Jeanette's Escape from an Abusive Marriage
By Tim Smith
The 700 Club
Jeanette was a 19-year-old waitress. Jim was a successful businessman. “He gave me this great tip. Who threw hundred dollar bills out? That was my rent for the month. We started a friendship that developed into a romance. I was very ready to just walk down the aisle.”
Jeanette wanted to earn more money than she made as a waitress so she could go to nursing school. One of her bosses, Iris, had a suggestion. “There’re lots of other ways you guys can make more money besides just waitressing at this restaurant.”
Iris told her about escorting clients for $500 a night. “I’m sure they expect more than just a date.” She said, ‘No, you can do whatever you want. It’s just a date.’ So, I thought, ‘I could use $500 bucks. Instead of making $100 in tips, I could go on a date and make $500.”
Jim was furious when he heard about Jeanette’s plan. He knew that Iris was a prostitute. “He said, ‘These guys are big time. You got yourself involved in a very bad place. They’re not going to let you out. They kill people.’”
Jeanette and Jim fled to a motel to spend the night.
“So, I went in and noticed there were two beds, and so I jumped on one and I said, ‘I’ll take this side.’ Jim looked at me, and he came over and he grabbed me by the arms and he said, ‘What?’”
“And I said, ‘I’m a virgin, I’ve never done this before.’”
“He said, ‘Well, we’re going to go to the justice of the peace the first time the court opens up.’ He said, ‘If this is the kind of life you want, I’ll give you that piece of paper.’”
Jim and Jeanette went to the justice of the peace and married. They spent their first night as husband and wife in a nice hotel.
“After the first time we were together, he basically says, ‘Well, I have to go out. I have to work tonight. I’ll see you later.’ I was left there in a room just feeling like I had thrown my whole life away. That was the first time I was with someone, and it wasn’t right. I was going to make it work. ‘OK, I have this vow. I’m going to take it seriously. I am going to be the best wife that anybody could ever be.’”
They moved into Jim’s house, and he brought his 2-year-old daughter to live with them. “I realized very quickly that I was now the babysitter. I was left in the house to clean and take care of his daughter while Jim went out and did business.”
“When I would question him, he’d say, ‘I’m the breadwinner, how much are you contributing to this family?’ Then I learned, very quickly after that, that if I ever questioned him, I would get wrath.”
Jim’s verbal abuse got worse, along with his drinking and drug use. Then, Jeanette suspected he was cheating on her. She summoned the courage to ask him. His reaction was swift and violent. “He came after me, and I just looked at this changed face and angry veins bulging. He lifted me up and he physically threw me down the hallway into a lump. I’m on the floor. I’m hit up against the wall, and he comes within inches of my face and he starts screaming at me.
“He would occasionally come in stoned and rape me. Throughout the period of our relationship I contracted multiple sexually transmitted diseases. I was barren and unable to have children.”
Jeanette started working as a teacher in a computer lab. That led to a job with a Fortune 500 company.
“I was a golden girl at work and at home I was nothing. I couldn’t tell anybody about it. I was so embarrassed.”
“So this one night Jim came home and he had been bringing a girlfriend home with him. He said, ‘So, I guess that’s it with us, huh?’ I knew what he wanted me to say. But I said, ‘I guess so’. In a violent rage he turned the bed upside down with me underneath the mattress. He violated me.”
The next morning Jeannette accidentally awakened him while leaving for work. “He came out of bed spewing the vile venom and profanity. That’s when I saw a hammer on the counter, and I knew. ‘That’s it - my last moment alive. He’s going to crush this into my skull.’”
“He grabs the hammer. I crouch down with my hands up. I’m crying out for God, ‘I need You, God. I need a miracle now. I need You to save my life. I need to live’. As I saw him coming down with that hammer, and I’m just crying out to God, something grew in the middle of my stomach and burst out of my lips - something that wasn’t me.”
“I challenged him. I said, ‘Go ahead, you’re never going to have a chance to hurt me ever again’. And Jim stood there with the hammer like dumbfounded. He dropped it and was mumbling. I fled.”
Jeanette divorced Jim in 1988 and went back to school to finish her nursing degree. The following year, Jeanette met Sam, who invited her to church.
“I always knew who God was. I knew who Jesus was. I wanted to follow Him. But that moment, I felt like I embraced becoming a Christian. I had no doubt that I was saved - that I was going to have eternal life, and that my life was forever changed.”
Jeanette and Sam married in 1990. In 1992, with the help of fertility drugs, she gave birth to twins. They also adopted two more children in 1998.
“Now we have 4 teenagers, so life’s a little crazy, but it’s – I’m thankful, it’s never been the same. I have a lot to be grateful for. God has blessed me immensely.”
Today, Jeanette is not only a busy mother. She is president and CEO of Synectic, a multi-million dollar communications corporation. It’s been over 20 years since her escape from an abusive marriage. Jeanette has learned to forgive.
“You can carry around that rock of unforgiveness for years like I did and it can just be a huge, angry pit. But what I learned in forgiving and accepting, and accepting that healing power is that I no longer was a scar from my past, but I used that tough scar to be what I am today. It’s made me what I am today. What satan means for evil, God turns that around and uses that for good.”
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