Monday, March 10, 2008

Are We Careful What We Say to Spouses of Deployed Military Personnel?

Last week I read a post on from a woman who said that she was happy to be living in military housing at this time when her husband was about to be deployed to a war zone. She said that, if she had been at a sports event with civilians instead of with military personnel, the civilians would have asked her how she was going to survive her husband’s deployment or told stories of grueling business travel schedules.

The military spouse who posted this comment went on to say that she understood why civilians responded this way, but it was tiring for a military spouse to repeat answers over and over. She said that when you live on military base housing “your closest circle of friends understand your life.”

I really empathized with this woman’s comments because I can remember so clearly how I felt when I returned to civilian life after my husband served two years in the army during the Vietnam War. Back in civilian life there was really no one I could talk to about the military part of the last two years of my life.

And I wrote the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT (which will be released at the end of this month) in part to describe to civilians how that closeness is quickly fostered between spouses experiencing the same life.

I wonder how many of us today – and I include myself here – really understand what the life of a spouse and family is like during deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. And would we say insensitive things if we were to strike up a conversation with spouses of deployed military personnel?

I hope that the internet has made it possible for more of us civilians to try to understand the life of military personnel and their families. Even if we just occasionally visit websites such as (see website statement below) or or any other such websites, perhaps we will be better prepared to speak appropriately to the families of deployed military personnel.

SpouseBUZZ is a virtual Spouse Support Group, a place where you can instantly connect with thousands of other milspouses. Here, we celebrate and embrace the tie that binds us all - military service.

No comments: