As a spouse of a 22-year U.S. Air Force veteran, military couples and families have a special place in my heart. November 11 has been designated as Veterans Day since 1918 to recognize and observe living military personnel for serving their country. While military veterans certainly deserve recognition, I think military spouses should be recognized and honored as well.
Military Spouses Deserve Recognition
My friend, Amanda, is the wife of an active duty Navy Chaplain. Knowing his military duties require him to be deployed often, I asked her to help us understand her perspective of life as a military spouse.
What is your role?
My role as a spouse of my service member is to support him and our family in whatever way is needed. If I choose to work, I will work, but only if it doesn’t interfere with my kid’s schedule and it won’t make for stressful times if my spouse was to deploy, leave for a TDY (temporary duty) or leave for an extended time of training.
How does the expectations of the military affect your relationship?
There can be a lot of emotions with this lifestyle. Good and bad. We have been married long enough that when emotions begin to arise about a certain situation, we talk about it, pray about it and make sure we understand each other so that we can move past it.
Is it perfect? No! Can it be messy? Yes! Marriage can be messy–while being vulnerable–because your emotions are raw and knowing how to navigate through those emotions is hard to figure out.
I think every marriage has up’s and down’s in this department whether in the service or not. It’s just the nature of two people coming together and figuring things out.
The possibility of being separated by duty assignments is VERY high in military marriages. That can be an open door for outside relationships to form quite easily if you allow your guard down. Clearly that is not what most couples want, but it’s easier said than done for some.
My husband and I have made it clear that being physically separated isn’t an opportunity to allow our minds to wander. We decide before he leaves what action plan will help us stay connected while apart.
Ways we stay engaged with each other is to read a book or do a devotion together and make room for Face Time.
Each time we are apart we try to learn a little more about each other and have a deeper love for each other. As the saying goes, Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Having my husband in the service doesn’t really challenge my faith or help it grow. My faith is often tested in areas, but they are no different than non- military couples. Having a relationship with God definitely helps us navigate our lives with ourselves, our kids, our home, etc.
Raising kids in the military is good and bad. In my opinion, the good outweighs the bad. Our kids are more adaptable, like to travel, and get out of their comfort zone faster because they must create relationships at each duty station. It gives them an appreciation for the military that non-military kids don’t have.
The bad is the obvious. They have to say good-bye to far more people than most kids have to. Some of those relationships don’t last. Most of them don’t. It hurts us as parents to watch our kids get so sad when the time comes to say good-bye. In our family, we give our girls something to look forward to at the new duty station to ease the pain.
To read more on Challenges a military spouse faces–including deployment and reintegration, click here.
Veteran’s Day is a day to remember and honor living veterans for their service. But according to the Department of Veterans Affairs:
Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.
Thank a vet. But also thank the vet’s spouse and their family for the sacrifices they’ve made too.