I can’t believe it’s been almost six years since the husband and I said ‘I do’. Boy, do I wish I could go back in time and let myself in on the lessons I’ve learned since then! Now, I’m by no means an expert on all things marriage but I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things from my time as a military spouse.
Today I’m sharing a few lessons I’ve learned that I think any relationship, military or not, could benefit from!
It’s the little moments that make a marriage
When I was young, I spent a lot of time dreaming of my prince charming who would whisk me away on his white horse with grand gestures (I believe at that time my prince had red hair and was actual royalty–ahem, Prince Harry). It’s important to remember though that marriage is less about the over-the-top romance and more about the little moments we tend to take for granted. Maybe your husband always puts on a pot of coffee for you as he’s getting ready for work or the two of you spend some one-on-one time at the end of a long day just to talk and vent. The big romantic gestures are amazing and definitely needed in a marriage but it’s the daily things that you and your spouse do for each other that build a strong foundation for your marriage.
Get creative about showing your spouse love
Ever heard of the five love languages? If you haven’t, get yourself over to this site and take the quiz…like now. Don’t worry I’ll wait.
Alright, know your own and your spouse’s language? Great!
Now find some fun ways to show your spouse love using his/her primary language. Get creative!!! Both my husband and I have quality time as our primary love language so throughout this deployment, we’ve been trying to find fun and unique ways to spend some time together despite the distance. And if practicing your spouse’s primary love language just isn’t possible in your situation, think about some of the other languages high on your spouse’s list. Whether your spouse is close to home or a world away, it’s always fun to mix things up a little!
Communication is key
This should be a no-brainer but it can be harder than it sounds. Good communication is so important in a marriage and it’s something a lot of couples (including us) struggle with.
Remember that your spouse isn’t a mind reader! Tell them when you need to talk, if you need some extra help around the house or with your career or with the kiddo and don’t forget to voice your appreciation for the things they do and bring to your marriage.
To be honest, I’m really hoping this skill gets better with age. You know–so that the 70-year-old versions of us will just be able to glance at each other and know what the other is thinking. #bliss
The team is stronger than the individual
In Zach’s job as an infantryman, two things are stressed above all else-proficiency and teamwork. It’s lucky for both of us that you can apply both of those to marriage as well as military life.
Each of you brings a certain skill set to the table of your marriage. And combined, you make the perfect team. One of my college professors explained it this way–think of you and your spouse as hands. Each hand, individually, is capable of great strength and dexterity but both hands together provide double the power.
It’s important for each of you to have your own individual interests and hobbies, but always remember that you are a team working towards the same goal–creating a happy and healthy marriage.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Can you guess what Zach and I have argued most about in our marriage? Wait for it—where we should go out to eat. Seriously! – I’m not even joking.
When you think about it, a lot of the ‘heated discussions’ in marriage (the husband prefers this to the term arguing) can stem from some pretty petty sh**. Plus I’m a huge perfectionist so when things don’t go according to my plan (even if I haven’t even divulged the plan to the husband), I tend to lose my cool a bit. Two words that don’t go together–perfectionist + military life.
This is definitely still a work in progress for me but when I feel myself getting upset or only dwelling on what’s gone wrong, I’ve learned my best choice is just to take a deep breath and go with the flow. Some days that’s definitely easier to do than others, but hey it’s a work in progress!
Savor the moment
I used to hate tripping over Zach’s combat boots on my way to the stairs or washing the seemingly endless loads of camouflage and sweat-soaked PTs. Now, after nine months of just me and the kiddo to clean up after, I miss all those little things that used to annoy me.
You never really know what life will bring, especially military life! So it’s important to take time to appreciate the people you love and just savor the moment that you’re in!
While having a husband in the military definitely comes with its own set of unique challenges, it also comes with opportunities to learn…more about your spouse, more about yourself, and more about your marriage.
What are some lessons about marriage that you can glean from your own unique lifestyle? What would you add to my list?