Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Counseling and therapy

Staying with and through the chaos is hard. Giving up is easy. Stand up, grab your belongings, and off you go. Yeah, a divorce and child custody case may be involved but when it's over, that is it.

Staying may require therapy or marital counseling. I personally recommend counseling. Counseling gives you a third party perspective that maybe you and your spouse have overlooked. We had experienced counseling twice. Initially, it was through an on-post resource. She helped us some in helping us realize the error of our ways in certain situations. The second experience was through a previous pastor. He helped us to realize we needed to form our own "ways" of doing things together rather than basing our actions of off things we had witnessed through other marriages. It also helped us to recognize what Godly and worldly advice looked like and who gave what kind of advice. An example of worldly advice would be "Don't let him/her get away with it!" whereas Godly advice would be "Think about how you are going to approach the situation, pray about it, and let your actions reflect His will." We now know who can give us the Godly advice.

Now don't get me wrong! There's nothing wrong with worldly advice. Sometimes the worldly advice may seem practical or realistic. Ultimately, people will do what they want. I personally have found the Godly advice to be more practical though. I mean, He does know what the outcome will be! 

When my parents got divorced, I went through therapy as a child. I later went to therapy as an adult for problems I was having with my life at that current moment in time. My husband went to therapy a few times, some of which were mandatory. Sometimes working on yourself as an individual will help. You have to build yourself up before you can successfully build up others. 

My thoughts: if you don't have it already, you need to download the bible app, YouVersion, onto your smart devices! It's not just the bible. They have reading plans and devotionals you can follow. I assign myself multiple devotionals at a time so that I can find the inspiration and word when I have time. If you have time to tweet, YouTube and Facebook, you can certainly spend 5 minutes in YouVersion!

Prayer: God, help us to seek your will for our lives. Help us to be able to help ourselves. Build us up in a way that would be pleasing to you. In your name, we pray, Amen!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My husband, my hero.

First and foremost, Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans past and present.
Let me tell you about a special someone in my life.

Michael knew he was going to grow up and become a soldier since childhood. Both his grandfather and father served and he was going to uphold that tradition. His oldest sister, Casey, also went on to become a soldier and served for 6 years.

Michael participated in JROTC in high school and as soon as he graduated high school, he enlisted. His first day was July 1, 2004. He went to Fort Benning, GA for basic training and AIT as an 11B, an infantryman. He also went on to airborne school. He has 17 logged jumps but has done more than that.  His first duty station was Fort Bragg, NC with the 82nd Airborne Infantry.

 Michael's first deployment was around the end of 2005. He did 2 tours and served for 4 years as an infantryman before he changed his MOS to a Comsec Communication Repairer. In his time in the infantry, he experienced the loss of his fellow battle buddies and witnessed situations that I wouldn't wish upon my worse enemy. He had been shot numerous times and has a scar on his chest from where a round had grazed his skin. The first 3 shots broke through his chest plate and the 4th one almost succeeded in penetrating his chest. God was definitely with him. He also endured various explosions that have lead to his hearing loss and TBI, traumatic brain injury.  A series of terrifying events contributed to the development of PTSD and he reclassed because he could no longer hold a combat MOS.

Michael had his second AIT at Fort Gordon, GA. After he completed his training, he went on to Fort Campbell, KY, where we currently are stationed. He then completed 6 more deployments totaling 31 months of time overseas in OIF and OEF.

We got married in February of 2011 and I have experienced 4 deployments as his wife and one as a fiancée. He's missed his share of holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. The kids and I have learned to accept this life and do our best to support him while taking care of each other.

I give so much credit to our kids for being so resilient and strong. They have leaned on their faith and have prayed their way through these deployments. I would struggle to keep from crying my eyes out each time we dropped him off at the hangar. Jr. would tell me that "God will keep step-daddy safe." and give me the comfort I needed in those moments.

Today and everyday, I appreciate and honor my husband, my hero. He has been through so much and is struggling through a lot right now, yet he does not fail to provide and be the head of our home. Words can't begin to express how grateful the kids and I are for him. He has grown into a man of God and a true warrior in the battle against PTSD and veteran suicide. He is so supportive and a true friend.

