Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Marriage... In The Midst Of Tragedy.

Hello friends, and thank you so much for joining me today. I am so pleased, to tell you that I have joined up with a few other amazing Christian bloggy friends, to bring you a mini series (a post every Tuesday for the month of March) on Marriage. Check out the linky party below to visit each of my friends blog posts, and what they are sharing on marriage. We plan to bring you some some hope and encouragement, and how God has brought love and healing out of the times of suffering our marriages have endured.
This series will be very personal, and even emotional. But its my prayer that God will use our stories to bring hope, and encouragement to others. We all have different stories, not just we who are sharing them, but YOU who are reading this. Though our stories may be different, there are a couple things that are the same... 1. We will all go through hard times and struggles, and 2. God can and WILL bring us through those rough patches, if we trust and rely on Him to do so.
If you missed last week's post, you can read that {here}

I'd like to start off this weeks post by letting you know there is NO CONFLICT too great for God to reconcile. He can and WILL work to reconcile your marriage, however, you must have faith and be willing to allow Him to work. I can say this with utmost confidence, because I have been there. I have been at the breaking point of marriage, and know that because I surrender it all to God - The Hubs and I are still married. And are actually happier than we have ever been in our married life.

Like any other couple, we have had our ups and downs. And just because we had a rough start doesn't mean we were miserable. ;) I just wanted to get that out, because I dont want it to seem like that. Of course this is a series about struggles/conflicts in marriage and how to reconcile them. So, that's what I'll be focusing on. The fact is, conflict and struggles are not a matter of "if" they are a matter of "when". So WHEN you have conflicts in your marriage... What will you do?

I didn't always know what to do. When things got hard, I may have yelled, I may have been withdrawn, I may have pointed fingers and cast blame... I probably did everything but turn to God for help, or even think about taking a look at myself and my own actions.

As The Hubs and I got plugged into a great church, and connected with amazing, loving people and other couples from our church we started doing better. Keep in mind, though things were better in our marriage, none of our problems were every resolved... They were just kind of set to the back of our minds. During this time, I was pregnant and The Hubs was preparing for his 2nd deployment to Iraq. He deployed 2 months after I gave birth to our first son, Bruce.

During this time of deployment, when most military wives moved back to their home towns to stay with family... I decided it was best to stay put. The idea of bombarding family for a year with 2 kids, was just not appealing to me. The idea of having to pack up and move/find a place to live in another state, just to pack up and move back in a year also didn't sound appealing to me. I didn't really want to live alone with 2 kids, with no friends or family close by either... BUT it seemed the most appealing of my options.

To keep myself sane, I spent the majority of my time at our Church. I decided to plug into the youth group and help out there. Even though this was a very hard time for me, it was also a great time of growth for me. Both spiritually and as a person in general. It really made me "grow up" and mature very quickly. Allowing me to be strong as a mom, a faithful wife, a christian, and as an individual (who had never really been on her own before!).

The Hubs, in the midst of war, was growing too. Unlike his first deployment, he felt like he has something to live for. He had his faith and relationship with God. He had a wife and kids to come home to. He took some of the little free time he got to lead bible studies with his men, or who ever was interested. Its crazy to think that even though we were so far apart, we were actually growing closer. I guess its true what "they" say, that absence makes the heart grow fonder. haha

Even though things started out rough for us, and we were in the middle of a stressful time of our marriage, things seemed to only be getting better. So sometime in the middle of his deployment, we decided to plan for the wedding we never had. And of course that's when it (tragedy) happened...

The Stryker (a military vehicle) that The Hubs was in, was hit by an I.E.D.. The Hubs was standing out of the air guard hatch, so he was knocked out of the strkyer, and also knocked unconscious. When he came to, he found that he and his men were under fire, and he also found their driver (one of his really close friends) dead. There is obviously a lot more to that story... But to make a long story short, I will tell you that he ended up being sent home early due to his injuries.

It was bitter sweet. I had been praying that The Hubs would come home sooner rather than later, because it was rumored our guys would have a 3-6 month long extension to their deployment... So I got to have him home early... But I never would have wanted it to be like this...

Luckily he didn't have any major physical injuries, just some cuts and bruises. However, the injuries he did sustain, the kind  you dont always "see" were just as bad... He suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI),  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), hearing loss, and memory loss, among other things. He came home a completely different man. He was shut down, depressed,  prone to random fits of rage, he couldn't remember things, he didn't want to do anything. He had to go through all kinds of counseling, Dr. appointments, be put on all kinds of medicines.. But nothing helped, it was like he was broken, and nothing could fix him.

What was worse, was that after a while he was sick ad tired of all the treatments. He too wanted to just be normal again. So he would put on a happy face, and "be normal" for the most part. Which was good and bad. Because as much as I tried to be patient, and understanding... I could never truly understand what he had gone through. And at that time, he wouldn't tell me anything. With him putting on his happy mask, it also made me forget. I couldn't SEE his injuries, I didn't see his bad headaches, his anxiety, his lack of sleep from nightmares....So I would forget. I would get impatient with him, and I'd set him off. Sometimes it was like walking on egg shells.

As I am sure you might guess, this lead us back into a time of conflict. As time went on, I think we just sort of got used to our life. It wasn't perfect, sometimes it was scary, but we made it work. The Hubs got better at (pretending) being normal... Mostly around other people, and outside of our home. We still had our moments of happiness together, and I am sure we came off as any other normal couple. Things weren't awful all the time. But when they were bad, they were really bad. To be completely honest, I was afraid of him. However I also loved him more than I was afraid of him. And I just wanted everything to be ok. With him, with us and for our family.

But only a month or so after the birth of our second son, Zander, things seemed to hit a breaking point. I had to reach out for help. So I went to our pastor. Instead of making things better, it made them worse. The Hubs is all about privacy... Ever wonder why I refer to him as the Hubs?  Yeah I'm not just trying to be cute...

Thing is, he didn't want anyone knowing his problems. And we were close with our pastor and their family. They knew us well. I never thought The Hubs would feel attacked. But he did.... He couldn't stand the fact that anyone would think bad of him. Not that I was trying to make him look bad, I just knew we needed help! In the end though, that was a major factor in us moving back to our home town back in Cali.

The Hubs had been medically retired, but we originally had planned on staying in Washington.... As much as I missed my family and California,  I didn't think it was the best thing to do at the time. I thought we could get help here and I loved our church family. But he literally told me I could come with him or he'd leave without me for good.

That was the first time we came close to divorce... I of course didn't want that. .. And I believe he didn't truly want that either. Because I was so indecisive, he had actually packed up the kids and left without me. I made a quick call to my pastor in a panic not knowing what to do. He told me I should go with my husband. So when I called the Hubs, he said he was waiting for my call just before the freeway and would be back to get me in a couple minutes....

Join me next week for more of my story. ..

If you missed my previous posts, I encourage you to catch up... Find part one here: "A Marriage Doomed From The Start", or continue on to part three here "Marriage On The Verge Of Divorce."

And until then, please visit these other lovely gals who are also talking about marriage revival....

Much Love & Hugs,
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1 comment:

  1. Oh my God, Maria. To read this I just want to cry for you. And celebrate because I know there's a happy ending. But thank you for sharing. My sister's husband is military and was deployed several times, my husband is a police officer and even though he's here there is so much fear, danger, stress...people outside of this world just don't understand. Your story, your life is an inspiration and truly touched me today. THank you for letting God use you as a tool to touch lives, especially mine.


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