When 9/11 happened, I was a college student. I was dating my husband at the time and we pretty much already knew we would be getting married the next year. He was in IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) at the time. When I heard that some IRR units were being activated, I started to freak out a bit. This was before we ever talked about him going back into the military, before I ever knew I would be a military spouse, before I ever thought about sending my husband off to war.
In the end, his unit did not get called up. It would be another five years before my husband would have to go to war. He started a deployment out of Germany in August of 2006. That deployment was originally nine months, yet became 12 and then ended at about 15. That deployment was a difficult one for everyone. During this time we were right in the middle of the Iraq war. So many people in the military were being deployed. So many men and women were going overseas.
Ever since then things have taken a tone towards “less war.” Yes, people are still getting deployed to very dangerous places. Yes, people are still going to war, but in the last few years, the tone has changed a bit.
This is to be expected. Things change over the years. Things change with different Presidents. Different decisions have to be made. The military ebbs and flows. If you have been a military spouse for more than a few years, you know this.
As tensions start to heat up again in places around the world, us military spouses can start to get a bit worried.
And rightly so. More war means more deployments. More war means more time away. More war means stepping up what it means to stand by someone serving in the military.
There have been a lot of different responses to what is going on in the news right now. It’s all over the map. From not being worried at all to assuming that WWIII is right around the corner. I am not sure what will happen, but I know that I am married to someone who could end up fighting overseas sometime in the future. And because of that, what I hear in the news is very personal to me.
So to the military spouse worried about war, I get you. I know how scary this worry is, especially if you have never had to experience a deployment before. I think there is a good reason to be a bit worried when we hear about what is going on in the news.
Even though our head knows that going to war is exactly what our spouse has been trained for, even if we understand that on a logical level, our heart doesn’t quite get it.
Coming to peace with all this is a difficult thing to do. Coming to peace that our spouse, the mother or father of our children, the one we laugh with, make dinner with and enjoy life with will have to go somewhere scary is a difficult thing to do. Coming to peace with the realities of war, especially a long war, is a difficult thing to do.
So as you worry, know that so many of us are worried too. Know that we come from a long line of strong women who have also sent their spouse off to war. That no matter what happens you will always have the sisterhood of other military spouses, that you will have your friends and that in most cases your spouse will return right back to you after their time going to war is over.
There is nothing anyone can say that can totally take away the worry we military spouses face when we know the love our life is in a war zone.
We just have to figure out ways to get through, to try not to dwell on that part of the job, to move forward and make the best of the time away. This is being married to someone with a dangerous job.
There are so many reasons why a deployment can be so challenging and having a spouse in a war zone is one of them. As we go through the next few days, weeks and months, let’s all remember that we can get through this. Even if the days get hard, even if the nights get lonely and even if we get so scared that we are not sure what to do.
How do you make peace with that part of military life?