Do Military Spouses Serve the US?
Through Facebook, a Yahoo question came to my attention. The original question was “Do you consider a military spouse some one who has served this country?” The poster was married to USAF member for 20 years who was wondering if she needed to change her answer to this question. A US Army Recruit, very rudely stated “NO!” and went on to explain that all military wives do is send packages and letters to the soldiers and have no idea what it means to serve America. “Spouses that are so full of themselves and think just cause they send letters to their husbands and wives serving that they are also serving are worthless, and an embarrassment to us all.” I thought for sure there would be plenty of negative feed back toward this answer, but to my surprise, almost everyone agreed with the answer just saying it could be put a little nicer.
I can see the points that the post has going for it. The responder is making a point to say that military spouses are not fighting a war, and they is right.
They are saying that we are not in eminent danger, and they are right.
They say the spouse has not signed a contract, been to basic, or been to a country where they are shot at, and yet again, they are right.
They also say that military spouses are taking “credit for something you play NO part in, that just makes us look bad.” They are wrong.
This person has clearly never been on the other end of a military marriage and there is a good chance they are not married. We, as military spouses, are not in eminent danger of being shot, but our husbands are. We are in danger of losing our other half, the father of our children, the one person in this world that we want to spend the rest of our lives with, and we live with that every day. When he is worried he might get shot, we are just as worried he might not come home.
This person is right when they say we have not been to basic training or in a country where we are shot at, but we have signed a contract. Our contract was our marriage certificate. The person that said we have signed no contract and can get out any time must not know what marriage is, a life long contract to be with your spouse, to love, cherish, have, and hold, from one day forward as long as you both shall live.
Our basic training was that first few weeks our husbands were gone and we were home alone right after getting married. For some of us, we do not know what it is like to be away from home until we are married. For me, it was my first time living truly without my parents. My parents were mad at me for leaving school and getting married. My dad and I were not really speaking. On top of all that, I moved from my home town which I had lived in for 21 years to a town six hours away. I had no friends, no family, and my husband was gone for the entire first week of our marriage. We did not even have cable or internet. I sat in a tiny, one bedroom apartment watching the seasons of Gilmore Girls and Buffy waiting for a phone call back from the daycare I had applied for a job at.
Being shot at was the long days leading up to my husband's first deployment. We would be told a certain day at a certain time and we would say our goodbyes and come to peace with leaving only to get a phone call an hour before he was supposed to leave telling us that it was postponed by an hour, four hours, six hours, one day, and then finally the call that said “be ready to go in half an hour.” The postponing might sound good, like the easy part, more time together, a few more hugs, and couple more kisses, maybe a movie holding onto each other. It isn't that. Instead, its losing your composure just when you got it, not knowing when he is really leaving, wanting him to go just so you know that in a specified amount of time he can come home and you don't have to worry about him deploying in the next few hours or days or weeks. Postponing is an emotional roller-coaster. The army is always taking shots at families. Dangling weeks, months, and years together with no deployment in sight only to rip that promise away and send our husbands away on three month trainings, two week missions, or a sudden one year deployment.
This person that says military spouses play no role in serving their country is very mistaken. We might not fight the war, but we keep the minds of the soldiers who do sound. Our care packages are a way of sending our love, our never silenced phones a way of being there for them if they need us. We keep our children remembering their fathers or mothers that are serving this country with videos that we watch every night and pictures we look at every day. When our soldier calls, we often fudge the truth and say we are doing fine, we have a great support system, time is flying, but always make sure they hear us say, “I miss you so much and I wish you were here instead of there because I love you.”
I want to ask this person that thinks military spouses have no claim to serving this country what they think any spouses role is in a marriage. To me, it is supporting your spouse, being there for them, and always being faithful. When you are forced to be apart, this is even more important, and when being apart means one of you is in danger, it is of the utmost importance.
I might not be the one wearing a uniform, being shot at, spending years away from my family in a foreign country, but I am the one back on the US Army base, juggling two children, attending school full time, and missing my spouse in a place where I have no family, few friends, and little help.
What is your take? Do military spouses serve this country or are we an embarrassment to the US?
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