This post was originally published at The Screenwriter’s Wife blog, but I’m also posting here to add to the collection of marriage stories.
When Duty Calls His Name
Marriage: the sweet relationship and connectivity between two people madly in love with each other.
Marriage: a special bond and lifelong commitment vowed by two people.
Marriage: a beautiful picture of true, unending love established by two individuals on a particular day.
Marriage is beautiful, sweet, special, enjoyable, romantic, and an exclusive relationship for two people crazy in love with each other.
But then add life, reality, differences, challenges, struggles, and obstacles and this picture perfect idea of marriage suddenly turns into challenging, frustrating, annoying, depressing, and disheartening.
I have been married for three years to a wonderful man, who also happens to be “married” to his country. My husband serves in the U.S. Military and I am more proud of him than words can ever express. However, because of his commitment, I have learned over the years that my husband’s job often calls him away for long periods of time and I have no control over this. All the tears in the world won’t make him stay back with me. He has a duty to our country and he wears it proudly.
Military marriage adds a whole other spin to marriage. In fact, no one ever told me the challenges, uncertainties, the concerns, worries, and all the unknowns involved. In three years we have moved three times. I also spent over 200 days apart from my husband last year. Our communication drops to zero when he’s gone and there are never any return dates until a few days before.
We have faced more separation in the past three years than some couples do in their whole lifetime. The first phone call I receive from him when he’s gone causes me to forget how to speak and sometimes I feel even more disconnected since our lives are so different. I learn to be independent because I have to and when we reintegrate after a period of separation, there are differences and challenges we have to first figure out.
Three Ways We Reconnect:
- Sitting down and just talking
There is always so much to catch up on after a period of being apart from each other. I have news. He has news. And so we both make a commitment and put all distractions aside and just talk. Not only does this help rebuild the connection but it’s all about good communication. The moment we start talking the walls come down and there is a line of connection again.
- Serving each other
We both come with needs and especially after being apart from each other. It can be hard trying to find time for each other when there are little ones running around needing attention too. Instead of meeting our own needs, we both look for ways how we can bless the other. This creates a much different atmosphere because we are looking for ways to serve each other. Another aspect of what marriage should be like!
- Putting aside any expectations
Expectations are poison for a relationship and even more so for a marriage. Expecting anything from anyone will put a stress on the relationship and individual because it’s almost impossible to live up to expectations. I know my husband is exhausted after getting back and so I give him time to rest and catch up. I also don’t expect him to immediately fall back into his role of helping around the house and with the kids. Our main concern is to first adjust and work on being around each other again.
Military and marriage isn’t easy. In fact, it’s one of the harder things I have had to cope with as well as figure out how to make this thing work. The divorce rate among military marriages is exceptionally high. When strong marriages are among the few it can often be discouraging. My husband has witnessed cheating and divorces among his coworkers. A solid firm marriage is definitely uncommon but that’s what makes our marriage so strong—we fight for it.
We have something worth fighting for every single day and we know with prayer, commitment, and loyalty, we can make this relationship stronger and tougher day after day. I’m not saying it’s easy. Gosh darn it, it’s hard and sometimes I hate that we have to go through all this crap. I hate that I have to say goodbye to my husband but you know what I hate even more? The normality of it. We say goodbye so often that I’ve become immune and goodbyes don’t throw me in the waters anymore.
Go back to dating
Marriage also requires passion and romance. Pursuing each other is key and not forgetting to date your spouse will definitely keep the fire burning ladies. Let’s be real for a second. When your husband is gone for months on end, they only have ONE THING on their mind at their arrival home. So stop your long lists of must do’s and give that man some loving. It’s so important and refreshing for the marriage. Finding time under the covers is key. Your heart will reconnect with his and both of you will remember why you fell in love in the first place.
So it’s important to never forget each other and why you married that man. The military may take him away for a time being. It’s what they do best. But remember that your marriage must come first. Priorities and setting the facts straight about your relationship play a huge role in a marriage that is often separated for a time being. Every marriage has its ups and downs; believe me you’ll experience those moments eventually if you haven’t already. But working through the problems instead of ignoring them is what will make your marriage even stronger!