I Could Have Been A Soldier’s Wife…

I had two men propose to me in a very short period of time.  One, the soldier, I dated for over two years, spent time with his family, did the holiday shuffle, and tested our relationship with two road trips.  He is a great guy, incredibly intelligent, and never home.  Such is a soldier’s life.  I would have spent a lot of time on my own, raising my children practically on my own, putting in time at the Officer’s Club and the Ladies Auxiliary to prove I was worthy of my absent husband.  Only when I took a step back from that relationship did I realize that that would never have made me happy.  I loved him, but I would have lived a mostly solitary existance far away from my friends and family, and for someone who is clinically depressed, that is not a good idea.  The soldier now thinks I’m weak, slightly crazy, and a liar (since I said I would love hom forever and he thinks that ending a relationship means ending love as well).  That is the black-and-white thinking I could have been subjected to for the rest of my life.

The second, a musician, seems in many ways to be an antithesis of the first.  I met him a month after breaking up with the soldier, moved in three months later, and was engaged nine months after that.  It sounds like a rebound relationship, I know, but it’s lasted 7 years, so I think we’re okay.  I didn’t meet his family until after we were engaged.  He’s less than perfect, intelligent, incredibly funny, and always home.   I can always call him when I need something, he has an amazing relationship with our son, and most of our friends don’t give a damn about whether I wear appropriate clothing and jewelry for each occasion.  It was my relationship with the soldier that made me see what is truly important in my life.  The relationship I have with my family, the ability to do the work I love without being uprooted every few years, and a true partnership in child rearing is as close to happiness as clinical depression can get.  When I’m frustrated or tired, angry or sad, I remind myself of one simple and life altering decision – I could have been a soldier’s wife.


8 Responses to “I Could Have Been A Soldier’s Wife…”

  1. August 18, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    I think I would find it very hard to be the partner of anyone who puts their life at risk.

  2. August 18, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I have always felt family comes before career so I too would have had a hard time being the spouse of a military person.

  3. 3 unitedwelay1
    August 18, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    The people who can do it are amazing. It is extremely difficult and painful on many levels. The women who are good at it are to be comended. I’m just not one of them. It’s important that I figured that out before I accepted the proposal. I wish I had figured it out before we got so involved because I know ending our relationship hurt him.

  4. 4 Mike
    August 18, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I was the soldier, rather military pilot, married to one who made the choice you did not. She found out too late that it was not the lifestyle she desired, and that she wanted companionship. I couldn’t fault her for that, as I was gone almost three years of our struggling five year marriage. In the end, she was gone when I came home at one point. Saw her months later for a tearful goodbye, but I know she was much happier. I continued to spend months and years away from home, half way across the globe. It would never have worked. Such is the story for so many. I am proud and thankful for having served and appreciate the experiences. Now I have a young son that I look at with greater pride, amazement and wonder, and his mom with whom I’ve been married to for a decade. Life is, as you said, about choices, and no path is perfect. I always wonder what might have been, but I’m glad for what is now.

  5. August 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    It’s interesting to look back and try to imagine what your life would be like if you’d done something differently. I can indentify several crossroads in my life that, had I gone the other way, I might be in an entirely different place. I’m happy where I’m at and with what I’ve got – but it is interesting to consider the what if’s. I don’t think I could be married to anyone who was gone for significant periods of time, regardless of the reason.

  6. 6 unitedwelay1
    August 19, 2008 at 9:08 am

    The military isn’t an easy life, and like I said, I have a lot of respect for the women who can handle it. There are many who can’t or won’t, and they shouldn’t be faulted for it.

    The Fest got me thinking about that. At one point I looked at my husband and said, “This is NOT where I’d be right now if I had been a soldie,r’s wife.” I doubt tha I would have been somewhere better, even if it was in a different country where I was learning the local culture. We have our problems, but I am happy with me life the way it is.

  7. August 27, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I am so glad that things are working out for you now.
    Enjoy your baby, enjoy going back to work, I even hope you enjoy ragging on religion (though you know how much I disagree with that one) . We all make choices. It is important that we find ourselves pleased with the ones we’ve made.

  8. 8 unitedwelay1
    August 28, 2008 at 6:09 am

    I’m trying not to rage so much on religion. Wrath is a deadly sin. Instead, I’m trying to look at it critically and disect what I agree and disagree with. Thanks for the warm wishes. My son is doing very well, and I love my job even though it’s stressful and crazy. I’m content with my choices right now, and I’m really hoping to stay that way.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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