I want a divorce!
For 12 months, this was the only sentence my husband and I could agree on. We came from 2 totally different backgrounds and blended our families for what we thought would be a great marriage.
Neither of us took into consideration what our childhoods, adulthoods, or careers would do to harm our marriage. My husband left home and entered the military to escape. While in the Navy, besides meeting people from different backgrounds, sharing close quarters on the ship, working and seeing the world, he was also wounded. This led to an honorable discharge from the military, but no therapeutic assistance on how to handle the world, once he was placed back into it. He suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), masked it with alcohol, and denied it until he beat the “habit” and met me.
The person I met was kind, sweet, gentle, and reserved. Then, when he was triggered, simple conversations turned into arguments, arguments turned into tension, resulting in no communication for days at a time. This was not what I signed up for. I had no clue what PTSD was. He denied it, so what were we supposed to do, divorce?
We decided to go our separate ways and wished each other the best.
Counseling Saved Us
After 6 months of separation, literally living apart, not speaking, and drawing up divorce papers, a light bulb went off. Maybe we should try therapy? Could we actively participate and hope for a better outcome? So, we did.
Kudos to our therapist at the Buffalo VA Medical Center, who made us have the hard conversations. She gave us homework, forced us to focus on the real issues, uncovered the layers of PTSD, helped us understand what it does, and explained that you can still LIVE and THRIVE with this diagnosis.
My concerns while going through counseling were;
- How many others just give up?
- How many others have been diagnosed and have not received any help or guidance?
- There was so much red tape, paperwork, and phone calls that had to be made. Most people would have thrown in the towel.
- There were no groups that were openly discussing what PTSD, the military, getting wounded, surviving, and trying to live looked like.
Counseling Can Help Your Marriage Survive PTSD Too
People need to know they are not alone, they do not have to suffer, and divorce does not have to be the final option.
We worked through the steps, we completed the homework, and we got back together. It was not easy. It was one of the hardest things we had to do alone and together. We had to work on ourselves, then work on us as partners, and accept the diagnosis of PTSD. After we completed therapy and were back together, surprisingly our therapist said there are so many couples with similar stories who end up divorcing because they do not know that it can be repaired. They are not aware that therapy can work and that being alone does not have to be the life you live after the military.
Our marriage is not perfect, yet we work perfectly together going on ten years and counting. We have not had a single argument in over 3 years, because we still use the tools given to us to work through disagreements. We learned how to communicate with each other, we learned not to talk at each other but to each other. We learned to listen to hear, not to respond. It works, if you try it.
My husband is permanently disabled and still has PTSD, yet we figured out a plan that works for us. I want couples to know that therapy can work, and we all deserve the chance at a happy life.
© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2020.
LaToya N. Williams is a military wife, mom, and entrepreneur. She spent 23 years in hospitality, managing hotels, and specialized in sales and events. LaToya has a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management from Buffalo State College, and am M.B.A. from Capella University. In 2019, she took the leap to branch out, continue doing what she loves and work from home. She sources locations, negotiates contracts and secures beautiful hotels and conference centers across the world for any and all meetings, seminars, conferences, and trainings. Allow her to be the bridge to your next successful conference, under budget!
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