Guest Post on Marriage: Challenging Circumstances

Guest Marriage Post:

Surviving Marriage Under Challenging Circumstances

I married my husband four months before his second deployment at 23 years old. I assumed since we made it through the first deployment to Iraq that he would come home safe emotionally and physically. Six weeks before coming home he was severely injured by an improvised explosive device (IED). Most of our first year of marriage was apart and then in our second year of marriage I was caring for his war wounds. I was 24 and alone in Washington, D.C. caring for wounds I knew nothing about. There were days when I felt overwhelming anxiety, sadness, loss, grief, and isolation. He was upset at the world and it was taken out on me. I was sacred our marriage wouldn’t survive the test it was being put through. However every day I found faith to guide me through it. I prayed, sought out counseling and found an online network of wives through Operation Homefront’s Wounded Warrior Wives Program The first three years of his recovery was a nightmare. He was angry, in pain, frustrated, and isolated. It was hard to know from minute to minute how his mood would change. We finally got out of Walter Reed and in to our own house. Things seemed to go further downhill. He wasn’t doing well at work, he was bitter at me, I lost almost all hope, and we lived like roommates. I decided one that day I had to find peace and happiness for myself. I started volunteering at a therapeutic riding academy for disabled people and I concentrated on what I wanted. We hit a breaking point in October 2009 and he knew then he had to get help for himself. He left for six weeks to get treatment for his brain injury and he also got on new medications. For a year now our marriage is stronger than ever. He knows that I support him, love him and will back him in whatever he chooses to do. We both had to take care of ourselves to take care of one another. Learning that lesson was challenging but because we were committed to one another we weathered the storm. When going through the most challenging time in your life it’s easy to give up. When seeking help through professionals, peers, each other, and God things can change for the better. I am thankful for the experiences even in the worst time because now I can help others. Cheryl Gansner You can follow Cheryl's writings at her blog, Wife of a Wounded Soldier Learn more about wives of wounded warriors at: Operation Homefront's Wounded Warrior Wives Note: Cheryl's blog about her personal experience is very moving, and her efforts with Operation Homefront's Wounded Warrior Wives addresses some critical issues for our military families. Military service, especially during war, places stresses upon families that most of us can not imagine. These families deserve our prayers and support. I'm honored to have Cheryl contribute an article in this guest marriage series. Also, Cheryl has agreed to do a post dedicated to any questions you may have about military families, wounded soldiers, and how to minister to them. So, if you have any questions for Cheryl, please include them in the comments section. In three weeks (Feb 20) we will have a follow-up column answering your questions.

This post is linked with Marriage Mondays by Julie.

Thanks for visiting Family Fountain. WB


Wife of a Wounded Soldier said...

Thank you for asking me to be a part of your blog. I love the work that you are doing. I look forward to everyone's questions.

Karin said...

Just catching up on all my reading at various blogs! Great marriage posts which should definitely be very helpful for those facing similar circumstances! God bless! Keep up the good work!

Happily Ever After Again said...

What a story. God Bless our soldiers and their families.
I'm going to check out her page now. Thanks.

Kim-Stuff could always be worse said...

I do have compassion for the families of wounded warriors also. We do forget about the families sometimes? Thanks for this!!

Traci Michele said...

wow! What a testimony! Thank you for sharing!!!

Warren Baldwin said...

Cheryl - Thank you. This is such a good post! Thanks for sharing it on my blog.

Karin - Thanks Karin. I think this post will be very encouraging for a lot of people.

Nichole - "God bless our soldiers and their families" - amen.

Kim - Yes, I am afraid we do forget about the families sometimes. That is why I'll be having a couple of military families posting this year, so we can remember.

Traci - It is a great testimony and encouragaement.

Thanks for the kind feedback on Cheryl's article, everybody!

Terri Tiffany said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I was a military wife when I was first marrried too and went through some tough times but never like what you did. Praise God for seeing you both through!

Warren Baldwin said...


I appreciate that you are willing to field questions in another post in a few weeks. I have a couple, some of the m based on this statement of yours: "When seeking help through professionals, peers, each other, and God things can change for the better. I am thankful for the experiences even in the worst time because now I can help others."

1) How have peers been helpful? Blogging, personal visits, etc.?

2) How has your faith helped you? Prayer? Church?

