by Megan Casper
Let’s get real shall we? It’s not always rainbows and roses being married to a member of the military.
Yes, there are incredible rewards and honor in the roles of both “service member” and “spouse of a service member”, but there are also many moments of fear, uncertainty, loneliness and even heartache.
Deployments, moves, constant schedule changes, jobs that can’t always be explained or even discussed all impact immediate and extended family’s lives.
Then you mix it all together and add in the honest-to-goodness fear and sadness that can creep in when the person you have chosen to do life with is sent to a location you have never seen, can’t visit and aren’t even sure what is happening in their day to day life. This heavy load can take an incredible toll on everyone.
It is certainly not always easy being married to the military, but it is worth it.
My co-owner Alana even expressed in her post last week that being a military spouse could even be considered a “calling”.
While it takes a special sort of person, I also know first hand it creates a special person.
You may not know what you signed up for when you get started, but you learn fast and mold to the flexible, resilient and self-sacrificing spouse you were meant to be. (Of course this helps when your spouse is appreciative, understanding and communicates as much as they are able!)
However, the trouble creeps in when people often lack the knowledge, time and resources to communicate with each other while they are living together, much less while they are apart.
During deployments, trainings, and busy times, you get in your groove and start to live more independently out of the need to survive and protect yourself from fear and pain.
You talk less or maybe you just share less as you don’t want to burden or worry your partner. Instead you begin to show annoyance, distance and maybe even a cold heart. The danger continues as you isolate from one another during deployments, moves, bouts of uncertainty and conversations where your spouse says things like “I’m not sure when I am leaving or how long I will be gone”, “I’m not sure what I will be doing exactly”, and maybe the worst one: “I don’t know how much I will get to talk to you”. Talk about needing to continually work to build and maintain trust!
If you need more facts about the stressors see this Huffington Post article which outlines 10 Things you might not know about military marriages. The article includes things like: Military spouses can lose their sense of self, since their partner’s career of service often takes precedence over theirs, military spouses can have a harder time finding work than their partners who served and military couples can’t plan anything in advance — not even their kids’ birthday parties — which can continually test their marriages. While many things can be turned into a positive, the struggle to work through the issues still remains.
No one goes into marriage thinking “This will probably fail” or “I am not sure I want this to last”.
No, we go into it with high hopes, rose colored glasses, and passion, not even realizing we don’t have tools or time to work on marriage.
Because marriage is work. And being married to the military can be even more work at times. I recognize that not just military spouses have stress in marriage (my husband enlisted a year and half after we married and I remember other stressors we faced prior).
But according to Forbes, the enlisted service member is still the most stressful job in America. The job is stressful which puts the strain on everyone around them. I know both enlisted and officer wives who live stressful lives for different reasons, but often all equal in the level of stress.
All military marriages are unique when compared to other relationships as you know right from the beginning the military is first. They control where, when and how you live. They control when things are going to change and what that looks like.
In most other careers you choose or you can say “no”, but not so in the military. You just go. You do. To borrow a favorite phrase from a dear friend, you “Suck it up, Buttercup” and make the most of it, no matter what the “it” is.
While military marriages can seem crazy stressful at times, they are incredibly rewarding when partners have tools to keep them going strong. Spouses need to continually being moved towards each other to keep their relationship strong.
And this is the heart behind The Six Box. We started The Six Box because we wanted to do something practical to help military marriages and relationships to survive and thrive through all stages of service.
We wanted to create a meaningful, positive and easy way to support spouses holding down the fort. We believe in the power and beauty of marriage and how much impact a positive marriage has on everyone in immediate and extended families, friends, organizations, churches, countries, etc.
This vision for impacting military marriages impacts every aspect of The Six Box, right down to the products we choose to go in the box.
We set out to encourage, uplift and honor the military spouses in our lives who might be alone during a deployment or training, a woman moving across the country with three kids or a young wife needing some encouragement as she tries to adjust to life as a new spouse married to the military.
Here’s how we are working to make our vision a reality in each and every Six Box:
We want to see military marriages make it. While there is encouraging news out there that divorce rates aren’t as high as they used to be, we still believe they need more tools to thrive.
We are military spouses who believe in military spouses and relationships and desire to see them thrive. Our greatest hope is that we can be a small part of encouraging and building strong military marriages and families. The Six Box isn’t just another subscription box; this is a tool to encourage, support and uplift.
We thank you so much for your support of our mission and hope you continue to share and grow with us!
If you or someone you know is looking for a few quick ideas on how to strengthen your relationship check out these links: