My darling husband just left on travel for a few days and I’m already missing him. Yes, he’ll only be gone for three days. Yes, we can talk/text/Facetime throughout his trip. Yes, this is a great opportunity for him in his work life. Yes, I have made plans for one of the evenings he’ll be gone. Even so, I know that I’ll miss him terribly. It’d kinda pathetic that I will miss him so much, but I also see it as a huge blessing in my life. He chose me back in 1987… and I see that as the greatest blessing of my life and do my best to honor that choice…
Over our 24 years together, we’ve had times where we’ve been separated for much longer. When he deployed with the Navy, we got the BEST deal the Navy had to offer in that his deployments lasted 14-17 days at a time and he always landed on land (as opposed to landing on an aircraft carrier with spotty to no communication available). We were one of “those” couples… the ones that called upon arriving, checked in often while away, and gave ETA’s that were as exact as possible. Never was there a time when I couldn’t figure out how long it’d be til he was able to call and let me know he was ok. He flew an EC-130 with the squadron, when they were based at NAS Pax River, MD, and I worked as a Drug Addictions Counselor for an area addictions unit. We had strange schedules and (imagine this) NO CELL PHONES, so “calls home” were literally calls to home. I had a pager that I carried for work occasionally, but we made our phone calls a priority, especially when he deployed. I could never have been one of those women who say, “I have no idea where he is… he’s deployed and I won’t hear from him until he comes home in 2 weeks”. M and I just don’t function that way. I could do the “flight math” and know that I should expect a “zero-dark-thirty” call on any given deployment…. it was worth the lack of sleep to know that he was ok. Maybe that seems co-dependent to some, but as long as it worked for us, that’s all that matters.
Since leaving the military, we’ve had other “travel challenges” over the years. M had a 3-hour daily commute when we lived in MI at one point, which was pretty rough on both of us, especially in the “pre-cell phone” days. He’s had various travel assignments for work and we’ve always made our communication a priority. I know many couples who are comfortable with much less communication, but I believe we learned fairly early in our courtship that we can handle anything life throws at us as long as we’re able to talk with one another.
Being friends first certainly helped our communication with one another, but we were definitely blessed when we quickly recognized how well we “work” as a couple. Finishing each others’ sentences gave us a clue, but those long phone conversations, when we were first dating, really cemented us in my mind. I’d never felt so emotionally tied to someone, after such a short time, and it both scared and thrilled me.
The odds really were stacked against us… I was living in MD and M was in flight school in TX when we first started dating. In our first year together, we lived through my job change and subsequent move home, M’s first duty station assignment, M’s winging, M’s move to Little Rock, AR for training, deciding that this was IT and trying to figure out how to tell our parents, losing my job and searching for something to do, and then helping M move into a temporary place until we could get married and get base housing. Thinking back on all those events now, I’m reminded that we made it through everything because we continued to talk as often as we possibly could. M would call when he got back from a functional flight or off duty… I would call when I got to whatever hotel I was living in when working as an Admissions Counselor for Wilson College… we talked about everything and anything, just like we do now. It was expensive then; there were no cell phone plans with unlimited minutes, but worth every penny.
There are so many people these days who say that they don’t like talking on the phone. They’d much prefer to text or email than carry on a conversation. In our case, this simply wouldn’t have worked. Hearing the nuances in M’s voice can change my response in a heartbeat. I know how his words sound in my head when I read a text, but that’s not always how he meant for them to sound.
I know that our way of communication isn’t ideal for everyone. Heck, it’s probably not ideal for many, but it’s exactly the right amount for us. M has left for a few days of travel, but I know I’ll be able to handle it because I have faith that he’s going to call and text so we can stay connected. After 24 years together, we both know that we need that connection to make it through the day. I’ve left a note for him in his backpack that he’ll find shortly. I’m sure he’ll call and laugh at me for putting it in there, but he’ll have yet another tangible way of knowing that I’ll miss him and that I love him.
Communication, however you make it work in your relationship, is the key. It may be hard to figure out the balance needed for both of you, but once you do, the rewards are priceless. I’m married to the man who is my best friend, my better half, and my soul mate… he’s my forever Valentine and I will never stop telling him how much I love him, cherish him, adore him, and appreciate him.
Communication…. that’s what it takes these days…