Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From both sides of the fence.....

When I was active duty I never felt any sympathy for the wives that were left behind while their husbands deployed. As a wife now I still do not feel sorry for them. However, now I do have some empathy. I see just what it is like to be the one left at home to take care of everything while keeping my sanity and putting on the happy face every day.
I was a single parent while active duty so I already knew what it would be like to take care of home and family alone. What I didn't expect was all the additional duties that would be before me simply due to being married.
As a single parent I didn't have to worry about any other adult, everything was on my terms. I was able to do everything from setting bedtimes to ordering the cable package in accordance to what I wanted and how it fit into my schedule. These are the types of things that I no longer decide alone, I am on a team now and we make team decisions.
I now have to deal with a daughter that cries for daddy when she is upset and a son who is not getting the male influence he needs. Before these were not issues, as I was the one and only parent.
When I deployed and had to leave my oldest son I had a hard time dealing with the separation. So I know what it is like for my husband, I may not understand the stresses of the particular job he is doing, but I do understand just how hard it is to be away. Over time he is coming to understand how hard this job is for me. How not having him here affects our lives. For me it is a lot of little things, not nearly the big huge absence he feels right now.
So what do I do to help him? I send packages, notes, cards, and emails. I make sure that he feels loved from miles and miles away. After all, isn't that what we all really want anyhow??

Monday, July 4, 2011

Improving our marriage by revealing everything

This deployment has been a lifesaver to my marriage. We had gotten to the 'make or break' point. I had a feeling that during this deployment one or both of us could easily decide that this marriage was not what we wanted. But one little thing helped turn everything around; and I admit it was not my doing.
My wonderful husband came to the conclusion that for us to truly understand where the other was coming from that we had to reveal all those demons that haunted us. I am not sure if he read that in a book or came up with it on his own. Either way, this has helped us understand each other so much better.
I think it is easier to do while he is deployed for a few reasons. As he revealed this demons to me I had the opportunity to absorb and accept the things he told me without his seeing the sadness or anger on my face. It is always hard to open up so completely to someone and doing it without seeing the other persons face makes it much easier. I know it was easier to reveal my demons to him without seeing his face.
Now, here I must mention that I am by no means a professional. I am neither a psychiatrist nor a psychologist. I just know what has worked within my marriage.
I revealed secrets to him that I had never told another soul, as he did me. These were the big things. The type of things that haunt your mind and can send you down a spiral of self destruction. The kinds of things that effect every decision you make and can cause you to lose sleep. This new knowledge is wonderful because now we have a much deeper understanding of each other. Why each of us makes certain decisions about the kids. What drives us to make some decisions for ourselves. Now I know in what aspects of his life he needs the most support, as he does me.
I had always thought that there was no reason to share these things with him because they couldn't possible improve our relationship. I didn't want him to view me any different and I am sure he had the same reservations, but that was not the case. I know I do not see him any different in my eyes, if anything I see him in a better light because now I see just how strong and resilient he is. I am a very lucky woman.