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Quote:
Military marriages are doomed.
Military marriages shouldn't take place.


Horse Hockey....

I've been in the military since 1985 and I personally know numerous couples... one or both of the spouses were in the military for 10 - 15 - 20 - 30 years ... and they are happily married to this day...

However my marriage was not one of those.

I also know couples that went through 20 years of military service together, retired, and 5 years after their military careers were over got divorced. Does that mean civillan life wasn't conducive to their marriage? I don't think so...

Just because you're in the military doesn't mean your marriage is doomed.

I'll bet that any job that requires a lot of commitment, has abnormal working hours/conditions and has a high degree of stress probably has a divorce rate that is higher than the national average. For example, Fire Fighters, Law enforcement, and Airline Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers.


But back to the original question...

Quote:
Any MB veterans have any ideas about how to work on eliminating LBs and fulfilling ENs while the spouse is deployed?


Because the military lifestyle is a square peg that doesn't exactly fit in to this round Marrige Builders hole..... I think one of the keys is thinking creatively and outside the box.

And I'd say there is some truth in what you said:

Quote:
This is tough. Most of these require some sort of physical presence.


It is tough... But it's tough even when the spouse is living in the marital home.

SOME of these require physical presence... But not most. As far as Emotional Needs number 1,2 and 4 require the physical presence of the spouse. But the rest can be done from a distance.

But on the bright side think of it this way... When your spouse is deployed the LB's should greatly diminish becuse of the separation. Look at it as an opportunity to put into practice some (maybe not all)of the marriage builder priciples. Eliminating the Love Busters should be easier to do than trying to fulfill Emotional Needs.

Each of you is going though a difficult situation. Try and understand what the other person is dealing with and I think this may help get the creative juices flowing when you're apart. You can start doing things that are supportive and helpful to one another even though you're miles apart.


---The military member may be dealing with a lot of stress and a hostile, high tempo enviroment. Try and keep that in mind at all times when you're communicating with them. Adding additional stress and worry by talking about everything thats going wrong on the home front only makes things worse for the military member. Dont tell your spouse how the basement flooded, the transmission went out in the car, or how G.I. Joe Jr. got caught spray painting graffiti on the school. That's dumb.

---The military spouse may be dealing with a lot of stress and a hostile, high tempo enviroment. Try and keep that in mind at all times when you're communicating with them. Adding additional stress and worry by talking about everything thats going wrong on the war front only makes things worse for the military spouse. Don't tell your spouse how many times you've been shot at or the mortar attacks that take place every night or how dangerous your next mission is. That's dumb.


I'll give you a couple of quick examples of how you can meet EN from a long distance. And then maybe some of the others can think out of the box and throw out some idea's.

1. Financial Support: One of the smartest things I've done in the last two years was to go through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. The Chaplin on base offered it to the military members and their spouses at a discounted price. (And in some cases free) Here's the bottom line. Husbands... If you eliminate your credit debt and have 10-15 thousand dollars in savings... Your wife will feel much more secure and feel that those emergencies that came up while you were on deployment... well... they're not emergencies any more. That $2000.00 transmission isn't a big deal because your wife has the money in the bank to get it fixed.

http://www.daveramsey.com/

2. Physical Attractiveness: While your apart, both of you can work on your physical fitness and attractiveness. Send your spouse some pictures of the "New You" before your reunion... And then watch out for the fireworks on reunion day. hurray

3. Admiration: Remember both of you have taken on a tough assignment. Husbands go out of your way to acknowledge the tough job your wife is doing on the homefront and tell her how proud you are of her accomplishments and for the sacrifices she's making so that you can protect our country. Wives... go out of your way to acknowledge the tough job your husband is doing on the war front and tell him how proud you are of his accomplishments and for the sacrifices he's making by leaving his family to protect our country.

4. Affection/family commitment: This may be a streach but it means alot and I think it counts. Wifes... Send your husband a care package once a month. Get the kids involved. Put something personal in the care package like a photo or a letter that the kids wrote. Husbands... send your wife and your kids a small gift from the far away country you're in once a month. Put a photo in the package and a letter to the wife and each child.

