“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 military lifestyle but the phrase still bothers us. This phrase makes it sound as if we are more okay with our spouses being away than other people would be. That we are more okay with going months and months without our spouse 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 or 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 as 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 extended to 15 months. I didn’t think I could get through that. But I did.
When I thought about giving birth without my husband by my side, 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.
Everyone who had married someone already in the military could not have imagined how hard military life would really be. The military is not something you can plan out ahead of time. Military life 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 it does. Even if we sometimes think we can’t be strong anymore.
We push through the hardships because we know that the man or woman 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 we 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 spouse 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 your military spouse friends that they are capable of making it through. Tell them that if they need to break down sometimes, that is okay and that you are there to listen whenever they need to talk. Be their friend, give them hugs, and know that life brings each of us challenges and that this one is one of theirs.