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I just replied to Amazin's thread to bump as I read the thread today, and found some really great insight there. Thought I'd use that to springboard toward any resources and advice.

Here is why I'm posting (straight to the biased facts :)):

I am the aunt of a the best nephew I could hope for. My sister is and has been a single mom to two great kids...loser Dad has been out of their lives for at least 15 years. I'll call nephew Jack, and his girlfriend Jill.

Jack is 18 and graduated high school this year (2011). Joined Army Nat Guard last year and did boot camp last summer. He is now at AIT. The day he left for AIT he learned that he is going to be deployed to Afghanistan in September with 2 weeks home in between. Before learning of deployment his plan was to also work and go to college while living at home.

Jill is also 18, also just graduated high school, works full-time in retail and is going to college in September. She'll continue to work, live at home and go to school full-time. We love her! She is smart, good family, etc.. Simply adorable and incredibly responsible. They have been dating for 1.5 years, and first girlfriend for Jack. Well, there are a lot of firsts here, if you get my meaning.

Okay. So, about 2 weeks into AIT, marriage talk begins. After about 4-5 weeks of countless hours of conversations between my sis, Jack, Jill and Jill's mom, the decision as of yesterday has apparently been made. Also, these 2 (prior to deployment news) had their future planned out on paperin such a cute and frankly pretty smart way. Both opened IRAs, knew when they would marry, when they'd buy a house, have kids, etc. I know, I know!

Thanks for reading all of that! With that background, I'm seeking advice/insight per below.

-I would like to give them some MB materials in a not-overbearing way to help them through this next year. I'd like to present more a gift than a lecture, ya know? I was thinking of doing a scrapbook of sorts (Jill is a big scrap booker, very artsie girl) to include some tools about Ens, Eps (??), that sort of thing.

-Both of them are very thoughtful kids. Very affectionate toward others and each other, but not in a puke/PDA sort of way. smile I was thinking of giving them something like 100 postage-paid envelopes and putting in each one a printed note that says I appreciate you today because ____________. My thought came from someone on Amazin's thread that said they wrote every day, even if one sentence. I thought this might be a gift that would just help with that? Right now, they talk hours every day. No loss of communication at all. Not going to be the case soon when he is deployed. My fear for them is (especially Jack) not know what to write that isn't repetitive without needing to write 6 pages which he didn't have time for in boot camp. He said he had that trouble, so I thought maybe it would be cool to help them both write something each week and meet an EN or 2? Or, is that intrusive and stupid?

-Both of the above are just 2 things I thought might be gifts to them to help with their (Jack's mostly) insecurity while deployed, and help them stay connected.

Do these types of things seem like they would be helpful? Are there any other ideas anyone has that I can offer these kids? I sooooo wish that they would wait. Argh. May still happen, but I don't think so.

Anyway, thank you for weeding through such a long post! Any help is so appreciated from me and my sis indirectly. We love these kids so much...maybe they will defy the odds (age, deployment, etc.) I would just like to do a small or large or any part to help them make it together, and be that 80-year-old couple with the great story. smile

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Yikes. They sound really lovely.

But "yikes" is all I can say.

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Kera,

Yes, they are very lovely. And yikes is the understatement. Any input?

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I think your ideas are really sweet. I dunno, the fact that they are so young may actually help. We all remember the intensity of first love - it may help them keep the feeling of immediacy and connection.

MB's position on separation of this kind is pretty stark - it tends to doom a relationship in terms of the Basic Concepts. I don't know how clearly that point is made in the books, but if so that's probably a message better not sent to them.

I think alot depends on the length of the deployment...

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Thanks, Kera. Agreed. In the thread I bumped Dr. Harley was still tring to find a good way for the folks delpoyed. And, my little kids here? OMG. Spoke to Jack for about an hour after my post...he's determined, and...

P.S. thanks for the kudos for my ideas? smile

He'll be gone for one year.

Anyone want to weigh in?

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P.S. Yes..the doomed...I'm not accepting that! The ship has sailed.

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Surfer88,

My H and I were both military and we had a great marriage for nearly 25 years, right up to the back-to-back deployments that kept us apart for 4 and 1/2 out of 6 years. Even the, we did not stop loving each other, but my H did not maintain EPs during his last deployment. He started going to lunch, taking smoke breaks, and having personal conversation with a woman and ended up having an A. Maintaining EPs is so critical when apart.

Dr. Harley is currently working with the Army Chief of Chaplains to address the health of military marriages. He probably has given this topic some thought. I think your question would be a great one for the radio show. You can email the question to Joyce at MBradio@marriagebuilders.com

AM


BW - 65
WH - 60
M - 35 years
D-day - 17 Apr 08
DD - 44, DS - 30, DS - 23
H broke contact 11/1/09
Back in love after the worst thing that every happened to us.
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Thank you AM!

Yes, I thought the EPs point would be a big one, also. You know, I am going to do just that and email Joyce!

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I haven't been here since I wrote a post on that thread you were mentioning, I just popped back in for some insight into my own military relationship because I remembered that a long while ago I had found this forum and found it insightful, but thought I would chime in here.

