Engaged!

Disclaimer: The following contains some graphic content that may be considered disturbing or offensive. Please be advised.

My sophomore year of college we became engaged. Once we were engaged I began to quickly unravel. I had shared with him the details of my relationship with my rapist and now that was coming back to bite me. He was upset. He told me he couldn’t believe I was willing to do all that for my rapist and nothing for him. After all, he was the one actually willing to marry me. As our relationship had deepened I had learned that he had struggled with pornography. Now that we were in a very serious relationship as an engaged couple, he demanded more physically.

He had never had a physical relationship with a woman, but he knew all the intimate details of the relationship I had had with my rapist. We never had sex, but I found myself doing things for him that I hated because I felt like I had to. Then once I did it, he felt guilty and he resented me. I always felt guilty. Dirty. Worthless. It was a vicious cycle. Once again, it was all about him and his needs. My needs were not a consideration. I was doing these things of my own accord, but I felt like I was corrupting him. Like I was the dirty one since I had done them before and he had not. As the realities of being married began to sink in and that it would require far more of me physically; I could not handle it. We began to argue.

He had been interning with a Pastor at our Church, who was also doing our premarital counseling. He called the Pastor and told him we were struggling. He asked if we could meet with the Pastor and he agreed to see us. We met with the Pastor and within five minutes he turned to me and asked me point blank if I had been molested as a child. I responded with a suspicious and slow “No.” He then immediately followed-up with the question: “Have you been raped?” I burst into tears and said “Yes.” That was the first time I ever actually admitted out loud to being raped. It was over a year since it had happened. The Pastor was incredibly compassionate. He suggested I write a letter to my rapist explaining what I felt, but he emphasized not to deliver it. Rather to destroy it. He also mentioned that there was a female counselor at our church who specialized in sexual abuse. He told me he was so sorry that had happened to me.

At that moment, I felt safe to share. I opened-up and shared that there was something physically wrong with me. That I had bled a lot after the rape. He paused, leaned forward and with a concerned look, explained that that can happen your first time if the other person isn’t gentle and doesn’t take their time. I felt relieved, but also really foolish. How did I not know that? Why hadn’t anyone ever shared that with me? I had been carrying around a fear that something was physically wrong with me for over a year and it was normal?   At the end of our meeting he gave me a hug as I sobbed in his arms. That was a step in the right direction, but I was still not dealing with the rape.

Through our pre-marital counseling sessions with that Pastor and his wife, they kept pushing the issue of the rape. Had I sought medical attention? No. Aren’t you afraid you may have an STD? Yes. I couldn’t bring myself to see a doctor. That felt too vulnerable. I had never been to a gynecologist and now the prospect gave me a panic attack. Finally, after weeks of pressing I scheduled an appointment. I was a wreck. When the nurse practitioner walked in the room I was sobbing uncontrollably. She told me to get dressed and sit down to talk with her. I explained that I had been raped a year prior and that I had never sought medical attention. She asked me about the rapist. I told her I knew him. I worked with him. I went to school with him. She asked me if I still worked with him and went to school with him. I responded: “Yes.” Her response to this was a very colorful expletive. I survived my exam, albeit sobbing, and much to my relief, I was fine.

As our engagement progressed, albeit rather rocky, I discovered that he not only had his entire life planned, but mine too. I wanted to be involved in the planning of our life together. Instead of discussing it like a rational adult, I decided to test him to see if he would pick his plan or me – always a bad idea. I thought love would conquer all and he would choose me. I thought wrong. The engagement ended. I was crushed.   I wanted to be rescued. I thought he would be my Prince Charming and we would live happily ever after, never to fight or disagree.

I thought he loved me, but my longing to be swept off my feet by Prince Charming didn’t work out. I realized God had planted that desire there for Him alone to fulfill. God loved me so much that He sent His only son to die for me. I have been rescued, but by Jesus. It doesn’t get any more romantic than that, but wait. According to Revelations, He is coming for me on a white horse to carry me off to his castle in the clouds. I realized I didn’t need to look to a relationship with a boyfriend or spouse to feel loved, I only need to look to God.

My soul is anchored to the love of God and I am firm and secure in God’s love (Hebrews 6:18b-19a). I have accepted God’s unconditional love for me. Not only that, but I have realized that God has relentlessly pursued me with His love. Now when I face rejection, I remind myself of God’s relentless love. He has loved me since the day I began to form in my mother’s womb. He has pursued me when I was not seeking to be pursued. I am in awe and wonder of the depth of God’s love for me. I have found peace and hope in God’s relentless love for me. I have found healing from rejection in God’s relentless love for me.

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