Surprised? Don’t be. All around me I see mixed feelings and emotions towards different branches, and it’s really easy to say that we “hate” them sometimes. Either it’s the “hurry up and wait” or the distance, or all the little things that get under our skin. I certainly understand that level of frustration 100%. But lately I’ve been reminded of some of the wonderful things that the Army has done for Kyle and I. Here’s why I’m saying “Thank You”!
For making us stronger
This is double sided, because we made ourselves stronger too. We learned to deal with the madness that is a military lifestyle. We roll with the punches, even on our worst days. But if it weren’t for Kyle joining the military, we wouldn’t be as strong as we are today. We wouldn’t know separation, or teamwork, or trust the way that we do. We wouldn’t have fallen apart, only to be built into something so much greater. His service challenged me and our relationship to lean on each other, which is something I had never done with anyone.
For reminding us where we started
It’s easy to forget those “first kiss” feelings, and lose that spark in your relationship. But when your routine is always changing, it forces that relationship to keep changing. We’ve managed to evolve through the change and distance, and become better people both together and apart. We’re always reminded of the people we were when it all began, and that makes it even more amazing to see how far we’ve come since then.
For reminding us to have our own dreams
When Kyle decided to join the military, I supported it 100%. I knew that it meant I would have to sacrifice some things, but we always agreed that this never meant I would have to give up my own dreams. Truth be told, the most important ones have Kyle in them anyways. But I also dreamed of graduating college, having a career in communications/marketing, traveling, buying a home, etc. Kyle always dreamed of the places he could take his military career, and having a civilian job that uses all of those skills. We both understood how important it was for us to keep our own identities in our military relationship. Looking back and knowing that we have mastered this, and accomplished some of these things already is a sure sign that there’s so much more to come. We will always push each other to accomplish all of those dreams and goals, together and apart.
For teaching us to “deal with it”
There’s going to be a lot of situations in our lives where simply “dealing with it” is the only option. We’ve already faced some of these circumstances, whether it was due to distance or other factors that were out of our control. There’s nothing you can do to prepare for this process, except the simple act of going through it yourself. I can sit here and try to describe the frustrations that come with “dealing with it” but there aren’t enough words. It all comes down to this: You can either fight with each other, or against each other.
For forcing us to be honest
There were times when Kyle was away that I didn’t want to tell him that I was sad, or that I missed him a lot that day. I didn’t want him to know that I cried over the coffee that I spilled in my car, or that all of my homework blew out of my hands and spewed across the school parking lot. I didn’t want to tell him about the way my heart hurt when I found his tee-shirt in our laundry, or how his dog would sit on his side of the bed, wondering where he was. Because I couldn’t help but worry that those little things would get to him. That they would eat away at the things he needed to focus on.
But we learned that regardless of how difficult it can be, those little triumphs and failures are what keep us connected. If you hide things and you skip over important details of your everyday life, it creates a distance that can’t always be repaired. Add that distance to the physical distance that we often deal with, and it can become a real issue. So we stay honest with each other, no matter what.