That friend, a chaplain’s wife, hugged Nora and asked how she’d been. Nora remembered her friend sharing a time when her daughter had struggled and had been caught doing wrong. Together, she and Nora had wept over that situation. Nora remembered that honest conversation, and it gave her courage. She answered, “Actually, Danny and I spent Christmas apart.” Then Nora broke down crying. The chaplain’s wife listened with concern and compassion and suggested that perhaps her husband could help. That chaplain, a prior-enlisted Marine, possessed wisdom and insight beyond his years.
Nora thanked her friend, yet felt hopeless. Nora didn’t think I would agree to share our problems and needs with the chaplain and his wife. For many years, I had expected Nora not to share certain struggles and issues we faced with anyone. Nora felt she had no support system of people – no group of people I trusted – with which she could share.
But God (and I) surprised Nora. I talked with Nora about meeting with the chaplain and his wife and agreed to set a date and time. We met initially over lunch with the chaplain and his wife at their on-base home at Quantico, and the walls between Nora and me began to crack and then start to crumble.
I also gave Nora my blessing to share our struggles with a sister or whomever she believed she could trust. Why? Because I began to let down my shields and began to trust my bride.
As the day approached for Nora and me to meet with that Navy chaplain at his office on Quantico, I had to fight pride and wondering what people would think about me. It was humbling to have to tell my boss that my marriage was struggling and ask him for time off during working hours in order to meet with that chaplain. It was humbling, as a senior officer, to go into that chaplain’s office and admit that my marriage needed help. It was humbling to ask the chaplain to help me figure out how to save my marriage. But I wanted to save my marriage more than I wanted to save my pride. So, Nora and I met him for counseling. After a couple of weekly sessions together, I met with the chaplain one-on-one. He helped me begin to pull at the thread of the problems in my marriage and helped me realize there were other figurative prisons I was in.
Since early in my life, I spent my efforts seeking affirmation from others in order to scratch an itch: I didn’t feel that my father was proud of me.
Why did I feel that way?
To be continued