Tuesday night I asked a seemingly simple question on my The Pilot WifeLife Facebook page: How did you meet your aviation spouse?
The response was breathtaking and diverse, as I knew it would be! Because you, my family, are breathtaking and diverse.
“He’s a gift!”
“My best friend.”
“Married 41 years. He passed almost 2 years ago. Miss that man!”
“I love it and I love him ”
“Still going strong.”
“Married 23 years 4 boys 2 grand kids . Couldn’t be happier!”
“Engaged to be married!”
These are just a few of the hundreds of responses that I received.
I know that sometimes the things I post on my social media page seem random and pointless to you (**gasp!**), but [usually] they are anything but! There is oftentimes a deeper purpose behind these posts that you do not see, whether it’s to discreetly answer a question I have been posed by one of the men/women of our aviation community, to address an issue I have been seeing pop up regularly on PW groups, or simply to make us stop and think outside our own little ‘me’ boxes.
I wish you knew just how much time I spent considering the implications of every single word I share and the delicate balance I strive to create between laughter and serious, education and fun. I’m not doing this because I get paid or profit in any way, whatsoever. I am doing this because I genuinely care about you, your marriages, and this community.
If you don’t think something applies to you directly, I beg you 1) to consider participating in the discussion anyway because your story and insights might just be exactly what another struggling aviation sister needs to hear to settle her heart in a particular moment. 2) And then stick around anyway because, though I cannot possibly cover every eventuality of every life on every post, tomorrow or the next I may be addressing something that you need to hear!
THIS is community. It is about all of us using our experiences, enthusiasm, struggles, and victories to encourage one another to F.L.Y. and to live this life exceedingly well! Every single one of you matter here. It’s more than some random social media banter. It is a beautiful, living, breathing, well-thought organism that is changing lives behind the scenes, even when you cannot see it on the superficial surface.
So the question in question on this particular night was, as usual, posed with great thought and utmost intentionality. “How did you meet your aviation spouse?”
As most of you are far too aware, it is not uncommon in the world of social media for our aviation sisters to be bombarded with negative stereotypes and an overabundance of horror stories regarding life as an aviation wife. There is, for whatever reason, an exceedingly negative culture that has been readily embraced by many online groups, and it is enormously toxic. I think maybe it is a simple case of the broken wheels squeal the loudest. Or perhaps those of us who [mostly] love our Pilot Wife lives just keep quiet or leave because it is not worth infusing our lives with the deadly poison. Whatever the driving force, it suffices to acknowledge that it certainly exists.
And here’s what happens. Women who are freshly contemplating life as a new or future aviation spouse frequently go to the internet looking for advice, camaraderie, and encouragement on their life’s new flight plan from those who have been there, done that. They tap a few key words into the search bar, hit enter, and excitedly find that there are a plethora of groups to choose from!
Yay, they are not alone!
Then they actually join… And they are, more often than not, met with a constant barrage of seething complaints, bitterness, deep resentment, spouse bashing, overwhelming negativity. As they scroll through these pages, thread after thread after awful thread, their hearts become laden with fear. Is this truly what their future holds? Anger, bitterness, infidelity, heartbreak, divorce? Are their beautiful love stories doomed to crash before they even say, “I do?”
The toxins seep into their hearts, and they start to question whether loving their aviation men is the right choice after all. And they begin to question the very futures they were so excited to embark upon just days, weeks, or months ago… They are filled with doubt, fear, frustration.
How do I know?
Because that’s when, somehow, they find me. Whether by accident, a last desperate Google attempt, or because a post shared by some of my following has somehow reached their news feed, they see a glimmer of something…well, different.
Hope. Love. Positivity.
And then I get the inevitable heartbreaking email or private message. I receive them regularly. They pour out all of their fears about their relationship with their new or future aviation husband and reveal all of the things they have read and been fed about this life. They are terrified of what the future holds. They are asking me, a complete stranger, to assuage or substantiate their rightfully growing fears – to capitulate the sorrow of their hearts.
And then they ask the question that crushes my soul, “Should I marry a pilot?”
They are not asking because they expect my enthusiastic ‘yes’; rather, they are asking because they want me to validate the cancerous ‘no’ that has been planted by negativity and is festering in their hearts.
My answer is always, unhesitatingly, resoundingly the same. “Absolutely, one-hundred percent not! You should never, ever marry a pilot!!”
You heard me right! No, no, no, no, no. You should never, ever, ever, ever marry a pilot. Ever.
Because ‘pilot’ is just a career. Careers change. Jobs come and go. Runways end. It’s not who he is. Pilot Wife is not who you will be either! It is a means to an end, not the end to your means!
Will ‘pilot’ define the lifestyle you live as a family? Of course! It will determine many exterior factors in your marriage. But it absolutely does not define the character of the man. His heart does that.
Who you should marry is the man! Marry the man that treats you the way you deserve to be treated! Marry the man who is kind, gentle, compassionate, adoring, faithful, loving. Marry the man who cherishes you and treats you with respect and dignity. Marry the man that completes you…and whom you complete! Marry the man for whom your soul longs – the one you cannot imagine living your life without! Marry the man God created just for you.
And if that man just so happens to be a pilot? Well then, that is simply, fantastically beautiful. You have my heartfelt blessing to marry him and, by the way, welcome to our happy aviation family!
But don’t ever marry a pilot; always marry the man. Choose his heart, not his profession.
When I asked my followers to tell me how they met their spouses, I wasn’t just looking to fill up empty space or desperately seeking something…anything to keep my page active and hopping. I was getting to know you better. I was helping you get to know one another better. I was asking you to dig in and remember the man you fell in love with!
And I was hoping for something much, much more. Through your quirky, beautiful love stories that span the decades and circumstances, I was seeking to show those women who are coming to me filled with fear that the future of their aviation marriages are not doomed. Anything but!
In fact they are filled with beauty, longevity, joy, happiness, laughter, victory, and true enduring love! I wanted to remind those men and women who are currently struggling through the turbulence (we all do occasionally) that there is incredible beauty on the other side of the storm!
When men and women search for ‘aviation marriage’ or ‘pilot wife marriage’ on the internet, I want them to be resulted not with tragedy and failure, but with your inspiring stories of resilience, hope, and happy beginnings, middles, and endings!
I wanted them to know that bitterness and brokenness is not the accepted normal, it is just the squeaky wheel making a lot of annoying noise. But there are hundreds and thousands of us out here who adore our aviation spouses, who have incredible aviation marriages, and who wouldn’t change it for the world!
That’s why I asked that question. Not so annoying anymore, is it?
I made the picture above from just a few of the hundreds (and I mean HUNDRESDS) of joyful responses I received from my followers when I asked the simply complex question, “How did you meet your aviation spouse?” They are words filled with incredible love, joy, passion, happiness, hope, and great beauty! And they are only a few of the responses.
“He’s my best friend, best choice I ever made, wouldn’t change a thing, seven years, 28 years, 36 years, best decision of my life…”
“STILL IN LOVE.”
These are the words of the women who have married pilots. This is aviation marriage. I hope you will take a moment to actually go to my Facebook page, scroll down, peruse through the nearly 400 comments, and absorb the unfathomable hope and joy that is waiting for you there.
Should you marry a pilot? Absolutely not. But if you happen to fall in love with an amazing man, and he just happens to be a pilot, know that there is a long, beautiful future ahead of you.
I know, because I love a pilot too – nearly two decades, thus. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I love you, aviation family. You are beautiful. Your marriages are beautiful.
Angelia (a happily married Pilot Wife)