Things NOT to Say to the Spouse of a Deployed Soldier

Alright, so I’ve read a few of these articles since becoming an army wife, and now that Tyler is deployed I’ve decided to make my own list. I’ve had numerous comments said to me throughout his absence due to field training exercises, but I didn’t think it was right to discuss this until now. Before I begin, remember that I’m sarcastic. I know that our civilian counterparts simply cannot comprehend long times apart, and it’s difficult to know what to say. What annoys me may be loved by someone else- so don’t get discouraged! Here we go:

1.) When does he get out? This comment has been made SO many times, and yes, this one kind of irritates me. Tyler gets out when he RETIRES- he’s eligible in 11 or so years- FULL retirement at age 42- plus all medical treatment paid throughout his life (mama’s gonna probably have to work until she’s 85…wah!). His prior service played a huge role in his decision to go back in as an officer as it counted towards his retirement and puts him in a slightly higher pay bracket (we are no Donald Trumps, but it IS a benefit for him). Yes, many men and women only put in a certain amount of time and then get out and move on, but some actually make it their career. And you know what? That’s not only admirable, but sexy as hell. Are you like me and can’t retire until your old as balls? 😦

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July 2012…his rank changed, but my big bear looks the same!

 

2.) At least you don’t have kids- This has only been said a few times so far, and I wasn’t really upset because they didn’t know us and our situation. If you’ve been an avid reader, it’s no secret that we want children and are more than ready. I was even congratulated that I’ll have made it to 30 without kids by a fellow co-worker (I’ll be 29.5 when TJ gets home).

3.) You can always go home- UMMM, no. Why? Because I have a full-time job now, two dogs, and an entire house to take care of. My personal and vacation days will be saved for when my Titan gets home. So unless I win the lottery which I never play, this shit  isn’t happening. Although I plan on flying home for a long weekend or two over the next several months! Come visit me!!! We should only have about 7 months left in the area after TJ gets home. The city is really not so bad. We have some decent shopping, great restaurants, different scenery, and a ton of movies to watch if I have to work 😉

4.) Are you scared? Of course. I cried multiple times a day during the first couple of weeks Tyler was gone, but I try not to think about it…so please don’t ever ask this. My wishes when I find a penny or drop an eyelash are not about a baby anymore- they’re about Tyler coming home safe (and the same person…yes, I’ve read too much on how people can change) to me…I hate wishing days away, but nighttime is the most peaceful to me as it is another day done.

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A visit while he was at OCS. September 2011.

5.) Has he shot/killed anyone?- Unfortunately, I’ve been asked this many times. I don’t know, and it’s offending that someone would ask this. There are things I want to know about my husband and things I don’t- this is one of them. However, he conquered TWO 12 month tours in Iraq during the midst of the War on Terrorism…

Tyler was a part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade that jumped into Iraq on March 26, 2003. Please Google this! Many people don’t know the significance of this date.

Also, there is a difference between jumping…and jumping into a designated war-zone.

He lost his best friend and others close to him throughout his deployments. Many people endured loss during the war. Just remember that.

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Preparing to jump…(random pic). However, Tyler actually jumped into a war zone… not just practiced. HUGE difference to those that love to jump onto free soil and those that have not.

173rd Paratrooper

This is how much gear Tyler and the other men dropped with. Have you had a bad day at work?

6.) Just keep yourself busy- I do, but it doesn’t mean I don’t look at his side of the bed and burst into tears once in a while. Or think of him when I’m our in our closet changing and see his section of clothes. Or see his car, knowing he’s not there when I pull inside the garage. Work has been amazing at keeping my days going, but have a harder time starting my day when I work a 1-10 shift. Nonetheless, once I get there and get in the groove, I’m good. Outside of work- the dogs, crafts, movies, light exercise, and a couple of friends keeps me entertained enough.

7.) You knew what you were getting into- This phrase wasn’t said directly to me…it was more like, “Well if you knew that he’d be leaving eventually, didn’t you kinda expect it?” When I met Tyler, he had mentioned going to grad school after graduating with his Bachelors. I never thought about us being long term for the first few months, and I was already invested in him and our relationship by the time he decided to go back in as an officer.

