A Journey Worth Taking
This post has been sitting on my computer for a while and I finally decided to share a little bit about my life as a wife in the military. At the age of 19, I had to make the most mature decision of my life. My now husband, Glen, was on one knee on the beach in Huntington Beach, asking for my hand and waiting for an answer. Should I say yes to my high school sweetheart of 4 years or turn around and make a run for it back to Florida?! I assure you in that two seconds between the question and the answer, I knew in my heart that without hesitation I was ready to marry the man I loved, but was I ready to marry the military?
Let me rewind five minutes earlier, Glen was talking to me about our future. He asked me if I could take on the commitment of the military and facing the unknown of our future. For me, I am terrified of change and the unknown. So as he was asking me all these questions, my heart sunk and my stomach knotted up. I was saying yes to all his questions and acting fearless, but my insides were seriously tied up in knots. I did not know a proposal was just five minutes away. I mean I was 19 for goodness sakes. I thought he was a boy lost in love talking to his girlfriend in a ballgown, (we were dressed up for the military ball) and doing his best to charm up the romantics. But then, in an instant, he was down on one knee and I was saying yes to life with him forever. I knew God had put him in my life for a reason and in that moment without any hesitations or fear I said yes. Six months later, we were married and a week after that he was deployed. From there on out, I continued my schooling at FSU and he lived in California in the Marine Corps. There were field ops, long hours and two deployments that kept us apart, and not to mention he was stationed across the country from me (he is currently overseas now!) Thankfully, he returns the end of April, and this May I will be graduating and we will be starting our lives together after two years of marriage and at the age of 22. You might call me crazy, but I am just someone who fell in love young. I am no one to be giving marriage advice or tell you the pros and cons of a military life, I am simply just sharing what I have learned and experienced in the past two years.
Be patient and listen.
My relationship relies on countdowns, quick week trips, and face time calls. When I can be with Glen or talk to him, I make it a priority. I have learned that everything good comes with a wait time. His deployments are usually 7 months, school breaks happen once every semester, so in a calendar year I am with Glen maybe 3 weeks. I could put it more in perspective by saying in the past four years- I have seen Glen a total of 7 months’ tops. I also think just being able to listen is so important. As humans, we change and grow. Glen and I are changing while we are apart. I do not mean we are changing in a negative way; think about it, you are not the same person you were 7 years ago, let alone a few weeks ago. We all go through experiences that mold us into who we are. Therefore, when months go by and I finally see him, I like to be able to feel like I experienced these life changing moments with him. I am just experiencing it all over the phone in our conversations, so I guess you can see now why it is important for me to listen. We are growing together and changing even though we are apart.
Smile and remember you are strong, but do not feel that you should be strong 100% of the time
Many times, people come up to me and say how are you and Glen. I always respond “He is good and I’m doing great.” Glen is possibly doing good, but I am not always doing great. I am the master of smiling my way through life. I am not empty by any means, but as cliché as it sounds, there is always a part of me that is missing. I have a wonderful family that is so supportive, amazing friends that love me unconditionally, but at the end of the day I just want my husband by my side. It can be very hard that at times I am unable to share important news with my husband first. However, I put a smile on my face and remember that this is all a part of God’s plan. I hate Glen feeling that he can’t help me, so I try to stay strong so that he doesn’t feel a burden while he is away. There is a point though where even I break down and just need to hear my husband say everything will be okay or look at my calendar and countdown the days until he is home. I am human, I cannot be strong every moment of the day. He makes me stronger as a person and pushes me to be a better. However, without him here a significant amount of time, smiling and finding my inner strength usually makes those hard days a little better.
