Romantic Storytelling, Fine Art Wedding Photographer

Hey, beautiful!

This is post two of my three part series of introducing our love story to you.  I write this from the heart in hopes to share hope to anyone struggling right now.  This post gets pretty dark but I promise that next week’s part three is more of my usual sunshiney, feelings.  But we couldn’t have gotten to those sunshiney days had it not been for this horrible storm first.  I’m always here to talk if you are struggling. I have been in those shoes.  Sucks doesn’t even begin to describe it.  I’m here for you.

Casey and I hope that our story provides hope and inspiration to all of my couples and our friends/family who may be struggling with similar demons.

Now onto the story…..

I was sexually violated when I was in high school and the guy who did it had his friends take video and pictures to document the entire thing.  My submission to it led me to being accused of horrible things even though I honestly was just scared to put up a fight.  I had no real idea of what intimacy was supposed to be like due to that and two out of four of my boyfriends forcing me into doing things I did not feel comfortable with doing.

That being said, I went into our marriage with some pretty deep wounds of my own.  Trust issues, scars from being bullied.  Feelings of inadequacy and not feeling beautiful.

Casey had swept me off my feet.  He was very different in that aspect and made me feel comfortable in a way I hadn’t.  However, his youth got the better of him and the lack of attention I received caused even deeper wounds.  I was 18, married and had a newborn which also included a new mom-bod.  I felt hideous, exhausted and most of all, lonely.  I never knew what time Casey would be home and it was a 50/50 chance that whenever he did come home, he’d be so inebriated that I’d either have to muster up enough energy to clean up after him or bottle up my emotions until the next day when he was sober so we could address the elephant in the room. 

I’m naturally loud, more of a leader.  I play by the rules, always consider what the future will be like if I do something and never listen to anyone else’s opinion.  I am not a follower in the slightest.

Casey is the exact opposite.  He naturally likes to fit in a bit more.  He tends to follow whomever is the loudest at the time and struggles with telling people no.  Whatever the people around him were doing at that time, Casey would join in.

We fought like nobody else has fought before; but I refused to give up on a person that for a reason I couldn’t quite explain, I loved so deeply.  I knew he was meant for more.  That his poor friend choices that followed him out of high school and into the work field had to go.

For years, I’d hear the chant, “You’re supposed to love me for who I am.  Stop trying to change me!”
At the time, he failed to realize that I wasn’t trying to change who he was–I was trying to show him who he was truly made to be.

I saw a fire and drive in him when he messed up.  He’d always apologize no matter how many times he fell.  I saw the love for me in his eyes.  I just never realized that once we got through it all, I wouldn’t only be helping him be the person he was made to be, he’d be helping me heal from years of emotional abuse.

After I had our third daughter, things hit rock bottom.  We always had, had ups and downs but something that year changed.  It started in a snowstorm and that’s why I chose this photo of us.  Symbolism for sure.

In January of 2013, I was 6 months pregnant.  I was just getting to the point where the baby was sitting on my sciatic nerve and I was struggling quite a bit to get around.  I was starting to put on a lot of unnecessary weight and just felt terrible about myself.  On top of it all, I had found out that a girl and Casey had started talking after he helped her car get unstuck from a ditch in the snowstorm.  He found out she was the sister to one of his friends and they all met up (without me knowing, of course) to go snow mobile riding.  Woo, don’t even get me started on the pissed off, wife vibes I had going on when I found out.  (Trust issues, y’all, I checked his phone all of the time.)

Innocent as it was, I knew there was something brewing and we had a huge argument over it all but it ended up feeling like we were at a pretty good place.  I didn’t realize that our marriage had only won that battle.  The war was still coming.

In July, Casey had become distant even more than he had been that winter. I saw his eyes change right in front of me and I knew something was up.

He and two friends had been working on a side job together all summer.  These two friends bragged about cheating on their spouses and one went far enough to say that his wife had found out and told him to keep his side girl at an apartment if he wanted to stay married to her.  Casey, the follower that he is, fell.  Fell hard as hell this time.  As satan would have it, during all of this, an ex-girlfriend happened to run into Casey one day.  Also as temptation would make it, she outwardly told Casey that if ever wanted something more than just me, she would be there for him.

(Her name is like Voldemort to me.  I do not speak of it.)

From August to November, the guy I was so smitten by had really changed on me.  His eyes were so full of anger and hatred towards me.  I knew I hadn’t lost the baby weight as much as I had hoped, I knew I was struggling with insecurities and was fatigued more than usual but I couldn’t figure out what I could have possibly done to make him look at me the way that he did.

For over a month, he kept talking about this app that would allow an override on his phone’s speaker volume.  I couldn’t care less so I didn’t pay much attention to it.  I thought it was suspicious that he kept opening it up to show me how it worked.  It’s an app for volume, whoopie!

During this time, strange things were happening in our house.  We had windows that would keep opening even though it was locked.  I heard cupboards opening and closing.  I felt a heavy weight, almost like I was carrying a burden that I couldn’t get ride of, I heard crying throughout the day that was not from one of our kids. . .

On Memory’s birthday, November 10th, 2013, Casey and I got into a huge fight.  I asked him if he even loved me at all and he looked at me and said, “No.  I don’t.”   The cold, callous words struck at my heart so sharply that as I write this those emotions are flooding back.  I remember holding my head high and walking away to take my shower.  Only, I slid down into the tub and let the water rinse away my tears as I cried out to God.  I asked Him what I was supposed to do.  I laid my heart and soul out in a bundle of a mess, curled up at the bottom of the shower, unable to catch my breath as my heart felt cut in two.

That night, I couldn’t sleep.  Something kept telling me to open up that stupid volume app on his phone.  I searched the app as much as I could thinking he was looking at pornography or something that would make him so cold towards me.  After over an hour I was about to give up when I was told to Google the name of the app.  I was tired.  It was 1am by this point.  I couldn’t think why Googling the name of an app would do anything.

Oh, but it did.  I found out the app actually had an “easter egg” in it.  Meaning, if you click on a certain spot in the app, the true app opens.  Hundreds of texts, pictures and calls had been hidden in this app with that high school ex-girlfriend. Words of how she was excited that they’d finally have alone time without her family there this week poured onto his phone.  Plans that he had taken off of work that upcoming Wednesday to finally “be” with her (if you catch my drift).

Calm as a cucumber, I walked into our bedroom.  I was ready to talk and ask him to just leave if he was so unhappy with me.  But as I reached out to him, I lost sense of that and smacked the living hell out of him. Immediately, he looked up at me and guilt rose so deeply.  The burden of his lies, his late nights, the plan to be intimate with Lord Voldemort flashed before my eyes.  I so badly wanted to hate him but I couldn’t.  I saw someone struggling with their own demons.  And a fire lit inside of me as he pulled me into his arms and cried.

I was meant to find it before the line had been crossed.  I was meant to save our marriage.  I was meant to save his soul.

Things didn’t just up and become easy.  I struggled with my past wounds more than ever but felt determined to kick satan out of our home for good.  To this day, I don’t dare say her name because it just makes me filled with so much negativity.

We decided to renew our vows in June 2014 and that’s when the change really started happening.  In the final part of our love story, I’ll share where we are now and how the last 6 years has been in comparison to the first five.

But for now, leave knowing that we had to go through one hell of a blizzard in order to get to the beautiful, snow day we’re at now. See you all next week.  <3


The First 5 were the Roughest | Once Upon a Time, They lived Happily-Ever-After – Part II | Wichita Wedding Photographer

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