After spending any amount of time in the military world you learn the different dynamics of wives. There are going to be wives in the military who believe that wives serve just as much as their husbands do. Some of these women will hold themselves to a higher standard because of the rank their husband has. On the flip side I have met women who will not even call themselves a “Marine Wife” because they feel they do not deserve it. “I did not go through boot camp so I should not wear that title”. Women who, when thanked for their husbands service do not want to be thanked as because they are not the ones serving. To each their own, but I wanted to dig into these opposing sides a little deeper.
Many military wives get married right after high school. The men leave and what do the men do before they leave? They propose. Before I go too much further I just want to say not every wife is this way, every story is different. I am writing on what I have observed. I did get married young, I got married when I was 19. However I did move out on my own before I got married. I did get some real world experience before I dove into wife hood. I am not saying there is a right or wrong way to do things. I know a couple that got married right out of high school and they have a beautiful marriage. But with that being said, some of the women that got married out of high school never really left that mind set. I believe that is where a lot of this “drama” can come from.
I do not believe that wives serve just as much as their husbands. The amount of pain, suffering, ridicule, and everything else they go through is nothing that we can even try to understand, as much as we would like to. Is what we go through hard and sometimes sseemingly unbearable? Yes. Is what they go through worse? Yes. There have been times when I have thought on some aspect my husband had it easier. He is surrounded by men going through exactly what he is going through. I on the other hand, I am surrounded by people trying to understand what I am going through. It can be extremely difficult not to have anyone to relate to. But I am surrounded by my friends and family. He is surrounded by maybe a few people he likes but over all people he is forced to get along with. I get to wake up in my own bed. Yes, I have to take care of a household by myself, but how different is that really when they are home. Kidding honey! Well… kinda. I would not want to trade living conditions with him. Do we make a lot of sacrifices? Absolutely. Are they as much as the people serving? Not even close.
I recently just discussed this with a friend, she told me she hated it when people thanked her for her service. I was taken aback, I love it when people go out of their way to appreciate the sacrifices I make. I received the comment ” I do not serve, he does. I support my husband and that is my job. I should not be thanked for that”. Which I completely understand, but then I thought of all the wives that do not have that mind set. The wives that dishonor their husbands when they leave. Marriage isn’t always easy, making a marriage work over long distance is arduous work. Do I need to be thanked by a stranger? No, my husband shows me that gratitude. Do I appreciate it? Absolutely. My husband and I came to the conclusion that the best way someone could phrase it is to, “Thank your husband for his service and thank you and your family for your sacrifice”.
I started to think about that though, should we tell someone how to compliment or show us gratitude? Another point I brought up was that we do not know what is going on in other people’s lives. I have had days where a thank you like that truly makes me get through the day. I would not want to discourage someone from thanking the next military wife they see by correcting them. That next wife could be a mother that is having to play the role of a singe mother while her husband is serving our country. If you want to talk about sacrifice, what I go through is nothing compared to that. I do not want to deprive a wife of getting that thank you because it could be what gets her through that day, week, month, or even deployment.
I have a decent amount of military in my family, so I ran these ideas by them to see their input. My uncle was in the Air Force for two years, he told me he can not stand when people thank him. He only served for two years and feels he did not do his part enough to be thanked. I talked to my husband, he does not like being thanked either. Yes he is deployed but he is not on the front lines and still feels he is not doing his part. There are men who risked their lives for our country, who still do not want to be thanked because they saw their friend die in combat, someone who would willingly pay the ultimate price for our country in his friends place, believed he did not do enough.
Does that mean we should not thank them? I do not believe so. They might have a story as to why they do not want to be thanked, ask them that story. Them having someone to talk to about what they have gone through could mean more than any thank you.