August 23, 2008

Facing Down A Major Challenge As A Couple

An article that I was interested in reading in the latest Redbook was The 7 Steps to Happily Ever After.  From what the cover says it is supposed to be secrets to lasting love.  Number 7 on the list is what really caught my attention and started me thinking.  Step 7:  Face Down a Major Challenge Together.  The article goes on about how you don't realize how strong your relationship really is until it's tested and when you make it through a challenge together you find yourselves closer than ever.  
Well then, I would think military couples should be very close.  I consider dealing with deployment a challenge on a multitude of levels.  While I do think that it has strengthened the bond between me and Pat, I'm not so sure that doing it over and over again is going to be a good step for marriage.  A friend of mine had said during her second deployment (Pat's first) that she  thought the effects of deployments are cumulative.  Now going through deployment number two, I completely agree.  I find deployment number two feels much different than the first.  Even my attitude toward it is different.  I realize that cumulatively I'm only dealing with a total of 16 months right now, and a bit over 20 at the end of this deployment.  It could definitely be worse.  Although I am certain deployment number 3 is waiting considering the unit we are in. 
The last line of the article says, "The small, friendly cottage you build--decorated with your shared history and stories, filled with color and laughter--will be the warmest and safest retreat you can imagine."  I wonder if we'll have this "cottage" filled with memories and laughter or if it will be memories of phone calls, care packages, goodbyes and homecomings. I'm not sure, but if many challenges makes a couple stronger than those that face less, I have to believe the military families will be some of the strongest.  

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