Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Take on Military Life

It's hard to believe almost twenty years ago, two teenage kids were hanging out at a campground park on the edge of a small Midwestern town. One 16, one 15. They were talking about the future. Not their future but the future in general.

The girl asked the boy, "What do you want to do when you graduate high school?"

The boy says, "I want to be a Marine".

And the girl's heart sank. The girl didn't know much about the military, let alone a teeny tiny branch called the Marine Corps. The only thing that girl knew was she was not going to live a military life.

Five years later, the girl married the boy, the Marine. They packed up her green Chevy Beretta and headed West to Nowhereville (Camp Pendleton, California). Not until her foot crossed the threshold of their tiny base apartment did she begin to understand the life of a military wife. The Marine went to work from sun up to sun down. Sometimes, he had to stay all night. He was assigned to working parties on the weekends and holidays and he couldn't just say he had other plans. The Marine Corps was front and center.

Oh the beginnings of a military life!

It was a tough start. But life got easier... then harder... then easier again. The ebb and flow of military life. You adapt to the unpredictable schedules, the overnight duties, the deployments, the PCS orders. Then everything changes...again. So, you start all over... again.

Any reasonable person would probably ask Is it worth it? We've had over 14 years of military family life and I've had those moments of contemplation. At the beginning, I would say No! A loud resounding No! What is the point of valuing another's freedoms and life while sacrificing your own! Why would it be ok to put your life on the line every. single. day for the small possibility that you may or may not make a difference? Now I see things differently. I know military members and their families don't do life looking at the small picture. It's all about the bigger one.

For every military member, there are several who stand behind him or her in support. Whether it's fellow military brothers and sisters or spouses and children or parents and siblings. The extension of service goes to those holding down the homefront. They share stories of selflessness and determination as they patiently wait in the absence. By simple affiliation, those people are asked to serve.

As a spouse, it's easy to have a love-hate relationship with the military. I was pretty accepting of the demands from the beginning. However, my understanding of this lifestyle has been a process. I've learned being a military spouse is an automatic unifier in the crowd. I've learned another military wife can always trump your "bad" experience. I've learned laughter is the best way to cope with the ridiculousness that often comes your way and wine when laughing doesn't work. I've learned consistency is a luxury granted to others and being an observer is a waste of time. I've learned to squeeze every minute out of his time here because chances are he won't be here for the next birthday, anniversary, first day of school, lost tooth, fill-in-the-blank.

Most of all, I've learned that all those things are only small snippets in life when he is doing exactly what he was created to do.

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This is a sponsored post by Outback Steakhouse #bestmates. One of the great companies supporting military families across the nation. All ideas and thoughts are those of the blogger; however, compensation has been provided.

To honor Military Mates, Outback Steakhouse will offer active and retired military 10% off the entire check when they dine at Outback for lunch or dinner, valid from May 27 - July 4, 2013.

Now, go enjoy a night off and eat a Bloomin Onion for me!


  1. This is such a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your perspective on this crazy life. :)

  2. I have a love/hate relationship with military life from my own experiences as a Marine and being a Marine wife as well, but honestly, I couldn't imagine my life any other way! When I put on my uniform for the last time, it made me really sad to not be deploying anymore!! My husband has another 8 years (unless he decides to do more than 20!!!) before retirement, and even thinking about that day when our family will officially be done with this life makes me a little sad!

  3. Love this! Life is not about the smaller pictures, it's about the bigger one- so true! I never dreamed of this life growing up, but it's been such a wonderful blessing and I love that God planned something bigger and better than I planned for myself.

  4. I so didn't want to marry a military man either. In fact I cried when my husband told me he was joining the USMC. Now 9 years later I am crying because I am trying to adjust to civilian life again.
    It becomes a part of you...

  5. That was beautiful!! I was convinced I wouldn't marry a service member also. Even after meeting hubs, I said no because he was in the army. I wouldn't give up this military life for anything though!

  6. God Bless you for all YOU do and all of your sacrifices as a Marine wife. I can only imagine the hard work that it entails to support your love and keep your family together.
    I love how beautifully honest and real this post is.

  7. I found myself nodding in agreement as I read. I especially love the part about the ebb and flow of the military life, so very true.

  8. Wonderful post! When my husband and I first got together, I couldn't imagine moving away from my family and friends. Now I look 10 years down the road and wonder what the heck I'm going to do once I'm no longer a military wife.