Continuing the Veteran’s Day series today addressing men married to women serving in the military.
Women have been serving in military situations for a long time. Whether as medical staff or a soldier, women have played a vital role in warfare. Women such as Cathay Williams Shaina Hayden (pictured) have shown great bravery in their service. There is contention among different groups as to the place of women in the military, in combat, submarines and other controversies.
What is not a contention though, is that many men are married to women in uniform.
Some of these men are active duty or retired military themselves. They know the drill. They understand the expectations. This doesn’t make it any easier in times of deployment or temporary duty assignments away from home, but it does help the understanding.
Other men may be civilians with little or no real knowledge of how the military works. The military is not a democracy. It is an orderly machine that moves when instructed. That means when orders come, they are to be carried out. In the case of deployments, this can be hard to handle. It is not too different from being married to a woman who travels for work.
The writer Carol Lynn Pearson said:
“Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.”
With the traditional roles reversed, men in these situations must stand ready to support their wives in their career choice and decision to serve their country. Nothing can hurt a soldier more than leaving without the support of home. That support is integral to their self confidence, and self esteem which in turn affects their ability to perform their assigned duties. As you confront the dragon of our own ego, look for the treasure within. Look for your own strength and give it to your spouse.
Here’s the practical advice:
- Keep negativity to yourself – not that you can’t express your concerns or sadness at their departure, these are normal feelings, but do NOT tear down your wife. Build her up. Reassure her of your confidence in her to do whatever she is required to do.
- Write often – send letters, care packages, emails, cards, pictures. Just as any other family supports their soldier, support yours. Be sure to express your admiration for her bravery and of course your continued love and support.
- Control yourself – some may be tempted to look for physical pleasures outside the home. DON’T DO IT! You have the capacity to make the right choices and remain faithful to your spouse. Keep it in your pants! Avoid being one on one with women who are not your wife.
- Be there for the homecoming – not that you wouldn’t be, just a friendly reminder to make sure you properly welcome home your warrior with loving arms. Just because she’s been strong while away doesn’t mean she doesn’t need you to be strong for her when she gets home.
Above all else: Love Your Wife