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 www.operationhomefront.net/www 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.
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