3 Hard Truths I Learned as a New Military Spouse
“Being a military spouse is hard, you know.”
I can’t tell you how many times I heard this statement every time I shared that the man I was marrying was in the military.
Our relationship was a long-distant one. And because it was long-distant and we were in love and in a rush to share our lives together, we were quickly engaged, then married.
I didn’t care that he was in the military, I just loved him. And while I told myself that I knew what I was getting into, I didn’t have the whole picture painted like I made it seem to everyone else.
Oh, the things we do when our heart belongs to a soldier…
The honeymoon phase is now over.
It’s been some time since we plunged into marriage and…yes, I still love my husband, even more than I did then.
But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that within my first year as a new military spouse, there were some hard truths I quickly had to realize about marrying a soldier.
In retrospect, there were three big realizations I learned, and I’m here to share them with you.
No, not to scare you off, but to speak some truth so that when you find yourself as a new military wife, you’ll hopefully be able to immerse yourself in lukewarm water, instead of the freezing cold, as you adjust to the changes.
In truth, reading an article isn’t going to make it a breeze, you’ll just have to go through it on your own, and hey, maybe it won’t be that much of an adjustment for you.
So, here are the three lessons I quickly learned as I took on my new role as a military wife.
1. YOU’RE MAKING TWO LIFE-CHANGING COMMITMENTS.
Think you’ve just made a huge commitment to marriage? Well, surprise (!!), you’ve actually made TWO commitments! One to your spouse, and the other to the military. Congrats! 🙂
All sarcasm aside – it’s some serious truth.
Is it a bad thing? It doesn’t have to be. But is it extremely difficult? Hands down, yes.
You committed yourself to your husband for life. And you committed yourself to the military lifestyle, and all it entails. You don’t have a choice, as long as your spouse is in the military.
It’s a packaged deal – marriage and military life. Because, yes, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s one you’ll have to quickly adjust to.
2. YOU’LL BE SECOND PLACE.
Sure, my husband made a commitment to me, but first, he made a commitment to the country. Which means that there are more times often than not, that I’ll come in second place.
No, I’m not saying it’s a competition. No, I’m not saying he loves me any less.
I’m saying that sometimes, the military will definitely get shotgun, while I’m stuck in the backseat.
He isn’t always able to do what I want or what I may need, if it conflicts with what the military needs from him.
So, if I need him around during a difficult period in my life, but the military needs him overseas for a year, well, looks like I’m SOL.
This includes things like my career, sometimes. Say I have the perfect job in the world, and then we get orders? I’d have to leave the company. Thankfully, I have a flexible remote position, and I encourage all military spouses to consider this option to grow your career.
This is an extremely hard pill to swallow. Even to this day, I struggle with this. Writing about it now, I guess I sound like a brat.
But! Even if you’re the most patriotic person in the world, it doesn’t sugar coat the fact that you can’t always come first to the man you’ve chosen for life.
3. YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO PLAN (MUCH).
I learned pretty quickly how life takes its own course. Some events are out of your control, naturally. But the military gives this phrase a whole new meaning.
In my experience, it’s always things you don’t really think about until they come up. Like, attending family weddings or planning a vacation (or a baby!) or having my husband there for my graduation. I have a running list of real-life examples – can you tell? 🙂
It’s hard to commit to plans when my husband can get orders to attend trainings or deploy at any time.
While it seems like a great idea to be able to plan a vacation eight months out, this isn’t really feasible in the military. Especially if your spouse is in a role that requires frequent travel and deployments (like mine is).
So, while I can plan things for myself to attend or do, I had to get used to the idea that I *might* have to do these things alone as a military wife.
And I’m okay with that, but sometimes it really sucks. You can get lonely, and you feel like your spouse is missing out on some pretty great memories that you should be sharing together.
And yet, realizing these hard truths doesn’t change my mind one bit.
If I had known all of these lessons before, would I still take the plunge? Um, duh.
It doesn’t change my mind about being a military spouse – in fact, it’s a true testament to our inner strength, and to the love we have for our soldiers.
Is it really, really, really hard at times? Yes. But you know what makes it possible? The person we’ve chosen to share our life with, military and all.
And in the end, is it worth it? Most definitely.
So do you agree? Let me know! What did you quickly learn after becoming a military spouse? Share your experiences with me!