The man I married was the man he grew up to be from the boy he had always been....makes sense. He had lived his life for 42 years and knew who he was, how he liked things done, what he could accomplish in what amount of time, what he wanted his future to look like and what it would take to get there. Yada, yada, we all do that. I fell in love with him for all of his idiosyncrasies.
The man that returned home from Afghanistan looked just like my husband but about 90% of what made him who he was is now different, even down to the food he likes to eat. Thankfully the 10% that stayed the same is still there or we'd be 50 First Dates.
Our relationship has been really struggling. Over the two years we've had many downs with little ups and when I find what makes it go up, I just keep doing more of that. But these damn downs I have just struggled with. I thought, "maybe if we get his pain under control, then we'll do better", or "if he could just get consistent sleep, then we'll do better", but with each of these milestones met things have NOT gotten better. If anything we do a little worse when they get met which may seem strange but I think that when pain is the largest thing in your life, that's all you both focus on and the same goes with lack of sleep. So when those things are under control then you can see the big elephant in the room....the relationship is suffering :(
My role for two years has been to explain how what he's experiencing is part of his injuries, to help him to recognize his limitations, to help him process what life means now with his injuries, to support him with his grief of having lost himself, to seek treatments, to implement solutions at home, to be the taxi, his memory, and largely to carry on the legacy of his old self. I thought that since I would do anything for him and give anything to help him that that was me being the wife. But I couldn't figure out why I didn't FEEL like a wife.
- Yes, we lost our intimacy, but surely we can find ways around that.
- Yes, he lost the ability to be my shoulder to cry on and to be my rock, but I can turn to God and friends.
- Yes, he lost his ability to be my partner/helper, but I could just accept a less well kept house or hire someone.
This problem is our newest hurdle and I'm so afraid at the thought that there will be nothing to help us! How can anything in our relationship get better if when I talk to him he hears me belittling him? Keeping in mind, that now I have to help him be a husband in the first place. I prompt him to give me "words of affirmation" because that is my Love Language (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/) by asking him, "Am I beautiful?" and "Do you love me?" Most days I spend all alone because he needs to rest or be in a quiet room and when you spend day after day like this it doesn't take much to get to a point where you say "I need to talk to you about some stuff".
In all the other losses I can see ways to work around it, but with this loss I just don't think there is a way around it. I will have to look for someone who can help us find a way to communicate!