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For those of you that do not know, my husband is in the United States Navy and we have a nine-month-old son. Now, being a military spouse is not always an easy task. Deployments can be hard. Especially when you cannot voice your frustration of your husband’s patrol being extended or the excitement of finally being in the final stretch. I cannot speak on what it is like to be a sailor but I can speak to what it is like to be a spouse. This past deployment was unique in so many ways. I was preparing us to move from Washington State to Virginia. This meant that I had to get the house ready to put on the market and sell it.
Typically, things go wrong when our spouses are away. In my case, I could sell the house but unexpectedly could not set up movers. I was left in a disarray. I knew I needed to pack up our house quickly. Thankfully, I was able to round up help with the actual moving of items to storage. I moved in with another wife from the boat. As always, expect the unexpected in life; three weeks turned into three months of staying in their spare bedroom.
Readjustment periods are already hard when your spouse comes home. To make things more difficult, this was the first patrol since our son had been born. Our son was no longer the small four-month-old baby that my husband remembered. He was now a very active 8-month-old. We had no place to call our own and were living with another couple; talk about change.
I would love to say that marriage is wonderful all of the time but, I would be lying. Before getting married, it is an easy notion to imagine that it is simplistic. At the end of the day, you love this person more than you could ever fathom. Most people do not voice that marriage is not always sunshine and rainbows. Whenever this opinion is expressed, the majority of us are naïve to how much work actually goes into keeping a marriage happy and healthy. When it is all said and done, marriage is made up of two completely different people with their own set of thoughts and beliefs. Naturally, disagreements have to come along and compromises and communication should follow. Throw all of these major life changes into the mix and we should expect difficulty of marriage to be amplified.
My husband felt out of place and did not know where to help. Finding where he belonged in the equation and sharing the responsibility of taking care of our son became a challenge. After all, our son had grown a lot in those four months. I wanted help from my husband, however, I struggled with knowing where to allow him to help. Additionally, we were living with a couple who had a toxic relationship. Negativity and positivity are contagious. When you are surrounded by negative people, it tends to rub off. I found myself wondering what the heck was going on with our relationship. A pending move was definitely not helping with our stress levels either.
Road trips are not something I care for, on the other hand, my husband loves them. I agreed to go on what seemed like the ultimate road trip. We would be traveling from Washington to Texas to Indiana to Michigan to Virginia. This made my husband ecstatic and left me worried whether we would still have a relationship by the end of this trip. It seemed like an obscene amount of time to be stuck in the car when our stress levels had already been so high the past five months. To make matters worse, I was already upset because we would be missing my Aunt and cousins that live in California by a few days. They were in Texas because my parents were adopting their 18-month-old son that they had fostered since he was three days old.
To my surprise, my husband drove us 43 hours straight with only two small naps so that I could see my Aunt and cousins. At this moment, I saw my husband in a light that I had not seen him in for quite some time. There was the man that I loved with all of my heart and would do anything for me. All relationships ebb and flow. These moments in which we go out of our way to do something for somebody else is when we evolve. In order for relationships to work, we have to do things for the other person. You have to remind them that they are loved by you. We all have different ways of feeling loved and it is important to realize that. (Gary Chapman does a wonderful job explaining this in his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts) Remember to hold on tight to those you love and do things to remind them that they are important to you. Life is full of ups and downs and we can only make it through with the help of each other.
Personally, my life is anything but ordinary, nevertheless, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love my life and sometimes we all need to be reminded to make not only ourselves a priority but, those around us as well. We have to try and create positivity in our lives and surround ourselves with it. This will set us up for successful relationships.
Remember, life can be hard at times. We have to push each other through the difficult moments because there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to make our relationships work. What are some things you do to make those important to you feel loved? What makes you feel loved?