Story #13 Wife and Husband as Bound
Story #13 Wife and Husband as Bound.
All the stages of The Pattern are in this short post written by the wife, as she experienced them, before and after her marriage.
Stage 1. A Need - Anxiety
"I was raised Methodist in rural North Carolina, but always felt something was missing from my life. ...(As) an adolescent about to turn 17, desperately trying to fit in somewhere, life was confusing and scary..."
Stage 2. Agreement - Trust
"I wanted to be Baptist until I met Dad's old army buddy and family on a trip to Utah and became even more attracted to the Mormon lifestyle. I wanted that sense of security that comes from a church that can answer all your questions. ... I needed that guidance."
Stage 3. Identity Crisis - "Yes, but."
"The church offered me a sense of identity. ("Yes,") I received endless praise and encouragement when I continued to eagerly learn, absorbing information like a sponge. The sense of elitism (WE had the TRUTH that no one else had) made me feel special. For a while, the church fulfilled a strong need. I finally fit in."
("But,") "It has been said that when you give someone the power to make you happy, you also give them the power to make you miserable. So it was with the church. I went to BYU after high school, and I met my husband at the beginning of summer school just after my freshman year. After three months (between summer school and fall semester), we were engaged; I had, of course received my "revelation" that it was the "right thing to do".
Stage 4. Double-Bind
"So over the fall semester, when I had very serious doubts about the wedding and wanted to cancel it, I felt I didn't have the right because God himself wanted it for me."
If she didn't cancel the wedding, she would be guilty of going against her own perceptions of what was right for her.
If she did cancel the wedding, she would be "guilty" of going against what "God" wanted for her.
"And of course, we had to rush into marriage so that we wouldn't sin! So I was married at the end of fall semester, at the age of nineteen, nine months after meeting the guy."
Stage 5. Obedience
"After six months of marriage, our son was conceived. Besides, Pres. Benson had said that we should not postpone having children, being co-creators with our Father in Heaven! So... it was the right thing to do! ... Every time I had made a decision based on what the church taught was the right thing to do, I became more miserable."
Stage 6. "Not I, but you, are guilty."
"I had no self-esteem; the church had provided that for me, but now that I couldn't make my husband happy, I felt that I didn't even have the right to ask God for help. (You know - when you sin, the holy spirit is withdrawn from you!)
Stage 7. "You chose, not I" - Abandonment - Punished for being Punished.
"The pregnancy was worse; my husband had abandoned me emotionally, then dealing with a baby was worse yet."
(True Believing Mormon husbands, as a rule, follow The Pattern which is exemplified by the leaders of the church, even though what is commanded may go against their own perceptions and needs. For instance, the strength in the numbers of the Brotherhood overpowers individual reason and judgment. Husbands also have their Double-Binds. If they obey their own perceptions, they go against the Brotherhood. If they obey the Brotherhood, they go against their own true perceptions. The Double-Bind is always against the Self and for the Binder. The commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth" still applies in Mormonism and is praised. If it creates, rather than cures, personal unhappiness, the wife is usually accused ... "You 'chose' your own unhappiness, not I." "You asked for it." Or, "God" is chastising you unto repentance ... for your own good." "God" and husband both are then "justified" in abandoning her for not being happy in fulfilling her commanded role. The result is that the wife is dehumanized further ... punished for being punished ... and becomes even more depressed with the accumulated weight of more unearned "guilt.")
Stage 8. Depression
"My life was far worse than I'd ever imagined. ... I was consumed with thoughts of suicide daily (divorce was NOT an option because we were SEALED)." (Another Double-Bind.)
Stage 9. Suicide a possibility.
"Our marriage continued to deteriorate. I felt that if there was a God, He sure as hell didn't listen to me or care about me! When our son was just barely one year old, there was a split second when I seriously considered breaking a jar I held in my hands and slitting my wrists with the shards. Thankfully, I decided that life had to change."
This wife went to a counselor and got help. A transition period followed for her and her husband. She says, "The situation continues to evolve as I continue working on reclaiming my life."
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Next Page: Story #45 Husband and Wife as Bound
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