to be a good example to their children.
My husband knew what a healthy marriage was supposed to look like, but I came into my marriage pretty oblivious to what was expected of me as a wife. I was slightly cold when I married my husband. My twisted childhood had me desperately struggling to display or receive affection. I had no clue how to be supportive, other than be at church all the time. I’m working hard to treat him as well as he treats me, but I’m still learning. He has been so patient with me. He has been the husband that I wish my mom could have had. His love for me reminds me of Christ’s love for me; unconditional love, the kind of love that relentlessly pursues, in spite of the beloved’s shortcomings. That’s how the love between a husband and wife should be.
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