When we say “I do,” it’s just amazing how little they tell us in those wedding vows about how bad things might get down the road of marriage.
All my vows said were “For better or for worse.” Nothing about what to do when he/she hates their job or hates where we’re living and I have no idea what to say.
Nothing about what the heck to do when she says she wants to leave me for a problem I thought we took care of a year ago.
Nothing about what I can do as a husband to avoid the minefield of dinners out with friends when I somehow said something that was wrong for some reason.
Nothing about how I can tell him/her about how we seem to be screwing up our kid without it turning into a blow up.
Nothing about what I do to or with him/her to work something out so this house is not always such a horrible mess.
As military Families, we actually do have it a little tougher than some because a lot of folks have their own parents or at least some neighbor friends nearby to run things by. The military Family will always be sent away from home, often a long way from home.
For me as a guy, my most important thing that friends and relatives help me with are reality checks, when I’m about to lose it or about to say something I think is a great idea, that really isn’t a great idea.
When we have to move to a new assignment, we often have to start all over making friends and finding favorite places and things to do. Often we might absolutely hate where we’ve been sent or hate our neighborhood and want nothing to do with anyone there.
We, military Families, are getting married the most these days and are getting married younger than most of our friends who aren’t in the military. That can get us into big blow ups when, for instance, we want to go out with our single friends or do something like a video game marathon they do all day, because now we have other, more important things to think about like a marriage, a kid, and a house to take care of.
We also have our own likes and dislikes pushed and pulled by friends and others who decide to break up instead of toughing it out. Maybe they say they found someone better, who doesn’t argue and dresses better. Should we just call it quits and try someone else too?
In my case, I lived through my father divorcing my mom for a “better” wife, and seeing the years of pain in his eyes, missing his kids, having so much less to live on and life quality, and deciding pretty quickly that the better wife had other, more serious different problems. It taught me to stick with my Family (but she was really the one who stuck with me all these years).
A deep, couples relationship, especially when there are children, is often a priceless treasure that should be salvaged at all costs, no matter how difficult it might seem. The alternative is often truly horrible.
There is so much help out there for any couple or partner who is worried about how things are going and how everything is going to turn out if things keep going like they are.
Military Families have at least two to three couples’ workshops every month at Army Community Service if their unit does not have a chaplains’ Strong Bonds Workshop coming up.
When you attend one of these, you realize every couple should go to one. It is incredible how many simple tips can absolutely save a relationship and it is very comforting to see and hear other couples’ stories and what they go through.
The ACS instructor and resident marriage expert, Esther, is a legend on Fort Bragg for how she entertains and teaches at the same time and how she can get the most sullen husband to open up. Free childcare is available for these workshops and folks can attend in civilian clothes. ID cards are not necessary in case the civilian partner of a military person wants to attend.
To sign up, contact ACS at 396-5521 and ask for the next Couples Communication or Scream Free Marriage workshop.
Marriage or couples counseling is something TRICARE usually will not pay for but there are a lot of really great marriage and couples counseling choices for couples or partners who live around Fort Bragg. Military Family life counselors, the Watters Family Life Center for Counseling and Resiliency, Family Member Behavioral Health and local Military One Source couples counselors offer free, private counseling that can save a relationship if you don’t wait too long. That is the saddest thing for counselors when a partner, after being asked countless times by their mate, may finally agree to go to counseling when it is too late, when the other partner has given up on the relationship.
Make sure to make friends and build a support system whenever you go to a new assignment, no matter how much you hate it or want to leave. If your spouse is not good at that, make some friends for you, it is absolutely vital.
Join a church or a club but find a way to have that support when you need it.