For those who don’t know, I knew my now husband a short time before we were married. It came as a shock to me when I realized a month after dating him that he was it for me. He was the one God put on this Earth to be my other half. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he felt the same way. After discussing this with a few close friends that had also married into the military, this was generally what happened. These boys, when they decide they’re ready, don’t fool around with the game playing mostly because of impending deployment. When they find something real that they want to last, they make it happen. I accepted this. It actually sounds legitimate. The long and short of it is that we met in August, got married in December, and were then transferred to Charleston, SC.
Every once in a while I still don’t feel like a wife. That maybe I’m not doing my wifely duties, but this self-consciousness doesn’t stem from something inside me that feels that I’m not making my husband happy. It comes from other mil-spouses that I’ve encountered since I’ve been here. Most of them have been extremely accepting of my decision to work and be a house wife, but there have been that few that make me crawl inside myself and feel like I’m doing something wrong.
I have been met with a number of comments that have been said in disgust like “your husband is in the Air Force and you’re…working?” Almost like “What are you doing with a job? Why aren’t you taking care of your home instead? Why aren’t you there to welcome him home with dinner and a drink?” Well, first of all, because I have a life, secondly, this isn’t the 1950’s, and thirdly, we have bills to pay. I’m not coming down on the women who choose to stay home while the hubby is at work doing his duty to his country. That’s your decision, but how do you stand it? How can you stand being in the house all alone…all day? I also had another woman, who not only couldn’t believe I had a job, but was almost disgusted by the fact that we’ve been married for 5 months, he’s in the military and I wasn’t pregnant yet.
Listen, I’m not only new to military life, that I can really remember, I’m new to being a wife in general. Saying the words “my husband” still seems weird to me. I never expected or wanted to get pregnant right away upon getting married. I never expected or really wanted to be just a housewife with no job. That’s not me.
There are other aspects of this life that I don’t quite understand yet as well. Sometimes my husband will come home and start getting into great detail about his work, using technical terms, and saying a load of various things that I don’t understand, and every time, I think “I really need to learn this shit.” There’s a whole bunch about being a military spouse that I don’t understand.
The other day I went to a gas station, the guy at the counter saw my military ID, pointed it out and I was thanked for my service by 3 people. I proceeded to explain that it wasn’t me that was in the Air Force, it was my husband. They all shook their heads and said “That doesn’t matter sweetheart. Without our women, we’d be nothing. You girls take on so much when you marry into the military. When he’s gone, ya’ll have to take on the role of mother and father, on top of cleaning, cooking, working, and paying bills. You have a lot on your plate. You deserve thanks as well.” This made me smile. It made me proud. It made me feel respected. However, the more I thought about it, I thought “Do I really deserve such praise?” We don’t have any kids. He hasn’t been on deployment yet. I don’t know that aspect. It scares the fuck out of me when he talks about pushing for deployment. In fact, I blatantly ignore him when he starts talking about deployment. The thought of being at home by myself for 6 months to a year, not seeing him when I want to, not being able to kiss him, or hold him, scares the shit out of me. Who knows what could happen over there. He continually tells me what he does is not dangerous, but in my mind that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t mean a plane can’t crash. That doesn’t mean that insurgents can’t decide to bomb a cargo jet.
I don’t really feel like I have any room to say or think “this is hard” because we haven’t been through a deployment yet and we don’t have kids, but god damn it, it is. I constantly have to watch what I say and do. He’s on mid shift which means that he leaves for work when I come home from work, and is going to bed when I wake up. Half the time our days off don’t coincide, and I feel like I don’t get to see him. Not because he’s not willing to spend time with me, but because when he does come home, or has a day off, he wants to play video games and do the shit men do so that he can unwind. I understand that, but where’s my time? There are times, in fact most of the time, that he stays awake to spend time with me when he gets off work in the morning, but as I type, I sit outside, alone on the patio while he’s asleep. The whiny child in me lets loose a very loud “it’s not fair!” and is currently throwing a tantrum.
Not to mention the fact that I’ve been warned about the tight-knit circles that inhabit military housing and all the drama that comes with it. I have one friend here, but she’s on the same schedule as her boyfriend so I rarely see her. I know a couple of other people, but it’s difficult to hang out with either one of them because they both of have jobs and one or more children. It would be nice if I could find some one here that can hang out with me on a regular basis and sympathize with the fact that I feel like an outsider.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m not happy. It’s just that I’m starting to realize what a rough road lies ahead of me, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.