Originally posted on our sister site, OkinawaHai.
CONTRIBUTED BY JOELLE YAMADA
**Apologies for the skew of the following towards married people. I think some of this will apply to dating relationships as well – but only if I’m lucky!
Marriage is hard.
I think a lot of the things I’m struggling with lately relate to my priorities. Well…. that is sort of true. I’ve actually realized that I have two sets of priorities: the ones I believe in my head and then those that I actually act upon. In other words, I may say and truly believe that exercise is a priority for me, but my actions may show that the season premiere(s) of 24 are considerably MORE important.
Which brings me back to marriage.
Without question, my marriage (in my head) is a high priority. One of the highest. I have always believed that the success of the whole family starts with the parent’s relationship. But is it a priority in reality? Ummm….. sometimes.
Here are a few unique difficulties that I think face us as military spouses:
- Hard to have a relationship with someone who isn’t in the same time zone. My husband was deployed (after a lovely 6 weeks of honeymoonish time) for nearly the first year of our marriage. While I can see that there are some positives to a written email relationship, mostly it just sucks. I remember repeated cases of what I call fighting alone where I would start a fight/vehement discussion about something, he would receive the email and get mad himself and email me back, and then the ship would choose not to dump email for 4 days. During that time, he’d get more and more upset at not hearing back from me, while I, having received an email from him that made sense, would have apologized and MOVED ON. So for days he’d be mad, and I’d be fine before we caught back up with each other. Bottom line: emailing and phoning (where possible) is a treat and we’re luckier than spouses 50 years ago who wouldn’t hear anything for months and months, but it’s still hard to relate from thousands of miles away.
- Hard to have a relationship with someone on a crazy schedule. I know there are a wide variety of work schedules. My guess is that there might be a spouse or two out there somewhere who are actually home every night for dinner. But that is not the case in our life. My husband’s wacky schedule means he misses dinner numerous nights a week. Misses helping put the kids to bed as many times. And misses sleeping in our bed several nights a week. Having regular time together to talk, let alone go on a date, is a real feat sometimes.
- Children who have missed their parent putting them to bed or have missed them desperately as they’ve been deployed or TDY have the issues as well. Though my 3 year old will tell me “Daddy has to go to work tonight,” he’ll still come into my room at 3am very concerned with “Where’s Daddy?” And so when our spouses are home, I find myself often emphasizing the kid’s time with Dad over my time with him.
So how do you do it? How do you make your marriage an actual priority on overseas? Do you spend thousands of dollars on babysitters? Do you take runs together (sticking finger down throat imagining that one)? Do you love scrapbooking or decoupaging together (extra points if you know what decoupaging is)? Do you just hope your marriage survives this season/month/year?
How are you doing it or not doing it?