Surviving Separation: Your Face

This is part five in a series about surviving separation from your spouse. Read all posts in this series.

Gregg and Hallee - 1 week after his return from Afghanistan in 2003
Gregg and Hallee - 1 week after his return from Afghanistan in 2003

Gregg and I have been married for over seven years. We didn’t live together until our first anniversary. Three months after we married, he deployed to Afghanistan. A couple of years later, he changed his military specialty and went to school 400 miles away for eight months. A couple years later, he went to another school, even further away, for six months. He is currently in Afghanistan again, this time as a civilian contractor, and has six more months there before he can come home. On top of these extended absences, his civilian job had him away from home for months at a time, when he would come home on Friday night and leave again on Sunday. We have spent more time apart than together, so we have learned how to have an abiding, intimate relationship even though we’re, at times and currently, thousands of miles away from each other. This series will provide you with little tips and hints we’ve picked up along the way.

Your Face

When Gregg and I first met, it was 357 miles from his driveway to mine.  Right before we were married, his National Guard unit was activated and he moved from Anniston, AL, to Birmingham, AL, to prepare for deployment.  This made the distance right around 330 miles.

Our week-long honeymoon was the longest stretch of time he and I spent together in the same time zone.  A year later, day nine after our first anniversary marked the longest stretch of time we spent together in each other’s company.

We have been maintaining a long distance relationship most of our marriage.

A big part of that relationship is sending each other pictures.  Typically, while he’s gone, I send pictures titled “Me Today” or “Scott Today” or something of the sort.  A few months into his first deployment, and during our first year of marriage, Gregg asked me for some imperfect pictures.

“What do you mean?” I typed into our instant message window.

“I mean,” he responded, “in every picture you’re perfectly made up and you’re smiling smiling smiling.  I’d like some other pictures, too.  No makeup, no smile, imperfect.”

It isn’t easy for a woman to look at pictures of herself, much less intentionally send the man she loves imperfect pictures.  But Gregg was craving life – real life – not a perfectly set up picture that had just the right angle and just the right smile.

It’s not easy to go from sending a picture like this:

to sending a picture like this:

But for whatever reason, Gregg has always enjoyed and appreciated those pictures, too.


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