Starting Point

In July 2010, we had our first child. We were stationed at Quanitco, VA. My husband was gone fairly often on work trips. I missed him a lot. Especially since when he was gone, I was picking up the slack for him and taking care of our son, dogs, house, etc… alone on top of working full time. Which I guess is just the nature of the beast because if he wasn’t going on trips a couple times a month, he’d have been deploying for 7 months every year . So, either way I would have been alone. However, this feeling of being alone started to transfer to the times that he was home. I was the only one waking up with our son. I was the only one changing diapers. I was the only one doing the laundry. I was the only one taking care of the dishes. I was the only one contributing around the house. Add in his video game obsession and I just felt forgotten.

In August of 2012, I asked my husband for a divorce. He took me for granted, I felt. As much as it hurt me to ask him for a divorce, I didn’t see any other way to fix what was broken. I wanted to bolt. But he called his mom and they prayed and he asked me to give him another chance. So, I did. Because I wanted our son to have his father in his life always. Because I still loved my husband. In all honesty, I was probably just trying to get his attention. And I did.

In September of 2012, my husband begged me to have another baby. We weren’t in a perfect place, but things were getting better every day. We had started going to church regularly, and he was more attentive to my emotional needs. However, I needed him to promise me that I wouldn’t have to be alone in raising two children. He promised. So, I agreed, and we started trying. On November 16, 2012, we got a positive pregnancy test.

When we realized that we didn’t have much of an option as far as insurance went if he got out of the military like he was planning, we decided to look into his options to stay in. He talked to the career planner and was told that he could either do a B-Billet or get out. We chose the former. He chose recruiting. I knew nothing about recruiting duty. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Zero. I figured it couldn’t be that bad because it’s an office job! So, in late April of 2013, he left to go to San Diego for 8 weeks for BRC and I moved home with the help of my dad. More specifically, I moved in with my MIL. My husband graduated from BRC in June 2013. He went back to Quantico, then checked out in early July. He drove down and got to his mom’s house early on July 4th.

My husband checked in on Recruiting Duty on July 18, 2013. The next day, I gave birth to our second child. I was thrust into a whole new version of being married to a Marine. Yes, there is a lot of good that comes with this lifestyle… in the “real” Marine Corps. This is not the real Marine Corps. This is an intensified version of hell on earth! There’s no camaraderie in this version of the USMC. No family support/readiness. There’s just a level of stress that no person should ever know. Inside the military or out. It is unhealthy like you wouldn’t believe. “It doesn’t matter what you did last month, last week, yesterday, or even an hour ago… it’s still not enough and you need to work harder!” This is a paraphrase of what Marines on this duty are told.

Today we’re seven and a half months away from breaking free from this nightmare. However, I find myself fighting feelings of wanting to bolt. Some days I’m dedicated to a fault and wouldn’t give up if you offered me all the money in the world. However, the next day may be different. I have never known this level of unhappiness. I can’t even recall the happy times without the aid of pictures because I’m drowning in the loneliness.

I’m raising our two children practically alone. I’ve slipped into a state of permanent depression and anxiety. I feel like I’m failing at everything. I feel like my husband is embarrassed of me. I mean, I’ve gained a tremendous amount of weight since we got married. I lose 20 or 30 pounds and then gain it back plus 5 more. It is awful. We have not genuinely laughed together in so long that I don’t think we’ll know what to do when we get the opportunity to. I’ve stopped missing him. Some nights I don’t care how late he works because I am so exhausted with my feelings of inadequacy and like I don’t matter to him.

I know 100%, without a doubt, that he loves our children. He is wonderfully playful with them. But I feel like he talks down to me, judges me harshly, and expects way too much of me. Which I guess is a bit hypocritical of me, because I think that he should still help me with the kids and the house after he works a 15-18 hour day.

I see now more than ever that when I thought things were bad before… they weren’t. They were not this level of bad. That “bad” could be fixed with a simple, “I’m going to be a better husband.” These days, I don’t believe him when he says he’s sorry for things. I don’t believe him about much. I’m disappointed in him. I feel let down and sad.

From time to time, I miss the man I married. I miss the man who left me an “I (heart) You” note on the refrigerator a few months after our son was born. I miss the man who made me laugh until my sides hurt. I miss the man who got choked up saying his vows. I miss the man who told me I was beautiful and kissed my forehead often enough for me to assume that would continue until we were old and grey. But that stopped a few years ago. And that sucks.

Today, as I was consumed with thoughts of how much better things could be if I just left, I ran across this blog post a Facebook friend/ fellow USMC Recruiter’s wife wrote. It gave me hope! A hope I have not felt in a while! I know God placed this friend in my life for a reason… and maybe it was to remind me that it WILL get better.

The title of this blog comes from the fact that over the last almost 2.5 years I have been broken down. I don’t even recognize myself anymore when I look in the mirror. I’m trying to find the beauty in my brokenness. I’m trying to learn to be happy again. I’m trying to work on me, because if I don’t do that first, there will be no saving my broken marriage.

So, today, I’m choosing to find the beauty in this darkness. In the brokenness I feel. In the hopelessness. In the desperation. I’m choosing to search it out and hold onto it for dear life.

I close this by asking that if you’re the praying type, please pray for us. Pray God’s will over our situation, over our life, over our marriage, and over our future.

~Tammie

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