21 Military Spouses Tell Us What We'd Never Guess About Their Lives
"Homecomings are more than just videos that pop up on your newsfeed."
1. "I wish people knew that as military spouses, we serve, too."
2. "It's hard to make longlasting friendships. The worst thing is finally finding your soulmate friend...only to find out one of you is moving in a few months."
3. "Homecomings are more than just videos that pop up on your newsfeed and bring you to tears. We are families that have been separated for weeks, months, maybe even years, who have to readjust to each other."
4. "The military is the third person in your marriage."
5. "I'm not just a military spouse. I have a career I'm proud of, hobbies I love, and interests that don't revolve around my marital status. Don't diminish me into a side note in MY OWN STORY just because I married a man in the military."
6. "Military spouses have an unemployment rate FOUR TIMES HIGHER than the national average because often employers think we are uneducated, lazy or won't hire us because we might have to move."
7. "No, we didn't always know what we were getting into. And even if we thought we did, the military is constantly changing. So don't look down on a spouse who is struggling with things — there's a constant battle between the life we want to live and the life the military gives us."
8. "Sometimes the drama with other military wives can be worse than high school!"
9. "I wish non-military families would try to appreciate some of the small things they take for granted. My friends complain when their spouses are an hour late getting home from work...while I sit in my empty home with my spouse overseas."
10. "PTSD can happen to a military spouse, too. The nightmares, the constant worry, the irrational panic — even though they are home — are all real and should NOT go ignored."
11. "Saying goodbye never gets easier."
12. "There are things about their jobs that we'll never know and things we can't talk about."
13. "The divorce rate in the military is extraordinarily high."
14. "We are diverse! There are male military spouses, dual-military couples, and with the end of 'don't ask, don't tell', there are more openly gay couples than ever."
15. "Don't feel sorry for me. Ask if I need help. Offer to babysit for a day so I can get out for a few blissful hours. But don't feel sorry for me."
16. "When our spouses deploy to combat, they often come home a new person. Having compassion for them is key."
17. "It's really hard to discuss relationship issues with your spouse because, since you don't get to see them often, you live in a honeymoon-like stage to make the best out of the little time you do get together."
18. "It's hard on us, but it can be even harder on the kids."
19. "A lot of people don't know about the 'deployment curse.' Every single time he's deployed, within a week of him leaving, something breaks! Last time it was the fridge, this time it's the car. I don't know what it will be next time, but it's bound to happen."
20. "We often have to experience life's big moments alone. My husband and I struggled with infertility, and after five rounds of treatment we finally got pregnant! But he deployed a few months later — so he's missed ultrasounds, feeling the baby move, and watching me grow. I never thought I'd be going through a pregnancy alone, but here I am."
21. "Being a military spouse makes you an incredibly strong person who can fix a broken car, drive across the country solo, pack up an entire house and move by yourself, and make friends with complete strangers."
Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.