RD wrote:

© The US Army

I am married to the most amazing and beautiful woman I’ve ever met. R and I dated for 5 years before we got engaged. Even when we were 18 and dating we had a few fights and arguments. We even broke up a few times but after a few weeks we would be back together again. I decided to run off and join the army and get married so I could bring her with me. We rushed it and got married at a courthouse because I was leaving for the army in a few days. I was gone for 6 months after we got married. It was rough but we tried to stay in touch as much as possible.

When I was done with my training we moved into our first home. We were so happy to finally be together, but it was hard for her to find a job, and I was the only one making money, and sometimes I would get selfish, and blow money on dumb things for me. When my unit told me I was deploying, it hit us both hard. Things started to go downhill for us. We would start to get violent with each other. She would yell and hit me, and I would push her off of me hard and almost hurt her. It scared her, and I scared myself. I ended up calling her after a few days to say I was sorry, and the next day she said she wanted me to come back home. Everything between us was good once again, until we ended up having another fight. I said a lot of mean, disgusting things that I’m not proud of.

While I was in Afghanistan, we didn’t talk much. I know I had made her mad and put my hands on her, but I didn’t think this day would come. She would post that she was single online and her phone number. She even started talking to her ex-boyfriend before me.

I had never felt so low. I even remember some nights that I wanted to kill myself. I got into a lot of trouble with the army, and ended up getting kicked out. After losing the army and my wife, I felt like I couldn’t live anymore.

Finally I was ready to go back home. I tried to go see my wife, but I blew it once again. I started petty arguments and I couldn’t let the past go. I said a lot of horrible things again to her, and I just let her down. She must have felt like I can’t change even after all that time apart. She yelled that she wanted a divorce and to leave her alone.

Now I’m too afraid to go over there and talk to her. I feel like it won’t do anything and I’m afraid to get heartbroken and I don’t want to have an emotional break down right there in front of their house, or maybe I just don’t want to go over there and end up seeing her with another guy. Our marriage is so damaged and torn that I don’t think it can be fixed. I still love my wife with all my heart.

The reason I feel like maybe our marriage can be saved is I feel like I have learned a lot from this. I’m a lot closer with my parents. I feel like I really found myself now. I have a great job I love, and it pays well. I have a few close friends now. A lot of good has all came from this, but the only thing missing is my wife. I miss our laughs and our smiles. There were times where we didn’t even have to talk, and we were just happy to be around each other.

I don’t know how I can regain her trust again, or how I can show her that I can be a great husband that I promised her. I want to send her some flowers and write a long letter explaining my feelings, but I feel like that’s not enough. Because I’ve always been about words and not actions, I don’t know how I can get close enough to be around her to show her actions and to get her to fall in love with me again. Please help. I’m so lost.

Dear RD,

Since you and your wife have such a long and volatile past, my advice would be to attend marital counseling if your wife is willing. You indicated that you may have rushed into marriage, and being a young man, it’s hard to step into the role of a new husband in such a short length of time. Marriage requires being selfless, and you both may have gotten married too quickly to have truly prepared and understood what the relationship would require. That combined with the distance of being separated due to the Army and your obligations there caused quite a bit of stress on the marriage that most couples don’t have to endure.

At this point, you need professional guidance to successfully communicate with your wife and work through problems without them escalating into arguments. This isn’t always easy to accomplish on your own, and a neutral third party can help show you each where you need to work on yourselves and your relationship.

If you want to save your marriage, ask to speak with your wife one more time. Sit down and have a long conversation and explain what’s on your mind. Don’t make accusations or rude remarks, and if you feel as though things are getting heated, take a breather before they get out of hand.

Ask if she would be willing to attend marriage counseling while you’re still living apart. Doing this will allow you to ease back into the marriage while still working on the relationship. Try to keep things very “low pressure” in the beginning.

Explain to her, in detail, how you’ve changed and improved. Tell her how much you love her and how good the two of you can be together, but try not to act desperate. Don’t try to push her into anything, and be willing to leave and try again on another day if she tells you to.

You should also consider courting her again by taking her on dates like when you were just dating. She will need to be willing to cut ties with the other man and fully commit to making the marriage work again. If she isn’t willing to do that, then you should attend counseling yourself to discuss your feelings and to come to terms with the end of your marriage.

 

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