Which is it?

I have recently noticed a hypocrisy within the military significant other community, and I wonder if I am the first to observe this.

One of my big pet peeves with military significant others are those who think their service members, and their relationship, is “better” than a civilian. I can’t help but cringe everything I see an Instagram or Facebook insulting and putting down civilians. As if joining the military automatically makes a man better or a relationship better.

And yet at the same time, I constantly see women lamenting about how difficult being a military spouse is, and how undesirable it is.

I can’t find the photo of the other e-card I saw, but it was something along the lines of “you think being a military wife is romantic? You must like being alone”

I also saw one that said “I didn’t choose this life, I chose him. I wouldn’t be a MilSO if I had a choice”

So which is it?

Is being a military spouse a fairytale romance that is beyond what any civilian relationship could be? Or is it an undesirable burden that no woman would voluntarily wish for? You can’t have it both ways ladies!

Advertisements

TBT: Let’s get married!

Jeremy and I had been dating for about 4-5 months when we started talking seriously about marriage.

I remember once sitting outside talking to my mom on the phone and telling her that things were going good with Jeremy (my mom is awesome, I call her for everything). I said “Mom, he says he wants to marry me“. My mom played it cool (having your 19 year old daughter spill that news after a few months of dating is enough to freak out any Mom) and said she that he must really love me.

And he did.

Jeremy would start dropping little hints of “when we are married….” or “after we are married…” in daily conversation.

It freaked me out at first. Jeremy was my 2nd real relationship, and we had jumped from dating to “this relationship is heading towards marriage” in just a few months! (Later on Jeremy told me that he started doing that to ease me into the idea, so that when he actually proposed I would say yes lol).

I had always thought I would be done with college and graduate school and have a career before I got married. I figured I would be in my late 20’s, have my own apartments and my own life. But there I was, 19, a sophomore in college, living in the living room of an apartment with 3 other roommates and thinking seriously about getting married to this guy.

Jeremy says that he didn’t think the idea of contemplating marriage at 19 when you’ve been dating for less than 6 months was a crazy idea. His words were something along the lines of, “how I was raised, when you met the person you don’t want to live without, you get married”. Adorable, right?! He is a very old-fashioned kind of guy, with old-fashioned values.

But I had my doubts about our relationship. Not about how it was then, I loved him and I was the happiest I had ever been. What I doubted was our long-term longevity. He was a small-town Marine from Wisconsin who eventually wanted to settle down in Wisconsin and own a farm. I was a college girl who had lived her whole life in liberal California, I wanted a career and couldn’t picture myself anywhere by California. I questioned if we had the same morals, the same goals, the same plans. Do we want kids? How do we want to raise them? Where do we want to live? So many questions.

We had many conversations about our future and our compatibility. Mostly started by me, Jeremy was ready to jump in and leave it all to chance lol. Even at 19 I knew that there is so much more that goes into a successful marriage than just love. Of course, compatibility does not guarantee that a marriage will last, but neither does love. I figured that if we could hash out the compatibility aspect, then the love would get us the rest of the way.

untitled.bmp

Soul Mate

This post was shared on my FB today, and caught my eye (catchy title: “my husband is not my soul mate” lol). It’s actually the second blog I’ve read recently about soul mates, so the idea of soul mates has been on my mind. The world is sending me signs, apparently!

I do not believe in soul mates. I’ve never felt that there was only one special person for me out there, only one person that I could live happily ever after with. I think there are many people that I could be compatible with. I think that I could be happily married to a man other than my husband.

With that being said, that does not mean that I want to divorce my husband or that I do not love him and will pass him up when someone else “compatible” comes along.

What makes Jeremy my “soul mate” is that I stopped looking when I met him. We are compatible and in love, therefore I chose to marry him and everyday I chose to love him and commit to him again. And I plan to do so for the rest of our lives.

So if one of my other potential “soul mates” comes along, they are out of luck, because I have chosen my life partner already.

I don’t believe that marriage and love is not our of our control, that we are “fated” to end up with a certain person who we have no choice over. I think when people view love as some magical unstoppable force, they take away personal responsibility. This author explains it perfectly:

But what happens to these people when the unstoppable and uncontrollable force that prompted them to start loving, lets them stop loving, or love someone else?

What happens is a world where most marriages end in divorce, and even those that don’t are often unhappy.

My marriage is not based on a set of choices over which I had no control. It is based on a daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love.

I like it better this way, with the pressure on me and not on fate, cosmos, or divinity. I will not fall out of love, cannot fall out of love, because I willingly dived in and I’m choosing daily to stay in. This is my joyous task, my daily decision. This is my marriage.

