Monday, December 5, 2011

Military Monday: What's Going to Change?

I have had lots of new military wives ask me this question:  What's going to change when my husband gets home from Basic Training or an overseas deployment? Some are very concerned, and I don't blame them.  I have heard people, who know jack about military people, say they come back trigger happy with a thirst for shooting everyone and everything -- what a pack of lies!  And there are always the horror stories of the loved one coming back and saying they don't want to be married anymore... so it is a wonder that these new military wives have worries, they have probably heard it all too.

I don't know how much changes when a husband gets back from war, because Ben hasn't been there yet... hopefully, there are some wives out there that can answer that question.  What I DO know is how things are when they come home from initial training.

The first thing that is going to change while your husband is gone, is you.  You will learn to do things on your own, you will (hopefully) learn how to make friends, pay bills, take out the trash, and how to be a military wife. If you have kids, you will learn how to take care of them on your own.  You will learn you have a strength you never knew you had.

Take comfort in knowing that being a soldier's wife is one of the OLDEST "jobs" in the history of this planet.  There have always been soldiers, warriors, fighters, and they have always left loved ones behind to fight for their cause. Women have been doing it for thousands of years and it's in our genes... Luckily, with technology we even have it a million times easier than our ancestors.

One of the biggest changes will be your husband.  You have to understand that in basic training, they are turning "civilians" into "soldiers", and it isn't an easy process.  You husband will come home different, and I am not talking about the sexy new bod wearing ACUs or shaved head (which are the most visible changes) -- Your husband just went through some serious hard times in those last 10 weeks, he is going to be different!  Some things that I have noticed about military men, but not all (every guy is different), is that their relationships with their "civilian" friends will change.  Ben had a really hard time for a while talking to guys who had no idea what he had gone through, they didn't seem to understand him as well, some of their "jokes" weren't funny anymore, and the biggest thing that bothered Ben the MOST was the lack of "discipline".  Just the fact that the students on campus butted in lines, jay-walked, lacked respect for those in authority positions, and even that a lot of them don't walk straight, drove Ben insane for about 6 months... until he re-adjusted to being home after living a soldier's life for 9 months.  Even now, most of the military guys on campus hang together.  They have their own "lounge" in the Military Science building so they can socialize, study, do homework, and be around each other.

I tease Ben sometimes about being married to a "civilian".  He just grunts and says, "You're NOT a civilian, you're an Army wife... there's a huge difference!"  (Insert eye roll) And if I every get mad at him, I like to throw this out: "You better be NICE to me!  Or else I am going to run off and marry a CIVILIAN!"  Take that!  Ultimate threat!  (Then we just laugh... breaks the ice that one...)

Not only will his personality will change a bit, BUT he will look different too:

Before Basic:


After Basic and AIT (I look a little different too):

Our first couple nights together, I felt like I was sleeping next to a stranger!

Then lastly, your marriage dynamic will be thrown off a bit.  When before you both KNEW your roles in your household, responsibilities have shifted and now they will have to shift again.  It can be a bit tricky.  Let me give you an example:

My sister-in-law has been through a couple deployments with her husband.  Once I asked her (before the Army was EVER a thought in my head) what was the hardest part about her husband coming home.  She told me that is was not having the bed to herself anymore.  We laughed about it, but secretly I really didn't understand. I thought that she should be happy she wasn't sleeping alone!  Then it happened to me.  I was lonely at nights for about the first month.  Then I figured out I could really stretch out all over the place, have as many pillows as I wanted, and no one ever stole my blankets!!  When Ben got home, I realized how wise and right my dear sister-in-law was!! I could give up the trash-taking-out duties in a snap, but giving up the space in my bed... that was tough... as much as I loved snuggling with my man again, it was hard to re-adjust my sleeping habits.

Sometimes, it can be hard to give some responsibilities back to the husband.  But just be patient and understanding, and remember that it is hard for him too and he is probably trying his best to find his place in the home once more.

If you have young children it can be hard as well.  My kids were 2 and 3 when Ben left.  When he came home, Nephi was almost 3 and Sam was 4 1/2.  Nephi didn't even remember him very well.  When he got off the plane, they just stood there like statues not knowing what to do.  The daddy they vaguely remembered looked nothing like this buff bald guy getting off the plane.

Ben had to swoop in and pick them up!

 But the up side is that it doesn't take long to kids to adjust... they were buddies within a few hours:
They did get really scared though, when Ben tried to discipline them though... they were NOT used to that!

I can't end this post without saying though, that all the changes were for the best.  Ben was a great guy before the Army, but he is more amazing now than ever before because of it!  The military brought out the best of Ben and I wouldn't EVER take back that choice we made.  I am excited to see what the future holds for us!

Don't be afraid of change!  Embrace it!

-Cat




Okay, friends now it is your turn!  If you want to participate, take this button and post it in your post today:








THEN write a post about what I did above, or one of these:

1. How did your loved one change while deployed or training?

or

2. What were the biggest adjustments you had to make when they came home?

If you have no idea what "Military Monday" is click here!

3 comments:

Smart Lisa said...

Hi, Cat- I looooooove this post.
You do have it down pat for the most part and when or if the d-day (deployment day) comes, you'll probably figure out better than I did. My husband deployed a little over a year ago and returned this past April. (I know, short and I'm thankful! That's usually how the Airforce is though.) I have gone through two other deployments not personally, but had someone in the Army deploy to Iraq & Afghanistan twice in a two year period. /: But this past deployment that ended in April was a big change for me- we married some months before he deployed. ]: We met months before that wedding day, too so I know you can relate to that.

