Deployment Debates: Who Has it Harder?
Oh, the deployment debates. Who truly does have it harder? Is it the spouse who went through a 15-month deployment? The one married to an over the road truck driver? The Guard spouse who is dealing with monthly drills?
Fun fact: I have been all three of these spouses.
We had four deployments while my husband was on active duty. The shortest was about 5.5 months, the longest 15. Then my husband got out of active duty, and a few months later he became an over the road truck driver. He did this for about 14 months while serving in the National Guard. After that, he worked another job with very long hours. Now he works a local job that has him home at a “normal” hour most nights and has his monthly drills. This summer he will go to his “two-week” training. Over the years he has had his share of CQ, week or month long trainings, and other times he has had to be away from us.
Some years felt like he was always gone.
Other years he was home more often. None of the time away was easy, but some of it was easier than others. But here is the thing. The 15-month deployment? That wasn’t our hardest deployment, and I would want to do almost anything else besides have him be an over the road truck driver again. If I was given a choice, 15-month deployment or truck driving? I would have to think about it and in the end, would probably choose the truck driving. Only because I could talk to him whenever I wanted to, saw him at least every few weeks, and he wouldn’t be in a war zone. But that choice wouldn’t be an easy one.
Go into any Facebook group for military spouses, and you are probably going to see people talking about this. Who does have it harder? Who misses their spouse the most? Who is having a more difficult time?
Even if their struggles seem smaller than yours, other people can still be struggling.
The truth is, we don’t know what everyone is going through. We see everyone’s highlight reel while we have the whole book on our own lives.
There is no reason to debate about who has it worse. Because we will never be able to measure that.
However, simply talking about our experiences can be a good thing. As military spouses, we each have our own stories about what we have been through. The brand new spouse can benefit from hearing about how a seasoned spouse got through her year-long deployment. We can ask each other questions and vent about issues we all experience. We can help one another through our stories as well as our frustrations.
If my husband keeps getting deployed over and over and you tell me you wish that yours would, that is going to be difficult to take.
I am not going to be in a place to be able to understand what you are going through at the moment. I am just hoping and praying my husband gets a break, and you are hoping and praying for the opposite. But later on, I can look back and understand why you felt that way. I can be compassionate and see that all you wanted was for your spouse to be able to go and do what he was trained for.
As we go through this military life, we are going to meet people that have had a harder time with deployments than we have. We are going to meet people who struggled a lot more than we did with having children. We are going to meet people who have more struggles in their marriages.
So when the deployment debates start, when people are trying to figure out who has it harder, remember, we are all on our own paths, dealing with our own struggles, just trying to figure out the best way to make it through this crazy military life.