I wasn’t around for Josie’s first pregnancy – it was a couple of years before we met and our older son is my adopted stepson.
Child abuse was never an issue — both sons are grown and away — but husband abuse was alive and well for a relatively short time.
I wasn’t a battered husband, even if it starts to sound like it. I stood at 5 feet, 10 inches and weighed in at about 185 pounds (a very physically fit Marine) and Josie stood at exactly 5 feet and weighed less than 125 pounds, sopping wet, even as she was about to give birth (even now, in her 50s, she only weighs in at around 135 pounds). Even if she punched me (which she did at times), there wasn’t enough weight and force behind her blows to do any damage.
The domestic violence incidents completely stopped around the six-month mark, but I was fully prepared for them to continue. I was only injured once when Josie wanted me to go to bed and I didn’t respond quickly enough for her or I said something she didn’t want to hear. She pulled the alarm clock from our upstairs bedroom and tossed it at me from the top of the staircase, nailing me on the left leg. I failed a physical fitness test the next morning because the area surrounding the bruise started swelling and I couldn’t finish the 3-mile run.
I don’t know what hormones were at play, but Josie seemed to have had a bad mix for a while. She would get angry for no reason and throw plates, drinking glasses, spoons, forks and knives (including steak knives) at me. Luckily, I only received a glancing blow from a spoon a couple of times. Have you ever seen a movie where a knife is thrown and it barely misses the target, sticking into the wall inches from the target’s head? Yes, it happened just like that.
By the time my son was born, we had nothing left but plastic items in the kitchen (except for what was needed to cook with) because I knew she couldn’t hurt me with them. We didn’t have much metal flatware to begin with and it “mysteriously” disappeared.
While no domestic violence was involved, my frequent trips to satisfy Josie’s unique food cravings could have caused some domestic violence if I refused.
One day, on an early Saturday morning, Josie had a craving for mangoes. Not just any mangoes, but the “Indian” mangoes like she ate in the Philippines. Well, we were in Arizona at the time and the closest place that sold them was three and a half hours away, in California. Josie’s incessant whining forced me to drive to that destination and guess what? When we got there, she no longer wanted the mangoes and her craving changed to jackfruit, which we obtained at one of the Naval Station commissaries.
Once, we passed a KFC (it was still called Kentucky Fried Chicken back then) and my wife remarked how good the mashed potatoes and gravy smelled. I ignored her since I knew she couldn’t smell anything from inside our car (with the windows up and the air conditioner on). That was a mistake. After driving home, and after I had already settled down to watch TV, she demanded that I go and buy her one of the small containers of mashed potatoes and gravy. Reluctantly, I left and returned with a big container. She threw it at me (and obviously didn’t eat any of it) because it wasn’t a “small” container.
There were many similar incidents, but only those two stand out in my memories.
Who would have ever thought the sweet young woman I married would turn into a demon when the hormones that go with pregnancy started working overtime? Certainly not I. I once threatened to call the police on her when another incidence of domestic violence seemed to be at hand. Based on her behavior, I’m certain she would have intentionally hurt herself to turn everything around on me.
After our son was born, Josie returned to her normal behavior. She still has a temper, but it’s the same temper I knew about when we met. In reality, Josie was never an angel. Neither was I. We had some epic arguments over the years, but they all seemed to dissipate completely by about the 10-year mark. We haven’t had a real argument since then, as far as I can remember.
Many people have asked me why we stopped having children after the second child. While I never gave them the real answer, they always seemed satisfied with whatever we told them. The truth is that neither us wanted a repeat performance of the last time.
On another note, there’s a saying that time is a great healer. I guess bad memories are included because I can’t remember a lot of them without concentrating on them and I refuse to do that.
In retrospect, I laugh at what I call domestic violence when it comes to me and Josie. No matter how bad it got, it wasn’t even close to what I’ve seen happening in recent years.
Whether it’s reported in the news or not, most domestic violence issues involve drug or alcohol abuse. It’s actually rare for hormones to be at the root of the problems. Nonetheless, there are some genuinely evil people out there who need nothing but anger to set them off, something I’ve seen firsthand.