Do not dwell on worry
This is my challenge right now. I have learned to let go of my worries and stop stressing. Glen is on the other side of the world and there is absolutely nothing I can control. The military makes many of the choices for us and we just follow suit. Of course, I will always worry that he is safe, but I used to stress myself out with what if this happens to him or what if that… I finally had to stop. It was driving me bonkers. I mean could you imagine just constantly finding something to worry about. Thankfully my faith has played a major factor in this. I pray and I pray often. When I feel that I am worrying and my stomach begins to tie in knots, I breathe and just talk to the Lord. I pray for strength to stop worrying and know that God is in control. Glen and I have a relationship built on faith, I think that is why we have grown so close together over the years. When I am having a hard time, and feel hopeless, Glen always grabs my hands and starts to pray. It’s funny, one time Glen and I were bickering and I was so mad and he just said let’s pray. I honestly forgot why I was even mad for a second because he put it all in perspective. I was mad and worrying about something and he just brought me back to reality. I know we are all going to continue to worry, but having a source of comfort is important. I also just remind myself that I am not in control of some things and that if I take everything day by day, it will all work out. If Glen and I are together, we can overcome anything.
Misconceptions come with being married young and in being in the military.
I know that this is not everyone’s thoughts but this is somethings that many of us face and I just want to set the record straight (at least on my end). Sometimes these misconceptions may apply but it does not apply to everyone and I thought maybe I could give you my two cents (you do not have to read this if you would like)
Married young and quickly because I am pregnant
I did get married very young. I was 19 and still in college. However, I was not pregnant. I plan to have kids in the next few years if that is the route my life takes, but that will be a decision for my husband and me. When the time is right, kids will be a blessing but I did not get married for that reason. I have a few friends who did have children young in the beginning of their marriage and they are wonderful mothers. So, who cares if the baby pushed the marriage timing along, everything happens for a reason.
Did not think through my decisions
This one is one my favorites. People will say I just got married and rushed into it. Let me tell ya’ll: I DID. Glen and I were engaged for a few months but upon learning of his deployment decided to plan our wedding in 2 weeks. It was a bit rushed but we knew we wanted to start our life together. We thought about all of the hard decisions: dealing with finances, being away from each other for large amounts of time, the annoying pet peeves of our spouse, and the amount of commitment a marriage comes with. We thought about it all. We did not rush into this. It may have been faster than normal, but that sometimes comes with life in the military. We knew we wanted to get married and we had to base our wedding around the deployments and leave time- so that was it. Love does not have a time limit. When you know, you just know.
Can’t talk about my feelings to her because her husband is gone
Ladies, if you miss your spouse or you just want to talk about how much you wish your spouse would take you on a date, I am all ears. I promise I am a good listener. I do not feel upset or annoyed that you miss your significant other. I would be more concerned if you didn’t. Just be normal with me! My life is still the same as it was with my husband by my side. Just because I deal with it all the time, doesn’t mean you can’t too! Every relationship is different and this just happens to be mine.
She comes second to military
I’ll give it to you, it does seem that way. However, let me assure you that my husband is still always there for me when it matters most. Yes, he may miss some very important moments and sometimes he is away for long periods of time, however our relationship does not stop when he is away. We are still priorities in each other’s lives whether we are together or apart. On the surface, the military comes first but in our relationship, we are spouses and we made the commitment to put each other first as we became one.
I am truly proud of my husband and the man he has become since our days in high school. Our communication has improved, our time spent together gets better every day, and I am just so incredibly thankful for him. I always say my husband is lucky because whatever makes him happy, makes me happy and it is true. I am proud of him and his drive to serve our country in the military and work endless hours. I have watched him grow and fall in love with his work during his time in the service, and did I mention, he looks too good his uniform.
The military life is not for everyone. Sometimes, I feel like it is not for me either. However, my relationship with Glen is everything and more. I am always proud to be by his side and support him because he has given me more love and support than I could ever imagine possible (yes, even from across the world!). The days are tough, the nights can be lonely without him to take up the bed and steal the blankets, and transition periods can be hard. We have just learned to take things as they come our way and talk to each other. I am proud to be a military wife and see where life takes me in the years to come.
Post Written by: Jeana Hughes