I don't know how honest and open I've been over the years about Dean's and my not being connected like we used to be. Since Afghanistan our connection has been me to him, his physical pain, and his moods...I can feel them. But he has been unable to connect with me. This has been the root of my loneliness! Even though I can be with his physical presence each day and some days we can have great conversations, it always ends abruptly where I see that he wasn't really connected as he's completely unaware of how his interacting with me affects me and he talks at me and I try to interact back but it has to be about him. I've tried for 5 years to fall in love again with a man who may never be connected to me like he once was but instead just interacts with me. It was sad for me to live this loss but I'd do anything for him because I love him.
Well we recently had a miracle touch our marriage!
I won't go into what precipitated it because that matters less than the miracle that came out of it. Dean hit rock bottom in a depression which caused him to pray to God for help in connecting with me and God answered his prayers.
Suddenly his eyes have life in them again! His eyes dance, smile, and sing like they used to. I can look into them and fall inside the pools that are the window to his soul. I feel like I get to fall in love with my new old husband and it's blissful! We are realizing that Afghanistan caused him to shut off a part of his self to me in order to protect me from the pain that lives there but that shutting off means that he's not sharing his total self with me. When he hit bottom he realized that if he doesn't share his total self with me then I'm not sharing my total self with him because that's what humans do to protect themselves. When you are protecting yourself in your marriage though, it means there's an assault somewhere to protect from. It plays in the background and is hard to pinpoint or explain. Another thing he realized is that there really is only ONE thing that a spouse can give his/her partner that someone else can't come along and give and that is their self, their soul, their vulnerability. Shutting part of him off means that what he WAS giving me, someone else could easily give me and he didn't like that being a threat to our marriage. This is why he sought God's help. We don't know how but his eyes suddenly became open and able to connect with me.
It's not like a light switch. There are still limitations we are learning. He still gets exhausted by energy use. But when he's not exhausted, it's different. He looks at me now with smiling eyes that peer into my soul again. HE's back in his body, it's not just his words and actions.
We realized that for 5 years he's been learning who he is again with his new abilities and limitations. For 5 years I've been learning who he is and having to modify my energy, habits, lifestyle, everything. But for 5 years we haven't begun to define our WE. There was no WE. There was him and I and we cohabited and I was his caregiver. I still tried to be the good wife and he tried to be the good husband but even that wasn't the same as a WE. I always treated him with respect and honored him in my caregiving. He always tried to make me happy and was thankful I stuck by him. But we were like two separate people learning to live together with his new self. That's just not the same.
Now I am enjoying our new adventure of making a WE. Who are we now? Stay tuned for sure.