Thursday, April 25, 2013

Supporting Each Other

I've been reading about "support" a lot lately.  I'm a member of a couple of support pages on Facebook, and I've been talking to a lot of women through those pages.  There's something that's been bothering me about these pages, though.  On each one, the administrator deletes comments that are considered to be "rude."  I was even chastized by one administrator for a comment I made on a woman's post.  The woman was talking about her fiancee making decisions about his career without her, and that she "sacrifices everything and he never sacrifices," and went so far as to say, "if I was keeping score, it would be me- 50, him- 0."  That just did not settle well with me.  This life is about supporting each other.  We have to support our spouses when they're gone, and we need to support each other when we don't have anyone else.  That doesn't mean only say nice things to one another.  This woman was saying things that I have had experience with, and have been able to move past. 
Starting out in this life is difficult.  It can be so hard not to resent the one who gets to go away.  It sounds so glamorous doesn't it?  They get to go out on a ship, see all these foreign ports that we will probably never see, they get to leave all the daily stresses of life for months at a time!  It sounds wonderful!  They don't have to pick up the slack their absence has left us with.  We have these stretches of our days that used to have the person we love the most in the world and now they're filled with, well, either work or loneliness.  Most of us can't imagine twelve hour work days seven days a week, or hot racking with some smelly guy, or having to study for hours after work in order to qualify so people stop calling you nub.  Understanding these things comes from practice, from talking to our spouses about their deployments and seeing that while we might have it bad back here with all the additional work, they also don't get to come home at the end of the day.  And yes, they get to see all these interesting places, but most of them would prefer to see those places with us, not with some guy they may or may not like.  Now, there are arguments both ways about who has it "harder," but I don't think it matters.  Its two sides of the same coin.  The fact is, they couldn't do what they do without us, and we couldn't do what we do without them.
Back to the comments of this woman, I said something to this effect on the page, nothing offensive.  I talked about how we should never keep score in our relationships, especially when our spouse is in the military.  Not only is it not healthy, but it's not accurate.  I was immediately scolded by the page administrator, "only positive remarks," "be nice," etc.  That irked me more than anything the original poster could have said!  Be nice?  I was!  I was sharing parts of my life that were painful, in order to help this woman not go through the same problems.  It was the "only positive remarks" rule that really got me though.  We must be honest with ourselves and each other.  True support is not about being nice, it's about telling someone when their thinking is not right, and helping them to see that there's another way to go about this crazy life we lead.  In the course of my relationship, I have not been perfect, I have made mistakes and I've hurt my husband in ways only someone who really loves you can.  But each of those experiences has taught me more about myself, my husband, and how to be in a healthy relationship.  When I asked friends for advice, I didn't want them to just tell me I was right, I wanted them to tell me about their own experiences, to help me learn from their mistakes!  That's the thing all these support pages are missing, a true, honest discussion, of how to be in this kind of marriage.  I encourage anyone who reads my blog to write to me, comment, and as long as people aren't being unnecessarily rude or combative, I value the opinions of all.

Military word of the day:  Frocking
What it means                :  Selected for promotion, wearing the insignia of higher rank before the official date of promotion.
Where it comes from     :  When a Sailor was promoted, they would be informed via letter, and then would be taken off their ship to go to a new station.  This would leave an open space, and the captain would then promote the next in line to the newly vacant position.  The departing officer would give his coat or "frock" to his replacement.

1 comment:

  1. You really hit the nail on the head here with your description of how it feels to be the one "left behind". It is sooo hard, and I could not have put it better myself.
    You are also correct that true support is not always sugar-coated and sweet. Telling that woman she was right for how she was feeling would only hurt her- it would give her validation, she may go to her husband and tell him she is right and how much she is doing and he is not, which would make him feel terrible, and would distance them during a time that could make or break their relationship. Shame on that administrator. You should provide her with a link to your blog. :)