What You Should Never Say To A Military Spouse
I love the military spouse community. In my local area and online. I love all the supportive people I have met over the years. I love how we can help each other out. The truth is, a lot of us can feel lost in the sea of separations, losing friends and the hardships that military life can bring.
We don’t always have good days and sometimes we really just need someone to listen and help us get through the struggle.
Some spouses are quite lonely and can’t imagine how we are going to get through the next few months.
Some spouses struggle with depression and anxiety. To be alone in the house is terrifying. Yet, they married a soldier. Someone who will deploy. Someone who will not always be home.
Some spouses are homesick and miss having a group of friends. They are having a hard time finding a new friend group. And yet, here they are, on the eve of a deployment, unsure about how they are going to get through the 9 months he will be away.
Some spouses lost a parent or a child and are finding life more difficult than usual.
Some spouses are just sad about how things are going and what’s ahead for them. Military life can be scary.
Some spouses have been through several deployments already and they are tired and want a break. One that will not come because of trainings and more deployments in the future.
Some spouses are struggling with their marriages and can’t figure out how to get things to a better place.
Some spouses are having a hard time with their children. Children who are missing their father so much they act out and those with special needs that are missing the support that the other parent in the home brings.
These spouses need support. They need love. They need kind suggestions. They do not need harsh words. They do not need to feel less than or that something is wrong with them for missing their husband a little too much. They do not need to feel like bad moms because they don’t feel like they are getting this solo parenting thing down.
Over the years I have heard phrases that make me cringe. Comments from other military spouses that should not be said. Comments that sting and create a divide in the military world.
So as a community, this is what you should never say to a military spouse!
“Well, you knew what you signed up for.” Actually, no one knows this. Each military career is different depending on different factors. Each spouse handles things in different ways. You never know what you are signing up for.
“Why are you complaining? At least your deployment is only 9 months instead of 12.” Oh, the deployment comparison game we like to play. It’s easy to do. Your friend is upset about a shorter deployment and you wish your spouse could only be gone for that amount of time. I get that. But we simply don’t have to say anything to that friend. We don’t. Telling someone that they should be happy their spouse is only gone for X amount of time is not helpful.
“I wish my husband would deploy.” Sigh…yes, we get it. Some people do want their spouse to deploy. I do believe that is valid. But it should probably not be said to a spouse whose husband does deploy a lot or is going through a deployment. To a spouse who would give anything for her husband to not deploy.
“Dependa anything” Do I need to say more? Is this even a word? Who even started using it? Please just stop with this term. It’s insulting.
We need to remember that not everyone is going to handle military life the same way. We are all going through something, whether we admit what that is to people or not. We all have a story to tell. What is easy for one person is going to be more difficult for others.
As a military community, we need to come together and help support the struggling military spouse.
Help them get through her current struggle. Let her know we are there for her and we get it. Because like it or not, we are in this together. We are the people who stand behind those who serve our great country. We are the ones they miss and the ones they come home to. We can be supportive and we can be the help someone needs to get through everything military life throws at her.
Have you ever seen We Were Soldiers? The DVD has a deleted scene that I have always loved. The deleted scene is all the wives in the church while their husbands are fighting in Vietnam. What I love about this scene is it is the perfect example of spouses being there for each other. One of the wives was to sing a song in front of the church and just couldn’t do it. What did the other spouses do? They started singing with her. I love this because this act is a small example of military spouses being there for one another, the way that we should be.
How can you support other military spouses?