For better or worse: When love happens behind bars

however what happens when the “worse” part of marriage unexpectedly includes one person serving a lengthy jail sentence?

Suddenly, the usual relationship hurdles are stacked up against forced separation, monitored phone calls as well as rare physical contact. as well as in which’s not to mention the immense stigma in which comes with being involved with someone who’s been convicted of a crime.

“To deal with in which you need to make a choice,” chaplain Matt Peterson, who’s advised prisoners on marriage, explained to sy88pgw’s Lisa Ling. “the item’s loving someone through the not bad times as well as bad.”

however with over 800,000 divorces as well as annulments happening inside the US each year, how realistic is actually the item for a relationship to overcome the weight of incarceration?

Meet three couples who’ve had to face in which question as well as put their promises to the test.

Keeping faith alive

Jennifer McCook pulled a large piece of paper by her office drawer as well as sketched out the image of a Christmas tree.

Because in which’s “what you do after Thanksgiving, right?” Jennifer says. “You put up a Christmas tree.”

the item’s a simple arts as well as crafts project, however one in which can make a huge difference for her husband, Brian. He’s in prison.

When Jennifer met Brian, he was sober as well as full of life. He was secure, a man of faith, as well as without any complicated layers. They did everything together: shopping trips to Macy’s, golfing, grabbing groceries by the store. He loved to fish while Jennifer read next to him, as well as would likely make the bed every morning — taking on the chore Jennifer avoids at all costs.

These days, Jennifer looks past what she sees in front of her — Brian, in a jumpsuit, locked up — to in which Brian she remembers. They’ve just begun a rocky journey.

For the next three as well as half years, Brian will live at the Minnesota Correctional Facility for something he’s battled his entire adult life: addiction.

At a sports game on July 4, Brian was hit which has a baseball as well as rushed to the hospital. He was put on painkillers, a trigger of his past. Brian turned to alcohol almost immediately.

The next week, when the McCooks went on a family trip, Brian was drunk as well as belligerent. Very quickly, he was charged with being drunk as well as disorderly as well as generating terroristic threats. He was ultimately arrested for these violations against a 2014 DWI probation.

Brian has lost so much since his arrest over the summer — freedom, work, friends — however he won’t lose his wife. The Maple Grove, Minnesota, realtor as well as mom of two believes God incorporates a plan. “We are finding a lot of clarity in our lives by looking to our faith,” Jennifer says. They are determined to have a stronger outcome.

Jennifer as well as Brian McCook

Brian is actually currently a half-hour drive by Jennifer, as well as she’s able to see him two to four times a week. During their visits, they sit across by each additional as if they were in an airport waiting room. Lately, Jennifer finds herself wearing Brian’s deodorant. “I miss his smell,” she explains tearfully.

Like many women who lose their partner to the prison system, Jennifer has to make do without her husband’s paycheck. Maintaining work is actually a recurring concern. “the item’s difficult for people to trust someone with hundreds of thousands of dollars of an investment,” Jennifer says. “My biggest fear is actually the impact the item might have on my business at This kind of point in which I am married to a felon.”

which has a little help by her friends, family, as well as faith, Jennifer plans to persevere. “I have what a lot of women want in a marriage,” Jennifer says. “I do not have a sad life.”

For better or worse

the item was the 1980s, as well as Ann Edenfield Sweet had what many people dreamed of. She was working as a flight attendant, happily married to an airline captain, as well as the mom of four young boys.

In 1986, in which relatively easy life changed forever. Ann’s then-husband was arrested for conspiracy to import drugs. One year later, he began his sentence in completely new Mexico, four as well as a half hours away by Ann as well as the children in Albuquerque.

Gone were the days when Ann’s husband was around to take the boys to soccer as well as tennis, or on fun family trips. Ann was at This kind of point the single mother with four boys at church on Sundays. A double income household shrunk to one. as well as a successful, seemingly super-mom became unemployed as well as broke, tasked with raising her boys — all under the age of 7 — alone.

“Suddenly, we were the lepers,” Ann remembers. “No one wanted to go see us. The boys couldn’t play with the kids next door.”

Ann Edenfield as well as her four sons.

Ann went into survival mode almost immediately; she says she was blindsided by her husband’s arrest, in which all of their assets were seized as well as frozen. Everything remained uncertain, however one thing Ann knew for sure: she was sticking by her husband under an individual vow. “I married for better or for worse,” she says.

