Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

Training up this child – Part 11 – Why Does It Always Rain On Me?


Maybe 2 or 3 weeks after Beth and I had this conversation, Harry’s family came to visit us again. I had thought about what Beth said during the time since her last visit. I had planned to talk to her about it again, find out what she really meant by what she said and clear out misunderstandings. However, I didn’t get the chance.

Once Harry’s family came in, I looked around to see Beth, anxious to greet her, but she wasn’t there. Instead of my usual quietness, I quickly walked over to Harry’s parents. “Where’s Beth?” I asked, but I didn’t get an answer. Her dad, my soon-to-be-father-in-law said: “We have an announcement to make about that. We’ll tell you later.” I got nervous. Did something happen to her? But then it dawned to me that as Beth was also courting, she might just be visiting her soon to be new family. Either way, she wasn’t here and I was sad.

I got talking to Harry for a bit, who couldn’t help but praise his sister for a while, that he was happy she found such a good partner and so on. I listened with only half an ear. Thoughts were racing in my head. I HAD to know what she meant in our last conversation.

When we sat down for lunch, Harry’s dad stood up, raising his glass for the announcement. He gave a small speech which I don’t remember in detail, but here’s roughly what he said:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. As all of you know, the Lord has blessed our beloved daughter Bethany by leading her into a courtship with John. As of last Wednesday, Bethany and John became officially engaged. Bethany agreed happily, and we are excited to plan the wedding from now on.

But Bethany isn’t the only one I want to praise today. The Lord has also blessed our families to be connected by a courtship between Lisa and Harrison. I can’t express just how thankful I am to the Lord that Harry has found such a jewel, whom we are sure is going to be our daughter in law soon. She truly displays the qualities of a virtuous woman. I can’t wait to see where this path leads us but I’m sure everything is God’s plan and will happen in His perfect timing.

Following that, he spoke a prayer. I felt strange after hearing all of that. Beth engaged? Did she not say how much she wanted a different man for a husband? I was confused to say the least, but still very happy. After all, she was my friend and I wanted her to be happy. And besides that, my plan to live a happy live close to hear just got one step closer.

I know it might sound very obsessive to you and maybe you’re even questioning my gender preferences but you have to understand just how lonely I was. My sisters were all younger than me, not being old enough to court yet, so I felt they didn’t understand this phase of life. Among all those people in the house, with all the work that was going on, I still felt very very lonely. Beth was my only connection to a world that I felt could understand me.

If I thought of my marriage without Beth around, it would just be as dark as my teen years. I knew Harry was very much like his dad, not wanting contact with the world or many others for that matter. Family was family and friends were only a minor need. He wouldn’t allow me a friend outside the family whom I could regularly meet, fearing that they might corrupt me. His view on women, just like my dad and his dad’s view, was that we were easily led into sin by every influence outside of their authority. If I could have at least Beth, my future marriage actually seemed bright to me.

Read the previous part here, or the next part here.


5 thoughts on “Training up this child – Part 11 – Why Does It Always Rain On Me?

  1. Thank you for telling your story. I look forward to the next installment.

  2. Thankyou. As I read this, I can’t help thinking that there are parents like mine who get sucked into the Fundamentalist lifestyle, and there are those like my in-laws – and your parents too, it seems – who find their justification in it for behaviour that’s already underlying. The way you described the reality behind your “good behaviour” sounds just like the impression I had of my husband’s family growing up. Yet my mom was told we should be more like them. Their house was cleaner. Their kids were quieter. They never spoke unless first addressed. The reality, which I knew even then, was that their mother was a vicious bully, and while we were disciplined strictly and had many rules, they were randomly beaten with downright brutality, and had only one rule: Don’t piss Mom off. Of course they were silent. Living with a psychopath will do that to you. She was never a Christian. She was an abused child full of rage who found a religious excuse to vent that rage on someone who couldn’t fight back. Her children.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story….I am looking forward to the next part. I am curious about the ultra conservative, fundamentalist movement. Shows like the Duggards only show “happy” faces but I know raising children can be challenging, many grown ups have forgotten what it is like to be a child. I am definitely not someone who believes in spanking, my sympathy to you on having to endure that. I think getting beaten by a bigger, older person in authority is wrong and not what Jesus had in mind when he said “suffer the little children to come unto me”. Also I think your are gifted as a writer and thank you for sharing.

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