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Good communication requires more than Blackberries
Notes from an almost-military spouse
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My fiancé and I should have no trouble getting a hold of each other. Between the two of us, we have five email addresses, three cell phones, two office numbers and a home mailing address. So why is it that in the age of texting and Blackberries, we can still manage to send each other mixed messages?
Case in point: We were sitting in front of the TV one evening about a week ago while I cut out squares of paper for our wedding invitations. As my fiancé helped me glue them together, he said casually, “So I was discussing it with our parents, and we were thinking that it might be a good idea to move our wedding date.”
I put my scissors down and stared at him. If you’ve ever had any experience with planning a wedding, you know that those are some of the last words any bride wants to hear.
After some discussion, I figured out what had happened. I’ve known for a while that my fiancé will probably have to leave for a two-month training stint a few days after our wedding. I thought we had decided this wasn’t such a big deal, and that we’d take a honeymoon another time, but apparently our signals were crossed. In an attempt to do what he thought I wanted, he contacted our parents and our wedding venue coordinator to see whether we could change the date.
We finally agreed to stick with our original date, but the whole incident reminded me of one of the keys to a smooth relationship and smooth wedding planning: communicate. Not just with each other, but also with family members and wedding vendors who may not be familiar with the ups and downs that are a normal part of military life.
It certainly makes the process of planning a wedding more interesting when you try to choose a caterer with the groom absent from the tasting, or when you call the photographer to reschedule for a fifth time because a formation time was moved up.
I’ve found that people are generally very understanding if you politely explain that one half of the couple is an active-duty service member, and a lot of the time, they will go an extra step to help you out. At a wedding show I recently attended, a florist offered to throw in free boutonnieres when I told her my fiancé was an active-duty soldier. Her son is also a soldier, she said, and wanted to help us out as much as possible.
As we continue to plan our wedding, we’ll run into more and more events that will need to be coordinated. I’ll keep my cell phone close, but more importantly, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open to make sure our messages come through loud and clear.

Gotler is the fiance of a soldier formerly assigned to Hunter Army Airfield. She and her fiance now reside in the Fort Benning/Columbus area.
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