Being married to a sailor is like being in a long-distance relationship for most of your life. I would be lying if I say it’s easy.
When I meet new people, they have several questions; surprised/shocked at how our life functions. I get to hear things like – why did you choose to marry a sailor? It must be so difficult for you and other such questions that make me feel like I am from a different tribe altogether!
It is difficult and there is no denying that, but then no one said life would be easy!!
Way back in 80s n 90s sailors could only communicate through written letters and telegrams. Letters that would take months to reach their destination. When we started our relationship, we were technologically blessed for the ship had internet access, though very limited and that too only on the computers onboard. We exchanged Emails daily, the calls were brief as those were through satellite lines and costed somewhere like 1$ a minute)
Times have changed and we are in a much better place now with Ships having their own Wi-Fi set up. We are now able to talk/ video call multiple times every day.
Connectivity may have improved but other challenges do remain.
Challenges like not getting time to spend with spouse, having to manage everything on our own single handed. If that wasn’t enough, solo parenting your child most of your life tops the list of all the difficulties. From researching about baby stuff to schools, admissions to PTMs to planning school pick-up and drops, outings, birthdays all by oneself is just a glimpse of a few of the many things that we deal with.
The sign-off time approaches, there is love in the air, but hold on, all is not as good as it looks, this may not be a serious challenge, but it definitely is a challenge to get your home spick and span, shining bright, for your sailor man is not coming home, he is coming to stay in a 5star hotel and can prove to be a HWEC (handle with EXTREME care )guest, that’s a hotelier in me speaking!! I will not generalise things, but being a part of this fraternity, my interactions with shippies and their wives have reaffirmed this belief (there can always be exceptions though)
Checkout my poetry that sums up my life as a sailor’s wife here
You streamline your daily schedule, you prioritise things and when your man is home all starts to revolve around him, the routine that you set just fizzles out. You thought your man would be home, two extra hands to help, but hey, he is on a holiday, isn’t he and that also means he needs sumptuous meals like those cooked on-board by his seasoned and revered Chief Cook!
Other thing that I despise about this life is not having him around festivals and important life events. However well you plan the joining and sign-off, you are bound to miss something or the else. In these 7 years of marriage, we’ve been able to celebrate only 2 Diwalis and 3 birthdays together.
No matter how long you’ve been into a relationship or sailed; joining gives the same jitters and sign off the same joy.
While the challenges are aplenty there are perks that you wouldn’t want to trade off with anything.
Sailors are the most hands-on guys, mine is, and being married into a family where half the men are sailors, I can say this for a larger population. They can be a one-man army when it comes to repairs and maintenance jobs at home.
Your sailor man will love to make his life large and will treat you at the best of the places and with the best of the things; after all you are his Queen quite literally! They work hard, really hard (I have sailed and I know how difficult their job is) and when they are with their family, they want the best of everything for themselves and for others close to them.
If your man is anyone like mine then I am sure you already have a huge collection of Prada, Burberry and Versace of the world and expensive toiletries. A lot of the times these things will make an entry in your wardrobes/bathrooms much before they are launched here in India.
Luxuries of life do come at a cost and perhaps we are all paying for it in some or the other way. Those on top of the ladder in corporate jobs or running their own businesses struggle to find time for their family. 9-6 is never 9-6 for them, by the time they are home the kids are already off to bed. However, with sailors, when they are home, they are home 24/7, no running late for office, no late working hours!
If you love traveling and if you are lucky, you can get to join your spouse on-board, experience this unique life at sea and travel far and wide!
The best perk is that the spark of love neither dies nor flickers; after all, this distance keeps our hearts growing fonder with each passing year; as a couple we come to value each other’s presence more.
Life is like a big party when he is home as we try to make the most of our times together.
So, count your blessings and when life gives you lemons- make yourself some Kamikaze, Martinis, Mojitos or simply gulp down your Tequila shots; just don’t forget to use your duty free booze ;)!!!