I'm late to this one -- a week late is right on time for me, my wife might say -- but a post on the subject of military spouses from milblogger CDR Salamander caught my eye last week and I thought it was worth sharing.
The original piece he writes about, "A ‘Temporary’ Boyfriend Deploys", from the girlfriend of a deploying soldier, is the type that brings out strong opinions from the military community. However, I found myself more drawn to his appreciation of his own wife. I like the reminder from a veteran of exactly how a supportive military spouse made life easier.
I never had to worry about what was happening at home. All was secured to my rock. I was able to focus on my mission and my Sailors - because I had not a single worry behind me. That blessing is one you can't put a price on because it is priceless.I know my wife isn't always able to tell me how much my hard work means to her. It would actually be kinda strange if she ran straight from the bridge to send me an email that said "I had a safe and successful watch today because I didn't have to think of you or our child even once! Thanks babe!"
But she does tell me that knowing that I'm holding down the fort helps her "compartmentalize" her job from her home life, so that her work gets the 100 percent of her attention it requires. We don't like to think that we're not always on the minds of our loved ones especially. But in a way, that is what we're trying to accomplish in the role of military spouse - make the home front worry free, so that the mission gets 100 percent of their attention.
Of course, not everyone has the same luxury:
I've seen people put themselves and their Sailors in danger because they were distracted by people at home who just decided that they and their need for drama was more important than anyone else in the world.…and as we've seen recently and publicly, these days that drama can end up splashed across a blog or Facebook.
It seems mysterious, even to some of my military friends, that my wife and I communicate so rarely -- as an officer, I could talk to her at work a lot more often than I do. Truth is, I can always tell when she's still in "Navy mode" and not really "there." I have no desire to talk to the officer, I want to talk to my wife.
I know that an unexpected phone call or a string of drama-filled "WHERE ARE YOU?" emails will distract her from her sailors and her mission, so it's best for all of us not to talk at all until I can have her full attention. I like that we're secure enough in our relationship that we don't have to talk every day or even every week; after all, that's the life we expected when she joined the Navy.
Are there times you NEED to talk about something, but avoid bringing it up to your spouse, because you know they don't need the additional stress? How do you compensate when being your servicemember's support system leaves you without your own?