I Want To Go Home!

“Oh Mom, I want to go Home!!”

Three days after Jim and I exchanged our wedding vows, bits of rice and confetti could still be found in our clothing from the well-wishers who bid us farewell at our wedding reception. Now I found myself sitting next to my Prince Charming on a hot, sweltering bus in Seoul, Korea. The strange sights and smells assaulted my senses. As I peered out the window, I saw what appeared to be chaotic driving, bicycles competing for road space, and mothers carrying babies in blankets wrapped around their backs.

There seemed to be no order around me in this place. The smells of garlic, cabbage–which I would later discover to be a favorite side dish called kimchee–and motor fuels, wafted in the air to create a mixture of strange odors unfamiliar to my young American nose. I wondered if I would become sick right then and there in front of my new husband and the hordes crammed together with us on the bus. Instead I swallowed my fear and focused my attention ahead.

This was the beginning of my life as a military wife. The few memories of our short honeymoon in Pennsylvania were quickly replaced by fear and trepidation at what would now be our new home. I had never been far away from my parent’s home–let alone traveled to another country. Here I was starting married life with my new husband in a new country, wondering if this was really what “happily ever after” meant.

What had happened to my castle in the clouds? Instead, we would now be living in a dilapidated Quonset hut with no hot water. Our daily companions were mice and rats; we even began a game by keeping a penciled list on the back of the bathroom door of the number of mice we had each caught and eliminated. An encounter in our bedroom with a rat bigger than any rodent I had ever seen frightened me so much I had several sleepless nights. And showering with no hot water became an exercise in speed.

What happened to my prince and our evenings together in front of a glowing fire, sharing our love and talking of the future together? Instead, my prince would leave the next day to go into the field for maneuvers and would be gone an unspecified amount of time. The hours prior to him leaving were used for packing and saying our farewells. We had only been married five days and now we would be apart.

But that was only the beginning. One week later Prince Charming returned home with bandages wrapped around his eyes and head. He had been in a serious accident in a tank. The days following were filled with eye drops, burn cream, and waiting to see how much damage his eyes had suffered.

This was not what I thought marriage was going to be like. Prior to our wedding I had dreamed of the romance, drama, and the unknown of coming to this place. I anticipated the thrill and excitement of adventure. Now I found myself far from my friends, family, and everything that was familiar. I had given my life and my marriage to God at the altar, but I never knew how happening this new life as a military wife would be.

Answer the following questions:

1. What was your first year of marriage like? Briefly describe what was good about it and what was difficult.

2. How is your military marriage different than you imagined it might be?

3. What are some of the special challenges we face in trying to build a good marriage in the military?

4. How long did it take for you to realize the reality of marriage was completely different from your expectations?

5. Despite the challenges, there are also some wonderful benefits to a military marriage. What have you found to be good about being marriage to a military man?

6. If you could give one piece of advice to a woman getting married, what would you say?

Excerpted from “Loving Your Military Man,” pages 6-8

To learn more about using the book, “Loving Your Military Man,” in a small group study, check out www.militaryreadyfamily.org