Matt Martin and Patricia Martin

Recorded October 19, 2019 Archived October 19, 2019 33:38 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby019286


Spouses Matt Martin (47) and Patricia "Trish" Martin (39) reflect on their marriage in the context of Matt's military career and their individual ambitions.

Subject Log / Time Code

PM reflects on her parents' marriage.
MM reflects on the differences between his parents' lives and his own.
PM describes her experience of marrying someone in the military and maintaining her own career.
MM and PM remember moving several times. PM describes how she felt when MM was deployed.
PM reflects on her personal ambitions to start a family.
MM remembers the moment when his perspective of family and career changed.
PM and MM remember PM trying to visit MM while he was deployed in Turkey.
MM talks about his future now that he is retired from the military.
PM talks about the value of friends.


  • Matt Martin
  • Patricia Martin

Recording Locations

Dallas Public Library: North Oak Cliff Branch



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00:05 My name is Matt Martin.

00:08 Lieutenant Colonel US Air Force retired. I'm 47 years old. It's Saturday, October 19th, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. I'm talking to Trish Martin might beloved spouse and lifelong partner.

00:29 My name is Trish Martin. I am 39 years old.

00:37 Today is already Saturday October 19th 2019. We are in Dallas, Texas and I am interviewing my partner Matt Martin who is my favorite person and also am I passed by law?

00:56 Good coincidence

01:01 Activate convenient

01:05 Reason to be you know, highly-technical girl, you know, the reason we got married with back brakes besides. Yeah.

01:23 Fundamentally

01:31 Up and down.

01:34 Military Rapids now if you know what I will say though for me personally marriage has been

01:43 Harder, but it's been more involved than I initially thought but I think part of that is because my parents had such a complicated and complex relationship.

01:57 I really do feel like when you grow up with parents who have

02:01 Is that the example and it makes more sense to what was complicated about their relationship?

02:09 I don't think my parents.

02:12 I don't I don't I'm not sure anybody knows what they're getting into when I get married, but my parents definitely did not I think their products have their past.

02:21 My mother lost her her dad at a really young age like having four years old. So you really didn't get to have a relationship with my dad and then you were talking like 1950s maybe late 1950s early Texans or the 1960s and Rural western, Nebraska. That's right. So agriculture corn or cornea, and he was a farmer.

02:50 And I remember my mom telling me.

02:53 My mom had two older sisters and my grandmother and my mother's mother having to work that much harder to take care of all.

03:04 Are siblings and because of that fell into what seems like a very current issue as well. Is that when a parent is working there as last time?

03:17 Japan with the kid

03:19 And even more so like, you know just left the energy and a lot of parents are always stressed out about I just feel so tired when I get home and they don't and then there's all that like parental saying that comes with that which I want to do justice to my get it again supposed to be good Cranston care about that as much.

03:43 So circling back around I feel like it is tough to be married when you don't have those examples and you know, my father had his issues as well again born of his parents relationship, which was also very complicated and traumatic and lots of adverse childhood experiences. And so

04:10 Yeah. I feel like part of my responsibility and my burden but also my privileges to try to break that cycle and

04:21 Acknowledge that you know when this happens in your past you have to work that much harder to process and and try to take a step forward towards healthy relationship. So I feel like that's what you and I have been.

04:36 Working towards that was an easy is really hard.

04:43 Oh, I wouldn't like I wouldn't choose anything else that all.

04:47 I keep coming back to that, but I wouldn't choose anything else. How about for you?

04:53 Well

04:56 You know, so I

05:01 I found myself thinking about the difference between my parents life and in ours like so my dad grew up in New York.

05:16 Having just emigrated from Puerto Rico and his parents his parents just having emigrated from Spain and

05:25 You know his Focus was

05:27 And all these things he wanted to be right. He wanted to be a horse trailer and truck driver and a gambler and he wandered around for years with a truck and a trailer from race track to race track brief.

05:50 He had a brief very brief career in the Army. He bought his first car being a loan shark in the Army, which of course today would be frowned upon.

