On September 1st 2006 I married my best friend. I know that everyone says they married their best friend, but I really mean it. We are friends first. We laugh all the time. Without him I'm not sure how I would have survived this year- of course, without him I never would have been pregnant in the first place, so that was silly. What I mean is without hub being the type of person- the type of husband- that he is- I never would have survived, WE never would have survived. We have further to go, we're not out of the grief yet, but we're getting there.
Our marriage has never been easy, really in spite of ourselves. Right from the start there was outside forces testing our marriage. Two weeks before my wedding I reminded my boss that I had 2 weeks vacation coming up, it was a pre-hire commitment and was "set in stone" when I accepted the position. When I reminded my boss, I was denied the vacation time due to "operational need" and I was forced to quit or skip both my rehearsal dinner and my honeymoon (they were willing to give me a half-day off for my actual wedding- how kind). So... I was out of work for the first 3 months of our marriage- and I hated every minute I was stuck at home alone. Of course, I wasn't home by myself as often as one would think: about a month after our wedding hub was laid off from his job and got a series of odd jobs after a few weeks out of work. Money was tight, but we did have fun hanging out together and "playing house" in our first apartment. Come December, we were both back in full-time professional work and settled into married life- for about 10 months. Back to back hub lost 2 friends- one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan- and he decided to.... join the Army. 24 years old, newly married and gainfully employed. After much talk and compromise, he joined as a National Guard solider and left for 15 months is Feb of 2007.
We lived apart for those 15 months, with me visiting him every 6 weeks or so after the first 6 months of training was over. Until the events of December 26th 2011, those 1st 6 months in the Army were the hardest time of our marriage. He had unusually limited phone time, he didn't call at all in the first month he was away, when he did call, in the 5th week, it was for 5 minutes. We didn't speak again until he pretended to forget some personal information that was needed for paperwork and was required to make a call to me to get the info. We spoke twice more in the 11th, and final, week once the night before our reunion. That isn't how it was supposed to go, or what I had expected from my army wife freinds, but the base was overcrowded and hub's unit was in an auxiliary barrack away from everyone else. Basically the drill sargents were left to their own devices- and chose to mess with them. In that time, I moved out of our first apartment and back home- ouch. It wasn't the first time we were apart (5 years apart in college) but it had been 7 years since we had limited phone contact (he went to a military college, so we were semi-inducted in the mind games of boot camp)
When he came home I naively thought we could resume normal life. We started to search for a home and talked about having kids. While we set up our lives again, we lived with his parents- double ouch. Blow one was finding out we didn't have nearly enough money saved for a down payment. On top of that the economy crashed and while hub was lucky to find a job, it wasn't one he liked. So there we were, living in his parents house, with7 other people and no foreseeable way out. We still were having a blast, finally reunited. Then he got deployment orders.
When he left in December of 2009, I moved back home, he spent a year in Iraq. It was nerve wracking and difficult, communication was spotty at best- I heard from him every 10 days or so. Once he called me in a real mood and I later found out that he had to hold bandages to what was left of his buddy's hands after an accident. More days like that followed. In September, about 2.5 months before he was due home, I put in an offer on our first home. It was a very difficult transaction, bank errors, delays, miscommunications. All the while, hubs return dae kept being pushed back. We were told they would be home for Thanksgiving- didn't happen. On December 4th 2010, Hub returned. 2 days later, we closed on our first home. I really thought the worst was behind us. For almost a year, I thought I was right. Reintegration was rough, but not impossible. There was no PTSD, no infidelity and few role issues. We started trying to conceive in March and were pregnant in September.
So that's a chronological of the difficulties of our marriage thus far, without re-hashing the content of this blog. There are a myriad of other, normal annoyances as well- he was called up for duty this weekend and is working a high profile event in Charlotte this week (hint-hint) so I am alone this anniversary, the house has needed and continues to need significant work, we aren't in love with all of each other's friends. You know what I mean. All in all though, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky and incredibly in love. I am genuinely baffled for those that settle for less in their marriages. I wouldn't trade the quality of my relationship for anything, even a healthy baby- because without hub, I can't be a family.