Being an active duty military spouse for ten years, I’ve heard phrases like, “You knew what you were signing up for!” or “You chose this life.” I am sure you, too, have heard similar things. I like to think that I chose my person and “the life” is whatever comes next. This life, whether we expect it or not, certainly requires a few sacrifices. Here are a few things that I didn’t know about the military when I decided to marry the man of my dreams and officially become a military spouse.
Moving SO frequently.
We are one year into our fourth PCS (permanent change of station) and we are already starting to think about our next move, housing, travel, leave, etc. I enjoy moving frequently, it gives us the opportunities to see new places and go on new adventures, but it can be difficult to feel settled anywhere when you have to get up and go every two to four years. Our family tries to put down roots as fast as possible and find “our people” as soon as we get to a new location. For us, that means finding a church home and getting involved there.
Sometimes your spouse will be gone during important moments, such as the birth of your first child. When we got married, I knew that my husband could possibly be deployed, and it was one of my greatest fears. What I didn’t know was how frequently he could deploy and that life circumstances did not really matter. Our first baby was due about six weeks after my husband deployed, but our little man made an early entrance. My husband had to watch the birth on a video call and didn’t get to meet his son until he was 7 months old. We were fortunate enough to have internet signal and be able to stay connected for the whole labor, but that is not always possible. I know there are many parents who don’t get to see their babies until much after their birth. This is an especially painful sacrifice. My husband has held our other children when they were born, but he lost that experience with our son, and that is something we can never get back.
The more friends we meet, the harder it is to move when it is time. Every time we PCS we leave friends who have become family and it feels like there is no way we will meet close friends at our next duty station. Somehow, we always do! It is such a beautiful thing, and we are so grateful to have friends and family all over the world. We like to say “See ya later” instead of “Goodbye” because the Air Force world is small, and you never know when you’ll run into friends again.
Faith Holds Firm.
The greatest thing I didn’t know before being in the military was how God would show up in every single circumstance. I look back on our ten years as a military spouse and I am so thankful for the people that God has put in my life and the ways that he has walked with me through every late night, kid mess, sickness and broken appliance. Life as a military spouse can be daunting, scary, intimidating and totally overwhelming, but I would not trade a day of it for the world.