I do a lot of reflecting sometimes. I have always kept a journal and I like to think about where we have been as a couple and a family and where we are going. We have had to make a lot of choices over the years.
When to have kids. To move across the country. To join the military. To buy a house. To stay in Tennessee. To join the National Guard.
Sometimes it is way too easy to look back and think we shouldn’t have made certain choices. However, I don’t like to look at my life like that. Is it possible we made bad choices in the past? Yes. Does that mean the rest of our lives are messed up? No.
One of the biggest life-changing choices we made was for my husband to re-enlist in the military at age 30. It was something that we talked about for months beforehand. We had no idea what life would be like as a military family.
As I think back over the last 16 years as a Military spouse, I think in the end there have been many blessings in our marriage because of military life. Don’t get me wrong. Would I have preferred to have a husband who had never left us? Perhaps, but that wasn’t how life has been for us.
For the last 16 years, we have said goodbye to each other too many times to count. I have been in solo parenting land off and on and that gets to me. I never thought I would be parenting alone so much of the time. This life hasn’t been easy.
But at the end of the day, there are blessings in a Military marriage.
We know what missing our spouse is like. Can you imagine never missing your spouse? I can’t.
I am not sure what that would be like? After so much time in this lifestyle, I can’t even wrap my mind around never having to miss him.
I think missing someone can grow the relationship in a way nothing else can. If your spouse is gone and you don’t miss them at all, what does that say? It tells you something isn’t quite right. It tells you that there is probably a reason why you don’t and you and your spouse need to figure it out.
Homecomings can be the highlight of our Military experience. The feeling you get when you see your spouse again is hard to explain unless you have been through a long separation. Knowing that the months of waiting and worrying has come to a close and knowing you will finally be back in each other’s arms can be the spark that your marriage needs.
Watching your spouse in their uniform can be inspiring. You know they are doing something good in the world and you are there to support them through the mission. Knowing that you and your spouse are a part of history, and working to make the world a better place is a good feeling. There is just something about feeling that way that can help your marriage thrive.
I remember during one of our R&Rs my husband told us that through these deployments we will become that much stronger. I think this is the case for us but I know the reality that it isn’t always the case. I think deployments either make you stronger as a couple or can cause you to break.
If you are new to military life and are worried a bit about your marriage, keep in mind that there are blessings of a Military marriage. As hard as the lifestyle might be, they are there if you look for them. Hopefully, over the years, you will be able to look back and see them. I know we have.