I have learned to be­come a strong, in­de­pen­dent woman

When­ever my hus­band re­turns is Valen­tine’s Day for me.

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA -

Zeng Xiaomeng, 25, re­cently mar­ried a pi­lot in the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Navy.

Be­ing a ser­vice wife now is dif­fer­ent than be­fore. My hus­band and I were on our hon­ey­moon and we had just taken our wed­ding pho­tos when he was called away un­ex­pect­edly to join a mis­sion.

He couldn’t tell me the de­tails and was gone the next day.

He of­ten says: “Sorry, but when I am wear­ingmy shoul­der in­signia, it’s hard for you to lean on me.”

Many peo­ple ask: “Why marry a mem­ber of the PLA? He’s never at home”. I guess it must be true, un­con­di­tional love. He can’t give me the life I crave, and yet I still want to be with him.

Sadly, with dat­ing apps and fam­ily pres­sures, it’s hard for many young women— usu­ally their par­ents’ only child— to com­mit to a long-dis­tance, mil­i­tary re­la­tion­ship.

Be­ing mar­ried to mil­i­tary man means lock­ing up the “lit­tle princess” in our hearts and be­com­ing the fam­ily’s pil­lar of strength. It re­quires trust, courage and many sac­ri­fices.

But in re­turn, I cher­ish our time to­gether and find im­mense joy in the sim­ple things in life, even in this in­creas­ingly ma­te­ri­al­is­tic so­ci­ety. I don’t need any­one to tell me when or how to cel­e­brate Valen­tine’s Day— when­ev­ermy hus­band re­turns is Valen­tine’s Day for me, and we have great fun fish­ing or paint­ing.

I have learned to be­come a strong, in­de­pen­dent woman. Whenmy hus­band leaves, I chan­nelmy long­ing into study­ing English and draw­ing “slice of life” comic strips about mil­i­tary life. With to­day’s tech­nol­ogy, mil­i­tary spouses can share their sto­ries more cre­atively than be­fore.

More skills mean bet­ter jobs. Un­like pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions, we don’t have sib­lings to take care of se­nior fam­ily mem­bers, so a cou­ple has to shoul­der the load for three fam­i­lies— both sets of par­ents and our own.

For­tu­nately, mil­i­tary spouses have formed a com­mu­nity on so­cial me­dia, so we can help each other and we never feel truly alone. Zeng Xiaomeng spoke with Zhang Zhi­hao

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