During the early years of my marriage, I was often overcome with feelings of disappointment that my relationship with my husband wasn’t very strong. In fact, as time continued, I grew apprehensive whenever we had to be together for any length of time. I wasn’t enjoying life, my children, or my marriage. It seemed to be all work and no fun.
Was this normal? I wondered often how anyone is supposed to know what is considered normal and what is not. I talked guardedly to a few friends, trying to figure out if most wives went through times of misery and unhappiness. One of my friends assured me that she, too, had had exaggerated ideas of wedded bliss, but with the years she had just lowered her expectations to a more realistic level and found that as she did so, she felt better about her husband and the marriage.
I thought about that and decided I’d been basically duped by Hollywood and the whole happily-ever-after concept. Marriage was hard work—a lot of it.
But I was so unhappy. Eventually, not knowing where to turn, I felt that only my Heavenly Father could help me understand what was going on and if things could change. I prayed with great fervor, seeking help, begging for understanding.
Slowly, over a very long period of time, principles came. I tried each one as it was taught to me and felt I had gained insight and taken a step for the better. But they were such tiny steps! However, another year would go by, and I’d learn something else.
Finally, I came to the point where I had learned a few concepts that were basic to improving our marital difficulties. I was becoming much more knowledgeable about human relationships.
About that time Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve visited our area. He had been my mission president years earlier, and I was delighted to renew our acquaintance. In the course of our conversation, he told me of a mission reunion that was to take place in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the next general conference. I decided to go to Utah and attend both the reunion and general conference.
The reunion was rewarding, and I saw several friends I hadn’t seen since my days in the mission field. The next day, Saturday, Elder Scott spoke in the afternoon session of conference. I took paper and pencil and sat taking copious notes during his remarks. First, he mentioned one of the concepts I’d been taught by the Lord some time earlier. Yes, I thought, that’s so true! A few minutes later, he mentioned another concept I’d been taught. Why, yes. Exactly! Again, I had the feeling of hearing familiar truth.
He continued with his talk, and by the end, he’d covered every one of the concepts I felt I had learned through great prayer, longing, seeking, and suffering. The problem was he was talking to women in abusive relationships! Why . . . how could that be? My husband didn’t hit me. Yet . . . these were the identical principles I had been taught through study and prayer. So that meant . . . I was, indeed, in an abusive relationship.
Shock settled upon me. It was like seeing truth for the first time. I pondered this new knowledge in my heart, contemplating what it meant for me.
After visiting with friends, I headed back to where I was staying. It was getting late, and the Saturday priesthood session had just ended. As I drove along the freeway, I thought, I wish I could talk to Elder Scott. Immediately, I felt a strong impression reverberate inside me: Call him!
Shock went through me. I was just a homemaker; he was an Apostle. The fact that I’d just attended a missionary reunion didn’t give me special privileges, and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t want a million women calling him up. But . . . the impression was so clear I knew I would have to call him.
When I got back to the place I was staying, with my hand shaking, I dialed his number. And when he answered, for the first time in my life, I admitted I was living in a verbally abusive relationship. My voice shook, and it was difficult to admit out loud. And then I said, “Elder Scott, I have had a personal witness that the things you said tonight are true. I’ve been taught these very principles through fasting and prayer over the last few years. I know what you said is correct. Thank you.”
We chatted and then hung up. I felt good. I’d done as I’d been impressed to do, and the chat, though brief, had been sympathetic and satisfying.
The following morning headlines blared on TV, the radio, and in the newspaper about his comments, suggesting he didn’t have a clue about abuse problems or was himself hiding a guilty conscience. Activist groups had marched to the Tabernacle to picket in protest. I was shocked.
And then I recalled the strong impression I had had the night before to call him. During that call, I had borne a strong witness—a witness from a faithful Latter-day Saint woman—that the words he spoke were true. He needed to hear that witness first, that very night, so that when the furor broke in the morning, he could be sustained with the knowledge that the faithful sisters of the Church would know he spoke the truth.
For me, having finally put a label on the problem, I was able to get some help. My husband was shocked to find out his words were considered abusive. Change began, and today we are still married and finally living in peace. I know that the Lord led us through, line upon line, precept upon precept, to get where we are today. And somehow, by being willing to go through that difficult process, I feel I was able to be of comfort to a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.
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Get more inspiring stories of God's hand in our lives in Angels Round About You.
The tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance (1 Nephi 1:20). This engaging volume is a collection of true stories shared by Latter-day Saints who have experienced the Lord’s tender mercies in the midst of trying circumstances. The vignettes vary from accounts of heartfelt supplications answered to sweet whisperings of knowledge and comfort to kind understandings that bring hope and peace. Woven into each are profound lessons that demonstrate how, under the direction of the Father and the Son and through the power of the Holy Ghost, we can be protected, inspired, converted, healed, and taught. Together, these chapters beautifully confirm the glorious truth that there are, indeed, angels round about us.