It’s fair to say that I’m a pretty independent soul. This, I believe, is a very positive thing. However a strong independent streak can also be challenging, for yourself and also for those around you.
I have to be very conscious that not everyone share’s my overriding desire to be self-reliant. In many relationships (both friends and romantic relationships) my independence has caused misunderstandings and challenges. In fact right before I got together with my husband I’d resigned myself to the fact that I might never meet anyone who could handle my drive to be self-sufficient.
As it turns out I now have a good balance of maintaining my independence and ensuring it doesn’t get in the way of healthy relationships. What I have learnt through being an army wife, particularly with a deployment on the horizon, is that independence is important.
To keep my independence I consciously make sure I’m doing things on my own, even if it’s just once a week. Sometimes this is just being on a train journey, other times it’s a barefoot run on the beach. For me the key thing is to keep up that inner strength so that when you need to face things alone, it’s easier.
I find that there’s a balance to strike when it comes to planning. Generally I’m a bit of a free-spirit, fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal. This lends itself well to being an army wife…at times.
Sometimes however a bit of planning is necessary and as you might imagine my other half likes to plan, it’s in his army DNA. Over time I’ve learnt to put some time and effort into planning, so that we can maximise the time we have together and make sure my work, home and army wife life don’t descend into chaos.
My husband is deploying soon and we’ve got a housemove on the cards so I’ll be posting lots about planning. To start with here’s my general top tips:
- Have a shared calendar with your other half, this makes sure you don’t double book and allows you to visualise how busy you are (so you can remove some commitments if it’s getting too much!).
- Go on a date, and take your diary. Often we’ll put time in the diary, to look at our diaries. Sounds geeky but it always involves wine and sometimes requires gin.
- Plan in fun. Don’t over do-it with an hour by hour plan of what you’re going to do on a Saturday afternoon but make sure you’ve got enough to look forward to in your diary. If your husband is away fill that time with friends and family. This is important as it takes keeps a good balance of practical logistics with the added sparkle of excitement.
It was marriage that turned me into an ‘army wife’. Before I got married lots of people told me they couldn’t imagine me as an army wife. All I was thinking was, what does that even mean? I’ll just be me, with a husband. Actually, people telling me I might not fit in with other army wives made me worried that I wouldn’t make any friends, I wouldn’t have a network and I might be quite lonely.
So two years into being an ‘army wife’. Guess what, I’m just me with a husband (and a dog now!). I have made good friends, had really fun times and met some incredible women and men on this journey so far. Being myself and embracing the experience has definitely helped me during my first few years as an army wife. But most importantly, before you are an army wife you are YOU, so I try to stay true to myself, what I believe in and what I care about . The rest will follow.