One of my pet peeves is when people ask me if it is hard to love a military guy. Deployments are hard. Moving is hard. Worrying is hard. Other people will say, “I don’t know how you can do it.”
But loving someone in the military is easy as pie. Really.
Part of loving someone is supporting them and going through all the things that are hard about life, together. So, we make do. We face deployments and even when he is home he misses some birthdays and family events, but we make do.
We’ve moved three times, and each time we moved, he got called away at the last minute for duty right before moving day. I was left to juggle packing and children and movers on my own, but we make do.
I fell in love with a person who happens to be in the military. Being in the military is a part of who he is and I wouldn’t change that about him even if I could. So, we make do.
I have many requests recently for advice about helping your marriage in the military — here are the six essential pillars that help me “make do” when the times are rough.
Members of the Military Spouse Central community chimed in on what makes the six pillars — communication, trust and understanding, friendship, commitment, independence and taking no excuses — work for them in their everyday lives.
Marriage, as well as relationships in any circumstance, requires excellent communication between two people. And with the added stress of deployments and frequent times apart, communication only becomes more essential.
“Being told you are beautiful and hearing ‘I love you’ throughout the days help, but remember both sides of the partnership needs to hear them! Always “thank” each other, even if it’s something little…” – Mary Springsteen-Nyrary
Trust each other and try to understand each other, even when you feel like you can’t quite know what it is like for the other person. Trust that they are coming from a different perspective and that their opinion and feelings are valid.
“Trust. With long separations, you have to.” – Joanne Sweat Gomez
“You married a soldier. Trust them and stand beside them in everything they do. Understand that the soldier you married is gonna change with the experiences he sees and accept that.” – Angela Brumley Jewet
Personally, I think your husband should be your partner, your family and your best friend. You should always respect each other and find ways to compromise when you don’t see eye to eye.
My grandmother was married to my grandfather for 50 years, she told me that they once felt that they had no options, no solutions and they felt there was no way they would be happy together again. She thought about divorce and he said he would not stop looking for a way back to happiness with her. She told me that when they found their way out they were stronger than ever because they came out on the other side.
You probably know many people who have gotten a divorce, but if you look deeper you will probably find some of these stories sprinkled in as well.
You need to both be 100 percent committed. Then you can really start to resolve issues because you know that you can voice your opinions and your feelings and the other person will not flee.
It is important to be your own person and have boundaries in any relationship, but especially if you are married to a military service member. If you make your husband or wife responsible for your happiness, you will be disappointed.
I never knew how many things I could do on my own until I went through my first deployment. I wasn’t happy about doing it all myself at first, but now I take some pride in it. It makes my spouse feel much more at ease leaving for deployment, and it makes me feel empowered because I know that when it comes down to it, I can handle things on my own.
“…my number one rule is NOT using the military as an excuse for an unhappy marriage… You have to be up for the challenge and you just have to work much harder to make it work. Accept it, live it, and you will be happy.” – Mara “Cranky Pants” Shepard