Open Communication

Recently I’ve been in contact with the friend of a friend. A young woman whose husband of only a few years just joined the Army. Dealing with a separation is tough anytime but dealing with it due to the military adds a twist. I’ve encountered well meaning, but confused women, who equate a service member being in the field, TDY, or deployed with their husband’s being away on a business trip. Let me assure you that it’s vastly different. When a service member is forced to leave they rarely stay in a hotel, have cell phones, or can talk with their spouse whenever they have a spare minute. You can go days or even weeks without speaking to your consort.

This means that good communication is even more important to a successful marriage when one or both are in the military.

The rate of divorces in America is high. The rate of divorces among the military is obscene. What do you do when you have an emergency and can’t get ahold of your consort for days or weeks? When you don’t see them for weeks on end can you bring yourself to trust them not to cheat?

It’s in human nature to want to keep what’s ours and to want more. So when our partner is out of sight for too long we get nervous, and in some cases paranoid. I’ve known women who would panic if their husband didn’t call them every two days. When deployed that’s not always realistic.

The advice I gave the young woman was if she wanted her marriage to survive she needed open communication. She wanted to know how she was going to do that though if she couldn’t easily get ahold of him on the phone while he was in AIT. I explained that open communication doesn’t necessarily mean speaking about your feelings in depth face to face or over the phone.

It means any form of communication as long as it works for the couple in question.

My husband and I have been married 13yrs this Christmas Eve. During those 156 months he’s been deployed for 44 of them. Tack on another two for NTC, 8 for AIT and well you get the picture. We’ve spent more time apart than together yet I trust him. During deployment one and two we wrote letters snail mail style, emailed and IM’ed when we could; even if I had to stay up to two in the morning to do it.

For us texting and IM works the best. Yes, even when he’s home.

I told her to find what works for them. Her husband isn’t the verbally affectionate type. And you know what that’s fine. I’m not either. I show my husband I love him my texting him or buying him little treats, casual touches and suggestive comments. My husband prefers to surprise me with things like flowers for no reason or chocolate. I got two ‘just because flowers’ on his last deployment.

I have a friend who communicates with her husband by yelling and throwing pillows. Why pillows? Because it saves their china. No matter how you communicate make sure you do it open and honestly. After all if you can’t trust your consort than you might as well not be with them.

The second big trick to staying together and being realistically happy?

Clear expectations.

Before my husband and I got married we both laid down the law. What were our hard no’s concerning our marriage? Turns out they were pretty much the same: no cheating, ever, no matter the circumstances. “I was drunk” is not an excuse in either of our books. When drunk you lose your inhibitions allowing you to do what you really want to without that behavior filter. No committing rape, doing drugs, molesting children or murder are in there too. Any of those ends in instant divorce. I tacked on no threesomes or moresomes as well to the no cheating clause. When he
pouted I said only if it was two guys cause I’m not sharing. Turns out he wasn’t willing to share either. We’re both very possessive.

After I was done joking with him I explained that every marriage I’d seen that had such liaisons ended when one half found the other half with the third party sans them. It opens the door to excuses. Sure enough not a year later he encountered the same situation when invited to a party.

Your hard no’s aren’t just for BDSM they can be for anything. Behavior, finance, whatever but every relationship has them you just need to clearly define them from the beginning.

Relationships take work but in the end they’re worth it to be with someone who loves you as much as you love them. Someone you can trust to watch your back and have your best interests at heart no matter what; even when you’re not there.

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About Marcia Young

I’m the wife of an NCO and the mother of one, home schooled, special needs child. I have won several people’s choice awards for my fanfiction under the moniker MLMonty. All of my current published works can be found via Smashwords and other retailers under my nom de plume Marcia Young. I am currently open to finding a new literary agent and publisher.
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