06:02 And

06:08 And then

06:10 You know, when's Wednesday once he got out of the out of the army. He was focused on, you know, being this person that he wanted to be and

06:20 You know, he never set out to have a family it just sort of happened to him. Right and he's very much passed that on to me, right so so why you know my whole young adult life I was focused on this career that I wanted to have right and when you and I met weird, I mean I was stationed in Omaha flying the mighty rc-135 and I didn't even see you coming, right?

06:48 Like I was not in the car that all I came pretty hard though again. I don't think you really stood a chance. I was pretty excited about you, but I think you don't I think there's also a different like I'm an only child and you have siblings and it was the oldest you were the oldest which is a is a different role when you really think about it. It's a different role.

07:17 But for me, I was really lonely and really wanted a relationship. I don't think I recognize that at the time but that's what I was hunting for and it's not always like that over for now is like moving out the healthiest thing in the world, but I just got thinking if I just have a partner who understands being than everything look behind all the stuff and

07:45 When I met you I got really excited about that.

07:50 Cuz you just seem like you still are.

07:54 And I'm funny. I really like funny. I like Goofy.

07:59 I don't know what you're talking about. You were ambitious but not in a way. That was like let me throw like

08:07 Let me be so ambitious, but I forget all the other things.

08:15 What an end, you know, I was completely focused on this path that I had already defined right and when we met like that was just starting to come to fruition. So I was taking these trips overseas and then of course 9/11 happened and lots of time in the Middle East and it never even occurred to me that tapped that life changes as you get older and the path that you have set out for yourself is not going to survive survive.

08:50 We have seen the military, right the best planes do not survive first contact with the Enemy, right? So like all these ideas that I had this as of adolescent adolescent ideas, right?

09:06 And of course the military is still very set up to you know, we would still kind of rooted in the fifties and sixties where where the you know, the career officer is a male and that was the complete focus of that officers family, which of course you had to have because if you didn't have a family something is wrong with you, right? So, you know, what time the year 2000 rolled around things changed a little bit but there's still a lot of that carrying over.

09:42 You know when you're not experienced but too sweet after we got married in the military you and I both worked and I wasn't one of those spouses who, you know fence to spouses who are in the military, especially female ones we didn't have kids so I didn't have that into that culture. So I didn't meet other moms or dads at daycare or school or PGA event right on the base and I didn't play bunco. And so we just didn't and I have my other spouses in the military who definitely share that punch my hair like I work for a living I do not I do not stay home 24/7

10:24 And I want to give the dod a little props because they do acknowledge that this is more than Norm both parents work whether you know same-sex whatever at work. Nobody can live off of one salary anymore. So

10:41 There are trying to address that a little bit. I just don't know how your dress that when one partner is being asked to give up so much of their life to military commitment and the constant moving around every two to three years operating You from One Community dumping you in another and then just when you get comfortable you're moving again, so

11:02 That I did when we met I did not expect that. I did not and I I guess I just heading for some people that's wonderful like they really take to that.

11:12 So for me personally, that was not.

11:15 Not beneficial for me. I needed to be an idiot and I needed stability and routine and familiarity and all of those things and and essentially being with you kind of denied me know that not that that's your fault just that that's what I meant ever happening and it was such a surprise to me. I guess I thought I'd do great. I was like Ian travel the world and moved 5 times before I met you you're in the military and then we moved another six times before I retired how many we actually meant. I guess I just never did the calculation in Vegas, Virginia, New Mexico turkey.

11:58 South Dakota and then here

12:02 And then you know, I was surprised when I do the calculation of how many times you had to pull weight compared to how long we had actually been married you and you know, I just kind of did it on a notion of like when we got married so we were legally married. I was surprised how many days we were actually a part vs. How many days we were together and I think when I did the calculation it was like 50 50 and I remember feeling such pressure as a partner.

12:32 But I think some of this is cultural cuz it's supposed 911.

