We like to believe that love can conquer all, but the fact is it can't conquer everything. It can conquer a lot, and that's great. But some problems are too heavy, too complex, too much for love to bear on its own. Love needs other things to help it along -- like patience, understanding, mental health counseling, money, and, well, a buttload of other things. So this story makes me very sad. It is the story of Rick and Leanne Clement. Rick was a soldier in Afghanistan. Leanne was the woman back home who loved him. When Rick stepped on a mine and his legs were blown off, leaving him unable to have sex or children or walk, Leanne wanted to go through with their planned wedding anyway. She still loved him. He was still Rick. Or was he?
After Rick returned from war, the pair had a lavish wedding in 2011, in Lancashire, England, where they live. They had met on Facebook in 2008, and immediately fell in love. Leanne was charmed by Rick's affectionate, caring, easy-going nature.
And then he went to war.
After losing his legs and suffering a serious groin injury, Leanne stood by him through his rehabilitation. At first she thought he'd die. When he didn't, she was so ecstatic that there was no question they would get married. "I could think of no reason to cancel our plans," said Leanne, despite the fact that she was shocked about "how little there was left" physically of Rick.
After the wedding they moved in together. And that's when things began to really change. Although she knew intellectually that she and Rick would never be able to have sex, and had been prepared for that, the reality of it hit harder. She felt like their physical relationship was "one-sided" since he not only lost his lower half and all the parts that went with it, but his desire as well. She said she felt "guilty and selfish" for needing any physical intimacy.
He also refused to allow anyone to treat him as "disabled," and would yell at her whenever she tried to help him. He also cried all of the time but refused to see a counselor. Finally, Leanne went on her own.
After a year, the couple decided to divorce. And Leanne is getting the brunt of blame on that. She wanted a "normal life" and has a new boyfriend. "People think I'm horrible," she says.
Wow. This is soooo tough. I wouldn't judge anyone who chose to end a marriage for any reason, because you can never know what goes on in another's heart and soul. Okay, that's not totally true. Yes, if I see someone who has an affair, especially with someone younger, then I judge. However, this isn't the case here.
One of the single most unrealistic phrases in the world is "To death do us part." It's a nice gesture, but certainly nothing that anyone should be bound to against all reason. If someone is threatening you or your children, it will be your death that will part you unless you get out.
No one is in the wrong here. Leanne isn't terrible. In fact, the pair only knew each other a couple of years before their marriage, and they had long separations during those couple of years, so a divorce is something that could have happened even if Rick came home fine. I feel really bad for both of them.
What would you have done?
Image via Rick McCharles/Flickr