I decided to talk about realistic expectations first because if you don’t have a handle on this one none of the rest of it really matters. I thought about a couple of different ways to talk about this one. The research geek in me wanted to go academic. There are plenty of social science research articles out there that talk about how expectations effect satisfaction. Most concluding something like, when expectations are more in line with reality then satisfaction is increased. Don’t worry I am not going to start quoting theories, adding parenthetical references and there won’t be a works sited page at the end. (Yes, I admit I was on Google Scholar and almost went to look for an article from one of my graduate classes.) Trust me I would but it would be much more fun for me to write than it would be for you to read. So, I will save that for another forum.
Then I considered the tough love approach. We all know there are parts of being a Military spouse that suck, and well the Navy ads a whole other level of suck. Everyone would be doing it if it wasn’t hard, right. So put on your big girl panties and get over it (to put it nicely). While that is defiantly good advice from time to time, not really my point here. The point is it is all about attitude!
If you approach this Navy World with the knowledge that it will be hard and there are lots of things that are less than fun you will be less disappointed when the metaphorical seas get rough. It makes it easier to except the things that are out of our control and there are a lot.
I met my husband when he had already been in for almost 5 years. He knew what sea duty was like and gave me fair warning. So, I had a glimpse of what I was getting into. That is not always the case, I have several friends that were with their sailors before they joined and were never told about duty days, underways and all the other things besides the big ‘D’ (deployment of course).
Give yourself time to be upset and disappointed; orders change and deployments are extended, and well anytime on sea duty. We get warn down and have our moments sometimes we simply need to cry. Take them, please! Don’t bottle things up that’s not helpful in the long run. So, give yourself permission to feel what you feel whatever that means to you vent to a friend, go for a run or my personal favorite blare rock music and sing at the top of your lungs. Choose to not let those moments consume your life. This is where the tough love comes in to play, at some point you do need to suck it up. Then embrace the things you can control and number one is your attitude!