As the weeks and months passed, the Ward family’s daily routine was like that of many other suburban families; two working parents, school and extracurricular activities. Sundays were occupied with church, so that they appeared to be a Godly, happy family. There were some exceptions with the Wood family. Most couples were not comprised of one straight and one gay spouse. As the years passed and Chuck’s resentment toward Jalene became more hostile, her struggles increased to appear “normal” as Chuck demanded.
Jalene had begun counseling several years prior, but without Chuck accompanying her, the counselor reminded her, it was not marriage counseling. Jalene’s abilities to cope with the dysfunction in their home was limited to what she could personally do to accept her life and to better the situation for her family. However, she realized she could not control or alter anyone. She could only control her emotions and actions. Aside from Chuck’s refusal for physical and/or emotional intimacy, Jalene detested his demand that she never allow anyone to know their relationship was dysfunctional.
Chuck understood Jalene sought weekly counseling for their marital concerns, but he frequently reminded her she was not to be discussing her concerns with anyone outside their home; not even her family. Consequently, on Sundays when the typical arguing and often times physical conflicts occurred prior to departing for church or even in the car while commuting to church, it was routine for Chuck to grab Jalene’s arm and command that she walk into the church with a smile on her face and just like Tammy Wynette, “stand by her man.”
After one of the exceedingly physical and emotional Sunday morning “war zones” Jalene discussed this with her counselor. He reminded her, she was not obligated to put on a faux face of happiness if this was not her desire. Image and prestige were always paramount to Chuck. Jalene’s appearance of discontent or melancholy would not validate his appearance that his life was perfect.
Jalene also grew exhausted from Chuck’s demands that she not be upset by their dysfunctional and abusive marriage which included his homosexuality. After meeting with pastors, physicians and countless psychologists during their marriage, she realized Chuck’s homosexuality was not something she contrived. No matter how much he denied it, Jalene’s physicians were graphic in explaining the rationale on Chuck’s homosexuality versus merely a reduced sexual desire.
Chuck’s sexual dysfunction began on their wedding night and over 13 years later, his hatred of emotional and sexual intimacy had become almost unbearable for Jalene. With each passing year, Chuck’s physical abuse also increased. However, he made certain his abuse would not be observed by others. Years later when Jalene was a counseling client at a battered women’s shelter she realized that his actions were all traits of an abuser. The assaults were numerous and included dragging her from bed during a sound sleep, pushing her against a wall and pinning her so she was unable to move and shoving her to the floor; constraining her.
Repeatedly, when Jalene noted Chuck was abusive, his anger was intense when he cited he had never beaten her. Chuck ignored Jalene’s explanation of physical abuse and reminded her he had never done anything to abuse her. Additionally, when counselors noted she must address his homosexuality with him, his denial was always accompanied with Chuck’s excessive rage and throwing items at Jalene (whatever was close by and available). He never hit her with the items thrown, but his anger validated the truth.
Counselors reiterated that had Chuck not been gay, his emotional explosions would not have been uncontrollable. Whether or not Chuck deemed Jalene’s accusations of his homosexuality subjective, the objective fact of minimal and infrequent physical intimacy, substantiated her concerns. Jalene had filed for divorce previously, but Chuck’s threats seemed insurmountable for her. She gave in and remained in the marriage; more for the sake of her children than for the constant emotional anguish she endured. Her desire to maintain a family unit was of utmost importance to Jalene. She learned to live with infrequent emotional or physical intimacy.
Jalene understood life was comprised of more than merely a relationship between her and Chuck. Though infrequent, there were times of joy within the Wood family, especially when Jalene put her thoughts and efforts into activities with the children. She loved participating in events as a Camp Fire Leader and homeroom mother. Jalene also gave family holidays and celebrations 100% of her time and devotion. It was imperative to Jalene such times would be special and memorable for all the family and friends whom celebrated with them.
Please follow Jalene as she continues her journey with their family. This blog began in April 2016 with her childhood journey.