Anyway- it was all tears for us both. We cried on webcam.. had a hard time adjusting and we were big babies. If he was tired and needed a nap, he would ask if I could stay on webcam and just watch over him while he slept because it made him sleep hard knowing I was there with him. And, he did sleep hard. Cutest thing ever. He returned the favor for me, too. He would hack into my pc while deployed, pull up some music and blare it to get my attention if I wasn't in the room.. He and I always had ways to get in touch!

We learned how to communicate soooooooooooo much better than how it was before he deployed. We are way more comfortable with each other- way more open than ever before...

Your sister is right, the whole "having the bed by yourself" thing can be a challenge. Take this, I got used to sleeping by myself and then loved having all the pillows and everything to myself. Then, when he came home- I had to get used to it again and I got hot at night because I had to many blankets on the bed PLUS him and his body heat. THEN right when we went to bed, I noticed he took my pillow (it's the only one that's that comfy and fluffy. None of our pillows are matches!) and so I let him keep it to this day. I just got used to sleeping on more firm pillows. It took me a while to get my sleeping pattern back, but it wasn't too bad.

The problem I still have nowadays is that I tend to go to bed before he does quite often. I fall into a deep sleep most of the time when I do that. /:

He is glad to be home, but at the same time he said he misses actually getting out and accomplishing real things in real life over there where he was at. Now and for the past two years, where he's worked since he got stationed here- they don't really go out and accomplish things. It's almost like they dust equipment off, make sure everything works, and practice being disaster ready.

He earned a bunch of medals while deployed. He got a Joint Task Metal and then it got taken away because it was a Navy award but for some reason the Airforce wouldn't let him put the ribbon on his service dress. That was a major poop on our parade. UGH.

But yeah, other than that- we grew up even more. We learned more about ourselves. I got to know people in his shop that I knew I needed to depend on. Cat, if you haven't done this already- contact your tag office about the military discount for the vehicle taxes. We pay $20.00 for our car taxes every year if I remembered correctly. I remember it's a dramatic difference compared to handing over your grocery money! So check into that. [:

I learned to save money in so many areas... My hubs and I got our will made at the legal office on base. In case you're wondering, it was easy. Oh lord, I could go on and on about the benefits out there. Just shoot me a message if you have any questions! [: Anyone else is welcome to do so, too!

Smart Lisa said...

Hi, Cat- I looooooove this post.
You do have it down pat for the most part and when or if the d-day (deployment day) comes, you'll probably figure out better than I did. My husband deployed a little over a year ago and returned this past April. (I know, short and I'm thankful! That's usually how the Airforce is though.) I have gone through two other deployments not personally, but had someone in the Army deploy to Iraq & Afghanistan twice in a two year period. But this past deployment that ended in April was a big change for me- we married some months before he deployed. We met months before that wedding day, too so I know you can relate to that.

Anyway- it was all tears for us both. We cried on webcam.. had a hard time adjusting and we were big babies. If he was tired and needed a nap, he would ask if I could stay on webcam and just watch over him while he slept because it made him sleep hard knowing I was there with him. And, he did sleep hard. Cutest thing ever. He returned the favor for me, too. He would hack into my pc while deployed, pull up some music and blare it to get my attention if I wasn't in the room.. He and I always had ways to get in touch!

We learned how to communicate soooooooooooo much better than how it was before he deployed. We are way more comfortable with each other- way more open than ever before...

Your sister is right, the whole "having the bed by yourself" thing can be a challenge. Take this, I got used to sleeping by myself and then loved having all the pillows and everything to myself. Then, when he came home- I had to get used to it again and I got hot at night because I had to many blankets on the bed PLUS him and his body heat. THEN right when we went to bed, I noticed he took my pillow (it's the only one that's that comfy and fluffy. None of our pillows are matches!) and so I let him keep it to this day. I just got used to sleeping on more firm pillows. It took me a while to get my sleeping pattern back, but it wasn't too bad.

The problem I still have nowadays is that I tend to go to bed before he does quite often. I fall into a deep sleep most of the time when I do that.

He is glad to be home, but at the same time he said he misses actually getting out and accomplishing real things in real life over there where he was at. Now and for the past two years, where he's worked since he got stationed here- they don't really go out and accomplish things. It's almost like they dust equipment off, make sure everything works, and practice being disaster ready.

He earned a bunch of medals while deployed. He got a Joint Task Metal and then it got taken away because it was a Navy award but for some reason the Airforce wouldn't let him put the ribbon on his service dress. That was a major poop on our parade. UGH.

But yeah, other than that- we grew up even more. We learned more about ourselves. I got to know people in his shop that I knew I needed to depend on. Cat, if you haven't done this already- contact your tag office about the military discount for the vehicle taxes. We pay $20.00 for our car taxes every year if I remembered correctly. I remember it's a dramatic difference compared to handing over your grocery money! So check into that.

I learned to save money in so many areas... My hubs and I got our will made at the legal office on base. In case you're wondering, it was easy. Oh lord, I could go on and on about the benefits out there. Just shoot me a message if you have any questions! Anyone else is welcome to do so, too!

Allison said...

I love this topic. I remember thinking the same question when my husband was coming back from AIT. Thanks for keeping this going. It's been a lot of fun for me to participate.

http://glimpsesofthemilitarylife.blogspot.com