2 Tested Keys For Facing The Unexpected In Military Life

by Heather on August 25, 2016

"2 Tested Keys For Facing The Unexpected In Military Life" by Heather of Happyfitnavywife.com | Military life can surprise us-- love this story from Heather's first week as a Navy wife!

The Tree That Stole Our Water
[Facing The Unexpected In Military Life]

Once upon a time there was a tree. The tree (rudely) stole our water. And not just any water.

Our COLD water.

That doesn’t seem like a big deal, does it? Why does it matter if your cold water is gone? Well, if you don’t want to be scalded by hot water, then it’s a problem.

A huge problem.

If you’ve been hanging out with me on the blog, you know I’m sharing stories about my first few weeks as a Navy wife. Looking back, I learned a lot of key military spouse lessons in the few short weeks after becoming a military spouse.

Hence the tree story.

My new hubby Adam and I went off to a quick “mini-moon” aka short honeymoon after our wedding. Upon return to San Diego, we stayed for a week in the BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters) while the Navy packed out our apartments.

We’d begin our move to Newport, Rhode Island at the end of the week.

Though our wedding was a blissful 75 degrees in January, sunny San Diego turned stormy after our wedding weekend. Like torrential downpours and blow you over wind.

On Tuesday as we returned from some errands, we noticed a lot of utility workers buzzing around our building. The closer we got, the more we could see what happened.

A huge tree had fallen over in the storm.

Facing The Unexpected In MilitaryBut it hadn’t just fallen anywhere. It fell on our building, against our room. Some branches almost went through our window.

We came home to this sign on our door:

Facing The Unexpected In Military

No big deal, right? Until we tried to wash our hands. Or brush our teeth.

Or shower.

Without cold water to balance out the hot, the hot water scalded us.

2 Tested Keys For Facing The Unexpected In Military Life

I never thought losing cold water would be worse than losing hot, but it was. We couldn’t use the water for much of anything.

Which is really awesome when you’re already living out of a suitcase, with your possessions being loaded on a truck and about to move to the opposite side of the country.

This was an early lesson as a Military spouse: things don’t always go as planned.

Of course, this happens in civilian life too, but it seems like there’s an extra element of chance– kind of like a sixth sense– to military life. Murphy’s law, like when everything falls apart during deployment.

So how do we face the unexpected?

Acknowledge & Process Emotions

It’s vital to recognize and acknowledge that your situation isn’t ideal (or that it completely sucks).

We don’t have to be fake and pretend that everything’s fine when it’s not. Identifying our emotions and labeling them helps our brain to start processing them and moving past them. That’s because a label turns confusing feelings into a more concrete idea.

Processing emotions may be as easy as identifying them so we can move on.

Or, once we identify them, we may need to take time to unpack them with our spouse, family or friends. We can even get outside help if needed.

facing the unexpected in military

Choose Your Response

Difficult situations happen. Ultimately we have to choose our attitude and our response. I’ve definitely chosen to wallow in the past, and it made my life 100 times worse. Once I made the choice to embrace a difficult situation and make the best of it, life got much better over time.

What happened next?


The tree that (rudely) stole our water did not ruin our first week as a married couple.

Though tempted to let discouragement rise like the tide and our emotions fall like the pouring rain, we embraced the tree disaster and made the best of it. We saw the humor and irony in the timing.

And thankfully we still had access to a normal shower at a friend’s house, which probably saved our sanity more than anything. We got packed up and headed on the road to our new duty station.

I’m thinking we had some youthful energy and post-wedding excitement that helped us keep a positive attitude. In the past 6 years, I’ve seen that the rigors of military life often drain every ounce of strength when challenges come calling.


I know that when you’re facing the unexpected in military life, acknowledging your emotions and choosing to respond positively is by no means easy. Ok, it seems nearly impossible at times.

But you can do it.

Those two keys will carry us a long way in this journey we’re on.


Want more?

Check out this lesson from my first day as a Navy Wife:

5 Ways To Prep For A PCS That Will Ease Saying Goodbye (a story about what happened before we left our wedding)

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