So many couples are now separated part- or full-time because of military deployment and/or work travel and schedules, I get a lot of questions about faithfulness. Your marriage vows may have said, “'til death do us part” but no one said anything about what happens when a military career or traveling job makes it necessary for you to part, and you want to maintain the closeness in your relationship. Not only does the war take husbands away from their wives, but the greater involvement of women in the military means that more husbands are also left behind during wartime deployment. The following excerpts from my newest book, The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Far Apart will help you keep your marriage healthy and problems of infidelity away.
Mistrust and Jealousy
“O, beware... of jealousy; it is the greeneyed monster” wrote William Shakespeare in the sixteenth century. In four hundred years, we don't seem to have been able to tame or conquer this monster. Nothing will harm your relationship more than jealousy, suspicion or mistrust. Especially when you are apart, you need to find a way to trust each other. Jealousy is still very present with us, and rears its ugly head often in all relationships, and when you are not together, your imagination can run wild and make it even more of a problem. It's very valuable during a military separation to keep your communication open, uptodate, and as frequent as possible.
What Happens When One Of You Becomes Jealous Or Suspicious?Gail, whose husband Charles is an officer in the merchant marine and away for weeks or months at a time, says “I used to get very jealous, but then I realized I had a choice: I could choose to feel scared, angry, or even to feel generous and loving instead of jealous, if I thought about it. I don't regard jealousy as a desirable emotion, and when it comes up, I work to overcome it.”
Most jealousy arises when someone feels insecure or threatened either you’re afraid of losing your relationship, or that someone else will get the attention, love, or affection you want. The most important thing you can do is to remember that when you handle jealousy properly, it will be a passing emotion you discuss with each other, not a disaster. Gail, whose husband is far away in the Navy, says, “I found that when I had more of a sense of humor about my jealousy, I could talk to Charles about it, and he was happy to reassure me. When I saw a model in a bikini on TV, and then looked at my pregnant belly and got worried that he’d find a hot babe who looked better than I do, and I told him, he said ‘Hon, your belly is very beautiful to me, and I can’t wait to be there beside you and to hold our new baby daughter after she’s born. Nothing is more attractive to me than that.’ And I felt much better.”