Marrying Into The Military
by Andrea Scott
If you read my article two weeks ago, you may be expecting a story about female soldiers having sex in Iraq. While we all know that there is a standing order not to have sex while deployed, I have since heard that the punishment for "doing it" is not as severe as I would have hoped. Yes, I like to see karma bite someone in the ass, but there isn't really a story here, so instead I'm going to write about how you can potentially save a man from getting kicked in the balls.
What is all this crap about being married to the military? There is often a misconception that military spouses married the military.
I was having a discussion with a friend, and we got on this topic because her husband is currently on detachment. During her husband's detachment, her baby got a bad ear infection and then promptly found out that the baby was allergic to the medication to treat the infection. She made a comment that she couldn't depend on her husband, not because he wasn't dependable, but because with the military nothing is set in stone, even if it is set in stone. I once knew a couple who had orders to move to a state across the country, and while driving to their new duty station, they got a cell phone call telling them to go somewhere else. If this isn't a kick in the balls, I don't know what is.
It has been my experience that when a military wife complains about how hard it all is, the common response by family members, friends, etc. is, "Well, you knew what you were getting into when you married him." What the hell is that? Twenty-five years hasn't prepared me for life in the military, so how in the hell are we supposed to truly know what we are getting into? Not only that, but just because we made this choice doesn't mean that we don't get to vent once and a while. So back off, jack!
In essence we "got" ourselves into a marriage with a man whom we love, the military just came with it. The branch of the military that my friend and I associate with because of our husbands is one that's slogan is, " enter branch name here comes first, everything else comes second." We have heard this time and time again, and while deep down we know it's essentially true, we hope that our families won't have to suffer too much because of it. There are a few who marry primarily to be attached to the military, but generally speaking you don't marry a military service member because you look forward to the pain and suffering. We aren't into S&M; this is our life for better or worse.
Overall, marriages are a team effort. At this brief I had for the spouses of deployed service members, they joked about common arguments that couples have their first few weeks of being together again after deployment. It's called the "Who Had It Worse" argument. You want to know who had it worse? We did, because when we had it hard, no one listened, we were just expected to deal with it because this is what we "got ourselves into." Officers' wives club and enlisted wives' club drama aside, military wives stick together in times of need because no one else will listen to our bitching. And the bitching that our husbands do while deployed (yes, men do have PMS too) usually are heard by us at home. So it's not that we don't appreciate what our hunka men are doing over there, we just need to be able to bitch about it sometimes because war is terrible, but a sick baby screaming bloody murder can be just as stressful. And since our men can't tell us what's happening over there, our world is all we know and, frankly, all we care about at the moment.
So when a military spouse complains or vents to you, regardless of where their service member is at, listen. You just may be what saves her husband from a kick in the balls… Consider that your contribution to our country, and you can take pride in that.
Andrea knows who she married. Sometimes the military just gets in between them.
i don't know if i could handle that
i have a hard enough time getting out of bed in the morning
Posted by: turtle | December 20, 2006 11:08 AM
Well... I think that it never really helps to compare individual suffering. Please don't kick your husband in the balls after a deployment. My unsolicited recommendation is that you set aside any consideration of who had it worse and just focus on returning to life as you want it to be. Also, you have to focus on certain things while you're deployed and knowing the entire time that a kick in the balls is coming would detract a lot from that. Even if it's something your husband volunteered for (thus perhaps screwing your family from your perspective), it's better to deal effectively with the reality of things there than to add additional stressors to the situation.
I don't know why you would have hoped that punishments for people having sex in Iraq would be worse than they are. The military really annoys me with its ineffective attempts to fight human nature. This isn't a Catholic prep school, it's a warfighting organization composed of adults. It would be better for them to deal with the consequences of the behavior than to punish people for acting as people inevitably will in situations the military puts people in. In any war in U.S. history soldiers have found ways to have sex and drink liquor. Possibly noteworthy is that the best and most elite warfighters, i.e. SF, Navy Seals, etc, are also the worst "offenders" in this regard
Posted by: Kory | December 20, 2006 7:04 PM
Amen sister! ...And Kory needs to get a sense of humor...
Posted by: Letitia | December 20, 2006 9:30 PM
On the "military changes its mind" topic: My dad was blind in one eye and was allowed to enlist during WWII with the caveat that he couldn't be sent overseas. We still have that letter, in his scrapbook, right next to his orders to the Philippines.
Posted by: Pat | December 21, 2006 2:25 AM
Well said! As a wife of a CPT deploying (for the second time) in April out of Ft. Lewis, thank you for understanding!
Posted by: Heather | January 26, 2007 10:06 AM