When Relocating means Rediscovering your Marriage
Close friends and family (and of course, some followers on Instagram) know that we’ve been planning a move to Austin, Texas for some time now.
And I’d love to tell you how we decided to move back to Texas, and how those plans may very well fall apart anyway.
We live in Joplin, Missouri, and though Joplin isn’t the worst place in the world, it is by far, the smallest place I’ve ever lived. And how we got here is a story in itself, and I want to start there.
I grew up in an AirForce family, and I experienced with full force the good and the bad of it. Every three years on the dot, we would pack up and move, leaving our entire lives, and relocate to a new home in a new city or a new country. Every three years I said goodbye to my school, often times in the middle of a school year, and I said goodbye to my friends, and just left.
Every conversation prior to a move was the same: my parents would sit my brother and I down and tell us my dad’s time had expired where we were living, and he needed to apply for a new deployment—and they’d list three places they were interested in, and tell us their top one. And we’d wait and find out which the AirForce assigned us and where we’d be living next. Soon after, movers would come and gather our packed things, and we’d live with rental furniture for a couple months until we moved. Once we arrived at our new home, our stuff would arrive about a month later, and we’d live with rental furniture until that time as well.
During my childhood moves, I learned to depend on my family—because they were the only consist and guaranteed part of my future. Every place we moved was frustrating—but we got through it as a family. And, we lived in some pretty amazing places including Seattle, WA, San Antonio, TX, and Germany.
When Dan and I married, we did so knowing we’d move shortly because of Dan’s job. I took this adventure the same way I always did—I was used to the unknown by now—but when we were told it would be Joplin, MO, I wasn’t so thrilled at first.
I’ll put it this way: the first six pages of google images of Joplin were of destroyed homes because of an F5 tornado.
Less than three months into marriage, we found ourselves in this town—with no family, no friends, no HEB, and nothing open past 10pm.
And that first year in Joplin may have been one of the best we will ever have. Being so far away from just about everyone allowed the two of us to discover what marriage was for us. Not based on what anyone told us marriage was, or what others’ marriages looked like.
I’ll be honest: that first year had very few fights, too. I’ve heard that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but it was true for us. It was wonderful. And I think it was because we had only each other.
We’ve been feeling our time in Joplin coming to an end, and we’ve been wanting it to come to an end. But the accumulation of those thoughts and feelings came this past summer, when I was in San Antonio and I called Dan in tears from my car.
I told him that seeing Texas again just felt right. And I didn’t want to be in Missouri anymore. Something happened this past year and I feel I can’t move forward unless I leave—and I told him that.
And without hesitation, he said, “Fuck it, let’s go back to Texas.”
Since that time, he’s applied to so many places, and I’ve packed the entire house. But, he’s gotten no interviews, and we’re beginning to feel our chances at Austin for the time being are very slim.
As of last week, a very interesting job opportunity has been presented in El Dorado, Arkansas. When Dan told me about it, my heart sank, I’ll be honest. It’s smaller than Joplin. There’s no Target. If you look up sightseeing on Facebook, the majority of places listed are churches, and a memorial/graveyard.
And I’m not excited.
But my inner AirForce kid has spring forward over the weekend—the fuck it, wherever I’m with you kid.
Dan and I know our marriage isn’t perfect, and we have so much we want to work on right now, and damn it, we’re afraid of the middle of nowhere, Arkansas. But we’ve also both admitted that maybe this kind of move is exactly what our marriage needs again. The middle of nowhere, even smaller than before, to draw closer, to know one another more deeply.
I have a feeling Austin will have to wait for now—our marriage is in the works, first.