Military Life

Why I’m Okay When My Spouse Travels

I dig my husband.

It’s true.

He’s totally my best friend, and I lo-o-o-ve spending time with him. He just gets me. He knows that queso will heal my soul, that a cold diet Dr. Pepper will save me hours in therapy, and that it’s been a good day if I’m listening to the Hamilton soundtrack but to send me to Target if he hears opera quavering in the background.

He knows me. My qualms, my quirks, my sarcasm, my residual penchant to swear at the worst possible times, and my idiosyncratic obsession of British television dramas (ohmahgoshilovethem).

And he also knows what I know.

That I’m totally okay when he has to travel.

I know. This has a real shock and awe factor. Move over Kardashians (or whatever pop culture reference is applicable now – remember that I watch Masterpiece Theatre).

But for realz, when my husband tells me that he’s got to go, I grab his suitcase and help him pack.

Here’s why:

1. I trust him.

Not only do I trust him to be respectful to me and to remember that he’s got a real babe of a gal (in sweatpants) at home, but I trust him that he will make the best choices for his career and his family. In other words, he’ll go to necessary schools, excel in his classes, train with fervor and he won’t waste his time. If he’s gone, it’s because he has a desire to increase his subject matter expertise, to benefit his family or because he doesn’t have a choice.

2. I’m a survivor.

As in, I’ve done this A LOT. And here’s the thing about constant goodbyes and reintegration: We LEARN. We learn how and when to let go of control and how to pick it back up again, learn how to deal with stress cues and triggers, learn when to reexamine standards and expectations to decide what’s really important (like making dinner, which, spoiler alert, is not that important with an absent spouse – trust me: I’m an expert).

3. I’m wildly independent.

I understand this is less about what I’ve learned from my 12 years in the military and is truly more about who I am at my core, but I enjoy my pieces of alone time to focus on myself and how I can reach my goals and aspirations. This enables me to think and grow and to be my best self to both my spouse and to my family. This is my ME time. And it’s also because I like to watch TV alone without any side commentary about my stodgy British protagonists.

Military schools, TDYs, deployments – it’s part of the military trade. The you-signed-on-the-line reality of the life that we live. The hardest trips are those that miss birthdays, holidays, anniversaries.

But the reality (both unfortunate and fortunate) of the military is learning that dates are simply dates, and we can make memories on the ordinary days – the arbitrary weekday and vacant, empty afternoons – which are just as infinitely important.

Lest you think I’m completely self-sacrificing, however, let’s be reeeaaal honest: You’d better remind your spouse that Amazon Prime delivers every single day, so presents are expected regardless of his/her absence.

So, think what you will about my unorthodox view towards military travel. But I’ve chosen to embrace it, and I’m much happier for it. I hope you find happiness too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Downton Abbey for the 16th time. Cheers!

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