Welcome back to another installment of 17 & Married! Thank you to all my loyal subscribers! If you haven’t subscribed to the blog yet, go ahead and put that info in the box to stay up to date on the newest installment posts, and to leave comments and feedback!
If you’re new to my page, Heyy! Come on in and make yourself at home. Welcome to the family! After reading, You’re going to want to slide on back to the first post In the Beginning... so you can have all the backstory on how we got here. Now without further ado, let’s get into today’s session.
Today I'm going to tell you what it was like being married into a family who thinks you trapped their Golden Goose!
I already told y’all how B was the good son. He was the one with the good grades, he played sports and was pretty good at them too! He’d even earned himself a scholarship to play at a junior college out of state. He was a good guy.
When B and I started dating, I was recently out of a pretty bad relationship. I had experienced some extensive trauma and I was still quite rough around the edges. I won’t go into details but let’s just say during that time in my life, the Lord still had a lot of work to do on me. Seeing how different B and I were people looked at us like what?
But we liked each other, and eventually loved each other.
You know how those high school relationships are. So full of teenage melodrama. Everything seems so big and serious at the time.
Now let’s pause for an advice break! To my young sisters reading this, please know, that high school boy is probably not your soulmate. There is so much more to life than being with a boy! Focus on your goals, dreams, and aspirations. Boys aren’t going anywhere. I promise.
Alright, I’m climbing off my mom pedestal now.
Back to the story. So there we were all infatuated with each other. I began going to his family’s church. It started as a way to spend more time with him, but eventually, I liked going for myself too. There was a warm welcoming atmosphere there, and like many broken people, I was looking for fulfillment and mending for my brokenness.
I thought I had finally found the answer in church! I was healing. God was healing me. I accepted Jesus and even spoke in tongues. I got baptized and completed the final step in my salvation. And let me tell you, I was SAVED, honey. I was working hard to become a better person through Christ. I heard a poem some time back that described what happened to me perfectly. She was looking for God but found religion.
When I got pregnant I realized that all of that love, support, and acceptance came with conditions. I couldn’t make the kind of visible and permanent mistake I’d made and still receive that love. Being 16 and pregnant resulted in my first church hurts.
Fast forward to after B and I are married. Things were relatively quiet. Everyone was getting along, and I felt like I'd been accepted into a new family that loved me. I didn’t learn the truth about the way B’s family viewed me until almost a year into the marriage.
There was a lot of conversation happening behind my back, and none of it was flattering. There were people in his family saying things like Gab wasn’t his, and that I’d trapped him into being with me. There were some other pretty nasty rumors but those took the cake.
It was a wild time y’all. Here I was this 18-year-old girl who cared so much about how others viewed me. I was incredibly self-conscious back then like most teenagers, but even more so because of the shame. Then to find out the people I loved and looked up to we’re talking this way about me, man it hurt. The little girl in me wanted to be accepted and loved after such a tumultuous teenage experience. Sadly, she didn't get that.
I remember getting so angry I wanted to fight. Thank God it never actually came to that, but those accusations and rumors went on to shape the relationship I had with my in-laws for the rest of our near-decade of marriage.
In my early twenties, I would go out of my way to try and build a relationship with my in-laws. Trying to spend time with them, getting thoughtful gifts, just being my full self. But over time there was so much strife that I created distance to protect myself from any future hurts. I also became more vocal about things I saw that were wrong. They didn't like that. But I wasn't the little girl anymore. The pain had grown me up. I no longer cared what they thought.
The hardest part was the fact that B’s family weren’t just my in-laws, they were my spiritual leadership. They were in positions of power in my life that gave them influence. Not only over me but especially over B. As I grew up, I began to see things that changed the way I viewed them. I saw sides of them that only family would see, and it was hard for me to reconcile those things with my pastoral headship.
I remember going to B and begging him to find another church home with me. He refused. Looking back I can see clearly why he could never leave. He carried all the weight of perfection on his shoulders. He couldn’t let them down, even if it meant letting me down in the process.
So we stayed. In that church, I died a slow and agonizing spiritual death. I wasn’t learning. I wasn’t growing. I wasn’t being fed. I had reached a point where it was time for me to move on, but I was stuck in obligation to my husband. It made me question everything. Those questions sent me on a quest for answers.
