We shall call my little wife Red Riding Hood since she is neither a fictional character, nor does she wear a red hood. We met at work. She was a couple years younger, yet she was finishing high school and moving right into early college classes (point for home education). She could almost out work me, which was worthy of a solid jaw-drop. We weren’t allowed to date, and our families preferred to call it “courting” whenever we talked about it.
The idea of courtship was the first ingredient into what became our marriage. You see, dating was this bottom shelf idea for short term, shallow, selfish relationships. Meanwhile the holy courtship was intentional, selfless, and pure. That’s what we were told.
Red Riding Hood and I grew up together, discovering so much about life. We have never experienced anything at all without each other in the last several years. Our friends seemed to idolize our relationship while our families looked on with tentative pride.
Ingredients for a marriage too soon:
- Early dependence on each other emotionally, physically, mentally.
- Youthful passion, un-tempered by life’s experiences.
- Pressure from the social tribes to commence things.
- Lumps of self-doubt that haven’t been kneaded out yet.
- Poor examples of marriages.
Combine at 21 years old, add thousands of dollars for a wedding neither of us enjoyed, and let the “honeymoon phase” begin.
During one of those frustrating introspective moments I questioned how I ended up in my current position. To remain anonymous and aloof I will spare the details, but essentially I am living in a location that is surrounded by unhealthy relationships, trying to pick up the pieces of a broken marriage, friendless, and questioning my religion at every turn.
How did I get here?
My family moved across the nation, homeschooling me through most of high school. At about 17 years old I participated in what could only be described as a Christian-extremist cult. The whole family was in it, but I moved in with the leader in order to gain insight and “wisdom” from a “man of God.” This is really where my story leaves the well-worn path of the average middle class Evangelical kid.
Skip past the long days working for free, spreading this heretical propaganda to whoever would listen and you’ll find me confused, depressed and angry at the world. Normal teenager stuff to be honest. Normal until you consider that teenagers have a social baseline, set by their families and confirmed by the American culture. I don’t want you to think I had a bad raising, in fact, I consider myself lucky to have such open and honest parents. My family is never to blame, and I alone take responsibility for my formative years. I had opportunities to live like everyone else. I had doors opened for me into careers and strong relationships. I even had the opportunity to get ahead of the curve since homeschooling had set me a year ahead of my age group.
Intuition is a wonderful curse.
I left the cult, passed the final SAT, and started working 40-60 hours a week at 18. Sometimes I would help out with groceries and chores, but mostly I decided to race around in my Mom’s car, smoking hookah and watching previously forbidden movies with my new friends at work. I claimed to be going to church, but in reality I was hopping from building to building, comparing the performance. I never really did anything very rebellious, I respected my Dad enough to heed his warnings. I didn’t drink or do drugs. I didn’t even date because I didn’t want to dishonor my family in front of their cult.
Along came Little Red Riding Hood, my first love, my first girlfriend, my first sex, my wife (for now).
Hello to whoever stumbles across this. For some reason my little brain has convinced me to write down the story of my life in this moment, anonymously. I realize that the internet has seen its fair share of anonymous profiles with fake names and vague details, but this affords me some privacy. I ask that you would respect that, not only for me, but for my tentative wife, my Christian fundamentalist family, and the people I connect with.
I was not born with the name db15078. In fact I was born with a very normal Biblical name, as was my brother, as is was my wife. These two people mean more to me than I could measure, and yet we are drifting apart. My wife has asked for a divorce, will not call herself a Christian anymore, and “has feelings for someone else.” My brother is taking the step I never did and moving away for college, never voicing more than a passive encouragement when we talk about Biblical literalism and the struggle between secularism and fundamentalism. Needless to say, writing has offered an escape, and perhaps reading this will be a respite for someone else who is refining their perspective on the world.