Honoring patriotism on Military Spouse Appreciation Day
To the average citizen, most forms of patriotism pale in comparison to the sacrifices that military members make for their country. The idea of loving your country enough that you would be willing to fight for it leaves all other forms of nationalism looking lackluster in comparison.
Though the primary sacrifice is undoubtedly from the service member, the enormous generosity and deep patriotism of military spouses should not be overlooked. The sacrifices spouses make are often unknown and underappreciated, but military spouses do many things the average citizen can not imagine enduring while their spouse is fighting to keep the country safe.
Though they may not be on the frontlines, spouses dedicate their lives to the military in extraordinary shows of daily patriotism. The life of a military spouse is hard to imagine unless you have walked in their shoes. These individuals are incredibly strong and should be celebrated for the sacrifices they make for the good of the country.
Enduring Long Periods of Silence
Military spouses often endure long periods of time in which they do not know where their service members are or if they are safe. While their husbands are deployed, a set schedule for contact is not always established; they must wait for their service member to contact them. The anxiety of not knowing if your loved one is safe can be incredibly hard to deal with, especially over long periods of time.
They learn to cope by developing hobbies, making friends, and focusing on their families, all while wondering when they will hear from their spouses. They form numerous networks and organizations to come together and help each other cope during trying times.
Many military wives find constructive and innovative ways to come together. The Military Spouse Choir, comprised of over 50 spouses, sing together to give voice to the struggles many people face every day. Some wives have formed various networks, like The Military Spouse Advocacy Network, to help each other in trying times.
Military wives often have a distinct lack of control, which can lead to feelings of anxiety and high stress. Constant worrying is tough for any person, especially during deployments for months on end. To feel more in control, these wives have created numerous outreach programs, like creating care packages for soldiers, that further show their patriotism. Despite their own worries, they are still trying to help others and help make the country a better place.
Spending Milestones Alone
The most trying times are often when military spouses spend milestones and significant events away from their service member. Due to the nature of military life, service members and their families often live far away from family members and friends, which can be isolating for wives on their own during deployments.
These spouses spend birthdays, anniversaries, and often entire pregnancies without their spouses. Many times, this means they experience many significant life moments without their partners by their sides.
Military wives often act as the sole parent during deployments. This makes it more difficult to maintain careers, have friendships, and cultivate hobbies outside of the house. When they are the sole caretaker of children, it can be challenging to find time to engage in the outside world.
Since childcare can be expensive, many spouses spend a large portion of their time parenting, especially if they are far away from family and friends. The endurance of these spouses is incredible. Through all of this, military spouses manage to build happy and healthy families and maintain a lower divorce rate than the general population.
The enormous sacrifices military spouses make are not limited to the family––they factor into daily life as well. Because military families often move around, at ten times the average of the general population, it can be difficult for them to have careers or to finish degrees.
It can be difficult to find long-term careers due to the frequent moved. Seventy-nine percentof military spouses said they made career sacrifices in order to honor their husband’s career. Many military wives do not find they can have careers at all, so they simply choose to stay at home.
Those who do decide to work challenges. In fact, over 50% of military working spouses have not received any kind of promotion since becoming a military spouse. This is likely attributed to the fact they move so often.
Every day, military wives are making sacrifices, changing their education and career plans, uprooting their families, leaving loved ones behind, and missing their husbands for the good of the country. They are rarely acknowledged because, unless a person has been a military spouse, it’s hard to know how challenging this life is.
Being a military spouse can be a full-time job and an entirely different lifestyle. It’s time we recognize the challenges that military spouses experience to support their service members as they serve this country. Their sacrifice is an act of true patriotism. This Military Spouse Appreciation Day, take the time to show some thanks to a military spouse.