The marriage vow “…to love, honor and obey…”, is not exactly easy for us to obey. Especially when our very loved military/former military spouse comes home with a TBI or PTSD. That threw my starry-eye vision of love/laughter/rainbows and joy into a bit of confusion and martial turmoil. But, you know, knowledge is power and understanding what has happened to change the love-of-my-life can make a big difference in the re-building a marriage.
Here is a link to an article entitled, Marriage Tips for PTSD $ TBI Families, which gives some very good suggestions to help bridge that gap of “what the heck happened to my husband” to “this will take awhile to get it right, but we can make this marriage work!”
It is the silences I remember most. The feeling that even though we could touch each other and loved each other, but we have difficulty really talking to each other. If you, too, are having problems communicating with your loved one, check out this website: http://www.poweroftwomarriage.com/info/how-to-communicate-with-your-spouse/
Now I am not saying that you need to take the course they are obviously selling, but the communication suggestions listed on this webpage are quite good, such as:
“Now, there’s a recording in your head of how your parents and the other grownups in your life interacted. That recording forms the foundation — it’s the default setting — for how you are likely to talk, fight, or withdraw from your spouse as a grown-up. How your spouse’s family talked—or didn’t talk—is the most likely source for your spouse’s default model for communication in marriage as well.
If this makes sense to you, check out the link and be sure to view the videos included on the site. They are fun and informative.
Life will be different once the returning service person comes home. The Veteran may demand more of his wife’s for husband‘s time, alot more time. If so, the wife may well begin to resent this. Why? Perhaps now that their Veteran husband is home they find that they cannot spend time with the friends which were made during their soldier’s deployment.
Not surprisingly, spouses may begin to miss the special home-grown support network which were a big part of their life while their soldier was stationed overseas. These non-military relationships have the possibility of seriously challenging the foundation of their marriage.
Spouses, it is important to remember to take things slow with your Veteran and get to know each other again. Why not make special “date” nights to reacquaint with each other again….rekindle that spark that initially brought you both together. Give your Veteran space to readjust to the aspect of no longer living/working in a war zone. Perhaps sleeping in separate beds for a while, might be necessary. When in doubt, consult a professional familiar with military life.
Remember, you are both not the same as you were before he left. It will take time and patience to get to know and appreciate each other again.
- Making Date Night Sweeter One Bite at a Time (berries.com)
The Department of Veterans Affairs is offering free in-depth online classes, From the War Zone to the Home Front II, which cover trauma, PTSD assessment and effective treatment. You can also checkout their Archive section for more information.
These classes/sessions are about one hour. Now these classes have already officially end tomorrow, but I believe you can view them “on demand.” Also, check out the Additional Resources for pdf’s and pertinent information on past classes.
Click HERE for more information.
You might notice that when your military spouse returns home he (or she) might have a hard time adjusting to civilian life. He may suddenly be overly startled by unexpected turmoil or loud noise. This might lead to an involuntary response on his part, putting him into survival mode which may cause him to rapidly retreat from this type of situation, or attack without conscious thought. Remember your military spouse has been trained to survive at any cost.
If this is happening in your relationship, here are some important safety tips:
1. Make certain that any weapons are kept in a secure area other than where your military spouse lives aka your home.
2. Talk to you military spouse if sleeping together is a problem. Perhaps it might be a good idea to agree on separate sleeping arrangements for a while, perhaps using a twin bed or guest room for a while.
3. Never argue or talk about things that upset either of you BEFORE bedtime. Do what you can to resolve negative issues that evening or both of you agree to continue to discuss the matter the next day at an agreed upon time and place.