Phil tries to force me to obey him–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–April 1994, Part 3

Phil got upset because I refused to say “obey” in our marriage vows.  I looked in the Nazarene manual I’d brought to school with me, and in its outline for a marriage ceremony (p. 251), “obey” never appeared.

Phil wanted me to ask the pastor to put “obey” in the marriage vows when he officiated our wedding; I refused.

Phil said, “I thought you weren’t one of those feminists.”

But I think most women would agree with me on this these days, at least most American women.

He said, “And even if I said, ‘Don’t have an affair,’ you wouldn’t obey me?”  As if I would have one!  And the marriage vows already forbade that.

He made it sound as if I should let him order me around like a child, and if he didn’t, I’d do wrong things, just like a child who doesn’t know any better!

I have since learned that the Bible verses about submission don’t mean “obey,” an obligation like with a servant or child or in the military, but to voluntarily give yourself over to someone else.

The husband and wife are to submit to each other, with the husband not demanding obedience but giving love and protection.

Phil was looking at my “obligations,” but not at his own.  I didn’t realize yet that this was a big, red flag.  (Was the NVLD blinding my eyes, or just love/infatuation?)

It wasn’t until mid fall when I put a name to this: abusing authority, a sign of emotional abuse.

Many Christians use the word “feminism” as a bad word, as if it means man-hating or anti-Christian.  Feminism simply means that women are equal to men and should be treated as such.

This is not some atheistic idea; it goes back to ancient Christianity.  Forget everything you’ve heard about St. Paul’s writings: For his day, his writings were actually feminist.  He insisted that men should treat their wives like loving partners, not like slaves who must be punished if they step out of line.  He said that in Christ, there is no male or female.

There has never been anything wrong with women demanding respect and fair treatment, not just in the workplace and society but at home.

So when Phil objected to my moderate form of feminism, that should have been a red flag–no, a huge, scarlet flag with warning lights.

Girls, never even date a man who insists that his wife should be obedient!  Even if this man seems kind and sweet in every other way–once he becomes your husband, he will probably turn into a power-hungry tyrant.  Phil seemed kind and sweet in every other way.


Phil shocked me by saying he expected to do sex scenes if he were ever to make it as an actor.  How could a Christian even think of such a thing?

And how could he think it was so important when there were famous, Christian actors and actresses who had never done sex scenes, nude scenes, or cussing in their movies?  (Ann Jillian was one.)

He didn’t understand why, but I said I did not want him doing sex scenes.  I didn’t want to see him onscreen having sex with some other woman, even if it was all fake.

I’d be fine with kissing scenes and the like, but not scenes which violated all Christian morality.  He finally agreed to respect my wishes.


One afternoon as we lay on my bed, fully clothed, just taking a little nap, Phil dreamed he was at his bachelor party the night before the wedding.  He acted it out as I lay cuddled under his arm, and we even had conversations.

His buddies got him a stripper, and he ended up in a room with her, where his “buddies” expected him to sleep with her.  (In real life, such a thing would result in no wedding.)

He held the stripper just as he now held me, and explained that he couldn’t go through with it.  He told her all my virtues, both in looks and personality, making me sound like an absolute goddess–almost.

“The only person who could ever take me away from her would be my perfect ideal and have a model’s figure.”

Never mind that a real-life model would be a stick, my weight was ideal for my height and frame, and I had shapely curves.

After he woke up and explained to me the parts I didn’t already know, he said the dream was just an act.  He said the last part was to make me feel better, that the person who could steal him away was nearly impossible to find.

However, now I felt like I was in competition with supermodels.  I said as we walked to dinner, “I’ll have you know my measurements are almost the same as Ginger’s.”

That’s Ginger Grant from Gilligan’s Island, who was 36-24-36.  My measurements, which I took in high school while at about the same weight I was now, were something like 36-25-37.  (I measured my hips right where the bones were, which I thought you were supposed to do.)

It’s that one thing to make you feel insecure after a litany of your physical and personality perfections: What, my perfect figure isn’t perfect enough for him?  My personality isn’t good enough for him?  You mean if Ms. Perfect ever does show up, he’ll leave me, even if we’re already married?

Also, Phil didn’t believe me when I said that even if I met a guy who was my perfect ideal, I wouldn’t leave Phil for him.  But I meant it.


Around this time, my older brother, Jake, got engaged to his new girlfriend, Pam–who was also pregnant with my niece.  It was hard to imagine either of my brothers with a wife and kids.

Pam and Jake made a cute couple.  Pam always laughed and teased Jake, and Jake seemed to enjoy her company and even the teasing.  She even knew how to handle him, knowing he could be a bit chauvinistic at times, but not acting like some subservient wife.


As usual, my friends would say after lunch, “Let’s go check mail.–I want mail.–I want a male!”  It was wonderful to finally have a male of my own.


In October, our friend Helene told me that during this time, after we got engaged, he told her and her best friend Kay about an argument we had.  He said he didn’t want me to listen to the radio anymore on the way to his house–at least, that’s how it sounded to me.

That, however, was the only time I could listen to 93Q, a station that played the songs I liked best, hard rock and alternative.  It didn’t come in so well in my room in Krueger.

So this would be such a huge sacrifice, and I wept over the thought that he’d take away my music.  (Music is a huge thing for me.)

But he explained that he meant he didn’t want to listen to the radio every time we went to his house.  I guess it came out wrong.  He didn’t mean I could never listen to it.  At least, that’s how he said he meant it, so I felt better. 

He told Helene and Kay that we had an argument but worked it out.  But he also complained that I wouldn’t just do whatever he wanted.  They saw this as controlling, and hoped I realized this before marrying him.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991:Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: