Over the years, we've received numerous comments and emails from service members who say they read SpouseBUZZ to get a sense of what their spouses are going through on the homefront. We've featured two guest posts here on SpouseBUZZ submitted by soldiers. One was by none other than LTG William Caldwell. Another was from a soldier who shared his side of the reintegration process. Today, we're featuring another guest post submitted by a soldier. I think it will melt your heart. SpouseBUZZ is a place for military spouses, so naturally our focus is on the homefront. But it's refreshing to hear firsthand accounts of what our spouses are thinking and feeling.
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This is my third deployment, nothing big there most, of the guys over here are in the same boat. In this deployment, I have the great misfortune of being a Fobbit and although there are many who want to be a Fobbit, I am not one. This is a mixed blessing though, for it gave me a chance to think over many aspects of my marriage and life with my wife.
Getting home is the sweetest thing in the world to me. It is the bliss of being away from this land of concrete, dust, mud and sun and back home where I belong. Those weeks after the homecoming are incredible. My wife goes out of her way to make things better for me, we are physical, and relearning all the reasons why we got married in the first place. From the moment I leave on deployment, I can think of nothing more than the sweet, tear filled, homecoming in the distant future.
After I have been home for a while, the same old arguments will come up. I always get the same answer from my wife: “I have told you a thousand times”. For the most part, I am a fairly smart man. I can assault an objective with little or no thought, I can execute a hasty TCP in a heartbeat, but when it comes to my wife I am completely lost. I have been told a thousand times? What did I miss? Oh man, I am in trouble now…
Being a Fobbit this deployment has given me ample time to think about this. I might be dense when it comes to how to deal with women, most specifically my wife. I think have stumbled on what I have been told a thousand times. I wish I could say it was from some great illumination or amazing insight but more probably it was just blind luck.
I never thought about her issues with the kids, the house, the bills, or day to day life without the man she chose to be the father of her children. All I could focus on was the pain of being separated from her for extended times, the sheer boredom of combat deployments, injected with the incredible highs of adrenaline. When I got the chance to talk to her, I would complain about the heat, this and that, but not consider the issues she was having at home. I would trivialize them in my own mind because she was at home and that was where I wanted to be. How could it be as bad as being the one deployed? I am not callous but sometimes I am pretty dense.
Somewhere around the middle of this deployment I realized my entire phone conversations with her were not about how I missed her or how great she was doing with the baby and the teenager. No, we were talking about how hot it gets inside of a CHU if the power goes out, how boring it is here and how tired I was. In fact this is how I started every conversation: “Hey, How you doing”, she would ask, to which my response was always “Tired”.
I am supposed to be the strong one; I am supposed to be her support. How self centered of me not to take into consideration the trials and tribulations she has to face every day. I know the reality of daily operations over here, she does not. I know how unlikely it is for a mortar or rocket to hit but she does not. What must be going through her head when I suddenly yell on the phone that I have to go and hang up without so much as an “I love you”? What fears race up her spine at the sudden change in demeanor and attitude of her husband?
Not only is she keeping up the house, the kids, the bills, the cars, the cats, the yard, school work, soccer games, my mom (mom has many health issues), living in a country far from her family, and the horrors of Wal-mart on any given day. She is dealing the ever present threat of the dreaded “Visit” or phone call. My God, what strength she must have. How can I trivialize someone who should be my role model?
It dawned on me, I am not the foundation of our marriage; she is the rock. She is my strength. Through it all, she has been there for me. She listened to me complain and said nothing. She dealt with issues which would bury me, as a matter of course. I can only hope to make it up to her for dealing with such a dense man over these long eight years.
The answer was as plain as the nose on my face and hidden just as well! I have a lot of making up to do when I get home. How on earth does one repay the selflessness of a military spouse? Money cannot buy anything nice enough; words cannot express my gratitude. All I have is my humble thanks.