You probably don’t know this, but when my husband and I were first dating, I actually asked him to get out of the military.
I saw a future with him.
I saw marriage with him.
And nowhere in that equation did being a military wife exist.
Because as a child of multiple divorces (Yes, both my parents divorced twice. Once from each other, and once each from a second marriage), I knew what every marriage goes up against—the tough stuff.
image by PO1 Jon Rasmussen, identified by DVIDS
I saw military life as a huge barrier to a successful marriage. From deployments to moving all the time to the consequences of war, military life takes regular everyday marriage problems and catapults them towards troubled waters.
Well, at least in my mind that’s what I was thinking.
My husband and I broke up for a period of time over the whole military thing. I wanted him to get out, and he wanted to stay. In the same breath, he wanted me to leave my life behind to follow him, and of course, I wanted to stay.
Neither one of us wanted to leave behind the life that we loved.
After being separated for a period of time, I was in a very dark place. Miserable without him, it was easy for me to see that civilian life without him was FAR WORSE than any military life with him.
That was the beginning of my journey into this military wife and mom life. That was the moment I decided to put on my big girl panties and do this military life thing. Maybe you’ve felt that moment too. The moment when you realize you’re not just gonna tough this thing out, you’re gonna rock this!
And that’s why being a military wife is so hard…
Because you have to put on your big girl panties—A LOT.
Being a Military Wife is Hard Because….
You’ve got to hold it together when your service member leaves to work in a really dangerous place for months on end or more.
You’ve got to be okay with moving half way around the world from your family.
You’ve got to be okay with your service member missing all the special stuff like birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, or gasp….the birth of your child.
You’ve got to be okay with putting your career on the back burner sometimes because moving all over the place and maintaining a career isn’t as easy as it looks.
You’ve got to be okay with letting go some of the control in your life because Lord knows the military is going to make some big life decisions for you.
You’ve got to be okay with leaving close friends and family behind while you start a new life.
You’ve got to be okay with having a courthouse wedding when you really wanted a big one because military life or a deployment prevented it from working out that way.
You’ve got to be okay with facing way more drama in the military community than you ever wished.
You’ve got to be okay with parenting alone and feeling lonely sometimes.
You’ve got to be okay with making new friends over and over and over again.
You’ve got to be okay with spending as much of your marriage apart as you do together.
You’ve got to be okay with talking about death, dying, and the traumatic effects of war.
You’ve got to be okay with finding the positive in the midst of really, really hard.
You’ve got to be okay choosing happiness in the midst of some really challenging circumstances.
And you will be okay…
Because you are strong, resilient and tougher than even YOU imagine at this very moment.
But it’s all of these things, and so much more, that make life as a military wife so hard sometimes. Because you never realize how many big girl panties you are gonna need until you are neck deep into this whole thing.
It’s a lot of big girl panties.
It’s just a lot.
Want more on military life?
- 3 Telltale Signs You’re Friends With an Awesome Military Spouse
- 18 Ways Military Life Changes You for the Better
- The One Thing You Miss Most During Deployment
- 7 Myths About Military Life Debunked
How do you work through the challenges of military life? Let’s chat in the comments!
Thank you all for this post. I am currently dating a military man I so much desire to marry him if he asks me but I decided to do some research being a spouse of a military man now I am very scared of the responsibilities that I have to shoulder in his absence and the loneliness involve.
As a military wife of 28 years I’d say this is pretty accurate. In addition, the military spouse must understand that the needs of the military will *always* come before the needs of the family; it’s just a fact of active duty life. If you’re not okay with this now, you won’t be ten years from now. Also, even tho it’s really really hard to maintain a career while following your service member around the country/world every 3-4 years, I highly encourage military spouses to hold onto their careers, especially if it involves licensure or certification (keep them current)! Because as a few other commenters have noted: if you do get divorced, he loses nothing and the military will close ranks around him. She, however, will lose everything including access to the base and therefore all her friends. And all the time she sacrificed her career to support his military career will mean absolutely nothing as a civilian divorcée. Her retirement and social security may be compromised or even nonexistent. Etc. We all want to think our marriages will last forever but the military divorce rate tells a different story. Please maintain your financial independence.
If you are military, can you make more friends during the service?
Wil you have a good social life in Army?