12:35 And I remember there being such like you don't be tough. You know, your spouse is doing their job, you know, don't put extra demands or extra expectations. I remember really struggling with that cuz I was like, I just want him around like I don't need him you're going for them. But I would like him in the same location as me like every other family on the planet. I want my partner to live in my home that I want to wake up next to them and I want to go to bed next to them. And I want that. You know, I want those

13:07 Really mundane experiences on a regular basis. I want us to pick her over groceries or I wanted that I don't think other people quite understood what I was saying and then I felt such a shame over expecting you to be there all the time. I think now people maybe get a better understanding of why it's important that you be around and why military man like marriages fail so often is because of that distance and that distance is hard to overcome. I mean you can have

13:42 FaceTime and tell her whatever email because she's in the skiff set all of them well and weep, you know, we were very, you know, it's a weed we came into the relationship having sort of different things. We want out of it at least in the short-term, right? So, you know

14:09 I spend most of my career training to do the other half of my career. Right? So like I spent three years in training to get ready to eat before I was ready to fight start flying my first operation missions and rc-135 like we did when we met right once just when I was at the completion of that training and starting to deploy and become operational. I felt like, you know, like I was an Olympic Athlete been training for years and the Olympics were finally here, right? And then and then we got married and so is like the coach saying what I know you trying really hard but I need you say home right now. You were right on the cusp of right for Philly all that potential and then

14:50 Yeah, nothing so I can tell I mean I can like it's hard and you know a lot of stuff. Don't last member when I started therapy. My therapist said something.

15:04 I think is very true for you and I as individuals coming from you. No trauma backgrounds and adverse childhood experiences and you know growing up in homes that work like the most stable or comforting or solid or Scare all the things that kids need to be to fulfil their maximum potential. He said, you know kids who grow up in that environment end up Surviving their experiences and a byproduct of that that is sometimes

15:33 Classified as a very late positive outcome is not always a positive but one of his just ambition just and I'm not talking about, you know, I want for me but just very ambitious and pray that is motivated by the need to feel validation and be a part of something and so I felt like for you and I both we both had that we were both like

15:52 I want to achieve something, you know, whether be really tangible or not Hannibal it for me as a woman, which if I just wanted to be a part of a family my personal desire to like I would half of the firm or you know, be like amazing cardiologist or whatever it is.

16:14 That's not what I saw in the car through me. What I really wanted was just to be a part of a family. I really wanted that you want to know when I first started to think differently about all this. So so we were we were in Omaha and they had made me one of the wings schedulers. So my job was to you know, therefore she spent the most your time training like even once you're qualified the aircraft like you're deployed part of time, but when you're home, you're just training and getting ready for the next appointment. So most of the flying activity was going on with training and then maybe we can schedule her and put me in scheduling shop in my job was to schedule the all the aspects of the training sortie sew lining up the aircraft with the cruise and we had air refueling so I had to line up tankers from other units to show up at the writers place at the right time etcetera, right? So that was kind of intense job and kind of the highest pressure job. I'd had that point. I was I was young Captain right doing this job.

17:14 Swing scheduler and but course I grew up just completely in love with Aviation and loving all things about it. And here I was stuck at behind a desk in an office windowless office at that cuz don't classified stuff right and but when you and I started dating you would bring lunch and there was a Scenic Overlook on the base of a gazebo where we could sit at the Gazebo and eat our lunch and watch the airplanes take off and land right there planes that I just been scheduling to take off and land and do we went to Quiznos? So you would go to Quiznos and pick up lunch and I would meet you at the Gazebo at the Gazebo and that would be our Quiznos gazebo time.

17:59 And we do that a couple times a week probably call out there playing Heights, but you would stand there like, you know, like you owned it. That's right like you were on hold my flying operation.

18:13 You're so I hope that's the f159 to thunder Rocket taking off there right on time there. She goes to fill intermission and like a teardrop would fall.

18:36 Yeah, I remember getting a taste of how much you loved would you do if I added it makes you still feel the way I do remember that? That was fun.

18:55 Informative and record all my all my co-workers would give me give me a give me a lot of grief when I was at 11:30 and everybody knew what time and they would all give me a hard time as I was walking out the door. Did they really?

19:31 Tuna fish at their desk

19:34 Nobody wants a tuna fish in Burlesque.

