We have to build some very strong walls around our marriage to keep it from being inundated due to levee failure. Our word for today from the Word of God, Malachi 2:15, says this about God’s view of our marriages: “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.” Or the husband of your youth, for that matter. How can we do that? For starters, we can build five walls that to keep your marriage strong. Each marriage “levee” can be summed up in the form of five ironclad commitments that can protect your lifetime love. Continue reading “Storm Proof Your Marriage”
On a crisp February morning, Eshawn Page drops off her 13-year-old son, Amir, at school, gets into her silver Volkswagen and begins her biweekly 45-minute commute to visit her husband. Driving past snow-dusted mountains, Page, an optimistic woman with a perfectly symmetrical face and high cheekbones, is in a cheerful mood. Just the day before, two men were exonerated for three murders they did not commit. The men, Antonio Yarbough and Sharrif Wilson, had spent more than two decades in prison. Page’s husband, Jermaine Page, is in year 18 of a life sentence for a murder he similarly denies committing. “They locked up my husband based on a coerced confession and untrustworthy witnesses, just like they locked up those men,” says Eshawn as she approaches Shawangunk Correctional Facility, an all-male maximum-security prison. Eshawn’s family, like so many others entangled in New York’s criminal-justice system, is optimistic that the new Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth Thompson, will deliver on his campaign promise to revisit convictions marred by prosecutorial and police misconduct in the 1980s and 1990s. The two recent exonerations give Eshawn hope that her prayers will finally be answered.
Eshawn pulls into the parking lot of the prison, which is located on a barren stretch of land just west of the Hudson River in Ulster County, N.Y. She walks up to a door marked “visitors” and enters a foyer that resembles a post office, save for signs on the walls instructing visitors, in all capitals: “no cell phones” and “no weapons.” A woman recognizes Eshawn and waves to her; they inquire about their husbands as if passing each other in a grocery-store aisle.
Eshawn is given a key for a locker, where she deposits her coat. She’s already stashed her valuables in her car trunk, knowing she can’t take anything into the prison, not even a piece of paper or a pen. Another visitor walks by and jokes, “If you need someone to watch your money when you go for the visit, just let me know.”
Eshawn laughs and begins filling out the required forms — name of inmate, prisoner ID number, visitor’s car model, plate number, relationship to prisoner and “reason for visit.” A mother and her two children enter the facility, approach the guard and go through the same silent ritual.
After completing the forms, Eshawn removes her neon pink Nikes and large hoop earrings, then walks through a metal detector as if boarding a flight. On the other side, she collects her belongings and expectantly holds out the back of her hand for a guard, who stamps it with a serial number in invisible ink. He is courteous and helpful. “Different guards treat you differently,” she said earlier. “Some are nice, but others are mean and will give you trouble.”
I just got done writing this brief update for you and I look up from my laptop to see a beautiful young woman sitting next me in a comfy leather chair, hidden in the corner of this quaint little coffee shop. Her feet are propped up on a chair, crossed in a relaxed sort of way. In one hand she is holding down a page of a book that is nestled in her lap, while her other hand is laying across her growing belly, letting her baby know that no matter what, she is there and she cares deeply.