Every once in a while a girl just needs a good old-fashioned sleepover: cute pajamas, good food, great friends, deep conversation and very little sleep. Recently I had the opportunity to join several friends for an out of town, honest-to-goodness-we-don’t-have-kids-around sleepover. The women in attendance were all military spouses and veterans. We are all heavily involved, dare I say, “immersed,” in the military community on a regular basis.
Most of the women have been “married to the military” or have served in the military for many years and we are all pretty passionate about the challenges and triumphs that can sometimes accompany this way of life.
Sporting our cute pajamas, we ate, drank and laughed a good portion of the night away. Well into the early morning hours the conversation began to shift toward a series of deeper conversations, concerns and questions.
I consider myself an incredibly blessed woman. My circle is filled with some of the most kind, warm-hearted, genuine, caring and POWERFUL women in the military spouse community. I pinch myself every time I am blessed to be in their company. As the hours ticked by, the topics got heavier… stemming from a deep concern and passion for our fellow spouses and veterans. We shared things with one another that we have never shared before and may never share again. We told a lot of stories. We asked a lot of questions.
At some point during the evening one of us said what we had all been thinking:
“Why isn’t anyone TALKING ABOUT THIS STUFF?!”
We asked more questions. We played devil’s advocate. We tried to reason. We tried to make sense of it all.
Questions like: “Do military personnel and their families have it better now than generations of military engaged in conflict during other times in our Nation’s history?”
“Is the constant communication during deployment actually hurting our marriages?” “Are frequent deployments contributing to infidelity in military marriages?”
“Will there ever be enough mental health help available?”
“Are we giving spouses the resources they need to recognize the signs and deal with the effects of PTSD, combat and operational stress?”
And then this question escaped my lips:
“Will war and marriage ever be able to mix?”