I am a 28-year-old married woman and mother of a four-year-old girl. I had lived all my life in Karachi. After marriage, I had to go with my husband to Sahiwal as he is in the army and was posted there. We are living in the cantonment area in a temporary official accommodation. Its lease is ending this month. Now we will have to arrange our own dwelling. I cannot take a house for rent in Sahiwal because this city and its people are complete strangers to me. And I don’t want to go to my parents’ home because the environment there is not conducive for raising a child. Now, I am confused what to do in this difficult situation.
Having a partner in the armed forces is not easy. Military marriages have to regularly deal with the stresses of deployment, transfers and time spent apart from the spouse. Wives of army personnel usually have to make the bulk of the effort to make the marriage work, and both partners have to understand that sacrifice and service to the country comes before anything else. Only when you know this, can your partnership be a happy one.
‘I am afraid to live in a new city’
The problem is that technically you knew that this was going to be your life when you got married to an army officer. However, in reality, you didn’t know until you were in it and the deployments, transfers and separations actually started.
Think of what it was like when you became a parent for the first time. Your elders and friends probably gave you all the tips, you may have had some experience helping raise a niece or nephew and you may have even read some articles and books on parenting. But now when you look at your daughter, you probably realise that you just didn’t know what you were getting into. And there is no going back.
I suggest you adopt the same attitude towards your (military) marriage. Please understand that it is not your husband who is taking these decisions. This is what life is like in the military. It will be one thing after the other for as long as he is in the military. Your husband also probably doesn’t want to move to Sahiwal, but he has to because that is where his job is taking him. And as a military wife you need to be supportive. The first step to reaching peace in your life is to accept your status as an army wife. This is what you signed up for when you signed your marriage contract.
The first step to reaching peace in your life is to accept your status as an army wife. This is what you signed up for when you signed your marriage contract.
You will be required to obey orders and move to new cities and remote areas and you will have to meet and sometimes even live among strangers. New people will be in and out of your life all the time. Unless something happens to reverse the decision on your residence, you need to get busy thinking about the move and making arrangements. Since you don’t have much of a choice in this matter, I suggest you stay open and not judge the people of Sahiwal or any other small town or city before you start living around them. There are good and bad people everywhere and it would ease your life greatly if you feel grateful for what you have and always start with looking for the good in people.
Also — and you probably already know this — it helps if you develop a certain level of independence and make friends with other military wives who are in the same boat as you. You will learn a lot from them.
Accepting the curve balls life throws at you and making an action plan to cope, is a life lesson everyone should learn. As a military wife, you need to learn this lesson perhaps more than others.
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Published in Dawn, EOS, December 8th, 2019