Military spouse writes guide to successful marriage in the service
Military spouses inevitably go through adjustments as they learn about life with the armed services. For Bea Fishback, the process was more like a crash course.
She met her husband, retired Army chaplain Jim Fishback, while he was a cadet at West Point. They married soon after.
At 21, Bea Fishback, who had never really seen the world beyond her small-town New York state upbringing, soon realized what being a military spouse was all about.
“We got married, we had our honeymoon, and the day after we left and went to Korea,” said Fishback, who now works for Military Ministry and lives in West Row near RAF Mildenhall.
“I had no idea how to get money, how to speak the language. It was so fast and quick, like ‘Oh my goodness, I’m a military wife!’”
To top things off, her husband, then an armor officer, was injured in a tank a week into their arrival in South Korea, she said.
While culture shock for military spouse may vary in difficulty, there are similarities to the experience. That was one reason Fishback wrote “Loving Your Military Man,” a guide to maintaining all aspects of a military marriage.
The book, published this summer, involves a variety of lessons intended to be used in group settings, she said, adding that some local chapels may start using the book next year.
“It’s important for women to connect with other women who are living in the same culture,” she said. “There’s a lot of unique stresses to the military.”
Especially these days, she said, with so many deployments, everything from finances and child-rearing to simple communication can take some extra effort and guidance.
It’s difficult enough to communicate in a marriage, but add anxieties from deployments and an absent parent, and communication can get that much thornier, she said.
The book incorporates Bible passages and faith throughout, but Fishback emphasized that its lessons are applicable to people of all faiths.
In fact, she said, faith of any kind is a huge part of getting through the rigors of military marriage.
“If you don’t have something external of yourself, you can only draw on your inner-strength for so long,” Fishback said.
It helps for spouses to realize that difficulties don’t have to define partnerships, she said.
“It’s just a small portion of the entire marriage,” Fishback said. “That segment will be over.”
Fishback’s husband left the military in 1994 after 20 years of service. Things are obviously different now, and in some way the strains are much greater. But Fishback said she hopes her book can still help other spouses.
“My experience as a military spouse is nothing to what these women are experiencing today,” she said.