1. (On a practical note) I wouldn't waste any money on postage for his end if that's a gift you want to give or suggest to them; I know at least for my significant other, he gets free post while he's deployed as long as it's a letter envelope. Marines get something called "motomail", I'm not sure what Army Nat Guard gets... but I would suggest "Jill" look into it, it can be helpful!

2) This is one of those times where I feel like a complete and total hypocrite! I always feel nervous seeing someone 18 marry into the military (only because so, so many in my future H's platoon have done that and subsequently divorced, sometimes quite bitterly). That being said, I've been with the same person from the time I was 16, and we were each other's first relationship. I definitely "knew" when I was 18 that I wanted to commit to this person and we are still together. Getting married soon after being together several years; had life come together differently for us, we would have gotten married earlier.

I can totally understand wanting to encourage a healthy marriage and not just be the "lecturer." If I could pick out only one piece of advice if I had a nephew considering marriage, it would be to ask, "If I was not in the military right now, and my circumstances were completely different, would I be just as ready for marriage?"
This is the question I would insist on for the following reason:
I get nervous when someone starts thinking of marriage near basic graduation / before deployment. Many guys are going to be on their own for the first time after basic,and long distance can be a misery (I would know!)This makes marriage seem far more tempting when they may not be ready yet.
Some people get married right before deployment for the right reasons (they are planning on that commitment anyway, and the timing is just different) and some do it for the way wrong reasons (the commitment lends a sense of security while apart when one or both people are not really ready for the actual total commitment of marriage).
Now, those things may not apply to them whatsoever, and they may be very ready for marriage. Who knows. I don't know them, and only they can answer that question for themselves.

As for me, I "knew" he was the person that I wanted to marry at 18 (truthfully, even younger than that) but I wasn't "ready" until later than that. I'm glad we waited a few years, even though it was very hard at the time.

That's the end of my non-MB principle reply.

As for how to incorporate MB principles, if you really want to somehow be involved in getting them on a good track, I would suggest giving them both copies of the MB books. You can get them online for not a lot. If "Jack's" deployment is anything like my FH's, he will sometimes get long periods of time to do nothing but think, and in those times, books are a lifesaver!
I actually wrote my thoughts in the books in notes that I stuck in the chapters, and sent them to him to read. (Our communication is nowhere near adequate enough to discuss things other than by mail). They may be lucky enough to actually talk (by phone, skype, etc) about the books, which would be even better.

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SweetHonesty,

Not sure if you'll see this as I didn't see your reply until just now (shame on me!).

I appreciate exactly what you've said. The update is maddening!

In short: Jack and Jill DID get married in August. Jack went to a base in OH with his unit, then had a weekend leave scheduled before deployment. One day before that leave, he learned that he was NOT being deployed. What a rollercoaster. He was very upset...he didn't say it, but all of those "best-laid-plans" out the window. So, was faced with coming home, married, no job, missed school reg, both living with respective parents, and felt like a loser. All of his friends are in school including his wife. 5-ish days after he went back to base, he learned that he WAS going to be deployed..on 12/05. So far, that's still what's happening.

Thank you for the postage tip!!

I am going to give them the books, though Jack would rather take an eye out rather than read, but I am doing it anyway. smile

And, I totally "get" the hypocrite comment. I can't/couldn't get past the age thing, but at the same time, reading what happens over on SAA and Recovery, I am not sure my ideal is the ideal anymore. I too cringe that they got married. But, it's a done deal, and now no way but forward to support the success of the marriage.

I am staying very close to Jill to keep her engaged with our family, which takes 0 effort as she is a joy. She's become very much like a daughter to me, and Jack always asks if I've spoken to her, etc. He wants us to stay close, too. Anywhoo, 2 sweet kids that made a big girl/big boy panty decision. So be it.

Thank you for the insight. It is very meaningful and helpful.

God-willing I will look into my aunt-babies' eyes in 20 years and wonder why I ever doubted. wink

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Armymama,

I did not email Joyce as the sitch changed so much over the last few months, but I am going to right now.

I will seek out some Harley preventative medicine, I think.

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I listen to most of the radio shows. I will keep an ear out for your question.

Military marriages are tough because of the separations. I heard Dr. Harley talking about divorce in the military. He said that enlisted women are divorced at a rate higher than the national averalge and that officer men are divorced at a rate less than the national average. I am guessing he got those statistics from the DoD. Interesting ones.

AM

AM


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Back in love after the worst thing that every happened to us.
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Thanks AM. I read those very stats, too.

Maybe due the mere fact that men outnumber women and A opportunities are more, er, available to women ? Maybe.

Or, The male spouse at home has time alone, and thus more vulnerable to an A? Maybe?

I'm sure the reason is a combination of things..but one thing I found really ironic, and though it would be ridiculous of me to draw conclusions (just like the above and even implying that the divorce rate is due to affairs at all because I have no idea), thought I'd share one stat I read.

