On Facebook, I have “Liked” a page called “Classy Army Wives,” among many others. Administrator Mary posted the following question, per something that had come through her inbox: “Why is it that military wives always say they are stronger than other woman? Why do some think something is owed to them? Why do some think they are better than others?”
This actually really got me thinking, and at first, I didn’t know what to think. When I read the comments already posted, a lot of the Army Wives were explaining how they don’t believe themselves to be better wives because they are Army Wives. One had cited other things she had been through in her life that she felt made her a stronger wife. Others explained that they didn’t feel this way at all. Some said it was because of insecurities. And some wondered why people worry so much about these things. I wanted to post my thoughts on it, but I wasn’t sure where to go with it.
I am guilty of thinking of myself, and other military wives, as being…not necessarily better than…but in a different group from wives of civilians.
No, I don’t think all Army/Military Wives are better than Civilian Wives, I’ve known and heard of some who are terrible wives, period. The same goes for civilian wives. I know Civilian Wives who were excellent wives, and same of Military Wives. It’s really case by case, couple by couple. But, no, just because someone is married to someone in the service, does not make her, or him, a better spouse, or stronger.
Some military wives are unfaithful during their husband’s deployment. Some civilian wives are unfaithful while their husband’s are at work, out with the guys, or at home and the wife is out creeping. Some military wives, myself included with this group, are forever faithful to their spouses, and will do anything to make them happy, knowing they are under a lot of stress in the military. Some civilian wives are forever faithful to their spouses, and will recognize the stresses they have in their lives and will do what they can to make their husbands happy, as well.
So, being a military wife doesn’t make you better than a civilian wife. However, military wives, good military wives, are in a different bracket than a good civilian wife. Good, as being a wife who is faithful, truly loves her husband, and would never do anything to intentionally hurt him. But there’s a difference in our lifestyles. It doesn’t make one better than the other, we just live through and endure different things in our marriages.
A military wife has to, unless they are absolutely lucky, say good-bye to their husband for months, to a year or longer, at a time. Only in extreme situations, does a civilian wife have to say good-bye to their spouse for such a long period of time. Even if both spouses travel frequently for business, unless they choose their profession over their family, they do not go for 12 to 15 months without seeing each other.
What our husbands go through, we go through. We tend to feel their same stress, and sometimes will feed off of it. Not to say that if a civilian husband holds a stressful job his wife won’t do the same, but it’s a different kind of stress.
Yes there are civilian jobs that are life-endangering, and then there’s the concern of even getting in a car accident or having some other freak accident, I am not trying to downplay DoD or civilian jobs that are dangerous. But it’s different when you know your husband is going to a war zone, could be shot at, be attacked, come across a mortar…and you can’t be there. You have to wait for the body to be shipped home in a box, assuming it’s recoverable, or hopefully if he survives, makes it out of the war zone and to a hospital you are allowed to visit. Essentially, military wives have to be strong to make up for the control we lose, to make up for all the things we cannot do, all the ways we cannot be there for our husbands.
Sometimes, life for a military spouse and her husband is like oil and water…we live fluidly together, but separate, because there are areas that our lives have to be separate, things they cannot tell us, things we cannot understand that we are told.
But, any wife, military or civilian, can be a strong wife if they are in an appropriate, working relationship. You are what you make of yourself, based on what life gives you and the choices you make. I don’t think that civilian wives should feel less than military wives, and military wives shouldn’t feel better than civilian wives. It’s all about being the best wife you can be, regardless.