Every six weeks, she’d put all 5 meals in paper bags as well as take the boys to visit their dad. the item was a costly, lengthy road trip, as well as not one made for young children. They’d sit in chairs across by their father during the all 5-hour visiting windows without being able to touch him or take in a hug.

While her husband had structure in jail, Ann felt she had nothing in recent times — no recipe or rules to guide her through This kind of mess. Eighteen lawsuits had piled up by his incarceration, however the idea of divorce was only discussed briefly under the context in which separating Ann by her husband’s case would likely financially benefit the family.

Her husband’s imprisonment also forced Ann to stop working. She was desperate for money as well as was no longer considered an appealing candidate for hire. “I became a master at garage sales as well as thrift stores,” Ann says. With what little she had, Ann would likely buy auctioned items, turn around as well as sell them for more.

While she had been told by a prison chaplain in which most marriages under these circumstances don’t make the item, in which wasn’t going to be her outcome, she thought.”I always felt we had a not bad marriage. He was a not bad dad, (as well as) I am a woman of faith,” Ann says. “I believed in which you could get through things.”

As the years passed by, Ann as well as the children prepared for her husband’s Discharge. “Every day he is actually behind bars is actually a day of your life as well,” Ann says.

the item wasn’t until her husband came home six years later in which Ann realized how complicated their situation genuinely was. She’d become the youth director at her church while playing both roles as mom as well as dad, caregiver, as well as breadwinner. The kids had grown into their own people.

Meanwhile, her spouse’s self-esteem as a husband as well as father had diminished, as well as employment seemed a long-lost dream.

Four years later, after many attempts to salvage their 28-year marriage, Ann as well as her husband divorced. “I can’t imagine we wouldn’t still be married, however incarceration is actually so dramatic,” Ann says. “the item changed him as well as the item changed me.”

All inside the name of love

When Vicki Juarez first met her partner, David Morales, 12 years ago, she quickly noticed two things: His bashfulness, as well as his tattoos.

Vicki was the store manager of a Dollar General in Lubbock, Texas, as well as David was the truck operator helping her out in which day which has a big shipment of inventory. Vicki was recently divorced as well as wasn’t looking for anything romantic, however David was different by additional men she’d met.

David “seemed kind of shy,” Vicki remembers. “I made sure he knew I wasn’t afraid of him.” After spending an entire day unloading inventory as well as getting to know each additional, Vicki gave David her number.

David Morales, left, as well as Vicki Juarez.

David took Vicki out for a date. He was kind, respectful, as well as attentive — traits many people value in a partner. In short time, the two were practically inseparable.

Vicki knew in which David had been in as well as out of the prison system a couple of times prior to meeting her, as well as eventually the cobwebs by his rough past surfaced again as he struggled with alcohol addiction. the item was his honesty in which gave Vicki a sense of comfort during these trying times. “He sat down as well as told me everything, so I never felt like there were any secrets,” she says.

however David’s drinking became more frequent. After receiving two DWIs, an attorney gave David a sobering reality check. “He told him, ‘If you get one more, there’s nothing I can do for you,'” Vicki recalls.

in which wasn’t enough. In August 2010, David was sentenced to 10 years behind bars after receiving a third DWI. at This kind of point, Vicki is actually just past the midway point of waiting for David’s Discharge, having made the decision to stay six years ago.

Since generating her choice, family, friends, as well as even David’s children are constantly after one simple answer. Why?

“I’m not a desperate woman,” Vicki rebuts. “I don’t stay with him because I am desperate. I stay with him because I chose him to be my life partner.” David incorporates a lot more work to do in Vicki’s eyes, however to her, he’s still well worth the wait.

“I think people think in which we are stupid,” Vicki says. “We have to be stronger than most people.”

With four years to go, Vicki waits patiently for the day she can touch David again. He lives in segregation, so Vicki is actually unable to call him. She misses his voice deeply.

They’ve made their situation work with letters as well as, when she’s able to afford the item, visits to David’s prison in Wichita Falls, 225 miles away. He’s always behind glass.

“David is actually not an animal — he is actually a man. He is actually sensitive, he is actually caring, he loves people,” Vicki says. This kind of man may someday become her husband, a discussion the two lovers have already had. “He has made some bad choices in his life in which he is actually paying for. however in spite of the bad things, he’s done more not bad.”

This kind of is actually why she stays.

sy88pgw’s Nikaline McCarley contributed to This kind of report.

For better or worse: When love happens behind bars

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