I have lived my life inside the bubble of the military community. Going from Air Force brat to Army wife was a relatively smooth transition when it came to the alphabet soup, but there were a lot of hard-core lessons that came with being a military spouse.
Sometimes living inside that bubble we forget that other people don’t live life like us, and sometimes those unspoken truths that seem so normal to us are never seen by our friends and family.
To pop the bubble, so to speak – here are 7 unspoken truths about being a military spouse.
7 Unspoken Truths About Being A Military Spouse
We Speak The Jargon
Just like our spouses who are in the military, we pick up a lot of jargon and we tend to speak in this alphabet soup language.
So much so that we forget other people don’t understand it. They don’t know what we mean when we say we can schedule an event next Friday because it’s an SDO, or when we say our spouse is TDY. So we find ourselves explaining what we mean a lot!
We Say the Words “I Don’t Know” A Lot
People think that because we are the spouse we should know everything, but this is not the case. I have no idea where he is, when he is coming home or when he is leaving again. Our lives can be very confusing because of this, but we just roll with it and we are ready to go at a moment’s notice.
People Say Dumb Stuff To Us, A LOT
Whether they are asking if our spouse has ever killed anyone or if this is their last deployment, we experience varying degrees of dumb questions and comments on a weekly basis. Some are really offensive and hurtful. Some make us cry, but after a while we become thick-skinned and we just roll our eyes a lot.
Death Is A Common Conversation In Our Marriages
Before every deployment we sit down and discuss funeral preferences and wills. Our spouses show us videos of drone strikes and artillery in the field and we grow used to it. We get phone calls several times a year about community members who have died.
Our Gold Star families are held in the highest respect, for they have lost their loved one in service to the military.
Several times each deployment, someone has called me to ask if the helicopter that went down was my husband’s, and I have had to wait as patiently as possible by the phone – and front door – to find out. We talk about these things every day, and we find ourselves talking about it like we were discussing a trip to the grocery store. This freaks some people out, but we have to find a certain comfort level with it, so we don’t fall apart.
We Sometimes Feel Lonely
This life can be incredibly lonely. We feel lonely when our friends who have no affiliation with the military don’t understand our lives. We feel lonely when we move 1,600 miles from home.
We find ourselves feeling very very lonely when our best friend – our spouse – is gone and we cannot communicate with them very well for months at a time.
The best way people can help with this is to communicate with us and visit us often, offer help (and follow through!), and just listen, even if they don’t understand.
Some People Attack Us
There is this really offensive term, dependapotomus, that gets thrown around in the military community a lot these days. It is supposed to describe military spouses who are lazy and mooching off their service member.
Instead it is often used to attack any military spouse that speaks up for themselves, confesses weakness, carries a Coach bag, stays at home with the kids, has an “Army Wife” sticker or a series of other totally innocent things that a certain group of people have deemed worthy of judgement.
Sometimes we try to avoid doing these things, but mostly we keep our chins held high and ignore the haters, because we know they are just immature bullies.
They are the minority in the military community. At the end of the day, most members of our community are very tight-knit. We will go to bat for each other. We will provide a shoulder or a guest bed to each other at a moment’s notice.
We are, after all, the only ones that understand each other, and we have to band together.
Some People Thank Us
It equally warms my heart and confuses me when people thank me for my service. I will always answer, “Oh, I haven’t done anything,” with a rueful shake of my head and smile, “But thank you for the sentiment.”
I’m not in the military. I just married the love of my life and he happened to be in the military.
The fact that someone recognizes that I have made sacrifices for this military life though, I appreciate immensely.
Sometimes our lives are a little strange. It may seem like we speak a different language, but in general we are just trying to live normal lives with spouses that have abnormal jobs.
Many of us are either military brats, dual-service couples, or we’ve been married to service members for such a long time that it is hard to remember that some people might not see us as “normal.”