This Army Life – Do you make the cut?
Where to begin with this one? I have a few things on mind I feel compelled to share them on my blog since this is somewhat of a venting source for me.
I have to start off again by saying, I’m new to “This Army Life.” I come from no educated military background. My uncle served in the Navy for 20 years and both my grandfathers were in the service as well, but I didn’t know much until my soldier and I started talking again. So, the things I say come from where I am on this ride…not from a seasoned expert as so many of you.
It’s no secret that divorce rates within the military are higher than those of the civilian population. Often times women are allured at the “man in uniform” notion or our men are eager to have someone waiting for them back home. Now obviously this isn’t in all cases, but it’s a problem that significantly increases the rate of divorce in my personal opinion. I’ll be the first to admit that a man in uniform is something very attractive, whether it be a police officer, firefighter, or soldier. But, there is a PERSON behind that uniform also. You MUST be logical. I have been accused by a “good” friend of mine of perhaps being into the soldier and not the man. This is completely false for me. I have known my FH (future husband) since we were 14 years old…well before he ever even laid his hands on an ACU or Class-A. I fell in love with his heart, not what the US military requires him to wear. On top of that, my soldier is not a lifer. In 3 years or so, he’ll be out and done with the Army and no longer wearing a uniform. What would I do then?
I try to stay clear of judgements as I don’t like them passed on me, but I really don’t like when there are bad apples per se in the bunch who chase after men in uniform for the bright, shiny, happy “romance” of it all. Again, I’m not a seasoned military girl but there is not much to this life that is romantic…at least what I’m learning/seeing.
It takes some kind of woman to be a military spouse or girlfriend. Maybe only 75% of them truly make the cut. Maybe more, maybe less. Stats aren’t super important to make my point, but not everyone makes the cut. That’s for sure. We have a JOB, a duty that is often coupled with another job to help pay the bills. It’s often coupled with raising children and turning into two people while our soldier is deployed. Do you make the cut?
That brings me to another issue…deployment. I’m learning first hand what it takes to make a relationship work during a deployment. My soldier and I are not yet married, but will be next Summer. I’m sure it will bring an entire world of difference but for now, I speak as a girlfriend. There have been plenty of times I wanted to complain about something going on in my little world or vent to him about frustrations…but I didn’t. I sucked it up. I tweeted about it. I blogged about it. I distracted myself. They have an intense job to do. Something we can never possibly understand without living it ourselves. We all have moments where we feel like we can’t go on, where we need to break down and lose control. Some of us may do that from time to time and that’s okay…but wallowing in your pain, sorrow, and suffering is never healthy. Our soldiers have a hard enough job and a hard enough time walking away from us, their friends, other family, and home. We MUST be strong for them as much as possible.
Communication is key in a relationship, but you’re not always going to get it when or how you want it. I’m on day two of hearing nothing from my soldier. He has been stuck in limbo since leaving from R&R and I have no idea at this point if he’s finally made it back to his FOB. Does it suck? Yep. Does it bum me out? Yep. Do I miss his voice? Yep. But I know he misses me too and the second he has the chance to get word out…he’s going to. Period. No sense in curling up into a ball and crying my eyes out about it. I was in the Army Wife Network Chatroom last night while listening to the show and saw a wife whose husband lost communication priviledges because someone decided to steal something and nobody is coming forward. She is going on day ten with NO communication and none in sight. Can you imagine? Someone always has it worse than you. We need to remember also that back in the day, you waited for weeks…maybe even months to hear anything from your service member. You didn’t get to hear their voice or see their face on Skype. We live in a world where we are immensely lucky as military wives and girlfriends to have the technology we do today. Does it suck to get that Skype call dropped? Yep. Does the delay sometimes get frustrating? Sure. Would you rather hear from your soldier every single day? Absolutely. But let’s be real folks…they are busy doing a job and don’t have time to sit around (in most instances) and yap. Make every second count. Cherish it until the next time you are LUCKY enough to get a phone call or an e-mail.
My one word of advice: KEEP YOURSELF BUSY. If you find yourself drifting into a “moment” pull out a book, grab a cup of tea, call up a girlfriend, pop in a movie, go take a yoga class, etc. BE PRODUCTIVE. If your soldier is deployed, start making a scrapbook when you’re in your low times. Call it “A Little Piece of Home” and make it a mini-book. Put pictures of the two of you, family, friends, some encouraging Bible Verses, quotes, etc. Once you are finished, send it to him in a care package. He’ll love it. I’ll post some more ideas on here in another blog.
Lastly, be proud. Be unapologetic. Do whatever you can for your soldier, your marine, your shipmen, etc. to keep them going, motivated, and strong. They rely on us to get them through some of the toughest days they encounter.
I am blessed to call myself an Army girlfriend.