Sunday, March 30, 2008

Revisiting an old Dr. Helen post

Some time ago, Dr. Helen ( wrote a post entitled "Sudden Divorce Syndrome" about the high incidence of suicide among divorced men.

I have no stats to confirm or dispute her post, however, I do have some experience in this area. As her t-shirt shows, "been there, done that" only I haven't found the t-shirt yet.

After two divorces, a person might validly think it would become easier. Don't they say "third time's the charm?"

First marriage encompassed a lot of ingredients that individually, prolly would not have led to divorce, but put together, they were overwhelming.

We met at a party with a lot of adult beverages. We became a couple, while still involved with adult beverages and parties. Adult beverages were involved in the motor vehicle accident that claimed the life of our baby daughter.

The accident apparently identified a point of separation, as she reduced intake of adult beverages while I increased.

Thrown into the mix was her disobeying doctor's orders to stay on birth control so not to get pregnant. The pregnancy complicated the injuries from the accident requiring every other day doctor visits, and new prescriptions almost every day.

Working as a laborer, was not the most money making position, and with serious medical problems excaserbating the situation, I reenlisted in the Marine Corps.

Almost immediately, I was sent to Vietnam for thirteen months, while she stayed with my parents, through the pregnancy and delivery.

After a year in a combat zone, sending all of my pay home except the twenty dollars a month I needed for cigarettes and soap, I thought we would have a pretty good nest egg. Didn't happen, there was nothing when I got home.

Because of the accident and loss of our daughter, she placed total blame on me, and from the time I returned from SE Asia, we were fighting every time we were together.

I started spending more time in the club, and civilian bars rather than going home, and facing the constant bitter battle.

I guess the divorce was a lot like a husband who watches his wife die from a disease over a period of time. When the divorce came, there was no remorse, only relief.

The second marriage was also centered around alcohol and parties, and primarily bars.
This one was perhaps most better referred to as a marriage of convenience. Two can live as cheeply as one, and two pay checks are always better than one, etc...

Lasted about four months, and we were not seeing eye to eye, and again the divorce court came into view.

This divorce involved a lot of anger on both sides and a lot of miscommunication on her side. She thought since I was on active duty, the Marine Corps would take care of living arrangements for me, and transportation. She thought she could file and get alimony, my car, and just about anything else I had.

No remorse at the end, again just relief.

You would think I would learn by now.

The third marriage came as a result of my accepting Jesus Christ into my life, and my life being changed by God removing alcohol and tobacco hungers from my life.

Through prayer, and searching the Scriptures, I determined God had a ministry designed for my and a woman I had met. Her sister had been instrumental in bringing my life to the cathartic event.

We married, and through seventeen years of military life and transfers we raised two beautiful children, who are upstanding members of society.

After retiring from the military I began another career as a pastor in a rural church; and this seems to be where everything began going downhill; though there had been hints of problems earlier.

All during our married life we had been in and out of counseling, including alcohol rehab and a stint in primal rebirthing for me.

The loss of career as a pastor and the loss of the marriage was devastating to me. I suppose some might say, about time you got your comeuppance.

But did it really have to be that way? Is it possible that there was just too much basic difference in our makeup that we couldn't work it out?

I don't know. I do know it was the worst blow I have ever faced.

Dr. James Dobson once stated that a man goes through mid-life crisis about the time his father dies. At that time he realizes his dad died without realizing his dream, and reality smacks that he will not live long enough to realize his dreams.

Perhaps that was part of the devastation; not being able to fulfil my dreams.

I do know that I loved her, and don't really understand what happened.

Oh, yes, lots of follow up therapy with a retired military chaplain PhD.

1 comment:

Katherine Aucoin said...

That was a powerful post and I really feel for all that you have been through. I will keep you in my prayers.