Michael, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done and continue to do for our country and family. You are truly my hero and my knight in shining armor. I am humbled to be your wife and appreciate how supportive you are of my desires and dreams. God has blessed me with an amazing husband and I look forward to being by your side for the rest of our lives.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

2 weeks

2 weeks is the average time it takes my husband to revert back to his "old ways" after saying he will make a change. This is usually how this pans out:

1.) We get into a very severe argument that ends in tears and pleas.
2.) He says he will make a change and do *Fill in the blank*
3.) The day after our huge fight, said change happens at an Olympic performance level.. This change is so amazing, he really does deserve a medal.
4.) One week post change, he starts losing the steam from his Olympic status change... Understandable because this man has been hardcore!
5.) Two weeks post change, he has started reverting, if not completely reverted back to his old ways

Sounds about right, right?

Our problem is that when we argue, a series of events have lead to this very moment.
For example: (completely exaggerated story)

He comes home from work, throws his junk on the floor, and plops on the recliner.
The kids run up to him to share their good news for the day but he ignores them and tells them to run off.
I get mad because I've been home all day and they've been driving me nuts.
I want him to be more active and give me a break since I have been with them all day long.
I yell at him and call him a lazy, good-for-nothing slob who doesn't care about his family.
He proceeds to tell me that I couldn't possibly do all the work that he has just done in one day.
I yell about how I'm burnt out and overwhelmed.
He tells me that he could easily do everything I have to do in one day and better than me.
I lose it and start screaming and crying.
He yells because he can't hear the TV.
I pull the power cable out of the wall.
He jumps up and charges at me like a furious bull.
I challenge him to do something.
He stomps out the door, slamming it on his way out.
I chase after him, screaming "Don't you dare walk out on me!"
He gets in his truck, still ignoring me, and drives off.
I storm back into the house, grab my phone, and call him 30x.
He finally answers, we exchange hurtful words and I hang up.
He calls back because I'm not allowed to hang up on him.
More words are exchanged and now he hangs up.
I call back because he's not allowed to hang up on me either!
In between calling back and forth, I develop enough strength to calm down and tell him to come home so we can talk like adults.
After debating it with himself, he comes home.
We both apologize for our behavior and hurtful words.
He vows to not throw his crap on the floor, not sit down right away, and be more attentive to the children.
I agree to let him have a brief moment to himself when he gets home (to gather his bearings and calm down from work stress) and not bombard him with a extensive honey-do list the minute he walks through the door.
I also agree to talk to the kids about letting daddy settle before bombarding him with their barrage of news and comments.

Sounds about right, right?

Sadly, we have actually had this very fight numerous times. Let's dissect it. For the sake of this post, we are going to dissect it the way I did in my head.

- I need to let him relax when he gets home. Not too long, but enough time to change out of his uniform, sit down, and take a few breaths.
- I need to give him the chance to initiate time with the kids. I can't force it otherwise it will be unauthentic.
- Maybe I need to prioritize my day so I'm not so stressed out.
- I really shouldn't have freaked out the way I did. It so made things worse.
- I really need to give him his space.
- I can't be his Holy Spirit. He needs to find it in himself to do what he knows he needs to do.
-Rather than praying to God that He help Michael be more involved and more active in our lives, I should pray that He works on his heart and helps him find his purpose, whatever God feels that may be.
- I need to pray for myself.
-Maybe I should expect him to change 100%. Rather, I should decide what affects me the most and discuss it wit him. One change at a time.

Believe it or not, focusing on changing one thing at a time has been better than expecting a new man and being disappointed after 2 weeks. This news is probably not new to all but it was new to me at one point in time.

My thoughts:
Set realistic short term goals as a couple/family that have a high possibility of yielding long term results.

My prayer:
Father God, Thank you for giving me the one You so chose for my life. Help me to focus on my flaws while you work on my spouse's heart with him. You know your plan for his life and I respect that not everything is in my control, but in Your control. Help me to become slower to anger and easier to love. Pour your blessings over our marriage and family. In Your name, I pray, amen!