Men Are From Mars: On Marriage to a Soldier

Love Military Style

Soldiers are the ultimate task-masters. They appreciate black and white. They understand clearly stated objectives and how to meet them. I’ve found over the many years I’ve been married to a soldier that it’s difficult — if not impossible — for them to leave this trait at the office or in the field. While having a solutions-oriented husband is a big plus in many ways, most in fact, sometimes it’s a minus. This realization clubbed me over the head in a very real way recently when my husband and I were sitting on the patio after dinner and I began telling him about a professional irritation I had recently experienced. My frustration began pouring out, and it was a cathartic experience. I immediately felt better just telling my husband what had happened and talking through possible ways I may handle the situation.

My relief turned to despair when my husband proceeded to offer suggestions with all the seriousness of a drill instructor whipping his recruits into shape and taking the “this will make you better” approach. By the end of our conversation, I fully expected I’d wake up the next morning with a Field Manual, SOP memo, series of “taskers” and a power point presentation on the way forward. Perhaps, too, there would be a plan on psychological warfare.

If someone wants to know how many pieces of equipment are necessary to meet a stated goal, or how to survive in jungle, desert or mountain terrain, my husband would be a good person to ask. He has a little experience in this area after 20 years in the Army. If, on the other hand, someone wants to vent and is not in the market for a solution, my husband becomes a bit disoriented. His first instinct is to attack the problem, just as he has been trained to do.

I love my husband. I truly do. But I live and work in the world of emotions and personalities, not numbers and strategy. Sometimes a talk is just a talk. I don’t expect or want him to fix everything. Although, I must admit I love the fact that he wants to….

About the Author


Andi is married to an active-duty soldier and is the founder and former editor of SpouseBUZZ.

She is the founder of the Annual MilBlog Conference. The MilBlog Conference is the premiere event of the year for military bloggers. President George W. Bush, U.S. Representative Adam Smith, GEN David Petraeus, LTG Mike Oates, LTG William Caldwell, RADM Mark Fox, MG Kevin Bergner, MG David Hogg and The Honorable Pete Geren have addressed previous conferences.

While living in Washington, DC, Andi was the Ambassador to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for Sew Much Comfort, a non-profit organization which makes and delivers, free of charge, special adaptive clothing for wounded service members. Andi has worked with several non-profits to help our wounded heroes and their families. She finds that work to be the most rewarding and meaningful of all.

Andi strives to find humor in the good, bad and ugly of life and is a firm believer that laughter has the ability to cure most ills.

19 Comments on "Men Are From Mars: On Marriage to a Soldier"

  1. I am so like that too. It was very difficult for me to not try to “fix it” when my wife would share things with me.

    What we ended up coming up with was for her to tell me somewhere at the start of the talk whether it was a “vent” talk or a “fix it” talk. Things got a lot better after that. I then knew what she expected of me.

    • Great approach, Stephen. I, too have started doing this. Although I think my husband still has to suppress the urge to fix things….

  2. Oh, don’t get me wrong… I do have to suppress the urge… a lot. But it makes it easier for me to do so when I know there are no expectations from her but to listen intently.

  3. Amen sista! I live with this guy too! I have to state my objective up-front …. "I don't want you to fix anything, I just want you to listen". :)

  4. I started laughing hysterically when I read this. I have the same husband.

  5. My Husband is like that as well. I have had several talks with him about listening but it is very hard for him. I love the fact that he wants to fix things for me but it can be very frustrating.

  6. tankerswife | March 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    This is the proverbial chicken/egg scenario. Were they like this already, or did the military make them think this way? I tend to believe they were already sort of this way to begin with and the military hammered into a steel frame.

  7. S'why I vent to friends mostly :))

  8. Renee L. Ten Eyck | March 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm |

    All I can do is sit and chuckle, knowing that it's not just us!

  9. Wait until you have teenagers… I'd love to send mine through the adventure of boot-camp! Boy, that would change house-keeping, around here!

  10. That is not a military issue, that's the difference between men and women! Men want to fix things and women want to share and empathize.

  11. OMG, im a newlywed n jus had tht experience today. i jus stop ventin n had to not say anymore…lol..

  12. Stephen S. | March 30, 2011 at 8:24 am |

    To all the wives out there. Please understand, and Hank explains this very well. Men have a natural instinct to protect their spouse and family. No man, I mean no REAL MAN wants to see their spouse hurting. Just like when wives become mothers become protective of their children. Stephen came up with a great idea. All I can say is, husbands take time to know your wives, wives take time to know your husbands. And always stay in prayer.

  13. Stephen S. | March 30, 2011 at 8:30 am |

    To all the wives out there. Please understand, and Hank explains this very well. Men have a natural instinct to protect their spouse and family. No man, I mean no REAL MAN wants to see their spouse hurting. Just like when wives become mothers they become protective of their children. Stephen came up with a great idea. All I can say is, husbands take time to know your wives, wives take time to know your husbands. And always stay in prayer.


  14. Joe LittleBear | March 30, 2011 at 10:20 am |

    This wife should feel lucky…..she has a man who will not only listen to her whinings….but will work with her to find a solution to her problems……Unfortunately, many of the "new generation of men" wouldn't have a clue, and could care less…… If this wife just wants a listening post to vent her problems on and doesn't want any input…then she needs a lap dog….preferably one of the "wuss" catagory like a cocker spaniel, a golden retriever, or a basset hound that will put up with just about any demeaning thing that a woman or a child can heap upon it's unfortunate head and not bite back….. ( Don't try this on a Doberman, Pit Bull, or Rottwieler,….there's a limit to what they will endure, and when it gets tiring or they perceive the rant to be threatening…they will become aggressive in short order…)

  15. Joe LittleBear | March 30, 2011 at 10:30 am |

    I think the first problem to address,… what I call….."The Legacy of Eve " To wit : The Serpent convinced Eve, in the Garden of Eden ……that,….by virtue of being a WOMAN…..that she knew more than both GOD and her husband…..! AND….she got both of them evicted …..because Adam was weak enough to listen to her …. Unfortunately, Eve handed this notion down to her decendants… As a result,…many husbands feel " Why the Hell….are YOU asking ME ? You know very well that YOU will be making the final decision….and you won't listen to MY advice….after all, I'M JUST A MAN !!!" Your husband obviously cares for you….otherwise he wouldn't waste his time trying to help you with your problem…. Either let him or your friends help you find a solution or pay a Psychiatrist $100.00 an hour to give you the same advice…

  16. Joe LittleBear | March 30, 2011 at 10:34 am |

    The title COCKER SPANIEL is a breed of dog and is perfectly proper language…

    • Joe – It's an automated program which blocks certain phrases, and unfortunately it can't distinguish between the proper use of the word and if someone is using it in a vulgar manner. That part is frustrating. But wanted you to know that it wasn't a person who censored the word. Yes, it was used in a perfectly acceptable way. It's just hard to train a computer…. :)

  17. As someone married to a retired soldier, and as the mother of another soldier, I sure do see this in my "men." The frustrating part, for me, isn't just their need to fix it, it is their need to have it done in a specific way, because that is SOP for how they do it. I have to keep reminding my beloveds that there are many paths to the same final goal, and that while their way *may* work, another way *may* be more effective. I know my spouse feels very overwhelmed by my youngest son (we are a blended family) because he didn't grow up in a military family and how "we" did things in the past aren't always the way my spouse wants things to go, and the two butt heads. In the end, the only way through it is to keep open communication channels, and as another poster said, keep it in prayer.

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