If there is one thing in my life that is not meant to be, it is for me to be alone. I’m not talking like at work. I’m talking at home, in my daily life, where there is supposed to be a schedule — normalcy.
Later on this week, Shane and I will be celebrating one year since we had our first date. It’s amazing how fast our lives adjusted to one another. That first couple of weeks were spent with many nights awake until 1 or 2:00 AM (in which most cases, he still had a 45 minute drive back home just to take a small nap, wake up at 4:30 AM or so and begin his work day) just sitting outside discussing anything from the stars in the sky to where we saw ourselves within 5 years.
But, after two weeks, we faced our first trial. He was leaving for two weeks with the Guards for their yearly training. I was trying not to rush into this relationship but I already knew that I loved him and I knew that I wanted to make this work; no matter what. I wrote Shane a letter in a notebook that he was told to read when he was up there and got lonely or if he got bored. It took everything I had to word things in a way to where he knew how I felt without totally putting myself out there to get hurt. (I won’t write what it was because I plan on reading it at our ceremony in September)
Those two weeks were tough. I felt like when he left, he took a part of me with him. Even though I had two roommates, a dog and a cat in the same house, it wasn’t the same. I felt incomplete. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I barely functioned at work, and I cried a lot; like a lot a lot. Slowly, those two weeks passed and being back in his arms was the best feeling ever.
Things evolved quickly when he got back. When I lived in Marshall, seeing each other often was easy; I had a consistent work schedule, he worked in Marshall, and with our evenings off, it made it pretty easy.
Then I moved to Brookings. I moved into a large house and got a job where consistency didn’t exist. Actually, not much of anything but entitled owners and lack of communication existed there. So, it is safe for you to assume that my paychecks were less than what I was hired at. I was putting in as many hours as I could while being in school. If I wasn’t at work, I was somewhere with internet to do homework. If I wasn’t one of those two places, I was at Shane’s. Not far into the move and struggling to make ends meet with a pay cut, I discussed with Shane the option of a roommate. Motion passed.
Then, things went wrong. (You can read that here.) From there, I made a quick move to Shane’s.
So, as you can see, I’ve always had someone around me at any given time. Working backwards, I currently live with my husband and our kids, before that was one roommate, before that was two roommates, before that was two roommates, before that was one roommate, before that was me myself and I. We are talking a good 5-6 years since I’ve lived by myself.
Fast forward to this year, Shane is now back at training and the kids are back with their moms. I’m struggling to adjust. I’ve been able to talk to some one, be around some one, and rely on someone being there for so many years that I’ve forgotten how to be alone. I’ve purposely kept myself insanely busy the first few days to keep my mind from wondering, but now I’ve reached a lull and find my mind is becoming my worst enemy.
I am by myself, whether I want to be or not. I’m going to bed alone, I’m waking up alone, I’m cooking for one, and I’m doing laundry and dishes for one.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say “I wish I could just ship my husband/wife off for two weeks! He/She’s so frustrating/irritating/annoying/etc.” I’ve heard it in stores, I’ve heard it at my previous college, I’ve heard it in different jobs that I’ve held, and sadly, I’ve heard it in churches.
Let me tell you men and women who have said this at any point in time, it is not fun to have the one person you depend on most hours away from you. I’ll tell you the things that we have to endure while he is at training. The “Good Morning” texts come in when the service picks up enough to deliver a text that was sent 3 hours ago. The choppy phone calls make it incredibly difficult to have a decent conversation; “Huh?” “What did you say?” “What was that?” “Honey… I can’t hear you…” finally ending in a dropped call. You try to send pictures; failed. You try to Skype/Facetime; frozen. You finally get enough service to make a call and you have to talk over radios and other guard members in the background. The “Good Night. I love you”s are exchanged at the end of that frustrating call if at all some nights.
It’s not fun. It’s frustrating.
You may not realize how much you really depend on them being there until they aren’t there to help you do things or to get other things done while you are at work or busy with something else. Any idea of time management that you had goes right out the window.
I don’t take my time for granted with him because I know what time we get, especially while he is gone, is very limited. But it just blows my mind that some husbands and wives out there take for granted that their spouse will always be there.
I hate to be a Debbie downer but what were to happen if there was an accident? Your loved one could be gone in the blink of an eye. Would you be happy with how things have gone in your marriage? Is there anything that you would regret saying to their face or behind their back? Sadly, many of those individuals who I have asked (in casual conversation, not as ridicule) said that they wouldn’t be happy if something happened because they let their mouth get away on them.
Having Shane in the military has taught me a lot (but that’s a different post for another day), but the main thing is even told to us in the Bible. James 1:19 “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” I have my moments of anger and frustration, but I try to not let it get away on me.
My time with him is limited. So is your time with your spouse.
Just keep one thing in mind next time you complain about your spouse being annoying, frustrating, or irritating: there is a military spouse somewhere just wishing that their spouse could be home so they could have times of frustration, times of irritation, and times of annoyance.
Even my time apart from my soldier is a drop in the bucket compared to what some husbands and wives have to endure.
Please, do not take advantage of the time you have. When you get married, you vow for the good times and the bad; not just for the good times. You never know when that time will be taken away.