Does It Really Take Two to Tango?

Ideally, the obvious answer is yes. But as the husband of a wife with DID, I have had to learn the answer is often no. And by that I mean that I have had to learn to “tango” in my marriage as I carry my wife and girls through many facets of our relationship.

This is how I like to visualize this. Most of us have seen war movies at one time or another. And often during a gun fight, a soldier will go down. Now the American armed forces are famous for the motto of “leaving no soldier behind.” And so in the movies when one soldier goes down, his buddy will literally pick him up, put him on his shoulder and carry him back to safety often while he is still shooting his guns to fend off the attackers. That’s the picture I want to paint.

During the first 20 years of our marriage, I was slowly grasping this concept but I did not realize Karen’s past trauma was still a present reality to her. I expected my wife to carry her weight and act like a normal woman. But she never really could. In some areas she did great like homeschooling our son. In other areas she did moderately, and then some areas like our sex life were just plain abysmal. Because I loved and love her, I tried to pick up the slack, but her inability to function at a normal level caused stress and often contention between us.

But in the last 2 years as she has begun working very hard on her trauma issues, essentially she was reduced to the state of that wounded soldier who has to be carried on his partner’s shoulder back to safety. All the scabs got ripped off, and 40-year-old emotional wounds began oozing uncontrollably.

So right now I get to carry both of us while we tango together in marriage. It’s not nearly as graceful. I often get very tired. Sometimes I still lose my cool. But we’re making it. I have to keep in mind that often I will be the only one who can put forth any effort in various parts of our marriage.

Right now Alleylieu and I are working through our intimate past that I unknowingly had with her. There really are two sides to this story. I was very kind and considerate in the bedroom and outside of it. But I was not perfect, and she only has a young girl’s perspective. So it’s unhelpful for me to push her to understand my side of things. So I have to “carry” the forgiveness process. I had to apologize for “abusing” (her words) her and Karen and hope maybe some day when she is healed, she will understand how deeply I have been hurt.

Two years ago I had to pick up most of the household chores while the girls started coming outside. That meant I let a lot of things slide by in the house cleaning and food making departments. I could only get the essentials done. But we made it. This year Alleylieu and Karen have begun helping a little once again, but Amy’s endurance is short-lived. So I am still carrying them, but they are no longer “up on my shoulder.” I’ve just got their arm around my shoulder while I support most of the weight. That’s progress.

And as the girls continue to get healed in each area I hope that I will slowly be able to take them “off my shoulder” until one day I will have the life partner I had hoped for and we will walk together side by side.

So it doesn’t take two to tango. In fact, a trauma victim will be unable to carry his or her own weight many times. But as healing takes place, we’re slowly working our way toward a real partnership. I can’t wait until the healing is done to get my girl out on the dance floor with me!


Sam, I Am


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. roguesophia
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 20:31:26

    Im sorry to hear about that. I has to be unbeleavably hard for you to hear that from someone that you love and care for.

    Best of wishes, and stay strong.


    • Sam Ruck
      Aug 18, 2010 @ 22:14:27

      You mean her calling me an “abuser”? Maybe my critics on wordpress were right. NOT. thanks for believing otherwise! she and I will get through this.

      I hope you are doing a little better, now.



      • roguesophia
        Aug 18, 2010 @ 23:16:03

        Yes, that’s what I mean. When you sleep with your wife, do you check who is front first?

        If you don’t, maybe it would help.

        And no, I’m feeling worse atm.

      • Sam Ruck
        Aug 18, 2010 @ 23:35:55

        You probably didn’t read a past blog entry of mine (What is Sex…). Valentine’s Day was the last time I “slept” with my wife (if you are meaning sleep=sex). Right now Alleylieu is working very hard to get healing for when I unknowingly had sex with her during the 22 years of our marriage. This time is hard on me, Karen, and Alleylieu, but Alleylieu is too close to the surface right now for me and Karen to do much sexually, so until there’s more healing, we’re trying to wait…but it’s hard and hurts lots.

        I’m sorry you are having such a rough time today. You’re in my thoughts!


      • roguesophia
        Aug 18, 2010 @ 23:39:50

        sorry no, I haven’t poked around in your archives yet. too stressed to do so atm. maybe when i feel better.

        just glad that you are so considerate of your wife! It takes emmense strength to be like you are. and you seem so positive

  2. Psyche
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 10:58:48

    This is a nice blog message, I will keep this idea in my mind. If you add more video and pictures because it helps understanding 🙂 ml Psyche.


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