Military Love: Maximize Your Military Love Life

 

Military Love: Maximize Your Military Love Life

 

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, today’s post is all about love.  Particularly, ways to maximize your love life while living the military lifestyle.  Because loving in the military life sometimes looks different than loving in the outside world.  It’s beautiful in it’s own kind of way.  Military love is so often criticized or pitied because of the hardships that come with our lifestyle– but there are more than enough ways to make up for the hardships!

 

Take Advantage Of Discovery

I think the role of “discovery” is a big reason behind the butterflies you got when you first met.  Falling in love with someone is all about discovering a person who makes you feel loved, and learning how to love them back.  Usually along the way, you discover a whole new side of yourself.  It’s the “complete you” versus the “incomplete you.”

Luckily for us military couples, this lifestyle affords a lifetime of discovery.  Chances are you grew up in one hometown, and chances are you don’t live there anymore.  Try to embrace and discover your new surroundings.  In the military, you will travel to places you have never been, and live in places you probably would have never picked on your own (ahem, Ft. Stewart).  Not every assignment is a grand OCONUS duty station, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore your posts’ backyard.  There are still adventures to be had and memories to be made.  Even in DeRidder.

Of course there is emotional discovery along the way too: learning just how much you can really miss each other, and just how good homecoming feels like.  Take advantage of that.  Even if you’re not a touchy-feely person, allow yourself to experience new emotions and embrace them.  Learn to miss each other in a healthy way.  Practice sacrificing things for each other with love as your motive, not necessity.  Discover a newness in yourself, as your situation changes throughout your dynamic military life.

Practical Application:  Google “Top 10 Most Romantic Things to Do” in your current city today.  Make plans to try one or two of them out.

 

Use Your Weekends Wisely

Anyone who has had a soldier go through weeks of training can attest to the fact that 2-days weekends are often “catch up” days.  All 48 hours become devoted to getting real sleep and real food, as well as stocking up for the next leg of training.  It’s hard to turn those weekends into a mini-vacation.  But it’s also hard if you’ve been the one on the sidelines, waiting for a chance to go out on some real dates together, only to have the weekends blow by anonymously. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to veg out, or “get stuff done” but your love life does require some together-time.  Luckily for us military couples, there’s a little something called extended-weekends.

I can’t think of many full-time jobs that offer so many 3 and 4 day weekends as the military does.  You can maximize your military love life by using these weekends to your advantage.  Make plans for them.  You don’t have to do something big every time a 3/4-day weekend pops up, but if you have a DONSA coming up, go into the nearest city overnight.   Make those long weekends your “date” weekends, if the 2-day ones are just too short.  Bank on your 4-day weekends as an untouchable period of together time, and then enjoy them together.

Practical Application:  When is your next 3 or 4 day weekend?  Find out and make 1 concrete date plan.  You can look up your installation’s MWR site and find discounted tickets for date ideas.  (MCCS for Marines, and AFSVA for Air Force).

 

Go Old-School

Many careers have away-from-home stints, but none are quite like the military.  Civilian couples don’t get separated for months on end the way military do, and when they do, phone calls and texting opportunities abound.  Military couples, on the other hand, feel like they got lucky if they hear from each other once a day during a deployment.  During field training, we don’t even expect to have contact.  Spouses go for weeks without communication at some schools like Basic Training.  You can look at this as unfair, or you can get creative and go old-school.

If you’ve never sent letters to each other–do it.  There’s something about holding the physical paper in your hand that makes it more romantic than emails.  Bouquets are also vogue and extremely romantic.  Even if you’re not together on a special day (see above), order flowers and have them delivered to your girl’s doorstep!  Care packages aren’t just a thing in movies.  Soldiers love receiving a care package (even if they have access to stores while on TDY).  It’s just the feeling of opening a gift packed tight with treats and love that makes those packages so significant.  These old traditions were commonly-used romantic actions for a reason!

