Last Friday my husband and I attended an all-day marriage seminar. The target audience was for military couples, where both spouses currently serve in the military. It’s commenly reffered as mil-to-mil. The reason that the Air Force has these seminars that target mil-to-mil couples is because domestic violence statistics is higher aroung these specific couples. That higher number makes sense since the military is one the most stressful and demanding jobs that you can hold in the military. In a dual military household, that stress doubles.
One of the common trends that my husband and I noticed while attending the seminar is the majority of dual military couples have been physically apart from their spouse for the majority of the relationship’s existence. Some of these couples have spend consecutive years apart. Matthew and I are really lucky that Korea did not become a reality. We are really lucky that we deployed to Guam together. Compared to other couples in our situation, we do not follow the “norm”. After talking to a couple of the higher ranking spouses and to some of the couples where one member just retired, Matthew and I realized that me getting out of the military is a good thing. There are also a lot of benefits if we both stay in until retirement that we never thought of before.
I don’t want to spend prolonged periods of time away from my husband. I don’t want to be countries apart. I know that I will be a lot happier when the day finally arrives that I don’t have slip into my coveralls and lace up my boots. I know that if I stayed in the Air Force as a maintainer that my quality of life, my marriage and my future kids will suffer. I’m not willing to sacrifice that. Matthew and I have discussed the option of me re-training into a different career field. The chances of re-training being approved and escaping maintenance forever are slim to none. We both decided it’s worth a shot in the dark. I can apply in January and if it’s denied, I won’t re-enlist. I have a solid plan of action for the day I am freed from military obligations. I’m not afraid to start over. I’ve worked in the civilian world. It’s not that hard and the people that struggle the most are the ones that joined the services straight out of high school.
Anyways, I’ll get back on track. I went on a little tangent. The marriage seminar was enjoyable. A couple of the things that were discussed were books “The 5 love languages” and “When sorry isn’t enough”. Matt and I had already disccused the five love languages quite exentsivly before. The apology book was new. It discusses what different people expect from apologies. Surprisingly, my husband and I already knew each other’s “apology language” but we didn’t have a proper term for it. I had went to a similar marriage seminar once with my previous husband. It served as an eye-opening experience because I realize that the man I was with didn’t know who I was.
Attending this seminar with Matthew was like re-reading your favorite book. Matthew understands me, my thought processes and my quirks. I know his. The best part about my husband is that despite my grouchier parts to my personality, he loves me anyways. The seminar got us talking about all this stuff again. I think it’s important for other couples to re-hash these conversations and ideas because people change. Couples that grow apart and become strangers are the ones that win over thier spouse and then cease any further learning actions. It’s too common and sad. Matt and I are very aware to that pitfall and it’s why coffee and the morning smoke is incorporated in our routine.
Matt and I don’t want to ever put our relationship on the back burner. We want our priorities to be: marriage, kids, career. Yes, in that specific order! I know that putting our marriage before our kids might appear selfish to other people. We simply don’t care. We existed before children and someday our children will grow up and move on with thier own lives. I don’t want that moment to finally arrive and I realize that the man I raised those kids with is a complete stranger. Matthew doesn’t want that either. I know other couples that are putting the kids first and thier marriage is awful and destructive. I don’t understand why they bother “staying together”. They have better relationships with thier shitty bosses than they do with thier spouse.
I’ve already had a crappy marriage. I don’t want another one and thankfully I learned from my previous one. I might be crazy but I believe that your spouse is your partner for life but it’s okay to change your life if you aren’t happy.