So, I am married. Married to a man who is gone abut 50% of the time, but married nonetheless. I am faithful. I am pretty darn devoted to him and our life together. It is hard. So many people say things like how do you do it, is it worth it, what are you guys going to do when he retires? People call us "the power couple" and they do it for lots o reasons. I am always active in the military side of our life - I have been an Ombudsman and and FRG President.... both things took a great deal of my free time and both things are done on a volunteer basis. I go to pretty much every function and social that is held. I try to always meet his boss and the people he works with. I try to meet the people that work for him and their wives.
It is hard. Sometimes I don't like his job very much - it takes him away from me. Sometimes i don't like his bosses - especially if I feel he is being treated unfairly. He is superb at his job and always goes above and beyond the call.... qualifying for two duty rosters which keeps him away from home more is just one example.
But here's the deal.... so many of the young people I know are all about 50/50 - marriages should always be 50/50 they say. I just laugh at them. Then I explain:
A true marriage, one based on love and trust, has to be 100/100. If you do not put 100% of your self into a marriage then what are you doing? You are holding yourself back. You are not fully committing to the relationship nor are you setting yourself up for success.
Now, it isn't always 100/100. Things happen. Sometimes it is 120/80, sometimes 50/150. The point is that one has to take up slack for the other all the time when things aren't perfect. When things are perfect guess what? There is no slack to pick up. You can just enjoy being with each other. Those times make the rest of them all worth it.
And it takes work.... no fighting over e-mail... that has to be the stupidest thing ever. And no being angry because he has to do his job. I had a young sailor ask me to talk to his wife once because she had said "If you love me you won't go" in reference to a deployment to the Gulf. Now, that was stupid. Her saying that, not him asking me to talk to her. I mean really?!? You marry a sailor and then say "If you loved me you wouldn't go to sea?" Well, if you really loved him you would understand that his job is going to sea. You wouldn't ask an account to not use math or a lawyer to not go to court, would you?
Whatever your spouse does for a living, support him... even if you hate it. And always support your spouse publicly. My husband and I have gone to functions totally angry with each other, but while there we let go of the anger.... sometimes we pick it back up but it is easier if it just stays gone.
We also fight fair. Bringing up old stuff is taboo when we argue. It really should be like that for everyone. I mean, why comment on things that are already resolved.... if they aren't resolved then talk it out, don't bring it up in a different argument.
We try to avoid using words like always and never - they usually aren't true and do nothing but hurt the other person.
We avoid name calling... that should be obvious.
We try to avoid yelling. Note the word try - that is more for me than him... I am loud anyway, get me angry and I either get really loud or very quiet. Very quiet is bad... just saying.
Forgiveness.... that is key. Forgiving each other and also forgiving ourselves. I am better at that than he is - maybe I have had more practice at it. Actually, I read that "one cannot begin to heal until one has forgiven" when I was dealing with some old things from my past and I realized that by not forgiving people that had done me wrong I was giving up control. i like nothing better than to be in control so I forgave people... it took a while and lots of prayer, but it happened.
No boundaries or requirements on the love - that is priority... once you make people start jumping through hoops then you have a trained dog, not a loving spouse.
Okay - I have wandered all over and I am sure I will have lots more to say about marriage in the future but the wee hours writing is kicking my butt... it is only 6 a.m. but I am definitely in need of a nap (up since 3:30). I'm pretty sure I have been babbling...