To say that being a military spouse is hard is like saying the ocean is vast. It’s accurate, but you can’t really comprehend how vast until you’re alone on a boat miles from shore. The same is true about being a spouse to a serviceman. We all know going into the relationship to expect difficulties but for me it has proven itself harder than I could have ever imagined. Now this isn’t a “don’t marry a service member” post so if you think that please read it in it’s entirety. I’m writing this so that other spouses know they aren’t alone and to enhance the world’s appreciation for such a heavy role.
Sacrifice is a word that I find fits the bill best. Every couple is different but for my husband this lifestyle was about following a dream. We met in high school and at the time he flew gliders. I always knew his dream was to fly and that he would chase that dream until the end of time. Fast forward almost ten years our paths crossed again. He was now in the military and I decided then and still feel now that being his wing woman was worth the sacrifices. So, I quit my job at an ivy league university and moved across the country away from my family. Then three years later I left my friends, quit my job again, and moved across the world. I can’t say enough good things about the military community we are a part of in Korea, without such a tight knit family my experience here would have been much worse.
But alas, homesickness still creeps in and loneliness lingers in every deployment, night shift, TDY, and 16 hour day. If you have good company it makes it better but new friends are hard to lean on in the beginning. While your significant other is out fulfilling career goals and getting endless adult time you’ll likely be home mastering your hand at baby talk and house cleaning (this is more applicable to living overseas).
Of course, there are perks too! Living overseas is an opportunity that many don’t get and is one I won’t forget. I’ve met so many fabulous friends at our duty stations and I will continue to cherish these lifelong friendships. Even living in different parts of the country is rewarding and provides perspective that is unparalleled. Not to mention that I think my husband’s job is actually really cool and we are extremely lucky to be a part of the fighter pilot culture.
When I’m living these hardships day to day it’s easy for me to forget how hard my husband worked to get here. After I take a step back I often have a big proud wife moment, like the one I had when seeing the above photo. This was taken recently by a columnist for Combat Air Magazine. We never really get the opportunity to see our guys in action and I couldn’t believe that this was actually my husband! He works so hard to be a great pilot and to provide for his family and for that I am forever grateful.
Overall, I’d never give this up but this life is a difficult climb that is not for the faint of heart. The strongest men and women I’ve met are military spouses and they sacrifice in some ways more than their other half. Thankfully, I’ve never seen more women band together to support one another than I have in the last 5 years. All-in-all, the next time you thank someone for their service… be sure to thank their spouse too.