They may say the same vows, but a military marriage is unlike any other. Living on a base far away from your family, having your husband gone for two years at a time, worrying if he will come home alive. It's hard on a relationship, to say the least. A lot of women couldn't deal. What's even harder? When your husband comes back different ... frighteningly different.
Imagine if the man you loved locked himself in a hotel room with guns and alcohol and told you "he might do something stupid." That's what Ashley Wise faced when her husband Rob returned from war with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She reached out to the Family Advocacy Group at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where they live, but realized that if she got her husband the help he needed, he could be dishonorably discharged.
Thousands are coming back with PTSD, suffering from violent mood swings, erratic behavior, and severe depression. And it's not just the soldiers who deal with it. The entire family has to face this sad reality of war and military wives are ready to battle when it comes to saving their men and their marriage.
Frustrated with the military's reaction, Ashley waged a war of her own. One night, she had a friend scribble the following poem on her back with an eyeliner:
Broken by battle, wounded by war, I love you forever,
To you this I swore: I will quiet your silent screams,
Help heal your shattered soul,
Until once again, my love, you are whole.
After she posted the picture to her Facebook page and asked other wives to do the same, the organization Battling Bare was born. It's where hundreds of women share their stories and find the support and encouragement they need to keep fighting for their marriages. They are also getting awareness for PTSD, a problem most of us will never have to deal with or understand.
It's an admirable cause, but one Wise gets flack for. She's been called an "attention grabbing whore" among other things. But sticks and stones. Those spiteful, ignorant jabs mean nothing to her if showing a little skin will help her get her husband back.
What do you think about Ashley's cause?
Image via battlebare.org