Complacency kills -- in love, war
By: Sgt. Luis R. Agostini
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(July 14, 2005) -- Who'd ever think that you actually have to work to keep and maintain a happy, healthy marriage?
Weren't the dozens of flowers, dinners, movies, dating and endless chasing at the beginning of your relationship enough? The ring you're still paying for should be enough to cash in on your investment, right?
And on top of that, after coming back from a grueling, dangerous deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, you should re-assume your rightful position on the leather, reclining throne as the king of the house, shouldn't you?
The answer to those rhetorical questions is a big, emphatic NO.
I'm not a marriage counselor, nor have I ever attended any counseling. However, I'm still learning from simple mistakes made over the course of the nearly four years that I've been married, and I've learned a few things here and there. One of the biggest relationship roadblocks I've seen, heard and experienced is complacency.
Just as a Marine wouldn't neglect his primary weapon by allowing it to rust, neither should he allow his marriage to wither.
Complacency kills, both on the battlefield and at home. Once you allow your relationship to glide into "cruise control," you may very well be speeding into a marital wreck.
Claiming the role as "breadwinner" isn't enough. You pay all of the bills? So what. As much as Marines are encouraged to look at the "big picture," the devil is in the details, even in a marriage.
Small things count. An "I just called to say I love you" in the middle of the day. Instead of going to chow at Wendy's at 11:30 a.m. with your buddies, arrange a lunch date. Pick up your stuff around the house before she "nags" you. Offer to watch the kids while she goes to the mall with her girlfriends. Bottom line, take a proactive approach in making your wife - or husband - feel special and appreciated, rather than waiting for the complaints to roll in.
I know, I know. We, as Marines and sailors, feel that since we carry the lion's share of the responsibilities - namely work, finance and for many of us, deployments - we've "earned" the right to come home, kick back and veg out in front of the television while your significant other tends to your demands - a massage, the remote or a cold one upon request.
But just take a second and think about all of the things you really don't think about. The cooking, the cleaning, the child care, all of the little favors that you call home in the middle of the day and ask for with little notice - if you don't acknowledge and appreciate all of the little things, the favors slowly fade away.
If it's reached the point where conversations rarely occur and only out of necessity, put your ego aside and ask for help. There are plenty of resources available on and off base for Marines and their families, including counseling and retreat programs, such as the Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation (CREDO).
Hey, worse comes to worse, talk to one of your old, salty staff NCOs - trust me, you wouldn't be the first one to experience this.
Bottom line - a Marine cannot claim to have reached mission readiness without family readiness, and a happy, healthy, supportive home is its foundation.
E-mail Sgt. Agostini: email@example.com
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I'm happily divorced.
If the Marine Corps wanted you to have a wife you'd be issued one.
Four years of marraige and he's already had problems!?!
He's in for a very miserable marraige.