Military Wives: The Need to be Flexible and Forgiving

I am part of the 1%: I am a military wife. If you know anything about military life, then you know I am not part of that 1%, the wealthy. No one gets rich from being in the military.

Ok, maybe it’s a higher percentage, but I’m not so sure.

What does it look like, and feel like, to be a military wife, some have asked me, so I thought I’d take a moment to jot it down, while it’s fresh on my mind.

A military wife is often the invisible support of a military member, while being the least considered when arrangements are made for the military member to be sent somewhere far away. We are never asked if it’s a good time, are never included in the planning, do not get to call in sick from our supportive duties, and we are on a permanent volunteer basis as part of the support system that helps things remain operational, so we never get a raise or bonus. Our health is not a consideration, our careers are not a priority, and our owned homes and belongings are expendable. Our lives are often littered with a smattering of being both parents while our loved one is deployed or on a temporary assignment, and moving, sometimes at just a moment’s notice.

Arguments are often non-existent when our husband is about to be sent somewhere, or we argue more often than usual, as we struggle to balance fear of what could happen with the responsibility of holding down the fort, alone.

We manage household finances, everyday life, meals and children, expertly, and many times with minimal or no support or help.

We celebrate anniversaries, holidays and birthdays alone, over the phone/webcam, or late. We hug our children extra hard, kiss their boo-boo’s for 2, and comfort our children when they wake up in the middle of the night crying, because they miss their daddy.

We plan birthday parties and special events to take our kids’ minds off of their dad not being there, and we plan surprise homecoming parties or events to maximize the relief and excitement of our beloved American hero returning back home to us.

This lifestyle has tamed me and shaped me into a responsible, appreciative wife and mom, and even through the disappointments, cancelled plans, and struggles with making ends meet, I would not trade this life, right now, for anything.

I’ll check back in with you all after my retirement and our transition back into the civilian lifestyle. 😉

Do You Like Your Husband?

My husband loves video and computer games. I mean, he Loves them. I have often struggled with thinking if he had to choose between them and me, they would win out, hands down. I have tested him on this theory, and he has failed. He Refuses to just stop playing and let his character die. I mean, he tells me when I nit-pick about the lack of modesty many game women are created to display, “Those are just pixels. That isn’t real, it doesn’t mean anything.” But, he still refuses to let them die, so, yes, it does mean something. It means he has chosen them over me, in my mind.

In the past, you wouldn’t believe the arguments we have had, the times I have fumed in silence, or even the time I took all of his x-box games and put ransom notes in each one. Once he paid the ransom, time with me minus the x-box between us, time with the kids, then he could have that particular game back. Well, he was IRATE when I did that. It hurt that he was so angry, but I finally stood my ground: I was angry too, and why was his anger more important or justified than my own?

We worked through that, but it wasn’t easy, until he realized I was right, and I was justified.

We have had a few different things we haven’t seen eye-to-eye on. Some things, like disciplining the kids, we had an early-on parenting class about, so we discussed and came into agreement before those “heat of the moment” times. We had a marriage clase, well, we took that one twice, early on in our marriage, so that has been a foundation we have relied on continually over the 14 years we have been married.

I have the benefit of having a failed marriage in my own past, and I learned what not to do, and what not to make a big deal of, because of that prior abusive marriage. I appreciate things about my husband that I would not have appreciated, because I experienced far worse. It helps me keep things in a proper perspective.

I have learned how to like my husband, while not liking what he is doing. That has not been an easy process, and it did not happen over night.

I spent many days and nights on my face before God, crying, begging God to please change my husband. For the first 5 years of our marriage, that was me, behind closed doors. I didn’t understand his unwillingness to give up something that was creating a wedge between us. So, I asked God to please help him stop.

Instead, God changed me. But, I had to let God change me. I had to stop judging my husband. I had to stop trying to be his Holy Spirit, thinking I knew what was in his best interest. I had to swallow my pride and indignation, and start enjoying my husband’s first-loved hobby with him.

Yes, I became a “gamer”. Well, I don’t play much anymore, for various reasons, but now I can show respect to my husband, because now I have gained understanding.

Being transformed into a wife of understanding was not an easy, fun process. I had to lay down my desire to judge him, I had to lay down what I would have rather spent my time doing, I had to learn how to enjoy playing something that I personally did not value putting my time into.

I had to want a deeper, more intimate connection with my husband that he had not worked to try to have with me.

It hurt, but I did have fun. I felt guilty for having fun, at first, because of pride, because of judgement, because I felt frustrated that it seemed I had to do all the work to try to make that deeper connect with him, and I thought it was just a waste of time.

Fast forward to 14+ years later. I have gained a new respect for my husband and his hobby. I have an understanding not only of my husband, but how God often directs my husband to interact with others who have a common love for his hobby, people he probably wouldn’t get along with otherwise, or have a reason to talk to. I have a new “language” with my husband, and now my kids who have willingly embraced his hobby (imagine that, kids loving playing games), that I would have been left out of had I not taken part and built that connection with him.

I have fallen in love with the person my husband is, and not just fallen into the humdrum pattern marriage often falls into. I really like my husband, I like how God made him, I sincerely appreciate him.

If there were anything I would want to pass on to others as a type of legacy, it would be this: take the time, make the sacrifice to get to really know your husband.
He will surprise you, and you will win his heart and his affection if you lay your life down to take up his. Jesus said, “Greater love has no man except he lays down his life for a friend.”

Is your husband your friend, your first and best friend? Mine is, and now I am happily content.