‘You chose this. You knew what you were getting into.’ I don’t judge or criticize you.’: Wife recounts the raw reality of being a military spouse, ‘I knew I loved him and wasn’t going to walk away’

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“I have to say ‘see you later’ to my husband soon and my heart is broken.

The last couple months we have been preparing for this awful day. You don’t ever really get fully prepared, but you jump in feet first and try your best to just get on with it. There are days you wish would go by so slow that time is almost standing still and there are times you wish the days would go by fast so you can get this started and over with. You want this to be over with before it is even started so you don’t have to go through the emotions of him leaving.

The emotions I have are all over the place. One minute I can be laughing hysterically with my husband and the next minute I’m crying uncontrollably. It comes in waves and some crash down harder on you than you anticipated.

But, the raw and reality of your spouse leaving is this…

You have your spouse wear a sweatshirt every day for a week before he leaves so when you are laying down in bed bawling you can at least have his scent that gives you a small amount of sanity. You spend holidays and birthdays alone. You pray the days goes by fast and the nights go by faster. You hate weekends because that was when you did things together. You keep yourself busy and find things to fill your time, but you want nothing more than to feel that embrace from your spouse. You can’t wait for that moment. When you forget to do a small task, it seems like the end of the world because everything seems to be harder when they are gone. You always over cook because well they are usually always there to eat dinner with you. When you spill a cup of milk you just sit down on the floor and cry, literally over spilled milk. You refuse to watch sappy love stories because all it does is make you want to throw your shoe at the TV.

Let’s not forget my favorite part of people saying things like ‘you chose this’ or ‘you knew what you were getting into’ when in reality no one truly knows. I knew I loved him and wasn’t going to walk away because it was going to be hard. Yes, there are times I wish things were different, but this is life and life aren’t always easy. You take the good with the bad. As parents (any parents not just military) you make sacrifices because you only have so much control. Having a senior in high school is hard enough let alone making them move in the middle of it. So no, 4 years ago I didn’t think about my family having to be apart for a year or being in this situation. Did I know there is a possibly, yes of course, but it’s not what you think about every day? You do the best you can with choices you are given. Sometimes there are things that are beyond our control and we can’t just move away with him even if we wanted. Besides, I know every day I get to be married to him is a blessing, regardless if we are in the same country or not.

Courtesy Mary Scott


Well the raw and reality of it is this…. I don’t judge you OR criticize families for not doing it or choosing to join or to not join the military.

But at the end of the day…. someone has to. Someone had to sign on the line to serve and protect us. It just so happened that my husband feels the need to do his part for his country. You don’t ever look at a doctor or nurse and say well you knew what you were getting into when a patient die, and they were unable to save them. You don’t minimize their pain and heartache because of their chosen career path.

Thank god for all the men and women that have signed up to do this. We need them and I am proud of my husband but again, it doesn’t hurt less because he ‘chose’ to do this.

Courtesy Mary Scott

I love my husband and family more than life itself. So yes, I will be sad to say, ‘see you later’ and if you can’t grasp that then just scroll on. I don’t want sympathy; I just want to understand when I lock myself away for a few days. Your husbands 3-day business trip is not a comparison but I’m still sad to see you without him for those days. Because it does suck and I won’t judge you for feeling that way because he has a job to do.

But as the time slowly moves, the minutes will turn to hours, the hours will turn to days, the days will turn to weeks, the weeks will turns to months, and then the months turn to a year and I will get my husband again. I will find things to do and keep myself busy. It’s not all sad. We get amazing homecomings and instead of face to face dates we get FaceTime dates. We get to watch movies together (through FaceTime) and still talk and laugh together and what not.

But life goes on and so will we. We will continue to go on about our life, rather that’s working and/or volunteering. We will tend to our needs of our family, friends and home.

It’s okay to lock yourself away for a few days. Just don’t stay there.

Just remember before you say something, think about what you are saying. Everyone handles it differently. Besides, would you say it to child? Whelp! You know what your parent does for a living! No! You wouldn’t. Or at least I would hope not.

Courtesy Mary Scott
Courtesy Mary Scott

And just remember when you think we did this to ourselves, well, someone has to, or we would not have our military if these men and women didn’t sign The Oath that’s says… I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So, help me God.

Once that is signed you do what you are told. No questions. Rather it’s an unaccompanied tour, deployment, TDY etc., being away is hard.

We need our military just as much as we need our doctors, nurses, veterinarians, firefighters, police officers, fast food workers, receptionist, linguists, sanitation workers, bankers, lawyers, clerks etc.

So to sum it up…. Just be kind…. everyone has a job to do and it just so happens mine will be away for a year doing it and I am damn proud he is my husband.”

Courtesy Mary Scott

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Scott, 36, of Horseheads, New York. Follow her journey on Instagram hereDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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