Things to know about military wives

Megan shares a quintessential list of 'things you should know about military wives' that likely ring true, to some degree, for all of us.

This list of ‘things you should know about military wives’ was recently posted on another blog (Our Share of Crazy).

  1. We are not all one stereotype. Military wives seem to have a stereotype – drama loving, always cheating, lazy stay-at-home bon bon eaters who do nothing but complain and pop out babies. We are either enlisted wives straight out of the trailer park or officer wives putting down others and wearing our spouse’s rank. These stereotypes are not true! They are on the tv screen, not in our houses. Sure, there are some that fit it, but the majority of us are normal people, happily married, living our lives. Please don’t group us into the stereotype in your head because we are a military wife.
  2. We are independent. You won’t last as a military wife if you lack independence. Military wives have to shovel that snow, repair the plumbing, and mow that lawn. It can’t wait until hubby gets home. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and give birth without our spouses. We take vacations and move across country with the kids in tow all the time. We learn to do things on our own – we don’t need our husbands to do things for us. We’d love it if they would, but that’s not always an option.
  3. We don’t want to hear “You knew what you were getting into.” Yes, we chose this life. We knew he’d be gone a lot, it would be stressful, etc. We chose this life, but that doesn’t make it easy. Some times we need to cry and whine. We aren’t always going to see the bright side when we are all alone, the kids have the flu, the basement is flooding, and we haven’t seen our spouse in months. We knew this would be hard and we accepted that. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a right to our feelings. Not to mention you can’t help who you fall in love with. We didn’t marry the military, we married a military man.
  4. We Don’t Want Pity. We would love support, understanding, friendship, etc. but we don’t want pity. Yes it gets hard, yes we cry, but please don’t pity us or pity the life we live. We can hear the pity in your voice when you say “I’m sorry” or “poor girl”, and its hard to hear. We may struggle on occasion but we are okay. Instead of pity, we’d love some support or a helping hand. We’d love a small gesture of help. The little things do make a difference.
  5. Most of us love this life. Even if we may complain about this and that we generally love this life. Just because you complain about aspects of your life doesn’t mean you would trade it, and the same is true for us. We love to move and explore the world. We love to experience the unknown. We are proud of our husbands. We love having a steady paycheck, health insurance, and a support structure. We enjoy this life, even with all its challenges. Even if we complain, most of us wouldn’t change it for anything.
  6. Don’t compare your husband being gone for a week to our yearlong deployment. I think nothing else makes my skin boil more than when someone says “yeah my husband went on a business trip for a week so I know how you feel”. Trust me – you have no idea. Not only are our husbands gone, but also they are in a war zone (or training for one). They are in danger, we worry that they will come home in a casket; we worry about that dreaded knock on our door. Please don’t ever compare that to when your husband went to San Diego for a week and sat in a conference room all day. There is no comparison to the challenge of surviving a deployment.
  7. We hate hearing “I hope you are keeping yourself busy while he’s gone.” We have a life. And life goes on when they are gone. Our workload doubles when they leave – we do not need to keep ourselves busy. Trust me, there is more than enough to keep us running in circles 24/7. We do not sit on the couch and twiddle our thumbs until they come home. Life does not get put on hold because they left. Please don’t imply that we need to find something to keep ourselves busy. Trust me, that is just not an issue.
  8. We don’t want to talk politics. Everyone always seems to want to talk politics with military members and military wives. We don’t want to talk about our stance on the war, the president, or any other political aspect. Our husbands are in the military, not a political office. We don’t want to hear the rant about the war, the defense budget, or the latest political action. Our husbands may work for the government but that doesn’t make us a part of the government. Remember the saying “never discuss politics or religion”? We’d love it if you’d follow that.
  9. We really appreciate the “thanks” you give us. If you stop and say thank you to our husband for their service, or say thanks to us for doing what we do, we really appreciate it. It makes us feel good; it makes us smile. We may just nod our heads or say thanks back, but we really do deeply appreciate that thanks. That little gesture can bring us a smile on a good day, and make all the difference in the world on a bad day. It can help us make it to the next one. Often we have no idea how to respond to you when you say thanks, so it may seem like we don’t care. But trust me, we do – a lot! So thank you for the thanks.

In my limited experience as a military spouse, they’re all pretty spot-on. #2 rings especially true for me since my husband and I have been geographically separated for almost 4 years. What do you think? Do you agree with all 9?

- Megan

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commented 2013-12-21 17:37:55 -0500 · Flag
Thank you

Military Spouses of Michigan
We are a group of military spouses and family members dedicated to building a network of support and services to the brave and courageous spouses of those in service here in Michigan. Our promise? You are not alone.