Category Archives: military spouse

Mili-Wives & Cheating

I’ve been a military spouse going on 10 years and man have I heard some stories! Rumors, gossip, whatever you call it, spouses are cheating on each other and it’s tearing families apart.  Your soldier works A LOT. And when they’re not working they are being called at all hours of the night, getting a bazillion work texts and, very likely, dreaming about work! They are out on deployments, missions and field activities and it gets lonely.

I also get that flirting makes one feel good about one’s self…especially if that one is a mama who normally feels pretty boring and frumpy. Every once in a while you wanna know that you still got it, right? I’ve had those moments where a man (in passing) would flirt and I’d think to myself, “Okay, so the mom jeans aren’t as lame as I thought they were.” It’s totally normal to enjoy having someone flirt with you, and perhaps, a one-time passer-by giving you a little attention is harmless. Perhaps.

But what if it’s an ongoing thing? What if it’s someone you see every single day and you are flirting with them? That is where I see a potential for cheating.

Simple things you can do to cope with loneliness

Giving decent people the benefit of the doubt, I’d like to believe that most people do not begin flirting with the intention of cheating. BUT these things happen and so I’ve got a few suggestions to help you cope with the loneliness that inevitably comes with being a military spouse.

  1. Keep the lines of communication open
    • I know. I know. This is the number one piece of advice you will hear from EVERY marriage counselor in the world. From the beginning days of my marriage, 13 years ago, the one thing I was told over and over was that I should communicate with my husband. It frustrated me because they never ONCE explained that its important for me to find out HOW my husband best communicates. So let me be the one to tell you, before you go on a talking spree, trying to force your spouse into deep conversations, find out how your loved one communicates. For instance, perhaps your husband (like every man on earth) isn’t very verbal, you could try writing him a letter.
      • However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. -Ephesians 5:33

    • In this letter you want to avoid any accusatory language, and try your best not to look back at past issues that you’re still upset about. Just be in that moment and write something that expresses your heart. I’ve personally tried this approach on multiple occasions and it worked like magic.
  2. Hold on to the romance like your marriage depends on it
    • It does. Your marriage very likely depends on it. As soon as the romance dies there’s a chance one of you will look for it with someone else. I’ll never understand why but instead of coming together to work things out, most couples simply choose to place the blame and find love in someone else. As a military spouse it’s so easy to become distant from your soldier. They’re never around. They miss amazing family milestones. They are preoccupied with work even when they’re home and it drives you crazy. I get it.
      • May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.                         – Proverbs 5:18,19

    • The answer is not to draw away from your spouse, it’s to draw closer. Write a love note and leave it in their pocket. Buy them a “just because” gift. Make them their favorite dessert after work. Run them a bath. If you have to literally plan a day to have sex then PLAN IT. If, after a while, you notice they’re not reciprocating then fine, step up and say something directly. But give it time. Military life is NOT easy. Not on you and not on your soldier either.
    • Create your happy and share it with someone you love
  3. I want you to know that this, my final tip, is the most important tip of them all. LOVE YOURSELF.
    • Seriously, read that line again and again…and again. When your spouse is distant you may start to feel unattractive. This is especially true if you’re a mother. Everyone tells you to take time for yourself but, who’s got the time? House needs cleaning, multiple kids have sports practice and after school clubs, gotta have dinner done on time, help the kids with homework and who knows what else…time for myself? How?!
    •  It’s so important to love yourself. Say positive affirmations in the mirror. Find a scripture or 3 in the Bible about who God says you are, and say them to yourself out loud every day. Treat yourself to something you enjoy when you’ve got the time, and DON’T guilt yourself into thinking you don’t deserve it. You’ll clean the house when it’s time, but you need time to love you.

Here are a few scriptures to get you started on those positive affirmations:

A wife of noble character is worth far more than rubies. She brings her husband good, not harm all the days of her life – Proverbs 31:11,12

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come – Proverbs 31:25

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised – Proverbs 31:30

Put your hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment 

 1 Timothy 6:17b

 

 

 

Mili-Wives: How to Stay Sane

After 3 years we PCS’d from Germany to Texas and, after a month of living here it hit me, as I sat on the couch, one day this place, this place I JUST moved into will be the place I miss. One day I will have to pack up everything I own and start my life all over again in another state or maybe, once again, another country. That very thought paralyzed me in a state of severe anxiety. I’m sure you’ve been there before.

It isn’t that I’m homesick anymore, because home isn’t a specific place for me. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved to Maryland in the 9th grade and Virginia after I graduated. People would ask where I was from and I’d randomly pick from the various places I’ve lived…and I was not a military child. So no, homesickness doesn’t come from a location. It comes from the people around me that have made that location feel like home…and every so often I’ve got to start that over with all new people. In an effort to describe the way that feels, all I can say is, IT SUCKS.

