Even though the military is a huge part of my life, I rarely talk about it or post about it on my personal blog. There are a lot of topics surrounding military life that can be controversial – but if I’m being honest, the reason I don’t talk about it frequently is because it is one of the hardest things I have ever dealt with. Instead of complaining about anything, I just avoid the topic altogether.
As I type this, Ryan & I find ourselves at the end of his military career. He has served for 8 years, moved a ton of times and deployed to Afghanistan for our country. There are certainly things that Ryan will miss about serving, but I know that we are both overjoyed to be starting the next chapter of our lives. We just welcomed a little baby girl into our family and we are so excited to see what God has planned for our future outside of the Army.
I do want to say that the Army offers a wonderful career path for a ton of women and men. It has put food on our table, a roof over our heads and given our family amazing opportunities to live in and explore various states. Sometimes I look at our lifestyle and I know I will truly miss parts of my time and experiences as a military spouse. And although there are a number of “perks” you are provided for being in the Army, these things are given to families because of the daily sacrifice they are making.
My only perception of military life pre-marriage was what I had seen in movies and on Army Wives. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. Once we got married, I quickly learned that there was a lot more to being in the Army than staring at my studly husband in his uniform and getting to move to fun new states…
The work hours can be insane – Ryan will leave at 4 or 5am and not come home until 9 or 10pm. Our “time off” isn’t much better. You can’t plan things 100% in the military. We’ve planned trips, just to have them cancelled or postponed.
The Army is not very “family friendly” – Being married is hard on it’s own. It takes commitment, love and a lot of patience. The military deploys people on a daily basis – that is a fact of the organization. But spending months or years apart from your family is not conducive to a good family life. Separation puts a lot of stress on milspouses and children. Am I saying that everyone in the military has a bad family life because of it? Not at all. What is a reality is that having your partner away from you for big chunks of your life is one of the most difficult things to adjust to. A lot falls on the person who is left behind. Being married to someone in the military takes a lot of flexibility, understanding and the ability to be independent and take care of things while your partner is away.
Your spouse has an increased risk of losing their life – While I know it is possible for anyone to fall into harms way on a daily basis, these soldiers are placing themselves in front of people who want to kill them every single day.
I am so proud of everything Ryan has done while serving in the Army. I don’t think that I possess what it takes to ever be in the military myself. I look around at the thousands of other soldiers and families who serve this country and my gratitude and deepest respect goes out to them as well. I think a lot of Americans don’t put a lot of thought into what these people are sacrificing by serving our country…I know I wasn’t really aware until I married a soldier myself.
And while I will be forever honored to have a veteran as a husband, I am so excited about what our future holds outside of the Army. I am looking forward to being able to “plan” again, having more of a set schedule and getting to spend time with my husband and new baby. I will always be grateful that the Army was a chapter in the story of our lives – I learned so much about myself while going through the process. But I will not lie and say I am not excited about closing this chapter and heading on to the next.