The First Year of Marriage in The Military

Marriage is a tough concept!

When people decide to get married, most of them think of the love and beauty mostly seen in the movies. Not the hardship, the struggle, or even the strength that it requires of a person. Now I’ve heard many times that the first year of marriage is “the hardest one to get through”, and I have to say I believe it. When you’re first married, you’re excited and happy, but what about when you move into your first house or apartment? Or just being together period! You’re taking two people with different backgrounds, different up bringing, both individuals with their bad habits and their flaws. The way one likes things done and the way the other person doesn’t like things done can become a concept not previously thought about.  Most of the time, difference in opinions are often concealed until they explode out. Understanding this is important, and with that it takes time and communication to compromise, agree and settle arguments.

Now what about the first year of marriage when you or your spouse is a service member, how are you supposed to communicate and rectify things you are disagreeing with when you only see your partner for three to four hours a day? In my own marriage things were very tough between us, as I’m trained and want my house to be generally clean. I like my bed made in the morning, I like my shaving cream, razor, toothbrush and whatever else I’m going to use in my morning routine to be neatly placed on the right side of the sink. Things that were ingrained into me at boot camp, and are hard to let go at this phase of my life.

Now my wife grew up with three sisters where if there was room for something, you put it there. Makeup filled up most of the counter tops in the bathroom. Do I expect my wife to conform to my day-to-day routines because of something my drill instructor told me I needed to do? Absolutely no!

So naturally this would irritate me, but how am I supposed to communicate this issue to my spouse in the three hours a day I get with her? Without just getting irritated and start an argument. For me what was effective was making time.

I learned I needed to focus on why I married my wife and learn how to take off my eight point when I came home. My fellow service members piece of advice, when we look in the mirror the first thing in the morning, we can say we are a Marine, a Soldier, a Sailor or an Airman. Learn that’s not what your family sees, instead when my wife sees me she doesn’t see this eagle globe and anchor, she sees her husband. She notices the father of her children, a man but never a Marine. To us we hold our service close to our hearts. But to them they hold YOU close to their hearts, not the service you joined. Make the time to have conversation, make time to spend with each other, but most importantly, love each other.

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