Just Do It- Inspiration from a Military Spouse

Carla shares her experience as a USMC spouse and provides inspiration to her fellow military spouses.
Written by Carla Olivo on May 20, 2019
Just Do It- Inspiration from a Military Spouse

Many might say military spouses knew what they were getting into when they married someone in the military. As a mil-spouse myself, I say no one can quite prepare you. Of course, you know your spouse is dedicated to their service and many times that service will come first before you and before family. You know you will move a lot. You may be a single parent at times.

 

But truth be told, nothing can truly prepare you for saying goodbye to your spouse for a year as they head into a war zone. There is an anxiety and at times, fear you really can’t explain. There is no special talk or handbook to guide you when the nightly news is reporting combat casualties.

 

No one can prepare you for those nightmares of the doorbell ringing when your spouse is deployed. You know you can’t live in fear of the doorbell ringing for a year, right?

 

It’s a challenge finding just the right words when your child misses Daddy. How do you dispel their fear when you are gripped with your own dark thoughts?

 

How do you get used to saying goodbye to dear friends and neighbors every couple of years? Frequent military moves can also mean a lot of damage to your personal belongings. How do you prepare yourself for losing a sentimental family heirloom?

 

I’ve had well meaning people say to me, “I don’t know how you do it.” Truth be told, neither do I. You just do it. It is not always easy and certainly not always pretty. I’ve mishandled situations on numerous occasions but when I need to be strong, I am. When this military life hits one of my kids particularly hard, I’m there. When my husband needs my support, he can count on me. When I need to be both Mom and Dad, I figure out a way.

The ‘whys’ are numerous. You do it because your spouse would want you to. You do it because your kids need you to. You do it because it is your way of serving. The ‘hows’ are always a bit more complex.

I’ve learned a lot over the two decades I’ve spent as a military spouse. I’ve learned I can’t do it all and I don’t have to. I now know that it’s important to take care of myself, so when I’m needed, I can take care of others. I’ve learned not to compare my journey with that of other mil-spouses. Everyone has hurdles to jump and situations which test their strength. It just doesn’t always look the same from the outside. And most importantly, I’ve learned it’s ok to ask for help. I’m still working on this one!

As a military spouse I would never expect any thanks or even praise. Although, people are very generous often thanking me when they thank my husband for his service. It is appreciated. There are many nasty debates on social media about mil-spouses, calling them everything from “dependas” to “gold diggers” which I find quite sad. Most of the mil-spouses I know are just as educated and accomplished as their husbands. And many times, if these women are not quite as accomplished as their husbands, it’s because their own careers were cut short or drastically affected due to their husband’s military commitment.

 

Military spouses understand all too well the sacrifices their better halves make to ensure our freedom.

Most mil-spouses I know would ask you to just hold them in your thoughts and your prayers so the next hurdle they face, whether it’s a long separation, a move to a remote location, or the dreaded knock at the door, they’ll be able to just ‘do it’ with grace and strength.