My husband and I have been married for about three years and together for five. In the five years of our relationship, we’ve endured three duty stations with one extended TDY at another installation en route to his overseas assignment, and three PCSs, including one unaccompanied tour. I’m not going to count the amount of other TDYs he’s had while at our current duty station. It really could be worse, so I’m thankful that we’re together for the most part.
Before we met, my husband was already serving and I was working at a public relations firm. We were well into our 20s at our first meeting and now I’m knocking on 30’s door, while he will celebrate his 32nd birthday this year. Another thing about us, it so happens that we don’t have kids…yet.
We’re enjoying our company and getting to know each other more. We didn’t have a chance to live together before we got married. Therefore, we’re utilizing this time to learn everything we can, not only about us as a couple, but separately about ourselves as individuals. We’re looking forward to when the time does come for us. In the meantime, our focus is to nurture our relationship in fun and unique ways!
We’ve put together a type of bucket list that we encourage other military couples to check off before kiddos. The great thing about this list too is that it can be done both ways (with or without kids!)!
Take a vacation together. Getting away from what is familiar to you two is an excellent way to get to know another aspect of your partner. Being in a different circumstance can bring out new qualities that might not have been readily available. Our first vacation together happened to be a big PCS road trip. I was a ride-along for his DITY move from New York to Arizona. We were only dating at the time, but I was excited at the notion to travel with him and see sights that were new to us both. Since then, we’ve been to multiple destinations with one big trip planned again at the end of this year! We would also make the most of our duty station location and drive around to surrounding areas to spend a weekend or day trip.
Enjoy a stay-cation. Sometimes a stay-cation is given to you and when it is, have fun! For example, if there is a snow day and you’re stuck indoors and literally can’t get out, pull out some games or activities to do together. It happened to us recently when the Snowpocolypse (aka Winter Storm Jonas) occurred earlier this month. My husband and I pieced together a 750 piece puzzle and put together a Lego house (yes, we played with Legos!). Then, we had to dig our cars out of the snow, but it was all in fun! Of course, take time out for a planned stay-cation too. We love to have Netflix weekend where we commit to a television show and cook a meal together.
Start a joint hobby. Both of us enjoyed the outdoors before we met. At our first duty station together, we adopted hiking as our go-to hobby and have been hiking our way through duty stations and vacations. We’ve evolved our hobby a bit by getting mountain bikes, so we would bike here at our current duty station. Our goal is to bike as many different trails as we can. We also love to bring our bikes camping to explore areas that are further away. Find something that you both could enjoy together!
Participate in mandatory fun. Go out and seriously have fun with your spouse at a “mandatory fun” day. If there isn’t anything going on with your spouse’s unit, go together when your base/post hosts different events. Check out Army Community Service (ACS), if you’re Army to see if there is anything in the works. I’ve learned so much about my spouse and the lifestyle by participating with him at these events.
Learn something new. Last winter, my husband and I went skiing for the first time — and we had a blast! I’m going to be honest that I was a bit afraid at first. I’ve actually been skiing before, but it was literally 10 plus years ago, so I needed a refresher course. We enrolled ourselves in the beginners skiing class and tackled our first mountain together. It was wonderful to be able to learn (or re-learn) something that is challenging together!
Adopt a pet. My husband and I adopted a cat that has been a wonderful addition to our family. We adopted Xena two years ago and she stole our hearts. If a furry friend isn’t something you both feel is needed, that’s okay. When I say adopt a pet, I really mean anything that allows both of you two nurture something together. It could even be a container garden in your home that grows into delicious veggies.
Do you have any other tips to add to the bucket list? I would love to know!
About the Author:
Rachel Tringali Marston is an Army spouse and daughter to an Air Force retiree. Rachel’s family settled in Texas and that’s where she calls home. Before getting married, she lived in New York City for almost 10 years and considers that her second home. Rachel enjoys learning and exploring the area around her husband’s duty station and is embracing life in the military. In her spare time, she shares her adventures on her personal blog called The Professional Army Wife.