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Marriage IRL: Marriage in the MilitaryAs many of you know, one of things I try to do in my blog is to be honest about the trials and hardships of marriage. But because it’s obviously the marriage I know best, I usually only talk about mine and KP’s marriage. However, something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile is to ALSO highlight other people’s marriage stories. 

Today I’m partnering with Vanessa who blogs at Fit Foodie Mom Life as she shares about some of the struggles she’s faced as a military wife and how deployments and long periods of absences have affected their relationship. She also gives encouraging suggestions about ways her marriage in the military survives. 

Several of my close family members have had to go through a spouse’s deployment, and my sister is currently serving overseas…away from her husband and 2 young sons. I don’t know how they do it and my heart goes out to any couples in this position. Even if you’re not a military couple, long absences might still unfortunately be part of your relationship (I know many couples here in L.A. where a spouse must be gone for months working on production) and can relate to Vanessa’s story below. 

Thank you Vanessa for sharing your story with us! 

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

 


Vanessa is a mom to a toddler son (and with a daughter on the way!). Her husband serves in the military so that it feels like they hardly see each other sometimes. She blogs about healthy living as well as the wonderful, scary, and real ride of motherhood. Vanessa loves being a mom – so much so that she wants to have six more kids, lol! 

You can find her at her blog, Fit Foodie Mom Life, and also on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fitfoodiemomlife/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fitfoodiemommie/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fitnessmama1


If you liked this post – come check out my brand new site: MARRIAGE-IRL.COM!! Yes, I now have an entire website just for anonymous marriage stories of for better coming after for worse

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5 comments on “Marriage IRL Guest Post: When Duty Calls His Name (Surviving Marriage In the Military)”

  1. Boy, can I relate ?. One particular challenge especially with military couples is dealing with the aftermath of war. While all deployments have to deal with the separation/reintegration aspect, which in and of itself is challenging enough, not all service members experience the same things while on deployment; not all jobs face direct combat on a frequent basis (or some not at all). When the deploying member endures trauma overseas, both physically and psychologically, it can shake a marriage to its core. Sometimes your spouse comes back a completely different person. Sometimes the PTSD is so bad you feel the person you love no longer exists. Some people do get better from PTSD, some don’t. Some come back permanently injured and have to figure out how to live their lives after that. For the spouse who was left behind, they can feel completely helpless and confused about to deal with their “new” spouse if that person comes back mentally and/or physically scarred. Man, the stories I could tell…

  2. I was so fortunate that although my husband served in the Navy (13 years active, 14 more in the Reserves) we missed war. (He retired the month before the World Trade Center was hit.) But we still had some extended time apart, often with no possible communication. (submarine) To make matters harder, although we knew SOMETHING was “off” with our son, he was 6 years old before we got the diagnosis of autism. (No one – including doctors and his teachers – knew anything about it back then. ) However, we DID get through it. Married 37 years at this point. Just so glad we missed war though…

  3. My fiance has been considering the military route recently. I just can’t see myself being a military spouse. This post helped a few of my concerns, but I still am really unsure.

  4. I really don’t know if I could handle a military marriage, wondering if they’re ever coming home.. it would be way too stressful for my ptsd..

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