It started off one fateful day at the local college job fair. I had a table for the Boys & Girls Club and he had a table recruiting for the United States Marine Corps. I should’ve known then, but, dress blues…enough said.
The thing is, I DIDN’T know.
I didn’t know, when during our 9 month first-meeting turned-to-getting engaged-period, that things wouldn’t be how I believed “normal” marriages were.
I didn’t know, when he pulled me aside with the most serious look I’d ever seen him have, that he would tell me that he would be deploying four months after our wedding. This wouldn’t be first time I would hear that news. I couldn’t comprehend what it even meant really, let alone what all it would entail. I was just happy that he wasn’t ending the engagement like I feared!
I didn’t know how lonely it would be living in a new state, away from family, unable to secure a job, with no friends. But, “you knew what you signed up for.” HA! Those are actual words from a random person who had no right to say that to me! The thing was, I didn’t. Of course I had admiration for our service members and applauded their sacrifices, but frankly, that was as far as my military experience or knowledge went. I do recall at one point saying, “I don’t know how those wives do it. It must be so scary!” Foreshadowing, perhaps?
As many things as I didn’t know, there’s one thing that I did know and always have: I love my husband. After nearly ten years of marriage, now, when people say, “I don’t know how you do it”, I respond with, “What’s the alternative? Divorce the man I love and live without him because life isn’t what I imagined it to be?”
As hard as it can be, for me, I never had a choice. I didn’t choose to move away from my family and friends. I didn’t choose to be unemployed due to relocations. I didn’t choose for my husband to be deployed four times and away more than he is here. I didn’t choose to have him miss our boys’ births, subsequent birthdays, and big events.
However, I DID choose to seek counseling when I felt I was drowning. It helped me get over not letting anyone watch my kids and find a babysitter. It empowered me to find a soccer league, to do something I love, and have a break. Lastly, it inspired me to get connected to faith communities wherever I live and to stay rooted in my beliefs.
I didn’t choose a lot of this life, but I did choose love, and sometimes that has to be enough.
© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2020.
Amy Schweizer is a Marine Corps spouse of almost ten years, mom to three boys, and the Owner and Director of Tiny Troops Soccer® (a developmental program for ages 1-5 near 35+ bases). She is a fitness fanatic, with American Council on Exercise certifications in Group Exercise, Youth Sports, and Behavior Change. She loves playing soccer (in over 30’s leagues!), exploring the beautiful landscape of her current duty station in North Carolina, and is a strong advocate for military spouse employment.
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