Becoming a Military Spouse and Finding the Support You Need to Get Through
I spent three years as a civilian wife.
During those years we could plan things out, and most likely they would not change. If he needed time off, he would ask for it. I was a new mom, and he had been there for the nine months of pregnancy and then the newborn months.
During those years we had a pretty simple life. There wasn’t a lot of drama. I knew he would be there for my birthday, our son’s firsts and the idea of parenting my son alone for any length of time sent shivers down my spine. I laugh about that now.
My years as a civilian wife were far from easy of course. I was stressed like every new mom was. But at the time I had no idea what was ahead for us.
In November of 2005, my husband and I made the choice for him to re-enlist in the Army, at age 30. He had been in before, years before I had met him.
I didn’t think being a military wife was going to be my life. Not at all. The Army was in his past. But in 2005, it became his present, and I started my life as a military spouse.
It’s been almost 12 years since that happened and over those 12 years, so much has happened. We have added two more children, gone through 4 deployments, 3 PCS moves and became a National Guard family.
My husband joining the military changed everything.
My civilian life? That is a thing of the past. I learned pretty quickly that being a military wife was an entirely different way to live.
I figured out that you can’t always depend on your spouse to be there. Whether you are thinking about your son’s first steps or the birth of your child.
I figured out that missing someone you are married to for over a year is completely different than missing a boyfriend for a few months when you went off to college.
I figured out that we as military spouses see the fear in our future, might even start to panic about it, but figure out ways to make it through.
As a civilian wife, the idea of solo parenting seemed unbelievable.
As a military wife, I have spent the equivalent of years without my partner by my side.
In this world, we always want to compare, and I can’t help compare my own life before the Army vs after. They were so different. I was different.
But over the years I have learned something important. No matter what your stress might me. No matter what struggle you might be dealing with. No matter how weak you feel, you can figure out a way to make it through.
We can all depend on one another. During our darkest days, we can turn to a friend, a family member, or even an online community.
We can see that others have worried for their spouses like we have. We can see that others have broken down at having to change ALL the diapers. We can learn from those who have come before us and have wise words to share.
I have heard people say that being a military wife is the same as being a civilian wife. This has not been my experience at all. My two lives are like night and day.
Being a military wife is probably one of the best things that have happened to me.
In the last 12 years, I have learned so much about life, how to cope, how to handle stress, and how to be resilient in the face of disappointing circumstances.
I have seen the power of the military community. To help one another out through deployments, the loneliness, and the hardships.
I have become who I am because my husband has served. And I know that my life would be completely different had my husband never rejoined the military on that day in 2005.
Although we all come from different branches, we have a lot in common and finding support is a must!