Life is not

Non-directed steps. That’s it, isn’t it? None of us has any clue what we’re doing! We just get up everyday and expect things to work out. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, but we keep moving. That’s exactly what a military family has to do…figuratively and literally. We’ve got to keep moving. The fact is, when the non-soldier of the family, whether that is dad or mom, is out of sorts and stressed, that will eventually begin to affect your children in more ways than one. Take it from me. I was immensely depressed leaving Germany and, as a result I unfortunately neglected my children, which threw them into a state of depression as well.

So here’s what you do: KEEP MOVING. If your children were in sports or taking an instrument or in a club of some sort at your last duty station, waste NO time, be sure to get them right back into the swing of it at your new duty station. They’ll make friends right away and have a small sense of familiarity doing something they enjoyed.

Make your house a home. You don’t get your household goods for another 3 weeks and you’re sleeping on that ugly loaned furniture in the meantime. Been there. Go to Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart and pick out a few new things to make the place feel home-y. Let the kids pick out new rugs for the bathroom or a poster for their bedroom. Make the place your own right away!

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Be there for your soldier. He’s got to adjust to an all new setting too, doesn’t he? Surprise him with lunch one day or set your alarm super early to get up and say a short prayer with him before he leaves for PT. Leave a note in his pocket telling him how much you love him. Call him randomly and ask how his day is going. Stay aware of how things are for him, because this change is just as drastic for your soldier as it is for you.

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Lastly (although I could go on and on) YOU need to get plugged in. Go to the FRG meetings. Join the PTA or find some other area to volunteer at your children’s school. Join a local gym. Take a class at the local community center. Visit churches in the area and go on a Wednesday…in my experience it was always easier to meet people on a Wednesday than Sunday. Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to stay cooped up in the house alone, sulking and wishing you’d never left your last duty station. Your family needs you and you need your sanity!

I hope you find these suggestions helpful and I hope you’ll share them with someone you care about. If you’ve got your own ways of staying sane through a PCS please share the in the comments!

Till next time…

R.L.

 

Dealing with Resentment as a Military Spouse

8 military years feels like more than a decade when you are a military spouse and I wrote this to touch the nerves of those who have dealt with (or are dealing with) resentment for their spouse. I hope you enjoy and please comment, your thoughts are welcomed!

When your marriage becomes an afterthoughtYou must be patient because it’s not his fault. He’s not working ridiculous hours because he wants to; still you find yourself getting angry. “I’m here alone, you know?” you say to yourself, inwardly hoping your spouse will hear your heart. As selfish as it may sound, you’re over all of it- early mornings, late nights, long field training, deployments, everything. And with yet another impending change looming over your heads, you find yourself growing increasingly doubtful about the sanctity of marriage. Perhaps, in his mind, this change is exactly what you need, but to you it’s no more than another avenue to a broken dream. An opportunity to get your hopes up only to have them shattered by reality. There is no hope for better days. Maybe outside of the military, yes, but that is all.

He’s a soldier now, and as a soldier his phone doesn’t stick to his hip, it sticks to his brain and he is slave to it; awaiting the next order from a higher rank on how to live out his next day. Every conversation has become about work. When he wakes up he is a soldier. While he is home he is a soldier and when he’s away from home, but not at work, he is a soldier. Perhaps the idea of a neglectful spouse is far exaggerated when that person becomes a soldier. His entire identity becomes enveloped in rank, positions and ratings. Whoever he was before military life, well, that man is dead and gone. Only remnants of him remain in your mind.
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Your relationship as husband and wife is starting to feel like no more than an afterthought. If there were a time when he put any energy into being a better spouse it is no more. “I suppose we’ll have a happy marriage after,” you say to yourself, “after work, after dinner, after school, after the kids, after bed, after all is said and done, we’ll have a conversation that resembles a couple of friends that used to know each other. People who once spent a lot of time together but slowly fell into the soul-sucking droll of everyday life, until one day they were no more than passersby, exchanging a smile to be polite.”

You knew military life would be different than being a civilian, but you had no idea just how tightly your life would be tied to your soldier, being forced to uproot your entire life every few years and having to start over in a new place with new people who you will inevitably be saying goodbye to, forever, one day. You simply wish for a sense of normality. There is a world of people out there that can separate home and work life, you know? They go to work and come home to enjoy their families and you find yourself asking, so often, “why can’t that be us?” And perhaps it can be, one day, but you can’t begin to think of where to start.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO END THERE

As a word of encouragement to military spouses, it get easier. The hard part is looking past the uniform and remembering who your husband is. It may be even harder to help him remember who he is outside of work. The military owns you, in a sense, and there are jobs where they are called all hours of the day and night about work, so switching off is extremely difficult. Still the need for a “normal” family life will always be there, and it is up to the spouse (whether husband or wife) to be there to foster that sense of normality.

You’ve got to do your best to make your house a home and, without negating your spouses military achievements, show them how much more important quality time with family really is. Resentment may feel like it’s unavoidable sometimes but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Forgive, move on and live life the best way you know how, as a loving, supportive spouse.

