Life always teaches you something. No matter what you are going through, there is always something new to learn. And if you are a military spouse, there are many lessons you can gain through military life.
Here are 10 of them:
- That you can, in fact, do things on your own, without your spouse by your side
Before your spouse joined the military, you might have assumed there were certain things you needed them to be there for. You will learn quickly that this is not the case. At the same time, while you realize you can do things without them, you won’t always want to. And that is one reason why a deployment can be so hard.
- That the military doesn’t always know what they are doing, or so it seems
You will learn pretty quickly that the military doesn’t always seem like it knows what it is doing. It will seem like the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. This can be so frustrating but then you get to the point where you say, “well that’s the Army for you” or whatever branch your spouse serves in.
- That you might think you are going to PCS somewhere, and you could possibly end up somewhere else instead
PCS orders can be, well, interesting. Sometimes they change. You might hear Fort Campbell, get researching the schools in Tennessee, make a bucket list of things you want to see, and boom, they get changed to Fort Bliss.
- That you might just get to a point during a deployment where you feel like you are rocking it
I know it might not seem like you will ever feel like you are “rocking a deployment” but you might just get there. And when you do, the feeling is amazing. Just keep doing what you can and you might find yourself there before you know it.
- That after that point, you might hit a snag, and feel like you really are not rocking a deployment at all
And while feeling like you are “rocking a deployment” is amazing, it can be way too easy to hit a bump in the road and feel like no longer are. That’s okay though. The roller coaster emotions during a deployment are normal and to be expected.
- That how one military spouse gets through a deployment can be different than another
I traveled a bit during my second deployment, and it was a lot of fun. Traveling also helped pass the time. But, during our 1st and 3rd deployments, that would have been very difficult to do just because of the ages of my kids and what was going on. We all find what works for us during a deployment and it doesn’t have to be the same as what works for others.
- That you might just make a best friend in the least likely of places
You might assume that going to regular play dates, sporting events for your kids, or the FRG might be where you meet your military best friend. While meeting friends at these places happens a lot, you might be surprised where you do meet your next BFF. It could happen during the long lines at the commissary on payday, or through a friend of a friend, you met three duty stations ago. Be open to new friends and see what happens.
- That you will miss something about that duty station after you leave, even if you hate the place right now
I know, I know, what is there to love about a duty station in the middle of nowhere? Trust me, after you PCS and live somewhere else for a while, you will miss something about that place. This is just how things work. Even if all you miss are the people.
- That you will start to nitpick movies and television shows who portray the military
From Army Wives to a movie on the big screen, you are going to start to notice how Hollywood gets the military so very wrong. From the wrong type of uniform to calling a marine a soldier, there are way too many mistakes out there. At the same time, you might not let them bother you and still wonder if you are more a Roxy or a Claudia Joy.
- That you will get homesick, even if you love where you are stationed
You could be living in Europe, surrounded by castles and green hills, and will still feel homesick sometimes. This is just a big part of military life and while some experience homesickness more than others, you will figure out how to deal with those feelings.
Every year I learn something new about military life. I am always shocked by this but it is true. I try to look at each military experience as a way to grow and learn a little bit more about this lifestyle we have chosen.
What is a lesson you have learned during your time as a military spouse?