Sweetheart gestures are also a very effective way at emphasizing your love despite the challenges of the military.  While his & her tattoos are the modern version of this, don’t be afraid of the old-school “promise ring.”  Wearing a token that means “I’ll be back” is significantly strengthening.  Engraved necklaces or bracelet pendants with his location’s coordinates are meaningful tokens that will provide much needed comfort on those difficult days.  Don’t feel cheesy for sleeping with his dog tags under your pillow, or carrying her picture in your chest pocket.  These little romantic gestures are habits that have been practiced by countless US military couples before us.  Trust those who have tread our path before us!

Practical Application:  Write a hand-written note today and save it for tomorrow.  Leave it on the steering wheel, in the lunch box, or taped to the mirror to set the tone for the day.  If you are separated right now, pop it in the mail tomorrow.

 

Ignore the Dates on the Calendar

It’s only natural to want to spend holidays together, and the military can be pretty good at making sure that happens.  With the exception of your birthday.  His birthday.  Your anniversary.  And if you put too much stock in the actual date circled on the calendar, rather than the meaning behind it, you may become disappointed during your military life.  You’ll feel like you’re missing out.  Like your love life is somehow being robbed of monumental days.

But you can maximize your military love life but not being robbed of any romantic landmarks.  Celebrate those days on a different date.  If you know you won’t be together on a certain holiday, celebrate before or after the “actual” date.  It’s better to celebrate your anniversary a week early than not at all.  Don’t be the girl who has to “skip” St. Valentine’s Day.  Being in the military doesn’t mean you have to skip anything.  You just have to be flexible.

Practical Application: Let go of the memory you are harboring of that missed holiday.  You have this year to make it right.  And if you won’t be able to celebrate that same holiday together in 2018 (it took 4 years before we actually spent a Halloween together), then make plans to celebrate it early or late together.  This year can be more celebratory than last year, if you make it a choice!

 

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There are ample opportunities to maximize your military love life–you just have to know where to look.  Take those 4-day weekends…explore your surroundings together.  Be flexible, and make memories you can treasure forever.  There’s a reason that people say that military couples are some of the strongest ones in the world.  Because if it wasn’t possible, there  wouldn’t be so many of us doing it.  You’ve probably heard this one a million times, but that’s because it’s actually true: “Distance does to love what wind does to fire. It extinguishes the weak and feeds the strong.”

Thanks for stopping by.  If you have any romance tips to maximize your military love life, please share in the comment sections below.  We’re all going through this together. <3

 

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A Month in Review: January 2018

A Month in Review: January 2018

“Bare branches of each tree / on this chilly January morn / look so cold so forlorn.  / Gray skies dip ever so low / left from yesterday’s dusting of snow.”  – Nelda Hartmann

This is a new-type of post for me.  If you’ve been here before (thank you), you might have read one of my round-ups at the end of the month.  I like doing round-ups, because it’s my chance to review my to-do list and catch up with you.  And I really enjoyed making those lists.  Which is why at the beginning of every month I would post a to-do list and share my expectations of what the month would bring.  Just a way to keep myself accountable–and to share in general.

But, this year I’ve decided to make some changes to my blog.  I’m trying to streamline my content to reflect the direction I want my blog to take in the next year.  And posting twice a month about my to-do lists is a little too much. That’s 24 “off-topic” posts per year.  And I just don’t think my blog can afford that.  haha.  So for the sake of clarity, simplification, and staying on track, I’m cutting back my rants to one per month.

Hence, my new series.  Months in Review.  No particular theme, just a central purpose: summarizing my month and affording me the opportunity to announce/discuss things that might otherwise be considered “off-topic” for my corner of the internet.  Essentially, this is my series for automatic writing.  <-favorite style hehe

Without further adieu:  January 2018

This month was FULL of surprises.  There is no other way to put it.  Deadlines moved up significantly, training calendars changed…everything changed.  But for some reason, I was able to find peace in the chaos.  Thank you, to Jesus. Because I wasn’t ready for my head to fall off this early in the year!

Book of the month: “The Little Book of Letting Go” by Hugh Prather and let me tell you–it’s amazing.  I’m not above saying that I love a good self-help book. ha!  And this one is excellent.  It has a spiritual aspect to it, which I like.  But it’s not a purely theological book.  It’s definitely a book that teaches your mind to become stronger.  I like books like that because I do believe that the mind is a muscle of sorts.  It needs to be exercised in order for change to happen.  Sometimes reading a book that convinces you to be happy, or tells you that you should let go, is motivating but insubstantial.  I like this book because it goes beyond advising happiness or freedom.  It shows you how to obtain them.