5. Communication/Family Commitment: The mens group at my church did something called "Letters From Dad" It was basically a letter writing campaign for fathers to leave a keepsake memory that their children could have forever. They even made special boxes for the children to keep the letters in. Email is nice because it's instant. But letters... if saved...are forever and can be read over and over. The same thing can be done between spouses.

Letters From Dad

I assumed that the husband was the military member and the wife was the spouse.... But it can easily be the other way around.

There are several military members (And Military Spouses) on this website who have deployed several times. I'm sure they would be a great source of information and can contribute what works for them. RIF is one and another is Mortarman.

But if anyone has some more ideas of how to meet Emotional Needs from long distance... post them.

Last edited by MBsurvivor; 04/01/10 10:45 PM.

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Wow...That was great!

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I'm new here (hello by the way!) but I'm in a military relationship currently so I figured I'd post some ideas of what has worked for us for fulfilling EN's. It's HARD. I don't want to downplay deployment/military relationships as being easy by any stretch. But it's POSSIBLE.

I'm not a vet, nor is he a long-time member, we're at the end of our first 7 month deployment. But I'll fill in answers where I can.

1. Affection
Sometimes it's the simple things that show affection. It does not always need to be physical. Sometimes it is as simple as just asking, "hey are you okay?" when one of us sounds kind of low during a phonecall. Sometimes it isn't even what we say, but what we do. For example, it can be the time/money/love/effort I put into carepackages. Or the two hours he had to wait in line just to talk with me for 30 minutes.
Honestly, those phone calls that he had to wait in endless lines for mean more to me than a card with some roses.
2. Sexual Fulfillment
This takes creativity, and that's all I will say!
3. Conversation
We used letters. We each wrote a letter every single day even if it could only be a sentence because we were busy. I also kept a blog that was private online so he could read about things.
We didn't get a lot of verbal communication this deployment. We got 30 min phone calls once or twice a week at max. Every deployment is different, I've known girls who get skype/IM for several hours a day. It really depends. We get facebook once or twice a week to check as well, which has been awesome because then we can share pictures / messages via inbox.
One rule we have had is that we refused to follow the advice of ONLY ever talking about happy things. That just wasn't our style. But we made a rule that if we were upset about something, we waited at least 24 hours to bring it up. If we still felt just as bad 24-48 hours later, then we would talk about it on phone or facebook, whichever came first. That kept emotionally distressing topics to an absolute minimum without ignoring them. So I'd say they only came up rarely over the past 7 months. I was worried he would not like that because tons of vets told me to NEVER bring up "unhappy subjects" but he was glad that I was honest with him and he felt closer to stuff going on with me. That's our relationship, though, I can't speak for everyone's.
4. Recreational Companionship
This takes patience. I shared new music and movies with him. I'd read a book, send it to him, he'd read it, and we'd talk about it. But the mail system is slow, so that whole process took at least a month every time.
We also planned out what we were going to do when he was home on leave, so that was like a recreational activity in itself.
5. Honesty and Openness
This is an absolute must. I've seen dishonesty, even innocent dishonesty, wreck relationships within his platoon. I think it is harder for the ones left home to imagine EXACTLY what it's like, but judging from his perspective, being in a hostile country and on edge for several months (and sometimes up to a year/two years for other branches) is like being stuck in a time warp where you're always afraid your family (especially your wife/girlfriend) are moving on without you. Even for people who don't have underlying trust issues, little lies start to look awfully suspicious. My rule of thumb has been to be absolutely transparent.
6. Physical Attractiveness
Pictures! It's a good excuse to send pictures. I actually know of a few girls who paid to get professional ones done to send. I sent him my used camera so he could take some and email them. It feels like that "first attraction" all over again when you receive those pictures.
7. Financial Support
I would never claim we are super well off, but it pays the bills, and it pays for him to go back to school when he's done. I mean I do laugh when I hear girls my age talking about marrying into the military for the money cause it certainly doesn't pay THAT well. But it is helping us get on our feet, I'll give it that.

We don't have kiddos, and we don't live together as I chose not to live on base until he's done with his second deployment (next year) while I finish my degree. So I won't comment on those not having had any experience with family/domestic support.
10. Admiration
We are proud of each other and we tell each other all the time. He's been really great about telling me he's proud or I've done well with something, even if it doesn't look as big a deal as what he's doing.

