I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I married my husband. Everything I had ever heard about being a military spouse was negative. For example, “Be okay with solo parenting; hope you are good with always being alone; spouses in the military are always unfaithful; spouses are classified by rank,” etc. This side of military life was completely foreign to me as I didn’t grow up in a military household. So, any expectations I did have came from all the negative information I had heard. Honestly, the amazingly awesome things that come with this life aren’t talked about enough. I wish someone would have given me some positive advice about what I was embarking on. Hopefully, the things I wish I knew in the beginning holds true for you also.
One thing I wish someone had told me in the beginning is that at the end of the day, I was walking into a marriage. Like hundreds of other people around the world, I was simply pledging to love my partner and spend the rest of our lives loving each other. Yes, my marriage came with certain expectations but what marriage doesn’t? When it is all said and done, it is just me and the person I love. I didn’t marry the “Navy.” I do not come second to it. It is my spouse’s job, not his identity. In no way does his job impact his ability to keep the vows he made to me. Yes, he has to get creative when it comes to celebrating milestones, but I choose to see the bright side of it. Out of our 10-year relationship, we have celebrated 4 anniversaries together, and even fewer birthdays and holidays. My man makes me feel special and reminds me that he chooses me every day even when he is away. When things are tough and I experience the hard lonely days that we all do, I remember that I married a man whose job keeps him away sometimes, not all the time.
When giving new military significant others the lowdown, we always make sure to give them the “real.” Often, this doesn’t leave any room for the amazing and awesome things that come with choosing to spend your life with someone serving their country. While I don’t care for the moving every couple years, I absolutely love the new adventures that come with it. I get to live in tourist destinations. My children have had experiences that I would have had to save half a year or more for, all on the military’s dime. Yes, there are plenty of hard things about being a military spouse. Ask any of us if the pros outweigh the cons and I bet most of us will say it is an amazing journey filled with the ups and downs of life. So long story short, yes. We learn very early on to make the absolute most of every moment we get to spend as a family.
Most importantly, I wish someone would have said, “Things will work out the way they are meant to be.” Don’t waste time stressing over what someone else’s life or marriage looks like. If I did, I would spend my life worrying about other people’s business instead of minding mine. While we all share the “military life,” our experiences within it couldn’t be more different. I have a friend whose husband got stationed overseas and she got to go with him. But my husband received “unaccompanied” orders overseas meaning our son and I had to stay behind. There are a million stories out there; don’t lose yourself in those so much that you forget to write your own.
Remember to write your own story. Your journey as a military spouse will be your own. Don’t leave the pages blank. Fill them with memories to look back on when this chapter is closed. I mean they have to retire one day, right?