Friday, April 20, 2012

The Marine that is a Wife

I read an article this morning in the North County Times written by a Marine wife about why marrying her Marine was a "no-brainer".

You can read the article here.

It really got me thinking about my marriage and my life.
First off, let me just start by saying how blessed I am and how I could not be more content in my life than ever before. 

The most common question I get from people when they find out that not only am I a Marine but married to one....with a
"Oh my goodness! How do y'all do it? They can't ever separate you, right?"

First of all, they can separate us.
In fact, we are facing a year long separation on two different coasts of the country.
It will be the first time we have not lived together since we've been married.
Secondly, they can deploy us both.
We actually know a couple who are currently deployed together and their two children are living with their grandparents for the time being.
Oh yeah, and that couple...well...they're stationed in TWO different states.
So even when they are in the states, they don't live together as a family.

I have learned through many emotional roller coasters, that no matter what the Marine Corps says about family readiness, when it comes to a dual active duty couple, we hardly fit in that mold.
No, I can't always PCS with my husband and no, my husband can't always PCS with me.
Yes, when our daughter was born, we were forced to do a "family care plan".
The family care plan entails who will have sole responsibility of our child in the case that we can not fulfill our role as parents to her due to the Marine Corps.
Can you imagine not being able to fulfill the role as a mother to your child?!
I honestly still can not get my head around that.
It also entails custody paperwork on who will adopt our daughter in the case that something happens to both of us.
Giving birth to Dannika was the happiest day of my life, and a week later, I was seriously writing a will cause the Marine Corps was making me.
I had to decide who was capable of loving her just as much or if not more than I could. 
Is it possible for someone else to love your child as much or if not more than you?!
It was heart-breaking and a moment in time I wish I could forget.

It was then that I decided that this was not the life that I wanted or dreamed of.
This does not mean that a couple who decides to both be Marines and raise a family are wrong.
In fact, they have more strength as families than the average American family in my opinion.
I have more respect for the dual active duty couples that decide to sacrifice so much for their love of our country, our freedoms, their careers, and their lives.
It really takes an extremely strong family to decide that life for them.

It is challenging enough to be a military family.

The benefits are amazing.
Nick and I are able to provide a lifestyle for our family that we could probably never afford.
But to me, it simply is not worth it. 
I truly understand what it means when they say, "Money can't buy happiness."
It can't.
It can buy lots of nice "things", but when you're not happy, those "things" are worthless.
I've fought depression and anxiety from feelings that stemmed from not feeling adequate enough as a mother, a Marine, and as a wife.
I felt like because of the Corps, I could not dedicate myself truly as a mother and a wife, and because of being a mother and a wife, I could not dedicate myself truly as a Marine.
I felt like I faced shortcomings in all aspects of my life, and I just couldn't get ahead.
I hit an all time low.
I prayed, and I sought help.
I learned that I can't make the Marines, being a mother, and being a wife ALL one huge priority. 
No one can do that.
We have to prioritize our lives.
I had a long look at myself and my life and realized that I didn't care as much about the Marine Corps like I had used to.
For those who knew me as a young Corporal and a young Sergeant know that I was all about "God, Corps, and Country"
I LOVED being a Marine, I LOVED the Marine Corps, and most of all, I LOVED MY Marines.
But now...
I am in a happy place.
God is always first in my life.
Nick is second.
Dannika comes third.
(People always ask how I can put Nick before my own child. In a biblical sense, your children come third. They are a big part of your family, and are the fruit of your marriage. Nothing else comes before your children, except your spouse and God.)
and as for the Marine Corps...
It fits into my life for now where it can.

It doesn't mean I've just given up on the Corps.
It just means that I don't stay at work till 1900 everyday to finish menial tasks.
It means, I don't come in at 0530 every morning to PT with my Marines.
An old mentor of mine, MGySgt Jones once told me, "Sergeant, the Marine Corps will go on with or without you and the Marine Corps will not cease to exist because you didn't stay late yesterday. Go home!"

The answer to the question...
"Oh my goodness! How do y'all do it? They can't ever separate you, right?"

There is no answer.
I just do it cause I love my husband.
I love my daughter.
I love the Marine Corps.
It's just no longer the life I want to live.
I will always love the Marine Corps.

When you love something, it just happens. 

My marriage works, despite the challenges we face as two Marines trying to change the world and raise a family.
It just works.
Our bond and our love for God, family and Corps is the reason for our well-being and the reason for our strength.

I've said it before, but I am secretly insanely jealous of stay at home moms and moms who only work part time who get to take their kids to the park everyday, clean up their messes, and make lunch for them. 
I am jealous of the moms who do not have to do hours of research for a dance school that has weekend classes because I don't get off in time from work to take my daughter to a normal school that has classes during the week.

When I chose this life 10 years ago, I never wanted to have kids or a family.
I just wanted to be a Marine.
Funny how life changes.

Nick always tells me that he has more reason now than ever to do well as a Marine because our livelihood is important to him. 
More important than shooting a Howitzer.
More important than shooting rockets.
More important than killing the enemy.

How can you not love a guy who loves his family that much?

Our family's first trip to Disneyland!


  1. I love this post and as a Marine Wife, I look up to you for having to handle all ends of the spectrum.
    My favorite part though is where you mention Nick is second before your daughter. I have had SO many people look down on me or can't fathom it because I put my husband first over our kids. The best thing you can do for your kids is to have a great marriage.
    I do hope the best for you guys with all the changes and separation ahead!

  2. I have so much respect. Military life is hard enough with the government only controlling half of us. Much love to you guys. Thank both of you for your service.


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