- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 8, 2008

I am a man who is a military spouse. I never chose to join, but I am supporting my wife. It has been tough, but I’m hanging in here.

I have taken care of the three children over the past five years, especially since my wife has been gone three of the five years. She returned in late 2007 and will be redeploying again this fall.

Ms. Vicki, my marriage won’t stand another deployment. How long am I supposed to be lonely and ignore the fact that I want and need a wife? This is not what I envisioned for my family. She doesn’t like the Marine Corps by any means; she is just continuing with this journey.

I think she knows this is not good for our marriage and knows how I feel; but she is just determined to do what she wants to do. Ms. Vicki, I love my wife, but I think I have come to the end of my road on this journey. I don’t believe in divorce, but I think divorce may be the only option. Do you have any advice?-Non-Complaining Husband

Dear Husband: Thanks for writing and being so open and honest about your feelings. I hope you can relay the same message with the same passion to your wife. She needs to hear it.

I’m not sure where she is in her military career, whether she would consider getting out, or if she can. Deployments are tough on marriages, relationships and children. I know firsthand. You have experienced many absences in a relatively short period of time. Your wife has endured many deployments, too. She is probably coping with this by going into “deployment mode” - focusing only on the next deployment and nothing else. This could be protection for her emotionally in some way.

Long story short, I think you both need to seek marital counseling; a marriage retreat would be helpful, too. Additionally, I would recommend individual counseling for you and your wife. Oftentimes, it will help if you have someone you can talk to and depend on for support. Your wife may need this, too. I will send you some resources that I know work with military families regardless of location. Also check with your nearest base resources.

Finally, don’t have a knee-jerk reaction. Think this through. Try every avenue before you call it quits on your marriage. - Ms. Vicki

Vicki Johnson, a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three, has been counseling service members and their families for 15 years. Her column, “Dear Ms. Vicki,” runs in The Washington Times Thursdays and Sundays. She can be reached at dearmsvicki@yahoo.com.

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