New York City Girl Hates Being a Marine Wife

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I've mulled over this letter for the longest time, and I'm finally able to write and send it to you. I'm sleeping with the enemy. I never knew I was making a deal with the devil himself when I married him.

Being married to my Marine husband has done nothing but strip me of who I am. I tried to support him for the past six years, but it has not paid off for me.

Let me start by saying that I followed him to the desert in California. I was miserable while I was there because there was nothing to do! I found only a bunch of wives who wanted to invent different games to play and ones who wanted only to be baby-making machines. Needless to say, this is when my marital problems started.

I'm from New York. I'm a city girl, and I don't apologize for it. My husband was deployed for seven months, and I was left in the desert alone. He came back, and we moved to Camp-Lost-in-No-Where-North-Carolina.

My husband has started harassing me to become a baby-making machine, and I'm refusing. He tried to hide my birth control pills several times. Now I'm using another form of contraception that he can't manipulate. I went back to New York a week ago to visit my parents, and my husband keeps asking me when I am coming back to North Carolina.

The truth is, Ms. Vicki, I'm not going back. I mean, I don't hate my husband or anything, but I'm not happy. All I've met during my marriage are these gung-ho military wives who want nothing more than to sit at home and support their man.

I want a career. I want to continue my education. I have my B.S., and I'd like to go to nursing school. Of course, my husband is not hearing this. Do you have any advice for my dismal situation?

-- Ms. New York

Well, hello, Ms. New York.

How are you doing? Could tell me more about how you really feel? Just kidding. I think I understand you loud and clear. This has been six years of hell for you.

There is a lot in your letter that stands out to me. However, one thing I didn't read was "I love my husband." Because of this, I don't think you love him. Moreover, I don't think you like your husband.

Studies show that people who like each other are more likely to stay together much longer than people who don't. In many ways, likability can even override the love factor. You don't have either for your husband. This is not good.

I am an Army wife. I have friends who are both male and female spouses across the service branches. Some are stay-at-home mothers and fathers, some homeschool their children, some pursue careers, some even operate their own home businesses. They are smart, bright and intelligent military spouses.

I don't look at any of them in a judgmental way or with disdain because they are different from me. I have my own journey, my own passion, my own dreams and goals. They have theirs.

Many military couples are able to have individual goals and join them with their goals as a couple and as a family. Your marriage can work, but you have to stop looking at your neighbors with contempt. As my grandmother would say: Sweep around your own front door, not mine.

One thing I agree with you about is children. Lord knows, if you don't want them, then please don't have any. This will only complicate everything. But you can't run and hide from your marital problems forever.

I agree that New York City is very different from Camp Lejeune; at least, I think that's the base you are referring to. I would highly recommend marriage therapy. Hopefully, therapy can help you and your husband reconcile some of your concerns.

If not, I think people can have a healthy divorce after marriage therapy, too. If you divorce your husband now (and I think you will), you will have a bad taste in your mouth for marriage and the military, but I have to be honest with you: I don't think you have really tried to save your marriage. I get the sense that you expected everyone to give to you, but you didn't want to give anything.

Lastly, we make mistakes; it's human. Sometimes, we marry people that we shouldn't marry. I believe life is too short to be miserable. I urge you to go find your happiness.

I don't know how old you and your husband are, but it doesn't matter if you're 23 or 63. If you know you don't want to try to make this marriage work, then don't make each other sick and miserable. Just be done with it.

Let me know what you decide.

-- Ms. Vicki

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