“Our relationship was not built on separation, so why am I going to throw in the towel?”

31 Jan

I am surrounded by newly integrating families…

But behind that façade of supreme happiness, I see sadness, frustration, and sometimes even anger. I recognize these emotions because I’ve experienced them. I know the turmoil that potentially lies in the wake of reintegration.

My advice is to avoid ridiculous love songs, well-meaning family members, and your “in-denial” neighbor:  love is hard and reintegration can be even harder.

But, I am here to tell you that it is worth it.

I’ve spent years wondering if this was the right life for me,… for us. It’s his job, yes, but am I really meant to be his spouse? These are plaguing thoughts for a spouse whose husband is deployed.

After our last deployment, we experienced a rough reintegration.  I spent 2 years seeking to reconnect on an emotional level from which we could grow.  We had exactly 3 weeks of bliss before he was whisked away, again. Oh well, it’s still worth it.

You see, our relationship was not built on frustration, so that’s not going to be what breaks us.  Our relationship was not built on separation, so why am I going to throw in the towel?  Our relationship was built on love, understanding, friendship and a little bit of teenage rebellion.  Those are each important things for which we can remind ourselves as we face the difficult process of reestablishing, or  maintaining our emotional connection as a couple. Each marriage is different, but usually there is something that intuitively and initially attracted you to your spouse.  Something pivotal that you may lean against in times of trouble.

If you are having a tough time, try to find or remember those things.  Finding common ground may help.  What is your “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (for all of you ‘90’s children)?

The growth we made as a couple during the year we were reintegrating will enable us to grow during our current separation.  Like most things, relationships are a process. Whether apart or together, all relationships ebb and flow.  Careful not to think your current “ebb” is permanent!

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the process, especially during the chaos we call “reintegration”. Each of you has experienced unique challenges during your year apart. I am here to tell you, again, that it is worth it.  Every frustrating episode, each tear shed, even the grumpy moods, they are all worth it in the end.

What reintegration experiences have surprised you, and which have been “a breeze”?  Please share your comments and experiences with Moriah in the comment section below.   

Moriah Horn, Army Spouse, mother, student, and OFS facilitator for the 3/1 IBCT spouses, will be married to her high school sweetheart, Josh, 9 years March of 2012.  They are the parents of two amazing children, River and Ember, plus one crazy cat, and three dogs.  Two of their three dogs participate in various pet therapy programs, welcome home ceremonies and wounded warrior therapy events.  Moriah was part of the original OFS group during Josh’s most recent deployment with the 502nd from Fort Knox, Ky, in 2009-10, and has been an integral part of the program’s development and longterm success! 

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