Worst Movie of the Month: Christmas Belle.  I don’t think I can rant enough about this one.  HAVE you watched it?  I rarely call things cringe-worthy.  I think its a fairly disrespectful term for anything artistic.  Also, it sounds a little bit pompous to call something cringe-worthy.  And it doesn’t really describe or explain the issues with something.  You guys, Christmas Belle is cringe-worthy.  That’s what I get for watching a Christmas movie in late January.  But really, I think even if I had watched this Christmas Day I still wouldn’t have gotten the feels.  It is that bad.  I feel like if the plot arch doesn’t happen until the last 12 minutes of the movie, it should be gutted all-together.  If the movie survived that long without anything substantial happening in the plot, why ruin it at the end with a moving storyline?  Only kind of kidding.

Music of the Month: I’m happy for Bruno Mars that his 24K won like, everything.  He totally deserved it–as did his boys.  They are great artists and true entertainers.  But my music of the month is Taylor Swift’s Reputation album.  I’m not trying to pull a Kanye, but Taylor’ Swift has one of the best albums of all time.

Blog notes:  My blog has spiked recently.  I’m not sure as to why this is, except that January is an extremely busy training month.  I’m really grateful for the attention and don’t plan to squander it.  If you came here looking for Army lifestyle information, thank you!  Please leave a comment below letting me know what you were specifically looking for.  I like writing in general, but I really enjoy writing for others.  So I’m here to write for you!  Let me know what I can do!

Announcements: I’ve been working on catching up with 2 ipsy unboxings that I never published.  I’m planning to release those next month, under the “appropriate” date that they ought to have.  So if you get a flurry of ipsy-related notifications, I promise it’s not a new obsession of mine.  It’s just my way of making up for my winter slacking.  Sorry about all that.

Goals to take into next month:  This month, I developed a plan to get more done.  So original for January…haha.  But really, it’s a plan to help foster creativity and to eliminate time-draining apps (Instagram, I’m looking at you).  Hopefully, my blog will come across as more productive in February, as a result of this plan.  We shall see. 🙂

That’s all I’ve got for now.  If you’ve made it this far–wow.  You’re really nice.  I hope this post didn’t scare you away and that you’ll come back soon for some of the posts I’ve been planning.  And by the way, how was your January 2018? Thanks for stopping by!

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2018–My Goals

 

I love new years.  It’s such a great time for making resolutions, accepting change, and working on making the future even brighter.  Plus, if you’re sentimental like me, it’s a good chance to look back over the last year with gratitude and nostalgia.

Like I wrote in my 2017 finale post, there was a lot of change for us in 2017.  But one of my favorite changes was our development of quality time.  We transformed our quality time into a quality of life.   It was a change in perspective and a change in our ways.  I don’t waste time the way I used to, and I value time so, so much more.  I spend it differently, and I spend it well.  If there was something I could add to that, it would be this:

Don’t wait for tomorrow to do what you can do today.

And I definitely don’t mean paying the bills the day they come in. haha  I mean, don’t save a new recipe for next week– why not make dinner tonight special?  Don’t save my perfume for the weekend– go put some on right now.  If I miss my sister, pick up the phone and call her.  If I take a cute picture of my babies, send it to my husband at work right now.  Life is too special and too precious to think that the future is somehow going to be a better time to make memories.  Right now is perfect.  Right now is all I have.

I’m hoping this will help me in three ways:

1) I forget everything.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  If I “save my perfume for the weekend,” chances are I won’t remember I wanted to wear perfume on Saturday!  If I save a recipe for the next week, I definitely won’t remember to buy the ingredients the next time I’m at the store. haha Just being honest here!

2) I have always struggled with making decisions.  I’m a really, really indecisive person.  I’m hoping that by “living in the moment” I will stop hesitating on everything.  I will just learn to DO things.

