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As it stands, about half of all marriages end in divorce. The military lifestyle can wreak havoc on a marriage if a good foundation is not set first. Being married to a soldier, and having this be my second marriage, I want this one to be my last. So I’ve gotten together with the 3 couples that inspire me in my marriage to ask them a few questions about the key to a successful marriage.
The Previously Married Couple With +1’s
My husband and I met at the very beginning of 2014. Though not divorced yet, I was separated from my former husband and starting over. I had gone from being a homemaker from the time my then 2-year-old was born, to a single mom working and going to school to better me and my little one’s life. It was a drastic change that was difficult for the two of us to adjust to, but we were managing.
I wasn’t taking dating too seriously when I met my soldier through the dating app OK Cupid. In my mind, he was too good to be true anyways. He said all the right things and was never put off by the fact that I had a child. In his own way, he too had one, a fur baby. Sheamus (now our family fur baby) was by his side through his difficult and lonely divorce. To this day he is seen and referred to as our 3rd child. Just like me and my baby, him and his baby were a package deal.
In the beginning, I wasn’t buying into what I thought was all just an act from him. We had our first date on Valentine’s Day, and it completely changed my view of him. I saw that he was genuine, and that had felt like a rug was pulled out right from under me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this guy could be for real. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he indeed was.
We had lunch in Ruidoso, followed by a drive to The Lodge Resort in Cloudcroft to watch the sunset over white sands from the tower room. I wrote about this beautiful and romantic location in my post Oh The Places I’ve Been- Ruidoso and Cloudcroft, NM. To say that it was the most romantic date I’d ever been on was an understatement.
I knew he was the one when I finally introduced my daughter to him and had seen him interact with her. She was so comfortable with him and he was so good with her that even my grandma noticed. I distinctly remember her whispering to me “he’s a keeper” and I will never forget the moment that my entire family accepted him as their own.
We married a short 7 months later, days before he departed to report to Fort Hood, TX. It was a quickly planned, but beautifully small ceremony held at the Alumni Chapel of the New Mexico Military Institute.
Since then, we’ve gone through our share of trying times. Deployments are always hard, and we dealt with my first one (his second) less than a year after we had gotten married. I talk about how I managed in my post To The New Army Spouse Whose Soldier Is About To Deploy. Since then, we’ve had another child and have gone through our first PCS (permanent change of station) as a family.
Having only been married for about 2 1/2 years thus far, we’ve still got times where things aren’t the smoothest. Communication is a key factor that helps us get through these moments. I also feel like we get so caught up in being parents and the day-to-day hum drum, that we don’t take enough time to ourselves to go back to dating.
Like I said, this will be my last marriage. Therefore I’m always looking for ways to help us grow as a couple and continue to get stronger. That’s when I turned to the 3 couples that inspire me in my marriage for advice. I’ve also found some very great idea’s in a book called The Five Love Languages. What’s great about this book is it pertains not only to marital relationships, but also the relationships with your children as well.
The Couple Who Made It Through A 30 Year Army Career
I was very fortunate to be able to interview our first couple on their 39th anniversary! The Megahan’s met in their college years. She was working at a diner just down the road from the military institute he was attending. He and his buddies would go down to Sambo’s after school because they could get all you can drink coffee for just 10 cents. That’s when he met her, his exuberant and outgoing waitress.
Being a troop commander maintaining a 4.0 avg, he was a very busy man. One of his buddies told her he had a friend who wanted to meet her, but of course was a very busy guy. She responded “Tell him to stop being busy and come on down and see me!” That’s exactly what he did. He stayed waiting with her after her shift until her dad was to arrive to pick her up, and by the time she got home she had butterflies and could not stop thinking about him.
Their first date consisted of orange soda’s at McDonald’s, her treat. Apparently he had no license and was driving his friend’s car with very sketchy brakes just to go pick her up, but she recalls that his parking was impeccable.
She knew he was the one after their first official date. He was the total package to her. Smart, handsome, kind, good sense of humor, she couldn’t think of a single flaw.When she heard he was transferring colleges she knew she wanted to go with him, much to her parents dismay.
He knew she was the one after they had a couple of dates and attended some dances together. She had gone to watch him play in the “Toilet Bowl”, and he felt like he was in a good solid relationship.
Communication is one of their biggest weaknesses. While he’s a good listener, since he was brought up in a big family it was hard to get a word in edgewise. So he’s grown to be not so much of a great talker. Their strengths are the sense of adventure they both have, and their gentility and kindness has carried them a long ways.
Having gone through a 30 year army career, they’ve had their share of struggles. She believes the things that helped them get through it were open-mindedness, patience, and the motto “I can do anything for a year”. Remembering the whole time what you loved about them when you first met them, what you found wonderful about them,and expressing gratitude for them the whole time. It doesn’t change through all the hard times. Stay on the path you know you’re headed.
His advice is to recognize the real anchor is the wife/mother, and to know that when your gone everything is going to be fine at home. Don’t come back from being away for a awhile assuming command because that’s not how it works. It takes easing back into a relationship and family when you’ve been gone. Take little steps and ease yourself back into it. Take advantage of the moments you have,and involve everybody.
