I'm an active-duty spouse, so I can't totally relate to how the other half lives. Although we can -- and do -- connect on many levels, there are differences. I found this email from a National Guard wife to be very interesting:
I would love to see a post talking about spouses like me. I live with guilt on a daily basis. It's a guilt few people can or will understand. My civilian friends get it least of all, but even my military friends struggle to understand.
You see, DH is in the National Guard.
Guardsmen, especially those with his MOS, commonly stay in the same unit throughout their careers. This means the soldiers get especially close as they watch each other go from 18 to retirement, through marriages and divorces, parenthood and even grandparenthood. And when a spouse gets involved with the unit, she (sometimes he) gets close, too. DH's unit has deployed twice now. DH hasn't deployed at all. The first time he had a medical condition that prevented him from going and this time the Army wouldn't let him. I'm sure most folks have a pretty good handle on how he feels about not going, but what no one ever talks about is how the spouse feels when his/her soldier doesn't deploy. The feelings are so very complex, I'm not sure just labeling them "guilt" really describes them.
First you have the sympathy for your soldier. He wants to go with his people and you love him enough to want him to have what he wants. Then there's the relief. Your soldier isn't going into a war zone. And the worry. Your friends ARE going into a war zone and the person you trust the most in the entire world won't be there to help keep them safe. And the guilt. Your friends' wives have to go through the sacrifice and you don't have to take your turn. Civilians will never understand. I get that. There have to be other military wives out there who understand, though. Surely, I'm not the only person in the world with these horrible conflicting emotions? I would love to hear from someone else who lives with this and how they manage their feelings.