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Jo is the author of Jo, My Gosh! a blog about her journey as a newlywed military wife. When she’s not working from home, she’s writing, reading, trying new recipes, watching sports or cross stitching. Catch her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and say hi!
From watch schedules to deployment to different shifts,as a military couple, my husband and I have come up against a lot of weird scheduling issues. I know that this isn’t just an experience singular to us or even to military couples. Many people find themselves trying to balance responsibilities and demands that are placed on them while still protecting and growing a relationship.
It’s tough. But it can be done. Here’s how John and I manage to make the most of our inconsistent, frazzled, and sometimes almost non-existent time together:
Go back to 1998
We’re so connected all of the time via our smart phones, but who are we really connected to? Make the time you do have count by having a no-phones policy when you spend together-time. And I mean, have them far away, not just on the other side of the couch. Put them in another room or in a drawer so you can’t see flashing lights or hear the ringer and become distracted or reach for the phone out of habit.
Enjoy just being
John and I have done so many things together– from exploring a castle in England to hiking to an 80-foot waterfall to going to a sandwich competition. And yet, one of my favorite memories (and one I think of often) is a moment from our dating years. It was raining outside and our plans were ruined. So we went to Trader Joe’s, bought a bunch of snacks and watched TV for the rest of the day. That’s it. We watched TV. We laughed over How I Met Your Mother. We hadn’t meant to, but we stopped all of the busyness of our lives just to spend a few hours vegging, being goofy, and enjoying each other’s company.
Make a plan
When we were dating and when John came home for R&R during deployment, we planned most of our together time. It helped us prioritize everything that we needed or wanted to happen. (And that was really important during John’s R&R when we a lot of things to finalize for our wedding.) Be careful that you don’t plan too much into too short of a time. Be realistic and forgive yourself if you can’t get everything done on your list.
Be on the same page
Spending time with someone’s no fun if their head or heart isn’t in it. If the day has been a rough one for your partner, let them decompress, even if it means missing out on quality time together.
Take it where you can
If there’s nothing else I’ve learned being a military spouse, it’s to be flexible and understanding… even when it’s Friday night and John’s at work again. Sometimes John and I only get to see each other for a few minutes every day, so we try to make even those small moments count. We’ve also learned to carve out time, even if it’s a little unconventional. We might not spend Friday night together, but we can do Monday morning breakfast. And that works too.
How do you make the time you have together work? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!