My head hurts. My heart too.
I caught this story on TV as I was prepping the munchkins for bed. Today, 5/5/12 is the three year anniversary of the murder of Sheri Coleman and her two sons, Garett and Gavin. Chris Coleman, husband and father of the deceased, was found guilty of the triple murder exactly a year ago. You can read the full story here. It's long, so I'll break it down.
Chris, 32, had been married to 31 year old Sheri for 12 years. They met when they were both in the military and she had become a stay at home mom. He worked as head of security for Joyce Meyer ministries and had reported to the police that he had started to get death threats to his family from unknown persons, asking him to "tell Joyce to stop preaching the bull" or get killed.
Turns out he had been having an affair with Tara, his wife's best friend from high school, for about 6 months. He had been flying her to meet him at various locations where he was working for Joyce Meyer. They had accounts and credit cards together, planned wedding dates and had picked out names for their yet to be conceived daughter. He had told Tara that he was serving divorce papers to Sheri on May 5th, the day the murders occurred. They had been sexting and he had promised Tara he would leave Sheri for her. When asked in court if they had been planning to get married, Tara replied, "The divorce had to happen first". She had been putting pressure on him to end his marriage.
Sheri found out about the affair. She showed her friend pictures of Tara, telling her in tears that if anything ever happened to her, "Chris did it". He had asked her for a divorce and threatened her, but Sheri wouldn't let him go. They were going for counselling, but he would put up an act in front of the counselor and flip on her when they were alone, telling her he never loved her and never should have married her. He couldn't initiate the divorce because it could cost him his job. In a video deposition, Joyce Meyer confirmed this. "If he would have been having an adulterous affair, while he was still married, then it could have definitely affected his job," said Meyer.
On the outside, they looked perfect. Their neighbor said "I always thought of them as the American family, the perfect family". According to this report, on the night before he killed his wife and kids, "Chris Coleman went to the gym and came home to put the boys to bed. They brushed their teeth and said their prayers. he watched a movie downstairs with Sheri. She fell asleep in his arms. Chris Coleman was also texting his girlfriend that night, while he was at the gym and even as he was in the same room with his wife"
He was trapped. He wanted out, his wife wouldn't set him free. His mistress had given him an ultimatum, so he put a plan in place, sending emails to himself to make it seem like someone was planning to hurt his family, getting the police to set up cameras and sneaking in to strangle her with a cord and killing his sons as well just so he could be free. In a recent interview from prison, he insists that he is innocent. He said he was having the affair because he wasn't "getting what I thought I...should be getting at home...from the physical side of things".
As usual, I started to look for the lessons in this story and it threw up a lot of questions. Thankfully, (and I say this with immense gratitude to God because I know it is not because I am good or smart or holy) I am not in this situation. But I know people who are. Smiling, answering "fine, we thank God" or "it is well" when asked "how are you?". Women (and men, believe it or not) with spouses who would rather not be with them and have expressed this either directly, or indirectly by acting in a manner that suggests so.
I am writing this post not because I have answers, but I know there is a wealth of knowledge you, reading this right now can bring to the table.
Is a spouse required to stay?
Personally, I have made God's word the final authority over my life, so that's where I went first. God hates divorce. I do not like it too for several reasons.
Having divorce as an option has been said to greatly reduce the chances of a marriage being successful. We are more likely to make plan A work when we hit a bump in the road without a plan B. Also, divorce hurts children. I know many well balanced people that are products of marriages that ended in divorce, but I know that divorce leaves its scars. There's also our culture. I am Nigerian and generally, women are seen as failures when their marriages do not succeed. It is common to hear that a woman did not "keep her home". I have never heard a man being spoken about like that.
This is why I really need your help. What is a woman to do if her husband does not want her anymore. What if it just isn't working? In this case, we don't know if he abused her physically, but he abused her emotionally. He told her "I don't love you anymore". Was her decision to hold on to him because she didn't have options, being a stay at home mum and all... Question questions and more questions.
*sigh* It's 11:59 and I'm still here... I need to go. The Hubs is waiting up for me. I don't know if I have expressed what's on my heart well, but my hope is that maybe, just maybe, someone would read it and be saved from Sheri's fate.
I really should go over it for typos though...
Okay, It's now 1:43am and I'm still not done. Three hours... Longest post I've ever written (I think).
Please be kind enough to share your thoughts. Feel free to be anonymous if you want to share personal stuff.
Thanks for always stopping by.
May your dreams come true