I see a woman and a man in front of me.
This woman, what is she worth?
I see a woman who, for starters, has survived in a man’s world since birth.
I see a woman who should look back and see everything she’s accomplished, everything she’s survived and endured.
I see a woman doing the hardest job in the world, marriage – a job that goes kerblooey 50 percent of the time – and doing the job with the worst possible partner.
I see a woman dealing with the worst possible betrayal -- the man who promised to love her above all, becoming her worst enemy, doing all he can to make all her choices as hard as possible, or impossible.
I see a woman who has brushed off broken bones and burns and cuts and bruises that would reduce most men to blubbering idiots.
I see a woman who has come closer than almost anyone, to the very real threat of death, without collapsing; the only ones who face death the way she does are our troops, but this woman isn’t getting any medals for her heroism.
I see a woman who has been held hostage by a terrorist for years, without falling apart.
I see a woman who has had to live like a fugitive, without collapsing.
I see a woman who has escaped successfully, turning her whole life upside down, new home, new work, new school, new town, enduring enough stress to kill most normal people.
I see a woman who has survived the betrayal of friends and family.
I see a woman who has survived the indifference of the police and the skepticism of judges.
I see a woman who has come even farther than most of the other survivors, just by reaching out for help and taking action to save herself.
I see a woman who has accomplished so many extraordinary things, even though she was completely unprepared to go on that journey -- she didn't get to go to "I'm Married to a Psychopath" boot camp.
I see a woman with more capacity for patience and self-denial than an abbey full of monks.
I see a woman who is capable of loving, no matter how many times her love has been wasted, like water poured down a sink.
If I had to go on some dangerous spy mission in a hostile country, this is the woman I would take, because she can do anything, solve anything, endure anything.
If someone wrote this woman’s life story – Ian Fleming, perhaps – no one would buy it, because it’s too incredible. Angelina Jolie would have to play her in the movie, but she’d need months in the gym just to keep up with all the stunts.
I see a woman who was simply amazing before she was hijacked, who is just waiting to bust out and become someone even more amazing than we knew was possible before.
I see a woman who is extraordinary.
For thousands of years of human history, the leaders of humankind, the ones who led the way, the ones who set the pace, the ones who excelled above all the others....have been the survivors. The cream of the cream. The best of the best.
Now I see a man in front of me. And what is he worth?
I see a man who hit the lottery – he got to spend the rest of his life with this amazing woman, who offered him a lifetime of her love and faith and hope – and instead he threw it all away. He threw away everything she ever was, and everything she could go grow to be.
He not only tore her down, but even worse, he made her believe she deserved it, and turned her into a shell of her former self.
In a world where men strive every day to turn dust into gold, he went out of his way to do the opposite, to reduce something priceless into ashes.
I see a man who could have cherished her and built an amazing life with her, but instead told her this every day…
“You’re trying to tell me what to do?? My house, my rules. I wear the pants in this house. I’m the king and this is my castle. I’m your husband – you made a commitment to me. All this is mine. You’re lucky I’m here. You’d be lost without me. I know what’s best for you. I take care of you, and you owe me . It’s your job to take care of me and give me what I ask for. And what did I tell you to do? I told you what I want. I’m teaching you a lesson. This is for your own good. Where have you been? Who did you see? Where do you get these ideas? Who are these friends you’re hanging around with? All they do is badmouth me! I’m taking your keys. What do you need money for? What do you need a job for? Your job is right here! So who are you sleeping around with, then?”
“The trouble with you is you’re nagging, whining. Self-pitying! The trouble with you is you’re over-sensitive, Overreacting. Blowing it up out of nothing. Obsessed with the past. A drama queen! There’s no getting along with you. You’re arguing again? Hurting my feelings. Pushing my buttons! You’re mean. You’re ungrateful. I know what you really mean by that. You say you’re sorry but you don’t mean it. You’re rude, you dress like a tramp. You don’t think. You’re ridiculous. Stupid. A slob. Worthless. Ugly. Lazy. Irresponsible. Shut up – you just don’t listen. The trouble with you …”
“But baby, it’s not my fault. Baby, I was drunk. I was high. I lost control. I was abused when I was younger. I have problems. Of course I lied, you get mad when I tell the truth. Of course I lied, I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. I never did that, there’s something wrong with your memory! You’re imagining things. Sure I have other women, but that doesn’t mean I’m cheating on you. What’s the big deal? I was only joking. It’s not the time to talk about that. You’ve got to give me another chance. You have to forgive me. You made me do it! I did it because I love you. It’s what you deserve. You don't deserve to be forgiven. This isn’t my fault, this is your fault, it’s you who don’t treat me right, like all the other women in my life. You’re hysterical. You’re crazy. There’s something wrong with your head. You’re the only one who thinks there’s a problem – so what’s wrong with you?”
“I can’t live without you. I decide when this relationship is over. I’ll hurt myself. I’ll hurt you. I’ll hurt the kids. I’ll cut off the alimony. I’ll cut off the child support. I’ll wreck your job. I’ll wreck your reputation. No one will believe you. No one will talk to you. Nobody will ever love you like I do.”
So I think we can agree on what this guy is worth.
And for all the family and alleged friends, who decided that everything that woman had to fight through and endure -- that it just wasn’t enough, people who passed judgment on her, people who decided that she didn’t run fast enough or jump high enough with all those bullets shooting at her, people who were willing to be her friend except when she needed it most, people who couldn’t be bothered with patience or tolerance or real love….Well, we know what those people are worth too.