Sunday, January 23, 2011

Challenging is not Equal to Impossible

Most days, I feel as though my marriage to K is the same as any typical marriage.  We are normal and pretty basic from day to day....however, being a military family does have its challenges that I don't always recognize until the heat of the moment.  I knew that we'd have some unique challenges with our unique situation, but I have only recently began to grasp the significance of our military life. 
I am one of the first of my friends to get married, so I don't have other marriages that I can really compare my own to except for those of people in my own family.  I grew up in a fairly large family of 6, where my mom worked part time as a nurse and my dad worked full time at the post office.  I saw how dad would come home every night around 5pm, we'd always have dinner together, mom and dad would tuck us in at night and go to bed together around 10pm.  That was my normal and that is what I thought I would have one day for my own marriage.
When I met K, I never expected the results of our relationship.  I had never been exposed to the military before him and only knew it from what we read in the papers and saw on the news (meaning: deployments, war and deaths).  It wasn't until I became one that I really understood what being a military wife meant.  People so readily recognize our husbands as serving our country, and so often we get lost in the shuffle.  A good friend of mine put it best when she called military wives the "forgotten ranks"
I have always been a planner.  I like to know where my days will go, what I will be doing, how it will be done.  I never saw myself marrying a military man, but then again, God's plan for our lives may not be what we expected.  My favorite Bible verse is from Proverbs and says "In his heart, a man plots his course, but the Lord determines his steps" (16:9).  I had my life planned, and then K happened.  I laugh because our God has a sense of humor.

All of that to say that on certain days, I realize the truly unique situation our family is in.  My husband does not work a 9-5 Monday through Friday job.  I never know what time we can eat dinner, because some days he gets home at 6, others he doesn't get home until 9.  We don't get to go to bed at the same time every night (in fact, he's been in bed for an hour and a half already).  It has been an adjustment for me to switch from my old "normal" to our "normal".  What I have come to realize the more and more military and non-military wives I meet is that there is no normal.  Every family has its challenges and things they need to adapt to on a day to day basis.  Ultimately, it is our reaction to those challenges and the ways we choose to deal with them that truly matters.

Being a military spouse, you learn to deal with a variety of things in new and unique ways.  Very rarely do you actually complain about things.  Don't get me wrong, we cry and get frustrated.  But once we vent and have a good cry, we move on.  K will be deploying late this Spring.  We will be apart for his birthday (for a 2nd year), my birthday (for the 3rd year) and for our first wedding anniversary.  Does that really stink?  Oh yes, but you learn new and creative ways to make those moments special.  Perhaps the best thing I have learned is that a day is "just a day".  We celebrated K's birthday last year 3 months after the fact.  My military wife friends are rubbing off on me--you just learn to be creative and flexible I guess.

I have had people tell me that they could never do what me and the thousands of other military wives do on a day to day basis.  When you think about it though, most of us said the same thing before we met our husbands.  We are no different from wives whose husbands come home every night.  We are not superheroes.  We are simply women standing behind our men, through the good times and bad.  Taking our vows to a whole new level.  I am, by no means, the posterchild of what a military wife should be.  I still complain, I still have my fits when I find out we have to change plans again, I still have so much to learn....but the Lord has provided me with friends who are in that same place.

Our lives are challenging but with the support of friends, family and our Lord, they aren't impossible.  I humbly admit that I have so much that I don't know, but my heart is open and I have a heart for other young women in similar situations.  I believe that military marriages can be just as fulfilling and incredible as a civilian marriage.  I want to see the divorce rate for military couples decrease.  I want these couples to know that while our situation and challenges are unique, that we serve a God bigger than all of that.  That our marriages can thrive rather than survive.

This may be just a simple blog, but this is my heart, and I look forward to learning and growing with you, my readers, as we tackle this journey together.

1 comment:

  1. I swear I wish we could sit down and have lunch together. You sound just like me. Granted F does work a fairly regular schedule but, still, I can one hundred percent relate. I never thought I'd be a military wife either but, look at us, we're doing good. :)