When asked why they think more than half of current marriages fail, she replies that there is a lack of loyalty and commitment. There’s a belief that there’s always something better that is going to come along. Give it your all, stick with it make it work. Marriage is a bell curve, there are ups and downs. Just like a roller coaster, it’s always fun going up and getting to the top, but eventually it will come down and that’s not always fun. There will be more ups and more downs, and you just have to stay along for the ride.
I found his answer to this to be the most interesting. He thinks society has become selfish. Technology has made things impersonal, it’s all about me me me. We have become exiled from things by our own choice. Even TV shows promote this idea so people think it’s appropriate. At the slightest difficulty they crumble, and they don’t know how to make it through because they are selfish.
When we got married, her advice to my husband was to love me more then I love him, and that I have to love him more than he loves me. Always give 110%, be silly, be helpful, and don’t forget date nights! They allow you to be who you were when you were dating, and that helps you both reconnect when life gets busy and trying.
The Megahan’s inspire me to stay strong through the challenging times that the army may bring us to face. They also inspire me to remember to always give your all to your partner, and never forget that date night!
The Couple That Swore Off Marrying Again
The Beach’s are a couple that I’ve known for a couple of years. My former mother in law (with whom I still consider myself close to) and her now husband met 7 years ago, and married each other 2 years ago. Having both gone through divorces prior, they’d sworn off ever marrying again.
It started out with them meeting on plenty of fish, an online dating site. More and more singles are turning to online dating. In my opinion, when done right, it can very well lead to a happily ever after.
In the beginning, it was just that, dating. Then she met his parents, and his hers. After a couple of years of happily dating, his mother wanted him to make an honest woman out of her. She knew he was the one when he cried when her mom had passed. He knew she was the one when he realized he had fallen in love with his best friend.
Like all relationships, there was a rough patch or two. The one that stuck out to the both of the most, and the one that they both agreed was the most difficult time in their relationship, was a brief period involving some incidences with the kids on both sides.
Having been a single mother most of her life, she has always put her kids first, even into their adulthood. She realized that it was now time for her to put herself first. Through a lot of communication and remembering why they had fallen in love with each other, they made it through that difficult time and are now happier then ever.
When I asked them what they feel the reason so many marriages end in divorce these days, they agreed with the Megahan’s. She said that it’s to easy to just walk away and always be looking for something new or better. He compared life to the popular sitcom “Leave It To Beaver”, life and marriages just aren’t as easy as that. Walking away when you’re not happy is nothing more than an easy out.
They believe the key to a successful marriage is thinking about your partner and understanding where they are coming from. You can never take back hateful words said in the heat of the moment. While they might help you make your point at the time, the other person will always be left with the scars that those hurtful words leave.
The Beach’s inspire me to remember that you can find happiness after divorce. That you have to tread carefully when you’re in an argument and think before you speak. I am so happy to see how far they’ve come as a couple, and I look forward to seeing them to continue to grow and have their happily ever after.
The Vegas Wedding That Was Built To Last
This couple is very special and dear to me, they are my grandparents. They’ve been together for 27 years and married for 23. This means they met shortly before I was born, awe 🙂
The Stocks tied the knot in Las Vegas. This is also, quite possibly, the first Vegas wedding that I know of that wound up being legit. I’ve got to say, when I learned this awhile ago, I was shocked. Since then it’s become one of the many things I love about their relationship.
They met the old-fashioned way, through mutual friends at lunch. She said what drew her to him was the fact that he was a “forever bachelor”. She in time realized he was her kind of guy, and was able to get him to trade in his bachelor pad for a home for two. They both knew they were the one for each other because they were built of the same cloth. They’re both simple people with similar ways of thinking, and they enjoyed being around each other.
They’ve hit one of the biggest rough patches you could probably ever possibly hit. My grand father came down with a very serious illness, and it took a toll on both of them. My grandpa is a very strong man, and it was really hard to see him go through something that almost beat him. I can only imagine what it was like for my grandma, I’ve never seen her so afraid. However, they both were able to stay strong and supportive of each other, and thankfully have made it through.
The biggest strengths in their relationship are the fact that they don’t keep secrets from each other, or try to change one another. They fell in love with each other with the way they truly are, and that has made it easy for them to love each other each and every day.
I asked each couple what they think the reason is that more than half of marriages end in divorce. They’re answers are old-fashioned, just like them. He believes people just don’t take enough time to get to know each other before taking the plunge. She feels that relationships face too many distractions these days. Couples used to make decisions together and grow together. Now she feels that husbands and wives have their own personal lives that don’t involve a lot of each other, and that can create problems.
The key to a successful marriage to them means having respect, honesty and common interests to keep the flames burning. At times you do have to give each other space, but the result will bring them closer together and keep them loving each other. They add that they regularly remember to express their love for each other verbally, even though it’s something they both know already.
My grandparents inspire me to stay honest, open and strong in my marriage. As our marriage is often strained by the military way of life, I feel like these aspects are vital for keeping us from becoming another statistic.
What Did I Learn?
- Stay honest and open
- Always give it your all
- Date nights are important
- Don’t say anything during arguments that you can’t take back
- A sense of adventure can lead you to some fun experiences
And most of all, no matter how you met, the way you got married, or if you’ve been married before, a marriage can be successful with the right tools and state of mind. <3