I know they mean well and people are only asking because they’re happy for us and want to hear how excited we are about newlywed life. But every. single. time. someone asks, “So how’s married life?” a tiny piece of my heart breaks.
I wish I’m exaggerating, but I’ve been asked, “How’s married life” at least once every day I’ve been back home. Like I said, I know people aren’t intentionally asking me just to dig in the fact that I haven’t been able to see or touch my husband, because the truth is, the people who are asking don’t know my husband has been deployed for longer than we’ve been married, so I try taking the situation in stride.
With a smile on my face and—hopefully—cheerfulness in my voice, I typically respond with this: “Well, I’ll let you know in a few months! My husband deployed shortly after we got married, so we haven’t really had a chance to experience marriage yet. But at least we’ll get to experience a second honeymoon when he comes home [insert a smile and an awkward giggle here].”
And then I always get the sad pity look that makes me want to break into tears. Most of the time I’m able to keep myself together and not let the droplets fall from my eyes, but sometimes it’s all I can do to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible so I can turn my backs to them and just cry.
Of course, though, most people want to talk about the deployment after that, because after I tell them he’s deployed, this is typically their response:
“Oh, so is he gone for six months or a year?”
“Damn,” I think. “Now I have to tell them he’s only deployed for a three-month stint, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t terrible.” So I tell them and sometimes they understand and wish us luck during this time apart, or sometimes they tell me I’m lucky he’s not gone for six months or a year.
“Of course we’re lucky,” I want to say. “Did you want to spend the first several months of your marriage away from your husband or wife? Hell no!” But I don’t say anything. I bite my tongue and suck it up, because I’m stronger and better than that. Instead I just tell them how excited we both are to be with each other again so we can really spend time together and start our marriage.