Turbulence and Forgiveness
I have tried writing this blog post about my marriage for a couple of weeks now, and have found it difficult. In my blog, I am nothing, if not open about my life’s journey as a submissive traditional wife. I have had a long discussion with my husband on the matter, and was given his very sure blessing to share this darker part of our journey.
The topic of openness that is so dear to me on this blog can become quite difficult when it is on the topic of wounds or marital difficulties.
Before I delve into this emotional wound and what my husband and I are doing to heal, I want to make something clear. My choice and beliefs may not be your choice or beliefs. That is okay! My goal here is not to shame anyone, but simply to share my experience and my choices. In return, I respectfully ask my darling readers not to shame me as I share this personal heartache. This is my family,
In the Beginning…..
I suppose I should start from the beginning. My husband suffers from severe PTSD. (Please read more about our journey thorough the pain here, here, here, and here.) PTSD often associates itself with anger. My husband has worked very hard to learn to cope with his overwhelming emotional and physical pain. But sometimes. . .like any human being. . .he has let that anger-resentment of his pain and present situation-take over. A small thing could trigger it. Then, I would hear a very, very late night tirade of awful things about what I had done wrong, seething venom.
I will be honest with you, the cycle of my husband’s outbursts occurring for the last year were what pushed me into being so quiet here on my blog. At first, I thought it was me. I thought, “I need to do a better job.” Then, I realized it was him snapping like a twig and had nothing to do with me. But still, the things he said, the way the words rolled off his tongue were. . .burying me alive. The words caused pain in my chest, pain from which I am still recovering.
This is the Last Time…..
Then, the last time, it happened while we were on vacation in Seattle-but he finally realized it was him. It was as if he had an out of body experience and finally -after about a year of this pattern of outbursts-he saw it. He was upset with himself that because of his injuries, he would not be able to keep up with the kids and I. Instead of sharing his feelings, he lashed out. The damage was done. He ruined our vacation. He broke my heart. I couldn’t believe the words he said.
He finally realized that night that it was HIM. My husband realized that I sat nearly quietly through a 3 hour session of his anger. He realized that I was a tree in the middle of the Mississippi. . .I simply would not wash away.
I scarcely spoke the whole next day. In my heart, I knew that this was WRONG. This was gross misuse of masculinity. I knew that things could not continue this way. No longer would I push it under the rug and try to have a good time until the next time he decided to lash out. I knew I was worth more than that.
Is Our Marriage Over?
In the car, in the afternoon following his tirade, he looked at me as we drove through Seattle. He quietly asked, “Have I done irreparable damage?” I told him, “No.” Since then, we have been rebuilding the bridge that he set fire to.
To many, the pattern he was showing would be the death of a marriage. I do not condone such treatment of anyone. However, it is important to note that in my mind, marriage is FOR LIFE. Marriage is not simply something that one can back away from because “it’s too hard!” I told him, “I need to know if you love me or not. I will continue this marriage forever, but you need to search within yourself and I need to understand the expectations of this marriage. I will not continue to be a doormat.”
This whole ordeal was heartbreaking. What’s worse is that I could see how absolutely broken he was from treating me so poorly, realizing that this thing he was doing every 3 months for 3+hours at a time was unjustified. I wanted to just kiss him and tell him how I loved him. I wanted to forget the whole thing.
I’ll Never be a Doormat
I knew I needed to give myself more respect than that. Ladies, like I say often, submission does not mean DOORMAT. I don’t just preach it, I am living it. Each and every woman, even a submissive one deserves RESPECT. Please read an older post on my journey through submission.
We got home from Seattle and I sat him down, having a long talk with him. I looked him in the eyes and forgave him for his transgressions. During the conversation, I told him that as the leader of this family his son would become him. I told him that his daughter would look for a man who was like him. Therefore, he needed to step it up. I shared with him my expectations on the future. I will not go into those, as I feel those are private.
I have had many friends say, “Why don’t you leave him?” It is impossible to blame any one for having such a mindset in this day and age.But that is NOT who I am. I said for better/worse. Also, I have a rare privilege of knowing what is really within his soul. I know enough to know that those actions are that of a lost man. Those actions were reprehensible, yes, but he is human. Another point I would like to make clear, that yes he has PTSD. However, just because he has PTSD does not somehow make his behavior less wrong. Again, I know the real him.
I was so ashamed of this story, even now, I am having a hard time writing it. Please know, marriage is not all flowers and candy. There are parts that are awful and dark. There are parts that you wish would never end. Sometimes, you might want to choke your husband, others you don’t want to stop kissing him.
I was so ashamed that I nearly closed my blog. I nearly gave up. However, that is the opposite of the lesson I want to share with you ladies. Giving up is so easy. Hiding the hurt is so easy. (This is my opinion and obviously is more of a blanket statement than a statement that applies to each and every marriage.)
In the end, I am sharing this because I believe that when you marry someone, the fight is worth it. I have been fighting uphill since he came home from Iraq. There have been no shortage of new struggles. I believe in what is in his heart and soul. I believe in us. So, I will continue to fight for us. I will continue to live for us, and to pray for us. I know I am not the only one out there facing struggles in marriage. I hope that this can help anyone who is finding themselves in struggle.
Marriage is a great deal of work. Things are not always easy. Do not ever accept abuse or a man’s misuse of feminine submission. Do not fear having the tough conversations. They must happen.
I can relate to this 100%.. The anti rejection drugs my husband is on for life causes horrendous mood swings.. I got tired of making excuses for him.. Going off in another room and crying.. I did the same thing.. Sat him down and talked.. Even though I know it will happen again.. He knows what it’s doing to me and our marriage..
I am so sorry for what you are enduring. I will add you to my nightly prayers. I know I am not the only one who endures such difficulties. I want to be the light upon the path to work through difficulties in life, to make other fortified and strong.
Thank you and I too will keep you in my prayers.. XX
This post is so timely. My husband and I didn’t have a very easy beginning of our relationship. He, too, is a war veteran, and without getting too personal (or long-winded), some of his behavioral “quirks” are directly due his service of his country. His war was the first Gulf War.
We were just rehashing the early years of our marriage this past weekend; and, yes, we brought up some old hurts. But we also talked about how grateful we are that we stuck it out with each other. Instead of quitting (which would have been easy, since we have no children), we did the hard, honest, sometimes bitter work of talking to, forgiving, and loving each other, even when we weren’t sure that we even liked each other anymore. But “for better or for worse,” right? Also, “in sickness and in health,” and PTSD is definitely a kind of sickness.
You won’t forget the hurt feelings. You won’t forget the anger. But you’ll forgive it, and eventually, you’ll only think of it when you decide to bring it up (like we did this past weekend).
And now, it’s so easy. We’re so happy. You will be too. I think what you and your husband are doing is something to be proud of. And he’s a lucky man.
Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your story. I greatly appreicate it. I know that I am not alone in my journey.