“What happened?” I found myself asking. My husband and I were newlyweds. The man I had fallen in love with was kind, outgoing, hilarious, and charismatic. This all changed after we got married.
We fell in love fast. We had known each other for years, but something clicked, and as soon as we were dating, we knew that we would be married. He is the kind of person who is all in. He dedicated himself 100% to work, friends, and family. I became his world. Being around him made me feel alive.
After we got married, my husband’s job took us far away from our family and friends. My husband was in an extremely demanding job. It took me a few months to grasp how bad things were. The nights we used to spend staying up late and watching movies went away. Instead, my husband played computer games with his buddies late into the night. I went to bed alone. Though he had never been a drinker, he started to pick up alcohol on his way home from work. The stress of work was constant. My husband gained 25 pounds from excessive fast food and alcohol intake. As someone who was previously very fit, this caused him to be more stressed.
We had always attended church together. He shared several reasons why he wouldn’t join me for church. He started to join me for church less and less. Eventually, I went to church alone. The worst part was that the stress affected our marriage. Little things that happened became my fault. We would take a wrong turn when driving on the road, and my husband would fly off the handle. In his mind, I was the one navigating, and I should have looked ahead and known what I was doing. He would talk down to me. I stood up for myself. To this day, I kick myself because I let his words hurt me.
He was never verbally or physically abusive, but sometimes he was mean. He was set off whenever something wouldn’t go well. There was one time when he had a bad day at work. He came home and tried to blow off steam by playing a video game. He lost the game and got so angry he slammed the stove, causing the glass on top to shatter completely. We had to buy a new stove. It all culminated when my husband told me about an addiction he had been hiding.
My husband went to church with me that Sunday. It was the first time he had joined me in a long time. The sermon was one that made people squirm in their seats. The pastor was preaching very authoritatively. After church, my husband asked me to go on a walk with him to discuss something important. He told me about his addiction. This was not a new struggle for him. However, I thought that he had overcome this struggle years ago. He had been hiding it from me.
Surprisingly, this news didn’t break me. I saw the pressure on him from work day in and day out. His line of work could push anyone into this. The thing that hurt me the most was that the reality of my marriage was not what I thought it would be. Every day felt like a battle. I went to bed exhausted just from being around my husband. I wished to go back to our dating days. I wanted the man I had fallen in love with.
Things finally started to look up when my husband broke free of his addiction. My husband also made a pivot in his career. He saw that our marriage was falling apart. On top of all of that, we found out we were pregnant with our child. Slowly, I started to see glimpses of the man I married. He smiled more. He had more patience. We are still processing all that we went through. Sometimes, things he did or said will come up in conversation as we reflect on the past. He has apologized and continues to strive to be a better husband. Looking back on that time, my husband will admit that he was depressed. We both did not see it at the time. Depression did not look the way that I had expected it to, but it almost destroyed our family.