I met my future husband at a factory where we both worked. I guess he got the courage and the nerve to ask me out, and I said “yes.” I was 20. I was with him for six years before we decided to have kids. We had talked about it and he was all for it. He wanted Amelia, my first child. He was with me at the hospital when I had her. He was even a good birthing coach. And about a year later, he asked me to marry him, and I said “yes.”
But as soon as I found out that I was having our second child, he said I was just doing it to “trap” him. He wanted me to have an abortion, and he even punched me in the stomach because he wanted me to lose him. That’s when my husband started distancing himself from me and the kids. When Jacob was born, he wasn’t even at the hospital. Two years later, he left–and I haven’t seen him since then.
Looking back, I feel like I rushed into marriage. It’s not that I rushed into marriage in terms of time–we were together for seven years before we got married. But I feel like I emotionally rushed into marriage. At the time, I just wanted to get away from everyone and everything that I was dealing with in my life. I wanted to have my own house. He was the first guy to come along, and he also wanted to have his own place. And, yes, I was 27 at the time I got married, but looking back, I was doing it for the wrong reasons.
Marriage should be about for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. No matter if the person is poor or rich, it should be unconditional love. Everyone’s got their flaws, but marriage should be like how a mother loves her child: unconditionally. Because if you marry somebody you should be with them for the long haul–and I’m saying this as a woman who has been separated from her husband for years now.
One thing I’ve seen is that if you’re going to have a long-lasting, good marriage, it’s important to date well before getting married. This means getting to know the person before having sex with the person. And when you do have sex, it should be the right person, not just any person. And when you’re ready to have kids, he should be willing to have kids—and he should be there to raise his kids; he should be a father. You should talk about what you guys want in your life together, and if you want to have kids.
I know that there are still good men and women out there who want to do things the right way. For instance, I admire my daughter’s boyfriend. When he drops her off at night, he gives her a hug and kiss, and says, “See you tomorrow.” He truly wants to be with her and hang out with her, and not just use her. You can tell that he respects her, and I appreciate that a lot. That’s the kind of man I wish for my daughter.
To all the women out there in the world looking for a good man, take it from a woman who has been there, done that: you deserve a man who respects you, communicates with you, supports your family. That’s what marriage is all about. It’s about being with someone that truly wants to be with you—someone who loves you unconditionally with all the flaws that you have. That person should be willing to work to support you and the kids. And to grow old with you after the kids are gone away. In marriage, you’ve got to make sacrifices. You’ve got to work through things.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have that kind of marriage. But I hope that my kids meet someone that truly loves them and wants to be with them—not someone who uses them. I hope they find someone who wants to be there to have a family and support them. I do think that that is possible, and to all the single young ladies and men out there looking for true love, I say you can find someone who respects you for you, who treats marriage the way it’s supposed to be treated.