Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Difference In Love

Early in my journey as a military wife, I came to realize that my husband loves his country. He has a love for it that most people will never understand. I remember at times thinking that he must love it more then he loves me. Or maybe he doesn’t love it more; maybe it is a different kind of love. It is not the love he feels for me or for our children. I quickly accepted that if I was going to love a man who loves his country that I would spend the majority of my adult life in her shadow. We often get so accustomed to the uniforms, sea bags, separation and welcome home signs in our neighborhoods that we forget exactly what we are a part of. We are married to American heroes.  For a large majority of us, this country stole his heart before we did. It is a hard fact to face, but one of the best ones that I ever did. The longer I love him, the more I love him. I realize now that I love him because of his passion to serve, not despite his passion to serve.  The love I feel for our great country only grows each time he leaves, knowing that I share a large part of myself with her, and knowing that when she calls, he will always answer. I never asked my husband to choose, not with my words anyway. I have spent plenty of time crying on a pier, my eyes and actions begging him to stay. I have written many letters explaining the pain of him being away. I have navigated my way through Family Grams trying to tell him how I missed him and was anxiously awaiting his return to us. I wasted many 15 minute overseas phone calls sobbing. Was this asking him to choose? I can see now that it was, but it was okay because I wasn’t actually asking, right? WRONG!

I am not sure when it happened, but I finally got it; I understood the way things were. I remember when it was so hard for him to leave me. He was worried about me, the kids, everything. He had to walk away and leave us crying, begging him not go. He would come home telling how he disliked his job and how he hated leaving me. I finally saw it for what it was. He was saying these things to make me feel better, he was trying to protect me. My behavior (even though I thought I was doing well) was not good for either of us.

Now that we are both older and have several good years under our belts, I can tell you that I still don’t know when, where, or why it happened, but it happened. Something opened my eyes to my own reality. I could finally see my husband for who he was. I could see the pride in him, the undying love for his country, for me, and for our children. Most importantly, I could see the difference in these loves! He knew that no matter where duty called him, no matter how long the time or how far the distance that I was strong, I could handle it. I no longer spend my days waiting for his departure or arrival (of course I am still super happy for arrivals!). I no longer feel that I have to wait around and put my life on hold when he is home. We no longer share tearful goodbyes or pleading looks to stay; there are no unspoken words. I am not going to lie: I still enjoy the occasional uncontrollable breakdown and lock myself in the bathroom with a candy bar; but those healthy coping skills are rarely needed anymore! I am happy, he is happy, the kids are happy! What more could you ask for?

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4 Responses to “The Difference In Love”
  1. AnnaB says:

    This is so true; our husbands will always have a mistress! When my husband left or his most recent deployment, I was fighting all the emotions that go with that, plus the lack of sleep and hormonal changes from having a baby just 10 days prior. I felt so bad for not being able to hold the tears back, knowing I was making him feel guilty for leaving us.

    On the other hand, when he was on deployment was the only time I could really have a plan and be able to stick to it! The flight schedules in the P-3 world can be very crazy; we never knew what the schedule would be or the next until dinnertime (or later) the day before. I backed out of volunteer slots so many times that I finally gave up trying to volunteer when he was home, because he would have to fly at the last minute and there was no time to book a babysitter! At least when he was on deployment, I knew he wouldn’t be there so I could schedule around it. That’s not to say I didn’t bury my sorrows in the occasional chocolate bar and glass (okay, bottle) of wine. I’m not sure the saying goodbyes or the separations ever get easier, I think we just learn to cope with them better.

    • Tori says:

      AnnaB, I completely agree! I always say it never gets easier, you just get better at it!

      • CeceR says:

        Having been in the military and a navy wife, I can certainly relate with what Tori says, familygrams were the pits, couldn’t really say anything and ours were censored(being during the cold war). Homecomings were great, deployments terrible, the week before we always fought, as if that could be the reason he was gone. So many couples we knew couldn’t take the separation, extremely hard on kids, and then there was the wives with hubby on Blue patrol and boyfriend on Gold! but we persevered.
        One of the hardest things was leaving my daughter after having her baby knowing hubby was leaving in 2 days. At least now she and the kids can talk to him via skype and emails,never had that luxury.
        My heart goes out to each and every military family, because I understand the sacrifices each makes.

        • Tori says:

          Thanks for sharing your story! It is so hard on all families, maybe a little more so for certain ones, but we are all in it together. We quickly forget how much harder it was before technology came into play!

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