Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dear New Military Wife..or Military Wife To Be....

On Facebook, I am a member of a group that is military spouses.

I'm going to unsub myself because it is just ridiculous. Women ask hard questions and the majority of the answers that they get are totally selfish and a step down the road to divorce.

I cringe whenever I get brave enough to read the newest thread. And occasionally I get brave enough to go against the crowd and answer with a different voice....but not too often.

What in the world am I talking about??

Well, I don't want to really bring in specifics as I don't want to point to any one or more persons and say LOOK AT WHAT SHE SAID!!!!

So, for those young military mothers or spouses to be....

1. Your husband will be gone. Alot. And you might even make it ten years without this happening...and one day you will turn around and a good year will be the one where he was home more than he was away. This is the post 9/11 military. If you are not good with this DO NOT marry a military man. He has NO CONTROL over this for the most part. Taking it out on him is wrong, unfair and a divorce waiting to happen. Forcing him to leave the service because you don't like it is selfish and a step in a very wrong direction.

2. If you choose to be a stay at home mom, that is great. It is also your JOB. If you were to go into an interview to start back to work when the kids return to school -- and your resume was how well you kept your house, your kids, dinner on the table, your husband and your attitude....etc.....Would you get the job?

3. Your husband will look at you being a stay-at-home like it was a job. See above. He believes in you. He believes in why you stay home. He makes it possible. Do not repay this trust with a disaster of a house, no dinner on the table, kids that are not properly parented and a bad attitude and kids shoved into his face the minute he comes home. You will be fired. Bank on it.

4. If you want to work outside the home, that is great. Do realize that when your husband is deployed, it will be 100% you getting the kids up, fed, out the door, all appointments, dinner and other meals, and to bed at a decent hour. Many women do it. Do not take this out on your husband as he has NO CONTROL over his deployments. Get help if you need it. Hire a maid. Do not suffer in silence until he returns and then unload on him.

5. Very important. DO NOT TURN TO SHOPPING TO FILL THE VOID WHEN YOUR HUSBAND IS GONE ALL THE TIME. Debt can destroy his career. It happens all the time. It destroys marriages all the time. It is too easy to let it get out of hand and he WILL pay for it and be hauled in front of his Commander for it. People get discharged for it. THEN how are you going to pay off those bills?

6. Your kids are going to suffer because daddy is gone all the time. Did you get that? Your kids are going to suffer because daddy is gone all the time. It is a given. It sucks. It is NOT your husbands fault. The military does not care beyond some token services provided at some bases. Each child will be affected in a different way - but there are consequences for these absences. Be pro-active and get your kids any help they might need. And this could look different for each child involved. Some might even need professional help. There is no shame in this. Just do it. Suck it up and do the right thing....you are partially responsible for being married into the military - so don't take it all out on dad.

7. As a mother, the kids ARE your responsibility 24 hours a day. There is no time clock. Men tend to be totally confused and resentful when you shove their children in their face the minute they walk in the door and rant about how awful or hard your day was. From the beginning, be sure to have an understanding with your husband on some alone time for mom. Ideally you will also make a standing date time for the two of you with NO kids. (And a date does not have to cost money.) Talk it out. Find what works for you -- and it shouldn't be the minute he walks in the door. He needs time to decompress from his job. You know, the one that actually pays the rent and puts that food in the fridge? And if you both work, make sure you come up with some kind of divide and conquer routine on who is doing what so one partner does not get stuck doing it all. You have to actually talk this over and make a plan - assuming he's being a jerk by not jumping in and taking the kids while you handle dinner is not going to get you anything but worked up and mad. TALK about it.

8. If you are a stay-at-home, don't let yourself fall into the "I work harder at home, than he does as work" mentality. In a way that could be true.....but you are NOT providing for the family...he is. You are not paying the rent. He is. You are not buying the food. He is. You are not providing the medical coverage. He is. And most importantly -- he did not choose to stay home...you did. If you are resentful being at home, go to work. It's not better for your kids to see a grumpy housewife that harps on her husband or teaches her kids how to be resentful by modeling it...being happy outside the home is much healthier for them. And if you work and feel this way - TALK about it. Men actually do not read minds and are happy to fall into the old fashioned idea of dad walking in and sitting in front of the tv or whatever. Don't enable them.

9. Military wives can be the most brutal bunch of women you ever come in contact with. It's not a tv show. You will run across the working moms that think the stay-at-homes are scum of the earth, beaten down slaves. You will have the stay-at-homes that return the favor. You will have women who call in any infractions they can just to get people in trouble. And that is a big one as nothing like it occurs in civilian life as they are not micro-managed in the same way military families are.

10. Military wives can be the most caring, supportive and amazing women you will ever come in contact with. They love hard and they love fast...because no one knows what tomorrow brings. They stick together in adverse situations. They step in quicker than most other women when bad things happen. They can also be a little harder to get to know for all the same reasons...you just never know what is going to happen. But once you have made a true friend of a military wife...chances are it will be FOR LIFE. No matter the miles. No matter how many years pass.

This is a hard job ladies -- whether you work or stay home.

And let me qualify a few points....

A clean house is subjective. I will never win any cleanliness awards...but I'm not embarrassed for someone to drop in for a surprise visit. And toddler mess never counts as a true mess...its more like a temporary explosion to be dealt with AFTER the little whirlwind is asleep. So, when I say to look at being a stay at home like a job -- I don't mean you have to be spotless. I don't mean you have to be perfect in any way. You just need to show that you can MANAGE those things you are in charge of...and not that there is NO management or they manage you.

Dinner means different things to different people. I'm a believer in home cooked, fresh meals for my family's current and future health -- but again, that can be subjective. If your husband is walking in the door after work and wanting a meal....most times it should be available. If he doesn't care - more power to you. A frozen pizza is a meal. Some men like to do the cooking and don't expect dinner on the table. Whatever your dynamics are, as long as you are both in agreement, you are on the right track. Again, its all about the managing of the details.

The kids? Be on the same page. You don't have to agree 100% in order to provide a united front. You just have to know to parent WITH your partner, not against him.

If you read any books on how to understand men, you will find that the number one thing they need from their wife is to feel like they are important and worthy. They need our respect. Need. If we aren't giving them this, you won't last. They need to feel like you need/want them. If we can't give them that we had better do some serious soul searching. Things will eventually implode if you don't get this worked out.

And tearing down their job? One of the biggest marriage killers there is. Because they are programmed to be the provider. You make them feel like a less than in this area and it will hurt.

And the military will give you all kinds of reasons to rant and rave about his job.

Be careful.

Be very, very careful.

And if you are going to spend all your time focusing on whats in it for you.....you want to stay far far away from the military. It will never be about you. It will never be about your kids.

It will always be about improvising


and overcoming.....

Together. Side by side. In agreement. Supporting each other. Sacrificing for each other when necessary. COMMUNICATING expectations to each other. And being each others biggest fan.

That's what you need to make it through being married to a military man.


  1. As an adendum: The grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence. Being a single mom is hard. It sucks. Don't go there. Being married to military, even with all of the negatives Autumn just pointed out, is better than going it alone.

  2. Your honesty is refreshing! Thank you for this post Autumn.

  3. Amen, Sister! All very biblical principles to be applied to ANY marriage.

  4. Very True. It is also true in all jobs and walks of life. I am married to the military and my husbands civilian job. The grass is not greener or better just has different challenges. If you follow what God has designed and taught for a biblical marriage you will be better than ok!

  5. I was a military wife for 4 years and I can say amen to all of your points! Excellent post.

  6. Especially #3- applicable to all of us!!