All that being said, he's leaving after his active duty is done. He wants to go back to school after this, as that was not something he could afford to do before and he personally does not want to continue his career, but if he did I believe it's something we COULD do. Both of us have stated that we'd rather have the time together and reliability of jobs that don't deploy, which is a personal choice. Overall, he's proud of his service and god knows we've learned alot about how to make a relationship work under all circumstances.
We also have been together almost 5 years. So we had over 4 years of foundation to back us up through being apart during deployment. I imagine it must be infinitely more difficult for those who have just started a relationship to go through it.

So I can't really comment on long-term employment with the military.

But I can say that in the short term, i.e. a deployment, it is definitely possible to fulfill EN's. Is it ideal? No. Not at all. But it's at least something.
I have definitely missed him during this deployment, of course I prefer that he were around instead of there for several months, who wouldn't? But I would never say that my needs have gone unfulfilled.
Fulfilling those needs listed above took a lot of effort on both our parts. There are times when I knew he just COULDN'T fulfill them due to command, safety, etc. and I had to be understanding of that. But overall when I look at the past several months he has put 110% effort into trying to fulfill those things and so have I, and that made it more bearable.

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Amazin and SweetH

Those two posts were, uh, amazin, er, amazing. I am gonna talk about you tomorrow in my posting thread grin

You started it Amazin and thus get credit for that. SweetH, you chimed in with a great, great followup post. Both high value presentation of the tools needed for the purpose they were designed for.

My hat is off to you both.

Larry

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I'm confused.

Why was this portion separated from the other thread where the question was orignally asked?

Last edited by ChrisInNOVA; 04/02/10 08:57 AM.
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N/M smile

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Originally Posted By: Amazin
Quote:
Military marriages are doomed.
Military marriages shouldn't take place.


Since this is now detached from the original thread, let's take note that nobody actually said that.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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hurray

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Thank you so much for posting this.

What about for people who are in withdrawal? I mean, it's easier to do all of these things when you are in love but...when one is almost out and the other is all in what do you do?

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Spouses can be coaxed out of withdrawl with eliminating LBs and meeting ENs. At first they may not respond to you or they may try to block you, but you keep doing MB.

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Amazin, awesome post. Yours is a much more productive and rational approach than trying to pretend that problems don't exist. I hope you post more often over here. smile

Originally Posted By: Amazin
I've been in the military since 1985 and I personally know numerous couples... one or both of the spouses were in the military for 10 - 15 - 20 - 30 years ... and they are happily married to this day...


Dr Harley is trying to figure out how couples who are separated by deployment can maintain a happy, intimate, PASSIONATE marriage. He wants to study them so he can formulate a program to help other military couples while deployed in order to alleviate the soaring divorce and adultery rate of military couples.

If you know of any such couples, can you ask them to contact Dr Harley so he can find out what they did and help other military couples with that knowledge? I think this is the email address he posted when he asked for help last year [those posts were wiped out when the board crashed] ideas@marriagebuilders.com


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane

Amazin, awesome post. Yours is a much more productive and rational approach than trying to pretend that problems don't exist.


Or claiming doom & gloom...

Quote:
I hope you post more often over here. smile



Me too!

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Originally Posted By: ChrisInNOVA
Originally Posted By: MelodyLane

Amazin, awesome post. Yours is a much more productive and rational approach than trying to pretend that problems don't exist.


Or claiming doom & gloom...


I agree very much. It is not "doom and gloom" to acknowledge a problem and look for solutions. That is how problems are solved; the PURPOSE of this forum.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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This forum is wonderful smile

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Deployments and multiple deployments are very hard of M M's. Of course they are.

As a wife you become single suddenly... sometimes with little or no warning ... you have all the things that go with deployments .. loneliness ... FEAR .... feeling overwhelmed at times ... helplessness at the situation ... frustration ... anger .... you can feel abandoned ... you can feel unloved ... EN's can be left untouched for many months ... the unfairness of it all ... and you go through cycles of this.

As a parent you now become the mum and dad as much as you can ... both rewarding and stressful as I am sure single parents all know anyway ... you try to keep the kids fear at manageable levels ... help them not to dwell on missing dad and the danger he may be in... to be what they need you to be and feel like you may fail.

That and more.

