Building a Marriage from the Front Lines
A soldier worries about his new wife's relationship with her ex, but he should rest in the trust their marriage is built on.
BY: Renita J. Weems
My wife and I got married in January. We have known each other for 12 years, and dated in high school. We broke up once, years ago, because of a rumor that I later confirmed to not be true. We have one of the most blessed marriages. Honesty and trust top the scales.
My wife has a daughter with her ex-husband. He is a good father. She wants to try and be friends with her ex—mainly for her daughter, but also for her. I have no reason to not trust her. But still, I have a hard time when she talks to him. I sometimes feel that it is because I am away (I am deployed in the Army) and I can't protect her if he were to say or do something. She reassures me not to worry. I have talked to her many times about my feelings. She has even said that she will not talk to him at all for me. But that is not what I want. I want her to be friends with him.
However, I still worry about it. I think about it a lot. Maybe I have some security issues. (my ex-wife did cheat on me a number of times.) If it is because of my past...or if not...what can I do to get over this? I feel so confused.
--Far from Home
It's perfectly normal for service women and men deployed overseas to worry about the safety of their families back home. Of course, a large part of their worry is about how to keep the family together while they are away. It's possible that your memories of your former wife's infidelity are fueling some of your fears, but it's also possible that yours are the normal worries of a man who is homesick and misses his wife of less than a year.
But from everything you write, you are one lucky man. Your wife loves you dearly and appears intent upon doing everything she can to assure you that she remains devoted to the marriage she's created with you.
Front and center are your concerns about your wife's interaction with her ex-husband. They share a daughter together whose care forces them to talk and interact on a regularly basis. You say yourself that your step-daughter's father is a good father, even if he was a poor husband.
Don't deny your wife's daughter a good, stable relationship with her father and mother. Don't make your wife feel that she must cut off all communication with her daughter's father, and risk her daughter's happiness, to assuage your fears. Your wife assures you that the relationship with her ex centers around their daughter, and that her love and loyalty reside completely with you. She has assured you that her boundaries with her ex are in place.
So relax, and trust your wife. Of course that's hard to do only months into your marriage. No one has probably ever told you that deep and abiding trust takes years to develop in a marriage. You and your wife are being forced due to war and distance to start your marriage off building your love on the deeper stuff of grace and faith, and not sight and touch.
If honesty and trust are the touchstones of the marriage, as you say, then believe your wife when she says you have nothing to worry about. Cherish the phone calls and emails between you, and don't waste those moments with cross examinations that have no basis in reality. Your own confession is that yours is "one of the most blessed marriages." If that's true, then keep the flames burning with outpourings of love and trust as you sit there trying to stay connected over miles and miles of distance.
Finally, it's perfectly understandable that security is a big issue for you if you're one of the thousands of American troops deployed in war torn areas around the world. You can't help needing the assurance of family and friends back home that things are alright. Rest knowing that your safety, and that of all U.S. military personnel, is uppermost in the hearts and prayers of all of us here in the states. We appreciate the sacrifice you and your families are making on behalf of this country's safety. Be safe. Be strong. And believe that you are beloved by your wife and family back home. May God bless you.