19:38 Yeah, so that's when you know what when it is first occurred to me that that's relationships can be nourishing and then can be get that you can get some fulfillment outside of this very

19:55 Laser focused, you know career Pursuit

20:02 It's a nice for me cuz I think like mine is like inverse of your experience and I wanted the relationship in place. So then I could go pursue what I wanted to pursue which is hard to explain but conceptually for me.

20:19 If I were a kid and have grown up in a household that was you know, against table and nursery and fostering all the things that you know kids should get because there's a really critical developmental stages and it's very important that you check those boxes off as you go along not just a walking talking breathing eating all of us. It's really important to get those emotional boxes checked and parents are kind of the first rung of the tree trunk so to speak

20:47 They're really really important to me. You don't have them you missed those you miss all those boxes. So they are playing catch-up for most of your life and for me. I just wanted to hurry up and get those boxes check so I could fulfill my potential and I always felt growing out that there was just this clock over my shoulder just constant pressure. You got to hurry up. You're already fourteen. You got to hurry up. You're already 16. You got to hurry up you're missing all of these opportunities because you're still trying to get this basic need checked off and I feel like you know social sciences. Catching up to psychology catching up to you know, what what all these experiences do to kids when they're young and how it reflects on them in their adulthood. I had grown out culture like in the 80s that you were supposed to suck it up survive deal with it get over it.

21:42 You know, there are other people have it worse than you that whole thing. And now we know that that whole thought processes is horrible. It's a shame based process and

21:54 So meeting you man, like stability for me. So, you know, I didn't see the relationship is like

22:02 Yay, like something to depend upon but it was something to depend upon like I don't know. It's just really stabilizing for me. And I really I really felt like I started to come alive as unstable as it was a difficult as far as the navigate all that work you remember when I was in and you were trying to come cuz you had your nursing school and you were trying to come you had a long break and so you're going to come out and hang out with me and turkey and you tried to get on a military space available flight to come out to Turkey. So you hop on a flight to Baltimore.

22:48 And whether there was no seats available and so you will.

22:55 How did it go? So space a travel?

23:02 Is Brett easier when you travel with a spouse is the person who sponsored you boxes you dependent? And yeah, I got a letter. I had a letter by my boss and you were you had the you were sponsored to get on an airplane. Yes Baltimore. It before airport is one of the airport's where military planes depart and headed over to that terminal presented my letter.

23:39 I can't remember if it was because without you I ended up being like the lowest classification possible like priority. Yeah. So like it's it's those on active duty or class 1 Travel. Yeah, and then, you know, you've got retirees and Veterans and then I was like me and then accompany dependents and then unaccompanied to read and so I was standing by as you do because that's how some of space a travel works and you stand by for an available seat. And if you're lucky at Great trouble for free, I mean you pay taxes when you pay for the food, but for the most part it is like $14 to get a train and

24:26 You know, it's on a commercial plane most of the time sometimes it is military plane. So you're in a what a C-130 and A Cargo seat and a jump seat. The most of time. These are commercial airplanes are commercial flight. Yeah, there's food there in flight entertainment pulping and I got to Baltimore with standby. I think I stand I stood by for two flights in this whole process took like 12-plus hours and then I wasn't looking good for any more flights out for the next like two days and I got a lead on a flight out of Maryland.

25:02 Remember, we're at the Andrew. And so I stayed at a questionable Hotel got up very early next morning Navigator my little buses before Uber and left right waiting at the bus station took a bus. I don't know 3 hours up then another bus to the actual base, but I had to walk on with my bags because you can't you know, you're strong and so I'm sweaty and gross and tired because of this way to basically been in motion for quite a while and I get there and the terminal is packed and I remember walking up to the counter hoping it's going to be good and I'll have a seat, you know, cuz I'll tell you like I have 20 seats available and I'll tell you how many people are waiting so we can have a clue. It's it's much better now. They say. There's a whole Facebook.

26:02 Dedicated to add people who know the schedule they know how to send you had been around and try to find out what the schedule was. I did but you got to Andrews and you waited for like another day and nothing right another sketchy Hotel because for some reason that both of the places where I was at I don't know if a conference is going on. I don't know about hotel rooms are hard to get.

