As a military wife, we know our time with our spouses can be precious. Especially as they are gearing up for a really long TDY, Deployment, or Unaccompanied Assignment. The pre-deployment period can be difficult. One emotion I was not prepared for was jealousy, and the desire to be a selfish spouse. Stealing him away for the remaining time we had together.
How am I a selfish spouse
I know I am not the only my husband is saying goodbye to over the next couple weeks. He has to say goodbye to his parents, brothers, and friends. And I don’t want to rob him of that opportunity. Except somewhere in my heart I do. I want to hide him away and keep him all to myself! That is why I am a selfish spouse.
Am I going to do that? Absolutely not! I want him to experience all of his last few weeks. Not just me! I want him to go to one last Ju Jitsu saturday with his brother. I want him to get another weekend at home with his mom and dad. I want him to get one last Howrah with all his friends! I only want all those good things for him. I don’t want him to regret not getting to say goodbye to everyone!
And while I can certainly encourage him to do all those things, he can sense the hesitancy in my voice. Would I love one more Saturday morning breakfast out, one more Friday night at home, one more weekend away? I absolutely would! But not at the expense of everyone else!
Owning My feelings
Before I was able to put words to identifying this desire for selfishness it was coming through in my interactions with my husband. I could tell he was feeling tense and insecure about his decisions to finish out his ju jitsu lessons, spending time with his brothers, making a trip to see his grandparents. Even though I was telling him it was ok, he could hear it in my voice.
It took me a while to be able to identify that I was jealous of these other things he had going on in his life. But life can’t stop. I didn’t stop my life just because we are preparing to leave. Why would it be fair of me to ask him to stop his life? That’s right, it isn’t. And so I won’t.
But knowing what exactly I am feeling rather than just being emotional has made it easier for us to communicate it. When he can hear the hesitancy in my voice I can look inside myself, and ask where it’s coming from. Is it that jealousy? Most likely yes, and if it is then I can assure him that it is more than ok for him to go do whatever it is. I can encourage him.
See so its ok to have any emotion, but until I owned it and identified it it was causing conflict in my relationship. It is not wrong of my to be a selfish spouse, wanting to steal away all his remaining time. Taking the time to examine my thoughts and beliefs to identify the emotions I was feeling was important.
It wasn’t exactly a fun process, no one likes admitting to negative feelings. But here are some steps you can take to try and identify the concrete emotions behind your behavior, even when you might be tempted to ignore them.
How to Identify You Emotions
- When you begin to feel overwhelmed by an emotion take an account of the situation. What is happening? what happened just before? Taking an inventory of the situation can help you identify the triggers for the emotion. Knowing the trigger can help in identifying your emotions because different events are likely to bring up certain emotions. I read online that watching her husband pack for a short TDY brought up a lot of negative feelings because it reminded her of her husband’s departure from a previous deployment.
- Think back to other times you have felt this way. One clue to me that I was feeling jealous is that it was very reminiscent of feelings I had shortly after he left for Ft. Benning while i was still in school. When he would come visit, we would spend so much time with his parents, hardly getting time to ourselves. I was jealous wanting that time for just ourselves.
- Don’t be afraid to admit your emotions. I know it can be scary to feel big emotions. Trust me as a counselor I know its not easy owning your feelings, especially when those feelings leave you feeling insecure. But the only way your feelings can be validated is if you admit them, and stop hiding them. When I finally told my hubby why I was hesitant and that I was feeling like a selfish spouse, he could tell me that it was ok. That he wanted as much of that time he had left just for the two of us too. (this is especially important, because it will never be just the two of us again. Next time we are together we will be a family of three!)
Know that if you’re afraid to admit your emotions it is normal. There is nothing wrong with you. And if you’re not very good at identifying your emotions, that is ok too. It isn’t easy and we aren’t born knowing how. It takes practice and we can only get better at it by doing so.