One stat/discussion I read was that women in the military seek out the military-provided counsel resources much more than men in the military do. Thought that was kind of funny, no? think

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Hi Surfer

its like so freaky that your nephew and his fiancee are so young and he's getting deployed. Thats how I married my H, in that situation.

We are totally a mil family, Dad is, brother is, hubby of course. My best friend is marrying my brother and her dad was mil full time. So its in the blood I guess. grin

I was living with my hubby - at home with mum and dad because we couldn't afford a place - during his first deployment as a couple. IT WAS JUST HORRIBLE. I jumped every time the phone rang or someone knocked on the door, luckily mum understood because she said she did the same thing even after all these years just not so bad laugh 'Jill' will need support from all of your family and hers.

Being apart is very difficult for anyone let alone a young couple. The huge issue my hubby and I have according to Dr H is that we have developed independent behaviour and this has to be resolved or it will create major problems in the future. That is the one thing to really work on along with all the luv deposits for the EN's as Dr H says this is very big problem in Mil marriages.
If you let one party decide something then you really have to be prepared to accept that persons decision while you are apart and that is not easy. And you know it can be the little things that erk you not so much the big ones.

ENs are very very hard to achieve I have found during deployment. Most times I don't even have contact until towards the end. You live in a limbo to a certain extent until he comes home. "Jill' just has to do the best she can here and encourage her to ask for help and ideas from you all.

Contact during deployment is an absolute joy if you can get it. When I ever get it I find we talk about what I did, how his mum and dad are, how my family are, didn't really want to know about what was going on in general usually. Also about us and our dreams and how much I missed him and luv'ed him. Advise 'Jill' to NEVER cry if possible because they don't need to be worrying about you while over there. Do that after you hang up. then you can howl all you like dramaqueen

Army wifes beginner hint: be careful about sending photos to your man of you for his "morale" loveheart cause those PCs are a bit public, I'm just sayin. blush faint

'Jack' needs to know that 'Jill' is behind him all the way, by his side in spirit in perhaps the most terrible of situations no matter what. NEVER EVER question his army type actions NEVER during deployment if he tells you a bit about the ops!! even if you do think he's crazy as a loon shocked

And the war will change him. Sometimes it feels like a stranger is in my bed. Its a weird feeling. 'Jill' will need to be prepared for this and have knowledge of the support available for her and him. Most times its never bad like, however might depend on his experiences there.

Are their prospects good Surfer? hard to say. I know my hubby and I are crazy in luv and its a wild ride for sure, but the question I had to answer was this, a stark one, what would I do if I did not marry him and God forbid something happened?

You see its a war, and during a war there are different sets of rules in place because the future is no longer a clear path for military marriages to take. Futures are just dreams on summer clear nights.
See for me I would forever question myself and wonder if I gave less than I should have, because I can tell you I was so scared to marry for lots of reasons. He wanted to I didn't at first, but as the second deployment came up I was absolutely in a panic of indecision until we knew the date he was going and then, well nothing else mattered. For your 'Jack' & 'Jill' this must also weigh heavily into their decisions.

So glad I did marry my hubby though. He's MINE hands off everyone! rotflmao

Will their future play out well together? well you know like no one can promise them a future right now. This war is just [censored] and we all do the best we can each day.

Surfer yes do encourage gently 'Jill & Jack" to use MB where possible, it has so like helped the two of us. Military marriages are hard and a wife learns that when she married her hubby she also married the Defence force and Regiment he's in. And often the Regiment comes before you. Yeah sucky right? but thats the way it is in this mans army, air force, navy, marines and so on MrRollieEyes

so anything that actually works like MB is a true Godsend!!

all the best to both of them and may God watch over them both especially during the deployment.

Last edited by awsdaughter; 11/22/11 10:28 PM.
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Gurl, thank you for this post! Bear with me through Wed so I can read properly. Thanks!!!

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Thank you for sharing

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awsdaughter and darknight!:



Update:

I just had a great family night last night, and wanted to post an update on kids/army/deployment/early marriage.

My nephew (now 20) and his wife (also 20) did get married in 8/2011, he was deployed to Afghanistan for a year, and returned about a month ago safe and sound, thank God. After many celebrations, endless parties for his return, birthdays, etc. reality has set in.

Last night 6 of us played cards until the wee hours, and had intervals of noshing and talking about (hee hee) POJA, etc. I write this for one shining moment. At 3 a.m., new wife says she HAS to go to sleep (duh!). Nephew says OK, I am going to stay up. They went to another room, came back all smiles, and said they would play one more hand and then go to sleep because they have an agreement to always go to bed together.

Yep I got teary-eyed.

Just sharing a proud moment. I am terrible about keeping up with posting, but I am so proud of these 2, and so thrilled that they hear.

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So cool.


What would you do if you were not afraid?

"Fear is the little death. Fear is the mind-killer" Frank Herbert.

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Originally Posted By: indiegirl
So cool.

Very cool.


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Thanks Indie and BH. I am so proud of these 2 kids, and I am sooo much "smarter" due to the years here at MB lurking and posting. Dead serious. I am a lifer, and they are getting HNHN for Christmas.

I appreciate both of you tremedously.

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