He was a hot piece of meat, and I was getting out of an extremely long relationship. Tyler was so incredibly different than all I ever knew … and yet, the relationship worked and grew. He didn’t spring going back into the army on me until I knew I wanted him around for a while…bastard. Just kidding 😉 So no, I didn’t know what I was getting into initially. But you know what? I wouldn’t change a fucking thing, no matter how sad, scared, or lonely I am sometimes. And you simply cannot comprehend these things until you’re actually in the moment, ya know?

8.) My husband travels…– Listen- If your husband travels to California or even London for business, THIS IS NOT THE SAME. I know some airlines are sketchy, but your hubby is relatively SAFE. He can eat whatever he wants, call/skype you whenever he wants, shop whenever he wants, watch TV whenever he wants, and rub one out whenever he wants- AND he’s home within a few WEEKS (usually). Oh, and he probably doesn’t have to worry about rockets being launched at him or whatever.

*Sidenote- if you freak out after your significant other is away for a few days, please re-examine yourself. I honestly about shit my pants when I see Facebook statuses about missing their loved ones after a few days. Put on your big girl panties, eat and watch whatever you damn well please, pour a drink, and be effing grateful you have a man who is out making you guys money. Have a girls night. Do things you that you’re spouse doesn’t really like to do (Real Housewives of OC marathons…although I know he secretly doesn’t mind them, haha).  Just please don’t compare the two.

I obviously have to carry on with my life and the life we set up together here, but deployment revolves around emails and phone calls. Once you hear from them, you sigh with relief, but then you hold your breath until the next time.

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Tyler’s an Officer! I was freezing my nads off and it took me forever to pin this 🙂

9.) Let me know if you need anything- I’m here for you!- I know this is a well-intended remark, but quite frankly, actions speak louder than words. Don’t tell me- SHOW me. It’s like with any trying times in life. Unless your close as hell to me (mom, aunt, sister, best friend), I’m not gonna call or text you about “needing” anything.

I’m by NO means not expecting anything from anyone, and I can hold down the fort unless it comes to starting the damn lawn mower or fixing the computer. However, I think it’s downright insulting to say such a thing, and yet, never act upon it.

Point blank- relationships and friendships will transpire during a deployment on both ends- spouse and soldier. Texting and calling are different things. Saying you’re there and actually being there are two entirely different entities. On the other hand, random texts have brightened up my day!

This can be said about any trying time during life- not just during deployments, such as sickness, death, etc. After our miscarriage and the past year trying to conceive, I gained an incredible amount of compassion towards those that have struggled in this area- it truly opened my eyes. If anything, I know that this deployment will do the same for me as well in regards to this type of situation.

I know that I’m not the best friend/sister/daughter/whatever- but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that actions truly do speak louder than words. Tyler had a lot to do with me recognizing this by showing me how much he loves me, rather than just saying it. Thanks, babe 🙂

Right after I accepted his proposal. P.S. He even looked my dad’s phone number up and called him to ask him if it was alright if he asked me to marry him. I LOVED this!

10.) I could never do it- What in the world does this mean? I’m assuming it’s supposed to be a compliment, but it’s not. What would you do then? Divorce your husband? Quit going into work and lay in bed all day? Move back home with your parents? I don’t understand this comment.

You do it because you HAVE to.

You “can do it” because your husband is doing a job that most men or women cannot or would not handle.

And bottom line- you do it because you found a love that was so amazing, so incredibly invigorating, that it took you above where you’ve ever been before.

When you love someone deeply enough, you CAN wait for them. You CAN continue to love them across the world. You will regain energy from happy memories flooding your mind as well as through erratic emails and phone calls.

And…you’ll always keep in mind, that the day you see them again will be absolutely fucking glorious…..

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June 2013…the day he got home from NIE. Happy happy 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Things NOT to Say to the Spouse of a Deployed Soldier

  1. I love this! Sometimes people just don’t think things through before they speak… and also you’re right, if you’ve never had a loved one in the military, you can’t even imagine what it is like! But I can’t believe you’ve had to deal with some of those questions. Ugh- people should really have more common sense.

    I do like your point about “Let me know if you need anything- I’m here for you!”– I feel like I’ve said that to friends in various situations and while I mean well, I know they probably wouldn’t actually pick up the phone and let me know they need something. I just need to SHOW them, like you said, that I’m there for them! Thanks for the food for thought 🙂

  2. Completely agree about the “let me know if you need anything- I’m here for you” thing. I think we’ve all said that at one point or another in our lives because it simply felt right and we didn’t know what else to say. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized how much actions speak louder than words! I’m still a work in progress with this though, haha 🙂

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