When You Marry the Wrong Guy

Vanderbilt/UT Game

On Saturday at the Vandy/UT game, I got in a fight, well not a fist fight, more like a verbal confrontation. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to punch the guy, but I did get to give him a piece of my mind. I’m still heated just thinking about it.

Burned Bacon

Oh, the joy of cooking (Not).

My amazing father-in-law came in town and surprised me with tickets to the game. And even after I served dry (!!) roast and charred bacon on the tree escapade (enter: very loud smoke alarm), he still wanted to take me. Amazing! On Saturday night, we dressed in black and gold and headed over to watch the Commodores beat the Vols.

We found our seats and trouble started.

A guy sitting behind us was a profanity-screaming lunatic. He must have called Vanderbilt “mother-F&*& something” ten times in five minutes. So picture Mike (my sweet Father-In-Law) and I, calmly sitting amidst a sea of orange, cringing at the language coming out of this guys mouth. He was right behind us and was spitting with every “f”, clearly intoxicated. Our plan was to just ignore him and hoped the lack of attention would stop him.

He was also intermiddedly screaming “my wife is hot”, so I knew the twenty-something with short blonde hair behind me was with him. As he would try to antagonize Vanderbilt fans that were calmly finding their seats, his wife would apologize and attempt to assuage his hostility.

The National anthem started and he kept screaming things like, “You may be doctors and lawyers but we’re going to beat you by 30 mother-f*#*#*’s” and “You’re all a bunch of democrat b#*$*”, and other unintelligable nonsense. My FIL stepped over and put his hand on his shoulder and said sternly, “Please be respectful.” Everyone around us was disgusted, because seriously who screams during the National anthem?! It wasn’t about the teams at that moment, it was about standing together as Americans.

“Watch it old man! I will drop you. Touch me one more time, *#&$&#*#.” He lurched forward several times, trying to pick a fight with Mike. The tension in the crowd around us was steadily increasing, and I kept it together until the next scene.

His wife pleaded with him to calm down and not get in a fight.

“You need to sitdowwwwn and shut the f*#* up, you mother-$%%#.” And then again, louder and more vicious. I lost my mind completely at that moment. I jumped across Mr. Dean and got right in the guys face and pointed my finger and yelled.

I’m not really sure what all I said, but it was something along the lines of “YOU NEED TO RESPECT YOUR WIFE. HOW DARE  YOU SPEAK TO HER LIKE THAT?!” My father-in-law stopped me after he enjoyed seeing me wave my finger and let him have it for a few seconds. Another fan went and got the police who promptly corralled the guy.

I could have ignored the profanity, the screaming at the Vanderbilt players and fans-but not this. I could not stand by and listen to him speak to his wife like she was a trashed stadium cup. The thought of how he treats her at home near sent me into a sobbing mess right in the middle of the bleachers.

Why would she marry him?

Why does any man or women get into a bad relationship? I wondered when the first signs of his anger problems surfaced and what went through her head? I considered how many sleepless nights she must have faced BEFORE walking down the aisle-wondering if marriage would change him. Tossing and turning about his outbursts, verbal abuse, and anger-wondering if his promise to change would come to fruition.

Maybe she believed he would change. Maybe she didn’t know she deserved better because another man in her life told her she was worthless, too.

Maybe he showered her with compliments and she felt alive when she was with him. Maybe he only treated her this way occasionally. . . something she believed would stop.

I’ll never know.

But what I do know is she saw red flags before they were married.

He didn’t suddenly morph into a screaming, abusive lunatic. She made excuses. Maybe just a few, maybe a hundred, but she excused away his behavior.

After I was called a “b*$*” probably a dozen times by her husband, I was awakened yet again to exactly why Michael and I are writing our book, Real Men Don’t Text.  Who you choose to marry is one of the most life-altering decisions you will make-and I beg you to consider the red flags.

Marriage doesn’t change, fix, or heal people-whatever red flag you see in your significant other will only be MAGNIFIED in marriage. May you have the courage in dating to walk away-for both you and future generations. Please consider what is at stake. Don’t settle for crumbs when you were made for more. So. much. more.

Will you share this post with a friend who might need to consider the person he/she is dating? Will you join with me and pray for this girl and her husband from Saturday night?

