Spouses Are a Critical part of the Military life

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Here is a very vital chapter from my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.

Military Spouses Have a Huge Task

“Military counts on spouses more than any other job.”

Chief of Staff of the Army, General Ray Odierno (Retired)

One of the toughest situations in the military has to be for a spouse who is left behind during a time of deployment.

I was single when I was deployed to Korea. I was married for only a couple of months before I got out of the military, so I don’t have firsthand experience about this. But I have read many different spouses’ thoughts regarding how it was for them to be at home alone to take on all the tasks by themselves. This chapter will discuss their thoughts and hopefully give you some insight into the world of being a spouse at home during a deployment.

I guess the most important place to start is noting that there are both male and female spouses who are left behind to “hold down the fort,” while their loved one is gone. There are many wives/mothers who are deployed as well as husbands/fathers.

I have found that it may be a little harder for the man who is left behind for a couple of reasons. The most glaring one is the friend circle, or the lack of it. Men often don’t have a very big circle of other male spouses of deployed wives to share their struggles and frustrations with.

They also have to face the few (who, in my opinion, are uneducated) who look down on a man who stays behind and isn’t on the front lines himself. They are ignorant of the fact that in the real world many mothers go off to work and the dad is “Mr. Mom.”

There is no shame in this anymore than in a wife staying home and caring for the children and household.

In general what follows is what either male or female parents go through to survive in the home environment.

It seems they are always at their limit. They need to get kids off to school. Need to clean the house. Take time to do the bills. They are off to the grocery store. Pick up the kids at school. Take them to soccer practice. Pick them up afterwards. Prepare all the meals. Take out the trash. Do the laundry, and put the kids to bed.

I could list many other things the at-home spouse must do, but what I have written so far leads to a very stressful day. As a matter of fact it can be downright overwhelming.

As if all of these concerns weren’t enough, they also worry about their spouse who may be in harm’s way. They worry about enough money coming in to support the family. They may have to get jobs to help out, which leads to daycare issues or older children being home alone at times.

Speaking of the children, they seem strong. They seem to be coping better than the spouses in most cases. However, there are the times they realize their other parent isn’t around and they miss them. They begin to cry and need hugs and love.

It is extremely important that there is a circle of friends for support, male or female. Those friends shouldn’t just say, “How’s your day?” and not really mean it. They need to actually want to know how your day is. They need to sit and listen when you need them.

The distance (both emotional and geographic) between them and their spouse can be very hard. There are missed moments. There are lonely nights. There are times they are angry because they have to make so many of the decisions.

Then when the spouse returns after a long deployment, the dynamics and rhythms of home life have often changed as the at-home spouse carries the load. That can make the re-introduction of the military person into the home a bit awkward.

How about when the spouse is home? Sounds like a perfect situation, except everything depends on what the military wants. It’s hard trying to plan leaves and vacations and special occasions. They often have to be postponed at a moment’s notice.

The on-duty military spouse also may have long hours, even up to 12- to 14-hour days. The family may feel as if the parent is still deployed even though he or she is home.

One of the hardest parts for a military family is the constant moving from one location to another. Every two to three years, they have to pack up everything and move. Each family member loses a circle of friends at the old duty post and then has to make new ones at the next location. This occurs many times during an active military person’s time of service.

There is also the problem of the spouse finding a job at the new duty post. With each move, the spouse has to start at the bottom at their place of employment—if they can find a job and/or are actually over-qualified for an entry-level position. Often employers don’t want to hire someone who will probably be leaving in a couple of years. Sometimes the spouse has to settle for a less-than-ideal job in order to contribute to the family’s finances. 

And when the military says it’s time to go to a new duty post, the non-military spouse is often the one to shoulder the details of the move. I can speak from personal knowledge on this since my daughter-in-law is married to my son who was an Army officer. They moved more than 15 times during his time in the military. They often had to pack up their belongings in a U-Haul and travel sometimes thousands of miles and unload at the other end. My daughter-in-law often had to find the new home before they moved and make all the arrangements. She spent endless hours cleaning, packing, and planning the trip.

One of the toughest times for the military family is the holidays. It’s hard if the family is unable to see the extended family at this time of year. And it’s doubly hard on the family if a parent is deployed. At Christmas, the kids really feel sad because Mom or Dad isn’t there to open presents with them. This is when the at-home spouse really has to be brave and do whatever they can to smooth this time over.

Trying to find happiness in a military family during deployment is tough at best, but I received a note from a woman who told me, “Other people are not responsible for your happiness.” That tough-love statement is very true. We can’t expect other people to make us happy. We need to find our own happiness, and hope that our spouses will also help us in finding that happiness.

In concluding this chapter, I want you to know that many spouses don’t cry because they are weak. They cry because they miss their spouse. Part of that is because they wake up every day wondering if their spouse is still alive.

So to all of you, who are friends and family of those in the military, be sure to tell the military person thank you, but also tell the spouse thank you. They are heroes too.

As in every walk of life, God is the constant force to turn to during stressful times. He is close and hears your cries for help. He will give you comfort, and help you through the daily trials you face.


This chapter was one of the hardest for me to write. My heart goes out to those who are left behind. I mentioned my daughter-in-law earlier, and I must say she was an angel in disguise for my son during his military career. She never faltered. She was always by his side. She supported him 100 percent 24/7. I can speak for my son in saying that it would have been a tough road to travel if he hadn’t had her by his side, encouraging him and loving him.

Think about this Isn’t it interesting how some people go unnoticed who are really the wind beneath your wings?


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Checking in on you…How are you doing? Are you struggling?


There are over 13,650 fellow veterans here who have your back.

If you are battling mentally, because of your love for others, but it isn’t working, GET HELP!!

Here is a toll free number that you can call 24/7. There are highly qualified counselors there to help you, and they will no hang up until they know you are OK.

1-800-273-8255…texting 838255.



You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!


+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.

+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know.

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