IMG_3301

“Maybe that’s what it all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way. And maybe making that choice, again and again, day in and day out, year after year, says more about love than never having a choice to make at all.”

Expectations

Yesterday I was annoyed with my husband.

This was the situation:

It was Saturday.

Jeremy had told me a few days earlier that he was going to work on his dirt bike and wash the Jeep on Saturday. In my mind, I had assumed that would take place later in the day, perhaps after we laid around in bed for a few hours and had breakfast together.

So when I woke up on Saturday morning to an empty bed, I was confused. Jeremy texted me that he was out changing the oil on his bike, exactly like he had told me he was going to.  I entertained myself for the rest of the morning, and then started to get annoyed that he wasn’t home yet, since I wanted to spend time together.

He ended up coming home around 4pm, which was when we were supposed to leave to go over to a friends house for dinner. He came home in a rush, showered and was ready to go with barely a hello kiss.

I was moody and annoyed, feeling like he was ignoring me and not meeting my emotional needs. I was thinking that he needed to apologize and be more romantic and affectionate since I had missed spending time with him all day.

As we were in the car driving to meet our friends, I realized that I was upset because he had not met my expectations. Expectations that I had not communicated to him. Expectations that were different than his expectations for the day.

I had expected to spend the morning with him before he went out to work on his bike. He had expected to work on his bike all day and run errands, which he thought he had communicated to me already.

Neither one of us was wrong, we had just not understood each others expectations of the other person.

TBT: Meeting the Parents

Jeremy and I had been dating for about 4 months when I took him to meet my family for the first time.

My Uncle was celebrating a big birthday (his 50th, I think) and in celebration, his wife rented the beach house that our family goes to every year for the 4th of July and threw a big party/family reunion.

Although we hadn’t been dating for very long, things felt serious with Jeremy and I wanted him to meet my family. Since we were living on the opposite side of the state from them, it was more convenient to make one trip and meet everyone at once (aka: throw him to the wolves lol). So not only did he meet my Dad, Step-Mom, Sister and Brother for the first time, he also met all of my Cousins, Aunts and Uncles on my Step-Mom’s side of the family.

The whole trip was going very well (Jeremy is a very likable guy!), until my Dad stuck up a conversation with him about his hobbies. My Dad was impressed with his work ethic when Jeremy told stories about working on the farm throughout high school. Somehow that conversation lead to my Dad asking if he hunts. Jeremy got so excited, thinking that they might have something in common and enthusiastically shared that he does hunt and loves it.

My sister immediately looked like a sad puppy at the idea of animals being hurt (she used to free lady bugs and rollie-pollies when they got into the house when we were kids) and my Dad was not impressed by the killing of animals for sport.

Did I mention my family is very liberal? They live in California, after all lol.

Needless to say, my husband put a stop to that conversation and sadly has no one in my family that shares his love of hunting. To this day he still refers to that conversation as the reason my Dad “hates” him.

He and my Dad have now connected over golf, a much safer hobby to share lol.

The other fun fact from that trip is the below photo. I have 2 other female cousins, one is 2 years older than me, the other is 4 years older. We all had started dating guys in May 2008, we all brought them to that trip and we all ended up marrying them!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Dreaded “D” Word

Yesterday my husband texted me as I was on my way to work:

“So Gunny is asking me if I would be willing to push recruiting orders back to go to Afghan….”

My response was: what do you think about it and which would be better for your career?

At that moment, I realized that I am truly a “seasoned” military spouse. I had pretty much no emotional reaction to the news of another upcoming deployment.

It’s not that I love deployments, or want my husband to leave.

After thinking it over, I’ve narrowed it down to two things.

#1: Deployments are part of military life. When someone is in the military, deployments are part of their job. It’s expected. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but for me, it does mean that the news of a deployment doesn’t surprise me or turn my world upside down.

#2: I want my husband to have a successful career. A successful career relies on promotions, which often rely on deployments/experience. Therefore I support my husband volunteering for another deployment, because I don’t see it as him wanting to leave me, but as him wanting to be the best Marine that he can.

Everyone of course has different feelings and reactions to deployments, I certainly don’t propose that my opinion is normal or what everyone should strive towards. But for me, as the spouse of a career Marine, it works.

On a side note, I would rather him do recruiting since we have prepared for that, but it turns out this “request” is not actually a request and they might force him to deploy again at the end of the year. Typical Marine Corps.

Image

saying goodbye before his first deployment – Afghanistan 2010

Mediocre Love

“Unless it is mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love should not be one of them.”

I saw this quote the other day, and it stuck with me because I’m not sure that I agree with it.

One thing that I love the most about my relationship with Jeremy is that it is easy. Our love is not one of highs and lows. It’s a steady and consistent love.

