Hi Ki! I'm a lurker, and decided to post today just for you.
My husband and I are a dual-military couple. I'm on my way out though. We've been married five years, and through multiple deployments for each of us. This Christmas will be the first time we've been home together in two years. Yikes!
I just wanted to offer up a bit of advice and let you know that what you and your husband are going through is nothing new, and you guys are not abnormal. HOWEVER, you could be handling it better. I always share my insight with my male peers as a wife, and a lot of them say it helps them when they get home to their families.
First and foremost, your husband is not the same man who left you over a year ago. YOU will have to adjust to that, just as he is having to adjust to a normal life again. PTSD is crippling, and so are deployments. No matter how big and strong he is, your husband right now is feeling like a 10 year old boy dumped in a land of strangers and left to fend for himself. Plain and simple, your expectations of him are too high right now.
Men are not hardwired to navigate tough situations like women are. They don't have that level of awareness, nor do they have the ability to adapt as readily. The day we stepped off the plane back onto American soil, my female peers and I had our things taken care of within a matter of a week and it was business as usual. The men... not so much. It took a good six months for them to stop having that dazed n' confused look on their face and learn how to be self-sufficient. As a squad leader, I can tell you I dealt with many an irate wife who just couldn't understand why her husband wasn't 'like he used to be', and these poor guys didn't know why they were in so much trouble. I had to explain that their wives were not me, and couldn't read their minds, nor had they ever done this job. It wasn't like my husband and I who have this experience in common. We have a totally different understanding of things, but that doesn't mean it isn't tough.
Half the problem was that they didn't talk. Wives and families would sidestep talking about deployment. Soldier got the impression that they wouldn't want to know, or didn't care so he stayed quiet. They in turn thought he didn't want to say anything. Ask him flat out. Tell him you want to know, and even if he declines, make sure he knows you're there for him whenever and wherever and you'll try your best to understand.
He can't give you that 50% input you want right now hun and it's not his fault. Don't say it, but gently take the reigns back and just handle everything the way you've been doing for over a year. He will come back to you. Slower than you probably want, but he'll get there. Right now just take care of him, set boundaries, and above all make him feel safe. I know it sucks to feel like mom instead of wife, but that's what he needs right now. He needs superwoman to assure him that everything is okay, and you've got to be that even if you're unsure or scared. I know you can do it.
Both of you being cold to each other isn't going to make anything better. He doesn't understand why you're upset, and he's scared and trying to adjust ontop of that so he's shutting down. You guys can take this opportunity to get to know each other all over again and treat it like a honeymoon, or you can live like strangers and pass like ships in the night until you get used to each other again. I prefer the first option.
Try this: When he gets home, don't say anything. Just give him a long, BIG hug and a kiss. Look into his eyes and tell him how much you love him and then just leave it at that. Once he's gotten his boots off and is relaxing watching TV or something, sit near him and hold his hand, or if he seems open to it, just smile at him then snuggle up and rest your head on his shoulder.
One of you has to break the ice, or your marriage is going to fail. Might as well be you since at this point he probably doesn't know how to approach you.
I wish you both the best of luck, and don't be too hard on him okay? It's a crappy life sometimes, but we signed up for it when we said 'I Do.' You guys are going to be alright.