We are taking a break from our Readers Write to Know Wednesdays in order to have this guest post from author Teresa J. Reasor. If you ever wanted to hear about Alpha Men, Teresa is the woman to whom you should turn. She is a Marine brat whose father was the quintessential alpha man.
Teresa writes romance suspense. She has a Medieval Romance Highland Moonlight and a Regency Romance Captive Hearts available in print directly from The Wild Rose Press site as well as Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Her two newest books, Breaking Free and Timeless, are available in print and ebook format at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and numerous other ebook sites. She also has a children’s book, Willy C. Sparks at Xlibris Publishing.
Thank you so much for joining me today, Teresa!
Teresa J. Reasor
I’m going to use the word man here because they’re whom I write about. Alpha men. But if you know a woman in the military, understand that every word I write can be true for her, too.
Military service is about duty, honor, and sacrifice. But the sacrifices our military personnel make are probably the hardest weight for them to bear.
When the military asks a man to sign on the dotted line they don’t tell him that his family’s signature might as well be there beside his.
The military won’t warn him of the worry that flits in and out of his head and heart about the people he’s left behind. Worry about his pregnant wife and whether or not the baby will be okay. Worry about his father’s hardened arteries, or his father-in-law’s cancer. Or the struggle his wife is going through to hold things together back home.
The military will ask him to put all that away and focus on duty, on his training, and other things he’ll never speak about once he’s home.
The military won’t tell him the things he may have to do will stay with him for the rest of his life. He’ll hold them inside and only speak about the things easy for his family and friends to hear. But he’ll know they’re there.
And the military won’t warn the family he’s just enlisted, that they will have just as many worries and concerns for him. That they’ll live in intermittent fear every time a news report comes across the television spouting numbers instead of names. They’ll report bomb blasts or IEDs but never mention whether that one certain person who’s so precious to them is safe. And the military won’t warn them about those secrets and memories they expect their man to keep to himself.
All these things are included in the sacrifice every person in the military experiences.
Though my father retired after twenty-three years in the Marine Corps, he was a Marine his whole life. He went in at seventeen during World War II and received an honorable discharge in 1968 after Vietnam. And though he moved on with his life into another career, he never stopped living up to the Marine Corps code Semper Fi.
A great deal of what I write in my books is based of him. My observations, my feelings about him, my love for him and the sacrifices he made for family and country.
My father was lucky to have found my mother. She’s strong, independent, and loyal. Had she been any different, their marriage may not have survived his two deployments to Korea and two to Vietnam.
And I have to say my mother was lucky, too. There wasn’t a day when they were together that anyone with two eyes couldn’t see how much my father loved her.
The separations they went through were tough, but made them stronger. In between when they were together, they poured as much love as they could into their relationship.
I’ve often thought about what those many absences meant to him, and to her.
They say the only thing stronger than a Marine is his wife. And that’s probably true. Because while the Marine is gone, his wife becomes all things to the family he’s left behind.
My mother was a beautician, but she also stood in for my father while he was away. She earned a living to subsidize what he sent home, cared for us, our home, and her parents. And tried to ride herd on me and my brother. To her credit, she was successful most of the time, and we’ve both turned out to be responsible adults.
She encouraged us to write letters, send pictures and track Daddy’s travels the whole time he was gone. When he returned she welcomed him back into the fold and her heart. But I’m not saying there weren’t a few power struggles along the way.
While he was gone she was in charge. When he shipped back stateside, he could be in charge of anything he wanted—on post. She was in charge at home. Or at least he let her think she was.
There were adjustments each time he came home. Some of the toughest were after his last tour of duty. He’d left while I was an adolescent, and he returned when I was on the brink of being a teenager. I’d just lost my grandfather, the only father figure I had to stand in my Dad’s stead. And I resented that he hadn’t been there for us during that time.
Though we loved him dearly, each time he returned from a deployment, we had to adjust to having him there, disciplining us and just being a dad. He never raised his hand or his voice to either of us, but we knew when he meant business.
He spent the rest of his life trying to make up for the time he was gone.
And that’s another thing the Military doesn’t tell their service men and women, how difficult it is to rebuild their lives every time they come home.
I’ve often wondered what my dad would think about me writing about Navy SEALs. Because though the Marines and the Navy are linked, they’ve always maintained a healthy competitive spirit. To put it mildly.
He’d be supportive of anything I did. I don’t doubt that one bit. But he’d still be shaking his head. Because once a Marine, always a Marine.
But in the end, all our service personnel are people. And they’re what I like to write about. Their struggles, their sacrifices, their lives, and their loves. The conflicts I’ve mentioned in this blog are some of what I try to help my characters face and work through.
And if I capture some of what our real men and women experience everyday, I know I’ve done what I set out to do. It’s my way of showing how much I admire them all.
Thanks so much for having me here Hallee.
I really appreciate it.
Teresa J. Reasor
Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. I love talking about those alphas. And I love talking about romance as well.
You and your hubby (a military man) have an on going romance. And I know that brings you great joy.
I’m already enjoying being here.
Teresa, you’ve summed it up well. A lot of marriages *don’t* survive deployment. Mine didn’t, but then we had issues before then. I’ve always thought that the type of person who went in, was the type who came out. Good qualities are tested and strengthened, and bad ones are exacerbated. Thanks for sharing.
I’m really sorry your marriage didn’t survive deployment. The long absences and the distances the men put between you, so they can do their job without thinking about those at home, does take it’s toll on any marriage.
The inner strength that a military man has to cultivate, sometimes doesn’t come easy.
And because they are expected to stand strong instead of talking about their feelings, it makes it doubly hard for them to relate to their families.
I appreciate you adding your experience here in your reply. And know I am thinking about you.
As you know this is Military Appreciation month. And because it is, I’d like to give away
y an ebook copy or a print copy, whichever the winner wants, of my Military Romance, Breaking Free. I’ll let you pick the winner. So, those who comment, please leave your email addresses so we can contact you if you’re the winner!!!!
I was an Army wife at 18 and ran the Stars and Stars bookstore on the base we were stationed. It was my first job. All the soldiers called me “Mrs. C” and most were very respectful. I don’t know how it is these days, but I have mostly good memories of those first six or seven years being a military wife. Then there was a decade of not so good experiences where I felt like a single mother of three long before I actually became one.
Now I’m with a Marine and everything said about them is true–good and bad. Military men are true Alphas for sure, and that makes relationships with them very challenging. It’s like “don’t date a man with a motorcycle if you hate motorcycles”, but I doubt I would have listened when I met him. The warrior in him drew me. I may not like that about my character, but it’s definitely true.
There are a few military men–very few–who are able to articulate their feelings. Those that do are sometimes shunned by their peers as being “weak”. Military men understand and appreciate a fist fight better than any discussion about how someone feels or any intellectual debate either. They are often highly sarcastic about politics as a result.
I asked Bruce about this tendency to deny feelings, but he had no real answers. I honestly don’t think it seems abnormal to him at all. I know I am very frequently at odds with him in his thinking because I think discussion leads to peace and is a prerequisite for it. His military background is definitely more problematic for our relationship than the age difference between us has ever been.
Great post, Teresa. You have a nice way of capturing the military truth, but also softening it in your novels to show other possibilities, which is what appeals to me about your Navy Seals books and their characters. I am looking forward to the next one.
I loved hearing about your experiences as a military spouse. thank you for sharing them.
And yes, I do believe that that reticence you mentioned is somehow just part of the military frame of mind. You don’t share what happens in battle with anyone but other soldiers who’ll understand.
Thank you for leaving a comment.