My husband returned from Iraq a week ago. The first few days were not so easy. I wrote:When your spouse is gone, it is easy to romanticize everything. We'rethe greatest couple that ever existed and we never fight and life isalways flowers and sausages. And then he comes home, and you realizeyou had forgotten the little things that have bugged you for sevenyears of marriage.
I was referring to my husband's bad habit of falling asleep in the middle of our conversations. And yes, I was frustrated at his seeming lack of interest in talking to me, but it was more than that. As soon as he walked in the door from deployment, we had a big decision right on our shoulders: what to do with his block leave.
It is a long and boring story, but his family wanted him to do something that was inconvenient for us. The decision of what we should do, whether we should try to fulfill their wishes or let them down, was weighing on us. We were faced with options that all had down-sides, and we just had to pick the lesser of the evils. But this was the first thing we had to do as a couple again, and it was stressful. We were frustrated with each other because we weren't agreeing on which evil was the lesser.
And since we had a big dilemma weighing on us, smaller things rubbed us the wrong way. We were snapping at each other and having a rough time.
We finally made a decision and picked the lesser evil. Once the choice was made, the weight was lifted. We stopped snapping at each other, and we stopped nitpicking. I stopped having outlandish thoughts like that his desire to sleep meant that he didn't love me.
This reintegration, it is a tricky thing, even for solid couples. Myhusband is truly my best friend. We like the same movies, the samemusic, the same foods, the same TV. We get along great and rarely bicker. But reintegration is hard for everyone. There are so many different stressors -- learning to share the house again, dealing with extended family who want to be included in the homecoming, catching up on a year of your life -- and we're lucky that we don't have children who need to adjust to the mix too.
It's been a week and we are doing better. But having too much on our plate those first few days was not easy for us.