“I can’t do this anymore.” I said those ugly words to my husband of only a year and a half, together even longer, I’d been with him through 2 tours, and 2 rotations in the army. You’d think after being apart for 90% of our relationship, I would have started to understand that being with a military man is unlike any other relationship. His deployments, his rotations and field training weeks were nothing compared to the distance I felt with him right next to me. He had so much trouble opening up in our relationship, and our marriage, and it was becoming painful for me, so I told him I couldn’t do it anymore.
I spent months and months begging him to show me himself. His deeper, internal self. I knew he had trauma from both his childhood and trauma from his military service. I feel like as a woman we always feel that it’s our job to save our husbands. We always want to make them feel like they’re not alone, like they can trust us — no matter how shocking, sad, or twisted their past is. As someone who was previously in an abusive relationship for 2+ years, I started going to therapy. I saw how much therapy changed for me, how badly I needed to confront my demons, so naturally I told my husband. A cycle began. I encouraged therapy for him. He fought me and fought me on it. I begged, I cried, I told him I’d do anything for him to find his happiness again, to release himself of the pain he’s felt and seen.
6 months later, my husband woke up one morning and told me he was going to therapy. He told me he was doing it for himself, for me, and for our marriage. I felt an elephant remove itself from my chest. I felt relief, not for myself; but for my husband. I knew that I couldn’t save him, he had to save himself, and he did. My husband began going to therapy once a week. The first week he was quiet. He came home, and I could tell in his eyes he’d seen some type of clarity, even in one 1 hour session. It looked like he was seeing me for the first time again, understanding why I’d begged him for so long to open himself to me, or to a therapist. That’s where his transformation began.
It has been a month now.
4 weeks of consistent therapy. He smiles, he laughs, he grabs my hand more, holds me tighter, but more importantly, he’s open with his feelings and emotions. He no longer looks like he’s constantly battling demons he blames on himself. He’s released himself of the skeletons in his closet, and of his past. He’s confronted the pain that ran his life for the past 20 years. My husband...is a new man. He is no longer scared to open himself to me, he trusts me — fully, he loves me — fully. Therapy not only helped me cure myself, but it also helped end the battles raging in my husbands mind 24/7, 365 days of the year.
I believe therapy saved my husbands life, as well as our relationship. Sometimes we need someone to listen. Sometimes we need someone to hear us, our cries, our pain. Sometimes we need help to take the shackles off of ourselves that we allowed our past to place on us. I feel in my heart that without therapy and a place to face his fears, to tackle them head on, my husband would have never healed, and would have continued a downward, painful spiral. But because of his strength, we are thriving, day by day.
If you’re reading this, and if you’re in pain...please know that you are loved, appreciated, and you matter. My husband has always been my rock, but for this time it was time for me to be his. Even though I didn’t understand what it felt like to see your best friend die in front of you, or lose the people you call your brothers, I wanted to listen, to love, to hold. He is here because he made the right steps to ask for help, I hope if you’re struggling, you will too.