Q: My husband and I just got married a couple months ago. He's in the military and I'm an 18-year-old college student. He got his orders to Korea and had to leave three weeks after the wedding. He'll be gone for a year, during which I will only be allowed to see him for 30 days. I already miss him very much and want him to come home. I worry about him all the time. Our only communication is by phone, and lately we're arguing more than usual and are both very unhappy. Will my marriage hold together or will it be ending? -- Amber
Dr. Susan: It's going to take a lot of patience and maturity on both your parts to make this a strong marriage in spite of the separation. Since your husband wasn't drafted, you have to keep in mind that he voluntarily made the choice that led to your being apart. Neither of you can claim you didn't know this might happen, and you must have loved one another enough to take the chance and get married anyway. But marriage is about more than saying some words. It means sticking by one another through the hard times too. Especially the hard times.
I'd suggest your husband take advantage of any support services or counseling available to him. Same for you. I don't know what your arguments are about, but perhaps by talking to someone experienced, you could find out what's at the root of the trouble. Maybe you resent him for having left you alone. Maybe he's afraid you won't be faithful to him. Could you be blaming each other for your misery, when it's just part of the situation? Confronting these deeper fears and speaking them aloud might ease the pressure. Ideally, you'll get through this year having learned a lot about yourselves, and someday you'll look back and this will all be part of your cherished joint history. I urge you not to be a quitter so soon!
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.