What bothers me most about these bumper stickers, T-shirts, and anything else that says this, is the idea that we, as spouses, have done something phenomenally more than our service member. The last time I checked, my husband deployed twice and I sat on my butt eating all the good snacks while he was gone. Was is stressful for me? Yes. Was it hard at times? Yes. Do we face unique challenges in this lifestyle? Absolutely. I don’t care what your spouse does in the military, they have tough jobs filled with stress. And I guarantee you that the stress I felt while my husband was deployed was nothing compared to what he was doing.
I promise you that every time he’s out in the field, and everything goes wrong at home (because there is some unspoken rule that it will), I still don’t have it worse.
I am not the one sleeping on the ground, hugging my gun, in the freezing snow. I’m not disabling IED’s, being shot at, manning a ship out at sea, training attack dogs, or any number of other dangers and/or stressful and terribly amazing things that our service members do. So, there is no conceivable way that I, the spouse, has the toughest job.
This type of attitude towards our service members and what they do is astounding to me. The very thought that I would have the nerve to feel that way would lead my husband (who’s never hit a woman in his life) to smack me across face without a second thought. We offer tremendous support to our spouses, we offer wonderful things to help them along, but, chances are, they would be serving our country with or without us.
My husband was a Marine before we met, and married or not, he would have deployed, he would still be serving, he would continue to move up rank and do all of the other amazing things he has done in the Corps. His service is not dependent on me being home taking care of things. In fact, me being at home, does absolutely nothing other than give him love and support. And that is true of a spouse no matter what your better half does for a living. Accountant, police officer, life guard or military service member, it doesn’t really matter. A spouse offers love, support, pride and faith in their spouse. And while I’m proud of him and happy to offer him love and support in his military career, I have no delusion that I can say I’ve done anything more awesome than that.
We spouses love our service members. But we are a support system. That is all. I actually heard a spouse today say, “If it wasn’t for me doing all the hard work that I do, then he wouldn’t be able to do his job.” And while I deeply appreciate all that we take on so that our spouses don’t have to and I understand how hard that can be at times, they are perfectly capable of doing their jobs without us. I know absolutely nothing about my husbands MOS. I would be of no use to him out there, and the last time I checked, I wasn’t his assistant or a person in his unit, which means, if anything, I would be hindering his ability to do his job. And his ability to lead his men, is not dependent on my being at home doing his laundry and walking the dogs.
So, love your service member with all you’ve got. Stand by them. Have pride in what they do and support them, but don’t belittle their service and all they do by having the misguided perception that what you do is tougher. We are the support, but the military will keep running without all of us spouses because it’s the service members that are the true backbone.
I wouldn’t be a military spouse if it weren’t for my husband, but he’s a Marine married or not.