He Said, She Said: Soldier upset wife seems to be checked out of marriage Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 February 2015
By Shaun and  Pamela Collins
Special to GUIDON
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My military responsibilities are taking me away from home quite a bit. This has been going on for about six months. Now I am thinking it is having a negative effect on my wife and our marriage. My wife has gotten to the point that she barely speaks, doesn’t cook, doesn’t clean – she just sits on the sofa watching reality TV or seems wrapped up in her “Internet life” at other times.

She doesn’t talk to me and acts like she hates me. I am at a loss as to what to do. This is not the woman I married. I have suggested she go to the doctor but she just gets mad at me.  What should I do? Should I force her to get help or try to take some time off to spend with her? Do you think our marriage may be in trouble? Help please.

HE SAID:  You cannot wait this out.  I can tell you from the experience of being in a marriage that was loveless for more years than it was not.  There is no lonelier place on earth than next to a person you have committed to spend the rest of your life with, who has checked out of the marriage.  

I suggest you not give this breathing room, hoping it will resolve itself, as I have never observed this as an effective strategy. Conversely, I recommend you sit down and talk to her and see how she feels in the marriage. Find out how committed she is to keeping the marriage intact and go from there.  

If she is checked out, delaying this will only hurt you both more – I’d say it’s time to grant each other your freedom to be happy.  If she is simply depressed or is not happy about your work, seek the help of a therapist or develop an actionable and observable plan for how you are going to rekindle your romance and stick to it (both of you likely share blame, this cannot be about who is right) — this will mean each of you caring more for the other than yourself.  In my opinion, if both of you cannot commit to being 100 percent in, you are only left with the option of ending the marriage over spending years punishing each other for perceived wrongs. 

SHE SAID:  Yes, I would say your marriage is suffering.  And suggesting she go to the doctor as if this is her issue will not help. I’m a little put off by the activities you claim she is ignoring – she doesn’t cook; she doesn’t clean. Does she have friends?  Is she socializing? These should be your concerns – not whether your dishes are getting washed.  

Finally, “forcing” her to get help is not likely the solution, either.  How about this:  “Honey, you seem unhappy. It makes me sad to see you like this. You’re my wife and I love you. What can I do to help you?” It’s a start.  The first thing you need to do is get her to talk to you. She’s not your child or your maid. She’s your partner and your best friend. Start there.

(Editor’s note: Shaun and Pamela Collins were both career Soldiers with a combined history of military service spanning over a half of a century. They have been where you are, so if you are facing a difficult situation, ask them. Send your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This column and other original content from Mr. and Mrs. Collins can be found at http://militarysuccessnetwork.com. The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office or the GUIDON.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 February 2015 )