To understand the events of my teen and young adult years which lead up to this point, you need to understand my mindset.
Love. Love isn’t an emotion. Our hearts are evil. They are so inexplicably evil that you should never, ever, under any circumstances, trust it. If your heart says left, you better go right.
“Love” in a fundamentalist sense means that you submit to your husband fully. You put up with him abusing you. That’s love. You put up with him not making enough money, having his babies every year, cleaning his house and washing his laundry, cooking his food and fulfilling his sexual needs not because of affection but because of “love”, the love that doesn’t know affection for each other, only duty and submissiveness to an authority.
You don’t submit to your husband because you love him. You submit because it is your duty. Imagine there was a law against public spaghetti eating. You would submit to that law not because you love your state, but because it is your duty – and you don’t want to face the negative consequences.
My family and the entire circle of friends and other QF families used to be very amused by people who get married because they are “in love”. Granted, there should be somewhat of a spark, but if it’s really necessary, friendship works too. The emotions towards a potential partner were pretty much out of the frame. Unless of course, you already were in love.
Being in love without really “knowing” each other – that means, being through a courtship process and already engaged – was absurd. Those people were following their hearts. And hearts are evil. Your heart says left? Go right. And that’s exactly how way too many families treat their daughter’s relationships and feelings.
I’m particularly saying daughters here. Sons are an entirely different story. Sons may actually have feelings toward a girl they aren’t courting yet. Somehow, a man’s heart seems to not be as deceitful as a woman’s. He shouldn’t speak about love just yet, but telling the girl’s dad that you are very fond of her won’t hurt your image.
As a woman’s heart is such a fake piece of tissue, a woman should never ever make the first step in a relationship. She shouldn’t show any, ANY signs of interest towards a certain person. A girl has to sit and wait for Prince Charming.
In some families this goes as far as the girls not being allowed to pick up activities which one could see as “fishing”. Activities that can fall under the “fishing” term: All sports with mixed genders. All church groups with mixed genders. Wait, let’s make this short, all activities where you could possibly meet men old enough to be married.
A girl who does this is usually shunned by the extra holy families. She is flirtatious, offensive and very unladylike. She is immodest, overly sexual and rebellious. She’s not the type of girl any man with biblical views would ever consider marrying.
A godly lady was to wait without any sign of affection for a guy to apply for a courtship to her father. She’d be expected to agree to her father’s wish, considering that he might already have turned down 20 guys who weren’t good enough. She will marry this guy not because of any emotion she might or might not feel, but because she can put up with him. That’s right, marriage is about being able to put up with it.
My family applied all these laws.
For me, that meant that as soon as I hit puberty, I wasn’t allowed to do anything where I could meet guys without an authority (hence a parent) around.
I was to stay at home. The only things I was allowed to go out for was shopping with my mom and to church with the family. I wasn’t allowed to have wordly friends. I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere with my fundamentalist girlfriends. They weren’t either, so I could pretty much only meet them on family get-togethers.
I could not talk to men without a parent in hearing range. I was at home, sitting, waiting, wishing, and wondering. How would my Prince ever find me if he never even saw me?!
I asked my mother how I was supposed to find a man I could marry. Her answer was “Be patient and wait for God to bring him to you. God’s plan is perfect, don’t disturb it.”. I was only partially satisfied with that answer. Little did I know that “the one God had planned for me” was already closer than I’d like him to be.