Marriage is hard. There’s no questioning that. But I was up for the challenge when I decided to marry Zack. I wasn’t scared of how much work it would be or whether or not we could handle it because together, I know we can handle anything. But adding the military and over 7,000 miles of distance to a marriage is like a test to see just how much a person can take and just how much a marriage can handle. Add in a little depression and anxiety and it makes it an even bigger challenge some days. As much as I don’t like to admit it, I’ve had way too many moments where I’ve felt like I was at my breaking point. Moments where I question how much more of this I can deal with and moments where I feel like completely giving up. We’re only at the halfway point, and I’m left feeling so unbelievably exhausted in every way imaginable. Mentally, emotionally, physically. I’m tired.
I’m tired of arguing over things that really don’t matter. I’m tired of saying things we don’t mean and taking out our anger on each other simply because we’re frustrated with the situation. I’m tried of never knowing when I’ll get to talk to him again or when I’ll get the chance to FaceTime with him. I’m tired of not being able to have a life with him or do simple relationship things like date nights. I’m tired of the military always coming first and feeling like our marriage isn’t important and that I’m not important. I know that it’s not his fault. I know that he’s trying and does everything he can to make this easier on me. But it still hurts. We’ve officially realized that choosing to have him reenlist was the worst choice we’ve made so far in our marriage. It’s been an unnecessary strain on our relationship and we’re over it.
I don’t understand how people manage to do this and make it all work out. I look at other spouses who have been through multiple deployments and I just don’t now how they do it. I couldn’t imagine doing this all over again. I don’t want to make it sound like I literally can’t survive without him, but it’s been hard. He’s my best friend. He’s the first person I tell things to and the only one I want to talk to when I’m having a bad day. He knows how to make me feel better and is my biggest supporter in anything and everything I choose to do. He has such a big personality that it feels very empty here without him. It’s lonely.
It’s hard to remind myself that this is only temporary. That this isn’t going to last forever. There will be an end to all of this. I’m so excited for him to come home. I’m excited to start our family and purchase our first home and watch our children grow up. I’m so excited to be able to cheer him on and be there for his accomplishments and support him through the tough times. There’s so much to look forward to.
We’re going to fight. That’s a given. We’re going to say things we don’t mean and do things that we end up regretting. I’m not always going to like him and I know there will be moments where he’s not my biggest fan either. It happens in every marriage. No marriage is perfect. It’s just a matter of finding a way to get through it together.
Communication is so important in any relationship. If there’s an issue, say something. Don’t let it build up so long that it turns into an explosive fight. Learn how to express your needs and wants clearly and listen to what your partner has to say. Sometimes your spouse might have a different love language than you too. And that’s okay. Knowing your spouse’s love language will make it so much easier for you to effectively communicate with them and show you love and care about them. I strongly believe that a marriage cannot be successful without good communication from both of you. It’s a team effort.
Remember that you’re a team.
Speaking of team effort, remember that the two of you are on the same team. It can be hard to remember it in the moment, but it’s important to take a step back and think about this. Your experiences might be slightly different, but you’re still going through this together. I don’t always think about the fact that this year apart is just as hard for Zack as it is for me. He might not always show it, but he hates this too. At the end of the day, we’re a team. And I couldn’t possibly ask for a better teammate.
Say ‘I love you’.
We make it a priority to remind each other that we love one another even when we’re in the middle of argument. We also always make it a habit to say ‘I love you’ before we part ways for the day or before we go to bed at night. I think it’s especially important for us to do that because of his job. Zack’s a police officer and his life is on the line every single day. The fact that he does to work carrying a gun, scares the crap out of me. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to him and I never got the chance to tell him I loved him that day.
Choose to love your spouse.
I believe that love is a choice. I don’t remember where I first heard this, but after reading the article, I couldn’t have agreed more. Real love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. That amazing feeling of falling in love wont always be present. We choose to love our spouse for better and worse. I take marriage very seriously. It’s a lifelong commitment. So I choose to love Zack every single day. I choose to love him even on the days he makes me angry and he does the same when I’m the one being difficult. Choose your love your spouse no matter what.
Plan some one-on-one time.
It can be easy to forget about date nights. Life happens and sometimes it gets in the way. But it’s important to set aside time in your day or your week to have some uninterrupted one-on-one time. Date your spouse and continue to talk and get to know each other. Use this time to do something you love and rekindle the spark. There are so many ways to reconnect with one another and get your marriage back on track.
Regardless of everything our marriage is going through and the challenges, we’ve faced, I wouldn’t change a thing. I know we’ll be so much stronger as a couple by the end of this. If someone had told me when I first started to fall in love with Zack that this is where’d be in three years and that this is what we’d be going through, I still would have chosen him. I’d choose him every single time.
What do you do when marriage becomes challenging? How do you handle it and move past it?