Relationships take a lot of work. Even if you live close and see each other often it still takes commitment, good communication and many other elements that go into a good relationship. When you add distance into a relationship it adds a lot more stress. Military relationships can be very difficult no matter what stage the couple is in. I am currently reading “Since You Went Away,” which is a collection of “World War II Letters from American Women on the Home Front.” When I began reading the letters I felt I was invading someone’s privacy. The letters were to boyfriends, fiancés, and husbands who were away at war. The letters that were written then can still relate to many issues that couples still worry about today. One letter said,
….I don’t like the idea of being so unsettled about my future. But I spose everyone feels that way, too (15).
I think many military couples feel unsettled about their futures because nothing is for certain. Where will they be stationed? Will they be deployed? What if something happens while their away? It obvious takes a strong relationship to deal with the stress and uncertainty of military couples.
Distance and long periods of separation can also be really hard on relationships. One letter I read summed it up perfectly.
Sometimes I get to feeling that if I can’t see you right now I’ll go stark raving crazy…. I feel so funny about us. I have never stopped loving you for an instant but it’s just like straining desperately to hang on to something. In the last month, for the first time, it has seemed that the Pacific Ocean is actually separating us. Darling, I’ve tried so hard to keep our love what it first was, and it’s worked out pretty well. But, I keep feeling that if something doesn’t happen pretty soon, I’m just going to break…. (52).
Obviously, military relationships can work but there will be issues just like any other relationship. One letter I read was quite brutal and direct.
When I get married, it’s not just to sleep with a man, because I can find plenty of bed mates, without being married, and remember for the past 10 months, I haven’t even had a date or kissed a fellow. Perhaps I am not normal, that’s why. And I don’t want to marry the type of man you represent. But, damn it, you men are all alike.
Surprisingly, this couple actually ended up getting married. I think military relationships can definitely work but they just need to have a strong commitment, trust and communication. I also found a link that people talk about military relationships through a discussion board. Communication is much different now and it is much easier then waiting for letters. Maybe in forty years there will be a book of Facebook messages and wall posts between military couples. Be careful what you say, it might end up in a book for everyone to read one day!
Barrett Litoff, Judy and David Smith. Since You Went Away. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1991.