Unplugging Your Relationships 

Does this sound familiar? 

You’re out to dinner. You haven’t seen each other all day, or maybe it’s your friend in from out of town, or your mom who lives across the city. You sit down, order drinks, and look across the table…and your dinner partner is so busy with their phone, they haven’t noticed you staring for 3 minutes. 

Don’t lie, you’re guilty of it, too. I know I am. It happens all the time. The world nowadays revolves around who’s retweeting who, or who liked your Instagram selfie, who viewed your story on Snapchat, or whether that status on Facebook is getting enough likes. 

But you’re missing out on the tangible world around you, too. My husband is recently home from deployment, as basically everyone knows. (If you didn’t, now you do.) He broke his phone about a month before he came home, and we got a new one soon after his homecoming. 

I tried to be understanding. I tried not to say much, because he’d been gone for 7 months, and with limited access to Facebook or unable to talk to his friends back home. But every time we went to dinner, he seemed more interested in whatever video someone had shared on Facebook. All I wanted was for him to put the phone away and talk to me. I made jokes about grounding him from the phone and I finally told him how much it annoyed me, that we couldn’t even sit down to dinner without his phone stuck to his hand. I thought it was rude and just a way of telling me that whatever he was looking at was more important than a comversation with me. So now dinner doesn’t include phones. 

Just yesterday, he came home from work, and was glued to the phone while I cooked dinner, put it down to eat and say a few words about the episode of Shark Tank we were watching, and then picked it right back up. I put dinner away and let the dog out. Leftovers in the fridge and went to bed, with husband in tow. In bed with the TV on for white noise, occasionally chuckling at something the Property Brothers had to say, still glued to Facebook, or a game. I’m pretty sure I was asleep before he got off that phone. (I’m also sure he’ll read this, glued to the phone as he is.)  

Don’t misunderstand me. My husband is pretty great. He walks the dog, and puts the cat to bed (we got a cat), and he does dishes and helps me with housework. He’s sweet and dresses me probably better than I dress myself. Even so, sometimes it feels like I’m in competition with a silly thing such as Facebook. 

There’s something so important in human relationships. That Facebook status won’t tell you that they appreciated the work you did today, and that selfie won’t thank your partner for dinner. Those Snapchat stories don’t provide relevant conversation. I realize and understand that one of the greatest things about today is how we can stay connected with family and friends across the country, across the world. But you can’t ignore the people in front of you, either. 

It makes people feel unworthy of your time, unimportant, and undervalued. No one deserves to feel that way, especially when all you have to do to alleviate that is put the phone in your pocket for an hour and a half. 

Unplug your relationships: 

  • No phones at dinner 
  • Have one night a week where the phones stay by the door all night
  • Turn off all your electronics and do something worthwhile together: walk the dog, play with the cat, read a book or do a devotional together 

It might be hard at first. Someone might call, or text. But are those people who might call or text more important than the person you’re physically with? Maybe you’re an avid blogger and you’re dying to know what your stats are reading…*ahem*. Like I said, I’m guilty of it, too. But putting the phones away is so worth it, really. You bring back meaningful conversation and the respect the person you’re with deserves when you put your phone, iPad, and computer away. 

Cook dinner together. Read a book. Just sit quietly with each other. Go for a walk, or to the gym, or to a pumpkin patch this time of year. Go to a theme park. Make out. Play hide and seek. Chase each other. Walk around Walmart. Go to Hobby Lobby and craft something together. 

Just put your phone down, and show the person you’re with that they are most important.

Xoxo, 

Em.  

(And when you’re plugged in, check out our new Twitter and Instagram @thewaylifewent !)

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It Didn’t Work Out, and It’s Not the Corps’ Fault. 

All MilSO groups have one. The one who rushed into marriage against everyone’s advice, the one who thought her significant other’s bad behavior would change if she married him, because then she’d be with him 24/7 and know what he was up to. 