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33 Responses to “When You Marry the Wrong Guy”
  1. Lyla says:

    Or, maybe, you don’t know their relationship at all. Maybe she married him because she loves him. This is an insightful post, but to assume that she had possibly been told she was worthless by other men, or project in your mind that she has spent several sleepless nights over him is rather judgmental. I understand you viewed her with sympathy, but her life and her decisions are not your knowledge and not your business. Women do marry the wrong men and for various reasons, but it’s not our say who the wrong man is or our job to assess why they married them. Kudos to you and the FIL for standing up to him though, he doesn’t sound like a nice guy.

    • Melanie says:

      All do respect Lyla, but that is somewhat contradictory. You say kudos to standing up to him because he “doesn’t sound like a nice guy,” but it’s “not your business.” Coming from someone who by the grace of God was saved from marrying someone like this, it is our business. As the body of Christ, believers are needed and called to support and protect one another. That includes sometimes making statements about her past that might seem assuming, but that are also probably very, very true. I think that more people should speak truth into their friends lives when they see a bad dating situation. I know that mine would have ended a lot sooner if that had happened. After a year and a half of dating, I was told my some who had never said anything about the toxic relationship, “oh good, I never liked him.” Blessings to you, and I hope you allow yourself to be a blessing to someone too.

      • Ruthie Dean says:

        Wow, Melanie! I’m so sorry you’ve been in a relationship like this . . . but thank you for sharing! What made you realize that you deserved better? Do you think it’s true that we accept the kind of love we think we deserve?

        • melanie says:

          That’s ok – my past molded me into who I am today! I came to a breaking point, and realized that I literally had had enough. Maybe unspoken prayers from others seeing but not saying? Whatever the case, it definitely brought me to my knees and led me to full surrender. I do believe that we accept the kind of love that we think we deserve. I saw similar behaviors as I was growing up and think it definitely contributed to my acceptance of it in a relationship.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Lyla, I do see where you coming from, but I don’t agree. How cowardly would I and others have been if we just allowed him to scream profanity at his wife? If there was a child involved, do you think it would have been prudent to step in . . . or stay silent? I don’t know the whole backstory, but I was a psychology major and did quite a bit of research about abusive relationships.

      We accept the kind of love we think we deserve and for whatever reason, this girl didn’t know she deserved better. Anyone else have thoughts??

      • Natalie says:

        I agree. I don’t know about others, but if Ruthie thought my life was none of her business, I would NOT be where I am today. It is easier to stay silent, but I’m eternally grateful that she took the courage, she saw my pain and had sympathy and compassion toward me, showing me what is love, holy and hope!

        • Ruthie Dean says:

          Thanks dear! I probably think your life is TOO much of my business, mei mei:)

        • Ruthie Dean says:

          oh, remember when you told me over dinner that I ruined your life?! HAHA.

          • Danelle says:

            :) LOL I love you and Natalie’s relationship. :) It convicts me and makes me smile. True friendship isn’t afraid to cause pain if it’s out of love.

            And to this post I say a big KUDOS! Thanks for having the boldness to defend what’s right. That poor wife. My mentor says, “If you’re married, he IS the right man.” That’s the truth of it. Divorce should be the last “way out” but it is hard to be in a marriage with so much verbal abuse. I hope that husband sees the error of his ways/words and that the wife will pray incessantly for a Godly leader and a submissive attitude. Marriage,…sigh… :)

      • Leslie says:

        I am a Christian counselor, author of several books, one is The Emotionally Destructive Relationship and have a new one coming out The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. The question every woman must ask herself is when she is a repeated victim of abuse – whether it’s physical, emotional, verbal or sexual, what’s her part? Healthy people may be victimized, but they don’t allow themselves to be repeated victims. So why this woman stays or married the wrong guy is up for question, but what we do know is that there is a part of her that is unhealthy.

        I applaud you Ruthie for speaking up for her and being her advocate when she could not speak for herself.We need more women and men who will do just that so those who have no voice or feel they have no choice, see that God is on their side. He doesn’t value men more than women and his word is clear, he hates when people bully others or oppress others, even if they are married.

  2. Go, Ruthie, go! A real “David” in the midst of Goliath.

    As Christ’s hands and feet, we are to be His example. And yes, sometimes, we MUST get involved. Jesus did.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Thank you, Cynthia! That’s quite a compliment. God has given me a heart for hurting women, so I’m guessing occasionally this comes out as standing up to drunk, screaming lunatics. :/

  3. Rachel says:

    Hi Ruthie I think what you did was great. I usually would say that you shouldn’t judge someone’s relationship, but in this case all signs are there. This guy has serious issues and the fact that he would curse out his wife in public is disgusting. We need more people in this world to stand up for others when they aren’t being treated right. I’m sure those around her have said something to her about it, but she may look at things differently since a total stranger commented on his verbal abuse.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Rachel, yes I agree with you that you can’t always judge someone’s relationship from the outside. I’m glad you agree that the signs were clear in this one. Whew. Glad that is over.