It is SO easy in these circumstances to become selfish ... excuse it all because of all the above. It is easy to grab hold of any kind word... compliment ... smile ... small intimacy.... AND DANGEROUS. But then temptations are ALWAYS dangerous aren't they?

It is also time here I feel to speak of that which is often avoided by M wives ... how the war has changed our husbands .... good and bad ... you see we.. well I at least and my DD and some of other friends who are M wives ... don't like discussing .. or is it "admitting" they HAVE changed.
Because I don't know about any of you other wives but so often it feels like you are sleeping.. are loving a stranger who can scare the [censored] out of you. And the next be so compassionate and caring where before they would have turned away disinterested. And it confuses the heII out of you as well. You're never sure how he will react. All the old well known boundaries are gone. And it can change from deployment to deployment.

It is like ... well almost like a new M after each deployment in some ways ... discovering each other all over again and that can be joyful and passionate and difficult and quite wonderful. And it takes work. It takes determination... and COMMITMENT from each wife and husband.... is that more than a normal marriage ??? .. though I am suspect of what 'normal' is frankly... I don't know... its just what we have to do to make it work.

And of course LOVE.


Life may feel as if you are constantly getting kicked on a daily basis, living is about picking yourself up each day and going on and on and on regardless.

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^ I think a lot of that makes a very excellent point, particularly about what a lot of wives don't want to talk about.

I'm at the end of a first deployment and I am by absolutely no means someone who is seasoned or extremely experienced with deployments (particularly multiple deployments). So maybe I'm giving my inexperience away a little here (I hope not).

I find it hard to talk with other wives or girlfriends about how things feel changed or different. Sometimes I feel like it's a taboo subject or something.
I lost my dad when I was 19 to cancer, and I'd been his sole caretaker during that time. It made me change and grow dramatically, as something of that nature does. I remember feeling like some sort of outsider not because people didn't care, they certainly did, but it was often a sort of distant caring. Like they were quick to offer condolence but also quick to shy away when I was frank or down to earth about how hard it could be or what actually happened. When DB was there for me during that time, I can't express how grateful I felt that he wasn't afraid to feel uncomfortable about subjects like illness or death and how it affected me and why I'd grown or changed. I'm sure it was scary for him to accept that I wasn't the same person I was before and couldn't be again. Just like it's scary for me right now to not expect the changes and experiences he's undergone while deployed. But I hope I can give him what he gave me. Having someone accept that I'd changed, even when it was over something sad, gave me room to grow in the relationship to use that change for something good. I was allowed to have bad days. Having someone who understood that I would be angry or withdrawn once in a while took away the guilt of having those emotions and let me get through them a lot more easily. It was not all smooth sailing, we hit a lot of rough patches, but one of the things that made me feel most loved (more than anything else from our relationship history) was his unconditional acceptance of me bad good and otherwise, even when it must have downright sucked for him at times.

So I certainly don't have much experience as far as post-deployment goes, just an idea of how I hope I can give him the unconditional acceptance he gave me. I'm not sure what to expect, other than that sometimes it will be really hard, and of course that makes me a little nervous. I already sense changes in him just over the phone and from what he has told me and our interactions together. So I have to expect it will be tenfold in person. But I have faith that in the end everything will be okay.

Another good point made above is that there is a cycle at times of EN's being unmet. Like I said in my original post, overall I think EN's have been met through this deployment even with very limited communication. But that's looking at it as a whole. There were individual days or even weeks that I felt negative and all the anger, frustration, abandonment, etc. The only way to keep the relationship alive through that was to see the forest rather than the trees, which holy hell, could be REALLY difficult some days.

A relationship is hard. Deployment is hard. The two together are very hard. But "hard" is not "impossible."

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Awesome Post Amazin and I want to thank all that are deployed and serve our country past and present.

Its great to hear someone without a defeatest attitude who knows that marriages can work if you fight for them even in hard circumstances.

To me it would have to be about quality time and the anticipation of it that made the reward of rejoining my mate that much more valueable after being separated.


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I agree.

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**edit**

Last edited by Revera; 12/09/10 08:35 AM. Reason: removed at posters request
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Thank you Amazin, and everyone else who posted so many positive points and explanations. I think you hit the nail on the head on that one Amazin. You said it so much better then I could.


B.W.{Me}- 28
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M-8 years
2 kids
Putting pieces together.
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