She’s always the center of drama in your group. But no one really says anything against her because you feel bad for her, right? She got married on a whim, packed up her life, probably moved hours and miles away from her friends and family. Maybe now she’s stuck where she is. Or maybe she left him and went back home and got greeted with “I told you so”s from everyone she knew. All the “friends” she thought she had. So you just kind of let her stick around, even though she doesn’t fit into the sisterhood anymore. 

Well, darlin’, I’ve got some choice words for the you in our group: 

Knock off your pity party. Honey, deployment is hard. But we all knew that going in. Infidelity is a punch in the gut. His emotionless attitude is a symptom of the Corps. Divorce hurts, and I won’t ever argue that there’s no reason for it. Some people are just not meant to be together, and that’s okay. You had to do what was best for you, and I’m always an advocate for that. But on the one hand, you should’ve listened when your mama said, “I think it’s a bad idea.” 

So good on you, though, for getting out of an allegedly toxic situation. Protect your heart and protect your peace of mind. But from one military wife to another former one, even as short a stint as yours: shut up. 

There’s some unspoken rules when you marry into this life. 

  1. You don’t air your dirty laundry. Why? Because you, E-3’s wife, are in a group with an E-9’s wife, and what she hears, her husband hears. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want everyone knowing. 
  2. Suck it up. Baby, it’s hard. You spend your nights alone sometimes, maybe you can’t find a job at the new duty station, laundry piles up because you’re busy with everything else. It’s 1930, he’s not home yet even though he promised to be home by 1800, and dinner is getting cold. This life isn’t normal. You knew that going in. Be sad, be angry, be whatever you need to be for 5 minutes. And then pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and get over it. 
  3. The wives? Not all of them are your friends. Some are meaner than a bucket of nails, and they’ll bless your heart up and down the sidewalk while snickering “dependa” behind your back. Take everything with a grain of salt. People are mean. 
  4. It’s not about you. What? What do you mean, Em? Shouldn’t it be about me, too? Well, yeah. But if you made the choice to leave college and get married, or give up your dream job to move around with a military man, you acknowledged that it was no longer about you. For me, I have no problem supporting my husband in his dream. Seeing him come home from deployment full of stories, or come home from work excited about the workup, it makes me happy. I love listening to him love what he does. I knew, when I married him, that I was coming second. He loves me most, but when the Corps calls, he answers. And I don’t resent him for that. My dream is our life together, and it just so happens that right now, the military plays an integral part in our dream. 

So please, shut up. All we see from you is “marriage is terrible”, “19 & divorced because of the military”, and trash talking your ex, who is still serving our country. It didn’t work out for you, and you blamed the lifestyle. You’re the type of woman we all get compared to. That nasty “dependa”taunt that we all hear and it kind of digs, because “hey, that’s not me”? People take all your nasty bitterness and project it onto us wives who are still living the life. We hear your story everywhere, because at least one person from each Facebook group is in someone else’s group who’s in a group with you. 

And we’re constantly hearing things like, “Oh, well I heard from so-and-so that your husbands all cheat on deployment and so it’s okay if y’all do”, “she told me that all military men are abusive, and I just want you to know you can talk to me”. I really did get told that last one. 

And that’s what prompted this angry post, because I was offended. Have you met my husband? He is literally the epitome of love. He’s the type of man who does the dishes after dinner because I cooked, or comes downstairs to tell me he drew a bath, and he brushes my hair and holds my hand and tells me I’m beautiful and finds my Midol when I’m being what he calls “Moody Moose Buttons”. To have anyone think that he’s emotionally, mentally, verbally, or physically abusive because of your big mouth makes me angry. 

It didn’t work out for you and your husband. And that’s okay. You weren’t meant for each other. But stop trash talking, name calling, bad mouthing the military and blaming it for your failed marriage. Because no matter how y’all feel about each other, he’s still putting his life on the line for our country, and I think that’s more honorable than what you’re doing. 

So instead of running all military men into the ground because it didn’t work out for you, next time you see your ex, thank him for his service for me. 

May God grant you the peace you seek, and I pray nothing but good fortune in your future endeavors. Just leave us out of it. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

{I mean, just look how sweet he is} ❤️