The thing about your parents divorcing later in life is that you’ve gone all your life – maybe 30 years – thinking that how they are together works. Perhaps you yourself have been married for some time when it happens, and then it occurs to you: well, sh*t. How am I supposed to do this now?
Those of you who have been married, for a little or long while, probably know that marriage takes work. You grow as individuals over time, evolving from the people you were when you first met, changing the dynamic of the relationship in little or big ways. Many couples do this together and thrive. Many couples can’t.
I feel that military couples (and others who spend significant time apart for work or other reasons) face unique challenges that the Average Civilian Couple never know. We often aren’t allowed the opportunity grow together, many of us enduring joy and grief apart from our spouses. There are those of us women who balance the bliss (and exhaustion) of pregnancy with the loneliness and anxiety of a husband who is TDY. And those who bring new life into this world with a husband watching via Skype.
We adapt to a constant cycle of departures and homecomings, always saying goodbye (for now) and I’ve missed you so much. Fending for ourselves and our families, alone for months, then reintegrating our spouses into the new routines we’ve mastered. Some of us grew up with parents who did this successfully; many of us didn’t.
As someone who didn’t, I often wonder how it’s supposed to work?
My husband and I recently celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. We have had some absolutely awesome times. And sometimes neither of us is sure how we’ve endured some of the challenges we’ve faced as a couple. But we have, and our marriage is stronger because of the separations and losses and disappointments.
We’ve talked about how it would be nice to have “relationship role models” to look to for how to be as a couple, to undo the bad habits we’ve learned from our parents and to guide us through the challenges that are sure to come. While there are certain people who come to mind for us, it seems that the role model we’re after is a combination of many.
What that seems to tell me is that there’s no one right way to do this. We just need to find the guidance that works for us, in our unique situation. We need to find the bits of advice that fit our needs and continue to grow as a couple.
So why not start with a couple who has been successfully married for more than half a century? I asked my grandma to write a guest post! Check back tomorrow for Grandma Sandy’s post on lessons learned from 50+ years of marriage.
Do you know a thing or two about relationship role models? Or do you have one that you’re enthusiastic about? Contact me at wanderlynnb [at] gmail [dot] com to write a guest post of your own and turn this into a series!
Wanderlynn has been nominated as a Circle of Moms Top 25 Military Moms blog! You may cast a vote daily between now and August 16. It takes but two clicks: here, then “vote.” And I sure do appreciate it!