About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The challenge of the military spouse

If there's one thing that's certain about life as a military spouse, it's the fact that nothing is for certain. Think about it: those of you who are military spouses...how many times before have your active duty spouses come home and told you that your family was moving to a given location only to have that change? Has there ever been a time when something on the calendar that had been there for months was discarded at the last moment due to the "chain of command"? Ever been told he/she was going to be home for a while only to deploy a few weeks later? As military spouses, we are adaptable by nature simply because we have to be. Nothing is ever really set in stone when it comes to our lives. We learn to roll with the punches and keep moving forward.
This is especially true when it comes to getting involved in a new place after we've moved. Military spouses are faced with the challenge of finding a place to belong, if only for a short period of time. We make friends with other military spouses quite easily because we have a common frame of reference. But what about the people in a given area who are permanent? The truth is finding close friends becomes a lot harder. We have to ask ourselves if we want to allow our emotions to take us from having several acquaintances to calling several people friends. We ask because we know, in the end, we'll be leaving. We are only here for a short period of time. In essence, we're temporary.

This doesn't just pertain to us. People have to decide whether or not they want to invest in us. They know, just as we do, that the time is coming soon when we won't be here any more. Sure, they'll get to know you. But, more times than not, they simply choose not to go too deeply with you because of the possibility of pain that is attached to a goodbye. It is easier to keep a relationship superficial and hold us at arms length rather than to get too close and experience loss.

Living in San Angelo, I know that my time here will come to a definite end at some point in the very near future. Keeping that in mind, I have to ask my self if really going deep with someone in a friendship is worth the pain of loss involved when we move again. I've been privileged to get to know so many people who weren't associated with the military in the 14 years I've been a military spouse. That said, the number of those people that I've met that I would consider deep personal friends is tiny. Finding someone who is willing to risk hurt along with you is, frankly, exceedingly rare.

If there's one thing that I've learned over these past 14 years it's that folks in any given location are happy to get to know you but will nearly always invest in someone who isn't going away in a few years instead of us. Sometimes it comes as a disappointment, other times it comes as no surprise. It's probably the number one reason that military spouses list other military spouses as their closest friends. As I said above, we have a common frame of reference. We understand the each other. We already have so much in common that developing real friendships comes naturally. We rely on each other to get through.
I remember when my wife was deployed to Afghanistan and I lived in Savannah with my folks. I was the only military spouse within miles of where we lived. There was no one around who had a clue what it was like to go through a year long deployment, one where your soldier spouse is in a combat zone and in real danger each and ever day. For 10 months I dealt with the fears and worries of that deployment alone, with no one who could relate. Then, with 2 months to go, we moved back to Fort Bragg into a house on post. I found myself surrounded by no less than 4 spouses who were going through EXACTLY the same thing. We immediately bonded, and even though we've all moved on to other duty stations, I still look at them as not just people I know, but as friends for life.

Each time we move we once again face the challenge of meeting new people and trying to get involved. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we give up and just bide our time until the next PCS comes around. We live a bit of a nomadic existence, and yet, it's a life that few of us would trade. Given the chance to do it over again, I wouldn't trade any of it. I bought into this life when we got married and I'm here to stay. Yes, we face challenges wherever we go in terms of finding a "home". Truthfully, I've yet to find a place where I could say "yep, this is HOME." That said, my life is richer from the process. I think of all I would have missed if I'd never made this my life. Sure, there are challenges. But the rewards are always better.

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007

4 comments:

  1. This is the problem I have right now. Even within the military community I am having problems making connections. This is a training environment, and the chances of seeing these people in a few years are slim so it is tough to really let my guard down. I hope our next place will be easier for me.

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  2. Military wives are really awesome. They are always adjusting specially when the husband is reassigned elsewhere. When I started reading your blog, I have to say kudos to you for your hard work. A lot of people do think of military spouses as only the wives. I'll share your stories to my friends in the field too.

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  4. Kudos to military spouses. Moving from time to time not easy especially when you already have kids but good thing you were able to cope up.

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