I want to shed a little bit of light onto a military marriage. When I was in college I remember an argument during a communications class started involving a soldier and a civilian. The soldier was claiming “Being in the military is very different and if you have never been in the military there is no way you could understand” I thought “well we can understand even though we haven’t been through it.” How wrong I was.
Things have come up that Kathleen and I had no clue were going to be stressors on our marriage AND on our relationships with friends and family. To list a few things…
-We have limited time to see family and friends when visiting home. This results in not being able to see all the people we would like to which is always hard.
-Our home is constantly moving. The amount of stress from not having your own home is mind blowing.
-Seeing Kathleen for a few days and then not seeing her for a few days, weeks, or months was a huge adjustment. It does not allow for us to talk about daily life. Imagine finishing a work day where something great happened and not being able to tell your best friend.
The greatest stress factor however is the fact that I now know that our family and friends truly will not be able to understand the stress Kathleen and I are under. This is no ones fault and doesn’t change the fact that our friends and family still love us really well, but unless your in it for real you just can’t understand. I know a lot of people say “but you chose this life” and that is true. However we choose this life so that others don’t have to be forced to and because we love this country, and just because Kathleen and I are strong enough to endure does not make it any easier. We are a military family. With that comes a large number of difficulties that we never anticipated. When I am away, on duty, or at a training center Kathleen is forced to take these things head on and mostly alone. I cannot thank her enough for her courage to follow me wherever this career takes us. What makes her strong is that she has to handle things without her partner there to help. Everyday she shows me new ways in which I am so lucky to have married her.
Even though this life is stressful, and difficult, and a million other things its also kind of amazing sometimes. There are so many things we have gained from living this way. Here are just a few!
- Being far away from everyone we know has really taught us to depend on each other in a way we never would have learned otherwise. Dean and I have come to realize that when we have been put in tough situations relying on each other has built such a strong foundation of trust and theres a lot of relief in knowing that we can come to each other with anything. Im not sure we would have been able to do that so fast if we weren’t forced too!
- Living in a completely new place allows us a lot of room to discover things together which then gives us so many memories and stories to share with our families.
- We have seen God provide for us in SO MANY WAYS. Every time we are looking for a new house, church, job, or just a friend we have seen him provide exactly what we need at the perfect timing. A couple months after we moved to Boston I was really struggling with feeling lonely. Its hard to make friends when you can’t leave the house because there is so much snow!! I decided to look for a nanny job to bring in some extra cash and get out of the house more and the woman who hired me quickly became my very closest friend. God knew what I needed and provided that in a job AND in a friend.
- Being away from Dean is the hardest thing I have ever done but it keeps me very grateful for him. In our almost two years of marriage we have spent more time apart then together and when you realize that you also realize that you don’t want to waste the time you ARE together. That makes the little things seem silly. Its easy to forget about the dishes in the sink when you remember that you can do them after your husband leaves the next morning.
So yes this life comes with stress, and difficulties. A life like this is not for everyone but definately easier with the right person.