Being a military spouse means we hear all the things. Our life experiences are very unique – it’s like taking all of those random things that our civilian counterparts experience and shoving into a fishbowl that we get dropped in to experience it all at once. Sometimes it’s fun, other times we want to pull our hair out while crying and eating chocolate.
No matter how well the meaning might be, here are the things you should never say to a military spouse.
1: You knew what you were getting into…
Did we? I mean, did we really know what we were getting into when marrying our spouse? For some of us we may have if they were already in the service when we met, or if we grew up in a military home we might have understood. But I do not think anyone would really know what the frequent deployments, lonely nights, leaking dish washers, dead cars, sick pets, and military equipment as living room décor was really going to be like. No one prepared us for googling how to fix a washing machine at 3am because our children threw up all over every blanket we owned in the middle of the night, and then working the next day on 2 hours of sleep because their husband’s flight was delayed coming home again.
2: He signed up for this…
I’m pretty sure my husband signed up to defend and protect our country from enemies foreign and domestic. I do not think he signed up to babysit grown people, make sure they get to their dental appointment, show up 7 hours early for an even and spend most of it sitting under a tree until time to line up or for the retail discount. I’m also pretty sure he didn’t sign up to be disrespected, or to volunteer his pay as a political pawn for congressional budget debates. But the kicking down doors, and making things go boom, yup, that was his dream and what he signed up for.
3: Deployment is like our business trip…
Deep Breath. Yes, of course it is. The 2-day business trip your spouse is on is exactly like my spouse’s 12 month deployment to a combat theater. Surely you also understand that worry when communication blackouts happen, or when the tv interrupts Grey’s Anatomy with “breaking news”. Let’s not forget they miss the birth of babies, first steps and birthdays, anniversaries, and oh, we’re moving next month across the country to meet them at the next assignment. I’d give a kidney on the black market if our deployments could last 2 days!
4: How do you do it?
Coffee and chocolate. Oh, you meant really – how do we do this crazy lifestyle? Coffee. Lots of it because we barely sleep with our spouses gone, we have to care for the kids, pets, cut the grass before the HOA fines us again, and google fixing water heaters later too. And the chocolate is so when we are at the end of the rope which comes on day 17 of the 9 month deployment we can feel better while we eat our pity feelings. But we also find some good friends, create a routine, and shed some tears.