She turned her head towards me and uttered the words I dreaded most, “You knew what you were getting into right?”
I always hate getting asked this question because, in a way, I did know what military life would be like–frequent moves, separations and the overall feeling that life is a like a revolving door.
But at the same time, I didn’t REALLY know. Take marriage, for example: you have an idea what your relationship will be like years later, but you don’t fully grasp it until he’s covered your entire house in gear vomit for the third time this week.
The same goes for parenting. You can read all the books on toddler discipline and prepare for ages, but nothing really prepares for a toddler flinging poop at your head you until you experience it first hand.
Another perfect example is going to college and landing your first job. You study and plan to knock your first job out of the park, but inevitably, you will fall down, make mistakes and have customers “question your abilities.”
(photo credit: Sgt. Joshua Spalding / DVIDS)
This is life.
It’s filled with unexpected surprises each and every step of the way. Before becoming a military wife, these are 47 things I never thought about…
- The first deployment is a brutal shock to the system.
- Each subsequent deployment or separation will turn you into a bag of nerves, despite adequate planning, prep and support.
- Deployments don’t get easier, you simply gain more tools to cope with deployment separations.
- You will spend nearly the entire time at your current duty station speculating about where you will go next.
- Someone will ask for your address history and you will nearly pass out.
- Your ID card will become an extension of your body. Without it, you’ll feel lost.
- At some point, you’ll get a citation for not pulling your weeds, cutting your grass or leaving a stroller outside your door when living on base housing.
- Learning acronyms and abbreviations will become your second language.
- Some duty stations will feel like the worst place EVER, right until you meet your BFF…two months before your rotation date.
- Patriotism will root itself deep into your heart.
- Getting your taxes done at the base tax center will be the scariest thing you do all year.
- You will travel insane distances to see your friends and family back home.
- On top of that, you’ll drive 8 hours to see your service member for 3 hours and this will seem normal.
- You’ll spend the majority of your time as a military spouse either unemployed or underemployed.
- People will say a lot of silly things to you like…“I could never do what you do.” And you will find a way to answer with grace and tact.
- Homecoming will feel like falling in love on a blind date. First comes the honeymoon phase, and then it just gets awkward.
- You’ll make a plan only to make a new plan over and over again.
- Something will always break down during deployment. Always.
- At some point, you will feel lonely and wonder what in the world you are doing with your life.
- Military life will take you to the highest of highs and lowest of lows emotionally.
- Your ability to handle tough situations will rise exponentially.
- Attending the annual military ball will feel like prom…for adults.
- PCS stickers will remain on your furniture indefinitely. They’re everywhere!
- Something extraordinarily important to you will receive major damage during a PCS move or it will get lost completely.
- You will try to explain your life as a military wife to a civilian and they won’t get it.
- The family readiness group is going to help you when you least expect it.
- Any savings you get from the commissary will get cancelled out by all the rotten produce they sell you.
- Moving overseas will give you a panic attack, but then you’ll do it and actually love it.
- Having a pet will complicate your life …from finding a pet-friendly home to securing a safe place to kennel your fur baby.
- Finding a homecoming outfit will take an ungodly amount of time.
- Upon arriving to the military base gate, you’ll either forget your ID card completely or you’ll hand them a credit card.
- The number of long-distance friendships you maintain will far exceed the number of friends living in your current duty station.
- Determining the perfect time to start a family will feel like advanced college calculus.
- Talking about possible funeral arrangements, living wills and military widow death benefits will happen early in your relationship.
- You’ll get pregnant and he’ll announce he’s leaving on deployment…right before your due date.
- Military gear will take over your entire home before and after every deployment.
- People you barely know in the military community will do extraordinary things for you at the drop of a hat.
- Your heart will feel an overwhelming sense of pride each time someone thanks your service member for his sacrifice and service.
- Amazing friendships doesn’t even begin to describe the relationships you will form with other spouses.
- Taking calls at 3 am from halfway around the world will seem normal.
- After living in the same place for 3 years, you’ll be itching to move again.
- You’ll have a good deployment meltdown at least once every deployment.
- Reinventing yourself will become an annual thing.
- Hearing gunshots and bombs won’t phase you even a little bit.
- Resilience, strength and courage will become the core of who you are as a person.
- Your military marriage will grow apart and back together over and over again, and it will turn you into one helluva strong couple.
- It’ll be hard, challenging, make you want to quit and piss you off royally, but in the end, you be so glad you did it.
Want more on military life?
- Are Military Spouses Unknowingly Violating OPSEC?
- How to Find a Stunning Military Ball Dress for Under $100
- The Most Surprising Thing You’ll Miss During Deployment
- One Phrase That Will Reconnect Your Military Marriage
It is so widespread, the jealousy of a military widow, that even Quantico and I have discussed it. They know very well about it. You cannot cut ties as you advise, esp when it is your own neighbors…..busybodies who try to find out your income, etc. …you just have no idea….
Yrs ago I was advised to never stay in a military town when spouse deceased, now I know full well why…..and yes, making plans to move…☺️
Great post! Super new to the military wife life but struggling to enjoy it. I feel like such an outsider. Unlike most wives my service member joined up without consulting me. It’s been super hard to repair the damage even though I’m so proud of him.