And eventually, I got woke y’all.
woke: alert to injustice in society, especially racism.
It was bound to happen. I was in college where I had access to new information and most importantly diverse people. I was surrounded by people who didn’t believe, live, or think like me. It forced me to have conversations that made me examine my own beliefs and choices. Diversity forced me to grow.
I realized that my political and religious beliefs didn't align. That sent me on an incredibly difficult spiritual journey that left me flailing in the wind. I was accustomed to believing and living one way, but I was being confronted with new information that challenged those beliefs. Cognitive dissonance is a mutha. I had no choice but to reevaluate thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors until my head and heart aligned.
The journey began with a stage of Pan-Africanism. You know, the Doctor Umar Hotep type stage? If you don’t know, go ahead and look him up. I watched all of the Hidden Colors documentaries, and I got about as anti-religion as you could get.
I was transforming. My beliefs were changing, and I wasn’t sure how it would affect my relationship with B. My mind was opening, and I wanted him on that journey with me. There were times I would ask him questions like: Do you think the slaves and the slave masters were praying to the same God?
I would ask him about those missing books of the Bible and challenge him to ask himself those questions that most Christians answer with have faith. But why should having faith mean I can't question the things that don't make sense to me?
As I became more engrossed in my blackness, I would ask ever more challenging questions. It got to the point where religion was a topic that was off-limits in our household. Imagine that. A man who went to church three-plus times a week, married to a woman questioning everything, including his religion. It was a very interesting time in our marriage, to say the least. I realize now, that I was ascending to a new level of consciousness. I wanted to take him with me, but as I've stated before, not everyone is ready to go to the next level. It's not your job to stunt your growth trying to pull them along. Everyone's process is different. Be true to yours.
By that point, I was done going to church. Not only because no one had answers to my valid questions, but I was sick of going to his family’s church. I remember the last day I attended the church. I'm not sure what his father was preaching about exactly, but I knew that he was talking about me as did the entire congregation.
You may say, well how do you know he was talking about you? Maybe you just have a guilty conscience. Valid point yall, however, I know.
You see the church only had about twenty members on a good day, so you can imagine the pews were quite empty. As he went along with his sermon, it was quite evident who he decided to use as the day's example. It made sense though, I wasn't the same girl I used to be. I had changed and change was not a good thing there. So he called me out from the pulpit. The little girl in me who wanted their acceptance was gone. I stood up with my son and walked out of that church. I never returned as a member again. There was a line that had been crossed, and not even submission to my husband could get me to return.
After that experience, I tried out a few other churches but I was so wounded by the things I’d experienced previously that it wasn’t worth it to me anymore. I was done. My belief in God remained intact, but my willingness to fellowship was gone. I am still working to recover from that distrust. I have been to some truly amazing churches, but none felt quite like home. That's an area God is still working on. Gone and pray for me yall!
By the end of our relationship, I had stopped participating in family events. I didn't want to be around people who I knew despised me, and quite frankly I didn't care for them either. No point in faking the funk.
Someone asked me what it was like being married into B's family. Put simply: hard. But I don't regret any of it. When I met them I was a needy little girl, reeling from trauma. I wanted so much to be loved. I thought I'd found that love, but I was wrong. I won't sit here and pretend to be blameless. I may have been needy but I've never been a pushover. I stood up for myself. I said things back, and I called them out. I was in a position to be controlled, but I never allowed that to happen. That wasn't me, even then and most certainly not now.
This is why I am sharing my story. It isn't about revenge or shaming. This blog is about inspiration and healing. There have been several women who have reached out to me thankful that I've decided to share. They see themselves in my story. They can relate to feelings of shame and brokenness, or are at a crossroads in their lives. I made it out of all that, and so can you.
So if I have to leave you with anything today, it's this. Church people are just people. They will let you down, they will hurt you because they are human. God is love. And though some may try to convince you that you need the church to know God, I would disagree. Learn to know God on your own, and learn to know yourself. No one gets to dictate your relationship with God and yourself, but you!
If you are blessed to be apart of church home that is safe, loving, and Christ-like congratulations! Send me suggestions through my contact me form! I appreciate them.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for reading. And thank you for sharing. For those of you on your personal development and spiritual journey, I encourage you to check out my ebooks, all written with self-development at the forefront.
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