To the Military Spouse That Didn’t Marry a Service Member
We were standing in a circle and he was talking about his time in Egypt. I thought that was pretty amazing. I had only ever been to Mexico before and this guy had been to Egypt. He also talked a bit about his time in the Army. I thought that was pretty cool too. He had served for a few years in the late 90s. It was now 2001 and he had been home for quite a few years.
We started dating soon after that. I learned more about him and his time in the Army. He told me about being stationed at Ft. Drum, his roommate and his 6 months in Egypt.
In 2002 we got married.
2004 we had a baby and moved to Kentucky.
2005? Well, that changed everything. In November of 2005, my husband re-enlisted in the Army and everything changed.
You see, when we got married in 2002, I was marrying my husband, someone who had served in the Army in the past. I didn’t marry an active duty soldier.
I know I am not alone. While plenty of military spouses married their spouse while they were serving, some of us did not. We had civilian weddings and years with a civilian husband. For a lot of us, the first time our husband was away from us for an extended period of time was several years into our marriage.
My husband and I had been married for three years, three months and about three days before he left for Germany, starting our military life adventure. When I think back to that time before the Army, I am amazed that life used to be like that. Back then I didn’t know what it meant to go through a deployment, I couldn’t tell you what PCS or MWR or DEERS was. I knew what a military installation was, I had been on one before but I never saw them as my home.
Looking back, him re-joining the military made so much sense. The Army is a part of who he is. I married a soldier and I didn’t even know it. The military was and is in his blood.
So to the military spouse who didn’t marry a service member, know that you actually did.
There was always a part of him or her that wanted to serve, even if they never talked about it. With your spouse joining the military, you will be starting a new chapter of your married lives. You will look back at the pre-military years and feel how different they will be from the military ones. The years you have spent building up your marriage will help you through the deployments, through the moves and all the challenges that come with military life.
To you, the idea of becoming a military spouse might feel pretty scary. You might never have imagined yourself going down this road. You might have assumed you would spend all of your married years just 20 minutes from where you grew up and now you’re headed to Germany. You might have thought that your spouse would get home from work every day at 5 pm just like your dad did and you are now learning was 24-hour duty is like. You might have pictured the love of your life by you for every birth, just like he was with your oldest child, realizing he won’t be home from his deployment until your second baby is four months old.
So to you military spouse, the military might not have been a part of your future plans but being a military spouse is your life now and there will be ups and downs.
There will be days your soldier walks through the door and seeing him in his uniform will take your breath away. There will be days when you get in the car to pick up your airman with butterflies you hadn’t felt since the week you met. There will be days when you will miss your marine so much that you will laugh at the time you thought you were going to lose it because you visited your best friend and you were away from him for the weekend pre-military. There will be days when you will watch your sailor get promoted and know deep down that he is finally in the perfect career, even though it took years to figure that out.
Remember, you will not have to go through this life alone. There are a lot of other military spouses you can connect with both off and online. There is support out there and ways of dealing with the challenges of military life.
How long were you married before your spouse joined the military?