This article is intended as a brief review and reminder of some valuable, yet often overlooked, techniques for collecting data on international markets and consumers.When you think of market research, surveys are most likely the first technique that comes to mind. However, surveys are quantitative research, and to understand customer behavior and the social and cultural context in which our busin...
In 2007 I married the love of my life! He’s charming, funny, a great listener and the best friend I’ve ever had. We still understand each other, even after eleven years of wedded bliss. It hasn’t always been easy, but somehow we made it work. When we got married that fall day, I had no idea what I was signing up for. I married my husband, but his lover is a military man. My husband has served this great country of ours for 31 years…and counting! He loves serving his country and he loves his troops.
Needless to say, his passion has taken him to multiple deployments throughout our marriage. Deployments are much easier for me now, but I have to admit those previous breakups were like having a year-long root canal for me. It was during these deployments that I realized I needed to create a plan if I was going to survive as a military spouse. I had to learn that his dream of serving would take him away from the monumental moments of our marriage! I used to be so miserable during the holidays, my birthday, or our wedding anniversary because I pined for him.
During my husband’s first 18-month deployment to Iraq in our first year of marriage, I had to access what really brought me joy. Although my husband was the apple of my eye, I had to realize that I needed more in my life than just waiting for the cell phone to ring. She had to cultivate a plan of her own if she wanted to survive as a military wife.
The first thing I decided to do was think about what really supported my passion! I was so busy obsessing over what, when, and how soon I would hear from my husband that I began to feel like I was losing my own identity. I was actually slipping into a mild depression and sometimes, yes, I even wondered if marrying a career soldier was the best option for me. Sigh!
So one of the first things I did was find a way to serve others. I went to the local nursing home in our neighborhood and guess what!? They were looking for volunteers! I decided that the best way to pass the time until he got home was to do what he does… serve. I helped transport residents to the living room on Saturday mornings, sang to them, read scriptures to them, played music from their era, and most importantly; I listened to their stories of what life was like in their youth. I learned a lot and made some lasting friendships with them. Even his family members got to know me and I felt that in my own way I was making a difference by nurturing a generation that now needed support.
The next thing I did was create my wish list, not that I thought it was going to expire anytime soon, but I wanted to write a list of all the things I wanted to do. Each item on my list took time to accomplish, and with my husband away on another deployment, I had time to work through each one. While my husband was away, I wrote a book, honed my photography skills, started a business, and became a radio host, actor, and motivational speaker. I also became a local voice for women who needed to heal after sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse. Additionally, I briefly served as my husband’s FRG (Family Preparedness Group) leader for his unit. After all the stuff I got involved in, I learned that I can love my husband with all of my being and yet find purpose in my own life apart from him.
Lastly, I connected with other military spouses who were in the same boat. Some were from my husband’s unit and others I met through interaction with other military personnel. I thought that the main role that I should play for my husband was that of “military wife”. What I learned is that for any relationship to survive, each partner has to grow and mature. I needed to grow. I needed to get out of my comfortable place and reach beyond my comfort zone to find satisfaction in the things that inspired me; That was my “aha” moment. I no longer have to live vicariously through my husband. I studied myself during his many deployments. I have grown emotionally, become even more self-reliant, and realized that by seeking to improve, I can relate to my spouse on a whole new level. Our marriage is so much better because of the decisions I made while he was deployed. Now, he actually admires me for choosing to stay busy and productive. She doesn’t worry about me anymore, because she knows I can take care of myself. My husband often tells me how proud he is of me for changing my brand and making the time we are often apart count.
I wouldn’t trade the life I have now for anything! My husband’s military career was a blessing in disguise for me. I could have looked down on the military and my husband for the huge time commitment it requires; however, we both now see it for the adventure that it is because it offers us a continual opportunity to thrive together, even when we are miles apart.