“I could never do it.”
“I couldn’t be a military spouse…”
“There is no way I could handle my husband being away from me”
If you have been a military spouse for any length of time you have probably heard people say that to you before. It just seems to be the thing to say. I am sure it is not because people want to insult us or make us feel bad. I am sure saying this is just an honest response to hearing about our lifestyle but it still bothers us. It makes it sounds like we are more okay with our spouses being away than other people are. That we are more okay with going months and months without our husbands by our side. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Before my husband joined the Army, I couldn’t do it either.
I said I could never handle him being away and having to parent my son alone. I just couldn’t imagine a world where that would be our reality. Then a few months passed and we decided he was going to re-join the Army.
I had to start being a solo parent right away. Even though I didn’t think I had the strength to do so.
I said that I couldn’t do it when there were rumors that our deployment would be 15 months. I didn’t think I could get through that. But I did.
When I thought about giving birth without him, I didn’t think I could do that either but I did.
When I got married, I did not see deployments in the future as I walked down the aisle.
Even women who married someone already in the military could not have imaged how hard military life would really be. The military is not something you can plan out ahead of time. It is a journey with all kinds of twists and turns. Sometimes you will come up against a struggle you don’t think you can get through. But you do.
At the end of the day, we love our spouses. We know what their job is and we stand by them. Even if it hurts, which is does. Even if we sometimes think we can’t be strong anymore. We push through the hardships because we know that the man we see in uniform waiting to hug and kiss us after the deployment is worth all the waiting. We know that if our spouse thinks that they should be serving in the military, that we will stand beside them.
Know that sometimes us military spouses can’t do it either. That we are not always so strong and that we sometimes need a little more support.
So when you see a military spouse, try not to tell her that you could never do it. Because I bet if there was a time in your life when you and your spouse had to be apart, you would be able to somehow do it too.
Know that military spouses are not strong because we are a special type of person but that this life has made us that way.
Know that we want our husband home every night just like you do. That we hate that they have to miss so much. That some days are harder than others and that we know that someday we won’t have to be apart anymore.
Instead of saying you could never do what a military spouse does, tell her that she is capable of making it through. Tell her it is okay to break down sometimes and that you are there to listen to her when she needs to talk. Be her friend, give her hugs and know that life brings each of us challenges, and this is one of hers.