It happened too fast. He proposed three weeks after their first date. They married four months later.
He had a hot temper, initially observed when a situation or something he did made him angry at himself. Later redirected to her.
The engagement ring had been recycled. Made for another, rejected, and held for safe keeping by his mother. One of the sisters let this information slip.
He went on a three week trip a month before the wedding, and became intimate with another woman, with whom he traded a couple of letters. She only read the other woman’s, of course.
He spent a lot of money but he was finishing graduate school.
After the wedding, the top of the cake was given to a sister for what the bride thought was for freezing so they could have it for their first anniversary, per tradition. After her attempts to collect it, she was told that “it was good!” They had eaten it.
His requests for an inappropriate display of public affection on their honeymoon.
The mother announced, “We have a real girl in the family.” Three sisters and a mother with excess body hair, prematurely aged skin, and only one who made an effort to look nice. Goes along with “She has such beautiful skin.”
A family where there is no concept that feminine and strong are virtues. A family where subjugation to the husband is the rule. A longer engagement would have clarified this and other important issues.
All four adult children call her “Mommy.” Girls, maybe. But from a 30 year old man?
The name thing. The refusal to accept that she had not changed her name, but received mail addressed to Mrs. His First and Last Name. Ordered address labels, Ms. Her Name, and Mr. His Name. Get the hint? Nope. This continued for twenty-two years.
It was assumed that she was a radical feminist. Not “radical,” but didn’t most women who came of age in the 1970s naturally embrace feminism as synonymous with the idea of choice in manner of living?
The vegetarian thing. The father constantly needling her about being a PETA type activist when she never even thought of converting his food preferences. Her personal choice made fifteen years before. She doesn’t eat meat, and won’t cook it in her home. What others do is not her call or concern. Both parents making it clear that a good wife would cook her husband anything he wanted.
Reading the $200.00 phone bill in the second month of marriage and finding an alarming number of phone calls made to sex chat numbers. Husband confessed this was a long term habit he would stop. He went on for hours after the resulting confrontation muttering “I’m a bad man.”
Her awareness that she had married someone missing certain interpersonal skills, but with the hope he would mature.
That he told his mother things which no self-respecting man would, such as the frequency of their sexual relations, or to phone her to complain of every disagreement or argument.
The first time he threw her up against a wall and slammed her repeatedly into it, and the resulting bruises around her upper arms and back. Her shame, and the regret she still carries of not asking her father to help her.
The first time he hit her head and she saw stars.