I have been married for 13 years this month. It has been a learning adventure for sure. Ian was everything I wanted for so long but so many outside factors came in to play in our marriage. Married in 2000 and our first son was born in 2001. For all intents and purposes, I “lost” my husband in 2001. Not even a year married and the military takes him away and the man who came back was really never my husband again. He came back disconnected, uninterested, and aloof. As the years went by, he hardened, almost to the point of pure hate. Please know, I am no angel. I am hot headed, and stubborn, and if I think I’m right about something, well… I have many flaws. I am perfectly imperfect if you will.
In 2005, we packed up and moved our little family across the country to Utah. It was quite the shock. It took everything I had to adjust and I really didn’t do it very well. You see up until then, we had lived in my hometown, amidst everything I had ever known and loved. So this southern girl, transplanted into the west was a HARD transition. In 2006, our second son was born. That was when I saw a crack of the man I married. A slight glimpse into who he used to be. Our son was born 6 weeks premature and we came so very close to losing him several times. During that time, I saw the hope of the man who I married. But just as quickly, he was gone.
In 2008, I started to have symptoms that no one, not one single doctor could explain. I also went to school at that time. Thinking that my marriage just wasn’t going to make it and I needed a way to support myself and my children. I also reconnected with God in a way that I had never before experienced. I finished school including my externship with a 4.0 GPA. I started working for a pediatric dentistry and over the months the symptoms I was experiencing got worse and new ones emerged. I stopped working after 6 short months and the downhill came for my health. Spinal tap after spinal tap, several diagnoses, and multiple specialist all came down to one thing. I was broken and no one knew how to fix me other than trying to keep draining cerebral spinal fluid off my brain and spine.
This was rough on my marriage. I needed someone to take care of me since I could barely walk by myself but since no one could tell us EXACTLY what was going on, my husband was convinced that it was all in my head. Funny thing though, they don’t randomly stick needles in your spine and drain several cc’s of fluid off each time if it’s all in your head. Eventually, I started to feel better but it still took until 2011 for the doctors to finally give me a definitive diagnosis. Meniers disease.
During that time my husband began to experience health issues of his own that threatened his military career. After a med board and such a long drawn out process, the Air Force opted to deny reenlistment after a 15 year military career. Heartbreaking it sure was. So on September 11, 2012, Ian separated from the Air Force and struggled with how to move on from here.
It has been one of the HARDEST times in our life. In December 2012, I felt like I just needed to finally be out of Utah. After much debate and decisions, Ian and I decided that it was time to go home. He fought it tooth and nail. In March, we packed up our family and everything we owned and headed back to South Carolina. It was another hard transition. Immediately, I felt relief. I knew I was home. Surrounded by those who loved us. Things didn’t get easier for me and Ian though. I felt like the more I tried to piece our marriage back together after so much heartache and disappointment, the harder he resisted. Finally over the summer, I decided that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I made the decision but just didn’t know how to tell him. There was so much hurt and anger, but there was real fear. Fear for the unknown and what would happen. Fear if I didn’t tell him I would lose myself since all I did was walk on eggshells.
One night while watching tv with him, he said something and looked over at me and I just said “I don’t want to do this anymore.” We talked for a long time. I thought we both agreed that neither of us wanted to continue hurting one another and by the end of the conversation I felt relief. Little did I know that he took that conversation and filed it away under the never happened or he just didn’t believe me.
This is the way most of our marriage went. I would say something and it would get disregarded. Regardless if I was pouring my heart out and breaking. About 3 1/2 weeks ago, he started to come around. He started to realize that I was serious. Our financial situation doesn’t allow us to go our separate ways just yet, and with our kids being the absolute focus for both of us, we are just working around it. He is starting to realize what he did for all these years and sadly, and wonderfully, I’m starting to see the man that I fell in love with and married for the first time in forever. However, I’m just too far past the point to want to work it out. He understands this. We have decided that we are going to become friends. We are working toward making the best decisions for our kids given what we have. I am thankful. He is not only changing to be a better dad but he is my friend.
That is where I am now. I am finally in a place where I know what I want. I know that I can’t settle for less. I’m finding who I am for the first time in so long. I know I am going to be okay. That is what Happiness is…