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When Words Abuse

Something else must be going on, thought Pastor Seth Johnson. My most trusted elder certainly is no wife abuser.

For weeks he had stewed over the news Marge, Don's wife, had dumped on him before she left the hospital after a hysterectomy. Marge said Don had never hit her, but the way he treated her during their marriage was emotionally abusive.

She must have simply been emotional, Seth thought. She and Don had probably argued about something. That, plus the stress of cancer, probably pushed her over the edge—Don didn't seem like the person who would call his wife "hippo" and "double-butt" and make her document every detail of her day, as Marge had reported.

Seth hated confrontation, but he knew Don well enough to bring up the issue. He met Don at the Original Pancake House, their regular haunt.

"Sorry I'm late," said Don as he slid into the booth. He ordered the standard: Swedish pancakes with coffee, black.

"Is Marge doing okay after her surgery?"

"I think so," Don said. "The prognosis ...

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