I am all about finding a silver lining and trying to have a positive attitude. It is healthy, after all. But I am also realistic. In my opinion, denying the negative things in life and how they affect you, just undermines the entire process of finding all those things to be happy about.
If we can’t acknowledge the unpleasant, can we really, truly enjoy the pleasant? So here is my list of things that I really hate about being married to a service member. Never fear, there is a positive side to the equation, and you can read about that right here in the companion piece to this article, 5 Things I Love About Military Lifestyle
5 Things I Hate About Military Life
5. White Walls and No Carpet
We are currently living in base housing. Very small, not so modern base housing. There are things I love about it. There are things that bug me, and there are things I hate. I hate the white walls. I hate not having a stitch of carpeting in the house. And yes, I realize that we actually COULD paint the walls. But a PCS move is stressful enough…I have less than zero interest in painting for two or three years, just to do it all over again when we move.
But it’s not just the color of our home. I long for our “Forever Home.” My husband keeps calling it our “Retirement Home” to which I promptly shoot him daggers from my eyes, and then reach for a bottle of wrinkle cream. Look, buddy. I am turning 40 in a few months. Tread carefully. But, I digress.
I long for a home where we can plant a small tree in the backyard, and years later enjoy the apples it produces in the fall. I long for the ability to paint the walls, knowing the only reason we will have to change it is because we want to. I long for a place where my husband can build his outdoor kitchen, greenhouse, and raised beds that won’t need to be ripped up when orders are cut. I long to swing my child in a tire swing in our backyard…and then swing my grandchildren in the same one many years later.
4. Being Married without a Sex Life
Okay, so maybe not right this minute. My husband is not currently deployed, and that is all I will say about that. But military spouses go weeks, months, and sometimes years without being intimate with their other half. And it just doesn’t seem right. There are lots of ways to stay connected with your spouse when they are gone. Thank goodness for technology! But not being able to connect on that physical level with your spouse can be tough.
On top of that, it seems like there is always another woman (or man) in your marriage. The military dictates things about your marriage that drive me bonkers sometimes. In a perfect world I would like to think that our marriage comes first, but let’s discuss reality, shall we? Sometimes his job has to be number one. It’s kind of important. I really wouldn’t have it any other way. However, there are times when I really resent that other woman, born in a Pennsylvania Tavern, wearing a blood stripe, sporting that amazing looking dress uniform. She sure knows how to get her claws into my man. The tramp.
3. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
No toddler with an open cup of grape juice, or teenager with muddy cleats can come close to causing the wear and tear on your belongings that moving every couple of years can. At this point I have kind of given up on caring about having nice things, because I know we still have at least one, possibly two moves left before our Forever Home. Every time we move there are several items that I absolutely cringe as I watch being loaded onto a truck. My grandmothers chest, my other grandmothers china. Even if we are moving these things ourselves, things happen.
At the end of the day, material things are not what is important… I get it. But, dang it! I am almost 40 years old (anyone see that tube of wrinkle cream?), and I would like to own one piece of furniture that does not have a scratch on it, or a screw missing, or a huge chunk of a corner gouged out. I would also like all of my furniture to actually fit in my house. In the appropriate room. No more bookshelf in the kitchen, hope chest in the laundry room, or vanity in the living room.
2. Saying Goodbye
I hate, hate, hate his part. With a fiery passion. Saying goodbye to my husband over and over and over again for training or deployment is tough… but you also know that when they come home (God willing), they will be coming home to you. Saying goodbye to friends is the really hard part for me. Get to know someone at one duty station, they are amazing, you click and have great times together. Then they, or you, get orders and you are saying goodbye. Knowing full well that you will probably only ever see them on Facebook from that day forward. If you are lucky you are stationed together again, or you get to see them on a family vacation. But more often than not, it is goodbye forever.
Yes, yes I know. I wouldn’t even know some of these amazing people if it were not for the military life. I get it. Silver lining. But that is for the other piece… right now I want to wallow in the self-pity of missing my friends and family, dang it.
1. The Funeral Planned in My Head
I haven’t given much thought to my own funeral. In fact, I think my exact words to my husband were “You do whatever you want for my funeral. Whatever YOU need. Just have me cremated, throw me in a mason jar, and stick me next to you in your casket. Tell your second wife to deal.”
But, I have given a lot of thought to my husband’s. We kind of have to when we sit down and look at that packet of information about death notifications, pall bearers, and beneficiaries. Is it a good thing that we are prepared? Certainly. But it doesn’t make the whole thing stink any less. Somewhere in the back of my head I think I have it planned out in my head, because then, I reason, nothing bad will happen. It’s one of my coping mechanisms. And I despise it.
Planning what I would do if I became a widow with two children, is definitely on the top of my list of things that I hate about military life. None of the things on my list are things I try to dwell too much on, but they are there. In the south there is a saying, “We don’t hide our crazy here. We sit it right out on the front porch, sit it in a rocking chair, and hand it a glass of sweet tea.”
That’s what I choose to do with the things I really hate about this lifestyle. Put it out there and deal with it in plain sight. It works for me. That way, I can move past it and focus on the things I also really love about being married to a member of the Armed Forces.
Now read 5 Things I Love About Military Lifestyle.