If you or someone you know can relate to this, please leave a comment! And if you know someone to understands what it’s like to feel like a neglected military spouse, please share this with them!

Till next time…

R.L.

 

Dear God

You ever say that out loud? Or maybe in your thoughts it sounds something like, “Dear God, help me!” That’s where I find myself lately. You know how people say, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” well I’m at the bridge waiting to cross as we speak.

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Normally my ‘Dear God’ letters are (for the most part) a calm reflection of the things I’m learning from him. He teaches me, leads me, guides and comforts me, and I write him a letter about it, thanking him. Today it’s a bit different. Today I need him to help keep me in check, because I have been a complaining, selfish fool. I am going through a PCS. For those of you not in the military family, this means I am moving. Okay, that’s putting it lightly, it means I am uprooting my entire life and starting completely over in a new place. Just did this twice in the past 3 years and here I am doing it all over again.

This is completely common among military families, to have to move frequently and lose everything that took so long to become familiar to you, but that doesn’t mean it gets easier with time. You get used to the idea of it, because it’s practically inevitable, but the process itself can be quite undesirable. I find myself adapting the “let’s just get this over-with” attitude toward our move this time around.

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Dear God help me. I need the will to stay sane in a day and time when I’ve found myself welcoming a negative mindset. Anxiety has worn on my emotions for far too long and I need to be free from it. You know me God, I hate the lack of control and abhor walking head first into the unknown, but it has to be done and I don’t want to be miserable while doing it. What’s more, I’ve got to make this process enjoyable for my children. I don’t want them to be anxious or fearful, and I most certainly don’t want my boys to suffer misery on account of my behavior!

My husband is working so hard to keep us comfortable and happy, and I don’t want him to think his efforts are in vain. He’s a good man and manages to stay happy even when I’m allowing myself to be grumpy. I’ve prayed and given my cares to you, and apparently I’ve taken them back all over again, so here they are. Take this PCS and all the puzzle pieces it involves and put it together for us God. Be strong where we are weak, and keep us in your joy when we don’t want to feel joyful. Help me to stop being selfish and reach out to help someone else where they have a need. I thank you for hearing my prayer and I thank you for answering.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

Rely on God for…Free time?

I wondered for a while if the example of selfishness that I’d given you in that last post,   “I Remember” was adequate enough to illustrate the point I was trying to make. I imagine most people would simply say that my husband was being selfish because basketball isn’t exactly a priority in life. I imagine you’d say that he should have, at least, taken the time to be there for his children, if nothing else. After all, he’s got boys so it would have totally been appropriate if would have taken them with him to the basketball practice, right?

(ps: if you’re just coming in on this story, take a look at my last post and the one before that to get a good foundation for what I’m talking about here.)

PEACE

I explained to you that God told me he wanted me to depend on him for “that”. What was the “that” anyway? It was my free time. The time of the day where I was supposed to be able to breathe easy, finish chores, eat, watch TV, read a book, pray…whatever. It was supposed to be my time and I was in debt of free time for months now. When my husband left for basketball practice, I can honestly say that I believed he was being selfish; but the truth of the matter is that my husband worked (and still does) crazy hours. So sure, I needed time away from kid nation, but he needed an outlet where he could be free as well. My husband needed a place where he didn’t have to be a soldier, and he didn’t have to be a dad or husband…he needed that time just as badly as I did and he too needed to depend on God to get it.

So, in the question of who was selfish here, it was both of us. Let’s face it, even though my husband needed that, it was horrible timing. I was doing over-time at kid nation and I just wanted to get away; but I was selfish just as well. I didn’t even take a moment to consider the fact that my husband was just as exhausted with life as I was, just in a different way. His work is different than mine, but no less taxing. Sadly it took me this long- 3 years later- to see things from this perspective. Had we not been thinking of our own needs back then, the situation may have played out far better than it did.

remember the lord in all you do

So, I suppose the questions remains of how do I rely on God for free time? (take a look at the verse above) I think this is one of those things where you have to have FAITH. For just about everything in life, faith in God is so supremely necessary. Without it, you won’t trust God to give you what you need. (Pay attention to the word give because God is not planning to make you earn what you need in life). God was simply waiting for me to use my faith to open the door and allow him to provide that free time that I needed.

He helped me get my children on a proper schedule. He helped me wake up on time in the morning LONG before my munchkins woke up. He helped me get my household chores done, and after all that (and more) somehow, time with my children no longer felt like work. I could enjoy them once I’d managed to enjoy time alone.

Later on I was able to start seeing things through a new perspective. I began to see how heavy the weight was on my husbands shoulders as the sole provider. I saw how much he really did need basketball and flag football, because without it he was just plain grumpy!

So here’s our lesson for the day:

Home is where

Ask God to give you direction and he is more than willing to show you how you can rely on him for your free time…or whatever else it you need today.