Valentine’s Day is coming, and while your civilian friends are picking out new lingerie and making dinner plans with their hubbies, you’re wallowing in self-pity because your soldier or sailor is deployed.
You imagine that your friends will float through the upcoming week buoyed by the anticipation of foil hearts, velvety roses, and soft kisses, while you scan Netflix for something to binge watch alone on Thursday night after the kids go to bed. Maybe an alien invasion movie or a documentary about serial killers? Definitely not “The Bachelor” or “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
With a heavy sigh, you slump your shoulders and drag your feet, resigned to being a lonely military spouse while the rest of the world enjoys the exquisite expressions of love and abundant sensual pleasures of Valentine’s Day.
But I’m here to tell you, my fellow military spouses, you’ve got it all wrong.
Having your spouse deployed on Valentine’s Day is a blessing in disguise. Believe it or not, Thursday night will be much more romantic for you than your civilian friends, and here’s why:
Just like growing up, New Year’s Eve parties, and eating Taco Bell, Valentine’s Day seems really wonderful until you actually experience it. You tend to glamorize these overrated events in life, when the reality can be sadly disappointing.
For married couples on Valentine’s Day, there is pressure to be thoughtful, to look sexy, and to perform, despite the unavoidable realities that permeate our day-to-day lives. Bills and babysitters. Receipts and razor burn. Cat boxes and cold sores. Migraines and minivans. Dust bunnies and dragon breath. Stretch marks and soap scum.
Romance does not come easily for husbands and wives who have passed through the honeymoon phase and are fully entrenched in hectic modern family life. After they fight traffic to get home from work — stopping at Walmart to get the cards and heart-shaped box of chocolates they almost forgot — they pick up the babysitter, and rush to make their seven-thirty reservation at The Melting Pot for dinner. They’re hangry, but they hide their annoyance because they know it will kill the mood. They order a bottle of wine, and hold hands over the table, but inevitably, they find themselves talking about the kids, the in-laws, and the carburetor. By the time the check comes, they are muffling yawns.
At home, they muster the energy for the obligatory romp in the sack, even lighting a candle for extra atmosphere. But it’s not the stuff that romance novels are made of. It takes too long or not long enough. The dog jumps on the bed. A kid wakes up. Something embarrassing happens. The days of sexual nirvana have long passed, and they must now be satisfied with the unaltered affections of normal married life.
At least they’re together, you argue. But you still don’t get it — this Valentine’s Day, you’ll be living every woman’s romantic fantasy.
Somewhere across the planet, there is a man. Not just any man. Your man. A man in uniform. In blues, greens, khakis and camouflage.
He’s not stopping to buy a box of chocolates for you. He’s not picking up the babysitter. He’s not spritzing himself with cologne. He’s not paying the dinner bill.
He’s serving his country. He’s doing something brave and honorable to protect you, your children, and everyone else back home. Normally, he doesn’t stop to think about what he’s missing while he’s away. He must keep his mind on the mission.
But on this Valentine’s night, your husband lays in his bunk, looking up at the dim ceiling of his barracks, quarters, or bivouac. As he listens to the ambient sounds of engines, wakes, aircraft, and foreign lands, his mind wanders away from his military duties, to you, his wife.
Maybe he was able to video chat, call, or email you today to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Maybe not. Regardless, he won’t just miss you tonight. He’ll long for you — your hair, your perfume, your lips, your curves. And he’ll envision every last detail of what would happen if you were together.
See? Lucky girl, you are the envy of women everywhere.