26:29 And at this point I'm exhausted cuz I think we've been at this for like two days trying to get over there, and I forget when we called it. I'm going to get day 3. We said commercial ticket right Claudius A good news great morning and got on the flight still don't know why I couldn't yeah, I guess we should just at the time, but I was so happy to see you think you I was really happy to see you.

27:11 Remember to the trip. I was like what am I doing? This is the future of work so hard to get these other I really wish they would get back on that experience. Cuz everything are some cool. Whole year that you were in turkey and I visited in December and I visited of the summer. I really wish I had deferred nursing school for 1 year and hung out in Turkey for the whole year turkey was amazing. It was delightful and I wish I feel like now I can kind of drop my ambition a little bit but I wish I'd known that then I'm just slow down and says Luke I am not on a time line or not.

27:53 I'm not a deadline. I'm not rushed. I just just enjoy the moment, right so you don't have to produce anything or make anything or be anywhere just be where you going to be and then diet. I feel like that's what old age has afforded me. What is older deported you aside from aches and pains? I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

28:21 How old are you now have 47 soda face with you know, I spend my whole my whole childhood doing. Okay. I'm going to join the Air Force jets going to see the world of bad guys and I put my whole adolescents and young adult life preparing for that. And then I did it and then and then now it's over right? So what do you do when the thing you want to do? Your whole life is is already done, but you still have like in the military have this thing where you retire if you can retire after 20 years, right? So you still young enough to do things. We've already done the thing that you wanted to spend a whole life wanting to do.

29:03 I don't know. I just I don't know what to do.

29:08 I saw enough.

29:12 Yeah, I feel like the same way.

29:19 I definitely as we get older by myself reaching out for our friends more often a lot more often.

29:32 What bet I'm starting to relish just those, you know, the game night with friends or dinner with friends or just the jokes and

29:41 I'm starting to feel like. Is more important to me than you know, the Pierre the positive peer review at work or you know, the we improved our expenses this quarter like I just

29:59 I don't care. I care more about the fact that I know what's going on in my friends world. And I know what's going on in mind. That's maybe that's what we'll do. We'll just catch surf the next 20 years.

30:16 Hey, we're here to pump you guys.

30:21 I would like to live closer to her friends like you know about these people who like, you know, they moved closer like they literally lived next door from each other in or though I'm going to start a communist somewhere just a bunch of them together hanging out and is going to come for you know, childless and empty nester gen xers.

30:51 Sit around and play 90s board games.

30:58 If I like Joco cruise is got so popular now whole thing.

31:03 I don't know maybe if we have it figured out by the time, you know, we kick the bucket will it will be done pretty good.

31:12 Right

31:14 My greatest fear is sitting on the porch. I'm a rocker out of a 70 80 90.

31:20 100 year old person Drew Heinrich reading things. I think it's fear. But all of wish I would have.

31:30 Done something bad.

31:32 I don't know about you, but

31:35 Even with all the ups and downs. I have no regrets kind.

31:42 I'm grateful for a deal.

31:45 And the part where you say you have no regrets. Oh, oh I see how it is.

31:58 Jennifer every ounce of pain. I feel like it's always been worth.

32:02 The positive part in those moments. I'm like this. This is what all that was for. That's why I went through all those tears are that's why I went through all the loneliness is because it was for this right here.

32:18 So yeah.

32:23 I'm happy where I am.

32:26 Where are you? I really am are you?

32:35 Yeah. Yeah. I've got a job where they they sort of value all the experience and expertise. I've built up over the last 25 years.

32:45 We built a nice house on a lake.

32:51 Are pretty nice adorable for a friend of a cat may have our fur baby all I ever wanted my fur baby. I work in healthcare, so I'll never be valued.

33:04 I have a job and I pay the bills and we got a lot of pictures on the walls of places. We've been in people. We know that makes for a pretty good journey.

33:19 Enjoy it.

33:22 Seems like a pretty good place to wrap up.

33:29 I love you. I love you, too.