3) How can peoople who are not in the military be helfpul to military families? wb

ComeHaveaPeace said...

I'm so glad you contributed this to Marriage Mondays today, Warren, and so glad that Cheryl shared it with us. The wives of our servicemen make great sacrifices, and I know we don't hear enough about the toll service can take on marriage and how we can help to lift the load. This is a real example of living out the covenant "in sickness and in health." I was just studying "hesed" love in Ruth this week, and Cheryl is a beautiful example of that!

Cheryl, I think someone else asked about what others can do to support service families during these times of hardship, and that's really what I would like to know as well. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


christy rose said...

It is amazing how different people's lives are from our own and yet the answer is always the same, being whole in Jesus! I loved her story! thanks for sharing it and reminding us all the sacrifices that real people go through just to keep us all safe in our own country.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thank you for an inspiring post. I particularly liked what you said about each of you getting the help you needed so you could help each other.

Having been a caregiver to my late husband, I understand the need for support and strengthening. Without the prayers, love, and kindness of others, I don't know how we could have managed.

Jenn @ Spejory said...

Wow! What an incredibly inspiring testimony! I admire the sacrifices that both Cheryl and her husband have endured. And a big "thank you" to her husband for his service, and for Cheryl's support. It's too easy for those of us who don't have military connections to take for granted the men and women and families who dedicate their lives to keeping this country free. We all need to regularly pray for military families and especially the strength of the marriages.

My best friend is married to a Special Forces soldier. It's not an easy life, but it's a very important calling.

Erin MacPherson said...

Another really poignant and fascinating post about marriage...thanks for sharing! Also, I'm loving your podcasts you're sending... thanks!

TV's Take said...

Now that is what marriage should be, committed. She sounds like a great human and wife. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt story.

Kara said...

Wonderful blog post! So wise to realize you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of each other. And I love the Wounded Warrier Project and all they do:)

Warren Baldwin said...

Terri - Thanks!

Julie - That is a good question. That is a concern for many of us - how can we help and encourage.

Christy Rose - Thanks. I think it is so important that we remember the sacrifices of others on our behalf.

Susan - thank you for sharing your experience of caregiving. You more than most of us can probably relate to Cheryl's pos.

Jenn - Thanks for your encouraging words.

Thank you everyone for visiting and commenting, and remember to check back for Cheryl's responses to your comments and questions on Feb. 20.

Warren Baldwin said...

Erin - Thanks for the encouraging word to Cheryl, and I am glad you are enjoying the podcasts. Sent two more out today, both on Proverbs. May send one tomorrow, then there won't be any for over a week.

TV - Thanks, and Cheryl has a very good blog if you get a chance to check it out.

Kara - Thanks. Yes, Cheryl had several good lessons in this post. I appreciate her writing it for us.

Remember to check back for Cheryl's responses to our comments and questions on Feb. 20.


Wife of a Wounded Soldier said...

Thank you everyone for the responses to my guest blog. I really appreciate the support and uplifting words. Here are the answers to the questions so far:
1) How have peers been helpful? Blogging, personal visits, etc.? My husband's soldier was wounded the same month as him but a few weeks earlier. It was nice to have his wife there to show me around, how to keep up with all the paperwork and case managers, etc. Blogging has been great b/c I was able to develop a virtual support system. The forums through Operation Homefront's Wounded Warrior Wives was the first place I always went when I needed support.

2) How has your faith helped you? Prayer? Church? While at the hospital I mainly talked to the Chaplin and prayed. I was too busy taking care of Bryan to attend church. They did have a little chapel that I would pop in to some to pray. It's really hard now b/c my husband refuses to go to church with me now. I don't know if it's guilt, fear, or what but he won't. I go with friends when I can. I have been praying that he will come to church with me. He did attend Christmas service with me this year and that was the first time he stepped foot in a church since he was wounded.

3) How can peoople who are not in the military be helfpul to military families? I have been thinking about this a lot. I think it would be useful if you could call you local VFW, American Legion, Purple Heart Association, etc. and offer how you can help a wounded warrior or returning service member. We have no support from our community here. We pay for someone to cut our yard b/c my husband can't and I have horrible allergies. Some may not be able to afford to have their yard cut. Or offer to take a meal once a week, invite them to your church. anything. It is very isolating and very hard to transition back in the military community.