The best marriage advice I ever got was, “No marriage is ever 50/50.” I remember at the time I was shocked. I was bound and determined to have equal distribution of everything.
Looking back, it’s almost comical. I hate to break it to all the new military spouses out there, but more than likely you will never have a 50/50 partnership. With deployments, trainings, travel, etc. you end up doing a ton on the home front.
That being said, it’s not a bad way of life and is totally doable. But you have to ensure you are keeping yourself happy throughout his/her service time.
I call my no-argument pleas my “Trump Cards.” When I tell my husband I’m using a Trump Card, he knows we can discuss, but unless he is really passionate about it, my “card” wins…no questions asked. (And yes, I am a little type-A control freak, but come on…he signed up for the crazy.)
Here are some of the trump cards I use. Do you have some of your own? Or does your partner ever play a trump card or two?
1. Sea pay = wife small allowance pay.Yep. If my husband will be out at sea and I’m solo parenting, running the household, feeding the herd, etc., then I get a little “raise” during sea time (or deployment time, for that matter). I’m not saying it’s huge, but it gives me a little spending cash to spoil myself (or my little one) with no questions asked.
2. Unlimited phone/data plan.The way I look at it, we (mil spouses) left our families (support system) and we rebuild our support system every two to three years. That means that over the course of our military career we will have somewhere in the neighborhood off eight to ten support systems that need nurture to allow me to still connect and live in community wherever we are.
3. Veto power on neighborhoods.I reserve the right to veto any neighborhood we look at when PCSing. If I don’t feel safe, don’t like the school system, etc., I get automatic veto power.
Now trust me when I say this…I use my power wisely! I’m not saying I only look in the “upscale” neighborhoods…I’m just saying I have to feel safe and protected if I’m holding down the home front a good chunk of the time.
4. Home for the holidays.It is understood that if the hubby is at sea during major holidays, I can travel and be with family if desired. We make sure to accommodate that in the budget, but little to no discussion happens…it is just accepted (because the Trump Card has been played).
5. Retirement location = my pick!Yes, you read that correctly. Within our first few moves I started making a list of locations where we lived that I’ve particularly liked and not liked. I’m also learning what I love in a house and what I desire for our dream/retirement home location.
So get this…early on in our marriage I pointed out that for 20-plus years I would move where the government told us, but it sure would be fabulous if I got to pick our forever home…and the Trump Card was played.
Of course I will listen to my husband’s input, but if it comes down to a toss-up situation there will be no coin toss…the card has been played.
I share these things not to sound like a greedy or demanding wife. Truly, I believe I am far from that description. I believe in my husband. I am devoted to him and his desire to serve our country.
But I also know that throughout our journey I have to take care of myself and ensure I’m happy with this lifestyle (which occurs though humorous communication in our marriage, hence the Trump Card). I created the Trump Card to help my husband understand the importance of things within my life. The “card” isn’t played unless it is really needed or desired.
My overall goal is to support my husband. Second in line is to make sure I find happiness so I can be the best dang military wife cheerleader out there.
In what circumstances do you play your Trump Card?
Jessica Bertsch is a proud Coastie wife and mom of a 2-year-old. In her “spare” time she runs Powerhouse Planning, LLC www.powerhouseplanning.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.