Welcome to this month’s installment of our “Forward, March!” blog series. “Forward, March!” is meant to empower, encourage, and equip us as military spouses, so that we may support our service members with ever-deepening levels of strength and perseverance. Our hope is that the topics discussed in “Forward, March!” will be not only informative, but also challenging (in a good way, of course) to ensure that our “talk” as military spouses manifests through our “walk” as military spouses. Now, let’s fall in and get to it!
There are a lot of layers to this military wife life.
It’s kind of like an onion. (Or, as Donkey from the movie Shrek insists, it’s like a parfait. Which sounds delicious. But I digress.)
Seriously. So many layers. It’s not like the romantic homecoming love stories in the movies. Sure, we have our moments, but real life Army marriage requires a lot more than a long kiss that makes your toes curl.
Military wife life isn’t just about loving our soldiers. It’s about respect, especially if your service member happens to be a “typical” male.
See, here’s the thing… most men KNOW their wives love them. But many wonder: “Does she really respect me?”
Maybe this makes you gasp and clutch your pearls. Of course I respect him! How could he think otherwise?
Well, I speak from experience when I say that sometimes our actions (or our words) don’t exactly convey respect.
You might recall a blog I wrote a couple of years ago entitled The Best Deployment Ever. It shares a lot of the revelations I learned regarding how women (typically) desire love and men (typically) desire respect. (This is not my original concept. It stems from the Weekend to Remember conference and Emerson Eggerichs’ book Love and Respect.
I respect my infantryman husband. So, SO much. But for the first several years of our marriage, I didn’t do such a great job of showing it.
Whenever I would say a backhanded comment of frustration about the Army.
When I rolled my eyes or heaved a huge sigh.
The moments that I tried to “mom” him.
Anytime I flat out rejected him for, ahem, “romantical time” together.
Sure, I knew I respected him. But he didn’t know that.
In the years since, I’ve been a lot more intentional about conveying my respect to him in whatever ways I can.
Like being patient and graceful when the Army throws us (another) curveball.
Girding up my loins to solo-parent during deployment without whining or massive amounts of complaining to him.
Being hyper-vigilant of my tone and word choice when I am communicating, especially in moments of frustration.
Being quick to apologize when I do fall short and inadvertently disrespect him during a time of conflict (and trust me, that still happens more often than I would like).
I’ve even been working on cultivating respectful eyebrows! Because apparently they can have quite the attitude when they aren’t reined in! (My stylist is learning what I mean now when she asks how I want my brows done and I respond with “kind and respectful.”)
So this month’s Forward, March! challenge is to assess our individual Respect-0-Meters for our service members. Do we respect our spouse? How are we showing it? In what ways (words, attitude, actions) should we make an effort to be more respectful?
This idea of love AND respect is a lot more complex than just a simple blog post (which is probably why Dr. Eggerichs wrote the book). I encourage you to check it out to learn more about how to respect your husband (which results in him loving you more) and having a fulfilling marital relationship as an Army wife. It just takes a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.