Perhaps that makes it mediocre?

I would never describe my love for my husband as mad or passionate. I would use words like: steady, reliable, comfortable, unwavering.

Maybe for some people that would translate to boring.

But for me, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted. I want a love that will last a lifetime. I want a companion to spend my life with. I want someone who I know will be by my side long after the “passion” has faded.

I don’t want madness. I want easy/effortless. I don’t want extraordinary. I want reliable. I don’t want passionate. I want steady.

184908_10150100358886819_3270682_n

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

I LOVE the golden hour. It is pretty much the only time I will shoot. I am a big fan of glowing soft light, I think it makes photographs more dynamic and visually intriguing.

Last month a friend of mine asked me to do family pictures for her. She had a patriotic theme in mind that sounded awesome, so I happily agreed. We had plans the next weekend to go to the pool together and she asked if we could do it after that. I told her that we should wait and do it in the evening before sunset (the golden hour), and although it was an awkward time of day for her, she deferred to my “expertise”

After I edited the photos and shared them with her she posted them on FB and got tons of great feedback. She told me that she raved about me to her friends and family and really appreciated the fact that I knew when the best time to take photos was, directed them in poses and the location of the shoot. <— I think all of those things, but especially the time of day, is what contributes to beautiful photos

This shot was her favorite (and mine)

Image

Backlit photos are difficult for me to shoot, and it’s something I’ve been continuing to work on. But I love how the light makes even simple poses and backdrops frame worthy photos

Image

Image

TBT: I Love You

This is my 100th post! Wow, I can’t believe I have that much to say! lol

Speaking of which, I haven’t gotten very far in retelling my husband and I’s love story.

I left off after our first date. After that weekend we officially began dating and dove head first into a committed relationship.

Since I was living in San Diego and Jeremy was working/living about an hour away up at Camp Pendleton, we only saw each other on the weekends. Jeremy would drive down on Friday night and spend the weekend with me then drive back up Sunday morning/afternoon to get his hair cut, do his laundry and get ready for the next week. During the week we would text and talk on the phone every day.

Things were pretty uneventful for us. We are both simple people and spent most of our weekends just laying around the house together or going to the movies and out to dinner. My roommate was also dating one of Jeremy’s friend, so we spent time together with them until they broke up.

We fell in love quickly and completely. Being together felt so easy and effortless.

I was the first one to say “I love you”.

Before we said the L word, we used to say “you make me so happy”.

One night (after a few weeks of dating, 3 or 4 I think), we were laying in bed looking into each other’s eyes (because that’s what you do in new relationships lol) and Jeremy said “you make me so happy”, and I said “I love you”

He said “I love you too”

laying around the house

laying around the house

Soldier Successfully Refuses Deployment to Afghanistan

Has everyone seen this story already? It came to my attention today when it seemed to go viral on my FB. Apparently this Soldier got out of a deployment and people are calling him a “hero” for his actions.

Politically, I’ve always been a little on the outside of my social group. I am a pretty liberal Military Wife and a fairly conservative Social Worker. But I seem to be in concurrence with my fellow military family when it comes to this story.

As I was looking up other articles (something less biased then an organization titled “we don’t have to go to Afghanistan”) and I found this similar article, but one that allowed comments.

This one comment pretty much summed up how I feel about the issue:

1) Joined under his own free will

2) Took an oath – Lied under oath

3) Signed a contract – a) accepted pay on a contract he did not intend to honor (b) accepted training at others expense to fulfill a contract he did not intend to honor (c) accepted travel for training that he had no intention of using  to fulfill the contract (d) was issued uniforms and equipment for a contract he was not going to honor

4) Poses in a uniform intended for battle use smiling

5) Cries CO when he faces having to put boots on the ground in a foreign land holding a rifle but from reports I have heard has no  problem in a support role.

Whaaaat??? yes other media sources are also reporting that he may deployed in a rear position away from combat in a support role? Sooo you can object and still willfully support the action?

He poses in a battle uniform and also in pictures where a female is wearing a sweatshirt saying “ARMY WIFE” yet they object to what the US Army is doing.  Take off that uniform Troop. That uniform is reserved for real soldiers. Stand down and face the charges which I think should be (a) lying under oath (b) Grand Theft for taking money and training and supplies for a contract you did not intend to honor. Face the charges and then accept your dishonorable discharge. You should not be allowed to serve helping real soldiers that did their job… You don’t have to go in to combat and kill to be a HERO but to be a HERO you have to serve with HONOR. Christopher Munoz has NO HONOR

What do you all think? Is he honorable or dishonorable? Should military members have the choice to deploy? Should he get a dishonorable discharge?