By Angelina Newsom
You’ve probably met her.
Her warm eyes and welcoming smile may have been the first to greet you at your first unit function. She’s usually a vision of strength and dignity. A picture perfect example of how a seasoned wife carries herself. In fact, she’ll often brush off any notion that she suffers while her husband is away. She shrugs it off with a dignified, “This ain’t my first rodeo!” She goes about her daily life without complaint and handles business in the most professional of manners.
Then the kids go to bed. The noise dies down, she’s washed the composed facade off her face, and she finds that she’s not immune. As she slides into bed, her heart sinks. She can feel his absence in the pit of her stomach and her breath weighs a ton. No matter how many times she’s gone through living with distance, she will never get used to it. The void in bed next to her speaks volumes of the void in her heart. Bedtime is when she can feel his absence the most.
In the military community, there are many strong seasoned spouses. They usually run the Family Readiness Groups, organize activities and participate in any project they can. A lot of other spouses look to them for support. What many may not realize is that distance between these seasoned spouses and their loved ones has a great impact on their lives, just like anyone else.
Seasoned spouses have been through multiple deployments, countless field trainings and schools. While those events have offered experience and ways to cope, they have also forged bonds between married couples over time. By developing a closeness that’s rare for many other professions, the seasoned military couple has been through many life-altering experiences. Sometimes, these things have happened pretty early on in the marriage.
They may have even occurred back to back. For example, my husband and I were deployed one after the other. In total, we spent 18 months apart. Surviving hardships and being resilient together can make being separated almost unbearable for longtime married couples in ways that can differ from a brand new spouse going through deployment or any separation for the first time.
The strong seasoned spouse is most often the first to offer her unshakable strength and stoic smile to others. She has many qualities that make her well-rounded. Her love for her family has carried her through many years of hardship. If you ever need anything, she is likely the first person you will go to. There is a reason she has stayed so strong and unbreakable. She loves her spouse more than she can express and feels just as empty as everyone else when he is not by her side.