Military life is different. Some would say “You just can’t understand”. And that is partially true, but that is one of the reasons why we have this blog. To help family and friends get a glimpse of what it’s like.
Today I wanted to express something that’s been on my heart recently. That is to say, “the amount of time with my family at home”. Or should I say “the lack there of”.
I literally only get to see my family half of the time. And I have a very generous schedule in relation to the rest of the CG and other military branches. I am home for a couple days but then at work for a couple of days.
People that know me will understand why I will break it down like this:
Putting travel times aside (because they vary and are greatly influenced on one’s choice of where to live) let’s only focus on work hours. The average work week is usually broken down into a 40 hour work week. But let’s say 45 for discussion sake. (And for the sake of those who will say they work more)
52 wks x 45 hrs = 2,340 hrs / yr
Time spent at work in a civilian job
(365 dys x 24 hrs) / 2 = 4,380 hrs / yr
Time I spend in my job
That’s the difference in the time that I am away from Kathleen and my little puppies.
There are those military members who get deployed for even longer. So the next time you see an active duty service member or a vet, think of the amount of time they cannot get back.
To me, that is a little part of what it means to sacrifice and serve your country. That is a part of military life that you cannot understand how it feels unless out go through that yourself.
The time away from each other is stress on our marriage but at the same time it allows us to grow. We were forced very early on to realize the things that put stress on our marriage. And with limited time together we find ways to be more efficient. It encourages us to not spend our time on things that don’t mean as much.
You know what they say “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This type of schedule has made me better appreciate the fact that Kathleen boldly said “I will follow you wherever you take us.” I am very lucky to have her. I hope and pray for most couples that they will be able to find what stresses their marriage and to adjust habits so that the stress will make them grow closer.
There comes a time in your life as a military spouse when you crunch the numbers for the first time. This is usually a time when your home alone and its been a long duty period and your thinking “gosh he’s been gone a lot” and then you start to add….
Let me begin by advising all military spouses reading this.
IF YOU CAN EVER HELP IT DO NOT CRUNCH THE NUMBERS
That being said I can feel some you already adding them up, and I’m laughing to myself because as a fellow military spouse I know how efficient we are and its a compulsion at this point haha.
Anyway there comes a time when you will sit down and really think about the time you spend with your spouse, and the time spent without them.
The first time I did this was a shock. When I realized that out of the almost 18 months we had been married we had spent roughly 8 of those months together I was speechless. I remember sitting down on my bed and not being able to stop the flow of tears that had invaded my eyes. I can vividly remember thinking of all of the time we were missing out on and how many memories we could be making. Could we have gone on a vacation? Hosted parties? Laughed at each others jokes in bed before falling asleep? Thats the one thing with time, its something you can never get back.
So many times when you tell someone your husband is gone you get a response I still can not ever get used to.
“well that must be nice to have some time to yourself”
The first time I heard this I think I was so caught off guard that I actually responded
As much as this question drives me crazy and I don’t understand it, it brings my mopey self back to earth. This is when I remember Gods greatness and wisdom in a plan I can’t see. This requires faith and patience from me. Those are VERY hard for me to be great at every day but he has never been anything but faithful and patient in return.
I think to myself how much different my life would be without such a great love and I can’t imagine it. I would take 1 year spent with Dean over 5 spent with someone else any day. The cost of this life is so much less than how much Dean is worth to my heart.
Thats when I get to ask people my favorite question in response.
“Wouldn’t you do it for the person you loved?”
And I haven’t gotten a no yet.