"I found myself in a situation that I never thought was possible, An abusive relationship. I had not experienced such behavior for over 10 years when I was in my first marriage. I had dated in between this and had not experienced this. What was it about the men I had chosen to marry?
I met my husband at a Christian conference in New York, we were both Christian ministers. He was one of the speakers at the conference and we were introduced to each other by the host. We began a long distance romance after that, him in the USA and me in the UK.
It was perfect. He visited me in the UK, we went on Christian mission trips together before we decided to get married. On a beautiful autumn morning by Morris lake in Atlanta Georgia USA we got married.
It was soon after that I would discover to my horror the man I thought I married was someone else.
The verbal and psychological abuse started almost immediately we began living together. The physical abuse started soon after culminating in him lashing out and hiting me in front of a friend. The confusion, emotional, psychological and physical suffering that followed this was hard to describe.
After 6 months of marriage, two and a half month of living together and having left him twice I fled to a domestic violence shelter. I had never been in a shelter before, it was like living in a UK open prison. Completely alone in a strange county and no family or friends for support and no income the reality of what had happened to me struck. I experienced many emotions after this. Extreme fear, terror, regret.
I had the difficult problem to deal with that 'I was still in love with my abuser'. When I left he tried so may ways to harm me and get me back under his 'control'. Had it not been for the police prosecuting him and him having a spell in jail I don't know if he would have stopped.
With lots of counselling, support groups and spiritual help from a multitude of strangers I got myself back on my feet. How did I do this? As I had no friends or family and was in a strange country I quickly got connected to as many support organisation as I could, including churches and various programs.
I was involved in some form of support and recovery 6 days a week. In order to recover I received emotional and psychological counselling, spiritual prayer and deliverance, attended support groups several times a week, did lots of journaling, crying, personal prayer and reflection. Two and a half years later I can say things are completely different.
I can truly say that now I am living the life I had imagined. One of the things that assisted with my recovery was volunteering to assist women that were in the same or similar situation to myself. It was and still is very cathartic.
I say to all women or men who are suffering any kind of abuse or consistent unkindness or controlling behaviour from a romantic partner to get help. If you can't speak to friends and famiy contact support agencies. I have come across too many cases of mostly women being permanently maimed, disabled or murdered because they were unable to get out in time.
My blessing goes to all women especially those that are currently suffering."
Hear Marigold speak to Patricia Benjamin here on the the Real Love Show