Posted by: 103rdtransferwife | June 3, 2010

Operation Joint Family Endeavor

360 days remain as our family conquers this current family endeavor.

Lately, I’ve noticed several postings on sites designed for support for military SO’s.  I’ve seen a lot of women (mostly) post about how their SO just re-enlisted, extended, volunteered for a deployment without consulting them.  Ummm…. WTF?  (insert your own F word).

While it is my husband who’s the soldier, this is a family operation.  I do  not believe I could remain married to someone who would make such life altering decisions without consulting me.  I believe that a soldier who does any of the above without gaining the approval or acceptance of their partner is selfish.  The military is a career with it’s own culture, rules, and challenges.  More so than any other career choice, the decisions of one have far reaching effects on the other members of the family.  When we were first dating, he re-enlisted really without consulting me.  We were fairly new dating, so I didn’t really think it was my place.  However when the time for re-enlistment occurred, we had been married for a couple of years, and  I put my foot down.  I had enough.

Then 9-11 happened.

Again, my husband approached me about re-joining.  While it was a very hard decision for me, I gave my consent to his re-enlistment once again. He seriously had a recruiter tell him that I didn’t need to be involved in this decision.  He requested a new recruiter, one I met with and liked very much.   I might not have put my name on that line, but I held his hand as he signed.  I know that had I said no, we would not be on this journey.  I’ve supported my husband through some very arduous training programs.  I spent most of my time on bedrest alone due to the requirements of the Army at that time.  He left 4 days after our premature baby came home from the hospital.  He was gone for 10 weeks.  Counting all the schools and trainings he has attended, by the end of this deployment he will have missed half of Poppet’s life.

These decisions on his military career  were jointly made.  I know that after his contract ends, I can tell him enough, and he will accept this, likely after much discussion and prayer.  We’ve already discussed that he will not be voluntarily extending. I had thought he was fairly close to his 20 years, and we would tough it out.  I’ve recently learned that he likely has more like 3 times longer than I had thought to retirement.  I don’t think I have that in me.  It will depend on a lot of things, but right now, that much longer of a military career is not in my plans.

I honestly cannot imagine how betrayed these women must feel who have their husbands signing them up for another trip, or extending a trip through hell with out even discussing the issue with their wives.  What gives these soldiers the right to make these massive, far reaching decisions with out even consulting their spouse? I would not want to be in that marriage.

I’m not in charge of his career. However, I very much believe that family decisions should be made by a joint decision, not just by the one who gets to go off on the adventure.  In a career as demanding, involved, and challenging as the military is, I feel it is the height of arrogance for one partner to completely ignore the other’s wishes.  One of the reasons I have consented to my husband’s service is because this is a righteous desire of his heart.  I feel a need to support that.  However, there can come a time when the needs of a family outweigh the desires of one to serve.  Don’t even get me started on dual military families who have children.

I also believe this goes both ways.  When it became clear that my much loved career in child welfare was affecting our family, I sought a job change to something much less emotionally demanding.  It was hard for me to do, but it was very much the correct decision for our family.

So if you read my blog and want to re-enlist, extend, etc call your SO and discuss this with them first.  She very well may agree with you. Heck, I’ve supporting his re-upping twice.  If she doesn’t agree perhaps you should listen to her.  I’ve supported my husband’s desires to serve much further than I ever thought I would.  Sometimes, to quote Spock, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” When approaching a decision such as this, I believe the family needs to come first.  Once that contract is signed, that no longer applies, and the needs of the Army take precedence.   But I do believe when making a career decision, the family as a whole needs to be considered, not just the desires of the soldier.

On a personal note, right before my husband came home on a pass, I received a package from him.  I saved it for a night when I would need it. Tonight is that night.  I have had an extremely stressful day at work, and ended up in customer service hell after work.  All in All, today has been an extremely stressful and draining day.  Inside the package was one of his shirts.  I think he must have doused it with his deodorant, but it smells heavenly.   I’ve put the shirt on my pillow, and as I type this, I can smell him, and things don’t seem so bad.

One thing I have discovered over this separation is how much I love him.  I have become in awe over how much he loves me.  I don’t feel worthy of his love.  It does however feel wonderful to know that he loves me.  I’ve become more aware at how much I love him.  A very primal part of me wishes I was pregnant.  I was on the pill when he was home, so I’m not.  Mentally, I know what a very bad time the beginning of a deployment is to get pregnant.  However… Depending on his R&R schedule, and what extension rumors and floating around at that time, we just might try for an R&R baby.  Pregnancy and I don’t go well together, so I know this wish is a bit nutty.

I’m unpacking our suitcase from the weekend.  Umm.. what am I supposed to do with all the implements from a romantic weekend?  Anyone want some battery operated candles?  I have no need for them for another 7 0r 8 months.

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