The Army taught my husband so much more than just how to shoot guns and follow orders.
He grew up differently than I did. Where I had the exemplary father and mother figure, he did not. He lost his father at a very young age, and even so, his father was not around for much of his childhood. His mother wasn’t around much either. She was not the nurturing kind as she struggled with mental health and substance abuse early on in age. There was no doubt that she loved her children, but struggling with her own issues, it was hard for her to step-up into that mother figure children need.
Bouncing back and forth from family member to family member, it is no surprise he has the occasional difficulty of opening up and showing his emotions. With that being said, he is an incredible human being, with a heart of gold, he would do anything for those in need. I have seen this in action many times and am reminded of it during those difficult moments when I think he is being too hard on the children. This character, his reason for wanting to ensure his children are cared for and have the discipline he did not when younger is thanks to the Army. This is what makes him the partner he is, and why he puts our marriage before anything or anyone.
He agrees that serving in the Army is not for everyone… 20-mile road marches with a rucksack of 120 pounds, sleeping in the field without shelter, working without rest for 48 hours straight, and jumping out of an airplane in the middle of the night.
So why did he join?
He wanted more, to be better and show his family he was more than a stereotype. It certainly was not an easy decision for him. Regardless of whatever family issue he was dealing with at the time, he was leaving behind a family he loved. Changing the mold of his family to join the military was a hard choice to make. So at the young age of 17, my husband signed that dotted line and enlisted in the United States Army. By the time he was 20 years old, he had seen and lived through more experiences than most of his family had in their entire lives. He’s provided aid, served in foreign countries and learned to be ready to deploy with as little as 12 hours notice.
The experiences learned taught him to be a leader in the world’s greatest Army, and all these lessons learned as a soldier have been applied in his role as a husband, father and human being.
He works smarter not harder. One thing that I have always admired about my husband are his critical thinking skills. He’s as sharp as a whip. Any problem thrown our way, he has an immediate solution and reason as to why it would work. This also goes for tactical skills. His Army experiences help him to understand what specific actions need to be taken to achieve any of his goals. He’s mastered the concept of being smart and efficient.
Whether he has his uniform on or not, he’s on duty 24/7/365. From his haircut to his language, he is a soldier every single day. He takes his roles seriously. Similarly, he is a husband, father and friend 24/7/365. And whether he is away or home, he’s always responsible and ensures that all those who need him are taken care of.
The sacrifices made are difficult, but he knows they’re the right thing to do. When he became a soldier, he accepted two main things: military life requires some substantial life or death sacrifices, fear is not an option. Overall you must trust training, and trust God. As a human being, he has made sacrifices based on what others have needed right at that moment. He has gone without for the greater good of family life.
He learns from his mistakes. I love my husband, but he isn’t perfect. He’s made mistakes, just as we have all made, but what I admire is seeing him learn from those mistakes. In the Army, all training activities end with an after-action review. This review looks at what went well, what you must improve on, and what you must do next time. Learning from mistakes you have made can be difficult to acknowledge, but as partners, we both can discuss and put into action what needs improvement. His receptiveness to gain feedback from his family has helped us out tremendously as a unit.
He pays close attention to the not so obvious. In basic training, attention to details and teamwork was something he heard frequently. And even after almost 12 years of marriage, the “attention to details” is still there. If I have had a bad day or if I mention that I am too tired, he goes out of his way to make me smile. Whether it be a hug or something as sweet as asking me what my favorite part of my day was, the little details are always so very appreciated.
My family is so blessed to have a man like my husband. Military life isn’t always easy, but we are so grateful for the opportunities and lessons learned in the Army. It has shaped him to be the person he is today and has continued to use his past experiences to be a better person each day.