Monica and Michele have known each other for twenty years. They both grew up playing soccer in their home state of Texas, and met in their early teens while playing in the same soccer club.  They both went on to play soccer in college and fell out of touch for numerous years until they reconnected a few years ago through a mutual former teammate.

Estes-Housden Family 3They are now happily married and have two children named Trip and Addison.  The children and Michele live in the Dallas Fort Worth area, and Monica is stationed in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston.

Michele is a Special Education Teacher and a Head Soccer Coach, which holds a special place in her heart.  Monica is an E-5 in the United States Army and is the NCOIC of Ultrasound at BAMMC.

Michele: “My wife forged her own path. Every success she has had in life she earned with extremely hard work, commitment, strength, and perseverance. She does not just talk about being a soldier, wife, and mother – she is immersed in it, and exudes it, body and soul. Monica is “others focused,” and she spends the majority of her time as a soldier, helping other soldiers, and of course she loves her family unconditionally.”

Even though they live in two different locations, they always understand the importance of quality time. That time may be Monica helping Trip with homework via Face-time, or making sure that Monica and Michele get a date night.  They also understand that they must show love in every way possible. Even their home is full of love and laughter.

Estes-Housden Family 2The recent victory for nationwide marriage equality and Department of Defense policy changes prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation brings a new sense of security for the Estes-Housden family.  “It permits us to feel safe in our union. It allows for us to make life decisions for our family, and each other without fear of discrimination or repercussion.”

While the Estes-Housden Family hasn’t been through a deployment, they are no strangers to distance. They spent the first two years of their marriage apart while Monica was stationed in Fort Bragg, NC, and now Fort Sam Houston, TX.

Their advice for families that are having a difficult time with a long distance relationship would be to not be afraid of difficult conversations.

“We have to talk about the tough stuff so that we are not suffering in silence. Communication is key to making sure all of your partners needs are met, and trust is developed through safe and transparent communication.”