My husband just got off back-to-back deployments and then got a Recruiting B-Billet. I was so excited because I thought it would be down time for our family. Boy, was I wrong. He gets home at 8pm, ON A GOOD DAY, even if his office has already made “mission.” He works Saturdays and travels nonstop. There is no set schedule. I really want to scream at the top of my lungs that I miss my husband. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I LOVE the Marine Corps and everything that it has provided for us, but sometimes I feel like recruiting is worse than a deployment. Then I feel guilty thinking that. Its like a BIG TEASE, because my husband is here, but he isn’t here. How do I get my head on straight for the next three years! Please help.
The elusive B-Billet !!! Every wife looks forward to it, like The “B” stand for “Break time.” She has fantasies of her husband coming home at 4:00 p.m. every day, the family together around the dinner table every night, and each weekend going off for a camping trip! Then she finds out what the “B” in B-Billet REALLY stands for…( hint: rhymes with “bull pit”)
Like most everything in military life, it’s our own high expectations that disappoint us. You must first start with a realistic perspective and positive attitude if you want to enjoy your new assignment. Here are a few pointers to help you get grateful and make this time a little less stressful.
- Start with this blessing: he is not deployed. Although he may be gone a lot, most of the time he does come home every night. Remember how terrible it was to sleep alone? Remember how scared you were for his safety when he was deployed and you never knew where he was? How you jumped when you heard anything bad on the news? I understand you saying that you feel it’s worse than a deployment, we have all said things like that. But once you really look it, you will realize how much better you truly have it.
- Communication. I suggest you get a calendar that shows the entire month day by day for both of you to use. Many families post it on the wall. Write everything in pencil. Have a weekly meeting to go over what is on the calendar. Once you are on the same page, you will be clear on what is going on. When you see the entire month laid out, you can maximize the time you have together. You can also schedule times you can go with him to an event or bring him lunch at the office.
- Cut the Guilt. Between deployments, I used to call my husband every day at 4:00 and start nagging as to when he was coming home. By 5:00 I started with the “Why do you hate me, why don’t you want to come home and be with me?” Real mature, I know. He hated this because all he wanted to do was come home and I was making it worse by not supporting him. Take what you can get and be grateful for the time. Stop making him feel bad about being gone. So many men are out of work right now. Recognize he is blessed to have a job.
- Honey Do: Honey DON’T: Cut out the Honey Do list. Do it yourself or hire a handy man. Seriously, it is not worth it to fill up his limited time at home with simple menial chores. I am not saying he should not be involved in the home, but find a balance. Would you rather him spend the weekend painting the fence or really go on that camping trip with the family.
- Look for small connection verses Large Expectations. Ask yourself what are a few things you can do to connect every day. My husband and I take a 30 minute walk. Just us. We walk it out and talk it out. We are outside and away from distractions. Maybe you two could read a devotional before bed, or take a shower together every morning. You would be surprised how close and connected you can get in these brief moments instead of trying to plan a date night that may get canceled.
I hope this advice helps make the “B” in the Billet stand for “Best”. I hope you are able to look back on it in 10 years with some really fond memories and be impressed at how your actions and positive attitude helped strengthened your marriage.
Mollie Gross is a Military Wife Humorist. She is also the wife of an USMC Iraq War Veteran, author, professional standup comedienne, and motivational speaker. She is also touring with USMC Life’s Live, Laugh, Learn seminars.
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