Do you want to know what my husband is out doing right now as I type this? Shopping. He stopped at the grocery store on his way home after a long and exhausting stint at work in order to buy the fixings for the steak dinner he plans on preparing me for Mother’s Day.
You know, he doesn’t get it all right all the time (who in the world could?), but this is truly something he excels at – making sure I never feel forgotten.
Whether it’s the little treats he leaves under my pillow to find while he’s away, the Double Tree cookies he brings me from around the nation, or a takeout dinner that he picked up just for me while he was out with his best buddies, he remembers to remember his wife. Always.
This life occasionally leaves me feeling alone, but I am never forgotten. There’s an important difference between the two. Being alone is the absence of physical presence. It’s inevitable when married to a traveling spouse. Being forgotten, however, is the absence of emotional presence and is something that has no place in a healthy marriage. We can handle the alone part of the aviation life as long as we know that we are not forgotten. That part? It’s devastating.We can handle the alone part of the aviation life as long as we know that we are not forgotten. Click To Tweet
To the husband who forgets Mother’s Day…and birthdays…and anniversaries…and Valentines…
It’s not okay.
If it means something to your wife, it needs to mean something to you!
Now let’s be clear. I’m not talking about those situations where you’ve had a heart-to-heart as a couple and have both agreed that neither of you really care about that particular occasion (though even then a quick ‘thinking of you text’ would probably be well received). My husband and I are very much like that about Valentine’s Day, though somehow chocolate covered strawberries often seem to show up at my door anyway…and I admittedly have yet to decline. Hey, I like chocolate and strawberries! What can I say?
No, I’m talking about your beautiful bride sitting at home alone on the occasions that matter to her feeling utterly forgotten as she dejectedly watches all of her other friends and acquaintances receive acknowledgement and share picture after picture of gut-wrenching togetherness. That kind of ‘alone’ sucks royally.
It’s hard being alone so often, and holidays and special occasions only prove to emphasize the vast aloneness and intensify the ache in our hearts for your presence.
You may not always be able to be there, but you can be there. And for goodness sakes, when you are there, be present. All in. Engaged.You may not always be able to be there, but you can BE there. And for goodness sakes, when you are there, be present. Click To Tweet
Here’s the other thing – don’t simply assume it doesn’t matter to her. You need to ask. Pilot Wives are extraordinarily good at rolling with the punches and protecting you from the everyday stress. That means that she will more than likely nonchalantly blow off the fact that you ‘forgot’ as no big deal outwardly, but on the inside she’s hurt by your complacency. Don’t mistake her silence on the matter for acceptance. It’s not.
I know because they tell me. In private conversations, in social media groups, in phone calls and texts – they tell me. When you are ‘too busy’ to remember them or just plain forget them, they are deeply wounded.
Those wounds? Well, they don’t just go away either. Repeated hurt is a deadly cancer that multiplies and festers in your wife’s heart until eventually resentment fills up all those spaces you left empty and the marriage implodes.
Gentlemen, remember her.
I know that you are busy. But you are not too busy to remember the woman you asked to do life with you. We absolutely understand that your career is taxing, often unpredictable, and exhausting. We get it! And we stand proudly and stalwartly at your side as you navigate the politics of the skies and accept the nuances with grace.
She does an awful lot to support your dreams of flying. She needs and deserves your support as well. Marriage is 100% reciprocal. It takes two fully committed individuals who continuously attempt to put their spouse’s needs first to keep this baby in the air!
You don’t have to understand why something matters to her; you simply have to know that it does. That’s enough. If you love her (and I know you must because you chose her and said ‘I do’!), filling her up and seeing her happy should be your greatest passion. Yup, even more than flying.
She is not an afterthought to your career or an object to be dismissed and forgotten. She is a partner in life who thrives on reciprocal love – your love! You are the light of her life, and she desperately desires to be adored, cherished, and remembered by you.
Alright, ladies. Sorry, but you don’t get off the hook so easily here! This isn’t all on him. You have a responsibility to speak up. If something matters to you, tell him! If he asks, don’t be coy, be honest! He’s not a psychic or a mind reader. He’s a man. They work in absolutes. If you tell him it’s ‘fine’ or that ‘it’s no big deal’, he believes you! That’s the way he is put together. We cannot continue to give him false or nonexistent clues and then resent him for accepting them as truth. I know we like to bottle that stuff up nice and tight inside and let it simmer and stew until it eventually overflows like lava from a super volcano, but that’s not healthy for your marriage either. You have to clearly communicate your needs to him. I mean, these guys live by checklists, right? Right!If something matters to you, tell him! If he asks, don't be coy, be honest! He's not a psychic or a mind reader. He's a man. They work in absolutes. Click To Tweet
That being said, don’t attack him. Accusations and onslaughts of a personal nature only end up making him defensive. I promise, the moment his shields go up is the moment the conversation is over because he won’t really hear another word that comes out of your mouth.
Instead, wait until you are calm and think about what you want to say and how it can be communicated without an assault upon his personal being. Instead of focusing on your hurt feelings or his ‘wrong’ behavior in the discussion, focus on lovingly enhancing your marriage by revealing what matters to you. Using words like ‘love’ versus ‘hate’ can greatly change the tone of your message from a negative one to a positive one! “I need for you to recognize me on these holidays! It makes me feel so special and loved,” vs “I hate it when you forget me on these holidays. It makes me so frustrated and angry with you!” See the difference?
You can also consider writing him a letter or sending an email where you can take the time to concisely and lovingly express your thoughts and feelings without the danger of becoming overly emotional in the moment. You can even send him this blog so that it can open up the conversation (by the way boys, if she tags you, sends it to you, asks you to read it, or shares it, etc…hint, hint, hint!).
However you approach it, you should clearly explain to him how much it means to you in this lonely lifestyle to be remembered by him on certain days. Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t tell him it’s fine if it’s not. Simply explain that it’s just one way that your love tank is filled, that you need this in your marriage, and that it helps you to be a better wife when you feel loved by him.
To my amazing, hardworking men of aviation, remember to remember her! She’s worth it, and it is oh-so-very important to the soul of your wife and the health of your marriage.
And to my amazing, beautiful ladies of aviation, happy Mother’s Day to you. You are all so incredibly loved.
Blue skies and happy FLY-ing family,
Angelia (a fellow Pilot Wife)
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