At least once new and seasoned spouses have all asked themselves the same question: How do I maintain a normal & healthy marriage; if there is one?! There are no simple or quick fixes and let’s face it; being a Marine Corps wife can compound the challenge. There’s no 9-5 civilian job to mull over. At the very beginning we discuss funeral wishes, Wills & POA’s when most couples are still in the honeymoon phase. Absolutely no one has a perfect marriage but hopefully we can all learn from others’ experiences to obtain or maintain a healthy marriage.
1) Communication. Learning the art of having a solid positive communicative foundation in your relationship is a hurdle you have to learn to jump because issues only get more complex as the years go by. Active listening means just that LISTENING. Not nagging or thinking of a come back as soon as they open their mouths. Fluffy surface stuff like “hi/bye, kiss me, I love you” get you nowhere as well. I mean deep conversations into the how, why & plan of action for confrontational in-laws, finances, overspending, financial planning, how to raise your kids, ect. Two people have become one and finding a neutral ground of compromise is a delicate balance. Compromise doesn’t mean submission it means you can have an honest conversation without feeling slighted or run over.
2) Maintenance. You get out of your marriage what you put into it. You don’t overheat your car without getting it checked out; the same concept goes for a marriage. Aboard almost all bases there are counselors & classes like the 5 Love Languages and the 4 Lenses which introduce you to personality types and how to mesh them into your relationship so both parties feel validated, important and respected. People go to the doctor for regular check-ups & maintenance is the same thing to prevent serious issues.
3) Reality. We live a unique life where it takes tremendous effort to communicate & maintain our marriage due to unaccompanied duty stations, deployments, trainings, ect. Marine Corps marriage is a huge reality check. Priorities have to shifted because reality is you cant get upset when he isn’t around or remembers to celebrate that second Wednesday in June when you two kissed for the third time under a full moon and you were wearing red heels with your favorite jeans.
4) Salt & Pepper. Everyone knows salt and pepper are always added and additional spices as needed and so should be certain things in a marriage. Always have undeniable love, respect, support, thoughtfulness, understanding and patience for each other and the spicy romance & extra goodies should automatically follow suit.
We’ve all heard the saying that anything worth fighting for won’t be easy and thats exactly what Marine Corps marriage is. Marriage is meant to complement your attributes and personality so while you’ll constantly evolve into being a better person and an outstanding Marine Corps spouse because of your Marine remember to enjoy the ride along the way. A spoonful of sugar will not make our lives easier as much as I’d love it to but leaning on each other for support and following the steps above may help a bit.