Blowin' In The Wind
I am a soldier in the Army, married 11 years. I have two kids and love my wife. When I deployed to Kuwait, the first three months were hell. No sleep and more stress than you can imagine.
My female platoon leader and I worked together every day and most nights. People talked, but I didn't think anything of it. Our job was to work, plan and get the job done.
One night I went to her room to get her to go to chow, and she told me to come in and close the door. It was cold outside so I didn't think anything about it. I had been awake three days and my brain wasn't working well.
I made a mistake and now I might be kicked out of the Army. I have always been an above average soldier, but now my wife and kids may have to pay for my mistake. My wife and I have been to counseling before for a similar issue, and I used to drink a lot.
It has been nine months since I made the mistake with my platoon leader. I have been to mental health and talked with the chaplain to find out why I let this happen. I now know what was wrong and how to control myself. Thank God.
My wife has known about this for the last five months and is now going to counseling. How can I help her understand I was a complete ass and now know what was wrong with me and have fixed it?
My wife is truly my best friend, and I betrayed her without even knowing why. I am going back home in a few weeks and don't know what to expect. I am over it, but I am sure she is not.
Jared, an old cowboy song talks about drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds. A tumbleweed is what you've been. Against that, pit two common ideas from psychology: locus of control and ego strength.
The idea behind locus of control is everyone has a place from which they act. For some it's internal. People with an internal locus of control believe they control their own actions and destiny. They are their own authority.
People with an external locus of control believe in luck or fate. They act as they please unless they are reined in by an outside authority. If you might be kicked out of the Army because of your behavior, it means you lack an internal sense of control. Your drinking and previous adultery only strengthen that argument.
The second idea is ego strength. People with high ego strength possess the strength of their convictions. They follow what they think is right and make consistent judgments in accordance with those convictions. People with low ego strength do the opposite. Your behavior goes beyond being "a complete ass." It leads to the conclusion you are unreliable.
To balance that out all you can offer your wife is the promise of a fictitious, more wonderful life in the future. But what you've given her is infidelity.
Infidelity takes over the victim's body and mind. On the physical level it creates insomnia, stress and chronic fatigue. On the mental level it creates intrusive recall of repulsive images.
You think, "I fixed this. It wasn't me. It was lack of sleep and other women." But you've ruined her picture of a faithful, honest, caring husband who loves her.
There isn't a fix for everything, and you may have used up your last chance. You want a fix, but there may be no fix. That's what happens when we make big mistakes in life.
Whatever the future holds, you have to decide whether to be a rock or a tumbling tumbleweed. We could have written you a coddling letter, but we think you would rather have a straight-up answer instead.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of December 9,
Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.