What To Do When Your Spouse Is Changed By Combat

I gripped the steering wheel as if it was my one and only lifeline. Hot, angry, hurt tears made trails on my cheeks as I watched the radio clock tick another minute.

Midnight. 12 a.m.

It was a new day, but I felt as though it was a night that was going to linger endlessly and never take the pain away. Our one year old son (our only child at the time) slept peacefully in his car seat, clueless of what was going on.

Clueless. Oh, how I wanted to be clueless of the man my husband had become. I wanted to be clueless of the fact that the man who returned from Afghanistan was not the same man I had tearfully kissed goodbye several months back.

I noticed it that ride home after our initially joyful reunion. The man sitting next to me had changed. He had become a stranger, despite the countless letters we wrote during the deployment.

As the months went by, I noticed how different he’d become. He struggled with his belief in God. He became angry and distant. He grew stressed. His fuse drew shorter and shorter, and he became all too familiar with the taste of alcohol.

I found myself praying every morning; praying that we would have a good day that day. That I would be able to reach through the shell of the man I had married.

He never became abusive. He was just angry . . . all the time. He said things I knew he didn’t truly mean. But, I was weary. I watched the man I loved so much deteriorate before my eyes. I felt as though I didn’t even know him anymore.

Then, we found out we were pregnant with our second baby. I was terrified. I did not want to bring another baby into this. I did not want our children to suffer with a father who was slowly becoming an alcoholic.

I released the grip of the steering wheel to pick up my cell phone. I paused as I listened for the voice of my mother-in-law.

“Mom? I can’t. I can’t do this anymore. Evan got drunk again and we fought, and it was awful. I left. I have Ian in the car, and we’re sitting in the Walmart parking lot. I’m prepared to just drive right now and leave. We might be at your house tomorrow.”

I was serious. I was ready to leave without even saying goodbye. I wasn’t thinking divorce. I just wanted to get away; for us to take a break from each other. My husband needed help, but I didn’t know how to help him.

Then, my mother-in-law surprised me.

“Lydia, you know that dad and I will be here to welcome you with open arms if you decide to leave. But, is this really what you want? Are you sure you’re ready to throw in the towel just yet? Leaving might make him wake up to what he’s doing, but it also might not be the best solution. If you can work through it, don’t give up just yet.”

I cried. No, sobbed. I didn’t want to leave, but I also didn’t want to stay. I didn’t want another night of alcohol, another night of fighting that would just leave me full of hurt and praying for the man I originally married to come back.

changed by combat

I put the car into drive and found myself on the dimly lit road back to our home. Continue reading

What To Do When You Are Overcome With Anger

overcome with anger

*written by my husband, Evan*

There I was, standing in the street, screaming at the other car, demanding the other driver get out of his car. . . . I only wanted to share the love of Jesus with him, I promise!

Actually, in all seriousness, I wanted to knock his teeth out for committing that egregious, despicable, heinous act.

He cut me off.

I mean, how dare he?! Who does he think he is?

I clearly had the right of way, and he just took it! I had to slam on my brakes just to avoid hitting him! I was right and I was more than willing to inform him, shouting at the top of my lungs, and saying some things that I will not repeat here.

As I returned to the car, Continue reading

What You Need to Know Before Interacting with New Military Wives

need to know military wives

She probably thinks she’s hot stuff, marrying a little higher up. Why is she in charge of caring for the company wives? She has no idea what it’s like. This is her first deployment, for pete’s sake!

Two things. There were TWO things I knew about this wife: she was newly married and her husband was an officer who had been in for almost 20 years.

Before even meeting her, I made the assumption that she was snotty and was going to lord her new position over us. Continue reading

I Suffered Too: A Man’s Battle During Postpartum Depression

As a man, I thought I could handle it. I thought I could get through it, but I discovered that I too was suffering during my wife’s postpartum depression.

man's battle postpartum depression

*Another post written by my husband, Evan.*

The stress caused me to lose almost 10 lbs and gave me irritable bowel syndrome. It was the hardest thing that I have ever had to watch. Lydia was sick for over a year and even though my last post was a little comical, there was nothing comical about watching my wife struggle that way.

Just because my wife was the one going through the actual postpartum depression doesn’t mean that it didn’t affect me at all.

I remember the sleepless nights as I sat awake in our bed listening to her cry, feeling completely helpless. I remember the fear of leaving for work, never being sure of what would happen while I was away. I remember the desire to take away all of the hurt and all of the pain and deal with it myself, because that would be easier than watching my wife, my best friend, and my children’s mother suffer and hating myself for not being able to do anything.

I remember. Continue reading

What if grief is actually a gift?

More often than not, we treat grief like it’s the plague that we think it is.

What if grief is actually a gift?

gift-of-grief

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this morning, and I came across a picture my sister had posted this morning. One of my other sisters had gotten shirt pillows made for Becca and her kids, with old shirts of Harley’s. It’s no surprise that there were a lot of tears shed over the pillows this morning. Even I had to fight back tears as I looked at the picture.

Can I be honest? I found myself breaking down over the loss of my brother-in-law just yesterday. I thought about my sister and her children as they are still trying to work through their new normal without their favorite man. I imagined what it would be like if Evan were to never come home. I can’t even fathom it. What my sister and her children face every day is Continue reading

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