Shared on Marriage.com
pc: Maria Slade
Here’s a Jeopardy factoid for you (you can thank me later):
Over time and under intense heat and some serious amounts of pressure, a simple element like carbon can grow and transform into an unbreakable diamond. You’re welcome. I’m a regular Bill Nye, you know?
A diamond, then, is formed out of significant pressure and force, enough to form an indestructible bond.
Would you believe me if I said that’s what our military marriages can be?
It takes time, pressure, and power to strengthen our marriages. It takes trials, tests, and burdens of considerable force to help us grow. And I really mean days, weeks, months, and years of what may be insanely or critically hard chapters of our lives.
Those who have been/are married to a service member aren’t strangers to difficult chapters. Oftentimes we have felt an added pressure of absent or injured spouses. And, sometimes, with all the independence we’ve gained from the copious amounts of time we spend apart, marriage to a service member doesn’t quite feel like a marriage but, rather, an agreement with a traveling roommate.
Both my spouse and I have felt the pressure and the heat increase as the duties of the military have left us feeling heavy, labored, and slowed down. Our military marriage has been wrought with tangled webs of frustration and fear, uneasiness and anger. Blame and loss.
Yet, these experiences aren’t trash-worthy, set on the curb for immediate pick-up. They are not worthless.
Take a second and glance at that diamond perched on your lovely finger. (Or if you’ve lost yours, like I have, Google has some so-so images you can take a gander at. Insert weeping emoji here.)
Just like these beautifully imperfect diamonds, we aren’t supposed to be crushed by the weight of military hardships. Ifwe can view them as such, these trials can be incredible building and shaping experiences that can mold us and form us. Transform us into the unbreakable. We are tested and pushed so we can grow and learn, so we can become better people. We’re just being handed heavier weights, which will help increase our strength and our staying power.
Here are three ways that my military life and marriage have made me a better person:
Our friends become family.
The most (un)fortunately bittersweet part of marrying into the military is the possible global relocation to duty stations, many times without want or warrant, with mere months or weeks to plan, prepare, and bid adieu. With those (many, many) moves arrive the deepest need for friends — and, quite frankly, I don’t mean acquaintances posing as fair-weather friends. I mean your people. Your tribe. Your friends-turned-family who see you and know you and feel what you feel.
We deeply value friendships. For some of us, it’s all we have. Neighbors and community members who pay attention the best they can to understand our plights, who show up with dinners and treats (always welcome, always welcome), who offer physical and emotional support as we try to navigate our own harried paths. We need you. We need your friendship. Your love. Your assistance. Your desire to love us is unequivocal in its dedication.
And we need our military people, too.
There’s a sense of belonging in the military. Connections with other spouses, friendships forged by understanding and the need for familial relationships, pressed together under intensity and strain. This combination of pressure transforms us, just as those unbreakable diamonds are formed from the deepest and roughest of earth’s elements, and we become cared for instead of careworn, hopeful instead of hurting, loved instead of lonesome.
We see each other. We ARE each other. Spouses with deployed soldiers who weep together at farewells. Who weep together at homecomings. Who weep, period. Military children who bond together with invisible ties of camaraderie, loyalty, and support. We have babies (aptly named “war babies”) who grow up together, time waging its own war as deployed parents watch them grow from the confines of a computer screen.
We share experiences and holidays, happiness and shattering grief. We share food, clearly, and many, many drinks of all forms and sizes. We share an overabundance of advice and, quite often, too much information. We throw baby showers and tout anniversaries. Together we spend nights out and game nights in, park dates, Oreo dates, and ER dates.
These are the people who know about blistering absences and unsuccessful reintegrations. Who know about the dire stresses of battle-worn spouses, about the painful and beleaguered bits of a military marriage.
Who just know.
These are my people.
Read the rest of the article at Marriage.com here