Author, Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt (2012)
CNN’s HLN and truTV’s In Session news anchor (Since 2003)
Broadcast Journalism, University of Toledo
Married, Peter, 10 years
Mother of 3 girls
Christi Paul: Love Isn't Supposed to Hurt
WHAT HAVE I DONE?
Christi grew up in Ohio in a Christian home. “We were always involved in Sunday school. I had faith in God, but didn’t have faith in myself.” After college, Christi ventured from home to co-anchor in West Virginia. She met Justin at work. Five months later, Christi got a phone call that a close family friend, P.A., had committed suicide. Christi was overwhelmed with feelings of loss that washed over her, including feelings of the loss over her best friend who was murdered four years prior. Christi and Justin started dating after P.A. died. “He seemed to be a place of comfort and security,” says Christi. Four months later, Justin got a job offer in Boise and didn’t want to go without Christi. “I had no support system,” says Christi. “I was vulnerable.” As soon as Justin asked her to marry him, Christi got the job offer of a lifetime. “Cleveland was the one place I wanted to work,” she says. Christi broke the news to Justin about her job offer and he launched into a tirade. She had only seen his temper in the newsroom once before. Christi decided to accept his marriage proposal. “I got offered the anchor position with quadruple the salary….I thought it was noble to choose the man over the job.” Looking back now, Christi says God was giving her another route and she chose not to take it. “There are always second chances,” Christi believes. “God will get you back on the path if you let Him.”
The occasional glimpses of anger she had seen in Justin started showing up more, even on their honeymoon. During their first year, Christi says they had good days but soon Justin was drinking. Then their days and nights were marked with fighting and verbal attacks. He shouted vulgarities at her and accused her of infidelities. Christi believed in the sanctity of marriage and decided to make it work. Justin took a job in Phoenix and after the move they went to counseling. Christi says she was happily living in denial. “Peace is hard to fake,” she says. “When it’s just us and God, there isn’t a lot of gray area. Either peace is there or it’s not.”
Through counseling and prayer, Christi decided to leave Justin after four years. Through it all, Christi says she forgave him. “I didn’t want him to hurt anymore,” says Christi. “I wanted him to feel what I was feeling: freedom.” She says it’s important for women to know that they are not alone. “You are being abused, yet you are the one who feels humiliated. When you are in it, you feel isolated,” she says. If you are in danger, Christi says you have every right to leave. “My purpose isn’t to demonize people who are abusive. They’re wounded and hurting in their own way. Until someone is healthy enough to treat you with civility, dignity and respect, that person isn’t healthy enough to be in your life.” Once Christi and Justin were in a fight and threw her up against the wall. Justin threatened to bash her head into the wall….instead he punched the wall with his fist. Christi says there is no justification for the ugly words, name calling, threats, shoving and screaming. “It is wrong and it is abuse,” she says. “And no one deserves that.”
LOVE DOESN’T HURT
It is important to find your own worth. Christi says, “You need to be able to see yourself how God sees you, not in a way that reflects what you have been told.” She believes deep down every woman knows that an abusive relationship is not the life she was intended for. Through counseling, Christi was able to reflect on many issues. One of the exercises her counselor gave her was to write a list of benefits of the abusive relationship. “This is not to say it’s okay you were abused,” she states. “But turn it around and see how it served you.” She says it helps to let go of what is haunting you. “It helped me forgive people and see how words were powerful enough to hurt,” she says.
After her divorce, Christi met Peter. “He was so respectful and kind but tough,” she says. “I felt safe with him.” Christi prayed and surrendered it all to God. “There is power in giving up control,” she says. In June 2002, Peter and Christi were married. They have three children. “I never could have imagined a happy ending,” says Christi. “I’m nothing special; anyone can have a happy ending. God is waiting to shower abundance on everyone.
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