  4. Catherine Richland says:

    I completely agree with you, Ruthie. May we never get to a place where we don’t stand up for our sisters, especially in such a grotesque display of verbal abuse. I doubt I would have had the courage to say something, but I hope I would!

    I’m not in a relationship currently, but my best friend is with someone who is manipulative and constantly puts her down. I wonder if these are red flags of trouble to come? I always thought marriage would make things better between them . . . but maybe not.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      That’s a sticky situation, Catherine! I don’t think anyone responds well to “you’re boyfriend is abusive”, but maybe try to get her admit it and go from there. You can ask questions like, “Do you feel respected?”, etc, etc. to see if she’ll come to the conclusion herself that she shouldn’t be with him.

      Thanks for sharing! Does anyone have a success story where they talked to a friend about a verbally abusive relationship? How did they respond?

  5. Sherell says:

    I admire you for standing up to the bully. I have personal knowledge of two of my friends who were victims (now survivors) of physically abusive relationships. Neither of those physical abuse situations started with a hit, they started with abusive words. I am not yet married but I do know that marriage doesn’t magically make things better….issues must be discussed and dealt with beforehand. Again, thank you for your courage to speak up.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Sorry about your friends, Sherell. It’s so tough when we fall in love with people who slowly manipulate us! Gosh, I’m glad they had the courage to walk away.

  6. Jessica says:

    Verbal abuse is sneaky. It can come on slowly. Often not until you are do emotionally ( and or physically) connected to someone. Some guys can be on their best behavior until they know the hook is set. I have been verbally and emotionally abised by a past boyfriend. I wish more people had spoken up. It took seeing a friend be treated like dirt by her boyfriend, calling her on it, only for her to turn on me and say “he treats me just like “a” treats you” for me to see it as clearly as I needed to to get out. Friends need to speak up not brush it under a rug as hard as it can be.

  7. Adam says:

    Awesome post. To team Dean.

  8. Michael says:

    I was on the receiving end of a Toxic relationship before I met Ruthie. So thankful that God lets us choose who we end up with!

  9. John Gunter says:

    Ruthie, very solid post. Thanks for writing it. I am always baffled with good girls go after bad guys. This seems pandemic, especially in the south. Great post and one that needs to be followed up on!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ruthie. I read your blog a lot and I love your views on marriage. Did you say you were a psychology major? There are some things that I’m dealing with in my life that I haven’t shared with anyone. Would you be interested in helping a stranger? Please reach me via my email address.

  11. Margaret says:

    So I guess the question is: what is a Christian wife supposed to do when she recognizes that she is married to the “wrong guy”? I think this post which focuses on 1 Peter 3:1-6 is helpful: http://matt-mitchell.blogspot.com/2006/10/matts-messages-married-to-unbeliever.html

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I think it’s also important to raise the question of how often women hope to ‘change’ or ‘save’ the man in their life. I, too, was a victim of my own desire to fix a man who had a plethora of past trauma and issues that first began as small, easily excusable irritations. That then escalated into a web of lies and emotional abuse that I was so blessed to finally find the strength to pull myself out of. I have been in that same situation in which my former husband was under the influence of his insecurities and/or alcohol and acting inappropriately only to have his wrath turned on me.

    I also find that often when you hold someone accountable, as you did by confronting that man, people will take notice. By standing up for that wife, it is my hope that she would find the courage to stand up for herself. This is a great dialogue…

    • m@ says:

      Same applies for men, Elizabeth — especially when the pressure to “rescue a beauty” is brought forward into the fray.

      In many ways, my most recent relationship was categorically toxic because, subconsciously, she wanted me to rescue her from the deeply-ingrained anger she harbored against her father for the emotional abuse he imposed.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that nobody, save my own continued pressing into the restorative nature of Christ, will “fix” my own demons. But I now also have the wherewithall to detect whether or not someone else expects me to save them. The spiral of co-dependency starts there and only gets worse.

  13. Margaret Kisner says:

    What if her father thinks it is very funny to say “Who’d want to marry you? A girl can accept the first man who asks. Not good. And then that “man” thinks that the best way to change her mind is to punch her in the stomach.

    Well, her 1 year younger brother was allowed to punch her in the stomach. So, what is different? He was the prince, the male heir, the bearer of the last name. Big hero.

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