Military life is not for everyone. Some people are meant to be soldiers, while others are meant to be civilians. Soldiers are some of the strongest – both mentally and physically – people I know. However, soldiers are not the only ones who are subjected to the stresses of everyday military life. Military spouses have to be equally strong and may endure many stresses which come with being a part of the military lifestyle.
With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military spouses need to be stronger than ever. As an Army wife, I have found I, too, am fighting a battle. While my battle does not require me to be deployed for months, it can be just as stressing as the battle soldiers are fighting. I have learned I need to be strong, not only for myself, but for my husband and all soldiers.
More times than not, military spouses are overlooked and are sometimes taken for granted. Military spouses have to take on multiple roles, especially during deployments. These multiple roles can be very tiresome, but still we all do our part. We send packages to our soldiers. We make sure the single soldiers are receiving mail and care packages. We assume the role of mom and dad. We have become a multifaceted unit within ourselves. As another deployment nears for my husband, I have decided to take a look at some of the battles I will have to fight.
One of the biggest battles military spouses must deal with is raising children. I have two toddlers, both under the age of four. My three year old daughter is a big daddy’s girl and will only listen to him. Whenever my husband is away, it can be very stressful parenting. I stress out about going to the grocery store because I know she will do her best to make it a difficult trip. Yet, I still go because my family needs to eat.
Another battle is constant worrying. When will my husband call me? When I said good-bye to him before he left, would it be the last time I ever saw him? Worrying is the biggest battle I had to fight during a deployment. I find myself obsessing over the phone and email everyday. Even though I know in my heart he will do his duty as safely as he can, I still wait because I need the peace of mind which comes with communication.
The third battle is keeping a marriage good. I am not talking about being faithful or not. It is easy to remain faithful and I would never consider cheating an option. I am talking about the survival of both of us as being a single unit. How can we grow together? It is hard, but it can be done. When my husband deployed to Iraq in 2003 for a 15 month deployment, it was hard when he returned. While he was gone, he had changed so much; it was as if he was not the same man I had married. I am sure I had changed just as much, especially having our first baby half way through his deployment. It made it hard to reconnect because it was no longer just the two of us. We constantly wrote and I sent him pictures. As long as the communication is good and both spouses are on the same page, marriages can become stronger than ever during a deployment.
The fourth and final battle is remaining busy. When my husband is gone, it feels as if the clock does not move fast enough. To combat this problem, I took up various hobbies, such as reading, gaming, and drawing. I also found it beneficial to connect with another spouse who knew exactly what I was going through. This time around, I plan on making a trip or two to visit family, exercise, and enjoy life. Deployments, after all, do not last forever. I see them as a time to rediscover myself and my children, while remaining strong in my marriage.
See, military spouses are fighting a battle, it just does not require them to leave behind their lives. I encourage everyone, who happens to meet a military spouse, to let them know you are thankful for the sacrifices they have given. After all, their spouses are fighting for your right to read this article.