Are you or your partner getting ready to leave for initial training? Are you going through a roller coaster of emotions from excited to nervous, to happy to mad? I can almost guarantee that just about all couples will experience a least a few of these emotions. We certainly did! The goal is to make sure you handle them to the best of your ability and use some necessary tools to get through the hard times. And then really celebrate the good times (aka being reunited once training is complete!) The best thing about the hard times, they have an expiration date and won't last forever.
When Michael left for BMT, our journey played out a lot differently from what was initially presented and expected. I had mentioned in a previous blog about "going with the flow" and being prepared for the unexpected...Well, this was the case for us, considering our timeline was longer than expected. Being flexible, understanding, and making the most out of a frustrating situation is something we'll chat about later. For now, we'll stay on track during what I like to call the initial 62 (the 62 days of training where letter writing and a few 5-minute phone calls were the only means of communication between us.) More than likely, you and your partner will have similar communication limitations, and my challenge to you is to make the best out of this opportunity for strengthening your relationship.
With the help of modern-day communication tools - phone calls, texts, email, DM, and the classic face-to-face communication, it's hard to understand and comprehend 60+ days of going without the convenience of these means to communicate with the person you love.
Initially, I thought letter writing would be fun and romantic in a way...It was, to a certain extent. However, the letters from Michael were never long enough. (I wanted them to go on forever, and I tried my hardest to pretend to hear his voice reading them to me.) When I would write to him, I felt like a couldn't say certain things because I knew how hard he was working, training, and the emotional toll this experience was having on him. I felt like I had to stay strong for him, but the inability to pick up the phone, have a long conversation, or text him (whenever I wanted) was especially challenging for me and our relationship.
Again, as hard as it was on me to not be with him and have consistent communication, I understood that he was going through a more challenging time. It wouldn't have been fair to him if I wrote about how much I was struggling on a specific day and missing him like crazy. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope you can find the strength in you to be the rock that your partner needs during this time apart. Remember, these times won't last. Focus on the vision of being reunited again and how these hard times will have been worth the wonderful life you are setting yourselves up to live!
When I was going through a challenging day or week, the thing that I resisted the most (but that also helped me the most) was spending time with good friends and family. Sometimes I would think it would be best to sit in my room and ignore the "outside world." I would tell myself, "They didn't know what I was going through, and they wouldn't understand." Although that was true, being with people that loved and cared about me was a perfect opportunity to reset and refocus and to believe that the struggles I was facing will all be worth it. And they will be worth it! Promise!
Do what you can to stay busy. Act in a way that is fulfilling to you as a person and to your relationship. Write to your partner in training every day. Make the most of even a 5-minute phone call. Focus on lifting each other up instead of feeling sad and mad about being apart. Keep a journal of your thoughts. Document the good and the bad days. It's OK to have bad days. We all do. It's how you handle them that will be the difference between waking up the next morning with a sense of purpose versus defeat. Go on walks. Meet your best friend for a manicure. If you are working or in school, be the best employee or student you can be! Take pride in your work. I can guarantee that your partner in training is doing the same thing.
Stay strong and find peace in the fact that you are strengthening your relationship even though there is distance between you.
As hard as it is to be apart from each other, it's a secret blessing to your relationship. Never forget that, and always be proud of what you and your partner at training accomplished...together.
Live Big and Ready!
-Jamie and Michael