I am going to try very hard not to come off rude or snarky in this one. However, I apologize in advance if it comes across that way. But do try and see things from my perspective, on how hard it would be to hear some of these things while your husband is away. I get that most of these comments are coming from a caring and concerned place but that is not necessarily how it comes across to us wives. If you have said one or two or all of these things to me or another military spouse no hard feelings. That is why I am writing this anyway, to help others see how harmful words can be. All of these are things I have been told or other wives close to me have been told.
1. Ask us questions about our husbands deployment
I understand that you have questions, trust me I do too. I am not legally allowed to share any information about where my husband is, how long he will be there, things he is doing ect. It is a huge safety issue. There are many women who have gotten their husbands in serious trouble because of information that have shared via social media. I get it, you hear someone is deployed and your first response is wanting to know when, where, why, how long. But we can not share that for the safety of our men.
2. When will he be home?
Again, I understand you are curious but we can not legally share that information. I don’t even have that information. You would not believe how unbelievably frustrating it is to be counting down days but not having a day to count down to. Then on top of that have everyone ask you multiple times a day “When is you husband coming home?” . Hell if I know honestly.
3. When are you going to visit him/why didn’t you go with him?
I am still surprised how often I get asked this. Just because my husband is not in the middle-east does not mean I can just go with him. You would never ask a wife who’s husband was in Afghanistan when she was going to visit her husband so why are you asking me? A deployment is a deployment. No ifs ands or buts.
4. My husband loves me so much he would never leave me like that
I met my husband fresh out of boot camp, I didn’t necessarily have a say. But for the wives who knew their husbands before, that does not mean their husbands do not love them. In fact our husbands love us so much they are willing to risk everything for OUR country. The interesting thing is mine and my husbands marriage has only grown stronger through all of our separation. It’s incredible what a marriage can go through once it has gotten through a deployment.
5. I wish my husband would leave for a while, separation must be so nice
Opposite view point of the previous but still wrong none the less. I would not wish spouses being apart for six months -usually more- on anyone. Is it nice to not clean up after two people, only do laundry for one, getting to watch the Kardashians all day everyday? Yes, absolutely. Is it worth getting up and going to bed without your spouse, going months without physical connection, rarely getting to talk to them? Hell no. If you seriously need a break from your husband like that you might want to invest in a counselor, not tell a military wive you wish you had her deployment.
6. Must be nice not to work/ have a bunch of money/free health care
This is such a huge misconception about the military, everyone thinks we are rich or something. Before I start this, I am very grateful for my husbands job and the benefits it brings. Its just not what everyone thinks. My husband and his buddies actually calculated it one day, it came out to about $3/hour . That is roughly about what the men and women make for serving our country. Most people think that us wives do not work. First off many of us to. Second, a lot of us are stay at home moms -which is definitely a full-time job-. Lastly, it can be very hard to hold a job if you are moving every couple years or so. Now I do not want to get into a huge political debate because I know health care is a hot topic right now but we do not get free health care. Money is taken from their paychecks to go into health care and we still have copays on most things. Yes it definitely is cheaper, but you know what they say. You get what you pay for.
Again I am not complaining, I just do not want people to think our lives are so much more extravagant than they are.
7. It could be worse
If you really want to get my blood to boil say that to me. ” Deployment could be longer” “Just think of what things were like before technology” “At least you get to talk to him” “At least he’s not being shot at” “He could be in the middle-east” I understand all of those things, but saying that is not going to make things better. I am not going to miss him less. What’s terrible is that when I do talk about what I am going through I always end it with “I know it could be worse” because too many people have said that to me.
8. It will go by so fast, he will be home before you know it pissing you off and you will be wishing he was back on deployment
It actually does not go by fast. I swear time moves slower. I remember back to our first separation and I went out for a weekend to visit him; the time leading up to it dragged on and on and on but that weekend was gone in the blink of an eye. Time is relative. It has only been about a month and I already feel like it should be over already.
9. My husband just got home from a business trip so I totally know what you are going through
I understand you are trying to help but I beg of you, please do not under any circumstances compare your husband’s week long business trip to a deployment. A week is very different than multiple months, not only that but there are women who’s husbands are in the line of fire and getting this comment. Then if you factor in time difference, for those of us who do get to talk to our husbands. Again I understand you are trying to help but don’t.
10. Well you married him so…
I saved the best for last, the comment that sparked this post. I asked someone close to me to pray for my family because my husband was deployed, his response was ” Well you married him” . I do not think we choose who we fall in love with, I happened to fall in love with a man that came with a difficult life in store for us. I understand I was more than aware of what I was getting myself into. that does not mean I don’t need prayers. Would you tell a wife who just lost her fire fighter husband in a fire that? Or a husband who never gets to see his wife that is a nurse because she works twelve our shifts?
I know that was a lot of what not to say. What you can absolutely say to a spouse is that you love them. That you will be there for them. That you appreciate their husbands service and their families sacrifice. That they are always in your prayers or thoughts or however you roll. Those are kind words any spouse would love to hear.