When I think of sacrifice, I think of our military on the battlefield. I think of war. Limbs lost, lives changed forever…the ultimate price being paid by one individual for every single one of us. The word is heavy with meaning for me. It’s funny how some words carry more weight than others. How we are particular about how we use certain words.
I go back and forth about this one. Perhaps it’s because I may have a hard time defining my role as a military spouse, but I don’t ever want to presume that what someone else is giving up doesn’t fall into that category. We are a diverse group of people.
Moving may be an inconvenience for one person, but it might mean that another spouse completely gives up a certain career in order to move across the country to live with their other half. For that spouse, making that decision might truly be a sacrifice.
I won’t discount the very real possibility that part of my flip-flopping on the word is due, in part, to the conversation that seems to crop up every time this topic is brought up in our community. There seems to be a good deal of arguing about it.
I freely admit that I cower at the thought of someone accusing me of being that military spouse who has an elevated sense of worth; that somehow I think that my “job” as a spouse is the toughest one in the military. No bumper sticker on this car, let me assure you. Please don’t screenshot me and make fun of me on the internet.
So, maybe what word we use doesn’t really matter. We can call it sacrifice, we can say we are giving up certain things, we can talk about the choices we have had to make. Isn’t it all similar? When it comes right down to it, I guess I wish we could use whatever word we feel defines what we “do” and what sets us apart: the military spouse community.
Because, while much of our every day lives may look just like our friends who don’t have any military life experience, we can’t discount that life is different for us sometimes too. Life is different. Military love is different.
I wonder how I will respond the next time someone thanks me for being married to my husband, who also happens to be a Marine. I don’t think I will ever get over feeling uncomfortable with that conversation, but perhaps I should look at it through the eyes of the person who is giving that sincere thanks.
An American who, upon learning that I am a military spouse, is grateful that I, just by being lucky enough to stumble into that handsome young Marine in a bar one night, decided that loving him was worth the “sacrifice” of this lifestyle.
An American who, can’t understand exactly what our life is like, but somehow gets that being a part of a military family during over a decade of war has not come without challenges, even if they are not as great as the ones my husband has faced.
Read Next: Military Spouse, You Are Amazing