There comes a time in marriage sometimes, like in life, where you ask yourself how much more you can take. You ask yourself if all the things wrong are real, or just in your head. You ask yourself if ending things is really the best option or if you just have not tried hard enough and you need to hang on just a little longer for things to get better.
I have been there, sadly, twice.
The first time I was married, I was 17. I was young, and like most 17-year old’s, I knew so much. In this case, I was ahead of many kids my age, but I was still young and inexperienced.
My boyfriend, my high school sweetheart, Josh, had joined the Marines, so we were far apart most of the time. When he proposed, I was so excited. I already had my dress picked out and I couldn’t wait to plan our wedding. I was a junior in high school. I wanted to wait until I was 18, and in my senior year, before getting married.
There were rumblings that we were maybe going to war. My mother, in her infinite wisdom, told me that if we went to war and Josh died before we were married, I wouldn’t be treated as a widow by the military and that we should get married early. Ya know, just in case.
Josh and I talked about it. We loved each other. We felt like we were meant for each other. We’d been together for several months this time and had known each other for 3 years. My mother said she would sign the papers for me. We decided to do it. At the age of 17, I was married.
As it turned out, we did not go to war, at least right not then.
I finished the semester at the school I had started the year at. Then during Christmas break, I moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina, where Josh was stationed.
When I first moved there to be with him, everything was great, as it usually is.
Not long after I moved, he had a maneuver he had to go to for 6 weeks. I had moved there in January, he left in February, and came back in March. While he was gone, I turned 18. I was going to a new school and trying to make friends in a military town. That was definitely a strange period in my life. I had high school aged friends, and friends that were married, military wives. I felt like I was living in 2 different worlds, but I was making do as best I could, being all alone in a town where I knew nothing and no one.
I invited several of my friends over for a small get together, some brought beer, for those over 21, we got pizzas, we watched movies and listened to music. We weren’t overly rowdy, but the next-door neighbors decided we were and called the cops on us. The neighbor had looked into 1 of my windows and saw someone having sex (it wasn’t me, as I was in the living room the whole time), and reported to Josh’s command that I was cheating on him, even though I wasn’t. The light was off, the room was dark, there was no way for the neighbor to see WHO was in the room, much less what they were doing.
I did my best, with back up from people who were there that he was friends with, to prove it wasn’t me and I had nothing to do with whatever was going on back there. As far as I knew, all was understood and forgiven.
I focused on school, keeping house, and planned for my husband’s return. I went all out, as much as an 18-year-old on a Marine Corps budget could, to create a special night for when he came home.
The night he came home was the first time I began to see something was wrong.
I asked him to wait outside for 5 minutes while I got his surprise ready. He insisted, no matter what I to surprise him with, it wasn’t worth waiting for, as he had been away from his house for 6 weeks and didn’t want to wait a moment longer to come in.
I don’t remember everything that happened during the argument. But I remember going into the bedroom and putting on the lingerie I had bought and having to hold the door closed against him because he wanted in the bedroom and wouldn’t wait. I remember being incredibly angry at his impatience and for ruining my surprise. I had black satin sheets, flower petals that matched my lingerie, candles all over the house; I was really trying to make the night special and memorable.
That night, I got to see a small showing of his anger issues. So much more was to come, I just didn’t know it yet.
To be continued…..