Romance is dead!
Technology killed it.
Gone are the days when people gradually got to know one and another one date at a time. The slow and steady pace of forming a serious relationship has been replaced by search engines, dating apps and social media.
The death of romance is evident in the evolution of technology during deployments.
Before you all start leaving passionate comments about how technology is the source of all romance in your relationships, please hear my experience (which by no means is a reflection or condemnation on your relationship).
Technology Has Invaded Our Deployments
Technology has invaded every aspect of our lives. It is in our cars, homes and schools. We can monitor pets through video, turn lights on and off with a simple command and even adjust the room’s temperature from the comfort of our beds. I admit these are conveniences I enjoy, but I believe technology has made us less connected and allowed us to be less engaged with one another.
During my husband’s first deployment, more than 10 years ago, we would write letters, usually describing our day but mostly expressing our love, our hopes for the future and dreams of our reunion.
Occasionally we were able to speak on the phone. This was a special gift usually delivered in pre-dawn hours. Our calls would only last 15 minutes (if we were lucky) then the operator would break in to inform us our time was limited, in those days I came to hate her.
My husband would wait in line for hours after pulling 24-hour duty for a 15-minute conversation. That dedication, my friends, is romance.
Skype, FaceTime and Facebook Live were not yet invented so the only image of your spouse would be in your thoughts, unless you were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of him in the unit’s newsletter. I can remember holding tight to pictures, trying desperately to remember his face, his eyes and his smile.
I Hoped I Would Recognize Him at His Homecoming
Anticipation for the moment we would lay eyes on each other for the first time in a year would build as the deployment days counted down.
I will never forget our reunions in those early days. Standing on a parade field, feeling my heart pound out of my chest. The buses came rolling by, my breathe trapped in my lungs.
The moment of our homecoming had come.
The band began to play as hundreds of soldiers marching through the trees.
Tears welled in my eyes.
Pride swelled my heart.
I stood for what seemed like hours, searching for his face, hoping I would recognize him after such a long time apart. Then like a fairytale, there he was standing before me, and just like that all was complete in my world.
I Miss the Letter-Writing Deployments When I Believe We Were Truly Able to Miss Each Other
Don’t misunderstand, I appreciate technology. I appreciate the ability to call or text my spouse when I need him, like when I feel defeated by our lawn equipment.
I appreciate the opportunity for him to watch his children grow even when he’s far away.
But I do miss the low-tech days, when I believe we were truly able to miss each other, to go days, weeks and even months without contact. This time allowed us to appreciate the time we do get together and not take a moment of it for granted.
To this day, we still write letters when my husband is deployed and have only Skyped a few times during a deployment.
I know that seems crazy to most military couples, but it has worked for us for over 15 years.