Wife on the Roller Coaster from Riding the Roller Coaster is one of my all-time favorite people and bloggers in the entire world. No kidding. She is an incredibly talented writer and I can't wait until she writes a book so I can buy it. Love you woman!"Last year I went on vacation without my husband. I had no choice. His schedule was constantly changing, and I was running out of time to visit my parents before summer ended and my son started school. When I booked the plane reservations, I had every reason to believe my husband wouldn’t be home, that he would be off on yet another work-related trip. But a week after cashing in my frequent flyer miles, his schedule changed yet again and his travel was canceled. Some wives might have called off their plans and stayed home with their husbands. I did not. I selfishly went on vacation anyway, leaving my husband to fend for himself for 2 weeks at home.
For the first day or two of my luxurious vacation at my parents’ house, I felt guilty for allowing myself to be pampered while my husband was sitting at home alone. But then I started to consider it a learning experience. Not for me. For him. For the first time, HE was the one being left behind as his spouse packed up and said good-bye. As I continued to enjoy my vacation and my husband continued to call my cell phone multiple times a day, I couldn’t help but wonder: Could my husband do what I do as a
military spouse? I have no doubt that I could never jump into his boots and perform his duties as a service member. But could he do my job? Could he cope with the emptiness of living in his own home without the one person who makes that home complete? Could he overcome that loneliness and take responsibility for the daily upkeep of a household? Could any of our courageous men brave life on the home front? I’m not so sure.
When I returned from my vacation, I was interested to see what state of disarray my house was in. I was pleasantly surprised to see no laundry scattered on the floor of the family room. No dirty dishes in the sink. No newspapers spread across the coffee table. No overflowing trash can. Maybe I had underestimated my husband. And then I opened the refrigerator. There was no milk. There were no leftover meals. In fact, there wasn’t a whole lot of anything but beer. Then I ventured into our bedroom. I didn’t expect him to make the bed, but I was shocked when I saw that the bed was not only unmade, but it was covered with dirty clothes, books, and his laptop. It looked like a bomb had exploded in our room. It was a disaster area.
Although I’d never confess to finding the humor in giving my husband a taste of his own medicine, I did think it was beneficial for him to temporarily walk in my shoes. When we later talked about my absence, he admitted how lonely he was sleeping in our bed without me. He told me he purposely stayed at work late to try to postpone coming home to an empty house. (He also admitted that he ate out for almost every meal and that he had to do a mega clean-up before I came home because he hadn’t lifted a finger the entire time to pick up after himself.) I felt like, after all these years of trying to express to him how his career-induced separations affected my life, he finally understood. He finally got it. And now, on some basic level, he could finally appreciate and empathize with what I go through at home without him.
If those 2 weeks (and those incessant phone calls!) were any indication of how my husband would handle being a military spouse, my theory was confirmed. I wasn’t the only one in our marriage who would fail miserably if we traded places. My husband may be the brave military man who makes me proud to be his wife, but he had proven he could never hack it as a military spouse.
What do you think? Could your husband handle trading places with you?"