Warning: This post is a bit snarky, I won’t lie to you. So now that you are prepared, proceed…
Since my husband and I got engaged I’ve been asked a whole lot of questions about my military life but there are a few that irk me. And it’s safe to say that some of them I have had to restrain myself to not just glare at the other person. And I’m not alone, my fellow military spouse friends and I talk about weird things we hear from people. (All time favorite: “Can you visit him (in Afghanistan)?”)
I know that not everyone understands the military life, which is what prompted this blog, so I try to be kind and give people the benefit of the doubt. But if you’re talking to a spouse, think twice or try to find a more considerate way to say on of these phrases.
I’ve heard some of these first hand, but others come from an informal poll on my Facebook page and here are the top 5:
1. “How are you?” This was the number one question I got during the beginning of deployment. Not “hey, what’s up?” more “Hiii…how are you?” as if the person is walking on eggshells. Even my military spouse friends and I asked each other this, and admitted that we hate it. It’s a round about way to make sure that they are holding up while their spouse is gone. I really want to come up with an alternative but can’t think of a better one. I will say I had a few friends that quickly realized it was okay to just say “how’s it going?” with little emphasis and just have a normal conversation. I’d say that’s the best way to approach it.
2. “But then he’ll be home for awhile.”/”He’ll be home in no time.” So I’ll admit I got the first one recently in response to me saying how I wouldn’t be available for awhile when my husband first comes home. The reintegration process is crucial and yes I have a lot of work coming up, but spending time and reconnecting with my husband is number one. Eight to nine months apart, even with frequent contact, means that there is a lot of time to catch up on, and time together that we need to establish. Everything from living together to doing some shopping to starting new traditions. So it doesn’t matter how much time I have him home for, I’m cherishing everyday I get, especially the first few. The second is related. I will admit that time has flown by but each day is slow.
3. “How do you do it?”/”I could never be a military spouse” As I told someone the other day, you just do it. One said she replies, “Neither do I.” We all have our tricks to surviving, but this is our life and you just do it. You live it how you live. One day at a time. And at the end of the day you just figure out how you best can support your significant other.
4. “Aren’t you scared something will happen?” Yes. Everyday. But you asking me will not help me pretend that everything is a-okay.
5. “My (significant other) is gone for a night/couple days/a week.” It sucks to be by yourself, I feel you, but I am reaching eight months by myself. I made it. You will make it one night. I promise. This is a meme that floated around a lot between my friends, it’s a much funnier take on this:
Military spouses want to be treated just like any other friend of yours. Because they are.