Be proactive about his healing environment
The most beneficial activity the wife of a Combat Trauma sufferer can engage in on behalf of her husband is to help construct the healing environment in which God has optimal access to his body, soul and spirit. If you remain passively sitting on the sidelines and expect him to take the initiative completely, his healing environment will not be optimal. Here are a few suggestions as to how you can be actively supportive of him and his healing environment.
Counseling: The fresh perspective and corrective feedback of a wise and experienced counselor can really streamline the healing process. If your husband (or you) are hanging on to various “thinking errors” regarding reality, cause-and-effect behavior, and how to move away from self-limiting or even self-destructive mindsets and activities, your journey toward “new normal” will take many unnecessary detours. The best situation would be to find a counselor, therapist, chaplain or pastor who would be willing to counsel both of you together and individually.
Medication: If your husband’s doctors or therapists have prescribed medications, become an authority on what each of them is and does, what his proper dosage is, when he is suppose to take them and what the side effects are. In his traumatized state, he may often forget about them. Sometimes he may refuse to take them because of how they make him feel. If that’s the case, speak with his health professional about it and see if they can adjust the dosages.
Spirituality: Be sure to keep your relationship with Christ a daily top priority, but don’t flaunt your spirituality and self-discipline in front of your husband. If he’s struggling in his faith, this may make him resentful of your “religiosity” and push him even father from God. Ask God to give you gentle, creative ways to encourage him to deepen his relationship with his Healer, and to assume his role as the spiritual head of the family.
Exercise: You both need to work out. Why not become training partners? This way, you can encourage each other, help each other roll out of the sack each morning even when you don’t feel like it and give each other kudos as you see improvements.
Fun: As you sail the ocean of your pain and difficulty, provide some “islands of refreshment” along the way. Think through ways the two of you could engage in satisfying hobbies together, vacations, leisure time with family and friends, recreational activities, ways of relaxing. Give each other things to look forward to.
Substance Abuse: If your husband is abusing drugs or alcohol, it’s imperative that you help him get into a program that will give him freedom in this area. Your husband needs to learn that it is possible to cope with his strong emotions and despair without numbing himself with chemicals. Be especially proactive on this one – even to the point of intervention.