3) I need to learn to let go a little bit more.  Something I definitely struggle with is second-guessing myself on a lot of things.  Its part of being indecisive.  And I’m hoping that by living in the moment, I will become more easy going, and be so busy living in my current moment, that I have less time for fearing about the future or my past efforts.

So that’s the plan.  Obviously I have more resolutions for this year…but I’m planning to break them up into smaller posts– my monthly posts to be specific.  In fact, my next post will be my monthly January post.  Stay tuned!  Thanks for stopping by.  What are your 2018 goals?

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Happy 2018 New Year!

Happy New Year!

I wish your families all the health, happiness, peace, and joy that this new year could possibly bring.  I can’t wait to see this year unfold.  And I hope it will be one of our best years yet.  Take care and God bless!

 

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Goodbye, 2017!

2017

 

There have only been two years in my life when EVERYTHING changed (which is saying a lot as an Army brat).  One of those years, I graduated from high school, moved away to college, began chipping away at my liberal arts degree, and most importantly–met the love of my life.  The other year, I graduated from college with my bachelor’s in English Literature, married the love of my life a month later, and entered life as I know it as a military wife.  But if I was going to pick a runner-up year, a year that gets honorable mention in terms of change, keeping busy, and experiencing life: it would be 2017.

Two months into February 2017, my husband returned from training and we were once again a reunited family.  (For any of my military readers out there–aren’t homecomings the best?)  We weren’t supposed to be moving until June, but came down on orders in March to move the first week of April.  That actually happened to us.  (For my military readers out there–doesn’t that happen a lot? lol)  So we had to pack up and leave our apartment, which was an extra big change because it was our very first home together.  We travelled 500 miles (with a toddler, a lab, and a morning sick mama) to move into a house we hadn’t even been in before.  Good news is, we loved the house!  Fun fact: we didn’t have a choice. haha

Life in our new house, at our new duty station was great.  In fact, I think we liked our location even better. (Although we will always look back fondly on our previous two years and would be more than happy to go back!)  As our family excitedly awaited the arrival of our second baby, we also lived the hours of Army training life.  Early mornings meant early bedtimes, and there was a lot of packing, meal prepping, and long days.  We made the best of it.  In fact, we made a goal to focus on our “quality” of life.  That had been our goal for 2017.  We knew that our free time would be limited, with pregnancy and Army training taking up so much space in our life. So we tried to squeeze every drop of value out of our weekends together that we could.  I can honestly say we really, truly did.

Once the Army training came to an end (congrats to my husband on his graduation!!), life finally slowed down for us.  And when I say it slowed down, I mean we had a lot of time off.  More than we have ever had before.  Some days it felt like we were back in college, hanging out on the weekend together–we had that much time off.  And we loved every single second of it!  We had spent so much of 2017 learning to make the most of our time together.  And so when our break finally came, we really knew how to spend it.  Our second baby came along, and our family went into full-hibernation mode, enjoying the peaceful calm that comes once the baby arrives.  We spent some real, long, happy days as a threesome.  And now, as a foursome!

Looking back at the year in review, I can say that it was the quality of life we shared that made 2017 so impactful.  The hustle and bustle that took up so much of the year ended up being completely worth it.  The pregnancy and Army training paid off.  Because not only did they have the best conclusions possible (especially the pregnancy conclusion! haha) but because it was during those times that we really learned how to make the most of our life.  Like I said earlier, we felt like we had to squeeze every bit of life out of the time we had together, because there wasn’t a lot of it.  This year, we learned to make the most of our weekends, and even just the most out of an evening together.  It was a daily practice at first, but then it became a habit.  And now, I really feel like it is our lifestyle.

As 2017 comes to a close, I feel grateful.  This year was filled to the brim with blessings.  I’m still surprised myself when I look over the year and realize how much has changed and happened, how many prayers have been answered, and how many memories have been made.  I know it’s cliche to say it was “the best Christmas ever,” but I can definitely say that the ending months of 2017 have been some of the best in my life.  And while it will be bittersweet to say goodbye to 2017, I’m glad that I can pack it up inside my heart and take it with me into the new year.  Or as we always say among military friends, it’s not really goodbye after all, but really just, see you later.

See you later, 2017!  You were too good to me.

 

 

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