I don’t often touch on the military subject, but I wanted to put a couple things out there – from both sides of the spectrum.
“This is what you signed up for” is a phrase that military spouses hear way too often. I don’t think people mean any real harm by it, but they also don’t realize how dismissive it can be to our feelings. So friends & family, please delete that phrase from your mind when asking us how we are doing and responding with those words when we tell you we miss our spouse.
For a lot of us, we loved our spouse before they joined the military. I met my husband two years before he joined. I married him because I loved him and I couldn’t imagine spending my life without him. I can guarantee you that the idea of spending 6 to 12 months alone with a baby in a house where things just start breaking the second your spouse leaves town was not an appealing factor in our marriage.
So instead – you can substitute those words for something more encouraging like “Wow. That’s got to be hard, but you’ve got this!” Or the cliche but still encouraging “Hang in there. They’ll be back before you know it.” — OR my personal favorite “Wow. That’s rough. More wine?”
On the opposite side of the street though, I would like to address other military spouses for a minute. You guys. We get it. Deployments and short tours… they are hard. It’s not easy. You miss your spouse and you have every right to.
HOWEVER, when your civilian friend comes to you and talks about how their spouse is on a business trip for a few days, it is NOT okay to compare that to a 6 month deployment.
EVERYONE is allowed to miss their spouse no matter how long they are gone.
So please check yourselves before you say “Well at least your spouse isn’t gone for six months at a time.” It really is just as dismissive to them as “This is what you signed up for” is to us.
Those are just some thoughts I wanted to share with you all. If you are going through a deployment or your SO is out of town, I just want to say that you aren’t alone. It’s rough, but you’ll get through it. Also, an evening glass of wine can’t hurt. Just drink responsibly!