Ohhhhhhhhhhhh how I thought being married to my soulmate was going to be a walk in the park filled with story book memories and lots of gushy love. OH HOW I WAS SO DEAD WRONG!!!!!
Marriage is an uphill battle, a winding road, a slippery slope and can quite honestly NOT BE FOR EVERYONE! I am very lucky. I did marry a guy who GETS ME! Sergio is the first guy I could be 1000% MYSELF. He has seen the good, the bad and the VERY ugly. He has stuck with me through thick and thin and I have done the same for him. We will be married 7 years October 29, 2017. WOW!! And I hope we will be married until death do us part 60 years from now. It hasn’t always been the best of years and we have definitely gone through more than most see in a lifetime, but through each battle we always come out STRONGER!
Sergio was in the military for 13 years. He served one tour in Iraq. He never knew that one year in Iraq would change his life in ways he could never understand. He would wear his badge of honor in the form of 4 letters PTSD. PTSD or Post Tramautic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Sergio has PTS forever. It is not something you can turn on and off. It will always be apart of you but you can learn to LIVE with it. I never knew Sergio had PTS (combat soldiers prefer to drop the D in PTSD). I had NO CLUE what those letters would mean to me, to my husband, and to my marriage until we were in the thick of battling this beast head on. I always knew he was reserved with his feelings especially ANYTHING that had to do with his time in Iraq. What I didn’t know was that he was HIDING those feelings. He was hiding those emotions. He was hiding what he had lived through. All that hiding couldn’t hide anymore. I am a very blunt person and especially when it comes to my relationships. I don’t like secrets, lies, or deceipt. I was about to rip the top off this box he was shoving all his insecurities, fears, and anxieties in. I wanted a transparent relationship with my husband no matter what the conscequences would be. I would rather us get it all out instead of shoving it down and festering until it exploded. With that being said, I OPENED PANDORAS BOX OF CRAZY!
First it was the night terrors. Night terrors are feelings of great fear experienced on suddenly waking in the night. Sergio would wake me up SCREAMING and fighting something in his sleep almost EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and sometimes MULTIPLE times a night. For him it was traumatic being woken up by me shaking him until he awoke for his nightmare. He would calm down and then fall back asleep. For me it was even more traumatic because I would be awoken by this terrifying scream coming from the man sleeping next to me. He would sound as if he was fighting for his life. He would be literally clawing at the air fighting whatever it was torturing him through his dreams. Sometimes it would take just seconds to get him to wake up and other times it felt like minutes. Every single time it happened, I would be awake for hours trying to get my adrenaline down. I would lie awake waiting for the next night terror to occur.
After the night terrors came the ATTITUDE. I started to notice Sergio would be EXTRA short and bitchy with me. I would notice his mood would change at the drop of a hat and usually he was super snippy with me about EVERYTHING. I could be asking him something simple like “What do you want to watch?” and that would bring on a VERY snippy and sarcastic response or if he was EXTRA bitchy that day we would just go straight to fighting.
The fighting became very heated and very emotional. I can remember objects being thrown, punching holes in walls, slamming doors and often myself bawled up in the corner in tears. The fights got way more intense and hurtful. Words would be said that we instantly would regret. Then with the fighting came the drinking and with the drinking came the suicide threats.
Sergio and I met over drinks. Drinking was always apart of our lives but in a socially fun way. Sergio started buying a 3 pk of 20oz beers daily sometimes 2 and 3 times daily. I was so fancy that I started drinking boxed wine =) I would notice that my box of wine was lasting days instead of a week. Sometimes it would be all gone in just one day. The drinking was becoming the fuel to our fighting and the fighting was opening and creating more wounds.
We attended counceling at our local VA Help Center. They offered free marriage counceling to Veterans with PTS. I was hesitant at first but eventually I drug myself to our first counceling session. The first few sessions we ONLY talked about Sergio and his PTS. He would go in depth about symptoms or experiences he was having and ways to handle each senerio. As I would sit there, I got angry that Sergio was the center of attention and well honestly his PTS was getting all the attention. Then one day I realized, the counsler was trying to get me to understand what HE was going through. He wanted me to HEAR what was causing Sergio to have all these issues we were there to be counceled about. When I finally took my feelings and checked them at the door, that is when I started to LEARN how to be married to a man with PTS. I started learning how to adapt to my NEW reality. Sergio was NEVER going to change, but he could LEARN to handle situations and emotions in a way that was healthier to him and our marriage. Through counceling, I was able to learn how to listen better, understand better, love more and be a much better partner for my husband. Do I think counseling fixed my marriage? Yes. WE were willing to LISTEN to an outsiders opion and take his suggestions and make them our own. It took us truly fighting for our marraige to SAVE our marriage. To this day we have still had many times we have had to remember why we picked each other to be a life partner. We still fight, we still argue and we are still learning but we ALWAYS fight for US.
Marriage may not be the fairytale I had invisioned, BUT it sure is a ride of a lifetime. I believe in 3 things: Brutal Honesty, Unconditional Love, and Forgiveness. Those are the three things I hold on too with each and every sharp turn through life and marriage. Those 3 things are what keeps me grounded, helps me be a better person, and keeps me sane. You have to know when you take those vows of marriage that you will have times that will test all you vaule in life and relationships, BUT if you TRULY VALUE marriage then you will always find LOVE is worth fighting for.
NEVER GIVE UP ON EACH OTHER……..