How To Keep A Military Marriage A Happy Marriage
Being an Army wife is a tough job. There is nothing harder then having the love of your life gone from you more then they are home. Having to be a Mom and a Dad to the kids most of the time. Dealing with all the work/home/school troubles by yourself. Learning how to stay sane when all you want to do is hide in the closet and cry. But being an Army wife isn't always that bad. I think my marriage is so wonderful because my husband is in the Army, not the other way around. Here's how to keep a military marriage a happy marriage!
Like every marriage you have to communicate, trust, respect and enjoy your partner. You have to accept the life that he lives inside the Military and be ok with him being gone often. Some of the ways we have kept our marriage going strong the past 8 years are these.
Yup, that's right. Writing letters have been great for us. Granted not all of them get mailed and yes he does call often but you are never able to remember everything you wanted to talk about when he calls so writing lettes is sometimes the best way. This also gives us the chance to have something from the other person. I don't know how many times I've re-read his letters and every time it puts a smile on my face. I didn't know this until we moved back to the states, but he always carried one of my little letters with him in his wallet. He said it had gotten him through some of the worst times he had while down range. It made me melt knowing that he kept it with him! I have started a letter journal to him, maybe on our 50th anniversary I will give it to him or something like that. But it's just a journal with the little things I forgot or small somethings I have wanted to say but he was off to work. One day he will get it! So write letters, they are always a welcome gesture!
ENJOY EVERY SECOND YOU HAVE
Every second my husband and I are together is another second of happiness for me. I know his job is very difficult and there is a chance that he might never come home again. We have gotten to where we can just sit on the couch and do nothing together and it be the best 5 seconds ever!
We also do things the other one likes even if we don't really want to do it. He likes to play video games and I will play with him. I actually enjoy playing games with him because with me playing he's never the worst on the team, he helps me when I need it, teamwork is always needed in games (unless we are playing against each other). Me, I like to take pictures. He's not real fond of following me around as I do this but he's always there with me and smiles for the camara if he's the subject. It's all about enjoying your time together.
I make sure we get family pictures taken once a year too, or when we have the time and he's home that is. Having family pictures is something I've always wanted hanging in my house and so far we have accomplished that task.
Make a to do list together and actually do some of those things on the list when he has a 4 day weekend or block leave. Don't just sit around the house doing nothing (unless that's what you both want to do). Don't make a honey do list and have that be your long weekend together. That's what the two day weekends are for. Go out to a late night dinner, a drive in movie, to the beach, or a video arcade. Enjoy the extra time you get when you can.
Being in the military means there's a lot that can be done within his work that you can help with. Get involved with the FRG and volunteering when you can. This helps you to understand his unit better and also helps you make those great friendships that are going to help you through the tough times.
Now not all FRG's are "good" ones. Some are full of the Gossip Queens and drama! I have had those and those are the worst! It was so much easier to not be part of that one at all. Instead to get involved with his work I would go to his work and drop off snacks or stuff for those he worked with. I'd be very polite to everyone he worked with and we would have BBQ's and stuff at our house for his company. There's always a way you can be part of his work. Even if it's a small part, knowing who he's talking about one day or who needs help really brings us together more then if I didn't know anything at all.
TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED
Being in the military has taught me a lot. Most of all it has taught me not to expect something until it is happening. Moving, don't expect it until the movers are there and you have the plane tickets in your hand. Deployments, don't expect it until his plane has literally taken off. Training, don't expect them to come home in just one short week. Everything changes in the military. It's not your normal 9-5 job. It's more like a 5am to 5pm job one week and then gone for the next 6 months then home a few weeks then training for 4 weeks then home for 2 months then gone to schools for 2 month then home for a month and gone for another 6 months. It's really a never ending cycle. This is why you should take nothing for granted.
Holidays need to be celebrated to the max when my hubby is home. Birthday parties, Easter, Christmas, Father's Day, any holiday is celebrated no matter the cost. Out of the 8 years we have been together we have spent 1 Anniversary together and that was our first one. He's been home for my birthday 3 times, my oldest daughter's birthday 4 times, my middle daughters 3 times and my just 2 for my son. It's easier to say he's been gone more then he's been home for all holidays so the one's he is here for we go all out with. Espically Christmas and Easter and Birthdays!
Because of my husband's job I know there is a chance that he might never come home. I hate thinking about it but before he leaves each time we do the dreaded "paperwork" for the "just in case" part. Ugh, talk about horrible! We have an understanding that he will call me when he can and write sometimes too. I can normally go about a week without hearing from him before I start going a little nuts but I'm learing to do better with that as his new job has him gone more to where I can not hear from him as often. This is where more letter writing comes in to play.
SPOIL EACH OTHER
Every chance you get, do something unexpected for the other. Wether it's buying flowers or cleaning the garage, it's the little things that count. Surprise him with something fun. I have recently boughten Nerf Guns for me and him (he doesn't know) and I have this thing planned that he will find a note that says "Here's your gun, it's fully loaded, I hope you have fun with it. But remember, I have one exactly like it and you are being hunted as of NOW!" Of course the kids should have them too but I'm thinking water guns would be easier for them then the Nerf guns would so that will be a summer thing.
Another tip, live every day like it's your last. Love as much as you ever have, Laugh often. Enjoy your significant other no matter what. Don't be upset about the little things that went wrong. Fix what you can and move on. Life in the military can be short and you don't want to be left thinking "I should have said this or done that". Enjoy every second you have with your spouse!