Pat Tillman's Fervent Love Affair - With His Wife

Pat and Marie Tillman knew each other since they were 4.

ByABC News
September 9, 2009, 9:41 AM

Sept. 11, 2009— -- Pat Tillman, an NFL linebacker and an elite Army Ranger, was undeniably a tough guy. But he was also remarkably mushy when it came to his wife Marie, writing about her in his journal with a fervor and an eloquence that many women would say came close to poetry.

On embarking on his three-year Ranger hitch, Tillman wrote, "Not only will the next 3 years make me a stronger person, mentally and physically, I know it will also free up my conscience to enjoy what I have. My hope is that I will feel satisfied with my accomplishment... enough to relax and just be. Be with Marie."

Sitting in his barracks shortly after his enlistment in the Army, Tillman second-guessed his decision to leave his young wife behind while he served his country instead.

"Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with an injection of intense sorrow that is difficult to control. An intense need to be close to Marie, surrounded by her touch, smell, sound, beauty and ease. It's as though one week of pain is condensed into 5-7 minutes... What have I done?"

The pain of missing his wife was jubilantly relieved when the two rendezvoused at a motel during a leave after Tillman completed basic training. Marie was standing in front of the motel waiting for her husband. The delirious reunion was described by another soldier, Tulio Tourinho, who was with Tillman.

"As soon as the cab stops, Pat leaps out the door. Marie runs up and jumps on him, knocking him off balance, and they both fall to the ground. They just lay there, kissing each other and staring at each other - him caressing her face, caressing her hair, telling how much he missed her, how much he loves her. They stayed on the ground like that for what seemed like ten minutes... It was an amazing moment. A demonstration of absolute love," Tourinho told Jon Krakauer, the author of "Where Men Win Glory."

Watch the story tonight on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. ET and watch best-selling author Jon Krakauer's first live interview about his new book "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman" Monday on "Good Morning America."