I have been married to a soldier for almost two decades now. When we met, he was no longer active duty and ended up re-joining the Army after we had been married three years. As much as I can stand by and support him, there are things that I will never understand. There are things that a military spouse can never understand.
I will never understand what it is like to say goodbye to my family, small children included, to put on the uniform and put myself in harm’s way.
I will never understand what it is like to go out on a mission, praying I will make it back to the FOB.
I will never understand the moments when I thought I might not make it home, and picturing how my spouse will react, and how she will tell the children.
I will never understand what it is like being home, yet feeling like I should be over there, that I have a duty to do.
I will never understand what it is like to lose friends in battle, the same battle I was in.
As a military spouse, I can be there for my husband. I can listen to his stories, the good and the bad. I can listen to what he chooses to tell me.
But I know that he won’t tell me everything, I couldn’t even begin to understand. I know that being a soldier is something I can’t fully wrap my mind around, and I won’t try to pretend I get what it is like, because I don’t.
I can get through a deployment, and as hard as that might be, I am safe, in my home, in the United States. I don’t know what it is like to go through a deployment, in my uniform, protecting what I hold dear.
I can roll my eyes when I feel like the Army won’t make up its mind, but I also am not the one that may or may not have to say goodbye to my family for a year, depending on what the Army does decide to do in the end.
I can be frustrated about my husband missing something, about him not being there, and not being able to get that time back but I am not the one who has to hear about the event second hand, who has to be okay with just photos and a video, and that feels the pain of what they have missed over the years.
I have never believed we should be debating who has it harder, the service member or the military spouse. Every person is different, every deployment is different. There is no way to weigh each other’s situations.
There is something a soldier goes through, something someone who has deployed has gone through, something about being in the military themselves that a military spouse won’t be able to understand.
We can be a rock, in an otherwise stormy life.
We can be a person our service member can always trust when it is hard to know who has their back.
We can support them, in the ways they need us to because we love them.
And when things get difficult for us, which they will, we can find ways to make it through, so that we can be there for them, through everything military life brings.
Some military spouses have served in the military, or maybe still do. There are many veterans out there, that are now married to a service member themselves and have seen both sides. Some of my closest friends that I have made during this life are prior military. They, of course, have a different perspective on this than I do, a military spouse who has never served.
How long have you been a military spouse?