Warning: I may come across as very cynical and insensitive. If your feelings are easily hurt, stop reading now. (But hey, I’ve got your interest piqued now, right? You want to see what sweet Malori could say that is so cold.)
Separations are a part of everyone’s lives. We all know how painful goodbyes can be with our loved ones. None of us truly enjoy stepping outside our comfort zones. But with the military life, separations become normal. We hear of another deployment, another unaccompanied TDY (temporary duty assignment), another month-long field training. Though we as wives never jump for joy, we eventually learn to take these announcements in stride….and, dare I say it, look forward to some alone time and working on ourselves.
Having been in a long-distance relationship with Mark for four years, being together actually is abnormal for us. We are used to communicating via text, Facebook chat, and Skype…sometimes more than 7,000 miles apart. I think we have adjusted well to married life and being together every day, but right now we are going through a separation. Mark had to report to his new duty station but I still had classes and final exams to finish in Arizona. So the first week of December, the movers took most of our things away and Mark drove across the country, leaving me behind at Ft. Huachuca.
(Here come the annoying awwww‘s. Stop that.)
In the past, I have heard newly-weds complain about how “this is the first time for me and the hubby to be separated since we got married!! He’ll be on a business trip for 3 days!” *sad face* A few days? Psh. Oh yeah, and is he getting shot at by people who hate America? Didn’t think so. (That is the insensitive part.)
Perhaps I should be more understanding of civilian folks who aren’t used to frequent or prolonged separations. After all, each person is a product of their environment and you don’t know what you don’t know. If a paper cut is the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, then that is what is “bad” pain to you. And if being away from your husband for a few days due to a business trip two states away is the worst marital separation you’ve experienced, then I guess that’s hard for you. At the same time, gaining some perspective and guarding against co-dependence is always a good idea.
My perspective this holiday season is that my husband is not in a war zone and that we will actually be together for Christmas for the first time. I also don’t know what next Christmas will bring with how things are ramping up in Iraq again. With the assignment he has, I am mentally and emotionally preparing myself for him to be deployed again soon. So I really cannot complain about our longest separation as newly-weds. Plus, during these 16 days apart I am getting to do some awesome stuff: I’m driving solo across the country, I’m spending a week with my family, I’m hanging out with close friends….and most importantly, I’m gaining more appreciation for Mark while looking forward to being reunited. I think this plays perfectly into the concept of being an interdependent couple. I want to co-author a blog post with Mark on this subject because we both think it’s extremely important – but basically, we need to have the capacity to thrive in independence and to have a healthy dependence on each other at the appropriate times. Our individual strengths shore up each other’s weaknesses, and that is one of the beauties of marriage.